Tag Archives: Elmhurst

Stop by these Queens Häagen-Dazs shops for Free Cone Day

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Just in time for the warmer weather, Tuesday is Free Cone Day at Häagen-Dazs stores throughout the country, including four in Queens.

From 4 to 8 p.m., participating locations are offering one free kiddie-sized ice cream in either a cup, sugar cone or cake cone.

Free Cone Day will also feature two new artisan flavors — chocolate caramelized oat and banana rum jam.

The following Häagen-Dazs shops around the borough are taking part in the event:

  • New World Mall, 136-20 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing
  • Queens Center mall, 90-15 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst
  • 70-40 Austin St., Forest Hills
  • 61-10 188th St., Fresh Meadows

For more Häagen-Dazs locations around New York City, click here.


City comptroller sends back Pan American shelter contract

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Plans to make the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst a permanent homeless shelter hit a roadblock Monday when City Comptroller Scott Stringer refused to sign a city contract for its operation.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) and the nonprofit group Samaritan Village previously agreed upon a five-year, $42.4 million contract formally establishing 79-00 Queens Blvd. as a permanent transitional housing shelter.

Stringer, however, sent the contract back to the mayor’s office as a result of concerns regarding conditions at the Pan American. The NY Daily News reported earlier this month that the shelter was suffering from vermin infestation. Last week, a fire also broke out in one of the units. There were no injuries reported, but the family in the affected unit was forced to relocate to another shelter.

The comptroller similarly voided a DHS contract for another shelter in Manhattan.

The comptroller vowed not to approve the contract until his office “receives assurances that anyone staying in these facilities will be safe” and “all outstanding violations and complaints have been corrected.”

“In March, the NYC Department of Investigation released a report that highlighted unacceptable living conditions in our city’s shelters and raised significant issues about how the Department of Homeless Services identifies and cures health and safety violations,” Stringer said in a statement. “We simply can and must do better on behalf of the 60,000 people, including nearly 25,000 children, who are under our care.”

The announcement came hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in Corona the creation of an inter-agency shelter repair squad designed to find and correct any violations in city homeless shelters.

Stringer applauded the mayor for the announcement and added he is looking forward “to working closely with this group to meaningfully change the way the city procures and operates our homeless shelters.”


Macy’s to open off-price store at Queens Place

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Macy’s will launch one of four pilot stores offering shoppers discounted merchandise at Queens Place mall in Elmhurst this fall, according to the retailer.

The off-price stores, to be called Macy’s Backstage, will average about 30,000 square feet and feature clearance goods from Macy’s stores. Shoppers will also find great values and special buys from well-known fashion brands, often between 20 to 80 percent off of original and comparable prices for similar merchandise. Those products will include women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, housewares and home textiles.

Each store will also offer amenities such as free Wi-Fi and a suite of spacious fitting rooms. There are additional plans to test a café concept at one location.

“We believe we can deliver a whole new level of value to customers who appreciate fashion and love to hunt for a bargain,” said Peter Sachse, Macy’s chief innovation and business development officer said in a statement released on Tuesday. “Macy’s Backstage stores will be designed to surprise and delight customers with continuously updated and fresh merchandise assortments focused on delivering current fashion with incredible prices, day in and day out, and enthusiastic sales associates.”

Sachse added that the retailer could open more stores following the pilot period.

“As with all of Macy’s innovations, we will test and learn to see what resonates most with customers so we can adjust before rolling out additional locations,” he said.

The other three stores, all in the New York City metro area, will be at 2027 Emmons Ave. in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn; Lake Success Shopping Center in New Hyde Park, Long Island; and Melville Mall in Huntington, also in Long Island.

But the selection of Queens Place as one of the pilot locations seems particularly fitting, as the shopping center was constructed as a Macy’s in the mid-1960s. Though the store later relocated to the nearby Queens Center mall, Queens Place still houses a Macy’s Furniture Gallery.


Pan Am Hotel homeless shelter infested with vermin: report

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Residents at the emergency homeless shelter located at the former Pan American Hotel are being visited by unwanted guests that have been munching on trash left piled up behind the site, according to a published report.

Members of the community surrounding the homeless shelter, located at 7900 Queens Blvd., captured a pack of rats in the act of looking through the garbage for a meal on April 17, according to the NY Daily News.

