Tag Archives: College Point

Vallone allocates $68K for Doe Fund to clean Bayside, College Point


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $68,000 to contract The Doe Fund to clean up the streets, according to the councilman’s spokesman.

As part of the 2015 council budget, Vallone was given the money to spend on cleaning initiatives in Bayside and the surrounding neighborhoods within his council district, according to a spokesman for Vallone. And he plans on concentrating cleaning efforts on College Point Boulevard in College Point and Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where The Doe Fund will be charged with power washing the sidewalks, sweeping the sidewalks and replacing trash bins.

“Clean sidewalks and litter-free streets are a big part of our quality of life,” Vallone said. “The money allocated for The Doe Fund will go a long way to beautifying and maintaining College Point Boulevard and Bell Boulevard, two of the most important and widely used commercial strips in my district.“

According to Vallone’s spokesman, College Point Boulevard between 14th and 23rd avenues is in particular need of cleaning because of the stained, blackened sidewalks and the abundance of litter. Another spot that they will be concentrating on is Bell Boulevard between 35th Avenue to 45th Drive.

The Doe Fund’s street cleaning crews, made up of formerly homeless or recently incarcerated men, will start the cleaning job on Oct. 1 and continue until June 30, 2015. According to Vallone’s spokesman, there will be four workers covering the areas three days a week.

The Doe Fund’s presence is now in 10 Council districts in Queens, which is up from six in 2013. The increase in the crew’s services comes after the City Council approved $3.5 million for cleaning initiatives.

Vallone is scheduled to hold a press conference on Monday, Sept. 22, to announce the cleaning initiative with Doe’s founder, George McDonald.

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Bayside resident prepares for annual pigeon race


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Xu Jun wakes up every morning at 4 a.m. and drives hundreds of miles away from his Bayside apartment with at least 70 pigeons, then lets them find their way home. He’s training his birds, known as homing pigeons, for a competition in September.

“When I was young I liked to have pigeons,” Jun said in Mandarin, speaking through translator Lisa Zhang. “It’s always been an interest of mine.”

Jun participates in various races across the northeast and he began the hobby three years ago. The World Center Memorial Race, the one Jun is currently preparing for, is hosted by the Bronx Homing Pigeon Club and takes place in late September. Each of Jun’s 101 pigeons has an individual number tag so that the race organizers can make sure nobody cheats. The organizers of the race will take Jun’s birds, along with hundreds of other contestants’ birds, to an undisclosed area where they are released. Contestants are judged based on how fast their flock comes home, according to Jun.

Jun’s birds live in a wooden nest, known as a loft, in a College Point bus repair shop. The loft serves as their home and final destination in races. Jun works for the shop and during the lulls in his work schedule he cleans the loft and feeds the birds.

Homing pigeons have two racing seasons. The first is in late September when the birds are less than a year old. The second season is in the spring and the birds are typically older by this point in their racing careers.

With the first race season approaching, Jun has been training his pigeons by taking them further and further out in New Jersey every week and then releasing them in the wild, where they will usually take several hours to fly back home.

“I just like pigeons. It’s a very simple thing for me and I enjoy it,” Jun said. That day he was particularly pleased with his birds’ athletic performance; he released 73 and all of them returned, an outcome that doesn’t always happen.

“There’s kind of a neat tradition to pigeon homing,” said Deone Roberts, who works for the American Racing Pigeon Union, an organization that’s affiliated with hundreds of pigeon clubs across the country.

“The bird’s simply enjoying flying and going home,” she said. “[The pigeon] wants to go home and be with his mate and their offspring. It makes good fun.”

Using pigeons for racing has been around in America since the late 1800s, according to Roberts’ organization. The birds, a common sight in New York City, were also used during WWII to transmit messages across enemy lines.

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Derelict boat goes unnoticed in College Point


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The origin of an abandoned boat on the College Point shoreline in Flushing Bay is a mystery but like the bay’s water, which government agency is responsible for abandoned vessels is murky.

According to the Coast Guard and other organizations, there is no agency that’s responsible for such unworthy sea vessels that aren’t obstructing waterways.

“It just appeared here one day and we’ve been salvaging it for parts ever since,” said a construction worker, who didn’t want his name revealed because he didn’t know whether it was illegal to take parts of the boat. He said that the boat has been in the bay for five years. While the decrepit boat shell doesn’t bother the construciton worker, he wonders why the city hasn’t done anything about it.

“If someone abandons their car, the government is going to tow it, right? So why do different rules apply here?” he said.

The hulk, which has the word “Fright” written in white on its bow, is completely rusted over and its innards, engine and all, have been gutted by the mechanics in the area.

