Tag Archives: Elmhurst

Suspect wanted for questioning in deadly shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Suspect photo courtesy of NYPD/ Club photo by Salvatore Licata

Police have released the photo of a suspect wanted in connection to a shooting outside an Elmhurst club last month that left one dead and two others injured.

The gunfire erupted about 4 a.m. on Oct. 31 near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, cops said.

After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police. The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled onto the street, reports said.

Tamar Sermons, 20, of Laurelton, who was hit in the neck and leg, was killed in the shooting.

A 21-year-old woman, who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man, who suffered a graze wound to the head, were injured.

Authorities are now looking a man to question in the murder of Sermons. He is described as a black man in his 20s who was last seen wearing a shirt with the number 99 on it.

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Pan Am homeless shelter violates laws, says opponent


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

One Elmhurst grassroots organization is claiming the conditions at the proposed permanent homeless shelter at the former Pan American Hotel are breaking the law.

Elmhurst United, a grassroots organization that has been voicing its opposition to the homeless shelter at 7900 Queens Blvd. since day one, released a statement arguing that conditions at the homeless shelter violate city laws. The statement was released after a Queens Courier report that the city is seeking approval for a $42 million contract to operate the site as a permanent shelter.

The Department of Homeless Services did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The group claims the shelter violates the NYC Administrative Code, which states, “No homeless family shelter shall be established which does not provide a bathroom, a refrigerator and cooking facilities and an adequate sleeping area within each unit within the shelter and which otherwise complies with state and local laws.”

According to the organization, the site does not have kitchens in every unit, which was why initially DHS did not consider the site to be a “permanent family shelter.”

Other conditions include “inadequate sleeping quarters” with four to five people living in a single room with bunk beds pushed up against windows, according to Elmhurst United.

“These units simply cannot be converted to be used for permanent housing with minimal structural change,” said Jennifer Chu, spokeswoman for Elmhurst United. “The Pan Am would require major renovation in order for it to lawfully meet NYC standards for Tier II homeless shelters. The Samaritan Village draft contract shows that there is no money in the line item budget to do renovations for the next 4.5 years.”

DHS is proposing a five-year, $42 million contract with Samaritan Village Inc. for the shelter at the Pan Am Hotel, The Courier previously reported.

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Real estate firm helps give home to Queens family


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Urban Compass

Real estate firm Urban Compass is donating money — and time — so that a Queens family can have a home of their own.

The company has contributed $20,000 to Habitat for Humanity New York City to renovate a vacant Jamaica home, which will be purchased by a family of four from Elmhurst that was selected through the organization’s affordable homeownership program.

Urban Compass employees will also volunteer 500 hours to help construct the home at 178-25 93rd Ave. So far the team has already helped put up Sheetrock and worked on the backyard and lighting.

“The employees in the company are very community oriented and people that want to participate in society around them and help make the world better,” said Robert Reffkin, CEO and founder of Urban Compass.

The house, which is the first of many that Urban Compass plans to help Habitat NYC with, is expected to be completed in six months. The family will be able to move in May of next year.

178-25 93rd Ave.

178-25 93rd Ave.

Originally built in 1920, the home has been vacant for several years and has fallen into disrepair, according to Habitat for Humanity.

The organization bought the house for $1 from the New York City Housing Authority to be one of 13 properties around the city that will be transformed and purchased at low mortage interest rates by families through its homeownership program.

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New pre-K center to open in Elmhurst school


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

A new $3 million pre-K center is set to open next year in Elmhurst.

The School Construction Authority recently started accepting bids for the center, called Q391, which will be located in St. Bartholomew School at 44-15 Judge St.

The center will have 144 seats, according to the Department of Education, and is expected to open in September 2015.

The School Construction Authority is collecting bids until Nov. 25.

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Police need help identifying murder victim found near Elmhurst train tracks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketches courtesy of NYPD

Seven months after body parts were discovered near railroad tracks in Elmhurst, police are trying to figure out the identity of the murder victim.

The remains were found on the afternoon of April 12 by CSX tracks near 43rd Avenue and 74th Street, cops said.

A man was collecting cans when he uncovered a torn bag that had a skull in it, according to authorities. A police search of the area turned up more body parts in bags.

The death was later classified as a homicide.

Police have released several sketches of the victim, who is described as a 30-year-old white man.

SKETCH 1

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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City seeks $42M contract for Pan Am homeless shelter


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Making the homeless shelter at the Pan Am Hotel permanent will inch forward next week when the city seeks approval for a $42 million contract to operate it.

The Department of Homeless Services is proposing a five-year, $42 million contract with Samaritan Village Inc. for the proposed homeless shelter at the former Pan Am Hotel in Elmhurst, according to city records.

Samaritan Village, which runs homeless facilities across the city, is also seeking to run the proposed shelter on Cooper Avenue in Glendale.

The public is invited to give feedback at a hearing on Nov. 13 at 125 Worth St. in Manhattan at 10 a.m.

The contract’s operating term will start from Dec. 6, 2014, to June 30, 2019, with an option for renewal from July 1, 2019, to June 20, 2023, for the shelter, which will be located at 79-00 Queens Blvd.

