Tag Archives: Fresh Meadows

Francis Lewis JROTC to advance to national academic championship


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Francis Lewis High School JROTC

The Francis Lewis High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) will be among only 26 out of 1,512 teams nationwide to compete in the JROTC National Academic Bowl in June.

Luwei Xiong, Tianhao Zhang, Lisha Zeng and Michele Lee will compete in Washington, D.C., from June 26 to 30 at the campus of The Catholic University of America. The winners of the Army JROTC Academic Championship will go on to compete against the winners of JROTC programs in the Air Force, the Marine Corps, and the Navy.

One of the main goals of the JROTC Academic Bowl is to prepare the participating high school students for state graduation exams and college entrance exams such as the SAT and the ACT.

To qualify for the final championship, the Francis Lewis team had to advance through two rounds of online competition testing them on their knowledge on JROTC curriculum, English, math and science.

The Francis Lewis JROTC program is well known for its academic and competitive achievement. Since 2003 the team has seen over 20 of their former members attending the prestigious United States Military Academy at West Point, a four-year federal service academy which only accepts 9 percent of applicants. The team also won the National High School Drill Team Championships with an almost perfect score in 2013.

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Queens councilman calls for boost in non-public school safety


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Lancman's Office

BY ANGELA MATUA

Private schools deserve better protection, Councilman Rory Lancman, school administrators and students said during a Monday press conference in Fresh Meadows.

Lancman was joined by representatives from Yeshiva Ketana, Al-Mamoor School and St. Nicholas of Tolentine to rally for a bill that would provide NYPD safety officers to these and other non-public schools.

The bill is supported by 46 of 51 council members, according to a press release.

“We live in a dangerous world where terrorists will not hesitate to target even innocent schoolchildren,” Lancman said. “The city must provide all schools with safety officers. Non-public school students deserve the same safe learning environment that their public school peers enjoy.”

The bill was introduced by Councilman David Greenfield and would require the city to provide full funding for the NYPD to provide public, private, religious and secular schools with safety agents, if they request them.

According to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), there are more than 5,200 school safety agents protecting New York City schools, making the School Safety Division one of the largest police forces in the country.

“It would be a tremendous benefit to the safety and well-being of our students to have an NYPD Safety Agent in our school,” Rabbi Binyomin, the Menahel of Yeshiva Ketana of Queens said.

School safety agents are unarmed but they are trained by the NYPD and are equipped with police radios to directly communicate with other NYPD officers.

“The administration, faculty and families of Al-Mamoor School strongly support this bill, which will provide our students with the protection they deserve,” Ismael Khalil, the president of Al-Mamoor School said. “We urge the City Council to pass this important legislation that will keep our students safe.”

Negotiations are being made for the city budget, and the deadline to finalize it is Tuesday, June 30. If funding for the budget is not approved, the City Council can take steps to pass the stand-alone bill.

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Stop by these Queens Häagen-Dazs shops for Free Cone Day


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Just in time for the warmer weather, Tuesday is Free Cone Day at Häagen-Dazs stores throughout the country, including four in Queens.

From 4 to 8 p.m., participating locations are offering one free kiddie-sized ice cream in either a cup, sugar cone or cake cone.

Free Cone Day will also feature two new artisan flavors — chocolate caramelized oat and banana rum jam.

The following Häagen-Dazs shops around the borough are taking part in the event:

  • New World Mall, 136-20 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing
  • Queens Center mall, 90-15 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst
  • 70-40 Austin St., Forest Hills
  • 61-10 188th St., Fresh Meadows

For more Häagen-Dazs locations around New York City, click here.

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Councilman Weprin to leave seat for Cuomo administration


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/file photo

Updated Tuesday, May 12, 12:35 p.m.

Councilman Mark Weprin gave his two weeks’ notice to the people of his district Monday, as he announced his departure from the City Council to take a job with Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Weprin, 53, who has served in the 23rd Council District seat since 2010, is poised to become Cuomo’s deputy secretary of legislative affairs. He didn’t set a specific date when he would leave office, but in a statement, Weprin indicated his resignation would take effect “within the next two weeks.”

