Tag Archives: Glendale

Public invited to September participatory budgeting meetings in 30th Council District


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Now that participatory budgeting is coming to the 30th Council DistrictCity Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is inviting the public to attend neighborhood meetings where they can have their voices heard on upcoming capital budget ideas.

Through the participatory budgeting process, residents of the 30th Council District — which includes all or parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside — will gather to brainstorm and then vote on a number of proposed capital budget projects for their community, including street resurfacing, street tree planting, park improvements and more.

Crowley has released a list of dates through September of when and where community members can meet with her to discuss the process of participatory budgeting.

Those dates and locations are as follows:

  • Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Frank Kowalinski Post, 61-57 Maspeth Ave., Maspeth, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Ridgewood Library, 2012 Madison St., Ridgewood, at 2:30 p.m.;
  • Monday, Sept. 14, at the Wynwood Gardens Civic Association meeting, 70-31 48th Ave., Woodside, at 7 p.m.;
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16, at Maspeth Town Hall, 53-37 72nd St., Maspeth, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Ridgewood YMCA located at 69-02 64th St., Ridgewood, at 1 p.m.;
  • Thursday, Sept. 24, at P.S. 87, 67-54 80th St., Middle Village, at 6:30 p.m.;
  • Monday, Sept. 28, at Redeemer Lutheran School located at 69-26 Cooper Ave., Glendale, at 6:30 p.m.; and
  • Wednesday, Sept. 30, at the U.S. Columbarium, 61-40 Mount Olivet Crescent, Middle Village, at 6:30 p.m.

Future workshop dates will be released in the weeks to come. For more information, call Crowley’s Glendale office at 718-366-3900.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens business owners in Bayside and Glendale charged with tax fraud


| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

A couple that owns a Bayside gas station and a Glendale flower shop owner were recently charged for tax-related felonies, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

The owners of Merrick Gas Services, Rajpatee Rampersaud, 45, and her husband Naren Rampersaud, 52, were charged with grand larceny in the second degree and criminal tax fraud in the second degree. The owners, who operate the gas station as a CITGO on 34-51 Bell Blvd., were also slapped with a misdemeanor for operating without a valid Certificate of Authority to collect sales tax.

They failed to pay a total tax liability of $166,810 from September 2009 through May 2014 on cigarettes, sales, withholding and corporate taxes. The Rampersauds also failed to secure a license to sell cigarettes.

merrick

Naren Rampersaud and Rajpatee Rampersaud (Photo courtesy of NYS Department of Taxation and Finance)

“This is yet another example of business owners allegedly lining their own pockets with collected sales tax money that should have been remitted to the government,” State Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone said. “The city and state rely on collected taxes to fund programs and services for the public. Stealing tax revenue is a crime and makes every New Yorker a victim.”

Also charged was Brian Marcus, 56, of Howard Beach who owns and operates Glendale Florist at 78-17 Myrtle Ave. Marcus was charged with six counts of criminal tax fraud in the second and third degree, two counts of grand larceny in the third degree and grand larceny in the second degree. He was also charged with a misdemeanor for failing to maintain a Certificate of Authority.

Brian Marcus - Photo (NFMC)

Brian Marcus (Photo courtesy of NYS Department of Taxation and Finance)

From December 2011 through February 2015, Marcus failed to report $71,107 of sales tax to the state. He also did not file a personal income tax return in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

All three defendants could face up to 5 to 15 years in prison. The maximum penalty for operating a business without a valid Certificate of Authority is $10,000, which is imposed at the rate of up to $500 for the first day business is conducted without a valid Certificate of Authority, plus up to $200 per day for each day after.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Glendale cemetery ceremony honors victim of lynch mob 100 years later


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

Vowing never to forget, local elected officials and activists gathered on Monday at the Glendale grave of Leo Frank to mark the 100th anniversary since the Jewish factory superintendent wrongfully convicted of murder in Georgia was lynched by a hateful mob.

