Tag Archives: east elmhurst

East Elmhurst gets slow zone


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Johann Hamilton

East Elmhurst residents are able to cross a little easier.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm and Department of Transportation (DOT) Queens Borough Deputy Commissioner Dalila Hall announced the East Elmhurst Slow Zone as part of the DOT’s Neighborhood Slow Zone initiative last week.

The DOT’s initiative is a community-based program that reduces the speed limit to 20 mph in order to increase pedestrian safety. The new slow zone — the sixth to be implemented in New York City and the second in the borough — will also look to lower the amount of traffic going through the neighborhood.

Dromm proposed the East Elmhurst Slow Zone to DOT last year in response to concerns he heard from the community.

“I am very pleased we were able to collaborate with the Department of Transportation to increase the safety of pedestrians in East Elmhurst,” he said. “These measures will make it safer for everybody, but especially for seniors and children, to walk through the neighborhood.”

The slow zone covers the area from Astoria Boulevard to 31st Avenue and from the Brooklyn Queens Expressway to 82nd Street.

“Local neighborhoods streets are not highways, they are not short cuts — they are where we live,” said Hall. “Our residential streets need to be designed for this human scale, and by simply reducing the speed of passing cars by 10 miles per hour, we can save lives as we make the streets where people live more inviting and safer.”

The slow zone will also include important traffic calming features such as narrowing streets by instituting parking lanes and creating a painted median in the middle of 30th Avenue. DOT has also constructed speed bumps in the area, posted more signs with the new 20 mph speed limit and pushed street parking away from intersections in order to create a larger field of vision for motorists.

“It’s worth it because more precautions mean more lives saved,” said East Elmhurst resident Michelle Gomez, 39. “Although it might not be followed at first, it can always be enforced by the police.”

Later this month, Dromm will propose the creation of the Jackson Heights Slow Zone, projected to stretch from 69th Street to 87th Street between Roosevelt Avenue and Northern Boulevard.

With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Four wanted in East Elmhurst knife attack


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for four men who stabbed a 19-year-old as he was standing on an East Elmhurst street last week.

According to police, the suspects approached the victim at the corner of 31st Avenue and 91st Street around 3:50 p.m. on Monday, May 6, stabbed him, then fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was treated for stab wounds to his torso.

Authorities describe the suspects as three black males and one Hispanic male.

Anyone with information in regards to this assault is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Remains found inside East Elmhurst garbage bag


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A woman made a shocking discovering last night when she found unidentified remains in a discarded garbage bag next to an East Elmhurst home.

According to police, the woman stumbled upon the remains around 7:15 p.m. near 99th Street and 31st Avenue. She kicked the bag to see what was inside and a glass jar rolled out containing them.

The medical examiner’s office is still investigating the discovery, but the Daily News is reporting that they may be a human fetus. The publication also said a human skull and a couple of dollar bills were found in the garbage bag.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Push for slow zones in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo By Angy Altamirano

In December, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was struck and killed as he tried to cross the street on Northern Boulevard.

Now, leaders in Jackson Heights are calling for a slow zone to prevent more deaths.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm is leading the push that would lower the speed limit in the neighborhood from 30 miles per hour to 20 miles per hour on specific streets to stop drivers who speed through.

Last year, the councilmember applied to have a slow zone between 74th Street and 86th Street, from 37th Avenue up to Northern Boulevard. The application was denied by the Department of Transportation (DOT), as Northern Boulevard cannot be part of the slow zone because it is considered a major arterial traffic way, said Dromm.

But now Dromm hopes to reapply and focus on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“There is a very big problem in Jackson Heights on those side streets,” said Dromm. “We have to change the mentality of drivers that when they are coming into such a congested area, you aren’t going to get in and out fast. You need to slow down, calm down and take it easy.”

About two weeks ago, on the corner of 81st Street and 35th Avenue, a pedestrian was struck in a hit-and-run accident when a car was making a left turn. Another pedestrian was hit on 82nd Street and Northern Boulevard and is in critical condition.

Edwin Westley, president of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, said he is working with Dromm to bring the slow zone to the neighborhood.

“We need it for two reasons, one is the number of senior citizens in the neighborhood and the other reason is there are a large number of schools in the area,” Westley said.

A slow zone in East Elmhurst, on 25th Avenue from 69th to 83rd Street, was approved by the DOT and is nearly completed.

