Tag Archives: Bay TERRACE

Bay Terrace blaze during snowstorm caused by unattended candle: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video via Vine/FDNY

A burning candle left unattended in a Bay Terrace home during Monday’s snowstorm sparked a fire that ripped through the second floor of the building, fire officials said.

Video footage posted by the FDNY shows the flames shooting from the second floor and roof of 15-62 Waters Edge Dr.


The fire started about 8:30 p.m. Monday at the private residence amid a blizzard warning and as snow was falling. Windy conditions made it more difficult for firefighters to battle the two-alarm blaze, according to police. It took 105 firefighters until about 10:15 p.m. to control the flames.

No injuries were reported.

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Fire breaks out at Bay Terrace home during snowstorm


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/109th Precinct

Windy conditions from a blizzard that was blasting the area Monday night helped fuel a fire that broke out at a Bay Terrace home, authorities said.

The two-alarm blaze started about 8:30 p.m. on the second floor of 15-62 Waters Edge Dr., the FDNY said, eventually spreading to the roof of the two-story private home.

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It took 105 firefighters until about 10:15 p.m. to control the flames after high winds made conditions more difficult, according to the FDNY and 109th Precinct.

No injuries were reported. The cause is still under investigation.

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69-year-old woman fatally struck in Bay Terrace


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A 69-year-old woman was hit and killed as she was trying to cross a Bay Terrace street on Monday, police said.

The victim was attempting to walk across Bell Boulevard when a 57-year-old woman driving a Subaru struck the pedestrian near Estates Lane about 5:35 p.m., authorities said.

EMS took the victim, whose identity has yet to be released by police, to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead.

Police were on the scene investigating.

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McDonald’s vows to return to Bell Boulevard after closing neighborhood fixture


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Ross Belsky

Bell Boulevard hasn’t seen the last of McDonald’s. The golden arches came down when the Bayside restaurant closed last year, but the franchise owner plans on opening in another location near Bay Terrace.

“We loved our customers there, but Bell Boulevard has changed a great deal over the years,” said Maria Sullivan, who owned the McDonald’s at 41st Avenue for 25 years before it closed.

The fast-food chain’s lease expired at the end of last year and Sullivan decided not to renew it, leaving an empty storefront where one of the neighborhood’s longtime fixtures once stood. Sullivan decided to close the eatery because a number of factors were taking a bite out of her Big Mac sales: the area has become filled with an array of food options for potential customers while a lack of parking and a drive-through made it hard for Sullivan to lure people in.

“I’ll miss the regulars,” Sullivan said. “There used to be different groups that would come in for coffee meetings and I didn’t mind them being there at all.”

Now she wants to find a location in a section of Bell Boulevard that isn’t as congested to allow her to provide a drive-through and parking.

“It’s just the nature of this area,” Sullivan said. “You have to have these things to be successful.”

Sullivan owns four other McDonald’s spread across Bayside and Little Neck.

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Bayside Medical Arts Center on sale for $9 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal 

The Bayside Medical Arts Center, anchored by a division of North Shore-LIJ for decades, has been listed for $9 million.

A member of the family firm C.B.R., LLC, which owns the building at 23-19 Bell Blvd. in Bay Terrace, plans to retire and another family member no longer wants to manage the building, according to Stephen Preuss of Massey Knakal, who is marketing the property.

Preuss added that the approximately 15,000-square-foot property would be a great investment as the offices are well-attended by many patients, the building is in great condition and the “tenancy is extremely strong.”

There are 12 units throughout the building and only one vacancy. There are also 20 parking spaces for patients and staff.

Other tenants in the building range from dentists to pediatricians and other medical specialists.

The building is located directly across from the Bay Terrace Shopping Center, which is home to large chains such as The Gap, Waldbaum’s, Barnes & Nobles, an AMC Loews Theater and Applebee’s, as well as local brands.

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CM Vallone to announce $1M allocation for Bay Terrace library upgrades


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Queens Library


The Queens Library’s Bay Terrace branch is set for a makeover.

The library will see interior renovations and technology upgrades thanks to a $1 million allocation by Councilman Paul Vallone.

Vallone plans to officially announce the funding on Monday, when he’ll be joined by community leaders and residents for a visioning session. During that time, a Queens Library representative will highlight recent upgrades to other modern branches and children from a Bay Terrace library program will have the opportunity to draw what they think the branch should look like.

“I was overwhelmed by the state of neglect and lack of financial support that my district’s libraries have suffered through for years,” Vallone said. “My funding allocation will go a long way to improve and modernize the Bay Terrace Library so that the community can enjoy it for years to come.”

 

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Only gas station in Bay Terrace set to close in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Forget gas prices — Bay Terrace residents are worrying about where they’ll get gas after next month. 

