Tag Archives: Maspeth

Maspeth residents call foul on late nights at Metropolitan Oval soccer field

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan's office

Maspeth residents raised the yellow card over late-night problems at a local soccer field, prompting a local lawmaker to take action.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan visited on Monday with several Maspeth families to discuss issues centered around the Metropolitan Oval soccer field, located in the vicinity of 60th Street and 59th Avenue, and possible solutions.

Maspeth residents Francesco Pellot and Norma Canepa say that they have witnessed excessive noise, alcohol use, littering and loitering at very late hours into the night on several occasions during the summer at the soccer complex.

Pellot and Canepa raised these issues at Community Board 5’s (CB 5) September meeting, and have collected over 100 signatures on a petition to call on the Metropolitan Oval soccer field to change its policies and become better neighbors to the community. The petition calls on the soccer field to reduce its noise levels, eliminate alcohol and suspected drug use, reduce littering around the area, improve the field’s security and close at a reasonable time.

“My office received several complaints from local residents about this establishment,” Nolan said in a statement. “The Metropolitan Oval has an obligation to be a good corporate citizen and respect the quality of life of nearby residents. I am optimistic that all parties involved can come to a resolution.”

Nolan passed these complaints along to the 104th Precinct and the Department of Sanitation, which has forwarded the complaints to their Enforcement Unit.

“I forwarded these very serious complaints to several city agencies including the 104th Precinct, which responded and has monitored the situation for the past several weeks,” Nolan said. “Thank you Captain Wachter and the 104th Precinct for tackling this very serious issue. I look forward to hearing back from the other agencies so we can continue to preserve the quality of life for all our local residents.”

The 4.2-acre Metropolitan Oval hosts a U.S. Soccer Development Academy of the same name that allows youths of all ages to play and learn the fundamentals of soccer through specialized training programs, camps and clinics.

The Ridgewood Times reached out to Metropolitan Oval for comment and is awaiting a response.


VIDEO: Armed bandits steal a fortune from Maspeth grocery store

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police released on Tuesday night a disturbing video of an armed robbery at a Maspeth grocery store in which the crooks not only stole the shop’s proceeds but also a clerk’s personal belongings.

The stickup occurred at 11:02 p.m. on Sunday night inside the Flushing Avenue Deli and Grocery located at 63-22 Flushing Ave.

Authorities said the crooks — both described as black males wearing masks and hooded sweatshirts — walked into the location and displayed firearms.

One of the crooks was shown on the video jumping over the counter and confronting a male clerk, forcing him to lie on the floor. After taking cash from the register, the bandit would later jostle the victim and remove his wallet and cellphone.

Police said the crooks robbed another man inside the store, though that was not shown on video.

In all, authorities noted, the thieves got away with $5,000 in cash removed from the store’s registers, the victims’ cellphones and wallets — which contained debit cards and a combined $400 in currency — and 10 scratch-off lottery tickets. The suspects then fled the scene in an unknown direction.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the robbery; no injuries were reported.

Anyone with information regarding the stickup is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Man in Maspeth gives alias after getting pinched on gun possession charges

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

He tried to run from cops and his past, but he couldn’t get away from either.

A Sunnyside man arrested in Maspeth early Sunday morning on a weapons possession charge allegedly tried to physically assault officers and later gave them a false identity to apparently hide from his criminal record, according to police.

Officers from the 104th Precinct observed the suspect — 35-year-old Jose Cales of Greenpoint Avenue — crouching near the wheels of a tractor-trailer parked on 56th Drive and 58th Road at about 2:45 a.m. on Sept. 27.

According to police, Cales was wearing a ski mask and a red hooded sweatshirt while appearing to be concealing something in the sweatshirt pocket.

When the officers moved in to stop and question Cales, authorities said, the suspect ran and led police on a brief pursuit, during which he was allegedly seen throwing something to the ground.

The officers caught up to Cales in front of a location on Maurice Avenue, where, police noted, he allegedly took a swing at one of the officers and flailed his arms in an apparent attempt to avoid arrest. The suspect was eventually placed in handcuffs.

During a search, police located the item that Cales allegedly dropped: an unloaded 9 mm handgun.

According to the criminal complaint, Cales was taken to Wyckoff Hospital for an examination and told police that his name was Jason Ortiz, but later admitted that was an alias.

Police noted that Cales previously served time in prison after being convicted of a second-degree burglary charge in Brooklyn in 2006.

Cales was charged on Sunday with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, attempted assault and false personation, and was ordered held without bail at his arraignment.


Construction worker rescued on top of Kosciuszko Bridge pillar in Maspeth

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/FDNY

Firefighters rescued a construction worker who passed out atop a pillar for the new Kosciuszko Bridge in Maspeth on Tuesday afternoon, police reported.

At about 12:16 p.m., the NYPD and FDNY responded to a call alerting them to an unconscious man at 56th Road and Laurel Hill Boulevard.

The construction worker, whose identity has not been released, was working on the new $555 million project to replace the existing bridge when he fainted, according to FDNY officials.

He was found conscious and rushed to Elmhurst Hospital in serious but stable condition.


