Tag Archives: Grand Central Parkway

20-year-old woman dies in Grand Central Parkway motorcycle crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

Updated 1:07 p.m.

A motorcyclist was injured and his passenger was killed when he lost control of his bike on the Grand Central Parkway early Tuesday morning, cops said.

The crash happened while the motorcyclist was traveling westbound on the roadway at about 4:30 a.m. just before the 94th Street exit in East Elmhurst, according to police.

The bike’s operator, a 21-year-old man, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition with injuries to his shoulder and legs.

His 20-year-old passenger, Giuseppina Lascalia of Astoria, was also taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was pronounced dead,  authorities said.

The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Man killed in two-vehicle crash on Grand Central Parkway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:32 p.m.

A car crash Thursday night left a 19-year-old dead and sent three others to the hospital after a driver struck another vehicle on the Grand Central Parkway, according to police.

The accident happened at about 11:50 p.m. near Union Turnpike, cops said.

A Nissan Maxima was driving westbound in the parkway’s middle lane directly behind a Honda Accord when it attempted to change lanes and hit the side of the Honda, authorities said. The Nissan then lost control and struck the guardrail before overturning.

The driver of the Nissan, 19-year-old Andy Ramdhanie, of Holis, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Three of the Honda’s occupants, a 57-year-old and 23-year-old woman, and a 20-year-old man, were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center with minor neck and back pain.

The investigation is ongoing, cops said.

 

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125-year-old East Elmhurst flower shop blossoms next to controversial homeless shelter


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

For more than a century, one East Elmhurst family has been helping their neighborhood bloom.

Donhauser Florist, located at 71-01 Astoria Blvd., was established in 1889 by Hans Donhauser, a German florist who immigrated to the United States. While working at a Brooklyn cemetery he heard that St. Michael’s Cemetery in Queens was in need of a florist.

He then moved to East Elmhurst and built a greenhouse on 71st Street and Astoria Boulevard. After a few years, 12 more greenhouses were added and a flower shop was built on 49th Street and Astoria Boulevard.

Donhauser’s family worked at the shop, including his sons, daughters and even his great granddaughter Gladys.

“When your parents are in the business, you’re in the business,” said Gladys about working at the shop since she was 12 years old. “It’s all I’ve known.”

Donhauser Florist moved to 71-01 Astoria Blvd. and replaced one existing greenhouse, while the other 12 were later sold to become the Westway Motor Inn.

Gladys, who grew up at the house currently still standing next to the shop, has owned the store since 1977 together with her husband William Gray, who initially started working at the 49th Street shop.

Since then the Grays have been providing flower arrangements for their neighbors, some of whom they have shared first communions with and years later, weddings. William even arranged all the flowers for his own wedding.

The shop provides flowers for visitors to St. Michael’s Cemetery, located across the Grand Central Parkway, first communions, weddings and other special occasions.

However, the Grays, who have been married for 60 years, say business has been up and down ever since the city’s Department of Homeless Services decided to first use the Westway Motor Inn, located right next door, as a temporary homeless shelter.

“It was once an exquisite hotel with beautiful rooms and a pool,” Gladys said. “Since about a decade ago we started to have problems with it. People were afraid to come around the shop.”

Two weeks ago, the city approved converting the motel into a permanent homeless shelter housing more than 120 families.

Although they are nervous on how the permanent shelter will affect the community and their business, the couple continues to welcome customers with smiles on their faces.

“I hope it stays for 125 more years,” Gladys said.

 

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One dead after vehicle catches fire on Grand Central Parkway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of @FabianBuchheim

Updated Wednesday, May 28, 9:55 a.m.

One person was killed and two people were injured in a vehicle fire on the Grand Central Parkway Tuesday afternoon.

The car, a 2010 Toyota Highlander, burst into flames about 1:40 p.m. on the eastbound side of the roadway near the exit for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, cops said.

One of the passengers, identified by police as 50-year-old Dale Tulloch of Yonkers, N.Y, died in the fire. The driver, a 26-year-old man, and another passenger, a 25-year-old woman, were taken to New York Hospital Queens with minor injuries.

Officers at the scene were told that the vehicle ran over a piece of metal, which ignited the gas tank, cops said. The SUV then pulled over to the side of the parkway, where the occupants noticed smoke coming from the car, followed by flames.

The driver and the surviving passenger managed to escape before the car ignited, but the 50-year-old, who was in the backseat, did not, according to police.

The incident is still under investigation.

 

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Former Parkway Hospital will be converted to condos


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Jasper Venture Group

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

After being shuttered for six years, the site of the former Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills will be converted to a residential building.

