Tag Archives: expansion

Mount Sinai Queens ‘tops off’ steel construction phase of $125M expansion


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Mount Sinai Queens is one step closer to becoming the hospital of the future.

The Astoria hospital’s $125 million expansion and modernization project reached the completion of the steel construction phase on Thursday as a structural steel beam – signed by hospital, community and elected officials – was lifted into place, topping off the building’s frame.

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“Mount Sinai Queens is transforming, and leading, health care in the 21st Century, and our new building represents the model hospital for the future of medicine,” said Dr. David Reich, president and COO of The Mount Sinai Hospital. “We are seeing the gold standard rise here before our eyes, and it is fantastic to see.”

The expansion, which broke ground last year and is expected to be completed in 2016, will feature a new, five-story building, an enlarged Emergency Department, new operating suites and multispecialty outpatient care.

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New windows will be installed in the existing building and central air conditioning will be provided to all patient rooms.

“It is fitting that today we are creating a new chapter in Mount Sinai’s history right here in Queens,” said Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, CEO and president of the Mount Sinai Health System. “This area – where the hospital stands today – has been a healing ground and has provided healthcare services to the community for over 120 years.”

The entrance area to the Ambulatory Care Pavilion will be named after George S. Kaufman and Kaufman Astoria Studios, who made a major donation to the hospital.

“Kaufman Astoria Studios has long been a community neighbor since 1980,” said Kaufman, chairman of Kaufman Organization and Kaufman Astoria Studios. “When you are a member of a community you help your neighbors.”

 

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The Doe Fund to help clean more Astoria streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

More Astoria streets are getting cleaner thanks to the “men in blue.”

After hearing positive feedback from residents and business owners, The Doe Fund, which was initially brought to the western Queens neighborhood in April, will now expand street sweeping services to Steinway Street, Newtown Road, Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, Councilman Costa Constantinides announced Thursday.

“This will be a boon to residents and small business owners across Astoria. The ‘men in blue’ will continue to provide reinforcements and additional resources to help keep Astoria clean,” said Constantinides, who has allocated over $130,000 for street sweeping by The Doe Fund as part of the new city-wide initiative Clean NYC.

The nonprofit organization, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing, and Able transitional work program, was keeping the sidewalks clean and clearing the corner trash cans along 30th Avenue, Broadway and 31st Street.

“This program will increase the quality of life in Astoria, that’s the most important. Clean the street, find new jobs and community come together to be concerned about the quality of life,” said Ahmed Jamil, president of the Muslim American Society. “At the end of the day [before] you [saw] the garbage on the streets and you now don’t see it anymore.”

Although the Department of Sanitation collects trash from corner trash cans once per day in Astoria, the expansion of The Doe Fund helps alleviate the trash and littered streets which have previously caused problems in the neighborhood, such as sidewalk accessibility and shopping issues, according to Constantinides.

“The Doe Fund, combined with community street and graffiti clean-ups, will continue to make a difference in our district and across the city,” said Constantinides, who has also allocated $30,000 in funding for graffiti removal services. “Clean streets and buildings make our neighborhood more enjoyable and inviting—a win for everyone.”

 

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Parents, pols oppose temporary relocation plan for P.S. 11 students


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A group of Woodside parents is sending the Department of Education (DOE) back to the drawing board.

Congressmember Joseph Crowley gathered with other local elected officials and parents of students from P.S. 11, located at 54-25 Skillman Ave., to voice their disagreement with the DOE’s final recommendation of sending the school’s kindergarten and first grade students to P.S. 171 in Astoria.

The temporary relocation of the students, expected to begin for the 2014-15 school year, comes as the School Construction Authority (SCA) plans to build a brand new mini-building addition to P.S. 11 with a capacity of 856 seats.

“I commend the DOE and the SCA for allocating millions of dollars towards this expansion,” Crowley said. “At the same time, though, we must ensure that our children, especially our youngest elementary students, are not displaced to a school outside of the confines of their own neighborhood.”

Last month, the elected officials sent a letter to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña urging her to reconsider the proposed plan.

