Tag Archives: Maspeth

Fun days for the whole family scheduled in Glendale and Maspeth this month

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/Maspeth Federal Savings

September’s arrival may mean the end of summer vacation for children across Queens, but that doesn’t mean the end of summer fun.

Organizations in Glendale and Maspeth are planning to hold two special days of free activities this month for children of all ages in both communities.

First, the Kiwanis Club of Glendale will hold its annual Community Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, on the center green of the Shops at Atlas Park, located off the intersection of Cooper Avenue and 80th Street.

Games, inflatable rides and live entertainment are planned, and the Kiwanis Club will offer food and beverages to all guests. Additionally, the club will give away 200 backpacks filled with school supplies to local children.

Happy faces will also fill the parking lot of Maspeth Federal Savings bank’s main branch on Sunday, Sept. 20, as the bank holds its annual “Smile on Maspeth Day” celebration. The festivities will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine, off the intersection of 69th Street and Grand Avenue; admission is free.

Children will get the chance to enjoy a day of games, arts and crafts, rides, face painting and other activities. They can also get up close with some young farm animals at a free petting zoo.

For more information, call Maspeth Federal at 718-335-1300.


Police issue warning after burglary rash strikes 104th Precinct area

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Open windows and unlocked doors contributed to seven of nine burglaries that occurred within a four-day period last month in the 104th Precinct’s confines, according to police.

In an Aug. 30 email to civic leaders that the Ridgewood Times obtained, Det. Thomas Bell of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit stated that eight of the break-ins between Aug. 23 and Aug. 26 occurred in Ridgewood and Glendale, while the other took place in Maspeth.

The first burglary occurred in Ridgewood between 3 and 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 23, when unidentified suspects entered a location on the 8000 block of Cypress Avenue. The following day, two apartments on the 900 block of Onderdonk Avenue were hit by burglars sometime after 2:30 p.m.

Three other break-ins in Ridgewood occurred on Aug. 25, with two incidents happening between 6:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on the 1800 block of Cornelia St.; and the other between 11:30 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on the 1800 block of Centre St. In each case, Bell said, the culprit(s) entered through a window. The Maspeth burglary also occurred on Aug. 25 between 7 a.m. and 10:15 p.m. at a dry cleaners on the 6000 block of 56th Road; in that incident, police said, the crooks entered through an unlocked rear door.

Finally, two apartments on the 6400 block of 74th Avenue in Glendale were visited by burglars between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 26. In both instances, the suspect(s) reportedly entered through open windows.

Police continue to search for the suspects responsible. Bell indicated the burglaries may have been prevented if the homeowners remembered to properly secure their windows and doors before leaving the premises.

“Taking a minute to check your windows can make the difference between you being the victim of a burglary and that burglar moving on to another location,” he wrote. “Please take the time to check your windows before you leave your home. I am not saying this is going to stop a determined criminal, but I am saying it will make it more difficult for the criminal.”

The 104th Precinct also encourages residents in the area to take advantage of free home security screenings offered by its Crime Prevention Unit. During the screenings arranged with the homeowner or tenant, officers inspect the premises and offer advice on ways residents can make improvements to keep potential criminals away.

For more information or to sign up for a free survey, call Police Officers Brenda Hyatt or Edwin Collado of the Crime Prevention Unit at 718-386-6223.

Anyone who has information about the burglary rash that could prove helpful should call the 104th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-386-2735; anyone who witnesses a possible burglary in progress should call 911 immediately.


Queens remembers victims of 9/11 attacks at upcoming ceremonies

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com


Fourteen years after the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history, residents across Queens will remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, at memorial vigils scheduled to take place over the next two weeks.

As in past years, family members of the 2,977 people who died either in or responding to the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 will gather at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning, Sept. 11, for the city’s annual memorial service. A citywide moment of silence will be observed at 8:46 a.m., the time when the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

In Queens, tributes to the attack victims will be held on Sept. 11 and in days preceding and following the anniversary. They include the following, listed in chronological order:


With the Manhattan skyline in the background, Maspeth Memorial Park again hosts the community’s annual 9/11 memorial ceremony on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 9. The vigil will start at 11 a.m. in the park located at 69th Street and Grand Avenue, adjacent to the Maspeth Federal Savings bank. The program includes prayers, music and a wreath-laying at the park’s monument to the 9/11 victims.

