Tag Archives: Kew Gardens

LIRR service slowly returning after power outage impedes morning rush


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@Geno_TV_Yaz

The Long Island Rail Road is running with extensive delays after a power failure affecting its signal system caused all service to be suspended during the Wednesday morning rush hour.

Train service came to a halt at about 7:50 a.m. after a power outage east of the East River tunnels in Queens affected the LIRR signal system. Riders were directed to use MTA New York City Transit trains and buses, which cross-honored fares.

As of 9:45 a.m., according to an MTA spokesperson, the LIRR restored limited train service between Jamaica and Penn Station, with trains operating every 15 minutes in both directions. Trains are stopping at the Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside stations every 30 minutes.

On the Port Washington branch and all other LIRR branches east of Jamaica, service is running with delays of up to 80 minutes, the MTA spokesperson said.

The LIRR hopes to have service running normally by the afternoon rush hour. Click here for service updates.

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Pesticide spraying across many Queens neighborhoods set for Monday night


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Trucks will spray pesticide across nearly every corner in Queens this Monday night as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to kill mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at about 8:30 p.m. Monday and continue until 6 a.m. the next morning. In the event of inclement weather, the spraying will take place on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning at the same hours.

The spraying will occur in four clusters of Queens as follows:

  • Areas of Long Island City and Sunnyside generally bounded by 47th Avenue on the north; Dutch Kills on the west; Newtown Creek on south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 43rd Street on the east.
  • Parts of Astoria and Woodside generally bounded by 20th Avenue and 30th Street on the north; 28th Avenue, 43rd Street and Newtown Road on the west; Broadway and Northern Boulevard on the south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 30th Avenue, 78th Street, Astoria Boulevard and 75th Street on the east.
The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

  • Areas of Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood and Oakland Gardens generally bounded by 73rd Avenue on the north; 188th Street on the west; Jamaica Avenue, 199th Street, Hillside Avenue, 212th Street and the Grand Central Parkway on the south; and Springfield Boulevard on the east.
  • Parts of Briarwood, Forest Hills, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven generally bounded by the Grand Central and Jackie Robinson parkways, Groton Street, Yellowstone and Woodhaven boulevards and Eliot Avenue on the north; Lutheran Avenue, 71st Street, Metropolitan Avenue, All Faiths Cemetery, 76th Street, Cypress Hills Cemetery and Cypress Hills Street on the west; Jamaica and 89th avenues on the south; and 169th Street on the east.
The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

Though the pesticide used during these sprayings, Anvil 10+10, poses no significant health risks to humans, the Health Department advises residents in these areas — especially those with respiratory ailments — to stay indoors while spraying occurs. Windows should be kept closed; air conditioners may be used, but the vents should be closed to prevent possible indoor exposure to the pesticides.

Any toys, clothes and outdoor equipment should be moved inside prior to spraying; anything left outside while spraying occurs should be thoroughly washed before reuse. Produce grown in backyards should be washed before being consumed or cooked.

Persons exposed to the pesticide should thoroughly wash their skin with soap and water.

For more information, visit the Health Department’s website or call 311.

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More weekend closures scheduled for Jackie Robinson Parkway


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Get ready for another round of weekend shutdowns on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Portions of the eastbound section of the parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed as needed beginning tonight at 11 p.m. and continuing until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Road closures will also occur each weeknight between Aug. 17 to 20 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning; and from 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

According to the state Department of Transportation, the closure is required as work crews replace signs and guardrails and install mow strips on the roadbed.

The DOT is currently resurfacing the entire stretch of the 5-mile roadway between Kew Gardens and Brooklyn at a cost of $17 million. Work is being done in phases; crews will turn to the westbound lanes once resurfacing on the eastbound side is complete.

Drivers are advised to use the following designated eastbound detour routes through Cypress Hills, Woodhaven, Glendale, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens:

  • Jamaica Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Forest Parkway;
  • Forest Parkway from Jamaica Avenue to Park Lane South;
  • Park Lane South from Forest Parkway to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • Metropolitan Avenue from Park Lane South to the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Visit the DOT’s website or call 511 for further details.

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Firefighters and chefs compete in Kew Gardens culinary competition


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Atria Kew Gardens

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Atria Kew Gardens, a senior living facility in Kew Gardens, hosted a Culinary Competition Cook-Off on July 29 along with members of the Fire Department in celebration of National Culinary Arts Month.

Barry McWilliams, Richard Nerko and  Martin Vanschil, all firefighters and firehouse chefs from the Forest Hills fire station (Engine Co. 305 and Ladder Co. 151), competed against Atria Kew Gardens’ Director of Culinary Services Amanda Ciniglio and Chef Kevin Hernandez.