The only gas station in Bay Terrace, a Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts combo outlet located near the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Bell Boulevard, is set to close on August 28, after developer Cord Meyer decided not to renew a lease with the station’s owner.

While some will miss the station, other residents have complained for years about noise coming from the station, which operates around the clock, and young people gathering there after hours, according to Cord Meyer officials. Also, there was a gas leak at the site a few years ago, which caused the owner to shut down one of the station’s tanks. Cord Meyer is pulling the station because of those issues.

“Unlike a developer like Donald Trump, people know where we are,” said Cord Meyer Chief Operating Officer Anthony Colletti. “We are partners with the community. We don’t want to do anything that’s not popular [with them].”

Colletti said the company recognized that there are some people who haven’t had bad experiences with the station, but said it wouldn’t be possible to please everyone.

The gas station put up a sign yesterday informing residents of the closure. It has been a gas station for about 50 years — first owned by Exxon Mobil — and added the Dunkin’ Donuts about 15 years ago, the manager said.

Many neighborhood people, who regularly stop by in the morning for breakfast and coffee, were surprised and upset by the impending closure. They said they’re never had any problems with the store.

“I’m very disappointed that Cord Meyer didn’t negotiate with them,” said Lenard Schull, a Bay Terrace resident of nearly 40 years. “This place is going to be missed.”

The station’s staff of 15 people, who will lose their jobs, were brought to tears Monday when informed of the closure.

“I feel sad,” said Rowena Manahan, who emigrated from the Philippines and has worked at the station’s Dunkin’ Donuts since it opened. “This is my first job. This is my second home. The people here are like family.”

Manahan said she sent money over 15 years to her family in the Philippines to take care of her two children.

Cord Meyer has already signed a lease for a full service Dunkin’ Donuts to be placed in the mall on the second level near 26th Avenue. But it’s not certain whether the staff will move there, because the ownership will be different.

Residents against the station closure are convinced that the developer is courting a tenant for increased rent. Cord Meyer officials said they have not decided on a tenant yet.

The Gulf station will have to be remedied and inspected after it is shut down, which will take several months, so the lot will be vacant for a while.

The nearest gas station — ironically a similar Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts mix — is in Bayside about 10 minutes away on 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, leaving residents with an option, but some still think it’s a big loss to the community.

“There is no doubt that a lot of people will be inconvenienced,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Many residents found it convenient to have a gas station right here in Bay Terrace.”

 

 

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Star of Queens: Lauren Elizabeth Cornea, Clinton Club of Northeast Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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JANAE HUNTER

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Lauren Cornea has been a Young Democrat with the Clinton Club of Northeast Queens, which serves the neighborhoods of Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck and Whitestone, since 2010. The club keeps the community updated on local events and politics in the neighborhood. She is also a member of the Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club and does community and volunteer work for the community through the chapter. When she is not doing work for these organizations or volunteering for attorney Paul Vallone, she is a Learning Leader volunteer, where she tutors students at P.S. 21Q in reading, writing and math.

BACKGROUND: Cornea was born and raised in Flushing. After graduating from the Harvey School, Cornea spent some time traveling in Europe. Now, she is back in Queens and works as a realtor at Amorelli Realty in Astoria, and is the single mother of two children, Dominic John, 8, and Violeta-Rose, 6.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The greatest obstacle I have faced is being a single mother juggling career and family life,” Cornea said. Raising two young children and balancing a job can be hard, but she makes it work. As for her career, being a female commercial realtor is tough when there are so many men doing the job. “This is a man’s world, and I have had to work extra to live in it. I work extra hard for people to take me seriously and value what I have to say. I have worked very hard to be seen as a woman who is knowledgeable and hard working and not just seen as a pretty face.”

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “I have so many achievements that I’m proud of that it’s hard to choose,” said Cornea. “One of my top achievements has been closing the deal on Steinway Mansion. That deal took 18 months and when we finally closed the deal it went for $2.6 million.” But, she added, raising her children, successfully bouncing back from the divorce, having the opportunity to give back by teaching children to learn to read, write and do basic arithmetic, and being a successful woman in a male-dominated profession are also some of Cornea’s greatest achievements.

INSPIRATION: “This may sound corny, but my biggest inspiration is definitely my kids,” said Cornea. “They rely on me for everything. On days when I do not feel like getting up, all I have to do is think about my two children who need me to be a success in order for them to have a better future.” Cornea said she is also inspired by her natural competitiveness that makes her try and be the best at whatever she does.

 

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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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Flushing Jewish center to donate $125K ambulance to Israel


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy American Friends of Magen David Adom


This gift is only to be opened in emergencies. 

