Tag Archives: Flushing

Man fatally shot at Pomonok Houses


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

A 30-year-old man was gunned down at the door of a Flushing apartment, authorities said.

Police found the victim with a bullet would to the head inside the Pomonok Houses on 71st Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. on Friday, cops said.

The man, who did not live at the home, was shot in the doorway, according to authorities.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Eight-story condo tower to replace LIC industrial site


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Great Neck-based New York Lions Group has refiled plans with the Department of Buildings to construct a residential tower on the site of a former industrial building in Long Island City.

The new structure will be a skinny eight-story condo building at 42-83 Hunter St. with 15 units, according to city records, and will be designed by Flushing-based MY Architect PC.

Lions Group picked up the property for nearly $1.9 million in May, according to city filings, and the new building will be 12,336 square feet, which is about the max allowed to be built on the site.

Demolition permits were filed last month for the small, one-story industrial building currently occupying the site.

Lions Group has been working on a number of projects throughout the borough, including a seven-story glassy Astoria condominium building, which they plan to begin building next year.

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Calls for boycott, plans for lawsuit after man says he was attacked at Flushing McDonald’s


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Following the release of a video showing a fight between a customer and an employee at a Flushing McDonald’s, Korean-American groups are calling for a boycott of the restaurant, and the customer — who says he was physically attacked by an employee — is planning on suing for millions, according to published reports.

The video footage of the February incident, first broadcast by CBS New York, shows the customer, James Jin Kim, recording video with his cell phone after he said an employee at the Main Street McDonald’s, Rooshi Sajjad, wasn’t serving him, reports said. Sajjad then appears to strike Kim with a broom handle.

In court filings, Kim claims after waiting 10 minutes to order coffee, he complained, and Sajjad started shouting at him, “We don’t serve coffee to people like you” and “Get out of my restaurant,” according to published reports.

On Tuesday, a protest, held by several Korean-American groups, took place outside the McDonald’s, the Daily News reported. The groups are also threatening to boycott the eatery until it trains its employees to be more sensitive toward Asian customers, the paper also said.

Kim, meanwhile, is planning on suing McDonald’s for $10 million, arguing he suffered injuries to his hand and unlawful discrimination, according to published reports.

Sajjad was charged with attempted assault and criminal possession of a weapon, both misdemeanors, and one violation, harassment, but her record will be cleared if she stays out of trouble for another month, reports said. According to CBS New York, Sajjad still works at the McDonald’s.

In a statement to CBS New York, the franchise owner of the McDonald’s, Luigi Solimeo, said: “Nothing is more important than the safety and well-being of my customers and employees,” adding that “the video does not capture all of the details surrounding that event.”

This incident at the Main Street fast food restaurant is not the first time that Korean groups have threatened to boycott McDonald’s.

Last January, Korean activists called for a worldwide boycott of McDonald’s following a feud between a group of Korean seniors and the owner of one of its eateries on on Parsons and Northern boulevards.

The dispute began when around 20 seniors would use the restaurant as their personal hang out space, spending about eight hours a day there. The owner, wanting the seats for other customers, called police several times.

A compromise was reached, with the owner agreeing to hire Korean-speaking staff members and extending the 20-minute sitting limit to one hour, except from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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City considers new pedestrian plaza in Flushing


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

In response to a Flushing group’s demand for more public space, the city is considering a pedestrian plaza for Leonard Square.

Between all of the construction and rush hour traffic, residents and local politicians say there are too few places for people to just stop and take a break.

“There’s no space for people to get together,” said Paul Yoo, president of the Korean American Association of Queens. “We need something big enough for the kids and adults.”

The Korean association applied to the Department of Transportation’s plaza program. The department will make a decision early next month, according to a spokesman. And if the Flushing square is chosen, city officials would work with local officials and the community to hold public workshops and develop a design.

“As Flushing becomes more and more developed, we need to make sure that we’re setting some space aside for the public good,” Yoo said.

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Suspect wanted for striking man with broom handle in Flushing road rage incident: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police have released the photo of a suspect who they say struck a man in the face with a broom handle during a road rage incident earlier this year.

The assault happened at about 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 31 at the intersection of Utopia Parkway and Northern Boulevard in Flushing, cops said.

Following an argument, the suspect got out of his car and hit the other driver, a 27-year-old man, with the broom handle, police said. The suspect then fled northbound on Utopia Parkway in a black Volvo, police said.

