Tag Archives: Bayside

Bayside students stay fit to help feed children in Africa


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Students at one Bayside elementary school are staying fit while also helping to save lives.

Since the beginning of March, 268 students, 40 teachers and other faculty members at P.S. 41, located at 214-43 35th Ave., have been taking part in UNICEF’s Kid Power program which encourages students to be more active, while also feeding children in Africa.

During the program, the students wear Kid Power Bands, which measure their steps and unlock Kid Power Points, which are later converted to funds that go toward food packets.

At P.S. 41, which is one of 16 New York City schools participating in the program, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students take part in the challenge and have been stacking up points.

“The essence of it is that the more that they exercise and the more that they’re active, the more packets are being sent to children to eat,” said Sari Latto, principal at P.S. 41. “It’s a win-win. We get healthier children, and those [other] children can live because they are being fed. So the kids are very excited about it.”

Before receiving their blue power bands, the students learned about the program. They received lessons on poverty conditions in other countries, saw video of malnourished children and the conditions they live under, and were told the importance of them receiving the food.

Each student was then given a band to wear on their wrists, and teachers were provided with tablets which sync with each band to tally up points for the classes.

“It’s extraordinary. The children are excited about moving more and being healthy, they recognize the value of that, they feel better, they like it,” Latto said. “They are realizing that, as young as they are, they are able to do something for other children in the world so that they can live. And that’s a very empowering feeling for a child.”

Out of the classes participating from P.S. 41, one third-grade class has stood out with a total of 4,503,745 steps, which equal 769 food packets, as of Monday.

With their numbers, Class 3205, taught by Cindy Wong and Helen Kim, reached the highest points in all of the city schools and won a trip to see the New York Knicks practice later in April.

“It’s wonderful and very exciting for us and it’s great that we’re able, through this organization, to teach them how to do good now and in the future,” Wong said. “It’s motivating a lot of them to keep active.”

To get the points the students have done sports such as soccer and basketball, danced in Zumba classes, and also taken part in gym activities.

For the third-grade students participating in the program it is more than just taking home the grand prize, they also want to make a difference.

“It’s not just about winning in the city, it’s actually about helping more kids,” said 8-year-old Oliver.

His classmate 9-year-old Cian also said that even though it’s great the class came out the top in all the city and will be able to see the Knicks, the important part was knowing they helped feed the children in Africa.

“It’s really good just to help out children,” he said.

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City begins $2.1 million storm sewer installation in Glen Oaks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Department of Environmental Protection/Flickr 

To alleviate issues with flooding in Glen Oaks, the city has begun working on a $2.1 million project to install nearly a half-mile of new storm sewers in the area.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is funding the project, which in addition to the storm sewers, includes the installation of 31 street-level catch basins and 19 manholes.

The DEP will also replace nearly a half-mile of distribution water mains so the community will be able to receive high-quality drinking water for years to come. The entire project is expected to be completed by the summer.

“Every day, my district office receives complaints about ponding and flooding on our city streets, causing a multitude of problems for motorists, pedestrians and homeowners,” state Sen. Tony Avella said. “By investing in new storm sewers, catch basins and water mains, we can reduce flooding and improve the quality of drinking water for Glen Oaks residents.”

The storm sewer installation work is taking place along Elkmont Avenue from 250th Street to 252nd Street and on 251st Street from Elkmont Avenue to Union Turnpike. Water collected in the newly installed infrastructure will drain into an existing 72-inch storm sewer on Union Turnpike.

The DEP is also working on a much larger project to upgrade sewers and water mains in Bayside.

This project, which costs $20 million and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2016, will add nearly 4.3 miles of water mains to the area’s distribution system.

The city agency hopes this move will ensure a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water for the northeast Queens neighborhood.

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Nick Cannon presents new children’s book at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

“Neon Aliens” may not have really eaten Nick Cannon’s homework when he was younger but that didn’t stop him from using it as an excuse for one of his teachers. And just as stories like that inspired him to release his new children’s poetry book, so did his experience with the youngsters at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside.

So much so that he even released the novel at the hospital on Monday to some of those who were an inspiration to him.

