Tag Archives: Astoria Park

Free senior fitness classes at NYC parks

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

This fall, the CityParks Seniors Fitness program will offer free yoga, tennis and fitness walking classes in parks across the five boroughs.

The classes, which are open to New Yorkers 60 and older, begin the week of September 24 and last for seven weeks.

All equipment and instruction is free. Sessions are one hour long and take place twice a week.

Here is where and when the classes will take place in Queens:

Astoria Park

Tennis: Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at 21st Street and Hoyt Avenue

Cunningham Park

Tennis: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9 a.m., tennis courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street

Yoga: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Union Turnpike and 193rd Street

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Tennis: Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Meridian Road

Yoga: Mondays/Wednesdays at 11 a.m., tennis courts at Meridian Road

Roy Wilkins Park

Tennis: Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10 a.m., tennis courts at Baisley Boulevard and 177th Street

Yoga: Mondays/Wednesdays at 9 a.m., tennis courts at Baisley Boulevard and 177th Street


NOTE: Schedule subject to change. For most up to date schedule visit: www.CityParksFoundation.org. For more information about City Parks Foundation’s free Seniors Fitness programs, please call the Sports Department at 718-760–6999.

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the morning, then overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. High of 81. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain. Low of 73. Winds from the SSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT of the DAY: Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come to Astoria Park tonight for a free outdoor screening of “Footloose.” This will be the last free movie night in Astoria Park of the summer. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens father busted for endangering child

A heartless dad was busted for leaving his infant girl in a sweltering car Sunday. Robert Brown left his 7-month-old daughter in his red Mitsubishi outside a laundromat on Cross Bay Blvd. in Ozone Park, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

USTA pulls free US Open tickets for city politicians

The line judge has ruled: It’s out of bounds for city politicians and employees to take luxury seats compliments of the US Open. The US Tennis Association yanked all invitations to elected city officials and city employees last week because the Conflict of Interest Board quietly ruled that they can’t accept the freebies, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post 

Embattled Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley steered tens of thousands in campaign funds to her daughter and husband 

Queens state Sen. Shirley Huntley, who is expected to be hit with corruption charges Monday, showered her daughter and husband with tens of thousands of dollars from her campaign kitty, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News 

Man who killed coworker outside of Empire State Building had been asked to leave his apartment

The man who shot and killed a former co-worker outside of the Empire State Building was not evicted, but was told to vacate his Upper East Side apartment so the landlord could make renovations, a police source told Reuters. Read more: CBS New York

Isaac could hit Gulf Coast as Cat 2 hurricane

Tropical Storm Isaac churned toward the northern Gulf Coast early Monday and promised to give the Republican National Convention a good drenching after lashing the Florida Keys and Miami area with wind and rain. Read more: CBS News

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist endorses Barack Obama in 2012 presidential race

Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist says he’s backing Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race. The former Republican made the announcement in an op-ed piece published in Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times. Read more: Washington Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Overcast with rain showers. High of 79. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Monday night: Overcast with rain showers in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Low of 64. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Movie Night in Astoria Park

Come to Astoria Park tonight for a free screening of “Thunder Soul,” a documentary film that gives the positive message that students will excel if encouraged and that teachers can motivate you for life.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

12 injured in Queens fire

Fire officials say 10 firefighters and two residents were injured in a fire at a three-story building in Queens. Read more: NBC New York

Planned hotel sparks concern for Rockaway residents

A planned six-story hotel in Edgemere is raising the hackles of local homeowners who worry it will put the brakes on the neighborhood’s hard-fought revival. Read more: New York Daily News

Abandoned baby found in Qns.

A newborn girl was found abandoned behind a building in a Queens housing project last night, police said. Read more: New York Post 

Over 500 guns bought back by police at Jamaica church

A gun buyback in Jamaica, Queens took more than 500 weapons off the streets on Saturday. Read more: NY1

U.S. Air Force Week underway in New York City

Fighter jet flyovers are planned through Tuesday, to mark Air Force Week 2012. Read more: CBS New York

Two dead following fiery small plane crash in eastern Long Island

A second person has been pronounced dead after a small plane carrying three people crashed in the eastern Long Island town of Shirley on Sunday morning, authorities said. Read more: CBS New York

Melky Cabrera’s bizarre scam to avoid drug suspension attracts attention of federal investigators

Last week, the biggest mystery surrounding the Melky Cabrera steroid suspension was what it would do to the San Francisco Giants’ playoff run. Now the question is whether Cabrera, more than a decade after BALCO, has turned the Giants’ clubhouse into a crime scene. Read more: New York Daily News


Queens and Brooklyn to wage water balloon battle

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook/Rob Forrester

The borough battle between Brooklyn and Queens continues this weekend with an unusual choice of weapon — water balloons.

