Adams announces Ferry Forward Plan

Providing Service to an Astoria Transportation Desert

Mayor Eric Adams has announced his “NYC Ferry Forward Plan,” an attempt to make the city ferry system cheaper for low-income New Yorkers and more expensive for casual riders or tourists.

The announcement, which comes following an audit on the ferry system for exceeding the budget expectations — took place at Astoria Landing, next to the NYCHA Astoria Housing housing on Thursday, July 14.

“This is a transportation desert, and although we have a waterway here, we did not have real access to moving about,” Adams said. “We had to figure that out. These residents deserved a way to get to work, play recreation, and really just be invited to other parts of the city.”

Beginning on September 12, lower-income New Yorkers in the MTA Fair Fares program, seniors, and those who have a disability under the New York City Ferry Discount Program can ride the ferry for $1.35. People can apply to be part of the New York City Ferry Discount Program online or by mail, and they will then buy tickets on the New York City Fair app or in-person at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan. Those who live in NYCHA households within a mile of the ferry’s landing will receive two free rides so residents can see the appeal and promote the convenience of the ferry system.

For “frequent flyers of families,” a 10-pack of rides can be purchased for $27.50, which will average to $2.75 — the current price of a subway ride.

For all other people interested in taking the ferry, the cost of a single trip will increase to $4, to “offset the cost of those who are everyday New Yorkers that need to use the program,” Adams stated. However, in light of the recent ferry audit that discovered how the previous administration downplayed the cost of the ferry service, the increase may very well likely be an effort to keep the program on an even keel.

Adams also introduced a direct-to-beach service to the Rockaways called the “Rockaway Rocket.” This service starts Saturday, July 23, and requires seats to be booked in advance for a direct service from Pier 11 to the Rockaways. The ferry will operate on summer weekends and on holidays until September 11 — the end of the summer schedule — and will cost $8 in each direction.

New York is what it is because of the East River, the Hudson River, all the waterways,” said Adams. “It is what makes this city special, access to the city through our waterways. More and more New Yorkers are using the New York City Ferry, but too many are not aware of the great benefits from it. They think it’s out of reach and they think that it’s not something that they can utilize.”

Among other elected officials and community leaders joining Adams included Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Maria Torres-Springer, the deputy mayor for economic and workforce development, and Andrew Kimball, president and CEO of NYC Economic Development Corporation.

Our fleet of vessels, you see right behind me, were built at a lower cost than any other publicly procured ferry fleet in the country over the last 15 years,” Kimball said. “That’s astonishing and a true testament to the public/private partnership we have with our operator.”

More information on the NYC Ferry Forward Plan can be found at

Toy drive for Eid al-Adha

In partnership with the Muslim Entrepreneur Association, New York State Senate candidate Japneet Singh traveled throughout Queens to distribute toy bags to kids for Eid al-Adha on July 9.

Starting at Masjid Al-Abidin in Richmond Hill, Singh, along with Abdul Rahman of the Muslim Entrepreneur Association, gave away 500 bags to boys and girls at four different locations throughout the borough, including Masjid Al-Furqan on 76-18 Glenmore Avenue in Ozone Park, the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol Food Distribution Event in Ozone Park and the Hillside Islamic Center.

A family displaced by the recent South Richmond Hill house fire on 125th Street between 107th and Liberty avenues visited Masjid Al-Abidin while Rahman and Singh were giving out toys. The Santram family had a special surprise from Rahman and Singh for the daughter, who recently began college — an Acer laptop to help with her studies.

“[Singh and I] both went to Queens College and we both know how tough it is, especially with everything that is going on,” Rahman told the family. “The Muslim Entrepreneur Association is always here for you.”

Eid-al Adha is the second and bigger of the two main holidays celebrated in Islam. Also known as the “Feast of Sacrifice,” the two-day holiday began at sundown on Friday, July 8, and continued into Saturday. It is a celebration and remembrance of the Prophet Ibrahim’s devotion to Allah when he willingly sacrificed his son.

Hundreds were at each of the mosques that Rahman and Singh visited, and their gifts brought smiles and happiness to children of all ages who were celebrating Eid al-Adha, as well as those at the food pantry to who they extended the joy, even if they were not celebrating Eid al-Adha themselves.

