Tag Archives: jamaica

Deadly Jamaica house fire caused by extension cords: FDNY


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A Jamaica house blaze that killed one man and left his 89-year-old mother injured was an accidental fire sparked by extension cords, the FDNY said.

The electrical fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. Monday in the basement of a single-family home on 118th Road near Marsden Street, authorities said. It took firefighters until about 5:10 a.m. to put out the flames.

There were no working smoke detectors in the two-story house, according to the FDNY.

A 64-year-old man was taken to Queens Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said. His mother was transported to Franklin Hospital in stable condition.

A third person refused medical attention at the scene.

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Police looking for gold charm thief


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A thief with a penchant for gold jewelry stole from two Queens businesses last year, according to authorities.

He first targeted a Corona jewelry store at 97-09 Roosevelt Ave. at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 22. The suspect then stole from Gem Pawn Brokers at 90-26 Sutphin Blvd. in Jamaica at 2:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.

The suspect took the jewelry by asking to see several gold charms at each store and then would distract the employee while he would swipe one of the charms before fleeing.

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 wanted for kidnapping 3-month-old boy in Jamaica


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sharondalis Morgan is suspected in the kidnapping a 3-month-old Jamaica boy.

An 18-year-old woman kidnapped a 3-month-old baby from his Jamaica home before later abandoning him outside a Brooklyn hospital, police said.

The suspected kidnapper, identified as Sharondalis Morgan, had recently befriended the child’s mother and was inside her apartment on 177th Street on Sunday about 3:40 p.m. when she took the boy, cops said. Morgan was able to grab the baby when the mother left the room, and then she fled the home.

The child was later found outside of Woodhull Medical Center in good health. It wasn’t clear how long after the woman kidnapped the boy that he was discovered at the medical facility.

Police describe the suspect as black, 5 feet 2 inches tall and 150 pounds.

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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64-year-old man killed in Jamaica house fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 6, 9:59 a.m.

An early morning house fire in Jamaica left one man dead and his elderly mother injured, authorities said.

The fire started just after 3:30 a.m. on Monday in the basement of the two-story home on 118th Road near Marsden Street, authorities said. It took firefighters until about 5:10 a.m. to control the flames.

Two residents were taken to area hospitals, according to police.

An 89-year-old woman was transported to Franklin Hospital in stable condition. Her 64-year-old son was taken to Queens Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead. His identity has not been released by police.

A third person refused medical treatment at the scene, the FDNY said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Former Gov. Mario Cuomo dies at 82


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Kenneth C. Zirkel /Wikimedia Commons

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 5:26 p.m.

Former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo, once a leading and passionate voice for the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and one of the most important political figures to come from Queens, died on Thursday. He was 82.

Cuomo, who was raised in Jamaica, passed away only hours after his son, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in for a second term during an inauguration held in Lower Manhattan at the World Trade Center.

The elder Cuomo had been ill for months. His last public appearance was on Election Night when he was with his son during a victory celebration.

Gov. Cuomo spoke about his father during his inaugural address Thursday morning, noting that “we’re missing one family member.” Cuomo spent New Year’s Eve with his ailing father and family, even reading him his speech.

“He couldn’t be here physically today, my father. But my father is in this room. He is in the heart and mind of every person who is here. He is here and he is here,” Cuomo said pointing to his head and heart. “And his inspiration and his legacy and his experience is what has brought this state to this point. So let’s give him a round of applause,” Cuomo said.

According to the governor’s office, Mario Cuomo “passed away from natural causes due to heart failure this evening at home with his loving family at his side.”

Cuomo was remembered as an important voice in both state and national politics.

“From the hard streets of Queens, Mario Cuomo rose to the very pinnacle of political power in New York because he believed in his bones in the greatness of this state, the greatness of America and the unique potential of every individual,” said Sen. Charles Schumer.

“My prayers and thoughts are with the governor, the whole Cuomo family, and all who knew and loved Mario,” Schumer said. “Our hearts go out to Gov. Andrew Cuomo who gave a great speech today that I am certain his father was proud of.”

In a statement issued by the White House Thursday night, President Obama paid homage to Cuomo as “an Italian Catholic kid from Queens, born to immigrant parents,” who “paired his faith in God and faith in America to live a life of public service — and we are all better for it.”

“He rose to be chief executive of the state he loved, a determined champion of progressive values, and an unflinching voice for tolerance, inclusiveness, fairness, dignity and opportunity,” Obama said in his prepared statement.

