Tag Archives: Corona

Man exposes himself to woman on 7 train: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo/Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man riding on the 7 line exposed himself to a female straphanger as the train was approaching the Junction Boulevard station in Corona, police said.

The incident happened about 8:30 a.m. on March 20 aboard a Manhattan-bound train, according to authorities.

As the train was pulling into the stop at Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, the victim, a 25-year-old woman, saw the suspect standing in front of her and exposing himself, police said. The man then exited the train at the Woodside/61st Street station.

The suspect is described as an Asian male in his 60s, about 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with brown eyes and gray hair.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Parents call for permanent annex at Corona’s P.S. 143 to alleviate overcrowding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Parents at one Corona school are saying enough is enough and are calling on officials to give their children more room to succeed.

Over a hundred parents and children gathered on Tuesday morning with state Senator Jose Peralta outside of P.S. 143, The Louis Armstrong Elementary School, located at 34-74 113th St., to propose the building of a permanent addition to the school to help alleviate the chronic overcrowding.

According to Peralta, the Corona elementary school was originally built to accommodate 900 students, yet currently there are about 1,800 students enrolled at the site. This causes some children to have lunch at 9:50 a.m. and a large number of students have to take their classes outside of the school’s building.

The new annex would replace a mini building and six temporary classroom units, also known as trailers, which are found on the side of the school’s original building. Some students have also been moved to an annex located at 98th Street and 38th Avenue. 

“We need to have real classrooms for our children. A trailer is no place for a kid to be learning and that’s something that we’ve been saying time and time again to the administration,” Peralta said. “No kid should have to learn in a trailer. Forget about the state-of-the-art classrooms, state-of-the-art technology, we just want every student to sit and get an education in a real classroom.

Peralta first proposed the idea of the annex to the Department of Education two years ago, and was told that the agency agreed with the need for a solution to alleviate the overcrowding at P.S. 143. However issues arose because the property where the building would go is owned by the Parks Department. 

Yet the senator said that the building of a new annex would not affect the recreational areas because it would only take up the space already being used by the mini building and trailers. 

“Enough of the talk – we need the walk, we need actions. It is time to act now,” Peralta said. “This is the 21st century. We need to treat our kids like we are in the 21st century,”

Parents said they are concerned because their young children, mostly first-graders, have to go from one location to another during bad weather conditions and are also learning in classrooms with over 30 students. 

The parents added that they call on representatives of the Department of Education, Parks Department and School Construction Authority to believe that it was their children being made to learn in these conditions. 

“We are fighting and no one listens to us and we are tired of this situation,” said Juana de los Santos, who has two children attending P.S. 143. “I believe our children deserve a good education because they are the future of this country. We want an answer and soon, we don’t want them to tell us ‘Here, in five years it will happen.’ We are tired and our children are suffering.”

According to DOE spokesman Jason Fink, the agency is “working with the Parks Department to explore ways to add capacity at this school.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Bayside actor muscles in on Hollywood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Peter Gaudio

Bayside actor Peter Gaudio is keeping himself quite busy these days both on and off the screen.

Gaudio has a starring role in the upcoming Steve Rahaman film “Snitches,” which according to IMDb is scheduled to premiere in 2016. Starring Chris Victor and Daniel O’Shea, the movie tells the story of a New York City crime boss undermined by an associate working with corrupt police officers to bring the syndicate down.

The Bayside resident and Corona native was most recently featured in the boxing film “Back in the Day,” starring Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and Michael Madsen. He’s also part of “Take it Back,” a mob TV drama currently in production.

But away from the production sets, Gaudio showcases his comedic and singing talents during the “Wiseguys and Women of Comedy” act playing weekly at Il Bacco restaurant in Little Neck.

An active bodybuilder and former Mr. New York City, Gaudio got his first break on the screen in the 1992 film “A Bronx Tale” starring Chazz Palmentieri and Robert DeNiro, who also directed. Gaudio said DeNiro selected him in an open audition for one of many background roles in the film shot on location in Astoria.

Over the years, he worked to refine his acting craft, studying with many renowned acting coaches in New York City including the late actor William Hickey and Alice Spivak.

