Tag Archives: Citi Field

Rising Stars of Queens honored


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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The stars aligned last week when The Queens Courier honored 40 of the borough’s budding young professionals. “It’s awesome to be honored, and it’s humbling to be among these people,” said Eric Abrams, 26, digital media and membership associate for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “I feel like I’m on my way up.”

Abrams — recognized for his work for the Chamber, including his part in securing a $100,000 grant to develop a mobile phone app for Queens tourism — shared the limelight with several other “Rising Stars” honored for exemplifying outstanding leadership skills in their chosen fields and communities.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

Presented by Metropolitan Hospitality, the fifth annual “40 under 40” awards and networking event drew over 500 people and raised $2,500 in charity raffle funds collected to benefit the Hank Auffarth Family Center of The Child Center of NY and Morgan Center, a pre-school for kids with cancer.

“This makes me proud of my staff, the company and proud to work in Queens,” said Seth Taylor, 33, executive director at the 82nd Street Partnership. “It makes me think back to the work I’ve done and it reminds me of all the work to be done.”

On January 31, at the Caesars Club in Citi Field, event attendees networked with top professionals and mingled with representatives from leading businesses in the area, including this year’s event sponsors National Grid, TD Bank, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, Delta Airlines, Queens Library, Con Edison, Flushing Bank, Council for Airport Opportunity, Queens County Savings Bank, Time Warner Business Class, Samuel Field Y, Sandwire, Crystal Window & Door Systems, Investors Bank and Ehren Joseph Studios.

Danielle Monaro, a co-host on Z100’s Elvis Duran & The Morning Show, received the “Star of Stars” award and was the night’s honorary emcee.

“I went to St. John’s University, so I feel like I grew up in Queens,” she said. “It’s just really nice to see how diverse the crowd is, how everybody comes together and supports each other. It really does mean a lot that I was chosen to be here. “

VIDEO: MEET THE 2013 “RISING STARS”

Monaro, a New Jersey resident, said she started her gig as a radio personality at St. John’s, where she did theater and WSJU Radio before graduating in 1995.

She helped honor fellow award recipients, including “Mentor of the Year” Bud Harrelson, a 1969 New York Mets World Series champion.

Also honored this year for their community work were Joseph Amodeo, development director for Quality Services for the Autism Community; Eric D. Abrams Digital Media & Membership Associate Queens Chamber of Commerce; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member, Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Seth Taylor, Executive Director, 82nd Street Partnership; Anahit Azatyan, manager of OKG Jewelry; Anokye Blissett, attorney at Law Firm of Russo & Blissett; Ricky Brava, senior partner at Apollo Financial Group; Ricardi Calixte, director of neighborhood economic development for the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Jennifer Colletti-Membreño, assistant director of development at Samuel Field Y; Elizabeth Culp, assistant vice president and branch manager at Roslyn Savings Bank; Paisley Demby, business services director at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College; Josh Fatoullah, president and founder of JR Wealth Advisors; Dr. Peter Feibish, orthodontist at Dynamic Dental; Christian Goode, CFO and SVP of Resorts World NY; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member of Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Tracie Hall, vice president of strategy and organizational development of library services at Queens Library; Matthew Jahrsdoerfer, audit principal at Grassi & Co; Isabella Leung, human resource manager at Crystal Window & Door Systems; Jennifer Matthews, NTC marketing and events for USTA National Tennis Center; Maria Messados, principal/insurance broker for Queens Medallion; Ann O’Connor, cultural collaborator at Zoescope Studio; Tony Rappaport, licensed sales associate at Greenthal Property Sales & Management; Michael Ratner, partner at Abrams, Fensterman; Jeffrey Reich-Hale, director of sales and marketing at Wyndham Garden LIC; June Reid, department manager at Delta Air Lines at JFK International Airport; Jeff Yanni, general manager at Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia Airport; Elias Roman, CEO and co-founder of Songza Media, Inc; Rick Rosa, executive vice president and managing director at Douglas Elliman; Frank T. Santoro, counsel at Farrell Fritz, P.C; Suzanne Shusteris, manager at TD Bank; Aravella Simotas, assemblymember of District 36; Kevin Skelly, assistant general manager at Clearview Golf Corp.; Silvia Tejeda, licensed real estate broker at Rapid Realty Astoria Inc.; Ebony Young, executive director of Long Island City YMCA; Jason Hilliard, executive director for Congressmember Gregory Meeks; Frank Russo III, manager of Russo’s on the Bay; Abbi Leman, communications director at CUNY School of Law; Andrew Barnes, manager at National Grid; Wafa Abboud, founder and CEO of Human First, Inc.; Chris Lynch, director of operations of Parker’s Medical Transportation Division for Lakeville Ambulette Transportation; and Jeffrey DeShields, mortgage development officer and team leader for Sovereign Bank. “I feel blessed. You can’t ask for anything better,” said DeShields, 39.

