Tag Archives: Howard Beach

Volunteers wanted for Relay for Life events in Queens this spring


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/File Photo

Those looking to put their best feet forward in the fight against cancer are encouraged to join Relay for Life events scheduled across Queens in May and June.

The relays benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS) and include teams of volunteers from families, businesses, churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, civic associations and other groups walking or running laps around a course to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

New York City played host to 27 Relay for Life events last year, raising more than $1.4 million combined, a goal the ACS hopes to eclipse in this year’s relay events.

“The Relay for Life movement unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and take action to finish the fight once and for all,” ACS Relay for Life Senior Manager Ben Messner said. “Many participants are our family, friends and neighbors who have faced cancer themselves. Each new team that registers brings us one step closer to saving more lives.”

Each Relay for Life kicks off with the “Survivors’ Lap,” as local cancer survivors take the first steps on the course, symbolizing their resiliency and strength. Once the survivors complete their circuit, the fundraising teams take the track; at least one member of each team must be on the track for the relay’s duration, into the night and following morning.

Team members camp out trackside and, when not on the course, get to rest and enjoy games, music and entertainment.

After nightfall, volunteers hold a luminaria lighting ceremony, when candles lining the course are lit in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of someone who died of its complications.

The Relay for Life for the communities of Broad Channel, Breezy Point and the Rockaways takes place on Saturday, May 16, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning at the Broad Channel Athletic Club, located at 125 Cross Bay Blvd. For more information, contact Carol Palacio at 631-379-4924 or carol.palacio@cancer.org.

Bayside will hold its Relay for Life on Saturday, June 6, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning in Alley Pond Park. Those interested in participating can contact Marlene Medina at 646-318-7636 or marlene.medina@cancer.org for additional information.

One week later, the Howard Beach Relay for Life will kick off at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at Frank M. Charles Memorial Park, located on 165th Avenue near 83rd Street. To learn more, contact Meghan Neary at 631-300-3458 or meaghan.neary@cancer.org.

Lastly, the Middle Village Relay for Life will take place two weeks later on Saturday, June 27, from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning at Juniper Valley Park’s Brennan Field, located off the corner of 71st Street and Lutheran Avenue. Contact Marlene Medina as the previously listed email and phone number.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger surprises Howard Beach fitness consulting couple


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Jack and Corrine Wlody

A fitness consulting couple from Howard Beach were especially pumped up when they were honored at a recent fitness convention in Ohio, as they got a chance to meet the Terminator.

Jack and Corrine Wlody were recognized at the 23rd annual International Chiropractors Association (ICA) National Symposium on Natural Fitness with the ICA Legacy Award on March 7 in Columbus, Ohio. Even better, actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented them with their plaque.

The Wlodys were recognized for both their promotion of fitness to all and their commitment to community service.

“Being recognized for what we do because we love to do it is very humbling,” the Wlodys said in a joint statement. “It was a surprise and an honor. One of the wonderful results is that it helps us share our philosophy of ‘one great habit,’ and living a truly balanced life by giving back.”

The couple owns Team Wlody Fitness/Lifestyle Consulting, where they offer one-on-one consulting for clients who want both in-person and online fitness and nutrition consulting.

The couple are involved with many charitable organizations including Bike New York, which empowers people, both young and old, to learn how to ride a bicycle for the first time. They also hold fundraisers for their community, such as when they recently raised enough money for Waldbaum’s Oceanside during their MDA Shamrock Drive to send one child with muscular dystrophy to MDA summer camp.

The Wlodys regularly volunteer at Holy Apostles soup kitchen, work with Habitat for Humanity, donate and personally deliver clothing to the homeless and spend the holidays at halfway houses, bringing gifts to the residents.

“Jack and Corrine are the finest examples of health and fitness professionals and I’m thrilled that Governor Schwarzenegger and the ICA gave them the recognition they truly deserve,” former Sports Commissioner for the City of New York and current CEO of Bike New York Ken Podziba said. “This award has as much to do with their expertise in and philosophy of the fitness industry as it does with who they are as people; and you can’t find more generous, kindhearted and caring people than this couple who are affectionately known as Team Wlody.”

“Jack and Corrine are not only a shining example of the very best in fitness and lifestyle design, but their generosity of spirit has touched the lives of so very many,” said Dr. Jack Barnathan, ICA president emeritus. “We we’re thrilled to present them with this special award and doubly honored to have them serve as one of only nine experts from around the world to present exciting insights for the future of fitness at the VIP panel discussion. I’m so very proud to know such special people who inspire and motivate so very many, including myself.”

