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Podcast: Van Bramer Reflects on His 12 Years in Office, Discusses Achievements

Screen shot (Queens Post)

Dec. 30, 2021 By Christian Murray

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, who has represented the 26th Council District since 2010, ends his time in office Friday.

We had an extensive discussion with Van Bramer in a podcast just prior to Christmas.

Van Bramer discusses his achievements, such as the 10,000 school seats that have been built in the district during his 12 years in office; the upgrade of virtually every park in the district; the construction of the Hunters Point Library and the revamp of several library branches; the construction of dog runs; as well as the addition of protected bicycle lanes and other bike infrastructure.

“I feel that I am leaving the district better than I found it [in 2010],” Van Bramer says who represents the Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City neighborhoods until Dec. 31. “Our schools are very good, our parks are improved…our libraries are stronger than ever. Our local non-profits are as strong as ever.”

Van Bramer also discusses his role in bringing protected bike lanes to the district. He said that he played a major role in the redesign of Queens Boulevard, since Phase 1 of the overhaul began in the district. He also discusses the protected bicycle lanes on 43rd and Skillman Avenue and views the change as a success.

He said that he is pleased that the movement for bike lanes and bike infrastructure will continue as the Adams’ administration and Council Member elect Julie Won– who will represent the 26th Council District come Jan. 1—both support such improvements.

Van Bramer said that the bike lane issue did bring out the worst in some people. He said that his husband was threatened as a result of his stance on protected bike lanes, while a staff member was cursed out while out with his family over the issue.

“Most people have moved on [since the implementation of the protected bike lanes] and are happy with our neighborhood,” Van Bramer said, although he noted that a small group of constituents will not let the issue go.

Van Bramer, a lifelong resident of western Queens, said that he will continue to live in the district for the long term. He also said he would not dismiss running again for elected office.

“I’m not ruling it in or ruling it out,” Van Bramer said, who would most likely run for an Assembly seat. He said that factors such as whether Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan decides to step down or not, or how the assembly district lines are redrawn—with redistricting– will play a role in his decision.

Van Bramer said that his campaign for Queens Borough President in 2021 did show that he is popular in western Queens—despite him coming third in the race behind Donovan Richards, who won, and Elizabeth Crowley.

“I won my district, I won handily,” Van Bramer said, indicating that he would be well positioned should he run for an assembly seat. “I feel good about the numbers.”

Van Bramer did not say what he will do for an occupation in 2022. He said that he was not in a position to disclose what his next job will be at this point but “I am optimistic about the future.”

Van Bramer also discusses in the podcast what it is like to be a council member and to represent 170,000 constituents. He said that it is not an easy job and that it is impossible to keep 170,000 people happy all the time.

“I have always listened [to constituents] …but too many people conflate listening with agreeing.”

He said that there has also been a breakdown in civility, and that he stopped paying attention to people who attack him on social media or on online comment boards. He said that he was thankful for the mute feature on twitter.

Van Bramer gave thanks to the many residents for supporting him over the years as well as his staff.

“I am grateful for my entire 12 years in office,” he said. “I know that I did what I thought was right. I believe in the things that I’ve done very strongly, and we leave the neighborhood strong.”

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59 Comments

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Anonymous

Nobody likes Jimmy and his reputation is trashed from his years in office. Girl scouts will learn why that is very soon.

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Georgia

If someone offered me a six digit salary to sit in an office, taste and order cookies to be sold and allocate what to do with government and public funding i would definitely take it. You’re just jealous. We all wish we could make as much as he will.

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Gardens Watcher

Chief Growth and Strategic Partnerships Officer is a broad title, and sounds more like Chief Salesman more than Cookie Monster.

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Anonymous

No jealous and not impressed. It would me way more impressive if he had good reputation and got a job in the administration.

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We can't catch a break

Just as in the swamp of Washington, DC
Recipient of city funds, the Girl Scouts of America announced today they hired Jimmy

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John

Guy is a child who can’t take people who disagree with him. He’s going to need another government job because he doesn’t understand the real world.

I’m also curious how he can afford all those vacations to PR on a city council salary.

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Reggie

Jimmy is praying for Dennis Walcott to step down as CEO of Queens Public Library so he can get that gig. Jimmy knows he has no future in public office. The fact that he finished 3rd in the race for Queens Boro Pres behind the incumbent and a lady who hasn’t been in public office for years, plus the fact that the dude he endorsed to succeed him in NYC Council District 26 didn’t win, goes to show you just how much his own constituents have turned against him. He has left Sunnyside worse than he found it.

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Anonymous

Agreed. He will be remembered for his lack of representing the voters who voted him in and instead set on his own agenda and votes. He should not be voted into any public office based upon his behavior in his second and third terms. (Voted for extension of term limits to retain his position, once again against the will of the New Yorkers who voted twice for two-term limits. ) Significant personal character flaws and arrogance.