The book, “Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems,” was inspired by Cannon’s desire to combine the worlds of poetry and hip-hop and his previous visit to the medical facility. He has become so inspired by the kids that he is also a member of the hospital’s board.

“I visited a few years ago and hanging out with the kids really touched me,” he said, speaking at St. Mary’s back in October of 2014. “Now I’m officially Dr. Cannon on the board.”

Cannon greeted the crowd of children at the hospital on Monday and told them how inspired he was by each and every one of them. He read excerpts from his new book and gave each child in attendance a free copy.

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Danielle Monaro, a co-host on Z-100’s “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show,” was there to introduce Cannon. She even helped the children play a game with him by having them shout out words which Cannon then had to freestyle to.

The poems cover a range of kid-friendly topics and even have a number of illustrations created by Cannon himself. He mentioned that several of the poems he wrote were inspired by the “courageous young patients,” at the hospital.

At the end of the release, Cannon accepted from St. Mary’s a plaque inscribed with one of its patients’ poems.

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Award-winning Queens author Paul Volponi teaches Cardozo students, releases new book


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Freshman students in a Benjamin Cardozo High School English class got a special visit from an author who they may not be able to write off from their memories.

Award-winning Queens author Paul Volponi, who is known for his novel “Black and White” about the racial disparities of the city’s justice system, taught the class for three sessions on March 9, 11 and 13.

The appearances coincided with the release of Volponi’s newest novel this week, called “Game Seven,” which is based on the story of a young Cuban baseball player’s dream to play in the MLB.

In his three-day residency at Cardozo, Volponi taught students writing skills through fun activities, such as using popular names like Peter Parker and Fred Flintstone to show how alliteration makes names more memorable. He also showed the youngsters how to add color and characterization to make dialogue more exciting.

“He is the first author that I have met, and I like him,” said freshman Mustak Azad. “He seemed pretty interesting and he made a really great impression on me.”

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Volponi’s novel “Black and White” was the International Reading Association’s 2006 Young Adult Novel of the Year. He grew up in Queens and is a product of the public school system as a graduate of Aviation High School in Long Island City.

He has taught students for years, but mostly outside of New York, because the Department of Education (DOE) doesn’t “prioritize” bringing authors to teach kids in its budget as much as other states do, he said.

“I connect with kids all over the country and unfortunately I do more kids in Missouri, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio than I do in New York City,” Volponi said.

The program to have Volponi teach was funded through a grant that classroom veteran teacher Nancy Orens wrote and received from the DOE.

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Besides writing tips, Volponi also taught the children how to go about starting their first books and writing letters to publishers to pitch their ideas. Volponi also signed and gave away copies of some of his old books, as well as a copy of “Game Seven.”

Orens believes overall the experience will be a good memory for the students.

“Getting feedback from a professional author, and participating in a workshop, which they know their other friends didn’t have an opportunity to do, they now have a memory that they can carry with them through high school,” Orens said.

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Bayside BID tackles area’s parking problem


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

There’s a lack of parking on Bell Boulevard and one group is trying to solve that problem.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), which supports hundreds of businesses along Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue, is launching a major project that will take at least half a decade to complete and require participation from various city organizations and local community members.

The main focus will be on alleviating the high demand for parking on Bell Boulevard, Bayside’s commercial area. The project is something that Lyle Sclair, the BID’s executive director, has wanted to start since at least last year.

“We’re kicking the project into high gear,” he said. “Parking has always been an issue on Bell. It’s a desirable destination to come to.”

With community support, the long-term goal will be the conversion of a city-owned lot on the corner of 41st Avenue and 214th Place into a multilevel parking garage. City Councilman Paul Vallone provided $20,000 last year for the conversion and since then Sclair has expanded the project’s goals.

The first phase of the project will begin this Thursday when Sclair will send people out on the streets to count the amount of parking spots available along the boulevard and to identify areas that have the most congestion.

“Bayside has both commuter and residential parking, and we want to see how they interact with each other to make parking a problem in the neighborhood,” Sclair said.

For now, the initiative is being funded through a $20,000 grant provided by Vallone, but Sclair plans to eventually get the city to fund a major project that will increase the supply of parking. And a firm, VHB, has been hired to put plans together.