Business owners and local residents reportedly say that the garbage, which at first was being put inside a dumpster, has since been piled up in the lot behind the hotel.

Along with the reports of the rats, residents of the homeless shelter said they have issues with cockroaches inside their apartments, which in some cases hold four to five people, the Daily News said.

The former Elmhurst hotel houses over 700 residents, made up of families, many of which have small children.

The city had previously been seeking approval for a five-year, $42 million contract with the nonprofit Samaritan Village Inc. to operate the location as a permanent shelter.

Officials from the city’s Department of Homeless Services (DHS) told the Daily News that as of April 18, Samaritan Village “has been working with the community and is purchasing a garbage compactor that will address these garbage concerns.”

“We are currently working with Department of Sanitation (DSNY), which has provided the specs for the compactor and will provide containers with lids. The garbage will then be compacted. We hope to have this remedied as soon as possible,” the DHS said.

In the past, the shelter has also had a large number of violations such as failure to provide hot water or heat for days, reports of bed bugs, peeling of lead paint in one unit, and garbage left sitting in front of the entrance to the children’s play area, according to the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

Last November, the grassroots organization Elmhurst United, which has been voicing its opposition to the shelter since day one, said the conditions at the site violate city laws.

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.”


$2K reward for man who choked, cut girlfriend in Elmhurst: NYPD

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man who goes by four different names for recently choking his girlfriend and slicing her with scissors.

On March 9 at about 3 a.m. Mario Rubiano-Gonzalez — who also uses the names William Para, Orlando Morales and John Zea — choked his girlfriend inside a home on Pettit Avenue in Elmhurst, according to cops. He also sliced the woman across her forearm with scissors, causing serious physical injury.

According to the 110th Precinct, neither the suspect nor victim has prior domestic violence history, but Rubiano-Gonzalez does have a nonviolent prior arrest.

The suspect, who is being sought for assault, is described as a white Hispanic man, 5 feet 5 inches tall, with black hair, brown eyes, and weighing 173 pounds.

There is a $2,000 reward being offered for any information that leads to the arrest of Rubiano-Gonzalez.

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.


Warnings about police impersonators in Maspeth and Elmhurst

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

File photo


Police impersonation warnings dominated the discussion at Monday night’s Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) meeting at St. Adalbert’s Church in Elmhurst.

Representatives of the 104th, 108th and 110th precincts warned residents about a dangerous uptick in home invasions and robberies committed by perpetrators impersonating police officers. Deputy Inspector Christopher Manson, commander of the 110th Precinct, cautioned COMET members against falling victim to this scheme.

According to Manson, three such robberies occurred recently within the confines of the 110th Precinct. In one case, two males with dark complexions riding in a black van followed a man walking home between the hours of 1:30 and 4:30 a.m. One of the suspects, pretending to be a plain-clothes police officer, approached the victim, frisked him, stole his wallet and sped away in the van. The other two incidents were similar in nature.

Manson believes the victims were targeted because they were walking alone late at night. He urged residents to request a valid NYPD ID card from anyone attempting to stop them on the street claiming to be an officer.

Maspeth and Elmhurst have also seen an increase in home invasions and burglaries committed by police impersonators. However, unlike the robberies, the recent home invasions appear to deliberately target houses with reputations for illegal activities and narcotics.

Capt. Lavonda Wise (center) of the 108th Precinct is pictured with COMET President Rosemarie Daraio (at left) and Vice President Richard Gundlach. (TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso)

Capt. Lavonda Wise (center) of the 108th Precinct is pictured with COMET President Rosemarie Daraio (at left) and Vice President Richard Gundlach. (TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso)

On March 24th, a home invasion robbery involving police impersonation took place on Jay Avenue in Maspeth. According to reports, two black males wearing fake police uniforms forced their way into the front door of the home. Once inside, they ransacked a basement apartment and then fled on foot.

“This is not a random act,” said Capt. Mark Wachter, commanding officer of the 104th Precinct. “These homes were targeted.”

An investigation into the incident is ongoing, with detectives from the Police Impersonation Investigation Unit examining video footage from the vicinity of the crime.

Manson reported similar incidents in the 110th Precinct. Manson believes the perpetrators in these incidents are attempting to shake down reputed drug houses for narcotics and cash.

“They go where they know the money is,” he said.

