Tag Archives: Maspeth

Maspeth could be getting a community athletic field near Newtown Creek


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Ridgewood Times/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The area around Newtown Creek, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes as one of the “nation’s most polluted waterways,” could be the site of a brand-new community athletic field in Maspeth.

During a City Council hearing, Eric Landau, associate commissioner of public affairs for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), testified before the Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses, asking for public siting approval on the construction of an aeration facility for Newtown Creek in Maspeth.

The proposed aeration facility is part of a state-mandated effort to improve water quality in Newtown Creek and would be located on 47th Street, near the water’s edge. The facility would help raise oxygen levels in the water and promote wildlife sustainability.

The initial phase of construction leaves approximately one and a half acres of open space on the property, which Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Community Board 5 have expressed interest in converting into an athletic field.

“While it is very important to build this aeration facility for Newtown Creek, it is also important our community take advantage of green space for athletics. I am grateful the DEP has agreed to work with the community to allow for public use of the land,” Crowley said. “In Maspeth, there is a high volume of trucks traveling through the streets. It also has fewer city parks. This lack of green space plus its proximity to the LIE both lead to a higher rate of obesity and asthma compared to neighboring communities.”

“Maspeth residents are disadvantaged in that they lack access to sufficient open green space,” she added. “We can promote sports and physical activity by taking advantage of all public space options, ideally by way of increased access to athletic fields.”

Landau testified to the City Council that the DEP will begin discussions with the community, as well as local athletic groups, about entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding an athletic field on the unused portion of land.

The MOU would state that the sports organizations are responsible for the capital cost of the field as well as the maintenance. Also, if the DEP should ever need the field in the future, upon reasonable notice, the sports organization would need to discontinue operations on the property until any and all construction on the site is complete. Once construction is complete, the site would be handed back over to the community again.

“Understanding that the space may be needed in the future to meet state and federal water quality requirements, DEP is committed to working with the Council and community organizations that are willing to build and maintain the space for athletic purposes, as we have with a soccer league in Manhattan near our North River Waste Water Treatment Plant,” Landau said. “As an immediate next step, we look forward to taking Council member Crowley, local leaders, and other community members on a tour of similar public amenities DEP has constructed, as well as beginning discussions with local athletic groups, identified by [Crowley].”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cyclists compete at Red Bull Mini Drome race in Maspeth


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy M&C Saatchi Sports and Entertainment

The fastest athletes on two wheels faced intense competition on a rare figure-eight mini velodrome racetrack in front of hundreds of spectators at the Red Bull Mini Drome Race held at 56-70 58th St. in Maspeth, on June 19.

Competitors raced around the track at the venue — a former dance hall that has been used as a creative art space for the past two decades — to test their speed, skills and tolerance for risk, as riders hit curves at a 45 degree angle on the rarely seen figure-eight track to see which athlete and team could post the fastest time.

The competition was divided into two sections: teams and Red Bull Mini Drome All-Stars, which mostly consisted of previous years’ competitors. The eight fastest teams competed in their own bracket and the All-Star race pitted 32 fixie (fixed-gear bike) professionals head-to-head.

In the individual competition, Red Bull Athlete and Florida fixie competitor Addison Zawada sped his way to the top and eked out a narrow victory over Bronx native Ryan Locascio by only .65 of a second.

“I’m really proud to have had a significant hand in building the unique figure-eight track this year,” Zawada said. “It really means the world for me to have also have won the competition.”

Local Bedford-Stuyvesant bike shop Deluxe Cycles, featuring riders Willis Johnson and Cooper Ray, won the team challenge in a tight race against New York City shop, Chari &Co.

“I was too young for the first and only figure-eight that I know of,” Johnson said. “To win this is perfect because I can pay homage to the original.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth woman celebrates over a century of life on 102nd birthday


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

As the birthday song goes, “Are you one? Are you two? Are you…102?”

Former Maspeth resident Florence Galas celebrated her 102nd birthday Friday in Whitestone at The Grand at Queens, where she receives day-to-day care. Her friends and family were on hand to honor her long life and wish her well.

“She’s a beautiful woman. She’s been in my corner for years,” said her son, Michael Galas. “Everything I went through, she pulled me through.”

