Tag Archives: Jackson Heights

Medical company moving to Jackson Heights Shopping Center

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Muss Development and Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

The newly renovated Jackson Heights Shopping Center is filling in another vacant slot.

Jackson Heights Cardiovascular Associates, a firm that offers cardiovascular imaging, ultrasound and medical billing, among other services, signed a 10-year lease for a 13,780-square-foot space in the recently revitalized shopping complex. Bill Bergman, of Muss Development, represented the company in the deal and Brian Jaffe, of DY Realty Services LLC, represented the new tenant.

The medical company is moving from its old location in the neighborhood to the shopping center because of its need to expand. Its new office will take up the entire second floor of the renovated section of the center and it is expected to open within the next couple of months.

“Jackson Heights Cardiovascular Associates’ new space will feature an open layout to accommodate their multifaceted business and fulfill their growing need for more office space,” Muss Development Principal Jason Muss said.

Night shot

Following the completion of renovations last year, pet store giant Petco moved into a 13,500-square-foot space in the 142,274-square-foot shopping center.

Jackson Heights Shopping Center has about two dozen retail and office tenants and is anchored by Rite Aid, Waldbaum’s and Santander Bank.


Video: Queens residents share how to say ‘I love you’ in seven languages

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

The first video of a series, looking to bringing awareness to public plazas throughout the city, gives a taste of the different ways Queens residents say “I love you,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a nonprofit organization of The Horticultural Society of New York, released the YouTube video “How to Plaza like a New Yorker Tip #1: Say ‘I Love You,’” two days before the Feb. 14 holiday.

In the video, which takes place at Diversity Plaza, officially called 37th Road Plaza, in Jackson Heights and was filmed by P2Films, people are asked how they say “I love you” in languages other than English.

The clip features people speaking in seven out of the 138 languages spoken in Queens. The languages featured are Farsi, Bangla, Hungarian, Italian, Urdu, Basaa and Tibetan.

Almost all the people in the video were just walking by the plaza during the filming and were asked if they would participate in the project.

“Everybody was just on their way, coming and going, and we just tried to stop people and asked if they spoke another language other than English and if they wanted to teach others how to say ‘I love you,’” said Micaela Birmingham of P2Films. “It was just fascinating to stand on one block and have all these voices pass by.”

Although seven languages are featured in the video, filmmakers encountered more than a dozen languages during the two to three hours at the site.

“These days you always have people on the street asking you to do something,” Birmingham added. “I was just so happy that people were generous enough to take a few minutes.”

This “how to” video is the first of a series by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, which will highlight activities that might already be happening at plazas throughout the five boroughs and showcase the neighborhoods surrounding them.

“I love this video,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “Queens and especially Jackson Heights is a mix of languages and cultures. This video is a sweet way to showcase our diversity and Diversity Plaza. Hats off to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.”

The idea of the video series came after the organization noticed that although bigger plazas, such as the one in Times Square, receive a lot of attention, there were smaller plazas in neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that people need to know exist.

“These videos are about getting more people to know about the plazas and understand all the great social capital that exists in and around them,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. “There are a lot of people that know about these plazas, but we really want people beyond that to recognize the vibrancy and importance of the plazas.”


Two injured in Jackson Heights fire

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@nicky_andacatnamedmishu

A fire that erupted in a Jackson Heights apartment Thursday night has left two injured, according to the FDNY.

The two-alarm fire began at 11:33 p.m. on the top floor at 35-64 81st St. and was under control by 12:39 a.m., the FDNY said.

Photo via Instagram/@xd0minikaa

Photo via Instagram/@xd0minikaa

The two injured people were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


Elmhurst corner strip sells for $5.8M, residential development possible

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

A Manhattan-based firm recently spent $5.8 million to scoop up two lots on an Elmhurst corner that have the potential to be the location for a much larger residential building.

The parcels, located near the Jackson Heights border at 75-08 and 75-24 Broadway, comprise two buildings with 12 retail and office units combined.

