Tag Archives: Forest Park

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Low of 30 with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 25 mph

EVENT OF THE DAY: Spectacle: The Music Video

Spectacle: The Music Video at the Museum of the Moving Image explores the history and art of music videos in a first-of-its-kind exhibit. With 300 videos, artifacts and interactive installations it shows the cultural influence of music videos over the past 35 years, emphasizing their role in new creative technology and how they have pushed the boundaries of creative production. On view April 3-June 16. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Manhunt under way in Kissena Park after suspects flee

The NYPD is searching Kissena Park in Queens after officers pursued robbery suspects into the park Wednesday morning. Read more: ABC New York

Arrest in Forest Park attempted rape

Four days after a female jogger was attacked in Forest Park, police arrested Richard Kassebaum, 42, in connection with the assault. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Massive fire tears through concrete plant in Queens

A massive second-alarm fire burned through a concrete plant in Queens overnight. Read more: ABC New York

Pols, constituents shocked by Sen. Malcolm Smith bribery charge

After spending years under an ethical cloud, state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s arrest Tuesday was less surprising to many of his Albany colleagues than what he was actually arrested for.  Read more: New York Daily News 

Jackson Heights leaders push for slow zone on Northern Blvd.

A rash of accidents along Northern Boulevard could be a sign that the northwestern Queens thoroughfare is becoming the new “Boulevard of Death.” Read more: New York Daily News

Obama, in Colorado, to press for gun measures

In danger of losing congressional momentum, President Barack Obama is drawing attention to Colorado’s newly passed gun control laws as he applies public pressure on Congress to pass similar federal measures. Read more: AP

Arrest in Forest Park attempted rape


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Four days after a female jogger was attacked in Forest Park, police arrested Richard Kassebaum, 42, in connection with the assault.

Kassebaum, of Howard Beach, was charged with attempted predatory sexual assault, attempted rape and sex abuse on Tuesday, April 2.

The victim, 23, was running on the horse trail of the park bordering Union Turnpike around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 29 when police say the suspect came out of the woods, tasered her and pulled her into the brush, where he attempted to rape her.

She was able to break free, police said, and later taken to the hospital for head and neck injuries.
Police presence was beefed up in the park to look for the suspect.

Over the years, bodies have been found in Forest Park and it’s notorious for housing homeless people.
But one man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he walks in the park almost daily and this was the first time he heard someone was hit with a stun gun.

Normally, he said, people will exercise late at night, but concern of people being mugged or attacked was relatively low.

“I think the park is pretty safe,” he said as he power-walked near the Bandshell on Monday, April 1.

Gloria Fitzgerald, who came from Brooklyn to walk her dog in the park, hadn’t heard about the attack, but said she was shocked.

“I’ve always felt safe here,” said Fitzgerald.

— Additional Reporting by Melissa Chan

 

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Forest Park Carousel opens for season


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Anthony O’Reilly

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

History is spinning again at Forest Park.

NY Carousel, the ride’s operator, flipped the switch for the 40-year-old Forest Park Carousel on March 23.

The attraction closed operations in 2008, but reopened last Memorial Day weekend after undergoing extreme renovations, according to Ami Abramson, one of the directors of NY Carousel.

“This year we’re excited to start it earlier,” Abramson said. “We updated everything and it was a lot of hard work.”

Abramson said in addition to cleaning up the hand-carved animals, the mechanics of the carousel were also worked on in preparation for this year’s riders.

“We intend this thing to work for many, many years,” Abramson said.

The current carousel originally opened in 1973, after the original one was completely destroyed in a 1966 fire.

Unseasonably cold weather didn’t stop local parents from bringing their children to be one of the first riders of 2013.

Jennifer Lambert of Woodhaven said she brought her daughter, Esmeralda, to the carousel many times last summer.

“The community here is really nice,” she said. “[Abramson] is learning everyone’s name from around here. He remembered Esmeralda.”

“We will be here all summer,” she added.

Adults riding for the first time this season felt nostalgic while on the ride with their children. Jennifer Dunbar, a resident of Kew Gardens, said the carousel brings back memories of her own childhood.

“For my childhood we either went to the beach or carnival,” she said. “It’s also a chance to experience a part of New York history.”

Dunbar said she plans to host her son Nico’s first birthday party at the carousel.