Those lessons paid off for Gaudio, as he’s worked in dozens of films and television shows based in New York and had a recurring role in the off-Broadway murder-mystery show “Murdered by the Mob.” Even so, there’s only one role more important in his life.

“Working with talented artists is living a dream, but the best role I play each and every day is being the greatest father I can be to my 10-year-old daughter Petrina,” he said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LeFrak City cuts ribbon on new courtyard as part of multimillion-dollar renovations


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new era has begun at LeFrak City as the Corona apartment complex celebrated the grand opening of a brand-new courtyard filled with amenities just in time for the warmer weather.

The West Courtyard, located at 96-04 57th Ave. in LeFrak City, was officially opened on Wednesday morning after a ribbon-cutting ceremony including local elected officials, LeFrak Organization representatives and residents of LeFrak City.

The courtyard, which is the first phase of projects aiming to transform the outdoor amenities at LeFrak City, features new trees and shrubs, walkways, a new seating area with benches and picnic tables, and two athletic courts currently used for basketball and tennis.

“We’re going to be able to have a great summer and spring here in LeFrak City, but it only works if we keep it clean, if we respect ourselves and respect the facility and we allow the residents and children to enjoy this in that kind of atmosphere,” Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry said. “We can do this. This is not so hard; we just have to work together, communicate together and enjoy the diversity that LeFrak City has promoted for so many years.”

Aubry also added that the new projects were a “new era” for the Corona apartment complex. Along with the West Courtyard, the next outdoor project will be adding a new playground with state-of-the-art equipment for young children.

Plans are even being drawn to bring a new swimming pool at the East Courtyard in 2017, according to Jamie LeFrak, principal of the LeFrak Organization.

“LeFrak City is more, it’s much more and by that I’m not talking about the spacious, sun-filled apartments or the lively, growing neighborhood with its library and schools and shopping malls,” LeFrak said. “The more in LeFrak City is the people. LeFrak City is 20,000 amazing people in 5,000 families and more than 200 maintenance workers, safety officers and administrative staff.”

All the outdoor projects are part of a multimillion-dollar renewal and modernization of LeFrak City which began three years ago.

The overall renovations include five new lobbies with 10 new mail rooms, hundreds of renovated apartments, 20 new laundry rooms, 10,000 brighter and more efficient light fixtures, 60 fully modernized elevators, 80 restored façades, eight reconstructed garages, five new security and intercom systems including more than 1,000 new HD video cameras and a residential rooftop solar energy installation.

“LeFrak has always been a destination and now it will continue to be even a better destination with this courtyard. This is the new beginning,” state Senator Jose Peralta said. “LeFrak has gone through some recent tragedies but today is a day of celebration. Today is a day of celebration because today is about a new hope, a new beginning where we are going to transform LeFrak into what LeFrak was going to be envisioned for.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Pair sought in Queens police impersonation robberies


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A phony cop is stopping people on the streets of Queens before robbing them and jumping into a getaway car, authorities said.

Police have released video footage of the fake officer in the act and say he has robbed six separate victims between October and March in Middle Village, Woodside, Elmhurst and Corona.

All of the victims were traveling on foot when they were stopped by the suspect described as Hispanic or white, about 30 to 40 years old and with a heavy build, authorities said. He then searched the victim and removed property from them before fleeing with a second suspect who was waiting in a black Lincoln Town Car or dark van, police said.

The two suspects are wanted in the following incidents:

  • On Oct. 29, at about 1:30 a.m., at the corner of 82nd Street and Furmanville Avenue, $80 was taken from a 21-year-old man.
  • On Nov. 27, at about 1:30 a.m., at the corner of James Avenue and 88th Street, a 40-year-old man’s wallet containing a debit card was taken.
  • On Dec. 11, at about 12:50 a.m. in front of 39-66 65th St., a 39-year-old man’s wallet containing $17 was taken.
  • On Feb. 14, at about 4:45 a.m. in front of 102-26 45th Ave., a 37-year-old man’s wallet containing a debit card and a cellphone were taken.
  • On Feb. 26, at about 12:30 a.m. in front of 49-07 103rd St., a 33-year-old man’s wallet containing $650 and debit and credit cards were taken.
  • On March 15, at about 5:30 a.m. at the corner of 102nd Street and 45th Avenue, a 45-year-old man’s wallet containing $480 was taken.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

110 Precinct CO talks new post, future plans


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The 110th Precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, has a new top cop and he is ready to get to know his new community and continue the work his predecessor achieved.

