Tag Archives: Glendale

DOT proposes expanding bike network in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Gear up for round two of bike lane construction in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

Aaron Fraint, project manager with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) bicycle program, presented three options for a second phase of bike lane creation to the Community Board 5 Transportation Committee members on March 24.

All three options focused on creating a network of lanes.

“We would like to do a set of streets that all connect to each other because we see the bike network as just that, a network, rather than sets of routes that aren’t connected to anything,” Fraint said.

The first option would connect Ridgewood to Rego Park through Middle Village via Metropolitan Avenue, 69th Street and Eliot Avenue ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

“Metropolitan Avenue is very busy corridor…with a lot of commercial and industrial activity,” Fraint said, which is why creating safe bike lanes is so important.

The avenue is also 41 feet wide, which allows just enough room for a shared bike lane in both directions.

The DOT proposed using “sharrows,” symbols with a green background that notify motorists that bicyclists may be present.

Option two connects Glendale to Rego Park through Middle Village by using Central Avenue connecting to Cooper Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard, with a north/south route on 80th Street turning into Dry Harbor Road and 63rd Avenue, ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

Fraint said that both Central and Cooper avenues — which are 40 feet wide — have enough space for 12-foot-wide shared lanes in both directions with 8-foot parking lanes.

Cooper Avenue already has a shared bike lane on the extra-wide sidewalks that were installed on the underpass after its reconstruction. These connect to a shared bike lane on 80th Street, so “we would pick up where shared lanes left off on 80th Street and bring it over to Woodhaven Boulevard,” Fraint said.

The final option seeks to connect Ridgewood to Long Island City through Maspeth along Fresh Pond Road, 59th Drive to Rust Street. In the opposite direction, the route would take Rust Street to 60th Street then to 60th Avenue and back down Fresh Pond Road.

A segment of Fresh Pond Road, which is 44 feet wide, can accommodate 14-foot shared lanes in both directions, keeping the configuration of one travel lane in each direction and parking on both sides.

59th Drive is one-way westbound from the turn off Fresh Pond Road up until 60th Street, and at 26 feet wide, “we will be able to keep the condition as is, but add a shared lane for cyclists,” Fraint said.

As 59th Drive continues past 60th Street, it becomes a 30-foot-wide two-way street, and the DOT is looking to put in a center line and shared lane symbols.

The DOT is still working out what type of bicycle facilities would be the best fit on Rust Street.
Fraint added that a lot of cyclists are using that route and it is a logical connector between Ridgewood and Long Island City.

After the board heard all three options, they discussed which ones they would like to see implemented in the community.

“I do like the Metropolitan, 69th and Eliot [route],” said John Maier, co-chair of the committee. “I think Eliot makes a lot of sense.”

For option two, Maier said that Fresh Pond Road is “already a traffic nightmare,” but that cyclists do use the route and it is worth taking a look at.

Panel members agreed that the first option would be the best fit for the communities. They liked option two, with some modifications to the 80th Street section. The DOT needs to further study the third option before the board accepts it. The DOT hopes to begin installing the accepted routes during 2015.

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Glendale Hansel ’n Gretel site will become storage and retail building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The final chapter of the more than 140-year fairy tale run for food processor Hansel ‘n Gretel has come to an end.

Hansel ‘n Gretel Brand Inc. sold its Glendale manufacturing factory at 79-40 Cooper Ave. for $9.18 million after closing its business last year, according to Canada-based broker Avison Young. The company opened in Manhattan in 1872 and moved to Glendale in 1970 to expand operations.

The entire two-acre property, which includes a 50,000-square-foot industrial building, two attached residential buildings, two parking lots and vacant land, was such a sweet deal, it was divided and purchased by two investors.

Cayre Investments purchased most of the site, and plans to transform it into a 80,000-square-foot self-storage and retail building, according to Avison Young.

“Over the last few years, self-storage has been driven by robust demand, advanced management and new technology, and it continues to outperform other real estate sectors,” said Jason Meister, vice president of Avison Young. “Manhattan’s residential market continues to reach new heights, which in turn has driven demand for self-storage in the outer boroughs, and the buyer intends to capitalize on this trend.”