“This is great,” she said. “I know the kids are going to love it.”

The carousel will be open through October 27, according to forestparkcarousel.com. For information on hours of operation, visit the website or call 718-788-2676.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 39 with a windchill as low as 19. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Northern Boulevard in the Footsteps of Gatsby at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is wrapping up the latest remake of The Great Gatsby starting Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in NYC during the 1920s Jazz Age, this is the first serious drama attempting to render a major city in 3-D. The evening’s lecture starts with a brief history of Northern Boulevard and pictures from the time that the fictional Gatsby would have seen as he took his legendary drive through the borough. The program’s second half shows the film’s interpretation of locations based on the actual images sent to the production team. (The Greater Astoria Historical Society is credited as historical adviser to the movie production.) Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Body discovered near Forest Park

A man walking his dog near Forest Park found a man unconscious and unresponsive. Read more: Queens Courier

Mayor Bloomberg booed at St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways

Mayor Bloomberg was dogged by jeers as he marched in a St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways, booed by some residents frustrated with the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

United Way donating $5M to Sandy communities

The United Way of New York City is distributing $5 million in aid to communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Fox New York/AP

MTA tries new sterilization method to control rat population: report

Transit officials are ready to try a new sterilization method to limit the amount of rodents infesting New York City’s subways, according to a published report. Read more: NBC New York

Grieving mother still waiting for change five years after son was killed on Queens Blvd.

Lizi Rahman still visits the white “ghost” bike on Queens Blvd. to occasionally swap out fresh flowers at the memorial for her son, Asif. Read more: New York Daily News

Cardinals begin pre-conclave meetings amid scandal

Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid scandals inside and out of the Vatican and the continued reverberations of Benedict XVI’s decision to retire. Read more: AP

Body discovered near Forest Park


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Google Maps

A man walking his dog near Forest Park found a man unconscious and unresponsive.

On Sunday, March 3, around 11:40 a.m., officers responded to a 9-1-1 call of a fire at the corner of Freedom Drive and Park South Drive just off of Woodhaven Boulevard. Police were met by a man walking his dog, who said his dog found the victim. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police.

According to the New York Daily News, the victim was a homeless man who died when he accidentally caught fire from a blaze he set to keep warm.

The identity of the deceased is pending proper notiication. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Queensway closer to reality


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Because of a state-secured grant, the much debated Queensway project is one step closer to getting off the ground.

The Trust for Park Land has received $467,000 from Governor Andrew Cuomo to study the feasibility of a three-and-a-half mile greenway on what once was the Rockaway Beach LIRR line.

This study would look at the plethora of things that go into converting the abandoned rail line into parkland, including engineering requirements, the environmental impact of the project and community feedback. Because more homes have been built around the tracks since service stopped in 1963, any use of the land would require studies to see how it will affect residents.

Friends of the Queensway, an advocacy group for the nature space, say it’s the first step in making the five-year-old dream come true.

“This is tremendous,” said Friends of the Queensway member Andrea Crawford. “This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The walkway, expected to be double the size of Manhattan’s High Line, would celebrate the culture and diversity of Queens, Crawford said. If approved, it would run through neighborhoods such as Forest Hills, Woodhaven and Richmond Hill.

“There’s a hundred and something languages spoken within a mile of the Queensway,” she said. “So that’s what makes this so exciting. It really represents Queens.”

Others, however, have different ideas on what the land could be used for, particularly transportation for south and central Queens. A new Rockaway LIRR line would connect south Queens to the rest of the borough via mass transit, ease traffic problems and streamline a significantly long commute to Manhattan.

Either project would potentially run right through the middle of Forest Park as well.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder, who has pushed for a new Rockaway Beach LIRR, thinks this new study should include a look at new transportation options as well. Goldfeder said he is working with rail advocates to ensure transportation is included in the study.

“I am opposed to any plan, or any study, that would exclude the opportunity and possibility of transportation via rail line,” he said. “I’m working with transportation and rail advocates that will work with the Trust for Public Land and do a rail feasibility study at the same time.”

Some just want the strip of land to be cleaned up and maintained.

The Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) has not taken a position on either side, but instead thinks the city should address the years of neglect. Either project would misuse state funds and be disruptive to residents living around the area — effectively ruining the character of the neighborhood, said WRBA President Ed Wendell.