The ICA National Symposium on Natural Fitness is part of the annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Fitness Festival, which is now the largest sports and fitness event in the world. The Legacy Award that is handed out at the symposium was created in the spirit of the charitable works of Schwarzenegger over his career.

“Arnold is awesome, he has a great sense of humor, and he makes it fun for those attending this event,” the Wlodys said in their statement. “He truly embodies the spirit of generosity and emphasized how important it is for everyone to give back.”

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Tire and rim theft still major problem in Howard Beach area


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata/ Photo courtesy of Joe Thompson

Seeing a car on cinder blocks has become almost the norm in south Queens, according to police, as the Howard Beach area has been hit with a string of tire and rim thefts.

Since Dec. 1, there have been about 59 tire and rim theft cases throughout the 106th Precinct. Lindenwood has experienced the brunt of the crime hit, as 21 of the 59 thefts have taken place in the neighborhood. The number of these cases has increased, as the three months before Dec. 1 saw 27 thefts in the precinct.

“This has really been hurting us,” said Deputy Inspector Jeffrey D. Schiff, commanding officer of the 106th Precinct. “We’re going to keep after this and continue to throw different operations at these criminals.”

Along with extra officers, Schiff has expanded his patrol in the Lindenwood area, especially during early morning hours when most crimes take place. He has been sending more crime teams out — both plain-clothed and uniformed officers — who have been on the lookout for cars with “reasonable suspicion” as it is not easy for officers to catch the preps in the act.

Police said it takes mere seconds for experienced thieves to jack up a car, put it on bricks and pull the tires off. The crooks work in small crews, which shortens the amount of time it takes to steal the tires and flee the area.

But just last week, Schiff said, the 106th Precinct caught a group of three men from Brooklyn who did a tire jacking in the Howard Beach area. They stopped a car coming out of a parking lot in Howard Beach for reasonable suspicion as it was in the early hours of the morning and there was no reason for a car to be in that lot.

Upon their search, the officers found four tires and rims from a Toyota. They arrested the men, who didn’t have a major history of tire theft on their records, and later returned the tires to the person whose car they were stolen from near 157th Avenue in Howard Beach.

This saved the car owner a large sum of money as replacing tires and rims can cost up to $3,000, according to Det. Kenneth Zorn of the 106th Precinct Community Affairs Unit.

The 106th Precinct continues to send out fliers warning residents that late model Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas and Mercedes are being targeted for their rims. They recommend that car owners use wheel locks, motion sensor lights or an alarm with a mercury tilt switch to make their cars harder targets.

Schiff said he will continue to beef up patrol around the Lindenwood and Howard Beach areas and is investigating different ways he can lure these perps into a trap. He has called the Queens District Attorney’s office about the three recently arrested thieves and asked for “aggressive prosecution and high bail” to deter other thieves from coming into the area and trying to steal tires.

“We will continue to monitor the area and have officers there,” said Schiff. “Hopefully we can catch more of these criminals.”

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NYFAC pays tribute to seven honorees at 17th annual dinner dance


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) foundation has been serving families in southern Queens for almost 20 years, but they could not do it without the help of people from the community, said Andrew Baumann, president of the board of trustees for the foundation.

And NYFAC held an award ceremony on Thursday to honor those special people who have helped the organization grow.

“We started off with five families,” said Baumann. “But with your help we’ve been able to grow and help more children around our area.”

Over 300 people came out to Russo’s on the Bay in Howard Beach as NYFAC honored six people for their involvement in the foundation. They gave awards for man of the year, community service, advocate of the year, the hero award, community partnership award and the guardian angel award. Along with a trophy, each person received a proclamation from the state Assembly, a citation from the state Senate and a proclamation from the City Council.

“Folks like Andrew and his wife are what makes a community great,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who accepted the guardian angel award.

Katz also named Feb. 26 “NYFAC Day” in the borough of Queens after her acceptance.

Baumann was elated because of the honor and said he was so happy he has been able to help so many children throughout the years. He showed a commercial he had made for the foundation, which gave statistics of autism cases such as how one in every 68 children is diagnosed on the spectrum.

The video ended with what Baumann said is the sole purpose of NYFAC: “Helping parents help their children, one family at a time.”

