Tag Archives: Auburndale

Annual Tour de Queens draws more than 1,200 riders


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Transportation Alternatives


More than 1,200 bicyclists from around the city participated in the 7th Annual Tour de Queens, a 20-mile ride that travels through several neighborhoods in the borough.

The annual ride on Sunday by Transportation Alternatives began in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, in the plaza between the Unisphere and the Queens Museum, and took cyclists of all ages through East Flushing, Murrary Hill, Auburndale, Bayside, Bay Terrace, Beechhurst and Whitestone.

While the event bears a resemblance in name to the rigid Tour de France biking competition, the Tour de Queens is not a race. Participants rode through streets at a leisurely pace with the NYPD and volunteers from Transportation Alternatives acting as safety marshals.

Proceeds from the event will go toward advocacy efforts to enhance public transportation and make the streets safer for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

 

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Queens woman determined to walk again after losing legs in train accident


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The plan is to walk again and then ultimately soar through the city’s skies in a flying trapeze.

Teena Katz, who lost her legs after she was struck by a No. 7 train at Grand Central Station, is recovering quickly from the horrific accident last December.

“Minute by minute, day by day, it’s not easy by any means,” Katz said. “Some days are easier, and some days are harder. I just have to take each obstacle as they come and figure it out.”

The 31-year-old Auburndale financial analyst was on her way home from dinner in Manhattan the night after Christmas, when she felt light-headed on the subway station’s platform.

She dragged herself away from the edge of the platform “just in case,” but the next few moments were a blur.

“I leaned myself up by a staircase, and the next thing I know, I was waking up and I was laying on the tracks,” Katz said. “I didn’t realize that was where I was at first. I don’t have any recollection of being hit by the train or even falling.”

The “no-nonsense individual,” however, won’t be kept down. She has been chronicling her healing process on her blog, teenavsthe7train.com, which she peppers with jokes.

“There’s no happy ending to this story,” said her husband Ben, “but she never dwelled on the ‘how did I get here.’ She pushed those thoughts out of her mind. I think it’s what’s helped her recover as quickly as she has.”

Katz won’t be fitted for prosthetics for another two to four months, but she has high hopes of returning to a normal life.

That means figuring out how to get through once-easy daily activities like sitting on the couch and getting ready for bed.

“Very simple things like that, I have to plan for,” she said. “Everything takes twice as long now.”

It also means learning how to walk on new legs and, in the future, going back to the Trapeze School New York in Manhattan, where she used to fly at least twice a month.

“Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to do stuff like that again,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to. It’s going to be hard. I might just swing. We’ll see.”

The family, who owns the Maggie Moo’s on Bell Boulevard, is accepting donations to fund the costly recovery process.

Contributions can be hand-delivered to the ice cream shop at 39-33 Bell Blvd. or be sent to Teena Katz at P.O. Box 604312, Bayside, NY 11360.

 

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Queens precinct ramps up speeding enforcement to meet ‘Vision Zero’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Lead-footed drivers in the 111th Precinct will have to ease up on the gas soon or get a ticket.

The precinct plans to ramp up speeding enforcement and make sure motorists yield to pedestrians, Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta said.

The push is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years. De Blasio’s plan also calls for a reduction in the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 mph and stiffer penalties on reckless taxi and livery drivers.

Speeding and failing to yield make up 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the city, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Officers will be closely eyeing major area intersections like Northern and Bell Blvds. and Springfield Blvd. and Horace Harding Expwy., Huerta said.

The 111th Precinct  covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows. It is one of many citywide precincts to beef up traffic enforcement in order to reach the mayor’s goals.

There have been no pedestrian deaths within the precinct this year, Huerta said.

However, a 2-year-old boy was hit by a car Monday afternoon in Auburndale after he darted onto 196th St. near Northern Blvd., police said, though he is expected to recover.

“They think the child is going to pull through,” Huerta said. “Obviously, it’s a tragedy.”

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Thursday, August 22 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Monday, August 26, during the same hours.

Parts of  Auburndale, Murray Hill, Pomonok and Queensboro Hill (Bordered by: Northern Boulevard, Sanford Avenue, 156th Street, 46th Avenue, and Holly Avenue to the north; Kissena Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south; and Fresh Meadow Lane and Auburndale Lane to the east).

