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Politicians to Rally Against Demolition of Astoria Key Food

Key Food Astoria (Google Maps)

May 3, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

Elected leaders and community activists will be rallying next week to prevent the demolition of the Key Food store on 31st Street, which is one of several stores slated to be demolished along the strip to make room for Target.

The rally, to take place at 2:45 p.m. on May 10 outside the 22-15 31st St. grocery store, comes after demolition permits were officially filed last month to make way for the new 47,000 square foot Target.

The stores to be bulldozed are located in a two-story brick building on 31 Street–between 23 Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard–and include Subway, Kapil bodega, a closed nail salon, a shuttered lunch venue, Cohen’s Optical, a law firm, The Rock Health & Fitness Club, and the Astoria Key Food grocery store.

The owner of the Key Food store has been in protracted negotiations to keep the location open.

“We have been trying to negotiate with the owner of the property but at this point they are quite adamant about taking the building down,” said a spokesperson for Man-Dell Foods, the franchise owner of the Key Food store. “We would like to stay there. We have been there for more than 40 years.”

The demolition plans were filed by A&H Acquisitions, the property owner, on April 8. The owner could not be reached for comment.

Council Member Costa Constantinides, who is organizing the rally along with State. Sen. Jessica Ramos, said that the store’s closure would result in the loss of union jobs as well as affordable groceries for residents.

“Dozens of union jobs are at risk if we allow Key Food on 31st Street to get muscled out of the neighborhood, depriving residents of a community staple that provides quality fresh food,” Constantinides said. “Join us on May 10 as we rally to save these jobs and this vital supermarket!”

Members of the New York grocery workers union group “UFCW Local 1500” and Community 1 will also be in attendance.

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99 Comments

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Robert S Whitlock

Key stood has been a God send for me and other local people. I am a disabled senior who dont drive who needs this store to remain open please
Thank you

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Robert S Whitlock

I am a disabled senior who needs key food to remain open.I dont drive please Help us all .thanks

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JM

Target sells better quality groceries and housewares. There won’t be a need for Key Food anymore.

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Toro

Better quality what? Housewares fall apart in good time- maybe I’ve had some target pieces for 3 years before they were discarded. They have a target in college point and I don’t knowANYONE who buys their produce from there. Grocery stores are a neighborhood staples. Your support is in the wrong corner sorry! Stop trying to (rapidly) overdevelop this quaint family orriented town thatdrew all these transplants in in the first place!!!!!!

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Astoria Born

I’m curious where all these people are supposed to park? Already without huge stores like TJ & Target a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is hell finding a spot in the vicinity or especially the parking lot behind key food. If there’s a mass at the Greek church or a holiday coming up forget it. I’ve literally circled for parking a good 30 mins just to pay the newly overpriced meter. Instead of plans for huge stores and no plans on how to accommodate shoppers maybe someone should think about a large parking structure at the very least because don’t fool yourself – no one is using those citibikes to lug their stuff home from a shopping spree. I live about a mile from 31st and by the time I park I could’ve walked quicker and the congestion is enough to make me want to move sadly.

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Yang 2020

The people downvoting your comment are hipsters because you insulted their holy grail – Citibikes.

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SuperWittySmitty

I’m not bothering to downvote you but the idea that people need to drive and park to shop in Astoria, or most of Queens, is terrible. Western Queens is already too congested and the most efficient way to get around is public transportation or by vote. (I also use my bike, have never used a Citibike.) I’ve shopped for years at the Target in Elmhurst and always managed to get home with my purchases by using the Q60. If that’s too difficult, hail a cab. We need fewer cars in Astoria.

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Toro

There are people in this neighborhood that have been driving for 50+ years. You want them to now “get with the times”? Yes, less cars is a better things but you think TARGET will promote that idea?

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Jon

Maybe they’re wondering why there’s seemingly no problem with parking at Key Foods but there is for Target.

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Harry Bingham IV

Why do people still believe this bullshit fantasy that Amazon was going to “create” 25,000 jobs? How do you know? Just because their PR department told you so? Anyone that thinks well-paying Amazon jobs would have went to Queensbridge kids is an idiot. Take a look at Silicon Valley’s workforce and see how many ghetto kids have been hired. LOL. As for Target, they are a disgusting, perverted entity that was one of the first major companies to enact the ridiculous “transgender” bathrooms. But I guess the newer Astoria residents (cowardly snowflakes) are all for that. And yes, I agree with the earlier poster, you Greeks gotta stop voting for these left-wing losers Gianaris and Simotas just because they’re Greek.

