Tag Archives: east elmhurst

Op-ed: Never forget those who sacrificed in the 9/11 recovery


| oped@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY ED HORN

It is shameful that so many Americans demand closure from the 9/11 attacks believing it is time to “get past it,” yet the deaths caused by the attack increase every day.

Americans are proud to recall the heroics of the Greatest Generation and their sacrifices. On Memorial Day, we wave the flag. We are enraged when anyone has the audacity of setting fire to our flag. We are quick to threaten war when we feel threatened, insulted or are dismissed. We arrange displays at the sites of tragedies. Tears fall and hugs are exchanged believing that the moment will address the losses that will continue to the harm of families for generations.

We share the sadness and loss of those who gather at the World Trade Center site every September 11. Those who were blessed not to have sustained a death pause for a moment and move on without another consideration.

Other memorials and dedications, however, have fewer and fewer people attending, leaving only the stricken to recall those who died saving others or those who cleaned up the rubble left behind. Congress continues to debate funding health care for those made ill by the pile.

St. Michael’s Cemetery will not forget those who sacrificed in the days after 9/11. On Sept. 12, St. Michael’s, with the support of the Christopher Santora Scholarship Fund and the community mayors, will hold the annual Remember Me Run honoring the first responders who saved thousands offering their lives in exchange. We will also memorialize 19 first responders who recently died from illnesses related to their work at Ground Zero.

I wonder who will find the time or the respect to attend.

This is the list of deceased FDNY members we plan to add to the World Trade Center Memorial Wall this September:

Firefighter Joseph T. Callahan, Engine Co. 245, died on Oct. 1, 2005;
Battalion Chief Richard E. McGuire, Battalion 51, died on Dec. 9, 2012;
EMT Luis de Peña, EMS Station 13, died on Nov. 7, 2013;
EMS Lt. Michael F. Cavanagh, EMS Station 16, died on Dec. 2, 2013;
Deputy Chief Inspector James W. Mandelkow, Bureau of Fire Prevention, died on Dec. 10, 2013;
Fire Lt. John J. Halpin, Ladder Co. 33, died on May 29, 2014;
EMS Capt. William C. Olsen, EMS Station 23, died on June 1, 2014;
Fire Lt. Keith M. Loughlin, Ladder Co. 109, died on July 31, 2014;
Fire Lt. John K. Gremse, Engine Co. 302, died on Sept. 16, 2014;
Fire Lt. Howard J. Bischoff, Ladder Co. 149, died on Sept. 22, 2014;
Firefighter Daniel E. Heglund, Rescue 4, died on Sept. 22, 2014;
Firefighter Robert E. Leaver, Division 3, died on Sept. 22, 2014;
Firefighter Cornell L. Horne, Ladder Co. 176, died on Oct. 5, 2014;
EMS Lt. Thomas Giammarino, EMS Station 31, died on Oct. 7, 2014;
Firefighter Eugene J. McCarey, Ladder Co. 36, died on Nov. 13, 2014;
Firefighter James J. Marshall, Ladder Co. 78, died on Nov. 30, 2014;
Firefighter Charles S. Szoke, Ladder Co. 21, died on Dec. 1, 2014;
Battalion Chief John J. Cassidy, Battalion 40, died on Jan. 21, 2015; and
Fire Capt. John R. Graziano, Ladder Co. 78, died on March 13, 2015.

Ed Horn is president of St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst.

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Reward offered for help in finding serial Queens bank robber


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the FBI New York office

Federal agents and the NYPD are offering “a significant reward” for the public’s help in finding the man responsible for at least a dozen bank robberies in Queens dating back to last year — including several armed heists.

Authorities said the suspect last struck in Middle Village on Dec. 9, 2014, robbing cash from the Chase bank at 74-04 Eliot Ave. Many of the other robberies occurred in Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Ridgewood.

During each incident, the suspect reportedly passed demand notes to a teller and walked away with various sums of money. In five capers, the perpetrator displayed a handgun in his waistband to bank employees, the FBI said.

