Tag Archives: Jay-z

Headlines from around the web


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

Dolphin washes ashore in Far Rockaway, dies shortly after

Scientists were unable to save a sickly beached dolphin in Far Rockaway that died en route to a treatment center on Friday. Franly Estrella, 24, first spotted the 6-foot-long, 140-pound stranded creature at 9:30 a.m. at Beach 19th St. NYDailyNews

Jay-Z concert highlights Barclays Center opening

Brooklyn was the center of New York’s entertainment world last night, as the $1 billion Barclays Center opened with a sold-out concert by the borough’s own Jay-Z. The rap mogul performed for 19,000 screaming fans in a glam-filled coming-out party for the spectacular arena in Prospect Heights. “I have been on many stages all around the world. Nothing feels like tonight, Brooklyn, I swear to God!” the Bed-Stuy native shouted out as he took the stage. NYPost

Miracle landing at JFK

It really was a “magic” ride. The twisted front landing gear of a jumbo jet nicknamed The Magic Red Carpet miraculously rotated back into position just seconds before landing at JFK yesterday — as panicked passengers braced themselves for a crash. “It was like the hand of God turned the wheel,” said a Port Authority cop who was part of the disaster-response crew deployed to the tarmac. NYPost

Former NYTimes publisher Arthur Ochs dead at 86

Former New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, who led the newspaper to new levels of influence and profit amid some of the most significant moments in 20th-century journalism, died Saturday. He was 86. NYPost

City to expand library program

Millions of books will soon be within easy reach of young bookworms in the city. The city is expanding its MyLibraryNYC program to all public schools. Students and teachers will be able to directly order books and other materials from the New York, Queens and Brooklyn Public Libraries. NY1

 

Barclays Center opens to fanfare, protests


| hchin@homereporternews.com

BROOKLYN MEDIA GROUP/Photos by Heather J. Chin

After a decade of debates, lawsuits, hearings and more, Brooklyn officially welcomed its new sports arena, Barclays Center.

It was a festive atmosphere inside the 675,000-square-foot arena, where business, political and sports leaders from around the city and state gathered on Friday, September 21, to get a peek at the 18,000-plus-seat basketball court and the state-of-the-art event facilities, as well as see which 26 Brooklyn restaurants were setting up mini-outposts inside.

The first item on their list was checked off immediately, as Bruce Ratner, chairperson and CEO of developer Forest City Ratner, took the stage in the mezzanine area and a switch was flipped, illuminating the basketball court, which looked dazzling with its shiny floors, perimeter-wide ticker, and four-screen Jumbotron hanging above center court and the Brooklyn Nets logo.

“We needed to buy the team, buy the [rights], finance it, weather the worst economic climate in decades, to bring [it through several] state administrations, to build the entire infrastructure out of train tracks… and we did it,” exclaimed Ratner, who was joined by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York State Lieutenant Governor Robert Duffy, and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and CEO Brett Yormark to cut the celebratory ribbon.

“The ghost of Ebbets Field is gone and this is a new era for Brooklyn,” declared Markowitz, who has been a staunch advocate of the arena as an engine for job creation, new businesses and future housing developments, despite the years of lawsuits and protests from residents concerned about the impact of an arena on quality of life, and of the city’s use of eminent domain to evict people.

“I believe it will help local businesses, commercial streets will be busier than they have been, and there will be a lot of flourishing,” he said, adding that he does “not believe it will have a negative impact on the area,” since “this is a commercial area, not a bedroom community.”

Carlo Scissura, CEO and president of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, agreed, calling the day an “incredible” one for the business community.

“The opening of Barclays Center at the crossroads of Downtown Brooklyn, Fort Greene and the BAM Cultural District will fuel economic development, create jobs and spur business growth across the entire borough,” he said. “I look forward to working with [them] and can’t wait to cheer on the Brooklyn Nets!”

The Brooklyn Nets is the first major sports team in the borough since the Dodgers left for Los Angeles in 1957. A transplant from New Jersey, the team will have as its main local opponent, the New York Knicks, playing at Madison Square Garden.

Barclays Center Executive Chef Ralph Romano said that food lovers will also find plenty to love at the arena, where notable Brooklyn eateries such as Nathan’s Famous, Junior’s, L & B Spumoni, Blue Marble Ice Cream, Fatty Cue, Calexico, and Brooklyn Brewery will have popular dishes for sale alongside standard stadium snack and drink fare.

