Tag Archives: Elmhurst

Transit riders voice calls to ‘#FixWoodhaven’ in social media campaign


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@Jslyyynnn and @jam14063

Woodhaven Boulevard commuters took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to voice their frustration over crowded bus lines, deterioration and other problems along the thoroughfare.

The Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives organized the #FixWoodhaven event, which encouraged Queens subway and bus riders to use the hashtag on social media to call for bus rapid transit (BRT) and street improvements along the heavily-used boulevard bisecting Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Glendale, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

“The Twitter campaign had over 250 tweets under the hashtag #FixWoodhaven,” according to a spokeswoman for the Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives.

“The people who were tweeting and part of the campaign included commuters who ride the bus daily along the Woodhaven corridor. The campaign was designed to speak to elected officials so they know the importance of BRT to their communities and constituents,” she said.

Volunteers with both transit advocacy groups also met with afternoon rush-hour commuters waiting for buses at stops along Hoffman Drive near Woodhaven Boulevard in Elmhurst. In pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram, riders were shown holding up signs noting that BRT would help reduce commute times and ease congestion.

In many instances, those who vented tagged or retweeted local elected officials seeking support for their cause, including City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley and Donovan Richards and Assemblyman Mike Miller.

“The proposed layouts for Woodhaven have benefits for pedestrians also. It’ll be safer and prettier! #FixWoodhaven #VisionZero,” tweeted @SamSamuelitoo.

“I support better, faster buses! Visiting fams in the Rockaways takes too long. #fixwoodhaven @RidersNY @brtfornyc,” added Twitter user @Jslyyynnn, who attached to her tweet a photo of herself holding a sign reading, “I live in Jackson Heights and I’m tired of overcrowded buses.”

“Let’s make public transportation, more efficient and desirable to ride! @transalt #FixWoodhaven @brtfornyc,” tweeted Juan Restrepo, @juan_john_hans.

For years, drivers, pedestrians and non-drivers have experienced commuting pains while traveling along Woodhaven Boulevard, especially during rush hour periods. Buses operating on the roadway — including two limited lines, the Q52 and Q53 — are often packed door-to-door with riders and are slow because of traffic congestion. The street also has a history of vehicular accidents involving pedestrians, many of which resulted in fatalities.

The city Department of Transportation in recent years started a “Congested Corridor” study for Woodhaven Boulevard, and recommended physical changes to the road’s configuration to make it safer and easier to travel. Working with the MTA, the DOT also recommends implementing Select Bus Service, a form of BRT, along both Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, with stations created at major intersections such as Metropolitan Avenue and Jamaica Avenue.

As the Select Bus Service plans are still being finalized, the DOT is presently creating bus-only lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard between Eliot and Metropolitan avenues as a means of speeding up bus operation. Only buses would be permitted to travel in these lanes during the morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays.

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Wild night of ‘Big Battel’ wrestling in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

As the lights of Queens Boulevard began to dim and store owners pulled down their metal gates on the night of July 10, a diverse crowd began to assemble at the Elmhurst Elks Club to watch costumed monsters square off in a ring as Boston-based wrestling sensation Kaiju Big Battel roared into town.

Kaiju (Japanese for “monster” or “mysterious beast”) features an ever-changing roster of giant, costumed, out-of-this-world creatures facing off in battles that are part Japanese sci-fi, part American pro-wrestling. The battleground is littered with monster movie props, including cardboard and foam skyscrapers upon which the monsters delightfully stomp and destroy.

The Friday night crowd that gathered to watch the late-night spectacle ranged from twentysomething guys and pastel-haired teens to the after-work crowd and young children, eager to see monsters and aliens smashing cardboard cityscapes and each other.

The audience was led into the Elks Club through the Jolly Corks lounge, where club regulars and newcomers sipped $3 pints of beer from plastic cups amid the wood-paneled hunting lodge walls.

