Tag Archives: Giants

Kevin Ogletree goes from Queens to America’s Team


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of David Petkowsky/Virginia Media Relations

Kevin Ogletree, a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, had eight receptions and two touchdowns in the Wednesday, September 5 NFL opening game against the Super Bowl champion Giants. He joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and has battled for a starting receiver spot ever since.

Before that he played for Virginia, where he finished his degree in just three- and-a-half years.

And before that, he played in Bayside at Holy Cross High School. The Queens native played four seasons with the Knights where he not only broke a nearly 15-year-old record, but was academically fit, his former coach, Tom Pugh said.

During his four years at the all-boys Catholic school, Ogletree was a natural, yet quiet, leader.

“[He] knew how to conduct himself as a gentleman,” said Pugh. “He led by example…never ‘rah-rah’”

In his senior year alone Ogletree had 67 receptions and 21 touchdowns. This broke a record set by Carl Mackey (son of Hall of Fame tight end John Mackey), who had 58 receptions in a season in the early 1990s.

“Kevin was a guy who worked after practice, before practice,” Pugh said. “That was the good thing about him.”

The record-breaking receiver with high SAT scores promised his grandparents that he would continue his education and enrolled at the University of Virginia.

There he played under former Jets defensive coordinator Al Groh for three of his four years at the school.

Ogletree was a natural athlete, Groh said, and because of that, he was able to thrive in his first two years, before being sidelined with a knee injury during his junior year. He was able return the following year, but had to work back toward his normal abilities.

Ogletree could not be reached for this story.

At Virginia, he caught the eye of tight end coach John Garrett, who would move on to join the Cowboys’ staff. Groh and Pugh both said Ogletree’s talent and abilities caught Garrett’s eye — and would pay off for the young receiver in a big way.

He was picked up by the Cowboys as a free agent in 2009 after an impressive show at training camp. From 2009 to 2011, however, he saw little playing time — usually when starting receivers were injured. Despite this, Ogletree caught the first touchdown at Cowboys Stadium, albeit in preseason.

Life off the field was hit with tragedy earlier this year when his brother, Calvin, was shot outside of his car rental business in St. Albans. Calvin, it has been reported, is still in critical condition months later.

Facing elimination from the roster after three disappointing, sub-par seasons, Ogletree tightened up his training program this off-season, said Pugh, who still regularly speaks with his former player through text messages.

This included losing weight and working out even harder, something that was always part of Ogletree’s ethic, Pugh said.

“He really pushed himself this year,” he said.

Groh, now a defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech, said Ogletree’s performance against the Giants earlier this month was the best he had ever seen the 6’1” receiver play.

“He looked the most polished I’ve ever seen him,”

After his break-out performance in the 2012 season opener, Ogletree told reporters he was inspired to do well for his brother, whom he visited while in town. When Ogletree took the field at MetLife Stadium last week, Pugh — an admitted Giants fan — didn’t focus on the game. Instead, he watched the player he saw grow into the pro he is working to become.

“I was watching Kevin,” Pugh said. “I root for my guys.”

Queens natives design sports tees


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

These guys don’t thread lightly.

Queens natives who are die-hard sports fans have started printing their own T-shirts. But this team gear is a little different than what you find at a chain store, and can only be purchased online.

On the last day of the 2009 season, lifelong Mets fan Darren Meenan of Little Neck made a shirt that highlighted the team’s turmoils over the last few years, sandwiched by “I survived” and “Let’s Go Mets 2010.”

He officially started his brand, The 7 Line, on opening day of the 2010 season. It has grown to be a fan favorite, with some of the company’s popular shirts visible at Citi Field and across the country.

The key to making the merchandise unique, Meenan said, is social networking and keeping up with the team, but most of all, knowing what the people like.

“The common bond would be you’re either a fan of our Facebook page or our Twitter account and you interact with each other because you’re a die-hard fan,” he said. “The die-hard fans are so loyal it doesn’t matter if [the Mets are] 10 games up or 10 games back.”