Creative Group, LLC and Delta Airlines provided the raffled-off Cancun trip, which included four nights and five days at the Ocean Spa Resort or the Laguna Suites and two round trip airfare tickets.
Broadway tickets, an HD TV, two Nets tickets to the TGI Suite at the Barclays Center and many gift certificates were also given away by exhibitors.

Guests also snapped pictures in a free photo booth sponsored by Investors Bank and snacked on free Nathan’s hotdogs and pretzels.

Danielle Monaro, co-host of the Z100 Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, talks about The Queens Courier Rising Stars event on her radio show. 

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with snow. High of 36. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Tuesday night: Overcast with snow. Low of 30. Winds less than 5 mph. Chance of snow 80%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Free comedy show in Sunnyside

Check out this free comedy show at The Courtyard Ale House in Sunnyside. The show is on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month at 9 p.m. and features the best stand-up comedians in the city. The show is free, no drink minimum, nothing! Just come out and laugh! Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Delayed insurance checks for Sandy victims could slow recovery

Superstorm Sandy ripped up the roof of Matt Piccione’s Breezy Point home and deluged his basement with water, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages. Read more: New York Daily News

NYPD stop-and-frisk report under scrutiny

The NYPD has released a report that breaks down its controversial stop and frisk policy by precinct and race. Read more: Fox New York

Mets eye casino at Citi to help offset losses suffered in Bernie Madoff scandal

It’s an Amazin’ gamble The Mets’ owners want to roll the dice on building a Las Vegas-style casino next to Citi Field to recoup some of the $162 million for which team brass are still on the hook following the Bernie Madoff Ponzi-scheme debacle, plans obtained by The Post reveal. Read more: New York Post

State plan to buy homes at risk of future storm damage awaits federal approval

Governor Andrew Cuomo laid out his plan Monday to buy Hurricane Sandy-ravaged homes in areas at risk of future storm damage. Read more: NY1

Ed Koch remembered as New York City’s ‘quintessential mayor’

Remembered as a man with a “big brain, but an even bigger heart,” thousands said goodbye Monday to New York City’s “quintessential mayor,” Ed Koch. Read more: CBS New York

Report: New York-Newark fourth most traffic congested area in nation

An annual study of national driving patterns shows that Americans spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011. Read more: CBS New York

Biggest gas price jump in two years

The weekly average price of a gallon of regular gas is $3.54, up 18 cents from a week earlier.  That’s the biggest weekly price increase in two years, according to the Department of Energy. Read more: ABC News

Fan, former player reaction to Piazza and Baseball Hall of Fame vote


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Ten days after the world stopped and cried for New York, Mike Piazza made history with a swing of the bat that gave the city hope once again.

The September 21, 2001 homerun Piazza hit was late in the first professional sports game since the September 11 attacks, and gave the Mets the lead in front of thousands of fans, many of whom were first responders.

A power hitter who revived the fan base in the late 1990s and 2000s, Piazza was etched into the baseball history books because of this moment.

But will he have to wait before his plaque makes it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Piazza did not receive enough votes to make it in to Cooperstown, nor did any other candidate — the first time since 1996 that writers failed to vote someone in.

The 12-time All Star catcher played in the Steroid Era of baseball and was on the same ballot as alleged steroid users Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Piazza was never directly linked to using steroids, but many baseball critics were concerned his just playing during the tainted era would hurt his chances.

Piazza batted .296 and hit 220 homeruns in orange and blue between May 1998 to September 2005. He hit his 352nd career dinger in 2004 to surpass Carlton Fisk as the alltime homerun hitter for catchers. If he does make it to the Hall of Fame, Piazza has said he wants to be remembered as a Met and not a Los Angeles Dodger, where he started his career.

