Tag Archives: Briarwood

Jamaica funeral set for rapper slain in Briarwood drive-by shooting


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@chinxmusic

A Jamaica church will host the wake and funeral Tuesday for the rapper Chinx, real name Lionel Pickens, who was murdered in a Briarwood drive-by shooting on May 17.

Family members, friends, relatives and colleagues will gather at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, located at 110-31 Merrick Blvd., on May 26 at 11 a.m. for a brief wake, followed by funeral services set to begin at noon.

Pickens, a Rockaway native who resided in Ozone Park, was gunned down while sitting with a friend inside his Porsche at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Avenue at 4:04 a.m. on May 17. According to police, an unidentified gunman pulled up in another vehicle and opened fire, then sped away from the scene.

Shot multiple times about his body, Pickens died later that morning at Jamaica Hospital. His friend, a 27-year-old man, remains hospitalized in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to his back.

As Chinx, Pickens was considered to be an up-and-coming star in the hip-hop world. His career began with a partnership with the late rapper Stack Bundles, but was sidetracked after being sentenced to prison for a robbery conviction in 2005.

While Pickens was incarcerated, Bundles was himself shot to death. According to the NY Daily News, police are reportedly investigating whether the two murders are connected.

After being released from prison in 2008, Pickens relaunched his rap career with French Montana. Chinx gained a following among hip-hop fans following the 2012 release of his single, “I’m a Coke Boy.” He was slated to release an album later this year titled “Welcome to JFK.”

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Rapper Chinx murdered in Briarwood drive-by shooting


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@chinxmusic

Updated Monday, May 18, 9:55 a.m.

An up-and-coming rapper from Ozone Park was killed in a drive-by shooting at a Briarwood intersection early Sunday morning, police reported.

Officers from the 107th Precinct, in responding to a 911 call about the shooting, found two victims at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive at about 4:04 a.m.

Authorities said 31-year-old Lionel Pickens was shot multiple times about his body. Pickens — a rapper better known by his stage name Chinx — was pronounced dead upon arrival at Jamaica Hospital.

The second victim, a 27-year-old man, was brought to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the back.

According to police, Pickens and the other victim were riding in a vehicle at the intersection when an unknown vehicle pulled up. An unidentified shooter in the other vehicle then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the victims before speeding away from the scene.

An investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Pickens grew up in Far Rockaway and was “paving his musical path since an early age,” according to the biography on his website. He got his start in hip-hop with the late rapper Stack Bundles as The Riot Squad.

In 2005, Pickens began a prison sentence after being convicted on robbery and drug possession charges. He was released in 2008, then relaunched his rap career with French Montana.

As Chinx, Pickens gained a following among hip-hop fans with his 2012 release of “I’m a Coke Boy.” He also created a mixtape trilogy, “Cocaine Riot,” featuring many top rap stars.

Reportedly, Pickens was slated to release his latest album, “Welcome to JFK,” later this year.

“Chinx was one of the most talented, professional and determined rappers this industry had to offer,” Chanel Rae, his publicist, said in a statement posted on The Legions Group Instagram account. “Furthermore, he was a friend.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Briarwood station name shortened


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman David Weprin

What’s in a name? A lot, according to the MTA and local subway riders.

The subway station formerly dubbed “Briarwood-Van Wyck Boulevard” will now simply be known as “Briarwood” after a name change on Friday. State Senator Tony Avella, Assemblyman David Weprin and Briarwood Community Association President Seymour Schwartz unveiled the renaming outside the station, which is located near the Briarwood library at the intersection of Main Street and Queens Boulevard.

The original name of the station came from its proximity to Van Wyck Boulevard, a thoroughfare later widened and converted into the Van Wyck Expressway. Residents have long campaigned to have the name changed to avoid confusion for newcomers finding their way around the community.

“It took us 14 years, but we did it, and the initiative taken on our behalf by our representatives, Assemblyman David Weprin and state Senator Tony Avella, helped us to reach this terminal goal,” said Schwartz.

“It is about time that the name of this neighborhood’s only train station reflects the people who live here, not a street that once ran through the area,” Avella said.

