Tag Archives: jfk airport

AirTrain to temporaily shut down starting Tuesday night


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

All AirTrain JFK service will be suspended system-wide, from 9 p.m. Tuesday until 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

During the shut down, free bus service will be provided at the following locations:

  • Jamaica Station to Federal Circle Station
  • Federal Circle Station to all airline terminals
  • Federal Circle Station to Lefferts Blvd Station
  • Long-Term Parking Lot 9 to the terminal area
  • In the terminal area

The Port Authority is advising riders to allow for extra travel time during the suspension. The schedule is subject to change and dependent on weather conditions. For updates, click here.

 

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Pennsylvania man busted at JFK with loaded gun, metal knuckles


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of TSA

A Pennsylvania man is facing some serious prison time after he was caught at John F. Kennedy International Airport trying to board a plane with a loaded handgun and a martial arts weapon.

Richard Forti, 55 of Annville, in Central Pennsylvania, was passing through security on his way to Los Angeles Wednesday morning when he was busted with the weapons, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and District Attorney Richard Brown.

As he passed through airport security, Forti removed his vest and placed it in a bin to go on the conveyor belt to be x-rayed. It was at that point that a TSA officer saw the .32 caliber gun, which was loaded with five rounds, in the pocket of the vest, the TSA said. Forti also allegedly had a cat eye-knuckles martial arts weapon with him that showed up on the TSA x-ray machine.

Port Authority police then confiscated the weapons and arrested Forti, the TSA said.

At the time of his arrest, Forti allegedly told police “The vest is mine and I put the gun in there for protection.  Those are my knuckles.  I put them in my vest,” according to Brown.

“It is beyond comprehension why intelligent people would think that it is okay to board an airplane with a loaded gun on their person,” Brown said.

Forti is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on numerous charges of criminal possession of a weapon, prosecutors said.  If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 51. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mainly clear. Low 36. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Happy Hour with QNSMADE & SingleCut Beersmiths

Come hang out at SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria and try some locally made Queens craft beer. QNSMADE’s mission is to give a voice to the people that make up this borough and provide a space to bring together all the amazing things that are happening in the many pockets of Queens. With seven days left to go on its Kickstarter,  let’s come together and make this happen. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police arrest man accused of making anti-Muslim statements toward teen on Queens bus

A man wanted for making anti-Muslim statements toward a 15-year-old girl aboard a Queens bus while spiting at the teen and threatening to punch her has been arrested, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Bratton issues new guidelines for jaywalking stops 

Less than four months after officers started cracking down on jaywalkers in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is telling officers to use more discretion when stopping people who cross the street illegally, according to law enforcement sources. Read more: NBC New York

EXCLUSIVE: City Controller Scott Stringer launching audit of Build it Back Hurricane Sandy home re-building program

The City’s troubled Build it Back program, which has only served a handful of Hurricane Sandy victims since the 2012 natural disaster struck, is going under the microscope. Read more: New York Daily News

Plane evacuated at JFK Airport after bomb threat: officials

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say. Read more: NBC New York

Contract talks heat up between transit workers, MTA

Transit workers came closer to making a deal with the MTA Tuesday more than two years after their labor contract expired, union sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post

Heroin found in JFK passenger’s underwear


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U. S. Customs and Border Protection

A man flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport earlier this month got his panties in a bunch when he was caught with heroin in his underwear, according to U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials.

The alleged smuggler, Bernard Charles, was caught after arriving at the airport on a flight from Trinidad on April 1, CBP said.

During a baggage examination, he allegedly “exhibited numerous signs of nervousness.” He was then taken to private room where CBP officers conducted a physical search of Charles and found two clear packages in his groin area, officials said.

The packages allegedly contained a brown paste-like substance that tested positive for heroin. In total, 1.79 pounds of the drug were seized, with an approximate street value of more than $70,000, according to CBP.

