Tag Archives: Bayside

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.


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.”


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.



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.


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.


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.”


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.”


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


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.


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.



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.


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.



Developmentally disabled Queens woman missing for more than a month

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A Richmond Hill woman who is developmentally disabled and needs daily medication has been missing since early December, according to one of the centers where she receives services.

Bibi Kadim, 37, was last seen on Dec. 5. That day, Kadim had gone for lunch in the Jamaica neighborhood where Queens Centers for Progress (QCP), a place she goes for services, is located.

After she did not return from lunch, the staff called her mother. She told them that her daughter was scheduled for a medical clinic appointment that afternoon, but that Kadim had canceled, according to QCP.

Her parents, who live with Kadim in their home, have not heard from their daughter since she went missing.

The Shield Institute in Bayside, where Kadim also receives services, has known her for nearly 18 years. The center describes her as a very friendly individual who can communicate her wants and needs verbally. But, according to her parents, she has a child-like mentality.

She is also diabetic and needs daily medication and therefore is “at great risk,” according to QCP.

“We are obviously very concerned that Bibi has been missing for this length of time,” said Charles Houston, CEO of QCP said in a statement. “QCP and The Shield Institute are working with the family and police to bring Bibi home.”

Kadim is 5 feet 5 inches tall and 194 pounds. She was last seen wearing a pink hoodie, navy blue jacket, blue jeans and  sneakers.

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.


69-year-old woman fatally struck in Bay Terrace

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


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.



Second man charged in home invasion, assault of elderly Bayside couple

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A second man has been charged in a Bayside home invasion that left an elderly couple seriously injured, the district attorney’s office said. His alleged partner in crime, who is accused of helping him steal more than $15,000, was caught last year.

“The alleged victims in this case — both octogenarians — weren’t just robbed of their possessions,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The defendant allegedly stole the couple’s sense of security that they were safe from harm in their own home.”

Vincente Barzola, 39, of Brooklyn, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday on burglary, robbery and assault charges, the district attorney’s office said.

Barzola, along with his accomplice, Christopher Ramirez, rang the doorbell of the couple’s 15th Avenue home on the afternoon of April 23, 2014, pretending to be from their co-op’s maintenance department, according to authorities.

Sofia Dima, then 85, answered, and the two men told her they needed a signature on a form. When she unlocked the door, they barged in, and Barzola punched her in the face, knocked her to the floor and pushed his foot to her chest, Brown said. He then choked her until she was unconscious. When she woke up, the home had been ransacked and her hands were bound with plastic ties, but she managed to alert a neighbor who called police.

Her husband, John Dima, then 87, was asleep in bed upstairs at the time. Ramirez found him there, pulled him to the floor, punched him in the back and the head, tied his hands and pepper sprayed his face, according to the district attorney.

The two took gold and diamond jewelry and a safe containing more than $15,000 in cash from the home.

The Dimas were taken to the hospital, where they spent five days recovering from their injuries. John Dima now needs a cane to walk as a result of injuries he suffered in the attack.

Ramirez, 24, was arrested on June 26 and arraigned on burglary, robbery and assault charges, prosecutors said. Both Ramirez and Barzola face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.


North Shore Towers is city’s most popular building complex in 2014

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

There is plenty to celebrate at the North Shore Towers.

Not only will the Floral Park building complex be marking its 40th birthday in 2015, but the towers were New York City’s most popular buildings in terms of sales by a wide margin last year, according to a published report based on data from real estate website PropertyShark.

That’s right, the three-building co-op at 272-40 Grand Central Pkwy. sold 115 units last year, which is 35 more units than the runner-up.

With everything from tennis courts, a pool, a fitness center, a movie theater, a golf course and annual events, the towers attract homeowners of all ages, and that could be the reason for the high number of sales.

To be fair, the median price of an apartment in the complex is about $495,000, which is quite a bit lower than the runner-up, a Manhattan building named The Jefferson, which had a median price of $1.72 million.

Honorable mentions

Some other Queens buildings made the most popular top 10, including Woodside Terrace Condo in Maspeth, which finished in fourth place with 76 units. The buildings, located at 63-14 Queens Blvd., has just 96 total apartments. Nearly 80 percent of its capacity was filled last year.

Coming in at number six is The Vista at 44-15 Purves St, which sold 48 units last year. The buildings are among Queens’ newest luxury residential developments.

And The Bay Club in Bayside took ninth place after selling 44 units last year. But the article points out the condominium has more than 1,000 units, so selling under 4 percent isn’t that much of an accomplishment.


Dining: Kalamaki in Bayside for truly Greek fare

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Tom Topousis


Ever since my first trip to Greece more than 20 years ago, I’ve been on the hunt for a restaurant here in New York that served Greek cuisine the way I remembered it in the neighborhood restaurants that I visited in Athens and on Crete.

Kalamaki, a recent addition to Bayside’s dining scene, is just such a place. This is truly Greek soul food, where the chefs stick to one of the basic anthems of Greek cooking — the ingredients are absolutely fresh and of the best quality.