The station is served by the E and F subway lines and is adjacent to the Van Wyck Expressway, a major thoroughfare running from JFK Airport to Northern Boulevard.

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Briarwood teacher to fly with NASA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SOFIA

BY ANGELA MATUA

A Briarwood teacher is about to get a closer look at the final frontier.

Melissa Aguirre of J.H.S. 217 will take flight as part of a NASA program committed to exposing educators to the scientific research process.

The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program started as a pilot program in 2011 and flies a group of 28 educators on two 10-hour overnight sessions to observe space through the largest airborne telescope.

Aguirre, a Queens native, was chosen for the highly selective program after a rigorous application process, which included a proposal to describe how she would use her experience to educate students in her home district.

Though Aguirre’s background is in history and English as a second language, the program accepts educators from all backgrounds. Aguirre co-founded a charter school in Washington, D.C., called the Latin American Youth Center Career Academy, which prepares returning students ages 16 to 24 to have careers as medical assistants and IT technicians.

Melissa Aguirre 2 (1)

“I was working at a school that has a STEM focus,” Aguirre said. “I really believe that all of us needed to show that interest and that was the primary reason I applied. How do I get young folks interested in these fields, especially women of color … who were the majority of the students I was working with, how do I get them involved in the field when we as educators aren’t involved as well?”

SOFIA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program was conceived after published research proved that educators who participate in these programs stay in the teaching profession and inspire students to engage with the sciences, according to Director of Education and Public Outreach Dana Backman.

“We’re operating based on published research that educators who get this kind of experience, exposure to science as it’s really done, they’re motivated to stay in the teaching profession because overturn of the teaching profession is a huge problem, especially in the sciences,” Backman said.

Educators selected for the program, which have included museum dossiers and planetarium directors, also have to take a four-month astronomy course from Montana State University before stepping into the plane.

“This course is very challenging but it’s compelling me to think about how I teach,” Aguirre said. “I’m having some of the similar struggles that many of my students have…but then I need to rethink how am I breaking this down for my students and is this working for me now that I am a student as well.”

SOFIA, a Boeing 747SP aircraft, is equipped with a 100-inch, 17-ton telescope and other instruments that allow scientists to gain a deeper understanding of a number of topics including the formation of stars and planets, the Milky Way, planetary science and more.

While on the plane, educators interact with astronomers, airplane technicians, software engineers, bookkeepers and other staff. Backman said this process allows educators to communicate to students that a Ph.D. in astronomy is not necessary to work in and engage with the sciences.

Aguirre is excited to show her students what she has learned through the program and will work with them to discover what they want to learn.

“There will be opportunities to infuse the curriculum with these resources and also develop after-school opportunities for students who are interested in them,” Aguirre said. She also hopes to inspire “students, especially girls who may not see these careers as possibilities, to see that they are possibilities.”

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Trio of sites in Briarwood and Oakland Gardens trade hands for $23.7 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield

The owner of three commercial sites scattered in Oakland Gardens and Briarwood sold the properties for more than $23.7 million, according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which handled the transaction.

The deal involves the cluster of properties at 221-02 through 221-50 Horace Harding Expressway, 137-67 to 137-79 Queens Blvd., 138-09 84th Dr., and 138-07 to 138-11 Queens Blvd., which the real estate firm refers to collectively as “The Vanguard Retail Portfolio.”

Together there are 28 units throughout the entire sale with a combined 44,858 square feet of space.

Of the properties, the largest cluster on Horace Harding Expressway in Oakland Gardens has about 33,698 square feet and 18 retail units with some space for parking.

It has up to 53,159 square feet of buildable space, according to the real estate firm. This one cluster was sold for nearly $17 million.

The properties were purchased by a local investor above the asking price, which was $23.1 million in September, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

“We received an abundant amount of interest contributed to by the continued lack of quality assets for sale along with the desirability for larger retail product,” said Stephen Preuss of Cushman, who handled the deal with Brian Sarath and Thomas Donovan.

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Fire truck and car collision in Briarwood leaves five injured


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A collision between a fire truck and car in Briarwood on Thursday night left five people, including two firefighters, hurt, the FDNY said.