Meister and an Avison Young team of principals Vincent Carrega, Jon Epstein, Neil Helman and Charles Kingsley represented Hansel ‘n Gretel.

The Hansel ‘n Gretel site is located near to The Shops at Atlas Park, a mall with retail, dining and a cinema.

It is also close to Atlas Terminals, a former collection of industrial buildings that was purchased by production company Broadway Stages for nearly $20 million last year.

The company plans to transform the site into TV and film studios and create rental space for local mom and pop retail businesses, as The Courier first reported.

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Addabbo suggests using proposed Glendale homeless shelter for veteran housing


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The controversial plan to turn the abandoned warehouse located at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale into a homeless shelter appears to be moving forward, but state Senator Joseph Addabbo wants to make that proposal a little more specific.

If the city is going to make the site into a homeless shelter, Addabbo said, it should extend the facility to the homeless who have fought for this nation’s freedom.

“I will never agree that housing any individual at the Cooper Avenue site is a good idea,” said Addabbo, who is the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs. “But if the city is insistent on housing people, why not focus our attention on an overlooked issue? We can help the veterans who helped us maintain the quality of life we have come to know instead of warehousing possibly over 100 families into this building.”

“The bottom line is that nobody deserves to be without a home, especially those who initially left their homes to defend our rights,” he added.

Nationwide, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that one-third of the homeless population has served in the military at one point. Reportedly, the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) estimated that anywhere between 2,000 and 3,500 veterans in New York City are homeless.

Bringing families to the site could run the risk of further crowding school district 24, one of the most overcrowded school districts in the city, Addabbo charged. Changing the site to veterans housing would have minimal effect on the surrounding communities and also address the citywide issue of overcrowded schools.

Even so, Addabbo still believes that there are better uses for the long-defunct warehouse.

“With this Glendale facility, we can repurpose it in a way that helps people but also doesn’t negatively impact the community,” he added. “This site could alternatively also be used as senior housing, school or an animal shelter, as was suggested by a constituent, all of which are lacking in the borough and the city.”

While the DHS intends to address the current homeless crisis, the Cooper Avenue site would not be ready for residents for over a year, the senator noted.

“Keeping the proposal for 78-16 Cooper Ave. as a homeless shelter does not immediately serve anyone,” Addabbo said.

The Glendale and Middle Village communities have been combating the proposed homeless shelter since its inception. Civic and business leaders in both neighborhoods formed the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition for the specific purpose of filing legal action to stop the shelter’s development.

Since its formation, the coalition has raised thousands of dollars to fight the placement of the shelter and have filed an Article 78, an appeal to the city’s Environmental Assessment that it did on the site. The coalition charged the assessment was not complete and wants the city to do a full Environmental Impact study before moving forward with any plans.

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Queens children’s author visits students at Glendale school


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Students at Glendale’s P.S. 91 Richard Arkwright School got a special treat on Friday when children’s author Dee Ardelean came to read the first installment of her new short story series, “Pup: A Series of Short Tails.”

Principal Victoria Catalano was extremely happy to have Ardelean at the school because it was the kick-off event for a series of authors coming to P.S. 91.

“This is the first one of these that we’ve done,” she said. “It’s kind of exciting since we’ve never done this before.”

Catalano connected with Ardelean through one of the first-grade teachers, Janet Stojic. Stojic and Ardelean were childhood friends and grew up together in Ridgewood, so when she heard Catalano was looking for an author to come to the school, she reached out to Ardelean, who gladly accepted.

“It is important to give back to the community,” Stojic said. “It is important to acknowledge people who grew up in the neighborhood and what they have done and to grow a sense of community.”

Ardelean currently lives in Astoria and really loved growing up in Ridgewood.

“You are exposed to so many places of the world. There is a lot of culture here,” she said of her hometown. “I enjoyed it a lot.”