The 7 Line, which is staffed by Meenan and fellow Little Neck native Lizy Saroyan, has even become popular with Mets players. On opening day this year, starting pitcher Johan Santana appeared before reporters after the game in a 7 Line T-shirt with the number 8 on its front that memorialized the late Gary Carter, who passed away before the season’s start.

“One of the biggest names in pitching and baseball wearing the shirt that came from here, it was pretty crazy,” Meenan said.

Another startup, We Bleed Blue, designs and prints Rangers T-shirts out of a Glendale basement.

When news broke that Rick Nash was traded to the Rangers on July 23, co-founders Brendan Gebert and John Rizzo said they instantly began brainstorming about making T-shirts of the skater.

Fans wanted something with the phrase “Nashty,” the founders and designers said, and they put several concepts on Facebook and Twitter to get feedback. The final product was completely from fan opinion, they said.

“We would never put something out there that we wouldn’t wear ourselves,” the founders said. “Some of our designs come from fan feedback, others come straight from our own imagination.”

We Bleed Blue has even made T-shirts at the request of players or their families.

Gebert and Rizzo said defenseman Marc Staal’s wife contacted them about making a shirt for him. The result, they said, was one that read “Our Staal Is Better Than Yours,” which is a reference to the Carolina Hurricanes, where two of Staal’s brothers play.

“We are very happy with the design and we look forward to wearing it when the Rangers play the Carolina Hurricanes this upcoming season,” the partners said.

The duo said they plan on extending their football line, as they’re both devout Giants fans. They said an expanded Giants line should be ready by the Super Bowl champs’ opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 5.

Check out the shirts at http://www.webleedblue.com/ and http://the7line.com/

Giants star Victor Cruz makes Queens Center Mall appearance


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Giants star player Victor Cruz drew hundreds of football fans to Queens Center Mall, where some waited more than three hours to meet the wide receiver during his July 20 book signing and meet-and-greet.

“He’s the best player in the NFL right now,” said fan Jordan Nichols, 16, of Jamaica. “And he’s going to put New York back in the Super Bowl — again.”

The first 500 fans received a printed photo with the breakout rookie, as well as a free autographed copy of Cruz’s new memoir “Victor Cruz: Out of the Blue,” which details his personal story of overcoming numerous setbacks.

“It’s just been amazing,” Cruz said. “It feels good to know that [people] admire me and they admire my story.”

The 25-year-old pro athlete shattered the Giants record for receiving yards (1,536) and played a key role in leading Big Blue to its fourth Super Bowl championship last year.

“New York is just full of energy and full of life,” Cruz said. “People from New York demand a lot out of these sports teams and we look to deliver.”

The book signing is the second event hosted by Time Warner Cable as part of the company’s “Enjoy Queens Better” campaign. Last week, Cruz participated in an interactive discussion with audience members at Queens Theatre.

— With additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen

David Diehl arrested for drunk driving in Astoria


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Big Blue left tackle David Diehl was busted for drunk driving in Queens on Sunday after crashing his car into several parked vehicles, reports said.

The 31-year-old offensive lineman smashed his car in Astoria at around 8:20 p.m., according to reports, after watching Croatia defeat Ireland in the Euro Cup.

The black BMW struck two vehicles on 35th Avenue, reports said. No one was hurt and he was arrested at the scene.

The Giants’ BAC was reported as .18 — more than double the legal limit. According to bloodalcoholcontent.org, for a 305-pound man that BAC would equal about 16 beers and eight shots over eight hours.

Diehl, who is of Croatian descent, tweeted “3-1 #hrvatska” following Croatia’s victory. Hrvatska is the Croatian word for the country.

If convicted, Diehl could face a fine or suspension from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Lawrence Taylor 1991 Super Bowl ring up for auction


| brennison@queenscourier.com

While the current Giants team recently received their Super Bowl rings, any fan of the team can sport some Big Blue championship jewelry — for the right price.

Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor’s 1991 Super Bowl ring is up for auction on scpauctions.com.

Bidding has already reached more than $98,000 for the ring that features two football shaped diamonds surrounded by 17 smaller diamonds. Bids will be accepted until Saturday at 10 p.m.

