Tag Archives: Elmhurst

Driver charged after fatally striking woman in Maspeth


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Grand Ave

Updated Sunday, Jan. 19, 5:55 p.m.

A driver was arrested after hitting and killing a 68-year-old woman in Maspeth Saturday morning, police said.

Angela Hurtado, an Elmhurst resident, was crossing Grand Avenue at 69th Place about 11:20 a.m. when a Mitsubishi Montero struck her as it was making a left turn onto westbound Grand Avenue from northbound 69th Place, according to the NYPD.

Hurtado was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The driver, 28-year-old Abel Tinoco, remained at the scene, and was arrested and charged with aggravated unlicensed operator, the NYPD said. Tinoco was driving with a suspended license, according to a police source.

Witnesses told the New York Post they saw him making an illegal left turn before striking Hurtado.

 

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Former St. John’s Hospital, adjacent parking garage sell for $47 million


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Massey Knakal

The former home to St. John’s Hospital will soon be transformed into a mixed-use building.

Real-estate company Massey Knakal announced it handled the $47 million sale of the 90-02 Queens Blvd building in Elmhurst, together with a five-story parking garage located at 87-28 58th Ave.

“For the first time, Queens is beginning to see a trickle-down effect of rising rents from primary neighborhoods, like Long Island City,” said Stephen Palmese, senior executive vice president of sales for Massey Knakal, who handled the sale together with company partner Thomas A. Donovan. “This is similar to Williamsburg’s effect on Bushwick. As a result, secondary markets, like Elmhurst, which also have great transportation, are experience strong increases in residential rent.”

St. John’s Hospital closed its doors in 2009 after Caritas Health Care, which ran the hospital, filed bankruptcy. Brooklyn-based developer called 89-52 Queens LLC then purchased the property and was the most recent owner up until the sale.

Approved plans from the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals show the new owner plans to convert the about 266,322-square-foot former hospital building into a mixed-use building with ground floor and lower level retail, medical facilities on the second floor and residential units on the remaining floors, according to Massey Knakal.

The about 86,400-square-foot parking garage, located behind the building, holds a capacity of 290 parking spots.

“This property is located across the street from the Queens Center mall, which is one of the top grossing malls in the U.S.,” said Donovan.

The property is located across the street from Queens Center and Queens Place Mall and near four major expressways.

 

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NYPD, Lion Cage Shredding holds free public document shredding event at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The NYPD is working to make sure residents begin the New Year on the right and safe foot.

Together with Lion Cage Shredding, located at 120-10 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens and Macerich Properties, owner of Queens Center in Elmhurst, the NYPD’s Crime Prevention Section held a free document shredding public event in front of the mall on Sunday to make sure personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

“We want to help people stop becoming victims of [identity theft],” said Sergeant Raymond Morales, from the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau. “It’s important that [the documents] get destroyed properly. This is a first major step on helping prevent [identity theft].”

During the event, people were able to bring in documents with personal information, dump them into two large garbage bins and watch them be destroyed inside the Lion Cage Shredding truck.

“You have to be proactive in taking steps to protect yourself,” said Sergeant Morales.

Participants were also able to bring in their computer hard drives and watch them be destroyed, as a hole was punctured into the hard drive. People were also able to have their electronic devices registered with the NYPD Operations ID Program and sign up to receive a certificate from Lion Cage confirming the destruction of all personal information from Sunday’s event.

“I just think it’s great to do this for the community,” said Regina Pluchinotta, from Ozone Park, who brought in bags of documents to be shredded and watched as her hard drive was destroyed. “You try to be precautious and safe about it all.”

Elmhurst resident Fabian Alsultany brought in two folding shopping carts filled with documents dating back to 1999 which were taking up room in his house.

“This was a real godsend,” said Alsultany. “This just makes life a lot easier. It’s a great service for the city to offer.”

The NYPD and Lion Cage Shredding will be working together with private companies and property owners in the next 10 months to hold document shredding events throughout the five boroughs. The next stop will be in the Bronx, and later dates and locations are to be determined.

For more information on the document shredding events or any other NYPD events, visit the NYPD Community Affairs Bureau website or text “NYPD” to 22828. To find out more about Lion Cage Shredding, visit its official website or Facebook page.

