Tag Archives: Brooklyn

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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110th Precinct shaves hair, raises funds for fellow officer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Lieutenant Patrick Welsh did not have to think twice when deciding to shave his long curls for fellow officer and friend, Sergeant Paul Ferrara.

Welsh, together with five other members of the 110th Precinct, including commanding officer Deputy Inspector Ronald D. Leyson, volunteered Thursday to shave their hair for Ferrara, who was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in January.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE PHOTOS,

“It’s all for a great cause , for Paul, for a fellow brother,” said Welsh, who has been growing his hair out since last September. “It wasn’t even a question, [Ferrara] is one of the most liked men in the precinct.”

Ferrara started his career in Brooklyn’s 81st Precinct in 1992 and then was promoted to sergeant in 2006 and assigned to the 110th Precinct. During his 22 years of service, Ferrera has been a 9/11 first responder and former anti-crime sergeant, and now serves as a counter terrorism supervising officer.

Ferrara’s diagnosis is currently being linked to what he, together with other first responders, faced at Ground Zero in 2001.

The 110th Precinct came together last month to start a fundraiser to collect money to help the 44-year-old NYPD officer and his family with medical expenses. Ferrara is married and has a 12-year-old son.

As part of the fundraiser, officers at the precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, came up with the idea to “put a price on the commanding officer’s head” and have the officer with the highest donation shave Leyson’s hair.

Through a collaborative effort, the highest donation was $1,500 and Police Officer William Bahrenburg, who also shaved his hair and mustache, had the honor Thursday of shaving the deputy inspector’s hair.

“Like the police department does, we get together to help out one another,” Leyson said. “I’ve been on the job for over 20 years and there’s a lot of things that we complain about, but it is a family, when one of us is in need, that’s one thing this police department always does – step up.”

Police Officers Matthew Zimmerman and Thompson Wen, and Auxiliary Police Officer Chris Lui also volunteered to have their hair shaved in honor of Ferrara.

“It’s just the right thing to do. He’s always been there for me,” Wen said. “Hair grows back.”

So far, the precinct has collected a total of $40,000. The 81st Precinct has also contributed to the fundraiser.

“It’s the proudest I’ve been because none of this has to be done, but it’s getting done anyway,” Ferrara said.

The donations will be presented to Ferrara on Sunday, April 27 during a fundraising event at Lily Flanagan’s Pub in Babylon, Long Island.

Anyone interested in donating can mail or drop off a check at the precinct, located at 94-41 43rd Ave. in Elmhurst. Checks should be made out to the 110th Precinct General Fund, with “Sergeant Ferrara Fund” written on the memo line.

 

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Minibar app now available to western Queens residents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Minibar

Western Queens residents can now have their favorite drink delivered to their door in under 60 minutes via a new app.

Minibar, which first debuted in Brooklyn and Manhattan in February, launched in Queens on Wednesday. The innovative app, available for free in the Apple store and servicing Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, allows users to order wine and liquor with just the tap of a finger.

The app connects vendors with users based on zip code, and once a vendor is selected, a drop down menu, featuring available inventory at the local liquor store, shows up. The drinks are then placed in a cart and users can select an amount for delivery tips. Once the order , which requires a $25 minimum, is placed, an confirmation email is sent and the items are delivered in one hour or less.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Minibar in Queens, making home entertaining as seamless and easy as possible in these neighborhood within the borough,” Lara Crystal, Minibar co-founder and co-CEO, said. “With virtually everything available at your fingertips, it’s time to make alcohol just as easy to order to your home.”

Following legal age requirements for purchasing alcohol, Minibar users will have to confirm they are of legal drinking age before placing an order and upon delivery vendors are responsible for verifying IDs.

The app allows its users to indicate if the order is a gift. Upcoming features will also include personalized order suggestion based on previous purchases and recommendations on what foods to have with the drinks.

 

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LIC demands better communication over G train suspensions


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

The Long Island City community is concerned a new string of subway shutdowns will bring more problems to residents and business owners.

The MTA announced the G subway line, which connects Brooklyn and Queens, will be shut down for five weeks, including weekdays and weekends, starting July 28, though full details of the closure are still being finalized.

Service will also be suspended between Nassau Avenue and Court Square.

Although the transit agency said there will be no scheduled suspensions on the No. 7 and L subway lines during the five weeks, Long Island City residents and business owners are concerned about the inconveniences the shutdowns will bring.