Charles, a Trinidad and Tobago citizen, was arrested and now faces federal narcotics smuggling charges.

 

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Man caught at JFK with cocaine concealed inside frozen meat


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U. S. Customs and Border Protection

An arriving passenger faced some beefed-up security when he allegedly tried to smuggle cocaine through John F. Kennedy International Airport last month.

Yudishtir Maharaj has just come off a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad on March 20, when U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped him for a baggage inspection, CBP said.

During the search, they found three large packages of meat in his luggage, according to officials. They allegedly discovered white powder inside the meat, which tested positive for cocaine. In total, officers seized 7.35 pounds of the drug, the CBP said.

Maharaj faces federal narcotics smuggling charges and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York, according to CBP.

 

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Police arrest livery driver at JFK for forgery


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Port Authority Police

A livery cab driver was busted at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) with a suspended license and charged with forgery, according to Port Authority Police.

Narinjan Singh, 40 of Michigan, was allegedly sitting inside a Lincoln Town Car bearing livery plates in a no parking zone at the airport about 3 p.m. Wednesday when police asked for his driver’s license. After showing officers his license, they discovered it was suspended, a Port Authority police spokesman said.

An investigation found that Singh’s license for operating a livery cab had been forged, according to the spokesperson.

Singh was arrested and charged with forgery, criminal possession of a forged instrument, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and unlicensed operator, police said.

 

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Gov. announces measures to address Queens plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will double its sound monitors and create an office to address soaring noise complaints, under a string of new orders announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County,” Cuomo said. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

Gripes have been pouring in since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern in 2012 that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“There have been days I felt so hopeless,” said Susan Carroll, of Flushing. “I get the takeoff. I get the landing. Flushing never gets a break from the airplane noise. We never get any peace.”

Carroll said she lodges so many complaints with the Port Authority’s hotline — at least one a day, since last summer — operators mistake her for an aviation expert.

“I actually cried tears of joy when I heard the news,” she said. “This is tremendous for all of us.”

Within the next few months, the Port Authority will implement a series of new measures that include monitoring flight tracks online, establishing regular roundtables with elected and federal officials, and conducting extensive noise studies.

More portable noise monitors will be placed in communities currently without one, the governor said. And the new noise office’s seven-member staff will collect and review data while responding to community complaints.

“We are committed to working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns, while bringing JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

 

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JFK seizure nets more than $100K in fake cash


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A man returning from South America was busted at John F. Kennedy International Airport with more than $100,000 in counterfeit cash after authorities discovered numerous bills hidden inside a diary box.

Marlon Williams Rodriguez Ezeta, 21, arrived at the airport on Feb. 21 on a flight from Lima, Peru when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized the fake money.

During an examination of Rodriguez Ezeta’s luggage, an officer removed a cardboard diary box, sliced it open and found what appeared to be counterfeit U.S. $100 bills, CBP officials said.

A further investigation revealed a total of $121,300 in counterfeit U.S. bills concealed in the diary box, two wallets, one fabric box, and two cloth shoe racks.

Rodriguez Ezeta was arrested and the fake money was seized, according to CBP. The evidence was turned over to the Secret Service.

 

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Renderings show potential vision for LaGuardia Airport’s future


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Global Gateway Alliance

Though it has faced recent criticism for its outdated look, LaGuardia Airport’s future appears to be modern and functional.

Advocacy group Global Gateway Alliance has released renderings, created by design firm Neoscape, showcasing its vision for the airport’s main terminal, which is slated to get a facelift.

“This comprehensive vision integrates a modern, efficient and innovative design, including the striking all-glass façade, into LaGuardia’s outdated main terminal said Joseph Sitt, founder and chairman of Global Gateway Alliance. “It maximizes the area’s significant space constraints while seamlessly connecting passengers to the city.”

Global Gateway Alliance hopes that by releasing the renderings it will generate excitement for the project and those bidding on the project, will take their ideas into consideration, a spokesperson for the group said.