Once inside, fans had the chance to purchase postcards, pins and posters of their favorite Kaiju heroes. Uniquely named treats such as “Ebola Cola” and “Danger Cakes,” Kaiju’s take on the classic Hostess cupcake, were also available to hungry fans.

The crowds cheered as the Kaiju crew began setting up homemade Styrofoam and cardboard buildings crafted from recycled boxes in the ring. Colorful MC Anthony Salbino, clad in aviator glasses and a sailors cap, kicked off the tournament.

Kaiju villain Dr. Cube entered with his posse of square-headed henchmen. He revealed a new, unnamed creation to fight crowd favorite and Kaiju sage Dusto Bunny. At first, Dr. Cube’s creation had Dusto Bunny on the ropes, slamming him onto the mat in a cloud of talcum powder and despair. But Dusto Bunny battled back to win the match and earned a standing ovation from the crowd.

Kaiju alien Steam Powered Tentacle Boulder came out to talk to the crowd but was interrupted by Dr. Cube. SPTB slammed Cube to scare him, earning him cheers from the crowd.

Kung Fu Chicken Noodle, an alleged former factory worker-turned-soup can, paired with French Toast as the team “Soup and Waffle.” The duo is the current Kaiju Double Danger Tandem Title Champions. They beat Dr. Cube’s creations Tucor and Hell Monkey in a hardcore match that allowed foreign objects, namely old Guitar Hero controllers. MC Salbino led the crowd in chants of “Soup! Soup!” as Kung Fu Chicken Noodle won the match.

Kaiju hero Sun Blaster, a good guy with an old game controller for an arm, beat his opponent by using the controller to take over his body.

The next match saw American Beetle, a patriotic space bug, face off against Gambling Bug, a bankrupt developer from a laundromat in Denver. American Beetle was led to victory with chants of “USA! USA!”

The headline event was a title match between reigning Kaiju champ Silver Potato and Cycloptopus, a furry, one-eyed green demon with red lobster claws for hands. Silver Potato was the early crowd favorite, handing out slices of pizza from Costco. The crowd cheered “Pizza!” and “Po-ta-to!” as he entered the ring.

Dr. Cube and the yellow spiked alien Unibouzu interfered on behalf of Cycloptopus, but Silver Potato used his pizza box to defeat his opponents and retain his belt and title.

After the tournament was over, the audience was invited to take home pieces of the shattered cardboard and foam skyscrapers as mementos of their wild night watching aliens and monsters duke it out in Queens.

 

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Get the scoop on exotic Queens treats during National Ice Cream Month


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

July is National Ice Cream Month, so forgo the basic soft serve and embark on a self-guided culinary tour of exotic, uniquely flavored frozen treats here in Queens.

The first stop on the journey is Max and Mina’s (71-26 Main St., Kew Gardens Hills), first opened nearly 18 years ago by brothers Bruce and Mark Becker. The Flushing confectionery features an extensive, ever-changing roster of bold, unexpected ice cream flavors such as “beer,” “merlot” and “grass,” inspired by Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh.

Unique flavors like “toasted marshmallow,” “coconut s’mores” and “corn on the cob” made with real kernels are like a campfire cookout in a cup.

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Pop culture-inspired flavors like the SweetTart candy-infused “Tart Bart Simpson” and the “SpongeBob,” a decadent mix of sponge cake, batter and sprinkles, reflect the fun and colorful cereal box collages covering the walls.

The “Cookie Monster,” a blue mix of Chips Ahoy and Oreos, is popular among children. Adults may want to try the “Roker-licious,” a spicy blend of red chili flakes and caramel cream created by Al Roker himself on a visit to the shop.

Upcoming flavors include date, fig, Fruity Pebbles cereal and Minions-inspired banana.

Single scoops are $3.25, doubles are $5.70 and pints run $7.50.

Skip on over to Elmhurst and stop by the aptly named Sugar Club (81-18 Broadway) for a truly sweet experience. The Thai confectionary features the “emerald mango” ($9), a tropical mix of homemade mango ice cream topped with whipped cream and warm green sticky rice.

