(May 1, 2023 at 1pm)

QUEENS, NY – Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. delivered his State of the Borough address on Friday, April 28, at Queens Theatre in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, highlighting the significant progress his administration has made, and continues to make, to build a stronger, fairer and more prosperous Queens.

The text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, can be found here. Photos of the program can be found here.

Below is a detailed breakdown of the highlights of Borough President Richards’ address.


  • Touted nearly $19 million in capital funding he has allocated to Queens hospitals over the course of his administration, supporting project such as new MRI and ultrasound machines at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, a 22-bed ICU at Mount Sinai Queens, a new operating room suite and NICU at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, and additional state-of-the-art equipment at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital.
  • Celebrated the approval of a 32-year lease for a new, $30 million NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health facility in Far Rockaway, which will help alleviate longstanding health care inequities on the Rockaway Peninsula.
  • Detailed on his own personal experience with mental health struggles, as he discussed his administration providing $2 million worth of free mental health service to Queens residents.
  • Detailed his office’s leadership in the realms of gender justice and the fundamental human right to abortion care, which has been relentlessly attacked by the Supreme Court and other right-wing extremists.
  • Expressed his ardent support for the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) and all our healthcare workers in their pushes to secure fair pay and safe working conditions.


  • Championed signing off on more than 4,600 units of affordable housing during his tenure as Borough President.
  • Called on the Department of City Planning to launch a Jamaica Neighborhood Planning Study, in an effort to develop a holistic, community-led look at how to make Jamaica and nearby neighborhoods the premiere live, work, and play area in the city.
  • Highlighted the transformational potential of several Borough President-involved projects on the Rockaway Peninsula, including Arverne East, Edgemere Commons, Resilient Edgemere and Rockaway Village.
  • Discussed his joint effort with Empire State Development to holistically redevelop 50 vacant acres of land on the Creedmoor campus in Eastern Queens.
  • Dove deep into the redevelopment of Willets Point into a true live-work-play destination that will include a Major League Soccer stadium and 2,500 units of affordable housing — the city’s largest 100 percent affordable housing project in four decades.
  • Touted his success in securing 1,400 affordable housing units, including 500 units to be priced at less than $1,000 per month, as part of the Innovation QNS project in Astoria.
  • Stressed the importance of taking immediate action to develop underutilized lots like Anable Basin and Sunnyside Yards.
  • Called for the full funding of NYCHA and for ensuring that all NYCHA families can access the state’s emergency rental assistance program.


  • Called on the city and state to better connect travelers to LaGuardia Airport by establishing ferry service to the airport, exploring Bus Rapid Transit and considering an extension of the N subway line.
  • Demanded the state immediately expand the CityTicket commuter rail line program to Far Rockaway, giving residents of that community the same access to discounted off-peak ticket prices that residents in every other neighborhood in the city have.
  • Called for the Fair Fares half-price bus and subway fare discount program to be expanded to include the LIRR.
  • Pushed for construction to begin soon on the Interborough Express, a light rail service that would connect Jackson Heights, Queens with Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.


  • Expressed pride in the redevelopment of LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, which will continue to create thousands of good-paying jobs, generate billions of dollars in wages and connect Queens-based businesses to hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.
  • Announced that last week, five winners had been awarded $20,000 each in seed funding for their start-up companies as part of his historic Queens Tech + Innovation Challenge.
  • Championed his establishment of Operation Urban Sustainability, a working group of environmentalists, clean energy leaders, community-based organizations, transit advocates and others, which recently released a report that outlines a holistic approach toward environmental justice, flood prevention and more.
  • Touted the historic success of voluntary curbside composting in Queens and called for the program to become mandatory.
  • Demanded that the Army Corps of Engineers expedite work on a $52 billion sea gate project that will help flood-proof communities facing Jamaica Bay.
  • Stressed the need to move quickly to close the insidious jails on Rikers Island and to convert the island into the city’s next great renewable energy hub.


  • Announced he has allocated more than $22 million in capital funds to Queens public schools and an additional $10 million to CUNY colleges.
  • Called for the establishment of universal free afterschool programming for all of our city’s young people.
  • Announced his partnership with Vaughn College to support its Drone Pilot Pipeline, a five-course program at Vaughn College where high school students can earn college credits and drone pilot certificates. Starting next year, the Queens Borough President’s Office will cover the cost of the fifth course and the Federal Aviation Administration’s final test for up to 25 students.
  • Promoted his “Civics in the Classroom” initiative, which brings the Borough President’s office directly into Queens schools with programs that teach children how they can contribute to their communities by being civically engaged.


  • Championed the imminent opening of the new 116th Precinct, for which he secured $104 million for the construction of stationhouse that will bring police and community together through the inclusion of a community center and a beautiful new public plaza.
  • Praised the work of the borough’s violence interrupters.
  • Noted that the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway was one of just two precincts in the entire city where crime fell in 2022.


  • Called for making Diwali a holiday in our public school system, which will educate our children about the beauty of South Asian culture.
  • Announced a partnership with the Queens Jewish Community Council to build Queens’ first Holocaust memorial at Borough Hall.


  • Announced he has appointed 320 new community board members during his tenure.
  • Expressed pride that Queens community boards now more closely resemble the communities they serve, with more people of color sitting on Queens community boards than ever before and with more than half of his new appointees being women.
  • Touted the success of the Queens Nonprofit Network, which has connected more than 200 Queens nonprofits with a total of $500,000 in public and private dollars to support their programming.

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