“We heard from our residents; they’re dead-set against either plan,” Wendell said.

Man found dead in Forest Park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Robert Stridiron

A man was discovered dead in a Forest Park parking lot early this morning with cuts to his wrists and arms.

The man, who has not been identified, was found in the parking lot next to the George Seuffert Bandshell at 4:30 a.m and declared dead at the scene.

According to reports, a Parks Department found the man, said to be in his 20s, before calling 9-1-1.

The investigation is ongoing.

What to do with the kids this weekend


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

QUEENS

Saturday, September 8

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., This first-ever LIC Block Party will feature artist-led activity tents, a stage with live music, interactive performances and a community-built, large-scale temporary sculpture. Guests will also find the Artist Market with a selection of the best affordable and functional art and objects and a family-friendly food court with goodies from local restaurants. Activity tents include Tarot readings, pom-pom making, Cubist face painting, carnival games, “discover your inner child,” balloon activities, ask a lawyer, neighborhood walks, wondrous disguises and costumes

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., The Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning will celebrate its 40th anniversary with workshop previews, face painting, a DJ, arts and crafts, on-site workshop registration and one-day-only discounts.

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Come to the Back to School festival at Little Bay Park for an afternoon full of fun activities including inflatable rides, arts and crafts projects, and free giveaways.

Sunday, September 9

10 a.m. – 6 p.m., The Richmond Hill Block Association will be hosting its 39th Annual Park Fair  at the Buddy Monument in Forest Park. There will be food, crafts, live entertainment, raffles for prizes, a pet adoption event and much more.

1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., The whole family can come to the Queens Museum of Art for tours and hands-on art making workshops connected to the exhibition Tiffany: The Glass. The exhibit explores the colors, patterns, textures and types of glass made for and used by Tiffany Studios. With the transition from summer to fall, this Sunday attendees can look at the change of the seasons depicted in Tiffany Glass.

 

AROUND QUEENS

Saturday, September 8

Explore the movement in New York City at the Center for Architecture. Children and parents can come and watch video examples of dance on city streets and in buildings, then learn how to create simple dances together as a family. Each family will receive a recording of their dance as a keepsake of their kinetic design.

Saturday, September 8 – Sunday September 9

11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., At the 32nd Annual Brookhaven Country Fair there will be fun activities and entertainment the whole family, including traditional crafts, primitive cooking, Irish step dancing, Revolutionary War and Civil War re-enactments, pony rides, live music and more. Admission to the fair is $2 for adults and children under 12 are free. Parking is free.

Sunday, September 9

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m., Watch the epic story of New York City’s drinking water supply unfold in an original production by Arm-of-the-Sea Theater in Central Park‘s natural playground, the Peter J. Sharp Children’s Glade, through puppets, music and poetry.

2:00 p.m. (Doors: 1:30 p.m.), Come to the Hip Tot Music Fest, family-friendly live music series in Brooklyn. There will also be arts and crafts, face painting, local food and giveaways.

 

Police search for sexual assault suspect in Forest Park


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a man wanted for forcibly touching a woman in Forest Park this week.

On Wednesday, August 15, a woman was approached by the victim in Forest Park who proceeded to push her to the ground and forcibly touch her, law enforcement said.

Police described the suspect as a white male between 25-35 years old, 5-feet-8-inches to 6-feet tall with blond hair.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). All calls are strictly confidential.

 

Day trips in and around Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Montauk's Camp Hero State Park

QUEENS

Forest Park
Myrtle Avenue, Union Turnpike, Park Lane South between Brooklyn-Queens County Line and Park Lane

This large park has 165 acres of trees, a golf course,  riding trails, historic carousel and more.

Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35 Ave., Astoria

Learn all about the magic of film at the country’s only museum dedicated to the art, history, technique and technology of the moving image in all its forms. After you check out the exhibits, stick around for one of its evening screenings. 

New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St., Corona

You don’t need to be a science geek to have fun at this museum, featuring over 450 interactive exhibits that any curious child will love.

Queens County Farm Museum
73-50 Little Neck Parkway, Floral Park

The only working historical farm in the city, visitors can check out the fields, vineyard, farm implements and various farm animals.