Parts of  Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Springfield Gardens and Saint Albans (Bordered by Linden Boulevard to the north; 170th Street, Ring Place, 171st Street to the west; 125th Ave, Merrick Boulevard, 223rd Street and 130th Avenue to the south; and Francis  Lewis Boulevard, 121st Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard to the east).

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

West Nile spraying in Queens this week


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Monday, August 5 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Tuesday, August 6 during the same hours.

Part of the following neighborhoods: Auburndale, College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba, Murray Hill and Whitestone.

Bordered by: Cross Island Parkway, 149 Street and 20th Avenue to the North; 124th Street, College Point Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Union Street to the West; Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard to the South; and Utopia Parkway to the East.

Parts of the following zip codes: 11354, 11355, 11356, 11357 and 11361.

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Bellerose residents demand mosquito help after years with no West Nile spraying


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC

Bellerose residents say they live in a forgotten land when it comes to the city’s efforts to eliminate mosquitoes.

“You can’t go outside. You can’t make it from your car to your front door,” said Maria Donza.

The bloodsuckers are keeping residents on house arrest and even alert indoors, said Donza, who added she sits with a bottle of bug spray at home.

The city has not sprayed the area since before 2011.

Pesticide was scheduled for Bellerose in August 2011, but the order was eventually canceled, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) website.

The department recently targeted neighborhoods north of Bellerose, spraying parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Douglaston Manor, Glen Oaks, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens on July 25 and early the next day.

“Everywhere else in Queens has been mostly getting sprayed,” said resident AJ Sonnick. “I don’t understand why Bellerose has been forgotten.”

The 20-year-old said he was bitten four times in the 20 minutes he was in his backyard the other day.

“This is a beautiful neighborhood. It’s a great neighborhood to live,” Sonnick said. “It’s a shame that we just can’t sit outside.”

A DOHMH spokesperson said Bellerose has not been sprayed because no West Nile Virus activity has been detected there.

The virus is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause encephalitis and meningitis.

Insects carrying the potentially fatal virus were recently found in Auburndale, College Point, Holliswood, Middle Village, Pomonok and the areas north of Bellerose sprayed last week.

The pesticide is taken as a last resort in areas where there is a high risk of West Nile Virus transmission, the department said.

Catch basins in Bellerose have been treated with larvicide twice this season.

“Though there may be an increase in floodwater mosquitoes citywide, these mosquitoes do not transmit West Nile Virus,” the DOHMH spokesperson said.

However, State Senator Tony Avella said the city should take measures before Bellerose makes the infected list.

“Every year, we have deaths from West Nile Virus. Every year, it resurfaces,” he said. “So why don’t we do a much more proactive spraying to reduce that population rather than wait until it explodes on us?”

Mosquitoes “don’t know what a boundary is on a map” and can fly into new nearby territories, the legislator added.

The city urged residents to call 3-1-1 to report standing water, which can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

 

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Northeast Queens real estate


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Copyright (C), Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc, 2004

Bayside, Auburndale and Fresh Meadows offer a wide range of housing opportunities, from cozy little co-ops to stately manses, with prices ranging from under $500,000 to over $3 million. Here’s a range of what you can find on the tree-lined streets of this tri-neighborhood region. Information and photos are courtesy of www.mlsli.com and www.homes.com.

 

33-35 200th Street in Bayside

This charming, semi-detached Colonial one-family home was built in 1930 and is located near two public schools and a slew of shops with ample transportation options. It features three bedrooms, two full baths, an eat-in kitchen, a formal dining room, a finished basement, gas heat, new siding, updated windows and a washer and dryer. It is selling for $455,000.

 

 

67-07 213th Street in Bayside

Located in a quiet area lined with tall oak trees, this one-family home was built in 1955 and is in original condition. There are three bedrooms, one full bath, one half–bath with a private driveway, an eat-in kitchen, a full basement and wall-to-wall carpeting. This home is going for $499,000.

 

 

212-06 64th Avenue in Bayside

This gorgeous Mediterranean-style one-family mansion features six bedrooms, eight full baths and one half-bath. Newly built in 2010, this “diamond” stucco building has 8,200 square feet of living space, with a large gourmet kitchen, big windows and high ceilings. The property also includes a private driveway with a two-car garage, a deck, a fireplace and skylight. The listing price is $2,749,888.

 

 

75-52 185th Street in Fresh Meadows

A “mint” one-family residence, this brick home features four bedrooms, three full baths, one half-bath, wood floors, a welcoming foyer and many more additions. It is selling for $979,000.

