Tag Archives: College Point

West Nile treatment to target Queens this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of NYC Health Department

The city’s Health Department will treat parts of Queens over several days this week to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

Though no human cases of the virus have been reported this season, high mosquito populations have been found in the marsh areas of the city, which could increase due to the hot weather and wet conditions.

The treatment, which will involve the application of larvicide from low-flying helicopters, will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 5, Thursday, Aug. 6, and Friday, Aug. 7, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 6, Friday, Aug. 7, and Monday, Aug. 10, during the same hours, and could also be completed in less time than allotted.

For this application, the Health Department will use larvicides containing naturally occurring bacteria — VectoBac GS, VectoMax FG and/or VectoLex FGG. The products are all approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Locations:

Alley Pond Park (Marsh areas inside Alley Pond Park)

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

Edgemere and Somerville (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 industrial and office building selling for $4.4M


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Courtesy  of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

A 21,058-square-foot corner building located at 14-29 112th St. in College Point is selling for $4.4 million, according to an announcement by real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

The industrial and office building is located on a 35,060-square-foot lot and was formerly the site of a medical facility with light industrial activity. The facility will be closing up shop and leaving the premises within the year.

The site is described as ideal for an owner-user. Stephen Preuss, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield, said, “The most common buyers are owner-users — people who will purchase the property and use it for their own business. There’s a lack of usable industrial and warehouse property because a lot of land in Queens is now taken up by residential development sites. Owner-users are the most interested and the most aggressive parties looking at this property.”

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Flushing Met Food Market to close after July 26

Buffalo Wild Wings to open in College Point

NYPD to sign 20-year lease for College Point tow pound

Flushing street to be co-named after 3-year-old crash victim


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of His-Pei Liao and Amy Tam-Liao

The memory of a young Flushing girl tragically killed on a local street two years ago will live on with the co-naming of a neighborhood street.

The northeast corner of Main Street and Cherry Avenue in Flushing will be known as Allison Hope Liao Way after Allison Liao, a 3-year-old girl who was fatally hit by a car on Oct. 13, 2013, while crossing the street with her grandmother.

“Allison Liao was a bright and boisterous young girl with limitless potential who had her whole life ahead of her,” said Councilman Peter Koo, who sponsored the co-naming request. “While her senseless death was devastating to our community, it has also spurred impassioned awareness campaigns on driver safety across the city.”

After her death, Liao’s parents helped to form “Families for Safe Streets,” an advocacy group of people affected by traffic violence. The Liao family was instrumental in lowering the NYC default speed limit, and the tragedy of their daughter’s death was one of the catalysts for the foundation of the Vision Zero set of traffic and street safety initiatives.

“We are deeply grateful for Councilman Koo’s assistance in the street co-naming, and more importantly, for his continued support of Vision Zero and other street safety initiatives,” the Liao family said in a statement.

Koo said that he hoped drivers who may be distracted or impatient behind the wheel will realize the potential consequences of their carelessness.

“As drivers pass Allison Hope Liao Way, it is our hope that they recall her parents’ poignant question, ‘Is it worth it?’” Koo said.

The bill also creates Ptl. Phillip Cardillo Way on 28th Avenue between College Point Boulevard and Ulmer Street in College Point. The street is outside a new NYPD academy that opened in January.

“Soon, generations of new officers will be able to look to the sign and know his story and legacy to the department,” said bill sponsor Councilman Paul Vallone of District 19.

Cardillo had been on the force for five years when he and his partner received a false call about an officer in distress at the Nation of Islam mosque on 116th Street on April 14, 1974. The two responding officers were attacked upon their arrival, and Cardillo, 31, was fatally shot. He has been honored with an NYPD patrol boat named after him, and a book published in 2007 by author Randy Jurgenson tells the story of his death and the case against his killer.