“It’s one thing after another. We just have to throw up our hands and ask what’s next from the MTA,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “They make these decisions without asking the community for its input.”

The closures are due to Sandy-related repairs, which involve track, structural, signal and electrical component repairs and replacement work, the MTA said. The work was scheduled during this period because it is when the G train has the lowest ridership.

Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, said more commuters are using the line and she hopes the MTA will take the time to listen to their ideas for alternatives before July.

“There’s more and more people traveling within the other boroughs,” Lewandowski said. “It should not just be a talk down decision. There has to be communication. They need to be listening to their communities more.”

 

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G train to shut down between Brooklyn and LIC for five weeks


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Starting in July, G train riders are going to have to find a new way to get from Brooklyn to Queens.

The line will be shut down for five weeks, including weekdays and weekends, starting on July 28 with service suspended between the Nassau Avenue and Court Square stations, according to the MTA.

The closures are due to Sandy-related repairs, which involve track, structural, signal and electrical component repairs and replacement work, the transit agency said. The work was scheduled during this period because it is when the G train has the lowest ridership.

The full details of the service plan for this G line closure are still being finalized. During the five weeks, there will be no scheduled suspensions on the No. 7 and L subway lines.

Beginning this month, the No. 7 line is slated to be suspended for a total of 22 weekends this year.

Last July, the MTA shut down the G line for 12 weekends in order to make Sandy-related repairs. Although the agency provided shuttle buses during the suspensions, there was an uproar from local leaders, residents and business owners who said the shut down caused riders inconveniences.

 

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Artist behind 5Pointz banner hopes to open dialogue on gentrification


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Andy Kim

A duo of Brooklyn artists hope their recent stop in Long Island City will help open the door to a solution.

Artists gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) collaborated on Sunday to put a large yellow caution tape, about 3 feet wide and a few hundred feet long, around the Jackson Avenue side of the building which was once home to 5Pointz, with the words “Gentrification in Progress.”

Gilf!, who just goes by her artist name, said it was sad to see the 5Pointz group fight for so long to keep the graffiti mecca alive and in the end just watch it be whitewashed. She believes small businesses are what bring character to New York City, and she has been speaking out against gentrification for a while.

The artist said she had been speaking with BAMN about wanting to create a piece for 5Pointz and following another one of her shows against gentrification, the duo made it to Long Island City.

“I hope people will talk about what gentrification means to them and if it’s something that affects them. And if it is, what are they willing to do about it,” gilf! said. “I use my art to facilitate the dialogue that I think is important or is being swept under the rug.”

She also said she hopes the piece, which was taken down about 36 hours later, will open a door for discussion and bring different people together to come up with an answer.

“If anywhere in the world is going to come up with a solution for this, it’s going to be New York,” she said.

After a long fight to save 5Pointz, years of art was erased overnight last year. The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action to be taken in November. Rallies were held throughout that same month to save the site, including a gathering only three days before the whitewashing, requesting the building, with its art, be landmarked.

Since the whitewashing, the demolition process has slowly begun, with signs of asbestos removal crews at the location.

Although residents have called the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and 3-1-1 with complaints, a DEP spokesperson said that all work being done is in compliance with regulations.

Asbestos abatement is taking place on the side located at 45-50 Davis St. by contractors hired by the buildings’ owners. DEP inspectors issued one stop work order, for less than 24 hours, after an inspection on March 2, for minor corrections, said the spokesperson. The issues were corrected and the order was lifted the following day.

Since then, DEP inspectors have gone and supervised the work being done, as a normal procedure.

“We have been there a few times because we keep receiving complaints about it,” the DEP spokesperson said. “But everything has been in compliance there.”

 

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‘Gentrification in Progress’ banner appears on 5Pointz building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER

Two artists are making sure their voices are heard as the demolition of the buildings that were once home to 5Pointz continues.

Artists gilf! and BAMN (By Any Means Necessary) collaborated to put a large yellow tape around the Jackson Avenue side of the Long Island City building with the words “Gentrification in Progress,” according to a Twitter post. The banner was reported on the site Sunday morning.

After a long fight to save 5Pointz, the LIC graffiti mecca, years of art was whitewashed overnight last year. The owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the action to be taken in November. Rallies were held throughout that same month to save the site, including a gathering just three days before the whitewashing, requesting the building with its art be landmarked.

