Tag Archives: Elmhurst Hospital

Jackson Heights fire caused by food on stove: FDNY


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@nicky_andacatnamedmishu

A fire at a Jackson Heights apartment, which injured two people last week, was caused by food left on a stove, according to fire officials

The two-alarm blaze began at 11:33 p.m. on Feb. 12 on the top floor of 35-64 81st St. and was under control about an hour later, the FDNY said.

The two injured people were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire officials also found no working smoke detectors in the home.

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Program at Elmhurst Hospital aimed at helping survivors of torture, persecution


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Elmhurst Hospital Center

Elmhurst Hospital has become a safe haven for survivors of torture and persecution, through a nonprofit organization looking to help them heal and move forward in life.

The Libertas Center for Human Rights was started in 2006 by two doctors as a voluntary program providing services to survivors of torture that came through the hospital’s emergency room.

After realizing that about six to eight percent of the population coming into the ER were survivors of torture, the Libertas Center was able to get funding and opened a new clinic space in 2010 within Elmhurst Hospital with a full-time staff.

“One of the biggest goals and accomplishments is to establish a safe community for our clients and a safe place for them to heal and become aware of their surroundings and the things that they can access,” said Jacqueline Chiofalo, program assistant at the Libertas Center.

The center focuses on four domains when it comes to its services, according to Leah Weinzimer, program director at the Libertas Center.

The first is providing medical care at the hospital for clients, whether it is through treating wounds resulting from torture or any other medical needs. For most clients, they had to flee their home countries and have not been medically checked, Weinzimer said. The staff at the center helps schedule appointments with doctors and also goes with clients to appointments.

The next focus is mental health, in which clients receive individual therapy concentrating on trauma mental help and also alternative therapies through using creative arts such as photography, art, yoga and meditation.

The center also provides social services, such as referrals for food pantries, English classes and in some cases housing and employment. Finally, clients also receive legal help because 90 percent of survivors are seeking asylum and need help finding or working with lawyers, according to Weinzimer.

“That’s why it’s especially important for this program to exist because during the time that their [asylum] cases are pending, it’s when these clients are more vulnerable,” Weinzimer added. “Our role is to help them to heal and move forward with their lives.”

As part of therapy for the clients, in the past three months, a group of them have worked together as part of the “New Life, New Beginning: A Photovoice Project.” Through this, participants were given cameras and asked to take photographs of aspects of their life that are important to them.

“We’re giving them a voice and allowing them to really show us and tell us about their experiences through their own eyes, using photography,” Weinzimer said. 

This project, funded by Councilman Daniel Dromm, allowed the survivors to get together and share their experiences with one another. They were able to identify what they had in common and came up with questions that were later answered through their images.

“They are seeing that other people are really listening to their stories. They are able to share their experience with the broader community,” Weinzimer said. “To have an opportunity to interact with other people during the process and publicly share their experiences can be very powerful.”

The exhibit kicked off on Jan. 23 and will remain on display in Elmhurst Hospital’s main lobby through Feb. 6.

The Libertas Center is located within the hospital at 79-01 Broadway on the fifth floor, annex G. For more information visit libertascenter.net or call 718-334-6209.

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Man beats roommate to death with hammer inside luxury Astoria apartment: NYPD


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Wednesday, Jan.14, 4:28 p.m.

An Astoria man claimed he had to kill his roommate after the lawyer tied him up and tried to force him at gunpoint to liquidate his stocks, according to published reports.

Quentin Capobianco, 18, told police that Jesse Smith, 29, restrained him with zip ties on Jan. 12 and ordered him to liquidate the stocks with a shotgun pointed to his head, reports said.

According to the New York Post, Capobianco was confronting Smith over money he owed him for apartment damages.

Capobianco managed to escape from his ties, and grab a hammer and use it to strike Smith repeatedly in the head, reports said.

Police found the victim, Jesse Smith, at his home inside the Exo Apartments, a luxury building on 21st Street near Astoria Boulevard, about 3:30 p.m. with severe trauma to his head, authorities said. Smith was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where he died.

Capobianco was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon with intent to use, police said. The hammer, as well as a shotgun, were recovered at the scene.

Smith, a lawyer, worked at the Forest Hills firm Morton Povman, PC, according to published reports, and a LinkedIn account for Capobianco lists him as paralegal for the attorney.

He was also in business with Smith, running a currency exchange operation involving Bitcoin, a form of digital money, according to DNAinfo.

Capobianco was arraigned on Jan. 13 in Queens Criminal Court, where was held on $250,000 bond, the district attorney’s office said. His next court date is Jan. 30.

