Tag Archives: Bayside

Queensborough Community College receives grant money for new health center


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File photo

Queensborough Community College received $11.5 million from a state grant that aims to provide seed money to CUNY schools pursuing educational projects, according to CUNY.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the winner of the CUNY 2020 grant last week as part of a larger 2013-14 executive budget of $110 million to fund tech and health projects in state and city schools. Queensborough has two such projects that received money from the grant. $10 million will go to building a 19,000-square-foot healthcare center in northern Queens, according to the school, where students will work with patients in the community with health problems.

The remaining $1.5 million will go to renovating and equipping a 3-D printing site in the school. The college computer science department plans on creating new courses that will help students, including those from some local high schools, learn to use the printers.

“The $11.5 million dollar award places us as a vanguard to serve two vital industry sectors: technology and healthcare,” Queensborough President Diane B. Call said. “I am extremely proud that Queensborough Community College has been selected for our innovative ideas and leadership to provide current and prospective students the education to pursue promising careers.”

Cuomo appropriated $55 million as part of the 2013-14 State Budget for NY CUNY 2020. The program offers grants for two- and four-year colleges within the CUNY system.

 

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Fiamma 41: Old-world cooking in great new spot


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0093

CHRIS BUMBACA

Recipes from a generation ago that originated in southern Italy have crossed the Atlantic and are now being recreated in Fiamma 41, an Italian restaurant located on 41st Avenue just off of Bell Boulevard.

Owners Alex and John Bonavita have adopted their mother’s recipes, which she learned before moving to America, and use them to create a variety of delicious dishes. The recipes are also from the time she spent in Rome and Florence.

The brick exterior and interior gives off a classy and old-fashioned feel, while the modern bar serves as a potentially popular hangout spot, with several televisions in the joint. Portraits of famous actresses from back in the day, such as Marilyn Monroe, hang on the wall.

Fiamma 41’s staple dish is the Napolitano pizza. It is an artisan-style personal pizza, 12 inches in diameter, and a great dish to share with another person (or for one if you’re extra hungry like I was). The pizza is made in a Valoriani oven from Tuscany that can reach 1,000 degrees, and is made of terracotta. Fiamma is Italian for “fire” and the restaurant does not use gas to cook their pizza.

The salsiccia e broccoli rabe pizza was delicious. It is a white pizza served with spicy Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella and — the best part of the dish — the perfectly bitter broccoli rabe. The crust was even enjoyable, and you could tell the dough was fresh.

Not in the mood for pizza? No worries. The menu also features awesome pasta and seafood options. The linguine frutti di mare is an eclectic seafood dish that was delightful. The dish includes linguine pasta served with marinara sauce, along with mussels, clams and shrimp. The marinara sauce had the perfect touch of garlic, while the mussels and clams were well-cooked and scrumptious. The shrimp bits were bite-size and juicy.

If you still have room for dessert, the tiramisu is on point. The homemade recipe is complemented perfectly by a drizzling of chocolate and sugar.

Whether you are looking for a place to grab a few drinks with friends, go on a date or dip out of the office for an enjoyable lunch, Fiamma 41 is definitely the place to be.

Fiamma 41
214-26 41st Ave., Bayside
718-225-5700

Hours:
Monday: closed
Tuesday – Thursday: 12 – 10 p.m.
Friday: 12 – 11 p.m.
Saturday: 12 – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 12 – 10 p.m.

 

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New mixed-use residential structure to replace 80-year-old Bayside building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Longtime Bayside firm Pilling Real Estate closed a big saleits own building.

After more than 30 years in the same Bayside office at 42-18 Bell Blvd., the firm packed up everything Monday, July 28, in preparation to move after owner Betty Pilling sold the building for $1.15 million in May, according to city records.

The new owner, Bell Realty, plans to transform the building, which was built in 1931 according to the Department of City Planning, into a three-story mixed-use residential and commercial structure.

“There is a lot more that you could get out of that land than what we were doing with it,” Pilling said. “It was just time.”

Despite the sale, the owner and brokers of Pilling Real Estate are not leaving Bayside. The company plans to merge with another local firm, yet to be announced.

Frances Lee Pilling founded the realty firm in 1953. She moved the business in 1981 to the building on Bell Boulevard, which was a farmhouse converted to office space, according to the younger Pilling.

The building will expand from two stories to three and will have four residential units, according to the Department of Buildings filings. It will be similar to the relatively new building next door, a four-story mixed-use residential and commercial building, where a new fried chicken restaurant plans to open on the first floor.

