Tag Archives: Glendale

Bioswale construction to begin later this month in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Environmental Protection

The confines of Community Board 5 are about to get greener.

Representatives from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced during the Community Board 5 (CB 5) meeting on Wednesday that the construction of 200 to 250 bioswales is set to begin at the end of the month.

Bioswales are curbside gardens that collect stormwater runoff into large, underground basins through 5 feet of specially engineered soil, comprised of layers of broken stone and sandy soil.

“New York’s infrastructure is hard, it’s very dense,” said Ibrahim Abdul-Matin, director of community affairs for the DEP. “Green infrastructure is, in a sense, peeling back a layer of that hard infrastructure.”

“Part of what we’re doing is making the land spongy again,” he continued. “The goal is to improve water quality…this is one of our tools to do that.”

The bioswales help improve the city’s water quality by reducing the amount of rainwater entering the sewer system, which helps lower combined sewer overflow (CSO).

CSO is a combination of sewage water from homes and businesses and stormwater, which can become too much for the sewer system to handle, especially during times of heavy rainfall. The water then overflows and sends untreated water into the city’s waterways, such as Newtown Creek, which suffers from high levels of pollution.

One single bioswale can manage almost 3,000 gallons of water and if the bioswale becomes overfilled, the water is released into the sewer catch basin as it normally would, just at a lower rate so there is not a rush of water that could overflow the sewer system.

With the installation of the bioswales right around the corner, community issues are a major point of concern for the DEP.

“One of the big questions we get a lot is, ‘Who is going to take care of these?’” Abdul-Matin told the board. “We build it, we’re going to maintain it. It’s not like we’re going to pass the buck onto you.”

The construction and installation of these bioswales and other green infrastructure will help clean the city’s water and reduce flooding, making the neighborhoods they serve better.

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Design workshops scheduled for Woodhaven/Cross Bay Select Bus Service plan


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

The city Department of Transportation (DOT) will hold the first of four public design workshops for the planned Woodhaven/Cross Bay boulevards Select Bus Service (SBS) system next Thursday night in Woodhaven.

All are invited to attend the April 16 workshop at P.S. 306 NYC Academy for Discovery, located at 96-16 89th Ave. This workshop will focus solely on redesigning the portion of Woodhaven Boulevard between Union Turnpike in Glendale and Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park.

The following week, April 23, the DOT will hold a workshop at Queens Metropolitan High School, located at 91-30 Metropolitan Ave. in Forest Hills, focused on Woodhaven Boulevard between Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst and Union Turnpike.

An April 29 workshop at P.S. 146, located at 98-01 159th Ave. in Howard Beach, will center around Cross Bay Boulevard, and an April 30 workshop at P.S. 42, located at 488 Beach 66th St. in Arverne, will focus on implementing SBS in the Rockaways.

All of the workshops will take place from 6 to 8 p.m.

Representatives from the DOT will collect at each session “block-by-block feedback on street design and bus stop locations” for the Woodhaven/Cross Bay SBS. Last month, the DOT selected an SBS design that would include dedicated main-road bus lanes on Woodhaven Boulevard and offset bus lanes on Cross Bay Boulevard.

The plan, which requires the physical reconfiguration of Woodhaven Boulevard, also calls for the creation of SBS stations at major roadways that intersect the boulevard, such as Metropolitan and Jamaica avenues.

While each workshop focuses on a specific section, the DOT indicated that comments on any or all parts of the proposed SBS system will be accepted at all four sessions. Translation services are available and may be reserved in advance of the workshop by emailing brt@nyc.gov.

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Glendale Romani gypsy teens share arranged marriage on docuseries


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of FYI/"Arranged"

Many kids are told that their parents know best, but two Glendale teens really had to trust that was true as they prepared for their arranged marriage in September.

What was it like to marry a stranger at such a young age? Viewers can find out by watching their journey on FYI’s new docuseries, “Arranged,” which follows this Romani gypsy couple from Queens, as well as a southern couple in their 20s from the “Bible belt” and an Indian couple in their 30s in Beverly Hills, California.

Maria and Christian Miller of Queens, both 18, barely knew each other when their parents arranged their marriage. When Christian found out who he was going to marry, he “made an effort” to get to know Maria by secretly contacting her online, because he “didn’t want to go in totally blind,” he said. But he didn’t learn much.