Sunnyside firm Terra Property Group sold the buildings to 75-08 Broadway LLC, according to records filed with the city last week.

The property could be attractive to possible future residential tenants because a subway entrance to the five-line Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street-Broadway transit complex is on the corner, making transportation convenient.

No permits have been filed with the Buildings Department for the properties.


Woodside man beautifies neighborhood one fire alarm box at a time

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Call him the anti-graffiti artist.

Woodside resident John S. Colgan has turned outdoor walls, fire boxes, lampposts and hydrants into his canvas — not in an illegal effort at self-expression but to battle the defacing of his beloved neighborhood by graffiti.

Colgan got tired of waiting around for someone to clean up his community from the work of graffiti vandals, so instead he picked up a paintbrush and took matters into his own hands.

For the past three and a half years, Colgan, who goes by “Fire Alarm Guy” on Twitter, has been going around the western Queens neighborhood he calls home and fighting the problem of graffiti, along with bringing fire alarm boxes back to life.

“I wanted to do something nice for the neighborhood,” he said. “When I was a kid in the ’80s everything was pristine. People took care of things themselves back then. If you want to get rid of graffiti in the neighborhood, you have to do it yourself.”

After deciding to give back to community after attending church one morning, the 39-year-old security guard began to repaint lampposts, fire hydrants and fire alarm boxes in Woodside.

He has also taken the time to paint murals underneath bridges in the neighborhood, including a large American Flag, paid for by American Legion Post #1836, located on 32nd Avenue between 56th and 58th street. He plans to update the mural and add more detail to it during the summer. 

“That’s how it all started: I decided to give back, and now I’m addicted to it,” he said. 

Colgan said before he worked in the shadows, because he thought he would get into trouble for painting, but now he goes around talking to people about the issues, in hopes of getting more people involved. 

Taking things further, for the past two years, Colgan has teamed up with the Woodside Neighborhood Association and also begun going around covering up graffiti during a nightly patrol, which at first was just out of habit. Every night he drives around the neighborhood and finds fresh graffiti tags on walls and covers them up with paint he keeps at the ready in his car. He uses whatever color he has on hand. 

Members of the Woodside Neighborhood Association then come back to the site and paint over with a “battleship gray” color so that the new paint looks uniform with the rest. 

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

“The point is if you cover [the graffiti] within 24 hours, the taggers talk to each other and tell each other not to tag there,” he said. “The bottom line is people have to do it themselves. If they don’t fix it then they just get used to seeing it.”

Mostly all the paint used for the projects is purchased from a local shop called Gleason Paint, located at 65-01 Roosevelt Ave. Colgan said that at times the store donates paints and helps with any questions he might have. 

In the past couple of weeks, Colgan said he had noticed less graffiti in his neighborhood and has been able to move his cleanup project to Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. He also helps paint hydrants, lampposts and fire alarm boxes found in the perimeter of local police precincts such as the 114th and 108th precincts. 

As the weather gets warmer, Colgan plans to move further into the borough and help cover up graffiti in other areas such as Astoria and Corona. 

“The original goal was just to make it look nice and when I was painting people were stopping,” Colgan said. “The neighborhood is behind me now. They’re taking pride in the neighborhood.”

To see Colgan’s works and get updated information follow @firealarmguy75 on Twitter or @thewoodsideavenger on Instagram.


Rego Park studio rents soaring: report

| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Fueled by hot luxury listings, studio apartment rents in Rego Park are going through the roof after another huge monthly increase in December.

Rego Park renters were likely to pay $184, or about 12 percent, more on average for a studio apartment in December than November, according to MNS Real Estate’s monthly Queens Rental Market Report, which was released Thursday.

The change in rates was quite drastic over a relatively short period of time. Studio renters in Rego Park were likely to pay an average of just $1,325 per month in August, instead of the current $1,717, according to MNS.

