Tag Archives: College Point

Court rules in favor of waste transfer station

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

They lost their bid to block the birds.

The Friends of LaGuardia Airport could not prevent a waste transfer facility, which will bring flocks of seagulls near the airport, from being built.

The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Tuesday, April 9 on jurisdictional grounds rather than on the merits of the case, said Ken Paskar, president of Friends of LaGuardia.

“I’m concerned that [the] decision would have people believe that the court ruled on the merits and interpret that to mean that the transfer station is safe,” said Paskar.

The North Shore Marine Transfer station is under construction in College Point and is expected to be completed later this year. The waste transfer station is located approximately 2,206 feet away from one of the major runways at LaGuardia.

With the station expected to handle 3,500 tons of residential garbage daily, Paskar believes the station will become a “bird magnet” for seagulls looking for food, and will lead to an increase in the danger of gull strikes in the air.

Even with the court’s decision, Paskar is looking to follow other legal options, including filing a motion for re-consideration on the court.

“Friends of LaGuardia must continue its fight to protect the traveling public from the risks of bird strikes in and out of LaGuardia Airport and the greater NY Metro area because the FAA, Port Authority and the City of New York are clearly not,” said Paskar. “It’s a long shot. We’re asking the court to look at their own decision and be consistent.”

The FAA did not respond as of press time.



Community contributes to College Point family following tragedy

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Daniel Rinaldi

People the world over are helping one College Point family racked by tragedy.

The Malave family was driving home from a spring break vacation in Florida on Saturday, March 30 when they were reportedly hit by a driver heading down the wrong side of the road. Christian Malave, 11, was killed in the crash, and his parents Carlos and Hilda, and older sisters Melissa and Aly, were severely injured.

Days later, longtime family friend Daniel Rinaldi got the idea to raise money for the Malaves, potentially to help pay for their medical bills and funeral expenses. On Monday, April 1, Rinaldi set up a website with a fundraising goal of $1,000. A little more than a week after the crash, with the Malaves still in a Florida hospital, donations at home reached over $40,000.

“We’re still climbing,” said Rinaldi. “There’s no indication of slowing down or capping it.”

At the beginning, Rinaldi, 25, received donations from his immediate Queens community. Eventually, that spread to the entire state and now several donations have come in from overseas.

“I look at that picture of the family, and it’s been my motivation. I think it has been a lot of other people’s motivation in wanting to give back, too,” said Rinaldi. “They say, ‘You know what, this could have been me, my family; this could have been my little kid.’”

More than 600 people have contributed to the Malave fund. Rinaldi hopes that the money will further provide for the family and give them time to recover, whether they need to pay for a physical therapist or simply put food on the table.

In the span of just one day, the fund collected over $2,000.

“Money should be the very last thing this family must worry about at this time,” said Allison O’Hagan on the fundraising site. “DONATE DONATE DONATE!”

Promotions for the Malave fund have been done primarily via social media – the site has been shared more than 3,000 times on Facebook, and 500 times on Twitter. Rinaldi said he sent out a few emails requesting help, but that the entire project has been done without any banks or big corporations.

“It’s just regular people willing to give up the money they may have spent on their lunch,” he said.

The family, well-known in their neighborhood, is said to be one of the most wonderful families you could ever meet, and the youngest Malave was a pleasure to be around.

“Christian was a beautiful little boy. He had a smile that just lit up a room,” said Tracy Salerno on the Malave fund website. “Always polite, always respectful. Be very proud of the little man that you raised.”

The community has no plans of stopping their efforts anytime soon. The College Point Five Guys on 14th Avenue donated 10 percent of every purchase from Thursday, April 11 to the Malave fund.

“If we can take some stress away, and show them there are good people out there, we can make a difference,” said Rinaldi. “It’s about trying to help a family that didn’t deserve this to happen to them.”

If you would like to contribute, visit www.gofundme.com/2gy7cc.



City Council strips Dan Halloran of funding power

| mchan@queenscourier.com


The City Council has voted to strip disgraced Councilmember Dan Halloran of his committee assignments and power to allocate funding.

Halloran faces federal charges for allegedly playing a key role in a conspiracy and bribery scheme to rig the mayoral election, authorities said.

Power to distribute funds in the 19th District now falls to Speaker Christine Quinn’s office and the Council’s entire Queens Delegation, according to Councilmember Leroy Comrie, the delegation’s chair.

