Tag Archives: Astoria

Four men rescued from Astoria house fire

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

The NYPD rescued four men from a burning apartment building in Astoria on Monday afternoon after pushing in an air conditioning unit to gain access into the building.

Officers from the 114th Precinct received a call at about 2:25 p.m. on Monday and responded to a house fire at 23-44 28th St.

The five officers heard screams on the first floor calling for help and could only gain entry by pushing an air conditioning unit inside of the house, police said.

The officers were met with heavy smoke and removed two men from the house. The remaining two occupants were able to walk out on their own, according to police. The civilians sustained minor injuries and the five officers were treated for smoke inhalation. According to authorities, the apartment building sustained extensive property damage.

The fire is being investigated and is being ruled as suspicious in nature.

According to published reports, one of the rescued residents was in a wheelchair. He reportedly lives in the apartment with his nephew and two other men rented an apartment in the same building.


Astoria bar to host Nintendo tournament featuring popular ’90s video game

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Tecmo NYC

Gamers will have a chance to relive the past on Oct. 17 with the fifth annual New York Tecmo Super Bowl Tournament in Astoria.

Break Bar & Billiards will host the tournament, where gamers are expected to gather from across the country to compete in the popular ’90s video game on the original Nintendo system.

Japanese video game company Tecmo released the game in 1991, and it was ranked one of the top 100 video games by gaming publications Electronic Gaming Monthly, IGN and GamesRadar. It was also named the best sports video game of all time on ESPN’s “The Doug Gottlieb Show.”

Each roster has 30 players with 11 defensive players that cannot be substituted or injured, and 17 offensive players. The game incorporates the exact 1991 NFL regular season schedule, the playoff format and the Pro Bowl game.

Tournament organizer Brian Rausse has been a Temco Super Bowl enthusiast for more than 20 years and got the idea to host a tournament after seeing a flyer for a similar tournament at Break Bar & Billiards in 2011.

“Break seemed like the ideal venue to host a tournament, being a sports bar that caters to gaming in any form, whether they be video games or table games like pool and ping-pong,” Rausse said. “It seemed like a natural fit.”

Rausse said the tournament attracts 30 to 40 participants from several states each year.

People with varying skill levels are encouraged to register and the top three finishers will receive cash prizes. The cash prizes have been about $400 split between the top finishers. All participants can participate in raffles throughout the day, which include an ESPN 30 for 30 BluRay box set, a Tecmo Bowl.org T-shirt and a Barry Sanders throw pillow.  The top three winners each receive their own New York Tecmo Super Bowl Tournament trophy.

The tournament begins with a round-robin, followed by single-elimination bracket play, and all players are guaranteed at least four games.

Interested participants can either pay $30 cash at the door or register online to receive a 20 percent discount. Those looking to brush up on their skills can attend the practice session at Break & Billiards on Oct. 14 from 6 to 10 p.m.

Break Bar & Billiards is located at 32-04 Broadway. Registration starts at 10 a.m. and the tournament begins at 11 a.m.


Martin Scorsese, Jerry Lewis, Steve Buscemi attend Museum of the Moving Image event

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Thanassi Karageorgiou/Museum of the Moving Image

Astoria was swimming in stars this week.

On Tuesday, movie legends Jerry Lewis and Martin Scorsese came together for a wide-ranging and intimate discussion about Lewis’ innovations as a comedian filmmaker in front of a full house at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Lewis has directed 12 movies, appeared in 48 movies, and hosted his own variety TV show with Dean Martin and a long-running telethon for charity. He also once substituted for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.”

The event, co-presented with the Comedy Hall of Fame, was the first in a new series looking at comedians who make movies.

Just before the program started, Neil Patrick Harris — who is shooting his own variety show “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris” next door at Kaufman Astoria Studios — dropped by to meet the 89-year-old comedian. The two only had time to say hello before Harris had to head back to film his show.

