16 THE QUEENS COURIER • OCTOBER 11, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Photos: Alejandra O'Connell-Domenech/THE COURIER
Jackson Hts. mourns beloved LGBTQ icon
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
A crowd of Jackson Heights residents
held candles and prayed during vigil
in honor of Queens LGBTQ icon, Ms.
Colombia, on on Oct. 5 in front of the
Jackson Heights Post Offi ce, 78-02 37th
Ms. Colombia was found dead in
the water off of Jacob Riis Park in Far
Rockaway on Oct.3, according to police
and Councilman Daniel Dromm.
Th e 64-year-old Jackson Heights resident,
whose real name was Osvaldo
Gomez, was famous for wearing extravagant
and colorful outfi ts. She was referred
to as “a treasure of Queens” by Councilman
Francisco Moya. Her body was found at
No foul play is suspected, although an
autopsy is being performed by the Offi ce of
the Chief Medical Examiner to determine
an exact cause of death.
“While life did not always treat Ms.
Colombia with all the respect she was due,
New Yorkers will remember Ms. Colombia
as a hero to everyone,” said Dromm, who
fondly remembered marching with Ms.
Colombia at the fi rst Queens Pride Parade.
“Her cheerfulness and ability to bring a
smile to the faces of all who met her will be
missed by all New Yorkers.”
Ms. Colombia gained wider recognition
through 2015 docuseries called “No Your
City,” that profi led unique New York City
characters. In the fi lm she revealed that she
had been a lawyer in her native Colombia
before moving to Queens in 1975. Aft er
being diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s,
she chose to live life freely and by nobody
else’s rules but her own.
“I like to be free … Th ey ask me, are you
homo? Are you gay, are you lesbian? And
I say, no, I am human being from another
planet,” she said in the video.
Th ose in attendance at the memorial
vigil will include Dromm, the family
of Ms. Colombia, members of Make the
Road NY, Founder of Lavender and Green
Alliance Brendan Fay, members of Queens
Pride, members of the NYC Anti-Violence
Project, members of Gay Men’s Health
Crisis and members of Generation Q.
Lawmakers announce funding approved
for senior aff ordable housing in Astoria
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Before a crowd of 300 Queens residents
at a special town hall meeting on Oct. 4,
Councilman Costa Constantinides and
City Council Speaker Corey Johnson
announced that a new aff ordable housing
development for seniors would come
“Th is is a big win for District 22 senior
citizens, who for too long have worried
about skyrocketing rents pricing them
out of their own neighborhood,” said
Constantinides during the meeting at P.S.
Funding for the new development was
part of the city’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget,
which included $500 million for the
Department of Housing and Preservation
& Development (HPD) to fund the construction
of six senior aff ordable housing
buildings across New York City.
One of the six sites where aff ordable
housing will be created is at a public
parking lot located at the corner of 31st
Street and Broadway.
“I am glad we were able to share some
good news and announced budget victories
for Astoria, including the budget
allocation for the senior aff ordable housing
development,” said Johnson.
In his January 2018 State of the
District address, Constantinides promised
to make 500 senior aff ordable housing
units by the end of his term in three
years. Th e new housing unit at 31st
Street and Broadway which could potentially
create 100 units, brings the councilman
one step closer to his goal.
Complaints about a lack of aff ordable
housing units for seniors had been an
issue in the neighborhoods with the 22nd
Council District, which includes Astoria,
Long Island City, Jackson Heights, East
Elmhurst and Woodside. About 22,000
seniors in the district are on a waiting
list for senior aff ordable housing
units, according to a press release from
Constantinides’ offi ce.
“Th is is one of the biggest needs that
we have,” said Richard Khuzami, president
of the Old Astoria Neighborhood
Association. “I would hate to have to
leave the neighborhood that I grew up
in because there was no aff ordable housing.”
Khusami, who attended the town hall
meeting last week, said that a major concern
with the new development was the
potential lack of parking.
“I don’t see why it has to be either one
or the other,” said Khuzami, who added
that there have been new buildings put
into parking spaces before in Astoria
without parking being compromised.
“Look at the Hanac building: they
built that and also provided parking,”
Khuzami said. “Th ere is a way for everybody
to come out of this ahead.”