Astoria Heights

Victims of the 9/11 attacks will be honored in a special way at the memorial service that the United Community Civic Association and the Port Authority will hold on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 10, at McManus Memorial Park in Astoria Heights. The annual tribute takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the park located on 81st Street at the Grand Central Parkway service road. Elected officials, religious leaders and members of the Port Authority and local law enforcement are expected to participate.


Members of three western Queens communities will honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks at a candlelight vigil on Sept. 11 at Doughboy Playground in Woodside. The event, organized jointly by the Hunters Point, United Forties and Woodside civic associations and Woodside on the Move, will occur from 6 to 9 p.m. at the park located on Woodside Avenue between 55th and 56th streets.

Bayside Hills

All are invited to join the Bayside Hills Civic Association in honoring the victims of 9/11 at its annual candlelight vigil on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. at the corner of Bell Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway.

Forest Hills

The Forest Hills Community and Civic Association will co-sponsor a candlelight vigil on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Remsen Cemetery Park, located at the corner of Trotting Course Lane and Alderton Street, just north of Metropolitan Avenue. The annual vigil pays special tribute to three local residents who died on 9/11: firefighter Pete Nelson, Gregory Hoffman and Richard Allen Pearlman, a member of the Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Middle Village

Juniper Valley Park will again play host to the annual Middle Village 9/11 Candlelight Vigil on Sept. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the ballfields located near the park’s 9/11 memorial, off the intersection of 78th Street and Juniper Boulevard South. All attendees are asked to bring a lawn chair and a candle or a flashlight.

East Elmhurst

St. Michael’s Cemetery will again hold its annual “Remember Me Run” on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12, to honor the first responders who died while responding to the World Trade Center attack. The 2-mile run through the cemetery, which raises funds to support the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund, will begin promptly at 2 p.m. and conclude with a memorial service. Click here more information or to register for the run.


The 42 residents of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Woodhaven who died in the World Trade Center attacks will be honored at the annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Glendale on Sunday, Sept. 13. The tribute takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the 9/11 Memorial Garden at Dry Harbor Playground, located at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and 80th Street. The ceremony will include prayers, music and a recitation of the 42 victims’ names.

Tribute in Light

Another tribute to the 9/11 victims will be visible to thousands of Queens residents at sundown on Sept. 11 when the Tribute In Light — twin beams of light representing the former Twin Towers’ place in the Manhattan skyline — will be illuminated from Lower Manhattan. The lights will remain on through the night before fading away at sunrise on Sept. 12.


Maspeth’s Knockdown Center to premiere opera inspired by Hurricane Sandy victims

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Anna Groth Shive

Nearly three years after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of south Queens, music collective thingNY will be using a unique art form to explore the reactions of individuals affected by the superstorm.

The opera “This Takes Place Close By” will premiere at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth on Sept. 24 to 27 and will follow the lives of six individuals whose lives are completely changed after the natural disaster.

Formed in 2006, thingNY is a group of composer-performers who combine electronic and chamber music with opera, improvisation, theater, text, song and installation.

The collective’s latest opera will take the audience through five scenes that include a woman crushed under a building, a FEMA executive experiencing victimhood, a musician in the process of holding a relief concert and a shop owner who continues to rebuild storm after storm.

The collective hopes to address issues such as voyeurism, the anxiety of privilege and the emotional distance humans keep between themselves and disasters in the 50,000-square-foot space.

“This Takes Place Close By” will be directed by Ashley Tata and performed by Gelsey Bell, Andrew Livingston, Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder and Jeffrey Young. The opera takes place at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24, and 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To purchase tickets online, visit the Knockdown Center website.


WWE Superstar John Cena grants Maspeth boy’s wish

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the Lanzer family

To wrestling fans around the world WWE Superstar John Cena is known for being a 15-time world champion, but outside of the ring he is best known for his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. On Monday night Cena set the record for most celebrity wishes at 500, by making an 8-year-old boy from Maspeth’s dream come true.