Captain Christopher Manson was named the new commanding officer of the western Queens precinct and started at his new post on March 17. He is taking over from Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, who after spending the last three years at the 110th Precinct was reassigned to the NYPD’s Queens North Detective Bureau.

For the past two years, Manson was the commanding officer at the 104th Precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.

“I had a great time there, great community. Crime went down about 11 percent over two years. We did a lot of good work,” Manson said. “We hope to continue that here. I inherited a very good, smooth running operation from my predecessor Deputy Inspector Leyson.”

Before taking command of the 104th Precinct, the 27-year NYPD veteran was assigned for a few months at the 114th Precinct, and before that was the executive officer for two years at the 109th Precinct in Flushing.

Since starting at his new post in Corona, Manson said he has been getting know the community and its leaders, and plans to continue the outreach.

“It’s a good place. I’m happy to be here,” Manson said. “I think right now the precinct is set up right because they have a lot of manpower that works late at night.”

He added that in the year to date, crime had been down 8 percent; however, domestic violence had increased in the confines of the precinct. Based on this data, Manson said he hopes to “take a heavy look” at the issue of domestic violence.

Among other initiatives from his past post, Manson has brought over weekly deployment meetings in which he gets together with specific units of the precinct and goes over certain patterns and trends going on.

The units are then committed to addressing certain crimes in specific areas within the precinct.

“Whatever it is these different units from the precinct are committed to these crime zones. It’s worked in the past and continues to work,” Manson said.

Manson added that there other things he might want to bring over from his previous post but he still needs to get to know the 110th Precinct a bit more and then decide what should be done.

He plans to continue the precinct’s social media presence with taking over the Twitter account @NYPD110Pct.

“I’m the 110 rookie,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to learn.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Corona community opposes planned conference hotel even after downsize


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Fleet Financial Group

Plans to construct a luxurious 25-story hotel and convention center in Corona are crumbling amid growing pressure from residents and politicians who feel the structure would degrade the quality of life in the neighborhood by obstructing views, increasing traffic and creating pollution.

Now the developer, Fleet Financial Group, led by president Richard Xia, is considering downsizing the project to a 12-story mixed-use building called the Eastern Emerald Hotel at 112-21 Northern Blvd., according to reports. Even so, residents are against the revised development as well.

“They thought we were a quiet neighborhood. They awoke a sleeping giant,” said Beryl Major, who refers to herself as the facilitator of S.T.O.P. (Standing Together On Principle), a group of residents formed to combat the development of the center. “What [Xia] wants to build, whether it’s as of right or not, it doesn’t belong in this neighborhood.”

S.T.O.P. held its second public meeting Thursday at First Baptist Church across the border in East Elmhurst, which featured ranking members of the Department of City Planning.

Borough President Melinda Katz and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras were also in attendance, and joined the chorus against the project, believing it would become a glaring structure among the community of low-rise homes.

Fleet Financial Group paid $17 million in 2013 for the site at 112-21 Northern Blvd., which was home to the DiBlasi Ford dealership.


The group originally planned for a $200 million hotel and exhibition hall, with 292 hotel rooms, 236 apartments, a shopping center, a high-class restaurant and a 300-space garage.

However, after scaling back the project to the as of right plans, or what it is legally entitled to build without a variance or rezoning, now the development could become a 12-story mixed-use residential, hotel and community facility building, with a parking garage and a community facility.

This smaller project would have 206 apartments in eight upper floors of residential space, and 197 hotel guestrooms in three floors, according to the plans obtained by The Courier.

Xia said the reason for scaling back the project was because of traffic conditions, according to a report.

But the larger 25-story project would have needed to go through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) for a required rezoning, and it most certainly would have been doomed without community, City Council and borough president support.