Since the boat sits on the muddy shore near 119th Street and 20th Avenue, the Coast Guard doesn’t need to do anything about it. The Coast Guard will only do something if dysfunctional boats block waterways. The same goes for the Army Corp of Engineers but neither knows anything about the boat, according to spokesmen for the two entities.

College Point’s civic association also doesn’t know anything about the boat. The Arrow Yacht Club, which is located near the abandoned boat, is unaware of the about 60-foot-long beached vessel.

There are indications that the boat once traversed New York City’s waterways in the service of helping larger vessels move, such as its stout but thick build and the corroded rubber bumper.
Things like clothes and sleeping bags below deck suggest that someone now might be using the boat as a home.

 

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Health Department to treat Queens against West Nile


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Friday, Aug. 15, Monday, Aug.18 and Tuesday, Aug.19, the Health Department will treat parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will apply larvicide by using a low-flying helicopter, will take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Monday, Aug. 18, Tuesday, Aug.19 and Wednesday, Aug. 20 during the same hours

VectoBacTM CG, VectoMaxTM CG/FG and/or VectoLexTM CG/FG—all containing naturally occurring bacteria—will be used for this spraying. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito- breeding sites, and are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, according to the city’s Health Department.

LOCATIONS:

Alley Pond Park and Alley Creek (Boundaries: Marsh areas inside Alley Pond Park)

Linden Hill/ College Point and Abandoned Flushing Airport (Boundaries: Marsh areas bounded by Whitestone Expressway to the east; 20th Avenue to the north; 130th Avenue and Ulmer Street to the west; and Ulmer Street and 28th Street to the south)

Edgemere, Somerville Dubos Point and Edgemere Park (Boundaries: Marsh areas bounded by Norton Basin to the east; Mott Point to the north; Grass Hassock Channel to the west; and Beach 65th Street, De Costa Avenue and Almeda Avenue to the south)

 

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College Point tattoo shop hopes to make an indelible mark in Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

A College Point tattoo shop is packing up, needles and ink in tow, and moving to Bayside to add a little color to Bell Boulevard.

Mean Streets Tattoo first opened in 1999 and is owned by Tommy Murphy, who is also one of the store’s main tattoo artists.

But in recent years, “College Point is not what it used to be,” Murphy said. “We just wanted to go to a neighborhood that’s more upscale and local.”

Murphy, who is from Whitestone, cited the opening of corporate stores in recent years like the Target as a contributing factor to the decline in business for his tattoo shop.

“All the local stores are starting to feel the pressure,” he said.

Along with his partner and daughter, both of whom work as tattoo artists, Murphy plans on opening his new shop on Sept. 1, leaving behind their original location.

The new Bell Boulevard site used to belong to a gift shop, Top Drawer, before it closed down earlier this year, according to neighboring businesses and city records.

According to the Times Ledger, Top Drawer was in business for 35 years and owners Jeffrey and Karen Serin decided to close shop for good after their lease expired. Renovations have just started but Murphy is excited for the new business and being in Bayside.

“Bell Boulevard is an amazing thing and it has a really strong small business atmosphere and we’re looking forward to being part of that,” he said.

 

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College Point historical site gets renovation funds, hopes for revival


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The historic Poppenhusen Institute‘s foundation sits on sand and its façade deteriorates with age. After 30 years of weathering wind from the bay, the College Point cultural center is going to be restored.

The city granted funds to the historical landmark building in order to complete overdue repairs to its exterior and to also build an elevator for the three upper floors, according to city documents. The last time the building’s exterior was working was in 1980s.

Executive Director Susan Brustmann believes the repairs and construction will cost $10 million but the city has only approved $5 million. The two major jobs will begin in early 2015 and will last for at least a year, according to Brustmann.

At a time when the nineteenth century building is in danger of closing down, the city grant is a welcome relief, according to Brustmann.

“We’re facing the most challenging time in our history,” she said. “So we’re very grateful that the city has given us money. The construction will be a great thing once it’s done.”

When the repairs are completed, Brustmann hopes to attract new revenue sources like getting the HBO show “Boardwalk Empire” to come back and film another scene in the building’s party hall.

Poppenhusen was built in 1868 with funds from Conrad Poppenhusen, a German immigrant. Since opening, the building has taken on various roles, from holding the first kindergarten class in America to housing German Singing Societies to being a court room and a sheriff’s office with two jail cells that still stand today.

Brustmann hopes to bring some of that diversity back by not only offering its historic rooms to film crews  but by also hosting a coffee shop on the third floor, overlooking the water.