Though the initial belief was that Taylor himself was selling the ring, it is his son, Lawrence Taylor Jr, who put the memorabilia up for sale.

Taylor received the ring after the Giants upset of the heavily favored Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV and the site said it is “arguably the most significant Super Bowl player ring ever offered publicly.”

Two signed letters will accompany the ring: one by Taylor acknowledging he gave the ring to his son, the second from Taylor Jr. stating the item is the Super Bowl ring given to him.

Bloomberg Bet Pays Off for Giants’ Fans


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Big Blue’s victory is the gift that keeps on giving for Giants’ fans.

Thanks to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bet with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino four lucky fans will be getting an all-expense paid trip to Boston. The mayor’s each wagered a weekend excursion in their respective city for four fans of the winning team.  The Patriots loss is Giants’ fans gain.

You can enter to win the trip by visiting www.nyc.gov, calling 311 or texting 311692 beginning on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m and lasting until 10 a.m. Friday.

The trip to Boston will include: four roundtrip tickets on JetBlue, a two-night stay at the Ritz Carlton, dinner for four at Legal Seafoods Harborside and the Top of the Hub restaurant, four tickets to a performance at the Citi Performing Arts Center, four box seats at a Bruins or Celtics game at the TD Garden, a behind-the-scenes-tour of the newly expanded Isabella Stewart Gardner museum, a Duck Tour ride, a VIP tour of the personal diaries of John Adams at the Boston Public Library, a VIP tour of the Samuel Adams Brewery and a photo with Menino.

Astoria Giants fans pack bars to watch Super Bowl victory


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo courtesy of Alexa Altman

Astoria, known for its booming nightlife, did not disappoint for the Super Bowl. Locals filled area bars hoping for a cold drink and a Giants victory.

Dan Drazka cozied up to the bar at Sissy McGinty’s, nursing a frosted Coors Light and dressed in a crisp Victor Cruz jersey—support for his favorite player.

“I hope [Victor Cruz] catches a lot of passes so I can learn to dance like him,” said Drazka.

Drazka’s girlfriend Veronica came out to watch the game, bringing along her parents.

Margaret Smith from Astoria was also watching the game at Sissy McGinty’s, along with several of her friends.

“I hope they kick Patriot ass,” said Smith.

Down the street at Tu Casa, Giants fans crammed themselves around the bar in the front room to catch the game.  Jonathan Franco, a Giants fan who came to Tu Casa to support his team, was hopeful for a Giants win.

“The anticipation and the duration, it’s definitely exciting,” said Franco.

Ticker-tape parade planned for Tuesday to celebrate Giants Super Bowl win


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0065w

New York Giants fans are getting ready to party like it’s 2008.

After defeating the New England Patriots 21-17 in a rematch of Super Bowl 42, the Giants will parade up the Canyon of Heroes to celebrate their Super Bowl championship for the second time in four years.

“Big Blue gave us a game to remember, and on Tuesday we’re going to give them a parade to remember,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The parade will begin at Battery Place and Washington Street at 11:00 a.m. and continue northbound up the Canyon of Heroes to Worth Street. The parade will be followed by a ceremony at City Hall Plaza, at which the mayor will present the champion Giants with keys to the city.

The win capped a run that featured the Giants going from 7-7 to Super Bowl champs, a feat that impressed Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“I congratulate the New York Giants on beating the odds and winning Super Bowl XLVI,” the governor said.  “After nearly missing the playoffs, the Giants have made history by becoming the first NFL team to win the Super Bowl after going 9-7 in the regular season. I look forward to celebrating this victory with all New Yorkers.”

Following the game, which was the rare sequel that was just as good as the original, many local politicians took to social media to congratulate the team.

Councilmember Dan Halloran tweeted, “Giants Win!!!!! Go New York – Big Blue!!!!!!”

The Giants two-time Super Bowl MVP inspired Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer to tweet, “Eli Manning does it again. Amazing win. Congrats @Giants#goblue #SuperBowl #manning #manningham.”