Queens Botanical Gardens
43-50 Main St., Flushing

The beautiful gardens and trees provide an urban escape for visitors who can walk around for hours through its 39 acres.

Queens Zoo
53-51 111th St. in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park 

Queens locals don’t have to travel very far to see animals, such as tropical birds, alligators, pumas and bears, at this zoo inside Flushing Meadows Park

The Noguchi Museum
9-01 33rd Road, Long Island City

Founded and designed by internationally renowned Japanese-American artist Isamu Noguchi, this LIC museum is noted for its sculpture garden.

 

 


AROUND QUEENS

American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport
1230 New Highway, Farmingdale, NY

Both the young and old will enjoy this museum of historic aircraft and military vehicles at Republic Airport. 

Bronx Zoo
2300 South Blvd., Bronx 

Not only is this zoo the largest in New York City, it is also one of the largest urban zoos in the country. Throughout the year visitors can check out its hundreds of animal species, children’s zoo, butterfly garden, camel rides and much more. [Photo courtesy of Bronx Zoo]

Brotherhood Winery
100 Brotherhood Plaza Drive, Washingtonville, NY

Dating back to 1839, Brotherhood is America’s oldest winery, and offers tours and tastings. [Photo by Tomas Donoso]

Camp Hero State Park
1898 Montauk Highway, Montauk, NY

This 415-acre park provides a variety of outdoor enjoyment, including extensive trails, a long expanse of beachfront along the Atlantic Ocean and an historic military installation. [Photo courtesy of NYS OPRHP]

Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
444 Saw Mill River Road, Elmsford, NY

In addition to tasting its many beers, including several seasonal varieties, the brewery also has special events—everything from concerts to trivia nights.

Coney Island Beach and Board Walk
Corbin Place to W. 37 St., Boardwalk, Brooklyn

The iconic Coney Island offers lots of fun, whether it’s walking along the boardwalk, riding on the Cyclone roller coaster or eating a Nathan’s Famous hotdog.

Deep Hollow Ranch
Three miles east of Montauk village on Route 27; turn left at Suffolk County Park

People usually think of the southwest when it comes to cattle ranches, but Long Island is home to America’s oldest one. Visitors can tour the ranch and take horse rides along the shore of Block Island Sound. 

Discovery Wetland Cruises
Across Dock Road from the Three Village Inn (150 Main St., Stony Brook, NY)

Take a one-and-a-half hour tour boat tour of an 88-acre wetlands preserve in Long Island.

Discovery Times Square
226 West 44th St., New York

There is plenty to see (and buy) in the heart of midtown Manhattan, but one place that shouldn’t be missed is Discovery Times Square. Currently you can check out an interactive family-friendly exhibit about the secret world of espionage.  

Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center
431 East Main St., Riverhead, NY

See sharks, otters, sea lions and more ocean creatures at this acaqurium, which features indoor and outdoor exhibits. [Photo courtesy of Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center]

New York Renaissance Faire
600 Route 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY

In its 35th year, this annual festival will bring you back to Elizabethan England with it food, shops, acrobatics, magicians, juggler and more. It runs until Sept. 23.

Pollock-Krasner House
830 Springs-Fireplace Road, East Hampton, NY

Modern art fans will love taking a trip to the home of the late artist Jackson Pollack and his wife. Famous for his drip paintings, which now sell for millions, you can see the studio where he created his famous works.

Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari
Six Flags Blvd. (off of I-195), Jackson, NJ

Just take a drive south down I-195 and you’ll reach this amusement park of thrilling roller coasters and other fun rides plus its safari park.

Splish Splash
2549 Splish Splash Drive, Calverton, NY

Voted one of the country’s best water parks by the Travel Channel, this Long Island attraction is the perfect way to beat the summer heat.  

The Cloisters
99 Margaret Corbin Drive, Fort Tryon Park, New York

A branch of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cloisters museum and gardens is dedicated to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. [Photo courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art]

Woodbury Common Premium Outlets
498 Red Apple Court, Central Valley, NY

Everyone loves a great deal. From chain store brands to designer goods, you’ll find amazing discounts at this shopping center. 

Free summer activities in Queens parks


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

In addition to outdoor movies and SummerStage performing arts events, the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation offers other free activities in Queens parks this summer.

