Tag Archives: Bayside

Bayside electronics store not closing – just improving


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Bayside residents recently took to social media to bemoan the loss of an electronic store on Bell Boulevard, saying it marked the end of an era filled with 45 RPM records and the British Invasion. But the store isn’t closing — it’s just adding a modern repair shop.

“We’ve been here since 1946 and we’re not going anywhere,” said Jay Hildebrand, the owner of S&L Electronics. “We love Bayside. Why would we leave?”

Jimmy James, a Bayside resident, recently posted on a Bayside Facebook group that the store was closing. Fans of the store commiserated over the sad news

“So sad…I bought all my 45s there. They had the top 40 laid out in order every week in these little cubby holes,” resident Denise Marie Coyle wrote.

Many wrote their recollections of the store’s workers fixing their record players and VHS players. Hildebrand wants to modernize the store’s ability to fix electronics by making the jump from cassette players to iPads.

“I don’t know how to fix any of these new gadgets,” he said. “So we’re renting out part of our space to an electronic repair shop.”

These days, the majority of customers that come into the store with broken electronics have digital gadgets, but Hildebrand has had to turn them away. Soon, though, he won’t have to.

Hildebrand expects the construction of a small shop in the front of the store to take about two weeks to complete.

In the summer, Hildebrand makes most of his money from air conditioner installations, and the store also serves as a thrift shop. Hildebrand’s eclectic business interests are reflected through the store’s messiness. He wants to take the opportunity of the repair shop construction to do some minor renovations and cleaning up.

“A lot of people gather all this stuff and then at the end of the life they look at it all and they don’t know what to do with it,” he said, with three jackets from the Korean War hanging on a pole behind him.

People often come in, Hildebrand said, wanting to sell their parents’ and grandparents’ belongings. And so the store has collected more than just electronic items.

As the new repair shop goes up, the business is still open, even if it looks like the store is closed.

“People ask me why don’t I retire,” Hildebrand said. “But that’s not fun.”

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Bayside no longer under consideration for homeless shelter site


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Potential plans to create an emergency homeless shelter in Bayside have been scrapped after a month of deliberations.

In late October, the Department of Homeless Services looked into Bayside as a possible candidate to host a homeless shelter. But, according to Councilman Paul Vallone, those plans have since been removed.

After hearing about the potential shelter last month, Vallone wrote a letter to the agency in which he asserted his belief that Bayside was not a good site for a shelter because of a lack of transportation and the residential nature of the area.

“I thank the Department of Homeless Services for listening to our concerns,” Vallone said, “and deciding to abandon plans for an emergency shelter in Bayside. As I’ve said before, my district not only has the lowest population of homeless persons in the whole city, but Bayside in particular lacks the infrastructure and public transportation options to support an emergency shelter. I’m glad that the DHS considered these obstacles and concerns and came to agree that Bayside is an inappropriate location.”

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Queens churches celebrate priest’s 50th year


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

pastor photo

St. Robert Bellarmine Parish congregants and trustees held a celebration on Nov. 16 to mark Monsignor Martin T. Geraghty’s 50th anniversary of priesthood. At 74, the pastor has served churches from Jackson Heights to Far Rockaway and now serves as the head of the Bayside church.

“Fifty years as a priest is a very special thing. So we needed to honor him,” said Bob Coccia, a trustee and one of the many organizers of the event. “The parish wanted to recognize and honor him for it.”

The mass that was held in his honor was packed with about 1,000 people, according to organizers. Afterward, there was a reception in the church’s hall where food was served as a slideshow of Geraghty’s life was on display.

Geraghty became the head of St. Robert Bellarmine Parish during uncertain times. The former pastor, Monsignor John Lavin, died in 2006 and Geraghty was his replacement.

“When Monsignor Lavin died, we couldn’t have had a better priest come in,” Coccia said. “He came in and very quietly gained the community’s respect. He filled Lavin’s shoes above and beyond. He serves with all his might.”