“She is a great mother, a great grandmother, and we’re happy that she’s still with us,” said her daughter, Penny VanMaldeghem.

The guest of honor herself was so overwhelmed with the attention that she kept repeating a single, simple phrase of gratitude.

“I’m so lucky,” she said. “I’m so lucky.”

Galas was born in Greece in 1913, and came to the U.S. a short while later in 1920 at 7 years old. After getting married in 1931, she spent most of her time caring for her family as a wife and mother, and had a total of four children.

Although her eyesight and hearing have been weakened due to her age, Galas still has a sharp mind which does not show signs of slowing down. She credits this to the fact that she had been a voracious reader for most of her life, reading as many as 12 books in a week.

Galas is fortunate enough to have a close companion who takes the time to read to her so she can still know the joy of a good book. Alan Capper, also a resident of The Grand, reads to her every day from a variety of novels and newspapers, and in that time he has gotten to know her own story very well.

“I find that she is extremely intelligent, very interesting to talk to about her life and the times that she’s lived through ” said Capper.

Galas was not only a reader in her earlier days, but also a painter.

She taught herself to paint in her ’70s by watching the television show of artist and painting instructor Bob Ross, and Galas was eventually so good that Ross asked her to come work for him as an art teacher after seeing a sample of her work. Ultimately, she refused, citing difficulties because of her advanced age.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Nighttime repaving of Grand Avenue in Maspeth begins this week


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Drivers and bus riders traveling through Maspeth during evening hours this week can expect some delays as crews begin resurfacing a portion of Grand Avenue.

According to Community Board 5 (CB 5), contractors hired by the city Department of Transportation will begin removing the existing asphalt on Grand Avenue between 64th Street and the Long Island Expressway on Tuesday night at 9 p.m., weather permitting.

The work will continue through Thursday night, when crews are scheduled to resurface Grand Avenue between Rust Street and the Grand Street Bridge, in the heart of Maspeth’s industrial section.

All of the resurfacing work will take place from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. the next morning; notices will be placed along the avenue prior to the project’s start. Parking will be prohibited where work is taking place; all cars found parked on each street can and will be towed away.

The resurfacing will also affect service on the Q58 and Q59 bus lines that travel along Grand Avenue. Riders should anticipate detours and delays on both routes while work is in progress.

Resurfacing of New York City streets occurs in two steps. After stripping off the top layers of asphalt (through a process called milling), workers return days or weeks later to install a new layer of asphalt. New street marking lines are painted shortly thereafter.

The board previously requested that Grand Avenue be resurfaced at night to minimize traffic disruptions in the commercial and adjacent residential areas, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Pilot program promoting public transportation launched in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYC DOT flickr

The Department of Transportation’s (DOT) pilot Go Smart NYC program has launched in the areas of Community Board 5 (CB 5).

Go Smart NYC is designed to increase residents’ use of public transportation, biking, carpooling, or walking in order to reduce the traffic congestion and emissions caused by single-occupancy motor vehicle trips.

The DOT chose CB 5 as the pilot area due to its population, proximity to public transportation options and bike lanes, walkability, as well as its high level of car ownership.

“The congestion and traffic in our communities can sometimes be unbearable. Go Smart NYC plans to alleviate that with the click of a button,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said. “Walking, biking, public transportation and carpooling are all viable urban modes of travel and I look forward to this program’s roll out and working with the DOT to make it as effective as possible for everyone.”

Residents can sign up for the program through the Go Smart NYC website. After registering, participants can order a free, personalized travel toolkit, with information about walking, biking, public transit, carpooling and Vision Zero safety and education materials.

“I am excited that Community Board 5 has been selected for the kickoff to the city’s launch of Go Smart NYC,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “Middle Village, Ridgewood, Maspeth and Glendale are home to a wealth of local businesses, and this program encourages residents to shop and explore these neighborhoods by foot, transit and bike. The more we can walk or use public transit, the better off we will be as a society.”

Registered participants will be able to log their trips online in order to earn discount rewards at over 20 local businesses that are partnering with the DOT to help encourage sustainable travel choices and local shopping. To further enhance residents’ experiences with walking, biking or public transit, the DOT will assist the local community board in installing city benches, city racks, and a real-time bus information sign at an area bus stop.