“I think we all can agree that there is a certain rift between the “People from Queens” and the “Brooklynites.” Whatever that rift may be I think it’s time for a common gathering to quell the contrasting beliefs that we have for one another — because quiet honestly — we are all New Yorkers,” the events Facebook page created by Rob Forrester says.

The balloon barrage will begin at 3:30 p.m.at Astoria Park on Saturday, July 28. One hundred participants have already confirmed attendance via Facebook.

Brooklynites will gather on the park’s west side, while Queens residents will assemble on the east side.

If you want to join the water war, the event page says to bring five to 10 water-filled balloons. Water guns are also encouraged.

To soothe any residual tension, participants plan a post-fight visit to the Bohemian Beer Garden.


Man extradited from Netherlands faces charges for ’05 assault, attempted kidnapping

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Six years after fleeing the country, a man wanted for the sexual assault and attempted kidnapping of a child was extradited from the Netherlands and returned to Queens to face the charges against him.

Peter Belegrinos, a 30-year-old former psych tech at Elmhurst Hospital and Astoria resident, attempted to kidnap a nine-year-old girl from Astoria Park after sexually assaulting her and threatening two of her friends in August of 2005.

“We have waited more than six years for the defendant to once again face justice and answer the charges that he is a child predator whose alleged offenses are said to have occurred in a public area in broad daylight,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “That long, overdue day has finally arrived.”

According to the 2005 criminal charges, Belegrinos approached three children — a boy, 9, a girl, 9, and another girl, 12, — on August 8, 2005, at Astoria Park. Belegrinos allegedly asked them to play what he called a “kissing game.” The children ran from Belegrinos, who chased after them, grabbing the younger girl. As she fell to the ground, he punched her in the side of the head before lifting up her skirt and sexually abusing her.

Belegrinos was apprehended by police shortly thereafter when passers-by called 9-1-1.

The alleged perpetrator was ordered to be held without bail and is expected to return to court on August 13. He was originally arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on August 9, 2005, for the same charges and posted his $50,000 bail. He failed to appear at his January 23, 2006, court date and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Belegrinos was arrested in February 2011 at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport on a warrant obtained by the DA stemming from the 2005 Queens case. The DA had been fighting for his extradition since that time.

Belegrinos was arraigned on Friday, July 20, on a seven-count indictment, charging him with one count of second-degree attempted kidnapping, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, one count of third-degree assault and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.

If convicted, Belegrinos faces up to 15 years in prison.

Attempts to contact Salvatore Marinillo, Belegrinos’s attorney, went unanswered.

What to do in Queens this weekend

| brennison@queenscourier.com

The Unisphere was lit-up red for American Heart Month


Eduardo Anievas Cortines is having his Open Studio Series where attendees can view 100 of his paintings in an informal setting at his studio, located at 47-33 5th Street in Long Island City. On Saturday, the hours will be 1 to 9 p.m. and on Sunday, the hours will be 1 to 7 p.m. The Sixto Quartet will be playing live Latin music on Saturday from 4 to 7 p. m. Home-made sangria and tapas will be served. Invitation is up on www.eduaran.com.


4 p.m. – 9 p.m., there will be Bandfest at Astoria Park, located at 21 Hoyt Avenue North in Astoria. Come and watch and listen to live music and performances by local musicians.

8 a.m.- 3 p.m., Set on a shady, tree-lined avenue near Lou Lodati Park, the Sunnyside Greenmarket is a thriving community center drawing an ethnically diverse mix of young couples, families, and elderly residents from the surrounding neighborhood. On hand are a fantastic selection of vegetables grown in the Black Dirt of Orange County, specialty Mexican produce and herbs, eggs, seasonal fruit, cider, baked goods and fresh-caught fish. Cheese, pickled vegetables, grass fed beef, and wine pressed from locally grown grapes entice shoppers with culinary possibilities.

