Tag Archives: jamaica

Two killed, teen injured in Belt Parkway ramp crash

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


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.


Jamaica school bus accident sends 11 to hospital

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Updated 11:00 a.m.

Eleven people, including nine children, had to be taken to the hospital following a school bus accident in Jamaica Tuesday morning, officials said.

The crash happened at about 7:20 a.m. at Liberty Avenue and 183rd Street, according to the FDNY.

The bus, carrying nine students who attend various schools in Queens, was stopped at a traffic light when it was reportedly hit by a speeding car, Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg said.

All of the students, as well as the bus driver and a matron, were taken to Long Island Jewish Hospital for observation, according to Feinberg. There do not appear to be any serious injuries.


Man wanted in Flushing livery cab robbery  

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man had a livery cab driver take him on a ride through the borough before robbing him during a final stop in Flushing, cops said.

The driver picked the suspect up at 85th Avenue and Parsons Boulevard in Jamaica on Sept. 1, and was asked to make several stops in Queens, police said.

When they arrived at 131-25 Avery Ave. around 2 p.m., the suspect simulated a gun and demanded money from the driver, according to authorities. The suspect then fled on foot.

Authorities describe the suspect as Hispanic, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 200 pounds and with a scar on his forehead.

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.


Woman injured after jumping from dollar van fleeing cops in Jamaica

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

police car

A 22-year-old woman is in critical condition after she jumped from a dollar van as its driver tried to flee from police in Jamaica Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

Cops attempted to pull over the Ford Econoline van about 4:40 p.m. on Archer Avenue, near 165th Street, according to police. As it sped away, its passenger jumped from the vehicle on Union Hall Street, near 107th Avenue.

The escape left the woman injured and she was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where she is listed in critical condition.

The van’s driver, Jameson Golding, 22, of Brooklyn, kept going, but soon tried to flee on foot and was caught by police, according to published reports.

Golding was arrested on a slew of charges, including resisting arrest, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, unlicensed operator and obstructing governmental administration, police said.


JFK duty free shops cashier busted for stealing more than $19K

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A 19-year-old Queens man was arrested for stealing more than $19,200 while he worked as a duty free shops cashier at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to Port Authority police.

Tyrone Simmons, of Jamaica, in an interview with authorities, allegedly indicated his responsibility in the thefts, saying that he took money from the register on several different occasions. He is accused of stealing the cash from this May until the end of August.

Simmons was arrested at the airport by Port Authority police detectives Thursday and charged with grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, officials said.


9/11 heroes battle cancer with hope

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Asha Mahadevan


Thirteen years ago, when tragedy struck the World Trade Center, they were one of the first to respond to calls for help. Today, they are suffering the after-effects of their selflessness.

Two days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, four Queens residents, who developed cancer because of their exposure to carcinogenic substances at the WTC site, came forward to share their pain at the North Shore – LIJ’s WTC Clinical Center of Excellence at Rego Park on Tuesday, Sept. 9.

John Licato, 52, a resident of Howard Beach and a former cop with the 110th Precinct in Corona, was diagnosed with neck cancer in 2012. Since then he has undergone chemotherapy and radiation and now, his cancer is in remission. Christian Foggy, 67, an electrician from Jamaica who transported generators to the site for almost two months, was treated for prostate cancer.

Former narcotics cop Joe Ramondino, 52, developed Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. “They said it was safe,” said the Maspeth resident about concerns that arose in the aftermath. Last August, he was told he is dealing with a type of cancer he calls “treatable but not curable.”

“It is devastating learning what is in your body,” he said. “I am just staying positive and following a healthy lifestyle.”

Added his wife Toni, “It was frightening. We are sticking together and getting through.”
The program at the WTC Clinical Center is federally funded by the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is meant for treating the people who fell sick due to exposure to harmful materials at ground zero. The funding runs through 2016. Initially, the people being treated were those with respiratory disorders such as asthma and sinus cases, and mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, cancer takes many years to develop, said Dr. Jacqueline Moline, vice president and chair of Population Health at North Shore-LIJ. “We have more than 2,500 certified cases,” she said. “Truncating the program after 15 years is not right.”

