By Ruschell Boone
Some people didn’t pull any punches as they made their way around the mayor’s resource fair on his second day in Queens. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
Alexis Smallwood says she is a fan of Mayor Bill de Blasio, but not of the way he’s handling the issue of affordable housing.
“It’s like, do you really work for me or do you work for the developers?” Smallwood said.
She didn’t pull any punches when talking to de Blasio administration officials regarding her concerns about gentrification and redevelopment of downtown Far Rockaway.
“It’s going to price us out and we’re going to be like Harlem where at some point, because I’ve been to Harlem, and it’s basically Caucasian, and black people, people of color are disappearing,” Smallwood said.
After speaking with the heads of several city agencies, the tenant leader made some headway.
“We talked to HPD, and I talked to two of his staff members as to getting meetings with my residents in Arverne View as to how we can solve this issue of housing in equality,” Smallwood said.
Smallwood was among a few dozen people who took their gripes about housing, bike lanes, traffic and other problems directly to the mayor and his commissioners at a resource fair. Many also picked up information about different agencies.
It was all part of Queens Week, the latest in a series of weeklong visits by the mayor to each borough as he runs for re-election.
“I’ve stopped by the Office of the Children’s Services and I stopped by the Department of Health. I stopped by the Buildings Department, which gave me very informative information as a homeowner,” said Rosezetta Russell, a Cambria Heights resident.
There were some lighter moments as people joked about the mayor’s height and photo ops for the people who waited on line to speak with him.
The mayor spent about two hours talking to people. But did he really hear them? Residents NY1 spoke with say that depends on how he addresses the issues going forward.