 

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Parents welcome city’s first New Year’s baby at Elmhurst Hospital


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

New York City‘s first New Year cry was heard through Elmhurst Hospital as Tenzin Choetso was welcomed into the world.

Tenzin was born to parents Metok Dolma and Choegyal Dorjee one second after midnight on Jan. 1 at Elmhurst Hospital Center. The couple, both from Tibet and now living in Woodside, reportedly also has another daughter.

The baby girl, weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces, received a name given by the Dalai Lama, according to a hospital spokesperson. The parents put in a request to the Dalai Lama for the baby’s naming while Dolma was pregnant, and the Tibetan spiritual leader responded by giving the name Tenzin, meaning “to conquer the wisdom of Buddha,” the spokesperson said.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was given the name Tenzin Gyatso.

“We are thrilled and excited that one of the first babies of 2014 was born at Elmhurst,” said Chris Constantino, Elmhurst Hospital Center’s executive director. “Our staff is overjoyed.”

Tenzin Choetso is not Elmhurst Hospital’s first “New Year’s baby.” In 2013, at exactly midnight, another baby was born at the hospital.

 

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NYPD to hold free public document shredding event at Queens Center Mall


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of NYPD

Looking to help start the New Year on the right foot? The NYPD is holding a free document shredding public event to make sure personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

The NYPD’s Crime Prevention Section will be holding the event at Queens Center Mall on Sunday, Jan. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the intersection of 59th Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst under the JCPenney sign. Police will help the public shred documents containing any personal or sensitive information for free.

Participants will also be able to bring their old hard drives to the event and have them destroyed. During the event you could also have your electronic devices registered with the NYPD Operation ID Program.

 

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Elmhurst man killed in Christmas morning hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man died early Wednesday morning after a car struck him in East Elmhurst before fleeing, police said.

Enrique Clemente-Ovando, 29, of Elmhurst, was crossing Astoria Boulevard, near 103rd Street, about 4:30 a.m., when the vehicle hit him, according to the NYPD.

Clemente-Ovando was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The car, which did not remain at the accident scene, may be a beige Toyota Camry with a Pennsylvania registration, police said.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Suspect squirts lighter fluid inside Elmhurst check cashing business before robbing it


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A man was caught on video Sunday dousing an Elmhurst check cashing business in lighter fluid before displaying a lighter and demanding money from an employee, police said.

The robbery took place about 2:30 a.m. at ATN Financial Services, located at 94-72 Corona Ave., according to the NYPD.

The employee, who was not injured in the robbery, handed over the cash before the suspect fled, police said.

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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Local advocates march for Queens Boulevard safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated, 5:22 p.m

A group of local residents want to make the “Boulevard of Death” a thing of the past.

Regardless of the snow, members of Transportation Alternatives’ (T.A.) Queens Activist Committee and residents gathered Saturday to march down Queens Boulevard during the “Winter Wander” Rally to call for a safer thoroughfare.

The group of advocates, who began the event at New Life Fellowship Church in Elmhurst, spoke about the Zero on Queens Boulevard campaign, calling for a redesign of the strip with pedestrian safety improvements, dedicated lanes for Select Bus Service (SBS) and protected bike lanes.

The snowy march served as the first step in letting people know what they can do to change the busy corridor.

“We’ve been trying to build community support for the city to re-envision Queens Boulevard,” said Jessame Hannus, co-chair of T.A.’s Queens Activist Committee, who carried a sign that read “30 mph” to remind drivers of the speed limit. “We just want to make it clear that this is a neighborhood street and we are all neighbors.”

Hannus said even though many accidents happen on the boulevard, the community just ignores them because they believe it is normal.

According to a “Queens Blvd. Crash Data” map by T.A., there have been 890 pedestrian injuries, 17 pedestrian fatalities, 205 cyclist injuries and 2 cyclist fatalities between 2002 to 2011 on Queens Boulevard stretching from Jackson Avenue in Long Island City to Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.

“The community doesn’t respond to it,” she said. “It does not have to be this way and it’s not going to change unless we make a fuss about it.”

During the march street safety advocates discussed the history of the roadway, stopping at specific spots pedestrians lost their lives. The “Winter Wander” Rally ended in Forest Hills.

