Tag Archives: Brooklyn

Grand Street Bridge to be closed for construction on three Saturdays


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The Grand Street Bridge, linking Maspeth and Brooklyn, will be closed for parts of three consecutive Saturdays for much needed repair work, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

The DOT will be closing the bridge on Oct. 4, 11 and 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to strengthen the deck gratings and replace the pedestrian path.

During that time motorists can use Metropolitan Avenue as an alternate route.

These repairs are not part of the DOT’s plan to replace the decrepit bridge entirely. It expects those plans to be finished by 2016.

But the DOT had promised to make short-term repairs to keep the bridge stabilized while plans are being drawn up.

“The agency continues to monitor the structure and make any necessary short-term repairs prior to the start of this project,” a DOT spokeswoman said in June. “DOT will also continue to update local stakeholders, including the community boards, on any temporary closures required for repair work.”

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West Nile spraying scheduled for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens, including along the Brooklyn-Queens border, to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 17 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 City Line, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Spring Creek and Woodhaven (Bordered by Jamaica Avenue and to the north; Shepherd Avenue, Fulton Street Line and Fountain Avenue to the west; Jamaica Bay to the south; and Rockaway Rail-Line, Rockaway Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard 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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Raccoons to be vaccinated in Queens, Brooklyn to help prevent rabies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYC Health Department

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO

Wildlife biologists will distribute oral rabies vaccine in parts of Queens and Brooklyn this month to help prevent the spread of the virus among raccoons, according to the city’s Health Department.

The Health Department decided to take action after the continuing identification of raccoons and other animals with rabies in all five boroughs of New York City. Specifically, two cases of infected raccoons arose in Brooklyn this year. The most recent reported cases in Queens were a raccoon and opossum in 2010. In New York City and New York State, rabies occurs primarily in raccoons, skunks, bats and skunks.

The Health Department, and wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture and Cornell University are hoping the vaccine distribution will decrease those numbers. Cornell received state funding to pursue this program in New York City and it is an expansion of a program being conducted in Long Island and parts of upstate New York.

When brought to Queens and south Brooklyn, fixed bait stations will be placed in several wooded areas, parks, public green spaces, and even private properties with the owner’s permission.

rabies-vaccine

The vaccination being distributed is specifically for raccoons, and it will help to further limit the spread of rabies to other animals, including pets. Although it is not harmful to pets, and will not cause rabies, it can cause vomiting if several baits are consumed. In the case that pets do find it, do not try to take it away from them to avoid being bitten and exposed to the vaccine.

The bait itself will not harm people. But in rare instances, exposure to the liquid can cause a rash. In the unlikely event someone comes in contact with the liquid, wash his or her hands with warm, soapy water, talk to a doctor, and notify the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

For the raccoons, vaccinating them is harmless, and is used in many other U.S. locations.

Rabies, a viral disease that infects the central nervous system of mammals, can be fatal to humans unless treatment is administered soon after exposure.

There have been no human cases of rabies in New York City for more than 50 years.

 

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Malba defends its smell


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Malba residents say something stinks about a recent website ranking that named their affluent neighborhood as the smelliest in Queens.

New York City real estate website BrickUnderground and apartment data site AddressReport compiled the list, which rated the 10 smelliest and 10 least smelly neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The ranking used data from the frequency of 311 complaints for odor-related issues, such as missed trash collection, sewer backups and odors, vehicle and restaurant fumes, and dirty sidewalks and alleyways. The data was then weighted for each area’s population.

Malba was not only rated as Queens’ smelliest neighborhood, but also as the third smelliest in the three boroughs.

Malba locals had issues with the analysis, saying that the neighborhood, a section of northeast Queens with multi-million dollar houses and expansive water views, was clean, well-maintained and virtually odor-free.

“As a lifelong resident of Malba, I find this [ranking] highly insulting,” said Christopher Biancaniello, who likened the area to Beverly Hills.

“All of us homeowners take pride in our properties,” he added.

On a hot Friday afternoon last week, Steven Vitale, 24, who has also lived in the neighborhood his whole life, made an observation about the smell in the neighborhood.

“The smelliest thing here is me,” the jogger said, shirt soaked in sweat. “Otherwise, this area smells fine to me.”

Eliza Kalas, who has lived in Malba for the last five years, agreed.

“It’s not that bad here and it’s certainly not worth complaining about,” she said, referring to the 311 complaints. The only area she noticed with a slight smell was by the water on Boulevard Street.