Last week Cena surprised Rocco Lanzer, who was diagnosed with acute t-cell lymphoblastic leukemia in January, on the set of the “Today” show with tickets to “Monday Night Raw” at the Barclays Center and a championship belt.

“He was ecstatic. He was at a loss for words,” said Maria Lanzer, Rocco’s mother. “He was walking on cloud nine and still is. John Cena is his favorite. He enjoys everything about the WWE, but John Cena is his number one favorite.”

As part of his wish, Rocco played games with Cena at a party at a Dave & Buster’s restaurant and joined Cena in ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.

“Mommy, I can’t believe I met John Cena and I played games with him at Dave & Busters,” Rocco told his mother.

Before Monday’s edition of “Raw,” Cena took Rocco backstage to meet several other WWE Superstars, get autographs and snap photos with some of his favorites.

“He got to meet a lot of the wrestlers. He got autographs and took pictures,” Lanzer said. “He got to walk down the entrance ramp with John Cena as his music was playing. After the show, John met with us outside of our limo and told Rocco to keep up the good spirits and to write to him. He shook his hand and gave him a hug.”

Cena’s motto of “never give up” is more than just a catchphrase; it has become a beacon of hope for children who are going through difficult times. Rocco has seen his share of tough times, receiving chemotherapy regularly three to four times a week, as well as blood transfusions when his blood counts become too low, Lanzer said.

“From the beginning I was telling him to never give up and he said, ‘That’s what John Cena says,” and I told him, “See, if John Cena says it you can’t give up,’” Lanzer recalled. “The motto fits for Rocco’s case. He is going through treatments like a champ.”

The Lanzers were very grateful to Cena for helping their child’s wish come true.

“Throughout his treatment and all the bumps in the road, it was great to see him smile. It lifted his spirts so much,” Lanzer said. “Meeting his hero and being there last night, seeing the smile on his face makes me and my husband so grateful for everyone who was involved with his wish. We were so happy and crying because he got to meet his idol and his role model.”

John Cena wore the loom bracelet Rocco made for him in ring, which added more to Rocco’s happiness that night, Lanzer added.

“His smile was from ear to ear all night,” she said. “John Cena has his heart in every wish he grants, which makes it more special. It was a chance of a lifetime and I would love to give a shoutout to Make-A-Wish and the WWE for granting his wish.”


Public invited to September participatory budgeting meetings in 30th Council District

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Now that participatory budgeting is coming to the 30th Council DistrictCity Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is inviting the public to attend neighborhood meetings where they can have their voices heard on upcoming capital budget ideas.

Through the participatory budgeting process, residents of the 30th Council District — which includes all or parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside — will gather to brainstorm and then vote on a number of proposed capital budget projects for their community, including street resurfacing, street tree planting, park improvements and more.

Crowley has released a list of dates through September of when and where community members can meet with her to discuss the process of participatory budgeting.

Those dates and locations are as follows:

  • Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Frank Kowalinski Post, 61-57 Maspeth Ave., Maspeth, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Ridgewood Library, 2012 Madison St., Ridgewood, at 2:30 p.m.;
  • Monday, Sept. 14, at the Wynwood Gardens Civic Association meeting, 70-31 48th Ave., Woodside, at 7 p.m.;
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Maspeth Town Hall, 53-37 72nd St., Maspeth, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Ridgewood YMCA located at 69-02 64th St., Ridgewood, at 1 p.m.;
  • Thursday, Sept. 24, at P.S. 87, 67-54 80th St., Middle Village, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Monday, Sept. 28, at Redeemer Lutheran School located at 69-26 Cooper Ave., Glendale, at 6:30 p.m.; and
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the U.S. Columbarium, 61-40 Mount Olivet Crescent, Middle Village, at 6:30 p.m.

Future workshop dates will be released in the weeks to come. For more information, call Crowley’s Glendale office at 718-366-3900.


Queens workers owed $800K in unclaimed back wages: comptroller

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Scott Stringer's Facebook page

With Labor Rights Week quickly approaching, City Comptroller Scott Stringer scored a victory for city workers when he found $3.7 million as part of unclaimed prevailing wage settlements with several companies that worked on city-funded projects.

