Queens, which is the most diverse county on the mainland United States, has never stopped evolving. The rise of the Democratic Socialists of America – headlined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – in progressive strongholds like Astoria has reshaped the borough’s politics. Yet, more moderate pockets of political power remain entrenched, such as the heavily Black neighborhoods in Southeast Queens. And Asian Americans have been picking up legislative seats, while the Filipino American community in Woodside is flexing its political clout and the Indo-Caribbean community is fighting for redistricting changes.
Many major projects are also reshaping Queens, with neighborhoods set to be transformed. One – or possibly two – full-scale casinos could get a green light in the borough, even as horse racing is on the way out. Queens is becoming the city’s sports capital, with soccer – and possibly football – set to join baseball and tennis at Willets Point. Queens is even paving the way in clean energy, with moves underway to transform old Asthma Alley into a renewable energy hub.
City & State’s Queens Power 100 identifies all the key players who are behind the transformation of the borough.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris continues to show he’s not only Queens’ most influential voice in the state capital but one of the most important voices in Albany, period. The state Senate deputy majority leader, who has become a leader of the Democratic Party’s progressive wing that’s ascendant in his western Queens district, was instrumental in the defeat of Hector LaSalle’s state chief judge nomination – the first time the chamber rejected a gubernatorial nominee to the state Court of Appeals. He has also been quick to shift any blame for the Republican congressional wins across New York away from the overturned redistricting maps he helped create.
The most powerful Queens politician in New York City government, Adrienne Adams has shown that her leadership is not always going to complement the Adams at the other end of City Hall. In her State of the City address, the speaker laid out her plan to replenish city staffing, setting up a potential conflict with the budget-cutting mayor. The speaker led the New York City Council in removing Queens Republican Council Member Vickie Paladino from the Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction Committee following Paladino’s repeated criticisms of “Drag Queen Story Hour” at public libraries.
Rep. Grace Meng is the senior New Yorker on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, giving her voice added resonance on $1.6 trillion in federal discretionary spending. The political veteran from Flushing and the only Asian American New Yorker in Congress is now in the minority in the House, but she’s in a key position as the vice ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. Last year, Meng obtained $21.3 million in funds for Queens’ transit, health, food security and small-business programs. Meng, who says her top priority is to protect federal funding for Queens, was just named to the national advisory board of President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign.
There is no doubt that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has figured out how to gain institutional power alongside her clout as a progressive influencer. She’s the vice ranking member of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, giving her a key role in combating Republican-led investigations into the Biden administration. She also gained a seat on the House Natural Resources Committee and the ranking member spot on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, where she can push her climate agenda. Locally, she’s touting $15 million she brought to New York and is supporting investments in Astoria.
Rep. Greg Meeks lost his chairmanship of the House Foreign Affairs Committee to a Republican in January, but the Queens Democratic leader is still an influential voice both on foreign policy and in his home borough. He has traveled to Ukraine, proposed increased American Japanese military exercises in the Taiwan Strait and opposed creating a special committee focused on China. Closer to home, he’s touting the $16.3 million he brought back to his district, his role in the renewal of John F. Kennedy International Airport and his work on economic development in the Rockaways.
Heading into her bid for a second term as Queens’ top prosecutor, Melinda Katz is touting her experience both as district attorney and as a longtime elected official. She has noted her background allowed her to quickly pivot her office to be virtual during the coronavirus pandemic and to create new departments to address gang and gun violence, conviction review and housing fraud. The former Queens borough president, who narrowly won the closely watched 2019 Queens district attorney primary, has advised Gov. Kathy Hochul on bail policy, which was revised again this year in the state budget.
Among the biggest winners of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $455 million plan to revamp the historic Belmont Park – and shut down horse racing at Aqueduct Racetrack – are state Sens. Joseph Addabbo Jr. and James Sanders Jr. Addabbo, who chairs the state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee, has been a proponent of opening full-fledged casinos downstate, including expanding the racetrack casino at Aqueduct adjacent to his district. Sanders, the Banks Committee chair, has proposed building a mega convention center at Aqueduct. Shutting down Aqueduct would open up space for these priorities.
Three other veteran Queens lawmakers, state Sens. Leroy Comrie, John Liu and Toby Ann Stavisky, have shown that staying in the lane of a committee chair can be key in Albany. Liu, the New York City Education Committee chair, opposed Hochul’s proposal to increase the charter school cap and pledged to monitor the reassignment of 14 existing “zombie charters” authorized in the state budget. Stavisky, the Higher Education Committee chair, helped defeat Hochul’s proposed SUNY and CUNY tuition hikes. Comrie, whose committee oversees public authorities such as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has been pushing Hochul to revise her plan to renovate Penn Station.
State Sens. Jessica Ramos and Kristen Gonzalez are among the leading progressives in Albany and are redefining politics in Queens. Ramos, the influential Labor Committee chair, has been at the forefront of groundbreaking efforts to increase the minimum wage and enact worker protections. Gonzalez, who became the youngest woman elected to the state Senate last year, has solidified progressive control of western Queens.
Rick Cotton is at the epicenter of the region’s transportation, construction and economic networks, and no county in his portfolio has mattered more than Queens. In the past year, Cotton led the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the completion of the award-winning LaGuardia Airport renovation project (although a proposed AirTrain to LaGuardia was just scrapped in favor of more bus links) and the overhaul of Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Next on his agenda is the construction of a new terminal at JFK. Cotton also presided over the revamp of Newark Liberty International Airport’s Terminal A, the launch of a new Midtown Bus Terminal design and the Port of New York and New Jersey becoming the nation’s busiest seaport.
Saying he’s “all about Queens,” Borough President Donovan Richards has made cultivating the innovation economy the centerpiece of his agenda for one of the most diverse counties on the United States mainland. Last fall, Richards announced the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge, with the first 15 finalists of the competition announced this March. The King of Queens could find himself persona non grata in “no fun” New Jersey for saying “heck, yes” in support of shifting the New York Jets’ home games from MetLife Stadium to the planned soccer stadium in Willets Point.
