Tag Archives: Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

Artist arrested in Queensboro Bridge climb


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video/Screenshot via YouTube/Anthony Sneed

Police have arrested a Brooklyn street artist after a YouTube video was posted of him scaling the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to install one of his pieces last week, the NYPD said.

Brendan Fagan, 35, turned himself in at Manhattan’s 19th Precinct Friday morning, while accompanied by his lawyer, according to officials.

He has been charged with criminal trespass, reckless endangerment and violation of local law, police said.

A video that went up Saturday shows the artist, who goes by the name Judith Supine , as he makes his way across the bridge before his nighttime climb, then cuts to the artist perched on top of the span with views of the city skyline before he installs his work.

The climber made the trek up the bridge just after midnight on March 24, according to the NYPD.

After seeing the footage, police said  they were investigating the incident earlier this week.

The video coincides with the March 29 opening of Supine’s show at the Mecka Gallery in East Williamsburg.

Supine told Fox 5 New York he pulled the stunt to get publicity for his work.

In 2009, he placed a piece on top of the Williamsburg Bridge and two years earlier he lowered one from the Manhattan Bridge.

This latest incident has raised concerns over security in the city following recent breaches at the World Trade Center.

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NYPD investigating after street artist installs piece on Queensboro Bridge


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video/Screenshot via YouTube/Anthony Sneed

Police are investigating after a YouTube video was posted over the weekend of a Brooklyn street artist scaling the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to install one of his pieces.

The video shows Judith Supine as he makes his way across the bridge before his nighttime climb, then cuts to the artist perched on top of the span with views of the city skyline before he installs his work.

The NYPD said it is reviewing the footage and no charges have been filed yet.

Supine’s trek up the East River bridge coincides with the March 29 opening of his show at the Mecka Gallery in  East Williamsburg.

This isn’t the first time Supine has pulled a daring stunt in the name of art.

In 2009, he placed a piece on top of the Wiliamsburg Bridge and two years earlier he lowered one from the Manhattan Bridge.

This weekend’s incident raises more concerns over security in the city following recent breaches at the World Trade Center.

 

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Cab driver killed in Queensboro Bridge accident


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia/Simsala111

A taxi driver is dead after a health condition incapacitated him, causing his cab to crash into another vehicle on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, cops said.

The victim, 50-year-old Vadro Kone, of the Bronx, was traveling on the eastbound upper level of the bridge abut 12:20 a.m. Wednesday when his yellow cab struck a Lincoln Town Car, according to police.

The two vehicles were on the ramp heading toward Jackson Avenue/Northern Boulevard when the accident occurred, authorities said. Kone crashed into the wall area of the ramp before hitting the other car.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Queens where he was pronounced dead, police said. The driver of the town car, a 33-year-old man and and the rear passenger, a 55-year-old woman, were both taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where they were listed in stable condition.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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DOT, NYPD announce nighttime closure of Queensboro Bridge outer roadway lane to reduce speeding


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

A few weeks following the fatal accident of an off-duty police officer off the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and NYPD have implemented a new change looking to increase safety for drivers and pedestrians.

The DOT and NYPD announced on Tuesday the single lane of the Queens-bound outer roadway of the Queensboro Bridge will be closed each day to vehicular traffic from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., starting Monday, Dec. 30.

The nighttime closure hopes to reduce the possibility for speeding and any other dangerous driving at night when the lane is not being used. All traffic capacity on Queens-bound inner and upper roadway lanes will not be affected.

“This upgrade to the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge is just the latest step we’ve taken to keep the more than 180,000 daily drivers crossing safely on one of the city’s most iconic bridges,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

The daily closure and reopening of the outer roadway lane will be organized by NYPD traffic officers who are already stationed at the bridge to manage the weekday reversal of the two upper roadway Queens-bound lanes.

The closure comes after the DOT conducted a review of current safety measures, traffic volumes and travel speed following the death of 10-year NYPD veteran Elisa Toro, 36,  on December 10.

Toro was heading off the bridge’s exit ramp around 1:50 a.m. when she struck a guardrail, then a cement barrier, said police. The car then flipped onto its passenger side, hitting a vacant storefront on Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street  in Long Island City. Toro, a Bronx resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured in the accident, said police.

“I applaud the DOT for finally giving this dangerous stretch of road the attention it deserves,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris who asked the DOT to improve traffic safety in the area and redesign the bridge’s exit ramp, after a series of accidents in 2011. “Hopefully, the nighttime closure of the Queens-bound outer roadway will provide the time for a proper evaluation of the street design coming off the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp so we can eventually solve this problem once and for all.”

