Tag Archives: Corona

Jackson Heights, Corona community marches for safer streets after traffic deaths


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It was the final straw, and now the Jackson Heights and Corona communities are saying no more.

Family members of traffic accident victims, local elected officials and community members gathered Tuesday night to set off the inaugural action known as “Three Children Too Many.”

The group marched down Northern Boulevard, then 82nd Street, stopping to make statements about traffic control and give performances along the way. They then gathered on 79th Street and 37th Avenue to rally and remember young local lives that were cut short.

“You cope with this kind of thing and you feel terrible, sad, angry, but then there’s a tipping point,” said Laura Newman, one of the organizers of the march and resident of Jackson Heights. “We actually have to make it stop.”

Just a month before three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver, Jackson Heights resident Luis Bravo, 19, lost his life in a hit-and-run in Woodside. In December of last year, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was killed as he tried to cross the street heading to school on Northern Boulevard.

In April Councilmember Daniel Dromm led the push to bring more slow zones to Jackson Heights, focusing on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“Three Children Too Many” calls on mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to choose a police commissioner who will make sure law enforcement for vehicular crimes is strongly enforced and demands more traffic calming zones, continued traffic safety education for local children, and action facilitators to lead the community towards greater safety.

“Safety is (Department of Transportation) DOT’s top priority and the agency participated in [Tuesday’s] event to highlight our shared goal of making streets safer for everyone using them,” said DOT spokesperson Nicole Garcia. “We also have been in touch with the local community, including the march’s organizers and elected officials to get feedback, share education materials and discuss ways to enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area.”

The agency is also looking at the signal timing at Northern and Junction Boulevards to determine if adjustments can be made, said Garcia.

Michelle L. Kaucic, community coordinator of the DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach, said the community needs to continue advocating for change and must also spread the word of not drinking and driving. The community and DOT need to work together to make the streets safe as possible, said Kaucic.

At the end of the march, participants held a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil honoring Olvin, Luis, Miguel and other victims, as family members spoke.

“Safe streets are not a luxury, it’s what we deserve,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who lost two of her best friends 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident involving a drunk driver. “After losing several of our mothers, fathers, children and friends to fatal traffic collisions, we simply cannot tolerate to lose one more.”

 

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Cops searching for suspect in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn jewelry store robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking to identify a suspect wanted in connection to seven jewelry store robberies across the city, including three in Queens.

During each robbery, the suspect enters the store, armed with a handgun, and two to three additional suspects jump over the counter and take the jewelry, said cops. No injuries were reported during any of the incidents.

The robberies happened at the following locations and times:

  • 169 Canal Street in Manhattan on September 10 at 4:15 p.m.
  • 5914 8th Avenue in Brooklyn on October 15at 6:45 p.m.
  • 66 East Broadway in Manhattan October 17, at 6:35 p.m. and on October 18 at 4:30 p.m.
  • 37-58 103rd Street in the Corona section of Queens on October 28 at 7:50 p.m.
  • 74-15 37th Avenue in the Jackson Heights section of Queens on October 31 at 6:35 p.m.
  • 37-11 Main Street in the Flushing section of Queens on November 9 at 5:55 p.m.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male and have released video footage of him.

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.

 

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Op-ed: Making a BID for the Jackson Heights-Corona commercial corridor


| oped@queenscourier.com

SETH BORNSTEIN

In Queens, we take tremendous pride in where we live, work and play. Whether we are in Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing or Jackson Heights, each community is unique with distinctive charms. Each neighborhood’s face is its commercial shopping district, where we buy goods, dine, stroll, and meet friends. It’s like going into “town” whether it’s around the corner from home or a bus ride away. The best commercial corridors are places we want to frequent; they are clean, safe and attractive and provide the goods and services we seek. We are fortunate that our borough has more than 100 of these strips.

The ones that really stand out are the Business Improvement Districts – or BIDs. These areas have distinct advantages; they allow local businesses to take control and make decisions to keep them cleaner, safer and more inviting. In Queens, there are BIDs in Astoria, Bayside, Flushing, Jamaica, Long Island City, Ridgewood Sunnyside and Woodhaven. All have enlivened their communities, benefiting businesses, residents and shoppers. Without exception these corridors are better places to do business now than they were prior to the BID designations. Just look at the cleaner streets, fewer retail vacancies and increased property values.

Under the direction of members, BIDs enhance and improve the look, feel and ambiance of the street. And in every single instance, the BIDs in Queens have proved their worth. They are bargains, too. Fees are based on property size, and the average cost per store owner is $37.50 per month. Considering what shopkeepers pay for sanitation tickets and holiday lights, this is a real savings. Other benefits include staffers who advocate for the business community.

The proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will tie together the Roosevelt Avenue commercial corridor. One of the borough’s most important, this long shopping strip under the No. 7 train is certainly worthy of a BID. Between 82nd Street and Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, there are over 1,000 small businesses that are vital to the area’s economic well-being. In the last few years, the 82nd Street Partnership has increased services, adding cleaning, marketing and promotional programs. The Queens Economic Development Corporation is proud to have helped transform Corona Plaza at 103rd Street into a pedestrian paradise that has been heralded as one of the best public spaces in the city. (My prediction: It will get even better!) But to maintain these improvements and enhance the entire commercial strip, a BID is crucial.

Change is sometimes daunting. But BIDs throughout the city have created stable and exciting commercial districts. I invite any skeptic to walk with me through any borough BID and witness their vibrancy, cleanliness and diversity.

Seth Bornstein is the Executive Director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation and has helped establish many BIDs in the borough.

 

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Suspect arrested for allegedly killing Corona man during argument over woman


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated Tuesday, October 29, 10:07 a.m. 

A 27-year-old man who was shot dead  in Corona Sunday was reportedly killed over a disagreement about a woman.

Cops found the victim, Cory Dixon, with a gunshot wound to the torso in front of 96-04 57th Avenue, just steps from his home, around 3 a.m., according to police.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he later died from his injuries

Anton Harden, 34, has been arrested for Dixon’s homicide and charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of weapon, said cops.

Harden allegedly shot Dixon during an argument over a woman, according to NBC New York.

 

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Strip club billboard above Corona church taken down


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Senator Jose Peralta’s office

On the heels of community complaints, a billboard promoting a local strip club has come down. The billboard sat above the New Hope Baptist Church at 105-13 Northern Boulevard.

“Common sense and decency have prevailed,” said State Senator Jose Peralta, who had called for the ad to be removed.  “Like everyone else that I spoke to who had seen the billboard, I thought that the female pictured looked far too young to be featured in an ad for a strip club.  It was a jarring image that was offensive and sickening.  That it sat above a church was an especially twisted mockery.”

 

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Police: Drunk driver hits, critically injures pedestrian, flees scene


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man who allegedly struck and seriously injured a man in Corona Sunday has been arrested for drunk driving and fleeing the scene of the accident.

The 21-year-old victim was crossing the intersection of 57th Avenue and 99th Street around 3:30 a.m. when a 2001 Nissan Altima struck him, said police.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition.

The driver allegedly abandoned his vehicle at the intersection and fled on foot, but was arrested a short time later, said cops.

Hamlet Gonzalez, 32, has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury, driving while intoxicated and vehicular assault.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast with rain. High of 66. Winds from the NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 80% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Thursday night: Overcast with rain. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90% with rainfall amounts near 1.0 in. possible.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Invasive Pigments

The Queens Botanical Garden’s exhibit Invasive Pigments is a series of watercolor-like paintings which explores the migration and proliferation of weeds and other “unintentional” plants in tandem with human movement. Artist Ellie Irons created colors by extracting pigments from these local, invasive plants, and uses them to construct map-like portraits to illustrate the species’ movement into local ecosystems.The exhibit will end on October 27. Free with Garden admission. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Cops: Suspect recorded video under teen’s skirt at Corona subway station

Police are looking for a man allegedly caught videotaping under a teen’s skirt at a Corona subway station. Read more: The Queens Courier

Nor’easter to dump rain on tri-state, coastal flooding likely

Forecasters say a slow-moving nor’easter that will bring bouts of wind-driven heavy rain to the tri-state over the next 24 hours could cause minor coastal flooding. Read more: NBC New York

City council approves major changes to restaurant grading system

The New York City Council on Wednesday approved a package of bills that will reduce the fines restaurant owners pay for minor health infractions. Read more: CBS New York

Off-duty cop busted after crashing while driving drunk in Queens

An off-duty cop who was driving drunk hit a car in Queens and took off, police said Wednesday. Read more: New York Daily News

President Obama to seek opening with GOP leaders on shutdown

President Barack Obama is hosting top House Republicans to seek an opening in an impasse that has shuttered much of the government and threatens a catastrophic federal default. Read more: AP

Cops: Suspect recorded video under teen’s skirt at Corona subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man allegedly caught videotaping under a teen’s skirt at a Corona subway station.

The suspect was observed recording the video at the Junction Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue subway stop around 8:15 a.m. on October 2, said cops.

He continued to record under the 18-year-old girl’s skirt as she walked up the staircase leading to the southbound No. 7 train platform. The suspect was then confronted and fled on foot.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic and in his early to mid-thirties. He was last seen wearing a black tank top, blue jeans and black sneakers.

 

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‘Find My iPhone’ app helps police bust robbery suspect


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot

Updated Monday, October 7, 12:24 p.m.