It’s fair to wonder how many atlases Dennis Walcott owns, considering how books and maps dominated his year. He took on the important role of chairing the New York City Districting Commission while continuing to serve as the leader of the Queens Public Library. When not deciding the shape of city lawmakers’ districts, Walcott has been joining the leaders of the city’s other library systems to push back on cuts to library spending proposed by New York City Mayor Eric Adams. He also initiated an interactive online map documenting Queens heroes and demographics, and has been a staunch defender of Drag Queen Story Hour in his library system.
From revamped airports to a new soccer stadium to a spate of housing projects, Thomas Grech is celebrating the comeback of the Queens economy. He’s drawing attention to several new large-scale developments as key examples of that growth. The chamber obtained $1 million in federal funds for a small-business legal program. Grech is calling for a reimagining of the parking lots around Citi Field and praised Mets owner Steve Cohen’s community engagement on the issue. He also noted that the chamber used 80% of a recent donation from Cohen to fund minority- and women-owned business enterprise grants.
In a state capital where many lawmakers are drowned out or ignored, Assembly Member Ron Kim has used news coverage to his advantage – as former Gov. Andrew Cuomo can attest. The Flushing lawmaker was a frequent critic of the former governor’s policies related to nursing homes during the pandemic and is still taking aim at the establishment, from Gov. Kathy Hochul to the influential labor union 1199SEIU.
Other reform-minded lawmakers in Queens include progressive Assembly Members Catalina Cruz, Jessica González-Rojas and Zohran Mamdani. Cruz, the first former “Dreamer" in the Assembly, has been pressing for the right to counsel for undocumented immigrants, public housing reforms and the pending Clean Slate Act, which would seal the criminal records of many people convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. González-Rojas has been pushing for bolstering the food stamp program and, as a self-identified queer Latina, for LGBTQ+ rights. Mamdani, a democratic socialist, has been a driving force behind free city bus service and scored a win with a fare-free pilot program in the state budget.
Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee Chair Nily Rozic has sponsored legislation on pandemic-related consumer fraud. Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal is targeting food insecurity and connecting upstate farmers with downstate food programs, while also teaming up with Rozic to tackle antisemitic hate crimes.
Assembly Member Clyde Vanel has carved out a niche on cryptocurrency policy, pushing to study how to properly regulate the use of cryptocurrency while introducing legislation to tackle cryptocurrency fraud. An ally of New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Assembly Member Jenifer Rajkumar has passed bills to create the first Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission, expand the state Human Rights Law to domestic workers and make Diwali a school holiday in the city. Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman authored the Juneteenth holiday law and is pushing a bill to require police officers to have liability insurance.
Assembly Members Andrew Hevesi, Stacey Pheffer Amato and David Weprin, all members of Queens political dynasties, have carved different paths in Albany. Hevesi has focused on human services, passing legislation banning the arrest of children under 12 and addressing adverse childhood experiences. Weprin addressed prison reform as the Correction Committee chair before moving to head up the insurance committee. Pheffer Amato won reelection last year by a scant 15 votes and now chairs the Governmental Employees Committee, positioning herself to gain increased public employee union support in 2024.
Assembly Members Khaleel Anderson, Jeffrion Aubry and Ed Braunstein are taking on issues close to home. Aubry has introduced legislation that would facilitate plans by New York Mets owner Steve Cohen to site a casino next to Citi Field. Braunstein has become a vocal opponent of Rep. George Santos, whose district overlaps with his. Anderson has been laser-focused on Far Rockaway, including pushing for new transportation links and launching a partnership with area barber shops to promote mental health.
Assembly Member Vivian Cook, a legislator since 1991, fended off a primary challenge from former ally Anthony Andrews last year.
New York City Council Member Tiffany Cabán’s power comes as much from the 2019 Queens district attorney bid she narrowly lost as it does from her 2021 City Council victory. Cabán, a leading progressive, remains focused on criminal justice as she seeks to downsize the New York City Police Department. And in a reflection of the power City Council members hold over land use decisions in their own districts, she paved the way for approval of the 1,300-unit Halletts North development in her district, citing its affordable housing component.
Council Members Francisco Moya and Julie Won have facilitated major development projects in their districts as well. Moya channeled his passion for soccer into being a key player in the deal to bring the New York City Football Club’s new soccer stadium to his Willets Point district. Won stood her ground on the 3,000-unit Innovation QNS project in her district being affordable. Won held the line until negotiations yielded just under half the project being affordable housing.
Council Members Selvena Brooks-Powers, James Gennaro, Linda Lee and Lynn Schulman have made headlines as committee chairs. Brooks-Powers, who’s also the majority whip, has been leading the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on issues including road safety and truck traffic. Gennaro, the leading environmental policy expert in city government, is back at the helm of the Environmental Protection, Resiliency and Waterfronts Committee, passing a new law to phase out certain heating oils. Lee, a social worker, leads the Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction Committee and developed a new mental health roadmap for the city. Schulman outlined a new diabetes reduction package for the Health Committee to take up.
Along with Cabán, Council Members Jennifer Gutiérrez, Shekar Krishnan and Nantasha Williams are part of the Progressive Caucus, which reduced its ranks recently with a stricter policy focus. Gutiérrez, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens, has made pedestrian safety a top issue. Krishnan has been outspoken in his support of drag story hours, including calling for an increase in the program’s budget. Williams, a former executive director of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, has been focused on such issues as flooding in Southeast Queens and diversifying the New York City Fire Department.
Council Member Sandra Ung, who represents a more moderate district in Flushing, has prioritized combating hate crimes against the Asian community and efforts to counter antisemitism. She chairs the Government Operations Committee.
Council Member Robert Holden, who won reelection in 2021 on the Democratic and Republican lines, draws headlines for being the most conservative Democrat in a legislative body dominated by progressives. He’s also a member of the heavily Republican Common Sense Caucus. Council Members Vickie Paladino and Joann Ariola are the borough’s only Republicans in the legislative body and have carved different paths. Paladino is perhaps the council’s most outspoken Republican lawmaker, calling drag queen story hours “grooming” and comparing vaccine mandates to Nazism – although she later apologized. Ariola is a self-proclaimed moderate and has focused on public safety and local issues in her Rockaways district.
