Tag Archives: Bayside Hills

Retired NYPD captain to launch bid for open City Council seat as Republican


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/ Joseph Concannon

When he first campaigned for City Council two years ago, retired NYPD Capt. Joseph Concannon ran on the Reform Party line and was trounced at the polls on Election Day by the incumbent, Councilman Mark Weprin.

Now that Weprin is out of the City Council and in with the Cuomo administration, Concannon is going for the now-vacant 23rd Council District seat again, but this time as a Republican.

Concannon is scheduled to formally announce his campaign on Monday, alongside Queens GOP leaders and supporters in front of the 105th Precinct stationhouse in Queens Village.

“Over the past few weeks and months, my close friends and family have been encouraging me to take my zeal for public service and community activism to the next level,” Concannon said in a press release issued Thursday. “Many of my friends as well as the people I meet every day express their dismay with the current leadership in the City Council, our mayor and the direction this city is headed in as a whole.”

While five Democrats are seeking the party’s nomination in the September primary, the Republicans appear to be unifying early around Concannon. Sources with the Queens GOP indicated earlier this week that he is the only Republican seeking the seat.

More evidence of GOP unity was noted in Concannon’s press release, which listed Queens GOP Chairman Bob Turner, Councilman Eric Ulrich — the lone Queens Republican in the city legislature — and Queens Conservative Party Chairman Tom Long as guests scheduled to attend the campaign launch.

In August 2013, Concannon launched a challenge to then-Councilman Weprin after the City Council passed into law the Community Safety Act, two bills bringing greater oversight to the NYPD and aiming to end “bias-based profiling.” Concannon opposed the act, claiming the regulations would impede police officers in their service, and received the support of numerous unions representing members of the NYPD.

Even so, Weprin was re-elected in November with 84 percent of the vote in the district covering all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

Since then, Concannon has remained politically active in holding rallies calling for public support of the NYPD, most recently following the murders of Police Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in Brooklyn last December, and P.O. Brian Moore in Queens Village in May.

“Not since the violence and division this city faced decades ago have people felt so disconnected from their government,” Concannon said in Thursday’s press release. “I am running to restore some respect and common sense to our local government, the kind of common sense that is embarrassingly lacking in the NYC Council.”

Concannon added that he plans “to spend the next few weeks and months earning the right to be their voice and champion.”

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Mark Weprin’s former City Council seat won’t be filled until November


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeff Xie

Mark Weprin officially left the City Council on Sunday, June 14 — apparently three days too late for a non-partisan special election to fill his seat.

Mayor Bill de Blasio proclaimed on Monday that the vacancy will be filled at the Nov. 3 general election, and that the political parties will nominate candidates for the election in the Sept. 10 primary.

According to a spokesperson for the city Board of Elections, a non-partisan special election cannot occur if the vacancy occurs between 60 and 90 days of the scheduled September primary. Had Weprin resigned before June 11, the mayor would have been obligated to call a non-partisan election.

Weprin had announced in May he would step down from the City Council to join the Cuomo administration as deputy secretary for legislative affairs. At the time, he said he would leave within two weeks, but ultimately delayed his departure.

Following the traditional election format now leads to a competitive Democratic primary among previously announced candidates including former Assemblyman Barry Grodenchik; Rebecca Lynch, former assistant commissioner with the New York City Community Affairs Unit; Celia Dosamantes, former aide to Assemblyman David Weprin and Rep. Grace Meng; attorney Ali Najmi; and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich.

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will face the Republican nominee in the general election. Sources close to the Queens County GOP identified retired NYPD Capt. Joe Concannon as a probable candidate.

Once the general election winner is certified, he or she will be sworn into office immediately and will fill out the remainder of Weprin’s term, which expires in 2017.

Regardless of the outcome, the 23rd Council District — which includes Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village — will be without a voice in the City Council through November. Constituent services are continuing to function from the district office, and staff members are forwarding and following up on any complaints or service requests received.

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Councilman Weprin to leave seat for Cuomo administration


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo

Updated Tuesday, May 12, 12:35 p.m.

Councilman Mark Weprin gave his two weeks’ notice to the people of his district Monday, as he announced his departure from the City Council to take a job with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Weprin, 53, who has served in the 23rd Council District seat since 2010, is poised to become Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs. He didn’t set a specific date when he would leave office, but in a statement, Weprin indicated his resignation would take effect “within the next two weeks.”