 

 

 

 

75-56 195th Street in Fresh Meadows

This beautiful and completely renovated four-bedroom home with hardwood floors has granite countertops, gorgeous landscaping and a huge lot. It also features a wood burning fireplace, a two-car garage and lots of closet space. The listing price is $849,000.

 

75-20 188th Street in Fresh Meadows

A brick home built in 1950, this property features four bedrooms, two full baths, a home office, a full basement, wood floors and a private driveway with a one-car garage, among many amenities. This home is going for $629,999.

 

7 Summit Place in Malba

Located in the heart of Malba, near Auburndale, this gorgeous 7,000 square foot home features five bedrooms with one full bath each and one bedroom with one bath on the first floor. The master bedroom has a balcony and a loft. This home is going for $3,575,000.

 

 

 

154-57 12th Avenue in Beechhurst

This spacious colonial home, located close to Auburndale, boasts having four bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths with a totally finished basement that can serve as a full apartment. It also features an updated and very large eat-in kitchen with granite counter tops, a large living room with a fireplace. It is selling for $849,000.

More West Nile spraying in Queens Thursday


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Thursday, September 13 there will be another round of West Nile spraying in Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the 1,993 cases of the disease that have been reported so far this year is the highest number reported to CDC through the first week in September since 1999, when it was first detected in the U.S.

The spraying will take place from 7:30 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday morning in the following parts of Queens:

Middle Village, Maspeth, Rego Park and Ridgewood, bordered by Grand Avenue, Long Island Expressway and Queens Boulevard to the north; Fresh Pond Road to the west; Metropolitan Avenue to the south; and 80th Street, Farmville Avenue, Woodhaven Boulevard and 63rd Road to the East.

Parts of Fresh Meadows, Hillcrest, Hollis, Holliswood, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills and Oakland Gardens, bordered by Long Island Expressway to the north; 188th Street, 80th Drive, Utopia Parkway, Homelawn Street and 169th Street
to the west; 90th Avenue, 191st Street and Hillside Ave to the South; and Hollis Hills Terrace, Richland Ave and 210th Street to the east.

Parts of Pomonok, Auburndale, Flushing and Bayside, bordered by 33rd to the north; 162nd Street, Laburnum Avenue, Kissena Boulevard to the west; Booth Memorial Boulevard, Utopia Parkway and 48th Avenue to the south; and Clearview
Expressway to the east.

The pesticide being used, Anvil 10 + 10, poses no health risks when used properly, but the Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

• Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.

• Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.

• Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using again.

• Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Residents are also advised to take steps to reduce the number of mosquitoes around a home or property, including eliminating standing water in yards. In addition, New Yorkers are urged to:

• Dispose of used tires, tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers in which water collects;

• Drill holes in the bottoms of recycling containers that are kept outdoors. Make sure roof gutters drain properly and clean clogged gutters in the spring and fall;

• Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use and change the water in bird baths twice a week;

• Clean vegetation and debris from the edges of ponds; and

• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain water from pool covers.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then thunderstorms in the afternoon. High of 81. Winds from the SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 75. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: Alobar’s Tomato Festival

All this week, Long Island City restaurant Alobar is honoring the harvest season with a rotating menu of tomato dishes supporting local farms at $30 per person for two courses and a cocktail or glass of wine. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Seven Queens schools slated for closure re-open this week

After months of uncertainty, many teachers at seven Queens high schools previously slated for closure are going back to work. Read more: New York Daily News 

Internet currency exchange biz owner gets jail for tax conviction

The owner of an Internet currency exchange business is going to prison on a tax conviction. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced the two-year sentence today for Ilya Boruch of Forest Hills, Queens. Read more: New York Post

 School in Queens to serve “brunch”

he thought of having lunch, or as the principal of IS25 calls it “brunch,” at 9:45 in the morning is not going over well. Come Thursday, many students at the middle school in Auburndale, Queens will feast on roast chicken, rice and pinto beans, just two hours after their day. Read more: ABC New York

Juniper Valley Park plagued by trash, vandalism and under-aged drinking, civic leaders say

Underage boozing, vandalism and mounds of trash have plagued Juniper Valley Park all summer due to lack of Parks Enforcement Patrol officers, civic leaders say. Read more: New York Daily News

With City Council redistricting looming, activists unveil “Unity Map”

