Tag Archives: Flushing

Funds being raised for burial services for 8-year-old boy killed in Fresh Meadows


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jerry Kenmoe’s family


The community is coming together to collect donations to help pay for burial services for an 8-year-old boy who was killed in Fresh Meadows last month.

Jerry Kenmoe was found dead in his home on June 29 after his father, who has been charged with his murder, strangled him, according to officials.

Funds are being raised to help his mother pay for funeral services and to have her son’s remains brought back to Douala, Cameroon, her native country, for burial, according to Kathryn Como, whose son went to school with Jerry at P.S. 107, where he was a fourth-grader.

Donations will be collected on Saturday in front of the school, located at 167-02 45 Ave. in Flushing between, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Funds are also being accepted through the site crowdrise.com, and can be made here.

 

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Officials break ground on $1B Flushing Commons development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy TDC Development International


Flushing’s nearly $1 billion project finally got off the ground. 

Officials broke ground Monday on Flushing Commons, a massive mixed-use residential and commercial development that will transform more than five acres of land in downtown Flushing.

The project will offer new retail opportunities, community facilities, 1,600 parking spaces, a large public plaza and a 62,000-square-foot YMCA with two pools, a full-size gym and an indoor running track.

“Today is a good day for the Flushing community. After much delay, we are finally breaking ground on a project that promises to create jobs, housing and economic activity,” Councilman Peter Koo said. “Once this project is completed, it could play a significant role in cementing Flushing’s transformation into an economic powerhouse.”

Flushing Commons will be built in two phases, which developers said will reduce the level of construction and traffic congestion in the area.

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

Phase 1, which is expected to be completed in 2017, includes approximately 219,000 square feet of office and retail space, 150 units of housing and a 982-space parking lot.

The second phase will comprise about 242,000 square feet of office and retail space, 450 residential units, 618 additional parking spaces, the YMCA, and a 1.5 acre public plaza called The Green at Flushing Commons. Phase 2 is expected to be completed by 2021.

 

 

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Fan filming 1986 World Series Mets movie, running Kickstarter campaign


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Heather Quinlan

It’s been nearly three decades since the Mets won a World Series championship. So why not make a movie?

A movie on the 1986 World Series Mets team is long overdue, according to long-time fan and filmmaker Heather Quinlan. That’s why she’s begun working on the project, hoping to have the documentary of the legendary team completed by fall of 2015 in time for the 30th anniversary the following year.

Quinlan, who has already spoken to key members of the team including Darryl Strawberry, Lenny “Nails” Dykstra, Dwight “Doc” Gooden, and people from the era such as former mayor Rudy Giuliani, is pitching it as the movie “Every Mets fan on Earth wants,” although the organization isn’t as thrilled about the 1986 team.

“The organization doesn’t celebrate that team,” she said. “As a fan, I don’t understand why. One of the reasons why I wanted to do this [documentary] is to show the Mets and MLB that this is a team that the fans still love.”

’86 Mets: Lords of Flushing, as the film is called on its trailer, has already collected more than $2,500 on crowd funding site Kickstarter. She hopes to collect $50,000 to fund travel, editing and production and rights to certain footage.

Quinlan grew up a Mets fan in Staten Island and was just 12 years old when the 1986 team won the franchise’s second World Series championship. But she believes it resonated with her more because she wasn’t an adult.

“When it happens to you when you’re a kid it’s like the greatest thing in the world,” she said.

Her hope is not only to tell the story of how the team won its second crown, but also catch up on players’ lives today and compare the 80’s to the modern game.

For example, Strawberry’s life as a pastor, Dykstra as a convicted felon, and even personal notes such as “Bill Buckner saying he would call Mookie Wilson if he didn’t see him for a while because he really missed him,” she said.

During the era comparison portion of the film, fans can expect to see how baseball itself has evolved, which Quinlan believes has changed the focus away from the game.

“Baseball has changed tremendously since 86,” she said.  “What I don’t love is now the spectacle that’s being made of the game. Let’s get back to the game.”

 

 

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New five-story hotel coming to Flushing


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

A new five-story hotel with nearly 40 units is moving into the north Flushing area with plans to be completed next year.

Construction workers recently demolished the two-story family home that was on 31-06 Linden Place, and are currently working on the hotel with an anticipated spring 2015 target date.