“The Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and Ridgewood Local Development Corporation are delighted to be partners for DOT’s new innovative program Go Smart NYC,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue BID. “This is a win-win: increase of residents’ use of public transit, biking, carpooling or just plain walking will reduce traffic congestion. At the same time, it will encourage people to shop locally and support our merchants.”

Go Smart NYC will run in the areas of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth until November. DOT is also looking at the possibility of expanding the program to other areas of the city in 2016, if the pilot is successful.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Crime drops in 104th Precinct but ID theft still up


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

BY ANGELA MATUA

Crime dropped across the 104th Precinct last month, with the exception of identity theft, which has been a continuous problem, according to the precinct’s commander.

Capt. Mark Wachter, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct, told guests at the 104th Precinct Community Council Meeting in Maspeth Tuesday night that crime dropped by 8 percent, with 60 crimes in the past 28 days.

Though the number of robberies and burglaries has stayed even for the year, there has been a recent uptick in wallets stolen from vehicles. Wachter urged residents to remove any personal items from their cars when they leave.

P.O. Rob Selmer of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit warned about the dangers of identity theft and encouraged people to shred all of their mail and not to give money to people who claim to be from the IRS or any government organization. He also urged those going away for vacation to have a friend or neighbor pick up their mail.

“If you’re going away for the summer, let them pick up your mail,” Selmer said. “Mail is a big indicator that you are not home.”

Wachter said the precinct has removed 15 derelict cars from an area in Maspeth and an unlicensed tow truck from Grand Avenue after several residents called the precinct to complain. Only towing companies in the Directed Accident Towing Program are allowed to tow trucks, he said.

“This is a tow truck that basically operates illegally to skate around New York towing cars when they’re not supposed to,” Wachter said. “If you get into a car accident there’s one tow truck that’s supposed to come, not just Joe Schmoe’s towing service.”

During the question-and-answer portion of the meeting, residents warned Wachter about a suspicious massage parlor in Maspeth, graffiti on the Woodhaven Boulevard underpass, speeding problems near the Metro Mall in Middle Village and abandoned houses in Maspeth and Glendale.

“We need the community involvement,” Wachter said. “We rely on information you give us to solve these crimes.”

Wachter also presented police officers Nicholas Mancuso and Jonathan Hili with Cop of the Month honors for arresting four people in a home invasion on Gates Avenue in Ridgewood.

DSC02479

“We probably prevented a shooting,” Wachter said. “If we didn’t take these three guns off the street, what could’ve happened? We’ll never know the answer to that question but it’s something to ponder.”

Wachter and newly-elected Precinct Council President Len Santoro, who was elected president in place of Mario Matos, presented the officers with plaques donated by the Ridgewood Times.

Bob Monahan, executive director of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, also spoke about programs offered by the council, including a young adult internship program for people ages 18 to 24 who receive job training and an internship with companies throughout New York City.

The organization also has a youth employment program for people ages 14 to 24 who work at the youth council during the summer. Monahan encouraged people at the meeting to tell young people in the community about these programs.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth’s Knockdown Center gets liquor license with limitations


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

After much debate within the community, the Knockdown Center in Maspeth finally got its liquor license Tuesday from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) — but the permit comes with several significant stipulations.

In an agreement brokered between the SLA and Knockdown Center representatives, the art venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. will be permitted to serve alcohol to gatherings of between 1,000 and 1,800 people at up to 12 events annually. Tyler Myers of the Knockdown Center said in a phone interview Wednesday that after holding six large-scale events, the venue has the right to request that the SLA “relax” this stipulation.

These large gatherings must also take place on Friday or Saturday nights, according to Community Board 5 (CB 5) Chairman Vincent Arcuri.

Additionally, the Knockdown Center will be able to serve alcohol up to 60 times a year to gatherings of between 500 and 1,000, and another 60 times annually at events drawing up to 500 guests.

For several years, CB 5 — along with local civic groups and Maspeth residents — opposed the Knockdown Center’s attempts to obtain a liquor license, citing quality-of-life concerns related to large-scale events and the fact that the facility — formerly a glass factory — was encroaching on the industrial area.

In 2014, CB 5 voted unanimously to recommend denial of the Knockdown Center’s liquor license application. The SLA denied the first application, but the venue’s representatives reapplied for a license earlier this year. At its June 10 meeting, CB 5 again recommended denial of the revised application, but 12 members voted in favor of the permit this time around.