Because of the extensive amount of construction projects occurring around their neighborhoods, including the National Tennis Center expansion and the mega mall at Willets Point, residents are seeing too much change happening too quickly.

Even Ferreras — a supporter of the Willets Point plan — hopes the new planned hotel is a fleeting idea.

“I’m not someone who believes that we have to stop every project,” she said, “but there are projects that just make no sense. And this one contextually makes no sense for our community.”

In February the Department of Buildings disapproved permits to construct the 12-story building.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Rusty trailers to be removed from overcrowded Corona elementary school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The largest elementary school in the city is getting much-needed room for students to grow and learn.

P.S. 19, located at 98-2 Roosevelt Ave. in Corona, is known for its overcrowded hallways and for students attending classes in trailers, also called Temporary Classroom Units. The school is the largest elementary school in the city by student enrollment and one of the most overcrowded in Queens.

For years, parents and local leaders have fought to remove the trailers, five of which were placed at the school in 1994 and a larger one that was placed on site in 1987, and bring their children back into the school.

On Friday, parents and city officials gathered in front one of the six trailers at the school to announce that the “decades-old, rusty” transportables would be removed and that a new addition is expected to be constructed for the Corona school.

The removal of the trailers and construction of the new building are funded through the Smart Schools Bond Act.

“For too long, P.S. 19 has been inadvertently punished for its own success. What’s remarkable about P.S. 19 is in spite of bursting at the seams from chronic capacity issues and trailers breaking down, the school’s learning environment remains strong and the school performs consistently well,” Borough President Melinda Katz said.

The five smaller trailers at P.S. 19 accommodate 250 students into seven kindergarten and three first-grade classrooms. The larger trailer fits 250 more students into 11 classrooms from grades one through five.

Problems faced in the trailers included frequent breaking down of heating and air conditioning.

“When my son was in kindergarten he was always upset about going to school,” said Rafaela Vivalo, a mother of a second-grader at the school. “He had to learn in a trailer and was always cold and wet during the winter — his feet never had time to dry, since they had to go inside and outside multiple times a day to the main building.”

In spring 2016 the design process for P.S. 19’s new building will be completed and by that summer all the trailers are expected to be removed. During the construction of the new building, 500 incoming students will be temporarily relocated to P.S. 315’s new building on 43rd Avenue, but will still be considered part of P.S. 19.

“It is unacceptable that some of our children are playing musical chairs in the schools within the bounds of the greatest city of the world,” state Senator Jose Peralta said. “I urge swift action on the welcomed addition and look forward to supporting P.S. 19 throughout the process.”

Construction is expected to be completed by the 2018-2019 school year and the relocated students will return to P.S. 19.

“We have worked long and hard to end overcrowding in Corona, and the expansion of P.S. 19 is a milestone in our progress,” said Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, who attended the elementary school. “We’re giving our kids a quality space to learn and thrive.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New cleaning initiative comes to Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Corona will soon be shining brighter as a new cleaning initiative takes to the streets of the western Queens neighborhood.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced Friday the start of Cleanup NYC in the community. The $3.5 million City Council initiative allocated $70,000 to every district, including District 21, for street cleaning.

After receiving the allocation, Ferreras contracted the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless (ACE) to oversee the cleaning services in Corona.

“Cleanup NYC is going to make Corona a better place to live and shop,” Ferreras said. “It’s about community, it’s about cleaning up our commercial districts and it’s about bringing young men who may not have had an opportunity in the past for them to know that here in this corner of Queens that we care about [them].”

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

(THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano)

Since December, a crew of five men who have completed ACE’s training programs have been sweeping, emptying trash cans and removing graffiti. The men, wearing neon yellow work vests, are out in the neighborhood five days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“Our purpose here is greater than cleaning the streets, it’s also providing employment opportunities and vocation and rehabilitation opportunities to folks that struggle in this community,” said Jim Martin, executive director of ACE.

The cleanup, which will continue until June 30, takes place on 108th Street between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue; Corona Avenue from 104th Street to Otis Avenue; along 103rd Street from 37th to Nichols Avenue; and from 94th Street to 104th Street on 37th Avenue.