The son of Italian immigrants who owned a grocery store in South Jamaica, Cuomo cut his political teeth in Queens.

Cuomo first rose to public prominence in 1972 when he was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay as a mediator during bitter a dispute over a proposal to build low-income public housing towers in upper-middle Forest Hills. Prior to that, he had successfully represented Queens homeowners in high-profile disputes with the city and private developers.

Cuomo lost two early political contests — first a Democratic primary for lieutenant governor in 1974 and then the 1977 Democratic primary for mayor of New York City when he was defeated by Ed Koch. He won his first campaign in 1978 in the race for lieutenant governor.

He ran for governor four years later, defeating Koch in the Democratic primary before going on to win the general election.

Cuomo graduated from St. John’s Preparatory School and attended one year at St. John’s University before he was lured away from college by an offer to play baseball for a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But after suffering a serious injury when he was hit in the back of the head by a baseball, he returned to St. John’s University.

Cuomo went on to earn a law degree at St. John’s, where he continued to teach part-time while he practiced law in both the private and public sector before entering politics.

As a Democratic governor during President Reagan’s administration, Cuomo was among the few in his party to challenge the then-popular president. He became the leading voice for the party’s liberal wing even as the nation skewed conservative in the 1980s.

It was his stunning keynote speech during the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco that fueled speculation that Cuomo could seek the presidential nomination down the road. Cuomo himself continued to stoke the speculation until the last hour before the filing deadline for the New Hampshire primary in 1991.

But he remained a prominent voice within the party, known and admired for his soaring oratory.

Cuomo came up in 1993 as a potential Supreme Court nominee by President Clinton. But then in his third term as governor he removed his name from consideration for the top court.

Cuomo is survived by his wife of 60 years, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, his children Margaret, Andrew, Maria, Madeline and Christopher, and 14 grandchildren.

A wake will be held for Cuomo on Monday at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home, located at 1076 Madison Ave. in Manhattan, with calling hours from 1 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 10 p.m. The following day, a funeral service will take place at the St. Ignatius Loyola Church at 980 Park Ave., also in Manhattan, at 11 a.m.

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Time to sell in Jamaica if the price is right


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark

Jamaica has been making headlines with plans for major projects and sites notching higher prices as developers continue to look for investing opportunities in the borough.

But while land prices are hot throughout Queens, and value is rising in Jamaica, prices could trend downwards soon. So now could be a good time for property owners in the neighborhood to sell and maximize profits, said Swain Weiner, president of Greinz-Maltz Investment Properties.

“It’s my belief that there is going to be an increase in [interest] rates sometime early next year,” Weiner said.  “Unemployment is at 5.8 percent, inflation is near zero, the economy is growing strong, and gas prices are low so it’s helping everybody. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. If you feel you are near the top of the market, I think now is better to [sell] than later because nobody can accurately time the marketplace.”

The value increase in Jamaica is caused in part by its vast transportation hub of subways, buses, LIRR and the JFK Airtrain, where major projects have been announced and big properties have sold or listed for high prices.

A 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave., which has 719,736 square feet of buildable space, traded hands for $22 million in October. Additionally, a huge development site at 147-07 to 147-37 94th Ave. was listed for $24 million by real estate firm CPEX.

Even when it comes to residential properties, Jamaica prices are trending much higher than before.

Real estate website StreetEasy recently predicted Jamaica would be the fifth hottest neighborhood in the city for 2015, based on median asking rent and median sale price. In Jamaica, the median sale for homes rose by 72.2 percent over the year, according to the website.

Although there is a chance high prices in the neighborhood may increase even further, it could be better to sell than to wait, Weiner said.

“I think with the concern of the top of the market being in place and also some properties demonstrating strong interest, right now might be a good time to capitalize on the strength of Jamaica’s growth,” he said, “and minimize the risk in interest rates or correction of the market.”

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Two arrested in deadly Christmas shooting in Richmond Hill


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Police have arrested two men in a Christmas Day shooting that killed a 20-year-old Jamaica man.

Abu Quick, 23, of the Bronx, and Jamar Alexander, 25, of Queens, have both been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of weapon in the death of James Bryant, cops said.

Bryant was found with a gunshot wound to the neck near 126th Street and 89th Avenue in Richmond Hill about 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 25, police said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Police looking for suspect in attempted armed robbery of off-duty cop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A masked man threatened to kill an off-duty cop during an attempted armed robbery in Jamaica earlier this month, police said.