In 2008 the Institute lost its state funding and now relies on city grants and donations. For now, its plan is to hold on until the construction is finished.

“College Point is off the beaten path but we’re fighting to get people in here and stay relevant,” Brustmann said. “We’re not giving up.”

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‘Quiet Clubbing’ comes to Astoria beer garden


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Quiet Events

The music booms silently at one Astoria beer garden.

Every other Friday, guests are greeted at the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, located at 29-19 24th Ave., with wireless headphones and a quiet dance floor. Once they put on their headphones, the party begins.

This biweekly party is called “Quiet Clubbing” and is organized by the company Quiet Events, founded in 2012 by College Point resident William Petz after he experienced what is known as a “silent disco” on a cruise with family.

“We enjoyed it so much and thought someone had to be doing it in New York, but no one was,” Petz said. “I figured let me buy 300 headphones and worst comes to worst I sell them on eBay.”

During the event, there are three live DJs each playing a different genre of music such as hip-hop, old-school hits and top 40s. Guests put on their headphones and can switch to any of the three stations with LED lights on the headphones changing from blue, red and green, letting others know which DJ they’ve picked.

“We took a beer garden and almost turned it to a festival,” Petz said. He estimates that between 500 to 600 people attend each night, with the numbers only growing.

Petz said that although some people might assume these types of parties are “anti-social,” he believes the environment actually allows guests to get together and adjust the volume on their headphones to be able to strike up conversations.

“It kind of is weird but it is not silent, it is not quiet. People are singing to songs, laughing and having conversations with friends,” Petz said. “You can have friends who love different types of music, dancing together. We get people to do things they normally don’t want to do.”

Along with the biweekly “quiet clubbing” parties at the Beer Garden, Quiet Events, which will soon move its headquarters to Astoria, also organizes other events such as mobile parties.

During these mobile parties about 100 to 150 people are taken around New York City, all with headphones on, and walk with a certified tour guide. Petz said it is sort of like beer crawl, but guests get to learn more about the city as well.

Quiet Events also rents its equipment to other bars and clubs, and in some cases sells the equipment.

The next Quiet Clubbing party at the Beer Garden is Friday, Aug. 1, and starts at 10 p.m. Tickets are $5 online and $10 at the door.

“The best part for me is when you talk to someone and they say they don’t get it and afterwards they love it,” Petz said “You won’t get it until you put those headphones on. It’s golden.”

For more information, click here.

 

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West Nile spraying set for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, July 30, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, July 31 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 College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba and Whitestone (Bordered by the East River, Powell’s Cove, 138th Street and 11th Avenue to the north; Flushing Bay and Flushing River to the west; Northern Boulevard to the south; and 149th Street, 20th Avenue and Whitestone Expressway 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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West Nile detected in Douglaston, College Point


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

BENJAMIN FANG

The West Nile virus was recently detected in mosquitoes in Douglaston and College Point, but no human cases have been reported so far, according to city officials.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett encouraged New Yorkers to take precautions, such as wearing mosquito repellent and covering arms and legs while outside.

“During warm weather, mosquitoes can breed in any still water that stands for more than four days,” Basset said, “so the most effective way to control mosquitoes is to eliminate standing water.”

To address the issue, the health department is applying larvicide in marsh areas  and other non-residential areas, including Alley Pond Park, the abandoned Flushing Airport in College Point, and Dubos Point and Edgemere Park in Far Rockaway. The sprayings will take place on Thursday, July 17, Friday July 18 and Monday July 21, from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., weather permitting.

Not everyone infected by the virus becomes ill, officials said. But it can cause complications, such as neurological diseases, and symptoms like headache, fever, fatigue, or sometimes a rash.

 

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Cops search for College Point serial burglar


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

A serial burglar has committed 25 break-ins in College Point since March, police said.

Cops are looking to identify a man caught on film during a May 8 burglary near 14th Avenue and 124th Street.

During the burglaries, the man broke into residential locations and stole items that included jewelry, electronics and money, mostly during daylight hours, police said.

In one incident on May 25, $3,000 in Chinese currency was taken, cops said.

The suspect is described as about 25 to 40 years old and 170 to 180 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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Health Department to treat areas of Queens against West Nile this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Wednesday, June 18, Thursday, June 19 and Friday, June 20 the Health Department will treat parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will apply larvicide by using a low-flying helicopter, will take place between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, June 19, Friday, June 20 and Monday, June 23 during the same hours.

VectoBacTM CG, VectoMaxTM CG/FG and/or VectoLexTM CG/FG—all containing naturally occurring bacteria—will be used for this spraying. These larvicides are used throughout the mosquito season to treat mosquito- breeding sites, and are approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, according to the city’s Health Department.

