Tag Archives: Howard Beach

NY Sun Club to replace Beach Bum Tanning on Cross Bay Boulevard


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

When the door of one tanning salon closes, another one will open.

After the closure of Beach Bum Tanning on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach, signs were recently put up for NY Sun Club Tanning and Airbrush.

The new tanning salon at 156-40C Cross Bay Blvd. plans to open in the next three weeks, according to an owner of the property, who didn’t clarify why Beach Bum left the location.

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Man writes book recalling his near-death Howard Beach crash


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Joe Parenti

It was winter 1988, and Joe Parenti was 23, driving home after filling up his gas tank, when he was blindsided by a stolen car going 80 mph at 162nd Avenue and 91st Street.

He went into cardiac arrest and nearly died at the scene. When doctors took a closer look, they noticed that Parenti had a “swollen and twisted brain” and major damage to his spinal cord, among other injuries. They told his family that if he were to survive, he would suffer from brain damage for the rest of his life.

“It was the type of experience that I wasn’t sure I would survive from,” Parenti said.

The Howard Beach resident has now written a book about the crash in the hope of inspiring others.

Its name, “Miracle on 91st Street,” is the perfect setup for what follows between the covers. Those who have heard his story, as well as Parenti, believe that it is a miracle he is still alive.

In the book, he takes the reader through his time growing up in Howard Beach, the accident and the ensuing years of recovery, which is where his message lies.

Spending seven months in three different hospitals, switching doctors and receiving numerous types of treatment taught Parenti lessons that he still carries with himself and is now sharing with others.

“All that time in the hospital really made me think,” he said. “It taught me to not worry about the little things in life and the power of perseverance.”

Throughout the novel, Parenti looks back on all the people who were there to help him through his recovery. He mentions the West Hamilton Beach Fire Department and credits them with his life, saying, “Without the quick response and expert care of The West Hamilton Beach Volunteer Fire Department, I would not be alive today.”

He is donating a portion of his profits from the book to the fire department to show his gratitude.

Even though Parenti, 49, is still dealing with some aftereffects of the accident, he says he has only gotten happier each day since the crash.

He is now a self-employed CPA residing in West Hempstead and still lives by two life lessons he learned because of the accident: the power of perseverance and that anything is possible.

“The accident changed my outlook in terms of where I’m heading in life,” Parenti said. “I want my story to inspire people to fight for what they want and never give in.”

To find out more about the book, visit www.miracleon91st.com or “Miracle on 91st Street-Surviving the impossible” on Facebook. The book is available through his website or on Amazon.

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Photos released of suspects in armed robbery at Howard Beach travel agency


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

The search continues for two suspects who tied up the employees of a Howard Beach travel agency during an armed robbery Friday morning.

The pair, both armed with guns, entered Liberty Travel, located at 156-40 Cross Bay Blvd., about 9:40 a.m. and ordered its six employees to the back of the agency, police said. They then zip-tied the employees and asked for the location of the safe.

The suspects took an undetermined amount of money from the safe and the employee’s cell phones before fleeing, authorities said.

No one was injured in the robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Howard Beach travel agency robbed at gunpoint


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Pierangelo Licata

Two men robbed Liberty Travel in Howard Beach Friday morning, according to police.

The suspects, who were wearing hoodies, entered the travel agency, located at 156-40 Cross Bay Blvd., at about 9:50 a.m. and asked for cash at gunpoint, authorities said.

It was not immediately clear how much money was taken. The two suspect are still at large.

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Three injured in fiery Howard Beach car crash


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

A two-car accident in Old Howard Beach caused one to flip over and the other to catch fire Wednesday afternoon.

The accident happened on 159th Avenue and 99th Street at around noon. At the scene, one car was flipped on its side and hit the fence of the corner house on the block, while the other hit a utility pole and burst into flames.

fire_two

The fire was put out quickly by first responders.

Three people were taken to Jamaica Hospital and one person refused to go to the hospital, according to the FDNY.

The extent of the injuries was not immediately clear.

