Tag Archives: Astoria

Cops searching for bicycling groper in Astoria


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A bicyclist is slapping and grabbing women’s buttocks as he’s riding around the streets of Astoria, according to police.

The suspect — described as a Hispanic male, 5 feet 4 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall and with a medium to stocky build — is wanted in three incidents starting earlier this month.

He is first suspected of grabbing a 33-year-old woman’s behind at about 11 a.m. on April 2, near 34th Avenue and 35th Street as he was bicycling.

On April 15, at about 8:45 p.m., the suspect approached a 29-year-old woman while riding a bicycle near 35th Avenue and 41st Street and struck her in the behind with his hand, cops said.

Police say the same bicyclist also slapped the buttocks of a 30-year-old woman the following day at about 11 a.m. around 36th Avenue and 34th Street.

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.

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Suspect wanted in gunpoint robbery at Astoria cellphone store


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who robbed an Astoria cellphone store last week at gunpoint and then fled in a black Audi.

On April 17 at about 3:55 p.m., the unidentified suspect entered the T-Mobile store at 31-05 36th Ave. and displayed a firearm, according to authorities. He then demanded an employee fill a duffel bag with various boxed cellphones and he also took about $200 from the cash register.

The man then fled the store in a black Audi. No injuries were reported in the incident.


Police have released surveillance video and a photo of the suspect.

The suspect is described as a black man, about 35 years old, 6 feet tall, 275 pounds, and with black hair. He was last seen wearing a brown hooded sweatshirt, black sneakers and blue jeans.

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CB 1 chair, district manager to retire in the summer after almost four decades of service


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map via CB1 Website

Astoria will soon say goodbye to two Community Board 1 leaders as they get ready to retire from their posts after nearly eight decades of combined service to the area.

Vinicio Donato, chair of CB 1, and Lucille Hartmann, district manager of the board, have announced they will both be retiring. Donato will stay on the board until August, while Hartmann will remain until July. 

Donato has been chair of the community board, which covers all of Astoria, and parts of Long Island City and Woodside, since 1979 and in January was re-elected to the position without any opposition. 

Hartmann has been on the board for about 38 years, during which she left for a brief period of time to work for the mayor’s office. 

However, the decision to announce their retirement at the same time was a coincidence and was made because it was just time for both of them to make the move, according to a community board representative. 

Lucille Hartmann (File Photo)

Lucille Hartmann (File photo)

Local elected officials thanked both Donato and Hartmann for their service and dedication to the community.

“Vinny and Lucille deserve our thanks for their long and dedicated service to our neighborhood,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “I have worked hand in hand with both of these community leaders throughout my career in public service and am proud to have stood side by side with them as we fought to make Astoria the wonderful place it is today. I wish both Vinny and Lucille the best in all that they do in the future.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer also thanked both of the community leaders for their commitment over the years.

“I thank Vinicio Donato for his four-plus decades of public service with Community Board 1 and acknowledge him for his commitment as an educator while at I.S. 10, where I attended as a kid,” Van Bramer said. “I commend Lucille Hartmann for her dedication to the communities of Community Board 1. Together, Vinny and Lucille cared deeply about the communities they served and worked hard every day to make western Queens a better place.”

Community Board 1 is expected to elect a new chairman at its September meeting after returning from the summer break.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Newtown Road near 47th Street in Astoria
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Queens Beer Week to kick off second year with over 70 venues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image via Instagram/@queensbeerweek

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Something is brewing in Queens, and in just two weeks you’ll be able to get a cold glass of what the borough has to offer.

The second annual Queens Beer Week will kick off its nine-day celebration of local breweries on May 8, with the final event on May 17.

According to organizer Daniel Bronson, a beer enthusiast and manager of Crescent and Vine in Astoria, this year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than the previous year, celebrating nine local breweries at over 70 borough-wide participating bars and restaurants.

The celebration will include brewery tours, home brewing demos, tap takeovers, food and beer pairings, pub crawls, and more.

“Queens has such a rich and diverse beer scene,” Bronson said. “We’re a borough home to some of the best neighborhood bars in the country. And although we have more breweries than any other borough, it was hard getting New Yorkers, even us here in Queens, to appreciate that.”

This year’s Queens Beer Week kicks off on May 8, with the official launch of Queens’ newest brewery, LIC Beer Project, at Crescent and Vine, located at 25-03 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria.

