Tag Archives: Corona

Corona man charged with sexual assault of child inside Ozone Park mosque

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A 63-year-old man has been charged for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl inside an Ozone Park mosque Thursday night, according to authorities.

Md Uddin from Corona is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced Friday.

According to the charges, Uddin approached the child in the basement of the Fultoli Jame Masjid Mosque, located at 84-05 101st Ave., just before 1 p.m. on Thursday and placed his arm around her shoulder and took her to a corner of the basement.

He then allegedly hugged the girl from behind, and grabbed and squeezed her breasts over and under her clothing while saying “Does this feel good? Do you like this?” He then kissed her about the forehead and cheeks while saying “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

The incident surfaced when the child went home and told a family member, who then contacted the authorities.

“These are serious accusations in which an alleged sexual predator stalked his victim in a place of worship and, if true, cannot go unpunished,” Brown said.

If convicted, Uddin faces up to seven years in prison.


New program to restore rent-regulated apartments to buildings in western Queens

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office

A group of state and city officials are getting together to crack down on landlords throughout the five boroughs — including a handful in western Queens — who they say could be breaking the law.

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the city’s Department of Housing Preservation & Development Commissioner Vicki Been announced Wednesday that notices were sent out to 194 building owners throughout the city who accepted “lucrative” tax breaks under the state’s 421-a program without complying with the law’s rent regulation requirements by registering their apartments as rent-regulated.

The state passed Section 421-a of the Real Property Tax Law in 1971 as a way to motivate the construction of rent-regulated housing and condominiums in New York City. The law gives a partial exemption from city property taxes for the owners of these newly constructed residential multi-family buildings for at least 10 years.

The owners of these buildings, found throughout the five boroughs and most of whom own one building of less than 50 units, provide housing to more than 2,400 families and individuals who are entitled to rent-regulated leases under the law.

A high concentration of these buildings are found in Brooklyn and Queens, with neighborhoods that include Astoria, Long Island City, Corona and Elmhurst.

“Landlords of rental buildings who accept these tax incentives must follow through on their end of the bargain and offer rent-regulated leases to their tenants,” Schneiderman said. “The Real Estate Tax Compliance Program we are announcing today will safeguard tenants’ rights, protect more than 2,000 units of New York City’s rent-regulated housing stock, and ensure that our important and limited tax dollars are properly spent.”

The notices, which were sent out Tuesday, alert building owners to the possible legal consequences they face, including revocation of the tax breaks, if they do not register the apartments as rent-regulated and give tenants rent-regulated leases.

In the letter, the owners are also given details on the one-time, non-negotiable chance they have to “cure the violations” and “avoid further enforcement action.”

The governor’s Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) will monitor the registrations filed by the owners. If the owner fails to register properly, TPU could then look into putting an administrative order freezing current rents, along with pursuing overcharge actions against the owners for collecting improper rents. TPU will also seek damages on behalf of tenants.

“We will not tolerate landlords who break the law and deny their tenants rent-regulated leases, plain and simple,” Cuomo said. “This partnership will help ensure that building owners who benefit from the 421-a program are living up to their responsibilities. Owners who are not currently in compliance should get their act together immediately or face the real possibility of having the TPU freeze rents, pursue overcharges and seek damages.”


Queens workers owed $800K in unclaimed back wages: comptroller

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Scott Stringer's Facebook page

With Labor Rights Week quickly approaching, City Comptroller Scott Stringer scored a victory for city workers when he found $3.7 million as part of unclaimed prevailing wage settlements with several companies that worked on city-funded projects.

Stringer is now seeking the public’s help in identifying the over 1,000 workers from across the city to whom these funds are owed.

Throughout Queens, 200 individuals are owed nearly $800,000, according to Stringer’s findings.

In Corona, 20 people are owed a total of $117,470.53; Elmhurst has 18 individuals who are owed $74,934.79; and in Maspeth, Ridgewood and Jackson Heights, 14 people from each neighborhood are owed a total of $151,811.21.

“My office has recovered millions of dollars through our enforcement of the prevailing wage, but now we need your help to connect these workers with the money they are owed,” Stringer said. “Thousands of hard-working individuals, many of whom are immigrants, have been cheated out of their rightfully earned wages, but they may not know these funds exist. Help us get the word out about unclaimed wages — recovering thousands of dollars may only be a phone call or email away.”