LOCATIONS:

Alley Pond Park and Alley Creek (Boundaries: Marsh areas inside Alley Pond Park)

Linden Hill/ College Point and Abandoned Flushing Airport (Boundaries: Marsh areas bounded by Whitestone Expressway to the east; 20th Avenue to the north; 130th Avenue and Ulmer Street to the west; and Ulmer Street and 28th Street to the south)

Edgemere, Somerville Dubos Point and Edgemere Park (Boundaries: Marsh areas bounded by Norton Basin to the east; Mott Point to the north; Grass Hassock Channel to the west; and Beach 65th Street, De Costa Avenue and Almeda Avenue to the south)

 

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Avonte Oquendo’s mom files suit against city: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Handout

The mother of Avonte Oquendo has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, charging various agencies and individuals with negligence leading to the death of the 14-year-old autistic teen, according to published reports.

Vanessa Fontaine reportedly filed the suit last week in Queens Supreme Court blaming the Department of Education, NYPD and members of Avonte’s Long Island City school for her son’s death.

Among the Center Boulevard School individuals are school safety agent Bernadette Perez and principal Susan McNulty, reports said.

The 14-year-old was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River last October. Surveillance footage caught the teen running through the halls unsupervised before leaving the building. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

The lawsuit does not have a dollar amount, according to reports, however family attorney David Perecman previously said the family would be seeking $25 million.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Overcast. High 51. Winds E at 15 to 25 mph. Tuesday night: Considerable cloudiness. Occasional rain showers after midnight. Low around 45. Winds E at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 50%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Mookie Wilson book signing

Join Barnes and Noble Fresh Meadows as it welcomes New York Mets World Series legend Mookie Wilson for the signing of his new book “Mookie- Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets.” Wristband distribution begins at 9:00 am. Book signing starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Suspect tried to kidnap teen off College Point street: cops

A man tried to grab an 18-year-old girl off a College Point street Sunday and force her into his car, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

State Assembly advances bill for more speed cameras in NYC, Long Island

The New York State Assembly voted Monday to authorize hundreds of new speed cameras for school zones in New York City and Long Island. Read more: CBS New York

City Council members set to reform discretionary funds

City Council members are set to introduce legislation Tuesday that would make the distribution of discretionary funds more equitable, sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post

New York graduation rate slightly below national average

A new report on high school graduation rates shows that 77 percent of New York state’s Class of 2012 graduated on time, slightly below the national average. Read more: AP

Users bemoan NYC e-cigarette ban

A law in New York City making “electronic cigarettes” subject to the same regulations as tobacco is taking effect Tuesday, and their sellers and users are steadfast in their opposition. Read more: NBC New York

 

Suspect tried to kidnap teen off College Point street: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man tried to grab an 18-year-old girl off a College Point street Sunday and force her into his car, police said.

The victim was walking down 25th Avenue toward 126th Street around 12:15 a.m. when the suspect drove up to the teen and asked her if she wanted a ride, cops said.

She refused and continued walking down the block. The suspect then parked his vehicle at the corner of 25th Avenue and 124th Street, grabbed the victim around the waist, put his hand over her mouth and tried to drag her back to his car, police said.

The girl fought off her would-be kidnapper and he ran back to his vehicle, then drove off northbound on 124th Street, according to officials.

Police have released a sketch of the suspect and describe him as a Hispanic man, approximately 30 to 35 years old and 5 feet six inches tall, with a slim build, light beard and mustache, and short, dark spiked hair. He was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt.

A photo of the four-door sedan he was driving has also been released. The vehicle has damage to the passenger side area.

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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New footage shows Avonte Oquendo tried to escape day before disappearance: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Newly released video surveillance footage shows teen Avonte Oquendo tried to run away from his class just a day before he dashed out of his school never to be seen again, according to published reports.

The 14-year-old autistic teen had tried to escape October 3 when he was being brought down from the fifth floor to the second floor of the Riverview School in Long Island City with group of students. Avonte broke away from the group and ran to the first floor, revealed NYPD documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reports said.

The Riverview School shares space in the building known as the Hunters Point Campus across the street from the East River.

The day of his disappearance, Avonte was heading back from the cafeteria with a group of students and three school employees when he slipped away. He was last seen through surveillance footage running out of the school. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

A report previously released by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District investigation says Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte’s mother, expressed her concerns to her son’s teacher about him being a “runner.” The teacher never shared the information with school administrators, the report said.

The investigation also found Avonte ran out of the building through a door left opened by an unidentified man.

 

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