Tag Archives: Great Neck

Long Island man busted for Queens doorstep delivery thefts

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Detectives hauled a Great Neck man to jail last week for allegedly stealing packages delivered to the front steps of several Queens homes in recent months, prosecutors announced on Monday.

Yosef A. Loulai, 37, was arraigned June 5 on six separate criminal complaints that included petit larceny charges. He faces up to six years behind bars if convicted, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Reportedly, Loulai stole packages from six different homes across Queens between April 1 and June 3, moments after they were delivered by various parcel carriers. Several of the incidents were caught by nearby security cameras.

The incidents are as follows:

  • On April 1, he removed a package containing a pair of women’s shoes valued at $111 from a home on 179th Street in Fresh Meadows.
  • Hours later, Loulai allegedly went to a home three blocks away in Fresh Meadows and removed a box containing a bread maker, a book on acupuncture and a pain relief mat, worth a combined $140.
  • On April 8, he removed a box containing a $150 filter from a home on 202nd Street in Bayside.
  • Later that day, he removed a box containing $130 in action figures from a home on 214th Street in Oakland Gardens.
  • On May 5, he removed a box containing a $183 toilet from the front porch of a home on 210th Street in Queens Village.
  • On June 3, Loulai allegedly swiped a box containing seven shirts worth a combined $135 from a home on 257th Street in Bellerose.

A police officer reportedly witnessed the June 3 theft and stopped Loulai, who was charged with the pattern of thefts as a result of an NYPD Grand Larceny Division investigation.

Loulai remains held on $6,000 bond or $3,000 cash bail and is due back in court on July 30.


Fine dining at the ‘Station’

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Dining OUt


Gourmet dining has come to Great Neck at Station Grill.

Located just down the block from Station Plaza, the grill has turned a small corner of the neighborhood into a Manhattan-style oasis. Alex Levine is the owner, and as a genuine host to his guests, all of the details are important to him, including a beautifully decorated dining room filled with many shimmering lights.

Levine spent a great deal of time searching for the right chef for his dream restaurant. Having a great passion for food and novella cuisine, he was amazed at the skills and backgrounds of Milton Enriquez, a champion of Food Network’s “Chopped” competitive cooking competition in 2012.

Enriquez’s journey over the last 20 years has taken him to many great Manhattan restaurants from Arizona 206, to the Royalton, to Eleven Madison Park, to the Compass, where he graduated to executive chef. Working with him is an excellent staff dedicated to providing first-class service to their customers, who return again and again.

The menu is wide and comes in three different versions. The lounge menu is perfect if you are looking to have drinks and a quick bite. There are seven wonderful items on the menu ranging from BBQ brisket sandwich and homemade smoked paprika potato chips ($8) to a chopped vegetable salad with white balsamic vinaigrette and Maytag blue cheese that’s beyond words ($8). Other chicken salads and burgers are available.

The prix-fixe menu offers three wonderful courses for $27.95 per person. One of the appetizers was an outstanding rustic rotelle pasta with zucchini, yellow squash, olive tapenade and fresh mozzarella. For a main course, I had the grilled prime flat-iron steak with roasted bliss potatoes, spinach and bell peppers, served with red wine. Complementing it all was a delicious buttermilk panna cotta with blueberry compote and candied pecans.

Then there’s the main menu, and there are only so many flavorful choices that can be printed in this column. Be sure to try some of the highlight items such as the exotic mushroom tartlet with truffled ricotta cheese, a petite herb salad and red bell pepper coulis ($10); dry diver scallops featuring Israeli couscous, melted leeks, mascarpone cheese and a fennel curry madras emulsion ($29); and Atlantic salmon with beluga lentils and fondue snow peas with tomato confit ($22).

Served before dinner were cheddar and chive biscuits, old-fashioned cornbread with a honey and butter dip. It does not get better than this.

The wine selection is very special; Alex truly knows his wine and has the knowledge and passion needed to gather a full list of terrific wines.

Enjoy your visit to the Station Grill — you will no doubt be happy with the trip.

Station Grill
20 South Station Plaza, Great Neck
Open Tuesday through Sunday 6 to 10 p.m.


The art of dining

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Karen Gordon


As you enter Ponte Mollo Ristorante, owner Marco will warmly greet you. Marco came to this country in 1998 from northern Italy. He speaks with great pride about his grandfather being a skilled Barolo winemaker and his grandmother being in the hotel business.

The cozy restaurant is long and narrow, with a couple of romantic corners and tables of different sizes and shapes. The interior is an eclectic mix of industrial chic, prints, posters and candles.