The hotel will not have any commercial space and there will not be a parking lot on site, Department of Building records show.

The lodging is located close to a mall anchored by Pathmark, and across the nearby Whitestone Expressway there is a center with a movie theatre and Toys “R” Us.

Owners of the hotel didn’t return calls for comment.

 

 

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Flushing resident in near-fatal motorcycle accident, family raising $500K for medical fees


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Michaelides family


The family of a Flushing resident and St. John’s University alum who was in a near-fatal motorcycle accident on Father’s Day is in a desperate struggle to raise half a million dollars for medical fees.

Anthony Michaelides, 25, lost control of his bike on June 15 while trying to merge into a freeway in Los Angeles and hit the guardrail, propelling him over the barrier and more than 100 feet down into a ravine, family members said.

He suffered double lung collapse, bleeding from his brain, a ruptured spleen, a lacerated aorta, severe damage to his liver, fractured wrists and a broken left arm. Despite the injuries, paramedics found him alive and currently he is in stable condition at Los Angeles County General Hospital under heavy sedation. His family is hoping to raise money through upcoming events and crowdfunding site CrowdRise.

“He is one of the sweetest and most generous persons you could meet. Whenever you needed help he was always right there,” said Michaelides’ cousin, Krysta, who started the CrowdRise page. “This is such a tragedy, I couldn’t sit back and do nothing. I think about him every day. But doing this and collecting donations like this is gathering positive vibes. It’s keeping me busy and in my mind, keeping Anthony alive for me.”

The family has raised nearly $50,000 on CrowdRise already. Michaelides’ alma mater, Frank Sinatra School for the Arts High School, is organizing a show with proceeds to benefit him to be announced at a later date.

Family and friends will host fundraising events at Republic Bar in Astoria on Wednesday night, in Pita Pan restaurant on Saturday, and in Five Guys Burgers and Fries chains in The Bay Terrace shopping center on Friday and Saturday in the College Point location. Proceeds from sales during the day at the eateries will go toward Michaelides. There will also be #saveanthony shirts on sale for $15 during the events.

Michaelides graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in psychology, and then earned a master’s last year from New York University in education counseling. His goal was to be a guidance counselor at Frank Sinatra, but since there were no open opportunities he moved to Los Angeles late last year.

The school called Michaelides a few weeks before his accident to let him know there was a position opening, a sibling said, but now he won’t be able to take it.

“It’s just really bad luck. Everything that happened is bad luck,” said Michaelides’ sister, Connie. “It would mean a lot to the family if he did get his dream job, but our priority is for him to get better.”

 

To donate, please visit the CrowdRise page.

To learn more about Anthony Michaelides, please click here

Upcoming fundraising event times and locations:

Wednesday, June 25th
Republic Bar
3329 Astoria Blvd
Astoria, NY 11103

Saturday, June 28th
Pita Pan
37-15 30th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11103
11 am- 2 am 

Friday, June 27th
Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Bay Terrace Shopping Center
210-33 26th avenue
Bayside, NY 11360
4 pm – 9 pm

Saturday, June 28th
Five Guys Burgers and Fries in Northside Plaza/College Point
132-01 14th avenue
Queens, NY 11356
4 pm – 9 pm

 

 

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Street co-named for longtime Bayside school teacher


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Paul Vallone


Family, friends and former students of longtime P.S. 41 science teacher Geri Cilmi attended a street co-naming in her honor outside the Bayside school on Friday.

The new Mrs. Geri Cilmi Place street sign was unveiled at 214th Lane behind the school. Cilmi, who died in 2011 after battling cancer for four years, taught at the school for about 25 years and was a teacher in city schools for about four decades.

During her time at P.S. 41 she was loved by colleagues and students for her extraordinary effort as a teacher. Cilmi hosted science nights in the school, where parents and students were able to do a variety of experiments. She applied for numerous grants for the school, including one from NASA for a weather station. She also set up the school’s garden, was vice president of the Elementary School Science Association (ESSA), and made various science presentations for children.

Photo courtesy Tom Cilmi

Cilmi lived in Flushing with her husband, Tom, and her son. Various elected officials, including Councilmember Paul Vallone, Borough President Melinda Katz and Congresswoman Grace Meng, were in attendance for the street co-naming ceremony.