“The ruling is the ruling,” Arcuri said in an interview Wednesday. “The only question is what [the Knockdown Center] will do for the certificate of occupancy.”

The Knockdown Center submitted an application with the city Department of Buildings for a certificate of occupancy allowing a maximum of 3,100 people on the premises at any given time. Myers said the center is moving forward with that request, but noted it will abide by the terms of the liquor license permit.

“At every step, we’ve won more and more people over,” Myers said on Wednesday. “We are going to be art-focused and be good neighbors. We are willing to take future steps to prove ourselves to the community.”

The SLA agreement also requires that the Knockdown Center, located about 3/4-mile away from the nearest subway station, must also provide supplemental transportation services for its larger gatherings.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Red Bull Mini Drome race comes to Maspeth


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy M & C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Competitive cyclists from all over the country will race to Maspeth on June 19 for this year’s Red Bull Mini Drome race.

The Red Bull Mini Drome race is an all-day racing competition for single-speed fixed gear cyclists where they can race against the clock and then against each other to see who can boast the fastest time at Project Studio, located at 56-70 58th St. in Maspeth, which is a former dance hall that has been used as a creative art space for the past 20 years.

This year’s race is set to be a special event because competitors will race around a rarely seen figure eight track. The figure eight track concept, which is known to only have existed a few times, one being the 1995 Toronto Cycle Messenger World Championships, involves more speed, extra precision and a bit of danger as cyclists take turn after turn without rest.

For this year’s race, Red Bull Mini Drome has taken the normal circular “velodrome” concept, which is usually located in arenas or outside, and shrunk it down to bring it inside.

Red Bull Mini Drome features the top cyclists from all five boroughs and across the country, including professional bike messengers, accomplished fixed gear competitors and Red Bull Athletes Austin Horse and Addison Zawada.

The racing event will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight and tickets are free for fans 21 and older and are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cycling fans can RSVP here.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Bishop Witold Mroziewski, auxiliary bishop-elect, Diocese of Brooklyn


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

BACKGROUND: Auxiliary Bishop-elect Witold Mroziewski was born in Augustow, Poland, on March 25, 1966. Mroziewski graduated from his seminary with a master’s degree in theology and was ordained on June 29, 1991. The following year, he was sent to the Diocese of Brooklyn to continue his parish duties as an associate to the pastor at Our Lady of Czestochowa. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa in 2000 and worked there until he was transferred to Holy Cross Church in Maspeth in 2013. He will be ordained an auxiliary bishop on July 20.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Mroziewski and his parish have an active relationship with the 104th Precinct. “They are doing outstanding work and protecting all our events when we celebrate parish events and occasions,” Mroziewski said. He has also worked with the City Council to help rename 56th Road, the block of Holy Cross Church, Pope John Paul II Way. “The cooperation with them has been outstanding,” Mroziewski said of the City Council.

FEELINGS ON BEING APPOINTED AN AUXILIARY BISHOP: “I got a phone call from the Nuncio who actually announced that Pope Francis appointed me auxiliary bishop. It was absolutely unexpected. It overwhelmed me and I was deeply touched because I never expected that honor, never. It’s a great responsibility, not only for Catholics, but for all people locally in the diocese and also in the universal church.”

CHALLENGES IN NEW POSITION: “From now on I will be more involved in public work. As a parish priest, I was recognized in the parish on a local level and sometimes in the community where that parish was located. Now, they will know me more often with my work and relation to the people of this diocese.

PERSONAL LIFE: “From childhood, I did like to be a sportsman. I was a good runner and I like to bike and to ski. Another hobby is contact with the people. I like having discussions and meetings with them to teach them and answer their questions. I enjoy talking to the children and the youth because they are the future of the nation, of the church and the local communities.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Suspect wanted for cellphone store robberies in Jamaica, Maspeth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a 30-year-old man wanted in connection to two robberies of Queens cellphone shops in the last two months.

On May 26 at about 6:25 p.m., the suspect — armed with a black firearm — entered the Metro PCS store located at 126-14 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica and demanded property, police said. He then took $600 and a victim’s cellphone before fleeing the site. There were no reported injuries.

