You are reading

Public Meeting This Saturday Will Consider ‘Educational Landscape’ of Long Island City

via Gantry Parent Association

Feb. 28, 2019 By Nathaly Pesantez

A public forum planned for this weekend and organized by an education advocacy group will take a look at the present and future of education in every-growing Long Island City.

The “Education Landscape” meeting, planned by the Gantry Parent Association (GPA), will take place at the Hunter’s Point Middle School on March 2, where the community at large is invited to be part of the conversation on pressing themes as they relate to education in the area.

Among the topics to be discussed include school seats, special education, zoning, and anticipating student needs at all grade levels.

Education in Long Island City, especially as it stands in comparison to the rapidly growing neighborhood, has long been a subject of concern and sustained advocacy since the area’s development boom started more than a decade ago, and despite upcoming school projects.

Schools, according to Community Board 2’s needs statement for fiscal year 2020, are among the top three issues in the district, with the board identifying a need for new and expanded schools to both alleviate overcrowding and bolster existing infrastructure.

The Gantry Parent Association itself was borne out of a desire to broaden educational opportunities in the neighborhood and “ensure the number of school seats and the quality of education keeps pace with the development,” according to the group’s website.

Infrastructure troubles came to a head recently when the Department of Education, citing chronic overcrowding at P.S. 78, considered busing incoming kindergarteners for the 2018 school year to a location in Woodside.

The Woodside location, in turn, would have acted as an “incubator” site, housing students until a new four-story elementary school currently under construction in Hunters Point is completed in 2021. The expanded student body would have then entirely moved to the new school grounds.

Rendering of the four-story school along 2nd Street between 56th and 57th Avenues in Hunters Point. The school will seat students of P.S. 384 in Court Square once completed in 2021. (School Construction Authority)

While the Woodside plan was ultimately scrapped after much backlash, the incubator concept remained in place, with some students that would have otherwise headed to P.S. 78 now attending the incubator location within a Court Square building until 2021.

But Saturday’s meeting also comes as Long Island City was anticipating another whirlwind of change after Amazon settled onand then dropped—plans for a campus along the waterfront.

“Amazon was certainly an impetus for reexamining the educational infrastructure,” said Meghan Cirrito, GPA board chair. “With the profound changes that were promised as a result of Amazon moving into the neighborhood, it seemed important to talk about how that was going to impact plans.”

While Amazon’s project largely focused on its headquarters, the deal in place called for a middle school to be built as part of the project, similar to prior plans for the site, among other provisions.

Although GPA and other civic groups have been pushing for investment in infrastructure projects long before the e-commerce giant briefly came into the picture, like getting the city to commit to a new school in Court Square, Cirrito said the company’s presence also gave their plight a boost.

An aerial view of Anable basin, where Amazon had planned on building new headquarters. (Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

“We had the attention of officials in the city and the state, so we were hoping to use that sense of urgency to underscore the long and short term needs that we’re facing here,” she said.

The meeting was planned when the Amazon project was still in the works, and the group has had to make adjustments since.

The group had planned on hearing from a lineup of officials on plans for education in Long Island City, but will instead lead a discussion with attendees on common short and long term goals.

The GPA had also anticipated that State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who were vocal in their opposition to the HQ2 deal, would attend the meeting after an invitation was extended to them prior to Amazon’s decision to back out of its Long Island City plans. Both ultimately declined the invite earlier this week.

A spokesperson for Gianaris said a scheduling conflict stood in the way, and that he extended an invite to the GPA to meet in the future. A spokesperson for Van Bramer’s office also said there were scheduling conflicts, and that the council member would be open to rescheduling. Cirrito was also told that a representative from Van Bramer’s office would attend the meeting.

The School Construction Authority also declined the group’s invite. A representative from the Department of Education, however, will be in attendance.

Assemblymember Catherine Nolan will also be at the meeting, along with a representative for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

“One of the reasons GPA wanted to move forward and have this meeting is because we want to signal to the community, to elected officials, that we still want to engage in productive discussions on education,” Cirrito said.

The board chair stresses that Saturday’s meeting “needed to happen” regardless of Amazon, but that the company’s departure has left the community with several unknowns.

“I think the community is looking for leadership,” Cirrito said. “Things are a little uncertain right now as a result of Amazon.”

She said the neighborhood is looking to hear from city agencies that much-needed education projects are moving forward, like a new elementary school in Court Square and a middle school in Hunters Point, and that progress has reached beyond brainstorming and information-gathering stages.

“The needs continue and they keep adding on, and I’d like for the leadership and decision makers to start executing on many of the things that they’ve been talking about,” she said. “We can talk about ideas and really have a productive and exciting conversation, but we do need leadership to turn those ideas and visions into reality.”

The meeting will take place at the Hunter’s Point Community Middle School, located at 1-50 51st Ave., from 10 a.m. to midday on March 2. For more information on the GPA, visit their website at

email the author: [email protected]

One Comment

Click for Comments 
LIC Direct

Where’s Jimmy, nowhere to be found these days. Out of sight and in hiding. There is nothing in it for Jimmy Van Bramer so he blows off the GPA meeting in Hunters Point and will send one of his errand boys instead. Kathy Nolan, Melinda Katz step up at this meeting call JVB and Gianaris out.


Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.