A highlight of this dining experience began with an appetizer that was absolutely delectable: sushi-quality tuna tartare decorated with pickled cucumber, daikon, red onion and an avocado mash. Next came grilled baby octopus with slivers of red roasted peppers, rosemary and sea salt — delicious! A hearty bowl of delicately sweet onion soup, with a thick slice of bread topped with melted Fontina cheese and sautéed eggplant tortino with goat cheese and basil followed.

Tuna Tartare, Pickled Cucumber, Daikon, Red Onions, Avocado Mash

Tuna tartare, pickled cucumber, daikon, red onions, avocado mash

A must-have was presented next: amazing risotto with porcini mushrooms and mascarpone cheese. The risotto itself is worth a trip to Ponte Mollo — al dente, with a layering of flavors that are subtle, delightful, not overpowering and very satisfying. Homemade mini ravioli, veal and parsley was tasty, and eight pasta dishes were on the menu.

The crispy salmon, maple, kale, with cauliflower puree is another standout. The salmon was cooked to perfection with a delicious crispy skin and a generous serving. The veal Milanese, topped with arugula, tomatoes and a lemon dressing was tender and good. Marco has a varied main course menu and specials, such as roasted LI wild bass, Barolo-braised brisket and grilled lamb chops — and of course filet mignon and seafood.

A wedge of delicious homemade apple pie with vanilla ice cream and espresso rounded out the perfect dining experience.

Veal Milanese, arugula, tomatoes, lemon dressing

Veal Milanese, arugula, tomatoes, lemon dressing

Growing up in Barolo country, Marco has a passion for wines with a wine list that can accommodate most everyone’s budget and level of sophistication. The wine bar is inviting and well stocked. Spirits are also served. This is just the beginning for Marco and his wife Lisa. He has exciting plans that he will share at a future time!

There is a separate room for parties, an inviting place for business or personal celebrations.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch) and 4 p.m. to close (dinner); Saturday, 4 p.m. to close (dinner); Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. (lunch) and 4 p.m. to close (dinner).

Ponte Mollo Ristorante
96 Northern Blvd., Great Neck



Elegant Chinese dining

| padler@queenscourier.com

photo 1

It is a busy block as Northern Boulevard goes into Great Neck from Little Neck. It has been totally reborn
literally from top to bottom with new management, and it’s terrific dining.

The new restaurant is called Moonstone. Its name is taken from the stone and the good luck that a new moon brings. Here they are making their good fortune by providing a beautiful setting, excellent food and friendly professional service.

The rich woods and custom-made wall tiles on the curved ceiling of the bar, warm colors and pink lighting all add to the quality of the setting.

I like the linen tablecloths and napkins that add to the elegance of the environment.

I took friends Tracey and Seth Kupferberg to join me because I know they relish Chinese food since Seth’s office is in the heart of Flushing and he always dines there.

We began our meal with crabmeat and sweet corn soup. It was loaded with crabmeat in a rich broth. I tried my favorite vegetarian hot and sour soup and it was rich with tofu and spiced perfectly.

Then we had the chef’s steamed dim sum platter filled with crystal dumplings, pork Shu Mai, vegetarian dumplings, chicken and shrimp dumplings for only $10! It was perfect for sharing as were the rich and meaty imperial beef short ribs. Something different was the steamed Chilean sea bass roll presented in cabbage with ginger and an egg white. Delicious!

There is a large selection of appetizers from $2 and multiple dim sum choices. I love how the menu calls the meats “from the land” and the chicken and duck dishes “from the sky” and the long list of fish “from the sea.” You get the idea.

All are reasonably priced and offer abundant portions.

I enjoyed my favorite fish, their whole steamed branzino, but they also have red snapper and North Carolina black bass served whole and filleted at the table. There are remarkable green, white, black and red prawns done in unique sauces.

There is the traditional General Tso’s chicken done in a tasty sauce but also an unusual Sanpei chicken clay pot with Chinese sausage and cloud ear mushrooms. A must try!

They are open for lunch and offer a diverse three-course meal for only $15 including many choices of soups, main courses and desserts.

Whether for lunch or dinner you will be impressed with the food and as a bonus there is a handsome bar for drinks or dining casually.

Moonstone is open seven days a week, offers takeout and free delivery, and is handicap accessible.

14 Northern Blvd., Great Neck

Sunnyside, Elmhurst buildings sell for $50M

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Manhattan management group has sold four of its Queens buildings for $50 million, according to The Real Deal.

Urban American sold the multi-family properties in Sunnyside and Elmhurst at 43-31 45th Street, 41-96 Gleane Street, 87-40 Elmhurst Avenue and 87-42 Elmhurst Avenue to Great Neck-based firm Benedict Realty Group (BRG), The Real Deal reported.

BRG already owns about 1,800 units nearby, according to the website.