Law enforcement agents describe the crook as a black or Hispanic male with a medium to light complexion standing 6 feet tall, and weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. He is usually seen on camera wearing glasses and a baseball cap with the logo of a sports team such as the New York Yankees or New England Patriots. The public should consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

Among the heists in the robbery pattern are the following incidents:

  • June 7, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 77-01 31st Ave. in East Elmhurst;
  • July 22, 2014, attempted robbery of a Santander bank located at 89-01 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights;
  • July 25, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 47-11 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside;
  • Aug. 30, 2014, incident at a Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh located at 75-23 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights;
  • Oct. 4, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 69-55 Grand Ave. in Maspeth; and
  •  Dec. 6, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 60-67 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood.

The FBI-NYPD Violent Crime Task Force is investigating the pattern.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call the Task Force at 212-384-1000; all calls will be kept confidential.

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Queens kids to race in annual soap box derby in East Elmhurst


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Flushing Meadow Soap Box Derby

On your mark, get set, go!

The annual Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby will be held this Saturday, June 13, to determine which kids will move on to represent the city in the National All-American Race this summer.

This year’s derby will host 61 racers from the ages of 7 to 18 driving cars of their own design and construction. The event will take place on 23rd Avenue and 94th Street in East Elmhurst from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Vaughn College is collaborating with the nonprofit racing program to provide space for their youngsters to build cars with the help of college interns. Additionally, Saturday’s winners will get a $2,000 scholarship to the school.

According to Henry Foster, director of the Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby, building a functional race car is an excellent way to give kids a hands-on experience in real-world science and technology. Figuring out the aerodynamics of a car and learning how weight and gravity can affect its speed are problem-solving tasks that can serve to introduce children to the principles of elementary physics.

“There’s just a whole litany of things you have to learn, and it’s hands-on,” said Foster. “They learn faster when it’s something they use every day.”

Children racing in the derby are separated into three skill divisions according to age and experience. The winners in each category will compete in Akron, Ohio, this July in the National All-American race.

The All-American Soap Box Derby is run by the International Soap Box Derby Incorporated, a nonprofit organization based in Akron. The first-ever derby was held in 1934 after a local newspaper photographer came across local boys racing homemade cars and acquired the copyright to host a larger event with corporate sponsors. It has been held annually ever since, except for a four-year hiatus during World War II.

The first Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby was held in 1984, and was the first New York soap box derby in 20 years.


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Coyote spotted near LaGuardia Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Brian Porter/Laura Süpper

The coyote sightings are continuing to grow in Queens as one of the wild creatures was spotted around LaGuardia Airport early Thursday morning.

According to a Port Authority Police Department spokesman, a USPS delivery person saw the animal in the vicinity of 82nd Street and Ditmars Boulevard, at the edge of the airport, at about 2 a.m.

Port Authority and NYPD units responded and reported that the coyote ran toward Elmjack Field, just west of airport grounds. The Port Authority and NYPD currently had no further information on any more sightings.

This is one of several coyote sightings in the borough in recent weeks.

On March 30, one was spotted on the rooftop of a Long Island City bar. Police and animal control tried to capture it, but it escaped.

And just last week, a coyote was caught in Middle Village. The 4-year-old female evaded capture the first day it was spotted, but was nabbed the following night in a local backyard.

Queens isn’t the only borough to experience a spike in coyote sightings.

Coyotes have also been seen in the last month running around Manhattan — including the Upper West Side, Chelsea and most recently Battery Park, where it was trapped after briefly running loose in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood.

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East Elmhurst woman charged with vehicular assault, DWI in Astoria hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

HANDCUFFS 1

A 21-year-old East Elmhurst driver who “didn’t even know” she struck someone has been charged with vehicular assault, DWI and other crimes for an Astoria hit-and-run that sent a pedestrian to the hospital earlier this week, according to the district attorney’s office.

Gisel M. Carchi is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first- and second-degree vehicular assault, first-degree reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting/serious physical injury, fourth-degree criminal mischief and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, prosecutors said.

According to District Attorney Richard Brown, just before 4 p.m. on April 14 a 32-year-old woman saw a Nissan, which was being driven by Carchi, strike her parked Ford near Vernon Boulevard and 31st Drive. The witness then said she saw the Nissan hit a 37-year-old man before driving off without stopping.

A review of video surveillance showed the Nissan hitting the pedestrian, who was on the sidewalk, before swerving back onto the street and nearly striking another pedestrian, according to the district attorney. Carchi was finally stopped after hitting two more parked cars and taken to the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills. A test administered at the precinct allegedly indicated that she had a blood alcohol level of .201 percent, well above the .08 legal limit.