Activists are trying to protect the city’s minority groups as the City Council district lines are about to be redrawn. Minority advocate groups unveiled their so-called Unity Map Tuesday. Read more: NY1

Ed Koch being treated for anemia at New York Presbyterian

Former mayor Ed Koch was being treated at New York Presbyterian on the Upper West Side and will remain hospitalized for a few days after undergoing a blood transfusion, officials said Tuesday night. Read more: CBS New York

Airlines to face trial over 9/11

The AMR Corporation’s American Airlines and United Continental Holdings must face a federal trial over negligence claims tied to the hijacking of jetliners used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge ruled Tuesday. Read more: New York Times

Mrs. Obama: Husband knows what struggle means

Democrats are using one of Barack Obama’s strong suits, that voters believe he understands the problems of ordinary people, to trump his weakest suit, the economy. Read more: AP

City installs Slow Zones in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the mayor's office

New Neighborhood Slow Zones in four Queens communities will give pedestrians a break as the city applies the brakes to speeding drivers.

The slow zone program reduces speed limits from 30 mph to 20 mph in designated residential neighborhoods while also adding safety measures such as speed bumps. A pedestrian has a 95 percent chance of surviving if struck by a car traveling 20 mph, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

“One quarter of all fatalities in New York City are caused by speeding,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. “Today we’re continuing the fight to put the brakes on dangerous speeding.”

The program expansion was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Tuesday, July 10 press conference in Corona, which along with Auburndale, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights are among the 13 neighborhoods throughout the city that will have a slow zone installed. Three of the four Queens areas are more dangerous than 70 percent of borough streets, according to DOT statistics.

“We are continuing our assault on the number one traffic killer: speeding. We’ve seen success already where we have installed slow zones and we expect safety will improve as speeding is reduced in these communities,” Bloomberg said.

Blue gateway signs will be installed at entry points of the approximately quarter square mile zones along with signs noting the new speed limit. Construction should be completed by the late summer.

The 13 neighborhoods will join the Claremont section of the Bronx, which was the first community in the city to install the program in November. Since that time, speeding is down 10 percent in the area, Khan said.

Bloomberg said he is looking to build on the safety gains the city has made in protecting residents and drivers. There are 30,000 fewer accidents (80,000 versus 50,000) resulting in injuries than in 2001 and over that span the number of drivers that perish in accidents is down nearly 40 percent.

Crash rates, community support, number of schools, senior centers and day care centers are considered when examining areas for slow zones.

Woman killed in Auburndale Fire


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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A 63-year-old woman perished in the blaze that consumed her Auburndale home.

The victim, Joanne Brown, was found dead at the scene on Sunday, April 15. Her cousin, who Brown lived with, 59-year-old John Rebecchi, escaped.
Neighbor Sandra Villafane was one of the first people to see the fire. Up late on the computer, Villafane said she heard loud crackling noises and screams.

“Joanne! Joanne! [Rebecchi] was screaming her name,” said Villafane.

Villafane, who lives two houses over with her boyfriend, said that Rebecchi refused to leave his property. He stood by the wrought iron fence that surrounds his home and watched the fire in shock. After some coaxing, she said, she was able to get him to sit down and drink a glass of water.

At 4:39 a.m., firefighters responded to the call at the two-story private dwelling located at 45-08 189th Street. According to the FDNY, when units arrived they saw there was heavy fire on the first floor of the home.

Yu Jin Lee, who lives directly across the street, woke up on Sunday morning when she thought she heard her car alarm. Her three-year-old had also entered the room to wake her, Lee guessed because she was startled by the noise.
As soon as she looked outside, she said, she saw a column of flames.

“It was shocking,” she said. “All I kept thinking was ‘What do I have to do?’”
The fire was under control by 5:20 a.m. No firefighters were injured during the incident.

Neither Villafane nor Lee said they had any contact with Brown. Lee said she would occasionally see her smoking outside and Villafane said she and Rebecchi would exchange pleasantries every so often.
The cause of the fire is accidental electrical issues, possibly involving an extension cord, according to the FDNY.

