Tag Archives: Bayside

Bayside restaurant Il Vesuvio moving, expanding and changing name

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Il Vesuvio Pizzeria in Bayside is saying ciao to its small location and doubling in size just a few doors down on Bell Boulevard.

Owners are moving the restaurant to 39-28 Bell Blvd., the site of former hibachi steakhouse and sushi bar Okinawa, and expanding it to include a bar, restaurant and pizzeria.

Pat Fabiano, an owner of the restaurant, also said they are also changing the name from Il Vesuvio to Il Borgo to reflect the new start for the business. Il Borgo is expected to open in about a month and a half.

Fabiano purchased Il Vesuvio about a decade ago. The restaurateur also owns Organico in Port Washington, which is a formal sit-down organic Italian restaurant that has received high ratings.

Il Borgo will be less formal, and Fabiano envisions a sit-down eatery on Bell Boulevard where everyday families and friends can gather.

“I feel that people need that option of an easygoing place and to not be scared because they see tablecloth,” he said. “I want people to walk in with their regular T-shirts.”

The new restaurant will have an “industrial look,” with brick, metal and wood features. The expansion will allow for about 120 people, and there will be a party room. The six-person staff will more than double as well.

Fabiano said there will be a grand opening party for Il Borgo.



Bayside man pleads guilty to sharing child porn collection online

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A 32-year-old man is facing prison time after admitting to sharing his extensive child pornography collection online from his parents’ Bayside home where he lives, prosecutors announced.

Christopher DeNicola of Bell Boulevard pleaded guilty on Thursday to promoting the sexual performance of a child, and the judge indicated he will sentence him to two to six years in prison on Sept. 10.

According to the charges, on May 5, 2014, special agents from the Department of Homeland Security showed up to DeNicola’s home, which he shares with his parents, and executed a court-authorized search warrant, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Authorities recovered 34 pieces of electronic media, including a desktop computer with 10 external hard drives connected to it. On those devices, there were more than 10,000 photographs and videos of underage children being sexually abused.

DeNicola allegedly copped to trading the child pornography on peer-to-peer networks for years.

“The defendant has admitted that he shared very disturbing pictures and videos of children. It is important to remember that these images are for all intents and purposes crime scenes — they depict real children being cruelly victimized both physically and emotionally. The memories of their abuse will be with them for the rest of their lives,” Brown said.


Controversial Bayside elementary school to start construction this summer

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy the Department of Education 

The School Construction Authority is collecting bids to find a company to construct a controversial four-story, 468-seat elementary school in Bayside on the former Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery site.

The school, P.S. 332, will cost between $46.2 to $48.6 million and should be open for students from pre-K through fifth grade in September 2017, according to a Department of Education representative. Although a specific time wasn’t given, construction on the nearly 80,500-square-foot facility is expected to start in the late summer, the spokesperson said.

Dozens of residents held a rally two years ago in front of the site at 210-07 48th Ave. to protest the new school. Homeowners nearby said it would impact parking and present dangerous traffic problems for students.

The City Council gave the green light for the project in November 2013 after a vote. Councilmen Mark Weprin and Peter Vallone Jr. were the only legislators who voted against it. However, state Sen. Tony Avella, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Community Board 11 also opposed the project.

Supporters of the plan said it would relieve congestion from the district’s schools, which, like schools in many other parts of the borough, are suffering from overcrowding.

That could be the reason why the size of the proposed school inflated over the years. Original plans were for a 456-student institution.

Construction companies have until May 22 to submit their bids.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: P.S. 213 in Bayside 




Doctored device causes fire at Bayside High School

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Fire at BS HS

Updated 2:49 p.m.

There was a little Monday morning madness for Bayside High School students.

Sixty firefighters and additional police officers responded to a fire caused by a device in a classroom on the first floor of the building at 32-24 Corporal Kennedy St., leading to the evacuation of hundreds of students.

The device was a cellphone strapped to two batteries located in a locker in the classroom, police said. The bomb squad was called to investigate the device, and determined it was “not suspicious.” Authorities believe it was a homemade cellphone charger.

Fire officials were called around 10 a.m. and put the flames out at about 11:30 a.m., according to the FDNY. No one was reported hurt, authorities said.

Students evacuated from the school were taken to local middle and elementary schools, but were transported back to Bayside High around 2 p.m.



Bayside man pleads guilty to mom’s beating death

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

A 49-year-old man has pleaded guilty to beating his elderly mother to death with a bat inside their Bayside home more than four years ago, the district attorney’s office announced.

