Tag Archives: Briarwood

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn

A city police officer was shot in the face and killed while responding to a call of a robbery in Brooklyn early Monday, authorities said. Officer Peter Figoski was hit once as he stood at the bottom of a staircase that led from the street to a basement apartment at 25 Pine Street in Cypress Hills. “The officer interrupted a burglary-robbery in progress,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman. “It looks like the gunman may have surprised the officer. As the officer entered the location, he was shot by the gunman.” The tragic incident occurred about 2:15 a.m. Figoski was rushed to Jamaica Hospital but could not be saved. Read More: Daily News

Long Island City bank robber panicked after he fired his gun at the ceiling 

The FBI is hunting for a gun-toting bank robber, who was caught on camera after he fired a shot into the ceiling of a Queens bank to prove he meant business but left without a cent. The bandit, dressed in a dark colored cap, dark framed glasses and a dark jacket and black leather gloves, walked into the HSBC bank on 43rd Avenue near 22nd Street in Long Island City, shortly before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, said authorities.  Read More: Daily News

Ex-Officer Kills His Wife, a State Tax Agent, in Queens, the Police Say

A state tax agent who specialized in investigating the trafficking of illegal cigarettes was shot to death by her husband, a former New York police officer, the authorities said on Sunday. The body of the investigator, Tracey Young, 42, was discovered by the police and paramedics shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in her apartment on the eighth floor of 143-41 84th Drive, in Briarwood. She had been shot several times in the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: New York Times

TSA Passenger Advocates Sought By New York Lawmakers

Two New York lawmakers have called for a passenger advocate at airports to immediately act on complaints by passengers over security screenings. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens want the Transportation Security Administration to create the position at all airports. The proposal, released Sunday, was prompted by an elderly woman’s recent claims that she was strip searched by security officials at Kennedy Airport, which the TSA denies, saying it doesn’t conduct strip searches. Others have since made similar claims. Read More: Huffington Post

Meeks’ money man eyes plea deal

A Queens businessman who once gave Congressmember Gregory Meeks $40,000 is negotiating a plea deal with federal authorities in Brooklyn, according to court records obtained by The Post. The “extensive plea negotiations” are scheduled to stretch into the end of February, leaving some to wonder if Meeks pal and Guyanese-born developer Edul Ahmad is helping the feds with other targets. “That’s a lot of time to negotiate a plea,” said a New York criminal lawyer not connected with the case. “The feds must think there are bigger fish they can catch.” Read More: New York Post

Lying lawyer slapped

A Queens lawyer has been suspended for six months for falsely accusing a New Jersey state trooper of using anti-Semitic slurs against him, according to a ruling released yesterday. Attorney Elliott Dear said he made up the outrageous allegations in hopes of getting out of a speeding ticket. Court papers say the unidentified trooper pulled over Dear, an orthodox Jew, for going 84 in a 55-mph zone while driving with his wife in 2007. Read More: New York Post

Hero FDNY captain rescues badly-burned grandpa from burning Queens building

A badly-burned Queens grandfather was pulled from his smoke-choked bedroom early Saturday after his desperate son screamed at firefighters to rescue the trapped man. “My father! My father!” howled Patrick Bryan, 32, as the FDNY reached his burning Flushing apartment at 2:12 a.m. Bryan, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter escaped from the two-story apartment building — but 64-year-old Patrick James Rohan was lying unconscious in a rear bedroom. Read More: Daily News

Kew Gardens Fire Injures Four, Cause Unknown

Fire officials are looking into what sparked a fire Saturday that left four people injured in Queens. The New York City Fire Department says it broke out around 2 a.m. in the kitchen on the top floor of a two-story apartment building located at 147-19 75th Road in Kew Gardens. Family members say residents were forced to escape from a second story window. Read More: NY1

Queens Man Charged With Murdering Former Roommate

A Queens man was arraigned Saturday on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting death of a man on Staten Island. Armand Skrine, 34, is being held without bail. On Thursday, police responded to a call of shots fired on Steuben Street in Park Hill. There they found David Williams, 30, on the seventh floor of his building with multiple gunshot wounds. Read More: NY1

Archbishop Molloy gets 21st Century library


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos by Joseph Sommo

Books and bookworms alike at Archbishop Molloy High School now have a new place to call home.