USE

Other Queens neighborhoods on the smelliest list included Lindenwood, which came in at number two in the borough, followed by Neponsit, St. Albans, College Point, Howard Beach, Bayswater, Cambria Heights, Broad Channel and Beechurst/Whitestone.

Queens’ least smelly neighborhoods included North Corona, at number one, followed by Corona, Woodside and Elmhurst, Rego Park, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Bellerose, East Flushing and Ridgewood.

Nicholas Kaizer, vice president of the Malba Association, found issue with how the data was analyzed since, according to him, there are only around 400 homes in the area.

“Though not a statistician, it’s pretty obvious that the tiny size of the sample population seriously calls into question the value of the per capita method of analyzing odor complaints to the city,” he said, calling the data skewed.

“The sounds and smells coming off of our waterfront — and throughout our small neighborhood — are among our greatest assets and we jealously guard our native habitat, policing and tending to the grounds regularly, as our community has done for over 100 years,” Kaizer said.

-With additional reporting by Eric Jankiewicz

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Website names Malba Queens’ smelliest neighborhood


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Malba may stink, but Corona is breathing easy, according to a ranking of the city’s smelliest neighborhoods.

BrickUnderground and apartment data site AddressReport compiled a list of the 10 smelliest and 10 least smelly neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, using data from the frequency of 311 complaints for odor-related issues that was then weighted for population. Among the complaints were sewer backups and odors, vehicle and restaurant fumes, and missed trash collection.

Malba was rated as Queen’s smelliest neighborhood and the third smelliest in the three boroughs after Brooklyn’s Greenwood Heights and Navy Hill. Koreatown was the smelliest area in Manhattan.

Other Queens neighborhoods with offensive smells included Lindenwood, which came in at number two, followed by Neponsit, St. Albans, College Point, Howard Beach, Bayswater, Cambria Heights, Broad Channel and Beechurst/Whitestone.

Overall, western Queens smelled better than the rest of the borough, with several of its neighborhoods landing on the least smelly list. North Corona was ranked as number one, followed by Corona, Woodside and Elmhurst. The remaining top 10 included Rego Park, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Bellerose, East Flushing and Ridgewood.

Starrett City and Brownsville were the least smelly in Brooklyn, and Roosevelt City and Battery Park City were the best smelling Manhattan neighborhoods.

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Influx of hipsters revives 90-year-old Ridgewood German bar


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Gottscheer Hall was on its way to closing down two years ago. But the Ridgewood bar and grill turned a profit in 2012 because of younger, more affluent patrons who began to appear in larger and larger groups.

People packed the Gottscheer Hall on Sunday to watch the World Cup final. The patrons that afternoon were either older and of German descent or younger and attracted to the German appeal of the bar and grill that derives its name from a region in Europe that was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“I like the history of the bar, the kitschiness. The beer is good and cheap,” Jonathan Deentler, 25, said as he ate a German pretzel and sausage with sauerkraut. “I guess you could say I’m being a cultural tourist.”

Deentler and his friends, who all live in Bushwick, began to come to the bar two years ago and have since often frequented it. Around that time, the Gottscheer Hall began to turn a profit, something that hadn’t been seen for 15 years, according to the bar’s secretary Roland Belay.

“The hipsters revived us,” Belay said. The German restaurant is celebrating its 90th anniversary this September but up until recently the business suffered a loss of patrons. Belay attributes this loss to the fact that the German immigrants who drank at the bar are getting older and dying off. The last big wave of Germans to the neighborhood was during WWII when the war displaced many Germans from the Gottschee region, now part of Slovenia.

“Every year we get fewer and fewer Germans coming here,” Belay said. “So we have to look forward and it seems like the hipsters will keep this business alive.”

Brian Questa, 26, lives in Williamsburg but decided to watch the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina in Gottscheer Hall. He, too, was attracted to the bar’s “authenticity,” something he thinks Williamsburg lost when it became gentrified. Questa plans on moving to Ridgewood soon because of cheaper rent and the charm of the neighborhood. He noted the irony of contributing to Ridgewood’s gentrification.

“I concede the fact that because there’s more young people taking an interest in it does make it more attractive to me,” said Questa, who identifies himself as a musical composer. “Unlike places like Maspeth where it’s all families living there.”

When Germany won the match, the bar erupted into cheers and German chants, with both the older Germans and the hipsters celebrating the moment. In the coming years, Belay and the other owners of the bar will have to juggle the necessity to make money with “preserving the German heritage,” as Belay put it. But he will also have to try not to make the bar “very fake,” like Questa said Williamsburg is.