Not to be outdone, nearby Plant Love House (86-06 Whitney Ave.) is busy keeping Elmhurst cool with scoops of Thai coconut ice cream served in up in terracotta flower pots topped with red bean, fresh coconut and frozen egg yolk.

For a taste of the Philippines, visit House of Inasal (65-14 Roosevelt Ave., Woodside) for a unique ice cream sandwich featuring purple yam or “ube” ice cream, coconut and crisp rice served on a warm “pan de sal” egg roll.

For more experimental flavor combinations, head over to Astoria Coffee (30-04 30th Ave.) for offerings from Manhattan-based confectioner Ice and Vice. Rotating selections may include “9 a.m.”, a mix of coffee, chicory, Saigon cinnamon and doughnut truffle, “3 Little Pigs,” with salted caramel, bacon butter and bacon praline, or the popcorn, raisin and chocolate-infused “movie night.”

IMG_5543

Wrap up your tour in Glendale at Dan’s Sweet Shop (70-03 Myrtle Ave.), where daredevils can attempt to devour “#ascoopofeverything,” a monstrous bowl of 32 scoops loaded with brownies, candy, three sauces, cones, whipped cream and cherries ($73).

Average folks can indulge in scoops of “Superman,” a brightly colored blend of strawberry, banana and blue moon, or “cotton candy,” a pink and blue candy blend.

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City Comptroller says no to Pan Am homeless shelter proposal once again


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 3:38 p.m.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer stood his ground on Thursday and sent the resubmitted proposal to convert the former Pan American Hotel into a permanent homeless shelter back to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Stringer’s response comes after DHS resubmitted their application on June 12. The initial proposal was originally rejected by Stringer’s office in May due to health and safety concerns such as fire code violations, rodent infestation and lack of kitchen facilities in the units.

The city comptroller had until the following week to accept or reject the proposal, and he decided to continue to urge the agency to make the changes he first asked to be made before they could be considered for approval.

“The Department of Homeless Services has not yet provided sufficient documentation to show that the Pan American Hotel facility is safe, and that all outstanding violations and complaints have been corrected. As a result I have sent the contract back to allow the agency additional time to address the outstanding issues we identified,” Stringer said.

Stringer’s decision comes two days after local elected officials stood with residents and community activists calling on the rejection of the resubmitted proposal.

The emergency homeless shelter at the former hotel on Queens Boulevard was supposed to close last December, yet even after facing large opposition from community members, an application was submitted to convert it into a permanent shelter under a five-year, $42 million contract with DHS.

State Senators Tony Avella and Jeff Klein, who held the rally Tuesday, praised Stringer for his decision.

“Today, the voices of homeless families and the community as a whole have been heard. While I thank the comptroller for his leadership on this issue, our work is not yet done. We must continue to work to fix this broken system,” Avella said. “I urge the Assembly to pass companion legislation to Senator Klein’s bill to protect our neighborhoods going forward. We must ensure that our communities have a stage on which to raise their voices against future Pan Am sites.”

Klein’s bill, which would require the city’s Planning Commission to hold a public community forum before the approval, modification or rejection of a homeless shelter site, recently passed in the state Senate.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has voiced her opposition to the shelter before, joined numerous other elected officials who applauded Stringer’s decision. Stavisky suggested that the DHS use this time to “search for other sites around the city as well as more permanent housing for families.”

“I want to thank New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for carefully considering the troubling conditions at the Pan American Hotel and reaching the same conclusion that I have — that the Pan Am facility is not safely serving the families being housed at that shelter,” Stavisky said. “Rejecting this contract is in the best interest of everyone. The Pan Am is far too cramped and lacks basic amenities, such as kitchens, which all families, especially those with babies and young children, desperately need and that are required by the city’s administrative code.”

Local grassroots organization Elmhurst United, which has been against the proposed homeless shelter since day one, also thanked Stringer for his decision and ask DHS to stop resubmitting their proposal.