Romano described the food options as “freshly cooked on-site,” stressing that “all those details lead to a superior eating experience.”

Barclays is also aiming for a superior customer service experience, training its employees under the Walt Disney Company’s Disney Institute.

It wasn’t all congratulations and cheers, though, as dozens of residents and activists from the surrounding communities of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, and Bedford-Stuyvesant protested outside the arena, disputing Markowitz’s claim that the area is more commercial than residential.

“This is not what we were promised. We were promised an arena with full-time jobs, living-wage jobs, affordable housing, and open space. None of those things marketed as benefits to the community have happened,” said Danae Oratowski of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

“So it’s like waking up one day and realizing that you live across the street from Madison Square Garden,” she went on. “No one wants to begrudge the opening, and everyone wants to celebrate, but we spent hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and soft costs that were not intended to fund a sports facility. We paid the money, but we haven’t gotten the benefits.”

The coalition includes the Fifth Avenue Committee, BrooklynSpeaks, the Brown Community Development Corporation, FUREE, Develop Don’t Destroy, and the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.

According to Bloomberg, Ratner, and Markowitz, the first housing complex in the Atlantic Yards project will break ground on December 18.

The brown-rust-colored arena, sits at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues, and features a sweeping donut-shaped overhang that points towards the newest subway entrance to the recently renamed Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station.

Barclays Center opens to the public on Friday, September 28, with a concert by native Brooklynite Jay-Z, aka Shawn Carter. The first Nets basketball game is set for November 1.

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Hospitalized Following Jamaica Hotel Fire

The Conduit Motor Inn on 138th Avenue in Jamaica, Queens caught fire Monday night, and an injured man found inside one of the hotel rooms was taken to Jamaica Hospital with burns throughout his body. Read More: NY1

 

Maksim Gelman to get extra 25 years for Manhattan portion of killing spree

A Manhattan judge today promised to tack on an additional 25 years to the certain life sentence that Maksim “Butcher of Brighton Beach” Gelman faces in Brooklyn when sentenced tomorrow for admittedly slaughtering four people back in February. Gelman had pleaded guilty last month to the Brooklyn end of his blood-drenched, 28-hour spree, admitting he’d stabbed his mother’s boyfriend to death, stolen that victim’s car and fatally mowed down a pedestrian, then stabbed to death the object of his affections, beautiful Yelena Bulchenko, and her mother. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Rapper Joins Growing Chorus For Awareness About Redistricting

A Queens rapper is adding his music and his voice to the growing chorus against a hot-button political issue. Himanshu Suri of the hip-hop group Das Racist performed Monday night at a fundraiser in Richmond Hill to help out SEVA, a community organization that is raising awareness about the potential consequences of gerrymandering, the redrawing of local political districts to benefit incumbents. Read More: NY1

 

Man dead, another arrested in LI police shootout

A man is dead and another in custody after following a shootout last night with a Nassau County cop, police said today. The body of the dead suspect was found inside the Valley Stream home following a botched home invasion attempt, Nassau County police homicide chief Det. Lt. John Azatta said. The events unfolded when at least two men attempted a home invasion at about 9:15 a.m., police said.  The homeowner drove up and noticed a man in the bushes with a gun. That’s when he tried honking his horn to scare him off, police said.  When that didn’t work, the man called his brother and told him, “There is a problem here,” according to Azatta. Read More: New York Post

 

Mother of Rikers inmate killed in ’08 fight club lashes out at guards

The mom of a Rikers inmate who was killed in connection to a sick fight club run by guards, lashed out today two disgraced officers and the wrist-slapping deal they cut.  Charnel Robinson, 38, lamented how she’ll never again see her 18-year-old son Christopher Robinson, who was beaten to death in October, 2008 by fellow inmates for refusing to participate in the jailhouse blood sport. “I’m not happy. It’s not a win for me. My son is gone,” Robinson said in Bronx Supreme Court, during the sentencing of two guilty corrections officers.  “At the end of the day, these people are still able to see their families. My only child is a sight I’ll never see again,” Robinson said. Read More: New York Post

 

Bronx boy shot through door lives in terror

An 11-year-old Bronx boy who was shot when a bullet ripped through his family’s front door lives in fear of being attacked again. “I don’t like answering doors anymore and I don’t want to go back there,” a traumatized Ryan Aguirre told The Post from a new apartment where he’s staying.  The sixth-grade honors student escaped serious injury when he was shot in the right hip late on the night of Jan. 5. “I was just playing a game and the doorbell rang, so I got up to answer it,” Ryan said. “When I was walking toward the door, I said, ‘Who?’ and they just started shooting. Read More: New York Post

