Tag Archives: Forest Hills

Pedestrian killed while crossing Queens Boulevard


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A woman was fatally struck on Queens Boulevard as she was crossing the roadway in Forest Hills Saturday night, cops said.

The victim, who was in her 60s, was near 71st Avenue about 10:30 p.m. when she was hit by a Chevrolet Malibu, police said. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to an initial investigation, the accident happened while the victim was crossing in the marked crosswalk against the traffic light, officials said.

The driver remained on the scene and there were no arrests made. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Police seek suspect in Forest Hills slashing of teen


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

An 18-year-old was attacked last week in Forest Hills when a man slashed him before fleeing, cops said.

The assault happened about 4 p.m. on April 9 near 62nd Avenue and Yellowstone Boulevard, according to police.

The teen, who was injured above his right ear and required stitches, was treated at a local hospital and released, officials said.

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’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Sunny. High near 50. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Wednesday night: Clear skies. Low 36. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Master Builder Lego Animation Workshops

In this 60-minute workshop, children work in production teams to plan and create a stop-motion animated movie using LEGOs. Ages 8+. $5 materials fee. 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily at the Museum of the Moving Image through April 22. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Man makes anti-Muslim statements, spits on teen girl aboard Queens bus: cops

A 15-year-old girl was harassed while riding a Queens bus last week when a man made anti-Muslim remarks toward her, spat at the teen and threatened her, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Police seek suspect in Forest Hills slashing of 18-year-old

A teen was attacked last week in Forest Hills when a man slashed him before fleeing, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

NYPD to end Muslim surveillance program

The New York Police Department said Tuesday it has disbanded a special unit whose efforts to try to detect terror threats in Muslim communities through secret surveillance sparked outrage. Read more: AP

De Blasio signs law protecting interns from discrimination, sexual harassment

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation Tuesday that ensures the city’s law against discrimination applies to interns, whether they’re paid or not. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NY claws back $3.9B in evaded taxes

New York officials report collecting $3.9 billion in evaded taxes over the past year, an increase of about $200 million or five percent over the prior year. Read more: New York Post 

Woman throws coffee, punch at F train rider: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A 53-year-old woman received quite a jolt on a Queens subway train last week when a fellow rider threw coffee in her face before punching her, according to police.

The assault happened aboard an F train as it was traveling through the Rego Park/Forest Hills area on April 2, cops said.

The victim received minor injuries as a result of the attack, officials said.

Police have released a photo of the woman wanted in the assault and describe her as about 5 feet 1 inch tall.

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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Global lime shortage squeezes Queens bars, restaurants


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Sophia Rosenbaum

SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Brother, can you spare a lime?

Frequent customers at El Rey Del Taco truck may be confused when they open the Styrofoam container with their tacos to find a wedge of lemon, instead of lime, in their trays.

Limes are too expensive for the taco truck to afford right now, as a global lime shortage is affecting restaurants and bars throughout Queens. Most of the limes used in the U.S. come from Mexico, where heavy rains and an infectious tree disease affecting the lime crop have forced lime prices to quadruple over the past few months.

“Unfortunately, Mexico received some heavy rains that destroyed a large amount of the lime crop, so with limited supplies, we are seeing lime prices skyrocket,” said Lindsey Pope, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

At local supermarkets like Key Food and Trade Fair, three limes cost $3. Three months ago, customers could buy a dozen limes for the same price. In the past few months, prices for 10-pound cases of limes have gone from about $30 to about $120.

While the taco truck can get away with replacing limes with lemons, some businesses are not afforded that option.

“We do a lot of custom cocktails, so not using fresh juice just isn’t an option for us,” said Vincent Vee, the beer and event manager at Station House in Forest Hills.

Vee said it’s common for prices of fresh fruit to fluctuate, especially when natural disasters like droughts affect Mexico, but that this lime shortage has been especially long.

“[The prices are] staying up a little longer than normal this time,” he said. “We’re hoping they come down soon.”

Like other restaurants and bars, Station House is limiting its lime garnishes and ensuring that its employees use the limes in the most efficient way possible.

Limes are an integral part of many Mexican dishes. Fresh lime juice makes up a third of most traditional margarita recipes.

Mojave, a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, is trying to limit its use of limes to the bare minimum.

“We’re just trying to compensate,” said Maya Stephanov, a bartender at Mojave.

Stephanov said that limes are a staple at almost every bar in the city, as a slice of lime is often paired with vodka cranberries, gin and tonics and other specialty drinks.

 

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Super-sized chocolate bunny raises money for Alzheimer research


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

bunny

SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Aigner Chocolates is serving up something extra sweet this year for Easter.

The chocolate company based in Forest Hills has been making chocolate bunnies of all sizes for decades, but this year, its three-foot-tall, 17-pound milk chocolate bunny named Harvey will satisfy more than a few chocolate cravings.

Customers can buy raffle tickets for $1 to have a chance to win Harvey, which has a retail value of $400. All proceeds for the raffle are going to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer Research, a regional charity that puts more than 80 percent of its money toward research.