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Louis Bauso

Harry you are too angry. Stay in you own backyard when making comments. Yes jobs would be offered to queensbridge residents if they wanted them. When IKEA opened in redhook Brooklyn 12 years ago 20% of the jobs were offered and filled by redhook housing residents. Give it a chance and try and smile once in a while my friend.

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Caucasian Rascal

Since you’re both a Psychiatrist and an Amazon insider, Louis, say hello to Bezos for me the next time you two are chatting. You do realize that your ignorant comment about IKEA is ridiculous. IKEA is a RETAIL store that needs unskilled labor as low-paid “associates.” They are not hiring software engineers and coders in Red Hook, fool. And even by your own statistics, apparently 80 PERCENT of those jobs still didn’t go to kids from the projects.

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mps

Please just go away from our backyard . I want to live in a peaceful neighborhood and patronize local shopkeepers. Who by the way also hire locals.

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Jantzen Love

Exactly. Thank you for being very sensitive to other people’s needs. As a Transgender Woman, the last thing I need is a hateful “community” that is still utilizing an old-fashioned way of thinking as a license to discriminate. Let’s not hate: appreciate!

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Jon

Target is perverted because they allow transgender bathrooms and people are cowardly snowflakes for supporting it.

Got it. Makes so much sense said no one.

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Anon

GO HOME!!! STAYCATIONS & AIRBNBers need not comment on HOW WE NYers who where born here live!!! As for the elderly ASTORIA WAS A SAFE SENIOR HAVEN FOR THEM AND OUR FAMILIES TIL YOU ELITEST/Liberals Came to make a quick buck off us!!! GO HOME AND MESS UP YOUR HOME TOWN & LEAVE OURS ALONE!!! Or Go to the UK the pound is higher than the dollar there! And no crazy weather either!!! Put a Target there or ride to your Hampton Bays!!! Just STOP messing up OUR HISTORY!!! Millenials your NOT getting any younger!!! You will continue to get old no matter if you pretend your still a teen. So stop bashing seniors who prefer to live their remaining years in an Astoria they fought hard to maintain. You will be a senior to and some youngin will be trying to dictate how to live your life for a quick buck just like you are trying to do to Real Astorians/ NYers! As for being rude people. Generally people don’t appreciate being slaves for minimum wage. We work, but your condescending aditude needs to go. If you want to be treated as a Human with respect, you first need to show the people working with respect. You get what you give! We protect our neighbors and way of life! Learn to respect Astoria instead of whining. Astoria WILL NEVER BE RHODO DRIVE, BERVERLY HILLS OR THE HAMPTONS. IF YOU MISS IT SOO MUCH! Go home!!! And let True NYers be able to live without meddling tourist looking to live experiences without responsibilities.

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Mark

I’m not sure what Astoria you live in but a majority of the seniors were not born here. They came over from Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Croatia, Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria too name a few.

I’m confused about the “Astoria WILL NEVER BE RHODO DRIVE” comment. Is this even on the table as an option?

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Ana

I’m born and raised in Astoria and I can tell you it’s not all that nice! There are bars on every corner and I have drunk ppl urunating and dedicating in my alley! Let alone they like to throw the garbage can covers like frisbees… so you can keep talking about how nice it is. I’ve seen it change from 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now… it’s worse! And yes… dry well said!

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JenL

Not a huge fan of that Key Foods, but Target is not the answer. Once we lose those smaller retail spaces (not just Key Food), they are not coming back.

Corporate monolith Target does not appeal to me and I won’t be shopping there. This is not what I want for Astoria.

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Jon

I don’t want a neighborhood of only box stores. But , we can’t dictate what a property owner does within the law and also after the fact . If we want to limit store sizes / types then there needs to be zoning and ordinance laws written in advance . Not a one off each time ‘we’ don’t like something . Otherwise this can devolve into favoritism.