6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Music in the Garden Series: Radio Jarocho: This versatile ensemble specializes in “son jarocho,” traditional music and dance from southern Vera Cruz, Mexico, a style rooted in Spanish music and a mixture of Afro-Caribbean and Mexican sounds. The five-member ensemble will perform “son jarocho” along with original compositions based on this style and influenced by a range of sources, creating a contemporary repertory that captures the spirit of the traditional style. The program will include works from Radio Jarocho’s just-released CD, Café Café!

7 p.m. – 10 p.m., Ice Theatre of New York (ITNY), the nation’s premier ice dancing ensemble, will help cool things down with free, Saturday evening performances beginning July 14 for three consecutive Saturday’s at the World Ice Arena in Queens. The family-friendly Series will include performances by the Ice Theatre of New York ensemble, guest artists from the competitive skating world as well as young, up-and coming ice artists.


1 p.m. – 11 p.m., there will be a Cask Ale Festival at Alewife Queens, located at 5-14 51st Avenue in Long Island City. The centerpiece of the festival will be the Cask Bar, which will showcase 50 and more cask ales from the nation’s great breweries both foreign and domestic. Get Early Bird Tickets for a low price here: www.ny-offers.timeout.com/deals/cask-ale-fest. Tickets will also be available at www.alewifecask.eventbrite.com and sales end on Friday, July 13.

4 p.m. – 6 p.m., Black Henna Productions presents William Shakespeare’s comedy “Twelfth Night” at the Forest Park Bandshell. The perils of Viola and Sebastian unfold among the comic mayhem of the staff of the fictional modern day Camp Illyria.

5 p.m. – 9 p.m., The Red Eye Media Group will be holding its first fashion show, Color Me Teal, at the Loft LIC, located at 45-02 23rd Street in Long Island City. Clothes presented will be from famous designers and there will be guest speakers who will talk about their relationship with ovarian cancer. Tickets are $20 online and at the door. All donations go towards the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Beat the Heat: City pools open today

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of .nycgovparks.org

If the heat wave that started off the 2012 summer season is any indication, then we might be in for a hot summer. Instead of sitting in air conditioning, try cooling off in one of the city’s free outdoor pools, starting June 28. Opened from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. (with a break for cleaning between 3 and 4 p.m), there are eight different locations in Queens to swim, including an Olympic-sized pool in Astoria Park. Don’t know how to swim? No problem. The outdoor pools also have free swimming lessons for 1 and half year olds to adults of all ages.


Astoria Park

19th St. and 23rd Drive

Olympic-sized pool


Fisher Pool

99th St. and 32nd Ave.

Outdoor Wading pool


Fort Totten

Story Road. and Pratt Ave.

Outdoor Intermediate Pool, Outdoor Wading Pool, Outdoor Diving Pool


Liberty Park Pool

173rd St. and 106th Ave.

Outdoor Intermediate Pool, Outdoor Wading Pool


Marie Curie Park

211th St. and 46th Ave.

Outdoor Mini Pool


P.S. 10

45th St. and 30th Road

Outdoor Mini Pool


P.S. 186 Playground

Little Neck Parkway & 72nd Ave.

Outdoor Mini Pool


Windmuller Park

54th St. and 39th Road

Outdoor Mini Pool


For more information, visit the NYC Park’s website


Funeral of Ramarley Graham, unarmed teen shot by cops, is held at Bronx church

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Funeral of Ramarley Graham, unarmed teen shot by cops, is held at Bronx church

Hundreds gathered in a Bronx church Saturday to mourn the death of an unarmed teen shot and killed by police inside his home this month.

The body of Ramarley Graham, 18, lay in an open casket as more than 400 relatives and friends began to fill Crawford Memorial United Methodist Church in Williamsbridge for the teen’s funeral.

Read More: New York Daily News


‘Teflon rapist’ mocks Bx. DA for missteps that got charges dismissed

A slippery suspect whose DNA was matched to three sex attacks mocked the Bronx DA for missteps that got his charges dismissed, joyfully taunting during a jailhouse interview “How’d they blow it? How’d they blow it?”