Since the whitewashing, the demolition process has slowly begun with signs of asbestos removal crews at the location.

 

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Rare skin infection outbreak tied to Chinatown seafood markets


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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The Health Department is warning customers of Chinatown seafood markets in Queens and other parts of the city about an outbreak of a rare skin infection.

Anyone who has handled live or raw fish or other seafood purchased at Chinatown markets in Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan could be affected, the Health Department said Wednesday.

The infection is transferred through a break in the skin, such as a cut, and is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium marinum.

People are strongly advised to wear waterproof gloves when handling any raw seafood that may have come from these markets.

There is no risk from consuming food from the markets, according to the Health Department.

So far, 30 cases of the infection have been identified.

Symptoms include red, tender lumps or swelling under the skin of the hands or arms. People may additionally develop swelling or pain in their hands or arms and have trouble moving their fingers.

If you exhibit any symptoms or believe you may have been infected, see an infectious disease physician or dermatologist. You can also call the Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease at 347-396-2600 and ask to speak with a doctor.

Treatment includes antibiotics and should begin right away.

When left untreated it can become a more serious infection that requires surgery.

 

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Queens laundromat theft tied to nine Brooklyn burglaries


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

396-14 BRS CW Pattern #5 from Incident #8

Three suspects are wanted in a two-borough burglary spree targeting laundromats, cops said.

The latest burglary took place about 3:10 a.m. Tuesday at Megawash Laundry on Merrick Boulevard near Anderson Road in Jamaica, according to police

The suspects are also connected to nine burglaries in Brooklyn between Jan. 19 and Feb. 22, the NYPD said. Those thefts included seven additional laundromats as well as two restaurants.

During each incident, the three suspects, all wearing masks and gloves, with one armed with a gun, enter the business and take money from the register as well as any customers, cops said.

There were no reported injuries during any of the burglaries.

Police describe the suspects as black males.

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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MTA announces Bus Time launch date for all Queens routes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

As promised, the MTA is set to debut its live bus tracking service in all of Queens and the rest of Brooklyn.

The MTA will launch Bus Time, which allows riders to follow real-time location of buses through any web-enabled smartphone or computer via GPS, on March 9, the transit agency announced Monday.

Bus Time users can also text an intersection or street address to 511123 to receive a message listing local bus routes or find out information by using a smartphone with a QR-code reader. The QR-code is printed on the Guide-A-Ride schedules posted at bus stops.

The expansion adds more than 9,000 additional bus stops to the Bus Time system, according to the MTA.

Bus Time started serving all of Staten Island’s bus routes in January 2012. Bus Time was later expanded to include all Bronx and Manhattan routes as well as Brooklyn’s B63 and B61 lines.

 

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Corona immunization clinic set to close once again


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

It’s déjà-vu for two major immunization walk-in clinics as the city renews its plans to close the sites by the end of the month, according to union leaders.

In August, the City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced it would close the Corona Health Center, located at 34-33 Junction Blvd., and the Tremont Health Center in the Bronx. After community protest, the city temporarily stopped the plan and rescheduled the closing for the end of 2013.

Yet, after keeping the clinics open into the New Year with funds provided by the City Council, closures are expected for the end of February.

“The function of immunization is prevention,” said Fitz Reid, president of Local 768, a union representing health care workers. “It’s not just job protections, it’s to protect the children, protect the public.”

The closures are expected to severely limit access to free and low-cost immunizations for low-income and poor families, protecting them from diseases such as the flu, meningitis, Hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and others.

The DOHMH also plans on cutting the hours of its STD clinics, according to union leaders.

Public employee union District Council 37 tried to hold a meeting with the Health Department, but said it was not productive as no immunization representative attended. The group now wants to schedule a new meeting with the hope of getting their concerns heard by the department’s newly appointed commissioner, Dr. Mary Bassett.

“We’re hoping that when she takes the reigns, we’ll be able to meet with her and have a productive meeting where we emphasize the importance of the clinics in the communities,” said Judith Arroyo, president of Local 436, United Federation of Nurses and Epidemiologists. “We’re just waiting for a response.”

According to Arroyo, the immunization clinics are necessary because they serve as the first step for immigrant families to learn about health care and begin immunization records for their children.

One of the major issues at hand is that every closure has been kept from the community, said leaders. Residents would then have to travel to the Fort Greene Health Center, located at 295 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn, the city’s only walk-in immunization clinic.