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Geo

I love Target. Key Food… Not so much. Overpriced and the quality was so so. Tell the Key Food owner to rent out a different spot in the neighborhood. There’s no need to stop development just because the Key Food owner wants that specific spot. Tell him to move along and find another location. Union Jobs saved and crisis is averted! Yay!

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Geo

I love Target. Key Food… Not so much. Overpriced and the quality was so so. Tell the Key Food owner to rent out a different spot in the neighborhood. There’s no need to stop development just because the Key Food owner wants that specific spot. Tell him to move along and find another location. Union Jobs saved and crisis is averted! Yay!

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Queens Resident

Let’s protect a sub-par and overpriced tiny dirty grocery store. Sounds like a great idea. Free market competition and a lack of politicians meddling in every facet of our lives would make all of New York better. Wonder why our schools suck, thank a perpetually mismanaged government.

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JOSEPH OBRIEN

I’ve been here all my life and I’ve learned to adapt by giving whatever comes along a fighting chance to prosper.I used to buy baseball cards & comics at a mom & pop store that sold egg creams, alas they are no more but the memories are still there.
I shop at Key Food, I buy on Amazon and Target and I also shop at Dollar Tree; the bottom line is who’s got the best price and is it a convenient walking distance, just keeping it real.

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Princess Vespa

Um… Idk what is right or accurate but this online newspaper has written stories about Target at the Queens Mall and I’m sorry, but we absolutely need Target in Queens. Absolutely. The little pop-up shops that call themselves Target in Manhattan are sorry excuses for the real thing. No parking, but what would you put in the car if you could park it? They have very little compared to the REAL Targets. I just hope this plot is an appropriate space FOR Target.

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Mery

What’s the problem with you going to the target 15 minutes away? You have plenty of parking and lots of other stores, key food its been there for ever, you must not be from astoria and get a driver license

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Princess Vespa

What? Who says my nearest target is 15 minutes away? I don’t have a car and the Queens place 25+ minutes and two subway trains away. Any other generalizations you want to make?

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Mery

Sorry you don’t have a car! So why you need more parking? College point has a large target, astoria is a community not a commercial center, i left astoria a year ago bc of people like you invading what once was ours.

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JDW

Its not a real target- its a small format target similar to those “manhattan pop ups.”

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William j Sherwin

It should be bulldozed!!! Rudest staff have ever seen.roots No hello no thank you for shopping here know nothing.
Only ask you “do you want a bag with that” just to save less than a nickel.. Unbelievably rude staff I do not know what planet they come from.

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Chris Obadia

The customers are also very rude and demeaning, it works both ways.

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Anonymous

Not using a bag saves more than a nickel, it saves the environment. Please try to use reusable bags. We’re killing ourselves with plastic.

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LIC137

So much yes to this, great idea, huge unused parking lot for a dead shopping center

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Eleni Marzukis

Ah yes our socialist stain making some noise. Where were you ?you slob when the development company took up space next to soho? Yeah make some noise u useless empty suit?? Where were u when the shelter opened up ?? Not one word from u. The down turn of the neighborhood has started . Grime traffic, and the trouble that brings with a large chain store. These same politicians before they held an office were in an up roar when Red lobster was to open up here some 18 yrs ago. Wonder how your the new faction of your liberal constituency will feel about that cliché??

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Craig

For the folks screaming about Amazon, didn’t seem to stop corporate giants from moving into the area. Amazon is already here (fulfillment center on Astoria Blvd). Corporations have no attachment to the neighborhood and neither do the greedy landlords who sell out at the drop of a hat. TJ Maxx, Target, etc are destroying the flavor and lifestyle of the area and will leave as soon as is becomes unprofitable to do business in Astoria. I’m for change but not for this radical takeover and not where they want to place these mega stores.

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AKay

Target does not belong here, but we do need a QUALITY and AFFORDABLE grocery store with selection. Target, TJ Max etc is not our solution. Astoria is about to loose it’s charm and no one has accommodated for parking. Where are all these cars going to park? We can’t find parking as it is. Buildings need to be updated, but we have to stay with the charm of the neighborhood, at the same time, I also agree not letting Amazon in was a big mistake!!!! Why did we raise minimum wage? Just so we can give congestion pricing and higher train/bridge tollls and taxes??? Standard of living is worse than ever.