As one of the state’s most well-connected lobbyists, Southeast Queens native Patrick B. Jenkins has long pushed the interests of key clients in the halls of Albany. Jenkins has advocated on key issues like online sports betting and marijuana legalization. Other clients include Uber, the Orthodox Union, CVS and The Durst Organization; he has also represented the real estate industry. Jenkins, who is close to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, counts community relations among his specialties.
In 2022, a year after announcing plans for JetBlue to stay in Long Island City, Queens, Robin Hayes announced a proposed merger, cheered on by New York City and borough leaders, between JetBlue and Spirit Airlines. He is now fighting U.S. Department of Justice efforts to block that merger on antitrust grounds. Earlier this year, Hayes announced a new partnership with American Airlines that will increase JetBlue’s daily flights out of New York from 200 to 300 and lead the airline to hire 5,000 more employees by this summer.
Bob DeSalvio is leading Resorts World New York City in Queens at a critical time as it seeks one of three downstate licenses from New York to upgrade to a full-fledged facility with live table games. Resorts World is seen as a front-runner for a license, and its application has garnered strong support from borough leaders, with Queens Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Grech noting in a recent QNS op-ed that the casino has worked hard on community relations projects since opening in 2011 – a sentiment echoed by state Senate Racing, Gaming and Wagering Committee Chair Joseph Addabbo Jr.
The impact of Tyquana Henderson-Rivers’ campaign work can be seen from Queens Borough Hall to the halls of the state Capitol in Albany. A top political consultant, Henderson-Rivers has worked with a number of notable campaigns in the borough, including those of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. She also was part of the team behind Gov. Kathy Hochul’s successful bid for a full term last year. Henderson-Rivers works with private sector clients like Airbnb, FedEx and the Committee for Taxi Safety.
As leaders of New York City’s professional soccer team, Brad Sims and Marty Edelman were key to the successful bid to build a new stadium for the New York City Football Club in Willets Point, a focal point of a long-planned $780 million project that includes the 25,000-seat stadium, along with 2,500 units of affordable housing and 40,000 feet of open space. Expected to open by 2027, the project is poised to make Willets Point a citywide sports hub, with Citi Field and the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center all within walking distance.
A Whitestone native who went to Holy Cross High School in Flushing, Frank Monterisi wanted to be a Marine and a developer. Now this retired Marine officer is playing a major role in shaping the Queens of the future by leading the large-scale development project in Willets Point, which Related Companies is constructing with Sterling Equities and the New York City Football Club. The project will create affordable housing units, a hotel, a new soccer stadium, public open space and a public elementary school – with an estimated $6 billion economic impact.
The Wilpon family may have sold the Mets to Steve Cohen, but they will continue to play a major role in the future of Willets Point: The family’s Sterling Equities has partnered with Related Companies on the massive project there including a new soccer stadium and affordable housing. Sterling Project Development, led by Jeff Wilpon and Richard Browne, was involved in the construction of Citi Field, among other high-profile projects. Wilpon and Browne recently brought former Brooklyn Navy Yard CEO David Ehrenberg on board to launch a new venture, P3 Strategic Advisors, which will be focused on public-private partnerships and civic development.
A top advocate for the Chinese community in Flushing, Peter Tu has been working to advance the community’s interests while also combating the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes. He organized a March press conference and vigil for the Asian community to condemn the hate crimes. Tu, who serves as a Democratic district leader, founded the Kissena Democratic Club in Flushing. Last year, he worked with other local leaders to deliver on New York City Council Member Sandra Ung’s initiative to provide 330 free Thanksgiving turkeys to local residents.
As the head of CMW Strategies, Queens resident Michael Woloz has positioned himself as a key lobbyist and spokesperson for a number of interests in New York City. Past and present CMW Strategies clients include the Queens Public Library, Ogden CAP Properties, the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, the New York State Energy Coalition, the National Supermarket Association and the Trucking Association of New York. CMW alum Jeff Rodus recently left his top job in the Adams administration to become CUNY’s new vice chancellor for government affairs.
Frank Wu has made community engagement a priority as he has led Queens College through its 85th anniversary year. Wu worked to obtain over $2 million in federal funds for the college last year, which will foster new partnerships between the college and Queens small businesses, as well as increase community engagement and virtual programming for the college’s arts center. Last fall, Wu dedicated a billion-year-old boulder on campus to 19th-century civil rights activist Wilson Rantus.
The Rev. Brian J. Shanley knows basketball is the key to the heart of St. John’s University, and it’s a top priority for the philosopher and theologian. Shanley – whose vision includes a winning program and updated facilities as key points – recruited legendary basketball coach Rick Pitino from Iona University and charged him with turning around the team. Shanley has also outlined a plan to transition students from the Staten Island campus to Queens once the Staten Island campus closes next year. Last year, he broke ground on a new home for the university’s nursing program.
The leader of New York’s horse racing industry, David O’Rourke has guided his members through the coronavirus pandemic and the legalization of mobile sports betting, including partnerships between the New York Racing Association and the sports betting platforms of Caesars and MGM. Now, he’s leading the renovation of Long Island’s Belmont Park, after being part of the successful push to get Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed state funding into the budget. NYRA shifted last year’s fall meet from Belmont to Queens’ Aqueduct Racetrack, but the renovation will eventually lead to Aqueduct’s closure.
Former New York City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley from Queens is now one of the most powerful people in New York’s construction and real estate industry since she was elected president and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association earlier last month. For Crowley, the first woman to lead one of the city’s most powerful trade associations, the appointment marks a powerful comeback after losses in runs for Queens borough president and state Senate. Thanks to major development projects underway across Queens, Crowley’s home borough will play a key role in her first year.
Mark Weprin traded his office at Greenberg Traurig for one leading Invenergy’s New York government affairs efforts at a time when the energy company is looking to build upon its New York foothold as the state moves ahead on an ambitious climate agenda. Weprin, a member of a storied Queens political family as well as a former New York City Council member and Assembly member, will be working to improve the company’s position in the New York offshore wind industry. Chicago-based Invenergy, which recently opened a New York City office, is also a partner on the Clean Path New York project, which includes a major transmission line that will terminate in Queens.