The city opened the shelter for emergency shelter at the Pan Am Hotel on June 5. Lawfully, the city can operate an emergency shelter for six months before it has to make it permanent.

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Massive development site near Queens Place and Queens Center malls sells for $26M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal.

A large parking lot behind Queens Place mall in Elmhurst sold for $26.5 million, according to property records filed on Saturday.

The lot, located at 88-18 Justice Ave., has about 227,352 square feet of buildable space, according to Massey Knakal, which listed the parcel of land in March, as The Courier reported.

Justice Ave Tower, LLC bought the property from 86-55 Queens Blvd. Corp., according to city records.

There have been no plans submitted for the site with the Department of Buildings as of yet.

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Queens Center to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY MICHAEL SHAIN

No time for a second piece of pie at Thanksgiving this year.

For the first time, Queens Center is going to open at 6 p.m. the night of Thanksgiving, following a trend to start Black Friday earlier every year.

The move is prompted by the announcement this week that JCPenney and Macy’s are joining stores like Kmart and Walmart in being open on Thanksgiving night — getting a six-hour jump on the competition to start their first, big holiday sales.

“We always opened at midnight” for those stores that wanted to get the bargain rush going in the first hours of Black Friday, said John Scaturro, head of marketing for the Elmhurst mall. “But with stores like Sears opening early, now the big players are following suit.”

And since the two biggest stores in the mall are opening early, the owner of the mall, Macerich Co., has offered the chance to all the stores in the mall to open at 6 p.m. too.

“We project that 70 to 80 percent of our stores will elect to open Thanksgiving night,” Scaturro said. “Nobody is going to want to be closed in those first few hours.”

In the retail trade, the trend is being called “Black Friday creep,” a process that began more than a decade ago when big-box stores tested the idea of boosting sales by offering extraordinary bargains to die-hard shoppers willing to come to the stores at midnight.

Black Friday is the term used by retailers for the day after Thanksgiving — when people are off from work and the holiday shopping season officially began (and merchants could count on ending the day in the black).

But what started out as an experiment has taken off. Retailers — who have a bunch of bad years since economic crisis of 2007-8 — discovered shoppers have had enough football and family by nightfall on Thanksgiving and are itching to get out of the house.

“People always seem to be in very good spirits when they shop on those days. The truth is that, on Black Friday, we notice a lot of folks shopping for themselves — not for Christmas especially,” Scaturro said.

“Fall and winter clothes are the big items,” he said. “Shoe stores do very well on those days — and shoes are not something people buy for holiday shopping.”

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One dead, two injured in shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Updated Saturday, Nov. 1, 4:03 p.m.

A shooting outside an Elmhurst club early Friday morning left one woman dead and two others injured, according to police.

The gunfire started at about 4 a.m. near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, authorities said.

The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled into the street, reports said. After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police.

A 20-year-old woman, Tamar Sermons, of Laurelton, was shot in the neck and leg, authorities said. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A 21-year-old woman who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man who suffered a graze wound to the head are both listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Public art project to celebrate Queens’ diversity


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Fumi Nakamura

A new public art project is shining light on the diversity of the borough through stories captured in movement.

“MOVE WITH US” is a video created by artists Roshani Thakore from Elmhurst and Fumi Nakamura from Jackson Heights after they visited public spaces throughout Queens over the summer and photographed a total of 167 immigrants creating personal poses.

The final video, set to premiere next week, is a sequence of the images capturing “the most diverse borough in the nation,” according to the artists.

“We try to connect each individual with each pose and I feel like it’s kind of an archive of 2014 in Queens and the people who are making it the more diverse place in the nation,” Thakore said.

The project, funded by the Queens Council on the Arts (QCA), is scheduled to premiere on Nov. 7 at QCA located at 37-11 35th Ave. in Astoria.

Being a dance teacher of an Indian dance class at the Long Island City YMCA, Thakore felt that participants would be able to translate their personal experiences through body movements.

During the summer, Thakore and Nakamura visited public spaces, like the LIC YMCA and Corona Plaza, and spoke with residents in the spaces about living in Queens and their backgrounds. They also received help from a lot of volunteers from local groups.

Once the residents got comfortable, they would be asked to do unique poses expressing themselves and their stories and then Nakamura snapped the photos to capture the movements.

In one example, a man living in Corona shared his story on having worked on a sugar cane field in Mexico. During the conversation he started to do the movement he would do while cutting the canes and this was photographed as part of the project.

“It’s more about listening in a public space to a person’s story. Really understanding who our neighbors are, who are the community members and who makes up Queens,” Thakore said. “In terms of the project, originally it was being proud of your culture but the surprise that came out of it was being proud to be in Queens — Queens pride.”

Originally from Georgia and a daughter of immigrants from India, Thakore said there was not a lot of diversity in Georgia and not a lot of public resources. However, when she made the move to Queens, she said she was able to experience different parts and public institutions of the borough, especially through teaching dance.

“I really feel like in Queens I came home, because of the diversity and opportunities,” Thakore said.