On the same day, pop star Lady Gaga also took a trip to western Queens neighborhood to attend the grand opening of The Pomery, a restaurant owned by her childhood best friend Bo O’Conner.

Astoria is ending the week with more movie stars as actors John Turturro and Kevin Corrigan are joined Friday by playwright John Patrick Shanley for a live event and screening of the independent film “Five Corners.” For more information on the event, click here.


Runners to enjoy cupcakes during NYC Cupcake Run in Astoria Park

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/NYC Cupcake Run

People looking to get in shape while simultaneously enjoying sweet treats can put on their running shoes and enjoy the third annual NYC Cupcake Run in Astoria.

On Oct. 17, Astoria Park will host this 5K, where participants will stop at three checkpoints to feast on cupcakes from local bake shop Sweets First. Interested runners can register online.

A portion of the $50 registration fee will be donated to New York Cares, the city’s largest volunteer management organization that runs volunteer programs from 1,300 nonprofits, city agencies and public schools.

The run will begin at 11 a.m. and participants are asked to show up no later than 10:45 a.m. for check-in at Ditmars Boulevard between 19th Street and Shore Boulevard. Participants will run two laps around the park, stopping three times to pick up their treats. The first person to complete the run will be crowned the NYC Cupcake Run Champion.

An after party will take place at Rocky McBride’s where all participants will receive a barbecue lunch, a free drink and access to specials, including a cupcake martini.

For more information, visit the event’s website here.


Lady Gaga attends opening of new Astoria eatery

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/LadyGaga

Astoria’s newest restaurant was on the edge of glory this week with a visit from a pop superstar.

The Pomeroy, a new eatery that opened in Astoria on Tuesday, got a stamp of approval from none other than Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga attended the opening of the restaurant, which is owned by her childhood best friend Bo O’Conner, and serves a mix of comfort food, a whole fried chicken and mac and cheese, and snacks like rice balls filled with porcini mushrooms and fontina. The Pomery also offers a whole slew of seasoned vegetables and potatoes.

We Heart Astoria first reported the singer’s attendance.

The restaurant, located at 36-12 Ditmars Blvd., is open Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.



Astoria’s Trinity Lutheran Church to celebrate 125th anniversary with several events

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Betto Mares Yáñez

Astoria‘s Trinity Lutheran Church will hold a yearlong celebration to honor its 125 years of service to the community.

Councilman Costa Constantinides presented the church with a proclamation at the kickoff concert on Saturday, Oct. 3, where several classical pieces were performed, including three songs composed by Trinity member and Astoria-based composer Susan Stoderl.

Trinity Lutheran Church was founded in 1890 by German immigrants from Lower Manhattan. Services at the church were originally conducted in German, but changed to English in the 1920s.

According to its website, Trinity Lutheran Church’s members include people from Tanzania, Poland, Sierra Leone, Spain, Peru, Germany, Hungary, Israel, India, Egypt and more. To celebrate their diversity, the church will host a 125th anniversary dinner on Saturday, Dec. 5.

On Sunday, Nov. 22, Metropolitan New York Synod Bishop Robert Rimbo will preach at the 10:30 a.m. services in honor of the quasquicentennial. The celebration will end on Saturday, April 16, 2016, with a concert titled “Handbells and History of Trinity & Astoria/Long Island City.”

For more information on the events, visit the church’s website here.


Astoria resident wins big on ‘Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris’

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Astoria resident Steven Tarca can see Kaufman Astoria Studios from his window.

On Tuesday, Sept. 29, Tarca was in the building as part of the studio audience for “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris,” a live variety show that debuted on NBC on Sept. 15. Tarca, a guest service supervisor at the Empire State Building, was asked through Facebook by show staff if he wanted to attend the show, and possibly get a chance to participate in a segment called “Get Lucky.” Tarca said he was chosen based on his active presence on social media.