July 30

Fort Totten Park

Fit Walk (Step Out)
9:00 a.m.
“Join us for a free fitness walking program for adults at Fort Totten Park!”

Mommy, Music, & Me
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Enjoy music and movement activities for children under 7 years old, and the adults that want to play with them. We will also do a musical craft project with the kids.”

August 1

Alley Pond Park

A Morning of Music with Darlene Graham
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“This interactive and exciting performance features energetic folk music and remixes of familiar children’s songs that will have everyone singing and dancing along.”

Highland Park

Latin Night featuring Mikata
7:00 p.m.
“Join us for an evening of Bachata and Merengue featuring Mikata.”

August 2

Forest Park

Swing Sabroso
7:30 p.m.
“Dance along to the rhythmic sounds of Salsa.”

Astoria Park Lawn

Waterfront Concert Series 2012
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m.

August 3

Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens Museum of Art)
Summer Movies in NYC: Fire in Babylon
6:30 p.m.
“Join Rooftop Films on the lawn at the Queens Museum of Art for a night of live music.”

August 4

Alley Pond Park (Adventure Center)

Invasive Removal at Alley Pond Park, Queens
9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
“Join us as we remove invasive from several reforestation plantings in Alley Pond Park, Queens. Please come help take care of our young forest, learn about restoration efforts across the city, and make a positive impact! Volunteers should come dressed in closed-toe shoes, long pants and clothing that can get dirty. No registration required.”

Idlewild Park

Advanced Canoeing
11:00 a.m.
“Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of protected lakes, to the challenging open waters of rivers and bays. On an Urban Park Ranger canoe program, you can go from novice to expert in one just one summer! Children 8 years old and up are welcome.”

August 5

Forest Park

Fitness Hike (Vigorous)
1:00 p.m.
“Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the intensity level, it is a great way to burn calories and stay fit. Our Urban Park Ranger hiking guides will introduce you to the hidden gems of New York City and places often off limits to the general public. On our hikes, you may explore nature, discover our City’s rich history and diverse culture, or just unplug form the world to clear your head.”

August 8

Crocheron Park (Buz O’ Rourke Playground)

Magic and Comedy of Jim McClenahan
10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.
“Join us for the colorful and zany comedy with a magical twist that will bring giggles from children and adults.”

August 9

Forest Park

Zumba
5:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
“Enjoy this new fitness craze and make new friends! All are invited – no age limit or skill required – just enjoy the outdoors and be fit!”

Stayin’ Alive
7:30 p.m.
“Come join us and enjoy a musical tribute to the Bee Gees.”

August 10

Grover Cleveland Park

Dancing Under the Stars
5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
“Come join us for an evening of music, face painting for children, a raffle drawing and Latin dance instruction under the stars!”

August 11

Wayanda Park

Family Day
12:00p.m- 4:00p.m.
“Children of all ages can participate in a free afternoon of crafts, games, music, inflatables, pony rides and more!”

Rufus King Park

Hands-on History: A Barn Full of Animals
12:00 p.m.–3:00 p.m.
“Rufus had all sorts of animals on this farm! Learn about the different animals that used to live at King Park. Bring your favorite stuffed animal and enjoy making a special craft for your animal!”

Cunningham Park

Family Camping
6:00 p.m.
“The Urban Park Rangers celebrate the tradition of camping throughout the spring and summer, and we look forward to welcoming your family!”

August 16

Forest Park

Wondrous Stories
7:30 p.m.
“Enjoy an evening of rock’s most time tested music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.”

August 18

Fort Totten Park

Historic New York Walking Tour: Fort Totten
1:00 p.m.
“Urban Park Rangers specialize in interpretation of historic turning points, both natural and man-made, in our city’s long history.”

August 19

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Basic Canoeing
11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m.
“Our trained Urban Park Rangers will lead you on canoe adventures that range from the gentle waters of protected lakes, to the challenging open waters of rivers and bays. On an Urban Park Ranger canoe program, you can go from novice to expert in just one summer!”

August 26

Cunningham Park

Biking
11:00 a.m.
“Our Urban Park Ranger cycling guides will introduce you to some of the most famous parks in the world. Enjoy breathtaking views, public artwork, landscape design and an abundance of wildlife.”