On June 2 at about 6:16 p.m., the same suspect entered a Metro PCS at 66-10 Grand Ave. in Maspeth armed with a black firearm and demanded money, according to authorities. A female victim handed the man $186 and a wristlet. The suspect then fled the location and there were no reported injuries.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 1 inch tall, and 160 to 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black mask, gray Arizona Diamondbacks jacket with a logo on the breast area and an image of a snack on the sleeves.

Police have released a surveillance video from the first incident and photos from the second.


Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth church Trinity-St. Andrew’s selling old building  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Trinity-St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Maspeth is selling an old, underutilized building on the end of the block at the intersection of 60th Street and 60th Road.

The asking price for the property is $1.1 million, according to broker Rene Rose of Re/Max Liberty, and a buyer is already in contract to purchase the building.

Located at 60-11 60th St., the one-story property contains a gymnasium and kitchen, among other rooms, and was put up for sale because the church didn’t have a need for it anymore, according to Rev. Terrence Webber, the pastor at Trinity-St. Andrew’s.

The building was constructed in the 1950s and the church planned to add classrooms and a cafeteria to it for students, but that didn’t become a reality, according to the pastor.

The building has water damage and needs repairs. However, since it is zoned for residential use, a buyer could tear it down and develop it into housing.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth students learn about public servants on Law Day


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Leaders in local, state and national law enforcement joined emergency response teams and civic groups in celebration of the 39th annual Law Day hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Maspeth on May 22 at Maspeth’s I.S. 73.

Maspeth-based lawyer and Kiwanis member Edward McGowan created Law Day back in 1976 as a civic project for his term as the group’s president. The event initially began with 10 guest speakers and has since expanded to include over 30 instructors and speakers from all facets of law enforcement and legal professions.

McGowan created the program as a way to give back to the children of the community, as well as to the school he himself once attended.

“This school is my foundation for what I am today,” he said. “The program is all about giving the kids the opportunity to sit in a classroom with a uniformed officer and ask questions.”

This year’s Law Day event featured representatives and guest speakers from a wide range of groups, including officers from the 104th Precinct, Maspeth Kiwanis, the MTA Police Unit, the Middle Village Ambulance Squad, NYC Office of Emergency Management, DSNY Community Affairs Unit, Maritime lawyers, NYPD Crime Prevention and Community Affairs Units, as well as agents from the FBI.

Instructors and speakers from each group were sent into classrooms to discuss their roles and professions with students in a series of three, 20-minute presentations.

“They get a chance to show a little bit about themselves and say, ‘Hey, you can do this, too,'” McGowan added.

Jon Kablack, a member of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), spoke with a seventh-grade class and shared his own experiences and struggles as a high school student.

“You learn, in life, from your mistakes and how to fix them,” he said. “But as a community servant, I want to come and help you fix those now, so that you’re not held back later in life.”

Kablack also discussed the topic of graffiti with the students, an important issue that often involves the community’s youth. He explained the differences between true art and vandalism and urged the class to report such incidents.

Kablack also encouraged the students to complete their homework and maintain good grades so that they could gain admittance to a good high school and college, and eventually the career of their choice.

“You can do anything you want to do,” he said.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit addressed a sixth-grade class with a similar message of encouragement.

“If you set your goals, you could do anything,” he said. “Sometimes you have to work harder than other people to get to your goals, but you will get there.”

Sadler explained how the NYPD’s motto of “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” should be applied to life inside and out of the classroom.

“Be that guy or gal that chooses the right way,” he said. “That’s why I became a cop. I wanted to show people how to be that better person and to protect and serve those who can’t protect and serve themselves.”

McGowan hopes to plan a large event and celebration for next year’s 40th Law Day anniversary.

“I hope I’m saving lives and creating something,” he said. “Out of this, I got to help a lot of people.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Photos: Queens honors and remembers soldiers with Memorial Day parades


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography/Gallery by Robert Pozarycki, Anthony Giudice, Liam La Guerre

Nearly a dozen Memorial Day parades were held in Queens over the weekend as the borough paid tribute to military men and women who protect the freedoms residents enjoy today.

Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, which began at 2 p.m. on Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue, alongside U.S. Representative Grace Meng, Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilmen Paul Vallone and Mark Weprin and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein.

Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, served as the parade’s grand marshal. Sutton hailed Memorial Day as a sacred time.

“It is a day that we come together to commemorate and remember and to think about all that we share in this great country and to remind ourselves that the cost and price of freedom is never free,” Sutton said. “That we are so blessed to be in the land of the free because of the brave.”

Parades were held in Woodside/Sunnyside, Whitestone, Laurelton, Howard Beach, Glendale/Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Forest Hills, College Point and Woodhaven.

New military recruits, veterans in vintage cars, fire fighters, police officers, JROTC members, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and marching bands participated in the borough’s parades while parents and children donned red, white and blue and waved the stars and stripes from sidewalks.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

In Glendale, 104th Precinct looks to improve on crime drop


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Crime numbers continue to plummet in the 104th Precinct, but the command is looking to do even better.

Capt. Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer, came to the precinct’s Community Council meeting on Tuesday at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale and reported a 26 percent reduction in overall crime in the past month. This included a significant downturn in domestic violence and felony assaults.

The precinct also experienced a 40 percent decrease in grand larcenies and stolen cars. Wachter credits crime prevention tactics, such as personalized home visits and spreading awareness about scams, with the large reduction.

In an effort to confront quality-of-life concerns, the 104th Precinct also held a successful undercover sting operation last Saturday to combat prostitution along Cypress Avenue and Starr Street on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. According to Wachter, officers made six arrests and seized one vehicle for illicit activity.

“We put pressure on and basically make it go away,” he said. “We don’t want it to go somewhere else; we want it to go away.”

Despite these victories, burglaries remain an area of particular concern for the command. The Community Council’s Public Safety Committee and P.O. Eddie Collado of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit delivered a video presentation and discussion on home burglary prevention.

“The burglar is an opportunist,” Collado said. According to police, perpetrators often gain access to homes through unlocked rear windows, doors and fire escapes.

Collado urged residents to secure windows and doors with the proper locks and volunteered to conduct personalized home safety surveys upon appointment. He also asked that residents register their valuable items such as electronics and bicycles with the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit. The items are marked with serial numbers that can potentially help identify and recover them if lost or stolen.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Sean Paul Hynes was honored as Cop of the Month for apprehending a suspect wanted for robbing a Boar’s Head delivery truck driver at gunpoint on April 21 on Woodward Avenue at Woodbine Street in Ridgewood.

According to Wachter, Hynes and his fellow officers from the 104th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit were able to track the suspect and his getaway vehicle through the use of undisclosed computer resources. Within minutes of the robbery, Hynes was able to track the vehicle to a specific location in Brooklyn.

A brief foot pursuit ensued, after which the male suspect and his weapon were taken into custody.

“It’s one less gun on the street, but we can never measure how many victims the gun could have taken out,” Wachter said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Maspeth residents speak out on Frank Principe Park repairs


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Frank Principe Park in Maspeth is one step closer to getting the much-needed renovations the community has been wanting for years.

On May 13, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley held a visioning session at Maspeth Town Hall where members of the community, as well as community leaders, came together with the New York City Parks Department to suggest changes that they would like to see made to Principe Park.

The visioning session comes on the heels of Crowley allocating $5.7 million in city funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to enhance the park and create green space the community can easily utilize.

The last major capital project for the park was done in 1996, which was a $3 million upgrade to the playground, tennis and basketball courts.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley during last week's visioning session for Frank Principe Park. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Crowley's office.)

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley during last week’s visioning session for Frank Principe Park. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Crowley’s office.)

“This funding will give new life to a park that has desperately needed it for decades. This renovation has been a top priority of Community Board 5 and the community for the past 10 years and I am pleased to finally get this done,” Crowley said. “I’m happy to have brought the public together to hear what they truly need in their backyards for their children, for their sports teams and for themselves.”

Currently, the park’s sports fields are prone to flooding and the asphalt running track is weather-beaten and outdated. Neither of these amenities have been upgraded since the park’s installation in the late 1980s.

During the visioning session, residents requested full-size soccer fields, baseball fields, astroturf on the fields, an adequate drainage system, high fences, bleachers, water fountains, garbage cans and other improvements.

Over the next few months, NYC Parks will consider the community’s suggestions and lay out a proposal which will be heard in the fall.

RECOMMENDED STORIES