The victim suffered bruising to his face and cuts to his eye.

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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New law permits schools to close for more religious and cultural holidays


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo via UrbanUrban_ru/Flickr

For decades, the city closed schools for Christian and Jewish holidays but other religions’ holidays — like Eid al-Fitr and Diwali — didn’t receive the same benefit. But the passage of a new law backed by elected officials in Flushing is changing that.

Assemblyman Ron Kim introduced the legislation, and it was passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Dec. 17. The law allows the Department of Education to consider closing schools on days where large student absences are expected due to religious or cultural days of observance.

“This is about making sure that all Americans, regardless of where we come from, are institutionally recognized as first-class citizens,” Kim said. “Our strength as a democratic society lies in our ability to appreciate diversity and grow together by learning from each other.”

During a press conference, Kim explained that schools in Flushing will now be able to suspend classes for the Lunar New Year, which traditionally occurs in late January or early February. Lunar New Year is one of the most significant holidays for many Chinese, Korean, Japanese and other Asian ethnic groups, all of which are represented in the Flushing community.

The law calls for school districts to consider closing schools on holidays that are important to groups that account for at least 7.5 percent of the local population. In Flushing, 57 percent of the population is of Asian ancestry.

The new law will also affect students of Muslim or Hindu backgrounds, who account for a large share of students in many Queens school districts.

The passage of the bill marks the end of a long struggle that started with Congresswoman Grace Meng when she was a state assemblywoman in 2009 and first introduced a similar bill.

“Clearly, the time has come for our school system to recognize important holidays such as Lunar New Year, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha just as it rightly does for holidays of other cultures and ethnicities,” Meng said. “We now need school districts around the country to follow New York’s lead, and I will continue my efforts on the federal level to accomplish that goal.”

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Five humongous Queens homes listing under $1M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Multiple Listing Service and PropertyShark

While new apartments in Queens are getting smaller so developers can maximize profits, the borough still has a treasure trove of spacious gems in older homes that offer prospective owners the best bang for their buck.

For many, size does matter, so here are five single-family homes with enough space for parents, the kids, grandma and maybe even a crazy uncle or two, and each are under $1 million.

59-35 Menahan St., Ridgewood

This property has seven bedrooms and three bathrooms and was originally built in 1920, according to its listing. It sits on a lot of 5,137 square feet, which has a two-car garage and a private driveway. There is a finished basement and a laundry room as well. The broker is Peter Caruso of Caruso & Boughton Realty, and the asking price is $945,000.

 

105-42 133rd St., Richmond Hill

If you thought that last price was low, this Richmond Hill seven-bedroom home is listed for $649,999. This three-story detached colonial home has three bathrooms and a recreational room in the basement, according to the listing. The residence uses about half of its 5,084-square-foot lot space. Raias Khan of Century 21 is the broker of record.

 

168-04 35th Ave., Flushing

Just in case seven bedrooms wasn’t enough, this three-story colonial-style single-family Flushing home offers eight bedrooms and three full bathrooms, according to the listing. Blocks away from the Auburndale LIRR station, the house is located on a corner property and has 3,087 square feet of space. The residence features a finished basement, which includes a laundry room. It also has a one-car garage. The asking price is $958,000. En Ja Chung of Promise Realty is the broker.

 

88-52 195th Pl., Hollis

Those looking for style with a bargain price may have found it with this large single-family home. The three-story Hollis residence features a formal dining room and living room with French pocket doors, according to its listing. It has seven bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in 3,400 square feet of space. There is a two-car garage on the property as well. Emmanuel Babayev of Charles Rutenberg Realty is the broker.

 

11-43 Beach 9th St., Far Rockaway

Access to transportation, a huge house, spacious lot and a bargain price — this home may have it all. This three-story residence sits on a nearly 8,000-square-foot lot and has about 3,500 square feet of living space, according to its listing. The asking price is $879,000. It has seven bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private driveway. The broker is Ann Bienstock of Five Towns Miller Realty.

Rockaway property

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Flushing community criticizes modern look of planned building


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Raymond Architecture

Flushing’s Great Wall is being torn down.

Great Wall Supermarket, on Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street, will be replaced next year by a glass-clad, 11-story building after the supermarket’s owners decided to not renew the lease, according to city records. The proposed building’s modern, sleek look will tower next to the Civil War-era Flushing Town Hall, causing many in the community to criticize the new building for not conforming to the appearance of its historic neighbor.