In 1913, a jury in Georgia found Frank guilty of murdering a 13-year-old girl who worked at his factory and sentenced him to death in a trial marked by anti-Semitism. Then-Georgia Gov. John Slaton commuted Frank’s sentence to life in prison, but in 1915, a group of armed men kidnapped Frank from the prison farm where he was serving time.

The group drove Frank to Marietta, Georgia, an Atlanta suburb, where on Aug. 17, 1915, he was brutally beaten and hanged from a tree — a victim of anti-Semitism and unfounded fear among residents. Frank’s body was interred at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Glendale, where Monday’s ceremony took place at graveside.

Among the participants were City Council members Rory I. Lancman and Elizabeth Crowley, Assemblyman David Weprin, Public Advocate Letitia James, Borough President Melinda Katz and members of the Anti-Defamation League, the Queens Jewish Community Council and the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center and Archives.

“Leo Frank wasn’t a senator or an advocate. He wasn’t an artist or an academic. He was just a Jew, and often that’s all the world needs to know,” Lancman said. “He must have felt terribly alone during his ordeal, especially when he was kidnapped and surrounded by a bloodthirsty mob. He is not alone today.”

Crowley echoed Lancman’s sentiments that more work is needed to bring an end to social injustices that still exist today.

“This still happens today, 100 years later. That’s why it’s so important we come together as a community to remember the anti-Semitic acts that killed Leo Frank and the racism that is alive today in America,” Crowley said. “Whether it’s the color of your skin or the religion you practice, here in New York and all across America and sadly, more often, all across the world people are killed for who they believe in or who they are, and that’s just wrong.”

Frank’s grandniece, Catherine Smithline, was in attendance to remember her granduncle and the terrible ordeal he was put through a century ago. Smithline was presented a proclamation from the Council of the City of New York on behalf of Frank that would remain at the cemetery, which memorializes some of the facts of Frank’s trial and murder.

“Leo Frank’s trial and murder was not just a horrific example of anti-Semitism, but also a damning condemnation of America’s justice system at the time,” Lancman added. “Let’s leave here remembering Leo Frank, but let’s not forget that we still have a lot of work to do to rid our legal system of injustice.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Pesticide spraying across many Queens neighborhoods set for Monday night


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Trucks will spray pesticide across nearly every corner in Queens this Monday night as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to kill mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at about 8:30 p.m. Monday and continue until 6 a.m. the next morning. In the event of inclement weather, the spraying will take place on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning at the same hours.

The spraying will occur in four clusters of Queens as follows:

  • Areas of Long Island City and Sunnyside generally bounded by 47th Avenue on the north; Dutch Kills on the west; Newtown Creek on south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 43rd Street on the east.
  • Parts of Astoria and Woodside generally bounded by 20th Avenue and 30th Street on the north; 28th Avenue, 43rd Street and Newtown Road on the west; Broadway and Northern Boulevard on the south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 30th Avenue, 78th Street, Astoria Boulevard and 75th Street on the east.
The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

  • Areas of Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood and Oakland Gardens generally bounded by 73rd Avenue on the north; 188th Street on the west; Jamaica Avenue, 199th Street, Hillside Avenue, 212th Street and the Grand Central Parkway on the south; and Springfield Boulevard on the east.
  • Parts of Briarwood, Forest Hills, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven generally bounded by the Grand Central and Jackie Robinson parkways, Groton Street, Yellowstone and Woodhaven boulevards and Eliot Avenue on the north; Lutheran Avenue, 71st Street, Metropolitan Avenue, All Faiths Cemetery, 76th Street, Cypress Hills Cemetery and Cypress Hills Street on the west; Jamaica and 89th avenues on the south; and 169th Street on the east.
The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

Though the pesticide used during these sprayings, Anvil 10+10, poses no significant health risks to humans, the Health Department advises residents in these areas — especially those with respiratory ailments — to stay indoors while spraying occurs. Windows should be kept closed; air conditioners may be used, but the vents should be closed to prevent possible indoor exposure to the pesticides.

