16 THE QUEENS COURIER • YEAR IN REVIEW • DECEMBER 26, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
year in review
The top stories from February 2019
BY BILL PARRY
FIELD OF SEVENTEEN CANDIDATES
RUN FOR PUBLIC ADVOCATE
IN SPECIAL ELECTION
One of the most wide-open races in New York City
history was decided in February, as voters went to the
polls for the special election to choose the next public
advocate. Seventeen candidates qualifi ed for the ballot
in the nonpartisan contest to fi ll the seat vacated by
State Attorney General Letitia James, who resigned on
Dec. 31, 2018.
Th e public advocate serves as the city’s ombudsman,
an offi cial designated to be a link between city government
and the people it represents. Th e public advocate is
recognized as a non-voting member of the City Council,
but has the authority to create and introduce legislation.
Moreover, the public advocate is the fi rst in the line
of mayoral succession, meaning that the public advocate
would become mayor should Bill de Blasio vacate
the offi ce.
Brooklyn City Councilman Jumaane Williams was the
eventual winner, while Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich
fi nished in second place.
AMAZON BAILS ON BOROUGH
WALKING AWAY FROM HQ2
PLAN FOR LONG ISLAND CITY
Amazon, the world’s largest retail company, decided to
back out of its billion-dollar plans for Long Island City
in February. Th e plans to develop a new campus on the
Anable Basin waterfront in Long Island City and bring
at least 25,000 jobs to the community were scuttled on
“While polls show that 70 percent of New Yorkers support
our plans and investment, a number of state and
local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our
presence and will not work with us to build the type of
relationships that are required to go forward with the
project we and many others envisioned in Long Island
City,” Amazon said in a statement.
Th e Valentine’s Day breakup deprives the city of an estimated
$27 billion in economic revenue that the Amazon
project in Long Island City was projected to generate over
the next 25 years. Amazon had touted that the average
annual salary for each job would be $150,000.
Amazon reached the deal with the city and state in
November 2018 in exchange for receive up to $3 billion
in tax incentives. Local elected offi cials opposed the
plan, citing the reported tax breaks and Amazon’s corporate
history — and a need to use public funding for infrastructure
improvements and housing.
Modern Spaces co-founder and CEO Eric Benaim,
who launched an online petition imploring Amazon to
stay in the deal, said that Amazon’s loss would have troubling
“I’m devastated for the 25,000 families who lost an
opportunity here,” he said. “25,000 families won’t be
able to aff ord groceries, 15,000 of these families from
Queensbridge. 25,000 jobs we lost. I’m devastated not
just for Long Island City and Queens but New York City.”
LIC BUSINESS OWNER TRAVELS
TO SEATTLE IN HOPES OF
RESCUING AMAZON DEAL
A Long Island City businessman, upset that Amazon
abandoned its plan to build an HQ2 campus in his neighborhood
and create at least 25,000 jobs due to a “lack of
collaborative relationships with state and local offi cials,”
fl ew to Seattle on a mission.
John Brown Smokehouse owner Josh Bowen, a former
supporter of state Senator Michael Gianaris and City
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who blamed them for
Amazon’s departure, met for two hours with a top executive
at the e-commerce giant’s headquarters trying to rescue
“Someone has to represent Queens. Mike and Jimmy
abdicated their duties,” Bowen said. An Amazon spokeswoman
confi rmed the meeting took place.
“I gave it my best shot. I gave him the whole song and
dance and I could tell, this guy really wanted to be in
Long Island City, but they were seriously grossed out by
the actions of our elected offi cials,” Bowen said. “If Mike
and Jimmy had just talked to these guys it would have
been a whole diff erent story. Th ey didn’t know about our
politics and how the anti-IDC movement and the blue
wave during the midterm election created a new political
class here in Queens.”
Aft er a tour of the Seattle headquarters, Bowen grew
“All I know is they wanted to make Queens a powerhouse
for the ages and that’s why I went because I want
the same thing for my daughter,” he said.
QUEENS WOMAN WINS PUBLISHER
CLEARING HOUSE SWEEPSTAKES
A Jamaica woman was the big winner of a Publishers
Clearing House Sweepstakes in February, but it took
awhile for the Prize Patrol to track her down and deliver
the news. Crystal Crawford, 47, will be receiving $5,000 a
week “forever” but when the Publishers Clearing House
team knocked on her door, her son Jaquawn was the only
He said he knew his mom had entered the sweepstakes
for years but didn’t think it was actually real. Jaquawn
led the team a few blocks away to where his mother was
working, at E. Sholom Inc. – Early Intervention Child
Care, and her reaction was priceless.
Crawford was on the phone and began shrieking when
she realized what was happening.
“Oh my god, are you serious?” Crawford asked with
tears streaming down her cheeks.
Th e Prize Patrol explained she had won for “two forevers”
and aft er her son Jaquawn snuck through the crowd
for a warm embrace, the team from Publishers Clearing
House gave her a check for $50,000 that she could “take
straight to the bank” as a starter.
Crawford said she was thrilled to have the money and
would send her son to college and go on a much-needed
vacation to celebrate her birthday.
Photo via Shutterstock
Photo courtesy Josh Bowen
Photo Courtesy Publishers Clearing House