Tag Archives: Bayside

12th Annual Top Women in Business Awards draws nearly 1,000


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Allen Ngai

This year The Queens Courier’s 12th Annual Top Women in Business Awards & Networking event at Terrace on the Park broke records as close to 1,000 people came out to celebrate the accomplishments of the leading women of the Queens business world.

The Tuesday night celebration opened up with an expo and cocktail hour. During this time guests were able to mingle, network and exchange business information with leaders from all different fields.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT HERE

Although the night highlighted the work of over 30 women, one man stood out from the crowd. Greg Kelly, co-anchor of Fox 5 “Good Day New York,” was honored as “Man of the Year” for his countless years of success in journalism.

Honored with the award for “Woman of the Year,” Borough President Melinda Katz, who is the third woman to fill the borough president’s seat in Queens, congratulated the rest of the honorees for everything they do and accomplish.


Man of the Year and Fox TV host Greg Kelly with Melinda Katz, Queens Borough President (Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo)

“If you look around this room you see women who run hospitals, you see women who run colleges, you see women that help thousands of people every single day as part of their nonprofits,” Katz said. “To honor them today is only an extremely small thing that we can do for these great, outstanding women.”

All the honorees of the night received their awards from Kelly and Ms. New York United States 2013 Stephanie Jill Chernick.


Greg Kelly with Stephanie Jill Chernick, Ms.New York United States 2013 (Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo)

This year, The Courier bestowed other special honors, including “Lifetime Achievement” to Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, Dean/Medical Director, Elmhurst Hospital; and “Leadership in Education” to Dr. Sharon DeVivo, President-Elect, Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology.

The 12th Annual Top Women in Business Awards also presented “Hall of Fame” awards to Domenique Camacho Moran, Partner, Farrel Fritz, P.C.; Annete Vallone-Rocchio, President, Landrum School of Performing Arts and Precious Moments Nursery School & Day Care Center; Stefanie F. Handsman, First Senior Vice President, Head of Treasure Services, Bank Leumi; Linda Spiegel, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center/CenterLight Health System; and Maureen Buglino, Vice President for Community and Emergency Medicine, New York Hospital Queens.

“I feel very honored to be recognized as a woman in business,” said “Hall of Fame” honoree Vallone-Rocchio, who started her business at 18 years old. “This event is a great opportunity to network and mingle with other like-minded women.”

Honoree Marsha Goldberg, principal of P.S. 46, was honored for her 12 years of dedication to the Bayside school and her overall 42 years of work in the public education system. Under her guidance, P.S. 46 has been recognized as one of New York City’s best schools as it consistently received an overall “A” rating on the Department of Education Progress Report.

“I am so honored to have been chosen,” Goldberg said. “I don’t think of myself as a business woman, I think of myself as an educator. I see it as a labor of love. I think it is great that women are being recognized as leaders.”

During the network portion of the night, the expo also featured various vendors and businesses which sold products and shared information on their services.

“It has been a great opportunity so far, we’re really excited to be here,” said Olivier Guerin, Manhasset Branch Manager for Charles Schwab, which provides full-service  brokerage service for investing in various instruments, helping all clients reach a financial goal. Every May Schwab focuses the spotlight on Financial Life Planning for Women, with special workshops at different retail branches.

