Tag Archives: jamaica

Suspect punches, sprays man with unknown substance at Jamaica subway stop: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a suspect who allegedly assaulted a man at a Queens J train station after he got into an altercation with the victim’s girlfriend.

The suspect and the victim’s girlfriend were on the platform of the Parsons Boulevard and Archer Avenue stop at about 10:20 a.m. on Sept. 14 when they bumped into each other, according to police.

After the victim got involved in the ensuing altercation, the suspect punched the victim and sprayed him with an unknown substance, authorities said.

The suspect then fled the Jamaica station on a southbound J train.

The victim, 23, was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Police said the suspect, who is in his 30s, was last seen wearing a blue jean jacket and blue jeans.

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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Real estate roundup: Transformation of Jamaica, Brooklyn residents join Astoria Cove protests


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Luxury Residence Among Buildings Changing the Face of Jamaica

Jamaica, once an overlooked and crime-ridden area in Southeast Queens, has been undergoing a transformation into a vibrant neighborhood, with a slew of new upscale apartment buildings, hotels and stores.” Read more [DNAinfo]

Battered bulkheads and seawall spell danger for some Rockaway residents

“Jamaica Bay’s crumbling seawalls are putting some Queens residents in jeopardy of flooding. City Councilman Donovan Richards and other officials called on the city to repair Hurricane Sandy-damaged bulkheads in order to protect Arverne streets and homes from the bay’s deluge.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Protesters Link a Queens Project to Brooklyn Rents

“Negotiations over the fate of Astoria Cove, the first new city development to opt into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s affordable housing program, have attracted no shortage of advocates and critics hoping to influence the process.” Read more [New York Times]

Borough Keeping Buildings Department Busy

“It seems that Queens continues to keep the city Department of Buildings very busy. That was the story Tuesday night at the Community Board 9 meeting as DOB officials detailed how active the borough is with complaints, inspections and penalties.” Read more [The Forum]

 

 

Massive downtown Jamaica development site sells for $22 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark 

Downtown Jamaica’s development boom is expected by many sometime in the future, but one recent sale suggests developers may be springing into action already.

The nearly 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage site at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. in the heart of the downtown area traded hands for $22 million, according to property records filed Tuesday.

Gertz Plaza sold the site to Jamaica Tower, which has yet to file any building or demolition plans on the site, but it has tons of development potential, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services.

“This sale signifies the return of the residential development market in downtown Jamaica,” said Massey Knakal’s Brian Sarath, who handled the transaction. “It is the largest site to trade since the downturn and will be a catalyst for the Jamaica development market moving forward.”

The site currently has a one-story building with an accompanying seven-story parking garage. The building, which has 10 units, currently only uses 32,471 square feet of the site and some units are vacant, while the garage is 280,000 square feet.

It is a developer’s dream with 719,736 square feet of buildable space near a gigantic transportation hub of subways, LIRR, the AirTrain and dozens of buses.

“We received numerous bids in a short period of time from developers that were priced out of other areas in the city and see tremendous value in the downtown Jamaica market,” Sarath said.

Photo courtesy Massey Knakal

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal

Advocates and public officials have been trying to lure developers and business to Jamaica in recent years with incentives such as a 368-block rezoning of the downtown area and using York College as a tax-free haven for moving companies and start-ups.

York College, which is located across from the site, also hopes to help usher in development and new businesses as a START-UP NY site, and is offering new businesses about 3.5 acres of land on-campus.

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3.5 acres of on-campus land at York College will be home to new companies


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo and map courtesy of York College

Parts of Jamaica may look forlorn with many properties vacant or in need of repair, but its shopping district and its richness in transportation options could turn it into the next big thing for development.

Businesses from around the state and outside New York are vying to enter the neighborhood through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY tax-free program at York College, which school officials are touting as a potential catalyst for a development explosion in downtown Jamaica.

York representatives told The Courier that they are in negotiations with many businesses looking to partner with the school in exchange for no corporate, sales or property taxes for 10 years, and move to a property near the school or build on a portion of 3.5 acres of vacant, government-owned land on campus.

The vacant property, called Site 9, was identified in a plan that school administrators submitted to the governor’s office in July. The site is bounded by Guy Brewer Boulevard, Liberty Avenue, 165th Street and South Road. A parking lot and green space at the Brewer Boulevard side of the block are not part of the development site.

That plan was submitted by CUNY to the state Commissioner for Economic Development and was recently approved.

The plan details the types of businesses York is hoping to attract, based on the school’s academic and research programs.

Although school representatives said they weren’t allowed to discuss the specific businesses that they are considering, those fields include pharmaceutical, medical device research and manufacturing, water resource management and purification, logistics, aviation, wireless technology, solar power companies and food science research and manufacturing.