Ardelean started out by reading her book, which was the first one she has ever written, to the entire first-grade class who laughed along to the story. After the reading was over Ardelean answered questions from the students and asked them what they thought of the story and what might happen in the next book.

“I thought I would pass out but it was easy,” Ardelean said with a laugh. “I am very thankful.” This was her first time doing a book reading and had a mix of emotions.

“I was amazed when they reached out to me to come and read to the students,” she said. “I was both excited and nervous at the same time. It was a real honor being asked to come. I just felt thrilled.”

Ardelean has had a connection with writing since an early age.

“I always wrote stories while I was growing up,” she said. “It was a place I could get lost in and it made my imagination go crazy. I could express myself better.”

To become a writer, “I did it all independently,” she explained. “It is a lot of work, but I enjoy it. I get to be really creative with everything I do.”

Before the first-graders left the auditorium, they were each given a signed copy of Ardelean’s book as a souvenir. Both the kindergarten and second-grade classes also got to attend a reading session and received copies of the book.

Catalano asked Ardelean if she would come back and do this again for some of the older grades, and the author agreed. Ardelean announced that she is working on a chapter book for older kids.

Evelyn Santoro, the school’s librarian, set up the entire event and was excited to hear that Ardelean would come back and read more of her work for the students. The school also cannot wait for the next author to come and visit.

“It’s really great to have an actual author come to talk to the kids,” Santoro said.

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Arrest made in Glendale homicide; actual shooter and accomplice still at large


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

CrimeSceneTapeHC1010_L_300_C_R-624x416

Originally published Sunday, March 22, 11:02 a.m.
Updated Monday, March 23, 9:42 a.m.

Police arrested an Ozone Park woman Sunday night in connection with the fatal shooting of a 21-year-old man in Glendale earlier that morning.

Jordan Paulino, 17, of Glenmore Avenue faces first-degree manslaughter and other charges for her alleged role in the slaying of Jordan Santos, 21, of 84th Street in Lindenwood.

Law enforcement sources said Paulino and Santos were acquaintances, and that the suspect allegedly helped lure Santos to the Edsall Avenue location where he was shot inside his SUV at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

The actual shooter and an accomplice involved in the murder — both of whom were male, according to police — remain at large.

Officers from the 104th Precinct, in responding to a reported shooting, discovered Santos shot in the neck while sitting behind the wheel of a Lexus SUV parked on Edsall Avenue near 72nd Street. Paramedics rushed Santos to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he died a short time later.

Reportedly, the unidentified shooter walked up to Santos, opened fire on him and fled in an unknown direction.

The investigation is ongoing. 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.

It was the second homicide in the 104th Precinct since last Saturday, March 14, when 21-year-old Eric Santiago was fatally shot outside a Ridgewood pool hall. Police arrested the suspected killer Thursday night.

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CB 5 eyes city budget: district manager wants more cops, building inspectors


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Speaking during the annual Community Board 5 preliminary budget hearing on March 11 in Middle Village, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano called for more city funds to boost the 104th Precinct’s roster.

“What I do on behalf of the community board is in response to the preliminary budget as I see it,” Giordano said. “The estimated budget of the City of New York is in the neighborhood of $77 billion. And what I would normally focus on, as far as the expense budget goes, is our need and desire for 20 additional police officers in the 104th Precinct.”

According to Giordano, in 1995, patrol personnel were numbered at 203 officers, not including supervisors, and that number is down by 25 percent today. Even though crime is down, Giordano stated, the reduced staff at the precinct leads to response backlogs.

Other priorities for the expense budget, he touted, included “sanitation collection, cleaning dump-out locations, sanitation enforcement, education [and] fire department staffing.”

The district manager also recommended that the Department of Buildings hire more qualified building inspectors for Queens.

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

“I think the Buildings Department is down to like 19 inspectors for Queens County,” Giordano explained. “Since the economy is heating up and we’re going to see more construction, and we’re likely to see some pretty large buildings built … we need enough competent buildings inspectors to make sure that whatever construction is taking place is getting done according to plan and according to law and we also need those buildings inspectors to check on illegal uses.”