Councilman Eric Ulrich was one of the people in attendance and was grateful for all NYFAC has done in the community.

“This is the only organization in this part of Queens to provide these great services,” he said. “They inspire children to work towards their full potential and help people live good and happy lives.”

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Behind the Starbucks in Howard Beach
jamaica_bay_pic-624x416

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More tree removal in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

“X” marks the spot to chop.

The Parks Department has come into Howard Beach for a second round of tree removal.

This is a continuation of the previous tree removal process that took place in September. All Sandy-stricken trees that the Parks Department feels are too far gone and not likely to survive will be cut down and replaced, according to the agency. There is still not an exact number for how many trees will be cut as the agency is still surveying the area.

“The trees marked with an ‘X’ are indeed part of the Sandy removal and replacement efforts, and are scheduled to be removed and replaced over the next year,” a Parks spokeswomen said. “The total number of trees is still evolving and continues to do so as we mark additional trees.”

The Parks Department is still in the process of replanting the ones they took down in September.

At the time, the Parks Department cut down nearly 500 trees in the confines of Community Board 10. These were part of the 48,000 trees citywide they looked at to see if they should be removed.

DSC_0791

To coincide with the project, there is a citywide initiative to plant one million trees throughout the five boroughs. At this point, the city has planted over 938,000 trees since 2007, when the program started. They plan to have the full million planted by 2017.

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New bills proposed by state Sen. Avella would address abandoned homes


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Abandoned homes have been a problem in Queens neighborhoods since Superstorm Sandy and the recession. But a breakaway group of state Senate Democrats, including Senator Tony Avella, has introduced a proposal they claim will solve much of the problem.

A bill they’ve called the “Zombie Property Act” would force lenders, including banks, to maintain abandoned homes in New York so that neighborhoods are not dotted with dilapidated properties abandoned by the owners and taken over by mortgage holders.

The measure is one of several bills that are being put forward by the state Senate’s Independent Democratic Conference, of which Avella is one of five members, as part of the group’s “Invest New York” agenda.

“We’re catching squatters and kids going in these abandoned homes,” said Joe Thompson, who runs a civilian patrol in Howard Beach. The neighborhood is ailed with dozens of destroyed homes that were abandoned after Sandy.

“These squatters are getting in there and doing drugs and high school aged kids are putting graffiti all over the place,” Thompson said. The homes pose a danger to people in the area, he said, and they also severely reduce the value of neighboring homes.

“It was kind of like their playhouse,” he said. Last year Thompson tackled the problem by investing his own money in cleaning and maintaining a home on 155th Avenue and 77th Street. He boarded the windows, cleaned the surrounding lawn and even enlisted another resident to power wash the walls.

If the zombie bill, which is co-sponsored by Avella, passes, lenders that hold mortgages on the abandoned properties would be given the responsibility of doing what Thompson is doing.

“These abandoned homes are a waste of resources that could be developed into great things,” Avella said.

Within the Invest New York agenda, Avella will be tasked with pushing through bills that address paid family leave, providing affordable housing for veterans and a proposal that would grant seniors a 10 percent discount on any DMV transaction.

“I’ve always worked toward these things,” Avella said. “This will help people because these are people issues.”

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Car tires and rims become big target for thieves in southern Queens


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Joe Thompson

Move over NASCAR pit crews, there’s a new team pulling wheels off of cars and they’re doing it in record time across southern Queens neighborhoods.

While auto theft is on the decline across the city, there has been a new wave of thefts targeting cars that is taking place in and around Howard Beach. But this time, thieves take the wheels and leave the cars behind.

“Old school crime on the rise,” wrote one resident on the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol Facebook page.

“Nothing new in Lindenwood,” wrote another.

The 106th Precinct sent out fliers warning residents and car owners about the thefts, identifying the types of cars being targeted and providing pointers on how to guard against the theft of wheels and tires.

“It costs close to $3,000 to replace those rims and tires,” said Detective Kenny Zorn from the 106th Precinct. “We’re out there preaching crime prevention and have unmarked and marked cars patrolling the areas more frequently.”

The 106th Precinct has also been out in Lindenwood passing out the fliers to residents warning of the crime. They say Lindenwood is one of the easiest areas to hit for thieves because of the multi-family houses.

In the last 28-day period, Zorn said there have been four reported tire removals in cars in the Lindenwood area alone.