“May this sign forever remind us of the sacrifices that the men and women of the NYPD are too often asked to selflessly make, as well as serve as a symbol that these sacrifices are never forgotten,” Vallone said. “This recognition has been long overdue and I couldn’t be more proud to right the wrongs from 43 years ago.”

The bill also names the northeast corner of Northern Boulevard and Marathon Parkway in Little Neck as Matinecock Way.

The Matinecock Native Americans once lived in communities spanning the area of northeast Queens, but the last of the tribe was driven out of Douglaston and Little Neck in 1656 in the battle of Madnan’s Neck. Matinecock graves were discovered in the 1930s at Northern Boulevard and were re-buried in the cemetery of the Zion Episcopal Church. The Bayside Historical Society and the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee were the first to bring the issue up to the Community Board.

“I am proud to finally pay the long overdue recognition to the Matinecock descendants and their ancestors who hold an important place in our neighborhood’s history,” Vallone said.

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Buffalo Wild Wings to open in College Point


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Stephen Vrattos

College Point residents will have a new sports bar to watch all the major games, as Buffalo Wild Wings prepares to open a new franchise in the neighborhood.

The new Buffalo Wild Wings will be at 134-15 20th Ave., formerly the home of a Boulder Creek Steakhouse.

According to James Bitzonis, president of the company that operates all Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the New York metro area, the wing joint will be serving beer and its signature fried cuisine to College Point locals in about three months. He declined to answer any other questions, including inquiries about how large the space is planned to be.

New York City currently has seven other Buffalo Wild Wings locations so far, two of which are situated in Queens. One of these locations can be found in Terminal 4 of JFK Airport, and the other is in Forest Hills at 107-16 71st Ave.

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NYPD to sign 20-year lease for College Point tow pound


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of George Filippidis

Community Board 7 gave the NYPD its blessing Monday night to sign a 20-year lease on a tow pound previously under a temporary agreement to operate at 31-22 College Point Blvd.

After hearing both sides of the debate, the board voted overwhelmingly to recommend that the tow pound stay, with 29 votes supporting the long-term arrangement and 14 votes against.

The tow pound appeared on the lot in 2013 to the chagrin of College Point residents, who feared that the facility would increase traffic and weaken streets already riddled with potholes and deteriorating roads. The area also hosts a new police training academy which opened in January.

With an average of 40 to 50 cars towed into the facility daily, the tow pound is estimated to generate additional traffic of around 60 cars per day including cars towed and employee vehicles. The location has on-site parking for employees, and can accommodate 157 cars.

Despite area residents’ initial reservations, police say they have not received any complaints in the two years of the tow pound’s operation in College Point.

Owners Jerry and George Filippidis, brothers who are both residents of the area, assured board members that they were trying to consider the good of the neighborhood by choosing the relatively lower traffic tow pound than a big box retailer.

The area is currently zoned for retail use, so no additional approvals would be needed for a large store to occupy the building. According to Jerry Filippidis, a large retail store could generate traffic of more than 50 cars and trucks per hour coming into the site.

“I wanted to be able to look every single one of you in the eye and let you know that we made the right decision,” said Jerry Filippidis, who has lived in the community for 25 years.

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Health Department to treat parts of Queens against West Nile


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of NYC Health Department

The city’s Health Department will treat parts of Queens over several days this week to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will involve the application of larvicide from low-flying helicopters, will take place on Tuesday, June 9, Wednesday, June 10, and Thursday, June 11, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, June 10, Thursday, June 11, and Friday, June 12, during the same hours, and could also be completed in less time than allotted.

For this application, the Health Department will use larvicides containing naturally occurring bacteria — VectoBac CG, VectoMax CG/FG and/or VectoLex CG/FG.