The Zero on Queens Boulevard campaign,  with more than 40 coalition partners and close to 2,000 petition signatures, has a long-term goal of making sure the city allocates funding and energy to change the boulevard on a large scale saving lives and strengthening the local economy.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who has worked with the Department of Transportation to implement neighborhood slow zones and other pedestrian safety improvements in his district, also joined the group on the march. In his district three children have also lost their lives in traffic fatalities in the past few months.

“This is a very, very serious issue and we have to continue to stress the seriousness of this because sometimes people dismiss it as just something that doesn’t affect their lives but when you look at the statistics you see that there are more pedestrian deaths than there are murders in the city of the New York,” said Dromm. “I believe in the three E’s:  engineering, education and enforcement on these issues and that’s what we have tried to do in my council district. More needs to be done.”

According to the DOT, there have been decade-long improvements to the seven-mile strip that have re-engineered the streets for enhanced safety. Some of these improvements include pedestrian countdown signals at more than 60 intersections at Queens Boulevard from Queens Plaza South to Hillside Avenue, lowering the speed limit on Queens Boulevard from 35 to 30 mph, installing 15 electronic boards displaying the speed of passing motorists, installing 46,000 linear feet of pedestrian fencing along the entire corridor to prevent jaywalking and many more.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority, in the last ten years, traffic fatalities have fallen borough-wide by nearly 35 percent,” said DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera. “Queens Boulevard saw 18 pedestrian fatalities at its height in 1997 and zero pedestrian fatalities in 2011, the first time this has been recorded, and two last year along the entire seven-mile corridor. We continue to look for ways to enhance safety both on Queens Boulevard and citywide.”

 

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Op-ed: Making Silent Skies a reality


| oped@queenscourier.com

CONGRESSMEMBER JOSEPH CROWLEY

Anyone who lives here in Queens can tell you just how loud and disruptive the noise of airplanes can be. Millions of Americans throughout the country, including those who live in the communities surrounding LaGuardia and JFK Airports are impacted by constant, thunderous engine noise all day long. The sound isn’t merely a nuisance – it disrupts sleep, distracts students in our community’s schools and drowns out the joys of daily life.

The problem of excessive noise from airplanes flying over our communities has always been a hard nut to crack. Planes usually have a limited number of options for approaching and departing from runways. These flight paths can change based on many varying conditions in weather, winds and congestion. Especially in the crowded skies over our densely-populated city, there are precious few places airplanes can fly where they won’t be heard by some community.

But there’s one way to resolve this problem to the benefit of all our communities: make airplanes quieter.

In 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued regulations requiring all new aircraft designs to meet Stage 4 noise standards, which is a considerably lower decibel level than those currently in use. While these new rules were a significant step toward improving the quality of life for those who live near airports, they did not go far enough. The FAA did nothing to make sure airlines would begin to phase out older, louder airplanes or retrofit them with quieter engines.

Last week, I introduced legislation to fix that.

My bill, the Silent Skies Act, will require airlines to begin stocking their fleets with newer, quieter aircraft. In order to introduce quieter planes into the market, the bill mandates that the FAA issue regulations by the end of 2015 forcing airlines to begin updating their fleets to meet Stage 4 noise standards. Fleets will have to be updated at a rate of 25 percent every five years, so that all commercial airplanes meet these quieter standards by no later than 2035.

But, we can’t stop there. We can’t just phase out today’s noisy planes and call it quits. We must push the envelope and try to develop technologies that make airplanes even quieter.

That’s why the Silent Skies Act will also create a fund to encourage research and development into these technologies. It will allow the FAA issue up to $10 million in grants for developing better ways to help meet or exceed Stage 4 noise standards. In return, companies that benefit from the program will be asked to pay the money back, using the profits they made on their new engines.

When talking with my constituents about aircraft noise pollution in our communities, I always say our airports will never be perfect neighbors, but we can certainly make them better ones. The truth is our airports are only getting busier. New York will continue to be a destination for more and more people. And that’s a good thing for our local economy. But, that doesn’t mean our communities need to sacrifice their quality of life.

The Silent Skies Act is just the kind of approach we can take to make life better not just for the residents of Queens, but also for so many other communities near airports around the country.

Crowley represents New York’s 14th Congressional District, stretching from Pelham Bay to Elmhurst.

 

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Elmhurst vigil marks one month since Typhoon Haiyan


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Daniel Dromm's Office

A month after what is expected to be one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded hit the Philippines, the local Filipino community is coming together to remember those lost.