School administrators said the partnering businesses will benefit not only students but also the neighborhood, which should see increased employment as a diversifying local business landscape becomes a magnet to attract other firms to the area.

“[The program] is moving in the right direction and we are quite excited,” said Earl Simons, director of government and community relations at York. “It provides potential opportunities for our students in terms of internships as well as important opportunities for the surrounding community.”

S- York Map 2

Near York College, the downtown Jamaica area hosts a comprehensive transportation hub. The AirTrain transports passengers to John F. Kennedy Airport in about 10 minutes, while the LIRR takes thousands of people to Manhattan daily in about 20 minutes. There are about 49 bus lines running through and around the area, and the E, J, Z and F subway lines are nearby.

There have been several recent moves to leverage this resource.

A 368-block rezoning was completed in downtown Jamaica in 2007 to allow more developments with commercial and residential uses.

And earlier this year, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit that has been working to transform the neighborhood, announced the development of a $225 mixed-use, 29-story residential and commercial tower at the building it owns on 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. at Archer Avenue, just north of the LIRR/AirTrain complex.

Rendering courtesy Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

93-43 Sutphin Blvd. rendering courtesy of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

That followed the 2013 announcement of a 210-room, 24-story hotel on the south side of the LIRR complex at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd., a plot of land that is partly owned by the nonprofit.

The Development Corp is collaborating with York to help bring businesses to downtown Jamaica through the tax-free zone program, school officials said.

Businesses looking to set up shop in the tax-free zone need to appeal to several selection committees as well as school and state officials. While no immediate announcement of incoming companies is expected, York is confident in the program’s ability to be the push downtown Jamaica needs.

“It’s another tool to really spur development and economic opportunities and job creation,” Simons said. “It can only enhance all of the efforts that are taking place here.”

 

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Queens teen found shot to death in Long Island


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Suffolk County Police Department

A Queens teenager was discovered fatally shot in a Long Island park Friday afternoon, police said.

The body of Jonathan A. Graff, 17, was found by a man who was walking his dog in Spur Drive Park in Bay Shore at about 4:15 p.m., according to authorities.

He had been shot in the head, reports said.

Graff, who lived in Kew Gardens, was last seen Thursday in Jamaica near the Long Island Rail Road station, according to Newsday.

Police are investigating his death as a homicide.

Graff’s body was taken to the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy, and authorities are reportedly awaiting the results to determine how many times he was shot.

Anyone with information on the incident or who may have seen Graff before the shooting is asked to call Suffolk County Police detectives at 631-852-6392 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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Woman arrested following boyfriend’s stabbing in Jamaica: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

Updated 4:29 p.m.

A  Jamaica man is dead following an altercation with his girlfriend Wednesday night, cops said.

Police, responding to a 911 call of a man stabbed, arrived at the 155th Street home of the victim, 46-year-old Michael Harris, at about 9:50 p.m., cops said. Inside, they found him with several stab wounds to the torso.

Harris was pronounced dead at the scene.

A 33-year-old woman, identified by police as Harris’ girlfriend, Carmen Rodriguez, was taken into custody from the home the two shared, authorities said. The couple allegedly got into a physical altercation before the stabbing.

She was later charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, according to police.

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Suspect wanted in Jamaica slashing


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Updated 3:05 p.m.

Police are looking for a man suspected of slashing a 26-year-old woman’s throat inside the lobby of a Jamaica building last week after she reportedly resisted his advances.

The suspect approached the victim in the lobby of a building on 171st Street near Jamaica Avenue at about 5:20 a.m., on Oct. 1, cops said. He started talking to the woman, but, not wanting to speak with him, she turned away. The man then grabbed her from behind and used a cutting instrument to slash her neck.

According to published reports, the suspect was trying to ask the woman on a date before attacking her.

The victim was taken to a local hospital, where she was listed in critical but stable condition.

Police have released surveillance video of the suspect and describe him as black or Hispanic, about 20 years-old, 6 feet tall and 180 pounds, with brown eyes and short black hair. He was last seen wearing black sneakers and blue jeans.


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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Downtown Jamaica commercial portfolio near trains selling for $6.2M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

A mostly vacant row of buildings in the heart of downtown Jamaica with lots of room to build up has been listed for $6.2 million, according to Modern Spaces, which is marketing the properties.

The listing includes four lots with two-story attached buildings beginning at 97-01 to 97-09 Sutphin Blvd., and is the first listing in Jamaica for the new commercial division of Modern Spaces, which is based in Long Island City. Currently, a church occasionally uses part of the building for service and a deli is another tenant.

The properties have about 10,000 square feet combined, but nearly 50,000 square feet of buildable space, according to Evan Daniel, executive vice president of Modern Spaces’ commercial division.

The building has a C4-5X zoning, and could be demolished, Daniel said.