“People come there to live in Williamsburg but it’s full of people just there to see and live in Williamsburg,” Questa said.

 

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Jackson Heights-born men among 13 to be ordained priests, largest class in nation


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Tablet


The Diocese of Brooklyn will welcome 13 new priests this weekend, including two Jackson Heights-born men, in this year’s largest ordination class in the nation.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn will be proclaiming the group of men, who were ordained as transitional deacons last August, into the priesthood on Saturday, June 28, at the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph in Brooklyn.

“These 13 men represent the great diversity of ethnicity, life experience and socioeconomic background of the Church of Brooklyn and Queens,” DiMarzio said. “I am privileged to ordain them as priests of Christ and welcome them to the Presbyterate of Brooklyn.”

Of the 13 men, eight were born in the United States, including Felix Herrera and the Rev. Anthony Rosado, who were born in Jackson Heights.

Herrera was born and raised in the western Queens neighborhood and as a young child admired his pastor and wondered what he had to do to be the one up at the altar. He was later invited to be an altar server while in the fourth grade.

“It was fun and nerve-wracking,” Herrera said. “The greatest joy was the peace and tranquility I experienced when I was serving. I believe that was God’s way of saying, ‘This is for you.’”

Herrera went off to earn a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. John’s University and a master of divinity degree from Immaculate Conception Seminary in Long Island, and he served as a pastor and deacon at Blessed Sacrament Church in Brooklyn.

According to the 27-year-old, although he received immense support from his parents, the biggest influence on his decision to be a priest came from his grandmother, Gloria, who took him to Mass, taught him to pray the rosary and would talk about both God and the church while cooking Ecuadorian food.

“Grandma was one of the main catalysts as to why I am here now,” Herrera said. “Growing up she was the one who always took us to Mass. She never mentioned priesthood to me but just the way she was devout and would go to Mass was inspirational.”

Herrera will give his first Mass of Thanksgiving on June 29 at Blessed Sacrament Church in Brooklyn.

Rosado, 30, grew up as a member of Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Jackson Heights and at 5 years old recognized his love for music while learning to play the piano. He sang in his parish’s choir, played the organ and served as music director at St. Bonaventure Church in Jamaica while in high school.

He later earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from the Manhattan School of Music and, although he initially aspired to become a professional musician, he realized that every music piece he composed always had a sacred theme.

“Once I realized that music was my own little way of sharing faith, I started to ask, ‘Why not begin to share my faith at the broadest level, using every means at my disposal’ – namely, being a priest,” Rosado said.

Although he later enjoyed his more than three years serving pastoral assignments in Toronto, California and Michigan, he said he felt God was calling him back to serve his roots in New York.

He earned a master of divinity degree with a concentration in Hispanic ministry and went on to serve as a deacon at St. Fidelis Parish in College Point, where he helped both English- and Spanish-speaking parishioners.

“With people in the city with so many cultures, the fact that we 13 people from as many different cultures are making this decision really shows that we can show faith in a multitude of ways,” he said.

Rosado will offer his Mass of Thanksgiving on June 29 at St. Fidelis Parish in College Point.

Saturday’s Ordination Mass will be streamed live at www.netny.tv.

 

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High school brings colorful posters to Queens businesses


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz


A local high school is designing posters and fliers for independent Glendale and Ridgewood businesses.


Andrew Drozd teaches three art and design classes at the Academy of Urban Planning in Bushwick where students work with local businesses in Brooklyn and Queens to apply design techniques to real world applications like advertisement.

“This is something that’s still in its infancy but we’re learning,” Drozd said.

“Students appreciate what they’re learning if there’s a real value attached to it.”

He first started the class this semester in April. The design exercise was meant to only last a couple of weeks.

“And now here we are, nearing the end of the school year and my students are still passionate about it,” Drozd said. “There’s been such an outpouring of support from the local business communities.”

Jesse Ibrahim owns Roma Deli in Glendale. He displays a huge poster at the entrance of his store.  The poster has pastel colors that frame a picture of the deli-front in the center. On the bottom right corner it says, “This poster was created by Jocelyn Perez a student at the Academy of Urban Planning.”

“I love it,” said Ibrahim, who has owned the deli for almost 15 years.  “Now my entrance is brightened. It’s very presentable.”