Stringer is now seeking the public’s help in identifying the over 1,000 workers from across the city to whom these funds are owed.

Throughout Queens, 200 individuals are owed nearly $800,000, according to Stringer’s findings.

In Corona, 20 people are owed a total of $117,470.53; Elmhurst has 18 individuals who are owed $74,934.79; and in Maspeth, Ridgewood and Jackson Heights, 14 people from each neighborhood are owed a total of $151,811.21.

“My office has recovered millions of dollars through our enforcement of the prevailing wage, but now we need your help to connect these workers with the money they are owed,” Stringer said. “Thousands of hard-working individuals, many of whom are immigrants, have been cheated out of their rightfully earned wages, but they may not know these funds exist. Help us get the word out about unclaimed wages — recovering thousands of dollars may only be a phone call or email away.”

Stringer’s office is trying to identify those who are owed wages through social media, media partnerships and distribution of informational flyers in several languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and Creole in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“We’re ramping up our efforts to identify these hard-working men and women who are owed the money they earned,” the comptroller said. “In the coming weeks, we’ll be on the streets, on social media and on the airwaves with a single message: if you’ve been cheated out of your wages, the comptroller’s office has your back. Tell your friends and family: call our hotline or visit our website to see if you are eligible to receive your lost wages.”

The prevailing wage laws require employers to pay workers the wage and benefit rate set annually by the comptroller when those employees work on city public works projects, such as renovating public schools or building service contracts, which includes security guard and custodial work, with city agencies.

Workers who believe they may be entitled to unclaimed wages can call the comptroller’s hotline at 212-669-4443, send in inquiries via email to laborlaw@comptroller.nyc.gov or check the comptroller’s unclaimed wages website.


Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation kicks off summer fundraising campaign

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation

The Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) has begun its semi-annual fundraising campaign, asking members of the Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village communities to make donations to help fund programs that have made an important contribution to the areas’ quality of life.

The GRRC has been instrumental in stabilizing and upgrading the neighborhoods that make up Community Board 5 for the last 40 years, offering free programs such as landlord/tenant counseling, helping homeowners apply for low-interest home improvement loans, lobbying for street tree plantings, removing graffiti and more.

The donations will go towards the purchase of a lift for the hot pressure washer used in graffiti removal.

“The pressure washer is extremely heavy and getting it off and on the van is very difficult,” said Angela Mirabile, executive director of GRRC. “Our fundraising goal this year is $10,000 in private donations. This will cover the cost of the lift and replacement of worn equipment and supplies.”

The anti-graffiti program is one of the most used programs offered by GRRC. Last year, GRRC removed graffiti at 125 locations, and this year has cleaned over 110 sites. The organization anticipates cleaning 50 more sites by the end of November.

“It is evident that graffiti vandalism is once again on the rise, and we are doing our best to stay on top of it,” said Christa Walls, community liaison specialist for GRRC.

Mirabile added that funds will also go to cover general administration expenses as well as updating GRRC’s computer systems and software.

“In the past we have received donations ranging from $10 to $2,500. The people of our community support our effort and we are very thankful,” Mirabile said. “The public in this community has been very responsive to our campaign efforts. They are very active and we appreciate that.”

Donations can be made through the GRRC website, through PayPal or by mail to 68-56 Forest Ave., Ridgewood, NY 11385.


Kosciuszko Bridge project will cause long-term closure of Maspeth roadway

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Work crews will shut down a Maspeth street for six months beginning next week as construction of the new Kosciuszko Bridge begins in earnest, according to the state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).

A one-block portion of 54th Avenue between Laurel Hill Boulevard and 43rd Street in industrial west Maspeth will be closed around-the-clock on or about Monday, Aug. 17, and will remain off limits through February 2016.

The eastern end of the existing Kosciuszko Bridge — which carries the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) over Newtown Creek — passes over this portion of 54th Avenue.

In an advisory, the NYSDOT indicated the closure is required in order for contractors to partially remove an existing BQE viaduct, then install new underground utilities and girders and an abutment wall for the new bridge.