Even the name, Kalamaki, is about a simple food done well. It means meat on a stick, or skewer. Kalamaki even prides itself on preparing what it calls Greek street food, the sort of fare you could grab to go if you were roaming around Athens. And at Kalamaki, the skewered meats are sensational. Deliciously seasoned beef, chicken or pork. Order three skewers for $6.25, or 20 for $39.00 — the price gets cheaper the more you buy!


Owner Aris Konstantinidis, a veteran of the corporate food industry, said he decided to open Kalamaki “out of my frustration that I can’t get a good souvlaki here.” He recalled the way skewered meats and souvlaki are served back in Greece — smaller portions that are bursting with flavor.

“Here, we make them the way we make them in Greece,” he said.

And he didn’t leave the task of cooking to neophytes. Aris hired two chefs — brothers Niko and Jimmy Syros — from the Greek winter resort town of Arachova, Greece. The brothers arrived with a treasure trove of hearty recipes, including the chef’s special, Giaourtlou Politico.

At $15.50, the Giaourtlou Politico includes portions of grilled ground lamb and beef infused with herbs and spices, served on a bed of pita bread with strained yogurt and a zesty tomato sauce flavored with peppers, onions and garlic. Accompanying the dish are two yogurt dips, one flavored with dill and the other with red pepper.

This is a dish that will satisfy skiers and hikers back in the mountain resort, Arachavo, and it is remarkably different than dishes served at most Greek restaurants here.

Another example of how Kalamaki sticks to the Greek concept of cooking and dining is the Horiatiki “Villager’s” Salad. Here the salad is prepared just the way it would be in Greece. It’s not a collection of cheese, olives and vegetables over a giant pile of lettuce. In fact, there is no lettuce.

Chef’s special, Giaourtlou Politico, grilled ground lamb and beef infused with herbs and spices. It’s served on a bed of pita bread with strained Greek yogurt, toped with a savory tomato sauce: $15.50

Chef’s special, Giaourtlou Politico, grilled ground lamb and beef infused with herbs and spices. It’s served on a bed of pita bread with strained Greek yogurt, toped with a savory tomato sauce: $15.50

Kalamaki uses only plum tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and olives with a slice of imported Greek feta on top. The salad arrives like a piece of sculpture, ingredients layered carefully together. Simple, yet incredibly satisfying.

Appetizers are also outstanding, including Grilled Feta. At $5.75, the Greek barrel feta is grilled with tomato, pepper, olive oil and herbs. My cousin, who never eats feta, practically finished the appetizer by himself.

Yogurt is the bedrock of Kalamaki’s cuisine, served in or alongside most dishes, or as a dessert with an assortment of toppings.

But this is not just any yogurt. Konstantinidis initially wanted to make yogurt on site, but the approval process was far too difficult. So he searched high and low for a source, before finding a producer near Toronto, Canada, that produced a yogurt that met his standards. It is, without doubt, the finest yogurt I have ever had, creamy and yet light.

Be sure to try a yogurt dessert. There are nine different topping combinations of nuts, fruit and nectars. We had it served with apple, cinnamon, walnuts and brown sugar. I found myself getting every last bit on my spoon, leaving Kalamaki with the memory of one last terrific flavor.

2906 172nd St., Bayside



Obama’s call to make community college tuition free gets an A from Queens students

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Students at Queensborough Community College are hopeful about a proposal that President Obama made to make community colleges free.

Samuel Yun, who goes to school full time and has to work a part-time job to help cover his costs, including tuition, was happy to hear the government may be picking up his college tab.

“That would totally help me,”  Yun, 20, said as he left his class at the Bayside campus. “It’s difficult for me because I’m taking six classes so it [holding down a job] gets in the way of me getting school things done on time.”

Obama unveiled the plan on Friday. It will need the approval of the Republican-controlled Congress to go into effect, but White House officials say they expect some bipartisan support.

If the whole country participates, Obama’s idea could help about 9 million students per year and save them around $3,800 in tuition, according to the White House. In Queens there are two community colleges — Queensborough Community College and LaGuardia Community College. Combined, the two schools have more than 30,000 students that would benefit from free tuition.

In Queensborough Community College, there are more than 16,000 students, according to the school’s records, enrolled in associate degree programs and another 10,000 students attend continuing education programs at Queensborough Community College, all of whom would be eligible for free tuition.

LaGuardia has a student body of more than 50,000 students from more than 150 countries.

“At LaGuardia we see the impact that a college education has on our students and their families,” said Gail Mellow, the school’s president. “Each year thousands of our students get the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in today’s economy.”

For Yun, he would be saving around $3,200, and the proposal would allow him to also quit his job as a waiter to focus on his dream of becoming a computer engineer.

Nearby, Isaac Masty, who just started his first semester, waited for his friends to finish class.

“If it gets passed, it would be a real boost for people coming from other countries,” the 18-year-old said. “Foreign students have such a hard time when they come here and if they were able to get a free start to their education, it would really go a long way for them.”