The firm will look at other communities in Long Island that have solved their parking problems, since the layout of those areas resembles that of Bayside more than most New York City neighborhoods that have access to trains.

“It is no secret that the popularity of this commercial hub makes parking difficult for those commuting via the Long Island Rail Road and customers frequenting stores,” Vallone said last year. “Potentially expanding the municipal parking lot on 41st Avenue could greatly alleviate parking concerns and ensure continued success for the businesses that call Bell Boulevard home.”

Sclair believes that they will ultimately implement several solutions from short-term tinkering, such as free valet services on parts of Bell Boulevard, to more long-term goals like building a parking garage.

“There’s only so much you can do with tweaking around the edges,” Sclair said. “The big thing is increasing the supply.”

But Sclair doesn’t want the city to dictate the terms. On April 14, the BID is holding a community meeting at the Bayside Methodist Church at 7 p.m. to gauge the public’s interests and concerns.

“We’re here to understand these localized issues and work with the city to come up with solutions,” Sclair said. “We have everybody on board and we want to have everyone in the conversation as early as possible.”

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Inclusive Queens soccer program teaches kids skills beyond the field


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Soccer Kids NYC

BY ANGELA MATUA

A new soccer program for children in Queens hopes to have kids setting goals on and off the field.

Soccer Kids NYC was created by Noe Canales in September 2014 after he noticed that other programs did not focus on teaching lessons that could translate to all aspects of a child’s life.

Canales said that Soccer Kids NYC strives to teach not only the fundamentals of soccer but also skills that children can utilize off the field like teamwork, respect and perseverance.

Soccer Kids NYC differs from other programs in several ways. Canales, who is a certified special education teacher, integrates children with special needs into all classes. He hopes to remove the stigma that families of special needs children typically deal with.

“Soccer Kids NYC wants to help in getting rid of that pervasive thinking,” Canales said of the three-month course that costs $179. “Our mission cuts across all lines; our program is for children with special needs and typically developing children. We don’t believe in labels except for our kids’ names.”

He believes this inclusiveness contributes to the program’s 99 percent retention rate. The coaches at Soccer Kids NYC also strive to make their classes affordable for everyone, he said. Though children typically attend classes once a week, students are encouraged to join other classes if there is available space at no extra cost. They also provide a refund to all families who are not satisfied with the program.

Scouting the right coaches is important for Canales, who is also a teacher at TheraCare Preschool Services, a preschool in Rego Park that accommodates children with and without special needs. Coaches are trained extensively until they are ready to lead a class. This approach is the reason he can provide a quality program, he said.

“My experience with larger programs has been that they will first find a location to expand and then work on hiring and staffing those classes with a coach,” Canales said. “This approach hinders the quality of a program as many times these coaches are not fully trained to lead a class and consequently, our kids get the short end of the stick.”

Every season, parents are encouraged to leave feedback for the coaches. Canales said they have not received any negative feedback yet, but the coaches still come together to reflect on ways to make the program better.

The feedback has been all amazing,” Canales said. “This is something that we feel extremely proud of.”

Classes are taught in Bayside, Woodhaven, Middle Village, Elmhurst, Flushing, Kew Gardens and other parts of Queens. Canales said they are not in a rush to expand but would like to eventually teach classes in other parts of Queens and New York.

 

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Housekeeper held against will and tortured by Bayside employers: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Updated Tuesday, March 3 11:47 a.m.

A housekeeper was kidnapped, beaten and burned by the Bayside couple she worked for as they accused her of stealing money and jewelry from their home and threatened to kill her if she didn’t return the goods, police said.

The 54-year-old victim’s employers, Devanand and Ambar Lachman, and a third unknown person confronted her inside the couple’s 217th Street residence at about 1 p.m. on Feb. 13, claiming that she took their money and a gold chain.

In an apparent attempt to make the housekeeper, Daisy Machuea, confess, they burned her leg with what was possibly a plumber’s torch, police said. They also punched her repeatedly in the face and body.

The wife then went to Machuea’s Port Washington, Long Island, home to search for the stolen goods but came up empty-handed, authorities said. She then returned to her Bayside home and all four drove back to the housekeeper’s Port Washington residence around 9 p.m. The trio, who also possessed several knives and a pistol during the kidnapping, told Machuea they would return the next day and if she didn’t have the money they would kill her.