On May 9, Rich Castagna of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery will host the Ridgewood Beer Bar Scavenger Hunt at various bars throughout Ridgewood. Players will search for clues and hidden items at local hot spots such as Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar, The Monk Ale House, Onderdonk & Sons, Bleachers Sports Bar and Queens Tavern.

The official Queens Beer Week Kick-Off Party, which is already sold out, will be held on May 10 at 4 p.m. at LIC Landing, located at 52-10 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City. The event will feature samples and tastings from all of the Queens breweries, including Queens Beer Week IPA, a special collaboration beer made specifically for Queens Beer Week by SingleCut Beersmiths and Barrier Brewing Company.

On May 14, the film “Blood, Sweat and Beer,” a documentary by filmmaker Chip Hiden chronicling the evolution of two start-up breweries, will premiere at SingleCut Beersmiths, located at 19-33 37th St. in Astoria. In addition to pours of SingleCut beer, viewers will also be treated to beer-inspired popcorn from Ma and Pa Kettle Corn Co.

Long Island City-based breweries such as LIC Beer Project, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brew Co. and Transmitter Brewing will offer tours and beer samples throughout the day on May 16.

Queens Beer Week 2015 wraps up on May 17, with the celebration of Finback Brewery’s one-year anniversary. Their new Barrel-Aged Plum and Proper, described as “a smoky sour dark ale brewed with fresh plums,” will be available in Finback’s taproom, located at 78-01 77th Ave. in Glendale.

For the latest information and Queens Beer Week schedule, visit www.queensbeerweek.com.

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Phony Sprint worker swipes copper wire from Astoria cellphone tower: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a copper wire thief who they say impersonated a Sprint employee to steal the valuable metal from an Astoria rooftop.

The theft happened on top of a residential building on 42nd Street near 31st Avenue about 10:30 a.m. on March 13.

After gaining access to the building’s roof by saying he was a Sprint employee, authorities said, the suspect took cooper grounding wires from one of the company’s cellphone towers. He then fled southbound on 42nd Street while carrying a bundle of the wire.


Police have released video footage of the perpetrator and described him as Hispanic, 40 years old, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, black boots, a gray sweatshirt and black vest.

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.

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Bandits wanted for towing away air pumps from Queens gas stations


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for the airheads who stole self-serve air pump machines from 17 gas stations in Queens and Brooklyn since December.

In each caper the suspects used a hook and chain attached to a vehicle to yank the coin-operated devices from their pedestals, authorities said. Each of the air pumps contained hundreds of dollars in quarters and police believe the crooks got away with more than $40,000 in change combined.

A dozen of the thefts occurred in Queens, and security cameras captured one of the incidents which occurred at 6:35 p.m. on March 21 at the Sunoco gas station located at 128-24 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.


Two men, described as white or Hispanic, were spotted in the video. Police said one of them, who was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, was observed operating a blue Honda Accord.

The other Queens air pump thefts are as follows:

  • At 4 p.m. on Dec. 29, the crooks removed an air pump containing $800 in change from the Citgo gas station located at 91-02 South Conduit Ave. in Ozone Park. They returned to the location on March 1 at 3 p.m. and stole the replacement air pump, valued at $1,000.
  • On Dec. 30, at about 10 p.m., the bandits stole an air pump containing $200 from the Getty gas station at 70-21 73rd Pl. in Glendale.
  • At 8 p.m. on Jan. 12, the suspects removed an air compressor valued at $2,500 from the BP gas station at 130-11 North Conduit Ave. in South Ozone Park. They returned twice more to this location — at 9 p.m. on Jan. 28 and again at 10 p.m. on April 1 — and removed the replacement air compressors.
  • On Jan. 13, at about 6:59 p.m., the crooks removed an air pump valued at $2,000 from the Sunoco gas station at 162-35 North Conduit Ave. in Springfield Gardens.
  • At 12:20 a.m. on March 8, the bandits removed the air pump from the Global gas station at 49-25 Van Dam St. in Long Island City.
  • That same morning, at 2 a.m., the crooks yanked away the air pump machine from the Exxon gas station at 59-51 Long Island Expwy. in Long Island City.
  • At 8:26 p.m. on March 16, the suspects removed the air pump machine from the BP gas station located at 100-07 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park.
  • At 9:26 p.m. on March 20, the perpetrators removed an unknown amount of change from the vacuum air machine at the Eagle service center located at 49-05 Astoria Blvd. in Astoria.

Among the five Brooklyn locations in the pattern was the Exxon GPN Boulevard gas station at 1193 Myrtle Ave. in Bushwick. The crooks removed the station’s air pump machine, valued at $700, at 9:08 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 2.