The real estate firm highlighted the neighborhood in the report and called its monthly increase “surprising.” That’s probably how future renters will feel when they realize the popular neighborhood of Astoria currently has an average asking rent of about $127 less per studio.

But the top rates in Rego Park were caused by the change in inventory, according to the report.

“Rego Park saw a decrease in studio inventory with various lower price rentals coming off the market, leaving a small number of higher priced units, namely at The Contour on 97-45 Queens Boulevard,” the report said.

In Jackson Heights there was a similar trend in two-bedroom rates over the month, which rose $230 to an average price of $2,317 per month. Jackson Heights, which has an inventory problem, has the lowest availability of two-bedroom apartments in the borough with just six, the report said. The neighborhood also has the highest demand for two-bedroom apartments as units have an average of 19 days on the market.

Long Island City led the pack again with the highest rental prices for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in December, according to the report.


NYPD releases video, photo of suspect in stabbing death of Jackson Heights man

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are trying to identify a suspect in the stabbing death of a 25-year-old Jackson Heights man who was killed outside his apartment last month.

The victim, Steven Shimabuku, was murdered just steps from his 90th Street home, near 35th Avenue, about 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 19, police said. He was able to make it back to his basement apartment, where his girlfriend called 911, according to the Daily News.

Shimabuku had been stabbed in the torso after getting into an argument on the street, police said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

RMA#60-15 115 Pct Homicide (2)Police released a video and photo of the suspect on Wednesday. He was wearing a camouflage jacket with an American flag decal on the back, dark pants and white sneakers.

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.


Star of Queens: Rodney Dutton, volunteer, South Asian Center of Urban Nations Outreach

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rodney Dutton


BACKGROUND: Rodney Dutton, 50, was born in Oklahoma, but he moved to Queens in the ’90s. He moved away again as he set about visiting and working in other countries around the world. He traveled to 26 countries before coming back and volunteering at the South Asian Center of Urban Nations Outreach in Jackson Heights three months ago. He likes that Queens is such a diverse borough and he gets to learn about different cultures.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The South Asian Center offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, citizenship test classes and computer classes for adult immigrants, mostly Bengalis, Indians, Pakistanis and Hispanics. Dutton helps out where needed but he is mainly involved with the ESL classes. The students are recent immigrants who are unable to get jobs or even visit a doctor because they cannot communicate in English, he said. They have to depend on their children to translate for them. Learning English boosts their self-esteem, he said. Dutton also helps tutor children on their homework, teaches a Bible study program for those interested, and is one of the organizers of the various events the center hosts, such as a fall festival for children and Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. These events help the students understand American culture, he said.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Teaching people English so they can interact with society is a big thing, but I don’t know it is my greatest accomplishment,” he said. “Teaching someone the language brings down the barriers that prevent them from moving forward. They were doctors and lawyers back home but they are standing outside society here and cannot be a part of it. To understand the culture, they have to master the language. It’s a big adjustment.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Getting volunteers is a big challenge. In New York, people are busy, they commute 30-60 minutes to work, work long hours. People want to help but they don’t have the time. Once they start volunteering, they continue, but getting them is a big challenge.”

INSPIRATION: “Jesus Christ is my inspiration. He taught truth, he helped people, he stood up against injustice. Through Him, we can know God. He lived a sacrificial life, helped people and wanted them to have a better life. He is my greatest example and my hero.”



Police looking for suspect in assault of 68-year-old at Roosevelt Avenue subway station

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A 68-year-old man was assaulted after a dispute at a Jackson Heights subway station, police said.

The assault happened about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Roosevelt Avenue stop, cops said. Following the argument, the suspect struck the victim in the face and then fled.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Police describe the suspect as a man in his mid-thirties and about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a waist-length jacket and sunglasses.

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.



Candlelight vigils held around Queens for slain officers

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Communities around Queens came together, holding emotional candlelight vigils to show their respect for the two NYPD officers who were murdered last week and to express sympathy for their families.

