Paul Vallone, a former member of the New York City Council who worked tirelessly on behalf of co-ops and condos in his northeast Queens district, died early Sunday morning after suffering a heart attack. He was 56.
Warren Schreiber, head of the Queens-based Presidents Co-op & Condo Council and a good friend of Vallone's, was with him at an event on Saturday, hours before he suffered the fatal heart attack. Schreiber tells the Queens Chronicle that Vallone was "happy" and "upbeat" when he saw him, adding that his sudden death is "a big blow to the community."
Vallone was elected to the city council in 2014 from District 19 in northeast Queens. In the summer of 2017, Habitat reported that two of the nine co-ops in the massive Bay Terrace Cooperative in Queens had, with a push from Vallone, purchased the land their buildings stand on. Other land-lease co-ops in the development eventually followed suit.
“This is a historic land purchase, not just in northeast Queens, but the whole city,” Vallone told Habitat at the time. “Once all the other sections have finalized their land purchases, over 1,800 families of Bay Terrace will have complete control of their destiny and future for the first time.”
In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began battering the city, Vallone fought to make co-ops eligible for federal Paycheck Protection Program funds, which succeeded in funneling millions of dollars into cooperatives and helped them meet payrolls amid the economic ravages of the pandemic.
Education was another of Vallone's causes. He helped reinstate the New York City Council Merit Scholarship, also known as the Peter F. Vallone Academic Scholarship, through which qualified students could receive up to $350 per semester. He also worked to add 4,500 school seats in District 19, including an upcoming elementary school in Bay Terrace. Vallone also spearheaded a decade-long effort to renovate Bowne Park, which was finally completed last spring.
After serving the maximum two four-year terms, Vallone stepped down from the city council in 2021 At the time of his death he was serving as deputy commissioner of the city's Department of Veterans' Services.
He comes from a long line of public servants. He was the son of Peter Vallone Sr., the city council's first speaker, and the grandson of Charles Vallone Sr., former civil court judge. Paul's brother, Peter Jr., succeeded their father on the council before following in their grandfather's footsteps and joining the civil court bench.
Praise for Paul Vallone's years of public service was unequivocal, and it came from all quarters.
"Throughout his time in office, the blue-collar community he represented knew they had a fighter from the neighborhood representing them in City Hall," Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who served with Vallone on the city council, added: "Paul didn't just carry on his family's immense legacy of service — he personified and embodied it."
Vallone is survived by his wife Anna-Marie, son Charlie, and daughters Catena and Lea.
Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1, from 2 to 9 p.m. at Joseph Farenga and Sons funeral home, located at 38-08 Ditmars Blvd in Astoria, Queens. The funeral will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Andrew Avelino Catholic Church, located at 35-60 158 St. in Flushing, Queens. A burial service will follow at Calvary Cemetery at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either St. Mary’s Hospital For Children or the Alzheimer’s Association.
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