The suspect approached the victim, a 30-year-old NYPD officer who was off duty at the time, on Sutphin Boulevard near Linden Boulevard at about 1:10 a.m. on Dec. 6 and pulled out a gun, cops said. The victim took cover behind a vehicle, drew his firearm and identified himself to the suspect.

The suspect then said he was going to kill the officer and came up to the vehicle, police said. Both the officer and the suspect circled the vehicle and the suspect fired once before fleeing on foot.

No one was injured.


Police have released a video showing the suspect walking toward the officer, and then circling the vehicle, and describe him as in his 20s, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 150 pounds.

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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20-year-old Jamaica man shot to death on Christmas


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Police are investigating the shooting death of a 20-year-old man in Richmond Hill on Christmas Day.

The victim James Bryant, of Jamaica, was found with a gunshot wound to the neck near 126th Street and 89th Avenue about 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Bryant was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police are looking for as many as three suspects involved in the shooting, according to published reports.

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Developing Queens: A wave of new retail coming


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

CBRE is a global real estate services company, which has offices in Queens and Long Island that service the borough. The firm focuses on commercial real estate. CBRE First Vice President Dean Rosenzweig and Associate Jeremy Scholder talked with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the changing landscape of the Queens retail market.

La Guerre: Queens has been having a big residential boom in certain markets over the past couple of years. Have you seen a pickup in retail with this boom?

Rosenzweig: The smaller businesses, the moms and pops, when we have a listing or when we are on the search for a client for a site—the smaller guys have definitely been seeking out those areas, like Long Island City. The nationals are starting to poke around. We are doing tours with our national clients in Long Island City, for example, but the nationals aren’t there yet. They’re coming and that will take retail in those areas to the next level.

La Guerre: So if you wanted to go shopping to big-box retailers you wouldn’t be able to in LIC yet, but very soon.

Rosenzweig: Or even smaller footprint national retailers, like you don’t see Starbucks there yet. Are they coming? Yeah. Are they looking around? Absolutely. Will they be there? Probably in a year or a year and a half from now. You don’t even see the national banks on Vernon [Boulevard] right? That’s all coming. The first stage was the developers taking advantage of the rezoning and building the huge amount of residential that’s already built and the huge amount of residential that are in the works. Those units are going to fill up, and people that they are going to bring are going to need services.

Scholder: They are still waiting for the area to hit critical mass. They are waiting for all these new buildings to come to fruition at the same time so they can really feel the impact.

Rosenzweig: You learn over time that retailers have a herd mentality. When one national retailer comes in and then a second one — it doesn’t even necessarily have to be all in the same category— but when a couple of nationals come in, that’s when the rest will take the plunge. And it hasn’t hit that point yet.

La Guerre: So you’re saying eventually the nationals will be popping up all over and together?

Rosenzweig: They are going to realize what the residential developers and the residents that have moved into their projects have — great proximity to Manhattan, incredible mass transit, and the people that are coming in have a lot of disposable income.

La Guerre: Is Queens a destination for trendy stores now, like Manhattan or Brooklyn?

Scholder: Obviously, there is a growing young demographic in some neighborhoods. That’s absolutely the case in Long Island City. Astoria has been another growing market. There is this tremendous basis of nightlife, restaurant scene, arts in Astoria, and some of these trendier places are starting to move in as well.

La Guerre: What are some areas that you expect retail to transform that haven’t been talked about as much? Where are your sleeper neighborhoods?

Rosenzweig: Archer Avenue in Jamaica. You’re going to see some opportunities get created for larger big-box retailers, so it’s not going to just be Sutphin [Boulevard] as it has been or Jamaica Avenue. I think Archer is going to evolve as well. Another area is Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood. The infrastructure has always been there — mass transit, buses, surrounding residential — but I think you are going to see as leases come up and expire a lot of the current tenants may not be quite right for the area anymore. I think it’s going to come on pretty strong, pretty soon.

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$1.2M to reconstruct park in Jamaica


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Captain Tilly Park will be getting a face-lift thanks to new funding proposed by the City Council.

The Parks Department broke ground this week to help clean up the park. Under the $1.2 million project, crews will remove invasive plants in the northern half of the park and replant with native ones that will help to combat the erosion of the area. Along with the plantings, pathways will be repaved and their drainage system will be improved.

“The first phase of renovation will increase the biodiversity and ecological richness of Captain Tilly Playground, while also addressing the park’s drainage and erosion issues,” said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “We are thankful for the City Council’s support of this important work and look forward to opening a greener and greater park.”

