Sept. 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Two local lawmakers are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to shut down a troublesome Kew Gardens hotel where two shootings have occurred and crime is rampant.
Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal and Council Member Karen Koslowitz said the mayor has failed to address the dangerous activity at the Umbrella Hotel, located at 124-18 Queens Blvd., and needs to take steps to shut it down.
The hotel has become a hotbed of illegal activity, violence and public health hazards, the lawmakers said Thursday, and the mayor hasn’t come up with a plan to address the problems.
The pair have called on City Hall to take action for some time, requesting that various agencies monitor and police the facility. On Thursday, after almost “daily conversations” with the mayor’s staff, they decided to call on City Hall to shut it down altogether.
The front door of the hotel was sprayed with bullets Sunday, Aug. 9, as it was the scene of a drive-by shooting. A separate shooting incident took place at the hotel on July 3.
“Thank god no one has been hurt, but how many bullets can we dodge?” Rosenthal said last month when he started an online petition against the hotel.
More than 1,300 people have since signed the petition launched by the Rosenthal and fellow lawmakers, calling on City Hall to do something about the hotel.
“Over the last two months, our offices received hundreds of messages from concerned constituents regarding the dangerous state of affairs at the Umbrella Hotel,” Rosenthal and Koslowitz said in a joint statement.
There have been numerous reports of large indoor parties, drug deals, assaults, public indecency and menacing in recent months — despite the pandemic, the lawmakers said.
“The unfolding situation at the Umbrella Hotel threatens not only public safety, but has grave public health repercussions,” they said.
The pair held a meeting at Queens Borough Hall early last month to find a solution with the mayor’s office. They then launched the petition on Aug. 17 and have continuously spoken to City Hall about the hotel to no avail, Rosenthal and Koslowitz said.
“The continued lack of meaningful response from City Hall is indefensible,” they said.
Kew Gardens residents even held a protest last month to demand the city shut down the hotel, but all the efforts have fallen on deaf ears, the lawmakers said.
“The lack of response from City Hall points to the sad reality that Mayor de Blasio is not taking these concerns seriously,” Rosenthal and Koslowitz said. “The utter absence of regard for our community cannot be ignored.”
The pair are now demanding de Blasio shut down the Umbrella Hotel.
“We stand united in the call for City Hall to take immediate action and shut this hotel down before another resident of Queens is harmed.”
The Mayor’s Office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.