This year’s honorees were: Sharon DeVivo President, Vaughn College; Dr. Jasmin Moshirpur, Dean/Medical Director, Elmhurst Hospital; Gina Battagliola, Project Manager, JFK International Air Terminal; Kimberly Benn, Advertising Account Executive, DeSales Media Group; Clara Berg, Service Specialist, YAI Services; Marizen Bernales, RN/CEO, Atlantic Dialysis; Dr. Sabra Brock, Interim Dean, Touro Grad School of Business; Tracy Capune, Vice President, Kaufman Astoria Studios; Laurie Dorf, Assistant Vice Principal& ED, Queens College; Rosa A. Figueroa, Director of Small Business Development, LaGuardia Community College; Marsha Goldberg, Principal, Public School 46; Eve Cho Guillergan, Attorney, Eve Guillergan PLLC; Pam Horowitz, Director of Home Care, Parker Jewish Institute; Kimberly Kuchera, CEO, KJR Aviation; Missy Lawrence, Vice President Marketing, Resorts World Casino; Nora Constance Marino, Esq.,Queens County Commission, NYC Taxi& Limousine Commission and TV Legal Commentator; MaryAnn McAleer, Director of Development, Queens Centers for Progress; Janine Michel, Executive Director, Christ the King Continuing Education; Carole Nussbaum, Principal, Public School 203, Erica Oleske, Development Officer, Catholic Foundation for Brooklyn & Queens; Luisa Otero, Life Coach/Author, No Nonsense Coaching; Stephanie Ovadia, Attorney/Radio Host; Heather Palmer, 2nd Vice President, Queens County Savings Bank; Michelle Rosa Patruno, Regional Sales Manager/Senior Loans Specialist, Vanguard Funding; Sarah BJ Song, Chairman of Korean, American Family Services; Donna Tucker, Chief of Staff, Regional Alliance; Tiki Vanderbilt, Partner, NY Life Insurance Company; Denise Ward, College Interim Vice President & Executive Director, Queensborough Community; Carrie White, Classified Sales Manager, Desales Media Group; Mary Zias, Store Manager, TD Bank; Maureen Buglino, R.N. Vice President for Community Medicine & Emergency Medicine, New York Presbyterian; Stefanie Handsman, Head of Treasury Services Division, Bank Leumi; Dominique Camacho Moran, Attorney Labor and Practice, Farrell and Fritz; Linda Spiegel, Director of Public Affairs and Marketing, Margaret Tietz Nursing and Rehabilitation Center; Annette Vallone, Owner and Director, Landrum School of Performing Arts and Precious Moments Nursery School & Day Care Center.

This year’s sponsors included Atlantic Dialysis, Center For Wealth Preservation, Citibank, Cord Meyer Development/Bay Terrace Shopping Center, Dale Carnegie, Delta Air Lines, New York Daily News, DeSales Media Group/The Tablet, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Flushing Bank, Kaufman Astoria Studios, New York Life, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, Queens County Savings Bank, TD Bank, Terrace on the Park, Touro College, Vanguard Funding, and Vaughn College.

The evening’s celebration also raised $3,5000, with all proceeds going to charity.

 

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Women arrested after using child in Bayside store thefts: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Tuesday, May 20 10:05 a.m.

Police have arrested two women in a series of Bayside store thefts where they allegedly used a four-year-old girl to steal cash and credit cards.

Shannie Eastman, 39, of Queens, and Tisha Strong, 41, of Brooklyn, have each been charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, and failure to exercise control of a minor, cops said.

Two of the thefts occurred within less than two hours of each other on May 7. That afternoon, the suspects had the child, who is Eastman’s daughter, take a wallet containing $200 from a salesperson at Karma Boutique at 38-27 Bell Blvd., according to police and the store’s owner.

Around 2 p.m. while the store was busy and the salesperson was distracted, one woman told the young girl to take the wallet, which was behind the cash register.

The child then allegedly gave the wallet, which also contained personal identification and a debit card, to one of the women who placed it in her pants and fled the clothing store.

The women are accused of committing a similar theft at a nearby thrift shop called The Worthy Pause, on Corporal Kennedy Street, about 3:30 p.m. the same day, according to police.

They entered the store with a young child and took two purses, which contained approximately $170 and several credit cards before fleeing, officials said. The stolen goods belonged to two store volunteers, according to another volunteer who works at The Worthy Pause.

Police said the same women are also connected to an April 10 theft at the Empress Travel Agency, located at 39-22 Bell Blvd.

Two women came into the business with a young child around 3 p.m., then stole $900 from a cash box, which was located in a back room near a bathroom that the suspects asked to use, cops said.

 

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Women used child to snatch wallet at Bayside store, suspected in similar theft: cops


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:55 p.m.

 

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND LIAM LA GUERRE 

 

Police are looking for two women who allegedly convinced a young child to steal a wallet at a Bayside clothing boutique last week and are suspected of committing a similar crime the same day.

The suspects had the child take the wallet containing $200 from a salesperson at Karma Boutique at 38-27 Bell Blvd., on May 7, according to police and the owner.

Around 2 p.m. while the store was busy and the salesperson was distracted, one woman told the girl to take the wallet, which was behind the cash register, according to the store’s owner and police.

