Tag Archives: AirTrain

JFK AirTrain to shut down tonight through Monday for repairs


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ad Meskens

Travelers will have a harder time than usual getting around John F. Kennedy International Airport beginning Thursday night and into the weekend, as much of the AirTrain system will be closed for repairs.

The shutdown takes effect at 8 p.m. tonight along the JFK AirTrain between Federal Circle and all airline terminals serving the Central Terminal Area. There also won’t be any AirTrain service to and from the Howard Beach and Lefferts Boulevard stations. The disruptions will continue through 4 p.m. Monday, June 8.

Shuttle buses will replace AirTrain service between the closed AirTrain stations and the terminals. AirTrain service will operate normally between Federal Circle and Jamaica Station at all times except from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 7, when that line will be closed.

According to the Port Authority, the shutdown is necessary to perform system maintenance work. Additional JFK customer service representatives and Port Authority employees will be on duty at the airport and affected stations during the disruption to help customers get around.

All travelers heading to and from JFK are urged to allow additional travel time and prepare for any delays. Click here or call 888-JFK-INFO (535-4636) for further information.

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Fake cabbie told passengers AirTrain was down to solicit fares: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

An unlicensed livery cab driver was busted after he allegedly lied to JFK Airport passengers by telling them the AirTrain wasn’t running and that he was a Super Shuttle driver, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Barnabas Laurent, 47, of Brentwood, Long Island, has been arraigned on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, second-degree criminal impersonation, third-degree criminal trespass and unlawful solicitation of ground transportation, District Attorney Richard Brown announced Monday.

Laurent was allegedly spotted approaching several passengers at the airport’s arrivals section in Terminal 1 on Saturday to try to solicit fares. According to the criminal complaint, he falsely told passengers that the AirTrain wasn’t working and said that he was a Super Shuttle driver. Laurent then offered to take them to the Jamaica train station or elsewhere.

Inside Laurent’s vehicle, a Super Shuttle rate book, receipt books and other material with the Super Shuttle logo were allegedly found.

“It is important that travelers visiting New York City are provided with a safe and welcoming atmosphere at our airports,” Brown said. “Unregulated taxis and unscrupulous drivers — who are not properly licensed and do not carry appropriate insurance — put riders at risk.”

Laurent, who faces up to a year in jail if convicted, is being held in lieu of $500 bail.

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Gov. Cuomo unveils proposal to build an AirTrain to LaGuardia Airport


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Getting to LaGuardia Airport could get a whole lot easier.

Gov. Cuomo rolled out a proposal to build an AirTrain from the Willets Point No. 7 train station to LaGuardia Airport, similar to the train line now connecting John F. Kennedy Airport to the Long Island Rail Road’s Jamaica station and the Howard Beach A train station.

“You can’t get to LaGuardia by train today and that really is inexcusable,” Cuomo told several hundred of the city’s top business leaders during a speech before the Association for a Better New York at a Midtown hotel Tuesday morning. “That is going to change over the next several years.”

“We will construct an AirTrain that will connect with the route 7 subway line and the Long Island Rail Road at Willets Point and will take you into LaGuardia Airport. That is about a mile and a half construction. It will run along the Grand Central Parkway in an area that we believe won’t create an undue burden to any other neighboring structures,” Cuomo said.

The proposed train line is part of an ambitious array of proposals regarding LaGuardia that Cuomo will discuss in his upcoming State of the State speech. He is also calling for a high-speed ferry terminal connecting the airport with Manhattan and a major overhaul of terminals.

He called the rail link “truly long overdue.”

Cuomo downplayed the potential for disruption to neighboring communities, citing the proposed 1.5-mile route through what he described as largely industrial Willets Point and along the Grand Central Parkway. He did not mention the city’s plans to redevelop Willets Point.

The MTA has for more than a decade considered a rail link to LaGuardia. Previous proposals included extending the N and R line from Astoria to create a one-ride trip to the airport.

A LaGuardia AirTrain to the No. 7 line station at Willets Point would also create a connection with the Long Island Rail Road, expanding the potential service area of the project. But it would, like JFK’s rail link, require a transfer to make the trip.

The project would cost an estimated $450 million. But Cuomo  said he would “not venture a guess” about the timing for the project.

The 8-mile JFK AirTrain, built by the Port Authority, cost roughly $2 billion. Construction on that train began in 1998.

The announcement was praised by airport advocates.

“Despite the importance of our airports, key investments into their future have been consistently squeezed into the middle seat,” said Joe Sitt, chairman and founder of the Global Gateway Alliance, a independent advocacy group that is pushing for regional airport improvements.

“GGA has long called for faster mass transit to LaGuardia Airport, and shown how far behind other airports it is in terms of access. Governor Cuomo’s new plan to finally construct a direct rail ride to LaGuardia would be a huge relief for millions of passengers each year and finally put us on par with leading airports around the country and the world, ” Sitt said. “But let’s be clear: we do not need words or speeches; we need action — both on the state and federal level – to provide a budget and timeline quickly,” Sitt said.