Giants upset Patriots again for fourth Super Bowl title


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Giants upset Patriots again for fourth Super Bowl title

At the end, Tom Coughlin did not need to push and prod his Giants, did not need to preach “All In” any longer, did not need to insist and demand and plea for his players to please, please, just “Finish.” All he needed to do was watch the confetti fall after his quarterback, Eli Manning, did it again and Justin Tuck and his defense did it again, did it to the Patriots, to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady again, incredibly, impossibly and, in some strange way, naturally. “This is the finish line for this year, yes it is!’’ Coughlin exclaimed. Photos, Videos, and More @ New York Post

 

3 slain in 12 hours

Three people were murdered in separate incidents during a 12-hour spate of violence in Queens over the weekend, police said. The bloodshed first erupted at around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, when career criminal George Portillo, 31, got in a fight with an unknown gunman on 95th Street and 31st Avenue in East Corona. Portillo was shot in the chest and died at Elmhurst Hospital. Police said his rap sheet included arrests for rape, assault, DWI and drugs. Another slaying occurred at 1:16 a.m. yesterday in South Jamaica, when 20-year-old Cody Kahn was fatally shot in the chest. Cops did not know what sparked the killing. Read More: New York Post

 

Seizure horror at Howard Beach school show

An elementary-school talent show turned tragic in Queens after a parent suffering a violent seizure accidently punched a man who was trying to help him — and the good Samaritan later died, cops said. Students had been performing at Ave Maria Catholic School in Howard Beach Thursday evening when strobe lights fired and a man was stricken by a seizure, a witness told The Post. The man, who later identified himself to The Post only as Mario, “was biting his tongue, foaming from the mouth,” the witness said. A grandparent, identified as Paul Trinchese, 61, of Howard Beach, tried to help Mario, who has a history of seizures, the witness said. Read More: New York Post

 

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman traps alleged stalker Louise Neathway with volley of text messages

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman helped net his accused stalker with a final blistering volley of text messages that lured her out of her Tribeca apartment and into the hands of waiting investigators. The crafty Cashman and authorities set the trap for Louise Neathway in the hours before she was arrested on Feb. 1. “What will it take to make this go away, I can’t believe you’ve done this,” Cashman, 44, wrote in a text sent to his alleged mistress at 4:25 p.m. under the direction of cops. “We have to talk,” Neathway, 36, replied, “where is up to you.” Read More: Daily News

 

Dream come true for slain cop’s girls

Two of slain hero cop Peter Figoski’s daughters lived it up and rubbed elbows with A-listers during the trip of a lifetime yesterday as the Giants’ guests of honor at Super Bowl XLVI. Corrine, 14, and Caroline, 16, made the journey with mom Paulette courtesy of Giants co-owner Steven Tisch and movie honcho Harvey Weinstein. The girls, huge fans of Big Blue, would watch games with their dad before he was killed in December. Read More: New York Post
Watch this year’s Super Bowl ads – and read expert reviews

Sunday’s spots included a Clint Eastwood pitch for Detroit, Volkswagen revisiting its successful ‘Star Wars’ theme, a car duel between Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and a look at Ferris Bueller, a quarter-century after Matthew Broderick popularized the character on the silver screen. Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for this year’s Super Bowl. Some of those commercials were worth the cost. Others … not so much. Read More: New York Post

Where to watch the Super Bowl in Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

It won’t be just Giants and Patriots fans hitting the bars to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5 — more than 110 million people watched last year’s game.  Bars and restaurants throughout Queens feature food and drink specials for Giants fans and anyone else that wants to take in the Super Bowl 42 rematch.  Here are a few places to watch the game in Queens:

Bourbon Street, Bayside:

For $45 per person, enjoy a hot and cold buffet, unlimited mixed drinks, bottled and tap beer, wine and soda during the game.  Giveaways during the game will include a flat screen television, golf bags, beer coolers and bicycles.  Reservations and deposit required.

Bohemian Beer Garden, Astoria:

“The Biggest Tailgating Party in Astoria,” offers free admission, free hot dogs, wing specials and $10 pitchers of Staropramen and Pilsner Urquell and the game is played on a 200-inch high-definition screen.