Parks in Maspeth and Middle Village are set to receive capital funding for reconstruction. Frank Principe Park in Maspeth will get $5 million and Juniper Valley Park is slated to receive funding to reconstruct either the running track or turf field, but the debate is not settled yet, Giordano said.

Projects that have already been funded and are currently underway include the installation of larger sewer pipes and the relocation of gas mains in the Penelope Avenue area in Middle Village and the Calamus Avenue/69th Street area.

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Buildings Department OKs construction of Glendale homeless shelter


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 5:28 p.m.

BY SALVATORE LICATA, ROBERT POZARYCKI AND LIAM LA GUERRE 

Building plans to construct a controversial homeless shelter in Glendale are moving ahead.

The Department of Buildings approved permits on Tuesday for the conversion of a vacant factory building into transitional housing, which the community has repeatedly opposed for years.

The dilapidated factory will have 103 units, smaller than the 125-room shelter originally proposed, encompassing 74,542 square feet of residential space, according to the filings with the Buildings Department. The four-story building will also be built with parking spaces for 33 vehicles, per plans.

The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) has a pending five-year, $27 million contract with Samaritan Village to operate the homeless shelter at the site. Residents and neighborhood representatives are upset that the permits were granted.

“Trying to sneak this in, it’s all political,” said Sal Crifasi, president of the Glendale/Middle Village Coalition, a group of residents and community leaders devoted to fighting against the shelter. “Somebody is getting something. They are rubber stamping everything. I think someone is getting paid.”

The Glendale/Middle Village Coalition has raised about $80,000 from hundreds of residents to legally combat the shelter.

They are appealing against the Environmental Assessment the city did on the land. The coalition’s members feel that the city did not take a “hard look” at the area in order to determine the impact of a homeless shelter at the site. They want a full Environmental Impact Study done.

The coalition has a hearing on April 9 regarding its Article 78 proceeding.

Politicians were also disappointed by the news of the approved plans and pledged to continue to fight the construction of the shelter.

State Senator Joe Addabbo is trying to set up a meeting with DHS and the mayor’s office for next week to talk about the plans.

“We are going to continue to fight this and remain vigilant,” he said.

“To date, we haven’t seen the Department of Homeless Services live up to its commitment of transparency and engagement with local communities in the siting of these facilities,” City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement. “I urge DHS to engage and update all stakeholders about the development of the Glendale site, including these Department of Building permits.”

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‘Elementary’ to shoot scene at Glendale railroad crossing


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Best Possible Screen Grabs/CBS ©2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc.

The CBS detective drama “Elementary” is scheduled to film at a Glendale railroad crossing Friday night.

The shoot will take place from 6 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. the next morning at the at-grade crossing on 73rd Street off Edsall Avenue.

According to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the scene involves a man pushing a stalled vehicle off the tracks just before a train passes through the crossing. Though a lighting effect will be used to simulate a railroad crossing gate, no actual train will be part of the sequence.

The scene will be part of a future episode in the third season of “Elementary,” an updated version of Sherlock Holmes starring Jonny Lee Miller as the famous sleuth and Lucy Liu as his partner-in-crime, Dr. Joan Watson.

Parking will be prohibited along streets near the railroad crossing during the shoot to accommodate production vehicles. The affected streets include Edsall Avenue between 72nd and 73rd places; 73rd Street between Edsall and Central avenues; Central Avenue between 72nd and 73rd places; and Myrtle Avenue between 69th and 71st streets.

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CB 5 committees pan Cross Harbor Tunnel plans


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Building a Cross Harbor Tunnel would shift the tri-state area’s traffic problems into Brooklyn and Queens, members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees declared during a meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

Panelists panned options in the Port Authority’s Cross Harbor Freight Program that call for a train tunnel or a combined train/truck tube through the harbor between rail yards in New Jersey and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The options include increased activity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge line and the connecting Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale — the only freight rail terminal linking geographic Long Island and the rest of the country.