As alternate routes, drivers who normally head eastbound on 54th Avenue should instead turn east on 54th Road from Laurel Hill Boulevard, then north on 43rd Street to 54th Avenue. Drivers heading west from 54th Avenue should turn south on 43rd Street, then west on 54th Road to Laurel Hill Boulevard.

The closure will not affect service on the Q67 side, which has a bus stop in the area. Buses heading westbound will follow the westbound detour route, according to the NYSDOT.

The existing Kosciuszko Bridge. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The existing Kosciuszko Bridge. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The $555 million project to replace the existing bridge — an obsolete structure notorious for traffic jams and accidents due, in part, to its narrow configuration — will be completed in two phases. First, the NYSDOT will build a cable-stayed suspension bridge adjacent to the existing bridge on its eastbound side.

Once the first place is completed, all BQE traffic will be shifted onto the new span, and crews will then demolish the existing bridge. A second cable-stayed bridge will be erected in the original bridge’s footprint.

A rendering of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. (File photo)

A rendering of the new Kosciuszko Bridge. (File photo)

The new twin-span Kosciuszko Bridge will feature wider traffic lanes and a joint bike and walking path. The project also includes the creation of new parks and open spaces below the bridge on both sides of the creek.

Click here for more information about the project.



PHOTOS: Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin film in Maspeth

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos By Kelly Marie Mancuso


Hollywood legends Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin descended upon Nat’s Diner in Maspeth on Monday to shoot scenes for New Line Cinema’s remake of the 1979 comedy “Going In Style.”

The veteran actors were observed entering and leaving the former Clinton/Goodfellas Diner, as well as shooting an interior scene in one of the diner’s booths by the window. Actress Joey King of the television series “Fargo” rounded out the cast.

The Queens Courier first broke the story about the film shoot on Thursday amid much speculation as to whether or not the actors would appear at the location. Caine and Freeman have previously starred together in Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” trilogy, with Cain playing Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred Pennyworth opposite Freeman’s Lucius Fox.

According to sources on the set, Freeman was accompanied by his stepdaughter, Deena Adair Williams, who was working with the film’s hair and makeup department.

Morgan Freeman shooting a scene in the window booth at Nat's Diner

Morgan Freeman shooting a scene in the window booth at Nat’s Diner

Film crews surrounded the diner with multiple spotlights and reflection panels, including an 80-foot-tall lighting rig. Stand-ins for the actors were also on hand prior to the stars’ arrival on the set.

The original version of “Going in Style” debuted in 1979 and starred comedic legends George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasburg as cash-strapped retirees turned bumbling bank robbers in Groucho Marx disguises.


Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman on the set of “Going in Style” in Maspeth on Monday, Aug. 10

Actor and screenwriter Zach Braff of “Scrubs” fame is directing the latest version of the film. Braff made his directorial debut in 2004 with the critically acclaimed film “Garden State” in which he starred opposite Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard. According to Variety, stars Matt Dillon and Ann-Margaret are also set to join the cast of the “Going in Style” remake.

“Going in Style” is set to premiere in theaters on May 6, 2016.



Film featuring Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine to shoot in Maspeth

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Yellow Red Studio

Maspeth will be the setting for yet another movie shoot next week.

On Monday, Aug. 10, the producers of “Going in Style” — a reboot of the 1979 movie about elderly bank robbers — will shoot a scene at the Nat Diner, located at 56-26 Maspeth Ave. in Maspeth. Formerly known as the Clinton Diner, the establishment was famously featured in the classic 1990 Martin Scorsese mob drama “Goodfellas.”

The remake of “Going in Style,” starring Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin, is about three retirees who are living on fixed incomes until they decide to rob a bank to solve their money issues. The only problem is that they have no experience robbing banks. It’s a remake of the 1979 comedy-drama that starred George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasburg.

The shoot will involve characters entering the diner, performing interior dialogue scenes, then exiting the diner. It was not immediately known if Freeman, Caine or Arkin will be on location for the shoot.

