Tag Archives: JetBlue

JetBlue expansion at JFK will bring jobs


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of JetBlue

More than 1,000 jobs are expected to come from a green-lit terminal expansion at JFK International Airport, the Port Authority and JetBlue announced last week.

The expansion will add 145,000-square-feet on three levels to the already 635,000-square-feet JetBlue occupies in Terminal 5. The new terminal will be called T5i and handle international flights and house a federal customs station — eliminating the need for customs inspections at Terminal 4 — according to JetBlue.

Port Authority Chair David Samson complimented the airline on its service and its commitment to the area.

“The JetBlue agreement is another great example of the agency’s efforts to partner with the private sector to provide for our region’s transportation infrastructure needs, while creating high-paying construction jobs and spurring further long-term economic activity in New York and New Jersey,” he said.

Along with the expected 1,090 jobs, the project is expected to bring in $74 million in wages and $325 million from economic activity over the duration, the Port Authority said. The project is expected to begin this summer; completion is expected by either 2014 or 2015. A price tag for the expansion has not yet been set.

Executives of Long Island City-based JetBlue said they were happy to continue expanding at JFK.

“We’re excited to move forward with our plans to further expand our presence at JFK and to create a seamless travel experience for our customers transferring from international flights, and would like to thank the Port Authority for their approval and on-going support,” said vice president of Corporate Real Estate Richard Smyth.

JetBlue sign will grace L.I.C. sky


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Following a year of cutting through red tape – and mulling a move to Florida – JetBlue has been given the green light to provide Long Island City with a “sign” that they are here to stay.

The City Council voted unanimously on April 30 to approve a zoning amendment allowing companies to construct signs on non-residential buildings along 14 blocks of a

Queens Plaza sub-district – which runs between 23rd Street and the Sunnyside railroad yard.

The changes were pushed by JetBlue so the airline could construct a sign of its logo on the rooftop of its new headquarters in the Brewster Building, located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in L.I.C.

JetBlue was considering departing New York and landing in Orlando last year, but was ultimately enticed into staying by a city package consisting of tax exemptions and marketing-relating incentives – reportedly reaching $30 million. The airline moved to the Brewster Building on April 4, bringing 1,000 of its 5,300 Queens-based employees to L.I.C.

“We are New York’s hometown airline and this sign will reinforce our status as an iconic New York brand,” said Tamara Young, manager of corporate communications for JetBlue. “We are proud to be here and we are proud to be a neighbor in L.I.C. We want to introduce ourselves to our neighbors and be a part of the driving force in the development that is taking place in the neighborhood. This sign is a way to do that.”

The proposed placard will be formed out of a steel box with an acrylic face and will be illuminated at night by high efficiency LED light strips, making the letters blue during the day and appear white after sundown. It will be 42 feet high and 75 feet wide – with the tallest letter reaching 25 feet – and will encompass similar qualities to other historic advertisements across the neighborhood, including the Silvercup and Pepsi signs. If no other obstacles are encountered, JetBlue believes the sign will be installed early in the fall.

Zoning regulations put in place in 2001 restricted the height of new signs in manufacturing districts to 40 feet above curb level. In order to rewrite the rules, JetBlue initially had to receive approval from Community Boards (CB) 1 and 2. Although CB 1 passed the airline’s application, the board members did suggest the “rooftop sign be limited to a tenant that occupied a minimum of 25 percent of the total building area” and that subleasing not be allowed. CB 2 voted unanimously against the changes, citing the “lack of oversight and community input and comment on any future rooftop signs.”

CB 2 was reportedly concerned that too many signs would sprout up on neighborhood buildings, causing a similar scene to Las Vegas or Times Square.
Dutch Kills Civic Association President Jerry Walsh believes the zoning rules should not be comprehensive, but each case should be studied independently.
“I think each sign should be looked at individually. It shouldn’t be a blanket thing,” Walsh said. “You have to be a major renter of the building to put a sign up. You can’t live in a closet and expect to get a sign up. We don’t want to see flashing signs like on 42nd Street.”

To ease community apprehension, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer worked with the Department of City Planning to rework the amendment – stipulating that only tenants that occupied 20 percent or 50,000 square feet of a building could erect a sign on its roof.

CB 2 subsequently approved the proposal, followed by a City Council subcommittee on zoning and the entire council.

