Tag Archives: Jamaica Bay

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. High of 79. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Tuesday night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 75. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 1.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Special preview of Ira Sachs’s latest film “Keep the Lights On” at the Museum of the Moving Image 

This event closes “Looking for Love: The Films of Ira Sachs,” the first comprehensive NYC retrospective of Sachs’s work that includes all his feature films and a selection of short films, each followed by a Pinewood Dialogue with Sachs in person. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Plans to convert College Point paint factory into waterfront condos back on table

A stalled proposal to transform a 150-year-old paint factory in College Point into a waterfront condo complex may be coming back to life — sparking community concerns. Read more: New York Daily News

Cops in hot water

Abandon ship! A Queens couple was forced to make a desperate leap into Jamaica Bay moments before a powerful 600-horsepower NYPD Harbor Patrol boat rammed into their tiny fishing dinghy. Read more: New York Post

Court orders city to do proper environmental review of Willets Point

Plans to revamp the gritty industrial landscape of Willets Point must remain on hold until the city can produce an “appropriate” environmental review, a court has ruled. Read more: New York Daily News

Schumer: Deny cop killers parole for murder of NYPD officer in 1988

Sen. Charles Schumer has spoken out, demanding four convicted cop killers to not be granted parole. Officer Edward Byrne was killed back in 1988 while he was sitting in his patrol car protecting a local citizen’s house who feared retribution local drug gangs. Read more: CBS New York

IBO: Longer NYPD shifts would bring greater efficiency

City police officers could be working longer hours, if the city implements the ideas from a new study.
The nonpartisan Independent Budget Office suggests lengthening officers’ shifts from 8 hours, 35 minutes to anywhere between 10 and 12 hours. Read more: NY1

Dems open convention in push for tested president

Four years later Democrats have gathered again, this time in support of a president who carries the power and the burden of incumbency, both in evidence as the opening gavel is struck at the Democratic National Convention. Read more: AP

Stanford scientists cast doubt on advantages of organic meat and produce

Does an organic strawberry contain more vitamin C than a conventional one? Maybe — or maybe not. Stanford University scientists have weighed in on the “maybe not” side of the debate after an extensive examination of four decades of research comparing organic and conventional foods. Read more: New York Times

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WNW after midnight

EVENT of the DAY: Family Karaoke Night at Manducatis Rustica

At this Long Island City restaurant’s karaoke night there are over 40,000 songs to choose from plus $5 specialty drinks for adults and gelato for kids of all ages. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Brazen thief steals 2 silver Torah crowns from Queens synogogue during evening services

Two valuable silver Torah crowns were stolen from a Queens synagogue during evening prayer services, police said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

Councilman proposes emergency lane along Queens Boulevard

While traffic on Queens Boulevard can be frustrating for drivers, one official says it may be causing bigger problems. Read more: NY1

Cagey peacock ruffles Queens cops’ feathers

They can rappel down skyscrapers, rescue plane-crash survivors from an icy river, and go toe-to-toe with terrorists.But elite NYPD Emergency Service Unit cops were outsmarted yesterday by a plucky peacock that has made a Queens neighborhood his home away from home for the past week. Read more: New York Post

Busted pipe slowly turning freshwater ponds salty in Broad Channel

A busted drain pipe and valve system is slowly ruining the ecology of Jamaica Bay, driving away birds that usually breed along two freshwater ponds. Read more: New York Daily News

Sources: U.S. Open ref arrested in connection with husband’s death

Sources say that police arrested a U.S. Open tennis referee Tuesday who is a suspect in her husband’s death. Read more: NY1

NYPD: Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases

In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday. Read more: AP

Blasting goes awry along 2nd Avenue subway; buildings, sidewalk damaged

Blasting along Manhattan’s still-under-construction 2nd Avenue subway line caused some damage Tuesday afternoon. Now, authorities want to know if human error was to blame. Read more: CBS New York

Searching for a new neighbor on ‘Sesame Street’

“Sesame Street” held its first-ever open casting call in New York this week to find its newest neighbor — a Hispanic character to reflect the long-running show’s increasingly diverse audience. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

BC/WSJ poll: Heading into conventions, Obama has four-point lead 

After Mitt Romney selected his vice presidential running mate, and just days before the political conventions kick off next week, President Barack Obama maintains his advantage in the race for the White House, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Read more: NBC news

Agreement breathes new life into Jamaica Bay


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Jamaica Bay, which has long been a medley of city, state and federal land, will now have thousands of acres of parkland jointly managed by the National Park Service and the New York City Parks Department.

