Elizabeth Crowley

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Elizabeth Crowley
Elizabeth Crowley 2011.jpg
Member of the New York City Council from the 30th district
In office
January 1, 2009 – December 31, 2017
Preceded byAnthony Como
Succeeded byRobert Holden
Personal details
Born (1977-11-27) November 27, 1977 (age 41)
Queens, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Dennis O'Hara (divorced)
Alma mater
WebsiteOfficial website

Elizabeth Crowley (born November 27, 1977) is an American politician. She was previously the New York City Council member for the 30th district from 2009 to 2017, representing the neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, and parts of Woodside and Woodhaven, in the borough of Queens.[1] Crowley is both the first woman and first Democrat to hold the seat.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Crowley was born in Queens to a large and civically-active family. The 14th of 15 siblings,[3] Crowley joins multiple members of her extended family who have held elected office over the years.

Family portrait of Walter and Mary Crowley and children (Elizabeth is on her father's lap)

Her father, Walter, was a local Democratic District Leader and City Council Member during the 1980s.[4] Crowley's mother, Mary, served on the local School Board 24 for a number of years.[5] Following Walter's death in office in 1985, Mary was tapped to finish out the remainder of his term. This makes Crowley the third member of her immediate family to serve in the City Council.[6]

Crowley is the cousin of former U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley, Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Democratic Party chair in Queens county.[7][8]

Crowley has an M.S. in City and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute's Graduate School of Architecture and a B.A. magna cum laude in Restoration and Preservation from SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, where she was a Presidential Scholar.[9] Crowley did historic preservation work on various major landmarks through New York City, including Radio City Music Hall, Empire Theatre, and St. Patrick's Cathedral.[10][11] She is a member of District Council 9 International Union of Painters and Allied Trades.[3] Crowley also briefly worked as an educator.[10]


City Council elections[edit]

On March 17, 2008, Republican City Council Member Dennis P. Gallagher resigned from office after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse stemming from a 2007 incident in which an intoxicated Gallagher forced himself upon an unidentified 52-year-old woman inside his Middle Village District Office.[12] Mayor Michael Bloomberg subsequently called a special election for the following June 3 to fill Gallagher's vacant seat. On May 8, Crowley officially announced her candidacy, joining a crowded field that included Gallagher's predecessor Tom Ognibene, a Republican who held the seat until term-limited from office in 2001,[13] city Elections Board Commissioner Anthony Como, civic leader Charles Ober, and attorney Joseph Suraci.[14] Crowley and Como received the backing of the county Democrat and Republican parties, respectively, with Ober picking up the Independence Party line.[15][16] Como eked out a victory over Crowley with a margin of just 41 votes.[17]

Four months after Como's close victory, Como faced Crowley in the 2008 general election. Crowley anticipated to benefit from a higher turnout due to the historic candidacy of Barack Obama in a district where Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.[17] On election day, Crowley defeated Como by 4,369 votes.[6]

For the third time in 17 months, Crowley ran for the 30th District during the 2009 citywide elections.[18] This time, Crowley faced Ognibene, who had sat out the second 2008 race after the county Republicans passed him over by endorsing Como, despite his stated interest in running.[19] The race quickly turned heated, with Ognibene criticizing Crowley's brief tenure in the Council as "ineffective," while the Democrat in turn painted her 65-year-old challenger as "out of touch."[20] In the end, Crowley proved the stronger candidate, out-fundraising Ognibene and easily beating him in the November election.[21]

In the 2017 New York City elections, Robert Holden defeated Crowley by 137 votes.[22] Holden, a Democrat, had previously lost to Crowley in the primary, but several other parties offered Holden their ballot line in the general and Holden ran as a Republican, Conservative, Reform and "Dump de Blasio" candidate.[23]

Election history
Location Year Election Results
NYC Council
District 30
2001 Democratic Primary √ Elizabeth Crowley 45.94%
Linda Sansivieri 32.35%
Robert Cermeli 21.71%
NYC Council
District 30
2001 General Dennis Gallagher (R) 58.89%
Elizabeth Crowley (D) 40.20%
Sharain Pereira (Green) .91%
NYC Council
District 30
2008 Special Anthony Como (R) 31.64%
Elizabeth Crowley (D) 31.11%
Tom Ognibene (R) 27.34%
Charles Ober (D) 9.92%
NYC Council
District 30
2009 General √ Elizabeth Crowley (D) 59.76%
Tom Ognibene (R) 40.23%
New York 6 2012 Democratic Primary Grace Meng 52.98%
Rory Lancman 25.33%
Elizabeth Crowley 16.46%
Robert Mittman 5.23%
NYC Council
District 30
2012 General √ Elizabeth Crowley (D) 58.94%
Craig Caruana (R) 40.96%
NYC Council
District 30
2017 General Robert Holden (C) 49.60%
Elizabeth Crowley (D) 49.40%