Van Bramer said he is not worried about the area resembling the glitzy midtown Manhattan attraction due to the few buildings that are eligible to apply for signs. The councilmember went on to say he believes the number of signs will ultimately be minimal, while the passage of the amendment is an important step for JetBlue’s success.

“I think the arrival of JetBlue is great news for L.I.C.,” Van Bramer said. “Its sign will be a visual reminder of the transformation and rebirth of the Dutch Kills and Queens Plaza area. I think it will be a sign that L.I.C. is open for business and good for business. JetBlue brings vitality and energy and life. I hope it will attract more businesses to come to Queens Plaza, Dutch Kills and L.I.C.”

Forest Hills biz hurt by JetBlue departure


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Forest Hills Tower 3w

JetBlue’s takeoff from Forest Hills has been rocky for local businesses – now severely struggling to survive.

A number of merchants say they have lost large percentages of their business since the airline moved from its headquarters in the Forest Hills Tower, located on Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike, to a modernized facility in Queens Plaza in Long Island City last week – taking with it roughly 900 employees and daily customers.

Con Edison, which has roughly 80 employees in the Forest Hills Tower, is also moving. Several employees left on April 6, and the rest are expected to move by the end of the year, according to a Con Edison spokesperson.

Rikin Patel, the 23 year old who runs Mini LLC, a coffee and snack shop in the lobby of the building, says business has dropped nearly 60 percent in the past week.

“Since JetBlue left, everything has been quiet. Business is very slow,” said Patel, who is now covering expenses out of pocket. “I’m just trying to survive right now. I’m trying to cut down expenses and survive until a new company comes. It’s been one week, so it is too early to say whether we’re able to survive.”

Patel believes business should return to normal when the space is filled with a new tenant.

Matt Davidov, owner of Hot Bialys & Bagels, located a block away from the office building, says his shop used to be very busy thanks to JetBlue customers, who accounted for at least 30 percent of his business.

“We had a lot of JetBlue people coming in. We used to be busy but not anymore,” Davidov said. “I’m concerned to the extent of how I’m going to pay for things, but I’m cutting down here and there. I could probably survive a few months longer without cutting down on the staff. Beyond that, I would have to make cuts.”

JetBlue employees used to get 10 percent off at Davidov’s store, due to the volume of customers, but the owner says he can no longer afford to offer discounts and still earn a profit – which he claims is a common dilemma in the area.

“All the businesses around here are suffering,” he said. “There were a lot of businesses that opened up just because of [JetBlue] being here.”

Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, says one local shop recently closed in part because of JetBlue’s departure.

“We are sorry to see that [JetBlue is] leaving Forest Hills,” Brown said. “We liked the fact that JetBlue called Forest Hills its home. The small shops are going to feel the difference of 900 people not buying coffee or lunch or going shopping on their break or having a drink after work. Hopefully, another corporation will come in and take over the space because Forest Hills is such a vibrant place and a great place to do business.”

A spokesperson for Muss Development LLC, which owns the 17-story Forest Hills Tower, could not comment regarding prospective tenants or a timetable for replacing JetBlue, which occupied 10 stories of the building. The spokesperson did say there has been “a lot of interest from potential tenants.”

Ken Siegel, the international managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, which is marketing the space, says there has been “a good amount of interest, both from local firms and firms from western Nassau and Manhattan.” Siegel expects to have the location “fully leased within the next few months,” due in large part to the building’s municipal incentives, panoramas of Manhattan and proximity to public transportation.

Reports have indicated that Plaza College, a business and health school located in Jackson Heights, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office is interested in potentially leasing the space.

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

JetBlue’s crazy capt. just before freak-out

In the moments before JetBlue pilot Clayton Osbon threw a terrifying tantrum aboard a flight from JFK to Las Vegas last week, he appeared to be the picture of calm, according to a newly released video of the terrifying incident. In the footage, Capt. Osbon can be seen chatting with flight attendants, one of whom is even smiling. The other flight attendant goes on about her business, as Osbon talks and sips water. Moments later, he went berserk, prompting passengers to hold him down while the plane made an emergency landing. Read More: New York Post

Plea deal in Queens deli slay

A Queens man pleaded guilty yesterday to a reduced charge for killing a hardworking deli owner who tried save his brother during a botched robbery. Shawn Forde, 29, admitted he gunned down 54-year-old Juan Torres, owner of the Lucky Grocery & Deli on Merrick Boulevard in Laurelton, in October 2010 as the victim was trying to protect his brother, Felix. Forde had faced 25 years to life for the murder and robbery, but copped a plea to first-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced to 15 years in prison on May 1. Read More: New York Post