From Ridgewood to Long island City and Jackson Heights, among other neighborhoods, residents and the men and women in blue held a moment of silence for Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who were both shot dead by a deranged man who traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn with the intention of killing police officers.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in the city of New York,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who attended the 104th Precinct’s vigil in Ridgewood. “Our prayers go out to Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.”

In Long Island City, officers at the 108th Precinct, located at 5-47 50th Ave., gathered Monday night with residents, local leaders and elected officials during a vigil for Liu and Ramos.

“We in this community are a model, a beacon of light in the darkness,” said Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct.

People filled the street in front of the precinct holding candles and joined in prayer for the fallen officers.

“Our community responds with love, remembrance and gratitude for Officers Liu and Ramos and the NYPD,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Over in Jackson Heights, instead of the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Diversity Plaza, located on 37th Road and 74th Street, a vigil was organized to honor the two police officers and also “condemn violence in any form.”

Another vigil was held in Whitestone last night as well, with local residents and officers from the 109th Precinct.

On Sunday, Dec. 21, there was a candlelight vigil in front of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights as well.

The family of Ramos, who lived in Brooklyn, has made arrangements for his viewing ceremony on Dec. 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The funeral will be on Dec. 27 at the same location at 10 a.m.

Arrangements for Liu were still pending yesterday.


25-year-old man stabbed to death near Jackson Heights apartment

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Police are investigating the stabbing death of a 25-year-old Jackson Heights man.

Steven Shimabuku was found stabbed in the torso at about 9:15 p.m. Friday at 90th Street near 35th Avenue.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Shimabuku was just steps from his apartment when he was stabbed, according to the Daily News. He was able to make it back to his home, where his girlfriend called 911.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.



The challenge of buying in Jackson Heights: Q&A with Michael Carfagna

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Michael Carfagna, principal and founder of MPC Properties LLC, has been selling real estate in Jackson Heights for the past 16 years, and has sold over 450 properties exclusively during that time. His family has been living in the neighborhood since 1985, and he has seen Jackson Heights go through numerous changes, especially in the real estate sector, since becoming a landmark district.

La Guerre: How is Jackson Heights benefiting from the recent buzz about Queens?

Carfagna: As you know, Lonely Planet mentioned Queens as the top U.S. destination next year. Things like that are going to help bring awareness of Queens in general, and I think that’s where we end up benefiting. We get the spill-over effect. Because there will be people looking into Long Island City and Astoria and find quite high pricing based on what they think it could be, and then they’ll drift out this way and find Jackson Heights.

La Guerre: But there is a problem with inventory. Why is that?

Carfagna: We have this great inventory, but we don’t have a lot of sellers. Here’s what’s happening: people are searching, but they don’t see a big selection, so they are keeping Jackson Heights in the back of their minds and then hope more inventory opens up. But we are probably at an all-time low in inventory in the neighborhood.

La Guerre: So you don’t have much diversity then, and there’s not going to be three-bedrooms available, for example?

Carfagna: Well, there are only two of those on the market and I have both of them. And you have a total of maybe five two-bedroom, two-baths, and I believe two are already spoken for. You just don’t have a lot for people to choose from.

La Guerre: And because there isn’t much vacant land and it has the historical district, Jackson Heights won’t transform much. But in your opinion, where will the neighborhood see change in the future?

Carfagna: Anything close to the city like we are is going to pick up momentum, and it will almost be seamless. People will be going back and forth depending on where they work. And so I see Jackson Heights accelerating in price because of that, as well as it should pick up more momentum with—let’s call it a commercial facelift as for the selection of restaurants that will come here and blend in with the existing restaurants that we have.

La Guerre: What has been popular and easy to sell here and why?

Carfagna: Anything that has distinctive quality like The Towers, Hawthorne Court, Elm Court and The Chateau. People have heard about those and they have the larger size apartments. The Towers, Elm Court and The Chateau have fireplaces, so that is an added uniqueness to them.

La Guerre: What about detached or attached single-family homes, how do those sell?