“The entire delegation will be working closely, regarding funding, in consultation with his staff and all of the groups,” Comrie said. “It will be a delegation collaborative effort, working with the community and all the groups that have requested funding.”

Bayside and College Point residents in Halloran’s district recently voted to create kayak and canoe launches in Little Bay Park and restore a cultural institute as part of the city’s participatory budgeting process.

Halloran’s spokesperson Kevin Ryan said the Council will “most likely honor” the votes despite the funding freeze. But sources said the $1 million initiative could be in jeopardy.

“We’ll try to do as much as we can to keep the participatory budgeting,” said Comrie.

Meanwhile, a handful of state elected officials are fighting for a hand in allocating the district’s city funds.

“I have a real problem with someone from outside the district placing money,” said State Senator Tony Avella. “We know the district better than anyone else. We want to make sure the groups that deserve the funding in this district get the proper funding. That would be terribly unfair if the groups are disenfranchised.”

Avella and three assemblymembers who represent parts of the district have placed calls to the Speaker to be part of the decision making process.

“That’s not okay in my opinion,” Avella said. “None of them know the groups in this district.”



Police arrest man connected to citywide grand larceny spree

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Authorities have arrested a man tied to a robbery spree where the suspects trick victims by telling them they have a flat tire, then steal property from inside their vehicles.

Mario Gutierrez, 50 of College Point, has been charged with grand larceny for four out of 13 incidents that occurred in Queens.

Two additional robberies in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan are connected to those crimes.



Two Queens teens accepted to US Air Force Academy

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Two Queens teens have gotten their wings.

Seamus McCaffrey and Alan Mook have been accepted to the United States Air Force Academy. They are the only two in the borough who were given the elite nod this year.

“This is a dream come true,” said McCaffrey, 18, a senior at St. Francis Preparatory School. “It’s something surreal because I get to do what I want to do through serving my country. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”

McCaffrey, of Glendale, said he had his sights set on the skies since he was old enough to learn about planes.

“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot. Going to the Air Force was the only thing I really had in my mind,” he said. “I have a love for flight.”

The aspiring fighter pilot soared academically, with a cumulative 90 average, while leading as senior class president and playing on the school’s varsity football team. McCaffrey also serves as a sacristan at Sacred Heart Church in Glendale.

“He worked very hard for what he wanted. He put everything into it,” said his mom, Antoinette McCaffrey.

The trailblazer will be the first in his family to attend college, as well as enter the military, when he leaves for the Academy on June 26.

Meanwhile, Mook, 18, will be the second airman in his family. He joins his brother, Kevin, who is a junior at the Academy.

“It was all worth it,” said the College Point teen.

Mook, who graduated from Holy Cross High School last year, said his application was originally rejected by the Academy, but he was offered a scholarship to attend a prep school in New Mexico for one year.

Alan Mook (Photo courtesy of Holy Cross High School)

“When I was denied at first, it was very disappointing,” he said. “But I had another chance to get back in. I’m getting a degree from one of the best schools in the nation. Nothing beats that.”

Graduates of the free four-year program at the Colorado school agree to serve in the Air Force for at least five years.

Last year, three Queens students were given the green light by the Air Force Academy. McCaffrey and Mook beat out about 12,000 applicants this year, Academy officials said. Only about 1,200 get accepted annually.

“The candidates that have been getting in have been really reflecting the diversity of Queens, which is outstanding,” said Major Andrew Mattson, the academy’s Queens admissions liaison officer. “These are people taking on significant leadership roles. They are just great Americans.”



Queens Argentinians proud of new pope

| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy The New York Daily News


The world has been watching Pope Francis, from the moment he was chosen to head the Catholic Church, to his first Sunday mass and the day of his first tweet.

“Popes not only head the church, but they are a moral compass for the world at large,” said Dr. Patrick McNamara from the American Catholic League. “They are the blanket moral leader of the world. People of all religions recognize that.”

When the papal conclave chose Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, Latin Americans around the world rejoiced. Latin America represents roughly half of the world’s Catholic population, and Queens residents hope that he can bring a new leadership to the church.

“I speak with my Argentinian heart when I say that God has blessed the whole world with Pope Francis, a being of light and so necessary for these difficult times the world is going through,” said Ivonne Sigaud, a Buenos Aires native living in College Point.

Many hope that Pope Francis can bring trust back to a church long plagued by scandal, while being a progressive leader that can conform with the modern times.