The publication previously reported Urban American had signed an agreement to sell five multi-family buildings in Far Rockaway for $52 million to E&M Associates.



It takes a (Burger) Village

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



There’s a new burger place in town where you can eat healthy.

Normally, you wouldn’t put these two ideas together, but organic is the new healthy and Burger Village in Great Neck does it in style.

We were first tempted to give it a try as the aromas just beckoned us through the front door. The advertised organic meals closed the deal.

Brothers Nick and Vick Yadav were raised in the restaurant business and opening their own restaurant has been their dream. They proudly discuss the menu, featuring 100 percent all natural ingredients – USDA certified organic, cage free, grass fed, hormone and antibiotic free meats and non-GMO produce grown locally, with no herbicides or pesticides.

“At Burger Village our products do not come from a factory,” Nick said. “They come from farms and dairies that are mostly family owned and operated. The livestock and produce are nourished and cared for in a natural and humane way.”

You know the brothers are serious in their commitment to quality organic dining when you sit in the comfortable dining area, paneled in recycled wood. Reading the extensive menu is absolute confirmation.

Your choices include turkey, bison, ostrich, elk, wild boar and lamb in addition to beef (patties or on salad) as well as black bean, mushroom and veggie burgers. Chicken for tenders and sandwiches are humanely handled and raised.  Amazingly, with prices from $9-$13, the value is healthy, too. Even the hot dog, grass-fed Kobi beef, is only $7.

Your burger can be nestled in a brioche or multigrain bun, or even lettuce for the carb-averse.  Gluten free buns and whole wheat wraps are also available. The many toppings and sides include:  regular or seasoned fries, onion rings, sweet potato fries, goat cheese, shaved aged parmesan, arugula and lots more.

Even the soft drinks are healthier than you would expect and organically sourced. Sodas are caffeine-free, cane juice sweetened, 100 percent all-natural, hand crafted by the Maineroot Company. Then again, you can get some healthy anti-oxidants in a glass of very nice red wine.

If you have room, dessert awaits. Their shakes are made with organic ice cream and include strawberry, raspberry and blueberry, banana and even peanut butter, in addition to the old standbys, vanilla and chocolate.

The flourless chocolate cake is simply amazing and all I can say about their vanilla bean cheese cake is that it’s beyond the beyond.

So if you’ve been craving a juicy, flavorful burger or a really healthy salad—or you just want to go to town on an old-time ice cream float, head to Burger Village.

Burger Village
66 Middle Neck Road, Great Neck
Open 7 days 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Master, Visa, Amex, Discover cards accepted
Metered on street parking
Muni lot around corner (Gussack Plaza)



Whitestone man pleads guilty to failing to pay $335K in taxes

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Nassau County district attorney’s office

A Whitestone man has confessed to duping the state out of $335,000 in taxes, Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said.

Joseph Caraccia, 65, who owns two Great Neck auto body repair shops, pleaded guilty last week to larceny charges for collecting but failing to remit taxes between 2009 and 2012, the district attorney’s office said.

He awaits sentencing on May 22. Rice said Caraccia will be forced to pay off $335,000 in restitution to the state’s Department of Taxation and Finance (NYSDTF).

“When a company or an individual fails to remit taxes, it’s a crime against all New Yorkers,” Rice said.

The two shops are located at 275 East Shore Rd. and 300 East Shore Rd.

An unknown person tipped off the district attorney’s office, Rice said. The NYSDTF’s Nassau Criminal Investigations Division then found the tax discrepancies.

“By pocketing this money, Mr. Caraccia took funding away from services that any resident of Long Island or beyond could rely upon,” Rice said.



Community to city: Preserve Udalls Cove Park

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Queens preservationists and a local community board want the city to save some of the last remaining parcels of Udalls Cove Park from development.

Several acres of privately owned wetlands and wooded uplands in the park’s ravine have come under new threat, according to Community Board 11 and the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee.

“This week we have learned that the owner of most of that land now seeks to sell it,” said Walter Mugdan, the committee’s president. “That means the threat of development within the park boundary has arisen once more.”

Advocates say the cove’s salt water marshes and freshwater wetlands are a sanctuary for wildlife in the city.

An inlet of Little Neck Bay between Douglaston and Great Neck, it is home to a variety of animals including salamanders, muskrats and the occasional fox, nearby residents said.

“It’s one of the last salt marshes in the city of New York at least on the north shore,” said CB 11 chair Jerry Iannece.

Neighbors of the city and state owned portion of Udalls Cove at Virginia Point said they fear development near the deep-wooded ravine will ultimately spread to other parts of the park.

“Everything is connected, like in nature,” said resident Chris DeGeorge. “Once one property is developed, it’s like Pandora’s box. I don’t want it to have a cascading effect.”