Carfagna: I sold one recently. Only two families had lived in it in 90 years. I may get another one, where it’s only been one [family]. The grandparents had it, and then gave it to the son, and now the grandchildren have it. Those homes don’t turn that often.

La Guerre: I guess it could be looked at as a good thing. People must really love their homes there.

Carfagna: You don’t see a lot of them on the market, because they are generational homes. But that could be the new up-and-coming inventory for us. When you look at the prices and compare them to even certain sections of Brooklyn, such as Kensington, it’s still a great value here—under a million to get a beautiful attached home. These have fireplaces, they have four bedrooms, three baths, very well built. They sold anywhere from $30 to $35,000 in the ’20s. If you look at it from an inflation-adjusted basis, they should be worth well over a million dollars.


Protesters in Jackson Heights confront police

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Dozens of protesters gathered in Jackson Heights on Friday evening to protest Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police on Staten Island and to draw attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants who also fear police abuse.

“And even if we get a [citizenship], will anything change for us?” Fahd Ahmed, the group’s leader, asked more than 50 protesters at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights. “No, it won’t, and we can see why when the cops are even killing citizens.”

The protesters, led by the South Asian Organizing Center DRUM, marched in the rain from the Jewish center to the 115th Precinct, using the same chants and tactics to block traffic that have been used in protests taking place across the city since a grand jury cleared a police officer in Garner’s death last week.

No arrests were made, according to police, and the activities ended at 9:30 p.m.

For the Queens protesters, the recent spate of killings by cops reflected their own plight.

“Conversations won’t be enough. We have to take action,” Ahmed said. “ We face being targeted in our country of origin and then we come here and we’re targeted, too.”

As the protesters marched in the middle of Northern Boulevard, they recited callback chants like, “Whose streets? Our streets.” In between shouts, drivers honked their car horns, some in support and others out of frustration that they were blocking traffic.

Cops looked bewildered as they exited the station house to a group of people yelling “killer cops,” along with other chants. The group, now thoroughly soaked by rain, held a moment of silence for the death of Eric Garner, who was killed during an arrest by cops in Staten Island.

“Most of our folks are undocumented and so they’re scared to take to the streets,” Ahmed said. “But we have to fight because if American citizens are getting killed imagine what the authorities are doing to these undocumented people who have even less rights.”

The protest ended on 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue after the protesters formed a circle on the intersection.

“More people need to be mad,” said Ame Hayashi, one of the protesters.


Ridgewood man gets 16-year prison sentence for pizza delivery robbery

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A Ridgewood man was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating a pizza deliveryman with a baseball bat and stealing his cash and scooter in Jackson Heights, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Anardo Batista, 26, of 30-04 92nd St., pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on Sept. 3, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, who handed down the sentence that also includes five years of supervision after his release from prison.

“The defendant has plead guilty and has now been sentenced to a significant amount of time behind bars. The public can rest assured that the defendant is no longer a danger to society,” Brown said.

Batista and co-defendant Jorge Paret attacked Victor Mehia, who was delivering a pizza to a 31st Avenue address in Jackson Heights in 2010. The victim was struck with a baseball bat and had both cash and his scooter taken by the pair.

Paret was sentenced on Sept. 13 to 14 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision, after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.



15-story mixed-use building to rise on site of former Jackson Heights church

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

Prayers for more housing in Jackson Heights will soon be answered.

Permits were filed to the Buildings Department on Monday to construct a 15-story, 139-unit mixed-use residential, retail and community building at the site of a former church located at 71-17 Roosevelt Ave., which is adjacent to the elevated 7 train tracks.

Gilman Architects is designing the building, which will have about 8,400 square feet for retail use and nearly 19,000 square feet for a community facility, according to New York YIMBY. There will also be 167 parking spaces.

Roosevelt 5 LLC, which owns the building, bought the property from New York Cho Dae Church last year for $7 million, according to city records.

The church closed and moved from the area earlier this year.

Demolition permits have yet to be filed at the site.