The two agencies reached an agreement to maintain 10,000 acres of Jamaica Bay to “promote visitation, education programs, scientific research and recreational opportunities.”

“This is an important example of the great things that can happen when different levels of government work together and are supported by philanthropic organizations,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “This agreement fulfills important goals included our plans to make our city more sustainable and to enhance our waterfront.”

Goals for the collectively administered project include improved recreation spaces, including more camping and boating opportunities; integrated land and water trail systems; ensuring public transportation and access to and within Jamaica Bay; and new experiential activities, including public transit, pedestrian, bicycle and ferry access.

As part of the project, the city and National Park Service released a request for expressions of interest for a university, academic partner or science-focused organization to manage an intensive research program focused on the restoration of the bay, including potentially creating a new science and resilience center to coordinate and bolster research efforts.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

EVENT of the DAY: A tale of two stadiums

Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium disappear under “the slow precision of giant machinery whose operators’ hands were not unlike skilled surgeons choreographing a dinosaur ballet.” The exhibit shows the changing face of New York through the eyes and viewpoints of three photographers: Rich Scarpitta, Steve Spak and Rob Yasinac.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Police search for livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape passenger 

Police are looking for a livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape a passenger in Queens. They allege the driver followed the 20-year-old into her Astoria building after she got out of the cab Friday morning. Investigators said he grabbed her and tried to rape her. Read more: [NY1] 

City Board of Standards and Appeals green-lights large Mormon church in Flushing 

The Mormon church’s prayers to build a huge chapel in Flushing have been answered. The city Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve construction of a church that is more than one-and-a-half times what is permitted under current zoning. The new chapel will be built on land owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 145-13 33rd Ave. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Secret plan would move the controversial Civic Virtue statue from Queens to Brooklyn 

The city has hatched a secret plan to move a controversial, crumbling public statue out of Queens and into Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which sits near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, has been both hailed as a priceless piece of public art worthy of restoration and derided as a sexist eyesore that should be trashed. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City, federal gov’ts to work together to improve Jamaica Bay 

Nat Diaz visits Jamaica Bay often but he has other, less frequent visitors on his mind. “They’re not taking care of it,” he said. “They should be taking care of it a little more.” He’s not talking about just the city. It’s the federal government, too. Oversight of Jamaica Bay, its trails and beaches, are split between the two, which sometimes leads to, well, miscommunication. Read more: [NY1] 

JFK jet in laser scare 

A lunatic aimed a powerful laser beam at an airliner flying over Long Island on its way into JFK — sending the pilot to the hospital and endangering the lives of the 84 people aboard. The first officer on JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was treated for injuries to both eyes after the blinding flash of light lit up the cockpit Sunday night — as the FBI and Suffolk cops hunted for the person responsible. He could face federal prison time. Read more: [New York Post] 

Fowl Strikes Cause Foul Feelings


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Recent collisions between birds and airplanes departing city airports could give a much-needed “all clear” for negotiations between the Port Authority and wildlife conservation groups.

While recent uproar mainly surrounds possible runway expansion plans at JFK, in-flight crashes with birds came under scrutiny when a Los Angeles-bound flight was quickly grounded after a bird was sucked into its engine shortly after taking off on Thursday, April 19.

Tarmac expansion came under fire when the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced its proposal to extend the airport’s runway, expected to cover a significant portion of the Jamaica Bay area, in February, 2011. The 400-acre area of land, including wetlands and shoreline, was designated as a wildlife refuge, park and recreation area by the National Parks System in 1972.

Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder believes conservationists attempting to protect the birds and those trying to ensure the safety of plane passengers need to collaborate.

While preserving Jamaica Bay has long since been a priority on Goldfeder’s platform, he proclaims he is not for working against the airports, adding that there is always a balance to be found.

Goldfeder also noted that many people believe the birds striking the planes are not the same birds nesting in the Jamaica Bay area.

A source close to the situation suggested increasing traffic out of the city’s other airports, LaGuardia and Newark, is a better solution than filling in Jamaica Bay.

Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority, claimed that the agency’s wildlife control protocol is above and beyond Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, insisting they are among the industry’s most effective.

“Our wildlife biologists and staff efforts to minimize threats to aircraft include reducing nesting areas, removing standing water and eliminating food sources,” said Coleman. “We also use pyrotechnics to disperse birds. We believe those efforts are effective since the number of incidents at JFK resulting in aircraft damage has remained about the same since 2008.”

Dan Mundy, president and founder of Jamaica Bay Eco Watchers, believes the recent increase in collisions Mundy mentioned the famed incident of US Airways Flight 1549, when Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was forced to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of Canadian geese in January of 2009. Mundy alleged that high-flying fowl cause more severe problems than those closer to the ground, adding that groups of migrating birds can be dangerous to planes, as with Flight 1549.

According to published reports, Sullenberger opposes the mayor’s plan to put a trash station near LaGuardia Airport — a decision that will inevitably bring more birds to the area.

Acknowledging that the Port Authority takes measures to scare away birds, such as simulated gunshots and preying falcons, Mundy wondered why plane manufacturers have yet to design a system to prevent birds from being sucked into engines.

Mundy added that bird strikes are not just a problem with airplanes. Several tall buildings, including the Empire State Building, have caused the demise of birds killed by flying directly into the glass windows.

OpEd: Public opposed to JFK runway expansion


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY ASSEMBLYMEMBER PHILIP GOLDFEDER

As your assemblymember, it is my responsibility to ensure that the community’s concerns are heard. On no issue is that clearer than the Regional Plan Association’s suggested plan to the Port Authority to expand the runway at JFK International Airport into Jamaica Bay. Since the plan was first introduced in February 2011, I have listened to hundreds of residents tell me how this would destroy Jamaica Bay and hurt our community, and despite the steadfast public opposition, the idea remains on the table after over a year of deliberation.

The proposal originally devised by the Regional Plan Association calls for parts of the federally-protected Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge to be filled-in to create a new runway at JFK Airport. The 400-acre parcel of wetlands and shoreline serves as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the northeast and is home to over 60 species of reptiles and fish.

An environmental study stated that any further man-made incursion would “diminish a national environment asset for future generations.” For that reason, federal law specifically prohibited any airport expansion in the protected zone in the 1972 wildlife refuge, park and recreation area designation by the National Parks System.

Protecting this wildlife refuge is only one aspect that has worried the community. Both the residents of my community and Jamaica Bay would be greatly impacted by the runway expansion as proposed by the RPA. The project would literally be built in the backyards of communities that rely heavily on the serene atmosphere that the neighborhood currently offers. Property values would undoubtedly be diminished and the potential negative impact to the local area and economy greatly outweighs any benefit a new runway would generate.

In 2009, US Airways Captain Chesley Sullenberger gave us a true story of American heroism when he made an emergency landing into the Hudson River after a rare bird strike caused an engine on his jet to fail. Unfortunately, I have seen reports from aviation consultants that show disrupting the Jamaica Bay wildlife area could raise the risk of further bird strikes at JFK Airport. I urge more research into how expansion would change the bird sanctuary, so that we can be sure it does not put lives in danger.

Air traffic has greatly increased in recent years. I understand the need for airport expansion, but I stand with the residents of Queens – this proposal simply has too many negative implications. There are a number of different, viable solutions at one of the four other airports in the metropolitan area managed by the Port Authority that could accomplish the same goal with less impact on our families and the environment.