The production company has requested permission to place an 80-foot-tall apparatus on Maspeth Avenue between Rust Street and 57th Place for lighting. They have also made partial parking restriction requests for Rust Street between 56th Terrace and Maspeth Avenue and a full parking ban on both the east and west sides of the street; the full west side of Rust Street between Maspeth Avenue and Grand Street; the full block, both north and south, on Maspeth Avenue between Rust Street and 57th Place; full block control, east and west sides, of 57th Place between Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street; the south side of the entire street for Maspeth Avenue between 57th Place and 58th Street; full block control of the north and south sides of 57th Road between 57th Place and 58th Street; and full block control of the west side of 58th Street between Maspeth Avenue and 56th Drive.

Maspeth has been quite a popular location for film and TV shoots in recent weeks. One other such production that filmed in the neighborhood is “Shades of Blue,” a new NBC drama starring Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta. J-Lo was spotted on the set in Maspeth twice in the past week.


PHOTOS: On set with Jennifer Lopez in Maspeth

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Jennifer Lopez was in Maspeth once again this afternoon for the filming of her new NBC series “Shades of Blue” due out this fall.

Lopez plays New York detective and single mother Harlee Santos, who is forced to report on her fellow crooked cops after she was busted by the FBI for accepting bribes.

Lopez and the “Shades of Blue” crew filmed interior and exterior scenes outside a home at 57-22 58th Ave. in Maspeth, one block off Grand Avenue.

The shoot included a scene in which Lopez’s on-screen partner comes to her rescue after she is found lying on the sidewalk outside the home. The pair then walks up the stoop and into the house. Crew members were busy setting up the scene and touching up Lopez’s makeup in between takes.

The series has been filming at various locations throughout Maspeth and Middle Village recently. Scenes with both Lopez and her co-star Ray Liotta were shot on location in Maspeth last week.

“Shades of Blue” is set to air on NBC in the fall. For air times, cast information and updates, click here.


PHOTOS: ‘Shades of Blue’ with Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta films in Maspeth, Middle Village

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta hit the streets of Maspeth and Middle Village on Wednesday to film scenes for the new NBC police procedural “Shades of Blue.”

The series features Lopez in the lead role as Detective Harlee Santos, a single mother forced to snitch on her corrupt colleagues by the FBI after she is caught accepting a bribe. Liotta of “Goodfellas” fame also stars as Lieutenant Bill Wozniak. Lopez and Liotta also star opposite “Sopranos” actress Drea de Matteo as Detective Tess Nazario.

The series is set in Brooklyn and is based on the novel “Shades of Blue: 30 Years of (Un)ethical Policing” by Michael Rudolph. Executive producers of the series include Adi Hasak of “3 Days to Kill,” American Idol’s Ryan Seacrest, director Barry Levinson of “Wag the Dog” and “Homicide: Life on the Street,” as well as Lopez herself.

Both Lopez and Liotta filmed interior scenes for the series inside the Maspeth home of Claribel Vera on 58th Place and 57th Drive.

“This is so exciting,” Vera exclaimed. After shooting at the Vera home wrapped, Lopez emerged and posed for photos with fans, including Vera’s daughters Veronica and Annette, before leaving the set for the day.

Liotta and the rest of the crew then relocated to Middle Village where they dined on traditional Latin fare at Tropical 3 Restaurant, located at 62-27 Fresh Pond Rd. After enjoying an authentic Ecuadorian meal from owners Jimmy Illescas and Steven Vinas, Liotta resumed filming an exterior shot in a car outside the restaurant. Scores of locals gathered on 62nd Road to watch the shoot, many cheering when Liotta walked by. The actor appeared on set in special effects make-up, with fake bruises and a black eye.

Tropical 3 owners Jimmy Illescas and Steven Vinas welcomed Ray Liotta and the “Shades of Blue” crew to their restaurant during filming in Middle Village. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Gonzalez)

When filming wrapped, director Dan Lerner, of “In Plain Sight” and “The Blacklist” fame, thanked Illescas and Vinas for use of their establishment, and even sat to watch an original video made by Vinas’ young daughter on her iPad.

Liotta is no stranger to filming in Queens. Many of his scenes from the 1990 hit “Goodfellas” were filmed at the former Clinton Diner in Maspeth, as well on Maurice Avenue and the streets surrounding nearby Calvary Cemetery in Woodside.