Brian Brockington, 34, insisted he never raped anyone — though he claims that a full calendar year is a blackout for him.

Read More: New York Post


Transit Officers Catch Alleged Subway Pickpocket In The Act

Two transit offers were on the right train at the right time on Saturday and ended up catching an alleged pickpocket in action.

Police say the officers were patrolling a Queens-bound E train early Saturday morning inManhattan, when 50-year old Manuel Alduey got on an adjoining car at West 4th  Street and sat next to a sleeping passenger.

Read More: New York 1


More human bones found on Long Island where series of skeletal remains were discovered

Another human skeleton has turned up in a wooded area on the eastern end of Long Island, in a town where at least four other sets of human remains have been discovered in recent years.

The latest set of bones was discovered at around 6:30 p.m. Friday in a pine barrens in Manorville. A resident of the town, Matt Samuel, said he was walking through the area with his dog when he made the find.

Read More: New York Daily News


Qns. granny kin sue in blizzard death

The family of aQueens grandmother who died of a heart attack during the December 2010 blizzard is suing the city for failing to clear the streets, which they say delayed emergency responders. Faith Radvin and Robin Martucci claim in a suit filed yesterday that a day after the storm, their mother, Gail Radvin, 73, had a fatal heart attack.

Read More: New York Post


After two years and $2.3 million, Queens park still awaits public toilet

A costly restroom facility in Elmhurst contracted by the city nearly two years ago is still under construction, and it could end up costing even more than originally indicated.

The comfort station at Elmhurst Park— the former site of the Elmhurst Gas Tanks — was originally quoted at just under $2 million in July 2010. The city has since raised the price tag to nearly $2.3 million. And parkgoers continue a scramble to find places to relieve themselves nine months after the park opened.

Read More: New York Daily News


ESPN fires writer for penning racist Jeremy Lin headline; suspends anchor for 30 days

ESPN has fired the writer who wrote a headline using the phrase “chink in the armor” to refer to Jeremy Lin, the network said Sunday morning.

The network also hit anchor Max Bretos, who used the same term on the air while discussing Lin, with a 30 day suspension.

Read More: New York Daily News


This Queens couple’s lifestyle is for the birds; they rehab injured pigeons in their one-bedroom apartment

A Queens couple has found a unique way to avoid an empty nest — by filling their one-bedroom apartment with ailing pigeons.

Japanese translators Kaori and Eugene Oda ofAstoriasay they rescued and fostered 80 sick, injured and abandoned pigeons last year. When the birds healed, they released them in Astoria Park.

Read More: New York Daily News


Woman endures ‘unorthodox’ custody battle after leaving strict community

This rabbi’s daughter has an unorthodox custody battle on her hands.

Pearlperry Reich, 30, a stunning mother of four, said she’s done with the Hasidic community after it fought tooth-and-nail against her repeated attempts to end her rocky marriage — despite her claims of emotional and physical abuse. “It was an arranged marriage,” she said of her betrothal at the tender age of 18. “We got married and right away we had issues.”

Read More: New York Post

Christmas Tree Collection to Begin January 3

| brennison@queenscourier.com

After the presents have been unwrapped, the stockings unstuffed and the new year has passed, comes the time to take down the decorations and discard the Christmas tree.

Beginning Tuesday, January 3, the Department of Sanitation will collect the curbside Christmas trees that should be removed of tinsel, lights, ornaments and stands.  The program will run through Saturday, January 14.

The trees must not be placed into plastic bags.

The trees will be chipped and turned into compost and spread throughout the city in parks, ball fields and community gardens.  Compost is a natural fertilizer and is a soil enrichment that promotes the growth of plants and grass.

“The department is very pleased to offer this special recycling service.  Providing collection and recycling options for residents is environmentally valuable and benefits our neighborhoods,” said Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty.

The city’s Parks & Recreation Department will also hold a Mulchfest on Saturday, January 7 and Sunday, January 8.  Residents can bring their trees to one of the 70 designated locations around the city — 10 in Queens — for mulching.  New Yorkers who drop their tree off at the event will also be able to pick up free mulch.