LOCATIONS:

Alley Pond Park (Marsh areas inside Alley Pond Park)

Linden Hill and College Point (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 and Somerville (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)

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize exposure to mosquitoes:

• Use an approved insect repellent containing picaridin, DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus (not for children under three) or products that contain the active ingredient IR3535.
• Make sure windows have screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or holes.
• Eliminate any standing water from your property and dispose of containers that can collect water. Standing water is a violation of the New York City Health Code.
• Make sure roof gutters are clean and draining properly.
• Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs. Keep them empty or covered if not in use; drain water that collects in pool covers.
• Report standing water by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/health/wnv.

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Crystal Windows celebrating 25 years in Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The ’90s was an interesting time. The era is known for a variety of weird and colorful inventions, such as slap bracelets and light-up shoes, and famous figures from basketball legend Michael Jordan to Pokemon’s Pikachu.

It was also during that time a Taiwanese immigrant named Thomas Chen decided to stop working in construction and start his own window manufacturing company in Queens.

“I always wanted to do something in manufacturing,” Chen said. “And when I came to New York City I saw a lot of windows, so I felt that I have to do windows.”

Although back then using his College Point home garage and his teenage son as his only employee was hardly enough to be called a company, Chen’s business has grown to become the largest window manufacturer in the city and among the top 40 in the country since its inception in 1990.

Crystal Windows & Door Systems, now headquartered in a sprawling 215,000-square-foot Flushing facility not far from their old garage, produces more than 400,000 windows a year, serving numerous customers around the country and in some parts of the world, such as the Caribbean and Asia.

The company is celebrating its quarter-century birthday this year and to pay homage to the era in which the company was founded, Crystal held a ’90s-themed customer appreciation party Wednesday at Terrace on the Park. The event featured vintage video games, including Street Fighter for Super Nintendo, a performance from a Madonna impersonator and free neon-colored slap bracelets. It was their way of saying thanks to the consumers who made the rags to riches story a reality, but also to remember a time when it was all but a dream in a garage.

“When the company first started we never thought it would get up to this size. We thought we would still remain in our garage and just make enough to survive,” said Steve Chen, son of Thomas and the chief operating officer. “And then over time companies found out about us and we just kept growing and growing.”


Steve said one of the reasons why they have become such a big company from humble beginnings is because of their focus on quality.

The company offers over 56 different styles of windows that feature green designs and are energy efficient, and they are always looking to improve their products. They’ve even added a 3-D printer in the facility so engineers can be more creative with designs.

Crystal employs about 500 people around the country, and that number could balloon to 600 during the window industry’s seasonal summer months.

They have four facilities around the country in Chicago, St. Louis and Riverside, California, and provide custom windows for new developments and renovations, for both commercial and residential buildings.

Crystal’s windows are even featured on A&E’s TV show “Flipping Boston,” and recently they made products for a new dormitory at Texas A&M University.

But despite the growth and the work around the country, Crystal has never forgotten where it all started.

Steve said they have no intentions of ever leaving Queens and that Crystal supports numerous arts and business organizations in the borough.

“The company prides itself as being New York City-based, Queens-based, because that’s where we started,” Chen said. “New York City, especially Queens has helped us grow the way we are and we always believe in giving back to the community. ”

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Your guide to Memorial Day parades and vigils in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The sacrifices of American soldiers will be celebrated across Queens in the days to come at various Memorial Day parades and vigils.

Among the celebrations are the following events, scheduled to take place rain or shine:

Woodhaven
Residents of Woodhaven will hold an early tribute to America’s fallen troops with a ceremony on Thursday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. The vigil, sponsored by the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, will take place at Forest Parkway Plaza, located at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway.

The program includes patriotic music, a color guard, laying of wreaths and remarks from local elected officials and veterans.

College Point
The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day Inc. will begin their parade on at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 24, at the intersection of 28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is set to appear along with other local officials, and veteran Louis A. DiAgostino will be honored as the grand marshal.

Marching bands, drill teams and dance groups will all be performing at the event, and military servicemen and women will march in the festivities. The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day are accepting donations to offset parade costs. For more information contact parade chairman Rev. Adam Crabtree at 718-640-8840.