“Samaritan Village and DHS should cease resubmitting this contract as the Pan Am shelter is too costly to upgrade in order to comply with state and local laws, in particular, providing a cooking facility in each living unit and a childcare facility at this site,” said Jennifer Chu, president of Elmhurst United.

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Boston-based sci-fi ‘monster wrestling’ event to debut in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kaiju Big Battel

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Where in the world can you witness mutant alien creatures and giant monsters facing off against each other in an epic battle amid a crumbling, Styrofoam cityscape? In Queens, of course, as Kaiju Big Battel takes over the Elks Club in Elmhurst this Friday, July 10.

The production combines elements from low-budget sci-fi and B movies with American pro-wrestling and Japanese horror classics like “Godzilla” to form a live monster wrestling extravaganza.

Kaiju, which is Japanese for “monster” or “mysterious beast,” features a rogue’s gallery of giant robots, battlebots and out-of-this-world creatures squaring off in a wrestling ring. The battleground is littered with monster movie props, including cardboard and foam skyscrapers that the monsters delightfully stomp on and destroy throughout their matches.

Kaiju Big Battel was created by Studio Kaiju, a Boston-based media and performance company known for its live, tournament-style events. This is the first time the company is bringing such an event into Queens.

The Kaiju Commissioner, described by Studio Kaiju as an “enigmatic human-arbiter appointed by a clandestine cadre of world leaders to regulate Kaiju (monster) rage,” presides over each battle.

According to the studio, Kaiju maintains a assortment of roughly 30 different monsters. Stars of the show include Kung-Fu Chicken Noodle, a factory worker who was transformed into a soup can, and a wise but slovenly rabbit sage named Dusto Bunny. There is also Uchu Chu the Space Bug, a blue alien named Sky Deviler and the square-shaped mad scientist Dr. Cube.

The mission of the tournament, according to Studio Kaiju, is to “protect the world from crazed kaiju and danger.” Will they succeed, or will the monsters triumph?

To find out, purchase a ticket for Friday’s match in Queens and become a spectator at the battle royale.

Tickets for the show, located at 82-20 Queens Blvd., are $20 each and available online by clicking here. Special merchandise, including unique sodas, sweets and treats from Japan, will also be available at the event.

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Pols call for rejection of resubmitted proposal for Pan Am homeless shelter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The fight continues for Elmhurst community members who continue to stand together hoping the city will again reject the proposal to convert the former Pan American Hotel into a permanent homeless shelter, which was resubmitted last month.

Local elected officials gathered with residents and community activists on Tuesday morning outside the facility to call for the rejection of Samaritan Village’s proposal that would turn the emergency shelter into a permanent one.

“We cannot address the growing homeless population at the expense of homeless families and children, or the community as a whole,” said state Senator Tony Avella, who previously voiced his opposition of the homeless shelter and its conditions. “We must look to fix this broken system.”

The emergency homeless shelter at the former hotel was supposed to close last December, yet even after facing large opposition from community members, an application was submitted to convert it into a permanent shelter under a five-year, $42 million contract with the Department of Homeless Services.

In May, the proposal was rejected by the office of Comptroller Scott Stringer due to health and safety concerns, such as fire code violations and lack of kitchen facilities in the units, but it was resubmitted on June 12 and now Stringer must decide to accept or reject it by next week.

“Mr. Stringer, as an elected official, as a civil servant and as the comptroller of the city of New York, we demand that you permanently reject the Pan Am contract,” said Anna Orjuela, a member of Elmhurst United and an Elmhurst resident for more than 30 years. “It is time for you to restore the people’s faith in our system of government and remind everyone that no one is above the law, regardless of their wealth, title or position of power.”

During Tuesday’s rally, elected officials also urged the state Assembly to pass companion legislation to state Senator Jeff Klein’s bill, which would require the city’s Planning Commission to hold a public community forum before the approval, modification or rejection of a homeless shelter site. The bill has already passed in the state Senate.

This process would allow community members to learn about the shelter and also provide their input on the idea, according to Klein.