Paul LoDuca, who took over as catcher after Piazza left Flushing at the end of 2005, tweeted disappointment that baseball writers hadn’t voted in his colleague.

“Once again: Tell the Voters to strap on the gear for 9 innings and put the numbers up Mike Piazza did,” LoDuca tweeted. “I don’t care if he used rocket fuel.”

LoDuca, who admitted to taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) during his career, followed up later by saying an entire generation of baseball should not be scolded for the mistakes of some.

“I took PEDs and I’m not proud of it,” he wrote. “But people that think you can take a shot or a pill and play like the legends on that ballot need help.”

David Adler of Bay Terrace, a 50-year Met fan, was disappointed Piazza did not get enough votes this year, and credited it to accused steriod users taking away votes.

“He [Piazza] should have gotten in,” he said. “A lot of votes went to players using performance enhancing drugs and that, I feel, took votes away for him.”

Adelr and other fans are sure Piazza will one day make it into Cooperstown with an interlocking “NY” on his cap.

“He went to the World Series with the Mets, not as a Dodger,” Adelr said. “You would think that that would count for something.”

— With additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. Fog early. High of 63. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 30%. Monday Night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 36. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Double Life exhibition

SculptureCenter in Long Island City is pleased to present the exhibition Double Life, which brings together a group of artists that share a performance-based approach to sculpture. Common strategies include inhabiting the physical site of exhibition, leaving indexical marks on images of their own making, and re-contextualizing or re-animating various objects, images and readymades. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Flu shot supply dwindling as New York faces public health emergency

With the flu epidemic hitting the Tri-State Area hard, many pharmacies have begun to run out of flu shot supplies. Read more: CBS New York

Bus strike threat looms over NYC schools

A continuing dispute over job protections for New York City school bus drivers means the threat of a strike is still looming, potentially disrupting transportation for about 152,000 students as soon as this week. Read more: NBC New York

Flushing apartment building fire sends one person to hospital

According to the FDNY, the fire started in a bathroom ceiling fan on the top floor of a seven-story building at 42-02 Kissena Boulevard shortly after 10 p.m. Read more: NY1

Weekend bird hits force 2 jets to return to JFK

Authorities say bird strikes forced two planes to return to Kennedy Airport shortly after takeoff over the weekend. Read more: Fox New York

Rare large parcel of property near Citi Field hits the market

Property near Citi Field is hotter than ever right now with proposals for a state-of-the-art new mall and a $300 million Major League Soccer stadium to be constructed nearby. Read more: New York Daily News

Life after Sandy: Businesses still waiting for relief in the Rockaways

Despite all the fund raising and promises of recovery, when it comes to getting small businesses in Queens up and running after Sandy, the federal government has approved 37 loans for the entire borough, while the city has given out only 28. In the Rockaways, where much of the area was without heat and power for weeks after the storm, it’s given 9 loans. Read more: WYNC

‘Argo” scores sweet Golden Globe victory with two top awards

Iran hostage drama “Argo” scored a sweet double victory at the Golden Globe awards on Sunday, winning best movie drama – the night’s top prize – and best director for Ben Affleck on a night that left front-runner “Lincoln” with just one trophy. Read more: Reuters

 

 

Former Met Mike Piazza, other nominees not voted into Baseball Hall of Fame; first time no inductees since 1996


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

No one’s going on the wall this year.

The candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame failed to get the needed 75-percent of votes today to make it into Cooperstown. This was the first time since 1996 that no one was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

One of those ball players was Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who, according to MLB.com, received 57.8 percent of the vote on his first ballot appearance.

Several sluggers accused of using performance enhancing drugs also appeared on the ballot: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire.