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Star of Queens: Harold Rutgers, contributor, Jewelers For Children


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0173

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

BACKGROUND: Harold Rutgers was born and raised in Flushing. His father Victor was a jewelry designer who opened a jewelry store in Great Neck in 1962. Rutgers, a certified gemologist, joined the family business and opened Bell Family Jewelers in Bayside in 1987.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Rutgers is associated with Jewelers For Children. It is a nonprofit organization that donates to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Rutgers has a box and a sign in his store that states that he won’t charge customers for services such as jewelry cleaning.

Instead, they can donate a sum of their choice to the charity by dropping it in the box. Rutgers said that after he started this initiative 10 years ago, he found that people come to his store for the services because they also get the opportunity to give back at the same time. This year, he has already collected more than $1,500 and hopes to surpass that and collect $2,000 next year.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Being able to give back to the wonderful community,” said Rutgers. “Just being able to give back every day makes me feel great. I try to teach my two children to do the same.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Staying competitive in the business, keeping prices reasonable with today’s rising costs,” said Rutgers. “It’s a tough business environment.”

INSPIRATION: “My father,” said Rutgers. “He gave me an engraved ID bracelet when I went to high school that said, ‘The secret to success is consistency to purpose.’ That’s the rule I live by.”

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New Bayside Colombian restaurant is instant hit


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Chicken lovers flocked to Mr. Pollo #1 on Friday to try the new Colombian restaurant on Bayside‘s Bell Boulevard.

The eatery was even busier on Thursday, opening day, according to workers.

“They say it usually takes two years before a business becomes profitable, but I don’t think we’ll need to wait that long here,” the manager said as he rushed to answer ringing phones.

The pork loin lunch special

The restaurant’s opening is the latest in a South American food invasion on Bell Boulevard, with a new Peruvian restaurant, Piura, set to open and the Mexican restaurant Cinco de Mayo reopening further down the commercial strip.

The store was packed for the second day in a row. A steady stream of people ordered take-out on Friday afternoon, while others chose to eat inside the eatery. Two delivery boys tried to stay ahead of the lunch rush, while workers ran around like hens without their heads.

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The new business on Bell Boulevard claims to be the first Colombian restaurant in Bayside.

There is also a Mr. Pollo #2, owned by the same people, in Whitestone, according to the menu.

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Bayside’s small businesses tell film industry to take five


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook/GreggSullivan

Call it Hollywood fatigue.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) wants the city to put a temporary stop on granting filming permits to movie and show makers using Bayside as a shooting location.

The organization, representing dozens of small businesses, plans on sending a letter to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to request a moratorium on filming in commercial areas like Bell Boulevard, according to the organization’s executive director, Lyle Sclair.

“Filming in Bayside is a balancing act, but too often it’s swayed away from us,” Sclair said.  “There’s a much better way to work together.”

Citing a marked loss of business because of frequent filming activity in the area, Sclair said that small businesses need more representation in government.

The FX-produced show “The Americans” used Bayside to film several scenes in January. During filming, Harry Rutgers’ jewelry business was penned in on 41st Avenue and Bell Boulevard.

“We might as well be closed when the film crews are here,” said Rutgers, who is the owner of Bell Family Jewelers. “The whole business district shuts down and everybody suffers while one [group] benefits.”

Rutgers cited many of the same problems that Sclair will bring up to the city. The vehicles used to transport the film crews and equipment are big and bulky, and these vehicles take up all the parking spots on Bell Boulevard that would be used by potential customers.

Rutgers said that another problem is that the crews don’t spend any money in the area because they come with their own food and services.

“They don’t spend a nickel on Bell,” Rutgers said. “I never heard anyone say they benefited from the film crews.”

Rutgers suggested that the trucks and trailers used by the film industry should park away from Bell Boulevard so they don’t take up parking. He also said that if the crews spent money in the area, business owners would be more willing to tolerate the film industry.

Sclair plans on making all of these suggestions when he sends the letter to the Mayor’s office. He is also urging the City Council to pass oversight bills.