“This situation is playing out across the city. An emergency homeless shelter moves into a neighborhood without community input and then the city seeks to make it permanent. This is simply unacceptable,” Klein said. “The residents of this community deserve to be heard, and the residents in this family shelter who live with rat infestations, improper garbage disposal and other serious health violations deserve better.”

Last week, grassroots organization Elmhurst United, which has been voicing its opposition to the shelter since day one, sent out a newsletter looking to inform local residents as to why the shelter is not suitable for the community and also encourage people to reach out to their elected officials.

In the newsletter, the group highlights issues such as School District 24 being the most overcrowded in the city, lack of a child care facility at the site, numerous FDNY violations, a façade violation, and much more.

“Everyone should care about what happens in their neighborhood,” the newsletter reads. “Speak up now before it is too late. Once the contract is signed, it becomes a much harder fight.”

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Dozens of employers to be featured at job fair at Queens Center


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of state Senator Peralta

As many as 2,000 applicants are expected to come out to a job fair this week at the Queens Center mall, where about 40 employers — including Starbucks, Madison Square Garden and the NYPD — will be in attendance.

The employers will be interviewing applicants and accepting resumes on Thursday, July 9, between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the fair, which is sponsored by the Elmhurst shopping center, state Senator Jose Peralta and Woodside on the Move.

“While the economy is slowly improving and the unemployment rate is declining, New York families continue to struggle to make ends meet,” Peralta said. “I am hopeful this job fair will help unemployed individuals be able to provide for their families. Every potential job opportunity presented could mean a paycheck for our hard-working neighbors.”

Some of the employers participating at the fair include Coca-Cola Refreshments, Starbucks, Regal Cinemas, Skechers, Madison Square Garden, Express, USTA Tennis Center, NYPD and FDNY. Several service providers, including New York Cares, Elmcor Career Pathways and The Fortune Society, will also be in attendance to offer career advice and help with resume preparation.

According to Peralta, recent statistics from the New York State Department of Labor show that unemployment is slightly down from last year. As of May 2015 in Queens, the rate was 5.2 percent, compared to 6.4 percent in May of last year. But there are still thousands in the borough that are searching for work.

“Currently, there are more than 61,000 job-seekers in Queens, so this job fair is an opportunity for them to find a job,” Peralta said. “I encourage all of those seeking a job to drop by the job fair at the Queens Center with plenty of copies of their resumes.”

As many as 2,000 job applicants could come to Thursday’s job fair, John Scaturro, senior manager for marketing for Queens Center said.

“Queens Center is honored to work with Senator Peralta to bring this job fair to the community. We believe it is important for the mall to engage in activities like these that support our neighbors,” Scaturro added. “By bringing together community businesses and mall retailers seeking qualified employees with local job seekers we see this job fair as a win-win for everyone.”

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Shake Shack to open location in Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Evan Sung

Something is shaking at Queens Center.

Shake Shack, the critically acclaimed “roadside” burger stand which has locations throughout the United States and world, has confirmed it will be opening in 2016 at Queens Center in Elmhurst.

Although Shake Shacks have opened at sites in JFK Airport and Citi FIeld, this will be the company’s first stand-alone location in Queens.

The establishment, which has five locations in Manhattan, is known for its 100 percent all-natural, antibiotic-free Angus beef burgers, crinkly cut fries and much more.

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Man wanted for exposing himself to two girls in Elmhurst


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketches courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for exposing himself to a 10-year-old girl near Elmhurst Park last month is suspected of committing the same lewd act last week just blocks away, according to police.

At about 7 a.m. on Wednesday, the suspect, while sitting on the passenger side of a parked vehicle with the door open near Calamus Avenue and Grand Avenue, exposed himself to a 12-year-old girl, authorities said.

The same man allegedly exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl, while also sitting on the passenger side of a parked vehicle with the door open, around Grand Avenue and 79th Street at about 3 p.m. on May 28.