Prior to his City Council election, Weprin served for 15 years in the state Assembly, holding the seat previously held by his late father, former Assembly Speaker Saul Weprin. Mark Weprin was elected to the City Council seat in 2009 to succeed his brother, David, who made an unsuccessful run for City Comptroller.

David Weprin then won a special election in 2010 for his brother’s and father’s former Assembly seat.

“It has been an honor to represent eastern Queens as an elected official for 21 years,” Mark Weprin said in a statement Monday morning. “It has been my privilege to serve the people and families of my neighborhood. I am proud to have helped the communities I have represented to continue to be wonderful places to live, work and raise a family.”

At the start of his second City Council term, Mark Weprin was elected in January 2014 as chair of the City Council’s Queens delegation. He was also named chair of the Zoning and Franchises Committee and serves on the Land Use, Education, Economic Development, Oversight and Investigations, and Technology committees.

As deputy secretary for legislative affairs, Mark Weprin will reportedly serve as a liaison between Cuomo and leaders of the Assembly and state Senate on various matters.

“I have known Governor Cuomo for most of my life, and he is a leader of incredible talent,” Weprin added. “I look forward to this next step in my public career.”

Once the councilman’s resignation takes effect, the mayor must call for a non-partisan special election to be held within 60 days. Each candidate must secure their own party line; the established political parties cannot nominate a candidate of their own, but they may make an endorsement.

The 23rd Council District includes all or parts of Bayside Hills, Bellerose, Douglaston, Floral Park, Fresh Meadows, Glen Oaks, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hollis Park Gardens, Holliswood, Little Neck, New Hyde Park, Oakland Gardens and Queens Village.

As for who may replace Weprin in the City Council, one contender has already emerged — former Assemblyman and Deputy Queens Borough President Barry Grodenchik. He confirmed his interest in running for the seat in a phone interview with The Courier on Tuesday.

Other potential contenders, as reported in the New York Observer, include Dominic Panakal, chief-of-staff to Councilman Rory Lancman; local attorney Ali Najmi; civic activist and former City Council candidate Bob Friedrich; and former City Council and Assembly candidate Steve Behar.

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Fresh Meadows woman named ‘Community Hero’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Veronica Tsang

BY ANGELA MATUA

Veronica Tsang, a Fresh Meadows resident and senior vice president at Cathay Bank, was awarded the “Community Hero” award by the Museum of Chinese in America on Thursday.

Tsang was honored at Golden Unicorn Restaurant in Manhattan for her commitment to advancing the needs of the Chinese-American community .

“I hardly look at myself and say hero because I enjoy what I do. It’s part of life for me,” Tsang said. “I also want to let people know I would not be able to do this without the grace of Cathay Bank because our bank is also very, very supportive of our community… because without my boss and Cathay Bank’s support I would not be able to do so much.”

Tsang is active in a number of nonprofit organizations in the area, including as president of Gift of Life, an organization that provides free heart transplants for children with heart disease.

She is also a board member at the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts and a chairwoman for the community advisory council at New York Hospital Queens.

Tsang additionally acts as vice chair of the Chinese American Planning Council and serves on the finance committee for Holy Redeemer Academy in Flushing.

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Star of Queens: Veronica Tsang, president, Gift of Life


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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BY ANGELA MATUA

BACKGROUND: Veronica Tsang is a Fresh Meadows resident who loves to give back to her community. This passion has been recognized by the Museum of Chinese in America, which recently awarded Tsang with the “Community Hero” award for advancing the needs of the Chinese American community.