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Yang 2020

You are contradicting yourself. You say not letting Amazon here was a big mistake, but you previously said “No one has accommodated for parking.” If that deal was to go through, imagine how parking would be then…

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Akay

I can’t comment if that deal would have accommodated for parking or not. I never saw the plans, but no one accommodated for parking in the TJ Max that will open in a few days. And there is no contradiction. People are saying that keyfood has union jobs and great benefits. The cry for more jobs is the same for Target. Amazon would have given hundreds of jobs at all employment levels.

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Princess Vespa

Ummm, Target grocery is really reasonable. You have to search a little but if you think key food is cheaper and/or better, I weep for your empty wallet.

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Anonymous

The food is not quality, not saying keyfood is. But Target is not for the location where they want to build it. Put it on Steinway street where all the empty stores are.

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Joey O.

If they win we will protest against them in stronger numbers because the real voice of the people will be heard. Not some political hack and some paid protesters like they did to Amazon in LIC.

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Dan

All those lost businesses and jobs for just one more Target store and, what, 10 minimum wage jobs? Absolutely ridiculous.

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Hyacinth Taylor

Last time that I was in this ‘Key Food’, the store looked DIRTY & DINGY!!!..TAKE IT DOWN!!!

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Princess Vespa

That picture they are displaying of it is screaming for us to tear it down.

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Mike Doyle

Don’t blink, not even a fast blink for the very fabric of our Astoria, the very essence that has given it’s charm is slowly vanishing, wait you blinked!

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Ron

Hard to imagine how a large corporate chain like Target will help the neighborhood, help other businesses or bring any benefit other than being able to buy underwear at 7PM on a Sunday. New Astorians should beware that what drew them here originally is disappearing fast.

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MICHAEL J MOORE

Stop turning Astoria into another corporate strip mall. If we don’t stop Target, what’s next? This isn’t Ohio, keep Astoria for real New Yorkers

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Hormel

I once ordered a hero at their deli counter. Dude was snacking on the deli meat while making my sandwich and clearly didn’t know how to wrap it, doubling up on the tape while leaving the ends completely open – must’ve cut class during that important lesson.

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KC

Starting a campaign to save the old Key Foods next to the train is frankly pointless and a waste of time. Theres no shortage of cheap good/ independent grocery stores in Astoria within close proximity to each other. The new Target will however put out smaller independent retail around Ditmars.

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katiemacny

Excuse me, but doesn’t Target sell food? I guess they didn’t line the right pockets to thrive in NYC.

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Efiy Katanakis

Yes but pay as little as possible no health insurance & no 401k nothing they just fill there pockets

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Debbie

Is target food cheaper than keyfood? I know there can be good sales but I wonder what stuff they would sell? And how much? Plus we love the organic section but wish it was cheaper

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Salvatore Coppola

Target has a fresh food vegetable market right in the store

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Louis Bauso

The sad thing is we are forced to change with the times. I could remember when that sight was the Astoria reck bowling alley where all us kids and teens had great times. It’s hard to keep Astoria in a time capsule. Life goes on and memories are forever. Jobs are important too.

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Ray

Costa- stick up for real astorians, not these entitled kids who are complaining. They can go back to where they came from. We need Key Food. Thank you for your work with animal rights too

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Constantine

Maybe if that Key Food had a better selection, better prices and food that was actually fresh-but it’s been going downhill for a while now. And don’t get me started on the staff-most are not efficient. So many places in that area that are a much better option.
I agree with Pat. Figure out a way to fix Steinway…

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Princess Vespa

See? There are key foods near me and their selections and prices are mediocre at best. You guys can get better at Target. AND 5% off everything with their credit card all the time. And they sell really interesting things, like almost trader Joe’s/whole foods unique things.

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Joey O.

This place is not affordable and their produce sucks always half rotten and their workers are rude and inconsiderate. Target will be welcomed here all we have are restaurants and no place to buy clothes-etc. There are plenty of supermarkets in Astoria to buy food. And trader Joe’s should come to Astoria too or whole foods because when I come home on the train that’s all I see people carrying home on the train. Paid off politicansfor key food. Plus the owners of key food the mandells use to have more stores and they didn’t care for the good people they got rid of. Only four stores left out of ten do the math.