Driver slams into two street lamps, parked car in Maspeth: police

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

A man who was driving with a suspended license was critically injured in an early morning car crash in Maspeth on Sunday, according to police.

Authorities said the 39-year-old male was speeding westbound on Flushing Avenue at 4 a.m. when he struck a lamppost at 54th Place. Upon the initial impact, his vehicle mounted the sidewalk and struck a second lamppost and a parked car before coming to a stop just before a street intersection.

Officers from the 104th Precinct found him unconscious and unresponsive, and he was extracted from his 2010 Nissan vehicle by FDNY at the scene.

Emergency service technicians transported the victim to Elmhurst Hospital Center with severe injuries. He was the only individual involved in the crash.

Although the incident is still under investigation by the NYPD, the 104th Precinct’s official Twitter account reported that the driver was found intoxicated at the time of the accident and speculated that he was “likely to die” because of the severity of the injuries sustained.

Police have not released the man’s identity.


West Nile spraying scheduled for parts of Queens on Monday

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of the Health Department

In continuing efforts to reduce mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus, the Health Department will spray pesticides in several parts of Queens next week.

Pesticide trucks will be out spraying on Monday, Sept. 21, between 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning. In case of inclement weather, spraying will be delayed until Monday, Sept. 28, during the same time frame.

The following areas in Queens are scheduled to be sprayed:

  • Parts of Astoria, Ditmars, Steinway and Woodside, bordered by 20th Avenue and 35th Street to the north; 28th Avenue, 43rd Street and Newtown Road to the west; Broadway and Northern Boulevard to the south; and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 30th Avenue, 78th Street, Astoria Boulevard, and 75th Street to the east.
  • Parts of Blissville, Elmhurst, Sunnyside, Maspeth, Middle Village, West Maspeth, Ridgewood, and Woodside, bordered by Queens Boulevard and Thomson Avenue to the north, 29th Street and Dutch Kills to the west; The Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) and Metropolitan Avenue to the south; and the LIRR to the east.
  • Parts of Forest Park, Richmond Hill, and Woodhaven, bordered by Metropolitan Avenue, Union Turnpike, and Myrtle Avenue to the north; Forest Park Drive, Park Lane South, and 88th Street in the west; 101st Avenue to the south; 104th Street, Jamaica Avenue, 115th Street, and Park Lane South to the east.

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil 10+10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, the spray poses no significant risks to human health.

To minimize direct exposure to the spray, the Health Department suggests taking several precautions:

First, whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

Air conditioners may remain on, but to reduce indoor exposure set the vent to closed. Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again. If exposed to pesticides, wash exposed skin and clothing with soap and water.


Street resurfacing coming to parts of Maspeth and Middle Village

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Street repairs are coming this fall for areas of Maspeth and Middle Village, according to Community Board 5 (CB 5).

After several streets within CB 5 were listed on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) tentative priority list for resurfacing, it was announced recently that 13 roads in northern Maspeth and southern Middle Village will get resurfaced.

Beginning in October or November, the streets are slated to be milled — a process in which the top layer of asphalt is removed from the street — followed by the application of the new asphalt to complete the repaving.

“They’re here milling in preparation for resurfacing,” said Gary Giordano, district manager for CB 5. “A lot of the streets on the list are in either northern Maspeth or the older portion of Middle Village, south Middle Village to most. I’m pleased that roadways in those two areas are getting resurfaced, especially in the northern part of Maspeth, especially since the avenues are in less than fair condition.

The following areas are scheduled for resurfacing:

  • 58th Place between Maspeth Avenue and Grand Avenue
  • Woodward Avenue from Metropolitan Avenue to Troutman Street
  • Stanhope Street between Grandview and Seneca avenues
  • 60th Lane from Flushing Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue
  • 60th Street from Flushing Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue
  • 60th Drive between 60th Street and Fresh Pond Road
  • 60th Place between Metropolitan Avenue and Eliot Avenue
  • 63rd Street from 59th Drive to Flushing Avenue
  • 58th Road from 64th Street to 66th Street
  • 66th Street between 58th Road and 59th Avenue
  • 59th Avenue from 66th Street to Fresh Pond Road
  • 64th Street between Flushing Avenue and 59th Drive
  • Aubrey Avenue from 88th Street to Metropolitan Avenue

“They’re going to resurface that portion of Woodward Avenue between Metropolitan and [Troutman]. That street there is very deteriorated,” Giordano said. “There is a lot truck traffic in that area. Two things that will really improve the look of the street and will give people a better outlook on their street is if the resurfacing is done properly and if street trees are planted. It will give the street a better look and give people a better outlook on their block.”


CB 5 splits again over liquor license for event at Maspeth arts venue

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com


Concerns over liquor license applications for events at Maspeth’s Knockdown Center continue to rise up for Community Board 5 (CB 5).

The Knockdown Center, located at 52-19 Flushing Ave., has been tapped by a catering company to host an architectural symposium where alcohol will be served. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, Sept. 18, and will host a dinner for 250 guests from 8 to 10 p.m. and an after party for 1,000 people from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. the following morning.

The art venue was recently granted a liquor license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA), pending the Knockdown Center getting a valid certificate of occupancy (C of O). The Knockdown Center still has not received its valid C of O, so its liquor license is currently not in effect.