Though the Port Authority claims the tunnel plans would help reduce tractor-trailer traffic on its existing Hudson River and harbor crossings, CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri charged, the proposal wouldn’t remedy congestion, but rather move it elsewhere in the city.

According to Arcuri, the tunnel plans included the creation or expansion of intermodal shipping facilities and warehouses near the Fresh Pond Rail Yard as well as Maspeth and East New York. At these sites, goods would be loaded and off-loaded between train cars and small trucks. Citing analysis performed by the Glendale-based Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), Arcuri said, the tunnels would effectively add hundreds of truck trips each day onto local streets.

“By taking the largest tractor-trailers off the road and putting [their cargo] on the trains, they’re adding thousands of smaller trucks to our area,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive argument against this current plan.”

John Maier, Public Transit Committee co-chair, echoed those sentiments, noting that much of the tunnel program’s concepts are based in “theory.” Municipal waste and construction and demolition debris from the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties make up the bulk of all local freight rail shipments. Other goods, he noted, are largely shipped by truck.

“The tunnel would do more to alleviate traffic outside of New York City than within it,” Maier said. “It’s not creating a lot of jobs because a lot of [shipping] is automated. It’s not a lot of yard jobs. It’s not a lot of anything, really. It would only reduce 6 percent of traffic on the Hudson River crossings while adding much more than 6 percent of traffic to East New York and Maspeth.”

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association stated that companies in the neighborhood’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) expressed similar concerns about a Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also pressed for easier shipping methods to reduce costs and travel time.

“There’s definitely demand,” she said. “It would save companies a lot of money to shave off a day of transit, either by rail or by barge.”

Local logistics also make a Cross Harbor Tunnel plan unfeasible, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. The plans indicate a tunnel would bring between 16 and 21 trains through the area each day — and current freight rail facilities are already overwhelmed with traffic.

“Right there, it’s physically impossible to pull that off unless the trains just rolled through at all hours of the day,” Giordano said.

Arcuri concluded that “the current plan is unacceptable” and that the board needed to present a resolution not only dismissing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also advocating for increased barge shipments and container float operations across the harbor. The chairperson said a resolution will be developed and considered at the committees’ next meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

Meanwhile, Queens residents will have the opportunity to speak out on the Cross Harbor program during a public hearing on Tuesday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

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Queens film series to focus on immigrant experience of women in New York City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Zahida Pirani

A new Queens film series is giving foreign-born women a voice and showing what it means to be an immigrant within the five boroughs.

The nonprofit organization New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) will be showcasing the series called Immigrant Women: Sharing Our Voice Through Film starting on Feb. 27 in Maspeth and will continue each month through June in other parts of Queens.

The series, which is put together through funding from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley as part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative, features works of female immigrants and first-generation American filmmakers. The pieces in the series focus on the immigrant experience within New York City.

“The immigrant experience is something really important and doesn’t really have the representation in mainstream media,” said Elizabeth Estrada, executive assistant at NYWIFT and project manager for the film series. “I think it’s great to know the stories of people that you live around and pass on the street.”

The first screening, scheduled to take place at Maspeth Town Hall at 53-37 72nd St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will focus on the intersection between immigrant women and activism, and will feature three short documentaries.

The documentaries included are “Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor” directed and produced by Zahida Pirani; “Claiming Our Voice” directed and produced by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel; and “Living Quechua” directed and produced by Christine Mladic Janney.

Screenshot from the documentary "Claiming Our Voice." (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Screenshot from the documentary “Claiming Our Voice.” (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A reception with the filmmakers and women in the documentaries.

“I want people to walk away more interested or inspired, and with this specific first screening, for them to be involved in something bigger than themselves,” Estrada added.

The following screenings of the series — dates and exact locations are still to be determined —  will take place in the surrounding neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood, each represented by Crowley.

“All of these women and filmmakers have important stories to tell, and I want people to know that,” Estrada said. “Women as a collective, especially immigrant women, have a story to tell and if they are given an opportunity to tell, that might be a way to change the way we think about women and immigrant women.”

