A tale of two rallies
Jul 23, 2014 | 914 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What's the best way to upstage a protest before a contentious land use hearing on a development project? Get there first and have one of your own!

We don't know if that was the intention outside of Queens Borough Hall last week, but there were a pair of competing rallies with very different agendas.

Last week, our newsroom received an email that a group would be holding a protest on the steps of borough hall in advance of the borough president's land use hearing, which would be taking testimony on the Astoria Cove, a major mixed-use development project on the northwest Queens waterfront.

But when one of our newshounds showed up for the rally, they discovered there was already another rally going on, one being held by a slew of Queens elected officials declaring their support for Israel in the escalating conflict between Hamas and that country.

The Astoria Cove protestors were left to stand off to one side while elected official after elected official took to the podium to say their piece. They eventually grew restless and started some standard rally chants - “What do we want? Affordable housing!” - but it was distinctly overshadowed.

We're not sure if the rally for Israel was intentionally meant to upstage the Astoria Cove protest; it was probably just an honest scheduling conflict.

But we've covered politics for quite a while now, and judging from the photos we saw of the Israel rally and the number of elected officials who were there and would want their five minutes in front of the cameras, there was no way those steps were going to clear for the Astoria Cove folks for a long, long time.

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