“This thing looks like it’s something out of Miami Vice,” Flushing resident Vincent Amato said. “You can kiss goodbye any sense of history this neighborhood still had.”

Despite community resistance, Community Board 7 passed a request to change the area’s zoning, allowing the building’s developer, George Chu, to move another step closer toward his goal of developing a mixed-use building with a hotel, store fronts, community space and apartment units.

Flushing Town Hall wrote a letter expressing their support of the new development, and the planned community space will be used often by Town Hall events. During the community board meeting, the board members defended their decision to allow the building to be constructed.
“We’re not granting something that’s significantly different then what could be there,” Chuck Apelian said. “None of us are negligent of the history.”

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Flushing Town Hall was once the center of civic life, serving as the seat of local government until the mid-19th century before Flushing and other towns in Queens were absorbed into Greater New York City.

But now it is a lone reminder of the past in the center of a new Flushing that is undergoing a building boom. Nearby, a similar plan for a mixed-use building, including community space and a hotel, has been approved and is set to be built.

The hotel in the new building at the Great Wall site will occupy floors three to eight, with the top three floors divided into 43 apartment units. There will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor for restaurants and coffee shops, according to Eric Palatnik, the developers’ spokesman.

“We’re going to liven up the street with a sidewalk plaza area,” he said.

As the meeting ended, Apelian said, “This is a tragedy not just for Flushing, but the whole nation. Hundreds of years of American history will be overshadowed by this new building.”

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Flushing’s new chamber of commerce kicks off business unification with party


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Lea Kim from Dan & Ellie Photography

Flushing’s new chamber of commerce revved up its operations with a launch party Dec. 11 attended by 250 people from all corners of the fourth largest commercial district in New York City.

“We had a lot of excitement and energy in one place,” said John Choe, the executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “And we need to channel all of that into a unified force that will be listened to by those in power.”

The launch party, which took place in Flushing Town Hall, was as much a party as it was a chance to bring together the many different players, with all their varied thoughts and interests, into one place. For Choe, the launch party marked the beginning of the long task of gathering the small business owners into one organization with greater clout to City Hall to satisfy the commercial district’s needs, including more city funding for infrastructure.

During the party, Choe said that the new wave of commercial development in Flushing was welcome, but he urged caution when embracing chain stores — like Nike — that are moving into the neighborhood.

“We have to protect the interests of small businesses because they give us economic resilience,” Choe said. “We don’t want to depend on Starbucks and national banks to keep our economy afloat.”

Local politicians and Borough President Melinda Katz also attended the party, showing their support for the chamber.

Choe characterized the work of gaining the support of businesses as a process similar to going door to door from one business to another. But he remained hopeful that Flushing’s various groups could come together for a common goal.

“We have the ability to surpass downtown Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan as the largest commercial districts because we have so much more going for us,” Choe said. “We have to make sure that we support the businesses that have been here for decades and helped make Flushing prosperous in the first place.”

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Northern Queens parents gain no traction during meeting with BP Katz over school program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Whitestone and Flushing parents were sent back to the drawing board after meeting with Borough President Melinda Katz to discuss their desire to create a gifted and talented program for middle schools in the northern and central Queens area.

Lisa Fusco and a growing number of parents are building a case for the creation of gifted and talented programs for middle schools in their district. During a meeting with Katz and education officials on Wednesday, the parents were told that the district’s superintendent was the only one with the power to extend the program from its limited elementary school reach to middle school.

“They’re giving us the run around,” Fusco said. “We’ve spoken to [Superintendent Danielle Di Mango] before and that hasn’t gotten us anywhere. We’ve tried everything else.”

Mango declined a request for comment.

Fusco’s fourth-grade daughter is enrolled in the gifted and talented program in P.S. 79 and — unlike in many other school districts — the program does not continue into middle school within District 25, which covers most of central and northern Queens. Neighboring districts 26 and 30 provide the program to students in middle school. More than 150 parents have signed a petition to bring the program into their middle schools in places like Flushing and Whitestone.

The gifted and talented programs are meant to provide extra services for students who show academic promise and get bored easily in a traditional classroom setting. Parents must sign up their children for tests to get into the program by November, and children are tested in January and February.

“We have made some real strides engaging community leaders,” Fusco said. “And we will continue to push for the program in our communities.”