“Her mother and father would constantly be watching her, so she couldn’t really get to the computer all the time; she couldn’t get to the phone all the time,” Christian said. “So how much can you really learn about a person on the computer and talking for only a few minutes?”

Before the wedding, Christian was hoping “that a lot of people would come and that everything would go smoothly,” he said. Even though there were no formal invitations and family and friends learned about the wedding through phone calls and word of mouth, if there aren’t a couple hundred people in attendance, “that’s a big embarrassment at a gypsy wedding.”

Maria arrived at the party — which took place before the actual wedding ceremony — wearing an orange dress that her parents bought for her. Then, she changed into a blue dress from her mother-in-law and father-in-law to symbolize that “I’m no longer my family’s; I’m their daughter now and part of their family,” she said. Finally, she changed into her white wedding dress, also bought by the parents of the groom.

After the wedding, Maria would be moving in with Christian, his parents, Michael and Nina, and his younger brothers.

“My whole life is about to change in the blink of an eye and I can’t even believe it,” Maria said on the docuseries before her wedding. “I’m leaving my family to live with a total new family that I just don’t know and I’m really, really scared.”

The couple with Christian's parents, Nina and Michael

The couple with Christian’s parents, Nina and Michael

Yet this experience is “normal” for Romani gypsies, Michael said, noting that his ancestors’ marriages have been arranged for generations. “And they’re all to death do they part,” Nina said on the first episode.

“It’s normal for us,” Michael said. “At 17, 18, 19, your mind is set for marriage, and so it’s not anything new … you’re expecting it.”

There are “maybe a couple thousand” people in the Romani gypsy community in New York City, Michael said, about 500 of whom live in Queens.

“We’re a small community and we all know each other,” said Michael, who grew up in Richmond Hill and used to live in Middle Village. His family and others in the community are spread out around those areas, as well as Rego Park, Forest Hills, Howard Beach and Ozone Park.

The couple hopes that their inclusion on the show will help bust stereotypes about their culture.

“I just want everyone to know that gypsy people are normal people,” Maria said. “We’re all about tradition. We’re all about family. We all love each other. We’re all a happy family.”

“The stereotypes are pretty bad,” Christian added. “We’re not cons; we’re not thieves. We’re nothing like that. We’re normal people. We want to show them we’re a good, clean-cut family and there’s no reason for anyone to be afraid of us. We want to show that we’re not the way people think of us, the way they portray us on other TV shows.”

And his father, who has seen generations of long, happy marriages, wants “to show our traditions. We do arranged marriages that work. If you listen to your father and mother it works out,” he said. “Maria and Christian have been married for six months and they’re doing good.”

“Arranged” premieres on Tuesday, April 14, at 10:15 p.m. on FYI.

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Community Board 5 appoints new members


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Nine new members were appointed to Community Board 5 this week.

The board, which includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Liberty Park, received five new members from City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s 30th District and four new members in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s 34th District.

The new members in Crowley’s district are Tobias Sheppard Bloch of Glendale, Karamjit Dawali of Glendale, Sarah Feldman of Ridgewood, David Sands of Glendale and Alex Maureau of Glendale.

In Reynoso’s district, the new members are Raquel Namuche of Ridgewood, Cathleen Knight of Ridgewood, Tom C. Dowd of Ridgewood and Carmen Santana of Ridgewood.

Richard Huber of Glendale was not reappointed this year.

Community board members are appointed by the Queens borough president largely based on the recommendation of the City Council member(s) within the board’s jurisdiction.

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Parks Department announces start of Evergreen Park project in Glendale


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Work began this week on the long-awaited reconstruction of Glendale‘s Evergreen Park, the Parks Department announced.

The first phase of renovations to the 1.1-acre green space on 60th Place between 75th and St. Felix avenues includes removing “underused” bocce and shuffleboard courts in order to reconstruct an expanded playground that will feature, among other amenities, new spray showers.

“We expect construction to take about a year to complete, and look forward to reopening this playground next spring,” a Parks Department spokesperson said. “This work has been funded with $1 million from [City Councilwoman Elizabeth] Crowley.”

Crowley, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio also allocated $2.4 million for the second phase of Evergreen Park’s reconstruction, which will include a new asphalt playing area. According to the Parks Department spokesperson, the agency will seek “design consultant services for this project shortly.”

