A light rain was falling as Community Board member Jerry Drake addressed about 200 protesters on Thursday night, August 25th in front of the Holiday Inn Express near Maurice Avenue and the L.I.E in Maspeth. Drake was the last speaker of the night and reported on a meeting he had earlier that day with Council Member Elizabeth Crowley in her Glendale office.
Drake told the crowd that he had asked Crowley if she would attend the giant protest march scheduled for Saturday, August 27th through the Maspeth community to protest the de Blasio Administration’s decision to convert Holiday Inn Express into a homeless shelter for 220 adults. Crowley told Drake that she would not attend the march. The news however did not surprise the crowd since Crowley had not attended any of the 9 daily protests that regularly draw between 200-300 protesters. A frustrated Jerry Drake asked Crowley why she decided not attend the protests or the scheduled march to support her Maspeth constituents in a show of unity against Mayor de Blasio. “I didn’t like the way I was treated at the Martin Luther School homeless meeting (on Aug. 3rd),” said Crowley. Drake reported that he asked Crowley what he should report back to the protesters. “Tell them whatever you want,” she replied.
Crowley then told Drake that the Maspeth shelter was going to happen because the Mayor wants to place homeless shelters in Queens and particularly in the Community Board 5 area that has no shelters. When Drake reminded Crowley that she is up for reelection next year she responded, I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.” Crowley’s response angered the protesters with many chanting – vote her out.
So far the only Queens elected official to attend the 9-day long–and counting–protests was State Senator Tony Avella (D-Bayside). “The arrogance of (Liz) Crowley is appalling, “ said Robert Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association. We have been here every night in the heat and rain and none of our so-called public servants could make an appearance. “Elizabeth Crowley’s attitude is typical of a corrupt Queens machine candidate who automatically gets elected every election cycle.” Holden said that finally it appears that Maspeth residents are seeing the real Crowley, someone who puts her own interests far above her constituents. “It’s time to send a message to Ms. Crowley and her colleagues that Maspeth will not forget how their elected officials have abandoned them.”