Maspeth March Planned For Saturday – Activists Met With Comptroller Today

A protest march on Grand Avenue is planned for Saturday, August 27th. Hundreds of Maspeth Homeless Shelter protesters are expected to participate as the horns and whistles in front of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel on 55th Road off Maurice Avenue continue every night. The group of protesters will meet at 1:30 pm Saturday and make their way to Grand Avenue.


Meanwhile, at 1PM Thursday, a group of activists and legislators including Assemblywoman Marge Markey, State Senator Joe Addabbo and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley met will the city comptroller Scott Stringer about how to stop the shelter.

The discussion most important to the proposed Maspeth shelter at the Holiday Inn was that there could be room for negotiation with Acacia or DHS since the comptroller has not yet received a contract to use this facility as a shelter. The comptroller would do no more than verify that there was a meeting, but sources at the meeting said that the comptroller was likely to send a staffer to the August 31st CB5 public hearing. Word is that DHS will likely only send a staffer as well. The community board expects 2,000 people at the hearing at the Knockdown Center Thursday evening.

A source at the meeting also stated that the comptroller said his hands are tied. There is not much he can do if the paperwork is filled out correctly.


DHS specifically said that if the community wanted to have DHS ‘not use’ this location they would have to come up with alternate sites  which could have 35 or more rooms. They gave the community 30 days to do this. As of now the community board refuses to look into offering alternative sites to DHS. The problem with that, according to one source who attended the meeting, “… if our community does not give them alternate sites then the mayor’s office and DHS could say that they gave us the opportunity not to use this hotel as a shelter, and we did not do anything about it.”

Maspeth Shelter Plan Protesters Call For Holiday Inn Boycott – Markey Remains Confident City Comptroller Will Scrutinize Homeless Shelter Plan For Maspeth Hotel


Among the Wednesday protest signs in front of the hotel which the city says it plans to turn into a homeless shelter, were a few which called for a boycott of Holiday Inn Hotels nationwide. “If they are going to turn their Holiday Inn Hotels into shelters we should not help them do that,” said one man in the crowd last night. “We already know that a handful of rooms in dozens of hotels around Maspeth and surrounding areas are being reserved by the city of New York for homeless families, and those situations prove to have little impact in the neighborhood,” said Michael LoCascio, one of the leaders of the the protest. “But turning the entire hotel into a city shelter makes an indelible impact.”

We received confirmed sourced reports that ten rooms at the Grand Motor Inn and a few rooms at the Comfort Inn, as well as five at this Holiday Inn are being used by homeless families. DHS has not yet confirmed this but Ben Fang, a community editor for the Queens Ledger says he is posting a piece later today about a communication from the Holiday Inn Hotel in which they deny the use of any rooms by homeless. However LoCascio says that one man who is staying at the Holiday Inn Express told him that he is staying there with his 96-year-old mother who is on a ventilator and the city is guaranteeing payment for the room. “This same guy comes out of the hotel every night and yells at the protesters,” LoCascio said.

Boycott Holiday Inn Sign

Meanwhile, the Community Board will still hold its public hearing on August 31st.

In a conversation exclusively with the Maspeth Blog Tuesday, August 16th, Assemblywoman Marge Markey confirmed that she spoke to city Comptroller Scott Stringer about not letting the mayor use the “homeless emergency declaration” to push through using the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express as a homeless shelter – and she has no doubt that the comptroller is on our side.

“They must go through a review process,” she said, “and now since the comptroller is on our side, the city should pay attention.”

Markey says she spoke with him again Monday and also planned a meeting to bring together area representatives with him about the plan and to review any contract to use this shelter.

“For all the reasons that were mentioned at the Thursday night Town Hall meeting, and more,” Markey said, “ a shelter there is a bad idea.”

We spoke with the office of the comptroller on the shelter issue Wednesday morning and although they can’t reject something they haven’t seen yet, Stringer did say, “Siting a shelter without consulting the community does a disservice to clients and local residents.”

Stringer also confirmed to us that he will meet with civics and local elected officials in Maspeth to ensure that everyone is heard and has a seat at the table.

Meanwhile, Markey said she feels it is important to show that every public official in this area is opposed to this project. “They should go through a process,” she said on Tuesday afternoon, after explaining how she “of course” intended to come to the Thursday Maspeth Town Hall meeting at Martin Luther School. While she was on her way, “a family emergency emerged,” she said, and she had to take care of it personally. “I had three staff members at the meeting and we are ‘on it.'”

Markey, who said she has been using all her resources to stop this hotel from being used as a shelter, is known to those familiar with her to be soft spoken and humble about her accomplishments in the State Legislature and in the neighborhood. She has been in the Assembly since 1998. She took some boisterous criticism from some loud attendees at the meeting Thursday night – as did all the elected officials before Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley started to yell quite pointedly at HRA Commissioner Steven Banks. We saw a side of Crowley that many had never seen before. “Now that’s a passion we’ve never seen from her,” said one man at the meeting after Crowley spoke.

One of the questions Markey says she will ask Stringer is about the numbers. “What were the circumstances used for those people to use Maspeth as their last address? Were they burned out of their homes? Did the family throw them out?” she said.

Then, according to Markey, she is going to be involved in a meeting with the mayor.