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New Year’s Eve cooking accident caused deadly fire at LeFrak City: officials


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Orest Petrychyn

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 10:38 a.m.

An unattended pot of soup cooking on a stove sparked a horrific New Year’s Eve fire that left three dead in their LeFrak City apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The blaze was reported by a call to 911 at 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly went to a second alarm.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire at the 16-story apartment tower at 96-02 57th Ave. in Corona. After firefighters battled their way through a smoke-filled hallway, they found two women and a man unconscious and unresponsive in Apt. 9C.

All three were pronounced dead at area hospitals.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

Donnay and Jean-Charles were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Michel was taken to Forest Hills Hospital.

The family was preparing a traditional Haitian New Year’s Eve soup on the stove that night when it was left unattended, causing the fire, according to officials. The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental and no working smoke alarms were found in the home.

“Right away, we took our jackets and we started knocking on the doors letting people know there’s a fire,” one resident told WCBS TV. “There was smoke all over the place.”

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

According to a LeFrak City Organization spokesman, the building has no fire violations and the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors as required by law.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those affected,” the spokesman said. “A smoke detector rider attesting to the presence of this life safety equipment was signed and initialed by the tenant in 2012.”


A YouTube video posted of the fire shows flames shooting from the ninth floor balcony.

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Man sets fire to cop car during arson spree near Elmhurst Hospital: DA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

police car

Updated 5:07 p.m.

A man was busted for trying to set an NYPD cruiser and five other cars on fire near Elmhurst Hospital by stuffing burning rags into the gas tanks, police said.

“The defendant is charged with damaging six vehicles by stuffing a rag in each of the vehicles’ gas tanks and setting it ablaze,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “These incidents should not be viewed as a prank.”

According to Brown’s office, Miguel Ramos, 23, stuffed a dark rag into the gas tank of a Honda on Layton Street near the hospital before setting the cloth ablaze about 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Ramos then went a few doors down to place another lit rag into a Nissan.

After police arrived, four more vehicles were found in the vicinity of the hospital with burning rags stuffed in their tanks, including a Chevrolet,  an Audi and a marked police vehicle, officials said. The fire charred and damaged the rear area and gas tanks of the cars.

Ramos, an Astoria resident, was arraigned on Dec. 4 on three counts of third-degree criminal mischief and six counts of fourth-degree arson,  the district attorney’s office said. If convicted, Ramos could face up to four years in prison.

Police did not immediately have a motive.

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$6K reward offered for info on shooting of pregnant woman in LeFrak City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Instead of coming together with his family to celebrate Thanksgiving, Joseph Massey had to spend his holiday trying to figure out a way to tell his four children that their mother would never be coming home.

Massey’s wife, 27-year-old Brandee Anastasia Massey, was gunned down outside of her apartment at LeFrak City at 98-15 Horace Harding Expressway in Corona on Wednesday morning, police said. She was about six months pregnant and had been returning from dropping three of her four kids off at school, according to authorities.

The stay-at-home mom was shot in the chest and arm and taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Doctors were able to deliver her baby, but the child died several hours later, according to police.

Now, hoping to develop leads in the murder investigation, state Sen. Jose Peralta and the LeFrak City Organization are each offering $2,000, in addition to the NYPD’s initial $2,000 reward, for any information leading to the arrest of Brandee’s killer.

“As this community mourns a horrific tragedy, we come together to provide however much support and comfort we can to a grieving husband and devastated family,” Peralta said. “But the most important thing we can do for them right now is to help police and law enforcement bring Brandee’s killer to justice and make whoever is responsible pay for this brutal crime.”

Brandee Anastasia Massey (Photo via Facebook)

Brandee Anastasia Massey (Photo via Facebook)

Since the shooting, Joseph Massey and his four children, who have not been able to return back to their home in Lefrak City, have been staying at a hotel. Peralta and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras have helped the family with expenses.

After seeing Massey Thursday night, Peralta said the father is very distraught and just wants justice for his family and children.

“All he said was, ‘I don’t know how to explain it to my children,’” Peralta added.

Peralta will also be creating a fund in the upcoming days to help provide for the education of Massey’s four children.

Norma Cooksey, 77, who lived in LeFrak City for 40 years, was friends with Brandee’s grandmother and said she was shocked when she heard the news.

“She grew up in front of me. She was a nice person,” Cooksey said.

Residents of LeFrak City, which is currently undergoing renovations and improvements, say they are concerned for their safety. The building where Brandee lived currently has no cameras and residents said the front door to enter the building remains unlocked.