A crowd of Atria residents watched the competition and eagerly sampled each of the four appetizers the two teams made. The firefighters prepared guacamole, a hot spinach artichoke dip, salmon mousse on crackers and Moroccan carrot and beet salad. The Atria team also served guacamole, as well as salmon mousse on toast, a cold spinach artichoke dip and lemon ricotta with beet.

The Atria team won the cook-off — and a trophy — by a slim margin.

“They were very worthy competitors,” Ciniglio said. “They were very into their dishes. They took it very seriously, which was very nice. They really took pride in their food. They were so engaging with the residents, and the residents were so happy to have them. They were very good with them. The interactions were very good.”

In addition to the cook-off, Atria will also be celebrating National Culinary Arts Month by preparing recipes for the residents provided by the residents themselves.

As a token of appreciation for the firefighters’ visit and participation, the Atria Kew Gardens culinary team will be serving lunch and dinner at the firehouse during the following week, including a pork crown roast.

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Motorcyclist dies after collision with car in Kew Gardens


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

A 37-year-old motorcyclist died on Wednesday evening after he collided with a car at a Kew Gardens intersection, according to police.

Reportedly, the deadly crash occurred at 5:55 p.m. at the corner of Park Lane South and Beverly Road.

According to authorities, the victim — whose identity was pending family notification — was riding his Honda motorcycle northbound on Park Lane South while a Nissan Altima, operated by a 62-year-old man, traveled northbound on Beverly Road. The two vehicles collided where the roads met, police said.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene. Paramedics brought the motorcyclist to Jamaica Hospital, where he died a short time later. The driver of the Nissan Altima refused medical assistance.

An investigation is ongoing.

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Con Edison reduces power in south Queens, urges customers to conserve


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/Con Edison

Equipment problems and a power strain related to today’s hot weather forced Con Edison to cut back voltage by 8 percent in several southern Queens neighborhoods.

The reduction affects customers in the areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven. In all, 138,000 customers are affected in the area generally bounded by the Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard, Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica Bay and the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Con Edison said the cutback aims “to protect equipment and maintain service as repairs are made.” Until further notice, residents in the reduction zone should not use heavy-duty appliances such as washers, dryers and air conditioners and should turn off any unnecessary lights or televisions.

Queens is in the midst of this summer’s first heat wave, with temperatures today forecast at 92 degrees. Combined with oppressive humidity, it’ll actually feel more like 102 degrees, according to accuweather.com. Thunderstorms are also forecast for this evening.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation also issued an air quality health advisory through 10 p.m. Monday for the New York City area, as the stifling, muggy air may also include heavy amounts of pollutants such as ozone. Children, seniors and those with respiratory disorders should limit their outdoor activity.

The city will have cooling centers around the five boroughs open on Monday, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities and parks. Call 311 or click here to locate the nearest center.

Con Edison urges customers who experience power outages to report them immediately to 800-75-CONED and visit its website to check the status of service restoration efforts. When reporting an outage, customers should have their account number available and notify the operator if neighbors on their block also lost power.

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Former Redbird subway car-turned-Queens Tourism Center closing


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Updated 1:36 p.m.

The Queens Tourism Center is reaching the end of the line today.

The Kew Gardens facility, created out of a retrofitted Redbird subway car that previously ran on the 7 line, will shut its doors Friday afternoon due to lack of use.

According to a New York Post report on Friday, the closure was scheduled for Monday, but a spokesperson for Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, however, informed The Courier that Friday “is the last day the Redbird will be open to visitors at its current site.”

Opened in 2005, the Queens Tourism Center was built through $500,000 in funds secured by then-Borough President Helen Marshall as a way of attracting visitors from across the globe to Queens.

The center operates four hours a day, five days a week. According to a source, it has drawn more than 15,000 visitors in the past five years, many of whom are Queens residents.

One possible reason for the light attendance could be its location, as it is on the eastern side of Borough Hall adjacent to the Queens Criminal Court, a long block away from the entrance to the Union Turnpike subway station.

“The decision” to close the center was “made recently upon review of the limited utility of the Redbird at its current site,” Katz’s spokesperson said. “In the past, it has had on average 12 visitors a day, the majority of whom were not tourists but rather Queens residents on jury duty.”

The Redbird was part of a fleet of R33 and R36 subway cars that first took to the tracks between 1959 and 1964. They were originally painted cream and blue for the 1964-65 World’s Fair and later in silver and blue.

During the 1980s, MTA New York City Transit painted the cars red in an effort to keep them graffiti-free. Commuters and train enthusiasts started calling them “Redbirds” for the cars’ bright color.

The MTA took the Redbirds permanently out of service in 2003 while modernizing its fleet. The Redbird on display in Kew Gardens is one of the last still above sea level; most of the others were sunk in the Atlantic Ocean for use as reefs to help propagate aquatic life.