Legislative work[edit]

In 2010, when the city faced serious budget cuts and Bloomberg Administration planned to close as many as 20 firehouses,[24] Crowley, as Chair of the Council Committee on Fire & Criminal Justice, led a coalition of elected officials and community members to stop the planned closures.[25] Crowley has taken both the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations to task to improve the reliability of the city's 911 system.[26]

Crowley led a fight to preserve and expand City health services for women.[27] Crowley has also sponsored legislation to expand access to HPV vaccinations, birth control and other women's health services.[28] Crowley has pushed the FDNY to double the number of women serving as firefighters in her efforts to improve gender equality among the city's emergency services.[29] In an effort to bring more women to leadership roles in corporations, Crowley sponsored legislation requiring companies receiving city contracts to report the gender and racial makeup of their board members and executives.[30]

Owing to her background in historic preservation, Crowley has worked to protect important local landmarks. In 2013, Crowley joined advocates in successfully lobbying the city's New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to confer landmark status on the century-old Forest Park Carousel, one of the last works of master carver Daniel Carl Muller, [31][32] culminated a 40-year battle by the Woodhaven community to secure official landmark status for the beloved carousel.[33]

That same year, Crowley oversaw the reopening of a nature preserve at the former Ridgewood Reservoir, a decommissioned 19th Century reservoir located in Highland Park on the BrooklynQueens border. This represented the culmination of a years-long effort by Crowley to maintain the site's natural character.[34] The city Parks Department under Mayor Bloomberg had previously announced a number of proposals that would have limited public access to the site and installed sports facilities and comfort stations in two of the reservoir's three basins.[35][36] However, in response to strong local opposition and a petition garnering over 1,000 signatures, Crowley joined with fellow elected officials in writing to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to oppose the city's plan.[37] Crowley subsequently secured Council funding towards a $7 million renovation that preserved the site as a nature area, while installing new fencing and lighting, and repaving walkways.

In November 2016, Crowley presided over a ceremony to official inaugurate the Central Ridgewood Historic District, a 40-block area including nearly 1,000 historic homes and buildings. At the time of its designation, Central Ridgewood is the largest historic district in the borough of Queens, and the third largest in the city after Manhattan's Greenwich Village and Brooklyn's Sunset Park.[38]

Neir's Tavern (1898)

Starting in 2015, Crowley joined preservationists and local residents in mounting a campaign to landmark historic Neir's Tavern in Woodhaven. Considered to be the oldest bar in the city,[39] it has been a neighborhood watering hole for more than 180 years[40] and was prominently featured in the Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas.[41] In May 2016, Crowley attended a rally at the Tavern with more than 100 local residents to call on the LPC to recognize the building. Crowley criticized the body for falling to prioritize the landmarking of historic sites in the borough.[33] The proposal was rejected by the LPC, according to the bar's owner, because "Neir's Tavern does not rise to the level of significance to warrant landmark status" and that landmark status would not protect the site from future development.[42]

In August 2016, city officials announced plans to house 110 homeless adult families at a Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth. Crowley declared her opposition to the planned shelter, noting the impact on the community of two existing homeless shelters along Queens Boulevard and pledging to "[work] with community leaders and residents" to halt the Maspeth proposal.[43] The following week, New York City Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Steve Banks held a public meeting to present the plan to the community, drawing more than 1,000 residents opposed to the plan. Crowley also addressed the crowd, reiterating her opposition to the plan.[44][45]

Personal life[edit]

Crowley was married to Dennis O'Hara, a New York City police officer. They have two sons, Dennis and Owen. She lives in Glendale with her sons.[46]