According to the DOE’s proposal, the incoming kindergarten class and some first grade students would be transported by bus to P.S. 171, close to three miles away from their zoned school. Then for the 2015-16 school year the children would be relocated to a new elementary school located at 39-07 57th Street. For the third year, the students would then return to P.S. 11.

Woodside parent Julianne O’Riordan currently has a daughter in second grade and a son in kindergarten at P.S. 11, and her youngest son is expected to start kindergarten at the school next year.

“For the first three years of school he’s going to be moved around Queens like a piece on a chess board,” said O’Riordan, about her youngest son, Enda. “We love P.S. 11, its principal, teachers and staff. That is why we are upset that our younger children may not get to have the same wonderful experience that our daughter has enjoyed.”


Enda,4, and his 5-year-old brother Luke will have to go to P.S. 171 next year. (Photo Courtesy of Julianne O’Riordan)

Although the group of parents and elected officials are thrilled to be getting an expansion for the crowded school, they are calling on the DOE to look at different options that would keep the children in the community.

“Taking these kids and moving them miles away to school is going to damage their education and slow them down in their progress and it’s something we impose upon the [DOE] to fix, and fix before it becomes a problem,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Throughout the process of deciding the best course of action during the estimated three year construction, consideration was given to every possible option, according to the DOE.

“Our aim is to deliver a state-of-the-art addition to the building, and as part of our newly announced engagement protocol, we will be scheduling a meeting with the entire school community,” said DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield.

 

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City’s largest window manufacturer is not moving out of Queens: CEO


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The head of the city’s largest window manufacturer is refuting claims the Queens plant will hightail it out of the Big Apple.

Crystal [Window and Door Systems] is not moving,” CEO Steve Chen said. “The company’s headquarters and main production facility in the College Point Corporate Park in Queens will remain where it is for the foreseeable future.”

A news report, in a headline Wednesday, said the glass company was “moving due to city’s high costs.”

To clarify, Crystal officials said the 31-10 Whitestone Expwy. facility would stay the same, but they are considering expanding in Westchester.

“We already have other facilities in Chicago, California and even Missouri. We are just expanding,” said Steven Yu, the company’s marketing manager. “We are looking to add another plant.”

Chen said the company has explored expansion out of state, in the city and in other parts of Queens, but has not yet secured the right industrial site “at a cost effective price.”

“All of these expansion initiatives were intended to increase Crystal’s production capacity and have never been intended to replace the Queens facility,” the Crystal boss said.

The report also tied Chen’s decision not to expand in the city to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to increase minimum wages and mandate paid sick leave benefits.

But Yu said the company’s 380 employees all already earn above the proposed new minimum wage.

“Somehow the story got twisted,” he said.

 

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Community members share vision for Laurelton, Rosedale library upgrades


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Queens Library

More room is coming to the Laurelton and Rosedale library branches and officials’ visions for the project is growing.

Councilmember Donovan Richards allocated $3 million for the two Queens Library reading spots to begin expansion and upgrade projects.

The Laurelton branch, currently 8,000 square feet, will double to 16,000 with the addition of a second floor.

“We’re really excited about that,” said Dave Wang, the Laurelton manager. “The community has a very high expectation and standard for the library. A lot of our residents depend on it.”

Wang hopes the additional space will allow the branch to offer more classes to the neighborhood; something that he said has been in demand.

“In Laurelton, there’s no community center. Everyone depends on the library,” he said.

Richards met with community members and library officials last week to discuss the visions for their respective branches.

“He’s been so supportive from the get-go,” said Joanne King of the Queens Library. “It’s really a wonderful thing for us to see.”

Roughly $1.7 million of Richards’ funds will get the Laurelton expansion off the ground, but $9.8 million is still needed for completion, according to library officials.

Rosedale will receive $1 million, but will still need $6.3 million, King said. The branch’s square footage will expand from 6,000 to 9,400.

Branch officials were able to share their hopes for teen and children spaces at last week’s meeting.

“This is only the beginning, but it’s a very big help,” Wang said.

 

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Mount Sinai Queens breaks ground on $125 million expansion project


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Mount Sinai Queens is becoming the “hospital of tomorrow” as it breaks ground on its $125 million expansion project.