After the announcement that seems to be stunning the baseball world, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon commented that, “we are optimistic one day soon Mike‘s plaque, with a Mets cap, will be hanging in Cooperstown where it truly belongs.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 36 with a windchill as low as 18. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 27 with a windchill as low as 18. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: There There 

There There  is a wildly unpredictable theatrical roller coaster about being the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things. Christopher Walken, on tour in Russia with a solo show, mysteriously falls off a ladder and is unable to perform. Karen, who apparently proofread the script once, is asked to fill in. On until January 12 at the Chocolate Factory in Long Island City. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens schools damaged by Sandy welcome students back

On the first school day of 2013, students at P.S. 207 were finally back in their building. Read more: NY1

Off-duty cop charged with DWI in Queens

An off-duty New York City police officer was arrested Wednesday and charged with driving while intoxicated and fleeing an accident in Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Boehner sets House votes on Sandy aid after Republican attacks

House Speaker John Boehner abruptly reversed course on Wednesday and set a timetable to approve $60 billion in Superstorm Sandy relief, after fellow Republicans including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie heaped scorn on his cancellation of an earlier vote. Read more: Reuters

Hillary Clinton released from NYC hospital after being treated for blood clot 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was discharged from New York Presbyterian Hospital Wednesday evening and her medical team is confident she will “make a full recovery.” Read more: CBS New York

Chef sues Citi Field food contractor Aramark

He says they took him right out of the old ball game. A former Citi Field chef has sued stadium food contractor Aramark because they fired him after he took a short time off after suffering chest pain, according to a Brooklyn federal court lawsuit. Read more: New York Post

New York City launches $500K grant program for local media and entertainment small businesses

Lights, camera, money. The city has launched a $500,000 training grant program for local small businesses that specialize in media and entertainment. Read more: New York Daily News

Congress ushering in new members, with old divide

Congress is ushering in the new and the old – dozens of eager freshmen determined to change Washington and the harsh reality of another stretch of bitterly divided government. Read more: AP

Parkland at center of MLS stadium project


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

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Major League Soccer (MLS) officials presented plans for a 25,000-seat stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the Queens Borough Board on Monday, December 3.

But while the league promised the board that soccer would be a good neighbor to the community, questions arose regarding parking, access, replacement of the 10 to 13 acres of parkland that would be eaten up by the stadium.

Professional soccer could kick off as soon as 2016, should the project be approved, said MLS President Mark Abbott. He acknowledged this was a lofty but plausible goal for the league.

Abbott assured the board that seven of the nine existing recreational soccer fields would be completely refurbished before the first shovel breaks ground at the stadium site at what is now the Fountain of Planets. By making the borough’s largest park its home, Abbott said MLS is committed to investing in the park and “making it better for the people who use [it].”

“The idea is, we’re coming here to be a partner with the park.”

Roughly 20 to 25 games would be played at the stadium per season, Abbott said, which includes an average of 17 regular season home games. Although the stadium would be within earshot of Citi Field and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the league plans not to host any games when the Mets are playing, or during the two weeks of the U.S. Open, alleviating congestion.

Regardless, many are concerned that parking for games will spill into the neighboring community and disturb residents’ day-to-day life.

League officials are currently working with the Mets to reach an agreement to use their parking facilities — mainly the lot that used to be Shea Stadium — but do not have a time frame for when executives will sit down with Mets management, Abbott said.

But one of the biggest concerns was where the parkland would be replaced.

Abbott, fielding questions from board members and councilmembers, said MLS will not pick a site for the lost acres without getting full community feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’ve started to look at some sites, but that’s something we need the community’s input on,” Abbott said.

The league has set up several town hall meetings in or around the park to hear the community’s thoughts of where they would like to see new greenspace.

Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Mark Weprin agreed that before any official stance could be taken on the proposal, a dedicated, well-researched site for the new land has to be chosen.

“I don’t think we can responsibly take a position until we know all the details,” Vallone said. “Especially regarding what parkland would replace the park. This has to be parkland that effectively replaces and is as usable as this parkland is.”

Weprin said he was currently open minded to the idea, but many of the concerns first had to be addressed before any decision could be made.

“I think it could be great for economic development in the area,” he said. “But there are a lot of concerns that I would like to see addressed before we approve it. To reject it out right would be a mistake.”

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, however, hopes Queens residents will oppose the project, saying that any replaced land would never be the same as that lost to the project.

“These things are never of equal value, and never of equal usefulness,” he said. “And the community always gets ripped off.”

Dickey gives Mets fans reason to cheer one last time


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

Eliminated from the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season, owners of a 9-25 home record since the All-Star break (25-44 overall) and a midweek afternoon game left little reason for Mets fans to make the trek to Citi Field for the team’s home finale.