For more information on Christmas tree collection and recycling and/or Mulchfest 2012, visit www.nyc.gov/sanitation or www.nyc.gov/parks or call 3-1-1.

Here is a list of Queens Mulchfest locations:

  • Astoria Park* (19th Street & Hoyt Avenue)
  • Brookville Park* (Brookville Boulevard between 144th Avenue & Caney Road)
  • Cunningham Park* (Visitor Parking Lot & 196th Street)
  • Forest Park Bandshell* (Forest Park Drive, west of Woodhaven Boulevard)
  • Juniper Valley Park* (80th Street between Juniper Boulevards North & South)
  • Kissena Park (Sunday Only*) (164th Street at Underhill Avenue)
  • Land Restoration Project Compound* (Queens Plaza South & 10th Street)
  • Rockaway Beach (Shore Front Parkway & Beach 94th Street)
  • Roy Wilkins Park (Park entrance at Merrick and Foch Boulevards)
  • Travers Park* (78th Street at 34th Avenue)

* Free mulch will be provided

Astoria pool set for rebirth

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

Elected officials are diving right in to a project to repurpose a long-neglected pool in Astoria Park.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. and Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski announced plans to convert the dive pool at Astoria Park into an outdoor performance space, the first of its kind in the neighborhood.

“I’m especially proud to work with the Parks Department to turn what has become an eyesore into sorely-needed performance space,” said Vallone, who allocated $1 million for the project. “Some of the city’s brightest performers call Queens home, and they deserve one of the most beautiful locations in the city.  Nestled between the Hell Gate and Triborough Bridges with a view of the East River and the skyline at sunset, it will evoke the theaters of ancient Greek and Rome and will be truly majestic.”

The project will include pouring concrete into the pool, removing debris and existing small diving boards, creating seating areas, installing flooring, a new perimeter concrete walkway and tent canopy shade at the bleachers, among other improvements. The pool’s three-level diving board will remain and be refurbished.

Construction is tentatively set to begin in 2012, with possible completion coming in 2013.

“Astoria Park has long been one of Queens’ flagship recreational facilities, with opportunities for swimming, running, tennis and even skateboarding,” said Lewandowski. “Thanks to Councilmember Vallone’s generous allocation, we are now ‘diving’ into a new area of use – public performance space. This long unused space will be transformed to bring music, theater and more to residents of Astoria and the borough of Queens.”

Vallone is also providing $2 million for renovations to the Astoria Park pool rooftop and terrace and hopes to see a café-type concession there one day. Since taking office, he was instrumental in conceiving and funding Astoria Park’s state-of-the-art skate park.

Taryn Sacramone, executive director for the Astoria Performing Arts Center, said that the stage – in the center of one of the city’s most beautiful parks – will make the performing arts more accessible to the community.

“It will draw people to Astoria and provide artists with a unique space to share their talents,” she said. “The location is absolutely inspired and the possibilities are endless. Astoria will be much richer for it.”

Walk honors D’Amico legacy

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com


The late Gloria D’Amico always encouraged exercise and healthy living.

To honor her, residents of Queens gathered in Astoria Park on Saturday, September 17 for the sixth annual Honorable Gloria D’Amico Fun/Run/Walk.

The event, which was organized by the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, included a 3K run around Astoria Park for participants of all ages, a power walk for seniors, a quarter of a mile run for teens and a 50 yard dash for young children.

Other attractions were a tug-of-war, blueberry pie eating contest, face painting and bouncy castle. “Gloria D’Amico was a big supporter of the Queens community,” said Terry Hughes, the executive director of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. “She was a board member of the Variety Club, and she wanted to have a day to celebrate health and families. We want to continue honoring her legacy by having this event.”
David Mercado and Denise Ryan were the men’s and women’s first place in the 3K run. Mercado also placed first for the men in the quarter mile sprint, with Guadalupe Roldan crossing the finish line first for the women. Gina Villevera finished first in the senior power walk.

D’Amico, former Queens County Clerk, passed away on December 21, 2010 after a battle with cancer. Her son, Leonard, presented the Variety Club with a $10,000 donation from the D’Amico family at the event’s closing ceremony.

“I think this event recognizes the commitment my mom had to the community,” said Leonard D’Amico.