Patricia Workman, 76, and her sister Julia Mooney, both from Flushing, helped at the site as Red Cross volunteers. “I worked in the pit, in the morgue, served meals, distributed supplies, whatever needed to be done,” said Workman. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. She was treated and went into remission but suffered a relapse earlier this year. Despite her trauma, she says she doesn’t regret helping out the way she did. “It was a terrible day,” she said. “We should not forget it because if you do, it can happen again.”

Mooney, who suffered from PTSD due to her time at the site, added, “These people [who died that day] deserve to be remembered always.”

Despite their pain, the patients and their families are staying positive. As Ramondino put it, “Things could have been worse. Lots of people died that day. We are still here.”

“I have three children and three grandchildren,” said Workman. “I have a lot to live for.”


Jamaica hosts auditions for new dance competition show

| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dancehall Got Talent/Nicole Duhaney

Residents of Jamaica got to show off their reggae and dancehall moves in hopes of landing a spot on a new reality TV show named “Dancehall Got Talent.”

Auditions for the show, which will air on the OPM Digital Network, were held at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, located at 153-10 Jamaica Ave., on Saturday. This was the first site for the competition and more than 60 performers came out to try to wow the judges.

The competitors were so talented that only about 10 of them were eliminated, according to Nicole Duhaney, the host and executive producer of the show.

“There were so many talented performers,” Duhaney said. “It was a lot of fun.”

The competition is the first of its kind and is solely based on reggae and dancehall music.

Dancehall is a genre of Jamaican music.

The acts included all types of Jamaican music, according to Duhaney, who said she is known as the “number one dancehall media diva worldwide.” This filming was the first of eight live New York tapings for the show.

Photo courtesy of Dancehall Got Talent/Nicole Duhaney

The competition was the brainchild of Kevin Royal, who is a partner at the OPM Network. They hope to air the competition on the network, which can be seen on such devices as Xbox or Apple TV, among others, at the end of fall.

The fate of the contestants will be determined by viewers of the show through a voting process.

“This is going to be the show that everyone, no matter where they are, can watch,” Duhaney said.

Even though the first filming was a success, Duhaney said she wishes more people would have come to compete.

“I think a lot of people missed out on the opportunity to compete,” she said. “I’m inviting all of them out to any competitions coming up, even if you were eliminated already. We want a person who is willing to work in the competition.”

The next audition at the same venue in Jamaica will be held on Sept. 12 from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., according to the show’s website.

To find out more about the competition, visit “Dancehall, GOT TALENT” on Facebook or www.dancehallgottalent.com.


Pedestrian struck and killed in Jamaica

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com


A 53-year-old man was fatally hit in Jamaica Saturday as he was trying to cross Liberty Avenue, according to police.

The accident happened at about 4:50 a.m. near Tuckerton Street.

After he was struck by the car, the victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was pronounced dead, cops said.

The driver remained on the scene and the investigation continues.


Man charged with father’s murder in south Jamaica: DA

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



A 37-year-old man from south Jamaica has been arrested for allegedly killing his father Tuesday night, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Anthony Guyton, has been charged with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

On Aug. 19 at about 10:25 p.m., Guyton allegedly fired a single shot at his father, 55-year-old Bruce Langley of Astoria, near the intersection of 143rd Street and 119th Avenue, said Brown.

Langley was shot in the chest as he sat in his Chevy Impala at an intersection a block away from Guyton’s home. According to the district attorney, police patrolling the area caught Guyton as he stood holding a 9 mm handgun next to his vehicle, a Dodge Charger, which was near the Chevy Impala.

Langley was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

“The alleged actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible,” Brown said.