He added that it is a likely possibility that developers could buy with the intention to build up since the buildings are placed in an attractive location.

The E and J subway lines and the Jamaica LIRR station are just three blocks away, meaning it’s just a short train ride to Manhattan. The AirTrain to John F. Kennedy Airport is also just a few blocks away as well, and downtown Jamaica has lots of foot traffic because of the huge amount of retail in the area.

The property is owned by 901 Honeywell LLC, which could make a substantial profit after purchasing the buildings back in 2007 for $3.4 million, city records show.

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Flushing-Jamaica bus routes set to get upgrade in distant future


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The city is hoping to reduce bus travel times between Flushing and Jamaica — just not any time soon.

Preliminary plans that will spend a least a year being refined were floated by officials at a recent meeting with community members at York College.

Among the proposals is the implementation of Select Bus Service, where, among other things, passengers would pay the fare on sidewalk kiosks before the bus arrives to reduce boarding and debarking times.

“The bus trips are long and slow,” a spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT) said. “And with Select Bus Service we think there’s a solution to improve things.”

The DOT is considering two routes between the neighborhoods for SBS. The first would travel along Main Street where the Q44 and Q20A/B run. The second route under consideration is Parsons and Kissena boulevards, currently serviced by the Q25 and Q34.

Whichever street is chosen would undergo changes like the installation of bus-only lanes and sidewalk fare kiosks.

In the meantime, the city is considering installing a feature on some buses called traffic signal priority, according to a city spokeswoman.

The feature uses GPS to track a bus and can either prevent a light from turning red until a bus passes the intersection or shorten the length of a red signal to let a stopped bus start moving again.

But, the spokeswoman noted, if the community decides that it doesn’t like this idea, than the city won’t install the traffic signal feature. The DOT plans on working with the community for at least a year to find how SBS can be best suited to its needs.

“I think it’s clear that local community members want faster bus service,” said Jess Nizar, from the public transportation advocacy group Riders Alliance. “It’s really important to get community input in the planning process of these things.”

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Popular music in Queens, according to Pandora


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Screenshot/THE QUEENS COURIER

What are Queens’ top tunes? Ask Pandora.

The Internet radio’s data science team investigated New York City’s musical tastes by determining the top three Pandora stations created in August in various neighborhoods.

Two Queens neighborhoods, central Queens and Jamaica, were featured on the list.

According to the results, central Queens residents are listening to “2000s Rock,” “Classical Guitar” and “Punjabi Hits” (music from the Punjab region of South Asia, which includes parts of Pakistan and India).

In Jamaica, “Hindi Bollywood Hits,” “Gospel” and “Today’s Gospel” took the top spots.

Other neighborhoods studied throughout the five boroughs included the Upper West Side, where “Classical,” “Yoga” and “Toddler” were popular; the Lower East Side, where “Indie Dance,” “Laid-Back Beach Music” and “Indie Rock” reigned; and the central Bronx, where residents most often created stations for “Boleros,” “Latin” and “Bachata Dominicana.”

View the complete list here.

What is your go-to Pandora station? Let us know by commenting below.

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Woman’s throat slashed in Jamaica apartment building lobby  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

A woman was seriously injured after her throat was slashed in the lobby of a Jamaica apartment building early Wednesday morning, cops said.

The attack happened at about 5:20 a.m. in a building on 171st Street near Jamaica Avenue.

The victim, who is in her 20s, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she is listed in serious but stable condition, according to police.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Queens man busted for shining laser at NYPD helicopter


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A Jamaica man was arrested for shining a high-powered laser beam at an NYPD helicopter as the chopper searched for an assault suspect last week, police said.

The helicopter’s two pilots were looking for the suspect at about 9:30 p.m. within the 107th Precinct when one of the pilots said he suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, saw “a bright green light that illuminated the cockpit.” The flash caused him to pull off his night-vision goggles.

After realizing it was a powerful laser beam, the officers radioed patrol units on the ground and sighted the source — a man in the rear yard of a school at 162nd Street and 86th Avenue, according to authorities.

Police arrested 26-year-old Daniel Parris, who lives one block from the school. A six-inch-long laser device was recovered from his pocket, cops said.

Parris was charged with reckless endangerment, menacing and obstructing governmental administration.

A week before Parris’ arrest, a Brooklyn man was also busted for interfering with an NYPD helicopter during a nighttime search after he flew a drone within 50 feet of the chopper on Sept. 17, according to authorities.

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Police searching for suspect in shooting, robbery off Van Wyck Expressway


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarHC0312_L_300_C_R4-624x413

A man shot another driver off of the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica Friday night before robbing the victim’s girlfriend, police said.

On Sept. 26 at about 7:30 p.m. cops received a call about a man shot on the corner of the Van Wyck Expressway service road and 94th Avenue.