Staten Island man arrested in accident that killed woman who died saving grandson

A 40-year-old Staten Island man was arrested early this morning, charged with driving away after running over a grandmother who was returning home from church. Clara Almazo, 57, died while courageously saving her 8-year-old grandson from the speeding vehicle, witnesses and relatives said. At this point, Brian McGurk is charged with leaving the scene of an accident. That accident happened as Almazo and the child were crossing Cary Avenue at Elizabeth Street in the West Brighton section. The black SUV barreled straight toward them at 9:50 p.m. Read More: New York Post

 

 

State Attorney General Seeks To Ban Sex Offenders From Online Gaming

“Online gaming is not just a digital playground. It has the potential to be a 21st century crime scene,” said the attorney general. On Thursday, Schneiderman announced the launch of “Operation: Game Over,” a deal with some of the country’s major gaming companies, like Microsoft and Sony, to block more than 3,500 online accounts of registered sex offenders, to take aim at offenders who may use these games to chat online with kids. “The most popular video games are specifically designed so players must interact,” said Schneiderman. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

Amazin’ Mets Seal 1-0 Victory At Citi Field Opener

The New York Mets opened their season of 162 games with a 1-0 win over the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. Ace starting pitcher Johan Santana made a successful return after missing last season with a shoulder injury, pitching five scoreless innings and only giving up two hits while striking out five. The Mets scored the only run of the game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by David Wright. Frank Francisco closed it out ending it with a strikeout of Jason Heyward. The Mets have now won on opening day 33 of the last 43 years, but are still looking to rebound from three straight losing seasons. Read More: NY1

 

 

Roosevelt Islanders Discuss Planned Local Tech Center With Cornell Officials

Cornell University has animations to represent its present vision of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, but officials admitted what they call an open campus will change shape because they want the community’s input. “It’s not just rhetoric. We’re the state’s land grant institution and so it’s critical over the years we are developing this campus we’ve become good neighbors,” said Cornell University President David Skorton. NY1

 

 

Sixteen teachers singled out for pervy conduct get to keep their jobs in New York City schools

Sixteen city teachers have been singled out by education officials for pervy classroom behavior — but they can’t be fired, the Daily News has learned. One instructor allegedly bent a kid over a chair and thrust into him from behind, saying “I’ll show you what is gay.” Another couldn’t stop calling girls in his gym class “sexy.” And yet another is accused of telling a student: “I slept with your mother last night.” Read More: Daily News

L.I.C. to JetBlue: ‘Welcome aboard’


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

040412 JetBlue Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony #2w

JetBlue has landed in Long Island City.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined numerous local legislators for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on April 4 – unveiling JetBlue’s new corporate headquarters in the historic Brewster Building, located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North in L.I.C.

JetBlue announced its decision to keep its headquarters in New York City in 2010, and the airline’s new facility combines its Forest Hills office with the one in Darien, Connecticut – bringing 70 jobs into the five boroughs and roughly 1,000 into L.I.C.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents L.I.C., was pleased to welcome the airline to the neighborhood.

“The arrival of JetBlue in L.I.C. represents a milestone in the rebirth of Queens Plaza,” Van Bramer said. “With over 1,000 Jet Blue crew members now calling L.IC. home, the gateway to Queens will be more vibrant, and full of local economic activity. Welcome aboard Jet Blue!”

Top Headlines From Around the Web


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Jailed Queens man who says he didn’t commit murder wins retrial

A Queens man who spent eight of his 38 years in jail for a murder he says he didn’t commit won a retrial Wednesday. Tejpal Singh’s murder conviction was set aside by Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise after two key witnesses recanted their claim that he gunned down 19-year-old Kamaljit Singh in 1996. During five weeks of hearings Tejpal’s attorney, Stephen Murphy, grilled Ramjit “Rocky” Singh, who claimed at Tejpal’s trial that he was the drive-by shooter. Read More: New York Post

 

Former Yankees pitcher Pavano victim of extortion attempt, family says

Former Yankees pitcher Carl Pavano was the victim of an extortion attempt in which a former classmate tried to get money and an SUV from the right-hander by threatening to reveal information about his personal life, Pavano’s family claims. Read More: New York Post

 

300-pound hero flight passenger said he had no choice when he took down crazy captain