But a funny thing happened on the way to irrelevancy — the game mattered. For the first time since 1990, a Mets pitcher was looking to secure his 20th win. Near the end of a once-promising season that slipped away, fans had a reason to pass through the turnstiles.

“It feels good to have something to cheer for again,” said John Nunez, 46, who was with his son. “We actually bought these tickets when [the Mets] still had a winning record.”

Many of the 31,506 in attendance though came to Citi Field sans ticket with the hope of seeing history — a wish that was rewarded with a 6-5 victory earning R.A. Dickey his 20th win of the season.

Five other Mets pitchers accomplished the feat a total of eight times with the last being Frank Viola in 1990, but the home fans had not witnessed the accomplishment since David Cone won his 20th at Shea Stadium in 1988.

“This is only my third game this half,” Jeff Fuller said as he waited on line outside the ticket window. “But I wanted to come see Dickey win 20.”

A multitude of the fans in attendance returned after weeks staying away from the stadium as the team fell out of the playoff race and struggled to collect any wins — or paying customers.

“It’s not a lot of fun to come to an empty stadium,” Fuller said.

While officially it was only the third highest attended game this half, more fans’ fannies likely packed the seats than any Mets game since the All-Star break and they made sure they were heard.

Everything Dickey did — single, get forced out, talk to manager Terry Collins — drew thunderous applause, a fact that was not lost on Collins.

After the seventh inning Collins told an exhausted Dickey, “This ballpark is filled with energy, use it to your advantage. These people deserve to see you walk off the mound. They came to see you.”

“This day was as much about the fans as it was for me,” Dickey said after the game. “How can you not be motivated to go out there and give the fans, your teammates and yourself all that you have.”

The fans’ spirit was able to aid Dickey in his quest, something Collins hoped the other players noticed.

“I hope our players felt the energy today, because that’s what you want to have. That’s what you want to have this ballpark filled with,” Collins said.

Fans and players will have to wait until next April to feel that energy again since Citi Field will be dark again this October, but for some the bright spot of Dickey’s 20th shone through.

“That’s why you come,” said Nick Scardelli. “In a lost season, we got to end it on our feet cheering.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 70. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then overcast. Low of 59. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT of the DAY: On the Waterfront

Come to the Greater Astoria Historical Society for the exhibit and lecture On the Waterfront, where you’ll learn about the history and future of Long Island City’s and Astoria’s waterfront. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Plans for new Queens stadiums spark fears parkland will be lost

Plans for two new tennis stadiums and a new soccer stadium in the largest park in Queens have sparked fears the projects could lead to a loss of coveted green space in the borough. Read more: New York Daily News

Car drives onto sidewalk killing pedestrian

A 60-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed after a car drove onto the sidewalk in Queens. Read more: Fox New York

In southeast Queens, epicenter of housing bust, holding onto homes still elusive

Juanita Kinloch, 52, bought a modest three-bedroom home in Jamaica, Queens, more than a decade ago. Read more: WNYC

City public advocate calls for immediate passage of paid sick leave measure

The New York City Public Advocate has called for the immediate passage of a measure that would provide all employees with sick leave. Read more: CBS New York 

Sen. Schumer: Milk prices could double if Congress doesn’t pass new farm bill

Sen. Charles Schumer warned Sunday that the price of milk could double if Congress doesn’t pass a new farm bill. Read more: New York Daily News

Another big Supreme Court term starts Monday

he Supreme Court is starting a new term that is shaping up to be as important as the last one, with the prospect of major rulings about affirmative action, gay marriage and voting rights. Read more: AP

 

‘Don’t sell out’: Brooklyn holdouts’ message to Willets Point owners


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The battle against the behemoth billion dollar Barclays Center has long been lost for some Brooklynites, but leading opponents of the project are hoping the war waged against the city will be won in Willets Point.

“Fight to the bitter end,” said Donald O’Finn, one of 14 Brooklyn plaintiffs that took state developers to court in 2009. “These are really important fights. We lost our battle, but the war is not done.”