Coming out of the darkest days of the pandemic when it would play Journey’s “Don't Stop Believin’” as COVID-19 patients were released from the hospital, New York-Presbyterian Queens is led by the veteran health care executive Jaclyn Mucaria. Today, the hospital is enjoying national recognition, including the American Heart Association awarding the hospital with two achievement awards for cardiovascular treatment coordination. Mucaria, a native of Ridgewood, Queens, has led New York-Presbyterian Queens since 2015. Mucaria came to the hospital in 2000 as a senior vice president.
The leaders of the two largest public hospitals in Queens, Helen Arteaga Landaverde and Neil J. Moore took over their jobs close to the same time in 2021, leading their respective facilities through the depths of the coronavirus pandemic. Both hospitals saw investment from various levels of government in the past year. Arteaga Landaverde accepted $11 million for NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst from New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards. The city funds include $6 million for a new infectious disease clinic and $5 million for improvements to the main entrance and a new cooling tower. The city also earmarked $7.85 million for the Frank D. O’Connor Playground, located across from the hospital. NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens received $1 million from the federal government, obtained by Rep. Grace Meng, to fund the creation of a new outpatient dialysis center. The center is expected to serve 2,400 patients annually.
As the leaders of Mount Sinai Queens, Dr. Cameron R. Hernandez and Dr. David L. Reich continue to steer the hospital out of the depths of the pandemic. In February, the hospital received $1.5 million from Queens Borough President Donovan Richards to create a new, 22-bed intensive care unit to replace the existing eight-bed ICU that had become overwhelmed during the early days of the pandemic. Last year, the hospital donated $300,000 in supplies – including electrocardiogram machines, ventilators and respiratory kits – to hospitals in Ukraine. Hernandez, a professor of geriatrics and palliative medicine, served as medical director before taking his current role. Reich is a professor of anesthesiology, artificial intelligence and pathology who has published over 200 articles related to cardiac anesthesiology.
A top economic development strategist, Laura Rothrock took over as president of the Long Island City Partnership last August. Rothrock joined the organization following a stint at Nicholas & Lence Communications, where she was senior vice president of government and community affairs. Earlier in her career, Rothrock led the business improvement district program for the New York City Department of Small Business Services. Rothrock has announced that the partnership is looking to expand its BID, an outgrowth of her strategic planning work before assuming her current role.
The leader of Northwell Health’s Queens and Long Island operations, John D’Angelo told Forest Hills residents in November that the health system needs to upgrade its communications and outreach in Queens to better inform residents about Long Island Jewish Forest Hills, including letting the community know more about the hospital – and that it is not the same as the former LaGuardia Hospital. D’Angelo has also taken on the newly created role of chief of integrated operations, where he’ll be translating COVID-19 pandemic lessons into post-pandemic operations.
As part of Rise Light & Power’s effort to bring renewable energy to New York City, Clint Plummer filed plans with state officials to transform the Ravenswood Generating Station in Long Island City into a clean energy hub supplied by an offshore wind generating site. U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm tweeted her support after Plummer gave her a tour in April. As part of Plummer’s community investment vision, Rise’s nonprofit arm has committed $1.5 million to the Variety Boys & Girls Club for a teen academy.
Known by her congregants as “Reverend Elaine,” the Rev. Elaine Flake took over as senior pastor of Greater Allen AME Cathedral from her husband, the Rev. Floyd Flake, a former member of Congress, in 2020. A co-pastor prior to taking the senior pastor role, she has been instrumental in creating many of the ministries at the church, including the Allen Women’s Resource Center, which houses women and children who are victims of domestic violence, and in growing the church to a membership now 15,000 strong.
Hal Rosenbluth has had a string of victories for Kaufman Astoria Studios in recent years. Last November, the New York City Council approved the $2 billion development Innovation QNS – one of the largest development projects in the city – which Kaufman proposed in conjunction with Silverstein Properties and BedRock Real Estate Partners. This follows the 2021 news that Rosenbluth’s film studio was purchased by Hackman Capital Partners and Square Mile Capital Management.
Few developments have been more talked about in Queens than the $2 billion Innovation QNS project in Astoria, which won New York City Council approval in November. The development ultimately won final approval after the principals agreed to provide 1,400 below-market-rate apartments as part of the project – a key point for local New York City Council Member Julie Won. The project, just blocks from Kaufman Astoria Studios, is being jointly overseen by BedRock Real Estate Partners, Silverstein Properties and Kaufman Astoria. Tracey Appelbaum from BedRock and Jamison Divoll from Silverstein deftly navigated the political minefield to get the project approved, in part by regularly attending community meetings and engaging stakeholders. Among the benefits they touted were features like two acres of public open space, retail space, startup company office space and efforts to create a creative economy hub in Astoria.
Delta Air Lines, which has a major footprint at both John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, was part of the transformation of LaGuardia from a universally panned facility to a widely praised one. Ryan Marzullo led the project team that reconstructed LaGuardia’s Terminal C – a $4 billion investment for the airline. Marzullo is also leading the airline’s $1.5 billion investment at Kennedy, which includes new terminal gates and amenities, and a new cargo terminal. Patty Ornst, a veteran aviation industry executive who led city aviation policy in the Bloomberg administration, leads Delta’s relationship with governments across the Northeast and Kentucky, and she was a key player in the airline’s construction work at both Kennedy and LaGuardia. Stephanie Baldwin runs Delta’s day-to-day presence at JFK, which is a 2,000-person operation running 200 flights a day.
Frank Scremin came from Ontario to New York in 2016 to turn around LaGuardia Airport – a facility famously compared to a “Third World country” by then-Vice President Joe Biden. Scremin has led the redevelopment of LaGuardia’s Terminal B, and since the opening of the newly developed terminal last year, he has been lauded for his efforts, including being praised by the media in his native Canada, where he ran John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport before coming to New York.
Gerrard Bushell helms the public-private partnership leading the development of the New Terminal One at John F. Kennedy International Airport – the latest major airport redevelopment project in Queens. Gov. Kathy Hochul and regional transportation leaders broke ground on the project in September, with a goal of completing the new terminal by 2026. Bushell, a former president of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, also leads aviation operations for The Carlyle Group, one of the the firms behind the New Terminal One project consortium.