Any toys, clothes and outdoor equipment should be moved inside prior to spraying; anything left outside while spraying occurs should be thoroughly washed before reuse. Produce grown in backyards should be washed before being consumed or cooked.

Persons exposed to the pesticide should thoroughly wash their skin with soap and water.

For more information, visit the Health Department’s website or call 311.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Drone talk tops 104COP general assembly meeting


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

The new president of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), Mark Pearson, got his first taste of official duty as he conducted his first 104COP general assembly meeting at the United Talmudic Seminary in Glendale on Thursday night.

After 104COP unveiled its newest piece of equipment last week, a quad-copter, Pearson was faced with answering questions from patrol members and residents regarding this new technology.

“The idea is to use this device in conjunction with the NYPD to make sure that they’re aware that it’s going to be for what it’s going to be used for, which right now it is slated to be used for missing children or a missing person,” Pearson said. “So anytime it goes up, they’re aware of it. We need to be fully open and transparent with the NYPD.”

Pearson said that the 104th Precinct does not officially sanction drones, but they are not opposed to them either. He also informed those in attendance that 104COP is in the process of getting the proper exemptions and filing the appropriate paperwork with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

“The regulations are, if you’re going to fly within a 5-mile radius of an airport, which is within the jurisdiction of the 104th Precinct, we have to notify the air traffic controller and get approval from them first,” Pearson said. “If it’s outside of that you don’t need to, you have to fly below 400 feet. Which, in order to try and find somebody, you would have to fly 100 feet. And the regulation is you can’t fly below 25 feet over people.”

“There’s a lot of concerns over privacy issues and everything like that,” he continued. “These devices, well the one that we have, does not support audio. It only records, if we turn it on, video. That’s it. There’s no use for us to use it to spy on anybody. That’s not what it’s meant for. It’s meant to find a missing child as quickly as possible.”

Pearson also noted that 104COP will continue to coordinate their patrols with the 104th Precinct to make them more cohesive and effective.

“Either at the time of the patrol, or right before the patrol, we actually get in touch with the captain and let him know that we are going out so that way he’s aware,” Pearson said. “He’s been relaying information to us and I, in turn, will now inform whoever else is supervising the patrol so that way they know where to focus.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

More weekend closures scheduled for Jackie Robinson Parkway


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Get ready for another round of weekend shutdowns on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Portions of the eastbound section of the parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed as needed beginning tonight at 11 p.m. and continuing until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Road closures will also occur each weeknight between Aug. 17 to 20 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning; and from 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

According to the state Department of Transportation, the closure is required as work crews replace signs and guardrails and install mow strips on the roadbed.

The DOT is currently resurfacing the entire stretch of the 5-mile roadway between Kew Gardens and Brooklyn at a cost of $17 million. Work is being done in phases; crews will turn to the westbound lanes once resurfacing on the eastbound side is complete.

Drivers are advised to use the following designated eastbound detour routes through Cypress Hills, Woodhaven, Glendale, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens:

  • Jamaica Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Forest Parkway;
  • Forest Parkway from Jamaica Avenue to Park Lane South;
  • Park Lane South from Forest Parkway to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • Metropolitan Avenue from Park Lane South to the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Visit the DOT’s website or call 511 for further details.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation kicks off summer fundraising campaign


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation

The Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) has begun its semi-annual fundraising campaign, asking members of the Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village communities to make donations to help fund programs that have made an important contribution to the areas’ quality of life.

The GRRC has been instrumental in stabilizing and upgrading the neighborhoods that make up Community Board 5 for the last 40 years, offering free programs such as landlord/tenant counseling, helping homeowners apply for low-interest home improvement loans, lobbying for street tree plantings, removing graffiti and more.

The donations will go towards the purchase of a lift for the hot pressure washer used in graffiti removal.

“The pressure washer is extremely heavy and getting it off and on the van is very difficult,” said Angela Mirabile, executive director of GRRC. “Our fundraising goal this year is $10,000 in private donations. This will cover the cost of the lift and replacement of worn equipment and supplies.”

