Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bridge

Queens legislators balk at plans to toll East River bridges

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A plan to reduce five Queens bridge fares by nearly half is not worth tolling free city crossings, some borough lawmakers say.

Under a proposal by transportation coalition, Move NY, drivers in the cash lane would have to pay $7.50 one way and $15 round trip to travel across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges. 

It would also cost the same amount to cross 60th Street in Manhattan, north and southbound.

As a trade-off, E-ZPass tolls on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges would be lowered by 47 percent. Cash fares on those bridges would go down by 33 percent.

“We toll nearly every single crossing between every borough in the five boroughs of New York City already, yet we’re giving over half a million folks a free ride,” said Move NY Director Alex Matthiessen. “It’s not fair to transit riders and certainly not fair to other drivers, who are paying through the nose in tolls.”

The electronic tolling plan, which would require no booths, would raise $1.5 billion in net revenue toward improving the state’s mass transit infrastructure, create 35,000 new jobs and restore bus service cut in 2010, Matthiessen said.

Motorists paying cash would be billed by mail, easing gridlock by dispersing traffic throughout the city, according to Matthiessen and Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

But some Queens legislators balked at the idea.

“I am skeptical about tolling the free bridges because once the free bridges are tolled and the infrastructure is in place, we all know from experience that it would be very hard to reverse that,” said Assemblymember David Weprin.

The plan also failed to get support from Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who have been fighting to eliminate the $3.75 cash toll residents have to pay on the Cross Bay Bridge to enter the Rockaways.

“Imposing tolls on motorists on bridges that are currently free is not the right way to go,” Ulrich said. “The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not ‘take this or that.’”

While the Cross Bay Bridge toll has been a “major thorn” in the community’s side, Addabbo said the swap is not enough.

“At this point, cutting it in half would ease the pain by half,” he said. “It would still be half the pain.”

It also costs residents on the peninsula the same amount to get into Brooklyn on the Gil Hodges.

State Senator Tony Avella said the rates, while discounted in the first year, would only increase annually. He plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit tolls on East River bridges.

“The two things for sure in this world are death and taxes,” he said.

Move NY is led by Sam Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner. The ambitious tolling plan is in its drafting stage, officials said, and still requires public input.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have tolls at all,” Hems said. “But, unfortunately, we do and we have this inequity right now.”

THE COURIER/File photo by Walter Karling



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain in the afternoon. High of 66. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Tuesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain. Low of 59. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 0.4 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Design Zone Exhibit

Create a video game, practice your DJ skills, or build a roller coaster while exploring how each uses math and science. Find out how videogame developers, music producers, roller coaster designers and other creative problem solvers use math and science to meet their design challenges. Free with admission to the New York Hall of Science. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Woman’s body found in bag in car trunk in Queens

Police are investigating the death of an unidentified female in Queens. Read more: ABC New York 

Girl, 9, struck by van in Queens: FDNY

A girl was struck by a van in a Queens street Monday evening, fire officials said. Read more: NBC New York

Brooklyn Bridge reopens after it was shut down due to suspicious SUV

Police shut down the entire span of the Brooklyn Bridge for several hours Monday evening because of a suspicious abandoned SUV. Read more: Fox New York 

Rockaway Beach is back . . . but for now, you’d better bring your own food

The beach is open for business, but for now you’d better bring your own food. Read more: New York Daily News 

Officials say new Statue Of Liberty security plan is risky

New York officials say new security plans for the Statue of Liberty could leave visitors vulnerable to terrorism when the island reopens on July Fourth. Read more: AP/CBS New York

Obama, NJ’s Christie together again in mutual aid 

President Barack Obama and Gov. Chris Christie, the odd couple of politics, are finding common cause again. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Monday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast with a chance of rain. High of 39 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the ESE in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60%. Monday Night: Overcast with snow and rain, then rain after midnight. Low of 37. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the ENE after midnight. Chance of precipitation 80% .

EVENT of the DAY: Jewish/Chinese Nosh Party “Woks and Lox”

Come to the Queens Kickshaw in Astoria tonight for Woks and Lox, a Jewish/Chinese nosh party! Celebrated chef Chichi Wang takes care of the menu, but there will also be Mah Jong, a Bar Mitzvah-esque sign-in board, a Chinese auction with prizes and other forms of Jewish and Chinese-inspired fun. (Auction proceeds will go to Jews for Racial & Economic Justice and the Committee Against Anti-Asian Violence.). Starts at 8 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens lifeguard who used his surfboard for dramatic rescues during killer storm tragically drowns

A 23-year-old hero lifeguard from Queens — who used his surfboard to help save six lives as superstorm Sandy raged — drowned on Sunday in a surfing accident in Puerto Rico. Read more: New York Daily News

Search continues for Queens boy missing since Friday

A missing child alert remains in effect for a 10-year-old Queens boy. Read more: CBS New York