“We have to really beef up security. Do we have adequate security here at LeFrak? In my opinion, absolutely not,” said Jim Galloway, coordinator for the Lefrak City Tenant’s League. “After this we need cameras on all the floors as quickly as possible. So if anybody comes in to LeFrak to do something irregular at least we can see them through any camera.”

Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thursday the shooting appears to have been a domestic dispute involving the victim’s uncle and police are looking to question to him, according to published reports.

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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Community rallies to find driver in Queens Boulevard hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The Woodside community is looking for the driver involved in a hit-and-run on Queens Boulevard that has left one man clinging to life.

According to officials, on Thursday at about 1:35 a.m., the victim, who is still unidentified, was struck on the westbound center lane of Queens Boulevard and 60th Street by a dark-colored Ford SUV as he attempted to cross the thoroughfare. The driver fled the scene.

Currently the victim, described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, is in critical but stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital, authorities said.

Members of the surrounding Woodside neighborhood gathered on Friday at the intersection to call on the public to help identify the driver involved in the incident.

“The person that struck the young man and left him to die on this street should turn themselves in right away and face the consequences of his/her actions, because what this person did was leave a young man to die,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “It’s one of the worst things that one human being can do to another.”

 

Van Bramer’s Justice for Hit-and-Run Victims Act, created after the councilman’s district faced three fatal hit-and-runs last year, was signed into law on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. It allows the city to establish civil penalties of up to $10,000 to drivers who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run. The bill will take effect starting Dec. 29.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

“Accidents are horrible and terribly unfortunate,” said Jerry LoMonte, resident of the Big Six Towers co-op apartment buildings, located across the street from the collision site. “[Leaving] the scene of the accident is horrible and criminal, and we need to protect ourselves against that.”

Also present at the Friday morning rally was Elizabeth O’Hara, director of Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school, which is also located across the street of where the hit-and-run occurred. She was joined by six students holding signs that read “Please Slow Down, I have small feet,” and “Please stop at the crosswalk.”

DSC_0833

O’Hara asked drivers to slow down while driving on Queens Boulevard and to stop at the crosswalk before getting to the red light.

“At various times Queens Boulevard has been referred to as the Boulevard of Death but the truth is Queens Boulevard is surrounded by life,” Van Bramer said. “We have got to come to a place where this boulevard is no longer viewed as the Boulevard of Death but instead the Boulevard of Life.”

The hit-and-run investigation is still ongoing.

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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Police searching for suspect in deadly Elmhurst stabbing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man wanted in a fatal Elmhurst stabbing who was caught on surveillance video leaving the murder scene last week.

The victim, Mukesh Patel, 50, was found inside the vestibule area of his 83-45 Broadway building at about 3:10 p.m. on Aug. 22 with multiple stab wounds to the chest, authorities said.

Patel was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

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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Man who claimed to be cab driver arrested in attack on mom, kids: officials


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch and video courtesy of NYPD

Updated 5:55 p.m.

A man posing as a livery cab driver has been arrested in an attack on a mother and her young children after he was caught on video elbowing one of the children and tossing another from his car, officials said.

Pedro Vargas, 48, of Yonkers is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of assault, endangering the welfare of a child and operating a vehicle for hire without having the proper license, according to the district attorney’s office.

Vargas is accused of picking up the 26-year-old victim and her three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, near 207th Street and Post Avenue in Manhattan on Sunday at about 1:50 a.m. Telling the woman that he was a cab driver, he agreed to drive them to 79-00 Queens Blvd., the Pan American Hotel homeless shelter, in Elmhurst, officials said.

After pulling up behind the building, Vargas and the woman got into a dispute, prosecutors said.

According to video footage released by police and the district attorney’s office, the suspect then forcefully tossed the 3-year-old from the vehicle and elbowed the 5-year-old in the head and knocked her to the ground. As the mother struggled with Vargas, her youngest child slipped from her arms and fell onto the sidewalk, prosecutors said. He then got back into his vehicle and as he fled the still open car door struck the 1-year-old.

The children were taken to a local hospital, where they were treated for bruises, swelling and other minor injuries.

Vargas previously served prison time on robbery and kidnapping charges, according to published reports, and was paroled in 2012.

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Video shows suspect who tried to sexually assault woman, attacked kids


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police have released shocking video footage of a driver who tried to sexually assault a woman before attacking her young children in Elmhurst.

Claiming to be a cab driver, the suspect picked up the 26-year-old victim and her three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, at 207th Street in Manhattan on Sunday and agreed to drop them off in Queens, police said.