The Garden Jewish Center, a Flushing congregation that is merging with the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, is donating a $125,000 ambulance truck to Magen David Adom, Israel’s only emergency medical response organization.

In order to prepare for the merger, the Garden Jewish Center sold its building for about $3 million and chose to donate a percentage of the sale, which includes the gift of the ambulance truck. There will be a ceremony for the donation at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center on June 29.

“It’s wonderful. We are very happy, because it is something that is needed in Israel,” said Marilyn Bitterman, who is president of the Garden Jewish Center and will be co-president after the merger is complete. “As the rabbi of Bay Terrace had indicated, it’s a gift that we are giving, but we hope that it’s never used.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The ambulance will be assembled by General Motors in Indiana and shipped to Israel six months following the dedication. It is different than an American ambulance in that it’s narrower to fit smaller roads.

Israel is in constant need of ambulances, a representative of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) said. Every year the organization is faced with replacing nearly 15 percent of its fleet of more than 120 vehicles because the trucks experience significantly more stress and wear-and-tear than most vehicles when serving the country’s 8 million people.

“It’s an extraordinary feeling to save a life in Israel, and with this new ambulance our friends in Queens will be doing just that,” said Gary Perl, the AFMDA northeast regional director. “Plus, there’s the ‘double mitzvah’ of knowing that the [ambulance] was built in the United States by American workers, and will be shipped to Israel to save lives.”

 

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Driver smashes cars in accident outside Bay Terrace poll site


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An elderly man smashed into two parked cars outside of a Bay Terrace poll site Tuesday while he was trying to drive out of a parking spot, witnesses said.

The man, who declined to give his name or age, said he had just voted at P.S. 169 at around noon when the collision occurred.

Witnesses said the driver rammed into the car in front of him and behind him multiple times. Nobody was in either car and the driver was not injured.

 “I heard the first smash and came over,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who was at the school to support his brother, City Council candidate Paul Vallone.

“He just kept on going backwards and forward. He must have done it three or four times,” Vallone Jr. said. “I kept yelling, ‘Stop the car,’ but he sped away on the other side of the street.”

The man soon returned to the scene, according to a poll worker. Police arrived but did not charge him with a crime.

 

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FAA to look into JFK, LaGuardia flight patterns


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Queens residents fighting feds over airplane noise that turned some suburban neighborhoods into veritable warzones last summer have won a small battle.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has agreed to form a committee to review the decision-making process it used last December when the agency approved new flight patterns over the borough.

The new routes adhere to a required three-mile separation between planes arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport and planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport’s runway 13 while using a new, precise navigation system, FAA officials said.

But during a six-month trial period last year, some residents said they suffered from a barrage of low-flying airplanes that soared over their homes every minute of two six-hour stretches a day.

Forming the committee “is a move in the right direction,” said Congressmember Grace Meng.

“Although more still needs to be done, this is a positive move that can hopefully have an effect on the increased airplane noise that Queens residents have been forced to endure,” Meng said.

The FAA said there would be fewer planes flying overhead this summer, but there could be times residents will hear the same turbulence they did last summer and fall.

Meng and Congressmember Steve Israel sent a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in February asking him to consider the borough’s concerns.

A group of elected officials from Queens met with FAA officials in Washington, D.C. to hash out a plan.

“I hope it results in a more balanced plan that will alleviate the noise pollution for our constituents,” Israel said.

FAA officials agreed during a March town hall meeting to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

 

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Despite relief, plane noise may still plague northeast Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Northeast Queens residents may get a respite from the plane noise that tormented them last summer — but not full relief.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said there would be fewer planes flying over portions of Bayside and Flushing. But, depending on traffic and wind, there could be times residents could hear the same turbulence they heard in summer 2012, officials confirmed.

“What you experienced last summer was an anomaly,” said Carmine Gallo, the FAA’s eastern regional administrator. “The number of airplanes you saw last summer was to collect data. That’s not going to happen this summer.”

A six-month trial period called the “TNNIS Climb” caused a barrage of low-flying airplanes to soar over parts of northeast Queens last summer by the minute each day from 6 a.m. to noon and then again from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The FAA said the test was to ensure the required three mile separation between John F. Kennedy International Airport arrivals and LaGuardia Runway 13 departures while using a new, precise navigation system.

The procedure was approved last December, but FAA officials said the route would be put to limited use. Air traffic would be spread out between other climbs, they said at a March 14 town hall meeting, where residents and elected officials urged the federal agency to reverse its decision.

“If the route doesn’t go back to the old way, the FAA is in for the fight of its life,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We’re not going to let this affect our quality of life.”

Gallo said the agency’s goal was to ensure the “safe, efficient, secure operation of aircraft.”

He said the FAA makes no profit off airlines or the newly approved procedure, despite accusations by some, including Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.
“We shouldn’t be forced out of our backyards so the airline industry can make more money,” Braunstein said.