It was not immediately known what would come of the Kew Gardens Redbird. For now, Katz’s spokesperson said, the Redbird will remain at its present location.

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Four police precincts in Queens to roll out anti-stalking program


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYC Mayor Office's Flickr

The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (OCDV) will be cracking down on stalking as they expand their Coordinated Approach to Preventing Stalking (CAPS) program into Queens.

The NYPD will work with the Queens District Attorney’s Office and OCDV to increase the identification and reporting of stalking incidents, enhance stalking arrests and link stalking victims to services through Family Justice Centers and High Risk Domestic Violence Response Teams, according to a press release.

Queens will be the second borough in New York City to implement the program. The expansion comes on the heels of a successful implementation in Staten Island in 2014, where the NYPD’s identification of stalking increased 233 percent. According to national statistics, 54 percent of female homicide victims reported stalking to the police before they were killed by their partner.

The 101st, 103rd, 105th and 113th precincts will roll out the program, as they have high incidences of domestic violence. The program will act as a homicide prevention program that will connect stalking victims to preventative services before physical assault or homicide takes place.

According to the 2014 New York City Domestic Violence Fatality Committee annual report, there were 62 family-related homicides, which accounted for 1 in 5 homicides in New York city.

“Domestic violence is a stain on our city, and inspired approaches to rooting it out, like CAPS, are critical as we work toward a DV-free New York,” de Blasio said. “The troubling but true data on stalking tells us that the more cases identified by law enforcement, the fewer homicides we’ll suffer in this city. I am confident that the capable and committed people at the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, the Queens District Attorney’s Office and the NYPD will make the same commitment to reducing stalking in Queens.”

NYPD officers, members of the District Attorney’s Office and community partners will receive specialized training on how to identify stalking behavior, a briefing on stalking statutes, the role technology plays in stalking, risk assessment and safety planning, and working with victims to document and preserve evidence of stalking incidents.

The NYC Family Justice Center in Kew Gardens will provide Queens stalking victims with safety planning and other services.

“It is great to see a program that has had such a positive impact in other parts of the city come to Queens,” Councilman I. Daneek Miller said. “All individuals deserve safety. Identifying and preventing stalking cases is a major part of this for partners throughout our city. There is a high correlation between stalking and other criminal activities that this program will aim to prevent. This is an opportunity to shine a light on domestic violence issues that exist within our community and address a serious problem in a holistic manner.”

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EXCLUSIVE: City’s first lady talks with The Courier about education, mental health


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Calling Queens “a model” of what New York City can be, the city’s first lady Chirlane McCray outlined her efforts to expand education and mental health programs in an exclusive interview with The Courier.

McCray sat down with Courier Publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis following an open forum in Kew Gardens on mental health issues affecting Queens residents on Monday. She and her husband, Mayor Bill de Blasio, have made a concerted effort toward focusing on mental health issues and breaking down barriers preventing New Yorkers in need from obtaining access to appropriate care.

Providing residents with proper access to mental health services and other basic needs is essential to a healthy city both in mind and body, yet many New Yorkers have been deprived of them in recent years, according to McCray.

“Having the resources to have a roof over your head, access to food, clean air, arts, physical education, so many other things we consider common sense and basic, yet we take them away,” she said. “When you strip them away from a community, what do you expect to happen?”

McCray stressed the importance of the city not only providing basic services to its residents but also using programs to develop role models for the city’s youth.

“There are so many” mentoring programs “but we need more,” she said. “Through the Mayor’s Fund, we have instituted a youth employment center” powered through donations from local businesses which provide “jobs for young people.”

“But it’s not just jobs,” McCray added. “It’s internships and mentoring young people year-round. We’ve doubled the number of jobs since last year, and we want to do even more in the coming months.”

The city is also expanding its mental health resources through special clinics aimed at helping 62,000 students in need. The universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) also plays a critical role in a child’s mental health and long-term education, she noted.

“One of the reasons why pre-K is so important is to reach the children early,” McCray said. “We want children to be assessed, evaluated early because if they have challenges in the classroom, they’re not going to get the kind of education they need.”

The first lady also noted that the NYPD is receiving additional resources not just to tackle crime, but also to address the mental health needs of crime victims.

“We’ve actually put money into making sure that in every precinct, there will be someone trained in” handling domestic violence cases “and working with victims,” McCray said. “We’ve never had that before.”

This effort, she remarked, will help develop “a different kind of relationship” between the NYPD and the communities it serves.

The full interview can be viewed below.

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National Grid to install natural gas lines along Lefferts Boulevard


| amatua@queenscourier.com

File photo

National Grid’s efforts to modernize its gas system in Queens will affect drivers and residents on Lefferts Boulevard in the weeks ahead.

