14 THE QUEENS COURIER • NOVEMBER 26, 2020 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Tenants rally against alleged landlord harassment in Astoria
BY JACOB KAYE
Tenants of a 16-unit apartment building
in Astoria gathered outside their home on
Wednesday, Nov. 18, to condemn their
landlord for allegedly refusing to replace
a faulty boiler, which has consistently
caused hot water and heating outages over
the past month.
Th e tenants of 21-11 27th St., joined
by members of Th e Legal Aid Society
and recently elected state Assemblyman
Zohran Mamdani, called for landlord
Patricia Martin to fi x the malfunctioning
boiler as the city heads into the winter.
“Th e callousness of so many of New
York’s landlords is routinely appalling, even
under normal circumstances,” Mamdani
said. “But in the context of a surging
pandemic, grave economic precarity and
mounting pressures on family life, Patricia
Martin’s actions are truly shocking.”
The tenants were organized by
Mohammed Islam, who said that Martin
has denied his request to have the heat
turned on in the past, particularly last
year aft er his wife came home from the
hospital aft er recently giving birth. To
mitigate the problem, Islam bought a
space heater, which prompted Martin to
shut off the electricity, Islam said.
“We have children. We have elderly
people. We have sick people in the building,”
Islam said. “When we requested her,
her fi nal word to me was, ‘If we don’t like
it, we can move out.’”
Martin currently has 106 open violations
issued by the New York City
Department of Housing Preservation and
Development. In addition to complaints
about the heating, the violations range
from failing to install proper lighting to
failing to remove peeling lead paint from
an apartment in the building.
Th e tenants, who all live in rent-stabilized
unites, claim that Martin routinely
threatens to evict tenants who complain.
Representing the tenants, Th e Legal Aid
Society took action in Queens Housing
Court recently, hoping to force Martin to
address the conditions.
“Th is is an outrageous case of a landlord
tinkering with her tenants’ rights by
turning off their heat,” said Sateesh Nori,
an attorney with Th e Legal Aid Society.
“Th ese are tenants who represent the
American dream. Th ey are immigrant
families — including babies and the elderly,
and essential workers. During this pandemic
no one should be subject to such
harassment and abuse.”
Martin did not immediately respond to
QNS’ multiple requests for comment.
Additional reporting by Dean Moses.
Queens Farm, Queens College partner for annual food drive
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
As the COVID-19 public health crisis
has created even more demand for food
pantries across the city, Queens Farm is
continuing its work to feed New Yorkers
through its annual food drive to support
Th e food drive began on Monday,
Nov. 9, and will run through Th ursday,
Dec. 31, in partnership with the Queens
College Knights Table Food Pantry to
help feed food-insecure students.
Queens College President Frank Wu
expressed his appreciation for Jennifer
Weprin, executive director of Queens
Farm, and her staff in support of the college’s
“Th e services of the pantry — which
provides food access for all CUNY students
in need, free of stigma — are even
more vital now as we continue to adapt
to COVID-19-imposed challenges,” Wu
said. “Our students benefi t from both the
tangible results of our partnership with
the Queens Farm and the cooperative
model that it provides — an approach
that is needed now more than ever.”
Queens Farm is encouraging visitors,
neighbors and the general public to stop
by the Farm Store and drop off packaged,
shelf-stable, healthy food to support
CUNY students and their families.
“No one should go hungry. CUNY
students represent the future of New
York City. Together, Queens Farm and
Queens College can feed tummies and
feed minds,” said Weprin. “Th is food
drive is an extension of our work to help
feed New Yorkers. We invite the community
to join us to serve those in need
In July, Timothy Hunter, chairperson
of CUNY University Student Senate and
Student Trustee of CUNY’s board of
trustees, testifi ed before the New York
State Senate on the impact of COVID-19
on higher education.
Th eir testimony noted that according
to the Healthy CUNY Survey regarding
the impact of COVID-19 on CUNY students,
levels of worry about running out
of food due to lack of money were more
than three times higher in 2020 than in
2018; students also cut or skipped meals
due to lack of money at higher rates.
Additionally, they noted that students
reported having gone hungry oft en or
sometimes more frequently in 2020.
According to the testimony, 70 percent of
students reported a decrease in income
for other members of their households
and 54 percent reported a decrease in
their own income due to the coronavirus.
Queens Farm is collecting donations
of packaged, shelf-stable, healthy food
including canned fi sh and lean meats;
nut butters; soups and stews; whole grain
bread; cereal and crackers; dried rice;
noodles and pasta; oatmeal; canned or
dried beans; sauces and gravy; packaged
fruit and vegetables; and shelf-stable
Expired food will not be accepted.
Anyone interested in donating to support
the food drive can stop by the
Queens Farm Store during regular operating
hours: Monday through Sunday,
10 a.m. to 3 p.m., from Nov. 9through
Queens Farm is closed on Christmas
Day and is open until 2 p.m. on Dec.
24. Daily admission is free and the site
For more information, visit QueensFarm.
Photo courtesy of Queens College
Photo by Dean Moses