  1. ^ 30th District, New York City Council "New York City Council". Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  2. ^ Irish Echo 40 Under 40 - 2011. "Elizabeth Crowley". The Irish Echo. Retrieved December 2, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Council Biography "Elizabeth Crowley". Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  4. ^ No author (September 25, 1985). "Walter H. Crowley, 53, Dies; A Councilman From Queens". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  5. ^ Elizabeth Crowley, City Council District 30. "Candidate Profile". New York City Campaign Finance Board. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Lombardi, F. (January 9, 2009). "City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley carrying on a family tradition". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  7. ^ Rahman, R. (September 8, 2016). "Decades-Old House Democratic Leadership Likely to Remain Intact". Roll Call. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  8. ^ Hicks, J. (November 5, 2008). "Democrat Wins Queens Council Race". The New York Times. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
  9. ^ Voter Guide, 2009 General."30th City Council District". New York City Campaign Finance Board. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  10. ^ a b "Candidate Profile". New York City Campaign Finance Board. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Hamilton, C. (May 18, 2012). "Elizabeth Crowley Positions Herself as Queens' Blue-Collar Congressional Candidate". WNYC. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  12. ^ Baker, A., & Hicksmarch, J. P. (March 18, 2008). "Admitting Sexual Abuse, City Councilman Resigns". The New York Times. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  13. ^ Paybarah, A. (May 20, 2008). "Re-Elect Ognibene?". New York Observer. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  14. ^ Duke, N. (May 8, 2008). "Crowley officially joins race for Gallagher's Council seat". Astoria Times. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Benjamin, E. (June 4, 2008). "Como and Crowley in too-close-to-call race". Juniper Berry Magazine. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  16. ^ Paybarah, P. (May 22, 2008)."Queens Special Election: Ober Gets Independence, Como and Ognibene Get Money". New York Observer. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Hogwood, B. (October 23, 2008). "Como, Crowley prepare for rematch". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Lauinger, J. (August 4, 2009). "Elizabeth Crowley hopes reelection for Council seat will mean break from ongoing campaign". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  19. ^ Hogwood, B. (May 21, 2009). "Ognibene to challenge Crowley in council race". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  20. ^ Colangelo, L. (October 19, 2009) "Gloves come off for Ognibene, Crowley in fiery City Council fight for 30th". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Walsh, J. (November 5, 2009). "Crowley easily beats Ognibene". TimesLedger. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  22. ^ "Bob Holden winning Queens City Council race after vote tally". Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  23. ^ Max, Ben. "Candidates for 2017 City Elections". Retrieved November 16, 2017.
  24. ^ Kramer, M. (May 18, 2011). "Bloomberg Relents, Releases List Of Fire Houses Facing Ax". WCBS-TV. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  25. ^ Jaccarino, M. (June 24, 2010). "Ruben Diaz Jr., Elizabeth Crowley call on Mayor Bloomberg to avert Bronx firehouse closings". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  26. ^ Durkin, E. (March 27, 2014). "The city's new method of tracking ambulance response times to 911 shows lengthier waits for help". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  27. ^ NY1 News (June 16, 2015). "Queens Leaders Call For Restored Funding For Women's Health Programs". NY1. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  28. ^ Guidice, A. (December 8, 2016). "Queens lawmaker fighting to protect NYC women's access to HPV vaccine & birth control". Queens Courier. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  29. ^ Turner, K. (December 10, 2014). "City to FDNY: Hire More Women Firefighters". New York Observer. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
  30. ^ No author (April 7, 2016). "Catalyst Receives Proclamation from New York City Council, Applauds Passage of Bill Promoting Greater Diversity on Boards". Catalyst. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  31. ^ Colangelo, L. (May 13, 2013). "Landmarks Preservation Commission to open landmarking procedure for historic Forest Park carousel". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  32. ^ Thomson, M. (June 26, 2014) "Woodhaven Developments". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  33. ^ a b No author (May 11, 2016)."Rally Held to Landmark Neir's Tavern". Queens Gazette. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  34. ^ Greene, C. (October 8, 2009). "Questions Over City's Plan for Ridgewood Reservoir". The Forum. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  35. ^ La Guerre, L. (July 2, 2013). "Ridgewood Reservoir plans met with mixed reaction". Queens Courier. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  36. ^ La Guerra, L. (October 15, 2013). "Ridgewood Reservoir reopens after renovations". Queens Courier. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  37. ^ Kern-Jedrychowska, E. (September 8, 2014). "Revamped City Plan Would Preserve Ridgewood Reservoir". DNAinfo.com. Archived from the original on January 12, 2017. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  38. ^ Barca, C. (November 10, 2016). "Central Ridgewood is finally deemed 'historic'". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  39. ^ Colangelo, L. (February 24, 2015). "NYC BAR WAR: Neir's, McSorley's battle of which is older". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  40. ^ Carlson, J. (February 26, 2015). "Neir's Tavern, NYC's Oldest Bar That You've Never Been To". Gothamist. Archived from the original on November 8, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  41. ^ No author "Neir's Tavern website". Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  42. ^ Hallum, M. (July 1, 2016). "Neir's Tavern Shot Down by LPC". TimesLedger. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  43. ^ Barca, C. (August 3, 2016). "Maspeth Holiday Inn eyed for homeless shelter". Queens Chronicle. Retrieved December 14, 2016.
  44. ^ Barca, C. (August 12, 2016). "Maspeth erupts in protest of homeless shelter plan". Queens Chronicle. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  45. ^ Whitfield, E. (August 12, 2016). "Video: Queens Community Says Proposed Shelter Residents Should "Go Back To East New York"". Gothamist. Archived from the original on November 16, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  46. ^ Campaign website. "About Elizabeth". Retrieved December 15, 2016.

External links[edit]

Political offices

Preceded by
Anthony Como
New York City Council, 30th District
Succeeded by
Robert Holden