 

Five more bodies found on Italian shipwreck Costa Concordia

The death toll from the crippled Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia rose to 11 after five more bodies were pulled from the shipwreck on Tuesday. The lifeless bodies of four men and one woman, estimated to be in their 50s and 60s, were found below the water line at the ship’s front, rescue officials said.  They were all still wearing lifejackets. Twenty four others, a mix of tourists and crew members, are still believed trapped inside. The latest find comes after Italian marine divers armed with explosives blasted their way into the capsized wreck and began navigating its jumbled, murky interior. Conditions inside the half-sunk Costa Concordia were disastrous, and the frogmen were fighting their way through piles of floating debris in the ships labyrinth of cabins, restaurants, bars, casinos and theaters, rescue officials said. Read More: Daily News

 

Occupy Wall Street in ‘winter hibernation’ as donations dwindle and weather gets icy

Occupy Wall Street has gone into “winter hibernation” as donations have dwindled and the weather has gotten colder. “We’re not broke,” Pete Dutro, a member of the OWS finance committee, said Tuesday. “But donations have not been as plentiful as they were last fall.” Asked about reports that the group had just $170,000 left in its bank account, Dutro chuckled. “There are other accounts,” he said. “In fact I just deposited $100,000 we set aside for bail.” Dutro confirmed an account in the Wall Street Journal that OWS’s main government body voted over the weekend to freeze all new spending. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Italian captain ignored orders to return to ship: audio recordings

The captain of a grounded Italian cruise ship can be heard in a recording making excuses as a coast guard official repeatedly ordered him to “get on board now,” according to a transcript of the conversation released today. In a telephone conversation, the Italian coast guard official berates the captain, who is on a lifeboat and repeatedly says he doesn’t want to return to the ship even as passengers are still being evacuated. Read More & Hear Audio: New York Post

 

Beyoncé says Blue Ivy Carter ‘just like any other kid’ in first interview since giving birth

Beyoncé shares that “words can’t be found” to describe holding her daughter Blue Ivy Carter for the first time. In her first interview since giving birth, the “Countdown” songstress also reveals that she believes her daughter will be “just like any other kid” and that husband Jay-Z will indeed change his daughter’s diapers.  “Nothing can describe the feeling,” Beyoncé tells Star magazine of nurses first handing her Blue Ivy Carter to hold. “You have the instant connection once you know your child is growing inside you, but when you hold it for the first time, the words can’t be found.” Read More: New York Post

 

NYPD developing new device to detect guns carried by criminals

The NYPD is developing a new device that can detect whether a perp is carrying heat without frisking him, Commissioner Ray Kelly announced today. The large mechanism uses infrared rays to scan a “form of radiation emitted from the body” of someone who is concealing a gun on the streets of the Big Apple, Kelly said at the Police Foundation’s State of the NYPD breakfast. Since the infrared rays cannot pass through metal, the device provides officers with a digital outline of exactly where the firearm has been tucked away on the subject’s body, Kelly said. Read More: New York Post

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cab Driver Charged With Raping Passenger May Be Linked To Second Attack

Police have arrested a yellow cab driver who they say raped a passenger at knifepoint in Brooklyn last spring, and sources say he may be charged with a second attack that took place in the fall. Gurmeet Singh, 40, of Queens was arrested on Monday and now faces charges including rape, robbery, assault and sex abuse. Police say Singh picked up a 26-year-old woman on May 6 in Williamsburg and allegedly attacked her in the back seat of the cab. The woman, who had been drinking and fell asleep in the cab, woke up during the assault and found she had a knife to her throat. She was then abandoned in Downtown Manhattan, where she contacted police. Read More: NY1

Mayor’s plan to limit booze sales

First, Mayor Bloomberg went after smoking in public places. Then trans-fats, salt and sugary drinks. Now Bloomberg — known for sipping fine wine and downing a cold beer from time to time — wants to crack down on alcohol sales to curb excessive drinking, according to a provocative planning document obtained by The Post. The city Health Department’s far-reaching Partnership for a Healthier New York City initiatives proposes to slash the number of establishments in the city that sell booze. Community “transformation” grants provided under President Obama’s health-care law would help bankroll the effort. Read More: New York Post