Councilman Paul Vallone is signing the letter, according to his spokesman.

“I firmly support the Bayside Village BID’s request for a moratorium on filming on Bell Boulevard and the surrounding avenues, as the area is rapidly becoming a filming hot spot,” he said. “Our residents and small business owners should not have to bear the burdens that come with excessive filming, especially in an area that already has very limited parking space availability. It’s unfair for our small businesses to suffer these consequences.”

Film crews park trailers and trucks in front of businesses and take up many parking spots, causing the merchants to lose money, according to Sclair. The large vehicles also cause people to think that businesses are closed.

Bayside is frequently used for movie and television shoots, reflecting the city’s initiative to make New York City a filming center.

The mayor’s office did not respond to a request for comment but, according to the city-run “Made in NY” site, the city “looks to support film and television productions of all shapes and sizes, and we look to make each and every one of those projects a clear, seamless, and enjoyable production experience.”

In the city’s haste to make the five boroughs film-friendly, it’s alienated small businesses, Sclair said.

“It seems like the city is saying, ‘We’re choosing the film industry over mom-and-pop businesses,” he said.

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Bayside small businesses praised by feds


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the borough president's office

With more small businesses than big box stores on Bell Boulevard, the commercial strip was the perfect destination for the head of the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) when she made the trip to New York last week.

“I’m so excited to be here in Bayside,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of SBA. “Unlike many other places, Bell Boulevard has such a high concentration of small businesses and I want to keep this area thriving.”

Contreras-Sweet, along with Congresswoman Grace Meng, spoke to the owners of Bayside Milk Farm and went behind the food market’s deli to try out some of the food.

During the trip, Contreras-Sweet urged business owners to use the free resources that SBA provides. Many new initiatives, Contreras-Sweet said, are meant to help small businesses modernize their tools.

Small businesses can get technical assistance through a program called Operation HOPE. Entrepreneurs can also get loans and business counseling through SBA’s Direct Resource Packet, which brings together information about lenders and counselors in one document online.

“Thank you for your voice and thank you for all the great work you’re doing,” Meng said to Contreras-Sweet.

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Retail and office buildings on Bell Boulevard sell for $7.6 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Massey Knakal

Two sections of the Bell Boulevard commercial corridor in Bayside are under new management.

A retail strip with some office space on Bell Boulevard in Bayside traded hands for about $5.6 million, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services, which handled the transaction.

LCDM Investors LLC sold the property, which stretches from 43-19 to 43-23 Bell Blvd. The buildings have nearly 13,000 square feet of space, but 22,000 square feet of buildable space, the realty firm said.

Additionally, a two-story building a few blocks away at 39-26 Bell Blvd. was sold for $2 million. The building is fully leased with tenants, including longtime pizza restaurant Pete’s.

39-26 Bell Blvd.

39-26 Bell Blvd.

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Elderly driver plows car into Bayside garage after mistaking accelerator for brake


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Garage crash

An elderly woman shocked her Bayside neighbors when she accidentally plowed her car through her garage on Friday, police said.

The woman — whose age and name were not immediately released by police — was pulling into her garage on 48th Street about 1:15 p.m. when she mistook the accelerator for the brake and ripped through the structure, cops said.

The woman was taken to the hospital with minor injuries while rescue services extracted the car.

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New show by Tina Fey begins filming in Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Tina Fey, the writer, producer and star of “30 Rock,” was in Bayside on Wednesday filming her new show, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Fey, who co-created the show, oversaw production as the camera rolled on the star of the show,  Ellie Kemper from “The Office.” Trucks and trailers clustered around St. Josaphat’s Church and the crew used the church’s parking lot for the scene.

The comedy show also stars Tituss Burgess, and the show will air in the spring.

Kemper stars as Kimmy Schmidt, who was forced to live in a cult for 15 years before being rescued. She decides to move to New York City instead of returning to her home in Indiana.