“Mrs. Cilmi’s life was dedicated to teaching and showing her students that science was beyond the classroom,” Vallone said. “To co-name the street in front of the school where she spent over a decade is a fitting tribute to her career and tells the community Mrs. Cilmi will forever be in our hearts.”

 

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John Messer stops bid for state Senate


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy John Messer


Oakland Gardens lawyer John Messer is dropping his third bid to unseat 14-year veteran state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky in District 16, which includes Flushing, Bayside, Forest Hills and Fresh Meadows, among other areas.

“I look forward to continuing to work together to make our community a better place to work and live. However, for personal and business reasons, I will not be a candidate in this election season,” said Messer, who announced his decision through a press release on June 9.

Messer, who holds a master’s degree in government and politics from St. John’s University, ran an unsuccessful race against Stavisky in the 2012 Democratic Primary, losing the race to the incumbent after receiving 41.9 percent of the vote. The Queens Courier reported in 2012 that Messer spent $351,000 of his own money in the campaign.

Messer hoped two years ago that the redrawn District 16, which included a 53 percent Asian population, would give him an advantage, since his wife is Chinese-American, and because the primary was just a head-to-head battle between the candidates.

Messer’s first attempt in 2010 was a three-way primary election with Isaac Sasson, a retired professor and cancer researcher.

“We’re not ruling out a run in the future,” Messer said. “We have so much support in the community now, everyone knows we are here to stay.”

 

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NYC Dance Week offers free, discounted classes in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo: Anna I. Kuzmina

NYC Dance Week, a 10-day festival of free and discounted dance, fitness and wellness classes from June 19 to June 28, offers instruction in a variety of traditions–from modern dance, bhangra and capoeira to ballet, hip-hop and soca, plus classes in yoga, pilates and zumba.

Studios offering free dance classes in Queens include Dancing Feet in Forest Hills and Vibez Studio and Pilates Bodies NY in Flushing. Dancing Feet is also offering discounted classes.

Click here to see all the free classes and the discounted classes here.

Required registration for NYC Dance Week Passes is open online here.

Sponsor Harkness Center for Dance Injuries is also hosting two informative learning events for Dance Week participants. On Thursday, June 19 at 2:30 p.m., Harkness will offer an Injury Prevention Seminar at the Peridance Capezio Center in Manhattan, and on Monday, June 23 at 4:00 p.m., participants can attend a Health & Wellness Q&A Session at Gibney Dance Center in Manhattan. Attendees may also sign-up for free Injury Prevention Assessments during the festival.

Additionally, participants are also invited to watch performances of new dance works at a special showcase by its sister project, NYC10, at Dixon Place in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 25.

 

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Bayside couple sues TLC after husband accused of being illegal cabbie


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A Bayside couple is suing the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) for $3 million, claiming that agents racially profiled them after they wrongfully busted the husband for being an illegal cab driver, according to published reports.

Dan Keys, 66, was driving his wife, Symone Palermo, 53, to her job at Bob’s Discount Furniture store in Flushing in May 2013 when the incident occurred, reports said.

TLC investigators reportedly pulled Keys over after he dropped off his wife in their Lincoln Town Car and accused of him of operating an illegal taxi. Palermo was sitting in the back of the vehicle because the front passenger seat was wet.

Keys tried to explain that the passenger was his wife, and when Palermo arrived to try to help, they were both issued summonses because the car is registered in her name, according to published reports. They also seized the vehicle.

The suit, filed in Queens Supreme Court, claims that Keys was only stopped because investigators “observed an African-American male driving what they thought to be a white female,” the New York Daily News reported.

The suit is also claiming that the city and TLC violates civil rights because they “instruct its employees to target and single out vehicles operated by minorities with white passengers, the Daily News said.

A judge dismissed the summonses, but the couple did not get their car back for eight days, when they won their case, according published reports.

The TLC declined to comment pending litigation, reports said.

 

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Flushing Jewish center to donate $125K ambulance to Israel


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy American Friends of Magen David Adom


This gift is only to be opened in emergencies. 

The Garden Jewish Center, a Flushing congregation that is merging with the Bay Terrace Jewish Center, is donating a $125,000 ambulance truck to Magen David Adom, Israel’s only emergency medical response organization.

In order to prepare for the merger, the Garden Jewish Center sold its building for about $3 million and chose to donate a percentage of the sale, which includes the gift of the ambulance truck. There will be a ceremony for the donation at the Bay Terrace Jewish Center on June 29.

