Tag Archives: Howard Beach

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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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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Hamilton Beach resident writes memoir about the neighborhood


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

During the 1960s and ’70s, Hamilton Beach was a close-knit community that fostered lifelong friendships, as shown by a new memoir.

Hamilton Beach resident Theresa A. Tomeo published a memoir of her childhood days growing up in the neighborhood. The small community comes alive in Tomeo’s book, “The Screen House Kids.”

Tomeo published the book in late June using Amazon’s free publishing tool, CreateSpace. The story follows a group of girls, the screen house kids, growing up in Hamilton Beach during the 1960s. Tomeo spent 10 years writing the book and up until publication, she was adding information into the book. The most significant recent event is Superstorm Sandy, which flooded and destroyed a good part of the neighborhood.

“The whole concept of this book is about this group of friends who would do anything together,” said Tomeo, who is now in her 50s, as her daughter Arlene sat by her. “I wanted people to know that even in this day and age that strong friendships are still possible but you have to work hard towards it.”

The self-published, 250-page book, reads like two grandmothers reminiscing about the past and Tomeo said that is how the idea for the workdeveloped. Tomeo’s daughter, Arlene Arebalo, helped her edit the book and get it published.

“We went through so many revisions that I can’t even read the book anymore,” Arebalo said.

In one part, Tomeo recounts how her group of friends, who she calls the LULAS (Love U Like A Sister), go out on the water one night.

One night they were all hanging out at John’s house. They decided to go out on his boat. While they were out there cruising around the bay they decided to try night water skiing! First Ronny, then Terry! Those idiots were water skiing all around the parameter of Charles Park, IN THE DARK.

That was probably the craziest thing that Terry ever did, but Laurie took the cake for being wild.

In another section, Tomeo writes about her 50th birthday and the “trailer trash” theme. One of the party guests brings a trailer trash doll that is pregnant and when you pull the doll’s chord, it says “Get me another beer, I’m drinking for two.”

 

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Three adjacent businesses set to open in Howard Beach


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

For almost three years, the Howard Beach retail spaces that were once home to Blockbuster and Medysis have sat empty but this is set to change.

Three businesses, Cross Bay Chemist, GNC and the European Wax Center, have taken up the vacant store space on the corner of 157th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard and are ready to be opened very soon. Both GNC and Cross Bay Chemist already had stores on the boulevard but the wax center, which already opened on June 16, is brand-new to the neighborhood.

Cross Bay Chemist is set to debut in its new location on Monday, June 30, according to Frank Pantina, the owner. GNC is set to open up but is waiting for an official date, according to a worker at the store. They will continue to keep their current location open until then. Customers for all three stores will now be able to use the free parking lot that serves all businesses on the block.

There is still no word on what will take the soon-to-be-empty spots of the original GNC and Cross Bay Chemist.

 

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Lewd graffiti scrawled on Hamilton Beach footbridge


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Graffiti is nothing new for Hamilton Beach residents. But residents are alarmed over new racist slurs and sexually suggestive images scrawled on a graffiti-covered footbridge connecting the small neighborhood to Howard Beach.

The bridge, which is known as “the blue bridge” to locals and goes over Hawtree Creek, has always been a hangout spot for kids smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, according to Marie Persans, a Hamilton Beach resident. And it has always been laden with graffiti but over the weekend someone, or group, sprayed a series of offensive terms and images on the bridge.

“You’ve got some really nasty stuff written over there,” Persans said. “Thank goodness I don’t use that bridge too often.”

Barbara Eckel-Schimmenti wrote on Facebook, “Walked over the bridge with grandchildren [and] was embarrassed by the profanity.”

A police source said that residents should report these incidents as often as possible to the police, but since the bridge is owned by the Department of Transportation (DOT) there is only so much they can do. For now, the 106 Precinct’s graffiti unit has been informed of the issue.

A spokesman for the DOT said, “We will inspect the location. DOT attempts to remove any such objectionable graffiti as soon as possible.”

Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association, said that the bridge also has broken lights and that he brought these issues to Councilman Eric Ulrich’s attention.

The councilman’s office did not immediately return calls for comment.

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Howard Beach residents to start neighborhood watch group


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image Courtesy of Joe Thompson

BY SALVATORE LICATA

Howard Beach is hoping to add a few more sets of eyes and ears to its streets in hopes of preventing crime.

The Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol, is a soon-to-be nonprofit group of residents that will be keeping a watchful eye on the neighborhood. In an effort to keep crime down, volunteers of the group will patrol the neighborhood and report to the police any suspicious activity that may be going on.

“Howard Beach residents are screaming for assistance,” Joe Thompson, president and founder of the organization, said. “We are going to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood and it is up to us as a community to report any crimes.”

Thompson said he decided to start the patrol group after hearing resident’s concerns at community meetings.

