Tag Archives: Howard Beach

Howard Beach COP car gets tire slashed


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Joe Thompson

He woke up to exactly what he is trying to deter.

Joe Thompson, founder of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol, was on watch Wednesday night and was getting a great response from his neighbors about his work.

But the next morning when he checked up on his patrol car, he saw a slash in one of its tires.

“I came back from patrol around 12 a.m. and parked my car in front of the house,” Thompson said. “When I came outside I noticed my tire was flat and when I looked at it I noticed a big slash.”

Thompson and his team just started patrolling the streets of Howard Beach and Lindenwood last week and have gotten a positive response from many residents. The slashed tire came as a shock to Thompson but he said it was something he could see happening.

“You’re always going to catch a few people that are against what you do,” Thompson said. “It’s a shame.”

Thompson said the vandalism will not alter his plans.

He said he hopes to have more civilian patrol cars on the streets in the future and that this one act of vandalism will not deter him.

“We are here to help the community,” Thompson said. “This won’t stop us from doing our patrol.”

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‘Recidivist’ car thief caught by 106th Precinct


| slicata@queenscourier.com

HANDCUFFS 2

An auto theft “recidivist” was arrested for grand larceny auto by cops from the 106th Precinct on Monday, police said, their second major arrest of an alleged car thief in the last month.

Richard Hobbs, 27, of Lindenwood, was caught behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle early Monday morning by plainclothes officers, cops said.

He was connected to the theft of two other vehicles just two weeks prior to this arrest, according to police.

Furthermore, cops were able to link Hobbs to four car break-ins in Howard Beach, police said.

In July, the cops from the 106th Precinct arrested a teenager in Howard Beach for breaking into vehicles throughout the neighborhood. At the time of the arrest, the alleged thief had property from at least five other cars, according to police.

Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct, has been out-spoken at community meetings, giving tips to residents on ways to keep their cars and property safe.

After the arrest of what he called the “auto-theft/car-break-in recidivist,” Schiff tweeted gleefully, “Let’s hope he goes away 4 a long while!”

After the two arrests, area residents are hopeful the worst is behind them.

“It is my hope that the arrests will help slow down these types of crimes in our community,” Joanne Ariola, a resident of Howard Beach, said.

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Hamilton Beach street in disrepair, ignored by city, locals say


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Hamilton Beach residents are furious that smooth streets in nearby Howard Beach are being repaved while, they say, the main artery into their tiny enclave has been ignored for years.

“It’s frustrating to drive into the neighborhood and see perfectly good streets [in Howard Beach] being ripped up,” Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said. “104th Street was supposed to be a capital project plan but now we can’t even get it repaved.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has been doing street resurfacing projects throughout Howard Beach for about two weeks now but has not made its way over to Hamilton Beach. The neighborhood does not appear on this week’s resurfacing schedule on the DOT website.

DOT doing street resurfacing in New Howard Beach

DOT doing street resurfacing in New Howard Beach

104th Street is littered with potholes, pavement cracks and deteriorating previous repairs. Throughout the day, cars can be seen driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid the rough patch leading to a blind spot for oncoming traffic into the neighborhood.

Moreover, Gendron says the road is responsible for front-end car damage that many residents have experienced. He has filed a claim for his mother’s car which he says has $1,500 worth of front-end damage due to the many times she must travel the road to get into and out of the neighborhood.

“This is something that affects every resident in the neighborhood,” Gendron said. “We’ve been asking for something to be done since 2008.”

In 2010, a representative from the DOT came to a civic meeting in Hamilton Beach and said that 104th Street would be part of its 10-year capital project list with shovels in the ground for a totally new road by 2012, according to Gendron. This has yet to happen.

Betty Braton, chairwoman of Community Board 10, says the road has and will continue to be in the top 10 of the board’s capital budget request list.