“Northern Boulevard needs to be a safe environment considering just how many schools sit right along it throughout Jackson Heights and into Corona,” said Serhan Ayhan, 26, a Jackson Heights resident. “We shouldn’t be playing a game of chicken waiting until a student is hurt while crossing the street to implement safer policies.”

Along with the slow zones, Dromm also hopes to implement other traffic measures including bike racks and extended curbs to get drivers to slow down. He is also working with the NYPD for additional enforcement on the north and south ends of Northern Boulevard to decrease fatalities and hit-and-runs.

The DOT did not respond as of press time.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-Ed: A new alliance for Flushing Meadows-Corona Park


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

With public review of the National Tennis Center’s proposed expansion in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park (FMCP) well under way, it is time to set our sights on the future of what is the largest and most important open space for the residents of Queens.

Having spent my whole life in and around FMCP, I can attest to the fact that it has not received the attention and resources a park of its size and high utilization deserves.

Although I am sensitive to the budgetary and staffing constraints the Parks Department faces, it must be pointed out that unlike most communities in the city, we in Queens have private entities that greatly benefit from our public space.

After engaging in numerous conversations with the park’s stakeholders, I have come to the conclusion that we must establish a new nonprofit alliance dedicated to FMCP.  I see this as the best way to ensure the community has the quality park it deserves for future generations to enjoy.

Despite hosting upwards of 20,000 people from organized soccer leagues every week, our beloved park only has a quarter of the staff of Prospect Park, though it is more than double in size.

Additionally, Central Park, which is smaller than FMCP, has nearly eight times as many workers.

Our parkland is precious. FMCP is the Central Park of Queens.  It is the heart and lungs of our community.

If a public-private partnership akin to the Prospect Park Alliance and the Central Park Conservancy were to be created, FMCP would be better positioned to attract new revenue streams and incorporate direct community input.

The FMCP alliance board, which will be comprised of a healthy mix of local residents and representatives from the corporations inhabiting the park, will be able to work with the Parks Department in determining how private funds would be best spent for the benefit of the community.

In the immediate term, the alliance would provide a vehicle to which corporate entities operating in and benefiting from the park, such as the USTA and the Mets, could commit financial support for the ongoing care of the park, augmenting the Parks Department’s budget.

My vision for the alliance is to allow its members to represent the voice of our community and be a part of the park’s governance. I look forward to achieving a healthy collaborative effort wherein the alliance can receive funds from private sources to increase FMCP’s dedicated staff and resources it so desperately needs.

Every stakeholder I have spoken to – from the organizations who want to build in the park and local business owners to the soccer leagues and park advocacy groups – agrees that FMCP needs a new alliance, and it needs it now.

As this community is being asked to consider three major development projects in and next to FMCP, we ask the Parks Department and the City to look at these three projects holistically, consider their cumulative impact on the park, and commit to creating an alliance that will help protect this irreplaceable park.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. She is the chair of the Women’s Issues Committee and is a member of the Committees on Parks and Recreation, Civil Rights, Consumer Affairs, Economic Development, Finance and Health.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

NYPD releases stop-and-frisk stats


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

For the first time, the NYPD has released 2011 data regarding the controversial procedure of stop-and-frisk.

Among those stopped-and-frisked in 2011, 87 percent were either black or Hispanic, according to the report. Of the 685,724 stops made citywide, 53 percent were black while 34 percent were Hispanic. Only 9 percent of those stopped-and-frisked were white, while 4 percent were Asian.

The most common crime suspected was weapons possession, which accounted for 26 percent of all stops.

According to the report, Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct, comprising East New York and Cypress Hills, had the highest number of stops in the city, with more than 31,000, of which 97 percent of which were either black or Hispanic. The 73rd Precinct in Brooklyn, covering Brownsville, was the next highest with 25,167 stops, 98 percent of which involved minorities.

Queens’ 115th Precinct of East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights ranked third with 18,156 stops. Nearly 93 percent of those stopped were minorities.

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), which fought to have stop-and-frisk statistics released last year, claims the system is a form of racial profiling, adding that the practice has not reduced the number of people who fall victim to shootings. In 2002, there were 1,892 victims of gunfire and 97,296 stops. In 2011, there were 1,821 victims of gunfire but a record 685,724 stops.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

4-alarm blaze engulfs East Elmhurst storefronts


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

When the Rev. Alfonso Wyatt heard there was a fire on the same block as his parents’ church, he thought about the portrait of his father hanging on the wall, and whether or not it had survived.