It took cops only minutes to recover a stolen cell phone and catch the robbery suspect thanks to an iPhone tracking app.

The 17-year-old victim was standing at a Corona bus stop on the Horace Harding Expressway near 99th Street around 8:45 p.m. Friday when she was robbed, said police.

The suspect came up to the teen, placed his hands over her and choked her while removing her iPhone from her handbag, then pushed to the victim to the ground, said cops. He then jumped into the rear passenger side of a vehicle and fled the scene.

The victim was not injured in the incident.

Responding officers were able to initiate the “Find My iPhone” app and track the stolen cell phone to Myrtle Avenue and 85th Street where they found the car around 9 p.m., said police.

Cops pulled the vehicle over and arrested the suspect who allegedly took the iPhone as well another man and a woman who were inside the car.

The stolen iPhone was recovered and returned to the victim.

Michael Iglesias, 29 has been charged with robbery and criminal possession of stolen Property. Augustin Rodriguez, 27, and Sayli Llonch, 28 have also been charged with criminal possession of stolen property, said police.

But a spokesperson for the Queens District Attorney’s office told the New York Post there wasn’t sufficient evidence to prosecute Rodriguez or Llonch.

 

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Jackson Heights man arrested for fatal Roosevelt Avenue shooting


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Jackson Heights man has been arrested and charged for the murder of another man on Roosevelt Avenue.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, September 20 at approximately 5:54 p.m., after responding to a report of a man shot at 80th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, police found Ivan Rodriguez, 33, of Corona in front of 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue with a gunshot wound to his neck and head. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police arrested Pedro Silva, 20, of Jackson Heights in connection to the incident. He has been charged with two counts of murder, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of criminal use of a firearm. 

 

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Three volunteer EMTs charged with stealing from Corona nonprofit


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507

Three volunteer EMTs have been arrested after allegedly stealing more than $325,000 from a not-for-profit volunteer ambulance group, according to the attorney general.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Friday, September 20 that Daniel Dominguez, 37, Daryl Adeva, 31, and David Moretti, 41, were arrested for stealing from bank accounts of the Corona Community Volunteer Ambulance Corps (CCAC).

“These emergency medical technicians, who were entrusted with providing medical services and transportation for New York residents, instead took advantage of their positions and used a not-for-profit ambulance corps as their own personal piggy bank,” said Schneiderman. “My office will continue to weed out theft and fraud in charitable organizations and prosecute criminals who take advantage of the public’s trust.”

The arrests took place after the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau received a complaint from CCAC board members about “possible missing and misappropriated funds from CCAC bank accounts.”

According to a felony complaint, the investigation found that while Dominguez served as a board member and treasurer of CCAC, he stole more than $300,000 from the nonprofit’s bank accounts by transferring funds directly to his personal accounts. He then allegedly used the money to go on trips to Disney World and Niagara Falls, and purchased luxury car service trips and expensive meals.

In a second felony complaint, Dominguez allegedly helped Adeva, another CCAC board member, make an unauthorized transfer of $8,960 to his own account. The Attorney General also charged Moretti, who served as a board member and president of CCAC, in a third felony complaint for stealing more than $11,000 from the nonprofit between September 2008 and May 2011.

“Moretti received wire transfers, cash withdrawals and unauthorized credit card purchases,” said the complaint. “These purchases included overseas money transfer and personal car payments, all made without the permission of the CCAC board members.”

All three volunteer EMTs were arrested and arraigned on September 20 on grand larceny charges.

If convicted, Dominguez, who was charged with grand larceny in the second degree, faces up to five to 15 years in prison. Moretti and Adeva were both charged with grand larceny in the third degree and each face up to two and one-third to seven years in prison.

Queens man makes his way onto the big screen and on stage


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Pete Gaudio

In the past 25 years, Pete Gaudio has muscled his way into Hollywood.

Before making his way onto the big screen and on stage, Gaudio grew up in Corona and later moved to Bayside. During this time, he decided to use what he saw in his surroundings, later giving life to many of his characters.

Gaudio became part of Donald Trump’s security team for seven years protecting Trump and his family. During this time he met well-known acting coach Alice Spivak and began his acting career while working as security.

One of Gaudio’s big roles came when he played one of the neighborhood guys in the opening scene of 1993’s “A Bronx Tale” with Robert De Niro.

“I always had a passion for [acting] and I was always around the wise guys,” said Gaudio. “You could wind up in prison or in the cemetery, so I took what I learned from the streets and decided to put it on the big screen.”

For the past three years, Gaudio has been regularly performing in the play “Murder by the Mob” on 38th Avenue and Broadway in Manhattan.

He has also taken part in a web series called “You Got Whacked,” was recently cast in a future television series called “Straight Talk, A Mob Story” and shot a parody of “The Godfather.”