Once they were gone, Machuea called the cops and her employers were arrested at their home.

Devanand, 32, and Ambar, 31, have both been charged with assault, kidnapping and criminal possession of a weapon. As of their most recent court appearance on Monday, Devanand remains held on bail and his wife, who is pregnant according to published reports, is out on $50,000 bail, prosecutors said.

Machuea was treated at an area hospital for burns to her face and legs, and bruising to her body.

Police are still looking for the Lachmans’ accomplice, described as a dark-skinned man, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and with a medium build.

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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Bayside tattoo artists donate $1,300 to veteran charity


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Life, liberty and tattoos for a cause!

Following the Super Bowl, the owner of Mean Street Tattoo in Bayside raised $1,300 for the Wounded Warrior Project to help war veterans.

Tom Murphy, the owner of the Bayside tattoo shop, enlisted the aid of dozens of friends in the tattoo business to turn helmets into works of art that were then sold during a Super Sunday fundraiser for the charity organization.

“We had a really good turnout,” Murphy said. “It’s great we were able to get everyone together and do this thing for veterans.”

Tattoo artists from England, Canada and across America answered Murphy’s call to use their skills for charity. In total, they sold all 21 helmets and raised $1,300. The artists that Murphy recruited were told to draw or paint whatever they wanted. The helmets fetched as much as $200 each. Many of the helmets depicted military-themed subjects like “Full Metal Jacket” while another artist represented a demon with real deer antlers screwed into the helmet.

The success of the fundraiser inspired Murphy to continue organizing events that bring people and art together. To mark Cinco de Mayo, a party will be held at Mean Street Tattoo. Murphy will try to get as many artists as possible to paint something related to the historical date commemorating Mexico’s victory over France during a battle in Puebla.

“We’re opening our doors to the community,” Murphy said. “Anyone is invited to come.”

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Pair wanted in armed robbery of Bayside 7-Eleven


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A man and his female accomplice robbed a Bayside 7-Eleven at gunpoint last month, taking off with cash, cigarettes and several cans of beer, police said.

The duo entered the 202-15 Northern Blvd. convenience store just after 3 a.m. on Jan. 5 and displayed a gun while demanding money.

They then took $300 in cash, and several packs of Newport cigarettes and cans of beer, cops said.

Police have released video footage of the suspects and described the man, who was holding the gun, as about 5 feet 7 inches tall. The woman is about 4 feet 11 inches tall.

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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More than 120 bank customers in Queens targeted in identity theft scam


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com


Police are investigating a spree of identity thefts in the Flushing area that has hit more than 120 customers of a local bank targeting ATM card personal identification numbers and using these to steal money from their accounts.

The thefts affecting Flushing Bank customers’ accounts began in October 2014 according to the president and CEO of the bank, John Buran, who said all the account holders were reimbursed.

Cops suspect thieves installed a skimming device on three Flushing Bank ATMs in the 109th and 111th precinct areas, which cover neighborhoods like Flushing and Bayside, respectively, but their investigation has yet to reveal if these suspicions are correct.

Buran said the bank began working with the NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force in October shortly after the first few incidents came to light.

“This is more than just a Flushing Bank problem. It’s a national problem,” Buran said. “The police informed us that there is a ring going around hitting many banks. The authorities have been unable to find who’s involved in this ring.”

The NYPD’s Financial Crimes Task Force is investigating the case but police said they have no leads.

“Right now the only thing we can put out there is ATM tips. We don’t know if it’s a rogue employee, someone hacking the system or whatever else. We just don’t know,” a police source said.

“We will continue to work with the NYPD and other law-enforcement agencies to enhance security for all of our customers,” Buran said.

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Expansion of Bayside church underway


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Construction to expand the Siloam Reformed Church of New York in Bayside is underway and officials expect the work will be completed this year.

The church, which is located at 35-25 Bell Blvd., is building a new wing on its current building to include a cafeteria and gym area, according to filings with the Buildings Department.