Prior to his City Council election, Weprin served for 15 years in the state Assembly, holding the seat previously held by his late father, former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin. Mark Weprin was elected to the City Council seat in 2009 to succeed his brother, David, who made an unsuccessful run for City Comptroller.

David Weprin then won a special election in 2010 for his brother’s and father’s former Assembly seat.

“It has been an honor to represent eastern Queens as an elected official for 21 years,” Mark Weprin said in a statement Monday morning. “It has been my privilege to serve the people and families of my neighborhood. I am proud to have helped the communities I have represented to continue to be wonderful places to live, work and raise a family.”

At the start of his second City Council term, Mark Weprin was elected in January 2014 as chair of the City Council’s Queens delegation. He was also named chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee and serves on the Land Use, Education, Economic Development, Oversight and Investigations, and Technology committees.

As deputy secretary for legislative affairs, Mark Weprin will reportedly serve as a liaison between Cuomo and leaders of the Assembly and state Senate on various matters.

“I have known Governor Cuomo for most of my life, and he is a leader of incredible talent,” Weprin added. “I look forward to this next step in my public career.”

Once the councilman’s resignation takes effect, the mayor must call for a non-partisan special election to be held within 60 days. Each candidate must secure their own party line; the established political parties cannot nominate a candidate of their own, but they may make an endorsement.

The 23rd Council District includes all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

As for who may replace Weprin in the City Council, one contender has already emerged — former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. He confirmed his interest in running for the seat in a phone interview with The Courier on Tuesday.

Other potential contenders, as reported in the New York Observer, include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; local attorney Ali Najmi; civic activist and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich; and former City Council and Assembly candidate Steve Behar.

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Five city trees illegally chopped at former Bayside Hills gardening center site


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Updated Saturday, July 27, 11:40 a.m.

The former site of the Keil Brothers gardening center in Bayside Hills isn’t a place for timber anymore.

Five city-owned trees with an estimated value of more than $340,000 saw the buzzer last week, resulting in complaints from residents and possible criminal charges and fines from the Parks Department.

Four ash trees and one American sycamore were killed. The trees were estimated to be at least 30 years old. The Parks Department is working with police to investigate the killing of the trees.

“Arborcide is a serious crime that deprives communities of the cleaner air, cooler streets and additional oxygen that trees provide,” Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski said. “NYC Parks is working with the NYPD to investigate the arborcide of these five Bayside trees, and will pursue full replacement value.”

The Keil Brothers merged with Garden World in Flushing earlier this year, and sold part of the site to the Department of Education and the section in question to 48 Garden Realty LLC in July, city filings show.

Trees on both the 48th Avenue side of the property and the 210th Street side were cut. However, only the saplings on 210th Street were privately owned, while the sprawling 50- to 60-foot-tall city trees on 48th Avenue belong to the city.

Representatives for 48 Garden Realty LLC could not be reached for comment as there is no contact email or number listed for the the firm.

Residents weren’t happy about the landscape change and Councilman Mark Weprin promised charges would come.

“Arborcide is a criminal offense, and I will be working to support the Parks and Police Departments to see that the perpetrators are prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Weprin said.

Photo courtesy of John Richard

Although leaders at Community Board 11 said they hope new trees will be replanted, and the Parks Department is promising to seek full replacement, residents are still troubled by the loss.

“It was devastating. Instead of an empty lot, I was looking at a forest,” said John Richard, who lives across the street. “It’s sad because it takes 45 years to grow those things, but a day to cut them down.”

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated the trees were cut by the lot’s current owner, 48 Garden Realty LLC, based on misinformation. The Parks Department confirmed that the NYPD investigation is still ongoing.

 

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9/11 anniversary events around Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

New York Hospital Queens
There will be a 9/11 remembrance service with moments of silence and a salute at New York Hospital Queens Emergency Services Memorial Site located at Booth Memorial Avenue near the Emergency Room entrance from 8:40 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. on September 11.

Remsen Memorial Park
There will be a candlelight ceremony at Remson Memorial park at Alderton Street at 6:30 p.m. on September 11. In case of rain, the ceremony will be held at American Legion Hall, 107-15 Metropolitan Avenue.