David Gonzalez boarded a plane to Las Vegas on Tuesday morning and managed to do something that very, very few people have ever done. Gonzalez put the pilot in a choke hold while the aircraft was in midair. But Gonzalez, of Henryville, Pa., said he had no other choice. The pilot was acting so erratically that the plane’s crew asked for passengers’ help to subdue him, the Pocono Record reported Thursday. Gonzalez, a former New York City corrections officer, reflected on his experience aboard JetBlue Flight 191. He said he was happy no one got hurt and that he was trying to deal as best he could with being thrust overnight into the national media spotlight. Read More: New York Post

 

Off-duty cop driving wrong way killed in fiery crash in Bronx

An off-duty Mount Vernon cop, driving the wrong way on the New England Thruway, was killed in a fiery crash when he slammed head-on into a tractor-trailer in the Bronx early this morning, authorities said. Reginald Velez, 29, was driving south in the northbound center lane in his Lexus sedan near exit 11 when he plowed into the rig at about 2:35 a.m., officials said. The Lexus immediately burst into flames. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop accidentally shoots woman during Brooklyn drug raid, sources say

A police officer accidentally discharged his weapon during a drug raid in Brooklyn and struck a woman – leaving her in critical condition, police sources said. Brooklyn South Narcotics officers were searching a third floor apartment in a building on Clarendon Road near Nostrand Avenue when an officer’s gun accidentally went off and shot through the floor, striking a 25-year-old woman in the residence below. Read More: New York Post

 

Ex-club owner turns down no-jail plea for Manhattan bar brawl with Prince of Monaco

Royal jaw-buster Adam Hock turned down a no-jail plea in a Manhattan courtroom today — insisting he’ll go to trial to prove he was the victim of “international bar brawlers” in his flashy February fight with the Prince of Monaco. “We have information that these four individuals are known bar brawlers,” Hock’s new lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, insisted after a brief court appearance today, referring to Prince Pierre Casiraghi and the three royal pals Hock is charged with also decking. Read More: New York Post

 

Jamaica Dumping Ground Gets A Clean Sweep

The fence and graffiti are still there, but at least one problem is gone — the mounds of trash that filled this illegal dumping site along the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica, Queens. On Wednesday, sanitation workers spent nearly six hours cleaning the well-known dumping ground after NY1 called them about the problem. “It was sick to look at, you know,” said resident Mo Ali. “It’s like our place, you know. It’s getting back to normal.” Read More: NY1

 

Two Hospitalized Following Van Wyck Service Road Accident

Several people were injured Wednesday in a three car pile-up on the Van Wyck service road in South Jamaica, Queens. The accident happened near Linden Boulevard around noon Wednesday. Firefighters used the “jaws of life” to remove one of the passengers, as the rear of the car hung on a bent street sign. One witness said the driver was unresponsive with his foot still on the pedal, spinning the car’s wheels. Read More: NY1

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Carmelo’s inspiring game despite the pain leads Knicks to win

The pain in Reed’s hip was probably a little sharper than the ache in Carmelo Anthony’s groin, the needle a little longer in 1970, the stakes far higher. This wasn’t Game 7 of the Finals with a title on the table, merely Game 51 of a lockout-cleaved season with a chance to gaze the northern side of .500 for the first time since mid January 16. Read More: New York Post

Elevator man electrocuted

An elevator mechanic was electrocuted last night at a Midtown office building, authorities said. The 39-year-old victim was found dead at around 9:30 p.m. in the ninth-floor mechanical room at 1290 Sixth Avenue. “Two engineers found him,” said a building employee who didn’t want to give his name. “He was a very nice guy,” the employee said of the victim, who had worked at the building for five years. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s aide pulling strings

Comptroller John Liu has turned to his top political adviser, Chung Seto, for more than just campaign advice — he has actually let her run much of his office, even though she is not a city employee, The Post has learned. Seto, who orchestrated Liu’s political ascent, has been dealing with everything from redecorating to communications with the White House — and has even referred financial advisers to the city’s pension czar, according to e-mails between Seto and Comptroller’s Office staffers obtained by The Post through a freedom- of-information request. Read More: New York Post

Westchester Man Charged With Ill-Fated Assault In Subway Station

Police have arrested and charged Ryan Beauchamp, a Westchester resident, in connection with a fight last week at a Brooklyn subway station that left another man dead. Beauchamp, 33, is facing two misdemeanor charges of attempted assault and harassment. Investigators say Beauchamp was drunk and got into a fight with Joshua Basin, 20, on Friday night at the L train stop at Bedford Avenue. Read More: NY1