The newly-designed terminal needs to feature easy access to transportation, including a bus rapid transit stop in front, and a play area, the spokesperson added.

In 2012, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey announced a $3.6 billion makeover for the airport. The terminal, built in 1964, is set to undergo a series of developments over the next six to 10 years.

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in his State of the State address, this January, said the borough’s airports were in need of care, particularly LaGuardia, which he said was ranked as the worst airport in the country.

Cuomo proposed modernizing LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports by having the state assume management responsibility from the Port Authority.

He is not alone in his negative assessment of the airport.

Vice President Joe Biden, while speaking about infrastructure in Philadelphia last month, said LaGuardia Airport was similar to a “third world country.”

 

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FBI: Laser beam strikes targeting planes increase in NYC airports


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A crime that can temporarily blind airplane pilots and put air passengers at risk is spiking in New York City airports, authorities said.

Laser beam strikes targeting in-bound planes have increased 39 percent in the city, the FBI said. The number of incidents jumped to 99 in 2013 from 71 in 2012.

Authorities believe youngsters on top of residential roofs are aiming the powerful light beams at airplane cockpits as a prank.

“Laser incidents are often viewed as harmless acts. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos. “A laser pointed at a plane’s cockpit could blind a pilot and down an aircraft.”

At least 35 pilots have been injured by laser strikes since last December, the FBI said.

In one instance, a JetBlue pilot flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport last December was temporarily blinded for more than a week, the bureau said.

The federal agency is offering up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and is hoping its regional awareness campaign deters the felony, which is punishable by five years in jail.

“It is important that people understand that this is a criminal act with potentially deadly repercussions,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

The pointers can be easily and legally purchased, authorities said, and the beams can travel further than one mile.

Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI at 212-384-1000.

 

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Queens highways, other city infrastructure ‘badly’ in need of repair: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons / Jim.henderson

Queens is facing some serious infrastructure challenges, according to a new report.

The Center for an Urban Future found the borough has five of the nine worst maintained highways in the city.

Based on a 10-point scale, where 1 to 5 is considered “poor,” 6 is “fair,” 7 to 8 is “good,” and 9 to 10 is “excellent,” in 2012, the Jackie Robinson Parkway received a surface rating of 5.8, and the Shore Front Parkway, Cross Bay Parkway Route 25A and Route 24 earned a 6.0.

Overall, highway conditions in the borough have been deteriorating, the report said. In 2008, 38 percent of Queens highways were rated “fair” or “poor.” Four years later, 52 percent were in the same shape.

The report, released Tuesday, showed additional infrastructure issues in the borough.

About 30 percent of its streets were in “fair” or “poor” condition.

Other findings showed that Queens New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments have the most deteriorated building façades and roofs, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inspections. Four of the NYCHA complexes in the borough need over $70 million in façade repairs through 2016.

Several of the city’s oldest wastewater treatment plants are in eastern Queens, including Jamaica (1943) and Bowery Bay near Flushing (1939), according to the report.

John F. Kennedy International Airport also needs upgrades due to age.

Its facilities are 40 years old on average, “with 63 percent of cargo space considered ‘non-viable,’ or unfit for modern screening, storage and distribution,” the report said.

Queens was not alone in its infrastructure problems.

The report calculated that New York City needs $47 billion over the next four to five years to bring its “aging infrastructure to a state of good repair.”

It found that a “significant portion” of the city’s bridges, water mains, sewer pipes, school buildings and other important infrastructure is more than 50 years old and “badly” in need of repair.

“New York won’t be able to address every one of the city’s infrastructure vulnerabilities at this time,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future and co-editor of the report. “But if a significant chunk of the city’s critical infrastructure is not brought to a state of good repair in the years ahead, it could seriously undermine the city’s economic competitiveness and quality of life—and lead to substantial long-term costs.”