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.

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East Elmhurst woman charged with vehicular assault, DWI in Astoria hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

HANDCUFFS 1

A 21-year-old East Elmhurst driver who “didn’t even know” she struck someone has been charged with vehicular assault, DWI and other crimes for an Astoria hit-and-run that sent a pedestrian to the hospital earlier this week, according to the district attorney’s office.

Gisel M. Carchi is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first- and second-degree vehicular assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting/serious physical injury, fourth-degree criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prosecutors said.

According to District Attorney Richard Brown, just before 4 p.m. on April 14 a 32-year-old woman saw a Nissan, which was being driven by Carchi, strike her parked Ford near Vernon Boulevard and 31st Drive. The witness then said she saw the Nissan hit a 37-year-old man before driving off without stopping.

A review of video surveillance showed the Nissan hitting the pedestrian, who was on the sidewalk, before swerving back onto the street and nearly striking another pedestrian, according to the district attorney. Carchi was finally stopped after hitting two more parked cars and taken to the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills. A test administered at the precinct allegedly indicated that she had a blood alcohol level of .201 percent, well above the .08 legal limit.

When speaking with authorities, Carchi allegedly admitted that she had been drinking and driving after she and a male friend had gone to a restaurant where they shared a bowl of an alcoholic drink.

“I guess I hit a car,” she reportedly said. “I didn’t even know I hit somebody.”

The 37-year-old pedestrian had to be taken to an area hospital where he was diagnosed with paralysis of the left leg, a shattered right knee, broken right ankle and significant pain to his back and pelvis, which will require more testing.

If convicted, Carchi faces up to seven years in prison.

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Astoria Bookshop to join Independent Bookstore Day celebrations in May


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Astoria Bookshop Facebook page

Literary lovers will unite in Astoria, as one local shop will join the first annual nationwide celebration of independent bookstores.

The Astoria Bookshop, located at 31-29 31st St., is one of 26 bookstores in New York City—and the only one in Queens—that will come together on May 2 for the first nationwide Independent Bookstore Day (IBD).

The celebration comes after a successful Bookstore Day in California last year, and this year stores throughout the United States will host literary events including readings, raffles, scavenger hunts, parties, literary trivia and story times. An afterparty for Bookstore Day NYC will be held in Brooklyn at POWERHOUSE Arena, 37 Main St.

“I’m so thrilled to be participating in the inaugural Independent Bookstore Day along with my fellow booksellers in Manhattan and Brooklyn. It’s such a wonderful way to gather together as book lovers and celebrate,” said Lexi Beach, owner of the Astoria Bookshop. “Several of my favorite local Queens authors will be participating in events at the bookshop, so the whole day is going to feel like a big party.”

Participating stores will also be offering exclusive day-of merchandise created for Independent Bookstore Day, which is being produced by the Northern California Independent Bookstore Association in partnership with the American Booksellers Association.

“The entire purpose of Bookstore Day is to celebrate our collective success and thank our customers and the community of readers,” said Samantha Schoech, IBD program director. “For so long, the message about indie bookstores was all doom and gloom, but the truth is, there are more indie bookstores this year than last, and more last year than the year before that. Independent bookstores are actually opening around the country. We want people to know that.”

The schedule of events at the Astoria Bookshop on May 2 for Independent Bookstore Day includes a children’s game of Team Pictionary at 1 p.m. with local graphic novelists Raina Telgemeier (“Sisters”) and Dave Roman (“Astronaut Academy”). At 6 p.m. the shop will also host a literary trivia game show hosted by Tony Hightower of Trivia NYC and featuring a panel with authors Blake Harris (“Console Wars”), Lee Billings (“A Billion Years of Solitude”), Genevieve Valentine (“Persona”) and Christina Finnegan (“The Gorgeous Mosaic”). The night will also feature book-inspired cocktails and prizes.

For more information on the celebration of Independent Bookstore Day in New York City visit bookstoredaynyc.com.

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LIC Arts Open to celebrate fifth year


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Junenoire Fonte

Long Island City is coming together next month to celebrate the art scene that grows every day throughout the western Queens neighborhood.

The LIC Arts Open — a five-day extravaganza where over 500 artists are expected to occupy galleries and other local spaces and open their studios to visitors — will celebrate its fifth year and hopes to work with real estate companies to help keep artists in the neighborhood.