“I long for an urgent change in the [church], we need it in order to continue believing in it,” said Monica Insaurralde of Corona, also a Buenos Aires native. “I believe, hope, that this pope is the change.”

Also the first Jesuit pope, the Catholic community is wondering whether he will bring Jesuit attributes to his papacy. Typically seen as educators, Jesuits are known for open-mindedness when approaching everyday life.

“Jesuits were supposed to serve the pope, they weren’t supposed to become the pope,” said McNamara.“For a long time, [they] were seen as somewhat liberal. But I think he combines the best elements of progressive and traditional.”

Also the first pope of his name, Catholics around the world speculate he will draw inspiration from Francis of Assisi, a simple man known to empathize with and help the poor.

“[Pope Francis] was always a person who kept a low profile, a good man who was always on the side of humble,” said Hector Alberto Andrada from Buenos Aires, now living in College Point. “He walked the streets of Buenos Aires just like another citizen.”

Pope Francis reportedly never lived like the other Cardinals in Buenos Aires, but instead resided in his own apartment, took public transportation and actively worked with the people of Argentina.

“We are happy to know that they have trusted such a large mission to a simple man, recognized for his spirit of service,” said Fatima San Martin, a native of Misiones, Argentina. “They have put their eyes on South America, and specifically our Argentina.”

-With additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly



Queens pol wants to allow pet pigs in NYC

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alexa Altman

Despite citations, several swine owners are refusing to fork over the pork.

State Senator Tony Avella wants to overturn city guidelines prohibiting residents from owning domesticated pigs as pets after constituents squealed for support.

“I try to get the city to crack down on illegal construction, illegal contractors where workers have died, where neighboring property owners have been disenfranchised and they have to sue, and I can’t get the city to do as much enforcement on those serious construction sites as they are doing with one family with a very small pet,” said Avella.

“The city should be consistent with the level of enforcement it conducts across the board.”

Lou and Danielle Forgione picked up their porky pal after Danielle’s brother Peter was killed in a motorcycle accident in March 2012. Searching for a pet to lift the spirits of their six saddened children proved tricky when their six-year-old son Nicky displayed a severe allergy to pet dander. A pediatrician suggested they consider a pig. Ten months ago, the Forgione’s adopted Petey, named after Danielle’s late brother.

“[Petey] brings joy right back to us,” said Lou. “The kids were suffering in school. My wife was suffering from depression and anxiety. It brought the cheer right back to the family. He’s doing his job and he’s fantastic. You can’t ask for anything more.”

Since adopting Petey, the Forgiones have received several citations from the Health Department, including one that asked they “dispose” of their beloved pet. The co-op board of their Whitestone complex recently threatened to evict the family. Rather than relinquish Petey, the Forgione’s set their sights on more “pig friendly” pastures, selling their home and moving to Suffolk County.

“We really love him,” said Joseph, the Forgione’s 13-year-old son. “He’s a part of our family. He’s like a brother to me.”

Avella believes the rule against owning a pig is a Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) regulation, rather than a law that will need to be amended.

Navy veteran Nadine Darsanlal takes her 50-pound pet pig Wilbur to visit patients at hospitals and nursing homes and students at elementary schools. Darsanlal, who while in the service contracted bacterial meningitis that paralyzed her stomach and left her requiring the use a feeding tube and a pain pump, said she was “shocked” to discover the city outlawed ownership of the animal that brought happiness to her life and the lives of others.

“[Pigs] are gentler, they’re kinder, they’re more intelligent and they’re cleaner. They are just lovely animals to have,” said Darsanlal. “Not only does he help me out but I kind of want to give back and help others out.”

The College Point resident trained her precious piggy to complete small tasks, including retrieving items Darsanlal accidentally drops to keep her from having to painfully bend over. While Wilbur provides physical assistance, it’s the emotional support he gives that makes him more than just a pet.

“He’s a companion. He gets me up and going in the morning and helps me not think about my illness,” said Darsanlal. “It’s a lot that I’m dealing with, but I can deal with it because I’ve got my little baby.”



City Council candidate Austin Shafran gains second union endorsement

| editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Austin Shafran has gained the endorsement of UFCW Local 1500 in his bid for City Council.

“This is a high-priority council race for our members, and we know that Austin is the candidate who will fight the hardest to strengthen and expand the middle class,” said Bruce Both, president of the state’s grocery workers union.