“I feel bad, because it was kind of a standout building,” Pilling said. But she added, “[Bell Realty] has wonderful plans. They are an extremely established firm. They are not a fly-by-night builder.”

 

 

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Retired Queens cop wins $1,000 a day for life


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


A retired Queens police officer is financially secure for life—and she had a little spiritual help.

Edna Aguayo, who protected the city for 20 years, became the first person to claim the jackpot prize of New York Lottery’s new game Cash 4 Life, which has a payout of $1,000 a day for life. She collected a symbolic big check on Thursday with a few friends by her side.

Aguayo knew she needed to buy a ticket for the Cash 4 Life game because a psychic at an amusement park told her to buy a “for life” lottery ticket sixteen years ago. Aguayo was still a little shocked though when she learned she had won the top prize.

“I thought I would win the second prize,” she said. “I didn’t think I was ever going to win the top prize.”

Aguayo purchased the ticket at Walbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach for $2, and matched the winning numbers: 9, 19, 34, 37, 49 and Cash Ball 2. For now Aguayo is still debating what her first purchase will be, and how to spend or save the money.

The first Cash 4 Life jackpot winning ticket was purchased in a Bayside 7-Eleven on Bell Boulevard and 41st Street and verified on June 23, but the winner has yet to claim their prize. The winner has until June 23, 2015 to claim their prize of $1,000 a day for life. The winning numbers were 5, 16, 21, 33, 47 and Cash Ball 4.

 

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Only gas station in Bay Terrace set to close in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Forget gas prices — Bay Terrace residents are worrying about where they’ll get gas after next month. 

The only gas station in Bay Terrace, a Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts combo outlet located near the Bay Terrace Shopping Center on Bell Boulevard, is set to close on August 28, after developer Cord Meyer decided not to renew a lease with the station’s owner.

While some will miss the station, other residents have complained for years about noise coming from the station, which operates around the clock, and young people gathering there after hours, according to Cord Meyer officials. Also, there was a gas leak at the site a few years ago, which caused the owner to shut down one of the station’s tanks. Cord Meyer is pulling the station because of those issues.

“Unlike a developer like Donald Trump, people know where we are,” said Cord Meyer Chief Operating Officer Anthony Colletti. “We are partners with the community. We don’t want to do anything that’s not popular [with them].”

Colletti said the company recognized that there are some people who haven’t had bad experiences with the station, but said it wouldn’t be possible to please everyone.

The gas station put up a sign yesterday informing residents of the closure. It has been a gas station for about 50 years — first owned by Exxon Mobil — and added the Dunkin’ Donuts about 15 years ago, the manager said.

Many neighborhood people, who regularly stop by in the morning for breakfast and coffee, were surprised and upset by the impending closure. They said they’re never had any problems with the store.

“I’m very disappointed that Cord Meyer didn’t negotiate with them,” said Lenard Schull, a Bay Terrace resident of nearly 40 years. “This place is going to be missed.”

The station’s staff of 15 people, who will lose their jobs, were brought to tears Monday when informed of the closure.

“I feel sad,” said Rowena Manahan, who emigrated from the Philippines and has worked at the station’s Dunkin’ Donuts since it opened. “This is my first job. This is my second home. The people here are like family.”

Manahan said she sent money over 15 years to her family in the Philippines to take care of her two children.

Cord Meyer has already signed a lease for a full service Dunkin’ Donuts to be placed in the mall on the second level near 26th Avenue. But it’s not certain whether the staff will move there, because the ownership will be different.

Residents against the station closure are convinced that the developer is courting a tenant for increased rent. Cord Meyer officials said they have not decided on a tenant yet.

The Gulf station will have to be remedied and inspected after it is shut down, which will take several months, so the lot will be vacant for a while.

The nearest gas station — ironically a similar Gulf and Dunkin’ Donuts mix — is in Bayside about 10 minutes away on 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, leaving residents with an option, but some still think it’s a big loss to the community.

“There is no doubt that a lot of people will be inconvenienced,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “Many residents found it convenient to have a gas station right here in Bay Terrace.”

 

 

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FAA prohibits flights to Israel airport for 24 hours


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Follow @liamlaguerre

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) told U.S. carriers on Tuesday not to fly to or from Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, following a rocket strike that landed just one mile from the airport.

The prohibition, which applies to U.S. carriers and does not include foreign operators, ends at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

United Airlines, US Airways and Delta reportedly suspended flights to Tel Aviv. Delta had a Tel Aviv-bound Boeing 747 from JFK carrying 290 people in the air Tuesday afternoon, but rerouted it to Paris.

The notice came at a time when airlines are more sensitive flying over troubled areas, after 298 people were killed when a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was downed over Ukraine last week.