Studio Square, Astoria:

Watch the game on multiple 60+ inch flat screens while enjoying unlimited beer, wine, sangria, loaded lemonade and red stag iced tea for $50 ($60 at door).  There is also a private loft party — $75 ($85 at door) — which includes a top shelf open bar and premium Studio Square catering.

Z Hotel, Long Island City:

The Z Hotel features numerous options for revelers.  For $55 fans can enjoy a four hour top shelf open bar and tailgate buffet.  Ten dollars more will feature a private VIP buffet.  The game will be displayed on multiple flat screen televisions and the party will feature halftime raffles.

 

Safari Beach Club, Bayside

Safari Beach Club on Bell Boulevard in Bayside is your Giants headquarters. Watch the big game on over 25 large, flat-screen TVs. Halftime giveaways and unlimited food and drinks for $50

 

Austin’s Ale House, Kew Gardens:

Root for the Giants with unlimited bottle beer and top shelf cocktails and a halftime buffet for $50.  Halftime will also feature raffles and giveaways. Deposit required.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill, Douglaston:

The Big Game will be played on 16 high-definition televisions.  For $50, drink unlimited draft beer and enjoy all you can eat wings.  Fans will also receive free “Big Blue Shots” for wearing Giants gear and whenever the team scores.  For $75, fans will get a top shelf open bar, family style dinner and guarantee seating.

Sly Fox Inn, Flushing:

Enjoy free blue shots when the Giants score, free halftime buffet and free hot dogs.  Drink specials, raffles and giveaways throughout the game.  Reserve your spot now.

Resorts World Casino New York City, South Ozone Park:

The Racino’s Big Game Tailgate Party in Bar 360 will play the game on the bar’s 16×28 foot high definition television.  The party begins at 5 p.m. and features $2 Domestic Drafts, $2 Hot Dogs, $2 Cup of Chili and $5 for 10 Hot Wings.  Genting Reward members can enjoy the Big Game Free Play from 8 a.m. until midnight on Sunday, February 5 — receive between $7 and $107 of free play.

Queens fire kills grandmother as helpless kin look on


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens fire kills grandmother as helpless kin look on

A fast-moving house fire killed a Queens grandmother early today as her family managed to escape the blaze in South Jamaica. “The family was screaming for their grandmother,” said neighbor Lola Reid. “She never came out of the house.” Elaine Spencer, 69, died at the scene, officials said. “She was a sweet woman. Everyone on this block loved her,” said Jessica Banks, 25, a relative of the victim. Rickey Anderson was walking home on 120th Avenue near Sutphin Boulevard at around midnight when he saw flames shooting from the two-family home. Read More: New York Post

 

Catwoman is caged

The catwoman has been declawed. A Queens woman who robbed an Astor Place boutique while wearing a cat mask was ordered caged for 10 years — and she went out hissing all the way. “I am not the catwoman!” Shana Spalding shouted after being sentenced yesterday in Manhattan Supreme Court. “No! No! No!” The 29-year-old Queens crook cried out for her mom and raged at court officers and photographers as she was led out in handcuffs. The death-metal singer known as “Purgatory” was convicted in December of armed stick-ups at Arche Shoes on Astor Place and Cotélac, a SoHo sportswear shop . Read More: New York Post

Brooklyn Man Charged With Murdering Brother In Queens Home

A Brooklyn man is accused of attacking two members of his own family, killing one of them. Sources say Gideon Forde, 33, is charged with murdering his 29-year-old brother, Clinton, inside a home on 148th Street in Queens. Police responded to the scene at around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Sources say the victim’s wife was yelling from an upstairs window while downstairs, Forde was holding his younger brother at knifepoint. Forde also allegedly slashed his 1-year-old niece in the neck. Clinton Forde died at the hospital. The young girl was rushed to the hospital in stable condition. Read More: NY1

 

Con Ed crew foils robbery

A routine gas inspection turned into a harrowing chase as four Con Edison employees rushed to the aid of the victim of a violent purse snatching in Bayside on the night of January 25. The Con Edison crew — John Kane, John McDonnell, Michael Santeramo and Anthony Farmighetti — were working on a gas line just off Northern Boulevard when they heard the screams of a young woman on 201st Street and 42nd Avenue. When they rushed to the scene, they saw the victim on the ground, bleeding from the mouth. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Queens Mormon holy war