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Star of Queens: Michael Brothers, chairman of the board, NYFAC Foundation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Mike Brothers_Star of Queens_10-30

BACKGROUND: Born in the Bronx and raised in Pequannock, New Jersey, Michael Brothers, 56, moved to Queens in 1987 to become a licensed insurance broker for a firm in Woodhaven.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Brothers has been the chairman of the board of the NYFAC Foundation based in Howard Beach since its inception in 2012. NYFAC is a 100 percent volunteer organization and works to better the lives of adults and children with autism. Brothers chairs the quarterly board meetings, ensures the board members are running fundraising events and raises awareness about the NYFAC Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization developed its website which helps it to spread awareness and raise funds.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Without a doubt my family is my greatest achievement,” said Brothers. “I have a wonderful wife, Aida, and two great sons. I come from a strong, tight-knit family. I am lucky enough to still have both my parents and four supportive siblings in my life. I also love my job and look forward to coming to work every day. Serving as chairman of the NYFAC Foundation is right up there as well. Knowing we are helping is a great feeling of accomplishment.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Fundraising! Knowing the economy here in New York still has not recovered, it is extremely difficult getting donations, sponsorships and participation in our events. With the many worthy charities out there it is a difficult decision for people to determine where their charity dollars go.”

INSPIRATION: “I have many people who inspire me — my wife, my sons, my family. But when it comes to why I am involved in the world of autism I have two people who inspire me. First is my sibling, Dr. Kevin Brothers. He is the founding executive director of a school for children with autism. When he was going through his training many years ago, he showed me what patience it takes in dealing with a child with autism. That always stuck with me and I always knew I would someday help out an organization involved with autism. Second would be Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC. His dedication is remarkable. He is a father of three children, one of whom has autism. He eats, sleeps and works for NYFAC. When I met Andrew for the first time back in 2009, I knew his organization was the one I wanted to volunteer for.”

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$50M Spring Creek flood mitigation project funded, design stage set to begin


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Superstorm Sandy may have shown the vulnerability of southern Queens to coastal flooding but FEMA and New York state have now set aside $50 million to alleviate future flooding.

The Spring Creek Hazard Mitigation Project, headed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and National Parks Service (NPS) is focused on Spring Creek, which serves as a barrier between Howard Beach and Jamaica Bay, south of the Belt Parkway.

While the grant money has already been awarded, there are no specific construction plans yet. Once the project is designed, it will take about 18 months to finish.

“Jamaica Bay was highly impacted by Sandy,” said Joanna Fields, a representative from the DEC. “Our goals are storm protection and creating an ecologically resilient system.”

Design work is expected to start in August of 2015.  This portion is estimated to cost around $3.3 million.

Phase two of the project is projected to start in December of 2015 and end in August 2017. This portion will be the actual construction of the design and will cost about $47 million.

At this point, the DEC and NPS have not finalized the plans for Spring Creek. They are currently collecting data and looking at additional planning considerations to figure out the optimal usage for the site.

Fields stressed that the money allotted to them from FEMA was for flood mitigation but said the usage of Spring Creek as a publicly accessible space is possible.

“The National Parks Service is all about public access and our goal is to work with the community on it,” said Joshua Laird, commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor. “If maintained and done right, this could be a great thing.”

There are also no plans laid out for how exactly the land would be accessible and Fields said they would not go ahead with designing it for the public until they came back to the community to talk about it.

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Gambino crime family associate arrested in 2002 Queens murder


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

A longtime associate of the Gambino crime family has been indicted for his role in a racketeering conspiracy, including allegedly shooting a man to death in Queens more than 10 years ago.

After starting out at a young age as a member of a street gang and serving several years in prison, Gennaro “Jerry” Bruno, now 41, became a Gambino associate, according to officials. For 14 years, up until his arrest Tuesday, he allegedly took part in an array of crimes for the organized crime family, including drug trafficking and extortion.

When Bruno’s criminal associate Martin Bosshart began efforts to exclude one of Bruno’s co-conspirators from a marijuana import operation, Bruno plotted with other Gambino members and associates to murder Bosshart, authorities said.

On the night of Jan. 2, 2002, Bruno and others lured Bosshart to an isolated location in Queens, specifically Howard Beach, according to the Daily News. He then allegedly shot 30-year-old Bosshart in the back of the head. His body was recovered at the scene.

Officials from the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said as Bruno evaded arrest for years, he “conspired with other Gambino associates to “obstruct an official grand jury proceeding into the Bosshart murder.” He also allegedly continued his racketeering activity and extracted payments from the owner of a waste carting company in Queens.

Bruno has been indicted on charges of racketeering and racketeering conspiracy, including predicate acts of murder, narcotics trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice, according to officials. As of Wednesday, removal proceedings to New York were still underway for Bruno, who was arrested in Las Vegas, where he is currently living.

In April 2012, a fellow Gambino associate Todd LaBarca pleaded guilty to racketeering, with predicate acts of conspiracy to murder Martin Bosshart, narcotics trafficking, extortion and bookmaking, as well as conspiracy to commit assault in aid of racketeering.

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Howard Beach COP gives first community report of patrol


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of HBCOP

For a little over two months the Howard Beach Civilian Observation Patrol (COP) has been making rounds throughout the neighborhood to help deter crime.

