Tag Archives: Flushing

Flushing, Bayside schools bag Blue Ribbon


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Title

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program, run by the U.S. Department of Education, has awarded the coveted Blue Ribbon school status to two schools in Queens — PS 205 Alexander Graham Bell School in Bayside and Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology in Flushing. Both of them are winners among public schools in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category.

Only 337 schools across the country were awarded a Blue Ribbon this year. This status is designated “based on the school’s overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups,” according to the Department of Education’s official website. Both the Queens schools won because of their academic excellence.

The winning schools are given a plaque and flag as recognition of their National Blue Ribbon School status. The recognition ceremony honoring 287 public schools and 50 private schools will take place on Nov. 10 and 11 in Washington D.C.

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Flushing’s SkyView Center nearing full tenancy, two new stores coming next year


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Shops at SkyView Center 

Increased appeal of The Shops at SkyView Center has attracted a wave of new tenants, bringing Onex Real Estate Partners closer to fully leasing the Flushing shopping mall, according to a representative.

The center recently welcomed five new stores, including Royal Beauty Spa, tween fashion and accessory store Justice & Brothers, Asian eatery Grandma’s Dim Sum, health shop GNC and national clothing retailer Nordstrom Rack, which is the chain’s first location in Queens.

Also, two more national fashion retailers, which have yet to be named, plan to be introduced by the mall next spring, reducing the vacancy in the 700,000-square-foot shopping center to about 10,000 square feet, said David Brickman, Onex’s director of leasing for the mall.

“I think it’s a national recognition of where Flushing is as a retail market and what SkyView has become as a center,” he said.

The five new additions this year joined a mix that already includes national chains and local and unique retailers in the mall, ranging from Target, Applebee’s, Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond, to Mongolian hot pot restaurant Little Lamb and Fay Da Bakery.

Brickman said this blend contributed to the attraction of SkyView for new tenants and consumers.

“You have national retailers that eyed SkyView as the place to be and at the same time you have this unique mix of local businesses that opened at SkyView,” he said. “What SkyView offers that others malls don’t is the unique mix of nationally recognized retailers and locals. It sort of makes SkyView a one-stop destination.”

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Flushing’s Assi Plaza supermarket sells for $55M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

Owners of Flushing Asian grocery Assi Plaza sold its building after two decades of operation in the neighborhood.

Asian food distributor Rhee Brothers, Inc, which owns the supermarket chain, sold the two-story property at 131-01 39th Ave. near College Point Boulevard for $54.6 million, according to city records filed Friday.

The nearly 100,000-square-foot Flushing supermarket, which opened in 1994, was the first of several scattered across the country.

Assi Plaza, which is located near the SkyView Center and blocks from recently developed One Fulton Square, was purchased by Outlet Plaza LLC, according to city records.

Repeated calls to Rhee Brothers were not returned.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated King’s USA Group bought Assi Plaza based on incorrect information in a published report. Outlet Plaza LLC bought the supermarket, according to city property records. 

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Top vegan-friendly food places in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Rose Valley Cakes Facebook page / Courtesy of Johnny Solo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

PETA recently declared New York City as 2014’s “Most Vegan-Friendly City” for its numerous establishments that offer veggie lovers an array of options. We’ve compiled this list of food places in Queens that offer delicious cuisine along with vegan-friendly choices.

Co Co Lin Vegetarian House
64-19 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood
718-416-1688
cocolins.com

This restaurant houses a wide array of vegetarian options that are made from a fuse of Chinese and Thai seasonings and flavors. Whether craving a smoothie or a simple vegan-friendly meal, Co Co Lin seems to have the right amount of options for both meat and veggie lovers alike.

Ginger Organic
37-01 30th Ave., Astoria
718-777-0626
facebook.com/GingerOrganicAstoria

Connected to Astoria’s Grand Café, this organic juice and smoothie shop just opened a few months ago. The establishment offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more, which is all 100 percent vegan. Ginger also serves up organic liquors, wines and champagnes. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

Happy Buddha
135-37 37th Ave., Flushing
718-358-0079
happybuddha.com

This veggie-loving restaurant in downtown Flushing earned a place on SuperVegan’s list of “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens” with a nice list of reviews from customers who are pleased with the vegetarian option in the community. Happy Buddha aims to create a peaceful environment for guests, and create a fusion of “innovative vegetarian cuisine, Zen surroundings, and respect for all living things.”

Rose Valley Cakes
134-03 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718- 523-2253
rosevalleycakes.com

This bakery meets plenty of dietary needs with their unique focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free baked goods. With impressive reviews and complex cake decorations, it has earned a 4-1/2 star rating on Yelp, and claims to be able to create “any confectionery creation you can think of.” Although it does offer specialty cakes of all sorts, it also sells bakery items that are available daily.