 

 

 

JetBlue Captain Charged With Interfering With Crew On NYC Flight To Vegas

A JetBlue captain who acted erratically and had to be restrained onboard a Las Vegas-bound flight from New York was charged Wednesday with interfering with the crew and has been suspended. The captain of Flight 191, 49-year-old Clayton Osbon, seen above, was caught on video yelling about a bomb. A newly released court document says Osbon was still in the cockpit when he rambled about religion, turned off radio controls and dimmed monitors. He allegedly told the co-pilot to take a leap of faith and then stormed out of the cockpit. Read More: NY1

 

 

Trayvon Martin case: Shooter George Zimmerman appears uninjured in police video on night of shooting

Explosive video reveals that George Zimmerman appeared uninjured when he arrived at a Florida police station the night he shot Trayvon Martin — his nose is not broken or bleeding and the back of his head is unmarked by grass or bruising. The Sanford, Fla., Police Department says it did not arrest the Hispanic neighborhood watchman who killed the unarmed black teenager because Trayvon was pounding his head into the ground and Zimmerman shot in self-defense. Read More: Daily News

Days after exposé, Gov. Cuomo bans ‘legal pot’ statewide

Synthetic marijuana — the dangerous designer drug sold as herbal incense — is being banned statewide. The order from the state Health Department will go out Thursday, a week after the Daily News revealed the fake weed is sending young New Yorkers to the emergency room. “We are banning the sale of synthetic marijuana because, no matter what you call it, it’s clear that this is an illegal drug which is putting the health of New Yorkers, especially young adults, at risk,” Gov. Cuomo told The News. Read More: Daily News

Man Hit, Killed At Queens Road Junction


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cops save freezing kayaker

Cops yesterday rescued a fisherman whose kayak was sinking in the Atlantic off Jacob Riis Park. The 46-year-old called 9-1-1 at 1:19 p.m. when his boat started taking on water. NYPD Harbor boats began a search, but it was an Aviation Unit Air-Sea Rescue helicopter that located the fisherman as he was clinging to the submerged vessel in the frigid water. The victim was suffering from hypothermia when scuba-diving Officers Jason Gregory and Darren Blum were deployed from the chopper. He was lifted into the aircraft from a basket and rushed to New York Community Hospital. Read More: New York Post

NY lawmaker urges grading system for street food

New York City restaurants get letter grades and now the city food carts may get the same. State Senator Jose Peralta (D-Queens) is introducing legislation to require posted letter health grades for street vendors. Peralta says he wants to make sure whether the public eats in a quality restaurant or eats in a street mobile vending cart, that quality of the food meets certain health and safety standards. Read More: Fox News

Man Sues Boss Over Fat Jokes

A former New York furniture store employee says his manager was so fixated on his weight that she ordered him to establish a “fat club,” recruit members and act as its president. Thomas Hunt, 48, claims his manager at a Raymour & Flanigan furniture store in Queens, Marlene Albarano, relentlessly ribbed Hunt about his extra poundage — even denying him a promotion solely because of his appearance and once ordering him to walk around the building for 30 minutes on his lunch break. Read More: Fox News

Man Hit, Killed At Queens Road Junction

City fire officials say a man was walking near the Clearview-Long Island Expressway interchange in Fresh Meadows just before noon Sunday when he was hit and killed. The man was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the car stayed on the scene and no criminality was suspected. Read More: NY1

Police Investigate Fatal Shooting Of Queens Teen

Police continue to investigate the shooting death of a teenage boy in front of a home in Queens. Officers were called to Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday. When they arrived, they found Eric Norman, 18, dead after being shot in the head. So far, there are no arrests. Read More: NY1

Boozing JetBlue passenger busted by off-duty NYPD cop
A vacationing Bronx cop on a flight home from the Dominican Republic is being hailed a mile-high hero for taking down a berserk passenger who attacked a flight attendant. About an hour into JetBlue Flight 832 to Kennedy Airport, an unruly passenger a few rows behind the officer got loud. Antonio Ynoa, 22, was pestering a flight attendant for soda to mix with his duty-free rum. The flight attendant told Ynoa opening duty-free alcohol onboard was prohibited and repeatedly told him to put it away. The unemployed Ynoa, who was returning to New York from visiting his wife in the Dominican Republic, carried on drinking and yelling profanities. Read More: Daily News