June 6, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The outspoken owner of a popular Long Island City restaurant has announced that he plans to run for state Senate.
Josh Bowen, who owns John Brown Smokehouse at 27-20 40th Ave., made the announcement Thursday saying he is running for the District 59 senate seat because he is upset by a radical move toward socialism and wants to see New York City return to greatness.
Bowen, a self-described lifelong Democrat, says that the party has failed to seriously address crime, homelessness and the economy, will run as an independent.
He joins candidates such as Elizabeth Crowley, Nomiki Konst and Kristen Gonzalez in the race for the newly formed District 59 seat that covers Astoria, Long Island City, Williamsburg, Greenpoint and parts of Manhattan.
A political novice, Bowen has never run for elected office before.
However, he has stirred controversy in the past for voicing his opinion on local political matters
He gained a following for being a staunch supporter of the Amazon HQ2 coming to Long Island City. He even flew out to Seattle to urge Amazon executives to rethink their views once they shelved the idea of coming to the area.
Last year Bowen became embroiled in a spat with socialist city council candidate Jonathan Bailey after a campaign poster was left at his restaurant.
Bowen tore up the candidate’s campaign poster and uploaded a picture of its remnants to Facebook. The picture was accompanied by a message where he labeled Bailey a “bonafide Marxist,” and asked why businesses would want to hang up the candidate’s poster in their establishments.
Bailey criticized the post, saying the poster was intentionally ripped off at the head, and added that he was a socialist, not a Marxist.
The Queens Post reported on Bowen’s quarrel with Bailey. However, the story didn’t sit well with Bowen, who refused to speak to the Queens Post Friday about his campaign.
He cited the Bailey story as the reason for not taking an interview. QNS was the first to report on Bowen’s run for office.
“I have no comment for the Queens Post,” Bowen said Friday.
“I will never have any comment for the Queens Post after you all took a run at me based on a 15th placed candidate and a paid advertiser,” Bowen said on a call — and then hung up the phone.
Bailey, like many of his political opponents, took out political campaign advertisements with the Queens Post last year in his bid for the 26th Council District seat — which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside, Dutch Kills and parts of Astoria. Bailey finished in ninth place in a 15-candidate race.
Bowen also clashed with former 26th District councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer over the Amazon saga.
Bowen got into a heated text exchange with Matt Wallace, Van Bramer’s chief of staff, in 2019 over the Amazon deal. Van Bramer, who opposed Amazon, posted a screenshot of the exchange on Twitter. Bowen viewed the former council member’s decision to post the texts for the world to see as underhanded — and filed a lawsuit against him.
Bowen had known Wallace and Van Bramer for many years prior to the incident. The case, however, was later dismissed.
The restaurateur initially operated John Brown Smokehouse out of 10-43 44th Dr. but closed it in 2020 after an eight-year run—merging it with his current 40th Avenue location.
He cited the pandemic and “idiot politicians” as the reason in a social media post. The post took aim at elected officials who opposed the Amazon HQ2 development and Bowen said that that section of 44th Drive was unlikely to flourish for years.
Bowen said that one of his goals in office would be to help struggling business owners and landlords by giving them a one-year tax holiday. He also wants to host a yearlong series of artistic performances financed by a new public-private partnership.
He said he would tackle the city’s uptick in crime by working to reverse bail reform laws and replacing them with a common-sense program for real criminal justice reform. Bowen publicly supported Republican Curtis Sliwa in his unsuccessful tough-on-crime campaign for mayor last year. Sliwa founded the Guardian Angels, a volunteer crime-fighting group, in the 1970s.
“I just want my kid to grow up safe in the greatest city in the world and our current leadership on both sides are ruining that hope,” Bowen told QNS.
“We deserve a city that is thriving and moving forward — like we had not too long ago.”
Bowen said he would tackle the homeless crisis by replacing the Department of Homeless Services with a private and accountable entity. He said the move would help at-risk homeless people get the care or assistance they need.