The leader of the first privately run airport terminal in the United States, Roel Huinink brings an extensive background in the European airport industry to his role running John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4. Huinink has turned the international terminal into a showcase for Queens and New York City. In addition to commissioning a mental health-themed mural created by Venture House Clubhouse Jamaica, he helped the terminal raise and distribute $150,000 to 15 Queens organizations. Huinink unveiled a recent initiative to welcome international travelers with a New York City cultural experience.
The co-owner of the New York Mets with her husband, Steven, Alex Cohen has taken on the power couple’s philanthropic initiatives. The leader of both the Amazin’ Mets Foundation and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, she has quickly become a top nonprofit leader in Queens. Under her leadership, the Amazin’ Mets Foundation has awarded over $5 million in grants. Among the projects funded: a new child care center in Woodside that offers mental health and substance abuse counseling to children, youth sports leagues, literacy programs in schools and programs to combat food insecurity.
While new development projects across Queens have changed the borough’s economic picture, Seth Bornstein has been at the center of all of it. The longtime leader of the Queens Economic Development Corp., Bornstein has focused recently on innovation economy efforts, including launching the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge. Last year, he announced that QEDC would be joining forces with the restaurant group Queens Together to expand advocacy and support for the borough’s food service industry.
John Park has been a leading advocate on issues of importance to Asian American Pacific Islanders, as evidenced by his leadership in the effort to create hate-free zones in Flushing to address rising hate crimes against the AAPI community. Park, who also launched the Dreamers Scholarship for undocumented students several years ago, has been outspoken on issues related to redistricting and the representation of the Asian American community on the New York City Council.
As evidenced by the Beatles’ 1964 arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Queens has long been receptive to Liverpudlians. Sally Tallant took over leadership of the Queens Museum in 2019 after leading the Liverpool Biennial, the United Kingdom’s largest contemporary art festival. Tallant, who is shepherding the museum through the final phase of a 10-year, $63 million expansion project, is no stranger to being honored by Queens: In 2018, she was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.
As the political point person in Queens for one of the most powerful labor unions in the state, Dermot Smyth works to elect the candidates backed by the United Federation of Teachers while also advancing UFT’s education policy agenda in the borough. Last fall, Smyth was part of a group of city and education leaders celebrating new investments in hydroponics labs and education at several schools across the borough as part of a new science initiative.
As the man behind the ever-popular U.S. Open tennis tournament in Queens, Daniel Zausner produces what’s been described as the most-attended annual sporting event in the world. Zausner has directed the tennis center’s $650 million expansion and an increase in attendance and revenue for the U.S. Open. This includes introducing a celebrity chef component that has made the U.S. Open a culinary event, with food and beverage sales increasing from $8 million to $32 million.
Christine Mangino took the reins of Queensborough Community College in 2020 after climbing the ranks at Hostos Community College in the Bronx. Earlier this year, Mangino announced the creation of a Male Resource Center to create programs aimed at increasing the college’s low retention rate for men, in particular Black and Latino men. Mangino said future programs would focus on the retention of female and LGBTQ+ students. The Bayside college also received $1 million this year to upgrade the locker room facilities on campus.
Bruce Flanz, who heads MediSys’ Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and Flushing Hospital Medical Center, has been instrumental in getting new programs off the ground. Flanz presided over the opening of a new dental clinic at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, allowing the hospital to see 3,000 more dental patients a year. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center partnered with outside groups to address gun violence issues, and Flanz also accepted $4.3 million in federal funds for the hospital to upgrade surgical facilities.
Richard Siu is leading F&T Group’s efforts as part of the consortium of companies redeveloping Flushing’s waterfront. The $2 billion, 29-acre project, which is being spearheaded by F&T, Young Nian Group and United Construction and Development Group, features 1,700 residential units, retail space, offices and 879 hotel rooms. F&T, which has been investing in Flushing for over three decades, has become the neighborhood’s largest landowner.
Queens residents Anne Marie Anzalone and John Albert are key members of state lobbying powerhouse Bolton-St. Johns. Anzalone joined the firm in 2019 following a 20-year career with former Rep. Joe Crowley, including 18 years as his chief of staff. A longtime Queens political insider, Anzalone had worked for former Assembly Member Denis Butler before joining Crowley. Albert previously worked to get United States Tennis Association-approved upgrades to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. He’s also behind Taking Our Seat, which advocated for local South Asian residents during last year’s redistricting process.
How many former New York City Council members are feted on their 85th birthday by the City Council? Only Peter Vallone Sr., the legislative body’s first speaker and the father of the modern-day City Council. Now the leader of Constantinople & Vallone Consulting, one of the city’s most influential lobbying firms with clients in education, renewable energy and affordable housing. Vallone’s achievements include having been the 1998 Democratic nominee for governor, when he won a competitive four-way primary over a field that included the lieutenant governor and Brooklyn district attorney. He also runs the Vallone & Vallone law firm in Astoria.
As chief strategy officer for New York City’s top-ranked lobbying firm, Michael Braun is making sure Kasirer continues to expand its reach. A former student trustee of SUNY, Braun leads business development efforts for the firm. A leader in Astoria, Braun founded Astoria Young Professionals, which hosts social and networking events, and has launched fundraising drives for various nonprofits, including the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria.
As president of the highly ranked New York City lobbying shop Capalino since 2020, where he has long been a top executive, Travis Terry has worked closely with clients looking for guidance as they navigate city government. Terry’s clients have included Macy’s, UPS, the Museum of the Moving Image and Friends of the High Line. A Forest Hills resident, Capalino is involved in his Queens community as a board member of Friends of Queensway and the Queens Tech Council.
Sean Crowley, a member of the storied Queens political family, has never held elected office, choosing a career in government affairs instead. Crowley is a partner in Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron’s government relations practice, where he focuses on City Hall and Albany, with some work in Washington, D.C. His previous work experience includes stops as managing partner for Crowley, Crowley and Kaufman, as an investigator for the New York City Council and as a campaign staffer for former Rep. Thomas Manton.