Police have released two sketches of the perp, who they describe as a white Hispanic male with black hair and standing about 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

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Former architect from Elmhurst admits to hoarding child porn


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

An Elmhurst man who previously worked as an architect admitted in court on Monday that he downloaded a cache of child pornography containing hundreds of explicit images and videos of juveniles, prosecutors announced.

Jaime Lozano, 58, a former architect from St. James Avenue, pleaded guilty to two counts of promoting a sexual performance by a child. Queens Supreme Court Justice Richard L. Buchter, who accepted the plea, ordered him to return to court on July 7 for sentencing and indicated Lozano would likely serve several consecutive prison terms of between two and four years.

The illicit downloads were discovered after members of the Department of Homeland Security, as part of an ongoing investigation, raided Lozano’s home on April 18, 2014, and seized his desktop computer. The hard drive was found to contain 2,665 photos and 316 videos of children — some of whom were as young as 2 — being molested and sexually assaulted.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, Lozano obtained and shared the explicit material through the peer-to-peer network Emule for more than a year before his arrest.

In pleading guilty, prosecutors said, Lozano agreed to forfeit all of the electronic devices that law enforcement agents seized and to register as a sex offender.

“These images are — for all intents and purposes — crime scenes, and the abuse the children endured is very real and will be with them forever,” Brown said in a statement Monday. “This case should serve as a clear and unmistakable warning that law enforcement is prepared to apprehend and prosecute those who attempt to engage in illicit activity involving children.”

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Pervert exposes himself to young girl at Elmhurst Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police released on Wednesday a sketch of a man who exposed himself to a 10-year-old girl at Elmhurst Park last month.

According to authorities, the perpetrator was in the front passenger seat of a dark-colored SUV near the park at the corner of Grand Avenue and 79th Street at about 3 p.m. on May 28.

Reportedly, the suspect observed the 10-year-old girl, who was walking to a nearby youth center, then opened the door and flashed himself at the child. The SUV then sped away from the location.

The incident was reported to the 110th Precinct; no injuries were reported.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

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Elmhurst plants a tree to honor late Parks Department employee


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Parks Department and members of the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) teamed up on June 11 for a special Elmhurst Park Day of Service in memory of Parks Department manager Jennifer Kao.

Kao, a senior project manager with the Parks Department’s Planning and Parklands division, worked with the community to help create the park on the site of the former Elmhurst gas tanks. Tragically, Kao died earlier this year.

The Elmhurst Park Day of Service began with a special tree planting ceremony in Kao’s honor led by Dorothy Lewandowski, the Parks Department’s Queens commissioner.

“I had an opportunity to work with Jennifer when I came here about 10 or 11 years ago,” Lewandowski recalled. “She was an important part of the Parks Department. Her character and dedication went above the task. I greatly miss her.”

Kao was also fondly remembered by her fellow Parks Department colleagues, as well as community members.

“I think it’s a real testament to Jennifer Kao’s reach across the agency in working with various members to get projects done,” explained Parks Department Assistant Commissioner for Planning Alyssa Konon.

“For all of us who knew her, she was a very dedicated person who was very thorough and followed through on numerous tasks,” Konon said. “I’m sure it would please her to know that we’re all here today on something that she started. Here we are following through on something that she helped to make happen.”

COMET representative Richie Polgar also expressed gratitude for Kao’s work in creating Elmhurst Park.

“This park is one of the greatest things that have happened to this area,” Polgar said. “It’s so great to see this many people enjoying the park as it was intended to be. I’m so glad we have it.”

According to Lewandowski, COMET member Christina Wilkinson reached out to her shortly after Kao’s passing requesting that the community plant a special tree in Kao’s memory.

The tree planted in Kao’s honor is an Eastern Red Bud. “It gets beautiful, heart-shaped leaves and little pink flowers in the early spring that bloom against the wood, so it looks like the stems are lit up with pink,” said Queens Director of Horticulture Adriana Jaceykewycz.

Community volunteers and Parks Department employees continued to work on cleaning the park and planting new flowers and shrubbery well into the afternoon.

