April 6, 2014 By Christian Murray
Community Board 2, which represents Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City, is getting an injection of young blood.
Four new members were appointed to the 50-member board Thursday, following some recent departures. The board, which is known for having very little turnover, plays an influential advisory role in reviewing new developments and in the issuance of liquor licenses.
The new members include three people below the age of 30, with the fourth being a woman in her mid 30s, who will become the board’s only bar/restaurant owner.
The appointees, who were selected by Queens Borough president Melinda Katz, were based on the recommendations of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. All new appointments to Queens’ community boards are made either by a sitting councilman or the Queens Borough president.
Van Bramer said he wanted to bring on some young people.
“I made a concerted effort to bring younger people on to the community board,” Van Bramer said. “I feel strongly about young people getting involved into civic process.”
Van Bramer, who views turnover as good, said new people provide fresh ideas and new viewpoints.
The board tends to have many older, long-serving members–since there are no term limits and individuals only lose their spots if they leave the district or have very poor attendance records.
Van Bramer said he recommended Juan Carlos Rivera, a 20-year-old resident of Woodside, who is currently attending Baruch College to the board. Van Bramer said he met Rivera when he was the president of student government at Information Technology High School in Long Island City. “He is very smart and very mature for his age.”
Rivera was joined Thursday by Jordan Levine, 25, from Sunnyside. Levine recently worked for State Sen. Daniel Squadron and in that role would attend community board meetings in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Dana Frankel, 29, who lives and works in Long Island City, joined the board. She is the Director of Economic Development for the Long Island City Partnership, where she organizes events and monitoring the activities of the area.
“I’ve been impressed with her work,” Van Bramer said about Frankel. “She is also extremely dedicated to the community.”
Rebecca Trent, the owner of the Creek and the Cave, will be the only bar/restaurant owner to be on the board. Trent, 36, who is also the head of LIC Eateries ( a group of LIC bars/restaurants), has been in talks for a few years to get on the board. However, with the lack of turnover she has had to wait.
“I thought it was outrageous that there was not one restaurant owner on the community board, especially with all the SLA (State Liquor Authority) issues and discussions about back yard use [in Long Island City},” she said.
Van Bramer said she had a very compelling case and that is why he wanted her on the board.
Van Bramer said that Trent has been invaluable in bringing the fight to the MTA concerning the lack of weekend 7 train service this year.
Each new member will be meeting with Community Board 2 chair Joseph Conley. Conley will assign each members to a committee.