Israelis have been fighting Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip since July 8, and the strike was the closest to the airport since the fighting began, according to the New York Daily News.

However, Israel’s Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said on Tuesday that the flight cancellations should be reversed, because it gave a victory to terrorism, according to published reports. A local leader agreed.

“I understand the safety concerns of the airlines,” said Rabbi Yossi Blesofsky of Chabad of Northeast Queens in Bayside.  “Essentially this is what the terrorists want. They want to isolate Israel and create disruptions to people’s normal lives.”

The FAA said it will continue to monitor the situation and will update the airlines with further instructions.

 

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Bayside Little League female player is determined to continue playing baseball


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


Bayside Rebels Little League coach Randy DeCastro was approached by a fuming parent two years ago, resulting in a conversation he won’t forget.

The man, who was frustrated because his son didn’t receive enough playing time, criticized another player on the field, but not targeting a lack of skill.

“Any good coach knows at this age you shouldn’t have a girl on your team,” DeCastro remembered the parent said, referring to Regan Goger, the team’s left fielder.

DeCastro responded by saying, “Then you don’t know Regan.” Following the confrontation, Regan went on a 10-game hitting streak, securing her starting spot.

“The timing was great,” DeCastro said. “You could have written a movie to it.”

Regan began playing baseball at 5 years old, after watching her father coach her two older brothers.

“When she was 3 or 4, we tried to put her in dance, but she was like ‘no,’ she wants to play ball,” Teresa Goger, Regan’s mother, recalled.

She briefly tried softball, but went back to baseball because of the higher level of competition the male version of the game offered.

Around 8 years old she tried out for the Bayside Little League travel team, and beat out rival boys for a spot.

Every year since she’s battled to keep her position on the team and grew up with most of the players until the boys don’t even see her as a girl anymore, just “Regan ‘the hitting machine,’” DeCastro said.

And the nickname is well-earned. This season, as of July 17, she has 15 hits in 22 games, and is maintaining a .300 batting average with a .430 on-base percentage and 15 RBI. She also has two homers.

So when people criticize her for playing the male game, “I just ignore what they say,” Regan said.

But having just turned 13, next year she will outgrow Little League and begin high school, where odds are she won’t be able to join a baseball team and be pushed into softball.

Until then, she has decided to keep working hard at baseball, and her parents vow to support her whenever she makes a decision regarding the next level.

“She’s not just doing this because she’s a girl,” George Goger, Regan’s dad, said, “but because she’s pretty good at it.”

 

 

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Star of Queens: Lauren Elizabeth Cornea, Clinton Club of Northeast Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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JANAE HUNTER

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Lauren Cornea has been a Young Democrat with the Clinton Club of Northeast Queens, which serves the neighborhoods of Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck and Whitestone, since 2010. The club keeps the community updated on local events and politics in the neighborhood. She is also a member of the Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club and does community and volunteer work for the community through the chapter. When she is not doing work for these organizations or volunteering for attorney Paul Vallone, she is a Learning Leader volunteer, where she tutors students at P.S. 21Q in reading, writing and math.

BACKGROUND: Cornea was born and raised in Flushing. After graduating from the Harvey School, Cornea spent some time traveling in Europe. Now, she is back in Queens and works as a realtor at Amorelli Realty in Astoria, and is the single mother of two children, Dominic John, 8, and Violeta-Rose, 6.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The greatest obstacle I have faced is being a single mother juggling career and family life,” Cornea said. Raising two young children and balancing a job can be hard, but she makes it work. As for her career, being a female commercial realtor is tough when there are so many men doing the job. “This is a man’s world, and I have had to work extra to live in it. I work extra hard for people to take me seriously and value what I have to say. I have worked very hard to be seen as a woman who is knowledgeable and hard working and not just seen as a pretty face.”

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “I have so many achievements that I’m proud of that it’s hard to choose,” said Cornea. “One of my top achievements has been closing the deal on Steinway Mansion. That deal took 18 months and when we finally closed the deal it went for $2.6 million.” But, she added, raising her children, successfully bouncing back from the divorce, having the opportunity to give back by teaching children to learn to read, write and do basic arithmetic, and being a successful woman in a male-dominated profession are also some of Cornea’s greatest achievements.

INSPIRATION: “This may sound corny, but my biggest inspiration is definitely my kids,” said Cornea. “They rely on me for everything. On days when I do not feel like getting up, all I have to do is think about my two children who need me to be a success in order for them to have a better future.” Cornea said she is also inspired by her natural competitiveness that makes her try and be the best at whatever she does.