The victim later told police that his girlfriend and him were at a sneaker store when they saw two men watching them. As the couple left the store in a BMW, a white Jeep followed them, according to cops.

During the pursuit, the Jeep forced the BMW to crash into a fence and afterwards the suspect exited the Jeep and went to the driver’s door and shot the victim in the upper thigh, police said. Then the suspect went to the passenger side, struck the victim’s girlfriend on the head with the gun and stole three necklaces from her. The suspect then jumped back into the Jeep and fled the scene.

However, the Jeep was later recovered on 134th Street and 97th Avenue, police said.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The investigation is ongoing.

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Top vegan-friendly food places in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Rose Valley Cakes Facebook page / Courtesy of Johnny Solo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

PETA recently declared New York City as 2014’s “Most Vegan-Friendly City” for its numerous establishments that offer veggie lovers an array of options. We’ve compiled this list of food places in Queens that offer delicious cuisine along with vegan-friendly choices.

Co Co Lin Vegetarian House
64-19 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood
718-416-1688
cocolins.com

This restaurant houses a wide array of vegetarian options that are made from a fuse of Chinese and Thai seasonings and flavors. Whether craving a smoothie or a simple vegan-friendly meal, Co Co Lin seems to have the right amount of options for both meat and veggie lovers alike.

Ginger Organic
37-01 30th Ave., Astoria
718-777-0626
facebook.com/GingerOrganicAstoria

Connected to Astoria’s Grand Café, this organic juice and smoothie shop just opened a few months ago. The establishment offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more, which is all 100 percent vegan. Ginger also serves up organic liquors, wines and champagnes. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

Happy Buddha
135-37 37th Ave., Flushing
718-358-0079
happybuddha.com

This veggie-loving restaurant in downtown Flushing earned a place on SuperVegan’s list of “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens” with a nice list of reviews from customers who are pleased with the vegetarian option in the community. Happy Buddha aims to create a peaceful environment for guests, and create a fusion of “innovative vegetarian cuisine, Zen surroundings, and respect for all living things.”

Rose Valley Cakes
134-03 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718- 523-2253
rosevalleycakes.com

This bakery meets plenty of dietary needs with their unique focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free baked goods. With impressive reviews and complex cake decorations, it has earned a 4-1/2 star rating on Yelp, and claims to be able to create “any confectionery creation you can think of.” Although it does offer specialty cakes of all sorts, it also sells bakery items that are available daily.

Simple Veggie Cuisine
95-26 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-830-0808
sveggie.com

Simple Veggie Cuisine keeps it simple with a wide array of options on their menu, and a promising amount of good reviews on Yelp. This restaurant offers Chinese food, with vegan options that are moderately priced and seemingly loved by the public.

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica
718-739-7453
smileofthebeyond.com

This vegetarian diner located in Jamaica was established in 1972, making it the first vegetarian diner in New York City. The diner offers classic and unique breakfast and lunch items and vegan-friendly options, which include everything from a good hot cup of organic coffee to a tofu scramble and more.

The Oneness-Fountain Heart
157-19 72nd Ave., Flushing
718-591-3663
oneness-fountain-heart.com

This vegetarian restaurant has been in Flushing since 1998, and is committed to creating an environment where you can “enjoy food that nourishes the body, heart and soul.” With unique options on their menu, like Cashew Nut Paella, it has earned an impressive list of reviews on Yelp, and was mentioned in the Long Island Restaurant Review as well as The Restaurant Fairy and others.

Veggie Castle II
132-09 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718-641-8342

This hidden treasure in South Richmond Hill is a grab-and-go go-to for many veggie lovers because of its vegan-friendly options and juice bar that offers a well-reviewed green juice, as well as smoothies.

What do you think are the top vegan-friendly food places in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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Two killed, teen injured in Belt Parkway ramp crash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 2:49 p.m.

Two young men were killed and a 14-year-old was hurt Thursday night after their car lost control near the Belt Parkway before slamming into a pole and then a tree, authorities said.

The vehicle, a Mitsubishi Lancer, was apparently speeding westbound on North Conduit Avenue in Springfield Gardens at about 10:45 p.m. when it swerved to overtake another vehicle, according to police. It then tried to swerve back into the left lane and enter the entrance ramp to the Belt Parkway near 181st Street.

The Mitsubishi lost control, drove onto the grass shoulder, striking a light pole and then a tree, cops said.

The driver, 20-year-old D’John Arias, of Corona, was pronounced dead at the scene. His front seat passenger, 19-year-old Karim Carter, of Jamaica, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, authorities said.

A 14-year-old boy suffered injuries to his legs and was transported to Long Island Jewish Hospital, where he is listed in stable condition.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the crash.

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