JFK Terminal 4 expansion on schedule

After a smooth takeoff, the $1.2 billion project to expand a terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFKIAT) is on track — with no foreseeable delays to its arrival destination date. Improvements to Terminal 4 — the Delta Airlines terminal, which officials say serves 10 million international passengers a year — have been underway for the past year. Upon completion in May 2013, fliers can expect to see a new mechanized baggage screening system — which officials say will expedite the process — a centralized security system on the terminal’s new fourth floor, as well as nine additional gates and a 1,500 linear foot passenger bridge to connect Terminals 2 and 4. Read More: Queens Courier

Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s $1.5M in ‘Blue’ gifts

What to get the baby that has everything — even more. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s baby girl, Blue, has been lavished with more than $1.5 million in gifts, from a golden rocking horse to a “fantasy” crib fit for Cinderella. Blue Ivy Carter — the music world’s smallest diva — left Lenox Hill Hospital yesterday in the arms of her famous parents for home, where she’ll enjoy the priciest swag this side of Buckingham Palace. When she gets bigger, baby Blue will rock on a solid-gold, handmade horse from Japanese jeweler Ginza Tanaka that Jay-Z bought for $600,000. Read More: New York Post

Sparano to replace Schottenheimer as Jets offensive coordinator

Jets fans won’t have offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to kick around anymore. The Jets announced last night Schottenheimer informed them he would not return for next season. It seems unlikely he would just walk away from the two years and $3.2 million left on his contract, so it appears the two sides worked out an agreement for him to walk away instead of getting fired. Former Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, according to a source, will replace Schottenheimer.  Read More: New York Post

Genovese wiseguy Anthony Romanello lucks out, cops to gambling rap with feds 

A Genovese geezer hit the daily double Tuesday, pleading guilty to illegal gambling and winning permission from a federal judge to hang out with a mobbed-up pal who runs the famed Parkside Restaurant in Queens. Reputed capo Anthony (Rom) Romanello, 74, got lucky when a cooperating witness for the feds had a heart attack over the weekend while prosecutors were prepping him for the gangster’s trial, which was to begin this week. Read More: Daily News

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’

Cops arrested a cabby yesterday for allegedly raping a young passenger in his taxi at knifepoint after she left a Williamsburg bar. Gurmeet Singh, 40, picked up the 26-year-old woman on May 6, and she asked to be taken to her Manhattan building, cops said. After the intoxicated woman fell asleep, Singh, pulled over, bound the victim’s hands with a scarf and began raping her, cops said. Singh, who lives in Jamaica, then took the woman’s cellphone and cash and pushed her out of the cab, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Quid pro quo at Big A convention site

A biggest-in-the-nation convention center would mean a bigger racino at Aqueduct. Governor Cuomo said yesterday the Genting Group will seek more gaming machines at the racino it runs at Aqueduct Racetrack as the Malaysian-based gaming giant pours $4 billion into what would be the country’s largest convention center there. A bigger racino would mean renegotiating the state’s cut from video-lottery-machine revenues, Cuomo said on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM radio. A source said that would mean more money for the state from expanded operations but a smaller percentage of the take, although Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said it’s too early to say, with discussions ongoing. Read More: New York Post

DOE Announces Two More Charter Schools Will Close

Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Charter High School is out-of-control. But it’s not the students — it’s the leadership, which has spent millions on consultants and real estate and refused to follow ethics rules. Since charter schools are independently run, there’s not much the Department of Education can do, except close them down. Officials say that is what they plan to do at the end of the school year. Williamsburg Charter High will be just the third city charter school to have its charter revoked in the middle of a five-year-term, but it won’t be the only charter to close this June. Read More: New York Post

For Comptroller’s Allies, a Day Without an Award Is a Rarity

In New York City, most city officials, a couple times a month, honor community organizations with special suitable-for-framing commendations, praising them for “distinguished leadership” or “dedicated service.”  Then there is John C. Liu. Since his election to the city comptroller position in 2009, Mr. Liu has showered people and groups with official commendations, handing out more than 760 — with nearly one-quarter of the recipients connected to his political campaign, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times. Read More: New York Times

Wrist slap for elder con

A Queens social worker who posed as a relative to steal $220,000 from an 85-year-old man in her care got off with just five years’ probation yesterday. Jennifer Robinson, 37, of Cambria Heights, had faced up to 15 years in prison. But Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho took it easy on Robinson. In 2009, she listed herself as a niece of the late Walter Witko, a dementia patient, to steal his assets, proseuctors said. Read More: New York Post