“It’s a dream come true. Always shoot for the stars, if you wind up somewhere in the middle you still did good,” said Gaudio. “You still achieved your goals.”

When he isn’t acting, Gaudio takes great importance in staying fit. In 2002, he was a New York City bodybuilding champion and has owned and operated his own personal fitness training company for the past 17 years. He can also be found almost every day at Powerhouse Gym in Bayside where owners Tommy DeCanio and James Rappaport treat him like family.
Gaudio now lives in Douglaston and is a proud father of nine-year-old Patrina.

“My favorite role of all time is being a father to her,” he said.

 

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Some small businesses won’t back BID in Jackson Heights, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

Some business owners are saying no to the expansion that would bring a business improvement district (BID) to the Jackson Heights and Corona area for fear of losing what makes the community diverse.

The 82nd Street Partnership, a non-profit group promoting the current local BID covering four blocks and over 160 businesses, announced in March it would be extending all the way through 114th Street as part of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras’ New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID.

Members and supporters of the Roosevelt Avenue Community Alliance, created to put a stop to the plan for the BID, rallied at Corona Plaza on Sunday, September 8. According to members of the group, they fear the BID will get rid of the small businesses that make up Roosevelt Avenue, push out the immigrant community and raise rents. The group later marched to Ferreras’ office on Junction Boulevard.

“This movement is no longer just a Roosevelt Avenue small business owners’ movement, it is a movement of the community,” said Freddy Castiblanco, owner of Terraza 7, a Jackson Heights bar, who is looking for an open communication with local leaders and politicians. “Roosevelt Avenue is mega diversity. We can’t allow the standardization of projects like the BID. We are here to say no to the whole process of gentrification and expulsion of our diversity.”

Yet, according to Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, most of the opposition is coming from the community not having the right information on the BID.

“There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there and that seems to be driving a lot of the fear,” said Taylor. “It’s our job that everyone has all the information they need so they can make an informed decision.”

The BID plans to become a community-driven effort including property owners, businesses, residents, public officials and other stakeholders.

“This is really a small business survival strategy,” said Taylor. “This is an opportunity for the small businesses on Roosevelt avenue to make an investment that goes right back into the neighborhood.”

To date, Taylor said they have held seven public meetings, seven steering committee meetings and dozens of one-on-one meetings with business owners. More meetings are planned for the coming weeks.

BIDs have proven to be successful in other neighborhoods — for example on Fordham Road in the Bronx and Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and especially in immigrant communities — said Taylor.

“We are asking people to keep an open mind, to take time to learn the facts and to voice their concern so we can find a way to work together to invest in our neighborhood and improve quality of life for everyone,” he said. “We want to remind everyone that this is an initiative that will only happen if there is wide spread support of the small business community.”

Ballots for the BID will be sent out in the mail in October and decision making will be done by a board of directors that represents the diverse area and community members.

“The current problems on Roosevelt Avenue hurt everyone, including our working and immigrant community and small businesses,” said Ferreras. “This is why I believe a business improvement district is a solution to this problem.”

For more information on the BID, you can visit www.jhcoronabid.org.

 

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New Corona school building to ease overcrowding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A new school in Corona is set to ease the burden of overcrowded classrooms in the area.

According to the Department of Education (DOE), P.S. 330, currently located within a building at 86-37 53rd Avenue in Elmhurst, will move into a brand new location at 111-08 Northern Boulevard just in time for the beginning of the school year next week.

“This is a fantastic new building, and we’re confident that P.S. 330 will deliver well for its students there,” said DOE spokesperson Devon Puglia.

P.S. 330 opened at the initial building in 2010 in order to lighten overcrowding in District 24 elementary schools. The school currently serves 220 students in kindergarten and first grade, but is expected to open more than 400 seats once it makes the move.

The new building will continue to alleviate overcrowding in Corona and is also located in an area closer to where 84 percent of the students currently live, the DOE said.

“Over the past 12 years, we’ve created over 125,000 new school seats,” said Puglia. “As we put up brand new, state-of-the-art buildings around the city, we’re meeting the needs of our schools and communities.”

Once P.S. 330, at its new location, completes its expansion and reaches its full capacity in the 2015-2016 school year, it will serve 570 to 630 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.

“Because overcrowding is a serious issue in my district, I could not be happier to have P.S. 330 opening its doors this September,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

In April, Ferreras established the Educational and Overcrowding Improvement Task Force. The task force was created to help improve the communication between the DOE and parents, as well as ease the overcrowding issues in Community Education Council Districts 24 and 30.

“These efforts, combined with plans for the construction of five additional schools in my district, will undoubtedly improve the overcrowding issues our local schools are currently experiencing,” said Ferreras.

According to the DOE, it will work with the community to figure out the best use for P.S. 330’s original building.

 

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where is this

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Congregation Tifereth Israel in Corona