Between Aug. 18 and Oct. 22, the patrol has recorded a total of 148 incidents. Two of those incidents also saw NYPD response, according to Joe Thompson, president of the Howard Beach COP.

Addressing crime prevention and quality-of-life issues, the patrol secured 13 car trunks, 26 garage doors, 10 doors leading into a house and 18 open house doors throughout the neighborhoods of Howard Beach, Old Howard Beach, Hamilton Beach and Lindenwood.

“We are out here to work with the community and try to deter crime from happening,” Thompson said.

During the 68-day period, the patrol also called in 13 complaints to 311 and dealt with 27 “miscellaneous” incidents, which included illegal fishing in the area or ladders left at construction sites, Thompson said.

The unit has also been involved in a number of community events, including the NYFAC bike loop, Hamilton Beach Baby parade, Charles Park clean-up and the most recent Halloween parade, where Thompson drove around in a hearse to add some more spirit to the event.

Thompson said he was excited that his patrol has grown to its current 22 members with two marked and two unmarked patrol cars as it continues to help out the residents of Howard Beach.

“This is what we do,” Thompson said. “And we do it to help renew the quality of life in the neighborhood.”

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Ridgewood auto body shop owner charged after underreporting more than $1M in repair work: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

GavelMoneyHC1206_X_300_C_R

A Howard Beach man and his Ridgewood auto body shop have been charged after failing to pay more than $100,000 in collectible tax revenue, District Richard Brown said.

“According to the charges, the defendant and auto body business underreported $1,253,767.44 of taxable income over a three-year period,” Brown said. “Tax fraud doesn’t just cheat the city and state out of much-needed revenue, it makes every New Yorker a victim by denying funding for essential public services.”

Alfred D’Andrea, 45, a Howard Beach resident and president of Triangle Auto Body Inc., was arraigned Tuesday in Queens Criminal Court , where he was charged, along with his business, with grand larceny, criminal tax fraud, falsifying business records, offering a false instrument for filing and scheme to defraud, according to prosecutors.

D’Andrea’s auto body shop, located on 79th Avenue, allegedly received about $1.9 million for auto body repairs from various insurance companies between March 2008 and February 2011. But he only claimed $664,235 in taxable repairs, underreporting more than $1,253,000, Brown said.

In total, $54,852.33 in additional tax revenue was owed to New York State and $53,906.07 to New York City local municipalities.

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Shots fired outside Cross Bay Diner during task force bust: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sal Licata

A popular Howard Beach eatery was the scene of a shootout between a federal agent and a suspect Monday night, according to a published report.

A task force, consisting of NYPD officers, Homeland Security and the FBI were at the Cross Bay Diner at about 11 p.m., trying to nab four people, the New York Post said.

At some point, the officials and suspects ended up in the parking lot of the Cross Bay Boulevard restaurant and shots were exchanged, the Post reported. Though it wasn’t immediately clear who fired first.

Three of the individuals were taken into custody and one man is still at large, according to the paper.

Police confirmed authorities are still looking for a suspect following a multi-agency narcotics task force operation involving Homeland Security at the diner Monday night.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic man in his 30s, 5 feet 8 inches tall and 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans.

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New routes proposed in Howard Beach, Ozone Park for Jamaica Bay Greenway


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach and Ozone Park will be home to new bike routes on the Jamaica Bay Greenway, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The only problem is figuring out where.

The DOT has been hosting community workshops and asking for the input of residents on where they think the new routes are best for safety and convenience.

Currently, the Greenway is an 11-mile bike path that hugs Jamaica Bay, connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

It runs through Howard Beach, through Broad Channel to the Rockaways and then across the Marine Park Bridge to Brooklyn.

The DOT said there has been strong advocacy by residents for the Greenway to be expanded to Ozone Park to connect to the soccer and baseball fields on Conduit Avenue, across the street from Resorts World Casino.

For this connection, the DOT proposed using 155th Avenue or 156th Avenue.

While it’s looking to add new stretches to the Greenway, the DOT is also hoping to improve existing ones, like the part that connects the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge to the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach.

One is to use 84th Street, a two-way road, instead of the existing paths on 91st Street and 92nd Street, which are both one-way. This would give both cars and cyclists more room on the street, said Alice Friedman, the DOT’s project manager for the Greenway.

The other option would be to add a path where 78th Street meets the Belt Parkway and use the existing grass area along Spring Creek to connect to the Addabbo Bridge.

Finally, there is a plan to build a route through Spring Creek connecting the parkway and the bridge. But Freidman mentioned that would be a long-term plan.