The original owners of Aigner Chocolates — John Aigner and Ester Tarp — were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“It’s very close to our hearts,” said Christopher Aigner, the original owners’ grandson and current vice president. “We thought this would be a fun and festive way to raise funds and awareness for fighting this terrible disease.”

Harvey’s name plays homage to James Stewart’s invisible best friend in the 1950s classic “Harvey,” one of the Aigner family’s favorite films.

Smaller two-foot-tall chocolate bunnies named Easter Ester after Aigner’s grandmother are available in dark, milk and white chocolate. Aigner Chocolates also sells an array of other chocolatey treats including chocolate-covered marshmallow peeps, German papier-mâché eggs and marshmallow eggs.

 

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Pair sought in Forest Hills bank robbery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Two men robbed a Forest Hills bank Friday, taking more than $1,000 before fleeing, cops said.

The theft took place about 3 p.m. at a TD Bank on 108th Street, according to police.

After the suspects walked into the branch, they allegedly approached the teller and demanded money.  One of the suspects jumped over the counter and removed money from the drawer, then both men escaped in an unknown direction with about $1,700, officials said.

Police describe the first suspect as 25 to 30 years old and about 5 feet 11 inches tall with a slim build. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and sunglasses, and has a beard. The second suspect is about 24 to 25 years old and 6 feet 1 inch tall with a slim build.

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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Car share service comes to Forest Hills


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Carpingo

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A Brooklyn-based car share company is rolling into Queens.

Carpingo, a subset of All Car Rent-a-Car, opened its second location in Queens in Forest Hills Friday, part of a plan to accelerate their business into the second most populous borough.

The company, which opened in Brooklyn in 2012, has more than 40 locations in its home borough, but officials said they’ve had their eyes on Queens for a while and are thinking of expanding here because of the wide potential for more users.

“Shared mobility is a big, big deal,” said Gladstone McFarlane, director of business development for Carpingo. “It’s something that is catching on. I know people who have owned cars, but are moving on, because they see a financial benefit or an environmental benefit.”

Registered Carpingo members can reserve cars online or from their mobile devices at any time during the day. Then they can pick up the cars from local parking garages and use membership cards to access the vehicles.

Carpingo’s Long Island City location opened last year, but since then the company has had trouble expanding in Queens while fighting rivals such as Zipcar. Now it’s moving forward cautiously with its new location.

The Forest Hills site has just two cars in the Central Parking garage on Queens Boulevard, but McFarlane said based on its performance they’ll add more cars and different makes and models.

“We’re a small company and we are trying to be the little engine that could,” McFarlane said. “Once we gauge activity then we will proceed.”

 

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Suspect swiping checks from Queens mailboxes


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A suspect has been raiding Queens mailboxes for checks, then cashing them in for larger amounts of money, according to police.

Cops said eight thefts have taken place around Yellowstone Boulevard or 108th Street between Dec. 29 and March 22.

After the checks were removed from the mailboxes, they were each altered to a larger sum of money and deposited into ATMs, officials said. The suspect or suspects then take the cash from the accounts.

Police have released a photo of a suspect taken from a Bank of America ATM taken at 248 East Fordham Rd.

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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Katz names Queens representative on Panel for Educational Policy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz has picked Deborah Dillingham of Forest Hills to serve on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).

The 13-member board, with representatives from each borough, votes to approve school policies, many which are controversial. Each borough president appoints one member to the PEP and the mayor appoints eight.

“Through her extensive work with our city’s school system, Deborah has shown she has the knowledge, savvy and commitment necessary to be an outstanding member of the Panel for Educational Policy,” Katz said.

Dillingham was president of District 28’s Community Education Council and served on the Queens Borough President’s Parent Advisory Committee, the District 28 Leadership Team and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee.

The mom of three was also president of the Parent’s Association of P.S. 101.

“She cares deeply about our children and the schooling they receive and has a track record of making sure our kids get the best education possible,” Katz said. “I know she will be a great asset to the PEP.”

Dillingham replaces Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s appointee, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, who battled against school closures and co-location plans under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

Fedkowskyj, of Middle Village, is mulling a run against incumbent State Senator Marge Markey.

 

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NYC business owner offers to dig out your car for free


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

This season’s snow has left New Yorkers with plenty of winter woes, but one local businessman wants to help ease one.

Bill Lerner, owner of garage firm iPark, is offering to dig motorists parked within a five block radius of any of his 125 parking garages out of the snow for free.

If a driver’s car is stuck, call 917-209-2105 and someone will be dispatched to help.

“We just want to be a good neighbor to everybody in the community,” Lerner said. “I think we all need to help each other out.”

Following one of the recent storms, Lerner was walking around Manhattan, where he lives, and noticed all the cars locked in the “frozen tundra” of ice and snow.

Lerner then realized he had hundreds of men at his disposable who could lend a hand.

During the morning and evening commutes, from 7 to 10 a.m., and 4 to 7 p.m., his garage workers are busy. But in between those hours they have time to grab a shovel and start digging, he thought.

Shoveling out a car is strenuous work, he said, but many of his employees are young and physically fit.