The anti-graffiti program is one of the most used programs offered by GRRC. Last year, GRRC removed graffiti at 125 locations, and this year has cleaned over 110 sites. The organization anticipates cleaning 50 more sites by the end of November.

“It is evident that graffiti vandalism is once again on the rise, and we are doing our best to stay on top of it,” said Christa Walls, community liaison specialist for GRRC.

Mirabile added that funds will also go to cover general administration expenses as well as updating GRRC’s computer systems and software.

“In the past we have received donations ranging from $10 to $2,500. The people of our community support our effort and we are very thankful,” Mirabile said. “The public in this community has been very responsive to our campaign efforts. They are very active and we appreciate that.”

Donations can be made through the GRRC website, through PayPal or by mail to 68-56 Forest Ave., Ridgewood, NY 11385.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens real estate sales drop, but turn bigger profits in recent months: report


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Reflecting a market gripped by high demand and low supply, real estate sales in Queens decreased slightly but yielded higher prices during the second quarter of 2015, according to a report from broker Cushman & Wakefield.

Approximately 230 properties across the “World’s Borough” changed hands between April and June of this year, a 7 percent drop from the number sold during the first quarter of 2015. Even so, the aggregate sales consideration this quarter — the volume of money exchanged in real estate transactions — reached $835 million, an 8 percent increase from the first quarter.

Cushman & Wakefield described the first six months of 2015 as the second-highest dollar volume the Queens real estate market has seen within the first half of any year, with $1.6 billion in real estate sales generated.

“[At $313 million], development sites accounted for 20 percent of all dollar volume,” the report indicated, “followed by retail properties, with $259 million accounting for 16 percent of the total dollar volume.”

The average price for all types of real estate sold in Queens was $3.4 million, an 18 percent jump from the first half of 2014.

Queens’ strong real estate numbers were evident of a continued upward trend in New York City’s real estate market. According to the report, $37.8 billion in sales activity took place through June, and the city is “on pace to exceed the previous cycle’s high established in 2007.”

“The first half of 2015 will go down as one of the best six-month periods in the city’s history,” said Adrian Mercado, Cushman & Wakefield managing director of research. “All submarkets and property types are firing on all cylinders with market activity outpacing our year-end forecasts.”

Cushman & Wakefield catalogued 141 sales in Queens in which properties were sold for $1 million or more during the second quarter of 2015, accounting for 61.3 percent of real estate transactions during the period.

Among the most lucrative deals were the $71 million sale of an office building at 33-00 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City; a $4.35 million sale of a 23-unit lot of apartment buildings at 1705-1725 Putnam Ave. in Ridgewood; a $72.25 million sale of a 144-unit apartment building at 11-15 Broadway/30-50 21st St. in Astoria; and a $8.8 million sale of a 43,800-square-foot industrial building at 72-42 60th Lane in Glendale.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-ed: Light rail line would be a boon for Queens


| oped@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

BY CITY COUNCILWOMAN ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Queens is New York City’s fastest-growing borough. We are experiencing not only the largest increase in population, but also growth in workforce and economic development. As a city, it is crucial we support this growth with an expansion of smart, sustainable transportation.

Improved public transportation and interborough (Brooklyn-Queens) transit are greatly needed to ease the burdens this growth has brought. However, Queens is lacking this infrastructure, with not enough transit options and some of the most overcrowded streets. Commercial corridors such as Fresh Pond Road, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue and Grand Avenue are plagued with congestion, unreliable bus service and overcrowded subways. This congestion and overcrowding happens around the clock and is exasperated during rush hour.

Through these transit-poor communities runs the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Lower Montauk branch. This rail line runs east to west and is still maintained by the LIRR, but is used by the New York Atlantic Railway for private freight transport. This public right-of-way is an invaluable resource that must be tapped and used for our local commuters’ benefit.

When it comes to public transportation, most New Yorkers would agree trains are the most efficient option. So, why not take advantage of this track, already open and available for use?
I believe we could start to take advantage of this rail by implementing an efficient and accessible light rail service from Glendale and through other neighborhoods to Long Island City, and since bringing this proposal to the Ridgewood Times last month, it has been met with great local support.