The two vehicles crashed into each other at Hillside Avenue and Queens Boulevard about 6:30 p.m.

Three people were taken to Jamaica Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Two firefighters, who suffered minor injuries, were transported to Queens Hospital Center.

The cause of the crash is reportedly under investigation.

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10-unit Briarwood building on sale for $2.85 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/PropertyShark

A four-story Briarwood building with 10 apartments at 141-27 84th Dr. has just hit the market, according to GFI Realty Services.

The building features numerous amenities, including hardwood floors, spacious kitchens and storage space. It also has a laundry room.

Owner AKT Properties bought the land in 2007 for just $850,000, city records show. They demolished the detached family house on the site soon after and then filed plans to construct the current building in 2010.

The walk-up apartment building is listing at just $2.85 million. Brokers believe it will be great for investors looking to enter the Queens market because of tax breaks it gets.

“141-27 84th Dr. has a tax abatement, which will limit expenses for over a decade and increase the property’s profitability,” said GFI Realty Associate Director Dan Suissa.

 

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Police searching for suspect who left sneaker behind after trying to rape woman in Briarwood    


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are hoping a lost shoe will help lead them to a suspect who allegedly tried to rape a woman in Briarwood last week.

The suspect approached the 26-year-old victim on Daniels Street near Hoover Avenue at about 8 p.m. on Sept. 24, threw her to the ground and said that he was going to rape her, according to authorities. The woman then fought back and the suspect fled.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect and a photo of the sneaker he left behind at the site of the attempted rape. He is described as Asian, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Health Department to treat areas of Queens against West Nile this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 6 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 7 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Bayside, Douglaston, Hollis Hill, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens (Bordered by Long Island Rail Road Track to the north; 219th Street and Springfield Boulevard to the west; Long Island Expressway to the south and Douglaston Parkway to the east)

Parts of Blissville, Sunnyside and west Maspeth (Bordered by Green Point Avenue and 48th Avenue to the north; Van Dam Street to the west; Newtown Creek (Queens-King County Boundary) to the South; 49th Street, 56th Road, 50th Street, Queens Midtown Expressway and 49th Street to the East

Parts of Kew Gardens, Briarwood and Jamaica (Bordered by Grand Central Parkway and Jackie Robinson Parkway to north; Metropolitan Avenue and 118th Street to the west; Long Island Rail Road and Archer Avenue to the south; 14th Place, Jamaica Avenue, 144th Street, 87th Avenue and 150th Street to the east)

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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WATCH: 93-year-old Rockaway man pulls pickup truck with teeth for ‘America’s Got Talent’ Judgement Week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC


Rockaway strongman Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein proved on national television that he is still young enough to pull a pickup truck with his teeth, but was it enough to get him to the next round of “America’s Got Talent”?

In his second appearance on the NBC reality competition show Tuesday night, the 93-year-old tugged the approximately 5,000-pound vehicle along with his younger brother in the front seat and judges  judges Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern, and host Nick Cannon in the back.

“I’m here to prove that i’m the world’s greatest strongman—agewise or otherwise,” Greenstein said before performing for the judges.

EMS was standing by in case something happened to Greenstein. Mandel asked him if he was alright after he seemed out of breath following the stunt, but EMS personnel said the second-generation strongman had a good heart rate.

During the show’s season nine premiere on May 27, he used his choppers to pull a 3,500-pound station wagon, with his 84-year-old brother, his brother’s wife and his “lady friend,” inside of it. The feat earned yeses from Klum, Mel B and Mandel, and another audition during Judgement Week.

But Stern turned him down because he felt Greenstein “needed more showmanship.”

That same sentiment may have been felt after his second performance, and on Wednesday’s episode he was not chosen as one of the 47 acts to perform live at Radio City Music Hall.

“It doesn’t disappoint me. I love doing it and I’ll keep on doing it as long as I keep going,” Greenstein said after learning he was cut.

Throughout the Judgement Week auditions, the judges kept expressing that it was a competitive season.

Greenstein was up against several impressive variety acts, some of which made it to live shows, including a man who performs feats of strength, 26-year-old JD Anderson.