Shafran, the 32-year-old former mainstay in the Cuomo administration, is in a four-way Democratic primary race to unseat incumbent Republican Dan Halloran in the 19th District. He was the vice president of public affairs for the governor’s Empire State Development until he resigned to run for office.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to have the endorsement of a union whose members and leader have done so much for working families,” Shafran said. “Retail is one of the fastest-growing sectors of our local economy, and I plan to work closely with Local 1500 to improve the quality and quantity of retail jobs that are the backbone of a strong middle-class-first economy.”

Shafran also recently gained the support of the Teamsters Joint Council 16.

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.



College Point Catholic school shutting its doors

| mchan@queenscourier.com

The final bell will soon ring for a Catholic elementary school in College Point, officials said.

St. Fidelis School, at 124-06 14th Avenue, will close its doors for good in June after more than a century of serving the community, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, which oversees Queens.

“St. Fidelis School will be fully operational until the last day of school, continuing to provide a quality education,” said Monsignor Denis Heron, an administrator at the school. “We place our trust in God and ask His guidance as we move into the future. We ask your understanding and cooperation.”

The nursery through eighth grade institution faced declining enrollment and increased operating costs, officials said in a statement.

Enrollment at St. Fidelis dropped to 144 students this year from 242 five years ago, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said. Parish schools in Brooklyn and Queens, who serve kindergarten through eighth grades, are identified as “at-risk” of closing when enrollment falls below 225 students.

Diocese officials also said the parish, which opened in 1857, does not have “the financial resources to bridge the gap” between the $3,400 tuition per student and the actual $6,119 per-pupil costs.

Neighboring parishes will take in students from St. Fidelis, according to Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Plans are also underway, Chadzutko said, to place faculty members seeking teaching jobs at another Catholic school in Brooklyn or Queens on priority lists.



Cuomo administration mainstay resigns to run for Queens City Council seat

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Austin Shafran

A former mainstay in the Cuomo administration has officially announced his intent to run for City Council.

Austin Shafran, 32, resigned from his post as vice president of public affairs for Empire State Development (ESD) on January 18 to enter what is now a four-way Democratic primary race for the 19th District.

“I’ve played a leading role in Governor Cuomo’s efforts to make government work better, cost less and produce more for taxpayers,” Shafran said of his ESD job, “and now I want to put that same record of results to work for the communities I grew up in.”

He will take on Democratic State Committee Chair Matthew Silverstein, former Assemblymember John Duane and attorney Paul Vallone — the son of former City Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. and brother of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr.

The primary winner will likely face off with incumbent Councilmember Dan Halloran in the November election if no other Republican contenders surface.

Shafran is the Democratic leader in the 25th Assembly District. The ESD’s mouthpiece for nearly two years, he also served as senior advisor to the agency’s head, Kenneth Adams. Prior, he was a community liaison for former Congressmember Gary Ackerman and communications director for then-Councilmember David Weprin.

“Working with Congressman Ackerman and Governor Cuomo, I’ve developed the experience and the clear vision to deliver better schools and safer streets and an economy that works for middle class families,” Shafran said. “Those are things that we’ve been lacking in these communities for the past four years. We can do better.”

The district extends from College Point to the borders of Nassau County.



Poppenhusen Institute: Historic, cultural center

| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the Poppenhusen Institute


The Poppenhusen Institute is one of the many gems of College Point.

The historic heart of the community — one of the oldest centers in the neighborhood — was established even before the area got its name in 1868.

“The Popps,” as the center is often called, hosts activities for people of all ages, including events and parties. At the 114-04 14th Road site, children and adults can find everything from karate and music lessons to historical exhibitions, concerts and shows.

Also known as the “Doorway of Opportunity,” Poppenhusen relies largely upon volunteers to keep the cultural center up and running, officials said.

It is open almost every weekday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and is open for events on Saturdays and Sundays.

Real estate of north Queens

| editorial@queenscourier.com

Copyright (C), Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc, 2004

Flushing, Whitestone and College Point offer a wide range of housing opportunities with price ranges from under $500,000 to over $3 million. Here’s a sampling of what you can find in this tri-neighborhood region, information and photos courtesy of www.mlsli.com.

11-16 128th Street in College Point

This mint, contemporary Ranch house has been completely renovated from top to bottom and boasts three bedrooms and two full baths for a single family. It features two kitchens, a formal dining room, a fully finished basement, wood floors, two stoves, two refrigerators, two dishwashers and a dryer. It is selling for $698,000.