Bayside Hills
The Bayside Hills Civic Association will be holding a 9/11 observance on Horace Harding Expressway and Bell Boulevard at 7:00 p.m. on September 11.

Juniper Valley Park
There will be a candlelight vigil at Juniper Valley Park, between 77th and 78th streets, at 7:30 p.m. on September 11. Bring a candle and chair.

Astoria Heights
The United Community Civic Association together with the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is having a 9/11 memorial candlelight vigil at McManus Memorial Park at 81st Street and Grand Central Parkway at 7:30 p.m. on September 12.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Heat Advisory To Remain In Effect For Thursday

As a heat advisory remains in effect for Thursday, Con Edison is urging customers to conserve energy. The utility reduced voltage in dozens of neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn as a precaution to protect equipment and maintain service while crews fix electrical problems. Read more: [NY1]

Campaign 2012 Notebook: Queens Congressional candidates jockey for votes as primary nears

With the June 26 primary just days away, the four Democrats hoping to become the nominee for Queens’ Sixth Congressional District are busy trying to get people to the polls. While rain is generally the biggest detriment to voter turnout, the unusual late June primary poses a different question: Will potential voters want to spend any part of a sunny June day at the polls? Read more: [New York Daily News]  

20-year-old man plunges to his death from elevated subway platform in Queens

An inebriated 20-year-old man jumped to his death from an elevated subway platform in Queens Wednesday night, fire and police sources said. The young man bolted from a stalled A train at the Beach 90th St. station in Rockaway Beach around 8 p.m., the sources said. The conductor saw the victim — who may have been trying to hop to a nearby rooftop and scale a fence when he suddenly dropped, the sources added. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Police searching for missing 5-year-old Queens boy: report

Police are looking for a 5-year-old boy in Queens this morning, ABC 7 reported. According to the report, the boy — who answers by the name of Zachary — walked out of his home on Rockaway Boulevard and 118th Street in South Ozone Park at about 1:30 a.m. Read more: [New York Post]  

Arvind Mahankali, Daily News finalist in National Spelling Bee, awarded City Council Citation  

Twelve-year-old Arvind Mahankali, of Bayside Hills, was awarded a New York City Council Citation for advancing to the finals in the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The seventh-grader, who placed third in his third appearance at the event, received the citation from City Councilmen Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and Daniel Halloran (R-Whitestone) during a ceremony held Monday, June 18, at Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

Resorts Casino Raking In Slot Machine Revenue

The Resorts World Casino says it is raking in more money from slot machines than any other gambling hub in the country. Watch video: [NY1]

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali of Queens finishes third for second straight year

New York’s reigning wordsmith again came achingly close to a title at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, notching a third-place place finish for the second straight year. Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, Queens, who was sponsored by the Daily News, sailed through his third national bee until well into Thursday night’s finals – aired live on ESPN – when pronouncer Jacques Bailly hit him with “schwannoma,” a tumor of the sheath of the peripharal nerve. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

P.S. 174 Teacher Now Accused Of Molesting Five Boys

A Queens elementary school teacher arrested in February is now accused of molesting a total of five boys. 49-year-old Wilbert Cortez was originally charged with fondling two young boys in his classroom earlier this year. Read more: [NY1]

 

Deli fury at city’s ‘grocer’ injustice

Big Apple deli owners yesterday cried foul over Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban them from selling sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces — a rule that wouldn’t apply to “Big Gulp” king 7-Eleven and other grocery stores. Read more: [New York Post]

 

State Senator’s husband tells cops he was mugged at Aqueduct racino 

A casino may be the perfect place for bluffing, but not when guns and the law are involved. The husband of a Queens lawmaker claims that he was recently mugged at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Aqueduct racino. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Decorated Marine named valedictorian of York College in Jamaica 

A decorated former Marine corporal who served two tours of duty in Iraq has overcome yet another challenge: college, and with flying colors.Chemistry major Tony Wan, 25, of Fresh Meadows, was named valedictorian of his class at York College. Wan, the first college grad in his family, is to accept his diploma on Friday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Man Who Hijacked Plane In 1968 To Be Re-Sentenced

A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing Thursday for a man sent to prison 15 years ago for hijacking a plane from New York to Cuba in 1968. Authorities say 69-year-old Luis Armando Pena-Soltren hijacked the plane to Cuba after it took off from Kennedy Airport. Read more: [NY1]