Stringer’s office is trying to identify those who are owed wages through social media, media partnerships and distribution of informational flyers in several languages including English, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, Russian and Creole in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“We’re ramping up our efforts to identify these hard-working men and women who are owed the money they earned,” the comptroller said. “In the coming weeks, we’ll be on the streets, on social media and on the airwaves with a single message: if you’ve been cheated out of your wages, the comptroller’s office has your back. Tell your friends and family: call our hotline or visit our website to see if you are eligible to receive your lost wages.”

The prevailing wage laws require employers to pay workers the wage and benefit rate set annually by the comptroller when those employees work on city public works projects, such as renovating public schools or building service contracts, which includes security guard and custodial work, with city agencies.

Workers who believe they may be entitled to unclaimed wages can call the comptroller’s hotline at 212-669-4443, send in inquiries via email to laborlaw@comptroller.nyc.gov or check the comptroller’s unclaimed wages website.


Armstrong House hosts Hot Jazz/Cool Garden concert this Saturday

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of Andrew Sciaulino

She certainly ain’t no hillbilly.

Urban, soulful and at times edgy, Cynthia Sayer defies all banjo player stereotypes. Her eclectic, swing-based shows demonstrate a unique style that honors classical jazz while also embracing contemporary styles.

On Aug. 15 at 2 p.m., Sayer brings her Sparks Fly Quartet to the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona to jam during the ninth annual Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series. The group has a core that pays tribute to Satchmo, the concert’s honoree, but its eclectic repertoire embraces other musical influences of the 1920s and 1930s.

Sayer, a founding member of Woody Allen’s New Orleans Jazz Band, can also surprise. She is considered one of the best four-string banjo virtuosos in the world, but she loves to sing and play the piano, ukulele, and guitar.

As part of the fun, Armstrong’s favorite dish, red beans and rice, will be served along with sweet tea. Plus, the $18 ticket includes a free guided tour of the historic house he called home.



Corona man arrested for hate crime against gay couple in Manhattan

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook/DCPI

A Corona resident was arrested early Wednesday morning on hate crime charges for the assault of a couple, who were the first gay men to tie the knot at West Point, according to police.

On Aug. 2 at about 2:30 p.m., Daniel and Larry Lennox-Choate were inside the Newsstand store at 186 Prince St. in SoHo when 57-year-old Thomas Clabough of Corona entered the store to buy beer, cops said.

Clabough then started to shout anti-gay statements at the couple, which led to a verbal dispute. According to authorities, the suspect then struck Daniel in the face, causing minor injuries to his mouth. The 30-year-old later refused medical attention at the scene, police said.

According to a post on Larry’s Facebook, he intervened after his husband was attacked.
“He left covered in his own blood with his tail between his legs after I handled the situation and tossed him in the street like the coward loser he is,” the post said.

Clabough, who fled the scene on his bicycle, was arrested Wednesday reportedly near his Junction Boulevard home and charged with assault as a hate crime and attempted assault as a hate crime.

In 2013, Daniel and Larry Lennox-Choate were the first same-sex male couple to marry at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, from where they both graduated.

A few days following the attack, Larry wrote another post on his Facebook thanking everyone for their support and concerns, and also urged for people to reach out and call for zero tolerance policies aiming “to make good on the promise that all men (and women, of course) actually are created equal in this country.”

“Let’s be the generation that says ENOUGH! There are hundreds of non-violent ways to send a clear message that this sort of behavior is intolerable and that we just won’t take it any longer,” he wrote.


Health Department to spray parts of Queens against West Nile

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of NYC Health Department

The Health Department is once again treating a number of Queens neighborhoods, including many across the northeast and central parts of the borough, in an effort to reduce mosquito activity and reduce the risk of the West Nile virus.

The treatment, which will include spraying pesticide from trucks, will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 11, between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Aug. 12, during the same hours.

Though no human cases have been reported so far this season, the following neighborhoods will be treated due to “rising West Nile virus activity” and “high mosquito populations,” according to the Health Department.