I recently sent a letter to Port Authority executives detailing my apprehensions with the proposed runway expansion at JFK and they have publicly stated they will take my concerns into consideration. Jamaica Bay is a tremendous natural resource that deserves protection. This is a good first step and I hope the Port Authority is finally convinced to drop this plan.

If you would like more information on the proposal to expand the runway, or to discuss this or any other important community issue, don’t hesitate to contact my office at 718-945-9550 or email me at goldfederp@assembly.state.ny.us.

 

Fresh air is on the way for Howard Beach residents


| mchan@queenscourier.com

SHELLBANK BASINw

Lots of sunshine — and clean air — is in the forecast for Howard Beach residents come summertime.

The $3.5 million project to install the Shellbank Basin Destratification Facility was recently completed, according to Carter Strickland, commissioner of the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The project is said to curb odors in the surrounding area and improve water quality and local ecology by installing an air compressor station along the shore of the basin — a tributary of Jamaica Bay. The compressor uses air bubbles to mix the water, agency officials said, which prevents the formation of separate temperature layering that often causes foul odors and the frequent death of fish.

“This is another bit of good news for New Yorkers who love Jamaica Bay,” Strickland said. “Living near the water is great, but not when it is so stagnant that it creates unwelcome odors.”

Construction on the facility began in September 2010. According to officials, it will go into operation in late spring, when the warmer weather kicks in and when the compressor is most needed.

“[This facility] is a step in the right direction environmentally,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo. “I am optimistic that the efforts of the DEP will improve the condition of the water in the basin, the quality of life for my constituents and the fish there and eliminate the odors that have plagued the area for years.”

DEP officials said the new facility features two compressors — one in operation and the other on standby. The compressors will pump air through the 3,800 feet of perforated tubing laid out along 2,000 feet of the basin floor.

“We look forward to our summers to come without the odors and dead fish that prevented us from fully enjoying our unique waterfront location when inversions occurred,” said Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10.

 

Civic focuses on health, safety


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Corazzo

The Board of the Howard Beach Civic Association invited Dr. Richard Pinskor of Jamaica Hospital and Dr. Frans Verhagen of Sane Aviation for Everyone (SAFE), Inc. to address its meeting on January 31. The former mostly focused on the health effects of JFK Airport, while the latter urged the civic members to get involved in opposition to the proposed new Jamaica Bay runway.

Congressmember Bob Turner working to fix water woes


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Congressmember Bob Turner

Last week, Congressmember Bob Turner met with Colonel John Boule, district commander of the New York District Army Corps of Engineers, to discuss the Army Corps of Engineers’ projects in the 9th Congressional District.

Projects discussed included ecosystem restoration in Jamaica Bay, the Jamaica Bay Federal Channel (at Rockaway Inlet) Navigation project, the Storm Risk Reduction Project at Plumb Beach and a Reformulation Study on the Rockaway Peninsula.

“It was important for me to discuss these local projects with Colonel Boule, especially those relating to Plumb Beach and the Rockaways. My district has the most Army Corps activity of the 43 congressional districts Colonel Boule oversees,” said Turner. “I appreciate his taking the time to meet with me, and I assured him that my office will work closely with his, to do everything we can to see these projects through to completion.”

During the meeting, the congressmember and Boule also discussed how they can work together to secure the federal funding needed to complete the local projects.

“The Army Corps of Engineers looks forward to working with Congressmember Turner to address diverse water resources challenges – reducing flood risk to critical public infrastructure such as the Belt Parkway, restoring the aquatic ecosystems in Jamaica Bay and maintaining safe navigation,” said Boule.

Turner and his staff have met with several residents and organizations, including the Jamaica Bay Task Force and the Sheepshead Bay-Plumb Beach Civic Association.

“These projects have been in the planning phases for a number of years, and the communities affected by them are rightfully looking for actual work to begin to reduce the risk to our communities. I will do all I can to make this a reality,” said Turner.

The Army Corp. of Engineers has a multifaceted mission in navigation, aquatic ecosystem restoration and flood risk damage reduction.