If he had gone further in the competition  Greenstein would have liked to have tried to bend iron bars across the bridge of his nose, something he hasn’t done in almost 40 years. But he’s happy to have just honored the legacy of his father, Joseph, the first “Mighty Atom.”

“I got my message across and that was my father’s memory,” he said.

Greenstein was not the only Queens resident to appear on the show this season. Roger “Rogue” Quan, a Briarwood magician who owns Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst, received four yeses from the judges on the July 1 episode. Though he did not make it onto the Judgement Week episodes and was not selected as one of the finalist for the live shows, Quan is thinking about auditioning for another season.

“I was really disappointed,” Quan said. “I already prepared my next four acts. Maybe I’ll try again next year.”

 

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LIC comedy club founder hosting new Fox stand-up show


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Adam Teixeira

A Queens native and founder of a Long Island City comedy club is bringing his years of experience producing laughs to a new show on Fox next month.

Steve Hofstetter, 34, who is in the process of selling the Laughing Devil Comedy Club on Vernon Boulevard to concentrate on his TV endeavor, is the host and executive producer of “Laughs,” a highlight reel show for stand-up comics.

Hofstetter started doing stand-up comedy at 13 years old to impress a girl. Though he failed to get the girl, he found a life-long passion for humor.

After college, he started performing in and producing stand-up shows, eventually making a full-time career out of comedy.

In late 2011, he opened the Laughing Devil Comedy Club when he realized there were no comedy clubs in Queens.

“Why not support the community that you actually live in,” the former Long Island City resident said.

A writing opportunity led him to move to L.A. about a year and half ago, and he and the Laughing Devil’s co-owner decided to put their business up for sale last summer. But Hofstetter ultimately decided to buy out his partner.

With “Laughs” set to premiere for a 13-week test run on August 2, he is now finalizing the club’s sale to the team behind The Stand, a Manhattan comedy club, which has been running Laughing Devil for the past couple of months, he said.

“I can’t imagine a bigger opportunity,” Hofstetter said about the show. “It’s one of those things where you think you’ve made it but you aren’t sure yet.”

Each week, “Laughs” will feature stand-up comics from around the country, compiled from clips sent to the show and showcases set up by comedy clubs. As host, Hofstetter introduces the clips to a live audience at The Laughing Derby in Louisville, Kentucky, one of three comedy clubs of which he is a managing partner, and provides humorous commentary. Each clip will include the comic’s Twitter handle and where to see the person live.

“This is going to be catch-your-breath funny,” Hofstetter said. “We are really going to introduce the world to some great comics.”

To mark the show’s debut, there will be a red-carpet premiere party at the Laugh Factory in L.A.
Hofstetter remembers growing up in Briarwood and watching “Comic Strip Live” on Fox, which was taped live from the Laugh Factory.

“It’s a wonderful way to go full circle,” he said.

“Laughs” will premiere on Saturday, August 2, in select cities, including in New York at midnight on Fox, and Sunday, August 3, on My9 at 11 p.m.

 

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Queens natives start ‘non-touristy’ food tour of borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Richard Mumith

The founders of a new walking food tour, which is making its start in Long Island City, are looking to prove that Queens is the “king of the boroughs.”

Queens natives Richard Mumith and Sergey Kadinsky started the company Locals Finds Queens Food Tours to share their love for the diverse borough and bring tourists across the East River.

“We essentially started up for the tourists but now a lot of natives are becoming part of it too,” Mumith said. “We now want Queens locals to really see what is in their backyard.”

The three-hour tours, which began July 13 and take place every Sunday, look to combine the history, culture and food of the borough in what Mumith calls a “non-touristy ‘off the beaten’ experience.”

Every Sunday eight participants, who are told the meeting point after purchasing tickets, get together and sample food from six local Long Island City establishments, while also being given a tour by Kadinsky, who is a licensed tour guide, on the history and present details on the western Queens neighborhood.

The stops of the tour include Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines Craft Kitchen, Sweetleaf, Alobar, Rockaway Brewing Company and Sage General Store.