Simple Veggie Cuisine
95-26 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-830-0808
sveggie.com

Simple Veggie Cuisine keeps it simple with a wide array of options on their menu, and a promising amount of good reviews on Yelp. This restaurant offers Chinese food, with vegan options that are moderately priced and seemingly loved by the public.

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica
718-739-7453
smileofthebeyond.com

This vegetarian diner located in Jamaica was established in 1972, making it the first vegetarian diner in New York City. The diner offers classic and unique breakfast and lunch items and vegan-friendly options, which include everything from a good hot cup of organic coffee to a tofu scramble and more.

The Oneness-Fountain Heart
157-19 72nd Ave., Flushing
718-591-3663
oneness-fountain-heart.com

This vegetarian restaurant has been in Flushing since 1998, and is committed to creating an environment where you can “enjoy food that nourishes the body, heart and soul.” With unique options on their menu, like Cashew Nut Paella, it has earned an impressive list of reviews on Yelp, and was mentioned in the Long Island Restaurant Review as well as The Restaurant Fairy and others.

Veggie Castle II
132-09 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718-641-8342

This hidden treasure in South Richmond Hill is a grab-and-go go-to for many veggie lovers because of its vegan-friendly options and juice bar that offers a well-reviewed green juice, as well as smoothies.

What do you think are the top vegan-friendly food places in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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Three hurt after car crashes into Flushing kosher supermarket


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Seasons employee

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

Three people were injured when a car smashed into a kosher supermarket in Flushing Tuesday afternoon, authorities and witnesses said.

The driver, who was reportedly an elderly man, was pulling out of a parking spot at Seasons on Main Street near 68th Avenue when he accidentally went into reverse and his car ended up going into the front of the market, a store employee who witnessed the accident said.

Three people were taken to New York Hospital Queens with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries at about 1 p.m., according to the FDNY.

According to the store employee, one of the injured included a fellow worker, a 70-year-old man, who broke both legs when he was struck by the car.

“I heard a big boom and then I came out of my store and saw this car inside the [market],” a witness who works at a nearby business said.

The store, which was busy ahead of Rosh Hashanah, reopened by 2 p.m.

 -With additional reporting by Salvatore Licata 

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Selfhelp unveils new Flushing senior housing development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Selfhelp Community Services

Selfhelp Community Services hosted a grand opening Tuesday of Selfhelp Associates, a new development in Flushing, which looks to ease the need for more affordable housing for seniors.

The new 14-story development, located at 137-39 45th Ave. in Flushing, can accommodate more than 100 seniors in 92 units, according to Selfhelp.

Selfhelp ribbon cutting photo 1

Apartments for the building were filled through a housing lottery system, with a requirement that one member of the household be age 62 or older. Selfhelp said 80 percent of the building was filled with seniors earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income or no more than $23,240 per year for an individual or $26,560 for two people. The final 20 percent of units were reserved for seniors who earn no more than $34,860 annually or $39,840 for two people.

“This new Selfhelp development is built to serve the needs of our growing population of seniors, a key goal of the mayor’s housing New York plan,” said City Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney. “Advanced age and limited income should not constrain the quality of life. Selfhelp understands this and they have put a lot of thought and care into the design and function of this building. 

The building features computers, roll-in showers, video chat-enabled computer work stations, elegant rooms, cognitive strengthening units, exercise equipment and health screening kiosks.

Residents at Selfhelp Associates will also have access to the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, a 9,000-square-foot facility being built in conjunction with Selfhelp Associates, which is scheduled to open next year.

Selfhelp photo 2 (1)

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Flushing woman shares story in new immigration documentary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of No Le Digas A Nadie Film

Since she was a young child, Angy Rivera has been told to keep quiet about many things in her life. But now she is sharing her story, hoping others can step out of the shadows.

Rivera is a 23-year-old college student from Flushing who was formerly an undocumented immigrant for 19 years and whose experiences for the past two years are the subject behind a new documentary called “No Le Digas A Nadie,” translated to “Don’t Tell Anyone.”

The film’s director, Mikaela Shwer, said she first read about the Colombian native, who in 2010 started the first national undocumented online youth advice column called “Ask Angy,”  in New York Magazine.

Interested in her story, Shwer met with Rivera and began building a relationship that led to Shwer filming the 23-year-old’s story in her debut as an independent film director.

“I know what the story is about and the ending, but it’s different watching it,” Rivera said about being in the film. “It was a healing process for me, opening up about things, exploring feelings that I have hidden away. It’s a different form of therapy.”

The film follows Rivera, the oldest of four children, through her everyday life hanging out with friends and her family. It focuses on the relationship she has with her mother, who immigrated to the United States with her.

