Tag Archives: jamaica avenue

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Liu fund raiser’s ‘cruel’ fate

A day after she was slapped with federal fraud charges for alleged illegal fund-raising on behalf of John Liu’s mayoral campaign, Jia “Jenny” Hou described New York as a “cruel city” and questioned who can be trusted. In a missive on her Chinese social-networking page, Hou, 25, told friends that she’s OK — despite facing a maximum of 60 years behind bars if convicted on a slew of charges. Read More: New York Post

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue

One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity. The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Governor’s Proposed Convention Center May Fall Flat, Skeptics Say

Some key stakeholders are sounding off as the debate heats up over Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to build the country’s largest convention center in Queens. Since the governor announced the plan in his State of the State Address in early January that he wanted to build a massive convention center at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens and dismantle the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan there has been a lot of skepticism about the proposal. Key players and policy shapers are divided. At a breakfast forum hosted by Crain’s New York Business Thursday, concerns were raised about the true cost of the center, its proposed location, and whether it would be successful. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

Rezone plan for Richmond Hill and Woodhaven get thumbs down from some merchants 

A city plan to rezone parts of Richmond Hill and Woodhaven is getting a thumbs down from some local business leaders who say it’s too restrictive. “The new census data is showing the community has increased so why are we talking about down-zoning,” said Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Corp. “I have signed petitions from people who oppose this. They did not know this would happen when they bought their property.” Read More: Daily News

 

 

Upstate widow accused of violating law with ‘slave’ maid
A wealthy upstate widow allegedly turned her multimillion-dollar mansion into a “forced labor” camp where her helpless immigrant maid worked 17-hour days for years while sleeping in a closet. Annie George, whose real-estate mogul husband, Mathai, died in a 2009 plane crash, allegedly made the woman cook meals, clean the 30,000-square-foot estate and care for the family’s six children, according to a federal criminal complaint. Read More: New York Post

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DSC_0071w

One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity.

The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm.

The victims were a 17-year-old black male and two 20-year-old Hispanic males, according to police.

Published reports indicate that the victims were members of the gang MS-13.

All three were taken to Jamaica Hospital and are listed in stable condition.

Jamaica Avenue was closed down between Queens Boulevard and 139th Street as dozens of police officers canvassed the area.

There are no descriptions of the suspects, police said.

Students from nearby M.S. 217 said they saw one victim with a gunshot wound to the left arm on their way home from school. The teens said that while gang activity is an issue in the area it had not escalated to gun violence before.

Jack Sharma, who lives one block away from the shooting, bemoaned teenager’s lack of respect for life.

“Kids don’t value life,” Sharma said. “It’s bad for my neighborhood.”

Sharma’s 16-year-old daughter saw the shooting’s aftermath as she picked up her brother and sister from school.

“This neighborhood is quiet,” Sharma said. “I did not expect this. It’s too close to home.”

 

Cops nab suspect in 11 armed robberies


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Police have arrested and charged a suspect in a rash of recent robberies after being recognized during a routine traffic stop.

After being pulled over for speeding on Tuesday, January 3, officers identified the suspect, Gregory Kennedy, as the man wanted for a robbery of a T-Mobile store on Jamaica Avenue.

Kennedy was captured on camera around the corner from the store after the alleged armed robbery discarding a liquor bottle from a livery cab.

Detectives were able to recover the bottle and match the prints to Kennedy, and produced a wanted poster with his image.

After an investigation, the suspect was charged in a string of gunpoint robberies between October and December that allegedly netted the bandit over $11,000.

The 31 year old was charged with 11 counts of robbery in the first degree.

City might close Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Emma Hulse

Less than six years after opening its doors, a small school opened by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration might be on its way to closure.

Cypress Hills Collegiate Prep (CHCP), which shares space in the Franklin K. Lane building with three other schools on Jamaica Avenue in Brooklyn, received some bad news along with a “D” on its annual progress report – the city might move to close the school after only two graduating classes.

A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Education (DOE) said, “We have not made any decisions yet and we are still in conversation with all of our struggling schools to determine what is working and what is not in these environments.”

However, even the possibility of closure seems unfair to advocates for the school who believe CHCP hasn’t gotten a fair shake. The mostly low-income student population graduated at a 58 percent rate over the past two years, three points below the city average. This prompted students and parents to rally at the school on November 21, many blaming cuts in funding for the low grades.

Advocates of the college preparatory school contend that CHCP has not been given a chance to succeed and manages to do what it can without basic resources like a library which doesn’t seem fair to students like Jarlyn Vasquez.

“The DOE hasn’t given us a chance to develop enough, to reach our goals in attendance and student performance,” said the 16-year-old sophomore. “They should give us more time. They should also give us more resources. For example, the campus library is closed [and has been for more than a year], no students can use it. Most of us don’t have another library we can go to for books and computers. If the campus library would be open again, then students could go in, do their work, and improve their grades and attendance. This would improve the school’s overall progress report.”

Vasquez believes that if the school enters into a “phase out” process, the students that remain there will be forced to cope with even fewer resources.

“If the school gets phased out, the school will lose even more resources and students in the phase out will get even less of what we need,” said Vasquez.

Store vacancies in Queens hurt other businesses


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Some stores along Queens’ prominent shopping streets have been abandoned, sitting vacant for months. Several landlords have posted hopeful “for rent” signs. Others remain completely empty.

Officials from Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Chambers of Commerce across Queens blame the nation’s foundering economy for the string of vacancies. Others insist that skyrocketing rents are causing businesses to pack up and leave.

Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside Village BID, alleges that the recent upswing of store vacancies is due to both the struggling economy and raised rents.

“There’s a need for an adjustment between landlords and rents to accommodate the downturn in the economy,” said Sullivan, adding that Bayside’s Bell Boulevard has six vacant storefronts.

On Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, 25 stores sit empty. Maria A. Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Development Corporation, alleges that store vacancies are from the weak economy’s impact on business.

“With the economy being so sluggish, the patronage isn’t there to pay the bills, so that’s part of it,” said Thomson. “Part of it is the fact that they just can’t make it. They just can’t sustain the paying of the bills.”

Jim O’Kane is the head of O’Kane Realty, a company that manages several commercial properties along Maspeth’s Grand Avenue. The strip currently has nine vacancies.

“The cost of being in business is so high these days,” said O’Kane. “Rent and other expenses will eat you up unless you have a large reserve. It’s why a lot of ‘mom and pop’ stores are going out of business.”

Empty stores have begun to negatively affect Maspeth’s popular strip, according to O’Kane. “If the stores are vacant, it brings fewer people to the avenue, which compounds the situation for other store owners,” he said.

Michael Terry, president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, believes that the vacancies are caused by the normal ebb and flow of the business cycle. Nevertheless, according to Terry, they are bad for business.

“It never looks good,” said Terry. “The more vacancies there are, the more people wonder how businesses are doing. The more businesses there are, the more people will come to the street.”

Terry speculated that the removal of Off-Track Betting locations in late 2010 has something to do with vacancies, as many former OTB locations have ongoing leases.

Celebrating ‘Wonderful Woodhaven’


| photographers@queenscourier.com

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The Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation’s Annual “Wonderful

Woodhaven Street Festival” was held on Sunday, October 16 on Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue. There were pony rides, games, food, entertainment and a variety of vendors with unique products.