Mugdan and CB 11 sent letters to the mayor, calling for the city to buy five of the last remaining privately owned 15 parcels. The five connected lots total to about 1.4 acres.

“It just makes sense that we go out there and try to buy this property before a developer goes out there and puts houses on it,” Iannece said.

More than 80 percent of the ravine’s 14.25 acres has already been bought and saved from development since the 1980s, according to the groups.

Several acres were almost developed into 18 houses in 2004, Mugdan said, until the city bought and put the land into its Udalls Cove Wildlife Preserve.

The city’s Parks Department, which manages the preserve, said it wants to work with the community and its elected officials to complete the purchase of the rest of the property.

“Strengthening Udall’s Cove Park is a priority for the administration and we are exploring every possible means of preserving these parcels,” a department spokesperson said.

Supporters said Udalls Cove Park should remain a “unique” part of the borough.

“That separates us,” said DeGeorge, who likes to kayak in his backyard salt marshes. “When I have people over, they never believe this is Queens.”

The property owner did not return calls for comment as of press time.

“You need to preserve all of it to keep it in its pristine condition,” Iannece said, “and let nature do what nature does best.”



Drunk driver kills pedestrian on LIE

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man walking along the Long Island Expressway (LIE) was struck and killed by a drunk driver this weekend, said police.

On Saturday, December 15, around 4:30 a.m. 22-year-old Jordan Savvides, of Jericho, was walking along the LIE near Little Neck Parkway when was hit by a car travelling eastbound.

Authorities pronounced him dead on the scene.

The vehicle’s driver, Christian Ludlow, 69, of Great Neck was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWI.

La Gioconda: A gem in Great Neck

| GFEHLING@queenscourier.com


Great Neck, the economic retail center of northern Nassau County, is the scene of continuously changing establishments. A constant in this maelstrom is La Gioconda, at 21 North Station Plaza, a family-owned and operated fine dining restaurant.

Upon entering the beautifully decorated eatery you are greeted by the family members — Kathy the wife; our waiter was Peter, the son; and the chef is dad Peter.

The feeling was as though we were invited into their home.

Drinks were generous and moderately priced. My Negroni was mixed to perfection, Stoli martinis shaken not stirred. The wine list is extensive with both domestic and imported selections.

La Gioconda offers a $24 prix fixe menu on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. It includes four different soups, 16 entrees (seven pasta, three chicken, four veal and two fish) and best of all, dessert and coffee and tea. It is by far the most inclusive prix fixe menu in Nassau.

Our appetizers included baked clams, spinach salad with raspberry dressing and grilled calamari. The clams, unlike other restaurants, were not stuffed with bread, the salad greens were fresh and the calamari tender.

Presentation is a major part of the enjoyment of any meal, and as entrees we ordered calf’s liver smothered in onions, which was tender and delicious. My favorite dish, veal piccatta, was proffered with just the right taste, texture and number of capers. Grilled pork chops were large and tender. Mussels are a fresh choice with marinara or white wine sauce. The accompanying green and white pasta was cooked to perfection and comes with a choice of sauces. I choose to have it with butter and pepper.

Each dish was both a splendor to behold and a gift to the palate.

Dessert included homemade napoleons and Italian cheese cake, both a culinary delight.

La Gioconda, with seating for 65, is available for private parties every weekend with a $35 menu with unlimited wine.

This is definitely a restaurant to put on your favorites list I intend to return frequently.


La Gioconda

21 North Station Plaza

Great Neck



Hours: Tuesday through Sunday 4 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday until 10:30 p.m.

Catering available

Gluten free available



Improving MTA Cleanliness

| letters@queenscourier.com


There are many ways the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could reduce garbage in subways.

Why not install separate cans for recycling newspapers, plastic and glass along with regular garbage.  Selling advertising on the side of cans could generate revenue to help cover the costs of more frequent off-peak and late night collection and disposal. Ask the Department of Sanitation to do the same on the street adjacent to subway entrances.

There are also solutions to dealing with waiting for or riding the subway and having the “urge to go.” The odds of finding a working bathroom for “relief” may be too slim. Until the early 1960s, most subway stations had clean, safe, working bathrooms with toilet paper.  Revenues generated from a 10 cent fee helped cover the costs.

Why not consider charging a fee between 25 cents and a dollar?  That would generate revenues to assign a matron, along with covering security and maintenance costs.  This could help provide clean, safe, secure, fully-equipped bathrooms at most of the 465 subway stations.  Many riders would gladly pay this small price to insure working bathrooms, rather than face the current, unpleasant alternatives which contribute to dirty subways.

Larry Penner

Great Neck