September 2

Flushing Meadows Corona Park

Hiking
10:00 a.m.
“Hiking is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors and reduce stress. Regardless of the intensity level, it is a great way to burn calories and stay fit. Our Urban Park Ranger hiking guides will introduce you to the hidden gems of New York City and places often off limits to the general public. On our hikes, you may explore nature, discover our City’s rich history and diverse culture, or just unplug form the world to clear your head.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Heat Advisory In Effect For City Today

New Yorkers will be trying hard to stay cool during the next few days as a brief heat wave makes its way into the five boroughs and beyond. A heat advisory takes effect today at noon. City beaches are open, but visitors should remember to only swim when lifeguards are on duty. Read More: [NY1]

Perv teach dodges jail time

A teacher at a Queens school managed to avoid jail time for filming an illicit motel-room romp with her 16-year-old student — after pleading guilty to the rap and being sentenced to six years of probation. Long Island cops busted Tara Driscoll, 34, for sexual misconduct after the teen told his mother that she drove him to a Lynbrook motel and performed sex acts on him on camera. Read more: [New York Post]

Johan Santana leads way as Mets blank Orioles for 2nd straight night

No matter who goes first, Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey in succession has turned into a nasty combination for the New York Mets. Santana followed Dickey’s second one-hitter in a row with his best outing since he tossed a no-hitter on June 1. Jordany Valdespin added a two-run single for New York, which won by the same score Monday night in the series opener — a rematch of the 1969 World Series won by the Miracle Mets. Read More: [ESPN]

A safe haven for Forest Park turtles

Katherine Kurre was enchanted by the sight of turtles sunning themselves around the edges of Strack Pond in Forest Park. But she thought there must be a better and safer way for them to relax out of the reach of curious kids and potential poachers. Read more: [New York Daily News]

Finally! Forest Park Carousel reopens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, held its grand reopening on Saturday, May 26, with hundreds of visitors turning out for the sun-filled event.

More than a dozen were able to take the maiden voyage on the century-old merry-go-round.

Jeff Watkins of Woodhaven brought his son, Joshua, who was among the carousel’s first riders.

“It’s a lot of fun and a great reason to get out of the house,” Watkins said. “The park is beautiful.”

“I really liked the ride a lot,” added Joshua, 8. “It went fast.”

The carousel will be open each weekend from 11 a.m. until sunset through late June. After that, it will be open every day until Labor Day. Each Saturday the carousel will also feature clown shows.

Senator Joe Addabbo, who had a chance to hop on the carousel at a press event on May 24, said he was excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“It brought back memories from when my father brought me,” he said. “It’s family memories, it’s community memories and just to see my kids smile and laugh, it beats shuttered doors and a closed carousel.”

NY Carousel, the ride’s operator, said it expects to add chairs and tables and open the food stand in the coming weeks.

Ed Wendell, who has advocated for reopening the carousel for years, twice visited the ride on its opening weekend.

“Just in that initial first couple of days, seeing a new generation coming in and having their first ride and having their first experience was wonderful,” said Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, of the more than 100-year-old ride.

“We’re just traveling through; the carousel will hopefully be here for a very long time.”

As the carousel turns: A history of the Forest Park Carousel


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

When the Forest Park Carousel stopped spinning in 2008, it nevertheless continued its merry-go-round cycle that had become all too familiar over its history.

For decades, the carousel stood continuously in Forest Park as one of the many jewels of the 543-acre greenspace with locals and visitors flocking to the attraction each spring and summer.

“My cousin used to come from Brooklyn to take me to the carousel,” said Leonora Lavan, former president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society, of the ride that only cost a nickel when she rode it in the 40s. “I had a favorite horse; I used to wait until it was free to get on.”

During the summers in the late 1940s, St. John’s journalism professor Frank Brady was the guardian of the famed merry-go-round. Brady operated the carousel, remembering the festive, carnival-like atmosphere.

“On a really nice Saturday or Sunday the place was packed. Sometimes we couldn’t even accommodate all the kids,” Brady, 78, remembered. “Every pony was taken.”

The carousel’s music, Johann Strauss waltzes, stuck with him through the decades, transporting him back to his days as operator.

“The music was always the big thing,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society.

The music stopped in late 1966 when a fire tore through the ride, leaving behind only ashes.