When speaking with authorities, Carchi allegedly admitted that she had been drinking and driving after she and a male friend had gone to a restaurant where they shared a bowl of an alcoholic drink.

“I guess I hit a car,” she reportedly said. “I didn’t even know I hit somebody.”

The 37-year-old pedestrian had to be taken to an area hospital where he was diagnosed with paralysis of the left leg, a shattered right knee, broken right ankle and significant pain to his back and pelvis, which will require more testing.

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

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80-year-old woman fatally struck in East Elmhurst


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x4161

An 80-year-old woman was struck and killed as she was crossing an East Elmhurst street Tuesday afternoon, police said.

The victim, Sevasti Skarlatos, was walking northbound across Astoria Boulevard at 80th Street about 2:50 p.m. when a 28-year-old woman driving a Nissan Altima hit her, authorities said.

Skarlatos, who lived less than 10 blocks from where she was struck, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver remained on the scene and no criminality is suspected, according to police. The investigation is ongoing.

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Four men wanted in robbery of East Elmhurst luxury car service company


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYPD

Cops are looking for suspects wanted in connection with a robbery of a luxury car service company last week in East Elmhurst.

On Feb. 19 at about 10 p.m., three suspects entered Stride Limo Inc. at 23-57 83rd St. One of the suspects showed a firearm and demanded money from a 48-year-old victim, police said. The suspects then took the victim’s cellphone and wallet, which contained credit cards and miscellaneous items.

A fourth suspect acted as a lookout for the group, according to cops, and all four men later fled in a dark-colored minivan with unknown Florida license plates.

Police describe the first suspect as a black man who is between 20 to 30 years old, around 6 feet tall. He was last seen wearing a dark winter coat with light-colored lining on the hood, dark blue jeans and tan boots.

The three other suspects are described as black men, 20 to 30 years old and between 5 feet 10 inches to 6 feet 3 inches tall.

Rear view of the first suspect.

Rear view of the first suspect.

The NYPD has released photos of the first suspect and two of the other three men.

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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City Comptroller Scott Stringer discusses community concerns at legislative breakfast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The conversion of an East Elmhurst motel into a homeless shelter was one of many topics addressed by the city’s comptroller during a breakfast last week with western Queens community leaders and elected officials.

Comptroller Scott Stringer was a guest at the United Community Civic Association’s 2015 Legislative/Executive Breakfast on Feb. 6 where members voiced their concerns about air, noise and traffic pollution, unaffordable costs of residential rents, and hospital closings.

“Many of you in this room are at this meeting not just because of yourselves. You believe in New York City, and you love it like I do,” Stringer said at the breakfast. “But we’re also doing this for our children, making sure that the economy is going to fit what they have to do.”

Stringer added that the key idea is to think about the economy in 10 to 15 years and start to think about it as a high-technology economy. He also said that the economy should no longer be Manhattan-centric; instead, all the boroughs should be transformed into economic hubs.

“The government cannot just be in sound bites telling people what they want to hear,” Stringer said. “We’ve got to create a five-borough economic plan and make sure that people can access the middle class. That is how this city was built.”

Residents and community leaders at the breakfast discussed in detail the issue of dealing with the city’s Department of Homeless Services’ decision to convert the Westway Motor Inn, located at 72-05 Astoria Blvd., into a permanent homeless shelter.

Recently, the community voiced its outrage against the city’s decision to house registered sex offender James Bryant at the shelter, which is home to over 100 families with children. Bryant was removed from the shelter on Feb. 5.

Since then, the DHS has proposed changes to its policy to prevent level 2 or 3 sex offenders from being placed in shelters with families and instead referring them to shelters for single adults.

In response, Stringer said that city agencies should have a dialogue with the communities and sit down with leaders to work out issues and “respect people.”

Stringer also said he will personally go to the Westway Motor Inn, tour the facility, look at the issues brought up by community members and take suggestions on what can be done differently.

“We have to make sure the voices of our neighborhoods are heard,” Stringer added. “We will monitor, we will watch and we will speak out.”

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DHS removes sex offender living at Westway motel homeless shelter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The cries of an East Elmhurst community have been heard, as a convicted sex offender has been removed from the homeless shelter at the Westway Motor Inn.

James Bryant, 49, who in 2004 was convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl in 2003 and faced 10 years in prison, was living at the hotel located at 72-05 Astoria Blvd.