33-80 162nd Street in Flushing

There’s plenty of space to roam in this stately Tudor home, which features five bedrooms, four full baths and two half baths. The detached single-family house has been renovated in the highest quality of craftsmanship and boasts two fireplaces, a home office, all new marble baths, new heating, alarm and sprinkler systems and two garages. The listing price is $1,488,000.


7-05 126th Street in College Point

This detached Cape Cod style home features three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a private driveway, a one-car detached garage, two skylights, two kitchens, two stoves, two refrigerators and wood floors. Buy this brick home for $680,000.



14-30 145th Place in Whitestone

Beautifully well maintained, this brick Colonial house has three bedrooms, two full baths, a renovated kitchen, a formal dining room, a living room with a fireplace and a den. Located within walking distance to local schools and express buses, this neighborhood gem also features a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. This home is going for $699,000.


1-06 Samos Lane in Whitestone

Located on a cul-de-sac, this waterfront property has sweeping vistas of the sea, boats and bridge and is only 20 minutes away from New York City. This mint Colonial home features five bedrooms, four full baths, one half bath, a deck, home office, fireplace, wood floors and wall to wall carpeting. It also has a three-car garage with a private driveway and a handicap accessible elevator. The selling price is $3,995,000.


47-39 187th Street in Flushing

Located on a great block near Auburndale — just off Utopia Parkway — this well-maintained, detached Colonial home has three bedrooms, one full bath and one half bath. It features two refrigerators, a formal dining room, den, full basement, washer, stove, dishwasher, dryer, fireplace, wood floors, wall to wall carpeting and a one-car garage on a private driveway. It is selling for $651,000.


7-27 124th Street in College Point

This beautifully renovated Ranch home boasts three bedrooms, two full baths, a kitchen, formal dining room, den, full basement, and a two-car garage with a private driveway. The selling price for this detached brick house is $698,888.

Baby Ray’s: Classic comfort food

| editorial1@queenscourier.com

399676_212196712200091_1180699415_n (2)

Baby Ray’s is a quaint, old-fashioned establishment popular with locals that serves homemade classics. The dining area at Baby Ray’s is divided in two, with a bar area which becomes busy at night with locals and sports enthusiasts. The dining room is covered in wood and classic floral prints, complete with a fireplace and antique décor.

Trapped in time, this hidden culinary gem believes in consistency and comfort – granting customers the opportunity to escape the busy streets of Queens and enjoy quality food and a warm atmosphere.

Begin your meal with an appetizer. Choose from the baked clams or wings baked with blue cheese and a zesty hot sauce. Far from your average bar joint, Baby Ray’s combines traditional pub classics with a truly distinctive setting and fusion of classic American dishes that keep customers coming back weekly.

Baby Ray’s focuses on American classics such ribs slathered in tangy BBQ sauce or the porterhouse for two.

Utilizing only a handful of ingredients, and a genuine admiration for classic American cuisine, the chef aims for consistency and authenticity. The steak is tender, draped in sautéed onions and flavorful mushrooms. On the side, my guest and I sampled the macaroni and cheese — delicious comfort food. If you’re not much of a meat eater, sample the fish served with vegetables and mashed potatoes.

The locals know that dessert is just as important as the meal, especially with the chocolate mousse cake served up at this cozy eatery. The chef describes the dessert as his “favorite.” Layers of chocolate mousse, served with whipped cream and hot coffee are the perfect way to end a meal.

Tucked away in College Point, Baby Ray’s stands alone in a neighborhood flooded with pizzerias and bakeries.


13-46 127th Street, College Point


Hours: Tue – Thu noon, to 10 p.m.; Fri., Sat, noon to 11 p.m.

Parking: Valet on weekends

Halloween events in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Here’s your guide to all the Halloween happenings in Queens this October.

Pumpkin Patch
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Thru October 28
Saturdays & Sundays
11:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Haunted House at the Poppenhusen

The Poppenhusen Institute
114-04 14th Road College Point
Friday, October 26-Saturday, October 27
Wednesday, October 31
5:00-6:00 p.m. (ages 6-8), 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. (ages 8 and up)

Halloween Haunted House

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28
4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Children’s Fall Festival
Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Glen Oaks
Sunday, October 28
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

Dead or Alive
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111 Street, Corona
Friday, October 26 – Sunday, October 28

Thriller at the Battery
Fort Totten Park
Cross Island Parkway between Totten Avenue and 15 Road
Friday, October 26
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Boo at the Zoo
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Saturday, October 27-Sunday, October 28
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Halloween Walking Tour
Hell Gate Bridge, Astoria Park (on Shore Boulevard)
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.