According to the DOT, the outer-roadway closure joins other traffic measures installed by the Queens Plaza South exit ramp since 2011. The traffic measures include three 20 mph messages, “shark teeth” markings on the road, 14 yellow and 12 white 36”-by-8” aluminum-backed reflectors, four sets of rumble strips warning drivers they are approaching a reduced speed zone, and much more. Throughout the day, the agency plans to continue monitoring traffic volumes, safety measures and driving conditions on the bridge. 

 

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Queens legislators balk at plans to toll East River bridges


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A plan to reduce five Queens bridge fares by nearly half is not worth tolling free city crossings, some borough lawmakers say.

Under a proposal by transportation coalition, Move NY, drivers in the cash lane would have to pay $7.50 one way and $15 round trip to travel across the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Ed Koch Queensboro bridges. 

It would also cost the same amount to cross 60th Street in Manhattan, north and southbound.

As a trade-off, E-ZPass tolls on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial and Cross Bay Veterans Memorial bridges would be lowered by 47 percent. Cash fares on those bridges would go down by 33 percent.

“We toll nearly every single crossing between every borough in the five boroughs of New York City already, yet we’re giving over half a million folks a free ride,” said Move NY Director Alex Matthiessen. “It’s not fair to transit riders and certainly not fair to other drivers, who are paying through the nose in tolls.”

The electronic tolling plan, which would require no booths, would raise $1.5 billion in net revenue toward improving the state’s mass transit infrastructure, create 35,000 new jobs and restore bus service cut in 2010, Matthiessen said.

Motorists paying cash would be billed by mail, easing gridlock by dispersing traffic throughout the city, according to Matthiessen and Kendra Hems, president of the New York State Motor Truck Association.

But some Queens legislators balked at the idea.

“I am skeptical about tolling the free bridges because once the free bridges are tolled and the infrastructure is in place, we all know from experience that it would be very hard to reverse that,” said Assemblymember David Weprin.

The plan also failed to get support from Councilmember Eric Ulrich and State Senator Joseph Addabbo, who have been fighting to eliminate the $3.75 cash toll residents have to pay on the Cross Bay Bridge to enter the Rockaways.

“Imposing tolls on motorists on bridges that are currently free is not the right way to go,” Ulrich said. “The two are not mutually exclusive. It’s not ‘take this or that.’”

While the Cross Bay Bridge toll has been a “major thorn” in the community’s side, Addabbo said the swap is not enough.

“At this point, cutting it in half would ease the pain by half,” he said. “It would still be half the pain.”

It also costs residents on the peninsula the same amount to get into Brooklyn on the Gil Hodges.

State Senator Tony Avella said the rates, while discounted in the first year, would only increase annually. He plans to introduce a bill that would prohibit tolls on East River bridges.

“The two things for sure in this world are death and taxes,” he said.

Move NY is led by Sam Schwartz, a former city traffic commissioner. The ambitious tolling plan is in its drafting stage, officials said, and still requires public input.

“In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have tolls at all,” Hems said. “But, unfortunately, we do and we have this inequity right now.”

THE COURIER/File photo by Walter Karling

 

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Pols call for redesign of Queensboro Bridge exit ramp after deadly accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Senator Michael Gianaris' Office

After an off-duty NYPD officer was killed when her car smashed into an exit ramp off the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, local elected officials are calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to put an end to deadly accidents.

Elisa Toro, 36, a 10-year NYPD veteran who was assigned to Manhattan’s 17th Precinct, was heading off the bridge’s exit ramp around 1:50 a.m. on Tuesday when she struck a guardrail, then a cement barrier, said police. The car then flipped onto its passenger side, hitting a vacant storefront on Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street.

Toro, a Bronx resident, was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured in the accident, said police. The investigation is ongoing.

Following a series of accidents at the same site in 2011, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Congressmember Carolyn Maloney and Assemblymember Catherine Nolan sent a letter to the DOT demanding the agency redesign the ramp and continue to improve temporary safety measures. These procedures would include higher barriers and other measures that could help lessen the danger for pedestrians and storefront, until the exit ramp is redesigned.

“No one else should have to die before the city realizes that this exit ramp is fundamentally unsafe,” said Gianaris. “We stood here two years ago asking for a complete redesign of the off ramp, and instead we got new signs and a couple barriers. The time for half measures is gone. We need a safer exit ramp before another tragedy occurs.”

Gianaris asked the DOT to improve traffic safety in the area and redesign the bridge’s exit ramp, after a series of accidents in 2011. But a redesign of the exit ramp was “ignored” and only “additional signage and minimal barriers” were added, according to Gianaris. The barrier, which was destroyed in a 2011 crash, was never replaced, he said, and could have protected the storefront in Tuesday’s accident.