The child then gave the wallet, which also contained personal identification and a debit card, to one of the women who placed it in her pants and fled the clothing store. About 15 minutes later, the salesperson noticed her wallet was missing when she was going to pay for her delivered lunch.

Karma Boutique owner Margaret Papacosta stands near where a wallet was stolen from her store last week. (THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz)

After 11 years in Bayside, Karma has not experienced a crime such as this one, owner Margaret Papacosta said. 

“On Bell Boulevard for something like this to happen, it’s unheard of,” she said.  “I was shocked.”

Papacosta, a mother of three, added what was really surprising was that the suspects used a young girl for the crime.

“She was forced to commit a crime,” Papacosta said. “What does her future look like?”

The suspects also committed a similar theft at a Bayside thrift shop called The Worthy Pause, on Corporal Kennedy Street, the same afternoon, according to police and Rose Meehan, a volunteer who works at the store.

Meeha said two women fitting the suspects’ description and the young girl stole from two volunteers at the shop. They took a wallet containing $80 and a credit card, and a fanny pack with a driver’s license and credit cards inside of it.

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.

With additional reporting by Angy Altamirano 

 

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Retired FDNY chief, Queens native named fire commissioner


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Updated 7:55 p.m.

A retired FDNY chief and Whitestone resident has been tapped to lead the city’s fire department.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of Daniel Nigro as the new FDNY commissioner at the department’s academy on Randall’s Island Friday.

Nigro, 65, who was raised in Bayside, was named chief of department, the highest ranking uniformed position, in 2001 when Chief Peter Ganci Jr., was killed in the Word Trade Center collapse. He retired in 2002 after more than three decades with the FDNY.

The new commissioner will be tasked with bringing more diversity to the department after the city settled an FDNY racial discrimination suit with the Vulcan Society, an association of black firefighters, in March.

“We must no longer wait for a judge’s ruling to tell us what fairness means. We must get out front. We must point the way to change. There is no place in the fire department of our beautiful, diverse city, for injustice and inequality,” Nigro said.

During his time with the department, Nigro oversaw the 1996 merger of the Emergency Medical Service (EMS) into the FDNY. That experience was one reason behind de Blasio’s decision in naming Nigro to the position, according to the AP.

“From reducing EMS response time, to fixing our 911 call system, to increasing workforce diversity, especially in hiring more women—we have a lot to do in the fire department. I look forward to working with our new commissioner to make the necessary reforms to keep New Yorkers safe,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, chair of the Council’s Fire and Criminal Justice Committee, said in a statement.

Nigro is replacing Salvatore Cassano, who has served as FDNY commissioner since 2010.

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New lacrosse youth camp comes to Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

 

Lacrosse is one of the fastest-growing sports in the country and a new youth camp has come to Bayside, hoping to foster the sport in Queens.

Bombers Lacrosse, which has a successful high school travel team on Long Island, recently began hosting practices for children from kindergarten to eighth grade in Little Bay Park.

Now the youth league has more than 50 boys and girls participating in weekly training sessions and provides a place for kids to learn and grow with the sport.

“Everybody assumes it’s a Long Island thing — it’s not a Long Island sport anymore,” said Demian DeViccaro, co-president of Bombers Lacrosse. “There just aren’t as many youth programs here.”

The coaches are focusing on teaching the basics of shooting, catching and passing to the children since most of the kids in the camp have never even played lacrosse before entering the program.

The camp will run out of Little Bay Park until the end of June and return in the fall.

Besides the causal benefits of participating in the sport, such as friendship and teamwork, the program’s administrators say parents should know that the children could gain educational rewards as well.

More than 40 Bombers high school players have gone on to play college lacrosse on scholarships in the last two years.

Most of the coaches are former college players, and one is a professional with the New York Lizards. They believe if the kids pick up the sport and stick with it, they can use it to get money for school.

“I think it’s beneficial, because we have more opportunity than [in] sports like baseball,” said coach Ken Stubbolo Jr.

“Baseball is so popular, your odds of getting a scholarship is harder.”

For more information about the camp, visit Bomberslacrosse.com.

 

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Bayside police cadet who died on 9/11 honored with street co-naming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

When 23-year-old Muslim American Salman Hamdani, who was an NYPD cadet and EMT, heard about the 9/11 attacks, instead of going to work, he headed straight for the World Trade Center.