Capt. Lavonda Wise, the new executive officer of the 108th Precinct, introduced herself to COMET members. She reported two incidents of home burglaries in the 108th Precinct in the past month. In both cases, perpetrators broke the locks on the front doors of the homes to gain entry. According to Wise, an investigation into these incidents is ongoing.


Organization serving domestic violence, human trafficking survivors opens center in Elmhurst

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Asian Women's Center

One organization is expanding its outreach in helping victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in Queens as it opens a new home in the borough.

The New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC) celebrated the opening of its new Elmhurst site, located at 86-26 Broadway, on Friday afternoon. Along with opening the location, the organization was also selected by the New York City Human Resources Administration (HRA) to receive a contract making it the only provider of core non-residential domestic violence services in Queens.

With the three-year renewable grant, NYAWC will be able to provide needed resources and services to help survivors and their children recover from trauma due to domestic violence.

“NYAWC is proud to have a team of counselors that come from different cultural backgrounds and experiences, and speak many Asian languages and dialects and Spanish,” said Larry Lee, executive director of NYAWC. “To meet the growing demands for our services in Queens, we are doubling the number of counselors that will be stationed at the new Elmhurst office.”

NYAWC also received a two-year grant from the U.S. Office for Victims Crime to serve survivors of human trafficking with services such as counseling, case management, English classes and employment services. At the new Elmhurst office, NYAWC will also aid survivors of sexual assault.

The organization offers a 24/7 hotline at 888-888-7702, advocacy, financial education to survivors, healthy relationship workshops for teens and aid for teens in abusive relationships. All services are free and confidential.

“The work of the New York Asian’s Women Center is priceless and exemplary, and above all, culturally sensitive. They provide a very vital and important service to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, elder abuse, labor and sex trafficking, and many other crimes,” state Senator Jose Peralta said. “With the opening of this new center in Elmhurst, the organization will keep providing these crucial services to a very vulnerable population.”

For more information visit www.nyawc.org.


Design workshops scheduled for Woodhaven/Cross Bay Select Bus Service plan

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

The city Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold the first of four public design workshops for the planned Woodhaven/Cross Bay boulevards Select Bus Service (SBS) system next Thursday night in Woodhaven.

All are invited to attend the April 16 workshop at P.S. 306 NYC Academy for Discovery, located at 96-16 89th Ave. This workshop will focus solely on redesigning the portion of Woodhaven Boulevard between Union Turnpike in Glendale and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.

The following week, April 23, the DOT will hold a workshop at Queens Metropolitan High School, located at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills, focused on Woodhaven Boulevard between Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst and Union Turnpike.

An April 29 workshop at P.S. 146, located at 98-01 159th Ave. in Howard Beach, will center around Cross Bay Boulevard, and an April 30 workshop at P.S. 42, located at 488 Beach 66th St. in Arverne, will focus on implementing SBS in the Rockaways.

All of the workshops will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.

Representatives from the DOT will collect at each session “block-by-block feedback on street design and bus stop locations” for the Woodhaven/Cross Bay SBS. Last month, the DOT selected an SBS design that would include dedicated main-road bus lanes on Woodhaven Boulevard and offset bus lanes on Cross Bay Boulevard.

The plan, which requires the physical reconfiguration of Woodhaven Boulevard, also calls for the creation of SBS stations at major roadways that intersect the boulevard, such as Metropolitan and Jamaica avenues.

While each workshop focuses on a specific section, the DOT indicated that comments on any or all parts of the proposed SBS system will be accepted at all four sessions. Translation services are available and may be reserved in advance of the workshop by emailing brt@nyc.gov.


Man suspected in second subway public lewdness incident in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for exposing himself to a straphanger on an R train last month has now been connected to a similar public lewdness incident at a Queens subway station on Valentine’s Day, police said.

A 50-year-old woman was waiting for a Queens-bound F train at the Queens Boulevard and 63rd Drive stop in Rego Park about 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 14 when the suspect approached the victim and exposed himself to her. He then boarded an F train while the victim remained on the platform and waited for the next train.

The same man is also suspected of exposing himself to a 34-year-old woman on board a Queens-bound R train about 7:40 a.m. on March 2.