The civilian patrol reported two cars stripped of their wheels in the last two weeks, and comments on some of the pictures posted show the crime is happening at a higher rate throughout the neighborhood.

“This has to be a group of people working together because they get these tires off in seconds,” said Joe Thompson, president of the patrol. “It’s been going on for a long time, but now it seems to be happening almost every night.”

Jacking up a car, putting it on bricks and pulling the tires off can occur in seconds with experienced thieves.

Thompson said that while he was on patrol he got a call from a resident of Ozone Park about four males in the process of taking tires off a car. He notified 911 immediately and drove over to the scene. Arriving no more than six minutes later, Thompson said the thieves were already gone and observed the car on bricks and tilted forward.

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On the flier, the police warn that late model Hondas, Nissans, Toyotas and Mercedes are being targeted for their rims. They recommend that car owners use wheel locks, motion sensor lights, or an alarm with a mercury tilt switch to make their cars harder targets.

“It’s scary,” he said. “All these cars are brand-new, and it’s terrible for these residents. It affects their insurance and just makes things more difficult for them.”

Thompson said that his patrol has been watching for suspicious cars around the neighborhood and has been documenting license plates for the police. He said he has no real leads on who these thieves might be, but he believes they circle the area and pick out which cars they want to hit before they strike.

“We get calls from people every night, telling us of suspicious cars around the neighborhood or ones parked in front of their houses for a long period of time,” he said. “We’ve been collecting the information and are talking to the police to hopefully stop these criminals.

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call CRIME STOPPERS at 1-800-577-TIPS. Zorn also said if anyone sees the crime going on to call 911 immediately. If you want more information on how to prevent the crime, call the 106th Precinct’s crime prevention number at 718-845-2223.

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Five interesting facts about Queens home sales in 2014


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Continental Park /Chart courtesy of REBNY 

The Real Estate Board of New York released its 2014 fourth quarter home sales report for the five boroughs on Tuesday, which showed that homebuyers spent nearly $10 billion in New York City during the final three months of the year.

Since a ton of cash was spent, here are five interesting and maybe surprising facts pulled from the report showing how Queens fits into the big picture: 

Playing catch-up

Homebuyers spent 10 percent more money in Queens, the city’s most diverse borough, in the fourth quarter of 2014 than the previous quarter, accounting for $1.78 billion. Brooklyn, the city’s most populous borough, had total sales of $1.97 billion in the quarter, which results in a drop of 1.43 percent from the third quarter. Of course Manhattan leads the pack, but saw a major drop of 22.56 percent from the third quarter with just $5.3 billion in home sales.

Up, up and away

The prices of homes in the borough are definitely moving on up. The average sales price of a home in Queens was $463,000, up 7 percent from the fourth quarter in 2013. However, this pales in comparison to Manhattan and Brooklyn. The average price in Manhattan increased a whopping 19 percent from last year to $1.65 million, and people actually paid 15 percent more for a home in Brooklyn at an average price of $713,000. Fuhgeddaboudit!

REBNY chart

Condo “mini”-ums

Condos in “The World’s Borough” actually saw a decrease in prices, the report found. The average price of a condominium in Queens decreased 3 percent to $477,000. This is drastically different from “skyscraper world,” otherwise known as Manhattan, where prices for condos rose year over the year, increasing 37 percent to an average of $2.33 million.

Flushing in first

The report showed that the combined neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens had the most home sales with 443 in the fourth quarter. But to be fair, Flushing, which was counted alone, should take home the crown for most sales. The neighborhood recorded 401 home sales in the quarter.

And the winners are….

The area in Queens with the highest percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2014 over the year included the Howard Beach and Broad Channel neighborhoods, which saw a 25 percent jump in home prices to an average of $427,000. Long Island City had the most expensive prices with an average of $915,000.

Click here to read the full report.

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Work finished on Howard Beach welcome triangle


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The Howard Beach welcome triangle is once again welcoming, thanks to local business and neighborhood organizations.

Back in the summer months, the Howard Beach Lindenwood Civic Association put the project to beautify the triangle on their to-do list. At first, they hoped to gather a couple of volunteers to clean up the area, but they were astonished by the overwhelming donations they received that enabled them to give the triangle a makeover.

The new “Welcome to Howard Beach” sign was donated to the community by the Howard Beach Memorial Services foundation and their president, Ray York. It was put up in the middle of October. After its installation, Lisena Landscaping and DM Contracting came in to beautify the area.