Ibrahim was first approached by Drozd two weeks ago and was then given an option of about 15 different poster designs all made by separate students.

“So there’s a level of competition,” Drozd said.

In Ridgewood, Armand Baklajan was expecting his poster any day now when it would be hand-delivered by Drozd.

“This is fantastic work,” he said, holding a sketch of his yet-to-be completed poster. “I wish I had such a motivated and passionate teacher when I was in high school.”

Drozd said that he has about 40 other businesses lined up for future posters. He first came up with the idea when he noticed that so many delis have hand-written signs advertising things like breakfast sandwiches.

“So there’s an element of social justice in this. We’re providing a service to people who could really benefit from it,” he said.

Each class produces about three posters a week using design programs and pictures. Drozd expects the work to continue through the summer and next school year the design exercise will be introduced to another batch of students.

“We’re going to ride this until it crashes,” he said.

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‘Daily Show’ inspired Middle Eastern newscast turns to Kickstarter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Clarke Leo Michael Smith


Laughter is the basis of a new Kickstarter campaign looking to bring Western attention to Middle Eastern headlines.

Based on the structure of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” a satirical newscast all about the Middle East called “The Mideast Show” was dreamed up by Brooklyn resident Kayvon Afshari earlier this year.

“I thought there was a need to create a space, create a platform where people with a sense of humor could laugh together,” Afshari said.

At first Afshari was going to shoot the show from his apartment using an iPhone, but after receiving strong, positive feedback on the idea he began reaching out to friends and colleagues in Brooklyn and Queens to help create the first episode.

The pilot episode, partially written by Jackson Heights resident Serhan Ayhan, features Afshari as the host of the show reviewing headlines out of the Middle East, a special guest, on-scene reporting and much more.

However, the big challenge for the show is funding. The pilot episode cost about $15,000 to create.

With the hopes of producing five more episodes for the first season, Afshari has turned to Kickstarter to raise a goal of $85,000. The money would go into renting a studio, camera and equipment, hire a professional crew involving camera operators, director, audio engineer and graphic designers, and post-production work.

The funds would also help purchase props for the show and pay members of the creative team, most of whom are currently volunteering their time.

The mission of “The Mideast Show” is to create a newscast for people who have a sense of humor about the Middle East and want to laugh together, regardless of nationality, religion or ethnicity, according to the show’s Kickstarter website.

“There is a lack of information on the Middle East that Americans have and among some people there is not even an interest,” said Afshari. “We are embedded in this region. However, [people] don’t know about it.”

The team behind the show is mixed with various Middle Eastern roots, including Afshari who is Persian-American.

Ayhan, who is half Turkish and half Kurdish and one of the writers for the show, came up with the segment on the pilot episode where reporter Rex Huckstable takes a trip to the Little Egypt community in Astoria and speaks to residents about recent elections in Egypt.

In future episodes, Ayhan said he hopes to have the chance to continue doing segments on local Middle Eastern communities.

“The goal is to entertain but also educate. We’re not trying to make fun of people from the Middle East,” Ayhan said. “We want to be that bridge to educate people.”

To donate to the Kickstarter campaign click here. For more information on “The Mideast Show” and to watch the pilot episode click here.

 

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First Queens Denny’s opening in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


Updated 3:33 p.m.

Jackson Heights will soon be home to the third Denny’s Restaurant in New York City and the first in Queens.

The chain restaurant will be a co-tenant, along with Red Mango, Dunkin’ Donuts, Children of America Day Care and medical offices, at a brand new commercial building coming to 87-10 Northern Blvd., according to commercial real estate management company First Class Management.

The 40,000-square-foot building will have underground parking, with about 5,000 square feet of retail space available for lease on the ground floor and 10,000 square feet of office space available on the second floor, according to the company’s website.

Councilman Daniel Dromm, who confirmed the chain restaurant will open its doors in Jackson Heights, said he is concerned about Denny’s coming into the community because it is allegedly known for paying its employees minimum wage.

“I hope that when they do come that they would pay fair wages to the workers,” said Dromm, who has supported a resolution calling for New York City to raise the minimum wage. “They should be paying [workers] a wage they can live off of, that they can survive on.”

Denny’s is expected to open its first chain in New York City in downtown Manhattan later this summer, after settling a lawsuit with residents who opposed the restaurant claiming it would became a hangout spot for college students, according to published reports. The chain is also reportedly slated to open a location in Brooklyn.

Denny’s did not respond to request for comment.