Mumith said the tours are starting in Long Island City because it is close to Manhattan and also has an “amazing industrial manufacturing history and artistic presence.”

“We’re really here to create a relationship with the communities,” Mumith said.

However, Mumith hopes to expand the tours into full weekends in Long Island City and later move them further into other Queens neighborhood such as Astoria and Flushing.

“We’re here to stay. We’re here to do all the great borough of Queens and each neighborhood presents something unique,” he said.

The Briarwood resident is even challenging the other four boroughs to try and beat the diversity and distinct cuisines offered in Queens.

“What people don’t know, when it comes to the culinary scene, Queens is the king of the boroughs,” Mumith said.

Tickets for the tours are $56 for adults and $42 for children 12 and under. The price of tickets include the tour, which begins every Sunday at 11 a.m., food tastings and an exclusive brochure featuring a map of the neighborhood, list of attractions, other restaurant recommendations and list of things to do.

For more information visit foodsofqueensny.com or call 800-656-0713.

 

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Mini-documentary features ‘remarkable stories’ from Queens magic shop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Michael “Six” Muldoon


America already knows he’s “Got Talent.” A new mini-documentary is now showing how one Queens magician has helped a pair of local tricksters and countless others through his shop.

“The Magic Man,” a six-minute film recently released on YouTube as part of Bacardi’s The Untameable Series, features Rogue Magic and Funshop on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst.

The store is owned by 35-year-old Briarwood magician Roger “Rogue” Quan who appeared on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” and also owns Rogue Magic Bar & Theatre in Rego Park.

Quan opened the store in 2000, and in addition to selling tricks, the business became like a sanctuary for local youngsters.

“I pushed these kids. If they needed money, needed a place to stay,” Quan said, he helped them out. “I created another family and they helped me out.”

Two of those people’s stories are the focus of “The Magic Man” — Ridgewood resident Michael “Six” Muldoon and Brooklyn native Devonte Rosero.

Both men have made careers out of magic after dealing with personal struggles.

At a young age, Muldoon, now 25, coped with having a sixth finger and weight issues. His Maspeth house burned down when he was 11 and his parents separated around that time.

Muldoon found magic at about age 13, and bought his first trick from Quan’s store.

“It kind of became an addiction after that,” said Muldoon, who eventually started working at the shop.

Quan not only helped give Muldoon the confidence he needed, but also his stage name — ”Six.”

“He gave us a place to connect, to be open, to find ourselves,” Muldoon said.

After Muldoon nearly died from a ruptured spleen at 18, and was looking to give back, Rosero, who had just met the founder of Magicians Without Borders, suggested that Muldoon work with the organization.

Today, the two are still involved with the group, which travels to more than 30 countries “using magic to entertain, educate and empower.”

They also both started System 6 Magic, a company that produces playing cards and DVDs, and have each become accomplished performers and entrepreneurs.

Though he became interested in magic at an early age, in his teen years Rosero, now 24, started associating with local street gangs.

After landing in the hospital, Rosero received a call from Quan, whose shop he used to go to four or five years earlier, urging him to try out for a magic competition, he recalls in “The Magic Man.”

“If Rouge had not called me, I would be in jail or dead,” Rosero said.

The mini-documentary is not the first time Quan’s magic shop and some of the people it’s helped have been captured on film.

A full-length documentary called “The Magic Men,” featuring Rosero and another local magician, Miles Thorn, was screened at the Woodstock Film Festival in 2013. The film’s producer is trying to get it distributed for full release in New York City, according to Quan. He believes it may have been the reason the filmmakers behind the Bacardi piece came calling.

The aim of the Bacardi series is to tell “remarkable stories of irrepressible spirits from around the world.”

Some of that spirit is summed up in how Quan answers the question about why he does what he does in the documentary.

“Why do I do it? Because I want people to believe. That’s what magic’s all about.”

 

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WATCH: Queens magician performs staple gun Russian roulette on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ wows judges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC


Queens magician Roger “Rogue” Quan took his chances with one out of four loaded staple guns on “America’s Got Talent” Tuesday night and four out of four judges loved it.