The cameras also follow Rivera through her life as an undocumented immigrant and activist, as she applies for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) and obtains a visa.

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“The strength they all have as a community makes you reevaluate all the privileges that we have,” said Shwer about having shared time with Rivera and others in the immigrant community. “It makes you really appreciate things and also be frustrated. People really need to be frustrated in order for things to change.”

Although Rivera has opened up through her advice column and the activist work she has done as a core member of the nonprofit New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first volunteer undocumented youth and membership led organization, she is nervous about how some people will react to her story.

“[The film] is way different and a lot more personal,” Rivera said. “That’s always good but it’s also bad because it opens to judgment.”

Along with the issue of being an undocumented immigrant, the film also surrounds Rivera’s opening up of being a victim of sexual assault. The title of the film comes from a poem Rivera wrote called “Rusty Chains”  in which she describes how since she was a young girl, she has been told not to tell anyone about what was going on in her life.

“It’s the same thing like our immigration status, for a long time many of us felt alone, similarly when you’re assaulted you feel alone. It’s a life of silence,” Rivera said. “I hope this film will start a new conversation.”

Both Shwer and Rivera hope the documentary will help others who are in the same situations to step out and share their stories. They also hope the film will continue to bring up a lot more questions, bring community members together and inspire others to get involved.

“I hope people can see that we are a family, they are everything to me,” Rivera said. “Remove immigration status – it’s a real family. Maybe this will put a human face to this issue.”

“No Le Digas A Nadie” is in the post-production phase and is expected to be finished by the end of this year. It is also in the process of finding a medium in which to be shown, with hopes of being featured in a spring or summer film festival in 2015.

For more information visit www.nodigasfilm.com.

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Flushing burglars drive off with $48K in aircraft aluminum: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops are searching for two suspects who they say stole $48,000 worth of aircraft aluminum from a Flushing business on Saturday.

The pair apparently drove a van into the lot of S & L Aerospace Metals, at 120th Street near 28th Avenue around 7:40 a.m before taking off with the aluminum, authorities said.

According to its website, S & L Aerospace has been a “key supplier” to the aircraft industry since 1967.

1908-14 109 PCT BURGLARY 1

Police have released photos of the van the suspects were driving.

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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Flushing 7-Eleven robbery ends in flames after police chase


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Three men suspected of robbing a Flushing 7-Eleven at gunpoint early Tuesday morning crashed into a deli after police chased the trio through the streets of Queens, authorities said.

Three men in their 20s were in the process of robbing the 7-Eleven on Northern Boulevard near 171st Street at about 2 a.m. when cops arrived, police said. The three men then took off in a Nissan Altima.

During the chase, the three suspects threw a wallet and money out of their window. Police later discovered that it belonged to the 7-Eleven workers they robbed, cops said.

The hour-long chase led police and the thieves along Northern Boulevard and then the Long Island Expressway before ending when the robbers crashed into a Flushing deli on 164th Street and Pidgeon Meadow Road, according to authorities. Fire and smoke rose out of the car’s engine following the crash.

Police recovered a shotgun from the car but couldn’t say if it was the weapon used in the robbery.

The deli was empty at the time of the crash, but the incident left one of the suspects, 21, with a broken hip, and a 22-year-old suspect with a broken hand, cops said. Both were taken to Flushing Hospital. The driver, a 29-year old, was not injured.

Charges against the three suspects are pending.

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Man wanted in Flushing livery cab robbery  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man had a livery cab driver take him on a ride through the borough before robbing him during a final stop in Flushing, cops said.

The driver picked the suspect up at 85th Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica on Sept. 1, and was asked to make several stops in Queens, police said.

When they arrived at 131-25 Avery Ave. around 2 p.m., the suspect simulated a gun and demanded money from the driver, according to authorities. The suspect then fled on foot.

Authorities describe the suspect as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds and with a scar on his forehead.

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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Flushing senior center enriches members’ lives with technology


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

For a senior center in Flushing, innovation is measured by iPads and in megabytes.

The City Council allocated $150,000 to senior centers like the Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Innovative Senior Center so that it could continue to develop technological programs that, among other things, allow older people to connect with their families using Skype. The senior center is run by Selfhelp and was designated by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg as an “innovation center” along with seven other places in 2012.

“This Council has been determined to enhance senior services and Selfhelp is a great example,” City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said on Friday during a tour of the center.

Skype is used as the engine of the virtual senior center, which provides seniors with extra-large computer screens, so even those with failing eyesight can participate remotely in live events.

Such events include virtual tours of the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art.

Councilmen Paul Vallone and Peter Koo joined Mark-Viverito on the tour, and both emphasized the importance of caring for the elderly and stimulating their minds with devices like the Nintendo Wii game console that the center has.