Guyton is awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court. If convicted, he faces 25 years to life in prison.



Rendering reveals seven-story apartment building coming to Jamaica

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy TCX Development

Development in Jamaica is about to pick up and bring big changes to the New York City real estate scene, according to a firm building new apartments in the area.

TCX Development, a Great Neck-based firm, is working on a seven-story, 21-unit apartment building on Hillside Avenue near 191st Street. TCX officials believe they are ahead of the wave of development they feel is coming to the neighborhood because of its zoning, extensive public transportation network and massive downtown shopping district.

“We really believe in this area. We’ve done a lot of research and we are sure that this area is due for a lot of development soon,” said Joshua Asherian of TCX Development. “The zoning is already there and the retail is already there, It’s only a matter of time.”

TCX released renderings for the project last week, as New York YIMBY revealed, and the building is expected to be completed in 2015.

The exterior of the 15,000-square-foot building will be designed with black brick and metal siding with large windows. The interior will have a modern finish with key card access. There will also be 11 enclosed parking spots.

The building will mostly be comprised of one-bedroom apartments for $1,600 a month, which Asherian said will be attractive compared to Brooklyn and Manhattan prices for comparable rooms. There will also be one three-bedroom penthouse.



Queens man rented out homes he didn’t own on Craigslist: cops

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Nassau County Police Department

A Queens man pocketed more than $5,000 after he rented out two Long Island residences on Craigslist without the owners’ permission, police said.

Terrell Hill, 31, of Jamaica, posted an ad on Craigslist, pretending to be the homeowner of a Valley Stream residence, and rented the place to two women, authorities said. He charged the pair $1,500 as a down payment, but when the rightful homeowner came to check on the residence on Wednesday and found the women, the cops were called.

The same day, Hill went to the home to collect more money from the renters and was arrested.

Police said they later discovered Hill also rented another unoccupied residence, a home in Elmont, to a woman on Aug. 1. Again, he pretended to be the homeowner, and collected $3,800 from the renter.

Hill has been charged with grand larceny and burglary.

Anyone who believes they may have also been victimized by Hill should call 516-573-6453.



Longtime Jamaica community garden volunteer sees role trimmed back

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Benjamin Fang


Alberta Crowley was a star in her community, but now she says the city’s Parks Department is trying to restrict her glowing service.

The 71-year-old Queens Village resident has been volunteering at the Bricktown Community Garden on 106th Avenue and 173rd Street in Jamaica for six years. But she claims park officials have restricted her activity to a space next to the garden, called Tree of Life.

“The area here is unleveled, unsafe,” Crowley said. “They locked me out of the garden.” She said workers from the City Parks Foundation (CPF), a nonprofit that works with the Parks Department, took over about a year ago.

In the past, Crowley worked with disabled children and seniors, helping them grow fig trees, cherry trees, blueberries and grapevines. Now she said she’s not allowed to continue because she’s not certified.

“They said I can’t work here with special needs people,” Crowley said. She pointed out that she was previously given permission as a member of GreenThumb, a city community gardening education program funded by the Parks Department.

The Parks Department responded in an email that Crowley was allowed to temporarily use a portion of the City Park Foundation’s original garden, called the Learning Garden, for her workshops with adults with disabilities.

“In order to accommodate the growing demand for CPF’s educational programs, this section of CPF’s garden has been reintegrated with the rest of their garden,” a Parks Department spokesman said. “Ms. Crowley continues to be welcome to help with these workshops.”
Vanessa Smith, who advocates on Crowley’s behalf, said officials from the Parks Department want to close her off.

“They said she wasn’t allowed to go in there because she’s a volunteer and they are paid,” Smith said. “She’s doing this out of love, so why would you lock her out?”

In addition, Smith said officials from the Parks Department are not providing the support Crowley needs to maintain the smaller area she was relegated to.

“They’re not giving her the funding to upgrade it here,” Smith said. “What I think they’re trying to do is eventually take over the whole area.”