During the segment, an audience member is picked at random to join Harris on stage and answer a number of questions pertaining to news and current events. For every question answered correctly, the participant receives a prize. Tarca said he read up on the news the week before his segment and also skimmed pop culture websites. His studying paid off and Tarca answered 6 out of 8 questions correctly.

“I had no idea that I was going to be picked but in the case that I did, I was very much reading up on the news for the week and keeping my eyes turned to social media for anything that’s been happening,” Tarca said. “[I’m in] complete shock. I’m still kind of recovering.”

Tarca decided against answering the bonus question, which could have resulted in his winning all 16 prizes, or possibly forfeiting the prizes he already won if he answered the question wrong. The contestant went home with $5,000 in cash, a bathtub full of Snickers bars, a hoverboard, tickets to the Broadway production of “Spring Awakening,” kitchen appliances from Cuisinart and a diamond necklace.

“My phone was off the hook the minute the show ended,” Tarca said.

Though he didn’t get to interact with Neil Patrick Harris after the segment, Tarca said the host told him he was doing a good job and shook his hand during the commercial break. The Astoria resident went to college in Staten Island, then moved to Brooklyn and later attended graduate school in Florida. But his favorite home has been Astoria.

“When I lived in Brooklyn I didn’t really have a sense of community and neighborhood that I get here in Astoria,” Tarca said. “It’s a completely different feel. The feeling of the community here is really incredible.”

To watch the full episode of “Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris,” click here.


Astoria woman wakes up to find burglar in her apartment: police

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a burglar who entered an Astoria apartment through an unlocked window and accidentally woke up a woman.

The suspect entered a residence in the vicinity of 21st Street and 26th Road on July 22 at approximately 5:40 a.m., according to cops. A 38-year-old female sleeping on a couch at the time of the incident confronted the man, who then fled through the front door. He was last seen fleeing westbound on 26th Road.

No property was removed from the residence, and the victim was not harmed.

Authorities described the suspect as a Hispanic man who is 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 180 pounds. He has black hair and was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and black shorts.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Astoria dog run receives $1M in funding

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Costa Constantinides

Astoria’s four-legged friends will soon have a park to call their own.

Elected officials gathered under the Robert F. Kennedy (Triborough) Bridge last week to announce the allocation of $1 million to build an official dog park in the neighborhood. The park, which is currently a basketball court, will be located at Hoyt Avenue North between 23rd and 24th streets.

Councilman Costa Constantinides allocated $500,000 for the dog park after it received 773 votes from the community through participatory budgeting. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is also providing $500,000 for the construction from her discretionary capital funds.

“Building a new dog run will bring great benefits to the entire community,” Constantinides said. “This lot will be a designated place where dogs can play safely and share full enjoyment with their owners. I am especially proud to know that our residents selected this project through participatory budgeting and that the community showed support for it.”

Currently, Astoria residents can bring their dogs to Astoria Park during off-leash hours from 6 to 9 a.m. or to Bugsy’s Dog Run, an unofficial dog park that is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. According to the Astoria Dog Owners Association website, the run is inadequate for several reasons. The space experiences frequent flooding, there is no fresh water source for dogs, and the fence enclosing the area is too low and has many holes.


According to a 2012 study conducted by the New York Economic Development Corporation, Astoria has one of the highest cat and dog ownership rates in Queens with 30,001 to 41,627 pets living in the neighborhood.

According to Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski, construction for projects such as this dog park take about a year and a half to begin and the Parks Department will hold meetings to receive suggestions on designs from the public.

Community Board 1, the Astoria Dog Owners Association and the Old Astoria Neighborhood Association will be in charge of cleaning and maintaining the park.

“In a borough of families, dogs are very much a part of many New York families’ lives,” Katz said. “The Astoria Dog Park will become the newest public treasure in the neighborhood offering a safe environment for families to enjoy with their four-legged family members.”


Man found fatally shot on Astoria street

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 26-year-old man died early Sunday morning after being found shot on Steinway Street in Astoria, according to authorities.