“It’s wonderful. We are very happy, because it is something that is needed in Israel,” said Marilyn Bitterman, who is president of the Garden Jewish Center and will be co-president after the merger is complete. “As the rabbi of Bay Terrace had indicated, it’s a gift that we are giving, but we hope that it’s never used.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The ambulance will be assembled by General Motors in Indiana and shipped to Israel six months following the dedication. It is different than an American ambulance in that it’s narrower to fit smaller roads.

Israel is in constant need of ambulances, a representative of American Friends of Magen David Adom (AFMDA) said. Every year the organization is faced with replacing nearly 15 percent of its fleet of more than 120 vehicles because the trucks experience significantly more stress and wear-and-tear than most vehicles when serving the country’s 8 million people.

“It’s an extraordinary feeling to save a life in Israel, and with this new ambulance our friends in Queens will be doing just that,” said Gary Perl, the AFMDA northeast regional director. “Plus, there’s the ‘double mitzvah’ of knowing that the [ambulance] was built in the United States by American workers, and will be shipped to Israel to save lives.”

 

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Flushing dance studio to celebrate 50th anniversary


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


The Mildred Scilla School of Dance hasn’t lost a step in half a century.

The Flushing studio on 164th Street will turn 50 years old this September and it continues to be a staple in the neighborhood, which has changed greatly during the last half-century.

The school currently has nearly 200 students, and Councilman Paul Vallone recently presented the studio with a citation honoring the upcoming anniversary.

“We represent quality, professionalism, nurturing and caring, and it’s been received that way from the community,” said owner Gary Gendell. “We still enjoy what we are doing. It’s not a business. It’s a way for us to give back to the community based on our backgrounds.”

Mildred Scilla, a member of The Rockettes in the 1940s and 1950s, opened the studio in her Flushing basement in 1964 to teach dance to children in the neighborhood. Her own children grew up learning to dance in the studio as well.

Photo courtesy Sandy Gendell

“We knew everybody in the neighborhood. All the neighborhood kids came to our house,” said Sandy Gendell, Scilla’s daughter. “There was always a lot going on. It was a lot of fun for us.”

Scilla moved the studio to its current location in 1974 after the studio gained popularity. When she died in 1998, Sandy took control of the dance school with Gary. They believe the studio’s tradition and their individual performance experience has helped it thrive.

Sandy followed in her mother’s footsteps and joined The Rockettes in 1970. She performed in the famous shows in Radio City Music Hall until 1978. Gary, meanwhile, acted on Broadway in the original productions of Annie and Chicago, and he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show as a dancer in the early ‘70s.

The pair said embracing the diversity that has come to Flushing through the 50 years has also played a major role and helped them grow with the neighborhood.

“As the neighborhood changes you have to change with it,” Sandy said. “We’re probably the last original people on this block.”

 

 

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Exotic dancers, Flushing strip club manager arrested in scheme to drug men, run up credit cards


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

samantha 4

A manager of a Flushing strip club and four adult entertainers were arrested in a plot to drug wealthy men and run up costly bills at topless establishments, officials said.

The exotic dancers are accused of slipping the drugs, which included cocaine, ketamine and Molly, into the victims’ drinks and taking them to Roadhouse NYC Gentlemen’s Club in Flushing and Scores in Manhattan, according to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office.

Photo: Anthony DelMundo/New York Daily News

 

During the scheme, between September and December 2013, around $200,000 was charged to the men’s credit cards.

Working together the women would allegedly prey on the four victims, who included medical, legal and financial professionals, in upscale New York area bars and restaurants. After they were drugged, the men would then be taken to the strip clubs, where unauthorized charges were made on their cards, authorities said.

The men reported having little to no memory of their ordeals and when they would try to reverse the charges, they would receive threatening text messages.

Karina Pasucci

Authorities arrested the four entertainers, Samantha Barbash, Roselyn Keo, Marsi Rosen and Karina Pasucci, earlier this week. All of the women were charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and forgery. Barbash, Keo and Rosen were also charged with assault, according to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office.

A manager at the Roadhouse NYC Gentleman’s Club, Carmine Vitolo, who was arrested Wednesday morning, was charged with conspiracy, grand larceny and tampering with physical evidence, officials said.

Barbash, Keo and Rosen were arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court Tuesday. As of press time, Pasucci and Vitolo were expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

Roadhouse NYC Gentleman’s Club could not be immediately reached for comment.

