Tag Archives: Corona

Corona man killed in hit-and-run on College Point Boulevard

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 41-year-old man died on Sunday after being struck by a car while attempting to cross College Point Boulevard in Flushing, police said.

Police responded to a call at 1:05 a.m., informing them of an injured pedestrian at 40-05 College Point Blvd.

The man, identified as Mariano Contreras of Corona, was found unconscious and unresponsive and EMS transported him to New York Hospital of Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

Contreras was allegedly trying to cross College Point Boulevard from east to west outside of any marked crosswalks, police said. He entered the northbound lane when he was reportedly struck by a dark-colored SUV, which fled the scene going northbound. Contreras was thrown to the pavement during the collision and was found on the right shoulder of the northbound lane.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing by the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad.


Cops cuff Corona man who robbed two victims within 15 minutes

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Images

A Corona man tried his luck at robbing two individuals yesterday afternoon, but it ran out when the victims chased him down and recovered their property, according to authorities.

The 110th Precinct first got a call at 3:20 p.m. Wednesday after Joseph Valdez, 21, of Corona allegedly snatched a phone from a girl who was walking with a friend on Christie Avenue near 99th Street, police said.

The victim and her friend then decided to run after Valdez to retrieve the phone, authorities noted. The perpetrator dropped the phone onto the ground, damaging it, and ran away.

Several minutes later, Valdez allegedly grabbed a phone from a second victim’s hand — this time a young man — when he was chased again by his victim. A struggle ensued when Valdez also tried to steal the victim’s backpack as he was being chased, but he was unsuccessful a second time and dropped the backpack on the ground.

Police Officer Christopher Musa, in responding to the incidents, spotted Valdez during the second robbery and was able to apprehend him.

Valdez was charged with third degree robbery, third degree criminal mischief, acting in manner injurious to a child, criminal possession of stolen property and unlawful possession of marijuana.


First free feminine hygiene product dispenser at city school debuts in Corona

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland's office

A Corona high school is the first in New York City to have a free sanitary napkin and tampon dispensers in a girls’ restroom.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland announced on Tuesday the machine’s installation at the High School for Arts and Business, which will provide young ladies with feminine hygiene products free of charge. HOSPECO, which Ferreras-Copeland described as an “industry leader” in feminine hygiene product vending, provided donations for the dispenser.

The Corona vending machine will feature Tampax tampons and Maxithins sanitary napkins throughout the 2015-16 school year.

“Offering free menstrual care supplies as we do toilet paper and condoms is a matter of avoiding health risks, eliminating the stigma that surrounds a natural part of a woman’s life, and for girls in school, not having to skip class because they got their period,” she said. “Feminine hygiene products allow women and girls to carry out their daily responsibilities uninterrupted, and they should always be easily accessible.”

“We are happy to pilot this program and we must ensure that girls have the support they need to succeed each and every day,” added Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose.


Bill Hemann of HOSPECO, Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose and students at the High School of Arts and Business in Corona.

Bill Hemann of HOSPECO, Councilwoman Ferraras-Copeland, Deputy Schools Chancellor Elizabeth Rose and students at the High School of Arts and Business in Corona.

“This is a valuable service to provide and I am glad that girls at my school will have free access to these products,” said Ana Zambrano, principal of the Arts and Business High School.

Fifty-six percent of the Corona school’s 850 students are female. At year’s end, the DOE and city will evaluate the dispenser’s usage to form best practices and potential improvements.

Ferreras-Copeland and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, meanwhile, plan to introduce legislation requiring free feminine hygiene products available in public schools and other institutions. They also aim to lobby the state to eliminate sales taxes on sanitary napkins and tampons, which the Federal Drug Administration classifies as medical devices.


Corona man arrested for drunk driving on LIRR tracks in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of MTA PD

This guy took joy riding to a whole new level.

Ronny Mora, 25, of Corona was arrested Sunday night for allegedly driving his car while intoxicated on LIRR tracks in Long Island City and only coming to a stop after his car burst into flames upon striking a third rail, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, police were informed by a LIRR employee that on Sept. 20 between 10:45 and 11:43 p.m. he saw a 2011 Nissan Juke enter the train yard at the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. The employee added that he then saw the car drive eastbound on the track for about 3.25 miles.

The employee then saw the vehicle stop, and a man – later identified as Mora – exited the car and walked westbound on the track, authorities said.

Police then responded to a call of a vehicle stalled on the track and upon arrival saw the vehicle on fire.

A supervisor of transportation for the LIRR informed police that the train yard is enclosed by a fence to prevent intruders.

Cops later saw Mora sitting on the side of the tracks inside the train yard near the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. An officer noticed that Mora had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the criminal complaint.

The 25-year-old then allegedly admitted, “I had one beer, I drove my car onto the track, I’m sorry. I saw it sparking so I left.”

Mora was taken to the 112th Precinct stationhouse in Forest Hills, where he was administered an Intoxilyzer exam that indicated he had a blood alcohol level of 0.164 percent, well above the legal 0.08 limit.

According to the MTA, the fire forced the LIRR to suspend service between Penn Station and Jamaica for almost three hours while the FDNY extinguished the flames and LIRR personnel repaired the third rail – which suffered damages exceeding $1,500 and create a risk for serious injury to passengers on trains.

Mora faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting property damage.