Hospital officials, community members and elected officials gathered on Monday, October 21 to break ground on the project that will help improve health care in the Astoria community.

“Today’s groundbreaking signifies more than just a new building for our hospital,” said Caryn A. Schwab, executive director at Mount Sinai Queens. “I’m grateful to Mount Sinai leadership, our elected officials, and the community partners with whom we worked most closely to make this project a reality.”

The expansion, which began in August, will include a larger state- of-the-art emergency department to be name the Starvos Niarchos Foundation. It will feature 35 patient bays, eight observation beds, an off street “drive-through” ambulance bay, a separate walk-in entrance and a new imaging suite.

The project will also bring seven new operating rooms and an expansion of the hospital’s outpatient medical services featuring a multispecialty medical practice, new primary care physicians, new specialists in cardiology, orthopedics and other departments, and integrated laboratory services.

“We’re going to be building the hospital of tomorrow,” said Dr. Kenneth L. Davis, president and CEO of Mount Sinai Health System. “In just a few more years, this part of Queens will be home to a state-of-the-art health care institution that will further enhance the quality of care and improve patient outcomes.”

Rendering Courtesy Mount Sinai Queens

New windows will be installed in the existing building and central air conditioning will be provided to all patient rooms.

“The people of Western Queens are fortunate to have a hospital that is adapting the changes taking place in medicine today, and that will soon be offering a new level of 21st century care as we create this spectacular new building,” said David L. Reich, president and COO of The Mount Sinai Hospital.

Once it is completed, it is estimated that the expansion will create close to 460 construction-related jobs, 340 additional jobs and 160 staff jobs, it will also add approximately $166 million to the local economy, officials said.

“As other hospitals are closing and being cutback, this one is growing and being added to,” said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who has provided funding for the hospital through the City Council throughout the years. “Medicine keeps progressing and we have to stay up with that and that’s what this is about, staying up with the new needs of this growing community.”

The expansion project is expected to be completed by 2016. NK Architects and Davis Brody Bond were the architects. Skanska USA is the builder on the project. 

 

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Library expansion breaks ground in memory of Queens activist


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Their eyes looking to the skies in memory of a lost beloved leader, elected officials drove their golden shovels into the dirt to break ground on a long-anticipated library expansion project.

“It feels so good to be standing here today, knowing that construction is beginning,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante at the Friday, April 19 ceremony.

The $10 million renovation project at the Kew Gardens Hills Library was a longtime pet project of Pat Dolan, a Queens activist who was struck and killed by a car last November. She was 72.

“Her memory lives on,” Galante said. “The library she loved so much is now officially located on Pat Dolan Way, and this [expansion] will be her legacy to the community. We will always know she is looking on.”

There will be an extra 3,000 square feet of space when the branch at 72-33 Pat Dolan Way reopens in 2015, officials said.

The library will also have twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, an energy-saving roof and larger, separate spaces for adults, teens and children.

“This will be a fantastic library. It’s going to be a great place,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Libraries are important because they’re full of knowledge. Little children, teenagers, seniors—they’re good for everyone to absorb knowledge.”

The branch closed for construction on February 22. A temporary library is open at 71-34 Main Street, library officials said. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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$7M in renovations for Queens Library branch


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering by Queens Library

The Kew Gardens Hills library will soon close to make way for a $7 million renovation.

An extra 3,000-square-feet of space will be added to the 72-33 Vleigh Place branch, library officials said. There will also be twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, larger separate spaces for adult, teens and children and an energy-saving roof.

“Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills serves so many people who have a diverse range of educational and informational needs,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante. With a “dramatic façade and green roof, it will be like a new library for the community.”

David Kirschner, co-president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, said the expansion could not have been done without longtime community leader Pat Dolan, who was struck and killed in November 2011 while crossing the street.

“We’re thrilled primarily because this was one of [her] pet projects,” Kirschner said. “She really worked for years to obtain approval for an expansion of the library. She was finally able to get it but never able to finally see it happening.”