Vallone said that with the new allocation they would be able to make more centers “innovative.”

“My senior centers in northeast Queens are going to start experiencing this wonderful technology as we start phasing it in,” he said. “This is the beginning of something wonderful.”

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Report: Queens rental prices drop in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

The fluctuating Queens rental market saw a decrease in prices in August, after increases in July, according to the “Queens Rental Market Report” by MNS Real Estate.

Average rents throughout the borough dropped 3.74 percent from $2,113 in July to $2,034 in August, the report stated.

The report focused on several neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

The biggest changes occurred in studio apartments in Ridgewood, where prices dropped 43.5 percent — about $848 — to $1,100, the least expensive rental price for any type of apartment in the borough. The average price of a studio in the borough is $1,550, according to the report.

Studios page

Also, two-bedroom units in Jackson Heights dipped 26.12 percent to $1,841 from $2,494 in July, a decrease of $653.

“Smaller neighborhoods in Queens are seeing slower progression, however more new developments are scheduled to open their doors in the coming months offering high-end amenities and exceptional convenience,” the report said. “As is evident from the overall decrease in prices this month Queens is expected to have up and down monthly fluctuations, but long-term projections have prices increasing steadily.”

Flushing had the largest decrease in overall average rents with 7.47 percent. Two-bedroom units in Flushing experienced a fall of 17.8 percent from $2,599 in July to $2,136 in August.

The biggest increase was in Ridgewood, where prices for one-bedroom apartments rose 15.3 percent or $260 to $1,960.

Prices in Astoria and Long Island City remained fairly stable, although dropped slightly, according to the report.

Click here to view the full report.

 

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Former Community Board 2 district manager Dolores Rizzotto passes away


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rizzotto family

Dolores Rizzotto, former district manager of Community Board 2 for more than 15 years, died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to CB2 chair Joseph Conley.

Rizzotto, who chaired CB2 for more than 15 years, was 70.

“Dolores served the City of New York in many capacities but none so important as her role in our community as district manager,” Conley said. “Dolores worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for so many. Dolores will be sorely missed for her wisdom, compassion, sense of humor and leadership. Dolores was a true friend to all and an expert in helping so many.”

Rizzotto, a lifelong Corona resident who recently moved to Florida, retired in 2006 from CB2, which serves Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. Rizzotto would travel back and forth between Queens and Florida visiting family and friends.

She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Robert, and two grandchildren, Anthony and Thomas.

A wake will be held at Edward Guida Funeral Home, located at 47-20 104th St. in Corona. Visitations hours will be Sept. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be on Sept. 20 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-05 49th Ave. Rizzotto will be buried at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.

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Former Gambino associate’s grandson busted for allegedly shooting friend on Malba jetty


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man whose grandfather was reportedly a former Gambino family associate has been charged with attempted murder after he shot a childhood friend multiple times near the Malba shoreline, officials said.

Robert Sasso, 33, and his friend, 39-year-old Dean Oku, were smoking marijuana on a jetty off of Summit Place in the affluent neighborhood at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 29 when, during a conversation, Sasso shot Oku without warning, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said. Oku was struck in the abdomen, left leg and left arm, and taken to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

In addition to being charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting, Sasso, a Flushing resident, was also busted for assaulting his live-in girlfriend, according to prosecutors.

Just two days before the shooting, Sasso is accused of punching his 33-year-old girlfriend, who had recently taken an order of protection out against him. He then allegedly pushed her out of his vehicle as it sat on an East Elmhurst street, causing bruising to her face, the district attorney’s office said.

Sasso has been separately charged with assault, harassment and criminal contempt in his girlfriend’s assault. He is currently awaiting arraignment in both cases and faces a total of up to 29 years in prison if convicted.

According to the New York Daily News, Sasso’s grandfather was a former Gambino family associate who was convicted in 1992 for helping John Gotti get payoffs from contractors. His father was also convicted for gun trafficking.

Sasso was suspected in the shooting of a construction supervisor in Hell’s Kitchen last year, the Daily News also said.

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Stavisky, Markey, Sanders win primary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Three incumbent Queens elected officials have easily taken the win in the Democratic primary.

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, who was first elected to the state Senate in 1999 and is the only female member of the state Senate from Queens, won the race with 4,981 votes, holding onto 57.3 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

The Forest Hills resident ran against S.J. Jung, a Flushing resident, activist and president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey also won the primary with 1,880 votes and 75.2 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. She has represented the 30th Assembly District, comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside, since 1998.

In the race for the 10th District, state Sen. James Sanders Jr., who was elected in 2012, took the win with 5,898 votes and 74.5 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

In other statewide elections, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated his two competitors at 61.7 percent with 93.2 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. His running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, also took the win with 59.7 percent of the votes. 

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