NJ Assembly’s GOP leader dies at Statehouse

As the long and busy final day of New Jersey’s legislative session was coming to a close, most lawmakers were preparing to head home for a few hours of sleep before the new session got under way. But in a matter of moments, everything changed. The Assembly and state Senate members, along with their aides and other staffers, stood stunned as they learned that Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce had collapsed and died around 11 p.m. Monday in a men’s room at the Statehouse. They had been working with the 75-year-old lawmaker all evening as the Legislature wrapped up its session with a flurry of last-minute bills, and one of his final acts as the GOP leader was to accuse Democrats of casting votes for an absent member. Read More: New York Post

Drunk in Staten Island train mishap made WTC movie

The drunken passenger pulled from the Staten Island Railway tracks by a good Samaritan — who was critically injured himself during the rescue — is an independent filmmaker who made the first movie about the 9/11 attacks, sources said yesterday. Jonathan M. Parisen, 40, of East Orange, NJ, wrote, produced and directed “Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center” in 2002, and more recently was working on a flick called “Terrobot” about a giant robot that attacks New York City. Parisen was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for going on the tracks to retrieve his shoes at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said yesterday. Read More: New York Post

New Jay-Z tune a real ‘pop’ track

It’s a hip-hop homage to his favorite new girl. First-time pop Jay-Z yesterday released a touching new tune for baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter that features her newborn cries — and also reveals the heartbreak he and songstress wife Beyoncé suffered over a previous miscarriage. Read More: New York Post and Listen Below

Glory – Jay-Z feat. Blue Ivy Carter by Warhol2011

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case

Prosecutors and defense lawyers say they’re in plea negotiations in a rare state-level terror case against a New York City man. He’s charged with building a homemade bomb to try to attack soldiers, police and other government targets. The Manhattan district attorney’s office disclosed the plea talks during a court date Monday in Jose Pimentel’s case. Defense lawyer Lori Cohen says prosecutors haven’t made any firm offer yet. Pimentel didn’t have to appear for the brief session. He’s due back in court March 1. The 27-year-old is being held without bail on charges including weapons possession and conspiracy as terror crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

Man killed in Bx. shooting previously injured in August shootout

A gun-toting thug fatally shot a man in the Bronx yesterday, police said. The victim, Ricky Rodriguez-Recio, 20, was believed to be the intended target of a shooting in August that left a 2-year-old critically injured, sources said. The victim was outside of his home on East 181st Street in Bronx Park South at 6:17 p.m. when an unknown gunman opened fire striking him in the chest and hitting another man in the hand, cops said. Rodriguez-Recio was previously shot in the lower back on August 29 when Luis More, 23, opened fire at him, striking two children playing outside. Read More: New York Post

 

Report: Aqueduct Racino Pulled In $90M During Year’s Final Stretch

The money is reportedly flowing at the new Aqueduct racetrack casino in Queens. The Daily News says the racino brought in close to $90 million in revenue in November and December — more than five other gambling operations in New York made all last year. Only locations in Yonkers, Saratoga, and the Finger Lakes took in more money in 2011, but those are open year-round. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pinned Aqueduct’s success on the number of video slots, table games, and its proximity to the city. Read More: NY1

 

Trial on tap in Giants Stadium escalator accident

Opening arguments are under way in a trial brought by eight people who were injured when a Giants Stadium escalator malfunctioned four years. The trial started Monday in state Superior Court in Hackensack in a lawsuit brought against the company that maintained the escalator and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operated Giants Stadium. The escalator malfunctioned as fans were leaving a New York Giants game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 29, 2007. An attorney for the plaintiffs says one person lost a leg and another has had more than a dozen operations on his foot. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Blue Ivy Carter an instant Twitter sensation: Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby garners celebrity attention

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby was trending on Twitter at birth. The social media site was aflutter Sunday with celebrity pals and relatives of the hip-hop royal couple posting messages of 140 characters or less. “The most beautiful girl in the world,” Beyoncé’s sis, Solange Knowles, tweeted of her newborn niece, Blue Ivy Carter. Within hours of entering the world at Lenox Hill Hospital on the upper East Side Saturday night, the infant boasting the lineage of the R&B princess and the rap impresario caused a stir in the Twittersphere. Read More: Daily News

 