“This is a difficult situation for residents of Hamilton Beach because of the nature of the roadway,” Braton said. “The people in Hamilton Beach deserve a street that is properly paved just as all residents of the city deserve a street that is properly paved.”

Gendron said he hopes that one day a capital project will be done for the street but for now would be content with the same project that is being done one neighborhood over.

“At this point all we want is the surface pavement to be re-done,” Gendron said. “Hopefully, that would hold us over until a capital project can actually be put in place.”

The DOT did not immediately respond to calls for comment.

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Howard Beach COP starts patrol


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Howard Beach and its surrounding neighborhoods have added another set of eyes on the street as the Civilian Observation Patrol officially started their watch on Aug. 19.

“In a short amount of time we have been able to accomplish a lot,”  said Joe Thompson, founder of the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol (HBCOP), a nonprofit organization. “Things are going really well.”

The patrol team has been going out through the neighborhoods of Lindenwood, Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach and Hamilton Beach for the past week. Thompson, joined by two to three members of the team each night, patrols the neighborhoods in the organization’s newly donated watch vehicle, which they are hoping will have an amber patrol light on top of it in the near future if approved by Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff of the 106th Precinct.

HBCOP has about 15 members at this point and is doing its patrol strictly as a not-for-profit organization with no affiliation to the NYPD yet. To be fully recognized by the NYPD all members must first complete the Citizens’ Police Academy program, according to Thompson. Until then, he will be putting all of his members through security training programs that will properly prepare them to patrol.

Even though Thompson started the patrol in hopes of deterring crime from happening, he says he and his patrol team are looking to help the community in many different ways.

“We want to be able to assist the community with all types of quality of life issues,” Thompson said.

Along with assisting the 106th Precinct in “The Loop,” HBCOP will be helping out Hamilton Beach in its annual baby parade and are looking for ways to help out in the Columbus Day Parade in October. Thompson said they will also try to assist in graffiti removal programs as well as helping to clean up Charles Park.

“We want to be embraced by the community and let them know we are here to help out,” he added.

To find out more about HBCOP, visit their new website at hbcop.com.

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Councilman Ulrich allocates $25K to clean up graffiti in district


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cross Bay Boulevard can draw comparisons to 5Pointz with the amount of graffiti that has stricken its surrounding neighborhoods, but clean-up is on the way.

In his discretionary budget, Councilman Eric Ulrich has allocated $25,000 to graffiti clean-up in the district. Ulrich is teaming up with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which will choose a company for the clean-up, for the first time and is hoping to start the job next month.

Cleaning up graffiti in these neighborhoods and all of Council District 32 is something that Ulrich has funded throughout his time as councilman, but this year he has allocated more money than ever to hit even more problem areas, according to Rudy Giuliani, a representative for the councilman.

The focus areas that Ulrich outlined are the neighborhoods of Woodhaven and Ozone Park. This is where graffiti is the biggest problem in Ulrich’s district, Giuliani said. The company that is hired by the Queens EDC will then move on to other areas in the district, which include Howard Beach, Lindenwood and the Rockaways.

 

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Howard Beach rabbi gets relative’s grave mix-up fixed


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rabbi Ricter

Rabbi Avrohom Ricter, director of  Chabad of Howard Beach, is finally at peace after narrowly beating a deadline to correct a 50-year-old error on a relative’s grave in a Wisconsin military cemetery.

Ricter, whose relative was a WWII veteran, found the grave on May 23 by chance when doing some genealogy searches online. He noticed the grave, which was dug in June of 1964 in Wood National Cemetery in Milwaukee, had a Christian cross symbol instead of the Star of David on it.

To stay in line with Veteran’s Affairs, whose rules prohibit modifying a memorial after 50 years, he needed to act fast and got the help of U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to speed up the process.

“I got in touch with Veteran’s Affairs right away to try to get it changed but was not getting anywhere,” Ricter said. “I truly thank Gillibrand for helping me fix this in time. It shows that she cares about the normal, everyday person.”