Cuomo did not say which agency or public authority would be charged with building the AirTrain to LaGuardia. He shares control of the Port Authority with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and he would need the backing of the Garden’s State’s commissioners on the authority’s board.

Cuomo also controls the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. But the MTA is struggling to fund its current capital projects, including the Second Avenue Subway and the East Side Access connection for the LIRR at Grand Central Terminal.

The JFK Airtrain was funded in part with a $4.50 passenger facility fee that was charged by the Port Authority to airlines for outbound flights.

Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye and MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, both Cuomo appointees, released a joint statement pledging support for the project.

“The Port Authority and the MTA are working closely to establish the scope, schedule and management of the LaGuardia AirTrain, just as they worked closely to create the successful JFK AirTrain.”

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3.5 acres of on-campus land at York College will be home to new companies


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo and map courtesy of York College

Parts of Jamaica may look forlorn with many properties vacant or in need of repair, but its shopping district and its richness in transportation options could turn it into the next big thing for development.

Businesses from around the state and outside New York are vying to enter the neighborhood through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY tax-free program at York College, which school officials are touting as a potential catalyst for a development explosion in downtown Jamaica.

York representatives told The Courier that they are in negotiations with many businesses looking to partner with the school in exchange for no corporate, sales or property taxes for 10 years, and move to a property near the school or build on a portion of 3.5 acres of vacant, government-owned land on campus.

The vacant property, called Site 9, was identified in a plan that school administrators submitted to the governor’s office in July. The site is bounded by Guy Brewer Boulevard, Liberty Avenue, 165th Street and South Road. A parking lot and green space at the Brewer Boulevard side of the block are not part of the development site.

That plan was submitted by CUNY to the state Commissioner for Economic Development and was recently approved.

The plan details the types of businesses York is hoping to attract, based on the school’s academic and research programs.

Although school representatives said they weren’t allowed to discuss the specific businesses that they are considering, those fields include pharmaceutical, medical device research and manufacturing, water resource management and purification, logistics, aviation, wireless technology, solar power companies and food science research and manufacturing.


School administrators said the partnering businesses will benefit not only students but also the neighborhood, which should see increased employment as a diversifying local business landscape becomes a magnet to attract other firms to the area.

“[The program] is moving in the right direction and we are quite excited,” said Earl Simons, director of government and community relations at York. “It provides potential opportunities for our students in terms of internships as well as important opportunities for the surrounding community.”

S- York Map 2

Near York College, the downtown Jamaica area hosts a comprehensive transportation hub. The AirTrain transports passengers to John F. Kennedy Airport in about 10 minutes, while the LIRR takes thousands of people to Manhattan daily in about 20 minutes. There are about 49 bus lines running through and around the area, and the E, J, Z and F subway lines are nearby.

There have been several recent moves to leverage this resource.

A 368-block rezoning was completed in downtown Jamaica in 2007 to allow more developments with commercial and residential uses.

And earlier this year, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit that has been working to transform the neighborhood, announced the development of a $225 mixed-use, 29-story residential and commercial tower at the building it owns on 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. at Archer Avenue, just north of the LIRR/AirTrain complex.

Rendering courtesy Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

93-43 Sutphin Blvd. rendering courtesy of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

That followed the 2013 announcement of a 210-room, 24-story hotel on the south side of the LIRR complex at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd., a plot of land that is partly owned by the nonprofit.

The Development Corp is collaborating with York to help bring businesses to downtown Jamaica through the tax-free zone program, school officials said.

Businesses looking to set up shop in the tax-free zone need to appeal to several selection committees as well as school and state officials. While no immediate announcement of incoming companies is expected, York is confident in the program’s ability to be the push downtown Jamaica needs.

“It’s another tool to really spur development and economic opportunities and job creation,” Simons said. “It can only enhance all of the efforts that are taking place here.”

 

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AirTrain to temporaily shut down starting Tuesday night


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

All AirTrain JFK service will be suspended system-wide, from 9 p.m. Tuesday until 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

During the shut down, free bus service will be provided at the following locations:

  • Jamaica Station to Federal Circle Station
  • Federal Circle Station to all airline terminals
  • Federal Circle Station to Lefferts Blvd Station
  • Long-Term Parking Lot 9 to the terminal area
  • In the terminal area

The Port Authority is advising riders to allow for extra travel time during the suspension. The schedule is subject to change and dependent on weather conditions. For updates, click here.

 

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$225M residential and retail tower coming to Downtown Jamaica


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

Follow me @liamlaguerre


A new mixed-use, residential and commercial $225 million building with hundreds of units is planned for Downtown Jamaica near the AirTrain, officials said.

Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC), which owns the 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. site, recently announced the project and that BRP Companies, a New York-based developer, will build the tower.

On completion, the tower will have 400 residential units and at least 80,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, according to the GJDC.

The project will anchor the western end of Downtown Jamaica’s transit hub, where the AirTrain, 10 branches of the Long Island Rail Road, two subway lines and dozens of bus routes converge.

Officials are praising the project as another step in the growth of the area.