Students and faculty at the Briarwood school welcomed a brand new, state-of-the-art library in September at the start of the school year.

“It’s fantastic. It is light-years ahead of what it used to be,” said alumnus Joseph Sommo, who is also the school’s alumni communications coordinator.

In order to accommodate the increased technological demands and advances, the former library — which was first erected over 50 years ago when the school was constructed in 1957 — was stripped down and rebuilt inside and out.

“Education is constantly changing and evolving. We need to keep up with the pace,” Sommo said. “This is something that had to be done, and everybody is thankful for it. It needed to be rebuilt. It wasn’t up to the times. The infrastructure was old, and it hasn’t been updated since the school was built. It needed the technological upgrades.”

The school’s newly-modernized William J. Murphy Library features an expansive research lab that boasts 40 laptop computers dedicated to online research, which is supported by more than one linear mile of cable implanted during construction. New additions also include a unique college preparatory center and a multimedia conference room that serves both faculty and students.

In addition, energy-efficient lighting, climate control, carpeting with new wood-crafted furniture and a library database — which serves as a more efficient, green solution in maintaining records — were also installed during the transformation.

“It’s been 50 years since we did major renovations in the library,” said Richard Karsten, the school’s president. The new library is a state-of-the-art solution for the next 25 years. It’s a clean, safe and well-lit environment for students to work in.”

The “ambitious” project was completed over the course of “one short summer,” Karsten said, adding that the “effective execution” came after one year of planning. The renovation broke ground in late May this year after classes ended and was completed before the first bell of the semester rang.

“It was old fashioned to say the least,” Sommo said. “It’s a lot more welcoming and inviting than before. There are a lot more students in there now, trust me. A lot of them used to go down to the lounge. The library is a place that everyone gravitates toward now. It’s cozy and it’s a good place to get your work done. It’s definitely received an update that is worthy of the school, its students and faculty.”

What’s Happening In Queens


| amanning@queenscourier.com

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EDITOR’S PICK

WEEKEND EVENTS

CHINESE OPERA

Saturday, November 26 at 2 p.m. Flushing Library: Kunqu Society Presents a Chinese Opera; The Kunqu Society will present this special performance  in honor of the 10th anniversary of Kunqu’s designation as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; call 718-661-1200.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25

10:30 a.m. Douglaston-Little Neck Library: “Yoga and Me” for Preschoolers; Sarae Garcia teaches this class that introduces yoga to children ages three to five in order to tap into their creativity using movement and games. Preregistration is required; call 718-225-8414.

10:30 a.m. Fresh Meadows Library: Knitting/Crocheting Club; Enthusiasts of knitting and crocheting can come work on their skills while enjoying great conversation. Participants must bring their own materials; call 718-454-7272.

3 p.m. Long Island City: Homework Help: Come start your weekend off right by getting your homework out the way with the help of staff; call 718-752-3700.  

3 – 6 p.m. Cambria Heights Library: BOOST Homework Help; The library’s BOOST (Best Out of School Time) staff will be helping students with their homework to give them encouragement, keep them on task and clarify instructions; call 718-528-3535.

3:30 p.m. Queens Village Library: Holiday Pen Pal Club; Spread joy this holiday season by creating cards and bookmarks for the homebound elderly; call 718-766-6800. 

 4 p.m. Fresh Meadows Library: Book Buddies; Every Friday afternoon, children in grades K – 3 can come to read and play fun, educational activities with a teenage book buddy. Teens in seventh grade and up may apply to volunteer; call 718-454-7272.

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26

2 p.m. Long Island City Library: Searching Online for a Job: This workshop will go over everything from Internet job searching and job search assessment to job sites and resumes; basic computer skills and preregistration are required; call 718-752-3700.

3 p.m. Cambria Heights Library: Library Explorers Club; The Queens Museum of Art Educators will guide children and families through the new Children’s Library Discovery Center.  This series of programs was created specially for families with children affected by Autism (siblings are also welcome). Preregistration is required; call 718-990-0114.  

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27

1 p.m. Fort Totten Visitor’s Center: Historic New York – The Fort Totten Tunnel Tour; Exploring tunnels and hidden chambers can be very exciting, especially when you have a guide who knows them well and is armed with a lantern.  Come see an unfamiliar part of Fort Totten, forgotten and mysterious; call 718-352-1769.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28

10 a.m.Forest Hills Library: Ping Pong Club; Adults are invited to come play ping pong; call 718-268-7934.