“I continue to oppose the closure of the Corona immunization clinic,” Councilmember Daniel Dromm said. “The Department of Health unfortunately has decided to keep their plans for the center in the dark. Residents need to have access to these services, including school children who are required to have certain shots before attending class.”

The DOHMH did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

 

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Parents ‘grateful’ after missing autistic Rego Park 12-year-old found safe


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:50 p.m.

An autistic 12-year-old boy who sprinted out of his Rego Park home Thursday was found safe in Brooklyn after a terrifying four hour search, police and family said.

Brandon Betancourt jetted out of his apartment complex on 66th Road near 67th Avenue about 7 a.m., police said.

“He just ran out,” said his father, Joe Betancourt. “He’s very fast. It’s hard to catch him. I’m just grateful he’s home.”

Police brought him to safety about 11 a.m., after a guidance counselor spotted him on the J train platform at the Broadway Junction subway station in Cypress Hills, about an hour journey from his home.

Brandon, who is incredibly smart, functions at a high level and knows his way around the city’s subway system, his father and neighbors said.

The boy also loves trains and has taken off a handful of times in the past, Joe and the building’s superintendent said.

“When I saw cops outside, I knew immediately,” the super said. “I told them to go to the subways.”

Joe said he fears his son does not understand the dangers of running away, even after the remains of Avonte Oquendo, the autistic 14-year-old who went missing in October, were found washed up in College Point two weeks ago.

“We try to tell him not to do this, especially after what happened to Avonte,” Joe said.

Avonte and Brandon are both from Rego Park. They were former classmates, though not at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City, where Avonte was last seen leaving, Joe said.

“For parents of autistic kids, I want them to know they are runners. I don’t know what it is about that, but they tend to run,” Joe said. “Always be on alert.”

Though frightening, the situation is common, said Michelle López, who manages autism initiatives at Queens Museum. Similar scenarios are likely to increase as more families push for inclusion, she said. 

“We’re going to see more of these types of situations, where there will be a missing child with autism and people don’t know how to interact, when they see a wandering child who doesn’t respond to them,” she said. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to be aware now.”

Autism Speaks, a leading advocacy organization, urges parents to secure homes with battery-operated door alarms, alert neighbors and consider identification bracelets or tracking devices.

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer wants the Department of Justice to create and fund a program that would provide voluntary trackers for children with autism or other development disorders.

Councilmember Paul Vallone is drafting a bill, calling for a similar citywide program.

 

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Loehmann’s sets sails for “Going Out of Business” sales


| mmcgoldrick@homereporter.com

It looks like local landmark Loehmann’s won’t make it to 100. The premier upscale off-price specialty retailer – just seven years short of a century old – has announced its official “Going out of Business” sale.

Loehmann’s first opened in Crown Heights in 1921 when Frieda Loehmann made her rounds to high-end designer showrooms, turning overstocks, cancellations and samples into a discount shopper’s paradise – with a wholesale price. Often called a trendsetter of a time where women rarely played that role, Loehmann’s detail-oriented approach to discount retail set the standard for an industry to come.

The store soon moved to its flagship Duryea Place location, just off Flatbush Avenue in the heart of that strip’s shopping district.

“There is no store quite like Loehmann’s,” said Scott Bernstein, COO of SB Capital Group. “During its more than 90 years in business, the Loehmann’s name became synonymous with great quality and value.”

On Tuesday, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved an order authorizing a joint venture formed by SB Capital Group, LLC, Tiger Capital Group, LLC, and A & G Realty Partners, to conduct “Going out of Business” sales in each of the superstore’s 39 locations and 11 states across the country.

That includes its Sheepshead Bay outpost at 2807 East 21st St., which opened in the mid- 1990s, around the same time the store’s Duryea Place location shut its doors.

Loehmann’s also has locations in Chelsea and the Upper West Side in Manhattan, in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, and in New Hyde Park and Hewlett, Long Island.

It may be bittersweet, but savvy shoppers are about to be dealt more than just a sweet New Year’s sale.

“A sale of this nature in these stores will be historical,” said Bernstein. “With millions of dollars of inventory from some of the greatest names in fashion for women and men, the savings, even for Loehmann’s traditional customers, will be unprecedented.”

More than $65 million of current in-season inventory – as well as new arrivals – will be liquidated during the bittersweet “Going out of Business” sales, which begins Thursday, Jan. 9.

 

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