Forest Hills
The Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade hosted by the American Legion and the Forest Hills Kiwanis Club will take place on Sunday at noon. The parade starts from Metropolitan and Ascan avenues and will head westward down Metropolitan Avenue to Trotting Course Lane. From there, the parade will turn right and stop at the landmarked Remsen Cemetery between Trotting Course Lane and Alderton Street.

This year’s grand marshal will be Roland Meier, president of the West Side Tennis Club. Members of ROTC, band, and local civic and children’s organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will march in the parade. Organizers of the parade will hold a ceremony at Remsen Cemetery to honor veterans.

Maspeth
The United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth will honor the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice during their 31st Memorial Day Parade on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Grand marshals James Desio, retired US Army WWII veteran, and William Aronowicz, retired U.S. Marine Corp. WWII veteran, will lead the procession, beginning at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, located at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue. At 2 p.m., there will be a memorial service for the deceased veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Middle Village
The St. Margaret Catholic War Veterans Post 1172 will honor those who died for the nation on Monday, May 25, with a special Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Margaret Church, located at the corner of Juniper Valley Road and 80th Street.

Then, at 11 a.m., post members and residents will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Middle Village Veterans Triangle, located at the corner of Gray and 77th streets near 66th Road. The ceremony will include prayers, a military salute and the playing of taps.

Glendale/Ridgewood
The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale, a committee made up of delegates from six veteran organizations, will honor the more than 1.14 million men and women of the U.S. armed forces who died in defense of the country during the 77th Memorial Day parade Monday.

At 11 a.m., the parade will begin at the Glendale War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues, with a short memorial service to honor the war dead of Glendale. They will then march down Myrtle Avenue westbound to the Ridgewood War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cypress Avenues, where there will be another short memorial service to honor the war dead of Ridgewood.

Howard Beach
The Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade will honor Vietnam War veterans, including the Howard Beach residents lost at war since the neighborhood’s founding.

There will be a memorial day Mass before the parade at Our Lady of Grace at 101st Street on Monday at 9:30 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., there will be a brief ceremony on top of Hawtree-Ramblersville Bridge and the parade will officially commence at Coleman’s Square at 11 a.m. The parade will stop at the Vietnam War Memorial, located at 99th Street and 157th Avenue and then head to the World War II Memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th St. They will then march to St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 58th St. before marching back to Coleman Square.

Laurelton
The Laurelton Lions Club will present the 26th Annual Laurelton Memorial Day Parade, featuring The Queens Area Pathfinders Marching Band and The Black and Gold Marching Elite Band, on Monday starting at 9 a.m. The parade begins at Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards, and will end at the Veterans Memorial Triangle at 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.

Sponsors for this year’s parade include the Laurelton Lions Club, American Legion Benjamin Moore Post 1946, Garden Club of Laurelton, Federated Blocks of Laurelton and Concerned Citizens of Laurelton in Conjunction with Col. Edward O. Gourdin VFW POST 5298.

Whitestone
The Whitestone Memorial Day Parade will honor veterans and public servants from the community on Monday, May 25. The event will begin at noon at Whitestone Memorial Park at 149th Street and 15th Drive with a ceremony. Following the ceremony, the parade will commence and follow a rectangular route around the neighborhood back to Whitestone Memorial Park. Jim Dunn, a veteran from The American Legion in Whitestone, will serve as the grand marshal.

The parade will feature classic cars, elected officials, children from local sports leagues, and it will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Whitestone’s Engine 295/Ladder 144 of the FDNY. For additional, information or to volunteer call Devon O’Connor, parade chairman, at 718-757-8546.

Woodside/Sunnyside
This year the St. Sebastian’s War Veterans will host the Woodside Memorial Day Parade to honor fellow veterans on Monday starting at 11 a.m. Parade participants will get together at the St. Sebastian’s School yard located at the corner of Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and John V. Daniels Jr. Post No 2813 in Sunnyside will host a Memorial Day event to honor veterans on Monday at 11 a.m. The event will be held at John Vincent Daniels Square, located on Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street. During the ceremony, a wreath will be placed at the flagpole in the middle of the park.