They’re throwing the book at Mormons. Queens civic leaders are mounting a campaign to block the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from building a new house of worship in Flushing to serve a growing Mormon congregation. The planned two-story structure, proposed for 145-15 33rd Ave., would include an underground parking garage and a steeple. It would replace a cramped church about a dozen blocks away. The church acquired the three lots in 2008, with eyes on building a new facility. But since then, the city has approved stricter zoning that bars larger structures in the residential area. Read More: New York Post

 

Giants hoping for repeat performance vs. Patriots

Eli Manning wakes up Sunday morning and it’s the Super Bowl, against Tom Brady and the Patriots. Tom Coughlin wakes up Sunday morning and it’s the Super Bowl, against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Brady wakes up Sunday morning and starts worrying about Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. Today is Groundhog Day. For the Giants, Sunday is Super Groundhog Day. “I wasn’t a part of that ’07 team,” Steve Weatherford said, “but just watching those guys and seeing them just crush people through the playoffs and get in, and nobody gave ’em a chance to win once you get into the Super Bowl, which is the only game that really matters, and they pulled it out when it mattered most so I mean. . . Read More: New York Post

 

TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

TSA apologizes to elderly women for strip search at Kennedy Airport

In an about-face, the feds have admitted wrongdoing in the cases of two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at Kennedy Airport by overzealous screeners. Federal officials had initially insisted that all “screening procedures were followed” after Ruth Sherman, 89, and Lenore Zimmerman, 85, went public with separate accounts of humiliating strip searches. But in a letter obtained by the Daily News, the Homeland Security Department acknowledges that screeners violated standard practice in their treatment of the ailing octogenarians last November. Read More: Daily News

Governor Cuomo’s public pension bomb

Gov. Cuomo lobbed a political grenade at New York’s powerful public-employee unions yesterday, proposing a radical pension overhaul for future city and state workers as part of his $132.5 billion state budget plan. Cuomo said the plan would save New York City $30 billion in pension costs over 30 years, while saving $83 billion for the state and local governments outside the city over the same period. “We can no longer sustain the current pension system,” Cuomo said, citing a projected 185 percent treasury-busting increase in pension costs from 2009 to 2015 if nothing is done. Read More: New York Post

Bayside mourns beloved father of six

When Lawrence Hilsdorf was laid to rest, an entire community cried. The 55-year-old, affectionately known as “Larry,” was more than just a Bayside resident – he was a neighborhood icon, and his roots in the community ran deep. He went to Sacred Heart, then Bayside High School, before settling to raise his own family in the area. The father of six boys – Charlie, 25, James, 20, twins Billy and Bobby, 18, Patrick, 15, and Jack, 13 – Larry put his life on the line as a police officer beginning in 1981, first with the Queens North Task Force, and then with the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Read More: Queens Courier

Hunt for cruise victims on hold as wreckage shifts

Italian rescue workers suspended operations Wednesday after a stricken cruise ship shifted slightly on the rocks near the Tuscan coast, creating deep concerns about the safety of divers and firefighters searching for the 22 people still missing. The $450 million Costa Concordia cruise ship had more than 4,200 passengers and crew on board when it slammed into the reef Friday off the tiny Italian island of Giglio after the captain made an unauthorized maneuver. The bodies of five adult passengers — four men and one woman, all wearing lifejackets — were discovered in the wreckage Tuesday, raising the death toll to 11. Their nationalities were not immediately released. Read More: New York Post

Giants passing game could slip against 49ers if weather is bad

There is zero percent chance the Giants will be able to operate their high-flying passing attack at peak efficiency Sunday against the 49ers in the NFC Championship. Anyone who thinks they can is all wet. The cohesive, rugged, old-school (think defense first) 49ers would be a challenge no matter where and no matter what the conditions, but looming up ahead is the true test whether or not the Giants are an all-weather team. After a rousing 37-20 Divisional beatdown of the defending champion Packers in the cold at Lambeau Field, go figure that a trip to northern California could be fraught with soggy peril for the Giants. Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia goes dark in protest of anti-piracy legislation