On Sunday night, January 27, a fire raged through several buildings on Northern Boulevard in East Elmhurst, including Friendship Church of Christ, founded by William and Mae Wyatt. While their church suffered only smoke and water damage, the nearby Church of God in Christ and several businesses including Lospinos Lounge and Sign Plaza of NY Inc. were destroyed.

“We’re thankful it was saved,” said Wyatt. “It will be a build back but we’re thankful. We will rebuild. We’ll continue to be a light in this community.”

According to the FDNY, the blaze began around 10 p.m. at 104-15 Northern Boulevard. Several units were dispatched to the four-alarm fire, which took nearly two hours to control. The buildings contained both stores and residences, officials said. No rescues were reported.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Wyatt, who said he was still in shock, said his thoughts were with the nearby church that wasn’t as lucky.

“Our hearts go out to our sister church,” he said. “They were burned to the ground.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


 TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with snow, then ice pellets and snow in the afternoon. High of 37 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 80% . Monday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 37. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Repetition in Design

Repetition in Design, on display at the Queens Botanical Garden, is a series of oil paintings on canvas by QBG’s Supervising Museum Instructor Gennadyi Gurman. Some of these pieces are influenced by the way the 8-bit video games from the 1980s looked, also from cartoons; but all show a bright color contrast. Until April 15 and free with admission. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Four-alarm fire guts commercial building in Queens

Business owners in Queens are assessing the damage after a fast-moving four-alarm fire ripped through a commercial building late Sunday. Read more: ABC New York

NYC school bus companies, union to meet Monday

New York City school bus companies and union leaders are to meet Monday in an effort to resolve the strike. Read more: Fox New York

City plans to put new schools in two struggling Queens high schools

Two struggling Queens high schools could soon become a lot more crowded. Read more: New York Daily News

MoMA PS1 wants to build performance dome in the Rockaways

Plans are in the works to bring a unique performance dome to the Rockaways. Read more: NY1

Schumer: Federal Sandy aid bill funds Army Corps’ projects on city coastlines

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on a Hurricane Sandy aid bill on Monday evening, and Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday the bill would provide more than $1 billion to protect the coastlines of the city and Long Island. Read more: NY1

Police chiefs from Newtown, Aurora to meet with Obama

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with law enforcement groups and police chiefs from several communities impacted by mass shootings to discuss the administration’s intensifying push to reduce gun violence. Read more: CBS News

Bipartisan Senate group proposes immigration plan

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has agreed on a framework for immigration reform that would provide a “path to citizenship” for those in the United States illegally but only after measures are put in place to secure borders and track undocumented immigrants. Read more: Reuters

Op-Ed: Essential steps in the fight against gun violence


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Peralta new

BY STATE SENATOR JOSE PERALTA

As the sponsor of 14 gun bills, I couldn’t be happier to see long overdue action fi nally taken on common-sense measures to protect New Yorkers from gun violence.

From revoking the gun permits and confi scating the fi rearms of domestic abusers and the mentally ill, to requiring background checks and law enforcement oversight for private gun sales and ammunition purchases, to requiring periodic statewide recertifi cation of gun licenses, a good deal of the legislation I have sponsored and fought for is in this package.

After what we saw happen in Newtown, Connecticut, and in Rochester, strengthening New York’s assault weapons ban became an urgent and pressing priority. And we are adopting perhaps the toughest assault weapons ban in the country.

I applaud the governor for his perseverance and commitment. Above all, I want to thank him for his leadership. Making it harder for criminals to get guns, and keeping fi rearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, are essential steps in the fight against gun violence.

We also need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail by making use of available technology.

That’s why we need to require microstamping, a simple, inexpensive technology that stamps a code—invisible to the naked eye—on the shell casings ejected when a gun is fired.

The microstamps on recovered shell casings give law enforcement the ability to identify a gun used in a crime and determine where and when it was purchased and who bought it.

Not surprisingly, my bill requiring that handguns made or sold in New York be equipped with microstamping technology has the support of police and prosecutors throughout the state.

And there’s absolutely no logical, coherent reason for not requiring microstamping in New York—or at least not one that has been articulated yet.

We’re told that requiring microstamping would put our state’s gun manufacturers out of business. Yet one of the reasons we needed to toughen New York’s assault weapons ban is because many high-powered rifl es now in production are exempt from the current ban.

Why? Because manufacturers altered their products to circumvent the law.

So ignoring the law is profi table, but complying with a microstamping requirement would be bad for business?

That’s a business model that has no business in New York.