Little Neck/Douglaston
This year’s Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Monday, pays special tribute to Vietnam War veterans. Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, will serve as grand marshal of the march sponsored by the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association.

The march begins in Great Neck from the corner of Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard, then proceeds west on the boulevard to the yard of St. Anastasia’s Church, located near Northern Boulevard and 245th Street.

College Point to celebrate Memorial Day with 11-year-old Poppy Queen


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Feehan family

This year’s Memorial Day Parade in College Point has a pretty Poppy Queen with a patriotic heritage.

Julia Elizabeth Feehan, a fifth-grader at a local Catholic school, is a talented young performance artist who enjoys acting, singing and dancing, and both her paternal and maternal grandfathers served in the U.S. Army.

“I enjoy the spotlight sometimes so it’s nice to do that and honor the soldiers at the same time,” Feehan said.

Her paternal grandfather, William Feehan, was a veteran of the Korean War who served from 1951 to 1953. He spent his professional years after 1959 as a New York City firefighter until he lost his life as a first deputy fire commissioner responding to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Feehan’s maternal grandfather, Bob Fetonte, served in the U.S. Army in 1961 and was honorably discharged.

Julia’s father, John, was also involved in public service, serving as a corpsman in the Army Reserve from 1999 to 2003 with Fleet Hospital in Fort Dix. He is now a chief in the FDNY.

The grand marshal of the parade will be Army veteran Louis A. Di Agostino. Di Agostino was awarded the Military Order of the Purple Heart after serving in the Korean War, and he will be leading the way for marching bands, members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the First Reformed Church, among other youth groups and service organizations.

The parade is set to start at 2 p.m. on May 24.

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Historic yacht club in College Point marks 150th anniversary


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Williamsburgh Yacht Club

From relocation to wars to a massive fire, nothing has stopped the Williamsburgh Yacht Club and its love of all things boating for the last 150 years.

The third-oldest yacht club in New York State and the 11th-oldest in the country will mark another milestone in its rich history this Saturday, as members gather at the College Point institution for a sesquicentennial celebration.

As its name indicates, the Williamsburgh Yacht Club first dropped anchor in Brooklyn, established in 1865 on the Newtown Creek waterfront; it constructed its first clubhouse on the Greenpoint waterfront near Eagle Street, on what was then known as Pottery Beach.

By 1887, club members relocated away from the industrial waterfront to Queens and established a resort on Bowery Bay. Less than 10 years later, Williamsburgh Yacht found itself on the move again, this time to the area then known as North Beach.

An undated picture of the former Williamsburgh Yacht Club headquarters, which was destroyed by fire in 1988. (photo courtesy Williamsburgh Yacht Club)

The North Beach area was ultimately developed into Glen Curtis Airport (later renamed LaGuardia Airport), and the club was on the move again. In 1928, it moved to College Point next to what was then known as the Flushing Boat Club. Williamsburgh Yacht purchased Flushing Boat Club’s property at 118-08 29th Ave. and moved its headquarters there.

Despite constantly relocating on the Brooklyn and Queens waterfronts, Williamsburgh Yacht established itself in the annals of pleasure boating and yachting, according to club historian Elaine Bauer, a 23-year club member. It hosted the first Ladies Day Regatta in 1898 and was selected in 1939 as the World’s Fair’s official yacht club. The club’s sailing team also was the inaugural winner of the Sechuessele Cup in 1902.

But the club’s survival appeared in doubt in 1988, when flames destroyed the all-wooden clubhouse and deck.

Past Commodores

“The investigators never knew what started the fire,” Bauer said. “It was a two-story wood frame building standing on creosote pilings with creosote shingles.”

Over the next five years, Bauer said, the club’s members worked hard to rebuild from the shore up. The club’s new quarters opened on the College Point waterfront in September 1993 with a gala attended by more than 120 people.