The Barclays Center — Brooklyn’s new 675,000-square-foot sports arena and home to the Nets — opened on Friday, September 21, but only after a decade of debates by community activists who opposed the project and multiple lawsuits filed by landowners fighting to keep their properties.

Daniel Goldstein, co-founder of “Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn” (DDDB), a volunteer-run community coalition, said he fought against developer Bruce Ratner of Forest City Ratner, for seven years in federal and state court until eminent domain was used to condemn the entire 22-acre site, including 171 units of housing and 35 businesses, in 2009.

O’Finn, co-owner of Freddy’s Bar — which received a “Ratner payout” to vacate — recalled the seven years spent aggressively fighting legal battles as “sad,” in light of the arena’s grand ribbon-cutting last week.

“It seemed wrong the way things were happening, with the misuse of Eminent Domain, how things were sort of just taken by people who have power and wealth just because they want to,” he said. “It was just so wrong.”

Meanwhile, a similar battle has been brewing over in the next borough.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced in June that he had selected the Wilpons of the Mets, Sterling Equities and Related Companies to develop 23 acres of land in Willets Point into a major hub for retail, hotels, entertainment and dining.

But before “environmental remediation” can begin, the entire area — home to scores of long-established auto repair shops near Citi Field — must first be vacated, according to Benjamin Branham, a spokesperson for the city’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).

Twenty-seven property-owning entities in the “Phase 1” area have reached deals with the city for an undisclosed amount, while four have refused to sell, Branham said. They are Janice Serrone, Ralph Paterno, George Romano and Tony Crozzoli — none of whom returned calls for comment.

The city rescinded its first bid to acquire the “Phase 1” neighborhood using Eminent Domain in May. Branham said the city would only go back to using it “as a last resort.”

“It remains our strong preference to reach negotiated agreements with these remaining owners, and we’re optimistic that we can achieve this,” he said.

O’Finn, who urged remaining residents in Willets Point not to sell out, said the key to securing victory is to ignite the community.

“You need to get people to listen,” he said. “If you can find a way to get people to actually hear you — that would be my advice, especially in New York, where everything is so busy and fast. I really hope at some point we can win this war.”

Goldstein, however, said the land grab in Willets Point is only similar to what happened in Brooklyn in one way.

“They’re getting screwed just like we are,” he said.

Close Shave: Keith Hernandez sheds his mustache


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

The mustached men of America lost a member today — a famous one.

Keith Hernandez — maybe known more for his mustache than his MVP, World Series’ or Seinfeld appearance — is now just another clean-shaven baseball announcer.

Hundreds gathered to mourn the iconic mustache and celebrate its life outside Citi Field prior to the Mets’ final home game of the season. Barber to the stars, Elliott Chester, was flown in from Las Vegas for the ceremonious shaving.

“It really was one of the best,” said Meg McQuaid, as she watched the final moments of a once great mustache.

Hernandez assured the crowd he was not nervous before his mustache was left to memory.  More than two decades of facial hair were erased with a few strokes of the razor.  All that remained were the whiskers scattered across the Mets announcers’ pants which he wiped away into history.

All was not lost with the shaving. Schick Hydro, who sponsored the event and provided the the instruments that resulted in the ‘staches’ demise, donated $10,000 to the Jacqueline Hernandez Adult Day Health Center in Brooklyn — named for Hernandez’s mother who suffered from Alzeimer’s Disease.

See Keith Hernandez’s transformation

Rollie Fingers may be among the few excited about the development. Hernandez beat out the handle-barred Hall of Famer in 2007 to be named the American Mustache Institutes’ “Greatest Sports Mustache of All Time.”

“His title will either be given to runner-up Rollie Fingers, an athlete and role model who has never turned his back on the Mustache American community, or Keith’s actions may necessitate revisiting the voting effort altogether,” Dr. Aaron Perlut wrote on AMI’s site.

Whisker free for the first time in 25 years, Hernandez said he never really took to the hirsute look that has become synonymous with the announcer and former MVP.

He will remain sans soup strainer for the remainder of the season, after which he will be faced with another momentous decision: does he let the mustache return.

So how does it feel, now that the upper lip sweater is no more?

According to the freshly shaven Hernandez, “It’s cold.”