Thakore added that, for both her and Nakamura, experiencing the diversity in Queens daily was what “fired up” the work on the project.

Although the actual video has no music, during its premiere at the Queens Council on the Arts, there will be music and food. All 167 participants of the project were invited to the event.

The premiere, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. To RSVP, click here.

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Real estate roundup: Worst landlords in Queens, new 11-story Elmhurst building revealed


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’

“New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside. The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.” Read more [Sunnyside Post]

Revealed: 70-32 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst

“The new 69-unit residential building at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, is being designed by Flushing-based architect Michael Kang. It will include about 55,000 square feet of residential space, with all apartments around 800 square feet in size. In most of the city this would mean rentals, but these will simply be small condos, as is common in New York’s Chinese neighborhoods.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Planned Parenthood Is Expanding to Queens

Planned Parenthood’s abortion services have made it the target of national activism and federal budget cuts. But in spite of vocal opposition elsewhere, the organization is about to expand in New York City, breaking ground Thursday on its only center in Queens.” Read more [New York Times] 

Real estate roundup: New Rego Park building rendering revealed, controversial luxury building opening in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GF55 Partners

Revealed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

“The building, designed by GF55, will fit in perfectly with the other seven-story buildings that have been erected on the south side of Austin Street over the past decade or two. The structures have been filling in a formerly industrial low-rise strip, set up against the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, right beside what used to be the Rego Park station, shuttered in 1962.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Controversial High-End Building Opening as Part of Elmhurst ‘Renaissance’

“A controversial apartment building that was the subject of recent litigation is getting a luxury makeover as part of a hoped-for neighborhood “renaissance,” according to developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

New program aims to battle the growing graffiti menace in parts of south Queens

“The residents of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven are about to find out as officials kick off a new anti-graffiti program on Wednesday. For the first time, the Queens Economic Development Corp. is heading the program funded by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Plan calls for return of Elmhurst LIRR station


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The wheels of the LIRR might soon be making a stop once again in Elmhurst — or at least in the next five years.

In the MTA’s 2015-2019 $32 billion Capital Program, released earlier this week, $40 million is being set aside to construct a new Long Island Rail Road station on the Port Washington Branch.

“A new Elmhurst station will provide commuter railroad service to this vibrant community,” the MTA said in the five-year plan said.

The proposed station elements include two new 12-car platforms, staircases, platform railings, platform shelters, ticket vending machines, lighting, communication and security systems, and site improvements, according to the capital plan.

There will also be elevator service at the Elmhurst station, which will be part of the Port Washington line.

In 2012, Councilman Daniel Dromm and US Rep. Joseph Crowley called on the Long Island Rail Road to reopen the station, which was located on Broadway between Cornish and Whitney avenues and was closed in 1985 due to low ridership, to meet the needs of the neighborhood’s growing population.

Last year, LIRR officials conducted a month-long survey to see if it made sense to bring the station back to the community,

Dromm said that although he finds this plan as a positive development, he still views it as just a proposal.

“Seeing the line item of $40 million for the LIRR Elmhurst stop in the MTA’s capital budget is a longtime coming and much welcomed development,” Dromm said. “However, this capital budget should be seen as a wish list. These projects are not currently fully funded nor approved by the state. I will continue to advocate for this stop, which would cut down commutes and help Elmhurst residents get to where they need to go with greater speed. I hope the MTA will turn this wish from the community into a reality.”

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Woodside street to be renamed after man behind Alfred Hitchcock film


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

the wrong man still 2

The story of one man, who influenced an Alfred Hitchcock film, will live on in the neighborhood his family called home.

This Saturday, the corner of 73rd Street and 41st Avenue in Woodside will be co-named after Christopher Emmanuel “Manny” Balestrero as “Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way.”

In 1953 Balestrero was arrested outside of his home after three witnesses identified him as the person who robbed a Prudential Insurance Company office, according to Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office. Balestrero was later charged with two armed robberies and taken to trial. After another man confessed to the crimes, he was exonerated.

“Manny Balestrero’s story is one example how we must continue to reexamine our criminal justice system,” said Dromm, who together with Community Board 4 helped get the street renamed after Balestrero.

In 1956 Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced the docudrama film “The Wrong Man,” starring Henry Fonda, which followed Balestrero’s real-life story and had scenes shot on the streets of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Woodside.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

“Street co-namings can also serve as an educational tool,” Dromm said. “I hope that when people see the ‘Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way’ sign they will be compelled to delve into this history and in doing so they will learn a little about their community, about cinematic history and continue to think critically about how our justice system works.”

The Sept. 27 co-naming ceremony will take place from noon to 2 p.m.

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Suspect sexually assaulted woman in Elmhurst elevator: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man followed a 30-year-old woman into the elevator of her Elmhurst building last week before sexually assaulting her, cops said.

The suspect approached the victim inside of the elevator in a building near Elmhurst Avenue at about 1:30 p.m. on Sept. 18, according to authorities. After coming up to her from behind, the man rubbed his private area against the woman, over the clothing.

The victim was not injured in the assault.

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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