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Mike

He was elected twice in his district and did quite well in his race for Qns Borough President in WQ. Won campaigned on a similar socialists liberal party platform and she won his seat in our district. The demographic has changed in Sunnyside/Woodside/LIC/Astoria etc. whether you see it not. You are in denial.

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Smh

Wow. This type of jumbled non-sense can be posted but retorts debunking the liberal idealism are rarely approved.

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David

SMH- My pro liberal posts debunking conservative idealism are almost never approved. Stop whining.

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Paul

Happy new year to all my brothers and sisters in Sunnyside. You will soon be begging for Jimmy to come back when you see Julie Won! I just hope Mayor Adams can contain these ultra left idiots and not continue to destroy this city with their stupidity.

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There is stupid then there is Fox stupid

Paul – Your post is typical of a classic con artist. The impending doom or payout is always coming. Never materializes but always on its way.

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Anon

Paul, Jimmy was one of the ultra left idiots. Maybe not when he was first elected, but that is what he became.

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ABoondy

you know its bad when the comments are locked on the youtube video since youtube doesnt pick and choose which comments fit their agenda and allow to be posted like this site.

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Didn't you leave NYC?

All your comments for the last year are about how you’re leaving NYC, you’re not a resident. Please stop posting like your opinion matters. Thanks!

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Boondy’s Opinion Matters

Boondy is entitled to his opinion. Instead of retorting, you put the man down. Stay classy there, liberal.

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Laura

Jimmy did and said we had to in order to keep his job and keep people who actually vote in our district happy. All you haters need to understand that the voting demographic has changed in our district. Its the same thing Republicans had to do in their district with their base. Agree or keep quiet about Trump or risk being voted out in their district. You need the support of people like AOC to win in Western Queens. That is how julie won won. Good luck to him.

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Anonymous

What? If your in office you can choose to explain your actions and represent the people of the district. The neighborhood hasn’t changed that much; just look at the election results. AOC ran a good campaign and won and her base is really the Bronx. Did the people change so much in the district that they not longer wanted Holiday Lights on Skillman Ave? No – Jimmy was vindictive to anyone he didn’t like or didn’t support him and that is why his political career is over. Its all about the choice he made.

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Dillon McManus

I’ve spoken to this snake several times and he a zero morals. Selling out to special real estate interests, betraying the small businesses on Skillman and saying he does whatever it takes for the votes. Good bloody riddance!

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It was time to go a long time ago

He started Ok years ago but then….
Not to mention how arrogant he became.

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nom de plum

Shame on you for nixing Amazon..we could have had good paying jobs for Queens residents!Now we only have hi rise condos in LIC and no community around them
Shame on you for the bike lanes inSunnyside much to the distress of the entire community with bikes riding through lights, stop signs and the wrong way. You never addressed the needs of your community!!!

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Terry M

Nom de plum- As a resident of Sunnyside for nearly 65 years, I can without hesitation tell you, you are flat out wrong. Anytime I had a problem that needed Mr. Van Bramer’s assistance he was there eager to help and competent and highly effective in resolving the issues. That is also the consensus of my relatives and friends in the area. Amazon already has people employed throughout the boroughs (Maspeth and Woodside included). Which aren’t the financial windfalls you’re trying to portray. There were no guarantees made by Amazon, absolutely none. My family owns several rental properties in the area and all the new young people moving in have bikes. A sign of changing times. As for obeying the rules of the road, are you naive enough to believe it’s only bike riders who have a disregard to the law? The needs of the community were met like a speed bump and traffic light on our block after a child was severely injured by an auto with a disregard to the law and rules of the road. Garbage cans overflowing with household trash removed from some corners because of abuse. New park benches throughout the shopping districts for the large senior community in this area. Park and playground updates and renovations. Moneys secured for local schools and libraries. Beautification efforts with newly planted trees, large potted plants around the elevated subway and shopping districts.You sound as if you’re blinded by partisanship and a contempt of change.

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Nomdeplum

Shame on you Jimmy for voting against Amazon which could have helped our Queens residents have access to high-end jobs;as a result we only have expensive condos in LIC; and your bike lanes in Sunnyside have left a mishmash of travel for people and bikes that ride against traffic. You forgot about the people you represented.

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John J. Lynch

My coming New Year’s wish….that both him and the soon to be former Mayor have not permanently damaged this once great city.