The aging infrastructure includes 1,000 miles of water mains more than 100 years old; more than 160 bridges across the five boroughs that were built over a century ago; and 6,300 miles of gas mains that are on average, 56 years old.

The report suggests creating new dedicated revenue sources to pay for repairing and modernizing infrastructure.

 

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JFK baggage handlers accused of taking checks, money orders from mail


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Five John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) baggage handlers, including two Queens men, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of checks and money orders that were being sent through overseas mail, officials announced Friday.

The men are accused of taking the money orders and checks, which were bound for Japan, China, Korea, and other places, and depositing them into their own bank accounts. They also allegedly swiped credit cards and used them to buy iPad minis and other electronics from “Best Buy” kiosks at the airport, according to officials.

“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Following multiple reports of thefts of credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail, specifically mail being handled by Ground Services International baggage handlers at JFK, a joint investigation was launched by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, according to the district attorney.

The investigation found that between July and February, the five accused baggage handlers allegedly took the checks and money orders, which ranged from $100 to $1,000, and stole the credit cards and used them to make the kiosk purchases. The thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000, Brown said.

Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, and Brooklyn residents Michael Williams, 29, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, were arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on separate criminal complaints in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams is being held pending arraignment.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sunny. High near 30. Winds WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy this evening, then becoming cloudy after midnight. Low 24. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Big Thing at Laughing Devil Comedy Club 

On Thursdays, come to the Laughing Devil Comedy Club as the best of the New York area (and beyond) showcase who will be the next Big Thing. The Big Thing comedians are all great pros on the rise who have been vetted by the club. If anyone kills on The Big Thing, they earn the coveted position of Club Regular – and you will see them again soon. The show also features some special guest headliners. Starts at 8 p.m. at 4738 Vernon Blvd., Long Island City.

De Blasio swipes at Bloomberg over education

Mayor de Blasio took a string of swipes at his predecessor’s education policies Wednesday while vowing to deliver on his promise for significant change to the schools system. Read more: New York Post

Fake cabby busted twice at JFK Airport

A fake cabby was busted twice at JFK Airport Wednesday after allegedly offering rides to unsuspecting passengers, a source said. Read more: New York Post

Prostitution ring busted near Super Bowl Boulevard

Undercover agents say they busted a major sex ring inside an apartment building at 37th Street and 6th Avenue just blocks from Super Bowl Boulevard. Read more: ABC  New York

Faced with criticism, Atlanta mayor slams NYC snow response in tweet

The mayor of Atlanta slammed New York City’s snow removal efforts this week, after a New Yorker mocked the response in Atlanta to a snowstorm that amounted to 3 inches. Read more: CBS New York/AP

NYC female firefighters trying to boost numbers

As a New York City firefighter, Sarinya Srisakul didn’t work with another woman for five years, and when she did, she took pictures because it was so rare. Read more: AP

$150K in counterfeit bills seized from woman’s baggage at JFK


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection

A woman returning from Columbia was arrested last month after $150,000 in counterfeit U.S. bills were found in her luggage at John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

After arriving on a Dec. 14 flight, Ciara Ryan, 38, was selected by CBP officers for a random baggage examination. They examined her first bag and found a strong odor of glue coming from it. Upon further inspection, the officers discovered alterations to its bottom, and within the alterations were several suspected counterfeit U.S. $100 bills, CBP said.

A black leather satchel that she was also carrying was examined and officers found more suspected counterfeit bills concealed within its lining.

Ryan was arrested and a total of 1,500 counterfeit $100 bills were seized, according to CBP.

She will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the U.S. Eastern District Court of New York.

 

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Fire breaks out at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A fire at a John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport cargo building Tuesday night left more than a dozen people suffering from smoke inhalation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

The minor trash fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. on the cargo building’s loading bay of cargo building and was out in about 3o minutes, according to the FDNY and Port Authority.

Fourteen people were treated at the scene and four people were taken to the hospital, according to published reports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.

 

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