After stopping behind 79-00 Queens Blvd., the Pan American Hotel homeless shelter, at about 2:45 a.m., the driver attempted to sexually assault the victim while her children were still in the car, according to officials. As the video footage shows, when the woman tried to get out of the vehicle, the suspect elbowed the 5-year-old in the head and tossed the 3-year-old from the car before fleeing.

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries.

1746-14 110 Pct-2

Police have also released a sketch of the suspect and describe him as a Hispanic man in his 40s. He was wearing a dark blue sweatsuit with white stripes, had an earring in his right ear and manicured eyebrows, and spoke Spanish.

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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Man claiming to be cabbie tried to sexually assault mom with kids in vehicle: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

A man claiming to be a cab driver tried to sexually assault a woman in Elmhurst before attacking her young children who were also in the vehicle, police said.

The 26-year-old victim was picked up with her three children, ages 1, 3 and 5, by the suspect at 207th Street in Manhattan on Sunday, officials said. Stating that he was a cab driver, he agreed to drop them off In Queens.

After stopping behind 79-00 Queens Blvd., the Pan American Hotel homeless shelter, at about 2:45 a.m., the driver attempted to sexually assault the victim while her children were still in the car, according to police. When the woman tried to get out of the vehicle, the suspect elbowed the 5-year-old in the head and forcibly removed the 3-year-old from the car before fleeing.

The children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic man in his 40s. He was wearing a dark blue sweatsuit with white stripes, had an earring in his right ear and manicured eyebrows, and spoke Spanish.

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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Man found stabbed in Elmhurst building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated Tuesday Aug. 26, 11:14 a.m.

A 50-year-old man was found stabbed to death in the front lobby of his Elmhurst building on Friday afternoon, according to police.

The victim, Mukesh Patel, who had multiple stab wounds to the chest, was discovered inside a building located at Broadway near St. James Avenue at about 3:10 p.m., cops said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No arrests have been made.

 

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Police looking for driver in fatal Maspeth hit-and-run


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarHC0312_L_300_C_R

A 32-year-old Ridgewood man was struck and killed in a hit-and-run accident early Monday morning, police said.

Police responded to a call at about 2:52 a.m. on Fresh Pond Road between 60th Drive and Elliot Avenue where they found Karoll Grzegorczyk unconscious with trauma on his body, lying on the road. Grzegorczyk was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival, according to the NYPD.

Further investigation showed that Grzegorczyk was walking on Fresh Pond Road when mid-block he entered the street between parked cars, police said. The Ridgewood resident was then struck by a dark-colored sedan, which fled the scene.

No arrests have been made and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Woman dead after Jackson Heights apartment fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A 46-year-old woman is dead after a fire at a Jackson Heights home early Saturday morning.

Police responded to the call of a fire at 85-10 34th Ave. at about 3 a.m., and, after the FDNY extinguished the blaze, Sophia Paz was found unconscious and unresponsive in the apartment’s bedroom, according to cops.

Paz was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

The fire marshal will determine the cause of the fire and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.

 

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Elmhurst Hospital pediatric patients to get Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A wave of green is coming to Elmhurst Hospital.

Children who are currently patients in the pediatric center at the hospital located at 79-01 Broadway, as well as the patients’ families, will soon be given the option to enroll in the organization Wholesome Wave’s Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program.

The four-month program, which is expected to begin this month, will provide healthy eating and living assistance to about 100 families with children between 2 and 18 who are identified to be overweight and obese.

During the program, the families will have monthly meetings with hospital staff, including physicians and nutritionists, where they will receive counseling, learn about eating healthy, take part in surveys and also have their health and weight recorded after each month.

The families will also receive vouchers or prescriptions, with values that vary depending on household size, to use in green markets throughout the city. Once visiting the green market, the families will receive health bucks which they can use to purchase fruits and vegetables.

Every Tuesday outside of Elmhurst Hospital, GrowNYC holds the Elmhurst Greenmarket from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.

“We are hoping that doing this will expose the inner city families to fresh produce and what the green markets around the city have to offer,” said Dr. Randi Wasserman, director of pediatrics at Elmhurst Hospital. “We are very committed to making our children safer and healthier. This is just one step.”

Wholesome Wave, which has programs throughout 25 states, began the New York City initiative last year in Harlem and the Bronx, and this year added on Elmhurst Hospital as the first in Queens.

“[The program] shows [patients] they can live in the middle of New York City and still get fresh vegetables,” Wasserman said.

According to Wasserman, this program is only the beginning for the hospital, which hopes to create a healthy lifestyles program and also reach out to the community with other programs.

“It’s part of the bigger picture of our commitment to tackling [obesity] in our population and in the community,” Wasserman said. “We are hoping this will just be the beginning of a number of initiatives.”

 

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