Light rail is exactly the smart, sustainable service that would accommodate Queens’ continuing growth. It is environmentally friendly and, in this particular location, could provide intraborough transit to Brooklyn and Manhattan while also facilitating the ever-growing industries in our local communities.

A light rail car is the size of approximately three city buses, but travels without the common delays buses meet on crowded city streets. The average New York City Transit bus needs to be replaced every 13 years, while light rail cars last about 50 years. Additionally, when considering the size of a bus versus a light rail car, they are ultimately similar in price, thereby proving them to be more cost-efficient in the long run. Adding to the long list of light rail advantages, it is quieter and more energy-efficient than buses.

Across the country, newly developed, vibrant communities have been forming around this type of affordable, sustainable transportation. This is happening in cities as far as Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix, Arizona, but also right across the East River in Hudson County, New Jersey. In New Jersey, the rail line has contributed to the revitalization of cities like Jersey City, Weehawken and Hoboken.

Along the Lower Montauk line right-of-way are neighborhoods so close to the heart of New York City, yet so underserved in public transportation. These communities, rich with history and overflowing with hometown pride, are unlike any other place in the world.

Train service could also significantly strengthen the local economy. So much of the area surrounding this once-vibrant right of way is filled with industrial buildings and storage facilities. But an environmentally sound light rail service could encourage different types of businesses to plant roots in our communities. It would also provide a quick connection to Long Island City, the East River Ferry and Roosevelt Island, which will soon be home to “The Bridge at Cornell Tech” graduate center.

This project could be tackled with minimal cost. While most transit capital transit projects cost hundreds of millions of dollars, this plan will be a fraction of that. The most expensive piece — the right-of-way — already exists, as does the rail itself.

In a borough and economy growing faster than city planners can prepare for, we must take advantage of every option we have to improve the economic opportunities and the overall quality of life. This project is ideal for our growing population.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Burglar grabs a bundle from Glendale apartment


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Video footage that police released Thursday afternoon shows a man wanted for recently breaking into and stealing cash from a Glendale apartment.

Authorities said the burglary occurred at 2 p.m. on Aug. 1 at a basement apartment on 60th Lane in the vicinity of Cooper Avenue.

Reportedly, the suspect forced his way into a door leading to the apartment, then left briefly to stop at a deli located at 60-49 Cooper Ave., where he was filmed on security camera.

Following his visit to the deli, police said, the crook returned to the 60th Lane apartment and removed $1,300 in cash before fleeing. The tenant later reported the theft to the 104th Precinct.

Anyone with information regarding the break-in or the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.


RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIRR bridge work to close Glendale street


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Tom Walsh

A portion of a Glendale street is closed as the Long Island Rail Road reconstructs an overpass above it.

The LIRR is making repairs to the railroad bridge that runs above 65th Street between Otto Road and Shaler Avenue in Glendale, according to Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5.

The tracks, which are owned by the LIRR, are leased for use by New York and Atlantic Railway (NY&A). According to NY&A President Paul Victor, the project will require the entire bridge to be replaced. What makes this project more difficult is that it must be done “under traffic,” which means train operations will not stop during the construction.

Only one of the four tracks will be out of service at a time, according to Victor, which will allow NY&A’s freight trains to continue to operate during construction.

“The street is going to probably be closed for a two month period, give or take,” Victor said.

Giordano told the Ridgewood Times in a phone interview that he received verbal confirmation from the LIRR that “in all likelihood, the project will not be completed before the end of calendar year 2015.”

Emergency vehicles and residents should be prepared to use Cypress Hills Street or 80th Street as alternate routes while the bridge is closed, Giordano said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cemetery of the Evergreens to get $1.3M grant for storm recovery


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Although Hurricane Sandy happened almost nearly three years ago, a local cemetery is now getting financial assistance to clean up from damages incurred during the October 2012 superstorm.