 

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Courier reporter gears up for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos and video by Cristabelle Tumola


When I told my parents I would be jumping on a motorcycle for the first time in my life, their faces went blank and they gave me the response I’ve heard so often since I asked them years ago for a skateboard: “You’re joking, right?”

Although I was raised among mostly boys and had numerous falls and tumbles, my parents always made sure I knew “extreme hobbies” would be out of the question because safety was their number one priority.

However, when I told them that this particular adventure would be to go over the safe ways to handle a motorcycle, they eased off and gave me their blessings.

With New York State having over 680,000 licensed motorcyclists in 2013, according to the DMV, and 5,153 Queens students coming out of New York’s Motorcycle Safety School, it is always important to be aware of the safety and responsibility that comes with owning a bike.

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month I put on my leather jacket, strapped on boots and took part in a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Introductory Motorcycle Experience course offered by the Motorcycle Safety School just west of Lindenwood, Queens, over the Brooklyn line.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF MY MOTORCYCLE ADVENTURE, CLICK HERE

Our instructor for the day was martial artist, professional film and TV stuntman and DMV-certified instructor Adam Wood, who said he knew riding a motorcycle was exactly what he wanted to do. Coming from Colorado, he said, he did not want to be at the mercy of New York City’s public transportation.

The session began with an introduction to the different types of motorcycles — cruisers, sport, dual-purpose and touring bikes. With all the choices, the goal is to sit on as many different bikes as possible, find out what you like, how good it looks and feels, and think about where you’ll be riding.

However, before going out and picking your favorite ride, pay attention.

State law requires motorcycle riders to wear two things before hitting the road: Department of Transportation (DOT) certified helmet and eyewear. How do you know your gear is DOT-certified? Just check the sticker.

According to MSF, proper gear also includes a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, full-fingered gloves, long pants and over-the-ankle boots (rubber soles, no laces). Wood also showed us motorcycle-specific over-pants with armor built into the shins, hip and knees.

A safety fashion tip — leather is the best material to look for in motorcycle clothing because, according to Wood, at 25 mph, leather lasts up to six seconds when making impact with the floor, while jeans only last 0.75 seconds.

The importance of gear is to allow the rider to have good communication with the motorcycle. Comfort, visibility and protection are the key things to remember when picking proper gear.

“You’re going to want to buy the gear that allows us to interact with our motorcycle the best,” Wood said. “You should do research to arm yourself with information so you don’t put yourself in bad situations.”

Following the classroom lesson of the day, it was time to take the session outside and add some “seat time” under our belts.

Before mounting any bike, remember these are very heavy pieces of machinery, ranging from 200 to 900 pounds. Once you release that kickstand, it’s only you and your strength stopping that bike from hitting the floor.

In addition to the handlebars, a motorcycle has five other primary controls. Three of those controls are hand-operated and mounted on the handlebar. There is the throttle, which allows you to rev up the engine, the front brake and the clutch lever.

While on our Suzuki bikes, we learned the clutch lever is what allows you to change gears. When you come to a stop and you don’t want the bike to shut off, you have to squeeze the clutch and then ease back out.

Using what Wood called the “Friction Zone,” you maintain a smooth ride with your bike and don’t stall or accelerate uncontrollably.

The remaining controls are foot-operated and control the rear brake and shifting of the gears. You don’t need much pressure to switch to different gears; a soft tap up switches from first gear to N and then up to 5.

Unlike in a car, there is no meter telling you what gear you are in, so in order to check if your bike is on first, you have to give the shift lever three taps down and if you stop feeling clicks, that means you are on the lowest gear.

Although I wasn’t able to fully ride the motorcycle, because I do not have a permit, I was able to get a taste of what it takes to control such a machine — gentle taps, concentration and having the proper gear and training.

After looking at photos and watching my videos, I think my parents are more relaxed with the idea of me getting on a Harley Davidson one of these days… Now wait until I get that tattoo.

For more information of the Motorcycle Safety School, visit www.ridemss.com. MSF offers motorcycle courses at Queensborough Community College and for more information or to find a course closest to you, visit www.msf-usa.org or www.nysmsp.org.

 

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Suspect wanted in hammer attack robberies charged


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Updated Tuesday, May 13 7:05 a.m.

The hammer-wielding robber wanted in three attacks, including an assault on a woman in Queens, has been charged in connection to the two of the incidents, police said.

