District 21
Corona/East Elmhurst

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District 21 - Hiram Monserrate
98-17 Northern Blvd., Queens 11368
City Hall: (212) 788-6862
District: (718)205-3881
Fax: (718) 205-4145

Committee Assignments:
Crime & Substance Abuse (Public Safety), Chair of Subcommittee
Fire & Criminal Justice Services, member
Land Use, member
Public Safety, member
State & Federal Legislation, member
Planning, Dispositions & Concessions, member of Land Use Subcommittee

We Have Sacrificed Too Long

By Hiram Monserrate

Roosevelt Avenue runs through the heart of City Council district 21 and represents some of the best and worst aspects of the life in Corona and Jackson Heights, Queens.

Every day, thousands of people who have come from all over the world to live in New York City ride the elevated 7 train that runs along the route. Roosevelt Avenue serves as a junction for major commercial strips in Queens š on 74th Street, 82nd Street, and 90th Street. And it is often the place where small businesses are started.

But it serves as a place for narcotic sales, crime, dirt, garbage, and prostitution. There are vendors selling forged documents, fake social security cards, and passports. As a former police officer, I have seen how small crimes create an atmosphere where more serious crimes can occur. I want to clean up Roosevelt Avenue and make the area safe for the people who go to work every day, struggle for themselves and their families, and pay their rent, maintenance bills, and taxes.

First, our area needs more police resources to deal with these problems that affect the quality of life for residents. I recently met with the commanders of the 110th and 115th police precincts to come up with ways to clean up the area. With respect to the job that the police do in the area, each precinct could use 30 to 40 more officers. That is why I am also going to meet with Police Commissioner Kelly and discuss our need for more resources for the community.

Under the Giuliani administration, the model of policing has been to use specialized units for drugs, prostitution, or gangs, that come in to a neighborhood for a limited time. The problem is once they leave, who is making sure that everything stays the way it should be? I am going to lobby for those specialized units, but I also want to introduce the stronger, permanent uniform presence to deter criminality for the long run.

Another pressing issue is education. For my area, it is a crisis.

According to the latest census data, district 21 is one of the fastest growing areas of the city and will continue to grow in population in the future. This presents huge challenges for educating our kids who are already packed into some of the most overcrowded schools in the city. Our children need new classrooms, libraries, gyms, and cafeterias. When the mayor talks about cuts in the city budget, I am concerned that it could have a serious impact on my community. Some new school construction projects are being recons idered or delayed. That can not happen. We already have too many kids going to school in trailers. There are other parts of the city that can absorb budget cuts, but we have already sacrificed for too long.

District 21 has a growing population including immigrants from places like the Dominican Republic, China, Colombia, India, and Eastern Europe, and so we need to develop more housing. There is a large amount of illegal housing in the area -- people living in basements and improperly converted apartments. It is a reality that we need to deal with. I do not propose that we throw these people out onto the street, so we have to come up with ways to create more housing that is affordable.

But before we can do that we need the infrastructure to handle more houses and apartments. That means building new roads, hospitals, sewage systems, water mains, and again, more schools. Those are long-term projects that have been ignored for decades, and that we are not going to change overnight. It will take a citywide response and commitment from the mayor, the borough president, and others. We have to identify areas and tracks of land in my district and throughout the city that can be developed. If we want to continue to grow as a city, we need to have proper housing for the people that come here.

The growing population in my district is also difficult for small business owners, who find their rents steadily increasing. I recently signed on to a bill in the City Council that would give small business owners more power in n egotiating their leases with landlords. In my district, and across the city, small businesses create an enormous number of jobs and much revenue for the city, and they contribute to a neighborhood¬s stability. We have to make sure that people have the chance to open their business and keep them open.

I have also signed on to a program with the organization, New Immigrant Community Empowerment to make government more accountable and connected to the community. I will hold a series of outreach meetings in the area, so people can know who I am, what my plans, are, and what I am doing. When I heard of the program, I immediately signed on. We have immigrants from all over the world in our district; we all need to come together.

Hiram Monserrate represents the City Council district 21.

Updated February 4, 2002.

Community Boards for District 21
Community Board No. 3
82-11 37th Ave., Jackson Heights, NY 11372
(718) 458-2707
Ms. Theresa Obradovich, Chair
Ms. Giovanna Reid, District Manager
Community Board No. 4
104-03 Corona Ave., Corona, NY 11368
(718) 760-3141
Mr. Richard Italiano, Chair
Ms. Rose Rothschild, District Manager

Ethnic Makeup and Political Registration

Ethnic Makeup

Political Registration

Public Schools

Elementary Schools

Middle Schools

High Schools

To find out what school district you live in, call the Board of Education at 718-935-2000 or link to Public School Reports

Police Precincts

Although many precincts cover areas solely within one City Council district, there are many which overlap with other districts. In most cases the overlap of precincts among districts is no more than a few blocks. Wherever there is overlap, we have made sure to alert you.

City Parks
Click thumbnail for larger image of parks in this district

Learn more about the condition of the city parks in your district at the New Yorkers for Parks (PDF file).

Community Gardens

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Find out more about community gardens from
the Council on the Environment of New York City

Historic Districts and Landmarks
Learn more about the historic districts and landmarks in this area.

The Waterfront

map listing suggestions for use and improvement of the waterfront in this district from the Metropolitan Waterfront
Alliance. (pdf format only)