Crime is down slightly so far this year in the 106th Precinct, but a recent rash of burglaries in Howard Beach set off fears in the community.

Thompson has over 30 years of experience in community watch groups and was an auxiliary police officer for 10 years. He said he hopes this group will help to prevent crime from happening but also noted that his patrol units will take no physical action if they see suspicious activity.

“We will have uniforms but no weapons at all,” Thompson said. “We will not take any action against criminals, our job is to just report what we see to the police. We don’t want to be seen as vigilantes.”

Thompson said he has met with the 106th Precinct and government officials and has their okay to go along with the program as long as the group goes through the proper training and follows the guidelines of community watch groups, as stated by the community affairs office of the NYPD.

“We are always looking for people to get involved,” said Kenneth Zorn, the community affairs officer for the 106th Precinct. “It is a large commitment but these people volunteer their time to help improve the quality of life for the community.”

State Sen. Joseph Addabbo also offered his support to Thompson – but not without some concern.

“We must make it very clear that volunteers must go through the proper training before they patrol,” Addabbo said. “But if it is done correctly it is a positive community program.”

The Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol will hold their first meeting/recruitment session on June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in St. Helen’s School at 157-10 83rd St.

Thompson hopes to gain support for his initiative with other residents at the meeting.

For more information follow Thompson via Twitter @HowardBeachCOP.

 

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Woman pepper-sprayed on A train in Howard Beach: report


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via MTA Flickr: Marc A. Hermann/ MTA New York City Transit

BY SALVATORE LICATA

An altercation between two women on the A train at the Howard Beach stop this morning, led to one being pepper-sprayed, according to a published report.

Shortly after 10:30 a.m., on the Manhattan-bound train, the argument broke out which led to the victim being sprayed with the substance, the New York Post reported.

The entire train was evacuated and 18 passengers were treated on site for eye irritation, officials said.

“Anytime there is Mace or pepper spray in an enclosed area like that, you have to remove people from the immediate location,” police officials told the paper. “So the train was evacuated as a precaution.”

There have yet to be any reports of an arrest and one person was sent to Jamaica Hospital for further evaluation, officials said.

 

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‘Eyesore’ no more; Coleman Square to get more garbage pickups


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

 SALVATORE LICATA

Updated Thursday, June 12, 11:50 a.m.

The Department of Sanitation said it will improve clean-up efforts at the Coleman Square Station in response to a letter from a politician describing the square as an “eyesore.”

The collection of garbage will increase from two days a week to three and there will be an additional litter basket added to the area in order to improve conditions at the transportation hub, according to Kathy Dawkins, a spokeswoman for DSNY.

“After careful consideration, Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia has approved an additional litter basket collection for the Coleman Square Station in Howard Beach,” Dawkins said.

Along with the additional pickups, DSNY said it will monitor the area making sure efforts are correcting the condition.

Assemblyman Philip Goldfeder said in his letter that conditions at Coleman Square presented a public health concern because overflowing garbage was attracting birds and rats who feed on the trash.

“I applaud the Department of Sanitation for their quick response to my letter and for their immediate action to keep our community clean,” he said.

 

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Lindenwood resident missing since Monday


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Luz Lopez

Update: Daniel Otero was found Thursday morning in a Mount Vernon, N.Y. hospital 

Police are searching for 24-year-old Daniel Otero, who went missing Monday in Lindenwood.

Otero has schizophrenia and his family blames the mental disability for his disappearance. The family is particularly worried about his disappearance because he’s never done anything like this before.

“He’s very scared of everything and he’ll listen to anything a stranger tells him to do,” Luz Lopez, Otero’s sister, said. “If you tell him to jump off a roof he’ll do it.”

Otero disappeared after walking a relative to Lindenwood’s P.S. 232 on Monday and in the early hours of Tuesday he briefly appeared in Wyckoff Heights Medical Center before disappearing again, according to Lopez, who found out about the visit after calling all the local hospitals in the area.

A representative from Wyckoff Medical Center confirmed that Otero flagged an ambulance down in Lindenwood around 3 a.m. Tuesday, complaining about neck pains. In the hospital they found that his calves were covered with ticks but since there was nothing wrong with him and he appeared to be alert and coherent he was allowed to leave the hospital at 5 a.m. It was only later that day that cops alerted all hospitals to keep Otero if he shows up again.

Lopez and her friend Phelipa Mirabile spent Tuesday night and Wednesday spreading out missing person fliers with basic information about Otero.

Otero takes several different medications for his schizophrenia and Lopez worries that the longer he stays missing, the harder it will be to find him. He was released from Queens Hospital on June 6 for treatment.

“He’ll get more and more disoriented as time goes by,” she said. “He’s very sweet and religious. He wouldn’t hurt anybody but we’re afraid others will hurt him.”

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