No Pants Subway Ride hits New York City for 11th year 

It’s like commuting, but without the pants. Straphangers throughout New York City nonchalantly stripped to their underwear from the waist down Sunday afternoon as part of a global practical joke coordinated by prankster outfit Improv Everywhere. To participate in the 11th annual No Pants Subway Ride, the only requirements were people had to be “willing to take pants off on subway” and “able to keep a straight face about it,” organizers said in a post on their website. Read More: Daily News

 

Trial begins in murder of Laura Garza, young Brooklyn woman who went missing from a Manhattan nightclub  

A murder trial is getting under way for a registered sex offender accused of murdering an aspiring dancer from Texas whose body was found in Pennsylvania more than a year after she went missing in New York. Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Orange County Court in the murder trial of Michael Mele of Wallkill. The victim, Laura Garza, met Mele at a Manhattan nightclub in December 2008 and disappeared afterward. Her body was found in April 2010 near Scranton, Pa. Garza had moved to Brooklyn from McAllen, Texas, five months before her disappearance. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island police investigate swastika drawn on garage door in Sea Cliff

Long Island cops are hunting the vandals who drew a swastika on a garage door in Sea Cliff. Nassau County police say the 63-year-old resident of the home discovered the Nazi symbol over the weekend. Police say it was drawn in black marker sometime between between 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. The incident is being investigated as aggravated harassment. Police say a school, park and three homes were the targets of similar vandalism in Sea Cliff between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Release Photo Of Suspected Bronx Subway Groper

Police in the Bronx are looking for a man they say groped a woman on the subway. The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. on the evening of December 14 at the East Kingsbridge Road and Grand Concourse station on the D line. Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking up the stairs when a man approached from behind, lifted her dress and touched her backside. Read More: NY1

 

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Good Samaritan critically injured rescuing drunk man from subway tracks

A good Samaritan trying to help a drunken man off the Staten Island Railway tracks was hit by a train and critically injured Sunday, officials said. Steven Santiago, 39, came across a drunk who had jumped onto the tracks to retrieve his lost shoe in the New Dorp station about 1:30 a.m., relatives and cops said. When the drunk couldn’t get back onto the platform, Santiago jumped down to help him, officials said. “He is a great man who risked his life to save someone he doesn’t even know,” said the hero’s stunned brother Edwin Santiago, 42. A Tottenville-bound train barreled into the station with both men still on the tracks. The drunk somehow avoided being hit, but Steven Santiago was taken to Staten Island University Hospital North in critical condition after the train slammed into his head, police said. Read More: Daily News

Dallas Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree sits at bedside of brother who was shot in Queens

Dallas Cowboys player Kevin Ogletree was holding vigil Sunday at his big brother’s hospital bedside in Queens — praying he would survive being shot in the head by a pair of bicycling gunmen, a relative said. Calvin Ogletree, 25, remained in critical condition at Jamaica Hospital Sunday night, a day after he was shot in front of his luxury car rental shop on Linden Boulevard in St. Albans. “He’s a good kid; he has a good heart,” Calvin Ogletree’s uncle, Mark Ross, told the Daily News. Read More: Daily News

Worry on Whitestone waterfront; impending sale of 13-acre parcel sparks overdevelopment concerns 

A 13-acre property in Whitestone is up for grabs — the largest single parcel of land for sale in Queens — and it’s attracting the attention of developers but also causing concern among community leaders. The former industrial site, located at 151-45 6th Road, was re-zoned for 52 one-family homes in 2008. The waterfront property comes with an additional five acres that is submerged underwater. Local leaders worried about overdevelopment in the community said they are concerned that a new owner could build many more homes or even multi-family dwellings. Read More: Daily News

Queens Broker Is Accused of Bringing Immigrants’ Ruin

For years, a self-made real estate magnate named Edul Ahmad personified the collective dreams of Richmond Hill, which is populated by many immigrants from Guyana, in South America. Ahmad drove a yellow Lamborghini, sponsored a cricket team and held white-glove parties at a lavish banquet hall that he owned. At a prominent intersection near the border of Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park, his smiling face looked down from a large billboard that promoted his real estate services. Many residents responded, taking out high-risk mortgages that they were told they could readily afford. In July, it all came crashing down. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Ahmad, charging him with masterminding a $50 million mortgage fraud that seemed to exemplify a nationwide phenomenon of celebrated immigrant brokers who were accused of preying on their own. Read More: New York Times