On Sunday, at about 3:59 a.m., officers from the 114th Precinct responded to a call regarding a person being shot outside of 25-86 Steinway St.

Upon arriving, cops found the man – whose identity is pending family notification – in front of the location with gunshot wounds to his body, police said. Emergency personnel transported the victim to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is still ongoing.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Man wanted for snatching purse in Astoria bar

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for stealing a purse belonging to a patron at an Astoria bar on Saturday.

The victim, a 25-year-old woman, was inside Oliver’s Astoria Bar located at 37-19 Broadway at 2 a.m. when she left her pocketbook at the bar as she used the restroom.

During her absence, the suspect removed her purse, which contained multiple credit cards and an iPhone 6, according to authorities. 

Police from the 114th Precinct responded after the incident, and the man is now wanted on charges of grand larceny.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


Man wanted for exposing himself while riding subway in Astoria

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are asking the public for assistance in identifying a suspect wanted for exposing himself on a Q train in Astoria earlier this week.

On Sept. 21 at about 12:57 p.m, a 27-year-old female riding on a Ditmars Boulevard-bound train, in the vicinity of 31st Street and 30th Avenue, saw the suspect exposing his penis and engaging in a lewd act, according to cops.

The perpetrator is described as a white male in his 30s with brown eyes and black hair, standing between 5 foot 5 and 5 foot 8 inches tall.

He was last seen wearing a red, short-sleeved T-shirt with a black design on the front, black shorts and white, orange and gray sneakers.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


Astoria Park Alliance to host second day of annual Shorefest this Sunday

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Everyone loves spending a day by the shore.

The Astoria Park Alliance is gathering families together for seaside events during its seventh annual Shorefest on Shore Boulevard.

Vehicular traffic along Shore Boulevard will be closed off during the festival, the first day of which took place on Sunday, Sept. 20. A second day of festivities is planned for Sunday, Sept. 27, in Astoria Park from 1 to 7 p.m.

Activities offered on the first day of the festival included free taekwondo lessons, scooter races, ukulele lessons, massages, glitter tattoos and rollerblading lessons.

Dance and music performances entertained the audience under a sky bright with perfect weather conditions, and an interactive, transformable play space allowed children to test their creativity and build their own environment.

Council member Costa Constantinides was in Astoria Park on Sunday to take part in the festivities. He commended the Astoria Park Alliance and the organization’s co-chair, Martha Lopez-Gilpin for arranging the annual event and opening up the shore to those who may not normally be able spend time at local waterfronts.

“Our waterfront provides resources and is home to diverse marine life, however much of our community lacks access to the water,” Constantinides said. “Shore Fest is an opportunity for the neighborhood to have an unobstructed connection to the waterfront while enjoying Astoria Park with their families.”

Astoria Park Alliance trustee Steve Simicich said that the event encouraged residents to get out to the park for some sunshine and fresh air without the fear of being in the way of oncoming traffic.

“Shore Fest expands Astoria Park up to the Shoreline and allows parkgoers to utilize and enjoy this beautiful waterfront promenade,” Simicich said.


Teen wanted for two separate robberies in Astoria

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image/video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a teen they say robbed two 14-year-old boys in separate occasions in Astoria last month.

The first incident happened on Aug. 25 at about 6 p.m. when the suspect – described as a black teen between 14 to 16 years of age – approached the victim near 8th Street and Astoria Boulevard and demanded his iPod while threatening to physically harm him, according to authorities. The suspect then took the iPod and fled the scene.

Two days later on Aug. 27 at about 4:40 p.m., the same suspect went up to another 14-year-old boy in front of 34-25 Vernon Blvd. and demanded his cellphone while saying that he had a weapon; however a weapon was never displayed, police said. The suspect took the victim’s iPhone and fled the scene.