10 a.m. Central Library: Stay Well; Learn new ways to take charge of your health and help your friends do the same. Special exercises and relaxation techniques that can make a difference in your life will be taught; call 718-990-0700.

10:30 Forest Hills Library: Grandparent Support Group; This meeting will focus on issues and challenges of raising grandchildren, including how to communicate effectively, how to bridge the gap between Russian traditions and American culture at home and how to deal with difficult teens; call 718-268-7934.

1 p.m. Long Island City Library: Learn about Housing and Public Benefits Options; Learn about affordable housing and public benefits. All workshops will take place at the Queens Library Literacy Zone /JeanneElmezziAdultLearningCenter;call 718-752-3700.

1 p.m. Langston Hughes Library: Northern Queens Regional CAC Meeting; Anyone who is interested in improving the health of their neighbors in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Langston Hughes, Corona, Lefrak City, Flushing and Pomonok should come to this meeting; call 718-990-5197.

1 p.m. Long Island City Library: The Social Worker Is In: A social worker will be available to answer questions in English and Spanish for older adults and caregivers about obtaining long-term care and applying for benefits and entitlements and to provide  information about community services available to support you and/or the person you are helping. There will also be information about homecare, respite, counseling, support groups, adult day care and more; call 718-752-3700.

2 p.m. Long Island City: Financial Empowerment Center; Come talk to a financial counselor to get tips on managing your credit, debt and household budget. To register, call theQueensFinancialEmpowermentCenter at 646-810-4050 x 112 and indicate that you want to register for a session at the Queens Library.

4 p.m. Briarwood Library: Meditation for Children – Happy Minds, Healthy Bodies; Children ages seven to 12 can come learn how to relax their minds and learn how it helps their body and can improve their grades. Preregistration is required; call 718-658-1680.

5 p.m. Pomonok Library: College Club 2011 It’s All About You! – Your College Admissions Essay; This one hour Kaplan workshop is designed to show students and their parents what college admissions officers look for in an essay. The instructor will examine what types of essay topics students will encounter, critique a sample admissions essay and cover the four steps to writing a winning essay. Preregister at www.kaptest.com/College/Home/index.html.  

6 p.m. Lefrak City Library: Open Forum with New York City Council Member Daniel Dromm; Councilmember Daniel Dromm will join November’s Open Forum. Learn what a councilmember does, hear the responses to issues raised last month and join the Open Forum this month to voice your questions, ideas, concerns or observations about our community; call 718-592-7677.

6:30 p.m. Corona Library: Flamenco Cante and Guitar; Experience the musical traditions of Andalucia, Spain and folkloric songs – truly the heart and soul of flamenco –  and the beauty of flamenco dance as performed by Flamenco Latino; call 718-426-2844.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29

1 p.m. Fresh Meadows Library: Adult Scrabble; Come play the word game that has been played for generations. Participants should bring their own boards; call 718-454-7272.

1:15 p.m. Douglaston-Little Neck Library: Mother Goose; Children ages nine to 36 months and their caregivers can come sing nursery rhymes and listen to stories. Preregistration is required and space is limited; call 718-225-8414.

2:30 p.m. Bellerose Library: Let’s Bollywood – A Dance Instruction Workshop for Adults; Dance instructor Pia Majumdar will teach this 3-session workshop on Bollywood dance steps. At the last session, participants will get a chance to put all the steps together for a fun performance for family and friends. Preregistration is required; call 718-831-8644.

4 p.m. Steinway Library: Going Green with LEAP; Children ages 11 to 14 will create and play games that focus on the ecology and environments in their neighborhoods. They will also organize a “Go Green” campaign; call 718-728-1965.

6:30 p.m. Central Library: Owning Your Own Business – The Nuts & Bolts of Getting Started; Anyone who is considering starting his or her own business should come to this workshop to learn how to develop the idea into a business plan. Participants will learn how create a demand for a product/service, how to set goals and objectives and how to budget time and money. This is held in theJobInformationCenter. To register call 718-990-5102.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30

10:30 p.m. Auburndale Library: Computer Class for Chinese Speakers; A one-on-one, half-hour computer lesson for Chinese speakers. Appointments are available at 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. every Wednesday; call 718-352-2027.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1

3 p.m. Bellerose Library: Introduction to Relaxation and Self-Healing, Part 2 – Meditation and Harmonic Self Balancing Technique; Learn harmonic self-balacing techniques to promote physical and emotional balance. These approaches will reduce stress, increase concentration and provide a greater understanding of the relationship between mind and body; call 718-831-8644.