Because the Knockdown Center does not have its liquor license, the caterers — The Cleaver Company — wish to use their liquor license to allow alcohol to be sold at the one-day event.

“Caterers have a floating license because they do these types of events,” said CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri. “Because of the prior controversy and current situation with them not having a valid C of O, [The Cleaver Company] needed to get a letter of no objection from the community board.”

The architectural symposium would not be part of the limited number of events the Knockdown Center is allowed to hold outlined in the liquor license stipulations set forth by the SLA.

CB 5 members landed on both sides of the fence on whether to approve this request.

Several members thought that it may be a good idea to vote in favor of the temporary permit, arguing that this offered the Knockdown Center an opportunity to prove itself to the board.

Others, however, did not want to risk allowing this event to be held without the Knockdown Center having a valid C of O, and permitting an event to take place that would not count toward the agreed upon number of events with the SLA.

In the end, CB 5 voted against The Cleaver Company’s application, 24-15, with two abstaining votes. Even so, the SLA makes the final decision whether or not to approve the permit.


Community Board 5 talks parks for capital budget priorities

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The city should set aside big bucks for park improvements in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village, according to residents and members of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

Several parks within CB 5 are either in need of repairs or are due to receive repairs. The community board wants to make sure that such projects are included in the city’s fiscal year 2017 capital budget.

Rosemary’s Playground in Ridgewood, Frank Principe Park in Maspeth and Juniper Valley Park in Middle Village were main areas of concern with the community board mentioned during a special public hearing on the budget on Sept. 9 in Middle Village.

Rosemary’s Playground has been a focus of CB 5 for several months now, and it is garnering even more attention. Parents have been fighting to improve the conditions at the park and although some work has been done, more work is needed.

“There were small fixes done on the playground” in the last couple of months, said Steffi Sauer, member of the Friends of Rosemary’s Playground group. “Safety hazards were fixed so that’s great news. We want to thank the Parks Department for that, but again a lot more has to be done.”

The deteriorating condition of the park’s equipment has been addressed as well, but additional work is still needed.

“They scraped down the play equipment. They haven’t repainted that play equipment yet,” said CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. “But now what’s going on is we are hearing people want a dog run in Ridgewood, and Rosemary’s Playground is one of the places that people are talking about. But when you’re talking about Ridgewood, you’re talking about a lot of users competing for small spaces.”

One park that is slated for repairs is Frank Principe Park. Last year Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley allocated over $5 million in city funding to repair the park’s baseball fields and running track.

“We need to, I think, push the Parks Department as far as design goes, but there is a substantial amount of money to our knowledge for the reconstruction of Frank Principe Park,” Giordano said. “With soccer booming in a lot of ways…that is a place that can really serve very well for soccer in Maspeth.”

Crowley has also funded the reconstruction of Juniper Valley Park’s running track and turf soccer field.

“I believe there’s 2 million dollars available for renovations in that part of Juniper,” Giordano said regarding the soccer field/running track area of the park.

As in previous years, CB 5 is also prioritizing improvements to the Ridgewood Reservoir in Highland Park on the Brooklyn-Queens border.


PHOTOS: Queens remembers Sept. 11 attacks at anniversary vigils

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Robert Pozarycki

Through prayers and patriotic music, residents across Queens marked the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks through somber vigils over the last week.

Each ceremony paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died in the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and subsequent collapse of the buildings as well as the attacks on the Pentagon and the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

As family members of the victims gathered at the National September 11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan on Friday morning, police precincts in Queens observed the citywide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. with memorial services of their own outside their respective stationhouses.

The officers honored the 37 NYPD members who perished in the World Trade Center attacks along with the scores of New York City firefighters, emergency service personnel and Port Authority Police Department members who also died on that day of infamy.

Local police officers and firefighters joined elected officials at vigils in Bayside Hills, Glendale, Middle Village and other communities to remember 9/11.

Clergy members at each ceremony offered prayers and words of comfort, names of local victims of the terrorist attacks were read and American flags were waved as patriotic music played.


Former Junior’s cheesecake bakery in Maspeth sold to furniture manufacturer

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Property Shark/Scott Bintner

This Maspeth real estate deal was particularly sweet.

An office furniture company announced Thursday it has purchased the former Junior’s cheesecake bakery on Maurice Avenue for $4.5 million to use as a production and warehouse facility.

Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates brokered the deal between the holding company Let it Be Realty LLC and Quality Installation NY Inc.

Located at 58-44 Maurice Ave., the site includes 14,000 square feet on the ground level along with a 1,500-square-foot mezzanine storage area and, above that, 1,500 square feet of office space.

According to Kalmon Dolgin, Quality Installation NY intends to manufacture and warehouse furniture and workstation products and perform repairs to its products at the location.

Junior’s, the Brooklyn-based restaurant chain famously known for its decadent cheesecake, leased the factory for 15 years before announcing in April that it was relocating to New Jersey.

The Maurice Avenue site encompassed just under 20,000 square feet in space, but Junior’s new bakery in Burlington is more than five times larger.


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.