OCCUPATION: Tsang is the senior vice president of branch administration for the eastern regions at Cathay Bank. She is in charge of all retail branch business in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. She has worked at Cathay Bank for 10 years and previously worked at JPMorgan Chase.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Tsang is the president of Gift of Life, an organization that provides free heart transplants for children with congenital heart disease. She is also a board member at the Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts. Tsang is a chairwoman for the community advisory council at New York Hospital Queens and serves on the finance committee for Holy Redeemer Academy in Flushing.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “My greatest achievement is to provide mentorship and training to my team so that they become more successful in their career and personal life.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “How to utilize my limited resources to make a bigger impact in the business and community.”

INSPIRATION: “My husband is my greatest inspiration in my life. He taught me how to live life to the fullest. One of his favorite sayings is, “The best time is now. If you can do things today, why wait for tomorrow.”

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Manhattan woman stole $350K from her Fresh Meadows mom: DA


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

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An Upper East Side woman was arraigned Tuesday on charges of stealing more than $340,000 from her elderly mother, a Fresh Meadows resident, prosecutors announced.

Barbara Schwartz, 62, of East 71 Street in Manhattan allegedly withdrew funds from her mother’s bank account to pay for spa treatments, clothing, alcohol and cab rides from 2010 to 2013.

She was arraigned Tuesday on a four-count indictment charging her with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said Schwartz was ordered held on $50,000 bond.

Law enforcement sources said Schwartz came into control of her 91-year-old mother’s finances after the elderly woman suffered a stroke in 2008. Authorities were alerted to the theft by another child of the victim, and an analysis of the suspect’s bank records allegedly indicated that none of the money was used to benefit the ailing woman.

“The defendant’s mother spent a lifetime acquiring the assets needed to make her final years comfortable and free of the stress of financial worry, only to suffer a stroke and have her daughter allegedly steal the money for her own personal use,” Brown said.

Schwartz is scheduled to return to court on June 23.

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Robbery suspect caught on video during dramatic holdup at Springfield Gardens Subway restaurant


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police have released video footage of a March stickup at a Springfield Gardens Subway restaurant showing an employee struggling with the armed robber who, along with a partner, is wanted for two other heists.

The pair are accused of first robbing a Subway restaurant at 127-02 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica on Jan. 1 at about 9:20 p.m., authorities said. After entering the eatery, the first suspect put a gun to one victim’s head and demanded money while the second suspect held another victim to the floor.

The suspects, who were wearing masks and dark clothing, then took about $500 before fleeing on foot southbound on 127th Avenue.

On Jan. 3, at about 10 p.m., they targeted a Fresh Meadows gas station at 181-05 Horace Harding Expy., according to police. The two suspects entered the business wearing masks, gloves and dark clothing, and displayed a silver firearm before taking around $500.

In the latest incident, on March 17, at about 10 p.m., an unknown number of suspects who were wearing masks, gloves and black hooded jackets came into a Springfield Gardens Subway restaurant, located at 219-25 North Conduit Ave., displayed a dark gray handgun and demanded that safe be opened, police said.

As video footage released by the NYPD shows, one of the suspects briefly struggled with an employee over his gun. The suspects then fled on foot eastbound on North Conduit Avenue.

No injuries were reported to police in any of the incidents.

The suspects are described as two black men, between 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighing between 190 to 230 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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Fresh Meadows teen busted for threatening Councilman Lancman


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A Fresh Meadows teenager found himself in handcuffs for allegedly phoning in a death threat to Councilman Rory Lancman and his family.

Ariel Gershkovich, 17, made “a series of specific, threatening calls to [Lancman’s] home phone” on Tuesday, according to the councilman’s office.

In a voice mail left for Lancman, Gershkovich demanded that Lancman call him back or he would “do a drive-by, old school on you and your family,” according to law enforcement sources.

The legislator was reportedly at home with his wife and three children when he received this voice mail. The 107th Precinct Detective Squad and the Queens District Attorney’s office launched an investigation.

During questioning, Gershkovich — who is known to Lancman’s son — allegedly claimed he made the threats over the councilman’s politics,  according to published reports.