Justin Rodgers became president and CEO of the Greater Jamaica Development Corp. last year after working for the organization for more than 17 years, including a year as interim president and CEO. Rodgers has taken up the role of championing the Jamaica community, which has included him trumpeting the rise of new businesses and housing there. This year, Rodgers is calling on state lawmakers to lift the floor area ratio cap to attract new development that can transform downtown Jamaica into a 24-hour-a-day community.
Costa Constantinides is planning the next phase for the almost 70-year-old Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens. Constantinides, a former New York City Council member from Astoria who chaired the Environmental Protection Committee, announced in September that the new clubhouse, with an attached 14-story apartment building, will be carbon-neutral and will contain the borough’s first planetarium and a 1,000-seat basketball arena. In March, Rise Light & Power announced a planned $1.5 million donation for a teen academy as part of the new clubhouse.
Since she became president of York College in 2020, Berenecea Johnson Eanes has been focused on student success, inclusion and community growth. In November, she announced a $7.5 million donation from the New York City Football Club – the largest donation in York College’s history. Earlier this year, the college received over $2 million in federal funds from Rep. Greg Meeks to fund geology, environmental science and pharmaceutical science workforce training. Eanes also represents CUNY on the NCAA Division III Presidents Council.
A former state economic development chief, LaGuardia Community College’s Kenneth Adams has begun a program to upgrade health care training programs, funded by a $5 million New York City grant. In addition to launching a new initiative focused on workforce development for the film and television industry, he is also pushing Queens Borough President Donovan Richards to fund $2 million for the renovation of the college’s pool and create new youth swimming and lifeguard training programs, which should be a top priority after last year’s city lifeguard shortage.
Ever since Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s seismic election victory in 2018, the Queens Democratic Party has been undergoing a sea change, with the Democratic Socialists of America gaining a strong foothold in western Queens and reform groups sprouting up across the borough. New Reformers, led by activists including Bright Limm and Virginia “Vigie” Ramos Rios, has focused on electing progressive district leaders across Queens. Limm works with DSA and the Working Families Party, while Ramos Rios was the campaign manager for AOC’s 2018 campaign.
A longtime advocate for public housing residents, Bishop Mitchell Taylor has been focused on environmental issues in recent years, noting that the western Queens area has long been known as “Asthma Alley” due to the ill effects caused by power plants along the East River. Taylor has endorsed plans to bring more clean energy from upstate to New York City and a proposal from Rise Light & Power to transform Ravenswood Generating Station into a wind and solar power plant. He’s also an ally of New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
In the decades since Scott Levenson founded The Advance Group, he has been a driving force behind numerous successful electoral campaigns in the borough. Most recently, Levenson steered Queens Borough President Donovan Richards’ winning efforts to hold Borough Hall. He has worked as a consultant in the cannabis industry, helping to grow opportunities for minority- and women-owned business enterprises in the sector. During the coronavirus pandemic, he co-founded a company that provides protection from pollen, viruses and microorganisms.
In addition to launching the minority- and women-owned business enterprise consulting group at Capalino – where she still serves as a senior adviser – Tunisha Walker-Miller, an expert on MWBEs, runs The Source Consulting Group, which provides advice to MWBE businesses. A veteran of the state Department of Labor under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she is the first African American woman to serve as executive director of the state Senate Conference of Black Senators.
A veteran political consultant who once worked with former Rep. Charles Rangel, Queens resident Rasheida Smith has made her mark on New York politics by helping candidates across the state. Smith has consulted for candidates in 16 states and was named one of 10 thought leaders to watch in 2023 by LA Weekly. She has also made a mark in New Jersey with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Donald Payne Jr. and Union County Commissioner Angela Garretson.
Sara Levenson Maher is the point person on L+M Development Partner’s work on Arverne East, a new beachfront development in the Rockaways that aims to be New York City’s first net-zero development. The project includes 1,650 housing units – 80% of which will be below market rate – a 35-acre nature preserve, commercial space, a hotel and a brewery. Levenson Maher recently announced $44.7 million in city funds for infrastructure improvements, including the reconstruction of part of Edgemere Avenue, a new streetscape, new sewers, rain gardens and stormwater swales.
In the span of just a few months, Ebony Young turned a failed 2021 bid for a western Queens New York City Council seat into the deputy borough presidency of one of the nation’s largest counties. Young has been focused on the borough’s innovation economy and mental health programs. Young, who has recently been working on the Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge and the Queens Technology Fair, is now working with Borough President Donovan Richards on sorting through new capital budget requests for the coming fiscal year.
Jukay Hsu co-founded Pursuit in 2011 to provide tech skills for students. Hsu, who promotes the program as a crucial way to grow the tech workforce in New York – he has highlighted his program as an example of what Gov. Kathy Hochul and other state leaders should look for in new workforce development programs – stresses that graduates of the program go from an average annual salary of $18,000 to $85,000. Hsu currently serves as a member of the New York City Water Board.
Ben Thomases leads a vast network of programs, including before- and after-school programs, food programs, eviction prevention, day care, senior physical fitness, adult education and evening teen centers. Last year, Thomases presided over the renovation of the Forest Hills Community Center, pushed City Hall to increase pay for human services workers and advocated for the city to work with local social service providers before making changes to senior food delivery programs.
Chris Jiashu Xu has been expanding his presence in the Queens development market. The developer behind Long Island City’s Skyline Tower, the borough’s tallest building, Xu is active in Flushing, where, last year, he paid $103 million to buy a planned large-scale, mixed-use development site along Flushing Creek and where he is engaged in the Special Flushing Waterfront District project. Xu continues to develop Long Island City, where he has plans to construct a nine-story building and to demolish a warehouse he bought for an undisclosed project.
Agriculture in New York City is not dead – at least not in Jennifer Walden Weprin’s 47-acre corner of Queens. A former director of cultural affairs and tourism in the Queens borough president’s office, Walden Weprin has led the Queens County Farm Museum since 2018. Museum programs include regenerative agriculture, the city’s largest apiary, with over 2 million honeybees, and a series of farm stands. In 2020, the museum launched a summer farm camp that is now entering its fourth year.
