Tag Archives: Flushing

Man assaulted, robbed inside Flushing McDonald’s: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

McDonald's photo via Wikimedia Commons / Suspect photo courtesy of NYPD

A quick bite to eat turned into an assault and robbery when two men got into an argument at a Flushing McDonald’s earlier this month, authorities said.

The 24-year-old victim and the suspect were inside the fast food joint on Main Street near Roosevelt Avenue at about 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4 when they started arguing, police said. The situation escalated and the suspect assaulted the victim and stole his cellphone before fleeing.

The victim was left with bumps and bruises to his face. He refused medical attention at the scene.

Police describe the suspect as a 25-year-old Hispanic man, 5 feet 6 inches tall and 170 pounds.

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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Queens Museum, Parks Dept. ask communities to redesign Flushing Meadows


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

What will Flushing Meadows Corona Park look like in the future? The Queens Museum and the Parks Department are asking members of communities around the park to come up with ideas and solutions to make the green space more accessible to local communities.

“This is a bit of an experiment,” said Jose Serrano, the museum’s community organizer. “Instead of having people give us their ideas in some kind of meeting, we asked, why don’t we equip them with the tools to improve the park creatively and practically.”

Serrano and the Parks Department are asking the public to submit ideas on how to improve the parks connection and the way it’s used with the surrounding neighborhoods.

The deadline is Oct. 25 and 20 people will be chosen to create an exhibition project that will be shown next year at the museum. Over the course of a year, the 20 selected people will learn more about the park and its pros and cons through a series of hands-on learning events.

Serrano said that they will be only accepting people from communities like Flushing, Corona and Forest Hills because they are directly connected to the park.

“They’re meant to be community designs,” he said. “And we want to give people the confidence to talk to decision makers.”

At the museum’s exhibition, the community members will present their ideas to these “decision makers” and, Serrano hopes, affect change in how the park can be changed.

The park was created for the 1939-40 Worlds Fair and as a fair ground, Serrano said, it is designed to control who enters the area. But now, as a public park, a design for controlling fare-goers no longer makes sense.

“The park will be changed to make it more open to people,” Serrano said. “Can we put the community’s signature on the solutions?”

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Report: Long Island City, Astoria rental prices fall, borough prices jump slightly


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

Prices are cooling off in the hot Long Island City rental market as values for studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments have dropped considerably since May, according to the September Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Studio prices in the neighborhood have fallen for four consecutive months, from an average of $2,602 in May to $2,293 in September, the report found, while one-bedroom apartments dropped an average of $90 since May. Two-bedrooms in the neighborhood increased slightly in September, but still remain more than $235 less than May’s prices.

The decrease in prices in the neighborhood are due to “a result of a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, which also pointed out that Long Island City still accounts for the highest average rents in the borough in all categories.

Overall rent prices in Queens increased slightly at 0.63 percent to $2,047 in September from $2,034 in August, while apartment inventory also jumped seven percent to 631 units.

However, Astoria, much like its neighbor on the waterfront, saw overall rent prices drop despite trending up in recent months. The overall average rents decreased 5.35 percent in the neighborhood during the month, the biggest decrease in Queens.

Studios saw a notable drop in Astoria, falling 11.04 percent or $205 during the month from $1,860 in August to $1,655 in September.

ASTORIA

A surprising increase came to Rego Park, as studios in the neighborhood stopped months of falling and dramatically increased 17.67 percent to $1,559 in September. The increase, which was exclusive to studios in the neighborhood, is a result of new luxury developments, the study found.

“A notable growth spurt continues to take place in Rego Park,” the report said. “This is the result of newly available units in high-end new developments and conversions led by The Contour at 97-45 Queens Blvd. and, more recently, The Rego Modern at 99-39 66th Ave.”

STUDIO REPORT

The neighborhood with the largest decrease of the month is Flushing, where one-bedroom apartments saw a stark drop of 12.88 percent or more than $220 from $1,762 in August to $1,535 in September.

Click here to see the full report.

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Serial Queens bank robber strikes again: cops


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect wanted in eight bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 2:50 p.m. at a Chase Bank on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note while displaying a firearm. The suspect left with $5,170.

A previous incident happened on Aug. 30 at 12:40 p.m. when the suspect entered The Dimes Savings Bank, located at 77-23 27th Ave. in Flushing, while similarly passing a demand note to a bank teller and displaying a firearm. He walked away with $1,300.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Kew GardensLong Island CityAstoriaEast Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

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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Underfunded parks to receive funding: de Blasio


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Flushing park on Tuesday to announce that the city will invest in revitalizing underfunded parks across Queens and New York City.

“It’s a place that needs a lot of support,” de Blasio said about Bowne Playground, where he made the announcement. “It’s been decades of disinvestment in our parks. There’s not much greenery here, as you can see.”

The administration identified 215 parks across the city that each received less than $250,000 in the last two decades.


According to de Blasio, this level of funding doesn’t allow the Parks Department to repair the “wear and tear” of parks such as Bowne Playground. In the first phase of the administration’s attempt to fix up these parks, they aim to invest more than $130 million to rebuild 35 small community parks.

While this initiative will be focusing on 35 parks, including Queens’ Bowne Playground, Astoria Heights PlaygroundCorona Mac ParkGrassmere Playground, Rockaway Community Park /Conch Playground and Van Alst Playground, the administration wants to eventually treat all of the 215 parks that are underfunded to some green. Queens alone has more than 50 parks that are underfunded.