Plans to reconstruct Evergreen Park date back to September 2012, when Parks Department representatives outlined plans at a Community Board 5 Parks Services Committee meeting. Other components of the reconstruction’s first phase include the installation of new plantings and “World’s Fair-style” benches, new fencing, updated water fountains and a remodeled swing area.

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Inside Broadway brings performing arts to Glendale elementary school


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

As part of Inside Broadway’s after-school arts program, the students at P.S./I.S. 119 in Glendale performed their play “The After School Club” on Thursday in the school’s auditorium for parents, teachers and fellow classmates.

Inside Broadway, an arts education nonprofit, is funded by the City Council’s Cultural After-School Adventures (C.A.S.A.) Initiative. Through the C.A.S.A. Initiative, Inside Broadway has brought, and will continue to bring, a taste of Broadway to over 500 students in over 20 public schools throughout the boroughs this winter and spring.

The nonprofit is in its 33rd year of operation, providing city public schools with arts education programs, professional staff members and artists who teach the students dancing, singing, acting, theater history and how to design and build the scenery and backdrops for their show.

City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley helped bring the C.A.S.A. program to P.S./I.S. 119 through a grant.

“We really appreciate that Councilwoman Crowley gave us the opportunity to bring drama back,” said Jeanne Fagan, principal at P.S./I.S. 119. “We don’t have a drama program at the school. We have arts and music, but no drama.”

The play, which the students created themselves, was inspired by the ’80s cult classic film “The Breakfast Club.” In the story, two rival factions in the school, the “nerds” and “cool kids,” are sent to detention. While there, they sing and dance their way past their differences and all become friends in the end.

The music for the play included songs from the 1980s such as Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and more.

“We are excited to expand the arts program at P.S./I.S. 119 to include musical theater to go along with their other arts programs,” Katie McAllister, program director of Inside Broadway, said.

The students who took part in the play were Quinn Corcino, Sheikh Hasin, Julia Sirkoski, Adam Sirkoski, Aafant Shrestha, Alexa Garci, Samantha Liu, Sylvester Leyton, Darren Valdera and Jayda Nicole Catrina Fogarty.

Inside Broadway Pic2

Since January, the children have been working with teaching artist Nick Saldivar for two days a week, two hours each day to create the play.

“All the kids wrote parts of the play and we cut and pasted it all together,” Saldivar said. “I try to get the kids to create and generate their own content.”

Saldivar said he usually works with 30 kids per group in other schools, so working with such a small group of 10 students at P.S./I.S. 119 was “a great experience.”

“They are a really dedicated, lovely bunch,” Saldivar said. “I’ve been teaching them technique, having them think critically and be engaged.”

Besides writing and performing in the play, the students also helped decorate by painting the banner that hung behind them while they were on stage.

As a treat for the students, McAllister announced that they, along with other students from schools in the C.A.S.A. Initiative, will get to go behind the scenes of the Broadway hit “Wicked.”

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First Ridgewood Artists Coalition exhibit opens Sunday at Glendale brewery


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Ridgewood Artists Coalition (RAC) will hold its first exhibit, titled “The Ridgewood Artists Spring Showcase,” at Glendale’s Finback Brewery from this Sunday through April 26.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the brewery, located at 78-01 77th Ave. Donations collected at the reception will help support the Ridgewood Youth Market, a program that teaches teens and young adults small business lessons through operating farm stands in their neighborhoods.

The Ridgewood Youth Market is part of Grow NYC and is run in partnership with the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

The exhibit, described by its creators as “part survey and part dialogue,” is co-curated by RAC founder Emily Heinz and Finback manager Leah Blair and features local artists who live and work in Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.

“The artists involved emerge from a myriad of different backgrounds, spanning the spectrum of age, ethnicity, formal training and relationship to the area,” Heinz and Blair said in a joint statement. “This diversity is intrinsic to a New York neighborhood, and the spirit of this condition is reflected in the variation of the works, which simultaneously form a single yet multifarious voice informed by the specific perspective of a cross-section of urban life.”

The showcase is just one of many community-oriented events hosted and sponsored by Finback Brewery.

“This collaboration between the Ridgewood Artists Coalition and Finback Brewery is indicative of an emerging art practice that is inclined towards social awareness and local identity, and uses both to organically form a presence of contemporary art and artists who are critically engaged with art making and socially engaged with the community as a whole,” the statement said.

For more information about the Ridgewood Artists Coalition, contact them at RidgewoodArtists@gmail.com.

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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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