Recent rains worsen Queens apartments’ damage from Sandy

In a duplex in Jamaica, Queens, two families are still enduring damage from Hurricane Sandy. Read more: NY1

Gun control advocates join hands across the Brooklyn Bridge

Advocates for new measures to curb gun violence after the deadly Connecticut school attack have assembled on both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge to send a picturesque message to legislators. Read more: CBS New York

Potential school bus strike threatens ‘poverty quota’

The first quota system for a public school to be approved under the Bloomberg administration is in jeopardy of falling through due to a busing-related snag, parent leaders charge. Read more: New York Daily News

Assault weapons ban talk sparks run on gun stores

The National Rifle Association may still get its way and defeat the lawmakers calling for a ban on the sale of assault ridles, but some gun store owners say it seems their customers aren’t taking any chances. Read more: ABC News

Lawmakers see ‘fiscal cliff’ deal as elusive

With anxiety rising as the country lurches towards a “fiscal cliff,” lawmakers are increasingly skeptical about a possible deal and some predict the best possibility would be a small-scale patch because time is running out before the yearend deadline.Read more: AP




Top Brooklyn Businesswomen Event draws 500; Raises $3,500 for charity

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



It was a glamorous and glittering scene, as The Home Reporter and Brooklyn Spectator honored influential Brooklyn businesswomen whose major achievements and participation in many community activities throughout the years have helped the borough grow.

The papers’ first annual Top Brooklyn Businesswomen Networking Awards Dinner was held on Thursday, June 21 at the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge in Downtown Brooklyn.

“Brooklyn is a place of extraordinary women, and we have them right here in this room tonight,” noted Victoria Schneps-Yunis, the co-publisher of the newspapers, of the 36 women chosen to receive the award this year. “This is what you call women power!”

Among them was Zoe Koutsoupakis, a senior vice president with Marathon Bank, who remarked, “It is amazing [to have come so far]. I immigrated here at 14 years old, and look where I am now. There are so many powerful women. It is a great honor to be recognized for what I’ve accomplished and will in the future. I believe you have to be involved in the community, give back 24/7.”

“Men may call the shots, but it’s the women who are the workhorses,” added another honoree, Arlene Keating, a paralegal at Connors & Sullivan Attorneys at Law and a former president at the Bay Ridge Community Council. “When I started working, the glass ceiling was pretty hard glass. Since then, it’s pretty much cracked through.”

“When you love what you do and are recognized for it, it’s a privilege and an honor. We are blessed to have each other and be working together in Brooklyn,” said honoree Mary Ann Cino, executive director of NIA Community Service Network.

Justice Sylvia Hinds-Radix said she was impressed by all of her fellow honorees. “What they have accomplished makes you feel introspective,” she said. “To be honored and awarded with these women is extraordinary.”

Best Man of the Year, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes credited his mother as his inspiration. “My mother was in real estate back at a time when women were not welcome in the workplace,” he said. “If she were alive, she would be one of the women being honored here tonight.

“To be here with all of these women who never felt the effects of male chauvinism in the workplace is very special,” Hynes went on. “They have ascended so far …it’s just impressive.”

The staff at the Marriott was exceptional, said Schneps-Yunis, who remarked, “I want to thank Sam Ibrahim, the general manager at the Brooklyn Marriot and his team for their extraordinary hospitality in welcoming us and their professionalism in managing a flawless event.”

The evening also featured networking with Brooklyn’s top professionals, an expo with leading businesses in the area, and a charity raffle benefiting two not-for-profit organizations: Camp Brooklyn and the Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s campaign to build a smart home for SPC Bryan Dilberian, who lost both legs and one arm while on patrol with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan.

“We are most grateful to the generosity of the people paying tribute to our top women,” said Schneps-Yunis. “They enabled us to raise $3,500 for two worthwhile causes.” Schneps-Yunis also thanked the papers’ “partners, Delta Airlines and American Golf for providing such outstanding gifts to encourage the generous giving seen at the event.”

The companies that sponsored expo tables were also pleased. “I thought it was really good,” remarked JoAnn DiNapoli, from The Daily News. “I thought the event was really well run.”

Donna Esther Gelfand, a student at P.S. 197, held the crowd spellbound as she sang “America the Beautiful” for over 500 people in attendance.

TD Bank was the lead sponsor of the event. Other sponsors were National Grid, Health Plus Amerigroup, Con Edison, Lutheran HealthCare, EmblemHealth, T Mobile, St. Joseph’s College, Citi Commercial Bank, Flushing Bank, City University of New York, Preferred Health Partners, Bay Ridge Subaru, the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Delta and Ehren Joseph Studio. Pilo Arts Day Spa & Salon donated gift certificates for the honorees and all those attending.

To see photos from the event, click here for the full gallery.