Matthew J. Devlin, in pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter Friday, admitted to the killing during an argument with his mother and brother on the evening of Feb. 12, 2011, prosecutors said. As they fought, Devlin hit his mother in the head with an aluminum bat.

When police arrived at the home, they found his mother, 79-year-old Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Devlin, in a second-floor bedroom with serious head injuries, according to District Attorney Richard Brown. She was taken to an area hospital, where she was placed in a medically induced coma and died five days later.

Deviln’s brother, then 54, also suffered a head wound in the attack, which required 35 stitches.

At his plea on Friday, the judge indicated that at Devlin’s June 4 sentencing he would receive 21 years in prison and five years post-release supervision.

“This was a senseless family tragedy that ended with a mother dead and her son guilty of taking her life. By his actions, the defendant has proven himself unfit for society. While he will have to live with what he did for the rest of his life, the sentence to be imposed is more than warranted,” Brown said.


Bayside native to become northeast Queens administrator for Parks Department

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Matthew Symons


Bayside native Matthew Symons is the new face of the parks he frequented as a child.

Symons, who has worked in the New York City Parks Department for almost 20 years, officially starts his job as the northeast Queens administrator this Monday.

He will be in charge of the overall upkeep of the parks in the district, which include Alley Pond Park, Oakland Lake, Crocheron Park, Fort Totten, Little Bay, Joe Michaels Mile and some smaller properties.

As an administrator, Symons will also be encouraging volunteer participation, working with local stakeholders in the parks and acting as a liaison with community boards and elected officials.

Symons joined the Ranger Rick Nature Club as a child and while studying at SUNY Binghamton, he met a classmate who was an Urban Park Ranger and decided to pursue that as a career. He worked as an Urban Park Ranger for 14 years before becoming the deputy administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the fourth largest public park in New York City.

“This part of the world really means a lot to me as a park ranger, but also as a native Queens person,” Symons said.

Symons’ experience as a deputy administrator for Flushing Meadows Corona Park has prepared him for his new role, he said, and he wants to make it a mission to attract more visitors to northeast Queens parks.

“I think it’s always important…to develop a sense of stewardship with the public, so we want people to feel engaged and interested and to feel that the parks belong to them,” Symons said. “It’s not the city owns the parks and they just visit them, but the parks are something that belong to them.”

Though Symons hasn’t technically started his job yet, he has already been visiting parks to engage with people who are interested in parks and those who may not be so that he can gauge the projects and events he should be working on.

“[My goal is to] kind of take the temperature of the community and see what the needs are and then based on that pursue what makes most sense for the public and the parks in general.”

Though he anticipates that there will be challenges in his new role, so far, Symons likes what he sees.

“In the past few weeks, I’ve been spending some time in the area and….I’m not saying that there won’t be challenges, but we’ve had a volunteer event every weekend,” Symons said. “Basically, all of our properties are getting a lot of attention, which is great.”

Symons said the Parks Department faces a unique challenge in northeast Queens because unlike other parts of the city, Queens residents have access to outdoor spaces closer to home, such as their own backyards.

He hopes to use special events and programs like Urban Park Rangers to interest this segment of the Queens community.

“We will try anything to get people to visit their parks and love their parks,” Symons said.


Bayside restaurant Bourbon Street expanding and adding rooftop

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos by Liam La Guerre and Bourbon Street. Rendering via Bourbon Street.

Things are getting heated at Cajun-style restaurant Bourbon Street in Bayside.

Construction is in full swing to add a rooftop bar and a 125-seat second floor party room and to renovate the bistro’s façade to give it more of a southern flair in tune with its namesake street in New Orleans’ French Quarter.

Restaurant representatives said the plan is to complete the rooftop bar and new second floor, which was home to a learning center, by this summer so patrons can experience something fresh on Bell Boulevard.

“Everybody likes to be outside, especially after the winter we’ve just had,” owner Mark Boccia said. “You could see the Throgs Neck Bridge in the distance, you could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance, and the roof is above pretty much every other roof in Bayside, so you’ll get a whole different atmosphere. It’s almost like you’re not on Bell Boulevard.”

The approximately 2,000-square-foot rooftop area will have outdoor seating, serve eight to 10 beers on tap and include a raw seafood bar. Wrought iron railing, like those in New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, will be added to the rooftop and terraces on the second floor.

The project, designed by CD Architect Studio, also includes new signage and awnings over the terraces with New Orleans colors: purple, yellow and green.

Bourbon Street rendering

A new vestibule and wider entrance has been completed and a new staircase from the ground floor was recently added for easy access to the second level. Large window doors are planned for the ground floor, and to make sure the now-three-level eatery is handicap accessible, a new elevator that leads to upper floors is being installed.