The suspect was last seen wearing a white T-shirt and the NYPD has released video surveillance footage of the teen.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Panel of experts talk Queens real estate trends at LIC conference

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


The latest news and trends in the “World’s Borough” was the focus of a panel discussion, “From Food to Fashion: What’s Trending in Queens Real Estate” at the 2015 Real Estate Subway Series Queens held at the Renaissance Event Hall in Long Island City on Monday.

Schneps Communications co-publisher and LIC Flea and Food founder Joshua Schneps was joined at the panel by fellow panelists Margaret T. Ling Esq. of First Nationwide Title, RXR Realty executive vice president Seth Pinsky and Justin Cole, assistant vice president of leasing for Macerich. Faith Hope Consolo, world-renowned consultant and chair of The Retail Group with Douglas Elliman Real Estate, moderated the panel.

The panel discussed the ways in which cultural, social and economic trends in Queens have contributed to the boom in both retail and residential real estate throughout the borough.

According to the panelists, the thriving diversity in both culture and cuisine is one of Queens’ best qualities.

“I think the big difference between Queens and really any of the other four boroughs, but especially Brooklyn, is that Queens is a collection of communities,” Pinsky observed.

Schneps agreed: “We have over 18 different publications because we recognize that there are different demos in all of the different areas of Queens and Brooklyn and beyond.”

The LIC Flea and Food features more than 80 vendors representing roughly 85 different nationalities.

“It reflects the diversity and that people are looking for diversity, especially when it comes to cuisine,” Schneps explained. “Cuisine could be a big driving force and an attraction for tourism.”

“Food follows fashion,” Consolo said.

Many of the panelists observed that growth and trends throughout the borough were often driven by the tastes and preferences of a younger demographic, or “millennials,” flocking to Queens in search of affordability, cultural diversity and great public transit.

The panelists also noted that many of the changes happening in Queens’s commercial real estate are also due in part to a shift in the workforce. Pinsky believes that newer creative businesses ranging from tech start-ups to artisan goods producers are looking to establish outposts in Queens not only to be closer to the workforce here, but because they are seeking the unique architecture and character that Queens has to offer.


Schneps speaking on issues concerning retail and real estate growth in Queens with moderator Faith Hope Consolo

“This is an interesting time for Queens on the office front,” Pinsky said. “We’re increasingly seeing the establishment of creative enclaves along the Queens waterfront. You now have a workforce that’s very entrepreneurial and looking to work in the areas in which they also live.”

When asked to name some of the popular hot spots throughout the borough, Schneps said that both Long Island City and Astoria were at the forefront due to an abundance of diverse retail opportunities, eateries and a vibrant, growing population.

“If you go to 30th Avenue on a Friday night, it’s booming with a lot of outdoor cafes, mostly owned by young business owners in their 30s,” he explained. “I think a tremendous opportunity is Steinway Street in Astoria. Steinway Street is always known as the shopping street and the central part of Astoria. I think there is a huge opportunity here from a retail perspective.”

Schneps also observed that there was great opportunity for growth and expansion in Rockaway Beach as a result of the growing population of young artists and 20-somethings in the area.

“In terms of hot neighborhoods, I think there is a very long list of neighborhoods in Queens that are hot for all different reasons,” Pinsky said. “If you drive east from Flushing along Northern Boulevard, you will see how those neighborhoods heading all the way out to Little Neck have been completely transformed into Little Korea or Little China. There are phenomenal opportunities out there.”

The panel also grappled with the issue of the increased demand for affordable housing in Queens and beyond.

“The challenge that we’re facing as a city is a challenge of affordability,” Pinsky explained. “That challenge is coming from the fact that more people, companies and visitors want to be here than we’re able to accommodate. It’s a symptom of our success as a city, and not a failure.”

Pinsky believes that affordable housing efforts should be directed to the needs of the poor, who have often been displaced the by middle class after being priced out of their neighborhoods. He also argued that greater investments need to be made with regard to transit improvements, as middle class members tend to relocate along transit lines.