 

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Bayside outdoor concert series to start next month


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Get ready to rock, Bayside.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) signed a lease with the MTA for the small green space on 41st Avenue adjacent to the LIRR station house, hoping to hold an outdoor concert series this year and other activities, officials said.

The BID sent out a request for proposals, seeking a contractor to clean up and maintain the area. They hope to choose a contractor soon, and begin the concert series in August on Thursday nights, featuring local performers such as Baysider Michael Kormusis, who goes by the stage name The Mikey K Project.

Because the area is small, officials don’t expect to draw a big crowd, but to attract people to the area and nearby Bell Boulevard as they commute.

“What we are looking to do with that property is to have a pass-by space to slow people down as they are getting on or off the train,” said Lyle Sclair, the executive director of the BID.

Since two years ago, the BID has used the space for its holiday lighting show by dressing up the spot’s evergreen, and adding a nativity scene and menorah. In the future, they plan to collaborate with local organizations to promote services and add other activities.

In the meantime, BID officials are just focused on cleaning up the property, which is unkempt with an uncut lawn.

“Right now we just want to make sure the property look good,” Sclair said. “We just don’t want it to be a dead space in the community.”

 

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Little League bobbles sked, knocks Bayside from tourney despite win


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Bayside Little League


Little League struck out not looking.

After the Bayside Little League team defeated Elmjack in the District 26 finals on July 1 by a score of 24-0, there were smiles all around.

The Rebels were preparing to face teams from around the city in the intermediate sectional round, but those smiles turned to frowns and confused faces days after their win when manager John Callahan broke the news that the team will not advance to the sectional round because of a Little League administrative blooper.

The district was not properly registered for the sectional tournament and the 12 kids of the Bayside Rebels weren’t allowed to continue to the next round.

“The kids were heartbroken, and they didn’t understand why,” Callahan said. “Unfortunate. It really is unfortunate.”

Days following the win over Elmjack, Callahan reached out to Bayside Little League administrators for details on the next round. Usually, he would know by the next day, he said, but no one seemed to know anything about the team’s next game.

Bayside Little League President Bob Reid reached out to Little League coordinators for an explanation.

Little League officials told The Courier when Bayside defeated Elmjack, the sectional tournament had already begun, indicating that at some time there was a mistake that led the District 26 tournament to start late and not finish in time for the sectional round.

Little League representatives said they don’t know who is to blame yet for the slip-up, but are investigating the problem.

“There was some miscommunication between two of our district administrators,” said Pat Wilson, Little League senior vice president of operations and programming. “We are still collecting information.”

Callahan and Reid said that despite their efforts, Little League didn’t try to amend the situation and have the team continue anyway after the problem was discovered.

At this point, the sectional tournament is already over and there isn’t much Little League can do for Bayside, but maybe issue an apology to the parents and players.

“Growing up, my father said a man makes mistakes and you don’t judge him by the mistakes but how he makes up for them,” Callahan said. “But [Little League] ignored it.”

 

 

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Queens businesses brace for LIRR strike impact


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Ahmed Iftikhar drives from Mineola with his wife to the Bayside LIRR station every day except Sundays to set up his newsstand and open at 5 a.m.

He serves coffee, snacks, newspapers and magazines to a portion of the 4,000 daily commuters who use the station for 14 hours, making an average of $200 per day in sales, he said. Each month he pays $3,450 for rent and about $300 in utilities.

The potential LIRR work stoppage, which could start on Sunday, would not only strand thousands of commuters, but also hurt small businesses in Queens like Iftikhar’s newsstand, which depends on LIRR service for customers.

“If they do the strike, I’ll be sad,” Iftikhar said. “I’ll be very upset. What would we do in the future?”

While some LIRR stations in Queens, such as Jamaica, which has subway lines nearby, wouldn’t be as affected, others that depend primarily on the LIRR service could feel an impact, businesses and community leaders said. Businesses, such as the deli and café near the Douglaston LIRR station, stand to lose potential customers in the 2,000 daily commuters at the station.

“Of course no one is happy about it,” said Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce.

The manager of Kelly’s Car Service, located near the Bayside station, said if the strike occurs they expect road traffic to be slow for further trips, as the MTA expects more drivers to be on the road.

“Going into Manhattan would be impossible,” manager Richard Pearlman said.

Pearlman couldn’t anticipate how the strike would affect business, but said the car service is thinking of offering trips directly to subway stations on Main Street, although plans have not been finalized.

While the unions and the MTA continue to negotiate, Iftikhar hopes they’ll patch it up soon.