Park officials say they are providing the equipment necessary for improvements. “GreenThumb is currently purchasing lumber and soil to allow raised planting beds to be constructed,” a Parks Department spokesman said. Thirty pieces of lumber currently rest inside the Tree of Life garden.

Despite the dispute over certification and land usage, Crowley said she wants to continue what she’s been doing in the last six years.

“I want access to the area and raised beds for seniors,” she said. She hopes to continue working with people with disabilities and seniors who need wheelchair accessibility into the garden.

Crowley and Parks Department representatives are slated to meet in August, where they will discuss use of the space and possibly building a direct entrance to Tree of Life.

The City Parks Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.



Renderings reveal look of new P.S./I.S. 314 school in Jamaica

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy Department of Education

The School Construction Authority posted renderings of P.S./I.S. 314 in Jamaica, giving residents a glimpse into the future of a new school in the neighborhood. 

The school, which will be located on the corner of 164th Street and Hillside Avenue, is just one of many coming to the borough in the next few years to target overcrowding. It was approved by the City Council in 2011.

It will be four stories and approximately 113,092 square feet, according to city filings, and accommodate more than 830 students, from pre-K through the eighth-grade. It is expected to open in September 2015.

Gruzen Samton Architects of IBI Group designed the building, which is shaped like an “L” and organized into two main components: a four-story academic wing with classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and library, and a three-story public assembly wing, which houses the gymnasium and an auditorium.

To see more renderings of the project click here.




Jamaica women’s clinic attracts anti-abortion demonstrations

| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Katrina Medoff

Seven patient escorts in white lab coats and 13 anti-abortion demonstrators holding pamphlets and large, graphic posters depicting bloody fetuses stood poised in the rain at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 147th Place on Saturday, waiting for patients to approach Choices Women’s Medical Clinic.

A patient reached for the side door of the clinic, and everyone snapped into action: two escorts began guiding the woman toward the patient entrance, and a man stepped in front of them.

“Don’t go to Choices, ma’am,” he said. “Don’t go kill the baby, ma’am. Don’t go in there, they kill babies, ma’am. They kill babies, ma’am. Look at that picture,” he said, pointing at one of the signs. “You don’t have to do that.”

The patient stood frozen as pamphlet-wielding women with similar refrains competed for her attention with one of the escorts, who attempted to reassure her and move her forward.

Finally, the woman headed toward the entrance, flanked by the escorts. The man followed, leaning around an escort’s umbrella — used as a makeshift shield — and repeating his plea until the patient was through the clinic door.

Such scenes have been occurring regularly ever since Choices moved to Jamaica two and a half years ago, and a group from Church @ the Rock in Brooklyn started coming to the clinic every Saturday at about 6:45 a.m.

“We call it ‘Saturday mournings’ because babies are being murdered and we’re here to stand up for these babies,” said Pat, 60, a woman from Church @ the Rock, who was holding a sign depicting a latex-gloved hand holding a bloody fetus.

On recent (sunnier) Saturdays, there have been about 20 escorts and 20 demonstrators from Church @ the Rock as well as from Catholic groups, said a volunteer clinic escort leader, 25, from the New York City chapter of the National Organization for Women.

“We’ve been here in the ice cold, in the heat of summer,” said Lois Griepp, 62, wife of Pastor Kenneth Griepp of Church @ the Rock.

Choices has had several homes in its 43 years, including Flushing, Rego Park and Long Island City, said Merle Hoffman, president, founder and CEO of the clinic, but demonstrators began coming out “en masse” only after the move to Jamaica, where there is a “dearth of prenatal care.”

“As soon as we moved, these people started coming. In fact, they started demonstrating at the location even before it opened,” said Mary Lou Greenberg, the Choices volunteer escort program director. “I realized that we would need a regular escort program because they would set up their signs so it’s a gauntlet.”