“This is a good spot to come back and contemplate about not only our own lives, but Jennifer’s, too,” Lewandowski said.

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Queens students fold paper cranes for international project


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Gary Malone

Birds of a feather flock together.

Students from middle schools in Flushing and Elmhurst are involved in a project to exchange cranes with schoolchildren their age in the Japanese city of Hiroshima, which was hit with an atomic bomb by the U.S. in the final stage of World War II.

To help their pupils learn about the second world war, Gary Malone, an English teacher at Flushing’s J.H.S. 189, and wife Amber Malone, who teaches social studies at I.S. 5 in Elmhurst, assigned their respective classes to read historical children’s novel “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.”

Based on a true story, the fictional account tells of a young girl living in post-WWII Japan and suffering from cancer caused by the atomic bomb dropped on August 6, 1945. As she spends time in the hospital, she folds papers cranes, inspired by a Japanese legend that says that if a sick person folds 1,000 paper cranes, the gods will make her well again.

After reading the book, classes participating in the Malone’s project folded their own paper cranes to send to students in Senogawa Junior High School in Hiroshima, whose students did the same in exchange.

Students from Queens sent 1,500 cranes to Japan altogether. These will be split into two displays, with 1,000 going to the Children’s Memorial Peace Park in Hiroshima and 500 set to be hung in Senogawa Junior High School, along with 500 more folded by the Japanese middle schoolers.

Senogawa students sent 500 cranes to both participating schools, and these will be displayed along with 500 cranes folded by American students for a total of a thousand each. Malone said that his students were impressed with the precision of the cranes they received, with each creased bird folded in nearly perfect identical form.

According to Gary Malone, the idea for the project came to him and his wife after winning a grant for a trip to Japan in summer 2014 to study the events of World War II from the Japanese perspective.

He said that many of his students do not leave their own neighborhood very often, and while he wishes the class could take an actual trip to Japan, the crane exchange was a good way to connect them with children of the same age who live on the other side of the globe.

“It’s two countries [who were] once enemies, and the communication is meaningful to them,” said Gary Malone, who is currently working to arrange some form of video interaction between his students and their Japanese counterparts.

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Cops seek Elmhurst shooter who injured two during gunplay


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police ask for the public’s help in finding a gunman who injured two people after opening fire on an Elmhurst street last weekend.

Authorities said the incident occurred at 12:10 a.m. on May 24, when the suspect—described as a black male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with white letters on the front, white jeans and black and white sneakers—fired a shot in front of a location on 43rd Avenue near Corona Avenue.

Reportedly, both victims—a 25-year-old male and a 17-year-old female—sustained gunshot wounds to their lower left legs. Police noted that the male victim was hit by a fragmented bullet.

Officers from the 110th Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. Paramedics brought the man and woman to Elmhurst Hospital and Forest Hills Hospital, respectively; both were treated and later released.

Police released on Friday night security camera footage of the suspect fleeing the scene.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then the code TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.

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Elmhurst girls impress at first-ever NYRR Kids Boardwalk Run


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYRR

Two girls from P.S. 102 in Elmhurst finished in two of the three top spots for their age bracket in the first-ever New York Road Runners (NYRR) Kids’ Boardwalk Run at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half on May 16. Hundreds of children, ages 7 to 18, from all five boroughs competed in heats based on age.

Skyi Velasco, 11, finished in second place, with a time of 6:10 and Kallie Sanchez, 13, came in third place with a time of 6:13 in the 11- to 13-year-old girls one-mile heat. They also placed third and fifth, respectively, out of nearly 300 female runners.

The out-and-back course started and ended at the half-marathon finish line. The kids ran in their heats and all participants earned a finisher ribbon as well as a set of bright green sunglasses. The top three finishers in each heat also received a medal and tickets to the New York Aquarium.

Both girls participate in the NYRR Young Runners youth program. The young runners program use team-based structure to help kids learn important lessons about how to set and achieve goals and to make activity a part of their daily lives.

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