Residents also asked if the agency could move routes over waterways and parks instead of residential neighborhoods.

The suggestion “would be nice,” said Ralph Tamburro, the agency’s New York traffic management officer. But it would ultimately be “an impossible task.”

“With the amount of airplanes, you can’t do it,” he said.

The FAA agreed to involve the community in future decisions and to continue hearing them out.

“You’ve caused disruption to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance.

 

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Queens residents pick up last-minute necessities as heaviest snow approaches


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

As blizzard warnings have everyone getting ready to hunker down, Queens residents, and visitors, are flocking to the stores for any last-minute supplies.

Despite a relatively low volume of shoppers at the Walbaums in Bay Terrace, carts were packed to the gills with any weekend needs including water and non-perishables.

Monica Bell, up from Georgia to visit her children, said she was picking “the normal necessities” along with any other snacks she and her kids may want.

Bell also said she’s focused on getting non-perishable foods “so if the power goes out, I don’t need to refrigerate it.”

Allison Wieczorek, of Bayside, has most of the supplies she needs, but was just heading in to get some last minute needs. Her son had not been feeling well, and she said she was just getting anything incase she can’t make it to the doctor.

Along with these needs, she was also picking up supplies for Valentine’s Day.

 

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Bus strike leaves parents, students scrambling


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alexa Altman

Dodging icy sleet, first-grader Tarunima Bhowmik and her father Gola grabbed a cab from their home in Sunnyside on their way to Tarunima’s school, P.S. 166  Golain Astoria. Fare cost about $10, a necessary evil with New York City school buses out of commission.

“It’s a very hard time for the kids,” Gola said of the school bus strike as he dropped off his daughter. “The bus drivers and the city authorities should come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

Riding the bus is first-grader Aviva Kaufman’s favorite part of the day. Every morning, the six-year-old hops on the big yellow rig in her Bay Terrace neighborhood and rides to P.S. 130 in Flushing with her classmates. Her mother Kari covets the spare time she gains in the morning when Aviva takes the bus, running errands and catching up on housework before heading to her job at a nearby preschool.

When Local 1181 of the Amalgamated Transit Union announced that school bus drivers would begin striking on Wednesday, January 16, parents panicked over wrecked routines and tricky transportation alternatives. Nearly 152,000 students, who rely on city-contracted buses to get to class on time, are now stranded.

“I’ll have to drive her and pick her up every day,” said Kari. “Instead of having time in the morning, I have to go straight to work. [The strike] really impacts the number of things I can do during the day, in order to do them safely.”

Local 1181’s motive for striking rests in job security after the city announced attempts to find new contractors for more than 1,000 bus routes. Drivers want the city to ensure job stability, a request city officials have deemed “illegal,” adding that any kind of discrepancies are between the employees and the bus companies.

“This is not about safety,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “It’s about job protection that the city cannot offer.”

According to Bloomberg, the city spends $1.1 billion annually on student transit, equaling $6,900 per child, which the mayor said is far greater than any other American city, including Los Angeles which he cited at $3,100 per student. Bloomberg claimed that over the last five years, altering bus routes and opening contracts to other bidders has saved the city $95 million in taxpayer dollars, allotting more money for teachers’ salaries and schoolhouse improvement projects.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott called the lockout “a strike against our students,” that will have “a devastating effect” on them.

Michael Cordiello, president of Local 1181, stood by his group’s decision to begin striking on Wednesday, stating that their justification lies in their increased responsibility to “handle and transport the most precious cargo in New York City.”

“I heard it was said today that if we strike, we are striking the children of the city of New York,” said Cordiello. “In fact, we would be striking for the city of New York’s children.

According to Cordiello, starting pay for bus drivers is $14 per hour, amounting to $38,000 annually, and pension plans for operators are private and don’t impact taxpayers. Cordiello also stated that contrary to what city officials have claimed, the drivers’ objective of job security does not break any laws.

To ease transit tension, students in grades kindergarten through six will be issued MetroCards with students in kindergarten through second grade eligible for an extra MetroCard for parents who wish to accompany their children to school. Parents driving their children to school can receive gas reimbursements at 55 cents per mile.

Gola said he hopes his daughter’s school will reimburse him for their morning cab ride, but hasn’t heard anything yet.

Kari fears the bus strike could jeopardize student’s safety, adding that drivers undergo diligent training as well as a thorough screening process before they are put behind the wheel. Substitute drivers may not be as equipped to care for students, she said.

“I don’t want my child riding on a bus with someone who hasn’t been trained and tested,” said Kari. “The safety of my child is not clear then.”

Though the strike affects 152,000 students, some school buses were still running Wednesday.


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