“We’re really proud to have reached year five and I think that we did not really envision it when we first started,” said Richard Mazda, festival director. “We [started] something that even in the first year became much bigger than we thought it would.”

The festival, running from May 13 through 17, began as a two-day, open-studio event mainly showcasing visual artists. However, in its fifth year, the event now features works from visual artists, performers, musicians and so much more.

This year the festival will span 60 locations, and over 200 artists will open up their studios on Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17, from noon to 6 p.m. to share their work with visitors. For the first time, there will be a preview of open studios located in the Court Square area on Friday, May 15, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Sculpture by Jack Howard-Potter at last year's LIC Arts Open.

Sculpture by Jack Howard-Potter at last year’s LIC Arts Open.

“The initial inspiration for the festival was because Queens has one of the largest concentrations of artists of any borough in New York and maybe it’s the largest concentration of artists in the country. It just hasn’t been talked about much,” Mazda said. “We have a lot of the major cultural institutions in Queens so the festival was sort of inspired by the idea that it was time to shine a light on the immense talent that is here.”

Mazda also added that there is some concern surrounding the real estate boom occurring in the neighborhood, but he plans to work with real estate property companies to “remind them that artists are a valuable component when marketing the area.”

A head sculpture made from trash bags by Beth Williams.

A head sculpture made from trash bags by Beth Williams.

The festival is working with companies such as Jamestown, which owns the Falchi Building located at 31-00 47th Ave., to showcase art shows during the LIC Arts Open.

The idea of the five-day event is also to take over buildings and spaces that are not traditional gallery locations, and create pop-up art galleries and art shows introducing the community to these industrial spaces.

Another highlight of the festival includes neighborhood nights out, where each night is dedicated to a specific area of Long Island City such as Vernon Boulevard/Jackson Avenue, Dutch Kills or Court Square.

A fundraiser will be held on May 5 at the home of LIC photographer Orestes Gonzalez. During the garden party, awards will be given to Harriet Taub, executive director of Material For the Arts, and sculptor Eliot Lable.

The LIC Arts Open will come to an end during a closing party at the Court Square Studios, located at 2138 44th Rd., on May 17 featuring a special concert version of the musical “Hair,” a silent auction of about 100 art pieces on 10-by-10 canvases, and performance from the Astoria band 2/3 Goat.

Every event throughout the festival is free and open to the public. For the latest updates visit licartsopen.org.

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George Clooney film scheduled to shoot scenes at Ridgewood studio Friday


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/tavernakyclades

After making the rounds in Astoria, is George Clooney heading over to Ridgewood?

TriStar Productions announced that scenes for its upcoming financial thriller “Money Monster” starring Clooney and Julia Roberts will be filmed at Broadway Stages located at 1019 Irving Ave. from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday. It wasn’t known as to whether Clooney or Roberts were part of the shoot.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Jodie Foster, “Money Monster” tells the story of a television personality (Clooney) who is taken hostage while on the air.

Scenes will reportedly be filmed both inside and outside the studio, and parking on nearby streets will be prohibited as of 10 p.m. Thursday in order to accommodate production vehicles. The affected streets are Irving Avenue between Halsey and Covert streets and Covert Street between Wyckoff and Irving avenues.

Any vehicle found parked on these blocks after 10 p.m. will be towed away and relocated nearby; reportedly, there is no cost or penalty to the vehicles’ owners.

Money Monster previously filmed scenes at Kaufman Astoria Studios. Amid production, Clooney dined with Bill Murray at Taverna Kyclades, a Greek restaurant in Astoria; Murray had lunch there with director Sofia Coppola the previous day.

Exterior scenes for Money Monster were to be filmed today along Broadway in Astoria.

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‘Money Monster’ starring George Clooney to film in Astoria on Thursday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/tavernakyclades

Astoria, get ready: you might catch a second glimpse of George Clooney, this time on set of his new movie “Money Monster.”

According to signs taped along Broadway in Astoria, the film, starring Clooney and Julia Roberts, will be shooting scenes on Thursday in the neighborhood.

“Money Monster,” directed by Jodie Foster, is a thriller that follows television personality Lee Gates who stars in his show “Money Monster” giving Wall Street tips to viewers, according to published reports. However, things go south when one discontented viewer take Gates hostage while on air, and the whole scenario takes place as the cameras continue to roll.

It is not clear if the scenes filming on Thursday will include Clooney, but the award-winning actor had previously been filming at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The production of “Money Monster” has since left that location, according to sources.