The branch will close on February 22 and reopen in 2015. A temporary library will be available mid-March at 71-34 Main Street during construction. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

EVENT of the DAY: Daughtry concert at Citi Field 

Multi-platinum rock band Daughtry is going to play a concert after the Mets-Dodgers game at Citi Field. Ticket prices start at $28, which includes admission to the game and the post-game concert. They are available on www.mets.com/daughtry or via phone at 718-507-TIXX (8499).

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

USTA’s parking garage proposal a double fault, local leaders say

Not every aspect of the U.S. Tennis Association’s proposed expansion in Queens is an ace right down the middle in the court of public opinion. Advocates are yelling “fault” at the proposal to build two parking garages in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, saying they have no place in the greenspace. The garages are included in the $500 million expansion plan for the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center announced last month. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

MTA to improve bus service in all five boroughs, keep G train extension 

The MTA delivered good news Thursday as Chairman Joseph Lhota announced plans to add $29 million in bus, subway and commuter rail improvements, two years after major cutbacks. He says it’s doable because it’s a small percent of the MTA’s budget and business has improved. Read more: [NY1]

End ‘turnstile justice,’ pol fumes 

Strike three — you’re in! City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Vallone (pictured) yesterday again called on Albany to pass the “Three Strikes, You’re In” bill, mandating prison time for anyone convicted of three misdemeanors within 10 years. The Queens Democrat renewed his call after alleged PATH-train groper Gian Verdelli, 61, of Brooklyn, was nabbed Monday in New Jersey and it turned out his record included an eye-popping 168 arrests since the 1970s, mostly for misdemeanors. Read more: [New York Post] 

Eggs snatched from protected piping plover nests in Rockaway 

Federal parks police are trying to hunt down the person who snatched eggs from two piping plover nests in Breezy Point earlier this month. The tiny, plump birds are endangered and enjoy federally protected habitats along the Rockaway peninsula. Officials think the eggs — which were discovered missing the morning of July 4 — may have been stolen by a collector. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

 

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

Police have arrested a yellow cab driver who they say raped a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn last spring, and sources say he may be charged with a second attack that took place in the fall. Gurmeet Singh, 40, of Queens was arrested on Monday and now faces charges including rape, robbery, assault and sex abuse. Police say Singh picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 in Williamsburg and allegedly attacked her in the back seat of the cab. The woman, who had been drinking and fell asleep in the cab, woke up during the assault and found she had a knife to her throat. She was then abandoned in Downtown Manhattan, where she contacted police. Read More: NY1

Mayor’s plan to limit booze sales

First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post. The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze. Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort. Read More: New York Post

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date. Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year. Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4. Read More: Queens Courier

Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $1.5M in ‘Blue’ gifts

What to get the baby that has everything — even more. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue, has been lavished with more than $1.5 million in gifts, from a golden rocking horse to a “fantasy” crib fit for Cinderella. Blue Ivy Carter — the music world’s smallest diva — left Lenox Hill Hospital yesterday in the arms of her famous parents for home, where she’ll enjoy the priciest swag this side of Buckingham Palace. When she gets bigger, baby Blue will rock on a solid-gold, handmade horse from Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka that Jay-Z bought for $600,000. Read More: New York Post

Sparano to replace Schottenheimer as Jets offensive coordinator

Jets fans won’t have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to kick around anymore. The Jets announced last night Schottenheimer informed them he would not return for next season. It seems unlikely he would just walk away from the two years and $3.2 million left on his contract, so it appears the two sides worked out an agreement for him to walk away instead of getting fired. Former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, according to a source, will replace Schottenheimer.  Read More: New York Post

Genovese wiseguy Anthony Romanello lucks out, cops to gambling rap with feds 

A Genovese geezer hit the daily double Tuesday, pleading guilty to illegal gambling and winning permission from a federal judge to hang out with a mobbed-up pal who runs the famed Parkside Restaurant in Queens. Reputed capo Anthony (Rom) Romanello, 74, got lucky when a cooperating witness for the feds had a heart attack over the weekend while prosecutors were prepping him for the gangster’s trial, which was to begin this week. Read More: Daily News