These boundaries were chosen based on a large number of requests made by constituents.

“You’d be surprised at the number of garbage-related injuries we treat. Children will fall on nails or their parents will get infected trying to clean dirt off the street where their children play,” said Helen Artiaga, director of Plaza del Sol Family Health Center, located at 37-16 108th St. “I was very excited when I heard we’d get additional cleaning in the area.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Fire safety education campaign launched at LeFrak City following fatal New Year’s Eve blaze


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new campaign has been launched at LeFrak City to help educate residents to prevent a tragedy like the New Year’s Eve fire, which killed three people, from occurring again.

Just minutes before ringing in 2015, an unattended pot of a traditional Haitian soup cooking on a stove sparked a fire that left three dead in their Corona apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental, and no working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

In response to the fire, state Sen. Jose Peralta, together with the FDNY, LeFrak City Organization and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, announced on Thursday the launch of a fire safety education campaign for the apartment complex. 

“New Yorkers awoke on New Year’s Day to news of the horrific tragedy that struck LeFrak City just as we were all ringing in 2015 and looking forward to the promise the new year held for us and our loved ones,” Peralta said.

During this campaign, the FDNY will conduct fire safety education presentations for tenants on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Rome Tower of LeFrak City, located at 96-10 57th Ave. 

Food Bazaar Supermarkets donated $500 worth of smoke detector batteries, which will be available to tenants who attend the presentations, made possible by the FDNY Foundation.

“The lesson from the fire is that a working smoke alarm can be a life-saving piece of home safety equipment,” Peralta said. “An operating smoke detector provides a quick and early warning, providing the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire and potential tragedy.”

According to Gerald Rivera, general manager of LeFrak City Maintenance Services, owners are required to periodically replace smoke detectors upon expiration of their life, which is about 10 years. The replacements must then have a non-removable and non-replaceable battery that gives power to the alarm for a minimum of 10 years.

“LeFrak City has a proactive program to replace all campus detectors over a two-year period, a full year in advance of the required deadline,” Rivera said. “Since December 2013, we have replaced 1,600 of the old smoke detectors and will complete all remaining 3,006 replacements by the end of 2015.”

Malikah K. Shabazz, a tenant and president of the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association, said she will inform other tenants about the presentation by working with management to post notices on each floor and in the lobby, and send emails reminding people.

“We get comfortable and take a lot of things for granted and a lot of times we have to constantly be reminded to take precautions when you’re cooking or whatever you are doing that uses flame. You just have to be very careful,” Shabazz said. “It’s a blessing for them to come into our community and assist us in any way that they can.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police looking for gold charm thief


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A thief with a penchant for gold jewelry stole from two Queens businesses last year, according to authorities.

He first targeted a Corona jewelry store at 97-09 Roosevelt Ave. at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. The suspect then stole from Gem Pawn Brokers at 90-26 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.

The suspect took the jewelry by asking to see several gold charms at each store and then would distract the employee while he would swipe one of the charms before fleeing.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Police looking for man who tried to rape woman in western Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A woman fought off a man who tried to rape her on a western Queens street last month, police said.

The 24-year-old victim was walking on 43rd Avenue, within the 110th Precinct, which covers Corona and Elmhurst, about 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 20 when the suspect grabbed her from behind, cops said. He then placed his hands around her mouth, pulled her to the ground and attempted to sexually assault her, cops said.

The woman was able to fight off the suspect, who then fled. She suffered no physical injuries.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 130 pounds, with brown eyes, brown hair and pocked skin. He was last seen wearing black sneakers and a brown jacket, and carrying a black backpack.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Corona church closes ‘until further notice’ after electrical fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2:10 p.m.

Devoted parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church will have to find another place to worship next week after a Sunday morning blaze ripped through their beloved sanctuary.

Church officials are not sure how long it will take to make the extensive repairs. But crews were already at work Monday.

The fire broke out at 5:45 a.m. on the first floor of Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-11 37th Ave., not long before parishioners were expected to begin attending the first Sunday morning Mass, the FDNY said.