After hearing the news that the 49-year-old was living in the same facility that is home to over 100 homeless families, local elected officials and community leaders voiced their outrage.

“We are totally outraged, not only as a community, but we are saddened for those people who have children and now have among their group a pedophile who certainly should not have been selected to go into any shelter that has any children,” Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Association, previously told The Courier.

By Thursday, the city’s Department of Homeless Services announced that Bryant had been removed from the shelter.

“After we applied pressure, convicted sex offender removed from Westway Hotel,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris via Twitter. “We will continue to work on other issues surrounding Westway.”

Last July, the city’s Department of Homeless Services approved the conversion of the Westway Motor Inn into a shelter that would be managed by social services provider Women in Need.

Residents of the surrounding neighborhood, local elected officials and community leaders were outraged they were not told or asked in advance about the motel becoming a permanent shelter.

“I have learned that the convicted sex offender has been removed from the premises at the Westway housing facility,” state Senator Jose Peralta said. “While I am pleased to hear this news, I remain extremely concerned by the lack of adequate policies and procedures in place at the Department of Homeless Services that would have prevented this dangerous circumstance from occurring.”

According to Councilman Costa Constantinides, the DHS has assured him they will be more sensitive when relocating individuals in the future and will be “considerate to the needs of the residential neighborhoods.”

“We will keep working to ensure that our neighborhood’s concerns are addressed in this process,” Constantinides added.

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Local pols criticize DHS decision to place sex offender at Westway motel homeless shelter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Thursday, Feb. 5 10:55 a.m.  

The East Elmhurst community is expressing its outrage after finding out that a registered sex offender has been moved to the homeless shelter at the Westway Motor Inn, which houses families that include young children.

James Bryant, 49, is a sexually violent offender who in 2004 was convicted of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl the year prior and faced up to ten years in state prison, according to records from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.

According to the same records, Bryant has since been moved to the hotel located at 72-05 Astoria Blvd., which has served as a shelter for over 100 homeless families since last year.

“I am alarmed at the recent news that a convicted child molester has been placed at the Westway facility after we were assured that location was meant to house families with children,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “The continuing lack of information and transparency surrounding the Westway is extremely troubling and validates the community’s concerns about this location from the start.”

Photo courtesy of New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services

James Bryant (Photo courtesy of New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services)

Last July, the city’s Department of Homeless Services approved the conversion of the Westway Motor Inn into a shelter that would be managed by social services provider Women in Need.

“We are totally outraged, not only as a community but we are saddened for those people who have children and now have among their group a pedophile who certainly should not have been selected to go into any shelter that have any children,” said Rose Marie Poveromo, president of the United Community Civic Association.

Initially, community members were outraged they weren’t told or asked about the motel becoming a permanent shelter.

“Since the shelter opened last year, the community and local elected officials have had no voice in the process. We have lacked adequate access to the shelter facilities and its management, so it came to me as a complete surprise that a violent sex offender has been permitted to live in this facility,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “The families in need who are living at the Westway deserve more than just a roof over their head – they deserve a safe place to live.”

In regards to the community concerns the DHS said in a statement: “DHS takes safety concerns very seriously and, within its legal obligation to provide shelter to anyone in need, is currently reviewing policies with regard to sex offenders in the families with children system.”

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Couple creates ‘nerdy’ treats at LIC’s Entrepreneur Space


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of 8 Bit Bakeshop

One East Elmhurst couple is using their love for all things “geeky” and “nerdy” to create delicious treats for every occasion.

Hannah Maldonado and Matthew McNamee met in 2012 and felt an instant connection with their interest in comic books and video games. One day they decided to drive around looking for “something nerdy to snack on” and couldn’t find anything they could get enthusiastic about.

“I’ve never had a tolerance for normal. I’ve always been the black sheep of my family,” Maldonado said. “When Matthew and I met, our friendship was based on all the nerdy things we liked.”

Photo by Darryl Brooks

Photo by Darryl Brooks

Not finding what they were looking for sparked the idea to start a business in which Maldonado, who studied pastry arts and was not content in working at other bakeries, would create her own treats. McNamee, an aircraft mechanic for Jet Blue Airways, would be in charge of any construction.

The idea then transformed into the 8 Bit Bakeshop, which at first started out of their house. The name refers to the beginning of video games and the products sold are inspired by video games and comic books, such as Super Mario, Pokémon, Deadpool, and others.