According to crew members, filming will continue into early tomorrow at 1 a.m. and they also plan to shoot scenes at Crocheron Park.

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Mount Sinai medical center opening in new Bayside office and retail building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai Hospital will soon open an ambulatory surgical center on the second floor of a brand-new retail and office building in Bayside.

Construction on the second floor of the building, which is located at 45-64 Francis Lewis Blvd., is already complete. Furniture and medical equipment has been brought into the future center, which will boast four full-size operating rooms throughout 21,000 square feet.

The facility could start seeing patients within the next couple of months, according to a representative from FDC Realty, which is marketing the building.

The medical center will offer various types of operations, such as cataract surgery on both children and adults. And there is an underground parking lot for about 96 cars and above-ground spots for more vehicles to accommodate an expected high volume of patients and staff.

The 19,000-square-foot first floor space isn’t completed yet, but FDC Realty is negotiating with another medical provider for some space and said numerous retail stores have expressed interest in the building, including a national brand cafe and a pharmacy.

For leasing opportunities at the building, contact David Gelfond or Bruce Pollack at FDC Realty at 631-234-3200.

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Star of Queens: Dr. Nicholas Rallis, volunteer, Free to Smile Foundation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

_1Nicholas Rallis

BACKGROUND: Born in Greece and raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Nicholas Rallis, 51, moved to Queens in 1988 and began his dental practice in Bayside in 1990. He knew that he wanted to be a dentist since high school as he sees this profession as the only one in which a doctor “can see the result of your handwork, what you build for people, the before and after,” he said. “You can be a doctor and an artist at the same time.” He likes the fact that he gets to interact with his patients and feel the joy they express after a dental makeover.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Rallis’ friend is involved with the Free to Smile Foundation, an organization that offers free dental and surgical care to the underprivileged around the world. Last year, the foundation invited him to Guatemala to help treat people with dental emergencies. It was a shock, seeing how people live in mud huts with no roofs over their heads. He was touched by the experience, and this year, he went again to Guatemala, taking two assistants from his private practice with him. He led the team of 22 dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons in their work in the city of Santiago Atitlan. He stayed there for nine days in the first week of September. The team treated about 260 patients and conducted 48 surgeries. They treated problems such as tooth pain, dental abscesses, cleft palates and cleft lips. These are not just cosmetic problems, according to Rallis. “Kids [with cleft palates or cleft lips] are usually undernourished because they cannot eat and cannot be fed even through a bottle as they don’t have the ability to create suction with their tongue,” said Rallis. “It is a challenge to make them get the nutrition necessary to make it possible for them to undergo surgery.” The organization works in other countries such as Tibet, Niger, Cambodia and Colombia, and Rallis is eager to volunteer again next year. “You see the need that is there, you can’t really stop going,” he said.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “My family is my greatest achievement,” said Rallis. “I have a beautiful family, three wonderful children and a great wife.” He adds, “I am also the clinical instructor of the Mouth Rehabilitation Clinic at New York University. It is a prestigious position. It is a four-year continuous education course where we teach dentists, not students, from all disciplines of dentistry how to incorporate the various disciplines and become better clinicians. It is really fulfilling.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Both of them [family and position at NYU],” he laughs. “Things that you are good at are the things you have to work on the most, because you always want to strive to become better.”

INSPIRATION: “I had a mentor in dentistry who passed away,” said Rallis. “His name was Dr. Dan Ianniello. I just like the way he interacted with people and strive to be better at his work. He was very humble. I try the best I can [to emulate him].”

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Stolen Yorkshire Terrier reunited with Bayside owners


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Danny Morales

Police reunited Nutty the Yorkshire Terrier with his Bayside owners after the dog was stolen along with the owners’ car.

“We’re so relieved to have him back with us,” said Danny Morales, the dog’s owner. “I just can’t believe that he was returned to us totally unharmed, too.”