While all this construction is going on, the ground floor bar and restaurant will remain open.

Boccia also owns Austin’s Ale & Steak House in Forest Hills, which added an outdoor patio space last year. He believes that the transformation of Bourbon Street is necessary to compete with other businesses on Bell Boulevard and throughout the emerging borough.

“There are just so many places to go to in Queens now, whereas in the past it didn’t matter, Bell Boulevard was the thing,” Boccia said. “Brooklyn’s totally popped up and emerged, now it’s Queens’ turn. So if you want to be competitive in Bayside, you have to make change.”


This Bayside resident could change the way Americans drink coffee 

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre and courtesy of Daniel Grosfeld 

One Bayside man’s hot idea may revolutionize the way people drink coffee in America.

After five years and more than $2 million, Daniel Grosfeld is hoping to launch his hot canned coffee product, aptly named the HotShot, this year and recently began a Kickstarter page to raise $100,000 to cover final costs.

Hot canned coffee is already a thriving multibillion dollar industry in Japan, where vending machines carry the product, but it hasn’t taken off in the United States yet. Although some beverage companies have tried to import the Japanese product, it turned out to be too small and not hot enough for Americans, Grosfeld said.

It took Grosfeld about two and a half years to perfect the formula for a few flavors of his HotShot. His formula comes from 100 percent Arabica beans grown in Indonesia, but the canned coffee is made in America.

Together with his coffee, Grosfeld is also going to launch the HotBox, essentially a hot fridge that always keeps the coffee at 140 degrees, which Grosfeld says is the perfect temperature for coffee. To protect consumers from the heated metal cans, his company also created an insulated label.

He hopes the products will resonate with Americans because the coffee is delivered instantly hot in the HotBox.

“It’s not some crazy new drink that I have to teach people about like coconut water,” Grosfeld said. “At the end of the day it’s just coffee. It’s just a new delivery mechanism.”

Grosfeld came up with the idea after he couldn’t find coffee one early morning in Japan in 2009. As a man who drinks anywhere from three to six cups of coffee a day, eventually he found a vending machine and figured cold coffee would have to suffice. But to his surprise the can came out hot and he instantly thought, “Why isn’t this in America?”

For $79, Kickstarter sponsors will be able to get a HotBox that holds nine cans, along with 12 HotShot cans in multiple flavors: espresso, French vanilla, caramel and hot chocolate. For more money they can get more HotShot cans or more HotBoxes. So far Grosfeld has already raised more than $8,000 in two weeks on Kickstarter.

The HotBox comes in a range of sizes, including the nine-can HotBox for home use and larger machines that hold 36, 72 and 108 cans. Grosfeld envisions selling the larger machines to grocery and department stores, stadiums and movie theaters, so they can sell the cans.

Although he couldn’t say which yet, he is already in negotiation with major companies that want to put the HotShot in their stores and could do so by September when it launches. Grosfeld said he can’t wait until everyone gets to drink the product.

“I’ve been dreaming about that day for a long time,” he said. “My dream is to see it everywhere. To see it in stores, and to see people enjoy it.”


Bayside boxer brings home Golden Gloves

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of JP Yim

One young boxer from Bayside has earned one of boxing’s most prestigious amateur awards, the Daily News Golden Gloves.

Stylianos Kalamaras, 25, defeated five competitors over the eight-week event to capture his first Light Heavyweight Golden Gloves championship during the 88th annual tournament.

“I had one of the most impressive records in the tournament,” Kalamaras said. “I had two TKOs [technical knockouts], there was only one other guy to have that. In the finals, I was the only guy to knock somebody down to the canvas in this tournament.”

In the finals on April 2, Kalamaras faced off against Franklin Johnson in the 178-pound novice division at the Barclays Center.

“I felt confident I would take the tournament,” Kalamaras said.

This wasn’t Kalamaras’ first time at the Golden Gloves, having competed back in 2011, where he lost by decision in the semifinals.

“I feel should have won that fight. I knocked that guy down, too,” Kalamaras said. “I hurt him and they gave him the decision.”

In 2013, Kalamaras won the New York Metro Championship and was victorious in the 31st annual Battle of the Badges charity event that was held in Madison Square Garden. Kalamaras fought for the FDNY and defeated the NYPD’s representative to win the title belt.

“I think that was my best fight to date,” Kalamaras said of the Battle of the Badges fight. “I knocked the guy out. It was exciting, especially since it was my first time really fighting in front of a lot of people like that in boxing at Madison Square Garden.”