According to published reports, Monsignor Thomas Healy of Our Lady of Sorrows led prayers outside the church Sunday after having to cancel all masses.

Two firefighters were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital with minor injuries.

Fire marshals determined Monday that the cause of the fire was electrical due to wiring in the organ pipe tower.

According to the Diocese of Brooklyn, the church has close to 12,000 to 13,000 parishioners and has been serving the community since 1872.

“All of our shrines, churches and cathedrals are sacred and special in their own individual ways. What makes Our Lady of Sorrows stand out is that it is a parish of immigrants in the Diocese of Immigrants,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in a statement.

On Monday the block in front of the church remained closed off by police tape, as construction crews worked on repairing the site. There are flyers posted around the block letting residents and parishioners know that there are no Mass services until further notice.

According to a receptionist at Our Lady of Sorrows, it could take one to two weeks for the doors of the church to open again because they want to make sure the area is safe and clean.

Weekday and Sunday Mass services have been now moved to the auditorium of Our Lady Of Sorrows Catholic Academy, located at 35-34 105th St. For the service schedule, visit www.olschurch-corona.org.

The school itself was closed Monday because electricity had to be shut off due to the fire. Classes are expected to resume Tuesday, according to the school’s website.

“The Diocese of Brooklyn is fully committed to helping this church rebuild so that it may continue serving its faithful community as it has been doing since 1872,”  the Diocese of Brooklyn said in the statement. “As we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany, let us pray for our fellow parishioners in Corona during this time of rebuilding.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New Year’s Eve cooking accident caused deadly fire at LeFrak City: officials


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Orest Petrychyn

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 10:38 a.m.

An unattended pot of soup cooking on a stove sparked a horrific New Year’s Eve fire that left three dead in their LeFrak City apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The blaze was reported by a call to 911 at 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly went to a second alarm.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire at the 16-story apartment tower at 96-02 57th Ave. in Corona. After firefighters battled their way through a smoke-filled hallway, they found two women and a man unconscious and unresponsive in Apt. 9C.

All three were pronounced dead at area hospitals.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

Donnay and Jean-Charles were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Michel was taken to Forest Hills Hospital.

The family was preparing a traditional Haitian New Year’s Eve soup on the stove that night when it was left unattended, causing the fire, according to officials. The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental and no working smoke alarms were found in the home.

“Right away, we took our jackets and we started knocking on the doors letting people know there’s a fire,” one resident told WCBS TV. “There was smoke all over the place.”

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

According to a LeFrak City Organization spokesman, the building has no fire violations and the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors as required by law.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those affected,” the spokesman said. “A smoke detector rider attesting to the presence of this life safety equipment was signed and initialed by the tenant in 2012.”


A YouTube video posted of the fire shows flames shooting from the ninth floor balcony.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Construction finally set for $20M Louis Armstrong Museum annex


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Louis Armstrong House Museum 

A $20 million annex expansion of the landmarked Louis Armstrong House Museum, named for the famed jazz musician, is on the way after meeting zoning regulations.

Plans have been filed with the Buildings Department on Friday to construct the proposed educational visitors center on vacant land near the museum at 34-49 107th St. in Corona.

Design work on the new center dates as far back as 2007, but construction on the project was stalled due to a necessary variance application from the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA).

The new two-story project needed approval for a waiver to be built closer to neighboring property lines than zoning laws allow.

The BSA gave the project the green light last year, following support from Community Board 3 and the borough president’s office. Now the project is in the construction phase, according to a representative.

The museum is hoping to build the new 8,737-square-foot annex, which is designed by architecture firm Caples Jefferson, for more exhibit space and a store to better accommodate the more than 12,000 visitors who come to the museum each year.

The center will “create a wonderful cultural campus in Corona that allows us to expand our programming for the community and our visitors from around the world,” said Jennifer Walden, director of marketing at the museum.

The museum is a national historic landmark and a New York City landmark dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of the iconic musician.

Armstrong and his wife Lucille lived in the house from 1943 until his death in 1971, and the house was declared a national landmark in 1976.

 

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

RECOMMENDED STORIES