“The fire started at 8:40 p.m. and was fought by 67 firemen using 26 pieces of fire apparatus, according to the Fire Department, and totally destroyed the carousel,” reported a 1966 article in the Long Island Daily Press.

The article said the carousel had been “a landmark for 50 years,” though an exact date of its opening in the park could not be confirmed.

“After the carousel burnt down, I remember my father taking me up there and seeing the ashes,” Wendell recalled.

Six years passed with no carousel replacing the original.

A Daniel C. Muller-carved carousel that formerly spun at Lakeview Park in Dracut, Massachusetts was on sale in the early 1970s. For $30,000, according to a 1972 Daily News article, Forest Park got a new carousel.

“[The carousel] was in an interesting little park at the end of a dead-end road in nowhere Massachusetts,” said Roland Hopkins, editor of The Carousel News & Trader magazine, a monthly based in California for carousel enthusiasts.

“Muller was one of the special ones for sure; he had a distinct style,” Hopkins said. “He was a master of strong military horses — strong, but not intimidating.”

Only two of the master carver’s carousels remain in the country; Forest Park and the Midway Carousel in Sandusky, Ohio.

The park’s new carousel was built in 1903 and featured a menagerie of hand carved wooden animals.

Everyone was delighted when they brought a carousel back, Wendell said, but barely a decade passed before it again was shuttered.

It fell into disrepair after closing in 1985.

“It really hasn’t had a good history since they brought the new one in. It’s had a history of being neglected,” said Wendell, who also heads the Woodhaven Residents Block Association.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, and members of the board began to lobby for the piece of Queens history to be restored.

New operators were secured, the ride was restored and a new era was set to begin.

City dignitaries, including then-Mayor Ed Koch, attended the carousel’s 1989 grand re-opening.

Eager to enjoy the first trip on the carousel, the crowd rushed to get on.

It didn’t move.

“I guess it was the weight of all the people,” laughed Carey.

A minor tweak, and the carousel was up and running again after a four-year absence.

For the next two decades, the carousel ran with relatively few problems.

In 2008, New York One, the carousel vendor, did not renew its contract, setting off another stagnant era for the ride.

While the carousel has stood still, local officials and residents have worked behind the scenes to get the historic ride spinning again.

Facebook groups were started, T-shirts were sold and four Requests for Proposals were issued.

Good news was received in March when the Parks Department announced a new vendor was chosen and the ride would be ready by spring.

But as March and April passed, even the staunchest supporters thought another year would pass with no carousel.

Fears were erased when the Parks Department announced New York Carousel Entertainment would operate the carousel and the public would once again be able to enjoy the attraction beginning Memorial Day weekend.

“We hope now people are more appreciative. We’ve come close to losing it before,” said Wendell.

Even from across the country, carousel enthusiasts realize the attraction of the Forest Park ride.

“You guys have a nice machine there. I hope these guys pay attention,” said Hopkins. “It will be great to have it up and running; it’s a great machine.”

A new era will begin on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.

The Forest Park Carousel rides again


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Forest Park Carousel

After nearly four years, children — and adults — were able to rush the Forest Park Carousel, choose their favorite horse and take a spin on the historic ride.

The Forest Park Carousel, shuttered since 2008, hosted St. John Evangelical Lutheran School students, politicians and civic leaders who fought to save the carousel to enjoy the first ride before it reopens to the public this weekend.

“It went real fast,” said Jason, 6. “It was a lot of fun.”

It wasn’t just the youngsters that enjoyed themselves.

Mary Ann Carey, district manager of Community Board 9, who had ridden the carousel as a child and fought to have it reopened in the late 80s hopped on board with the kids.

“It was great,” Carey said. “I enjoyed it very much. The children loved it.”

After years of civic groups campaigning, the Parks Department announced earlier this month that New York Carousel would operate and reopen the 109-year-old ride.

“When a community speaks out in one voice and they are heard and the result of their speaking out is seen, that’s a perfect snapshot of how government should work,” said Senator Joe Addabbo.

Addabbo added he is excited to bring his daughters, Alexis and Arianna, to the same ride he once visited with his father as a child.

“I cannot wait for this weekend to be here with my two girls and be standing beside them riding this carousel.”

The carousel will be open to the public on Saturday, May 26 at 11 a.m.