“Shades of Blue” is set to air on NBC in the fall. Check local listings or click here for updates.


Woodside resident to seek Assembly seat and ‘fight for the middle class’

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Brian Barnwell

Brian Barnwell is looking to be the voice of a district he has called home all his life and one he says needs a big change and new leadership.

The 29-year-old Woodside resident and lawyer has announced that he will run next year for the seat in the state Assembly representing District 30, which covers the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Woodside, Middle Village and parts of Astoria, Sunnyside and Long Island City.

The seat is currently held by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, who was first elected in 1998.

“I just feel like it’s time for a change. I feel like we need some new energy where people are going to go out and engage the community and bring the community voices into the conversation,” Barnwell said. “Everyone is getting pushed out. The teachers are being thrown under the bus. The students are being thrown under the bus. The middle class is just being destroyed and we can’t take it for granted anymore. So I want to be the voice of the middle class, because I am in the middle class.”

Barnwell’s desire to run for office was fueled recently when he began working as the director of special events for Councilman Costa Constantinides, and experienced many residents coming into the district office complaining about various issues – including affordable housing.

This made him realize that there needed to be a change and he would be that change.

The platform of his campaign will strongly focus on helping individuals in the middle class and those vying to move into the middle class. With being a member of the middle class himself, along with his family, Barnwell said he has personal experience with the issues constituents face.

“The middle class is what made this country great. It’s what makes any country great. If you don’t have a middle class, you’re in trouble,” Barnwell said.

Barnwell’s platform – focusing on taxes, education and affordable housing – includes issues such as lowering personal income and corporate taxes; helping raise minimum wage; empowering teachers, parents and administrators in local schools and creating new curriculum based on districts; building more schools; and increasing the amount of affordable housing in the developing area.

For now, Barnwell will stay at Constantinides’ office until September, then he will hit the streets and reach out to the communities to see what issues the residents are facing.

“I want people to tell me what’s wrong with this district,” Barnwell said. “You’ve got to lead. You’ve got to be a leader. This why we elect these people to be leaders, not followers, and I want to be a leader. I don’t want to be a follower.”

Barnwell will hold his first fundraiser on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at The Brewery NYC, located at 49-18 30th Ave. in Woodside.

For more information visit Barnwell’s Facebook page or follow @Barnwell2016 on Twitter.


Road conditions at dangerous railroad crossing concern Maspeth business owners

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Road conditions at the railroad crossing located on Maspeth Avenue and Rust Street, where a crash between a locomotive and tractor-trailer occurred earlier this month, were a main concern voiced during Thursday’s Maspeth Industrial Business Association (MIBA) meeting.

The at-grade crossing is reportedly suffering from cracked and deteriorating pavement, leaving the metal railroad tracks exposed and creating large potholes. When drivers travel over the railroad tracks, whether in personal cars or industrial trucks, they are vulnerable to hitting these potholes and damaging their vehicles.

“Just beyond the collision, I know that businesses have been complaining about the crossing because it needs to be repaved, and it’s been doing a lot of damage to their vehicles and so we’ve been trying to put some pressure on New York and Atlantic [Railway] to make the repairs,” said Jean Tanler, coordinator of the MIBA. “It’s been a long process, so hopefully now that there’s been more eyes on this area maybe we can have a little bit more leverage in having them address it.”

Michael Cristina, owner of Boro-wide Recycling Corp., located at 3 Railroad Pl. in Maspeth, wants improvements at the railroad crossing because the current conditions are damaging his fleet of trucks that travel over the train tracks several times a day.

“My maintenance in the last year has gone up tremendously on my trucks,” Cristina said. “There’s tie rods that go in the front end of the truck, springs are breaking, shocks are snapping off, and there are kingpins…what happens over time, it wears the metal away eventually and then the whole tire wobbles.”

In addition to causing damage to vehicles, Cristina believes that the conditions at the crossing are a safety concern as well.

“This is a safety issue,” he said. “Anybody’s wheel could fall off, or something could break on a car because of the abuse the tracks are doing to the cars. And if it breaks right on the tracks, what can you do? You’re kind of limited on what you can do. If it was maintained, you would have less of a safety issue there.”