For more information on the events and goodwill of the Muslim Entrepreneur Association, visit their Facebook at @MEA.Global.Association or their Instagram at @mea_network. Japneet Singh is running in District 15 for the New York State Senate, with his main competition in the primary election for Democratic candidate being incumbent Joseph Addabbo Jr. Elections are on August 23.

WinC x King Manor at Rufus King Park

The Women in Comics Collective, or WinC, partnered with the King Manor Museum in Jamaica to host a free outdoor comic book festival on Saturday, July 9. Located within the Rufus King Park, King Manor held free tours while WinC brought vendors, work- shops and live events.

Regine L. Sawyer, the coordinator and founder of WinC, gave away free comics — from Batman to the X- Men — at a vibrant purple booth. The collaboration “WinC x King Manor” was all thanks to her reaching out to Kelsey Brow, executive director of King Manor. There were numer- ous booths scattered across King Manor.

There were artists selling buttons, comics and other forms of custom-made art from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, along with live music and free pizza available in the afternoon. In an interesting surprise that certainly contrasted the historic building that served as their backdrop, WinC invited The Rogue Alliance, a Star Wars inspired stage combat performance team based in New York City, to use their lightsabers in mock battles in front of King Manor.

More information on WinC can be found on their website at www.womenin-



Ditmars Starbucks worker claims illegal firing

Starbucks worker Austin Locke has been a leading voice for the unionization of the Starbucks at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard.

He has worked there for the past three years, spending six in total with the company.

Austin Locke protesting outside Starbucks

His name was the first in the letter workers sent to Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz detailing how they have experienced “all sorts of harassment, racism, sexism, and physical violence on top of fewer hours, meager wages, and poor staffing.”

Less than a week after he and his team unionized on June 30—making them the second in Queens to do so—Locke was fired on July 5 for what he calls “bogus reasons” in a video posted to the official Twitter account of the organizers at the Ditmars Boulevard Starbucks (DitmarsSBWU).

“I was just recently fired here illegally for unionizing the store,” he said in the video, in which he also announced a rally will be held on July 22 at 6 p.m.

A Starbucks spokesperson denies these allegations, instead stating that Locke was fired due to violating health and safety standards, failing to comply with COVID-19 violations and violating the Starbucks code of ethics.

“Austin Locke is no longer with Starbucks for blatant violations of our health and safety standards, as well as failing to uphold our mission and values,” a spokesperson stated. “Our health and safety standards are in place to protect our partners and the communities we serve, and we cannot ignore blatant violations that put others at risk. A partner’s interest in a union does not exempt them from the standards we have always held. We will continue to consistently enforce our policies.”

Having two previous violations during his time with Starbucks, a spokesperson stated that he received his third violation, or “corrective action,” when he refused to have his temperature taken when he showed up for work the day after calling out sick with COVID-19.

He also alleged a coworker had physical contact with him, despite video evidence proving that to be false, according to the Starbucks spokesperson.

Locke is demanding reinstatement and backpay for the days since he was fired, and announced via Twitter that there will be a rally on July 22 at 6 p.m. for these demands.

The demands of the Ditmars Starbucks include increased wages, free full-coverage healthcare, and more sick time. Among elected officials who have shown support for the recent vote to unionize is State Senator Michael Gianaris.

“Congratulations to the latest Queens Starbucks workers exercising their right to organize and join a union,” he said in a recent statement. “Organized labor is the foundation of a strong working class, which we need now more than ever. I am thrilled this movement keeps growing, and I am proud of the workers leading this fight.”

Half a mile away, the Astoria Boulevard and 31st Street Starbucks celebrated a unanimous vote on June 6, making it the first in Queens.

The two Starbucks join a movement of hundreds of other stores that are making clear their frustration with being underpaid and understaffed.

Such a movement can be seen In Buffalo, New York, where a unionized Starbucks on Elmwood Avenue informed local leaders they would be going on strike on July 9 due to changing staff schedules.

In a message published on the Starbucks news website on July 11, Shultz — who returned to Starbucks as interim CEO in April after retiring in 2018 — states that “we need to reinvent Starbucks for the future.”

He presents, in this message, five new moves to reinvent Starbucks, and a set of principles for a new partnership at Starbucks.

This message can be found at

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