As Mayor de Blasio pushes his Sunnyside Yards affordable housing megaproject forward, one elected official is warning that “this is a critical time for our neighborhoods in western Queens.” State Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Ridgewood) announced Feb. 19 that Ira Greenberg, an attorney from Sunnyside Gardens, has joined her staff to work on transportation, housing and zoning issues related to the threat of over-development in western Queens.
“I look forward to having Ira Greenberg as a part-time counsel in my office as we face the challenges in preserving our communities,” Nolan said. “Keeping our neighborhoods strong in the face of ongoing development pressures is a priority of mine. Having someone with Ira Greenberg’s skills and experience will help my office and our community.”
Nolan said Greenberg would work with agencies, residents and all parties to make sure our local voice is heard. She pointed out Greenberg will be in the office to respond to any new proposals while she is at work in Albany.
Greenberg, who has lived in Sunnyside or Woodside his whole life, and currently lives in Sunnyside Gardens with his wife and two children, is keenly aware of the rising level of anxiety in the neighborhood. One community activist, Patricia Dorfman of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, is planning to make T-shirts that say “Queens Lives Matter” to capture the sense of unease that is coarsing through the neighborhood. “It may seem insensitive to those with life and death grievances, but “Queens Lives Matter’ sums up the problem for me,” Dorfman said.
Greenberg, who was president of the chamber for three years, said, “People are nervous despite the fact that construction would be many years away. One thing I do know is if they spend an exorbitant amount of money just to build a deck over the yards, they’re going to have to get their money back and that means thousands more units in much bigger buildings. And let’s remember, Amtrak and the MTA aren’t just going to give that land away for free.”