Straphangers Cope With Major MTA Weekend Repairs

With the Metropolitan Transportation Authority doing maintenance and construction this weekend, 17 of the city’s 22 subway lines — the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, D, E, F, G, J, N, Q, R and S lines — are experiencing some type service disruption. For many, it was confusing, annoying and downright frustrating. Some Q train riders in Downtown Brooklyn said on Saturday night that they had it with all the weekend service disruptions. “You got to get off at one particular point in Brooklyn, switch to the bus, get back on another train and it’s not the train that we need. It’s crazy,” said one rider. Read More: NY1

Fallout over failed Queens center

A longtime board member of a politically connected Queens nonprofit resigned yesterday after The Post reported that his publicly funded group owed the Port Authority $2.7 million over its stalled plan to create a new business center. The sudden resignation of Greater Jamaica Development Corp. board member Cruz Russell, whose $173,000-a-year day job is with the PA, came as the bistate agency announced an exhaustive review of its dealings with the nonprofit over the ailing JFK Corporate Square project. Read More: New York Post

New York coalition presents redisticting maps to boost Asian-American, Latino and African-American representation

A coalition of Asian-American, Latino and African-American groups has released a new set of redistricting maps it believes will give the city’s large ethnic populations a greater voice in future elections. The so-called Unity Maps are just one proposal being sent to state lawmakers as they decide how Senate, Assembly and congressional districts in the city should be redrawn to reflect changes in the 2010 Census. A state task force is slated to release its redistricting proposal in the next week or so. Read More: Daily News

Beyonce’s hospital mates baby-bumped

Pushy parents Beyoncé and Jay-Z installed bulletproof glass and burly bodyguards at the Upper East Side hospital where their diva daughter was just born — and even booted worried moms and dads out of the neonatal intensive-care unit. The fuming other parents at Lenox Hill Hospital said they were essentially put on “lockdown” so that the pampered songstress and her party could come and go as they pleased. “They just used the hospital like it was their own and nobody else mattered,” blasted new dad Neil Coulon, who said his efforts to see his premature, newborn twins in the neonatal ICU were disrupted at least four times by the arrival of Beyoncé and her tiny rap princess, Blue Ivy Carter, over the weekend. Read More: New York Post

Liu kicked in arrears

Embattled Comptroller John Liu, the city’s chief fiscal officer, is an accused deadbeat. Con Edison and the state Tax Department have taken separate legal action against his campaign committee, People for John Liu, for allegedly failing to pay nearly $1,500 in outstanding bills and taxes, The Post has learned. Con Ed is suing in Brooklyn Civil Court for about $500 in unpaid electric bills and has sicced a collection agency on him. The delinquency covers energy usage from a campaign office that Liu rented at 1424 Fulton Street in 2008 and 2009 when he was running for his current job, records show. Con Ed filed its initial suit October 14, 2009. A second suit was filed June 25, 2010, after the bills remained unpaid. Read More: New York Post

Luxe penthouse up in smoke


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Luxe penthouse up in smoke

A raging fire destroyed a luxurious, multimillion-dollar penthouse on the Upper East Side last night, authorities said. The blaze started at 7:50 p.m. at 2 East End Ave., quickly engulfing the three-floor penthouse in flames. It took firefighters more than an hour to get the inferno under control, the FDNY said. The triplex penthouse was taken off the market about six months ago after being listed for $14.95 million. The 6,700 square-foot condo has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a grand staircase. Read More: New York Post

 

Manning capable of Giant step

Eli Manning delivered a Super Bowl championship four years ago when no one thought he could, and today it is time for him to put his stamp on a special delivery postmarked New York, N.Y. Manning and the Giants were Road Warriors who rode that Big, Blue magic carpet from Tampa to Dallas to Green Bay to Glendale, Ariz., and Super Bowl XLII, and all the while old Giants Stadium sat dark and silent. It is time for Manning to show New York, show Giants fans inside MetLife Stadium, how an elite quarterback gets things done in the playoffs. Read More: New York Post

 

Beyonce gave birth last night: reports

Beyoncé has reportedly become Bey-MOM-cé. The superstar singer gave birth to a baby girl last night, according to her hometown paper the Houston Chronicle. The tot was delivered by c-section and hubby Jay-Z is telling pals her name is Ivy Blue Carter, E! Online reported. Both mom and daughter were doing fine. The Upper East Side medical center had been prepping a luxurious suite for her — and had just finished a major renovation of a dozen rooms and a nursing station for the pop queen and Jay-Z’s arrival, sources said. Read More: New York Post

 