Kevin Alexander has long been at the forefront of economic development initiatives across the Rockaways, including Superstorm Sandy and COVID-19 recovery efforts. The peninsula has seen increased investment in recent years, including last year’s opening of 224 units of affordable housing in Far Rockaway, work on the $234 million Downtown Far Rockaway Revitalization Plan and the Arverne East beachfront project. Among the coronavirus recovery projects Alexander and RDRC have led are small-business assistance grants and the creation of a digital business directory for consumers.
A longtime anti-violence and gun control advocate, Erica Ford recently announced she would be stepping back from her role at South Queens-based LIFE Camp due to health issues. The decision comes after LIFE Camp was awarded one of the state’s first cannabis retail licenses, with plans underway to open a dispensary in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. LIFE Camp continues to expand its community work, including a recent grant from AT&T to fund digital literacy youth programs.
With extensive experience in New York City government and organized labor, and ties to all corners of Queens, Scott Crowley works with corporate, technology and nonprofit clients at Fontas Advisors. Crowley joined Fontas Advisors following eight years as deputy director of the New York City Council Finance Division, where he worked on the city budget and financial issues, along with home rule requests to the state Legislature. Prior to his time in city government, Crowley, no relation to former Rep. Joe Crowley, once worked as special projects director for Local 338.
John Choe, a leader of Flushing’s business community, has spent nearly a decade at the helm of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, where he has been addressing food insecurity in the community lately. Choe, who previously worked in city government, mounted a bid for the New York City Council in 2021. In the wake of a messy divorce with Queens Community Board 7, Choe claimed he was pushed out for opposing the Flushing waterfront development project. He ended 2022 helping to celebrate what is being called the “Golden Age of Flushing.”
Alan Suna, the longtime leader of Silvercup Studios, has cemented western Queens’ place as the center of New York City’s film and television production industry. Numerous hit shows, including HBO’s “Sex and the City,” “Succession” and “The Sopranos,” have been produced at Silvercup. Suna sold the studio several years ago to the same investment group that purchased the nearby Kaufman Astoria Studios.
Annetta Seecharran is a leading advocate for the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in New York. As the executive director of Chhaya Community Development Corp., Seecharran has charted a path for the group to be a leading advocate for the community, along with providing key services for the community in the areas of housing, economic justice and immigration. Under Seecharran’s leadership, Chhaya has grown its budget and opened a second office in Richmond Hill, and is planning to develop a community center.
Mohamed Q. Amin turned trauma into activism. Amin, his partner and his siblings were attacked in a homophobic hate crime in a Southeast Queens bar in 2013. Two years later, Amin founded the Caribbean Equality Project to advocate for the Caribbean LGBTQ+ community. The group has organized educational and advocacy programs, and has curated exhibits to tell the story of the community. Amin has been advocating for future redistricting to keep the Little Guyana section of Richmond Hill united in single districts in city and state government.
In October, Margaret Honey presided over the reopening of the New York Hall of Science, a year after the remnants of Hurricane Ida devastated the institution. The museum features new exhibits, including one focused on energy and power, as well as an exhibit focused on technology enhancing human ability, which was developed in partnership with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. In January, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced $750,000 in federal funds for the museum to develop a new pre-K program and research into early childhood STEM instruction.
As a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 14-14B for over three decades, Edwin Christian has been at the forefront of advocacy for operating engineers in New York City’s construction industry. He has held the position of business manager for the past decade after a nine-year run as the union’s president. Christian is a member of the city’s workforce development board, an executive board member of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and president of the New York City Coalition of Operating Engineers.
Albert Suh has made a name for himself running campaigns in New York City, including as campaign manager for Shekar Krishnan’s successful 2021 City Council race in Jackson Heights – one of that year’s most hard-fought tilts. Now with Trip Yang Strategies, Suh is the lead consultant for Assembly Member Al Taylor’s City Council campaign in the ultracompetitive Harlem primary. Suh is also lead consultant for Council Member Gale Brewer’s reelection campaign.
Western Queens has become a hub for the city’s film and television industry, with Robert De Niro’s Wildflower Studios joining Kaufman Astoria and Silvercup in the neighborhood. Adam Gordon, Wildflower managing partner, led a topping-off ceremony for the new film production facility earlier this year. Gordon has been instrumental in other Queens projects, including a proposed Amazon distribution facility in College Point. He may also be the only person on this list who owns a wagyu beef farm in California wine country.
Kevin Livingston founded 100 Suits for 100 Men in 2011 to provide professional attire for formerly homeless or incarcerated men and women for job interviews. The nonprofit, which has drawn widespread praise ranging from New York City leaders to Colin Kaepernick, has grown beyond its original mission to offer other social services, including 100 Soups, which prepares and delivers meals to senior citizens in local homeless shelters. Last fall, the organization hosted a well-attended fundraiser in Jamaica.
Jaclyn Reyes, an artist and organizer, has been integral in promoting the Filipino community in Woodside. Reyes worked to get part of Roosevelt Avenue designated as Little Manila, designed a nearby mural, created an initiative to help Filipino health care workers and businesses, co-founded a block party to celebrate Filipino history and culture, and advocated for the Filipino community during redistricting. A Queens art commissioner, Reyes has been awarded arts grants by the Laundromat Project to create community conversations and public art projects centered around the Filipino diaspora.
Bianey Garcia has channeled her background as an undocumented immigrant, trans woman and a former sex worker into advocacy for statewide changes in public policy. As Make the Road New York’s lead on trans immigrant justice issues, Garcia is in the vanguard on plans to decriminalize sex work in the state. She previously led efforts to eliminate the state’s “walking while trans” ban, where she shared her own personal experiences with the law.
A veteran government and lobbying hand, Brian Simon founded Hollis Public Affairs in 2021 after five years at Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP. Hollis is part of the team of lobbyists the New York Mets retained last year to handle a number of issues the franchise was tackling. A former top aide to U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Greg Meeks, Simon previously headed government and community relations for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The leader of New York City’s junior tennis program has put mental health – especially for children and adolescents – at the top of his agenda. With the mental health impact of the pandemic continuing to reverberate, Udai Tambar has been pushing for increased mental health awareness and is also connecting how youth sports like tennis can address such challenges. Tambar, who came to NYJTL in 2021 after stints at Northwell Health and the mayor’s office, has been promoting the power of tennis to change lives.