What to do with the kids this weekend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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QUEENS

Friday, September 21

4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Viva La Comida!, the first-ever 82nd Street Partnership event, will shine a spotlight on the fun, food and entertainment options in Elmhurst/Jackson Heights. Food trucks will be everywhere, and the event will include the 82nd Street dance troupe from the Mestizo Art Center, performances by the NY Jazz Academy, the International String Duo and a pop-up crafts market in the Jackson Heights Cinema. Free.

Saturday, September 22

11:30 a.m., Come to aspecial screening of “Hotel Transylvania” at the Museum of the Moving Image before it hits the movie theaters on Sept. 28. In this major animated motion picture, Dracula (whose voice is provided by Adam Sandler) invites some of the world’s most famous monsters—Frankenstein and his bride; the Mummy; the Invisible Man; and others—to celebrate his daughter’s 118th birthday. Free with museum admission.

1:10 p.m., At Bark in the Park 2 attendees of the Mets baseball game against the Miami Marlins will have the opportunity to sit with their pooches and fellow dog lovers and their pets in designated seats. The profit of the dog ticket and a portion of the human ticket will benefit the North Shore Animal League. To participate in the pre-game dog parade, report to the Bullpen Gate by noon with tickets. This gate opens at 11:40 a.m.

3 p.m. – 8 p.m.,The Queens Museum of Art, in partnership with El Museo del Barrio, The Studio Museum in Harlem & cariBBeing, presents Carnival Panorama: Families Celebrate Carnival Traditions as part of the public programming for the current exhibition Caribbean: Crossroads of the World. This free event will include demonstrations of old Carnival Caribbean traditions, including musical workshops and performances. There will also be face painting and balloon sculpting.

6:30 p.m., The second annual Flicks in the Garden at Sunnyside Gardens Park will feature family-friendly live music and rare cartoons from the 1930s and 1940s. The folk Irish duo New York Trad will play music near an open dance floor before an outdoor cinema will be created.

7 p.m., The Third Annual Making Movies Dance Festival at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center will feature the Creative Outlet Dance Theatre, Synthesis, Dance Project, MAWU Dance and Latihente Dance.

Saturday, September 22 – Sunday, September 23

10 a.m. – 4 p.m., At the 2012 Fall Mamas Expo get insider access to local schools, services, specialists and products currently available to Queens families. Plus, there will be a marionette performance, business promotions, a screening of the Charlie Chaplin movie “The Kid” and all-day access to the Museum of the Moving Image.

11 a.m. – 6 p.m., The 30th Annual Queens County Fair at the Queens County Farm Museum is a traditional county fair with blue-ribbon contests in livestock, produce, home crafts, pie-eating, corn-husking, arm wrestling, hayrides and carnival rides.

Sunday, September 23

11:00 a.m.  - 2:00 p.m., Come to the Fall Family Festival at the Samuel Field Y for a day of arts and crafts, carnival rides and games, food and refreshments  as well as the first Summer Camp and Early Childhood Open House of the new season.

12 p.m., The annual Queens Hispanic Pride Parade in Jackson Heights will be held on Sunday afternoon.

2 p.m. – 8 p.m., A Time to Remember: An Evening of Positive Entertainment is a family event featuring interfaith and multicultural entertainment and messages in the form of music, dance, steel pan playing, arts, crafts, fashion, face-painting and games. Bring chairs and blanket. Free.

 

AROUND QUEENS

Friday, September 21 – Sunday, September 23

10:30 a.m. (Friday, Saturday) 1 p.m.(Sunday), Sesame Street Live will be at the Nassau Coliseum for three days, starting September 21.

Saturday, September 22

12 p.m. – 1 p.m., At the Museum of Modern Art’s Animal Adventures event, children and their parents can watch classic animated and live-action short films with an animal theme.

Saturday, September 22 – Sunday, September 23

11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., Come to the Long Island Children’s Museum this weekend to see Dora the Explorer Live! “Dora’s Pirate Adventure.”

Sunday, September 23

11 a.m., Family-friendly band Lunch Money is performing at the 92YTribeca, singing about roller coasters, giant cookies, getting dizzy and more childhood themed topics.

1 p.m. – 4 p.m., At the Eighth Annual Kite Flight on the rooftop of the Port Authority Bus Terminal, there will be free kite making and flying workshops, a musical performance by Louie & Subanda, a flying yoga demonstration by Om Factory, jugglers, unicyclists and other circus performers, face painting, street games and an old fashioned hot dog cart. Free.