IMG_3975

Bowne Playground will be one of the parks to receive funding for expanded recreational programming and increased maintenance. De Blasio also expressed a desire to have less concrete and more trees and grass.

“This park is an example of why we’re doing this,” de Blasio said, citing the neighborhood’s high population and few public spaces.

“Parks are so many things to us,” he said. “It’s truly a necessity in urban environments.”

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Flushing school to be part of city biking program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of East-West School of International Studies

Teenaged bikers are coming to Flushing, with the backing of the city.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has accepted a Flushing school’s application to participate in a biking program that would develop bike routes for students to use in their commutes to school, according to the school’s spokeswoman, Polly Chea.

The three-year program started last year, and East-West School of International Studies, a sixth through 12th grade public school, will be the first Queens school to participate in the Department of Transportation project.

Schools are selected through an annual competitive application process. Throughout the program, schools work with the DOT and community partners to develop safe bike routes for kids to use to get to school. The school will also install bike racks and create a bike club, for the more hardcore bikers.

Chea said that the school will be holding a bike-a-thon on Oct. 18 to celebrate the new project. Students will be cycling around Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake in the morning.

Schools selected to participate in the DOT project will receive a stipend of $500 to assist in implementing the program. The school also has to include a curriculum with in-classroom discussions of bike transportation as well as special community building and recreational events.

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See it: $2M Flushing penthouse condo deal closing soon


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre  / Gallery photos courtesy of F&T Group

How much is the view of Flushing and Citi Field worth? If it’s at the new One Fulton Square — up to $2 million.

F&T Group, which owns the 12-story building, will close Tuesday on its most expensive residential condo — a three-bedroom unit on the penthouse level of the development — for $2,053,000, according to Helen Lee, a representative for the firm.

The home has 2,033 square feet with a wraparound terrace of nearly 1,100 square feet.

Take a look at the gallery below of a model unit that is similar to the condo.

 

 

 

 

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MTA bus driver allegedly attacks Flushing gas station worker over lottery ticket


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

An off-duty MTA bus driver attacked a gas station worker during a dispute over a missing lottery ticket in Flushing, authorities said.

Louis Cintron, 44, allegedly punched the worker in the nose during the argument at the station at Horace Harding Expressway and Lawrence Street on Thursday morning.

According to DNAinfo, Cintron unknowingly dropped one of his lottery tickets and demanded a refund or replacement ticket from the worker.

But the worker refused and Cintron allegedly grabbed him and punched him.

Cintron was charged with assault and harassment, according to police.

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Real estate roundup: Rockaway boardwalk project delayed, permits filed for Rego Park apartment building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Rockaway Boardwalk Renewal Delayed Again as Project is Redesigned

The rebuilding of the Rockaways’ boardwalk will likely be delayed another three months as the design is modified to address community concerns about access to the waterfront, according to an official. The delay, the latest of many since the city began the project after Hurricane Sandy, will impact the more than a mile-long stretch that will also include a giant “ROCKAWAY” sign implanted into the boardwalk. Read more [DNAinfo]

Downtown Flushing: Where Asian Cultures Thrive

People who live and work in downtown Flushing sometimes call it “the Chinese Manhattan.” Both downtown Flushing, in north-central Queens, and Manhattan are centers of commerce, transportation and finance, and both have shiny new buildings with expensive and sought-after condominiums. Read more [New York Times]

Permits Filed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

There, at 65-70 Austin Street, behind the Long Island Rail Road’s main line, a new building permit application has been filed for a seven-story residential building. The building would, according to the permit application, rise 70 feet and include 45 apartments spread over 34,550 square feet of net residential space, for an average unit size of less than 800 square feet (we’re guessing rentals). It will include 28 off-street parking spaces, which is only a few more than required by zoning. Read more [New York YIMBY]

Flushing-Jamaica bus routes set to get upgrade in distant future


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The city is hoping to reduce bus travel times between Flushing and Jamaica — just not any time soon.

Preliminary plans that will spend a least a year being refined were floated by officials at a recent meeting with community members at York College.

Among the proposals is the implementation of Select Bus Service, where, among other things, passengers would pay the fare on sidewalk kiosks before the bus arrives to reduce boarding and debarking times.

“The bus trips are long and slow,” a spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT) said. “And with Select Bus Service we think there’s a solution to improve things.”

The DOT is considering two routes between the neighborhoods for SBS. The first would travel along Main Street where the Q44 and Q20A/B run. The second route under consideration is Parsons and Kissena boulevards, currently serviced by the Q25 and Q34.

Whichever street is chosen would undergo changes like the installation of bus-only lanes and sidewalk fare kiosks.

In the meantime, the city is considering installing a feature on some buses called traffic signal priority, according to a city spokeswoman.

The feature uses GPS to track a bus and can either prevent a light from turning red until a bus passes the intersection or shorten the length of a red signal to let a stopped bus start moving again.

But, the spokeswoman noted, if the community decides that it doesn’t like this idea, than the city won’t install the traffic signal feature. The DOT plans on working with the community for at least a year to find how SBS can be best suited to its needs.

“I think it’s clear that local community members want faster bus service,” said Jess Nizar, from the public transportation advocacy group Riders Alliance. “It’s really important to get community input in the planning process of these things.”

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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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