Free online knowledge site Wikipedia has gone dark as part of a protest over legislation in the US Congress intended to crack down on online piracy. The English version of the online encyclopedia shut down at midnight Tuesday ET. The website will be inaccessible for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate version, the Protect IP Act (PIPA). It was replaced with a message that read, “Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge.” “For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history. Right now, the US Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia,” it went on. Read More: New York Post

Residents Protest Jackson Heights Supermarket

Some Jackson Heights residents and elected officials have declared the Trade Fair store on 37th Avenue a blight on the neighborhood and are rallying for it to clean up its act. Read More & Watch the Video: NY1

Two Correction Officers Sentenced In Connection With 2008 Rikers Assaults

After reaching a plea deal with the Bronx district attorney’s office, former Correction Officers Michael McKie and Khalid Nelson learned their fates Tuesday in State Supreme Court in the Bronx. City investigators said the pair were among officers at Rikers Island running an intimidation campaign known as “the program,” and they had ordered teenage inmates to beat up others to maintain discipline in the adolescent unit. McKie, seen above left, who pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to two years in state prison. Nelson, seen above right, who pleaded guilty to attempted assault, was sentenced to one year. Read More: NY1

Queens hotel fire rescue


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens hotel fire rescue

Firefighters fought their way through heavy smoke and shooting flames yesterday to rescue a man with no pulse from a burning Queens motel and bring him back to life. The victim was in a third-floor room at the Conduit Motor Inn in South Ozone Park at around 4 p.m. when members of Engine 302 and Ladder 155 arrived on scene. Firefighter John Summerville crawled into the room to stay beneath the smoke. “I found him face down by the window. The situation was like an inferno,” Summerville said. After reaching the victim, described as being in his 40s, Summerville pulled him out and put him in an ambulance, where another member of Engine 302 began performing CPR and got a pulse back. Read More: New York Post

Cuomo Turns His Budget Focus To Public Pensions, Education System

Governor Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to reveal his budget proposal for the new fiscal year on Tuesday. Although the governor would not share many details of the expected $130 billion plan in advance, he touted on Monday a brighter picture looking forward. “The good work that we did last year is actually going to pay dividends this year,” said Cuomo. “So, from just a budget point of view, where we had a true crisis last year, we had a $10 billion deficit, we had chaos. We have a much better budget situation on the numbers.” “We got a good start last year, moving in a better and a new direction. Took about a 90-degree turn,” said Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco of Schenectady. Read More: NY1

Astoria Houses kids now have ‘Promise’

More than 1,600 underprivileged children have been “granted” the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Local elected officials and community leaders gathered on January 13 to announce that a $500,000 Promise Neighborhood planning grant from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) had been procured for the children of the Astoria Houses. Read More: Queens Courier

Druggists’ cure for anxiety: a pistol

Your friendly neighborhood pharmacist will soon be locked and loaded. Rattled druggists from Long Island to the city are increasingly applying for gun permits following a spate of fatal robberies by armed thugs desperate to score highly addictive painkillers. “I’m applying for a pistol permit because of this,’’ said Todd Svec, 48, a pharmacist and owner of the Arlo Drug store in Massapequa Park, LI. “I will feel safer if I have one.’’  Svec’s wife is also a pharmacist at the store — and his four daughters work there. He pointed out that Charlie’s Family Pharmacy in Seaford, LI, where on New Year’s Eve a pill-popping ex-con attempted a stickup that left the thug and an off-duty federal agent dead “is just two miles from here.”  Read More: New York Post

Baby born on PATH train between NJ & NYC

Next stop, maternity ward! A woman went into labor on a New York-bound PATH train yesterday, and her baby took the express track — he was born before the train even pulled in to its Manhattan terminal. When Rabita Sarkar and her husband, Aditya Saurabh, left their Harrison, NJ, home they were still planning their unborn child’s exciting future. But by the time their train rumbled into Manhattan’s 33rd Street station, they were a new family, complete with a baby boy and a train car full of honorary uncles and aunts. “He came in a very dramatic fashion,” the smiling new mom told The Post from her bed at Roosevelt Hospital. Read More: New York Post