In addition to making it harder for criminals to get guns, we need to make it easier for law enforcement to put gun criminals in jail. Longer jail sentences won’t make a difference if we’re not catching the people who need to be locked up.

And please: Let’s not waste any more time on the nonsense that a microscopic code on a shell casing constitutes an assault on the Second Amendment rights of sportsmen and law-abiding gun owners.

New Yorkers deserve better than that. Especially those waiting on justice for a loved one lost to gun violence.

Senator Jose Peralta serves on the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee. He represents the communities of Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, Jackson Heights and Astoria.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police arrest Queens subway groper, still looking for “E” train flasher


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for forcibly touching a woman while she was waiting for the subway at the Queensboro Plaza station Wednesday morning has been arrested, said police.

Around 10:40 a.m. yesterday, Andres Lara, 25, of East Elmhurst, allegedly grabbed the behind of a 27-year-old woman as she waited on the Manhattan bound No.7 train platform, then fled the station.

Lara turned himself into the 115th Precinct station this morning after seeing himself on television, reported NY1.

The groping wasn’t the only lewd subway incident that happened in Queens Wednesday morning.

Police are still looking for the man who exposed himself to a 23-year-old woman on a Queens bound “E” train near the 71st Street and Continental subway station around 10:40 a.m. yesterday.

The suspect, Dimitrius Senior, 48, is described as 5’11″ tall and 185 pounds.

 

 

Police search for serial bank robber


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DCPI

Police are searching for a suspect wanted in connection with five bank robberies in Queens since July.

The most recent robbery took place on Wednesday, December 12 at the Chase Bank on 31st Avenue in East Elmhurst. The suspect passes a demand note to the teller while also displaying a gun from inside a newspaper or his waistband, according to police.

In all five incidents, the suspect received an undisclosed amount of money.

The other robberies took place at the Amalgamated Bank on 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights on July 17, the Chase Bank on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village on August 10, the HSBC Bank on 43rd Avenue in Long Island City and the Chase Bank on Steinway Street in Astoria.

Police described the suspect as  a black or Hispanic male between 25-35 years old, 5’8″-6′ tall and 180-200 pounds.

Community input helps nab alleged rapist, thief


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

An East Elmhurst man has been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Flushing and robbing a massage parlor at gunpoint three days later, cops said.

According to police, Zhordrack Blodywon entered a store at 35-32 Union Street in Flushing at 11 p.m. on October 17 and sexually assaulted a 55-year-old Asian female inside. The 40-year-old gunman, cops say, is also responsible for robbing two cell phones from individuals at a nearby massage parlor three days later at around 1 a.m.

Cops said they were able to cuff Blodywon several hours after the theft, when he walked into another massage parlor in Great Neck, Long Island. An employee there, they said, recognized him from either a police sketch or surveillance video and immediately called Crime Stoppers.

The perp fled onto a bus, authorities said, but Nassau County officers were able to locate and apprehend him. He was found to be in possession of a BB gun and a hunting knife, police said.

Blodywon may also be tied to the rape and assault of a 41-year-old Asian female in Manhattan on August 17, but that attack is still under investigation, police said.

He was arraigned in Queens on October 22 and is set to return to court November 5.

Blodywon faces several armed felony offenses — two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of second-degree robbery — and is charged with two counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, eight firearms counts and possession of a knife.

Elmhurst, East Elmhurst libraries to become ‘destinations’


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Queens Library

The Queens Library has turned the page on an era of basic brick buildings, beginning a new chapter of attractive edifices acting as neighborhood landmarks.

During the fiscal crisis of the 1970s many libraries were “cinder block and institutional and really not aesthetically pleasing or a welcoming community space to be in,” said Joanne King, associate director of communications at the Queens Library. The Elmhurst and East Elmhurst branches serve as two examples of the shift to transform the libraries into community destinations.

“We want the community to feel welcome, so a lot of the buildings as they’re renovated are being renovated with the exterior walls at least partly transparent so it integrates more with the community and the community can see what’s going on inside the library,” she said.

The Elmhurst Library, which is being rebuilt, was originally constructed in 1906 with funding from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, though it underwent numerous expansions and renovations.

“It’s going to be integrated into the community and the colors are vibrant; it’s not some large beige building with no personality,” King said.

Hours before the foundation was completed on the Elmhurst branch on July 25, Garrison Architects was receiving an Excellence in Design award for the addition to the East Elmhurst Library.

The award is given to exceptional public projects that exemplify the highest standards of design.