“The east bound off ramp of the Queensboro Bridge is clearly a death trap,” said Van Bramer. “Cars are still flying off this bridge, into store fronts, and putting the lives of pedestrians and motorists in jeopardy. It is clear that the Department of Transportation has not done enough.”

 

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Off-duty NYPD officer killed after car hits storefront near Queensboro Bridge


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated 4:30 p.m.

An off-duty NYPD office was killed when her car smashed into an exit ramp of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge before striking a storefront in an accident-prone area of Long Island City.

Elisa Toro, 36, 10-year NYPD veteran who was assigned to Manhattan’s 17th Precinct, was heading off the bridge’s exit ramp around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday when she struck a guardrail, followed by a cement barrier, said police. The car then flipped onto its passenger side, hitting a vacant storefront on Queens Plaza South at Crescent Street.

Toro, a Bronx resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

No one else was injured in the accident, said police.

The investigation is ongoing.

Kristina Shrestha said she saw the smashed up car when she came into work Tuesday morning at Panini Tozt Cafe located at 25-02 Queens Plaza South next door to the accident site.

“It was two years ago that the same thing happened in the same spot,” said Shrestha, who works as a cashier at the cafe. “I don’t know what’s wrong with the road.”

Following Tuesday’s accident, State Senator Michael Gianaris is calling for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to make greater traffic safety efforts at Queens Plaza South.

Gianaris asked the DOT to improve traffic safety in the area and redesign the bridge’s exit ramp after a series of accidents in 2011. But a redesign of the exit ramp was “ignored” and only “additional signage and minimal barriers” were added, according to Gianaris. The barrier, which was destroyed in a 2011 crash was never replaced, he said, and could have protected the storefront in Tuesday’s accident.

“How many more people have to die before the DOT understands that the Queensboro Bridge exit ramp must be redesigned? The city has known that this area is in dire need of traffic safety improvements for years, and the DOT has simply not done enough. I renew my call for a complete redesign of the bridge off-ramp, and implore the city to take swift action before another tragedy occurs,” said Gianaris.

According to Seth Solomonow, DOT spokesperson, as of 2011, the ramp has been equipped with a large variety of traffic management devices, including three 20 mph word messages and “sharks teeth” markings on the roadway, 14 yellow and 12 white 36”-by-8” aluminum-backed reflectors, plus another 150 yellow and white prismatic reflectors on the bridge rail uprights, four sets of rumble strips to warn drivers that they are approaching a reduced speed zone and an electronic sign that displays the speed of passing motorists using radar technology.

Additional reporting by Angy Altamirano

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Vallone introduces legislation to remove Ed Koch from Queensboro Bridge name


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office Flickr/By Edward Reed

One local politician is taking the next step to bring the Queensboro Bridge back to the borough.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. introduced legislation on Tuesday to reestablish the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge to its original name, the Queensboro Bridge.

The city renamed the bridge in 2011 after the former Mayor Ed Koch, who passed away on February 1. Vallone led the opposition against the renaming of the bridge in 2011, along with 12 other councilmembers.

Vallone’s bill instead calls to rename the Manhattan Municipal Building, located at 1 Centre Street in Manhattan, as the Ed Koch Manhattan Municipal Building.

“While I realize this bill will not pass before the end of my term, I wanted to start the process so that Queens elected officials who come after me can restore the Queensboro Bridge to its rightful owners, while simultaneously providing an appropriate honor for the late Mayor Koch,” said Vallone.

 

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Truck fire shuts down lower level of Queensboro Bridge


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Drew Hyun

A truck fire disrupted traffic on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge for the second time in about two weeks.

The FDNY responded to the blaze on the bridge’s lower level around 9:47 a.m. Monday, said an FDNY spokesperson, and had the fire under control by approximately 10:14 a.m. No injuries were been reported.

The bridge’s lower level was closed in both directions, but was reopened by around 3 p.m.

On August 16, another truck fire closed the bridge for a few hours.

Updated Monday, September 1, 3:12 p.m.

 

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Arrest in Long Island City carjacking spree


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 7:37 a.m. Friday

Police arrested a man suspected in several carjackings and gunpoint robberies in Long Island City Thursday morning.

Nicolas Almonte, 27, has been charged with robbery and attempted robbery of a motor vehicle, robbery and attempted robbery with a firearm, and unlawful imprisonment, said police.

The suspect was apprehended in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Thursday evening, according to published reports.

Almonte’s crime spree began around 9:30 a.m. when he allegedly carjacked a woman at gunpoint near Borden Avenue and 21st Street, said police.

He drove the woman around in her Mercedes for several minutes until the victim was able to escape near Thompson Avenue and Van Dam Street.

The suspect, after fleeing the Mercedes, tried to carjack a van, but was unsuccessful.