The three-story building will expand from about 8,000 square feet to a total of nearly 14,000 square feet with the Victor Han Architects-designed addition.

Siloam Reformed bought the land in 2012 for $1.8 million from the Elim Presbyterian Church of New York, according to city records.

A construction poster on the site says that the building is expected to be completed this summer.


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Bayside tattoo artist brings some color to Super Bowl celebrations


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

This isn’t the Super Bowl half-time show. A tattoo artist in Bayside is holding a fundraiser on Super Bowl Sunday for the Wounded Warrior Project. And he’s enlisted tattoo artists from around the country to paint helmets to be sold at the fundraiser.

“It’s a good kickoff to a Super Bowl party,” said Tom Murphy, who owns Mean Street Tattoo, where the fundraiser will be held. “And we’re just trying to raise money for soldiers.”

Tattoo artists from England, Canada and across America used their tat skills to make paintings on helmets. Murphy is hoping to sell the helmets for $500 each and he has a total of 21 inked helmets made by 18 artists.

Murphy thought of the idea after he noticed his neighbor was a Vietnam veteran and he began to think about the new generation of veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. He also thought the idea would be a good way to bring the tattoo artist community together.

“I want to grow a community,” he said. “And if we could bring a splash of color to the boulevard that would be great.”

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Murphy contributed to the collection by drawing an American flag with the Purple Heart on a helmet. Some artists took a more expansive view on the soldier theme and drew things like a helmet from Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

Others strayed from the soldier theme altogether, with one artist drawing what Murphy described as an Elvis Geisha. Another helmet depicts a demon and the artist attached two deer antlers to the helmet.

“We hope this snowballs and the helmets sell,” Murphy said. “It’s for veterans, that’s all that matters.”

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Queens commuters and business owners unhappy over shutdown of city’s mass transit during storm


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

The city’s subways and buses are back on track after this week’s snowstorm, but frustration over the mass transit shutdown is lingering on like piles of dirty snow left over from the blizzard.

Many Queens residents are still furious over Gov. Cuomo’s  decision Monday to shut down the city’s subway and bus system for the first time ever for a snowstorm as a precaution against the possibility of having buses and trains loaded with passengers stuck in snow.

The storm was large and real as expected, but moved eastward, hitting Long Island a lot harder, Mayor Bill de Blasio pointed out. After suspending transit overnight, the MTA slowly resumed subway and bus service at 9 a.m. on Tuesday and was running on a Sunday schedule by noon, which is about 60 percent of weekday service.

“The last time the city was put on lockdown like that was during Sandy. And that made me think that this was going to be the blizzard of the century or something,” Elvir Beharous said. A resident of Bayside, Beharous commutes by bus from his neighborhood to Flushing during weekdays for work.

After announcing a state of emergency and travel ban on all state and local roads for 13 New York counties starting at 11 p.m. Monday for all non-emergency vehicles, Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted the ban in most of those counties, including all the five boroughs, as of 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

But Beharous couldn’t make it to work on Tuesday since buses were running erratically. As a wage worker he couldn’t afford to take the loss of a day’s work.

“So I just shoveled for people all day in Bayside to make up the money,” he said on Wednesday as he waited for the now-running Q12 to take him back home from work in Flushing.

Full MTA weekday service was back on Wednesday, allowing Beharous to go back to work, even if he did have a cold from being out all day in the snow on Tuesday.

Wing Hangsong, a GED-student, didn’t mind having the day off of school, but that evening he couldn’t go to his job as a bus boy at a restaurant in downtown Flushing with buses down.

“It was necessary to close down the roads, but they could’ve at least given us some kind of emergency service,” said Hangsong, who lives on the southern edge of Flushing near Kissena Park.

Commuters weren’t the only ones affected by the shutdown.

The storm, known as Juno, took a chunk out of businesses in the downtown Flushing area, according to Dian Yu, head of the area’s business improvement district.

“It definitely wasn’t business as usual on Tuesday,” he said. “There were less people shopping in the area and most businesses took a loss.”

Thankfully, Yu said, celebrations for the Chinese New Year are still going strong and he is confident that the next two weeks of increased holiday-related business will make up for the loss.

“In a way, we’re very  lucky that this happened now,” Yu said.

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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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