He lost his life trying to help people and for his sacrifice, Community Board 11 and Councilman Paul Vallone honored him by co-naming 204th Street in Bayside, where he grew up, as “Salman Hamdani Way” on Monday.

But his mother, Talat, believes it’s just the first step toward getting the recognition her son deserves after the injustice he received.

Hamdani, who was born in Pakistan and immigrated to America as a toddler, was initially thought to be involved in the attacks, and still hasn’t been honored as a first responder on the 9/11 memorial.

“The City of New York needs to recognize him officially as a cadet when 9/11 happened, when he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Talat said. “And the national 9/11 memorial cannot deny him his due place in history.”

Photo courtesy Talat Hamdani 

Instead of being listed as a first responder, Hamdani’s name is on the memorial as a civilian killed in the attacks. His family believes this bias stems from his faith, but they insist he was an American in every way.

As a child, Hamdani watched cartoons on the Disney Channel, loved the Yankees, played football for Bayside High School, and was a truly dedicated Star Wars fan— so much so that “his licenses plate read, ‘young Jedi,’” Talat said.

“I asked him one day, what is Star Wars?” she recalled, and he replied, “Momma, you don’t know what Star Wars is, you’re not an American!”

Hamdani’s  family is calling for Mayor Bill de Blasio to put his name on the first responders list to honor his memory.

“The fact is that he was a cadet,” Talat said. “He should be properly acknowledged.”

Photo courtesy Luigi Novi/Wikipedia Commons

 

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Elderly Bayside couple injured in home invasion


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

An elderly Bayside couple was seriously injured after two men invaded their home on Wednesday, cops said.

The perpetrators broke into the 15th Avenue home after claiming to be repairmen, according to police, who were called to the scene at about 2:30 p.m.

The suspects allegedly attacked the couple, leaving bruises on the woman’s head, before taking items from the home. Both husband and wife, who are 86 and 85 years old respectively, were taken to New York Hospital Queens in stable condition, officials said.

It is unclear on what was taken  from the house at this point, cops said.

Police are still searching for the suspects, which are described as two Hispanic men.

 

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Bayside restaurant to appear on Fox’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Friday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A Bayside restaurant is set to wake up from its nightmare of failing.

Kati Allo restaurant, on 172nd Street, will be in the Friday season premiere of “Kitchen Nightmares,” a hit reality television show on Fox featuring chef Gordon Ramsay.

In “Kitchen Nightmares,” Ramsay, who is prone to foul language, visits restaurants around the country to identify and diagnose problems to help turn them around.

According to a preview clip of the episode, the Greek restaurant, opened by husband and wife Emmanuel and Christine Zavolas in 2000, is failing, which is threatening the couple’s marriage.

“Kati Allo in Queens, New York, was really a difficult situation. It was a husband and wife, whose marriage was completely being destroyed by the restaurant,” Arthur Smith, the show’s executive producer, said in the preview clip. “In this episode the one thing to note is that it is the greatest reaction we’ve ever had to a reveal.”

The preview hints that Ramsay’s solutions for the restaurant were favorable by the couple.

“I’m so excited, I’m so happy,” said Christine, who is the executive chef. “My passion came back.”

Kati Allo’s website now boasts: “Our new menu is created by the world famous chef Gordon Ramsay!”

To check out the episode, tune to Fox at 8 p.m tonight.

 

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USA Luge to host recruitment tryouts in Bayside for kids


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy USA Luge

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

For Queens youngsters, the road to the Olympics could begin in Bayside when the USA Luge tryouts slide into Crocheron Park.

The USA Luge Slider Search, an initiative from the national team to foster the sport and identify young talents, will be making a stop in the park on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27 to host free recruitment clinics for kids from ages 9 to 13.

Children will get the chance to experience the sport and some may qualify for the Junior Development Team, which is the first step to becoming a member of the senior national and Olympic luge teams.

“Luge is a very facility drive sport. We only have two in the country,” said Fred Zimny, recruitment manager for USA Luge. “Instead of waiting for kids to come to us, we reach out to the country.”

The clinics will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m. each day. There is a limit of about 100 participants in total and each child will receive a free USA Luge t-shirt.

Click here to register.

 

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Tech center and co-working space opening in Bayside


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dani Horowitz

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A new community center for techies is hacking into Bayside.