The first round of renovations, which include the projects above, is expected to take about a year to complete.

The second round of renovations will address the plaza area and surrounding landscape near the Tilly memorial. The Parks Department said they will add new asphalt pathways, fencing, granite pavement, benches, drainage, lighting and landscaping.

This portion of the project is expected to start in the fall of 2015 and take about a year to complete.

“I’m pleased to see the beginning of these renovations to Captain Tilly Park,” Councilman Rory I. Lancman said. “Properly removing and replacing the invasive plant species and preventing erosion into Goose Pond is the foundation for a lively, healthy park.”

Army Capt. George Tilly, the son of a prominent Jamaica family, died in the Philippines in 1899 when U.S. forces were fighting Filipino rebels for control of the colony, which was among the territories Spain ceded to the U.S. after the Spanish-American War. A monument to the heroes of the Spanish-American War was erected in the park in 1941.

The park, once used to raise ducks and geese, is located between Gothic Drive and Highland Avenue, west of 164th Street.

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Arrest made in 2012 Queens murder of Long Island man


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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An arrest has been made more than two years after the shooting death of a 22-year-old Long Island man in Jamaica, police said.

Christian Euton was gunned down at 156th Street and 111th Avenue just after 11 p.m. on June 13, 2012, cops said.

The Valley Stream resident and LaGuardia Community College student had gotten out of his car to check for damage after running over a pothole when he was shot, relatives and police told Newsday at the time. His brother, who was in the car, told family that he saw two groups arguing nearby. One man in the group opened fire, and his brother was struck twice in the torso.

Lamell Ford, 33, of Jamaica, has been charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in Euton’s death, police said.

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Jamaica man accused of selling weapons, drugs, stolen vehicles through Craigslist


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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A Jamaica man has been indicted for selling $500,000 in stolen vehicles and auto parts as well as weapons and drugs through Craigslist, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

The accused, Conrad Hall, 43, “allegedly used the Craigslist website to initially sell stolen auto parts before his criminal activity brazenly escalated and he began to sell luxury automobiles and motorcycles that had been stolen, as well as weapons — including a 9mm Glock and a .357 Magnum — and approximately five pounds of marijuana,” Brown said. Authorities believe that Hall also scammed insurance companies with the help of the owners of the stolen vehicles.

Hall was allegedly working with three others — Denise Mboumi from Brooklyn, Shane Carter, of  Queens, and Eboni Davis, a Bronx resident — who reported their cars as being stolen to their insurance companies and received cash payouts  when they had actually sold their cars through Hall. All three were charged with third-degree insurance fraud and first-degree falsifying business records.

Hall was indicted along with Jermaine Edwards of Queens for selling a stolen 2010 Honda CRV, and with Roger Haye, of Long Island, and Queens resident Carlton Young for selling marijuana.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Hall was awaiting arraignment on a total of seven indictments charging him with criminal possession of stolen property, insurance fraud, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of marijuana, criminal sale of marijuana and other charges. If convicted of all charges, he could be sentenced to more than 200 years in prison.

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Teen charged in deadly Jamaica home invasion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in a botched Jamaica home invasion that left one man dead and another injured, police said.

Prakash Churaman has been charged with murder, attempted murder and burglary in the fatal Dec. 5 shooting, cops said.

Churaman entered the 144th Street home of 21-year-old Taquane Clark, an alleged acquaintance, with at least one other person with the intent to rob the place at about 6 p.m., according to police. But something apparently went wrong when Clark was shot in the head and a 27-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to the torso and right leg.

Clark was pronounced dead at the scene and the other victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition.

Charges are pending against a second person who was hospitalized after being injured in the home invasion, cops said. Police are still investigating whether others were involved.

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Large downtown Jamaica development site listing for $24M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CPEX   

A huge development site a block away from the downtown Jamaica transportation hub is selling for $24 million.

The 35,000-square-foot site, which comprises a few lots from 147-07 to 147-37 on 94th Avenue, allows up to 420,000 buildable square feet, according to real estate firm CPEX, which is marketing the site.

World Wide Food Products, a longtime seafood company, has been at the property since 1975, according to DNAinfo.

Downtown Jamaica has been the talk of much major development recently. Last year, officials announced construction of a 210-room, 24-story hotel nearby the LIRR and AirTrain station at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd.

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 on the site it owns at 93-01 Sutphin Blvd.

In October, a 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. traded hands for $22 million. It has 719,736 square feet of buildable space.

Also, nearby York College, which is located across from the building and parking garage, 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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