Gershkovich was arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of second-degree harassment and second-degree aggravated harassment and was released without bail. He is scheduled to return to court on April 24 and faces up to a year behind bars if convicted, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

“The police and district attorney’s office investigated with their usual professionalism and care, and an individual has been arrested and charged,” Lancman said in a statement to The Courier.

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Star of Queens: Nan Khin May, CUNY service corps volunteer, New American Welcome Center at the Flushing YMCA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Nan Khin May

BY ROSS BELSKY

Background: Nan Khin May, 25, was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar, and now lives in Fresh Meadows. She loves Queens because it is one of the most diverse places she’s ever been and a place where she can taste food from all around the globe. She also appreciates how much time she can save commuting easily to her college and her jobs.

Occupation: May works part time at the office of information technology at Queens College as an assistant, where she learns from her supervisors, coworkers and other students. She also works as an independent financial planner at World Financial Group in College Point, as she would like to become certified after graduating because she wants to help others who are planning to go to college.

Community Involvement: Currently, May is a CUNY service corps volunteer at the New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the Flushing YMCA. NAWC serves the immigrant population by providing a range of services including ESL and computer classes. The goals for the immigrants are English literacy, cultural competence and self-sufficiency. May translates Chinese and Burmese for them, as well as conducts intakes of client information. The majority of students are adults from China, Korea and the Dominican Republic. In addition, May occasionally volunteers for the Mahasi Meditation Group.

Greatest Achievement: “I would consider getting the experiences of volunteering and giving the community what it needs to be both my greatest personal and professional achievement,” May said. “My 4-year-old niece told me ‘sharing is caring,’ and I couldn’t agree with her more.”

Biggest Challenge: “Going to college and getting all good grades because that is an important requirement in Asian families. Also, dealing with my father’s heart disease and elderly health issues.”

Inspiration: “My aunt. She is my mentor and best friend. She is a very strong woman and she takes care of her family. She loves me like her own daughter and has taught me since I was in Myanmar. With my parents’ support and her guidance, I am able to live here and succeed.”

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More Queens Library locations loaning mobile hot spots, tablets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card, and now more cardholders will be able to stay connected while on the go.

The Queens Library announced Tuesday that it will be expanding its mobile technology lending program in the upcoming weeks to more libraries throughout the borough.

While using their Queens Library cards, customers will be able to borrow free mobile hot spots, providing Internet access anywhere to any Wi-Fi-enabled devices with cellphone reception. Customers will also have the chance to borrow free Google Nexus tablets.

The hot spots are available for one month, and there are three renewals available afterwards. First-time hot spot borrowers will have to sign an agreement and bring a photo ID.

Locations that have been offering the free mobile hot spots and tablets since last year include branches at 89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica; 1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway; 108-19 71st Ave., Forest Hills; 41-17 Main St., Flushing; and 35-51 81st St., Jackson Heights.

The new locations offering the hot spots include 214-20 Northern Blvd. in Bayside and 37-44 21st St. in Long Island City. They will also be available at the branch at 218-13 Linden Blvd. in Cambria Heights starting April 8; 193-20 Horace Harding Expressway in Fresh Meadows on April 15; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village on April 22.

The Google Nexus tablets are now available at Queens Library branches at 2012 Madison St. in Ridgewood; 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park; and 169-09 137th Ave. in Rochdale Village. Starting later this month, the tablets will be available at the following locations: 187-05 Union Turnpike in Hillcrest; 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill; and the Langston Hughes Community Library at 100-01 Northern Blvd.

A full list of borrowing sites is available at www.queenslibrary.org.

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Star of Queens: Mitch Karpp, program director, Youth and Camp Services at the Queens Central Y


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Star of Queens 0326

BY ROSS BELKSKY 

Background: Mitch Karpp, 45, lives in Fresh Meadows where he was born and raised. He loves Queens for its hybrid of suburban Long Island feel and Manhattan hustle and bustle. The eclectic composition of the borough is something he also appreciates, and he feels every few blocks offers an all-encompassing sample of a different culture.

