July 6, 2021 By Allie Griffin
A number of western Queens cultural centers, parks and non-profit organizations will get an injection of cash stemming from the city’s newly-passed Fiscal Year 2022 budget.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer has secured millions in funding for non profit organizations and local services in District 26, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Astoria.
Van Bramer — despite the millions coming to his district — voted against the the $98.7 billion city budget last week. He opposed it, citing the $200 million increase in the NYPD budget. Nonetheless, the budget ultimately passed with a vote of 39 to 6.
Despite his opposition, the council member praised a number of financial victories for the district as well as cultural centers citywide.
“In this year’s budget, I am proud that we have brought back significant victories for our community,” Van Bramer said in a post. “From improving our parks, schools, and public housing to expanding spaces for the arts and culture, we are strengthening all of western Queens.”
In what Van Bramer describes as a major budget win, he secured $5 million for MoMA PS1 to make its roof fully accessible and to create new space for artists and the community.
Van Bramer also secured funding for western Queens schools, including $1 million for LaGuardia Community College for library renovations and $1.6 million to local public schools.
He also earmarked $500,000 to both the Chocolate Factory Theater and Socrates Sculpture Park. The money will help the Chocolate Factory continue to develop its new $3.8 million publicly-funded arts space in Dutch Kills, and provide additional funds for Socrates so it can complete its new building.
Van Bramer also allocated $500,000 to pay for the construction of a flagpole at Blissville Veterans Memorial, $500,000 to construct a pedestrian path along the South Outer Roadway of the Queensboro Bridge and $400,000 to the Big Six Towers — a Mitchell-Lama co-op in Woodside — for security tech upgrades.
He also helped secure nearly $3 million in City Council funding to be split among a number of local organizations in the district.
He secured almost $1 million to be split between Urban Upbound and the Jacob Riis Settlement House to provide support for public housing residents. Some of the funds will also be used to expand Urban Upbound’s college access program.
An additional $60,000 will be divvied up among several tenant and civic associations, including the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Woodside Tenant/Resident Associations as well as the Dutch Kills Civic Association, United Forties Civic Association and Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together.
Van Bramer also secured more than $191,000 for Woodside on the Move to provide tenant and housing assistance—as well as to fund its adult literacy and computer training programs.
He earmarked nearly $600,000 for organizations in the district that specifically serve immigrant communities. The funds will be split among the Emerald Isle Immigration Center, Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee, Chhaya Community Development Corporation, Catholic Migration Services and Cidadao Global.
The council member secured nearly $250,000 to help small businesses throughout the district. The money will be divided among groups such as the Long Island City BID, the Sunnyside Shines BID, Woodside on the Move, Queens Economic Development Corporation and the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition.
Van Bramer earmarked well over $350,000 to support programming for seniors. The money will be split among the Queensbridge Senior Center, Sunnyside Community Services, Emerald Isle, the Big Six NORC, India Home, Samaritan Village at the Woodside Houses, HANAC Ravenswood Senior Center, and the New York Irish Center.
Another $300,000 will support programming for youth. The money will be divvied up among the Hour Children, South Asian Youth Action, Reading for Smiles, Girl Scouts Council of Greater NY, St. Mary’s Winfield Youth League, Corpus Christi, Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, Child Center of New York, Queens Public Library, Drag Queen Story Hour, and the YMCA of Long Island City.
Van Bramer allocated $833,000 for cultural programming offered by organizations throughout the district. The funds will be split among a number of groups—such as Dance Entropy, Earsay, Flux Factory, Queens Museum of Art, Studio in a School, Queens Theater in the Park, Socrates Sculpture Park, Thalia Spanish Theater, the Chocolate Factory, Hip to Hip Theater, Ayazamana, Dances for a Variable Population, Queens World Film Festival, Theater of the Oppressed, Film Fleadh Foundation, the Titan Theatre Company and the Sculpture Center.
He also secured about $280,000 in funding for supplemental sanitation services along Woodside and Roosevelt Avenues in Woodside; 36th Avenue in Dutch Kills and throughout Hunters Point and the Queens Plaza area in Long Island City.
- Van Bramer, who is the first gay man to represent Council District 26, also helped secure record funding for LGBTQ organizations along with his colleagues in the Council’s LGBT Caucus.
- Among organizations funded are the Drag Queen Story Hour — including 10 new story hours in the district, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, Queens Community House and the Queens Center for Gay Seniors.