Local elected officials gathered Sunday with members of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) at St. James Episcopal Church in Elmhurst to mark the one month anniversary since Typhoon Haiyan hit, during a candlelight vigil, followed by an interfaith mass.

“My heart goes out to those individuals impacted,” said Councilmember Daniel Dromm. “In the face of disaster it is encouraging to see communities pull together to lend support. Groups such as Taskforce Haiyan, which gives 100 percent of donations to the cause, are an integral step towards recovery.”

Haiyan affected many areas of Southeast Asia after making landfall on November 8 in the Samara province of the Philippines, then traveling through the central part of the country, according to reports. It then made its way into the South China Sea, striking Vietnam, but as a much weaker storm.

It is reported to be the deadliest typhoon to hit the Philippine region, affecting more than 12 million people and leaving many in need of water, food, and medical supplies. To date there are  5,924 victims who lost their lives to the storm, according to published reports.

“In light of such great tragedy, it is heartwarming to see people come together, even from halfway around the world, to dedicate their time and energy to helping those who have lost everything,” said Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. “I would like to congratulate NAFCON on their tremendous fundraising to support the relief work in the Philippines and would like to offer my continued support for the rebuilding effort.”

NAFCON is working together with grassroots organizations, consisting of church groups and students, in the Philippines to ensure the money raised will go directly to those who need it the most. Donations can be made here through the NAFCON PayPal account.

 

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Op-ed: The spirit of giving


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER JULISSA FERRERAS

Every year, the holiday day season gives us an extra special opportunity to reflect upon our blessings and take time to give back to those we love.

With Chanukah just ending and Christmas and Kwanzaa fast approaching, it’s clear that the spirit of giving is already in the air – almost everywhere you look you see folks with shopping bags full of holiday presents just waiting to bring joy.

While I have always found truth in the age-old saying “Tis better to give than to receive,” I could not help but relish the happiness that one sizable gift brought to our community last week.

On November 26, just days before Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of joining Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and representatives from the Queens Museum and the Queens Economic Development Corp. at Corona Plaza to announce an $800,000 leadership gift from J.P. Morgan Chase to the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.

This gift will not only benefit countless New Yorkers by creating 100 jobs for workers maintaining 20 of the City’s existing plazas, but it will also ensure that the DOT’s community partners in under-resourced neighborhoods, like Corona, will have the support they need to maintain clean, green and vibrant public plazas.

Since 2008, the DOT has installed 22 plazas throughout the City, and it plans to bring another 37 in the near future with the goal of putting all New Yorkers within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.

Corona Plaza is a perfect example of how effective and important these green spaces are to our local neighborhoods. To so many children who grow up in apartments without any front or back yards, neighborhood plazas are the only safe access they have to the outdoors.

Just 18 months ago, the site where Corona Plaza now sits was open to traffic and cluttered with parked trucks, causing a safety hazard for all pedestrians entering and exiting the nearby subway platform. Today, the plaza is a space bursting with activity, serving as the go-to destination where locals can have a cup of coffee, exercise outdoors and enjoy free family-friendly events.

Public plazas go a long way in helping our communities enhance economic activity, air quality, community safety and the overall quality of life.

Although Chase’s gift will undoubtedly go a long way in improving plazas throughout the City, it’s clear that there is still much work that needs to be done. The cost just to maintain Corona Plaza alone ranges between $50,000 and $75,000 every year, not including the hundreds of volunteer hours donated by those who want to add to the beautification efforts.

This holiday season, I urge everyone to spend time at their nearest neighborhood plaza and consider the immense benefits they generate. If you can spend just a fraction of your time investing in your local plaza, you will not only help improve these vital green spaces, but you will also create a better future for generations to come.

In the spirit of giving, please consider volunteering at your local plaza today. The gift of your time will surely be one that keeps on giving!

To learn more about the services offered by the DOT Public Plaza Program, please visit www.nyc.gov/plazas or contact 311 or plazas@dot.nyc.gov.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras represents the 21st Council District encompassing Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. Through her leadership, Corona Plaza continues to be a premiere outdoor destination for the local community.

 

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Live-in boyfriend arrested in murder of Elmhurst woman


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The boyfriend of a woman found shot to death in her Elmhurst apartment Tuesday has been arrested for her murder.

Rolando Perez, 33, who lives with the victim, has been with charged with second-degree murder and criminal use of a firearm, said police.

