Tag Archives: Flushing Meadow-Corona Park

NYC teacher sentenced to community service for US Open drone crash

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The New York City public school teacher arrested for crashing his drone into a stadium during the U.S. Open has been sentenced to five days of community service, according to the Queens district attorney.

Daniel Verley — a 26-year-old science teacher at the Academy of Innovative Technology in Brooklyn — was arrested on Sept. 3 after his unmanned model aircraft crashed into an empty seating area at the Louis Armstrong Stadium during a tennis match.

Authorities say that Verley, a Jamaica resident who is also a professional photographer, went to Flushing Meadow Corona Park that night at approximately 7:45 p.m. to take pictures of the iconic Unisphere with his new robotic drone.

During his second attempt to fly the aircraft, the drone lost its signal and flew away from the Unisphere, crashing into the famed tennis stadium during a U.S. Open match between Flavia Pennetta and Monica Niculescu.

No one was injured as a result of the incident.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown said the investigations of the incident revealed that Verley had never intended to allow the drone to fly into the stadium.

“I urge hobbyists and other members of the public to use common sense when choosing to employ these unmanned vehicles — obtain the necessary permissions and only use these vehicles in areas deemed safe as the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near locations where large groups of people assemble needlessly puts the lives and safety of people at risk,” Brown said.

Verley has no prior criminal record and the charges against him will be dismissed six months after the completion of his community service.


25th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival makes a splash in Flushing Meadow Corona Park

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Marcin Zurawicz


Sunny skies and warm weather made for perfect conditions this weekend during the 25th annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival in New York (HKDBF-NY) at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

HKDBF-NY is the largest event of its kind in the U.S., and for 25 years it has drawn an audience of more than 50,000 people from across North America. This free, multicultural festival, held on Aug. 8 and 9, is a celebration of the age-old tradition of dragon boat racing, a sport that makes use of colorful, custom-made teak boats specially made by craftsmen in Hong Kong.

The boats, which have dragon heads and tails that adorn their front and back ends, are piloted by teams of 20 people: 18 paddlers, a drummer and a navigator.

Races and other activities began at 9 a.m. on Saturday; however, the festival was officially kicked off at noon with an opening ceremony, preceded by a parade in which dragon dancers and drummers led a procession of racing teams to the main stage, where they were greeted by a cheering crowd.

Henry Wan, chairman of the HKDBF-NY board, led the ceremony and accepted numerous proclamations from local politicians who were in attendance, including City Councilman Peter Koo, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, Congresswoman Grace Meng, state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Public Advocate Letitia James, and representatives for Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“It’s a privilege to serve the community and to see all these people coming out to enjoy the festival,” Wan said. The ceremony concluded with a ribbon-cutting, as well as a traditional ritual in which the eyes of the dragon that led the parade were dotted with red paint.

Races resumed after the opening ceremony. More than 200 teams and 2,500 participants from the U.S. and Canada participated in this year’s U.S. Dragon Boat Open Championship. Several major corporations fielded teams for the races, including Con Edison, HSBC Bank, Flushing Bank, the Sing Tao Daily, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. The Municipal Invitational race featured teams fielded by de Blasio, Katz, Meng, Assemblyman Ron Kim and various New York City agencies such as the NYPD, the FDNY, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Parks Department.

Festival-goers were also able to enjoy a variety of entertainment on the main stage, including dance and musical performances that incorporated both traditional and contemporary Chinese arts, comedy acts, and martial arts demonstrations by Shaolin monks. Japanese and Italian musical and dance groups also put on a show at the festival.

The festival’s menu included typical Chinese fare such as lo mein, spring rolls, and steamed buns and dumplings. Attendees also had the choice to chow down on shish kebobs, grilled meats, pretzels, churros, sno-cones and other diverse foods.

“The recognition we’re getting from everybody is one of our major achievements,” Wan said. “We began 25 years ago with just 10 teams, and now we have over 200. Nobody knew what the dragon boat race was, and now it’s one of the biggest events in New York City. There’s been a huge outpouring of support from the community and corporations.”


Site near Aqueduct could be home to new MLS stadium: report

| slicata@queenscourier.com

File photo

A new soccer stadium is trying to kick its way near Aqueduct Racetrack.

After plans to build the New York City Football Club’s new stadium in the South Bronx fell through, developers are now looking at land near the Aqueduct Racetrack, according to a published report.

The owners of the club, Manchester City Football Club and the New York Yankees, are looking to develop the stadium near the racetrack because they believe there is “an abundance of land primed for development,” according to Capital New York.

This plan for an MLS stadium would be the second one proposed in Queens. Plans fell through for the first soccer venture in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

The club is working with city administrators to find a proper fit for the stadium.

“The administration is committed to working with the City Council and the NYCFB club to identify an appropriate site in New York City to host a world class soccer stadium and facility,” Phil Walzak, a spokesman for the de Blasio administration, told Capital New York.

But the possibility for a new stadium in south Queens was met with skepticism from local politicians.

“Currently, I am extremely hesitant to welcome a soccer stadium to the Aqueduct site,” state Sen. Joe Addabbo said. “Exact location and size of the stadium, traffic patterns, public safety and the certain impact on the surrounding neighborhood quality of life are just some of the issues that I would need answers to in examining this proposal. My constituents need as many facts as possible now, as we start to have discussions on this issue.”


Where to play tennis in Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Shamanth Rao

The U.S. Open is not the only place to play tennis in Queens. In honor of the end of the tournament, here are places where you can work on your serve, backhand and other racket skills in the borough, from private clubs to city park courts. 


Billie Jean King National Tennis Center
Flushing Meadow-Corona Park

The location of the U.S. Open, it also offers several different tennis programs, including junior tennis camps, adult lessons and private instruction with certified tennis professionals.

BumbleBee Tennis
21st Street, Astoria, 347-284-6061

There are lessons for kids starting at 2-years-old, instruction for adults, even beginners, and a cardio tennis program.

CityView Racquet Club
43-34 32nd Place, Long Island City, 718-389-6252

At this private club members can play tennis, squash or enjoy its fitness area, full service spa, juice bar, cocktail lounge and outdoor deck with a skyline view of Manhattan.

Cunningham Tennis Center
196-00 Union Turnpike, Fresh Meadows, 718-740-6800

It has a junior development program beginning at 4-years-old, various lessons for adults, and private or semi-private lessons seven days a week.

North Shore Tennis and Racquets Club
34-28 214th Place, Bayside, 718-229–9579

This tennis club has Har-Tru tennis courts, two platform tennis courts, lit for night play year-round and two squash courts, as well as lessons from tennis pros.

NYC Parks tennis courts
Various locations throughout Queens

Throughout the borough, you can play at one of the many tennis courts located at city parks and playgrounds. Some can be set aside by reservation and others are open to walk-ons.

West Side Tennis Club
1 Tennis Place, Forest Hills, 718-268-2300

The West Side Tennis Club has 38 courts with many different surfaces, including Har-Tru, red clay and Deco Turf, and bubble and platform tennis courts for when the weather gets cold.

Youth and Tennis Academy
Various locations in Queens, 718-658-6728

Tennis instruction is offered throughout the year for pre-school through high school aged children at different facilities in Queens.