Corona music store duo get first-ever charges for pirating tunes using memory cards: DA

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A Corona music store owner and his employee are singing the blues after being charged last week for allegedly selling pirated music stored on memory cards to an undercover investigator.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Evaristo Cruz, 43, of 48th Street in Sunnyside, who owns Poblanos Records at 95-10 Roosevelt Ave. in Corona, and store employee Guevera Rubi, 31, of 38th Avenue in Corona, allegedly sold illegally downloaded music to the undercover investigator on two occasions between July and September 2015.

The agent worked for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which is actively working with law enforcement to crack down on music pirating.

On July 15, prosecutors said, Cruz allegedly sold the undercover investigator an SD media card for $30. The memory card held 609 songs, including music from artists such as Cuban salsa singer Rey Ruiz, Colombian salsa band Grupo Niche, bachata musician Antony Santos and more.

The undercover agent visited the store again on Sept. 2, when Rubi told him that a USB drive would cost $20 — but he could get music on the drive for an additional $20. He was instructed to come back later for the flash drive and when he returned, he was given a flash drive with 512 songs on it, including a new song by Romeo Santos and rapper Nicki Minaj.

Members of the 110th Precinct, joined by the undercover investigator, executed a search warrant at the store on Sept. 16, the district attorney’s office said. A desktop computer was recovered along with 12 different memory devices with storage capacity ranging from 4GB to 16GB. The computer contained more than 1,000 songs that were counterfeit or pirated.

Brown added that the owner and employee were the first people ever charged with pirating music using memory cards.

“In the past, illegally downloaded music was sold on compact discs or CDs. Now songs are being distributed on even smaller devices — flash drives and memory cards,” Brown said in a statement. “While some may ask, ‘What’s the harm?’, the fact of the matter is downloading music without paying for it is a crime.”

Cruz was arraigned on Sept. 17 on charges of criminal possession of forgery devices and first-degree failure to disclose the origin of a recording. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted and was ordered to return to court on Oct. 20.

Rubi, who was charged with first-degree failure to disclose the origin of a recording, faces up to four years in prison and was also ordered to return to court on Oct. 20.


Corona man charged for operating illegal medical practice: DA

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A Corona man was arrested on Wednesday for unlawfully posing as a medical doctor and setting up an unlicensed practice in which he performed medical procedures and wrote prescriptions on Post-it notes.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Gabriel Estrada ran the unlawful practice out of 102-15A Northern Blvd. He was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, unauthorized practice of a profession, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument.

During an investigation, an undercover NYPD officer posing as a patient went to the location on five separate occasions between June 11, 2013, and July 22, 2015. He complained of back pain, leg pain, numbness and diarrhea and met Estrada in an examination room.

During each visit, prosecutors said, the undercover officer was allegedly requested to pay $30 cash and, on one occasion, the officer allegedly observed Estrada inserting a syringe into the buttocks of a female and injecting an unknown substance into her.

He also tried to inject the undercover officer with an unknown substance and when the officer refused, Estrada wrote prescriptions on Post-it notes and instructed the officer to take them to a nearby pharmacy. The pharamacy charged the officer between $74 to $106 for anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, and an unknown liquid substance, according to authorities.

Members of the NYPD’s Organized Crime Investigation Division executed a court-authorized search warrant on Wednesday and found a used hypodermic syringe, a plastic container containing nine oxycodone pills, and a variety of injectable drugs and prescription pills at the location.

When officers executed the search warrant, Estrada asked if one of his patients had died and explained that he graduated from school in Colombia in 1991, tried to get a license in the United States in 1999 and 2000 but wasn’t able to pass and has been treating 20 to 30 people a week since that time.

“The defendant – who is not licensed by New York State to practice medicine – is accused of preying upon unsuspecting individuals to selfishly enrich himself,” District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement. “His alleged conduct jeopardized the safety of patients by allowing an unlicensed individual to treat them – including injecting them with an unknown substance.”

Estrada was ordered held on $15,000 bond or $7,500 cash bail and to surrender his Colombian passport. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted and was ordered to return to court on Sept. 29.

District Attorney Brown requested that other individuals treated by the defendant contact his Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau at 718-286-6519. Non-English-speaking individuals may call the District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs at 718-286-6690 and leave a message citing what language they are most comfortable speaking. Someone who speaks their language will return the call.


Mixed-use building in Corona offered for $8.8M

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield

One year after being completed and opened, a mixed-use building steps away from the 7 line in Corona is again open to potential investors on the real estate market.

Cushman & Wakefield is offering the four-story, 15,068-square-foot building located at 37-17/19 108th St. for $8.8 million. The structure includes 14 apartments ranging from studios to three-bedroom units, all of which are currently occupied. The ground floor features a presently vacant retail space.

Completed in mid-2014, the building features modern amenities including a central heating and cooling system. Each of the apartments have granite kitchen countertops, marble bathroom fixtures and hardwood floors.

What’s more, the structure is located just three blocks north of bustling Roosevelt Avenue and, above it, the 103rd Street-Corona Plaza station on the 7 line. The location ensures constant foot traffic from shoppers, visitors and residents alike.

“This property is a rare product in today’s market with great cash flow and high-quality construction,” according to the Cushman & Wakefield listing.

Stephen R. Preuss, executive director, is handling the sale.


Bicyclist struck by car in Corona

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A bicyclist was rushed to the hospital Thursday afternoon after being struck by a car in Corona, according to police.

The 38-year-old man was hit at about 1:34 p.m. at the intersection of 114th Street and 34th Avenue near the ramp to the Grand Central Parkway, authorities said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital and is listed in critical yet stable condition.

The driver of the vehicle remained at the scene and the accident is still under investigation.


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. He 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.”