For the path on the Addabbo Bridge, which connects Broad Channel and Howard Beach, the DOT proposed three options:

  • Keep the path the way it exists with one lane on each side of the bridge,
  • Move the parking lane out and let the bike lane hug the sidewalk on both sides, or
  • Put two bike lanes on the south side of the bridge next to each other.

Most people found the last option the most viable for this section but would like to see an actual barrier between the car and bike lanes.

When all community workshop events are finished, the DOT will draft a finalized plan of what it believes it should look like, based on the residents’ input and their own planning.

The DOT expects to have the draft finished by the spring of 2015.

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Howard Beach has new, free after-school program


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

P.S. 207 in Howard Beach now has a new after-school program that benefits students beyond the school’s enrollment.

The program, which is open to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, is free and will accommodate any student who is able to arrive by 3 p.m., no matter which school he or she attends, said Michael Taylor, after-school program director for P.S. 207.

“The cornerstones of structure for the program are STEM [science, technology, engineering and math], literature and leadership,” Taylor said. “We provide a successful model for children to follow.”

The after-school program is called School’s Out New York City (SONYC) and is run by the Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF). P.S. 207 is one of the 33 schools in which SASF established new programs for the 2014-15 school year.

The program runs five days a week from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

It mixes both intellectual and physical activities to fully engage the students, Taylor said. These include studies in core curriculum, newspaper writing, video editing and activities in gymnastics, basketball, yoga and Zumba, among others.

Educators will also work with students on leadership skills, engaging them in teen talk, community service, student counseling and peer mentoring.

“Our job is to make sure kids are not only occupied but that we keep them productive,” Taylor said. “With this model, the sky is the limit.”

Students will also work on programs such as Middle School Today, High School Tomorrow, where they will visit schools and learn different things about the high school application process to better prepare them for their futures.

Furthermore, the program will take students on field trips to places such as Coney Island and to productions such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical” at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

“We were given top-quality resources to run the program which allows us to do a lot of different activities,” Taylor said. “Our desire is to get kids engaged and provide a fun learning environment.”

To learn more about the program, email ps207@sasfny.org or call 718-848-2700 and ask for Michael Taylor.

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New ‘Welcome to Howard Beach’ sign donated by local organization


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Paul Ohana/ ADP USA

It’s a welcoming message.

The old and beaten up Howard Beach welcome sign, located in the welcome triangle on Cross Bay Boulevard and 155th Avenue, will soon be replaced by a brand-new one, thanks to a donation by the Howard Beach Memorial Services.

“We put the original sign up and realized that now it needs replacing,” said Ray York, a founder of the Howard Beach Memorial Services.

The original sign has seen its better days. The paint is chipped, the bricks around it are out of place and there is a large hole in the bottom corner of it.

The new sign will have a different look to it.

Instead of being green with gold letters, it will have a white trim with a blue body and gold lettering along with the picture of a seagull on the top.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The sign has been completed as of Oct. 7 and was created by ADP USA, located at 190 Beach 116th St.

It will be installed within the next two weeks.

The project for the new sign was part of the Howard Beach/Lindenwood Civic Association’s summer beautification list.

The association was originally just looking for a person to come in and paint the sign, but York and the organization went a step further.

The Howard Beach Memorial Services was set up by York and Ed Murray about two decades ago.

The service has donated signs and flag poles all around the neighborhood, such as the ones in the welcome triangle, Wetzel Square and Charles Park.

Replacing the beaten up welcome sign was something that just made sense for York and the organization.

“The sign needed to be replaced,” York said. “People ask us if we can help them out and if we can do it, we do it.”

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New shuttle bus coming to Catholic Charities centers in southern Queens


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Senior citizens may find it difficult to navigate around southern Queens, but that will soon change for many.

A new shuttle bus has been funded by Councilman Eric Ulrich to transport the elderly to and from their homes to five Catholic Charities senior centers throughout the 32nd Council District.

A total of $25,000 was allocated from Ulrich’s discretionary fund to pay for a driver, insurance and other vehicle-related expenses.

“This is important for senior citizens in this district,” Ulrich said. “[The bus] will be a lifeline for them.”

Along with transportation to and from the senior centers, where residents can participate in a variety of classes and workshops, the shuttle will provide rides to shopping centers and other local activities spots.

Ulrich hopes to extend the service to more of his constituents in the future.

“If this bus is successful now, I will do everything I can to extend it,” he said.

Residents and Catholic Charities officials thanked Ulrich for the allocation.

“We cannot tell you how much we appreciate this,” said Debra Hoffer, director of field operations for Catholic Charities. “Seniors will finally have the door-to-door service they need.”

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