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De Blasio to seek support for lower-cost housing in Queens

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during an event on Nov. 10, 2014 in Brooklyn. Credit: Getty Images / Ilya S. Savenok

Mayor Bill de Blasio expects to change Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's mind about building below-market-rate homes atop rail yards in Sunnyside, Queens.

Speaking a day after Cuomo shot down de Blasio's plan to put 11,250 units of more affordable housing above the Sunnyside Yards, he told WNYC radio's Brian Lehrer he's "hopeful."

"I think we're going to find a way forward here," the mayor said Wednesday. "I think as we talk to the governor's folks, we talk to MTA, we'll find a way towards the kind of vision that works for everyone."

Two hours after de Blasio unveiled the proposal Tuesday during his State of the City address, Cuomo's spokeswoman said in a statement that the acres owned by the MTA are not available.

Much of the site is owned by Amtrak, which has been supportive of the plan, and a majority of the air rights to the MTA's portion is owned by the city, though any project can't interfere with railroad operations.

De Blasio cited mass-housing developments such as Stuyvesant Town as success stories.

"Some people have a knee-jerk reaction, 'Oh, we can't do things like that' or 'We shouldn't do things like that anymore,' " he said. "I think leaders are supposed to lead. We're supposed to point a way."

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