Jim Garrison, the firm’s owner, said in the past, libraries “tended to want to shutter themselves as opposed to open themselves up.”

Saying the design award meant a lot, he added: “That’s a big part of the agenda, making libraries an accessible part of our public world.”

The 30,000-square-foot Elmhurst Library is scheduled to open in 2014. The addition to the East Elmhurst branch does not yet have a completion date.

 

Afternoon Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup17

JFK Terminal Reopens After Metal Detector Malfunction.

Things are back to normal at JFK Airport after a terminal had to be evacuated Saturday morning. The Transportation Security Administration closed Terminal 7 for about two hours after TSA workers discovered that a metal detector malfunctioned, which meant a number of people went through security without being properly screened. Read more: [NY1]

First graduates of East Elmhurst experimental magnet school plan 30 year reunion  

There’s always been a positive attraction, no matter how far they’ve strayed. The inaugural class of The Louis Armstrong Middle School/Intermediate School 227 — one of the city’s first experimental magnet schools — was so smitten with their education that they plan to reunite three decades later. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Queens Residents Turn Weapons In To Police Through Buyback Program 

Police collected more than 50 weapons during a gun buyback in Queens Saturday. The New York City Police Department said 55 weapons were turned in at St. Benedict the Moor Church in Jamaica, including 19 semi-automatic handguns. Read more: [NY1]

Mets Adopt Live Chicken as Mascot – Then name it Little Jerry Seinfeld

It’s a call to the bullpen. Mets reliever Tim Byrdak turned the team’s luxurious clubhouse into a chicken coop this weekend — buying an $8 hen in Chinatown that he kept stashed at Citi Field for the Subway Series.  “We originally called him ‘Little Derek Jeter,’ ” Byrdak said before last night’s game. Read more: [New York Post]

Western Queens will soon be more bike friendly


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

QNS BRIDGE PARK GRNWAYw

Residents will soon have a greener, healthier way to beat the traffic around western Queens.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is currently constructing the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway, a 10.6-mile, urban, multi-use trail intended to provide access to the borough’s shoreline and improve commuting options for people beyond motorized vehicles. The bike and pedestrian pathway will connect Long Island City, Hunters Point, Ravenswood and Astoria with Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. It will also unite five parks on the East River shoreline – Astoria, Ralph DeMarco, Hallet’s, Queensbridge and Rainey parks.

“For us, it adds another location for people from anywhere in the borough to hop on a bicycle to this location and recreate in many neighborhood parks,” said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “It makes a nice connection between your neighborhood and public parks. Street greenways and park greenways allow you to ride the city streets in a safe manner, but also to turn off into a public park and ride around the park as well.”

Lewandowski believes the western Queens neighborhoods have recently experienced a resurgence, and the greenway will only further enhance their renaissance.

Work is currently underway at Hallet’s Cove, Ralph DeMarco and Rainey parks, while the path at Queensbridge Park has already been completed. Construction is set to commence at Astoria Park by the middle of summer, and the greenway is expected to be completed late in the fall. When concluded, the project, which costs $3.46 million, will include new pavement, signage, benches and landscaped areas for pedestrians and cyclists to relax.

“It will be a nice, pleasant experience to recreate in the park, sit with your cycle, have a snack and enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline, as well as all the watercrafts going up and down the East River,” Lewandowski said.

The trail will eventually connect to the bike path over the Pulaski Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Queens, and attach to another greenway which leads to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The greenway is part of a multiyear effort to implement an inclusive, citywide network of cycling lanes. The Parks Department is also interested in creating a similar path along the Laurelton Parkway in southeast Queens, but Lewandowski says funding is still required.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents portions of western Queens and is a cycling enthusiast, believes the pathway will make community residents more active and healthy, as well as bring business into the neighborhoods.

“I think this is a great initiative that will get people out of their homes and out onto the streets and into the parks,” Van Bramer said. “It will allow them to explore their own neighborhood and other neighborhoods in ways they hadn’t done so before. Walking and cycling are also both great ways to exercise. People can make a day of it and cycle or walk along the greenway, and there is going to be a time when folks are going to want to stop for lunch or water or a snack. This is what this is about – getting people to see the beautiful shoreline and to experience it in ways they haven’t before.”

The construction of the greenway comes at the same time the city has announced “Citi Bike,” the nation’s largest public bike share system set to launch in July of 2012. Citi has agreed to pay $41 million to be the title sponsor of the program, which will include 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the bike share will be located in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera says the department is examining opportunities to expand the program into Queens.