The Cemetery of the Evergreens, which sits on the Glendale/Bushwick border, will receive two grants totaling $1.3 million as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s effort to restore 16 historically significant properties across New York State that sustained damaged during Sandy.

“Many of New York’s historic properties endured the devastating effects of Superstorm Sandy and as a result, have fallen into a state of disrepair,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With this funding, we are helping our communities rebuild these New York State treasures back stronger and more resilient than before. In the end, they will better withstand the threat of future storms and continue to serve as economic and educational assets in their communities.”

During Sandy, the 166-year-old Cemetery of the Evergreens, also known as the Evergreens Cemetery, experienced extreme winds that caused trees to topple and destroy several monuments and gravestones. A $1 million grant will aid the cemetery in removing debris from fallen trees, finish landscape restorations and repair the damaged gravestones and monuments.

“The money from the grants will go to pay for new trees that we have to replace. We had a lot of damage done from existing trees,” said Julie Bose, president of the Cemetery of the Evergreens. “Some of it was not immediate damage. We are just delighted and grateful for this grant. I think some people don’t realize that the effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt.”

Photo courtesy Cemetery of the Evergreens

Photo courtesy of Cemetery of the Evergreens

The Evergreens Cemetery Preservation Foundation will also receive an additional $320,000 grant to fund an extensive cultural landscape report to assess the damage to the landscape caused by Sandy and provide both short- and long-term treatment plans.

“We are very welcoming to the neighborhood and we want people to come and explore the beauty of this space, not only those that have loved ones buried here, but the community as a whole,” Bose said. “We want this to be a welcoming place.”

The funds for the grants are provided by the National Park Service and administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In total, Cuomo issued $6.2 million in grants for the restoration of historic properties around the state that were damaged in the superstorm, including Lookout Hill, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Jones Beach State Park, among others.

Last year, Cuomo awarded more than $5 million in grants to restore 14 historic properties that incurred severe damage from Sandy.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Alleged Queens gang members busted in undercover gun, drug sale operation


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

BulletsInHandGunH0510_M_150_B_R

Eight purported street gang members from Queens have been charged after peddling guns and drugs during undercover buys, prosecutors announced.

“Illegal firearms that flood our streets pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety and the distribution of illegal drugs is a plague on our society. For those arrested, the message could not be clearer: law enforcement has no tolerance for those involved in the weapons and drug trade,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, seven of those arrested were alleged members of the Trinitarios, “a violent New York-based Dominican street gang,” and the eighth defendant is a reputed member of MS-13, another “violent street gang primarily composed of Central Americans.”

The buys, which took place in Queens between November 2012 and June 2014, included a total of 14 guns, with ammunition in some cases, and cocaine, MDPV and marijuana, according to the district attorney’s office. During that time, the members were unknowingly selling to NYPD operatives.

In one case, Lucas Singh, 30, of College Point, allegedly sold an undercover agent a defaced cut-down rifle along with 50 rounds of ammunition on July 30, 2013, for $850. He is also accused of selling another undercover operative a defaced .357 magnum revolver and a .32-caliber semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with ammunition for $1,200 on June 4. A week later, Singh sold the same operative a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, and a .380 semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with 12 rounds of ammunition for $1,200.

The remaining defendants were identified as Eddie Cruz, 28 and Clase Wellington, 26, both of Glendale; Marcello Esquival, 26, of Jackson Heights; Francisco Gil, 25, Carlos Rosario-Mejia, 30, and Reginald Rosa, 25, all of Jamaica; and Angel Sanchez, 23, of Woodhaven.

They are variously charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal sale of marijuana.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Crowley visits NJ to gain insight on light rail line for Glendale


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley's office

In order to get the wheels moving on a plan to bring light rail service to western Queens, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley took a trip to New Jersey to visit the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line and gather information on how such a project could affect Glendale and the surrounding communities.

The councilwoman first presented her idea for a light rail service connecting Glendale and Long Island City in an exclusive interview with the Ridgewood Times last month. She used her trip to the Hudson-Bergen line on July 29 to examine how it was built, how it operates and how the communities benefit from the light rail line.