Anthony Coward, 28, who police identified as the suspect in the robberies over the weekend, allegedly approached a 23-year-old man and struck him in the head with a hammer on May 4, at about 11:00 a.m., at the Rockaway Avenue A/C subway station at Fulton Street in Brooklyn. He then continued to beat the rest of his body with the hammer before he fled with the victim’s wallet, police said. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

He then approached a 32-year-old man, who was trying to buy a MetroCard at the same Rockaway Avenue subway station in Brooklyn at about 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, and struck him on the head with a hammer and demanded money, cops said. Once the victim handed over the money, Coward fled. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Coward has been charged with robbery in both of the Brooklyn attacks, according to police.

In another attack that is believed to be connected to the other incidents, a 26-year-old reportedly pregnant woman was robbed and assaulted on the morning of March 5 on Pershing Crescent in Briarwood, cops said. The suspect came up to her from behind and struck her on the head with a silver hammer and fled with her handbag. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The investigation is still ongoing into that robbery, officials said.

 

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Police identify suspect in hammer attack robberies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the NYPD

The NYPD has identified the suspect they say robbed and attacked his victims with a hammer in Queens and Brooklyn.

Anthony Coward, 28, approached his first victim, a 26-year-old reportedly pregnant woman, on March 5 at about 7 a.m. in front of 138-49 Pershing Crescent in Briarwood, cops said. Coward allegedly came up to her from behind and struck her on the head with a silver hammer and fled with her handbag. The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition, according to police.

On May 4, at about 11:00 a.m., at the Rockaway Avenue A/C subway station at Fulton Street in Brooklyn, Coward approached a 23-year-old man and struck him in the head with a hammer and then went on to strike the man’s body, before he fled with the victim’s wallet, police said. The man was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Then on May 7 at about 9:20 a.m. Coward approached a 32-year-old man, who was trying to buy a MetroCard at the same Rockaway Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, and struck him on the head with a hammer and demanded money, cops said. Once the victim handed over the money, Coward fled. The victim was taken to Brookdale Hospital and released.

Police describe Coward as black, 6 feet 1 inches tall, with black hair and brown eyes, and 160 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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Driver charged in Brooklyn crash that killed 9-year-old St. Albans girl


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Facebook

A man suspected in a Brooklyn hit-and-run smashed into two vehicles, killing a young Queens girl Sunday after he fled a traffic stop, police and reports said.

Kenneth Palache, 62, of Huntington, Long Island, has been charged with criminally negligent homicide, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, leaving the scene of an accident-failure to show license and aggravated unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle in connection with the deadly crash, police said.

Palache was traveling south on Remsen Avenue in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn at about 5 p.m. when his Honda minivan struck a Hyundai sedan and Toyota minivan, which were both traveling west on Avenue N, according to officials.

A passenger in the Hyundai, identified as 9-year-old Rebecca Ramnarine, of St. Albans, was taken to Brookdale Hospital where she was pronounced dead, police said. She was on her way back from church when she was killed, according to published reports.

Rebecca’s mother, who was reportedly close by when the crash happened, described her daughter as “rambunctious” to the New York Post, saying “she loved to dance” and “wanted to be a pediatrician.”

Two other occupants of the Hyundai and three occupants of the Toyota were taken to Brookdale Hospital in stable condition.

Shortly before plowing into the vehicles, Palache had been involved in a hit-and-run accident around Foster Avenue and East 87th Street, according to published reports. Police attempted to pull him over near Remsen Avenue near Avenue L, but he fled, reports said.  Cops were not in pursuit when the collision occurred.

 

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Ex-NYPD cop from Queens arrested for Brooklyn anti-Semitic graffiti


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A Queens man, who reportedly once worked as an NYPD officer, has been arrested for allegedly leaving anti-Semitic graffiti on buildings and vehicles in Borough Park, Brooklyn.

The graffiti was found about 9 p.m. Saturday, spray painted in pink on the front of the Bnos Zion of Bobov School on 14th Avenue and on a vehicle parked in front of the building, officials said. Police later discovered anti-Semitic graffiti on three additional buildings and 15 vehicles in the predominantly Orthodox Jewish neighborhood.

The markings included swastikas and offensive, hateful language, according to published reports.

Michael Setiawan, 36, of Bellerose, has been charged with 19 counts each of criminal mischief as a hate crime, aggravated harassment as a hate crime and criminal mischief in connection to the vandalism, police said.

The former NYPD cop was with the department for about two years, where he served in the 69th Precinct in the Canarsie area of Brooklyn, but left in 2007, reports said.

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