Ricter came across the grave just three weeks before he would have been out of time. He said his relative, Henry Dienstein, had no children, which is why no one had ever noticed the mistake.

By chance, he was on the website findagrave.com helping a woman translate Yiddish writing on one of her ancestor’s graves and then decided to stay on the site and plug in some old family names. That’s when he found Dienstein’s grave with the incorrect religious mark on it and called the senator.

“It’s amazing how something like this just dropped in my lap,” he said. “I felt strongly about this and wanted to go and get it changed.”

Gillibrand expedited the case with the VA and provided the proper paperwork and evidence to get the correct headstone in place. Once everything was confirmed by the VA, they immediately switched the headstones.

“We pay tribute to Mr. Dienstein’s courageous service in defense of our nation in World War II,” Gillibrand said.

“This headstone will ensure that Mr. Dienstein’s memory is rightly honored.”

Ricter said he could not blame the VA for the error on the grave. He noted that back then, when you requested a religious emblem you had to give a number instead of spelling out which symbol you wanted, which he suspects caused the mix-up.

 

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Howard Beach restaurant hosts movie shoot


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach is going Hollywood.

A scene from a feature-length film named “Where Hearts Lie” was shot at Lenny’s Clam Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard on Monday.

At Lenny’s, the film crew was shooting the first date scene between the two lead characters. It took about three hours to shoot the scene, which included about 25 extras and the two main characters. It was a perfect local spot to film this scene, according to Peter Iengo, producer of the film.

“I love this location because there is so much history here,” said Iengo, who mentioned the actual clam bar may be featured in the movie. “It’s a great spot to shoot this scene.”

The movie is about a young up-and-coming real estate entrepreneur from East New York who is trying to gain support for the projects he is working on after he took over the real estate business from his father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He meets a young women while he is working on his projects, falls in love and has a child not knowing that his spouse is mentally unstable. Once he sees her instability he wants to break away and fights for the custody of his child, which becomes the main plot of the movie.

Only two scenes are filmed in Queens, one at Lenny’s and one at the Elixir Lounge in Jamaica. The rest will be filmed in Brooklyn and the total filming period is about three weeks. Hollywood stars Clifton Powell, from movies like “Next Friday” and “Ray,” and Malik Yuba, from “Cool Runnings,” make guest appearances in the film as well.

Once the post-production is finished, the film team will send the finished product to films festivals and shop it around to distribution companies.

 

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Howard Beach defunct fire hydrants fixed after residents complain


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo's office

The Department of Environmental Protection fixed four broken fire hydrants in Howard Beach after state Sen. Joseph Addabbo’s office brought the problem to the agency’s attention.

“It is a major concern when a fire hydrant at any location is not working, but particularly the two hydrants located … on the block of Ave Maria Catholic Academy,” Addabbo said in a letter to DEP Commissioner Emily Lloyd date. “It is important that these fire hydrants remain functional in the event of an emergency.”

Addabbo’s office first became aware of the issue after residents in the area complained to his office. The FDNY marked the four hydrants with a white circle to signal that they were broken. According to the state senator, the fire department is also supposed to tell the DEP about these problems but failed to do so. After receiving Addabbo’s letter, the agency fixed all four hydrants.

“When constituents contacted my office and I saw these fire hydrants, I was shocked,” Addabbo said. “I thought it was unacceptable to leave these communities defenseless, without a proper means to fight against a fire emergency, especially near a school.”

The FDNY did not respond to a query from The Courier about why they didn’t inform the DEP about the problem.

The locations of the four hydrants are 157th Avenue between 86th and 87th streets; 157th Avenue between 100th and 101st streets; in front of Ave Maria Catholic Academy on 158th Avenue between 100th and 101st streets; and 101st Street between 158th and 159th avenues.

 

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Cross Bay Key Food set to open at end of summer


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Howard Beach is finally ready to open its second largest supermarket.