 

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens woman killed in overnight fire

A Queens blaze killed a woman this morning, and seriously injured her cousin, authorities said. Firefighters discovered the unconscious body of Joanne Brown, 63, as they extinguished the flames in her Auburndale home on 189th Street, near 45th Avenue. EMS pronounced her dead at the scene. The fire began about 4:40 a.m., and was under control less than an hour later, according to an FDNY spokesperson. Read More: New York Post

Prober uses Facebook to nail perv, goldbrick NY teachers

Facebook is giving more Big Apple teachers a black eye. As the city Department of Education prepares to release it’s first-ever social-media policy, Schools Investigator Richard Condon has tallied a rapid growth in complaints about improper Facebook usage by city school employees — 120 in the past 18 months. Some teachers got in trouble for posting dumb jokes tinged with sex or violence. Others were busted after their own or students’ Facebook comments tipped officials to wrongdoing. Read More: New York Post

Sleepy driver kills 2: cops

A Long Island man on prescription drugs fell asleep behind the wheel and drove his 2011 Honda Ridgeline into a tree early yesterday, killing his 19-year-old girlfriend and a 17-year-old passenger, cops said. Thomas Smith, 20, of Ridge, and Jacqueline Salvador had just moved in together last week and were returning from Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Also in the car were her brother, Johnny Salvador, 17, Ryan Baumgartner, 17, and an unidentified girl, 16. Read More: New York Post

Queens Child’s Fundraiser Raises Awareness Of Rare GI Disorders

A Queens fourth grader with a rare gastrointestinal problem held a Saturday fundraiser in Woodside to raise money and awareness. KeVaughn Plunkett, who is allergic to almost all foods and has to use a food pump to survive, held his fourth Annual Art Show event at Saint Mary’s Church in Woodside. Proceeds went to the American Partnership For Eosinophilic Disorders (APFED). For more information, visit apfed.org. Read More: NY1

 

 

Schumer Demands Harsher Penalties For Pharmacy Robberies

In the wake of several robberies of pharmacies in the area, Senator Charles Schumer is urging Congress to pass a bill calling for tougher penalties. The Safe Doses Act, which is already waiting for a Senate vote, would increase punishments for robbing drug stores and give police more tools to crack down on illegal prescription drug rings. Just last week, two man held up an East Harlem pharmacy looking for pain medication. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

New York Marks Centennial Of Titanic Sinking

Exactly 100 years since an iceberg sank the RMS Titanic, New York City is holding events today to mark the centennial of the famed shipwreck that killed more than 1,500 people. The Titanic sank early in the morning of April 15, 1912, after hitting an iceberg late the previous night. A tour in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx is letting visitors pay respects at the gravesites of several Titanic passengers. Also, the Noble Maritime Collection at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island is opening a Titanic-related art exhibit. Read More: NY1

Auburndale Atrocity


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Contrasted against a sea of well-kept homes and pristinely-manicured lawns in Auburndale looms an abandoned property – a massive four-unit building left destitute, much to the dismay of locals who take pride in their neighborhood.

The structure, located at 47th Avenue and 198th Street, once a single-family home, was converted into four separate houses by a self-certified builder roughly 10 years ago.

“They tried to squeeze in as many properties as possible,” said Community Board 11 Chair Jerry Iannece.

According to Iannece, because the builder was self-certified, they did not need to acquire permission from the city and could undergo construction without any supervision, inspections or guidelines. The Fire Department refused to sign off on the property as livable and the owner went into foreclosure. The outcome was a four-home complex that garnered over 30 violations from the Department of Buildings (DOB).

“This is why self-certification was abolished,” said Iannece, who alleged that this practice leads to builders taking too many liberties and architects putting their licenses on the line.

Iannece alleged that in 2006, the builder went into negotiations with the owner, and in 2009, a bank from the Midwest took over the property. According to Iannece, the bank paid up the remaining violations, which had amounted to “tens of thousands of dollars in fines.”

The building is now a target for squatters and debris, littered with trash and stripped of any remaining value, according to neighbors.

Abandoned Auburndale homes a blight


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The Auburndale Civic Association is refusing to abandon hope that four vacant and forgotten homes will cease to be a blight on their community.

The four attached, two-family houses, located on 198th Street, have been empty since being built several years ago, according to Henry Euler, president of Auburndale Civic.

“They have been laying there empty for about four or five years, and the property has deteriorated,” said Euler. “There is garbage all over, the vegetation is growing out of control and there are broken windows and doors. This makes the community look terrible, and I think this affects the property value. The neighboring people keep their homes beautifully and it is unfair to them to have to look at this.”

Euler says the garages below two of the homes – located at 47-04 and 47-08 198th Street – are currently open, posing a serious threat to public safety.