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Sophia P

Jimmy: Good work in securing the extra funding for PS150. Great job getting those park benches throughout the neighborhood. They’re greatly appreciated especially by us seniors. Those plazas under the 40th Street and 46th Street subway stations look great with the big potted plants. Just need to move that woman’s huge encampment out of 46th street. Thank you for securing the funding needed to update the parks at Greenpoint Avenue, Skillman and 43rd street and of course Doughboy and 52nd street. Thank you for the library upgrades. They were definitely needed. The new sewers have really paid off. Thanks for the speedy response to overflowing garbage can issues on 43rd Avenue. Your concern didn’t go unnoticed. These are just some of the projects you undertook that personally affect me. Good luck in your future endeavors. Thanks a million.

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Mac

He destroyed Sunnyside with our new neighbors in hotels .He put homeless people under the 7 train that we never had before even in the bad old nyc days!!He has ruined Sunnyside and it’s never coming back.

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Mac

@Mac- Hashtagger stop stealing other peoples posting handles. You and people who support Fox News and failed Republican policy put homeless people under the el.

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Gardens Watcher

Oh, I did not know Republicans coddle miscreants and criminals! That is something the Dem party is infamous for.

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Most of Trump's cabinet is serving fed time

Oh, then you’ve never heard of Steve Bannon, Elliott Broidy, Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, Allen Weisselberg, George Nader, Rick Gates…should I go on? WOW you’re out of the loop!

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Gardens Watcher

So you’re the same imposter who just steals other poster’s name? Stop the Steal! Get a life and get your own name! I’m wondering if this is just SSP trolling for clicks.

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Lenape Lady

JVB did exactly what he was told to do, which was destroy his very neighborhood for the profit and power of people much, much stronger than he was. He handed our streets over to people who don’t live here. To give developers what they wanted he built schools in places that will be overwhelmed with the school population. He put in stop signs no one here asked for, lights no one here asked for, and painted lines on the street no one here asked for to please his overloads and the populations they preferred to the people who live here. You won’t find any of that in his press releases. And all these sweetheart pieces on this site are degrading to the ideals of journalism in a liberal democracy.

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Anonymous

He said that there has also been a breakdown in civility. (By whom?) This statement from an elected leader, who had to publicly apologize to the residents and CB2 for lying about his true position regarding the bike lanes all along. He is a poor leader who personally dismisses the majority of residents’ positions on issues in the neighborhood and admits to dismissing the people who voted him in. Complete Narcissist! He believes that we all voted for him to make his own decisions if he does not agree. His legacy will be one of the worst public leaders in Western Queens (Amazon, Bike Lanes, Parking, Barnett Avenue Building, 39th Avenue Bike Blvd. etc.) Unfortunately, his damage will stay with us into 2022. Reflect and please realize you have changed as a person and as a public official between your first term and your third term, not for the better. You came in with potential in your first term, and leave after your third term with the high majority of voters giving you a poor rating in collaboration and dismissing the voters you were elected to represent as ‘not agreeing’ with you as your rationale for their criticism, traits of a Narcissist.

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Anonymous

He even stopped talking to this paper, Queens Post (Sunnyside Post), after reporting his own public quotes in their columns.

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Lenape Lady

He threatened to withdraw support and stop sending his press releases to the Woodside Herald if they continued to publish an author who disagreed with him. He’s a petty tyrant who couldn’t take the heat. So glad he was immolated in this local kitchen.

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Anonymous

At New Year’s Eve at midnight, ‘Handel’s Messiah’ should be blasted from large speakers atop the Sunnyside Arch – Hallelujah! There should be dancing in the streets of Sunnyside, Woodside, and LIC at midnight. Finally, we are free!

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Lenape Lady

Yes, free of him, but I don’t have high hopes for Won. She couldn’t even answer simple questions when people bumped into her on the streets. She said, “I’m not in office yet.” So, you have no knowledge, position or plan until you are in office. C’mon, she meant she had to ask her handlers. And while I wish her and her husband all good health and happiness with their growing family, should that really be the subject of your first interview on this site? Is that very personal news what your thousands of constituents are really interested in? How does that give us confidence in your political abilities? Unprofessional and very, very naive. Did we actually elect Helen Ho and your husband?

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Ganesha

Dam I thought I was the only one! Won refused to answer any of my questions. Attempted to have 2 rude, unprofessional volunteers/slaves process me along – ie the bums rush. I didn’t vote for her.

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Gardens Watcher

I use you handle because I want your attention.
I witnessed JVB run away from and accident involving a car that hit a biker in the protected bike lane. Real great guy!

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Gardens Watcher

Wait…you said “I’m proud of what he’s done” in your imposter comment above. Both can’t be true…unless maybe you’re Dan. Haven’t seen you around lately. But whoever you are, thanks for finally fessing up to copying my posting name! Now please get your own.

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Gardens Watcher

You’re the imposter! How sad is it you can’t get your own screen name? Take your Vitamin D everyone.

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The Real Gardens Watcher

Mask up! The end is near! Take Vitamin D! Wash your hands!

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