“This is an exciting day for Jamaica, and an exciting day for the entire city of New York,” said Congressmember Gregory Meeks. “This project further validates Downtown Jamaica as a prime location for private investment in transit-oriented development.”

 

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Jamaica Station celebrates 100 years


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the MTA

The bustling Jamaica Station recently celebrated a century as the transportation hub of southeast Queens.

“We celebrate the 100th anniversary of Jamaica Station assured that it will continue to play a strategic role in the future of mass transit in our region,” said Thomas Prendergast, MTA Chair and CEO.

The station opened in 1913 and today takes in 150,000 daily commuters and is the transfer point for 10 of the LIRR’s 11 branches.

Jamaica Station was completely rehabilitated a decade ago, including the addition of the AirTrain terminal. Looking towards the future, the LIRR’s century-old headquarters building on Archer Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard is going to be restored.

“We hope, with this restoration, to be here at least another 100 years,” said Helena Williams, LIRR President.

The station building is home to the oldest railroad in the country still operating under its original name. In the coming years, the MTA and LIRR are planning more than $300 million in infrastructure improvements as part of the first phase of the Jamaica Capacity Improvements Project. This phase will create a path from the station to Grand Central Terminal and East Midtown for the first time, among other additions.

The MTA Police Honor and Color Guard, railroad officials, MTA members, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) and local elected officials joined the 100th anniversary ceremony on October 23.

Carlisle Towery, GJDC President, said the station has been “key” to the organization’s efforts to revitalize the downtown Jamaica area.

“We look forward to the next 100 years of progress,” he said.

 

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Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Hero construction worker hellbent on catching Empire State Building shooter

The hero hardhat credited with helping cops track down a murderous gunman outside the Empire State Building says he was hellbent on catching the killer. NYDailyNews

Empire State Building shooting victim planned to marry long-time girlfriend

They were soulmates from the start. Steven Ercolino knew instantly that Bronx-born beauty Ivette Rivera was the one who would share his life, walk down the aisle with him, grow old beside him. “They always wanted to get married,” his brother Paul said wistfully Saturday at the family home in Warwick, Orange County. “He didn’t have a ring, I don’t think.” NYDailyNews 

Expecting arrest, State Senator Huntley does not back out of race for re-election

State Senator Shirley Huntley warned supporters in Jamaica, Queens on Saturday that she expects to be indicted and arrested on Monday but would not discuss the specific allegations. Huntley’s announcement comes almost nine months after one of her aides was charged with stealing $30,000 earmarked for a non-profit group that Huntley created. Three others were also charged. NY1

150 trapped on JFK Airtrain

The Airtrain to Kennedy Airport was shut down for several hours last night and 150 people had to be rescued from one train, authorities said. The train got stuck between Jamaica Station and the airport at around 8:35 p.m., a Port Authority spokesman said. NYPost

Queens bee keeper accused of scam

The Queens man who kept 3 million bees in his back yard has been accused of diluting his honey with corn syrup and selling more than half a ton of it to a bakery. Yi Gin Chen, 58, of Corona — who needed cops Wednesday to help round up the insects after he lost control of his 45 hives — duped a local bakery out of about $6,000 by selling it 1,200 pounds of adulterated honey last month, said Andrew Cote of the New York Beekeepers Association. NYPost 

Nonprofit brings ‘Greene’ to Jamaica


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dan Greene

For many commuters who travel between Long Island and Manhattan, Jamaica is just a stop along the journey. But for Dan Greene, it’s much more than a transit hub.

Greene has developed a passion for Jamaica’s economic development. He has so much interest in the area that in May he became chairman of the board of directors of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC).

Previously, he was vice chairman and has been a board member since 2007.

Greene, 54, who lives in Greenlawn, Long Island and works in the banking industry, has had many business associates in the Jamaica community. He thought that volunteering on the board was an opportunity for him to “get to know the community better.”

Greene hopes to continue to build on the decades of work the nonprofit organization has been doing since it was founded in 1967, and to improve the quality of life of southeast Queens through economic development. As chairman, it’s important for Greene and others on the board to represent the people who live and work in the community, he said.

The GJDC was one of several organizations that pushed heavily for the AirTrain terminal, which connects Jamaica Station to JFK Airport. The terminal, which opened in 2003, helped with Jamaica’s economic development. In the last several decades Jamaica has really been transformed into a pedestrian area, said Greene.

He plans on working hard to make the community more welcoming to businesses, including helping small shops become more successful and attracting big box stores and chains, such as Home Depot, Marshalls and Applebee’s, that might be a good fit for the area.

Recently, GJDC helped create retail space underneath the LIRR underpass on Sutphin Boulevard. Before, he said, it was an uninviting space. More businesses mean more jobs and more shopping options for the community, noted Greene.

The GJDC is also looking to improve the area’s residential and hospitality offerings. The former Queens Family Court on 89th Avenue and Parsons Boulevard was recently renovated and turned into 346 low, middle and market rate rental units, and there are plans for a hotel at Suphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue, near the Jamaica LIRR station.

Greene is proud of the all the work the GJDC has done, and enjoys helping Jamaica become more welcoming.

“The best thing about the job is to see the results,” he said.