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Astoria dissected by Albany redistricting: Gianaris

U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (c.) greets Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the chef and owner of Manducatis Rustica, during a kickoff in Long Island City for a campaign for her recently-redrawn district. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

Astoria lawmakers said they were disappointed by the new congressional and state Senate district lines, which splits the neighborhood across two districts.

“The maps are horrible,” said Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria). “They divide communities that should not be divided, including Astoria.”

Both of the new maps slice off part of the north section of Astoria above Ditmars Boulevard.

Under the current congressional districts, most of Astoria, Long Island City, parts of Sunnyside and Woodside, Roosevelt Island and a big section of Manhattan’s East Side are currently in U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney’s (D-Astoria) district.

The only part of the neighborhood not in Astoria is an unpopulated area owned by the Con Edison complex, which is in the district of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Astoria).

The new maps place Astoria below Ditmars Boulevard, Long Island City, most of Sunnyside and a part of Maspeth into the district where Maloney plans to run next year. In exchange, the district also takes in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as well as a big chunk of the East Side.

Meanwhile, all of north Astoria — including the small section in Rangel’s district — is now in the district that most closely aligns with Rep. Joseph Crowley’s (D-Jackson Heights) current one.

“I’m looking forward to meeting new people in the new district, but my heart will always be in Astoria,” Maloney said of the change.

Crowley’s current district includes Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, College Point, most of Woodside and parts of Sunnyside, Maspeth, Corona and the southeast Bronx. The Queens section of the new district now encompasses Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst, northern Astoria, all of Woodside, much of Sunnyside and a larger section of Maspeth.

Willets Point and parts of Corona, which were once in Rep. Gary Ackerman’s (D-Bayside) district, will become part of Crowley’s area, which will lose a big section of Elmhurst.

Crowley said in a statement he was excited about representing Astoria.

“It is a vibrant community, parts of which I represented in the late ’90s, and it will be great to have the area back in the district I represent,” he said.

On the state level, the new Senate lines were originally drawn so that Sens. Gianaris and Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) were in the same district. While the new maps have changed that, Peralta’s district, which once stayed mostly within the confines of the eastbound Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway, taking in parts of Woodside and Elmhurst, now loses most of Elmhurst in exchange for chunks of northern Astoria and Woodside.

Gianaris’ district currently encompasses most of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, most of Woodside and parts of Maspeth and Ridgewood. The new district eliminates parts of Astoria and Woodside now in Peralta’s district in exchange for parts of Elmhurst, Glendale, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

Gianaris said he will work with his friend Peralta to serve Astoria residents, but he hopes a lawsuit in the New York Supreme Court brought by state Sen. Martin Dilan (D-Brooklyn) and other Democrats against LATFOR will overturn the lines.

“I’m optimistic that that will succeed, and that will give us one more crack at doing this the right way,” he said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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frances luhmann mcdonald from upper ditmars says:
Hang in there, Michael and I'll be back in your district! I'm sure this will make you as happy as I am. Come to think of it, Peralta will be happy too!
March 29, 2012, 1:22 pm

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