Kalamaras has been boxing since the age of 16, “but now in the past two years I’ve been taking it seriously,” he said. Prior to boxing, he earned awards in judo.

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Photo by Anthony Giudice

“My father put me in judo when I was 8 years old and I was really good in judo,” Kalamaras said. “I was a three-time junior Olympic gold medalist, five-time national champion, six-time international champion. I’ve been all over the world.”

The amateur boxer is also a full-time student at Queens College where he is studying exercise science and nutrition, in hopes of getting into a program in the field of physical therapy. Kalamaras hopes to start a career in training and help other athletes as a physical therapist.

He is a Navy reservist as well, having enlisted in 2010 in the Navy’s construction unit as an engineer and is currently a Second Class Petty Officer.

Kalamaras is now looking to earn a national ranking in boxing and eventually try out for either the American or Greek teams in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Once he gains more experience and exposure, the young, amateur boxer wants to turn professional.

“My goal is to … get sponsored so I could really focus on doing this full time,” Kalamaras said. “I don’t want to drop school either because school is always important, too.”


Bayside actor muscles in on Hollywood

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Peter Gaudio

Bayside actor Peter Gaudio is keeping himself quite busy these days both on and off the screen.

Gaudio has a starring role in the upcoming Steve Rahaman film “Snitches,” which according to IMDb is scheduled to premiere in 2016. Starring Chris Victor and Daniel O’Shea, the movie tells the story of a New York City crime boss undermined by an associate working with corrupt police officers to bring the syndicate down.

The Bayside resident and Corona native was most recently featured in the boxing film “Back in the Day,” starring Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and Michael Madsen. He’s also part of “Take it Back,” a mob TV drama currently in production.

But away from the production sets, Gaudio showcases his comedic and singing talents during the “Wiseguys and Women of Comedy” act playing weekly at Il Bacco restaurant in Little Neck.

An active bodybuilder and former Mr. New York City, Gaudio got his first break on the screen in the 1992 film “A Bronx Tale” starring Chazz Palmentieri and Robert DeNiro, who also directed. Gaudio said DeNiro selected him in an open audition for one of many background roles in the film shot on location in Astoria.

Over the years, he worked to refine his acting craft, studying with many renowned acting coaches in New York City including the late actor William Hickey and Alice Spivak.

Those lessons paid off for Gaudio, as he’s worked in dozens of films and television shows based in New York and had a recurring role in the off-Broadway murder-mystery show “Murdered by the Mob.” Even so, there’s only one role more important in his life.

“Working with talented artists is living a dream, but the best role I play each and every day is being the greatest father I can be to my 10-year-old daughter Petrina,” he said.


64-year-old man dies in LIE car crash

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


A 64-year-old man was killed on the Long Island Expressway Thursday afternoon when his car slammed into an exit ramp divider before crashing into another vehicle, police said.

The incident happened just after 1 p.m. on the eastbound side of the roadway at the exit for the Douglaston Parkway near Oakland Gardens.

As the driver approached the exit, his Hyundai Sonata veered to the right and struck a barrier, authorities said. His car then veered back onto the expressway where it hit a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

EMS took the Hyundai’s driver, who wasn’t immediately identified by police, to North Shore University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the Jeep was uninjured.

The investigation is ongoing.


Bayside students put their creative problem-solving skills to the test

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo Anthony Giudice

Two Bayside schools are each sending two teams to the New York State Odyssey of the Mind Association State Tournament for a chance to advance to the world finals in Michigan later this year.

Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Students use their creativity to solve problems ranging from building mechanical devices to presenting their interpretation of literary classics. They then bring their solutions to competitions on local, state and world levels. Thousands of teams from all around the U.S. and from 25 countries participate in the program.

The teams vying for a spot in the finals are the fourth- and fifth-grade teams from P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens and the sixth- and seventh-grade teams from Nathaniel Hawthorne M.S. 74. All four teams finished in either first or second place in their divisions during the Regional Tournament, which was held on March 7 in Wantagh, Long Island, to make it to the state level.

On Thursday, the students showed their creative problem-solving skills in front of faculty, family members and classmates in P.S. 203’s auditorium ahead of the state tournament.

The fourth- and seventh-grade teams took on the challenge of “Pandora’s Box,” where they had to put a “video game spin” on the Greek myth. Students were required to include a prologue that depicts the original story of Pandora’s Box; three characters that represent different evils that escaped the box; and a power meter representing the gamer’s health bar.

The fifth- and sixth-grade teams each chose the “Silent Movie” problem. In this scenario, the students had to create and present their very own silent film. There had to be a director character, a film critic and a humorous villain character that commits three silly acts of villainy. The characters in the film were not allowed to speak; instead, they used creatively displayed subtitles, much like classic silent movies.