As the train was at the Grand Avenue stop in Elmhurst, the man sat down in front of the woman and allegedly exposed himself. He then got off at the next stop on Woodhaven and Queens boulevards.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 25-30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 120 to 140 pounds.

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.


Pair sought in Queens police impersonation robberies

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A phony cop is stopping people on the streets of Queens before robbing them and jumping into a getaway car, authorities said.

Police have released video footage of the fake officer in the act and say he has robbed six separate victims between October and March in Middle Village, Woodside, Elmhurst and Corona.

All of the victims were traveling on foot when they were stopped by the suspect described as Hispanic or white, about 30 to 40 years old and with a heavy build, authorities said. He then searched the victim and removed property from them before fleeing with a second suspect who was waiting in a black Lincoln Town Car or dark van, police said.

The two suspects are wanted in the following incidents:

  • On Oct. 29, at about 1:30 a.m., at the corner of 82nd Street and Furmanville Avenue, $80 was taken from a 21-year-old man.
  • On Nov. 27, at about 1:30 a.m., at the corner of James Avenue and 88th Street, a 40-year-old man’s wallet containing a debit card was taken.
  • On Dec. 11, at about 12:50 a.m. in front of 39-66 65th St., a 39-year-old man’s wallet containing $17 was taken.
  • On Feb. 14, at about 4:45 a.m. in front of 102-26 45th Ave., a 37-year-old man’s wallet containing a debit card and a cellphone were taken.
  • On Feb. 26, at about 12:30 a.m. in front of 49-07 103rd St., a 33-year-old man’s wallet containing $650 and debit and credit cards were taken.
  • On March 15, at about 5:30 a.m. at the corner of 102nd Street and 45th Avenue, a 45-year-old man’s wallet containing $480 was taken.

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.


Second body found at East Village explosion site ID’d as Elmhurst man

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD9Pct

The second body found in the debris days after last week’s East Village explosion has been identified as an Elmhurst man who worked in a Sushi restaurant at the location, according to published reports.

The medical examiner’s office positively identified the victim, using DNA analysis, as 27-year-old Moises Ismael Locón Yac, who reportedly lived in Elmhurst with his cousin.

Locón, a Guatemalan immigrant, was working as a busboy at Sushi Park, located on the ground floor of the building at 121 Second Ave., when the explosion occurred on March 26.

The explosion and following fire left 22 people injured, three apartment buildings destroyed and two men missing — Locón and 23-year-old East Harlem resident Nicholas Figueroa.

Authorities discovered two bodies on Sunday, the first about 20 feet from the entrance of Sushi Park and the other 20 feet back from the first, according to FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro.

Photo by Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office

Photo by Rob Bennett/Mayoral Photography Office

Family members of Figueroa identified one of the bodies as their loved one and the second body had to wait for DNA testing to confirm if it was Locón.

Locón, who comes from a family of nine in Guatemala, was working to save money and return to his home country to reunite with his girlfriend, media reports said.

His family plans to bury him in Guatemala, according to NBC New York.

An investigation to determine the cause of the explosion is still ongoing.


Body pulled from East Village explosion site believed to be Queens man

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

The family of Moises Ismael Locón Yac, a Guatemalan immigrant and hard-working busboy from Queens, remains in limbo as they await word confirming the identity of one of two bodies found Sunday in the remaining rubble of last week’s East Village explosion.

Locón, who according to published reports lived in Elmhurst with his cousin, was working at the restaurant Sushi Park, which was located on the ground floor of the building at 121 Second Ave. when the explosion occurred Thursday afternoon.

The blast and ensuing fire left 22 people injured, three apartment buildings destroyed and two men missing – 27-year-old Locón and 23-year-old East Harlem resident Nicholas Figueroa.

“I have a pain in my heart – for him and for the other families who don’t know where their loved ones are,” Pablo Yac, Locón’s cousin, told The New York Times the day after the explosion.

Moises Ismael Locón Yac

Moises Ismael Locón Yac

On Sunday, authorities discovered two bodies, the first about 20 feet from the entrance of Sushi Park and the other 20 feet back from the first, according to FDNY Commissioner Dan Nigro.

Relatives of Figueroa, who reportedly was at Sushi Park on a lunch date, identified one of the bodies to be that of the recent college graduate.

The second body, which investigators reportedly believe to be that of Locón, would need to be identified using DNA testing, which could take about a week.