 

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Flushing school combats bullying through martial arts


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Chris Bumbaca

CHRIS BUMBACA

As schools nationwide implement anti-bullying tactics, the Veritas Academy in Flushing is combating bullying in an innovative and unique way.

While most schools lecture their students about bullying, the Veritas Academy has started a new way to repel bullying in school: taekwondo.

A moving-up ceremony was held Monday afternoon in the school’s auditorium for students who participated in a Korean elective class, in which taekwondo was held three times a week after school as a supplement to the class. Most students graduated from a yellow belt to an orange belt, while a handful ascended from a white belt to a yellow belt.

The class emphasized Korean heritage and tradition, and as much as the presentation was part of the anti-bullying campaign, it was also a celebration of Korean culture.

The ceremony included a showcase of an early childhood bullying-prevention performing arts program performed by the Korean Traditional Dance and Music Team. The musicians and dancers taught kids about the signs of bullying through an engaging performance filled with music and emotion. The dance, integrated with taekwondo moves, told a story about a girl being bullied by her peers and how she was able to overcome the obstacle through self-fortitude and the help of others.

“If students are educated and feel good about themselves and have self-esteem they won’t feel the need to bully,” founding principal Cheryl Quatrano said. “They’ll know what to do about it and help other students that are being bullied.”

Aside from the self-defense aspect of taekwondo, there is a large mental facet of the art. Regina Im, the executive director of “Korea Taekwondo,” the taekwondo school that taught the program at Veritas, stressed the importance of self-change to her students and the crowd.

She asked the children questions that correlated with the five main principles of taekwondo: respect, humility, perseverance, self-control and honesty, which are all traits essential in the battle against bullying.

“Are we able to change others?” Im asked. “Are we able to change ourselves?”

 

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Queens native has TV plans for Naked Catering business


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Pamela Young

A Queens native is ready to bare it all on television in the hopes of taking his unique catering business to the next level.

Pieps LeBreton (“Chef Pieps” as he likes to be called), is the owner of Naked Catering, a company that combines gourmet food with sexy servers, who are usually decked out in body paint.

Chef Pieps founded Naked Catering in Los Angeles in 2003, after graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in 2000.

He left Queens, where he mainly lived in Flushing, in 1985, around the age of 25, to go to Hollywood and pursue a career as a producer. For about 15 years he worked on everything from music videos to commercials and television shows, but “things got a little tiresome,” and he decided to go back to a passion he had since childhood.

“I’ve cooked all my life,” said Chef Pieps, adding that his father always said he should be a professional cook.

Chef Pieps

After doing on-the-set catering and private cooking, Chef Pieps started thinking about an idea of sexily-clad servers, but wasn’t truly inspired until he saw actress Demi Moore body painted in a magazine. He then thought of painting females servers in sexy tuxes.

He came up with a name as bold as the idea — “Naked Catering” — and in six months launched his business.

“I was ahead of my time … some people thought it was pornographic,” he said.
Chef Pieps said some people were squeamish about the concept, “but when people saw it, it was a wow factor.”

Women are as fascinated with the concept as men, and want to hire his catering service for their husbands’ birthdays, anniversaries; he even has done a wedding.

Naked Catering also has male servers, and women who wear sexy outfits, not just body paint, depending on the type of party the customer wants.

“You’d be surprised, a lot of girls who you wouldn’t think would want to do it, want to do it,” said Chef Pieps, who’s had an attorney, teacher and school bus driver work as body-painted servers.

Though he says his catering service has been a success on the West Coast, and his servers were even featured on E!’s “12 Sexiest Hollywood Jobs,” Chef Pieps is looking to bring it to the next level.

He’s currently trying to launch his business on the East Coast, first in Florida, and soon in New York City.

Chef Pieps is also shopping around a reality TV show that he describes as “Hell’s Kitchen meets Bad Girls” that will document his catering business.

He has also shot 13 episodes of a cooking/talk show program that is set to air in Europe. Chef Pieps calls himself a “Chef Extraordinaire,” and the show, which has plans to also air in the U.S., will showcase other similar chefs.

He explains it as a cook who takes any type of food and gives it a new kind of flavor.

“[A ‘Chef Extraordinaire’] is not afraid to try something different and attack it at a different level.”

 

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