In 2013 they started to test their product at New York Comic Con to see if people would be interested. To their surprise they were met with thousands of people congratulating their work.

“Oddly enough the fan base is there and it is a lot bigger than we thought it would be,” Maldonado said. “It just makes me feel so good because it’s a niche that is so untapped. It’s great with the old crowds and it’s great to see young people into it, too.”

Now, working out of the business incubator Entrepreneur Space in Long Island City, the 8 Bit Bakeshop is known for its sugar cookies, individually decorated by Maldonado and a team of volunteers, cupcakes and a line of fudge and cakes in various flavors. They also create alcohol-infused pastries and huge sugar cookies, which are covered in icing to resemble comic book covers or pages.

They also feature a line of treats called “Little Luna,” named after the couple’s Type 1 diabetic daughter, which includes diabetic-friendly, vegan and vegetarian versions of their products. They are in the process of trying to create kosher and gluten-free items as well.

“We just want to add more love, and who doesn’t love food? And we want to make sure we don’t exclude anyone,” Maldonado added.

Along with being creative in the kitchen, one thing that makes the team of the 8 Bit Bakeshop stand out is that when they hit conventions, like New York Comic Con, they show up as personalities from video games and comic books as a form of cosplay.

Photo by Darryl Brooks

Photo by Darryl Brooks

“We want to sell the experience, not just the product,” Maldonado said. “We like to take away the counter. So when you see us selling stuff, you almost never see us behind the table.”

Maldonado said that there are plans in the future to open a store, but they first want to spread the word of the 8 Bit Bakeshop by traveling around the country and setting up booths at conventions.

They are also in the process of creating a “nerdy food box” subscription service called Byte, in which people from across the country would subscribe and be sent a box full of treats from the 8 Bit Bakeshop. They plan to beta test the product this summer.

“The best part is that Matthew and I love this,” Maldonado said. “We’re not solely in this for the money, it’s something that we enjoy. We take this as an art form, more than an actual bakery.”

For more information visit www.8bitbakeshop.com or www.facebook.com/8bitbakeshop. To place an order email 8bitbakeshop@gmail.com.

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Daughter of Malcolm X visits southeast Queens school


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of Malcolm X’s death, his daughter, Ilyasah Shabazz commemorated his life by teaching children valuable lessons that she learned from her father.

“Malcolm X was one of the world’s greatest leaders for human rights of all people,” Shabazz said of her father, one of the most compelling civil rights leaders of his generation before his 1965 assassination.

Shabazz used readings from her books about her father to get her message across. Stories of her father in her children’s book, “Malcolm Little,” were like mini parables for teaching the children at Merrick Academy, who attended the event, ways to live their lives. Shabazz and her father, sisters and mother lived in East Elmhurst at the time of his death.

In one snippet of the book, Shabazz told a story of her father learning some lessons in his mother’s garden. His mother taught him to love each individual living creature the same, no matter how beautiful or ugly it was, Shabazz read. “The garden was a testament to true unconditional brotherhood from the earth on up to the sky. Each individual creature had a story, a purpose, a reason for being and a beauty of its own.”

She told the children to always believe in themselves and that they could accomplish any goal if their mind was set to it, something that Congressman Gregory Meeks echoed during the event.

“There probably would not be a Gregory Meeks if there was not a Malcolm X,” he said. “He is a part of not only black history, but American history too.”

Meeks said seeing Malcolm X speak firsthand was an experience that no one can ever take away from him. He mentioned that when watching Malcolm’s speeches, he realized that he should be proud to be a black man in America.

Shabazz was an infant when her father was assassinated in uptown Manhattan while speaking at the Audobon Ballroom in 1965. Just months earlier, his East Elmhurst home had been firebombed. The family escaped unhurt.

Along with her children’s book, she unveiled her new book on her father called “X.” This takes the reader through her father’s years as a human rights leader. Before his death at 39, Malcolm X, a Muslim, had returned from a trip to Mecca where he prayed alongside people of different races and cultures, and came back with a new, more hopeful message.

According to his estate’s official biography, “He returned to the United States with a new outlook on integration and a new hope for the future. This time when Malcolm spoke, instead of just preaching to African-Americans, he had a message for all races.”

“I can’t believe it has been 50 years,” said Meeks, as he recalled seeing his father cry for the first time on that day. “He was our black shining prince. He taught us that we are all equal.”