On Tuesday, Morales drove with Nutty in his dark blue Honda Accord to his job on Horace Harding Expressway and 221st Street. He left Nutty in the car with the engine on while he went in to pick up his pay at the Chinese restaurant where he works.

When he returned, the car, along with Nutty, was gone.

“It was like a perfect getaway too because the Long Island Expressway is right there and you just hop right on it,” Morales said on Friday.

Morales and his girlfriend Diana Oh spread flyers with a $1,000 reward, and even created a Facebook page to alert people in the neighborhood.

But the search ended on Saturday when police reunited the owners with their dog at the 113th Precinct. The Bayside couple discovered that Nutty had been on a crime adventure over the last few days.

Morales said he received a phone called at 2 a.m. on Saturday morning from a woman claiming to be the dognapper’s mother.

“This woman called me and you could tell she was in tears and she said that her son had taken Nutty,” Morales said. “She kept apologizing and said her son was troubled.”

The mother told Morales that her son, a 19-year-old, had stolen several cars recently.

Police couldn’t be reached for comment, but Morales said that the dog was found in the driver’s seat of another stolen car. The driver, the 19-year-old son, was arrested along with his alleged girlfriend. Authorities found Morales’ identification card and credit cards in the girlfriend’s wallet.

“That’s when the cops realized that Nutty wasn’t just some dog,” he said. “It turns out that he took Nutty with him on all these car thefts.”

Morales and Oh celebrated on Saturday with family and friends. They took the dog to the veterinarian, who found nothing wrong with Nutty.

“He’s acting a little weird but then again, he’s always been an oddball,” Morales said.

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Suspect wanted in connection to 21 Queens, Bronx commercial break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection with a string of citywide commercial burglaries.

In a total of 21 incidents, starting in June in Rosedale and most recently occurring on Oct. 20 in the Bronx, at least one suspect broke into commercial establishments via the roof, side or rear doors, or ventilation ducts while the business were closed, according authorities. Money from the cash register and broken-into ATMs, as well as miscellaneous items, such as cigarettes, were taken during the thefts.

In Queens, the burglaries have occurred in Laurelton, Broad Channel, Jamaica, Astoria, Queens Village, Bayside, Hollis, Glen Oaks, College Point, Richmond Hill and Flushing. The other break-ins all happened in the Bronx.

The NYPD has released surveillance photos of the male suspect wanted in an incident on Sept. 12 in Richmond Hill. During this burglary, at about 8 p.m. the suspect entered 88-24 Van Wyck Expressway via the roof, damaged the security system but did not remove any property, police said.

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 residents searching for missing dog taken in car theft


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Danny Morales

Two Bayside residents are scrambling to find their beloved Yorkie after a thief stole their car with Nutty the dog inside of it.

“I don’t care about the car. We’re just hoping that he didn’t just abandon the car with the dog stuck in it or something,” said Danny Morales, Nutty’s owner. “I just want my dog back. That’s it. We don’t care about anything else. No questions asked.”

Morales is offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who returns Nutty, a brown Yorkshire Terrier. Anyone with information can call Morales at (917) 942-0121 or (646) 201-3882.

On Tuesday, Morales drove with Nutty in his dark blue Honda Accord to his job on Horace Harding Expressway and 221st Street. He decided to leave Nutty in the car with the engine on for just a second while he went in to pick up his pay at the Chinese restaurant where he works.

“And when I went outside my car wasn’t there,” Morales recalled. “It was like a perfect getaway too because the Long Island Expressway is right there and you just hop right on it.”

Nutty_2

Danny Morales’ stolen Honda Accord.

Morales, along with his girlfriend Diana Oh,  have spent the past few days spreading flyers in the Bayside area and even Little Neck and Douglaston.

They’ve created a Facebook page Bring Nutty Home so that friends can spread the word. The incident was reported to the police but Morales believes that distributing fliers and using social media will be the fastest way to be reunited with Nutty.

“He’s so small and innocent, it sucks,” Morales said. “I’ve lived here for 30 years and everyone knows me here, so I can’t believe this happened.”

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