 

LI man pleads guilty to running onto field after Mets no-hitter


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A Massapequa, Long Island man that jumped onto Citi Field after Mets pitcher Johan Santana threw the baseball team’s first no-hitter, pleaded guilty to interfering with a professional sporting event, announced Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

At the June 1 game this summer, Rafael Diaz, 33, made it all the way to the pitcher’s mound where he came in physical contact with players before he was apprehended, according to the DA’s office.

Diaz, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor on September 13, has to pay a $1,000 fine to the City of New York , $4,000 in civil penalties to the Mets and perform 100 hours of community service.

Additionally, he is banned from Citi Field for one year.

The Mets organization has also served him with a trespass notice that indefinitely prevents him from entering any of their playing venues, said the DA’s office.

Emerald Society Pipes and Drums celebrate 50th anniversary at Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Ed McLoughlin was sitting at one of the tables set up on what is normally the warming track of Citi Field’s diamond. In a green-tartan kilt, white shirt and black jacket, he was telling stories of a musical band for the FDNY that dissolved in the late 1950s.

As he continued to discuss how the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums first officially performed in 1962, he was told to go into the tunnels of the ballpark: guests were arriving and he needed to join his fellow musicians to get ready.

Firefighters, active and retired, families and friends celebrated the 50th anniversary of the music group that has become a symbol of New York’s Bravest on Saturday, September 15

“We have a lot of tradition in the band,” said drum major Liam Flaherty. “We really look up to the senior guys, without them we’d be home tonight watching TV. It’s all because of them and their hard work years ago; they put the time in and created the great organization that it is.”

Over the years the band — now with around 90 bagpipers and drummers — has grown and shared its ups and downs.

They have performed for ceremonial events and funerals. Every St. Patrick’s Day since 1963 they have marched down Fifth Avenue to celebrate the Celtic heritage that is commonly associated with the FDNY.

The group formed after a meeting in September of 1961, McLoughlin said, with 12 pipers and five drummers — three snare drums, one bass and one tenor. Their first performance was just more than a year later, in November of 1962.

Five founders took the field with their comrades for the 50th celebration; six have passed on, McLoughlin said. Some, however, were not able to make it.

“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “It’s a great tribute to the [FDNY] members of Irish extraction.”

While the Emerald Society celebrates St. Patrick’s Day every year, they have also taken part in putting their fallen friends to rest. Following the 9/11 attacks, Pipes and Drums took part in more than 450 funerals, nationwide and even in Europe.

Flaherty — who took over as drum major in 1996 — echoed that there were times for remembering and times for celebration.

“It’s a celebration of 50 years of good times, bad times and it’s always nice when the band gets together for something positive,” he said.

Flaherty said a neighbor saw him get on the elevator in his uniform and instantly assumed the worst.

“A guy in my building said ‘oh no,’ he looked at me and said ‘are you going to another funeral?’ I go ‘no, no, today’s a great day — we’re celebrating 50 years.’”

Olympian Gabby Douglas throws first pitch at Citi Field


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

It’s been a whirlwind journey for two-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas since she returned stateside after the London games.

She’s met Oprah Winfrey, first lady Michelle Obama, and appeared on a number of talk shows after capturing gold in team and individual all-around competitions — the first American woman to win both in the same Olympic Games.

Douglas’ “victory lap” included a stop to Citi Field, where she threw out the first pitch of the August 23 Mets game against the Colorado Rockies to pitcher Robert Carson as the stadium applauded her appearance.

Douglas, who was born and raised in Virginia Beach before moving to Iowa to train, also posed for pictures with fellow Virginian David Wright — who is from Norfolk.

During the fourth inning, the 16-year-old Douglas told SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt that she never saw herself becoming a celebrity and has been adjusting to becoming an inspiration.

“I never expected that,” she said. “It’s a little bit crazy.”

Earlier in the day, Douglas closed out the Citi Field Kids Program and told kids that if they wanted to accomplish something, it was all about hard work and determination.

“Champions are made through the tough and hard times,” Douglas said. “You have to put your all into what you do and you have to love it too.”