Rockaway Canine Festival
Rockaway Freeway Dog Park
Beach Channel Drive at Beach 84 Street, Rockaway Beach
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Family Halloweenfest
Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning
161-04 Jamaica Avenue, Jamaica
Saturday, October 27
11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Trick or Treat!
Louis Armstrong House Museum
34-56 107 Street, Corona
Saturday, October 27
1 p.m.-4 p.m.

3rd Annual Halloween Costume Party
Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Saturday, October 27
8 p.m.

Bayside Village Halloween Family Festival

Bell Boulevard

between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue

Saturday, October 27

Noon-5 p.m.


Flushing Town Hall
137-35 Northern Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
12:00 p.m.

Halloween on Ice
City Ice Pavilion
47-32 32 Place, Long Island City
Sunday, October 28
12:00 pm.-3:50 p.m.

CenterStage Halloween Concert
Sky View Center
40-24 College Point Boulevard, Flushing
Sunday, October 28
3:30 p.m.

Haunted Halloween Hike
Alley Pond Environmental Center
228-06 Northern Boulevard, Douglaston
Monday, October 29
4:30 p.m. (ages 5-7), 6:30 p.m. (ages 8-12)

Playground For All Children
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Tuesday, October 30
4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Queens Zoo Trick & Treating and Halloween Festivities
Queens Zoo
53-51 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park
Wednesday, October 31
3:00–5:00 p.m.

Jackson Heights Halloween Parade
Line up near P.S. 222  (87th Street and 37th Avenue)
Wednesday, October 31
5 p.m.

Halloween Party! Devil Science Theater 3K
Laughing Devil Comedy Club
47-38 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City
Wednesday, October 31
8 p.m.



Phase 1 of new police academy nearly complete

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy the NYPD

The first phase of a master $656 million plan to construct a new police academy in College Point is well on track for substantial completion by next December, the NYPD said.

City recruits will not likely step foot into their new training digs until July 2014, but the two steel structures in the Phase 1 portion of the project — meant to house classrooms, administrative offices and gyms — have been erected and are close to being 100 percent constructed, according to Inspector Terrence Riley of the NYPD.

The 700,000-square-feet currently being developed in the project’s first phase, Riley said, will accommodate one tour of 1,640 recruits during their first six months of training. Among classrooms and gyms, the new space for the city’s finest-to-be will also include a quarter-mile outdoor running track and a mock-up small city with banks, stores, apartments and streetscapes for simulated scenario-based training.

Some 3,280 recruits a year will come in and out of the total 30 acre site — bordered by College Point Boulevard, 28th Avenue and Ulmer Street — once it is completed, but the full build has not been entirely designed or funded yet and will not be for a few years, Riley said.

“This is just the first piece of a master plan,” he said, adding that changing training needs, a shifting police force now consisting 30 percent of women, and the importance of consolidating training that is currently spread across the city led to the push for a new academy.

“Our firearms training is in the Bronx and our drivers training is in Brooklyn. So, we’re moving 2,000 to 3,000 recruits all around the city to get all their training over a six month period,” Riley said. “It just wasn’t efficient, so the decision was made to make really a substantial investment in a new police academy.”

But some College Point residents called that “substantial” multimillion dollar investment into question, saying the new academy will not directly decrease crime in the commercial area.

“I hear that figure and College Point doesn’t benefit from it,” said James Cervino, who said he and a growing group of locals have been calling for more police presence for years.

The recruits, Riley said, would be unarmed and half-trained and would not be walking the beat of College Point as a practice site during training. But 30 to 40 cops will be assigned to patrol the academy’s perimeters, Riley reassured, and the recruits will be expected to make arrests and call 9-1-1 if they spot a crime in progress.

“They are in the area and they are visible, which is better than now, which is nothing,” he said.

Riley also touted the 100 brand new positions that will open up for jobs maintaining the site’s power facilities. Instructors and staff, however, will be transferred over from the current police academy in Manhattan, he said.

Authorities are still working out issues revolving around the lack of parking spaces on site — only 900, which is not enough to cover one tour of recruits — and the estimated 80 trees chopped down around the academy’s perimeter without the NYPD’s knowledge.

Riley said the idea of shuttle buses, use of public transportation and carpool are being discussed and said the city’s Parks Department will replace the fallen trees with 120 new ones.