Lisena donated all the plants around the triangle and sign. They are also going to plant new ones once spring comes. They have been taking care of the triangle for quite some time now and have been servicing the community since Giuseppe Lisena started the company in the early 1970s.

“This is our way of giving back to the community,” said Freddy Lisena, Giuseppe’s son and current owner of the business. “We do a lot of work around the neighborhood and wanted to help out where we could.”

DM Contracting came in and placed the brick structure around the sign. They then added stones in front of it to beautify the area even more.

“This is a piece of artwork that was done by the local community,” said Joanne Ariola, president of the civic association. “It is something that the community is proud of and shows the true beauty of Howard Beach.”

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New pastor coming to St. Helen’s in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

St. Helen’s Catholic Parish is getting ready to welcome a new pastor to their church.

Father Francis Colamaria will be coming to the Howard Beach parish on Jan. 31, taking over for its current pastor, Msgr. LoPinto. Colamaria is currently the administrative director and priest at Holy Child Jesus Parish in Richmond Hill and is excited about the change.

“Though I will miss Holy Child Jesus, I am really looking forward to serving the people of Howard Beach,” he said. “Msgr. LoPinto did a tremendous job of making new renovations to the church and school, which is great because now I can focus more on the spiritual portion.”

Colamaria, 39, has been a priest since 2001. He started at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park and remained there until 2007. After that, he moved on to St. Ephrem’s in Brooklyn for a year and was also the chaplain at Xaverian High School. He is now the deputy chief chaplain of the MTA and has been at Holy Child Jesus since 2008.

One thing Colamaria is looking forward to is being able to work with the school more closely as he feels Catholic education is very important for children to learn.

“Catholic education provides morals, responsibility and creates love of family and life, which is sometimes lacking in this world,” he said. “It creates a good environment for our children and is one of the best products we have as a church.”

During his time at his current parish, Colamaria has run annual Oktoberfests and huge block parties and made a connection between the parish and school. He is looking forward to bringing some of his new ideas to St. Helen’s and learning from the retired Msgr. Pfeiffer, who he says is “a seasoned veteran.”

LoPinto will be moving on to become the head of Catholic Charities once Colamaria takes over. He said the people of Howard Beach have been through a lot, especially when dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but he knows that their spirits have been unchanged.

“The people of Howard Beach are good people,” Colamaria noted. “It is a great environment and I look forward to learning more about it.”

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Car pulled out of canal in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/1@NYPDSpecialops

Updated 3:30 p.m.

A car plunged into a Jamaica Bay canal early Saturday morning, sources told The Courier.

According to the FDNY, the incident happened at about 2 a.m. and after pulling the car out of the water, divers did not find a body.

It is believed that the driver either abandoned the car right before it hit the water or swam out of the car right after, authorities said.

There were police and a truck with a crane on scene to pull the car out of the bay.

The vehicle was then placed in the parking lot of Howard Beach Chiropractic, located on 160th Avenue and Cross Bay Boulevard, sources said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The cause of the accident and the whereabouts and condition of the driver are still not known.

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Star of Queens: Joseph Thompson, president, Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Joe Thompson

Background: Born and raised in Brooklyn, Joseph Thompson joined his first Civilian Observation Patrol (COP) at the age of 16. He was an auxiliary police officer for the NYPD for 10 years. He moved to Howard Beach 19 years ago, where he lives with his wife and children. This summer, he noticed that the crime rate in his neighborhood was very high, but it was something his 9-year-old daughter said that compelled him to “get up off the couch and do something” about it, he said. He was watching the news with his daughter when they saw a story about their 72-year-old neighbor who had been punched in the face and robbed of her purse. The young girl told him, “That could have been grandma.” It motivated Thompson to put his experience in the field of security to use and start a civilian observation patrol.

Community Involvement: Thompson met with the local police officers and elected officials to discuss the idea. He incorporated the Howard Beach COP on June 26, 2014, and formed its structure over the next two months. The nonprofit, volunteer organization deals with quality-of-life issues such as potholes and graffiti. It went on its first patrol in August. In 68 days, they dealt with 148 incidents and had to call 911 only twice. They helped a neighbor find her daughter who had been missing for 38 hours. The volunteers also work to prevent crime. Recently, they went on a drive checking parked cars for unlocked doors. The organization runs on donations that are used to pay for gas for their two patrol cars, insurance, uniforms and other equipment.