Last month, Clooney was spotted enjoying some Greek food at Astoria’s Taverna Kyclades restaurant with Bill Murray, who the day before had lunch at the same eatery with Sofia Coppola, who directed “Lost in Translation.”

Photo via Twitter/@AstoriaBaker

Photo via Twitter/@AstoriaBaker

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Community project ideas on display at Sunnyside participatory budgeting expo


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Residents in the 26th City Council District got the chance to view project proposals that will be put to a public vote later this month during Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s participatory budgeting (PB) project expo Monday night at Sunnyside Community Services.

“This is a chance for residents of this district to really get a visual of the projects that are going to be on the ballot a week from now,” explained Amanda Nasner, PB delegate and Special Projects representative from Van Bramer’s office. “This is just a good visual to help people get excited about participatory budgeting.”

Van Bramer is one of 24 City Council members who have each allocated $1 million in discretionary funds for public improvement projects aimed at helping the community. Budget delegates from District 26—which encompasses all or parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside—showcased their project ideas through vibrant displays and posters.

Many of the project proposals called for improvements to the district’s schools. Jennifer Munoz, a sophomore at the Academy of American Studies, advocated for much-needed auditorium repairs at Newcomers High School in Dutch Kills. At 15, Munoz is one of the youngest budget delegates in the district.

According to Munoz, the Academy of American Studies and Newcomers High School share the same auditorium. The project would replace the auditorium seating and upgrade the sound system at a projected cost of $250,000.

“Basically, the auditorium is being used a lot, so we need to fix it up,” Munoz explained. “They have broken chairs, so we’re trying to get them fixed.”

Other proposed school improvement projects include the installation of security cameras outside Bryant High School, resurfacing the P.S. 112 playground, and a series of technology upgrades at P.S./I.S. 78, P.S. 11, I.S. 204, P.S. 166, P.S. 12 and Aviation High School.

Woodside resident Tom Ryan and his daughter Katherine spoke in favor of the Woodside Reforestry project, which would fund the planting of Parks Department-approved trees along both sides of Broadway, from 48th Street to 69th Street, at a cost of $200,000.

“There are no trees there. It’s barren,” Ryan said. According to Ryan, both he and his fellow Northern Woodside Coalition members would assume the responsibility of watering and caring for the trees.

Miki Bairstow, a delegate from the Housing Committee, was on hand to advocate for six project ideas, including the installation of security cameras and playground upgrades at the Queensbridge, Ravenswood and Woodside Houses.

Kenny Medrano presented four project proposals on behalf of the Library Committee, including the installation of ADA-compliant push-button access for handicapped and wheelchair-bound patrons at both the Sunnyside and Woodside public library branches.

Several delegates proposed transportation improvements throughout the district. Nancy Silverman spoke in favor of a $55,000 proposal to provide seniors at the Jacob Riis Settlement House in Queensbridge with a 10-passenger van for day trips and various group outings. Ray Johnson and his fellow Transportation Committee delegates advocated for the $500,000 LIC Bikeway, the installation of bus bulbs at 31st Street and five real-time passenger information countdown clocks at bus stops district-wide.

Residents will vote for their favorite projects between April 11 to 19 at various locations throughout the district. Click here for details.

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Man killed in Astoria shooting


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Police are investigating a deadly shooting in Astoria Sunday evening.

Sean Overton, 42, was gunned down just after 5 p.m. outside the Astoria Houses at 2-10 Astoria Blvd., authorities said.

Officers found Overton, who lived at the NYCHA complex, lying on his back with one gunshot wound to his neck and another to his torso, police said.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

There have been no arrests.

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Astoria library to temporarily close for self-service book return installment


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

The Queens Library at Steinway will temporarily close starting Thursday to install a new service that will make returning books easier.

From April 2 through April 7, the library located at 21-45 31st St. in Astoria will be closed temporarily as self-service book returns are installed inside the library.

Already located in most Queens libraries, this self-service option allows book returns to be processed even when the library is closed. Once a book is slipped through the slot, the same technology used for E-ZPass scans the chips located inside the library materials and automatically returns the book, printing a receipt of return for the customer.

This service is important to the customers because it allows the returned books to appear automatically on the customer’s account and also gets materials back on the shelves more quickly.

While the Queens Library at Steinway is closed for the six days, customers can visit nearby libraries at 14-01 Astoria Blvd. or 40-20 Broadway. They can also renew material on the library’s website, www.queenslibrary.org/myaccount or by phone at 718-990-8508.

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