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Hotel near LaGuardia Airport sells for $14.5 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

A longtime hotel near LaGuardia Airport traded hands just before the end of the year.

New Jersey-based Sohn Properties LLC picked up Airway Inn at LaGuardia in East Elmhurst for $14.5 million from H.J.N. Hotels Corp., according to property records filed on Friday.

The hotel, located at 82-12 Astoria Blvd., has 58 rooms and is located less than a mile south of the airport across the Grand Central Parkway. Airway Inn offered complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport 24 hours a day.

Airway Inn was built in the early 1980s, according to city records, and H.J.N. has owned it since that time.

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Dining: Sugar plum fairies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

Pink spirals of coco fraise reach toward the ceiling, golden domes of mango and kiwi glisten in the pastry case, napoleons conceal sweet creams beneath zigzags of chocolate and vanilla frosting in flaky thin layers of pastry, slivers of apples rest cheek to cheek beneath blankets of sugary glaze, and pies of pecans, pumpkin and chocolate mousse beg to be chosen to take home.

Cannelle Patisserie has been a beacon of Parisian baking in East Elmhurst for over seven years, and just a few weeks ago, they opened their second location just a block from the Long Island City waterfront. It should come as no great surprise that recently the proprietor moved into one of the buildings across the street from the new location.

Owner and baker Jean-Claude Perennou was eager to offer a tour of the newest facility. And although most of the pastries are baked in specialty ovens in East Elmhurst, the LIC location will feature many exclusive items only available there.

“Most of the breads here are a little more labor-intensive,” Perennou explains. “And we will feature four versions of our Christmas logs.”

Patrons can order from a wide expanse of glass showcases, then take trays to communal tables to nosh on their sweet selections. As a part the requisite sampling, I savored one of the canelés.

A fresh canelé pastry

A fresh canelé pastry

These mysteriously magnificent little domes originated in Bordeaux, though they are commonly found throughout all of Paris. The source of endless myths and legends, some say they were developed by a tiny convent of nuns in Bordeaux, while others attribute the origins to the winemakers of the region who utilized only the egg whites, leaving behind the yolks for the pastries. Regardless of speculation, it is particularly thrilling they can now be purchased on 47th Avenue. The crisp, crunchy, caramel casing gives way to an airy, rum-kissed pastry laced with custard. These tiny two-bite treats are simply exquisite, like miniature bruléed Eiffel Towers.
Patrons can also select various quiche and croque monsieurs from the fridge — as well as a modest selection of sandwiches and salads. They are offering soups as well — most recently French onion. Everything is worth a try, so come prepared for a line, especially on the weekends.

But do not be surprised if you find — as I did — that it is perfectly acceptable to make a holiday stop simply for an exquisite pastry. And do not be ashamed if you find yourself returning a salad to the refrigerator and ordering a mango mousse instead. This is far more than your average neighborhood bakery. So grab an extra canelé — or two or three — especially if there is a chance you might run into someone you know. Because despite even the most generous holiday spirit, you are probably not going to want to share.

Cannelle Patisserie
5-11 47th Ave., Long Island City
718-937-8500

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Jackson Heights teen charged with raping, robbing female livery cab driver


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


A 19-year-old has been accused of robbing, choking and raping a female livery cab driver in East Elmhurst this past weekend, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The 32-year-old driver pulled up in front of 26-24 93rd St. sometime between 4 and 5 a.m. on Saturday when the passenger, Luis Barrija, of Jackson Heights, choked her and demanded her money, Brown said. While demanding the money Barrija said, “I am in a gang that robs and rapes people. I am the leader.”

The victim then handed over about $100 in cash and Barrija allegedly tried to pull her into the backseat of the cab while continuing to threaten her life.

Barrija then choked the victim with one hand and told her that he had a knife and would kill her if she did not listen to his demands, according to Brown. He then raped her.

The cab driver suffered bruising and redness on her neck, chest and wrists from the force used by Barrija, according to the charges.

“The allegations in this case chronicle a frightening ordeal of mental, physical and sexual violence. Hopefully the young woman who was brutally victimized will rest easier in knowing that her alleged rapist has been brought to justice and will be vigorously prosecuted,” Brown said. “However, even after the physical abuse has stopped, the psychological trauma caused by sexual assault can be severe and long lasting.”

Barrija is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on rape, robbery and assault charges. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

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