Aminta Kilawan-Narine is one of the leaders of the social justice movement in the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean communities in South Queens. She has led the South Queens Women’s March to create programs focused on combating gender-based violence, addressing clothing needs, youth mentorship and advocating for South Queens, including on issues surrounding redistricting in the Little Guyana community in Richmond Hill. Kilawan-Narine is a co-founder of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus, which seeks to merge social justice with the teachings of Hinduism.
Fahd Ahmed leads DRUM, which stands for Desis Rising Up and Moving, an advocacy organization for South Asian and Indo-Caribbean immigrants. Ahmed has been at the forefront of the battle to let noncitizen residents of New York City vote in city elections – an effort that includes appealing the judicial ruling striking down the city’s landmark election law. Much of Ahmed’s focus over the years has been on issues related to racial justice, immigrant advocacy, police reform and national security.
Richard David, the public face of Con Edison across the borough of Queens, has been leading the utility giant’s outreach on green energy projects. That includes the utility’s Reliable Clean City project, a new six-mile transmission line between substations in Long Island City and Corona. David, a district leader and former Assembly candidate, partnered with the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria as part of a day dedicated to promoting green energy and STEM-related careers.
Alex Camarda serves as the face of Charter Communications’ government outreach in Albany, where he advocates for the legislative and regulatory agenda of a company with 2 million customers. A Queens resident, Camarda entered the telecommunications sector following stints leading intergovernmental affairs for the New York City Department of Finance and public policy efforts at Citizens Union.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to send busloads of refugees to New York galvanized Nilbia Coyote, the executive director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment, to advocate for the state and city to provide more services for the new New Yorkers. Earlier this year, she led a rally in front of a Theater District restaurant she said was engaging in wage theft from immigrant workers and noted the need for greater enforcement of wage laws.
Dianna Rose wants to create more opportunities for other Queens women to launch their own culinary careers. Rose founded Essential Kitchen Co., a culinary co-working space and incubator, in Springfield Heights to provide the space and support for those looking to launch food service ventures. Last year, Rose won a $200,000 grant from the David Prize, which she plans to use to expand her range of services. Rose also runs Jars of Delight, a zero-waste catering company that delivers all meals in reusable jars.
Jeanne DuPont founded what’s now the Rockaway Initiative for Sustainability & Equity in 2005 as an advocacy group for the Rockaway peninsula. RISE has created youth programs, a community farm share and the Rockaways’ first farmers’ market. The organization will operate a new community center and work with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to oversee a new 35-acre nature preserve that is part of the new Arverne East development. Recently, DuPont was critical of last year’s federal coastal protection plan, saying it will hurt the Jamaica Bay ecosystem.
Glenn Greenidge, the longtime executive director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District, is shutting down that group and helping to lead the creation of the new Downtown Jamaica BID, a combination of his former BID and the BIDs covering the 165th Street Mall and Jamaica Center. The board of the new organization, which was created to centralize economic development efforts in Jamaica, is working on getting operational before looking for an executive director – they may not have to look far, since Greenidge has expressed interest in the role.
Leslie Ramos, the economic development leader of Jackson Heights, heads the 82nd Street Partnership, which received a Downtown Achievement Award of Excellence from the International Downtown Association for the Neighborhoods Now – Jackson Heights initiative. The initiative, done in partnership with the Van Alen Institute and the Urban Design Forum, brings together architects and engineers to address reopening issues. The initiative also helps small-business owners overcome language, computer and financial barriers when navigating city bureaucracy.
A dancer, choreographer, activist and Queens art commissioner, Manuela Agudelo is a co-founder of Kaleidospace, a Jackson Heights-based grassroots arts collective focused on community advocacy and promoting the work of people of color and from the LGBTQ+ community. Kaleidospace has hosted a series of artist markets to showcase the work of local artists and to benefit various community projects. Agudelo has been an advocate for the 34th Avenue Open Street Coalition, noting it builds community and gives more open space and recreation opportunities to low-income residents.
The Queens Night Market is returning to the New York Hall of Science grounds for its eighth season this year – with the $6 price cap for food still in place and limits put in place to hold down vendor fees. John Wang founded the popular gathering to provide a family-friendly, affordable nighttime event for Queens residents – it quickly became a must-attend event for families across the city.
For almost a decade, Sonia Sisodia has led efforts to offer educational programs for youth across Queens and Brooklyn. The programs run by South Asian Youth Action include after-school groups, tutoring and college mentoring. Sisodia helped SAYA land a $425,000 grant from TD Bank last year to support the organization’s pandemic educational recovery programs. She has also been outspoken against cuts to community school programs in the New York City budget.
No issue has become more heated in Forest Hills than a push to make the neighborhood’s main retail drag, Austin Street, a car-free zone. In February, Queens Community Board 6’s Transportation Committee, led by co-chair Peter Beadle, a longtime supporter of Austin Street pedestrian safety efforts, advanced efforts to ask New York City to study pedestrianization of the street. Beadle is an attorney focused on pedestrian and cyclist safety. Pedro Rodriguez, a volunteer leader of Neighbors for a Safer Austin Street, has been an outspoken advocate on the issue, which he says would increase pedestrian safety on the congested street, and was key to organizing a petition that garnered 500 signatures.
As the head of a Queens manufacturer that employs 350 people, Steve Chen has become a leader in the borough’s business and philanthropic communities. Chen has ensured that Crystal Window & Door System’s products meet the state’s energy codes and worked to address development needs. Chen and his company have put in a lot of effort to be a good neighbor, including partnering with various institutions like Queensborough Community College, the Queens Botanical Garden and the College Point Memorial Day Parade.
Astoria has seen seemingly nonstop political change in recent years, but one constant is Marie Torniali. The longtime executive director of the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition also chairs Queens Community Board 1 – the first woman to head this board. Torniali’s work as a booster for Astoria has taken on new resonance as more development is coming to the neighborhood. After working for years with former Rep. Carolyn Maloney, Torniali is now offering input to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
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