The Briarwood resident and owner of  Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst performed his staple gun Russian roulette routine on the July 1 episode.

Judge Mel B acted as an assistant, loading one industrial staple gun and shuffling it with three empty ones in a bag. Then, using her “woman’s intuition” she had to pick the three empty ones out of the bag and fire each of them at his temple.

“Do not trust me,” Mel B said as she was about to choose the third gun.

But Quan did trust her, and it was empty. Then, with the fourth gun, he stapled a photo of himself into a piece of wood.

The “dangerous magic” trick as Quan described it rendered Mel B and fellow judges Heidi Klum, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern nervous during the performance and impressed at the finish.

But most importantly it left them wanting more.

“I haven’t seen anything like it. I thought you were fantastic. I want to see more of you,” Klum said.

“You entertained us. It was a great presentation. After seeing that I can’t wait to see you again and that’s how this works,” Stern said.

“It was the most fulfilling moment of my performing career,” Quan told The Queens Courier.

Quan is now slated to appear on Judgment Week later this month, where it will be decided which 48 acts will compete in the live show.

 

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Queens magician to perform on ‘America’s Got Talent’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC / Below photos courtesy of Roger “Rogue” Quan


Will Briarwood resident Roger “Rogue” Quan be able to work his magic on the “America’s Got Talent” judges this Tuesday night?

The 35-year-old owner of Rogue Magic and Funshop in Elmhurst will appear on the July 1 episode where he will perform a “dangerous magic” act.

Quan is not only aiming for the reality competition’s $1 million prize, but also hopes the show will help him become a world-known performer.

His passion for magic started when he was 6 years old and saw David Copperfield make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

“After that I guess I got bit by the magic bug,” Quan said.

He was soon asking his family to buy him magic tricks, reading books on the art and started performing for whoever wanted to watch, even charging for the shows.

Growing up in Queens, where he lived in Jackson Heights most of his life, magic was just a hobby for Quan.

Following college, the art major had several jobs, but “nothing made me totally happy but performing,” he said.

Quan then took to the streets to sell magic tricks out of a backpack and perform. He later moved the operation to his parent’s home, where people would also come to learn from him.

But Quan knew he needed a proper space and in 2000 found a Rego Park bookstore that had a counter he could use for his burgeoning business. After seven months, the store had to close down, and he decided it was time for his own store. But it wasn’t easy to find someone who would rent to a young man with a magic shop.

He eventually found an affordable space at his current location at 85-08 Queens Blvd., and opened his store in August 2000.

“I was like the king of Queens,” Quan said, describing his business when it first started.

With the Internet and competition from other stores, business is much tougher for his magic shop today, he admits.

“As technology progresses people have seen the bigger things in the world, and magic is pushed aside. It is hard to really impress people nowadays.”

In addition to selling magic tricks, magic performance DVDs, spy equipment and costumes, his store also provides magic classes, entertainers for hire, and has magic and comedy shows.  But he is now trying to transition the business into more of a magic school.

He also has another venture, the Rogue Magic Bar, which opened inside of Panda Asian Bistro in Rego Park this March. The bar, which is about “bringing Vegas to Queens,” features magically-served drinks, magic shows and other entertainment.

As Quan tries to promote his businesses, he is trying to boost his magic career, and “America’s Got Talent” could be his way to do it.

Friends and family were telling him to try out for the show for a long time, but a tweet from the show, saying they were looking for unique talent like him, finally persuaded him to go for it.

“I’m not a very competitive person,” he said.

Quan does everything from close-up to stage magic, including card tricks and illusions with levitation, but excels at magic that has an element of danger to it, which he performed for “America’s Got Talent” judges  Heidi Klum, Mel B, Howie Mandel and Howard Stern.

“I really enjoy the danger magic because of the way people react. It’s priceless,” Quan said.

Quan is not the first Queens resident to appear on “America’s Got Talent” this season.

Mike “Mighty Atom Jr.” Greenstein , a 93-year-old Rockaway man, performed his strongman act on the season nine premiere last month, where he earned three out of four yeses from the judges.

To see how Quan did on the July 1 episode of “America’s Got Talent,” click here

 

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