“It’s dangerous. Some kid is going to get in there and get hurt,” he said. “We are also concerned that a homeless person may go in there and start a fire.”

Despite repeated calls to the Department of Buildings (DOB) to complain about the situation, Euler says he has yet to see positive results.
“A property owner must maintain his site in a safe and lawful manner at all times, but those responsible for this location have repeatedly failed to do so,” said a DOB spokesperson. “As a result, the department has issued more than 30 violations and ordered repair work for the fence. Anyone with a concern should call 3-1-1.”

Due to the lack of progress produced by the DOB, Euler was prompted to seek assistance from local elected officials, including Councilmember Daniel Halloran.

“It is an eyesore to begin with, but more importantly, it creates a safety hazard,” said the councilmember, who is attempting to arrange a community cleanup of the area. “When you have property like that, it becomes an attractive location for kids, squatters and crimes.”

Halloran, who says he has been in continual contact with the DOB, believes the city lacks the enforcement ability to deal with these issues.

“The city is more focused on hammering a homeowner who has a finished basement and takes care of the rest of his property than attacking these developers who aren’t taking care of their properties and allow these things to happen,” said Halloran. “The average homeowner doesn’t want his property to have a violation on it. But these owners don’t care and have no incentive to pay until their project is done.”

Helen Meskouris, who lives directly next to the abandoned houses, says she is unsure what else she can do to change the desolate vista she views each time she emerges from her front door.

“This is dreadful,” said the 84-year-old, who moved into her Auburndale home in 1956. “People are getting brazen. I see people dump their garbage here. There used to be a wooden fence, but I think they used the cheapest wood they could find because the fence is down now. I also have had problems with mice because of the trash that is next door. It is not safe, and it’s just not pleasant.”

Meskouris says she too has reached out to elected officials and attended community meetings to voice her complaints – all to no avail.

“I don’t know whether I should just give up,” she said. “I don’t know when it is going to end – if it will extend past the end of my life or if it will end soon.”

Police Blotter


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Mario Minaya, 33, is charged with making off with his two-year-old daughter.

111th Precinct

Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills, and Fresh Meadows

Serial robber?

Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred in the 111th Precinct on Saturday, October 1 at a Dunkin Donuts/gas station located at 219-02 Horace Harding Expressway (between Bell and Springfield Boulevards).

The perp allegedly entered the location at around 6:30 a.m., displayed a firearm, and demanded that cash be put into a black plastic bag before fleeing the scene. He was described by three witnesses as a white male, wearing a blue-hooded sweatshirt and a half -mask.

Police officials believe that the suspect is the same armed man who struck two other gas stations on Thursday, September 29. Although witnesses described that suspect as a male black, he was allegedly dressed in the same blue hooded sweatshirt, used the same black plastic bag, and also demanded cash at gunpoint. There were no reported injuries in connection with the robberies.

112th Precinct

Forest Hills and Rego Park

Seek phone thieves

Police are looking for suspects they say are wanted in connection with a robbery that occurred within the confines of the 112th Precinct.

On Sunday, September 18, the victim, a 26-year-old woman, was walking in the vicinity of 97th Street when the suspects approached her and slapped her iPhone4 from her hand. One of the suspects picked up the phone before they all fled in an unknown location.

The victim did not sustain any injuries as a result of this incident.

The suspects are described as being four black males, 14-16 years old, 5’5″-5’8″ with medium builds.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

114TH PRECINCT

Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, and Jackson Heights

Gun-point robber sought

Police are looking for a man they say robbed a parking garage at gun point.

On Monday, October 3, the suspect entered a parking garage located at 38-32 13th Street, pointed a gun at the 47-year-old victim and demanded money. The victim complied and gave the suspect an undetermined amount of cash. Once the suspect obtained the cash, he ordered the victim to turn away and fled on a bicycle.

The suspect is described as a black male, 20 to 22 years old, 5’6-5’8, 160 pounds, with a skinny build. Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

115th Precinct

East Elmhurst, North Corona and Jackson Heights

Man arrested for making off with daughter

A man has been arrested and charged for allegedly making off with his daughter and threatening the mother that she would never see the child again.

On Thursday October 6, the mother of the missing child, Ashley Minaya, 2, received a call from the father, who said that she would never see him or the child again. The mother reported to police that she left the child with the father earlier in the day when she was leaving for work.

Police located the father and child later that day. Mario Minaya, 33, is charged with custodial interference and endangering the welfare of a child.