Key Food, located on 164th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, is set to open at the “end of the summer,” according to a spokeswoman for the Key Food Corporation. It has been a long awaited opening for the building that has been out of commission since Hurricane Sandy.

There were rumors throughout the neighborhood that the store was not going to open at all. The announcement that Key Food was coming to the boulevard came more than a year ago and many theorized the store wasn’t big enough for refrigeration of its products. But with signs going up this week and workers filing in and out of the site, the opening appears imminent.

The shop will be branded as a Key Food “Fresh” location, which will compete with Waldbaum’s, the only other supermarket on the boulevard.

 

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Dog and blind caged cat left on Howard Beach sidewalk


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Giuseppina Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

An apparently blind cat and a dog were found in Howard Beach on Friday, the dog’s leash attached to the cage that held the tabby.

Several residents noticed the cage on 91st Street between 159th and 160th avenues, and stood watch over the animals waiting for the owner to return, locals said.

After several hours, the residents called local shelters, but were told there was no room.

Pictures of the pets were posted on Facebook, which prompted one Howard Beach resident to take the dog in while another is holding on to the cat until a home can be found for it.

 

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Retired Queens cop wins $1,000 a day for life


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


A retired Queens police officer is financially secure for life—and she had a little spiritual help.

Edna Aguayo, who protected the city for 20 years, became the first person to claim the jackpot prize of New York Lottery’s new game Cash 4 Life, which has a payout of $1,000 a day for life. She collected a symbolic big check on Thursday with a few friends by her side.

Aguayo knew she needed to buy a ticket for the Cash 4 Life game because a psychic at an amusement park told her to buy a “for life” lottery ticket sixteen years ago. Aguayo was still a little shocked though when she learned she had won the top prize.

“I thought I would win the second prize,” she said. “I didn’t think I was ever going to win the top prize.”

Aguayo purchased the ticket at Walbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach for $2, and matched the winning numbers: 9, 19, 34, 37, 49 and Cash Ball 2. For now Aguayo is still debating what her first purchase will be, and how to spend or save the money.

The first Cash 4 Life jackpot winning ticket was purchased in a Bayside 7-Eleven on Bell Boulevard and 41st Street and verified on June 23, but the winner has yet to claim their prize. The winner has until June 23, 2015 to claim their prize of $1,000 a day for life. The winning numbers were 5, 16, 21, 33, 47 and Cash Ball 4.

 

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Two Queens seniors ‘lovin’ it’ as they win Ronald McDonald House scholarships


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Nancy Lin and Taylor Moss

PAULINA TAM

Two Queens natives are all smiles.

Flushing native and Stuyvesant High School senior Nancy Lin and Howard Beach resident and Archbishop Molloy High School senior Taylor Moss were two of five students to each receive a $16,000 college scholarship ($4,000 per year) from the Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship Program.

Both Moss and Lin said they were excited and honored that they received the award for their upcoming freshman year of college.

Moss will be attending the College of the Holy Cross and Lin will be at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education.

In addition to winning to the prestigious scholarship by besting thousands of applicants, the students faced challenges during busy senior years.

“As an athlete I had to go through the recruiting process for the college application,” said Moss, who played for Archbishop Molloy’s softball team. “Applying for different scholarships was also challenging.”

Moss was also a peer tutor, helped out in her school’s blood drive and fundraiser for the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Program, and was a member of the environmental club.

Lin was part of the Arista Honor Society, attended many outreach programs, tutored children in her community for free, was a member of Stuyvesant’s Red Cross Club and got medals in national exams for Latin and Spanish.

Lin also had to allocate a lot of time to taking care of her little brother, who is autistic, and her mother, who is undergoing chemotherapy.

 

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Howard Beach Waldbaum’s sells winning Cash 4 Life ticket


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Graziella Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Updated Wednesday, July 18, 11:22 a.m.

A winning Cash 4 Life ticket was sold at a Waldbaum’s in Howard Beach for the July 14 drawing, according to the New York Lottery website.