NYWIFT is still accepting submissions for the film series and anyone interested can email info@nywift.com.

The first screening, “Immigrant Women Screening Series: Activism,” is free to the public.

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In Glendale, schools chancellor calls for parents to get involved


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman's Elizabeth Crowley's office

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña came to Glendale’s P.S. 91 on Wednesday, urging parents to seek seats on education councils and become more involved in their local public schools.

Elections are held every two years for seats on all 32 community education councils (CEC) and the citywide councils for high schools, English language learners, special education and District 75 schools.

The advisory bodies hold monthly meetings, examine issues relevant to the district and offer recommendations for or against certain policies.

“The community and citywide education councils help shape education policies and maintain strong relationships with families and the community,” Fariña said. “Education councils make important contributions to their communities, and I want to encourage parents across the city to apply for a seat.”

“We need our community education councils to represent diverse needs and voices of public school parents,” added Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, who joined Fariña at P.S. 91 on Wednesday. “If any parent has ever wanted a more direct line of communication with the Department of Education, this is the best way to do it.”

Parents of a child currently enrolled in a public school within their district are qualified to pursue a seat on their respective education council. No prior experience is necessary; people of all languages are welcome.

Applications are being accepted through Mar. 11; all candidates will meet with parent associations and parent-teacher associations within their district to solicit votes.

Three officers from each PA or PTA will cast online ballots for the council candidates of their choice between Apr. 19 and May 8. Winning candidates will then undergo training and leadership development for their positions.

For more information, visit www.nycparentleaders.org. The election results will be posted on the website on May 12.

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Real estate investors shelled out $3.6 billion for Queens properties last year


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Queens’ relatively low land prices, access to public transportation and growing popularity has helped the borough attract a significantly larger amount of money from real estate investors in 2014 than in previous years, according to a new report.

Firms and individuals shelled out about $3.65 billion last year to buy Queens investment properties—large-scale real estate costing at least $850,000—which is a 25 percent increase from 2013, according to a report by Ariel Property Advisors.

The study pointed out that about one-third of the investment properties in Queens last year were development sites, which alone accounted for more than $1 billion, or a 191 percent gain when compared to 2012.

“Queens still presents developers with the opportunity to produce large-scale developments, and they are willing to pay a premium for prime sites,” said Daniel Wechsler, vice president of Ariel Property Advisors.

Photo courtesy of Ariel Property Advisors

Photo courtesy of Ariel Property Advisors

Wechsler pointed out that land parcels with at least 50,000 square feet of buildable rights were purchased all over “The World’s Borough,” including Astoria, Long Island City, Elmhurst, Woodside, Glendale, Jamaica, Ridgewood and Flushing, “further indicating the bullish attitude of investors on the entire borough. “

The report found that 925 properties were traded during the year, which is also a 25 percent year-over-year increase.

Some of the year’s highest profile transactions include the $110 million sale of the Standard Motors Building in Long Island City, which traded for just $70 million in 2008, and the sale of a 53-building portfolio in Kew Gardens Hills for $216 million.

There was also the $26.5 million sale of a garage near Queens Place mall in Elmhurst, which has about 227,352 buildable square feet.

Click here to read the full report.

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Cat rescued from Elmhurst tree finds home with Glendale grandmother and granddaughter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Annet Artani

Dorothy has finally made it to a new home.

Dorothy Gale is a lovable cat who on Dec. 20 was rescued from a three-story-high tree in front of Newton High School in Elmhurst.

She had been stuck in the tree for three days and residents had attached a sign to the tree looking for help. Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office contacted animal advocacy organization NYCLASS and other animal advocates. Firefighters were then called to conduct the actual rescue.

After living temporarily with Annet Artani of Miney’s Rescue of Love, Dorothy was adopted on Jan. 13 by Glendale grandmother and granddaughter Danielle Dunn and Kathy Strong, whose family recently lost two of their three cats to old age. The third cat had become lonely and depressed, and the family decided Dorothy would be the best companion.