Jasper Venture Group, a real estate investment firm, announced on May 7 that it plans to demolish the former hospital at 70-35 113th St. and construct a bigger building than the 70,000-square-feet property.

Including a parking lot, the site is more than 107,000 square feet.

The company did not release how many units the new building will have or when it is set to be complete, but said the new residential space will “breathe new life into the idle site.”

“The additional housing this project will provide when complete will be a relief to those seeking a more spacious option to the compact living New York City provides,” the company said in a release. “[T]he former Parkway Hospital will be luxurious, offering its residents a view of the lakes and their own slice of serenity.”

Parkway Hospital overlooks Grand Central Parkway and rests just outside of both Willow Lake and Meadow Lake in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The state closed the hospital in 2008 and it has been vacant since. The hospital filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

Former Parkway CEO Robert Aquino was sentenced to four months in jail in May of 2012 after he pleaded guilty to bribing former State Senator Carl Kruger to try to keep the medical facility open.

 

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NYPD detective who fatally shot National Guardsman charged: reports


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook

The NYPD detective who fatally shot a National Guardsman on the Grand Central Parkway was charged in connection with the death, according to published reports.

Detective Hassan Hamdy received a departmental charge Thursday of “failing to employ proper tactics causing a civilian’s death,” when he shot 22-year-old Noel Polanco during a traffic stop in October 2012, reports said.

Sergeant Thomas Glaudino, who was responsible for Hamdy’s unit that day, was also charged with failing to supervise his team to prevent the alleged tactical mistakes, reports also said.

Polanco was pulled over when he was seen driving erratically in his car, weaving between lanes and speeding on the highway before allegedly cutting off an unmarked police vehicle. Hamdy allegedly fired the single shot that killed Polanco when he told him to put his hands on the steering wheel and Polanco reached under the seat.

In February of 2013, a Queens grand jury concluded that there would be no criminal charges filed in connection to the death of Polanco.

Two months ago, Polanco’s family reached a $2.5 million settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

 

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Flushing man decapitated while trying to cross Grand Central Parkway


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A 31-year-old Flushing man was killed while crossing the Grand Central Parkway Friday night, police said.

Fidel Vidal Diaz was hit by two vehicles when he tried to cross the westbound lane of the roadway at 31st Drive, cops said. Diaz was decapitated by the crash, according to reports.

The first vehicle was a 2005 Ford Mustang and the second was a 2002 Volkswagen. Both drivers remained on the scene of the accident, cops said.

Police and EMS responded just after 11 p.m. and Diaz was pronounced dead at the scene, according to officials.

Cops are still investigating the accident.

 

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Family of slain National Guardsman reaches $2.5 million settlement in suit against city


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook

The family of slain National Guardsman Noel Polanco has reached a $2.5 million settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

“While the family of Noel Polanco does not believe justice was done on the criminal side of our legal system certainly there was a measure of justice from the civil side of our legal system with the settlement of damages for wrongful death,” Sanford Rubenstein, the lawyer for Polanco’s family said.

The 22-year-old Army Reserve member was fatally shot by NYPD police officer Hassan Hamdy during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway in October 2012.

Polanco was pulled over when he was seen driving erratically in his car, weaving between lanes and speeding on the highway before allegedly cutting off an unmarked police vehicle. Hamdy allegedly fired the single shot that killed Polanco when he told him to put his hands on the steering wheel and Polanco reached under the seat.

Last February, a Queens grand jury concluded that there would be no criminal charges filed in connection to the death of Polanco. By the end of the month, Polanco’s mother, Cecilia Reyes, announced a $20 million notice of claim to file a lawsuit against the city, NYPD and the officer who shot her son.

 

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Motorcyclist killed on Whitestone Expressway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Bronx man died Saturday after he lost control of his motorcycle and collidided into a median on the Whitestone Expressway.

The crash occurred around 10:15 a.m. as 35-year-old Jose Bosque was riding southbound on the roadway at the Grand Central Parkway, said police.

Bosque was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

 

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Two dead, four injured, driver arrested in Grand Central Parkway crash


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Vic Nicastro

Four people traveling on the Grand Central Parkway were seriously injured and two died after the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed on June 29 at about 4 a.m, cops said.

The driver of the vehicle, Queens Village resident Madosh Hansraj, has been arrested and charged with two counts of manslaughter, one count of felony assault, two counts of criminally negligent homicide, illegal speed and speeding and driving while ability impaired, according to authorities.

His bail was set at $250,000, according to court records.