“It’s a little problem,” he said. “If they solve it, it’ll be nice for everyone.”

 

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Bayside BID envisions innovative parking garage for municipal lot expansion


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Rauch Foundation


Some modern parking lots aren’t just places to park.

Scattered around the country and even in this state, there are eye-pleasing, sleek parking structures with cool lighting and sometimes pro-green features that double as event spaces or commercial and residential mixed-use facilities.

The trend is to avoid the architectural tragedy that is a looming concrete box, for an artsy, efficient structure that solves parking issues and attracts people. Officials from the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), which plans to conduct a feasibility study to expand the Bayside municipal lot on 41st Avenue, are hoping to erect a forward-thinking innovative garage that people want to park in and be in, they explained in an annual meeting on Monday.

“What’s cool about this juncture for Bayside is there are endless possibilities,” said Jocelyn Wenk of the Long Island think tank Rauch Foundation, which has been researching ways to improve main streets in communities through modern parking garages with its Build a Better Burb website.

Wenk, the site’s editor, explained their results at the BID’s meeting, which highlighted colorful renderings from around the globe of flamboyant parking structures and some that seamlessly blend with nearby residential designs. The optimistic presentation gained excited “oohs and aahs” from the crowd of local residents and leaders, followed by skeptically inquiries.

“What they could put on there is interesting,” said Christine Haider, chair of Community Board 11. “I wish them luck.”
Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $20,000 toward the upcoming feasibility study, which will examine costs and other difficulties with expanding the lot in addition to its design.

At this point, BID members can’t definitively say what can be done with the space, which sits a block from Bell Boulevard on 214th Place. And while they believe it should be revolutionary to help draw business, they recognize obvious limits.

“You’re not going to put a structure that belongs in Las Vegas there,” BID Chair Dominick Bruccoleri said. “A project like this doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to do.”

 

 

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Howard Beach Waldbaum’s sells winning Cash 4 Life ticket


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Graziella Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Updated Wednesday, July 18, 11:22 a.m.

A winning Cash 4 Life ticket was sold at a Waldbaum’s in Howard Beach for the July 14 drawing, according to the New York Lottery website.

The lucky winner has come forward, but will be identified at a press conference at a later date, a lottery spokeswoman said.

The ticket is worth at least $7 million or $1,000 a day for life. Cash 4 Life game is the lottery’s newest game and recently started with its first drawing on June 13.

Another winning Cash 4 Life ticket was also recently sold in Queens, at a Bayside 7-Eleven last month.

 

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Bayside rider sends foul message to potential LIRR strikers


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sal Licata


With the impending LIRR worker strike only nine days away, a rider in Bayside is sending a strong message to the unions that represent the employees.

“Let the a—-h— strike. F— -em!!!” said the vulgar messages, which were spotted by The Queens Courier scattered on sidewalks and a tree near the 41st Avenue Bayside LIRR station. The letters aren’t the only proof of the building frustration for the sides to reach a deal.

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike Shain

New York congressional leaders also announced their disappointment in a statement on Friday after MTA and union officials couldn’t reach a deal on Thursday despite extensive discussions. Though their message was made in a more formal manner.

“We are pleased that representatives from labor and management spent nearly five hours negotiating on Thursday in an effort to ensure the continued operations of the Long Island Rail Road,” the New York delegation said. “We remain optimistic that an agreement can be reached without any disruption of rail service, however, we are troubled that no further negotiations are currently scheduled. We strongly urge both parties to work through the weekend to reach a deal to benefit the diverse ridership of the Long Island Rail Road.”

About 5,400 workers are planning a work stoppage as early as July 20 if the MTA and unions representing the workers don’t come to an agreement on wages, leaving about 300,000 riders stranded daily.

The MTA announced a strike contingency plan on Friday, providing alternative routes, shuttle buses and other solutions for an estimated 15,000  riders per day in case of a work stoppage.

 

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Former Queens Assemblyman Vincent Nicolosi passes away


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A former Queens assemblyman and prominent member of the Bayside community for many years, Vincent Nicolosi passed away Friday after a battle with breast cancer, according to family members. He was 74 years old.

Nicolosi was a member of the New York State Assembly between 1975 and 1980, where he served as chairman of the Assembly Insurance Committee and Governmental Operations Committee, according to a profile on Forbes.com.

He also served as a Queens assistant district attorney from 1967 to 1972, and from December 1998 to April 2009, was  a commissioner on the New York State Commission of Investigations, the profile also said.

The former Bayside resident recently moved to Manhasset, Long Island, where the attorney was a partner in the law firm of Nicolosi & Nicolosi LLP.

 

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