In Queens, there are five iPark garages in Rego Park and Forest Hills, located at 105-25 Gerard Pl., 110-45 Queens Blvd., 98-10 64th St., 98-33 63rd Dr. and 62-60 99th St..

There are also garages throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. For their locations, click here.

It’s best to call between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Lerner said, when his men are likely to be available.

The offer is good “until the snow melts.”

He hopes next year’s winter will not be as bad as this one. But, Lerner said if it is, he is “going to pitch in and help the community” again.

 

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Forest Hills restaurant files claim demanding city pay for damage done by snow plow


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of Exo Cafe

A Forest Hills restaurant that suffered thousands of dollars in damage from a Department of Sanitation plow truck accident wants the city to pay for the repairs.

Customers were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. on Feb. 13 when the city snow plow struck a garbage can full of snow ice, which then hit the restaurant, police said.

The accident damaged the eatery’s winter vestibule and shattered some of its windows, according to the establishment’s owners, who captured the incident on their surveillance video.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, police said.

The restaurant was able to quickly clean up the mess and resume regular business, but still needs money to repair the nearly $50,000 in destruction, said owner Peter Kambitsis.

Though Exo Cafe has filed a claim through its own insurance, Kambitsis believes the city is financially responsible.

“Why should we go through our insurance when they have their insurance,” Kambitsis asked.

Kambitsis said he filed a claim with the City Comptroller’s Office on Feb. 18. Since then, representatives from the city have come to the restaurant to examine the structural damage.

As of Monday, he is still waiting to see when or if he will be reimbursed.

A spokesperson for the Comptroller’s Office said the claim was still under review.

The Department of Sanitation conducted an investigation into the accident and said it “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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Police seek Forest Hills, Kew Gardens purse snatcher who threatens to cut victims


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos and video courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a Queens purse snatcher who grabs his victims using a bear hug and threatens to cut them, according to police.

The suspect first targeted a woman about 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 11 as she was walking on Lefferts Boulevard near Metropolitan Avenue, the NYPD said. After approaching the woman, the suspect pushed her up against a fence, then displayed a box cutter and took her purse. He then fled on foot.

A day later, just before midnight, the suspect exited a dark colored four door sedan and grabbed a woman in a bear hug as she was walking along Continental Avenue near Dartmouth Street, according to police. He then threatened to cut the victim, though no knife was displayed, and stole her purse. The suspect took off in the car.

On Feb. 19, the suspect again grabbed a woman in a bear hug as she was walking down Austin Street near 71st Road about 1:45 a.m., cops said. He pressed an unknown sharp object against the victim’s hand and took her purse. The suspect then fled in a dark colored four door sedan.

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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John Messer ‘seriously considering’ another State Senate run


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

John Messer is mulling over another State Senate run, he told The Courier.

“I am dedicated to this community, which is why I have been driven towards public service and am seriously considering a run for New York State Senate,” he said.

It would be the Oakland Gardens attorney’s third try at defeating incumbent State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has held the seat for nearly 15 years.

Most recently, Messer lost a contentious two-way Democratic primary to Stavisky in 2012. 

The heated race was waged principally on negative campaign attacks. Stavisky won 58 percent of the vote.

But Messer said he has not lost momentum since then.

“I believe now, more than ever, that this is a community I want to represent,” said the 43-year-old small business owner. “If anything, it’s a stronger feeling.”

“There are things you to look at before you decide to run — finances, family,” Messer said. “We’ll make a decision soon.”

Mike Murphy, a Senate Democratic spokesperson, said Stavisky has been a “vocal ally” for middle class families and recalled Messer’s previous losses.

“She enjoys wide support from all corners of her diverse district and has now defeated Mr. Messer twice despite the fact that he has spent over $1 million,” Murphy said. “The voters of the district see Mr. Messer for what he is — a Republican surrogate.”

The district encompasses parts of Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Bayside, Oakland Gardens, Rego Park, Elmhurst, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

 

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VIDEO: NYC plow truck sends trash can of snow, ice into Forest Hills restaurant


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photos courtesy of Elias Kalogiros/Exo Cafe

Updated Monday, Feb. 17, 12:00 p.m.

Several customers were injured after a New York City Department of Sanitation plow truck sent a trash can of snow and ice into a Forest Hills restaurant Thursday night.

Diners were sitting in Exo Cafe, at 70-20 Austin St., about 10:55 p.m. when the accident damaged the restaurant’s winter vestibule and  shattered some of its windows, according to Elias Kalogiros, the establishment’s owner.

Police said the city plow truck hit the garbage can, which then struck the vestibule.

A 36-year-old man and a 27-year-old woman were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, according to the NYPD.

“We were really upset about what happened. We thought it was complete negligence,” Kalogiros said.

“If somebody was standing inside of the vestibule…they would have got hurt or even died.”

The truck driver, who said he didn’t know what had happened, kept going, but was flagged down, according to Kalogiros.

Kalogiros wasn’t at the restaurant at the time of the incident, but was able to see it later through surveillance video.

“It looked from the video that [the plow truck] was reckless,” he said.

In a statement, the Department of Sanitation said it conducted an investigation into the accident and “is taking disciplinary action against the operators of the equipment.”

 

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