Crowley explained that the Hudson-Bergen line was funded through a mixture of public and private investments, expressing that she would like to see that same combination of funding for a light rail line in Glendale. However, bringing light rail into Glendale would not cost nearly as much as the Hudson-Bergen line, mainly because the tracks and right-of-way are already in place.

“It was interesting to see how it was put together by a public/private partnership,” Crowley said in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “The cost of building a station shouldn’t be as expensive. This would be in the tens of millions, not the hundreds of millions.”

The Hudson-Bergen line runs through Bayonne, Jersey City, Hoboken, Weehawken, Union City and North Bergen. The line began its operation in 2000 and expanded over the next 10 years, and it currently services nearly 50,000 daily passengers.

“They have built a 21st-century rail all within the last 15 years. When they started back in 2000, 15 years ago, Bayonne had a small light rail and they expanded that,” Crowley said. “The Hudson-Bergen line is the second most-used passenger rail line in New Jersey. I was interested in learning on how they first started and then grew and what has happened in and around the communities they run through.”

The Hudson-Bergen line uses a fleet of all-electric train cars, which are the size of about two or three city buses, Crowley said.

“That would be a difference I would propose. We already have the infrastructure in place for diesel trains,” Crowley said, adding that hybrid train cars that run on diesel and battery power is an attractive option. “I think there are a lot of differences in the old train cars than what is used today.”

She used the hybrid buses as an example of how efficient a hybrid locomotive can be, noting that the train cars could produce less pollution and create less noise since they would be hauling only passengers instead of freight.

In addition to producing less air and noise pollution, a light rail line in Glendale could potentially create economic opportunities for the community, according to the legislator.

“I was impressed with all the activity around the rail line. Opening businesses, modern infrastructure that helped build a stronger community. I would see that as a benefit of the rail,” Crowley said. “We’ve been burdened by the freight rail, why not use the train tracks there for the public’s benefit?”

The next step in Crowley’s plan to bring a light rail to Glendale include meeting with representatives from various agencies including the MTA and Department of City Planning and creating a board in support of her plan.

“I am going to put together a board in support of it to engage local elected officials and representatives from city agencies and businesses to come and see what has worked in some areas and what we could do to get this project some traction,” Crowley explained. “I am going to have a meeting with all different colleagues in government to talk about it more.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Glendale man who allegedly voiced threats against cops sentenced for weapons charge


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A Glendale man arrested after voicing threats against police officers in the wake of two cop killings last December will spend the next three years behind bars after pleading guilty to a weapons possession charge, prosecutors announced on Monday.

Elvin Payamps, 38, of Edsall Avenue was originally arrested on Dec. 24, 2014, after allegedly being overheard making the threat while talking on a phone at the TD Bank located at 79-55 Metropolitan Ave. The comment came four days after two officers — Detectives Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu — were shot to death by a lone gunman on a Brooklyn street.

Reportedly, Payamps told an unidentified caller that the killer “should have killed two white cops, instead of a Hispanic and an Asian, if the guy really wanted to send a message.” Detectives indicated that the murderer shot Ramos and Liu to avenge recent high-profile, police-involved deaths.

During the state of heightened alert following the double homicide, a bank employee who heard Payamps’ remark notified police after the suspect left the location. After obtaining a description of Payamps and his vehicle, they located him a short time later at the Metro Mall parking lot at 66-26 Metropolitan Ave.

Ironically, the mall — located in a building housing the New York Corrections Department Academy — was evacuated the day before after someone phoned in a bomb threat.

Payamps was taken into custody at the mall after police found a plastic bag containing marijuana and a lead pipe inside the vehicle. After obtaining a search warrant for his home, police recovered a loaded black Jimenez Arms JA 9-mm pistol, a black Mossberg Maverick model 88 12-gauge shotgun with a defaced serial number, ammunition, brass knuckles and two bulletproof vests.

RECOMMENDED STORIES