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Whitestone and northern Queens residents push for expansion of school program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Parents in Whitestone and Flushing are trying to give the city a new lesson plan.

Lisa Fusco, from Whitestone, and 150 parents in northern Queens signed a petition to the city Department of Eudcation demanding the creation of gifted and talented programs for the middle schools in their  district. Several of the parents are also meeting with Borough President Melinda Katz and Department of Education officials on Dec. 10 to discuss the issue.

District 25 is bordered by Flushing Meadows Park to the west and Bayside to the east, and it encompasses Pomonok to the south up to Whitestone and College Point.

The large area has six middle schools, but none of them have gifted and talented programs. For Fusco and others, that’s a problem.

“Our children are in the gifted and talented program in the elementary schools and we would like them to continue this wonderful program into middle school,” said Fusco, whose fourth-grade daughter is enrolled in the program in P.S. 79. “It would be such a shame if they had to stop this program.”

The gifted and talented programs are meant to provide extra services for students with a high aptitude who get bored easily in regular classes, according to the Department of Education. Parents must sign up their children for tests to get into the program by November, and children are tested in January and February.

While the program is usually meant for elementary schools, the group’s request isn’t unprecedented. School District 26, which runs along the border with Long Island, and District 30, Long Island City and Astoria, both have middle schools that offer the gifted and talented program.

“I don’t understand why the DOE lacks a citywide policy on [gifted and talented programs] and why it provides [gifted and talented] classes in one district and not another,” said Morris Altman, the president of the education council in District 25.

Justin Chang, from Whitestone, has two boys who are enrolled in the program at P.S. 79, and he worries about what his kids will do if there is no equivalent teaching method being used in the local middle schools.

“They are different and they need help in a different way,” Chang said. “I would just hope they consider opening the program for our district.”

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14-story hotel and residential mixed-use building planned for Flushing


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

Permits were filed to build a new 14-story residential, community and commercial mixed-use building in Flushing on Thursday.

The site, which is located at 134-03 35th Ave., is owned by brothers Christopher and George Xu, according to published reports. The brothers initially asked for a residential zoning change for the property in 2010, New York YIMBY reported, and are now looking to develop on the land. Flushing-based My Architect, led by Jon K. Yung, is designing the building. 

The new development will be a 206,968-square-foot building, roughly half of which will be for residential use. There will be 134 apartments in the structure, along with a 210-room hotel, according to YIMBY.

The entire development will have 223 parking spaces in an underground facility, and an additional 18,000-square-foot space for a community facility.

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Woman dies in Flushing house fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Authorities are investigating a Flushing house fire that left a 46-year-old woman dead.

The blaze broke out just before 4 p.m. on Thursday in a home at 150-24 25th Dr., the FDNY said. The fire was under control by 4:15 p.m.

Inside the home, a woman, who has yet to be identified by police was discovered and pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

The fire and the woman’s cause of death are still under investigation.

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Video captures Flushing apartment burglar


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A burglar broke into a Flushing apartment, making off with the resident’s cash and jewelry, police said.

The suspect entered the home, near the Murray Hill Long Island Rail Road station, through a window about 6:20 p.m. on Tuesday, according to authorities. He then took $200 and a necklace.


Police have released video footage of the suspect during the time of the burglary.

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 authorities try to put an end to College Point homeless encampment


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A team of city officials, police and advocates for the homeless swept into a makeshift encampment under a ramp to the Whitestone Expressway, relocating those taking shelter there to safer quarters and fencing off the barren lot.

The fenced off area is under the Whitestone Expressway on the border between College Point and Flushing and is popular among the homeless seeking shelter, according to Councilman Paul Vallone’s office. Police have known about the area and periodically evacuate it. Despite the fence, the homeless kept returning. But Vallone is hoping that the area will be rid of shelter seekers now that the Department of Homeless Services and Common Ground, a nonprofit organization, helped relocate the people who called the Whitestone Expressway their home.

“This combined effort by our city’s Agencies was effective in cleaning up and relocating the homeless encampment in College Point,” Vallone said. “Particularly, I applaud the DHS and Common Ground for going above and beyond to work with the chronically homeless to encourage them to relocate and seek out shelter and housing as we work to try and ensure that no one has to live outside on the streets.”

Vallone’s office estimated that there were around 30-50 people using the underpass as a shelter. Neither the city nor Common Ground returned a request for comment.

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