“We are sad. Very, very sad. We don’t know yet if that’s him. I just want to know right now,” Alfredo, one of Locón’s brothers, told the New York Post at the family home in Elmhurst on Sunday.

Locón, who comes from a family of nine in Guatemala, was working to save money and return to his home country to reunite with his girlfriend, according to published reports.

Locón’s family plans to bury him in Guatemala pending DNA results, according to NBC New York.

Although the investigation is still ongoing to find out the cause of the March 26 explosion, reports have said that authorities suspect it could have been a gas line illegally tapped in the basement of the Second Avenue building.

Photo via Twitter/@NYCMayorsOffice

Photo via Twitter/@NYCMayorsOffice


Queens husband beats wife with hammer to end her suffering: prosecutors

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

An 87-year-old man was charged with assault after hitting his 83-year-old wife on the head with a hammer because he didn’t want to see her suffer as she went into surgery at Elmhurst Hospital, officials said.

On March 7, at about 4:40 p.m. Manuel Besteiro went into Elmhurst Hospital to visit his wife Remedious Besteiro as she was being treated and expected to go in to surgery, according to court records.

A nurse at the hospital then witnessed the husband strike his wife over the head with a hammer numerous times, and she quickly took the hammer out of his hand.

According to the criminal complaint, the 87-year-old told investigators that he went to see his wife in the hospital, where staff told him she was going to have surgery, and because he didn’t “want to see her suffer” he hit her in the head with a hammer.

There is no prior history of violence between the couple, police said.

The victim suffered contusions and lacerations to the head and received 15 to 20 staples on the right side of her head.

Besteiro was arraigned on March 8 and has been charged with attempted assault in the first degree, assault in the second degree, and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree. He was released on his own recognizance and is expected to appear again in court on April 7.


110 Precinct CO talks new post, future plans

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The 110th Precinct, which encompasses Corona and Elmhurst, has a new top cop and he is ready to get to know his new community and continue the work his predecessor achieved.

Captain Christopher Manson was named the new commanding officer of the western Queens precinct and started at his new post on March 17. He is taking over from Deputy Inspector Ronald Leyson, who after spending the last three years at the 110th Precinct was reassigned to the NYPD’s Queens North Detective Bureau.

For the past two years, Manson was the commanding officer at the 104th Precinct, which covers Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth.

“I had a great time there, great community. Crime went down about 11 percent over two years. We did a lot of good work,” Manson said. “We hope to continue that here. I inherited a very good, smooth running operation from my predecessor Deputy Inspector Leyson.”

Before taking command of the 104th Precinct, the 27-year NYPD veteran was assigned for a few months at the 114th Precinct, and before that was the executive officer for two years at the 109th Precinct in Flushing.

Since starting at his new post in Corona, Manson said he has been getting know the community and its leaders, and plans to continue the outreach.

“It’s a good place. I’m happy to be here,” Manson said. “I think right now the precinct is set up right because they have a lot of manpower that works late at night.”

He added that in the year to date, crime had been down 8 percent; however, domestic violence had increased in the confines of the precinct. Based on this data, Manson said he hopes to “take a heavy look” at the issue of domestic violence.

Among other initiatives from his past post, Manson has brought over weekly deployment meetings in which he gets together with specific units of the precinct and goes over certain patterns and trends going on.

The units are then committed to addressing certain crimes in specific areas within the precinct.

“Whatever it is these different units from the precinct are committed to these crime zones. It’s worked in the past and continues to work,” Manson said.

Manson added that there other things he might want to bring over from his previous post but he still needs to get to know the 110th Precinct a bit more and then decide what should be done.

He plans to continue the precinct’s social media presence with taking over the Twitter account @NYPD110Pct.

“I’m the 110 rookie,” he said. “I’ve got a lot to learn.”


Man exposes himself to woman on Queens R train: NYPD

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

An R train rider had an unpleasant start to her Monday morning when a man exposed himself to the woman as the train was at the Grand Avenue station, according to police.

The incident happened as the 34-year-old victim was on board the Queens-bound train about 7:40 a.m., authorities said.

As the train was at the Grand Avenue stop in Elmhurst, the man sat down in front of the woman and allegedly exposed himself. He then got off at the next stop on Woodhaven and Queens boulevards.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic man, about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds.

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.