Cops, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found 29-year-old Carolina Cobena around 1:50 a.m. inside her 52nd Avenue apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, said police.

She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to police, Cobena’s five-year-old son was in the apartment when the murder occurred.

 

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Bayside students thank soldiers from home


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

Three soldiers from Queens and Long Island got a hero’s welcome Monday when they paid a visit to a Bayside school.

Students from P.S. 130 welcomed the trio of military men on November 25 with armfuls of letters and a homemade flag with each child’s handprint, thanking them for their service.

Working with a nonprofit, volunteer corporation called Operation Gratitude, the youngsters wrote 150 letters and collected 126 pounds of candy and 150 toothbrushes to be sent to deployed military men and women.

This is the third year the school has helped the initiative.

“It means a great deal to me and other soldiers, serving overseas,” said Master Sgt. Robert Frame, one of three guests. “There are very tough times in combat, and it’s easy to kind of get lost in the challenges and rigors of war. When you receive letters from all these kids, from schools back home, it really lets you know what it is you’re fighting for.”

Frame, 33 of Albertson, Long Island has been in the Army for 15 years, having served two tours in Iraq. He is in charge of cadet operations at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point.

Frame fielded question after question from the curious bunch. Then two Queens Navy recruiters — Rocky Ramdyal and Wubin Emerson Liao — showed their captivated audience a life vest that inflates upon impact.

Ramdyal, an aviation electronics technician, is entering his 16th year with the Navy. The Woodhaven native, last stationed in Hawaii, became a recruiter in downtown Flushing last year.

Liao of Elmhurst, also a recruiter, is a logistics specialist, serving nearly six years with the Navy. He did a four-year tour of duty in Japan before returning home.

“Getting letters from students means a lot more than getting letters from your parents, who know what you’re doing,” Ramdyal said. “When you’re in a war zone area, when you see that letter saying, ‘thank you,’ it means a lot because it’s like our job isn’t going unnoticed.”

 

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29-year-old woman fatally shot in Elmhurst


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 1:42 p.m.

A woman is dead after she was shot in Elmhurst Tuesday.

Police, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found 29-year-old Carolina Cobena around 1:50 a.m. inside her 52nd Avenue apartment with a gunshot wound to the head, said cops.

She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced deceased.

There are no arrests at this time and the investigation is ongoing, said police.

 

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Majority of Queens schools score well on progress reports


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The majority of Queens schools scored high on the Department of Education’s (DOE) recently released progress reports.

Out of the 62 Queens high schools that were issued 2012-2013 progress reports, 31 earned As, 16 Bs, 6 Cs, 5 Ds and 4 Fs.

The highest scoring institution was Long Island City’s Academy for Careers in Television and Film, which just moved into a new building at the beginning of this school year. It received an overall score of 100.9.

Flushing High School, Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Frederick Douglass Academy VI High School in Far Rockaway and August Martin High School in Jamaica earned overall failing grades.

Progress reports were issued for 239 Queens elementary and middle schools. Fifty-eight of them earned As, 97 Bs, 74 Cs, nine Ds and only one, Springfield Gardens’ Community Voices Middle School, failed.

Waterside School for Leadership in Rockaway was the highest ranking Queens middle school, with an overall score of 90.3, and P.S. 203 Oakland Gardens was the top-rated elementary school in the borough, with an overall score of 86.5.

Across the city, the DOE found public school performance “remained consistent, with 87 percent of schools maintaining their grade or moving one grade compared to last year.”

The reports are based on students’ progress, performance, attendance and surveys of parents, students and teachers. High school progress reports also measure college and career readiness.

According to the DOE, more students are graduating from high school ready for college and careers.

The reports found that the four-year college readiness rate is up nearly 3 points since last year.

“The most important job of our schools is ensuring students are on track to succeed in college and their careers,” said Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott. “These results are further evidence that the hard work of our teachers and principals is paying off.”

This year’s school progress reports were the last ones issued during Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s tenure.

They could see some changes when they are issued under the Bill de Blasio administration.

“While Mayor-elect de Blasio supports making overall school progress reports available to parents, he would eliminate letter grades of schools which offer little real insight to parents and are not a reliable indicator of how schools are actually performing,” his spokesperson Lis Smith said.

To find a specific school’s progress report, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/ProgressReport.

 

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