6 p.m. Bayside Library: Writer’s Workshop; Improve your writing by taking part in this workshop. Writers will learn the craft of narrative and discuss published stories and participants’ work.

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Summer readers feted by Assemblymember Rory Lancman


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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More than 50 young readers throughout Queens were awarded for their participation in this year’s New York State Assembly Summer Reading Challenge on Monday, October 24.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman presented award certificates to students who accumulated at least 40 days of reading throughout the summer, either independently or with their parents and guardians.

“A lot of the time my kids don’t want to read, but if I tell them that they’ll get something out of it, they have the incentive to do it,” said Lisa Ramos, mother of Lara and Eduardo of P.S. 117 in Briarwood.

Student readers from public schools in Jamaica, Flushing, Briarwood, Kew Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Richmond Hill attended the ceremony held in the Briarwood Library.

Construction to close subway entrance


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Commuters in Briarwood will be left hanging by more than just a strap until 2015.

Ongoing construction from the Kew Gardens Interchange project will force the more heavily used entrance of the Briarwood-Van Wyck station to close, pushing subway travelers out of an exit some residents have deemed dangerous.

The main entrance, located on the south side of Queens Boulevard, is expected to permanently close early this winter, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), with construction efforts not expected to end until early 2015.
The remaining west side entrance leads out to the Van Wyck Expressway service road and borders Maple Grove Cemetery — a combination some residents find daunting.

“This is a problem for several reasons,” said resident Beth Brooks of the Briarwood Action Network. “Cars are used to speeding down there to get onto the Van Wyck. There is no stop light. There isn’t even a yield sign. There’s nothing there.”

Currently, the west side entrance is used by less than one percent of the station’s ridership, according to MTA spokesperson Charles Seaton.

“It didn’t matter before because nobody ever walked there,” said Brooks, a resident for over 25 years. “But now you’re going to have thousands of people a day coming out of that entrance. It’s a death trap.”

Brooks also expressed concerns about walking alone next to the cemetery at night.

“It’s very dark over there even in daylight. There is no foot traffic. It’s very isolated. It’s a perfect place for muggers, rapists and other unsavory characters,” she said.

Ridgewood resident Christine Evath shared the same sentiment.

“That doesn’t sound good to me. Not as a young female — that doesn’t sound good at all,” she said.

According to the DOT, the Kew Gardens Interchange project requires the station’s south side entrance to close before further construction contracts can continue. Among many changes, an auxiliary lane will be added to the Van Wyck and improvements — including an added elevator and a new entrance — will be made to the subway station.

But a brand new subway station isn’t worth the “inconvenience” or danger for resident Fred Stokes.

“I’d rather keep what’s been safe so far than take any other risk,” he said.

The issue even warranted the concern of nearby officials at Arch Bishop Molloy High School.

“We’re concerned about their safety,” said Assistant Principal Ken Auer. “We just try to keep them informed and aware at all times. We told them to keep their eyes open and to leave extra time because it’s going to be a longer walk.”

The high school is located on 83-53 Manton Street, just a few blocks down from the west side entrance.

“It’s a serious issue, but they’re young adults and they have to be careful. There’s nothing else we can really do,” Auer said.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman told The Courier that even he wouldn’t be too comfortable crossing the Van Wyck Expressway service road to get to the west side subway entrance.

After observing the area, he said cars that turn right onto Queens Boulevard have a tendency to make the turn very quickly.

“If you have someone in the middle of the crossway, a car is not going to have enough time to stop and that person is not going to have enough time to get out of the way,” Lancman said. “If you add nighttime and rain, it’s a real possibility for tragedy.”

With the exception of the “inadequate traffic control” located at the intersection between Queens Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway entrance ramp, Lancman and Officer Joseph Martins of the 102nd Precinct said residents should be safe otherwise.

“Right now, if residents follow and strictly adhere to the pedestrian traffic patterns that are in place, they will be safe,” Lancman said.