Hansraj, 20, lost control of the vehicle, identified as a 1996 Honda, when he tried to switch from the center lane to the right lane while traveling eastbound at high speed in the parkway, according to a police investigation. Cops said he tried to brake, which  caused the vehicle to slide off the roadway and bang into the railing.

Three of four people in the backseat were not wearing seat beats and flew through the rear window, the police said. Two of the ejected passengers, Meera Dukharan, 17, and  Anil Persaud, 18, were found dead on arrival at the scene.  The third has serious injuries. He along with the other rear passenger and a teenager in the front passenger seat have minor injuries and are now being treated at New York Hospital.

 Updated Monday, July 1

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, then overcast with ice pellets. High of 36 with a windchill as low as 25F. Winds from the East at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% . Monday night: Overcast with ice pellets and snow, then rain after midnight. Low of 36 with a windchill as low as 28F. Breezy. Winds from the East at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation 100% .

EVENT OF THE DAY: Paper Bag players

Starting at 10:30 a.m., the Paper Bag players will perform a set of short plays at the Queensborough Performing Arts Center, located at 222-05 56th Avenue in Bayside. In a show put on for kids, the story and musical numbers explore the Old West and The Life of a Bowling Pin and in the rousing finale set at a Country Fair two neighbors who can’t get along become the best of friends with the audiences help. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

School bus involved in accident on Grand Central Parkway

Authorities are investigating an accident involving a school bus and a car in Queens. Read more: NBC New York

Four off-duty NYPD busted amid St. Patrick’s Day weekend hijinks

Four off-duty NYPD employees have been arrested since Friday, including an officer accused of driving drunk and leaving the scene of an accident, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

Teen charged with DUI in fatal accident on Grand Central Parkway

Authorities arrested a teen for DUI after he struck and killed a taxi driver on the Grand Central Parkway early Sunday morning, said police. Read more: The Queens Courier

Irish prime minister attends St. Patrick’s Day mass in Breezy Point

It’s a special day for Irish residents of Breezy Point, not just because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, or that they’re meeting the Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, of Ireland. Read more: NY1

Twitter co-founder eyes NYC mayor’s job

There may be another billionaire interested in New York City’s top job. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Top court to hear arguments over generic drugmaker liability

The Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday in a case that could decide whether generic drugmakers can be held liable for alleged flaws in the designs of their medications, even though federal law requires generic manufacturers to copy the brand drugmaker’s design. Read more: Reuters

 

Teen charged with DUI in fatal accident on Grand Central Parkway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Authorities arrested a teen for DUI after he struck and killed a taxi driver on the Grand Central Parkway early Sunday morning, said police.

Around 3:20 a.m., 38-year-old Ansumana Dukuly, of the Bronx, was driving his cab westbound on the Grand Central Parkway near 180th Street when a Honda sedan struck him, causing the taxi to hit the median. Dukuly was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Honda driver fled the accident, but was later apprehended and taken into custody.

Roberto Depena, 19, of Queens, has been charged with manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident, criminally negligent homicide, speed violation, driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol while under the age of 21.

 

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Mother of slain National Guardsman vows justice despite grand jury ruling


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook

Even after the verdict was final, Cecilia Reyes vowed her son would get justice.

Reyes, the mother of Noel Polanco, the 22-year-old National Guardsman who was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop on the Grand Central Parkway on October 4, was outraged by the court’s ruling that her son’s killer would not be tried.

On February 14, after five weeks of deliberations, a Queens grand jury determined criminal charges would not be filed against Hassan Hamdy, the NYPD officer who fatally shot Polanco. In a statement, District Attorney Richard A. Brown indicated he would not provide the reason behind the grand jury’s decision and called Polanco’s death “a tragedy.”
Regardless of the ruling, Reyes remained determined to ensure her son, who aspired to become a police officer, did not die in vain.

Joined by Polanco’s sister Amanda, Reyes addressed the grand jury’s ruling at the National Action Network’s (NAN) Harlem headquarters on February 16. NAN founder the Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy at Polanco’s funeral and has remained invested in the case.

“I’m very upset. I’m very, very angry at the justice system,” said Reyes. “I’m angry. I’m hurt. They didn’t do the justice that they needed to do for my son. But I’m not giving up. I’m continuing on and I’m going to fight with every being in my life.”

Polanco was pulled over when he was spotted driving erratically in his black 2012 Honda Fit, weaving between lanes and speeding on the Grand Central Parkway before allegedly cutting off an unmarked police vehicle. Hamdy allegedly fired the single shot that killed Polanco when he told him to put his hands on the steering wheel and Polanco reached under the seat. Testimony from two eye witnesses driving with Polanco, Diane DeFerrari, a bartender and Polanco’s neighbor, and Vanessa Rodriguez, an off-duty police officer, persisted with the claim that Polanco followed orders from the officer.