The treatment will take place in the following areas:

  • Parts of Auburndale, Corona, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Kew Gardens Hills, Murray Hill, Pomonok, Queensboro Hill and Utopia (bordered by 43rd Avenue, Cherry Avenue, Kissena Boulevard, Elder Avenue, Main Street, Blossom Avenue, College Point Boulevard and Long Island Expressway to the north; Grand Central Parkway to the west; Jewel Avenue, Main Street, Long Island Expressway, 185th Street and 73rd Avenue to the south; and Francis Lewis Boulevard, Hollis Court Boulevard and Auburndale Lane to the east)
  • Parts of Bellaire, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Floral Park Center, Glen Oaks, Hollis Hill, Little Neck and Oakland Gardens (bordered by Hewlett Avenue, Hewlett Street, Long Island Expressway, Little Neck Parkway and Northern Boulevard to the north; 223rd Street, Cloverdale Boulevard, 73rd Avenue, Springfield Boulevard, Union Turnpike, and 229th Street to the west; Hillside Avenue, Commonwealth Boulevard, 87th Avenue and 261st Avenue to the south; and 86th Avenue, 263rd Street, Williston Avenue and Langdale Street to the east)

For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of the synthetic pesticide Anvil 10+10, which poses no significant risks to human health when properly used. 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.



Great Wall Supermarket opens in Corona

| svrattos@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Stephen Vrattos

In spectacular fashion, Great Wall (GW) Supermarket opened its latest location Thursday at 59-16 99th St. in Corona.

A row of about 30 dignitaries, including nearby LeFrak City General Manager Gerald Rivera, participated in the ribbon cutting, which included explosive confetti cannons, Chinese drummers and dancing lions and dragons. The new location joins more than a half dozen stores throughout the northeast, including in New York, Boston, Maryland, Virginia and Atlanta.


The first GW Supermarket was established in Elmhurst in 2001, with three now opened in the borough. At more than 30,000 square feet, the new store carries a wide variety of cut-to-order meats and seafood, including geoduck clams and live eels, groceries and a vast selection of fresh produce that would make a farmers market blush, including aloe vera and durian. The popular chain plans to expand into organic foods to offer its customers healthy living choices.

“We focus on fresh produce,” said Operating Manager Edward Wu. “We also have our own brand, so we’re able to offer products of as high a quality as the major brands, but at much lower prices.”


PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.


Second arrest made in deadly Jackson Heights shooting

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A second individual has been arrested several months after a Corona man was gunned down in broad daylight on a Jackson Heights street, according to authorities.

Isaac Martinez, 24, who the NYPD said is homeless, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with second-degree murder and gang assault in the May 5 death of 38-year-old Jorge Manzanarez.

Raul Zamora, 33, of Jackson Heights, was charged with second-degree murder, gang assault and criminal possession of a weapon for the shooting two weeks following the incident.

According to officials, Zamora — a reputed member of the Sureños 13 gang — Martinez and another unapprehended individual got into an argument with Manzanarez at about 2:30 p.m. on May 5 on Roosevelt Avenue near Whitney Avenue. Manzanarez was then shot once in the chest.

Martinez’s affiliation with the Sureños 13 wasn’t immediately clear.

Both men face 25 years to life in prison and are currently being held without bail, according to the Queens district attorney’s office and court records.


Thief steals $9,500 in cellphones from Corona store: NYPD

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A burglar took thousands of dollars’ worth of cellphones from a Corona telecommunications store earlier this month after breaking in through the back wall, according to police.

The theft occurred about 9 p.m. on July 9 at 97-09 Roosevelt Ave., authorities said.

The male suspect was able to enter the business by cutting a hole in its rear wall, police said. He then took cellphones, valued at about $9,500.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.




Five wanted for robbing woman at gunpoint inside Corona apartment

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a gang of robbers who forced their way into a Corona apartment earlier this month and stole cash after holding a 60-year-old woman at gunpoint.

The five suspects got into the apartment near 100th Street at about 4:50 p.m. on July 7 while displaying a handgun, according to authorities. They then forced the woman to the ground, causing minor injuries to her arm. The crew finally broke into a locked file cabinet inside a bedroom and took an undetermined amount of cash before fleeing in a black SUV.