One more time, vengeance shall be Giants’

The Giants wanted another shot at the 49ers, wanted the stakes higher than they were in November. Now they have it, and it doesn’t bother them in the least that the game is in San Francisco, because they would play this one, the one that is the Golden Gateway to Glory, on the moon. Jim Harbaugh has restored the pride to a storied franchise, and 60 minutes from the Super Bowl means the Giants will be expecting a hostile environment Sunday night — and possibly a rainy one as well — at Candlestick Park. “I can care less about how hostile it is, it’s a game,” Antrel Rolle said. “When you’re home, you want to bring ’em to their feet. When you’re away, you want to bring ’em to their knees, and that’s the way I look at it.” Read More: New York Post

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces blackout to protest anti-piracy bills in Congress

Wikipedia will black out the English language version of its website Wednesday to protest anti-piracy legislation under consideration in Congress, the foundation behind the popular community-based online encyclopedia said in a statement Monday night. The website will go dark for 24 hours in an unprecedented move that brings added muscle to a growing base of critics of the legislation. Wikipedia is considered one of the Internet’s most popular websites, with millions of visitors daily. “If passed, this legislation will harm the free and open Internet and bring about new tools for censorship of international websites inside the United States,” the Wikimedia foundation said. Read More: Daily News

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men

Cops are hunting for a group of men they say raped a woman on a dark Queens street early Sunday. The 20-year-old woman was walking near Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in Hunters Point when two men grabbed her and dragged her into a parking lot at about 3:45 a.m., police said. As the two suspects held her down between two cars, a third man — who is in his late 20s and about 5-foot-10 with blond hair and blue eyes — raped her, cops said.  Read More: Daily News

Queens rape victim was falsely imprisoned for robberies; now she sues city cops for falling for her attacker’s story

A QUEENS rape victim who was locked up for robberies she didn’t commit is suing city and Long Island cops for falling for her attacker’s “preposterous hoax” of a revenge plot. In a federal lawsuit, Seemona Sumasar claims NYPD cops protected her attacker, Jerry Ramrattan, because he was secretly funneling them information about other crimes while working as an informant. Read More: Daily News

Parents and officials say Department of Education has turned back on Jamaica High School

Even though the Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to close Jamaica High School was finalized in February, current students are still hoping for a quality education. Currently in the process of being phased out, Jamaica High School no longer accepts new students and is expected to close its doors for good in 2014. Read More: Queens Courier

At Top Public Schools, the Arts Replace Recess

All of this concentrated learning — activities parents commonly think of as enrichment — was taking place not after school hours, but during recess, the once-unstructured midday break that for some elementary school students is slowly being squeezed out of the day. Jump rope, freeze tag and the jungle gym have some new competition. At some of the city’s highest-rated public elementary schools, recess is now being seen by parents and educators as a time to pack in extra learning. Read More: New York Times

Giants, Mets Trade: New York Trades Angel Pagan To San Francisco For Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez

Walking across the hotel lobby, New York Mets manager Terry Collins smiled. “We rebuilt our bullpen in one day,” he said. In a rapid-fire series of moves at the winter meetings that took 1 1/2 days to put together and 1 1/2 hours to finalize, the Mets agreed to trade center fielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Read More: Huffington Post

Ex-corrections officer acquitted of attempted murder charges in Queens

A former correction officer who was facing up to 25 years in prison for shooting two men outside of a Queens bowling alley was acquitted of double attempted murder and assault charges. “His defense was one of self-defense,” said Michael Lavecchio’s trial attorney, Stephen Worth, after a jury cleared his client of all charges on Monday night. Lavecchio, 55, was working as a security guard at the AMF bowling alley on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights on February 6, 2010 when he asked Justin Donaghy and Gerard Hourigan to leave the building.  Read More: New York Post

MTA forgot about stranded blizzard train

The MTA’s subway boss admitted yesterday that transit officials got so overwhelmed during last year’s Christmas-time blizzard they “forgot” about an A train stuck on the tracks for nine agonizing hours with 500 passengers on board. Read More: New York Post