Greatest Achievement: “Our motto is ‘We are neighbors helping neighbors,’” said Thompson. “My greatest achievement is getting neighbors together for the first time and create something that will bring about change, working together and helping each other. I am not doing this alone: it’s all the volunteers who work hard and help out even when it is 20 degrees outside.”

Biggest Challenge: “Trying to get volunteers and donations to keep the organization going is the biggest challenge,” said Thompson. “We have 22 volunteers now and need 40 to qualify for the NYPD Civilian Patrol. We are working on signing up more people.”

Inspiration: “My inspiration is Frank Kotnik, president of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol. It is a nonprofit, and a sanctioned group with the NYPD. He started it 38 years ago. I often call him for advice and inspiration.”

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Hamilton Beach boardwalk project close to completion


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The final steps of the new Hamilton Beach boardwalk are being constructed and it could be opening up soon.

The “boardwalk,” which will now be a cement path connecting Hamilton Beach to Old Howard Beach, has been fully paved and railings have been installed, according to Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office, which is overseeing the plans.

The main portion of the project has been done by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS). The last remaining portion of it, which is to add the ramp connecting the train station to the boardwalk, has to be done in partnership with the MTA since they own that portion of the land.

Work started on the path in May and was scheduled to finish by the end of September, but building the ramp has prolonged this process.

“There are a couple of little things left to be done,” said Redmond Haskins, a representative from Ulrich’s office. “But the large portion of the project is completed.”

There is no set date for the opening as the office is still trying to figure out the plans with the MTA.

The boardwalk stretches about 2,000 feet and is used as the main walkway for residents in Hamilton Beach to get to and from the A-train station in Old Howard Beach. It was in disrepair for many years but became totally unusable when Superstorm Sandy hit the area.

Since 2012, residents have had a longer and more dangerous walk to the train because they have to travel on a street without a sidewalk to get out of the neighborhood.

The MTA did not immediately respond for a request of comment on the issue.

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Elmhurst woman writes Queens walking tour book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Adrienne Onofri

One Elmhurst woman is hoping her new book will help readers step out their doors and take a stroll while exploring all that Queens has to offer.

Adrienne Onofri is the author behind “Walking Queens,” a new book that features 30 detailed walking tours through the borough exploring architecture, distinct cultures in different neighborhoods, historical landmarks, celebrity homes and natural scenery.

“There are one or two books about neighborhoods in Queens but really no guide book completely dedicated to Queens,” Onofri said. 

The opportunity to write this book came after Onofri, a licensed New York City sightseeing guide, wrote “Walking Brooklyn: 30 Tours Exploring Historical Legacies.” 

Her publisher became interested in doing a version for Queens, and Onofri said she jumped at the idea because a lot of people had asked her to write a walking tour book for the borough she has called home for decades.

“I liked the idea because I can say I live in Queens,” Onofri said. 

To compile the book, which took about a year to finish, Onofri traveled the borough on nothing but her two legs and public transportation. She sketched out routes based on what she already had in mind or knew she wanted to include. Other locations, she said, she roamed and discovered in order to create the detailed walks. 

“There are a lot of people that drive around and don’t get around in public transportation much,” Onofri said. “[The book] is just encouraging them to go a few neighborhoods over, which they would normally drive pass on the highway.”

The neighborhoods featured in the book go from Long Island City and Astoria all the way to Howard Beach and the Rockaways. Along with these, Onofri also spent time in the borough’s parks such as Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Alley Pond Park and Rockaway Park. 

The book, with photographs taken by the author, includes maps of the area that will be walked, nearby trains or buses, points of interest in the neighborhood, historical facts and detailed directions of how to get around. 

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by  Adrienne Onofri)

Part of the Hunters Point Historic District on 45th Ave. in Long Island City (Photo by Adrienne Onofri)

“There are things you walk past and don’t notice,” Onofri said. “This book has the discoveries of things that you might not take the time to notice regularly.”

While working on the book, Onofri said she realized there were instances where she noticed things she hadn’t before. Also, one of the issues was trying to fit as much as she could in the 254-page book, with some things just not being able to be included. 

“There was a lot of stuff to learn, whether it was just some place I had been only a couple of times or a place I really didn’t know much about before,” she said. 

Onofri said she is still conducting tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 

To contact Onofri to schedule a tour, email walkingqueens@gmail.com.

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