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Jack

Target has great prices on supermarket items. The area needs it. It will revitalize all the stores struggling to survive. Target is not doing this. Target is a tenant. Stop TARGETING businesses just because they are corporate. They have the same right to free market enterprise as anyone else.

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Linda

Target will “revitalize” the area by driving up rents for the local small businesses and residential renters. Don’t be surprised when the ACTUAL amazing food suppliers in the area – Rosario’s, rose and Joe’s, parrot coffee – get pushed out by the rising rents from folks moving to Astoria for the tj Maxx and Target. Those of you focused just on cheap groceries and not on the quality local jobs and businesses and community that goes with it are making a mistake. You want Targets and trade Joe’s, move to Westchester. Astoria is for families and immigrants and communities not for giant corporations only interested in profit for their investors.

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PETER

Does anybody think of the senior citizens, KEY food is a lifeline to them & the local,s that live in the area. Do we really need Targets ????? I thought that was why we have Steinway st. for

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Scott Mendelsohn

Good for Costa Constantinides! This is a horrible disruption to the neighborhood by greedy landlords and corporations.

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Tim from Astoria

Word on the street is that Key Food decided to stop negotiating with the landlord and got the local politicians involved to try to squeeze the landlord to get them to fold. So much for capitalism…

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Andrea

Move Key Food across the street under TJMaxx. The rent is probably outrageous though.

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Jack Doe

If there’s demand for this grocery store then another one will be opened, simple as that.

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Dan P.

If there is a demand? Given the number of customers Key Food has demand. The truth is, for many area residents, especially those of us without a car and past a certain age, having a full service supermarket within a conservative walking distance is crucial. We used to have two area markets (does anyone remember the supermarket that is now Staples?) and now just Key Foods. And while it may be far from perfect, it is a known quantity to many of us. If people want to go to Target, one only has to take the N train to Manhattan and it’s almost door to door service.

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Pat Macnamara

Clueless Costa-always looking out for the little guy. Please go to Steinway street which is now a ghost town. Empty storefronts, bums, litter. New traffic lights that do nothing but cause more cars honking. Disgraceful. But let’s save the Key Food with its expired produce LOL

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Native New Yorker

The traffic lights are there to keep Steinway from turning into a drag strip.

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Pat Macnamara

LOLOLOLOLOL A drag strip? Get a clue. it was never a drag strip before the lights. But you are a herb who likes to add your 2 cents to sound important

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Caucasian Rascal

Gotta go with Macnamara on this one. Real Astoria natives know Steinway was always dead at night. Shore Boulevard was the spot. Franny Lew for those that wanted to travel. But Steinway was NEVER a drag strip.

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Gary astoria

Costa Constantinides you are such a backwards politician! You chased away 25,000 Amazon jobs that could of went to our kids coming out of school but now you are organizing a rally to keep 6 Key Food jobs.
YOU ARE A JOKE!

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Leo Zachs

Well Said! These politicians do not represent us and only care about keeping their jobs.
To all my fellow Greek and Cypriot Americans, we need to STOP supporting politicians like Constantinides, Gianaris and Simotas.
We can no longer “blindly” vote for them simply because we share the same ethnic background.
In the last 6 months, these politicians chased away 25,000 Amazon jobs, supported late term abortion and new tolls aka “congestive pricing”.
We can do better!

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Louis Bauso

Amen Leo. You hit the nail on the head. The Younger generation have some input and advice on what their views of the world should be like. However we live in the greatest country in the world and things are working fine. Self righteous individuals with personal agendas try to pressure certain politicians to get them things they think they are intitled too. Wake up and earn the things you want and not depend on your government to give hand outs. Too many politicians fold under pressure to the 1% of the population.

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Anonymous

As another Greek, I agree. We need to stop supporting these Greek losers just because they are Greek. Gianaris, gone. Constantinides, gone. Period. Bunch of useless clowns.

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Keitel

Yeah because you really want your kids working for a non-union Corp. giant.

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Manny

Yeah why not. What a ridiculous comment. It would be an entry job not a career.

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Louis Bauso

Hay Gary I agree with your comment. Looking to save 6 union jobs doesn’t measure up to loosing 25k Amazon jobs that would have pumped billions of dollars into the Queens economy. Wake up politicians and stop being pressured by special interest groups agendas.

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