Pizza race-slur outrage

When Harlem resident Minhee Cho, 24, ordered a small pizza from a Papa John’s restaurant, she was shocked to find that a staffer ID’d her as “lady chinky eyes” on her receipt. “I don’t think a giant corporation should write those things on a receipt,” Cho told The Post last night. “That’s poor management. It was surprising to see that on paper; if they had said it in person, it would have been worse.” Cho posted the receipt with the racial slur on her Twitter account yesterday, where it was viewed more than 100,000 times in less than four hours. Read More: New York Post

 

New York City school employee faked her child’s death to get extra vacation

A city school employee scammed a week off for a Costa Rica vacation by staging the mother of all hoaxes — convincing her bosses she couldn’t work because her daughter had died. Joan Barnett, a parent coordinator at the Manhattan High School of Hospitality Management, was so determined to make the spring break jaunt that she: Had one of her daughters call the school to say that her sister had suffered a heart attack in Costa Rica. Had another daughter call the school later that day to say that the sister had died and that about a dozen relatives, including Barnett, were traveling to the country for a funeral. Faxed a forged death certificate of her daughter “Xinia Daley Herman” to school as proof of the death. The document is required if a city school employee asks for bereavement days. Thanks to the scam, Barnett, 58, was able to spend 21/2 weeks in March 2010 — including her school-sanctioned spring break — in the tropical paradise, city investigators said. But the fun in the sun didn’t last long. Read More: Daily News

 

From St. John’s to stardom; J.Cole debut album is number one


| choahing@queenscourier.com

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Jay-Z signed him to his record label. He’s performed at Yankee Stadium. He was nominated for a BET Hip Hop Award. And his first album just debuted at number one.

Who is this hot new rap artist? It’s St. John’s University graduate J. Cole.

Jermaine Cole, 26, was born in Frankfurt, Germany, where his parents were stationed in the military, but he grew up in Fayetteville, North Carolina. When he was 12-years-old, Cole decided he wanted to be a professional rapper – like his idols Canibus, Eminem and Nas – and began writing his own lyrics. After graduating from high school in 2003, Cole headed to the Big Apple determined to achieve his goals of breaking into the music business and earning his college degree.

“On top of being a real fun major, it made me conscious of public relations, your brand and how you’re represented to the public,” Cole explained about what he learned at St. John’s. “When I have interviews or when I’m in the public light, I’m handling myself differently than another rapper might.”

After graduation, Cole worked part-time doing classified ad sales for The Queens Courier.

“It was the only job I could find that was real flexible with the hours so I could go to the [recording] studio and be up real late and then go in to work at, like, 1,” Cole recalled.

The majority of his time, however, was spent working on songs and trying to make connections with the right music biz insiders. He would look online for the names of A&R reps, producers, managers and other notable people and then cold call them.

“It took years and years of trying,” said Cole. “I was rapping on people’s voicemails. If I knew somebody was in the game, I would send a message…. It never worked, but these were the things I was trying.”

So, just how did Cole become the first hip-artist to land a deal with Jay-Z’s label Roc Nation?

“It was a very long story, but the condensed version is: I finally broke through when I met Mark Pitts, a real heavyweight in the game, who managed Biggie back in the day and signed Chris Brown and Ciara. He heard my music and loved it, and ended up playing a song called ‘Lights Please’ for Jay-Z. From there, the rest is history. Jay wanted to sign me after he met me.”

The contract was inked in February 2009.

Although he’s released several mix tapes, Cole World: The Sideline Story is the rapper’s debut full-length CD.

“Musically, it’s incredible,” Cole said. “I can’t wait for people to hear it! It’s real heavy and real emotional – family issues, life struggles, death, jail. I love that, but there’s a balance. It’s not an album where you have to be in a certain type of mood to listen to it.”

“Last year, I was on a tour with Jay-Z and shared a little bus with Wale,” said Cole. “This is the first time it’s actually my tour.”

But it was back in last September that Cole played the largest venue – so far – of his career: Yankees Stadium.

“It was crazy to be on that stage, but even better than being on that stage was just watching that,” he said about the historic two-night concert event headlined by Jay-Z and Eminem in which he served as one of the opening acts. “That was incredible. Rock artists sell out stadiums every night, but it takes two of the biggest hip-hop artists to fill up a stadium. It’s inspirational! When I really put it in perspective, it gave me a new goal. My new goal is to be the first rapper selling out stadiums on a regular basis. Even saying that lets me know how far I got to go. But how incredible would that be?”