1730-15 115 Pct Robbery 7-7-15 photo (3)The suspects are described as Hispanic men, about 25 years old with dark complexions, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 150 pounds. Authorities have released a surveillance photo of all five of the suspects inside the apartment building.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Toddler falls out of window in Corona

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 2-year-old boy was taken to the hospital in critical condition after he fell out of an apartment building window in Corona Thursday evening, police said.

The incident happened about 7 p.m. at a building on 50th Avenue near 99th Street.

According to reports, the toddler tumbled from a first-floor window before falling down basement stairs.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was listed in critical but stable condition.

The fall was accidental, but the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.



Man wanted for forcible touching in Corona

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for the perpetrator who they say grabbed a woman’s buttocks as she walked down a Corona street on July 4.

The 46-year-old woman was near Corona Avenue and Junction Boulevard about 6:20 a.m. Saturday when the suspect — a Hispanic male — walked up behind her and grabbed her behind before fleeing the scene, authorities said.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.




Celebrate Louis Armstrong’s birthday with live jazz on July 4

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Louis Armstrong House Museum

There’s some controversy among music historians about Louis Armstrong’s birthday. Some say it’s July 4, as he believed and his driver’s licenses noted. Others claim that the legendary trumpeter came into this world on August 4, as per his baptismal certificate.

But there’s little controversy among music lovers about how and where to celebrate Satchmo’s nativity: the three-gig Hot Jazz/Cool Garden series at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona.

The Ladybugs, a traditional, five-piece jazz group known for their intricate harmonies, will perform on July 4, and organizers will serve red beans and rice (the birthday boy’s favorite dish), sweet tea and cake. Expect attendees to sing before the cake is sliced.

The series includes two other gigs in the historic house’s garden. On July 18, Jon-Erik Kellso & Friends will take to the stage. A trumpeter who joined his first big band at age 11, Kellso has a steady gig at Greenwich Village’s Ear Inn and Iguana in Midtown West. His specialty is swing, and his improvisations are inspiring.

Cynthia Sayer & Her Sparks Fly Quartet will do the honors for the final concert on August 15. Sayer is a banjoist/vocalist, and her quartet pays (and plays) tribute to Armstrong and other jazz luminaries from the 1920s and 1930s.

And to really hit the high note, the exhibit Red Beans & Ricely Yours: Louis Armstrong & Food will be on display in the museum during these shows.



Corona Plaza becomes first public plaza in Queens with free Wi-Fi

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Visitors to Corona Plaza this summer will be able to surf the net while enjoying some sun.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced Monday morning that Corona Plaza, located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th streets, will be the first plaza in Queens to offer residents and visitors free WiFi, along with two AT&T StreetCharge stations.

This service is provided by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a citywide program to help plazas flourish in high-need communities.

“Corona Plaza is a booming community space deserving of all the amenities. I am thrilled to have these free services that will increase Internet access and eliminate the digital divide for thousands of people in this neighborhood,” Ferreras said.

Sky-Packets, which brings high-speed Wi-Fi services to about 30 neighborhoods throughout the city, will provide the Wi-Fi service at the plaza. Corona Plaza’s service will accommodate several hundred users at any given time.

AT&T has also donated the two solar-powered mobile charging stations to Corona Plaza for the summer and each unit can charge up to six phones, tablets or other wireless devices.

“The new tech amenities at Corona Plaza are another milestone in the transformation of this former street space into an even more inviting destination for residents and visitors alike,” said DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia.

Before 2012, Corona Plaza was a busy area filled with trucks and traffic, with no open space. After the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC) partnered with the Queens Museum, Ferreras and other local groups, the plaza became an open public space allowing residents and visitors to sit down and relax.

Corona Plaza is now one of 70 DOT pedestrian plazas throughout New York City and on average about 20,000 people go through the subway station by the plaza every day.

“In many parts of the city, free Wi-Fi and charging stations are now expected amenities, while in high-need areas they’re a luxury. Bringing this service to Corona Plaza is one of several ways in which we work to ensure that clean, beautiful, vibrant public spaces flourish in every kind of community,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a program of The Horticultural Society.