The lucky winner has come forward, but will be identified at a press conference at a later date, a lottery spokeswoman said.

The ticket is worth at least $7 million or $1,000 a day for life. Cash 4 Life game is the lottery’s newest game and recently started with its first drawing on June 13.

Another winning Cash 4 Life ticket was also recently sold in Queens, at a Bayside 7-Eleven last month.

 

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Locals want to beautify Howard Beach


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

Howard Beach wants a makeover — and members of the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association are calling for three different spots in the neighborhood to get a facelift.

The “Welcome to Howard Beach” triangle on Cross Bay Boulevard, the overpass of the Belt Parkway on 156th Avenue and 84th Stree, and the fencing in Lindenwood along 156th Avenue between 84th and 88th streets are all part of the “Summer Beautification Project,” said Joanna Ariola, chair of the civic association.

“We want some of the messier areas in the community cleaned up,” said Ariola, who has asked for volunteers with some construction skills to aid the project. “We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from residents and also some people who were interested in helping out.”

For the welcome triangle, the association is looking to repaint the sign and upgrade its surroundings. Ariola said the sign hasn’t been changed for a significant amount of time and the brickwork around the sign needs to be redone.

The Belt Parkway overpass is graffiti-ridden with several shades of blue paint covering past vandalism. And the fencing along the parkway is covered with overgrown eyesore foliage.

Ariola said she is working with Councilman Eric Ulrich in hopes to get the DOT to repaint the overpass and cut the weeds off the fence.

The civic association expects to have a meeting to address these problem areas within the next couple of weeks.

Ariola said the group is hoping to gain more support from residents and acquire more volunteers to help.

To find out more, visit the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association on Facebook or follow @hblcivic on Twitter.

 

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What to do if there is an LIRR strike


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority


Subways, shuttle buses, and even ferries– the MTA is pulling out all the stops to supplement LIRR service in case 5,400 workers strike starting on July 20.

As contract negotiations with unions continue to fall apart and the impending LIRR strike draws closer each day, the MTA released its contingency plan Friday to address the 300,000 riders that would be stranded daily with the loss of the train service.

Most of the MTA’s plans focus on Long Island customers, but there are resources and tips for riders from Queens and other boroughs.

There will be 4,000 free, secured parking spots at Citi Field and an additional 3,000 spots at Aqueduct Racetrack, where drivers can drop their cars and then take the No. 7 or A trains to work. Through social media and digital platforms, such as Twitter and a LIRR mobile app, agency officials plan to update riders on how many spots are available in the lots and traffic conditions.

The transportation agency also hired 350 school buses, which lack air condition, to shuttle riders from stations in Long Island to the No. 7 train near Citi Field, the A train in Howard Beach, and also the M and R train station on Woodhaven Boulevard. The buses will run from Long Island into Queens between 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. and return to Long Island from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

There will also be ferry rides that can carry 1,000 passengers per day from Glen Cove to 34th Street in Manhattan on 40 minute rides. But the MTA warns that parking near to the ferry is very limited.

The MTA is encouraging riders to telecommute if they can work from home. According to officials, about 18,000 workers already plan to do so.

Through its free lots and shuttle buses, the transportation agency estimates it can handle about 15,000 passengers daily, more than double the 7,000 passengers daily from the 1994 LIRR strike contingency plan.

“When the LIRR unions went on strike in 1994, Long Islanders had very limited options. There were no park-and-ride lots, no ferries, no real-time monitoring, no telecommuting,” said MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast. “Today, the MTA has a far stronger, more robust, multifaceted plan. Working with the state and elected officials from across Long Island and the city of New York, we are providing more shuttle buses, thousands of parking spots near subway stations, a ferry service, real-time traffic management and real-time parking monitoring.”

The MTA doesn’t yet know how much per day the contingency plan will cost, and officials said they hope not to have to use it.

For more details on the plan, click here.

 

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