Today, Bauer said, the Williamsburgh Yacht Club continues to promote pleasure boating and other safe water activities such as jet skiing. The club also plans on dispatching a team into the Captain Island Race scheduled this fall in Douglaston.

Fun at the Club 2012

“It’s a working man’s club,” Bauer said, noting that the club members “keep the heritage and history alive” and pass on membership privileges to their relatives. “All of our members really make the club happen.”

Numerous dignitaries, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, state Senator Tony Avella and City Councilman Paul Vallone, have been invited to the club’s sesquicentennial gala.

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Suspect arrested for raping Northern Boulevard spa worker


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Friday, March 6, 2:32 p.m.

Police have arrested a man for allegedly raping a Queens spa worker at gunpoint last month after booking an appointment at an unlicensed massage parlor.

Luis Jessup, a 37-year-old College Point resident, has been charged with rape, criminal sex act, menacing and criminal possession of a weapon in the Feb. 21 attack, authorities said.

According to police, Jessup entered the facility, located on Northern Boulevard near Marathon Parkway, at about 7:30 a.m. that day armed with what appeared to be a gun.

He had an appointment scheduled, and when he arrived he took out the weapon and raped the employee, a 42-year-old woman, on a massage table in a rear room of the spa, prosecutors said.

Jessup’s arrest follows the release of video footage last week showing the suspect at the spa the morning of the rape.

Jessup, who faces up to 25 years in prison, is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail. His next court date is March 20.

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Pressure builds to expand school program in northern Queens and Whitestone


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A push to expand programs for gifted and talented students into middle schools in a northern Queens district has the support of local elected officials and at least 500 parents who have signed petitions backing the effort.

“We’re tired of getting the run around from [Superintendent Danielle Di Mango] and the city,” said Lisa Fusco, a parent from Whitestone who is leading the charge in an appeal that will now go to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina.

The program’s fate is decided by each school district’s superintendent. The parents who are signing the petition have children in School District 25, where the program is limited to seven elementary schools. Fusco and the other parents decided to write the letter after meetings with School District 25 Superintendent Di Mango and education officials didn’t produce any results. They expect to send the letter by the end of the week.

District 25 is bordered by Flushing Meadows Park to the west and Bayside to the east, and it encompasses Pomonok to the south up to Whitestone and College Point.

Using the force of 500 signatures, the contingent of parents will be sending a letter to Farina requesting that she support their efforts to expand the gifted and talented program into the district’s middle schools.

Elected officials representing the area have also sent letters to Farina in support of Fusco’s efforts. The list of lawmakers backing the effort includes Rep. Grace Meng, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein and Assemblyman Ron Kim.

The Department of Education didn’t return  requests for comment.

“Providing students with a challenging curriculum to compete in today’s globalized world is extremely important,” Meng wrote in a letter to Farina advocating for the program to be expanded into School District 25. “We must work together to grant all qualified students equal access to G&T programs.”

Meng pointed out that the program is in the middle schools of neighboring school districts 24 and 26. She also advocated for school district 28 to get the expansion.

The gifted and talented program is currently in district 25’s elementary schools but once students get to sixth grade, the program ends. The program is meant to provide extra services for students with a high aptitude who get bored easily in regular classes, according to the Department of Education.

“They’re dropping the ball,” Fusco said. “And I don’t know why, but hopefully our letter to the chancellor will help create Gifted and Talented in District 25.”

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Residents reject plans to build mosque in Flushing


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A proposal to build a mosque in Flushing was withdrawn this week after it came under fire from residents and members of Community Board 7 who criticized the proposal, citing violations of local zoning ordinances on parking and setbacks from neighboring properties.

But members of the Muslim congregation said that some of the opposition to their mosque on Monday night may have been fueled by outrage over the terror attacks in Paris last week by a group of violent extremists, who they insist do not reflect their religious values.