Other issues he aims to tackle include expanding school choice and going after pharmaceutical executives responsible for the opioid crisis.
He said he wants to see the city change course and for residents to come together.
“When united, there is no city greater or stronger than New York City, when divided we have chaos,” Bowen said.
“Unity is the most powerful force on earth. And I will do everything possible to unleash that power and return our city to greatness.”
I see the Democratic Socialists seem to favor voting the same people into office
Nothing wiill change then. I huess you Dem. Socialists are ú with the No bail law and high
crime DA’ s that won’ t prosecute and judges that are soft on criminals. NOTHING will change NYC and srate will keep suffering. Dtrsu bullets killing people, old people getting robbef on the street. Lucury syores like Louis Votton and othets with lines outside because they arr letting customers in a little at a time because of robberies. Drug stores locking up toothpaste.Stores closing . This is what ypu will get voting for Hochul and any Dem.. Socislists. Time for a change.
Not surprised that the MAGA BBQ guy can find support in the comment section here.
The problem with many of the posts I read here against Josh Bowen is , are you happy with NYC and state the way ot is mow or do you want less crime and feel safe and have a better life for your famoly. ? Or do you want crominals to get out the same day they cmit a crime with revolving door justice. Remember the only state whete No Bail Laws are in effect that judges cannot use dangerousness to keep criminals behind bars is NY State. If you want change stop voting the same Democratic Socialists into office. AOC – half the NYC Council, most backed by the Working families pary and Make the Road all want Socialism. K. Hochul too is a Socialist. She gave $2 billion Cuomo set aside to illegal immigrants of taxpayer money who did not get stimulus checks. She waived the Requirements as many did mot pay taxes working off the books and many could not prove who they were or where they worked. Jochul made it so easy they ran out of $2 billion fas.
AOC and the test of Democratic Socialists were asking for $3 million more fot the illegals. A truly shameful thing to do.Vote out all Democratic Socialists. or nothing will change.
NYC is still one of the safest places to live in the entire country, and still the safest big city. Bowen isn’t going to solve those problems at all. You’re a dunce.
Josh Bowen is a clown.
Anyone who fights NY Democratoc Socialists can’ t be a bad candidate. He could only help make the city better.
I started to read with an open mind. Until I got to his Curtis Sliwa mayoral endorsement. Yikes, hard pass! I’d continue with my reasons but, 1. many fellow life-long NYers get it and 2. old-school if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all!
Are yoi a Socialist. Sliwa was a way better choice than Eric Hollywood Adams. Adams slreadybbkew up at white reporters when he could not take their legitimate questions jow he got nowhere on Bail Tegprm with Carl Heastie and Andrea – Stewart Cousins in Albany. Adams told reporters they could not take that 3 black Politicians could mot just sit and discuss laws. He said that why are their no reporters on the room who look like me ( him).
He is not a Socialist but he is a racist.He also told a group of black business leaders a few years back that when he was with NYPD he showed those crackers how to do things Ifva whote politiciam had said that they would motnlet him run for mayor. A ckear doible standard.
Angry man. Reactionary. Exactly the wrong traits for public office. A “lifelong Democrat” who votes for Sliwa and spouts far right talking points on every issue. Whatever: he doesn’t have a chance.
You must wantSocialist Democrats to keep No baol law and nore crome upon NYC & state citizens who work hard only to be robbed or worse by thugs who get their wrists slapoed . bogus Dem nSocialist Prosecutors and judges that are soft on crime.
He claims to be a Democrat?! Laughable. Just no.
Anyone who wants to vote for Democratic Socialists and their NO BAIL LAW and soft on crime District Attorney’ s and jidges must be crazy. I would tale Sliwa in a heartbeat over I am looking good traveling all ovet the ciuntry while my city is falling t. Adams has the Presidency on his mind if Biden does not run. God help ius all should that happen..
Laughable to you and the other Democratic Socialists
Not to the. rest of us who are law
abiding citizens who want less crime and to change the violent culture we are going through today in NYC and State.