Around 10:00 a.m., he carjacked a man driving a Lexus at the intersection of Thompson Avenue and Van Dam Street. That vehicle was later recovered.

Minutes later, he attempted to forcibly take the car keys from a woman walking her dog near 50th Avenue and 39th Street. After she told him she didn’t have any vehicle keys, he fled in an unknown direction.

At 10:20 a.m., the same suspect approached a truck driver at gunpoint near 38th Street and Hunters Point Avenue, stole cash from him, then escaped foot.

Ten minutes after taking the cash, Almonte allegedly carjacked a man driving a 1996 Gold Mercedes C280 at 39th Street and Greenpoint Avenue.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 64. Winds from the East at 5 to 15 mph. Monday night: Overcast in the evening, then mostly cloudy. Fog overnight. Low of 52. Winds from the East at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Author Alanna Cooper to speak about her book on Bukharian Jewry

Cultural historian Alanna Cooper, who teaches Anthropology and Cultural History at Boston University, will discuss the long history of Bukharan Jews, their diaspora in the United States and in Israel, and their sense of themselves at 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens Y. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man slashed in neck after traffic dispute

Just after 10 p.m. Sunday night, a man was slashed in the neck after a traffic dispute in Queens. Read more: ABC New York

Queens on hunt for another alleged sex attacker

There has been yet another sex assault in Queens, but investigators are telling Eyewitness News that the alleged attack is not connected to the ones involving young girls in nearby South Ozone Park. However, residents in the area are still on edge. Read more: ABC New York

Report: Over $150,000 worth of cleanse drinks stolen from Queens facility

Police on Sunday were in search of a thief whole stole over $150,000 worth of cleanse drinks from the BluePrint juice facility in Long Island City, Queens, according to a published report. Read more: CBS New York

Cyclist in Five Boro Bike Tour dies after suffering heart attack crossing Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

A cyclist in the Five Boro Bike Tour has died after going into cardiac arrest crossing the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge Sunday, cops said. Read more: New York Daily News

17-Year cicadas set to arrive by the end of the month

New Yorkers haven’t heard the noisy buzzing of cicadas in springtime in 17 years, but get ready, because they’re coming again. Read more: CBS New York

Finding burial plot for bomb suspect a struggle 

A funeral director trying to find a cemetery to take the body of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev is going next to the city where Tsarnaev lived, but will run into another obstacle: It doesn’t want him. Read more: AP

Truck fire, explosion shuts down Queensboro Bridge


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge was closed for several hours Sunday evening after a truck caught fire and caused an explosion.

Around 7 p.m., the vehicle was attempting to cross the Queens-bound lower-level of the bridge when the truck’s engine caught fire, according to the FDNY.

As a result, several gas tanks inside the vehicle exploded.

There were no injuries reported.

Video via YouTube/MarcoOnTheBass

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 68. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSW in the afternoon. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain. Low of 54. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Holocaust Memorial Day Talk by Holocaust Survivor

At 1:30 p.m. at the Central Queens Y in Forest Hills, writer, artist and civil rights activist Marione Ingram will discuss her memoir on her experiences during the Holocaust. Following World War II, Ingram emigrated to the U.S. and set up a Freedom School in Mississippi during the 1960s. $6 suggested donation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Gov. Cuomo considering ousting Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver over Albany scandals

Gov. Cuomo and his top aides are looking to use last week’s round of embarrassing scandals in Albany to oust Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — and they’re already eyeing an upstate lawmaker to replace him, The Post has learned. Read more: New York Post

Missing cab driver found in Jamaica Hospital bed days after cracked skull, memory loss

A seriously injured livery car driver lay in a Queens hospital for nearly a week before his family — who feared he was dead — finally was notified of his whereabouts, the Daily News has learned. Read more: New York Daily News

Queensboro Bridge open again following oxygen tank explosion

Traffic is back to normal on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge after an oxygen tank explosion created a fireball and shut down the span Sunday evening. Read more: ABC New York

Activists petition against ‘abusive practices’ in the NYPD

Members of an activist group circulated a petition at posts around the city Sunday — with the goal of ending what the group called “abusive practices” in the New York City Police Department. Read more: CBS New York

Queens Community Board 9 looks to boot member for ‘non-attendance’

A Queens community board is looking to boot a member for playing hooky too often — a move that civic leaders said is quite rare for the volunteer panels. Read more: New York Daily News

Lhota lashes Quinn over pals’ $lush

Gop mayoral contender Joe Lhota yesterday blasted Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn for what he called her poor oversight of how City Council members spend discretionary taxpayer dollars known as member items. Read more: New York Post 

Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female PM, dead at 87

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died Monday following a stroke, her spokeswoman confirmed. Read more: CNN