When we asked her about the contradiction to the amount of homeless that the commissioner says come from Maspeth, Markey said the numbers are not as important as what the circumstances were. “It’s not relevant ‘who’ those people are. I expect real answers to the question about what were the circumstances behind them being homeless. Not who it is but what?” she said.

Readers should note that the comptroller rejected the Pan Am Hotel. It’s still a shelter.

CB5 public hearing on shelter scheduled for August 31


Community Board 5 will hold a public hearing about the city’s plan to convert a Holiday Inn Express at 59-40 55th Road into a homeless shelter for adults on Wednesday, August 31 at 7 p.m.

The location of the hearing is still to be determined. Check back on this blog for the latest update.

Originally planning to host the hearing at Maspeth High School, CB5 announced it is currently looking for a larger space to accommodate a larger turnout. Officials have cited security concerns as a reason for the move.

Last week’s community meeting at Martin Luther School turned out more than 1,700 concerned residents and supporters, according to meeting organizer Michael LoCascio. The gym could only fit about 750 people, leaving hundreds waiting outside.

Many then decided to march down to the Holiday Inn for a protest. One man was arrested for disorderly conduct.

Community members are planning another peaceful demonstration today at 6:30 p.m. in front of the hotel.

Activists Plan Meeting – Thursday, August 11… Contend Homeless at Hotel Already

There is a public meeting to discuss the issue of a city plan to turn the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express into a  Homeless Shelter within 60 days.  The meeting will be on Thursday, August 11, at 7:30 p.m. at Martin Luther School at 60-02 Maspeth Avenue. Michael LoCascio, director of St. Stanislaus Sports says he has already notified legislators and city officials, and hopes community members will attend to learn first hand about what the city plans to do and voice their opinions about the shelter.

But in a story that appeared in the Queens Ledger today one neighbor says he has recently seen a half dozen people walking around his block begging for money and  Locascio says that he encountered homeless people outside the hotel who might just be living there already.

Here is the full story: Queens Ledger – City looks to convert Maspeth hotel into adult shelter 

Mayor Eyes Maspeth Hotel For Homeless Shelter


Mayor looking to take this Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth at 59-40 55 Rd. and turn it into a homeless shelter. It was built in 2012

Mayor looking to take this Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth at 59-40 55 Rd. and turn it into a homeless shelter. It was built in 2012

Thirty Maspeth residents met members of the deBlasio administration this morning in front of the Maspeth library to express concern over plans for the city to take over the 115-room Holiday Inn Express off Maurice Avenue off the Eastbound Service Road of the LIE for use as a homeless facility for adults.

Last week the mayor’s office first came out with the idea and planned to meet with local representatives at the library Wednesday, August 3rd for what they considered to be ‘input’ on the idea.

“They have all these ideas about what we can ‘take’ but they don’t understand our resolve as a neighborhood force,” said Michael LoCascio, member of Community board 5 in Queens before the meeting.

Michael, along with dozens of Maspeth residents, lined up in front of the library to voice concerns over the plan to use the hotel rooms for more than 200 homeless. Senator Addabbo, Councilwoman Crowley and Assemblywoman Markey were expected to attend the meeting to voice concern as well.

The six-floor hotel at 59-40 55 Road, built in 2012, has 115 rooms including suites has a list price of $189 per room and includes a free breakfast. Although some guests have rated the service and stay as average at best the hotel rates a 2.5 stars on the more popular travel sites.

Word of the plan swiftly spread among Maspeth civic leaders Tuesday and they quickly galvanized a group to hear it for themselves. Maspeth leaders said they plan to have a meeting somewhere near the facility next week. Stay tuned to this blog for the time and date.

Police shot burglary suspect near 66th Street and Hull Avenue


UPDATE: According to NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, the woman who was injured in the head by a cable wire was not related to the robbery. She is in stable condition and detectives are speaking to her now to determine how she was injured.

Authorities described the suspect as a 38-year-old man who had a long record of crime, including six recent burglaries in Queens and Brooklyn. They confirmed he was shot in the groin after police chased him down a block away from the house.

The woman who had reported the robbery went back into her home and scooped her dog. A cellphone video taken of the incident shows she ran away and was not her, authorities said.


A woman was shot in the head in a “police-involved shooting” near 66th Street and Hull Avenue, according to multiple reports.

She was hit a little before 2 p.m. on Monday afternoon. According to one neighbor, a woman called 911 when she saw her house being burglarized  from a live surveillance video.

According to the neighbor, the police shot the man in the groin and another woman, possibly a lookout, although authorities are unsure what role she played in the incident.

Local residents spotted blood hounds searching through the house. Helicopters have also been seen flying around the neighborhood.

No NYPD officials were hurt.

The two were sent to Elmhurst Hospital, where they are in serious condition.

More information will follow when made available.

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Nate Robinson visits Heroes Basketball at Martin Luther School

nateheroesNate Robinson visited Heroes Basketball League this past Sunday at Martin Luther School in Maspeth, Queens.

For former NY Knick was there to watch team “Summers Ours,” a solid Western Conference team who has been a part of Heroes Men’s League for over 5 years.

Although he didn’t suit up for the game due to his recent focus on football, he said that he’s not ruling out another appearance at Heroes Basketball.

Maybe next time he will throw down some dunks for the Heroes Instagram.

For more info. on Heroes, visit their website.