Tag Archives: construction

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News

 

1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

Tudor Park’s $1M upgrades ready for their close-up


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Batter up!

The city’s renovations to the Tudor Park ball field have reached completion, although residents may have to wait until spring to plant their feet on the new grounds.

“Tudor Park is always a very active area, and it’s always very full. When you have a park that people use, it needs to be upgraded,” said Frank Dardani, president of the Ozone Tudor Civic Association. “I think this is great. Any time that the city wants to do some work and upgrade things, I’m very happy about it.”

According to Dardani, the original field suffered huge draining problems along with damages from constant overuse.

“The field was not in great shape. It was pretty beat up,” Dardani said. “It was just so old that something needed to be done.”

Now, thanks to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, newly-planted trees and bushes line the perimeters of the new two-sport dual baseball and cricket field, which has been laid down with new and natural grass. Dardani also said the park now has three pieces of exercise equipment for seniors in place of old, concrete bleachers that have been removed from the site.

“We’re a small, tight-knit community. We want to get our seniors out of the house and give them something to do, and we want our young families to come out with their children, too,” said Dardani. “It’s very important to have a very safe environment for everyone to come to.”

Dardani said he hopes the upgrades will draw more community members to the park, ultimately cutting down neighborhood crime and gang activity.

“If more good and responsible people are in the park, just their presence alone will be a deterrent for these people. There will be eyes and ears watching,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dardani said he’s working on securing a sprinkler system in the park to make sure the $1 million spent on the project — provided by Borough President Helen Marshall — doesn’t go down the drain.

“That grass will get beat up pretty quick in the heat of the summer,” Dardani said. “We’re more than happy with what they gave us. We wanted to thank the borough president, but we also wanted to make her aware if at all possible to put in a sprinkler system to finish the job and have it last longer than it probably would without it.”

Construction on the new field began in September of 2011 and was completed this winter. It is slated to open in the late spring when the new sod properly “attaches” itself to the ground underneath, said a Parks Department spokesperson.

 

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Rendering by JFKIAT Terminal 4

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date.

Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year.

Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4.

“This is one of the region’s — if not the country’s — largest airport construction project underway and one that will continue to benefit our airport and our city for years to come,” said Alain Maca, president of JFKIAT Terminal 4. “Terminal 4 is already the largest international terminal in the New York area, and with the expansion, it’ll become one of the largest in North America.”

The construction period, transit officials said, is expected to generate 6,400 jobs in the area, $360 million in wages and close to $1.8 billion in economic activity.

“As this vision takes shape before our eyes, it’s bringing tremendous benefits to the people of the greater New York area,” said Jos Nijhuis, CEO of the Schiphol Group — the parent company of JFKIAT, which operates Terminal 4. “There is still plenty to do, but it appears remarkable progress has already been made in such a short time frame.”

Nijhuis said the project is “almost halfway there” and is right on schedule.

Officials also anticipate the expansion will stimulate a growth of four million passengers.

“This is a game-changing project for our customers and the entire regional aviation system,” said Susan Baer, the director of the aviation department of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. “By expanding terminal facilities, we’re taking a critical step toward meeting future demands and securing JFK’s legacy as the premier global gateway.”

The terminal will undergo two more phases of construction after 2013, Maca said.

Ground broken at Willets Point


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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After years of planning, protests and public hearings, ground was broken at Willets Point — marking the first physical step in the area’s redevelopment.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined at the Thursday, December 1 ground breaking by New York City Economic Development President Seth W. Pinsky, New York City Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, Councilmembers Julissa Ferreras and Karen Koslowitz, Borough President Helen Marshall and State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky.

“The development of Willets Point and the benefits that it will provide for the entire city cannot become realities without a multimillion dollar investment in infrastructure improvements that have been needed for many years,” said Marshall.  “Expanding the city’s sewer network and increasing storm water drainage in the area will address longstanding issues and put new development on a firm foundation for the future.”

The infrastructure work is estimated to cost $50 million and will include construction of a sanitary sewer main and reconstruction of a storm sewer and outfall. This phase should be completed in 2013.  The construction will mostly occur between October and March, so as not to interfere during the baseball season with Citi Field which sits next door to Willets Point.

Bloomberg called Willets Point “New York City’s next great neighborhood.”

A plan for the redevelopment of Willets Point was announced by Bloomberg in 2007.  Since that time, the city has been able to acquire nearly 90 percent of the land.  Nine private property owners remain in the projects Phase 1 area, according to the city.

The plan for Phase 1 includes up to 680,000 square feet of retail, up to 400 units of housing — 35 percent of which will be affordable — a hotel, two acres of open space and parking.

Astoria construction project draws community ire


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Astoria’s community leaders are outraged over a 50-unit condominium development for mentally challenged, homeless people that is currently being constructed in the area.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. has campaigned against the project, which is located at 27th Avenue and 2nd Street, since it was initially proposed in 2008.

“For years I have advocated for better resources in this community,” said Vallone. “A supermarket, grocery store, bank or even book store would have been appropriate and helpful. We can’t sustain the additional strain of a 50-unit development for homeless people with special needs. Astoria’s waterfront is one of the most beautiful stretches in the five boroughs. We should be helping our existing residents with more facilities rather than using state funds for a new development that will only hinder the community.”

The condominium project is being developed by Urban Pathways, an organization aimed at providing homeless New Yorkers with the assistance necessary to become stable and move into permanent housing.

Vallone believes that the project’s location contradicts Urban Pathways’ objectives due to the lack of services available in the surrounding community, which the councilmember calls “largely underdeveloped” and “an isolated area.”

Repeated calls to Urban Pathways went unreturned as of press time.

Community Board 1, which represents Astoria, voted against the project on December 16, 2008.

“The immediate community is lacking the necessary services to accommodate the new residents,” said Lucille Hartmann, district manager of Community Board 1. “Currently, the community supports Goodwill Industries, which is about one block east of the new development and contains 202 units for approximately 350 residents. The New York City Housing Authority is also across the street from the development and they house approximately 8,000 residents. The amenities available to the community, such as affordable supermarkets, banks and hospitals, are a minimum of a mile away. Public transportation is also very limited, with only buses.”

Vallone claims that “every community group in Astoria opposes” the plan. He also says that he has made numerous efforts to negotiate with the developers, but that his requests have fallen on deaf ears.

“As the state prepares for massive layoffs, millions of dollars are now being used for an unwanted project in a struggling neighborhood,” Vallone said. “We attempted to discuss a compromise with them – a 15-person community-living residence similar to those that exist everywhere else in Queens – but the state refused to even respond.”

The councilmember estimates that the monetary difference between a 15-person and 50-person development could be as high as $20 million in state funds.

The New York State Office of Mental Health declined to comment regarding the project.

Members of the community appear divided on the issue, with some insisting their neighborhood is not the appropriate setting for the development.

“I’m not happy about it,” said Vanessa Finch, a 40-year-old resident of Astoria Houses, which is located directly across the street from the site. “Nobody is happy to have that in their neighborhood, but what can we do?”

Others appear more accepting of the project and hope the center will help the less fortunate by providing them with shelter.

“We are all humans,” said 25-year-old Alan Hughes, another resident of Astoria Houses. “Everyone has to have a place to live. Who are we to say they can’t live here?”

Additional reporting by Alana Manning.