Dani Horowitz, founder of IT social media website DaniWeb.com, is opening DaniPad, a co-working space for people in the tech industry.

The center, which will be on Bell Boulevard, will offer users the amenities they need to work, grow and network with others, Horowitz said.

For $150 a month, members will have access to DaniPad around the clock via a key card.

The center has workstations with large monitors for members to plug in their computers. DaniPad also has other office fixtures, including printers and scanners. There is a colorful community room, which could hold about 30 people, and a conference room for private use.

Horowitz hopes the co-working space will attract techies who could work from home but miss the socialization aspect of working in a company. For that she added a refrigerator, a microwave, a coffee machine and a big-screen television with a soft recliner and a couch. Members can also have their mail delivered to the center.

“I’m targeting people who are just like me,” Horowitz said. “Instead of being home by myself, I want to come here and basically have a 24/7 social group.”

Horowitz has already been hosting tech meet-ups every two weeks at the center, where dozens of people from the industry come to discuss concerns and technology news and network with each other. This feature of the center is free and open to the general public. DaniPad will also host seminars and speeches from industry professionals.

The space will officially have its grand opening in a couple weeks, but it already has 10 members. Horowitz expects that number to balloon after the formal opening.

 

 

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Bayside family films fright flick


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Rick McDonald

(A lot of) blood is thicker than water.

A fear-loving Bayside family has wrapped up its gory low-budget terror flick and will soon send the homemade horror off to some of the city’s biggest film festivals.

“This is my baby,” said Rick McDonald, 26, who directed the grisly $5,000 thriller, Lucifer’s Angels. “It’s a real achievement. We actually made a film.”

The gripping, guts-filled movie, which was four years in the making, plays on primal fears and is far from a typical slasher film, McDonald and his family said.

“I like to get scared. That’s the bottom line,” said Brian McDonald, 55, Rick’s uncle and right-hand producer. “There are so few movies that scare me anymore.”

So the clan threw cannibals and a killer clown named Mr. Smiles into the startling supernatural mix to promise an hour-long hellish ride.

The tale follows three groups of strangers who wind up in an area of the Catskill Mountains haunted by four wrongly executed mental hospital patients.

“When you don’t have a budget, you have to be 10 times more creative,” said Brian, a salesman by day.

Peppered with hidden Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock elements, it is a “psychologically terrifying homage to classic horror,” Rick said.

“I was raised on horror movies,” said the IT specialist and New York Institute of Technology graduate. “This isn’t an amateur, student film.”

The eight lifelong residents of Bayside sacrificed nights, weekends and vacations to wrap shooting in 2012 and editing last week.

But the family that scares together stays together.

They’ll see the fruits of their labor — and parts of their hometown city suburbs — on the silver screen April 13, during a private viewing at MovieWorld Cinemas in Douglaston.

Then they hope to be featured in the New York City Horror Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival.

“It was such a long project. It’s a great feeling that we could accomplish such a feat,” Brian said. “I’m looking forward to my real vacation in August.”

 

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Bayside BID seeks to display borough’s creative minds in arts fair


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Queens artists looking for their big break can find it in Bayside.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) wants the borough’s creative minds to display their original work during its upcoming third annual Arts and Crafts Festival.

“We’re excited,” said Lyle Sclair, the BID’s executive director. “It really just provides an opportunity for people to plan a day to just stroll up and down Bell Boulevard and see what they have in their backyard.”

The outdoor art show will be held April 26 from noon to 5 p.m. near the Bayside Long Island Rail Road station.

Local artisans — selling anything from paintings, clothing, jewelry, sculptures and photography — are wanted.

Last year, about 15 vendors took part in the festival. Sclair said he hopes to double the number this spring.

“After such a long winter, we want to bring people back to Bell Boulevard and walk the streets,” he said.

Those interested can call the BID at 718-423-2434 or click here.

 

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Brooklyn Streetcar Artists’ Group exhibits in Bayside


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Katelyn Di Salvo

KATELYN DI SALVO

Artists of the Brooklyn Streetcar Artists’ Group (BSAG) got a special treat after exhibiting their work in Queens.

Arthur Melnick, director of the BSAG, brought some of the group’s talent from Brooklyn to Queens on March 13, during an exhibition in the hallways at the Bayside office of The Queens Courier.

