Rep. Maloney, New York Foundation for Senior Citizens and Others Celebrate River View Gardens

Mar 15, 2007
Press Release
Queens, NY – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Queens, Manhattan) visited River View Gardens, an 80 unit facility that includes both well and frail elderly, located in Queens West in Long Island City where she was joined by New York Foundation for Senior Citizens President Linda Hoffman and others.  River View Gardens is a $15 million development that includes $13.9 million in federal funding, plus federal rent subsidies.  The state of New York provided the land.   The building’s enriched housing program for the frail elderly is licensed by the NYS Department of Health.  The project is now fully occupied.

Maloney toured the facility and greeted seniors.  “River View Gardens is a very special project to me, and I am thrilled to see how beautifully it turned out,” Maloney said.  “Few people realize what a monumental achievement it was to get this built – it took a huge amount of hard work and cooperation at all levels of government.  Linda Hoffman really pulled off an amazing feat.

“I’m always proud of projects that are built with federal funds.  It’s not easy to build senior housing in New York under any circumstances – the high cost of land and construction prices us above HUD’s caps in many instances,” Maloney added.  “So, getting a project built with federal funds is always reason to celebrate.  But I know that this project required everyone involved to go the extra mile.  For many years it was delayed by concerns that were completely out of NYFSC’s control.  I got involved because HUD, in response to Congressional pressure, was threatening to pull River View’s funding if construction on the development did not commence immediately.  I needed to persuade my colleagues that this project was very real, that NYFSC is extraordinarily competent and that they were on the verge of clearing all the obstacles that had blocked construction.  In 2003 and 2004, I wrote to my colleagues to explain what was going on.  I spoke with HUD Secretary Martinez, and my staff met and spoke frequently with local HUD officials.  I know that many other people, including Alex Federbush of Queens West Development Corporation, other elected officials, Linda Hoffman and NYFSC’s remarkable board members, worked hard to put the pieces in place.  And the result is fantastic.  I am truly impressed by this extraordinary facility.”

NYFSC President Linda Hoffman said, “It’s often said that success has many parents – and nowhere is that more true than with this facility.  It took a lot of teamwork and a lot of good friends to build this project.  I appreciate the work done by Congresswoman Maloney and all of the others who pitched in to make this facility possible.  The positive outcome of the Foundation's challenging, ten year long endeavor to bring River View Gardens to the borough of Queens, reminds me of a wise, philosophical saying "if there was no such a thing as challenge, Michelangelo would have painted the floor and not the ceiling".  Fortunately, with good friends like Congresswoman Maloney and the other elected officials in this area, we were able to make
our vision a reality. Without a doubt, this building is the most beautiful, has the best location and most breathtaking views of any HUD 202 senior citizen housing in the universe. “

NYFSC Board member William Hubbard: “River View Gardens is an example of a broad collaboration, ranging from the halls of Congress - Carolyn Maloney - to the halls of Ivy - Jeanette Takamura, Dean of the Columbia School of Social Work. ”

“Given our involvement at so many phases – in providing the land, in negotiating a payment from the developer of the adjacent property to defray the building cost, in subsidizing the construction of the foundation and in managing the project to the point that allowed the HUD funds to be utilized – it’s exciting to see the project come to fruition. What’s especially rewarding is the knowledge that we played a role in obtaining much-needed housing for some deserving seniors,” said Pat Foye, chairman of Empire State Development/Downstate, the parent of Queens West Development Corp.