No weapon was discovered in Polanco’s car.

“My son had no weapon and yet the officer gets away with this,” said Reyes. “If it was to be someone else in the street, right away they would prosecute this kid – this officer was still a murderer, no matter what.”

According to reports, the family intends to pursue the case in civil court.

 

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No criminal charges to be filed in Grand Central Parkway shooting death of Army reservist


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Facebook

A Queens grand jury concluded Thursday that there will be no criminal charges filed in connection to the death of Army reservist Noel Polanco who was shot by a police officer on the Grand Central Parkway last fall, said District Attorney Richard Brown.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly requested the grand jury investigation just days after the 22-year-old was killed during a seemingly routine traffic stop.

According to the NYPD,  around 5:15 a.m. on October 4, 2012, officers in two unmarked vehicles spotted a Honda driving erratically, weaving between lanes and speeding on the Grand Central Parkway. The car allegedly tailgated another vehicle before cutting between the unmarked police cars. The officers signaled for the Honda to pull over near the exit for LaGuardia Airport. Police approached the vehicle and one of the officers, Hassan Hamdy, fired a single round into Polanco’s abdomen. He was taken to New York Hospital Queens where he was pronounced dead at 5:50 a.m.

According to Sanford Rubenstein, the attorney for Diane DeFerrari, one of the vehicle’s passengers,  Polanco complied with the officer’s request to keep his hands visible.

“There’s no question that she [DeFerrari] saw the driver with his hands on the wheel when he was shot,” said Rubenstein.

-Reporting by Alexa Altman and Cristabelle Tumola 

 

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Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Mostly sunny, with a high near 58. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 9 mph in the afternoon. Friday night: A slight chance of showers between 9pm and midnight. Cloudy, then gradual clearing toward daybreak, with a low around 40.

EVENT of the DAY: Improvius Maximus

Some of the best improv teams, from all corners of the land, gather to compete for Emperor Nero’s pleasure and yours in acclaimed comedy group Face Off Unlimited’s newest show. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Couple offers Ohio home rent-free to Superstorm Sandy victims

A warm-hearted Midwestern couple is offering free rent on an empty four-bedroom house — the only catch is that the tenants must have lost just about everything in Superstorm Sandy. Lauri Weinfeld, 56, and her husband Irwin Weinfeld, 69, are donating their rental house, in Perry Township, Ohio, to storm victims for four months free. Tenants will be responsible for their own utilities. Read more: Daily News

City Harvest salvages food from eateries to deliver to local storm victims

Members of the food rescue group City Harvest picked up meals donated from local restaurants and kitchens and delivered them throughout areas of Queens, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan that were greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday Wednesday. Read more: NY1

Driver killed after crash on Queens highway

A motorist was killed this morning after crashing on a Queens highway, police said. The 53-year-old victim was driving his 2011 Honda Accord eastbound on the Grand Central Parkway, near the Jackie Robinson Parkway interchange in Forest Hills, when he lost control and slammed into a median at around 3:20 a.m., police added. Read more: NY Post

Internal emails offer details on Osama Bin Laden’s burial

After his dramatic death at the hands of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six, Osama bin Laden’s last rites were kept so covert his corpse was referred to as “the package” and no sailors watched the burial at sea. Read more: Daily News

City outreach efforts abound this Thanksgiving

With so many New Yorkers still struggling to recover from Sandy, the city and other volunteer groups are trying to give them something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office said more than 26,000 Thanksgiving meals were expected to be handed out Thursday. Read more: NY1

Cops investigating whether Holy Cross HS coach had inappropriate contact with students he ‘watched shower’

The NYPD is investigating whether the hoops coach at Holy Cross HS in Queens had any inappropriate contact with the students he’s accused of watching take showers, law-enforcement sources told The Post yesterday. Read more: NY Post

Burglary is crime du jour post-Sandy, stats show

Some of the most cold-hearted locals saw a storm-torn Rockaway peninsula as the location for the perfect heist. Police are waging an offensive against brazen looters and dishonest tow-truck drivers in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, NYPD officials said. Read more: Daily News

Mother & son busted with illegal cigarettes & $132,000 in cash

A Queens mother and her son were arrested with 677 cartons of illegal Asian cigarettes and $132,000 in cash, authorities announced today. Ying-Jian Lin, 48, and Xiao Lin, 23, face up to four years in prison for peddling the shady smokes, which are untaxed and don’t carry the required surgeon general warnings, according to a Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Read more: NY Post