Occupation: Karpp is the program director of Youth and Camp Services at the Queens Central Y at 67-09 108th St. in Forest Hills. He joined the Y family in 1984 as a camper before becoming the teen director in 1994, and finally moved up to his current post in 2010. His decision to stick with the organization was based on the evolution of its challenges that both intrigued him and gave him an opportunity to experience branching out into the community.

Community Involvement: Along with the many traditional services offered by a local Y in New York, Mitch is instrumental in running four ongoing programs including Kidz Korner, the after-school establishment in which Karpp has watched former kids become future staff members. Karpp designs activities with the objective of instilling a sense of respect, such as scavenger hunts that require cooperative problem solving. Recently Kidz Korner ran an extremely successful coat drive for this particularly brisk winter, as well as a book fair to benefit local nursery schools, and a costume party to raise money for their renovated gymnasium. Karpp works extensively with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to ensure free after-school programming to over 160 kids, a major change from the prior fee for service program which only held 10 kids. In addition, Mitch’s efforts helped usher the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) decision to provide two free after-school service programs in Flushing. In the summers, Karpp runs the camp in Long Island which is part of his family’s legacy, as it was previously run by his father and brother.

Greatest Achievement: “When I was promoted to program director. My idea of the success of Kidz Korner transformed when I realized I could expand the program and work with directors from all over to influence the larger community by diversifying.”

Biggest Challenge: “Not knowing every director at first on a hands-on, personal basis. The day-to-day operations are sometimes disconnected, but somehow we have to correspond concurrently.”

Inspiration: “My older brother. I learned a lot about this job from him, like the fact that patience is paramount and to you have to treat people from all walks with an even level of respect.”

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Fresh Meadows man stars on new reality show ‘Little Women: NY’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Patrick Eccelsine

Jason Perez may be a little man, but he is representing the biggest borough on a new Lifetime reality show.

Perez, a 27-year-old Queens College student from Fresh Meadows, is starring on “Little Women: NY,” premiering Wednesday night.

Standing at 4 feet 4 inches tall, he is the only male cast member among seven little people whose lives are documented on the series, which takes a look at how the group of friends navigates the Big Apple.

lwny_gallery-jason_150112-pe-021“New York is one big city and we are little women…well, six little women and the one guy that can handle them,” the first episode starts.

“Little Women: NY” is a spin-off of the network’s hit reality show “Little Women: LA,” which just concluded its second season on March 18 and featured New York cast member Lila Call in several of its recent episodes.

A friend of “Little Women: LA” cast member and executive producer Terra Jolé, who is also an executive producer for the New York version, Perez was easily convinced to appear on the new show.

“I think it will be very enlightening, very educational. It will also take the stress of the day off,” he said, promising the one-hour program will bring as much reality show-style drama as its West Coast counterpart and a true look into the world of little people.

Born in Brooklyn to a close-knit Filipino family, Perez grew up in Ozone Park before moving to Fresh Meadows in 2000, where he attended St. Francis Prep.

Though he faced bullying because of his dwarfism and is the only little person in his family, he said his loved ones have always given him strength.

“They just took me as a regular person,” Perez said. His parents always told him to “cry but not for long” and to “just get up and keep moving.”


After high school, he earned a culinary arts degree and started working as a cook. But his childhood love for performing led him from the kitchen to a job as a singing server.

Today, he is studying political science and history at Queens College, but is still pursuing his passion for entertainment through performing, and voice, dance and acting lessons. He has even won several talent competitions, including at the MGM Grand Las Vegas and the Coney Island Talent Show, and has performed in Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular.

Perez is also hoping to entertain viewers on “Little Women: NY,” which he says will step it up a notch from its LA counterpart because of the challenges of fast-paced New York City, such as commuting on the subway, hailing cabs and traversing crowded streets.

Jason Perez with "Little Women: NY" co-stars Lila Call and Dawn Lang (Photo by Zach Dilgard)

Jason Perez with “Little Women: NY” co-stars Lila Call and Dawn Lang (Photo by Zach Dilgard)

“New York in itself is an animal and to survive you need to have skills,” Perez said.