For Artani it is a bittersweet feeling having to let Dorothy go, after falling in love with her and bonding. She adds that even her dog Miney is moping around missing her.

Although still a bit shy, Artani says Dorothy is adjusting to her new environment and family well.

“Because my rescue is based out of my home, I have a different way of doing things than a shelter,” Artani said. “The bond I build with each animal I rescue is intense because I make sure they leave here knowing what a loving home feels like so they are ready for the next permanent one. But it always takes a toll.”

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Port Authority releases Tier 1 study of cross harbor freight program


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The Port Authority is looking for a better way to move freight through the New York metropolitan area including new proposals to boost rail traffic along a sleepy freight line through western Queens that could leave some homeowners shaking in their beds.

A new study, released at a Queens Borough Hall meeting on Jan. 12, outlined 10 different proposals for shipping rail freight across the harbor, from New Jersey to a rail line that stretches from the Brooklyn waterfront up to the Hellgate Bridge in Astoria. The line now carries an average of one freight train a day. If any of the proposals come to fruition, there would be many more — and larger — trains rolling down that track.

Among the hardest hit would be neighborhoods in the Glendale and Ridgewood area where the Fresh Pond train yard is located.

Proposals for a cross-harbor freight tunnel have been explored for almost a century. But the Port Authority, facing exploding growth of freight that is now moved through the city almost entirely by truck, needs another option to keep its bridges and tunnels from overflowing with truck traffic.

“We have to figure out a better way to move freight,” said Mark Hoffer, director of New Port Initiatives for the Port Authority. “We must analyze, study [the area] and come up with alternatives.”

Hoffer said that 90 percent of freight, nationally produced, comes in to the area by truck. By 2035, the Port Authority projected that over 300 million more tons of freight will have to come into the area. To meet that demand, the PA has come up with a range of options, from building a new tunnel to creating a water-borne shipping system that would carry rail cars across the harbor. Either proposal would boost freight rail through Brooklyn and Queens.

Currently, the closest rail crossing over the Hudson is in Selkirk, N.Y., about 150 miles north of the city. That means that the vast majority of freight shipped by rail from the west is unloaded in New Jersey and trucked across the river to New York City, Long Island, the northern suburbs and parts of New England.

“Using a rail option for this project would severely impact my district,” said Councilwomen Elizabeth Crowley, who covers the Glendale and Ridgewood area. She also said the noise pollution added by the influx of diesel-powered freight trains would hurt the quality of life of people in the area.

Hoffer did not deny the claim saying that it would affect some communities that are near the railway. But he was quick to say that the use of freight trains would be something that would benefit the area as a whole.

The Port Authority estimated that upgrading the rail system in the area, which could include building tunnels under water for freight to ship through, would cost anywhere from $7 to $11 billion and take about eight years to build. The waterborne options have been estimated to cost anywhere from $100 to $600 million and take two to four years to finish.

The next step for the Port Authority is to meet with local elected officials, community groups and other interested parties. They are also holding a public meeting to hear any concerns of residents in Queens on Jan. 29 from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall.

Following that their initial study, the Port Authority will be publishing a Record of Decision, which will list a group of alternatives they will take into their next, more detailed, study.

“The population is growing and we are going to be consuming more. We have to do something, the question is finding the right something,” Hoffer said. “We don’t have a realistic option in doing nothing.”

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Longtime LIC auto shop moves to make room for 27-story rental building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

A Long Island City auto repair shop that has been a fixture in the community for more than four decades has moved to make room for a tall residential building as the jostling for space continues in the burgeoning neighborhood.

The awning for LIC Auto Repair at 27-19 44th Dr. has been taken down, and there is now a sign on the door indicating the shop has moved to 83-12 Cooper Ave. in Glendale, according to The Court Square Blog.

The property’s new owner, Manhattan-based Twining Properties, filed permits to construct a new 27-story building with 165 units on the site late last year.

There will be 122,405 square feet of residential space in the building, according to the filing with the Buildings Department.

There will also be 2,124 square feet of commercial space in the new property, which is being designed by Handel Architects.

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