Paintings and photographs from 18 artists in the group were displayed for all to admire. The artists on view were from all ages and levels of achievement, and all were equally excited to showcase their work. BSAG began in 2007 and since then has been creating opportunities for artists and art lovers of all ages.

Victoria Schneps, president, CEO and publisher of The Queens Courier, greeted the artists and also brought them a treat. Schneps told the artists she had invited representatives from the Queens Museum to judge the artwork and determine the first, second and third place winners.

Divine Williams won first place for her three pieces, called “Photos of Women” and Herb Alwais won second place for his “Riverside Sunset” piece. Harriet Piltch placed third for her work, called “Third Avenue L.” Catherine Marra received honorable mention for her “Family Portrait.”

Although first place winner Williams was not there to receive the recognition, many of the artists present during the show said they were sure she would have been thrilled.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this exhibition, and to win a prize, now I can put this on my resumé,” said second place winner Alwais.

The success of various exhibitions led the group to be part of the nonprofit Brooklyn Streetcar Company, and has since maintained an official gallery space at Coney Island Hospital and also continues exhibiting when appropriate space is available.

“I used to work at Coney Island and that’s where I met Arthur,” said Patrick Rosato, another artist on view at the exhibition. “We started talking about art and he told me about his group and I’m really glad I got involved.”

 

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Off-duty NYPD cop charged with DUI after Bayside accident


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Update Monday, March 24 3:45 p.m.

An off-duty NYPD cop was arrested for drunk driving after crashing into a parked car in Bayside Saturday, according to officials.

Liam Donahue, 22, ran into an unoccupied vehicle on 40th Avenue near 217th Street about 5 a.m., authorities said.

Following the fender-bender, an officer said he observed Donahue with slurred speech, the smell of alcohol under his breath and that he was unsteady on his feet, according to the criminal complaint. Donahue, who, according to reports, works out of Patrol Borough Manhattan North, admitted he was driving when his Honda struck the parked car, causing extensive damage.

He refused a blood test and was taken to North Shore-LIJ for evaluation, the complaint said.

 

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Cardozo wrestling city champs set sights on national tourney


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow  me @liamlaguerre

 

Before Benjamin Cardozo senior Douglas Chau joined the wrestling team, he was, as he put it, a “boring kid.”

Chau, 17, didn’t play any sports, wasn’t in any clubs, didn’t interact with many of his peers and maintained average grades (about 80 percent), before his freshman year in high school.

But wrestling became the catalyst of change for the Bayside resident.

He joined at the recommendation of his older sister, who had friends on the team. And Chau said the first time he trained on the mat, he enjoyed the camaraderie and discipline the sport taught. Since then he said he’s become a more social person, and Chau is set to graduate at the end of this semester with an 89 percent average.

“It made me dedicated to everything that I do,” Chau said. “I found myself more disciplined than I was ever before. I can’t exactly say the reason why I like wrestling, but I can feel it.”

After four years of hard work on the team, Chau won the PSAL Division I wrestling individual city championship at 113 pounds last month, his first city-wide title. A city championship was the goal, but this summer he hopes to win a national championship at the Fargo Wrestling Tournament in North Dakota to complete the mission.

Chau’s teammate and training partner, Steve Kim, a junior at Benjamin Cardozo, is also looking to win a national championship at the Fargo tournament. Kim won the PSAL Division I individual city championships at 145 pounds, and before the summer tournament he’ll compete in a national event in Virginia Beach on March 24 as well.

Unlike Chau, Kim has been wrestling since he was a young child. His older brother taught his techniques at home and in the past he was fond of the WWE, the professional wrestling show.

Kim, 17, has designed a special diet to go with his training that emphasizes natural foods, such as fruits, vegetables and water, and he eats few carbs. It’s a testament to his dedication and desire to win a medal at the next level.

“That would be just beyond my dreams, that’s something unexplainable and unimaginable, to become a national champ,” Kim said.

The pair train about five days a week for two hours a day, sometimes conditioning in the weight room, and other times wrestling each other.

Chau said his Fargo appearance will be his last time on the mat because he’ll focus on studying pre-law at St. John’s University.

But after his personal wrestling experience comes to an end, he plans to start a brand new journey with another goal.

“My plan is to join the coaching staff at Cardozo,” Chau said. “My next mission is to help Cardozo move on and get another city champion.”

 

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