Each team came up with their original idea, created the sets and costumes for the performance and put on the show all on their own, as per the rules of the competition.

“We are not allowed to help them at all, we just guide them,” said Katerina Stravropoulos, a teacher for the fifth-grade team at P.S. 203. “Through probing we get them to solve the problems.”

This year’s state tournament will be held on April 11 at Binghamton University.

“I’m very optimistic for my team,” Stravropoulos said of her team’s chances in the state tournament. “The competition is tough, but we will do our best.”

Jarett Glickman, a member of the M.S. 74 seventh-grade team, and former member of P.S. 203’s team that went to the World Finals in 2013, said, “The world finals was really fun. I hope we can make it again this year.”


Bayside Historical Society looking to bring agriculture program to Fort Totten

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) is looking for a few good families to join its upstart community-supported agriculture (CSA) program based at the Castle at Fort Totten.

According to Frannie Budynek, a BHS trustee, the society seeks at least 50 shareholders to register with the CSA by no later than Wednesday, April 15, in order to get the program off the ground for the growing season.

In a CSA, families and individuals purchase shares in a farm within 250 miles of the community. Many of the CSAs in New York City are aligned with farms based on Long Island’s North Fork.

Farmers use the money collected to grow produce and, from June through late November, deliver their harvest to the shareholders. The produce includes leafy greens and radishes in the spring; tomatoes, eggplants and cucumbers in the summer; and various types of squash in the fall.

CSA shares typically run about $30 per week per family, but Budynek said each shareholder gets more than their money’s worth in produce. Shares can also be divided among two families to help allay the costs and share the food wealth.

“The farmers are very eclectic. They try to grow a very diverse number of products,” Budynek said. “It’s like you have your own personal farmer.”

She added that the CSA program is environmentally friendly, as each farm grows its produce organically with limited pesticide use, and helps keep the farming industry in New York State economically viable.

“It helps to support local farmers and protect farmland,” Budynek said. “It keeps them farms instead of turning them into subdivisions so people can make a living through agriculture.”

She hopes to hold cooking demonstrations and recipe exchanges during weekly produce distribution at the Castle at Fort Totten. The BHS is also seeking volunteers to help coordinate one pick-up shift each month for about three to four hours.

To join the CSA or for more information, call 718-352-1548 or email info@baysidehistorical.org.


Volunteers wanted for Relay for Life events in Queens this spring

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com


Those looking to put their best feet forward in the fight against cancer are encouraged to join Relay for Life events scheduled across Queens in May and June.

The relays benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) and include teams of volunteers from families, businesses, churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, civic associations and other groups walking or running laps around a course to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

New York City played host to 27 Relay for Life events last year, raising more than $1.4 million combined, a goal the ACS hopes to eclipse in this year’s relay events.

“The Relay for Life movement unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and take action to finish the fight once and for all,” ACS Relay for Life Senior Manager Ben Messner said. “Many participants are our family, friends and neighbors who have faced cancer themselves. Each new team that registers brings us one step closer to saving more lives.”

Each Relay for Life kicks off with the “Survivors’ Lap,” as local cancer survivors take the first steps on the course, symbolizing their resiliency and strength. Once the survivors complete their circuit, the fundraising teams take the track; at least one member of each team must be on the track for the relay’s duration, into the night and following morning.

Team members camp out trackside and, when not on the course, get to rest and enjoy games, music and entertainment.

After nightfall, volunteers hold a luminaria lighting ceremony, when candles lining the course are lit in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of someone who died of its complications.

The Relay for Life for the communities of Broad Channel, Breezy Point and the Rockaways takes place on Saturday, May 16, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning at the Broad Channel Athletic Club, located at 125 Cross Bay Blvd. For more information, contact Carol Palacio at 631-379-4924 or carol.palacio@cancer.org.

Bayside will hold its Relay for Life on Saturday, June 6, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning in Alley Pond Park. Those interested in participating can contact Marlene Medina at 646-318-7636 or marlene.medina@cancer.org for additional information.

One week later, the Howard Beach Relay for Life will kick off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, located on 165th Avenue near 83rd Street. To learn more, contact Meghan Neary at 631-300-3458 or meaghan.neary@cancer.org.

Lastly, the Middle Village Relay for Life will take place two weeks later on Saturday, June 27, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning at Juniper Valley Park’s Brennan Field, located off the corner of 71st Street and Lutheran Avenue. Contact Marlene Medina as the previously listed email and phone number.