The show will also look at some of Perez’s personal struggles — a sensitive issue he discusses with his conservative family while living at home and his difficulties in finding the right person to settle down with.

“We may be small but we have emotions like everyone else, we have ambitions like everyone,” he said. “Just because we look different doesn’t mean we are out of the loop.”

“Little Women: NY” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. 

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Two six-story Marriott hotels coming to Fresh Meadows


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of East West United Realty Development

Fresh Meadows is seriously becoming a destination.

Two six-story hotels under the Marriott brand are being built in the neighborhood, marking another big hotel chain coming to the mostly residential area.

The Courier recently reported about the Mayflower Business Group’s 11-story Hilton hotel under construction in Fresh Meadows on 186th Street, which will target students and immigrants from China.

East West United Realty Development is working on this double Marriott project, which is on the other side of the Long Island Expressway, at 183-31 Horace Harding Expwy. The right building will be a Courtyard Hotel and the left will be Fairfield Inn and Suites, which are brands of Marriott hotels.

The hotels will offer a combined 218 rooms and underground parking.

Unlike Mayflower’s Hilton building, this double Marriott brand project will target all tourists coming to New York City, according to the representatives for the developer.

Pages from Fresh Meadows Hotel-2

They believe it will be attractive because it is relatively close to the borough’s airports and—located adjacent to the LIE—has easy access to one of Queens’ major thoroughfares.

Because it’s not in the immediate vicinity of the airports, the hotel could also offer cheaper rates, the representatives said, which will be attractive to guests.

Construction on the hotels recently began and the project is expected to be completed in 2016.

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New Fresh Meadows hotel expected to house students and immigrants from China


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cross City Construction

A  new hotel in Fresh Meadows is positioning itself to be the 21st-century Ellis Island of Queens.

The hotel will serve as a stepping stone for Chinese immigrants and students looking to stay in the country or study here, according to several people close to the planning. The 11-story Hilton hotel on 186th Street is set to open in May 2016 and the developers, Mayflower Business Group of Great Neck, are positioning their hotel to serve a mixture of Chinese businesspeople, students and immigrants who can use the hotel as a base while house hunting.

“There’s something happening with the Asian community and, specifically, something happening in China. There’s something going on,” said George Frangoulis, a spokesman for the developer. “They’re bringing in a lot of wealth. They’re enhancing and stimulating the Queens economy. It’s good for America.”

The announcement of the hotel stirred controversy in 2014. Residents complained that the 11-story building is too tall for a neighborhood of mostly one- and two-family homes. They also said that the hotel would cause traffic on local streets and overload the sewer system. But the hotel does not violate any building or zoning codes, which left residents unable to block the project from going forward.

Frangoulis met with concerned neighbors over the year to try to mend community relationships. During one of these meetings between the Fresh Meadows Homeowners Association, state Sen. Tony Avella and the developers, residents learned that part of the hotel would be used by foreign exchange students from China who will be studying in nearby schools like St. John’s University.

“This doesn’t really make any sense to us because Fresh Meadows isn’t exactly close to many schools,” said Jim Gallagher, president of the homeowners association.

But Frangoulis said the hotel will not serve as a dorm and any students who stay there would just be considered as normal hotel customers.

“I comply with every safety code. I’m a good neighbor. I’ll do anything I have to do to accommodate the community,” he said. “I’m doing everything properly. I understand their concern.”

Frangoulis also said that due to Flushing’s overcrowding, Fresh Meadows served as a good place for Chinese immigrants who are coming to the country but don’t have a place to stay in Flushing’s hotels. Unlike the usual image of immigrants as poor and desperate, Frangoulis characterized this new wave of immigrants as affluent and ready to invest in central Queens’ economy.

But Avella remained unconvinced.

“I support the community’s position that these hotels are out of context,” he said. “I’m always concerned about overdevelopment. And the fact that it’s across the street from one-family homes bothers me.”

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