Escorts hail from all over the area, including Queens, Brooklyn and Long Island. One escort from Jersey City wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to arrive at 7 a.m.

Some patients walking into the clinic are getting abortions, according to a Choices administrator, but many visit Choices for other services such as family planning, counseling and gynecological services such as STI testing, breast exams and pap smears.

Hoffman says demonstrators are “bullying, harassing women attempting to walk into the facility,” regardless of their reasons for visiting the clinic — as well as passersby.

One escort, “Chickie,” 60, of Jamaica, says that the demonstrators “intimidate children.”

“You have a woman coming in for a prenatal visit, visibly pregnant, with another child,” Hoffman said, “and one of [the demonstrators] said to the kid, ‘Why is your mommy taking you in there? Don’t you know she’s going in to kill your little brother or sister?’”

Griepp counters that women visiting Choices for prenatal care is “great,” but that “this particular clinic, if you go to their website … the first tab they have after their homepage is ‘Abortion.’”

One Choices administrator stressed that the clinic is affiliated with adoption agencies across the nation and with organizations that offer parenting classes, offering women resources no matter what decision they make when pregnant.

Some patients feel the need to tell the demonstrators why they are at the clinic in the hope that demonstrators will leave them alone, even though they would not need to explain why they were visiting any other medical facility, said Esther Priegue, director of social services at Choices.

Nearby businesses say they are affected by the demonstrators. Rigo Mendez, 30, of Corona, manager of Smilen Brothers Market across the street from the clinic, says that customers are deterred by the graphic signs nearby.

“In the morning, when the customers come in, they always complain about the pictures,” Mendez said.“They want to come and eat breakfast and they see the pictures and they say, ‘[Why don’t] you guys tell them to move?’ Business is going down on Saturdays.”

And a cashier at Popular Varieties & Gifts, located next door to the clinic, said, “When they’re outside, less people come in because sometimes the posters that they’re holding up, people are disgusted, they look away and don’t see the store. Or [the customers] are followed because [the demonstrators] all assume that they’re going to the clinic or something.”

The issue of demonstrators outside of abortion clinics is front and center not only in Queens but across the nation after a June Supreme Court decision that ruled that Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone law restricted free speech. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. pointed to New York City’s laws that forbid obstructing access to a clinic or following or harassing patients within 15 feet of a clinic, according to a recent article in the New York Times.

But in Jamaica, it seems that issues of harassment, intimidation, actively impeding patients and free speech are not often clear-cut, and that it’s difficult to tell when a line is crossed.

“It can be so very nebulous at times,” Chickie said.

Howard Beach restaurant hosts movie shoot

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach is going Hollywood.

A scene from a feature-length film named “Where Hearts Lie” was shot at Lenny’s Clam Bar on Cross Bay Boulevard on Monday.

At Lenny’s, the film crew was shooting the first date scene between the two lead characters. It took about three hours to shoot the scene, which included about 25 extras and the two main characters. It was a perfect local spot to film this scene, according to Peter Iengo, producer of the film.

“I love this location because there is so much history here,” said Iengo, who mentioned the actual clam bar may be featured in the movie. “It’s a great spot to shoot this scene.”

The movie is about a young up-and-coming real estate entrepreneur from East New York who is trying to gain support for the projects he is working on after he took over the real estate business from his father, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s.

He meets a young women while he is working on his projects, falls in love and has a child not knowing that his spouse is mentally unstable. Once he sees her instability he wants to break away and fights for the custody of his child, which becomes the main plot of the movie.

Only two scenes are filmed in Queens, one at Lenny’s and one at the Elixir Lounge in Jamaica. The rest will be filmed in Brooklyn and the total filming period is about three weeks. Hollywood stars Clifton Powell, from movies like “Next Friday” and “Ray,” and Malik Yuba, from “Cool Runnings,” make guest appearances in the film as well.

Once the post-production is finished, the film team will send the finished product to films festivals and shop it around to distribution companies.