Tag Archives: Court

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

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

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

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

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

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

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

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

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

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

 

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

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

‘Bowne’d for Renovations: Upgrades coming to Flushing park


| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

No matter the weather or time of year, crowds gather on a daily and nightly basis at Bowne Park in Flushing, where the game is bocce ball and everyone plays.

“Sometimes you can wait an hour to play,” said Sime Stulic, who has played at the park for more years than he can remember. “We have been asking for a long time for a second [bocce] court.”

Now Stulic and his fellow players are getting that second court — and a lot more.

Community Board 7 (CB7) voted unanimously on February 13 in favor of renovating the park and adding another bocce ball court. Marilyn Bitterman, district manager of CB7, said this is something the community wanted, and construction is set to begin this fall.

“We will be replacing benches, picnic tables and adding tables and places to sit,” she said. “Really, an entirely new plaza will be put in, and the existing court will be renovated.”

Bocce players, who have been advocating for improvements to the park for a number of years, couldn’t be happier to hear the news. Peter Salamon, a resident in the neighborhood for over 30 years, said people come from all over Queens to play in this park.

“In the springtime, we have hundreds of people here,” he said. “Even people in Whitestone, where [the city] just built a new court, come here.”

Salamon went on to say that the surrounding community appreciates and welcomes the bocce players. He believes that having such a strong presence in the park deters criminal activity and makes the entire neighborhood safer.

“Years ago, you would never walk through this park at night because it was filled with bad activity,” he said. “People know that we will call the police if we see something. The community appreciates us because we keep the bad elements out.”

The bocce players also have a hand in keeping the park clean. In the early morning hours, Salamon can be found sweeping the grounds around the bocce court and picking up any trash lying around. He even tried to plant a few trees in the park, but the city cut them down because he didn’t have the appropriate permit.

“We come and we take care of this park, not the city. We buy our own equipment and even the special sand for the court,” he said. “We don’t ask for anything.”

The park’s new amenities come with a $500,000 price tag.

Councilmember Dan Halloran, while very happy the park is getting a renovation, wasn’t thrilled with the cost.

“An extra bocce court will be a good thing for Bowne Park, and I’m proud to have helped provide one [through funding],” he said. “But nothing comes cheap through city government.  I’m pressing for Parks to make this happen as affordably as possible.  I’ve asked the department to account for all discretionary funding over the last 10 years, and I am looking at the costs of Parks construction, including the Little Bay Park overruns.”

NYPD launches early morning raid and eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters


| hchin@homereporternews.com

An unconfirmed number of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested during a surprise early morning raid and eviction of Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped for two months.

It was shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15, when word began to spread that the New York Police Department had surrounded the park and used a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) to disperse the crowd. The announcement came in emails and text messages as press access was blocked, but live video feeds of the proceedings – which reportedly include tear gas and police in riot gear making individual arrests – were being broadcast online at http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc and www.livestream.com/occupy_liberty.

According to one Brooklynite, the “police have a multiple block radius sealed off around Liberty [Street]. There are supporters & witnesses at least on the north & south of the square but they’ve disallowed press in the square. [The] crowd [is] in good spirits. [There are] hundreds of police in full riot gear.”

According to the Associated Press, around 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together – reportedly by linking arms and also using chains on their neck to prevent abuse.

These arrests included reporters and photographers from the Associated Press and The New York Daily Newswho were detained hours after the raid in the general vicinity of Zuccotti Park.

The action came following the announcement on OWS’s website that they were planning to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration. The show of police force sparked immediate mobilization of supporters from across the city, including Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Sunset Park and Bedford-Stuyvesant, into Manhattan to see it for themselves, with thousands of others from around the world gathering online to express support.

Some time after 3 a.m., filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message via Twitter calling for Occupiers and their supporters to rally in Foley Square, north of City Hall and across from the U.S. Supreme Court building.

By 4:30 a.m., the gathered masses began to split between a spot near Broadway and Pine Street, and Foley Square.

At 6:30 a.m., a temporary restraining order was issued prohibiting the NYPD from making any more evictions from Liberty Park “unless lawful arrests for criminal offenses,” and allowing protesters back in with tents or other property previously utilized, and prohibiting the enforcement of “rules published after the occupation began.”

The restraining order was obtained with help from attorneys working with the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) who are working as the Liberty Park Working Group.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated that the city will fight the restraining order in the interest of “protect[ing] public safety.”

Bloomberg also defended the surprise nighttime raid as being designed “to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.”