Muhammed Sheth, a member of Masjid Noor, the group that wants to build a mosque at 46-05 Parsons Blvd., said he believes that it’s a bad time to try seek public support for any project related to Islam because of the terror attack on Parisian newspaper Charlie Hebdo last week.

“The community wasn’t just rejecting this building on technical grounds. They were asking us lynching questions and Islam is being submitted to this scrutiny,” Sheth said. “It’s because a few loony people did some horrible things that people are now scared of Muslims altogether.”

Dozens of residents came to the meeting to voice their opposition to the mosque on the grounds that the application requested several waivers be made to the area’s building code laws. But some were simply unhappy about a mosque coming to the neighborhood.

“This is a very congested area,” said Grace Kelly, a Flushing resident. “Flushing Remonstrance is something we value, but this spot just doesn’t work,” she said in reference to the historic 17th-century commitment made to freedom of religion by leaders in Flushing.

Harry Coumna said the mosque should be built on the industrial part of College Point in one of the warehouses, a suggestion one board member thought was “offensive.”

“Why do you want to come to our area and do this?” Coumna said. “Do we come to your neighborhood and build stuff there? Leave our neighborhood alone.”

The proposal didn’t include any off-street parking areas, as required under zoning laws for houses of worship. Across the street from the proposed location sits St. Mary’s Nativity Church, which has a parking lot. The area is filled with an array of religious buildings.

Representatives for the mosque – Emily Simon and Jamil Coppin – asked the board to waive the zoning rules. The application called for a two-story building with a total of 2,000 square feet with a maximum of occupancy of 420 people. It also lacked side yards as required by local zoning, requiring additional waivers.

The mosque application was the first prospect hundreds of Muslims in the group had at having a consistent location for worship.

“The congregants have been forced to move from month to month. They’re looking for a permanent home,” said Simon, who is the lawyer for the group. “The community is home to many other religious houses of worship.”

The congregation, which boasts about 400 members, is made up of immigrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and several African countries. Since 2013, the group Masjid Noor has moved between temporary mosques, and they were hoping to establish a stable place in a part of Flushing that is home to a diverse number of places of worship.

“They were thinking all Muslims are trouble,” said Sheth, who is a member of the group. “The scrutiny to which they subjected us was very intense.”

The architect Jamil Coppin will revise the application so that all of the zoning rules will be observed.

Open houses this weekend: Forest Hills, Hunters Point, College Point


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy StreetEasy and Douglas Elliman

106-20 70th Ave., #4B Forest Hills — $434,000 

This studio condo apartment in the The Milana in Forest Hills has one bathroom and a balcony. It features a hook-up for a washer and dryer, central AC and has hardwood floors throughout. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from noon to 2 p.m. Contact brokers Aroza Sanjana and Benjamin Koptiev of Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty.

519 Borden Ave. #9J, Hunters Point — $1,275,000

This unit has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,083 square feet of space in The Murano in Hunters Point. It features a 145-square-foot terrace with views of Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. The apartment comes with a parking space and other building amenities, including a gym, community rooms, storage, central AC and a bike room. Pets are allowed in The Murano. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from noon to 1:30 p.m. Contact brokers Brittany Fox and Doron Zwickel of CORE.

 

122-11 6th Ave., College Point — $568,000 

This townhouse comes with five bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms on two floors. It features a large living room, a renovated kitchen, a finished basement, a yard and an outdoor patio. The open house is on Sunday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Contact broker Laura Copersino of Douglas Elliman.

 

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Body found at College Point park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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A body was discovered along the shoreline of a College Point park on New Year’s Day, police said.

A passerby found the body at about 11 a.m. lying on rocks close to the water inside MacNeil Park near Poppenhusen Avenue, cops said.

The unidentified body, believed to be a man in his 30s, was not badly decomposed and showed no apparent signs of trauma, according to police.

The medical examiner is determining the cause of death.

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