National Grid and its contractor, Network Infrastructure, have now begun work to install a new gas main along 84th Avenue between 115th Street and Lefferts Boulevard. Due to this construction, 84th Avenue between 115th and 116th streets will be closed to through traffic and on-street parking will be unavailable from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

It is part of the Queens Gas Reliability Project, a $100 million effort by National Grid scheduled to be completed in spring 2016. The construction will take between five and six weeks to complete.

“We are working closely with the local community to minimize the disruption and we thank them for their patience and cooperation during this complex construction project,” said Mike Ruiz, director of community and customer management at National Grid. “The Queens Gas Reliability Project is important to strengthening the network for our Queens customers and it’s a good example of our Connect 21 vision to modernize our energy delivery system and to help customers take more control of their energy use.”

New gas mains have already been installed in South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

National Grid will install more than 6 miles of gas mains through central and south Queens and once the installation is complete, crews will work in neighborhoods along the route, spanning from Rockaway Boulevard to Long Island Expressway, to upgrade the natural gas service in the local communities.

The Queens Gas Reliability Project is part of National Grid’s $1.3 billion investment focused on replacing aging gas mains; installing new mains and other facilities to accommodate customers requesting natural gas service; and ensuring that natural gas supplies can meet increasing customer demand.

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More road work closures on Jackie Robinson Parkway this week


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Ongoing renovations on the Jackie Robinson Parkway will cause even more headaches for drivers this week.

Portions of the eastbound lanes of the 5-mile parkway between Pennsylvania/Jamaica Avenues in Brooklyn and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed overnight from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. through Friday, July 3, as crews replace existing guardrails.

Additionally, the right lane of the eastbound parkway between the Woodhaven Boulevard overpass and Metropolitan Avenue will be shut down on weekdays from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. through Thursday. The closure is needed as workers replace a retaining wall.

The closures are part of the state Department of Transportation’s efforts to upgrade the entire Jackie Robinson Parkway, which connects Kew Gardens to eastern Brooklyn and winds its way through Ridgewood, Glendale, Cypress Hills, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

Both sides of the parkway will be resurfaced in the $17 million project, which also includes the installation of new safety devices, lane markings and reflectors. The state DOT indicated in May that entire segments of the parkway would be closed to traffic on six separate weekends through the late summer.

Drivers are advised to use designated detour routes while closures are in effect. The DOT also reminds them to travel safely and slowly through work zones; by law, speeding fines are doubled in work zones, and convictions of two or more speeding violations in a work zone may result in a driver’s license suspension.

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Flushing contractor busted in home improvement scam


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

File photo

A Flushing contractor has been charged with scamming $10,000 in down payments from Queens homeowners for work he never performed, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

Alfred Lakas, 57, allegedly took money from three homeowners for air-conditioning and other work to be done at their residences which he failed to do, and did not return any of the money. Lakas, who operates Al’s Heating on 172nd Street in Flushing, is also being charged with misrepresenting himself as being licensed to do the work, although he is not.

Lakas was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll on ten counts, charging him with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and scheme to defraud, among other offenses.

He was ordered to be held on $5,000 bail and will return to court on Sept. 15. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

According to Brown, Lakas is accused of misrepresenting himself as a licensed professional to perform air-conditioning, heating and other contracting work from February 2012 to June 2015. His complaining victims are three homeowners respectively from South Ozone Park, Douglaston-Little Neck and Kew Gardens.

Brown said consumers should be cautious when hiring a home improvement contractor, and that cases like this one are a pervasive problem.

“Defective or incomplete home improvement repairs are among the top consumer complaints my office receives,” the district attorney said. “To avoid being a victim of a home repair scheme, consumers should request and check a contractor’s references and check with the proper city agencies to ensure that he is licensed — and not just take his word for it.”

The District Attorney’s office is urging anyone who may have been a victim of this alleged scheme to call the Queens District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at 718-286-6673.

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Base of Civic Virtue statue to be restored, dedicated to women


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre. Documents via Department of Design and Construction.

Plans are set to begin soon to spruce up the former base of the controversial Triumph of Civic Virtue statue near Queens Borough Hall as a planted fountain.

The base, which has sat neglected for nearly three years after the statue atop was moved, will be restored and new plants, shrubs, trees, benches and lighting will be added to the site, according to plans by the Department of Design and Construction.

The city agency collected bids from construction companies until May 18 and is still reviewing the proposals.

A bronze plaque will also be added that will read, “This fountain plaza is dedicated to the women of Queens,” long after politicians, including disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and women’s rights activists condemned the statue as sexist.

The artwork by renowned sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies featured a naked Hercules — representing virtue — standing firm as mythical Sirens, which symbolized corruption, curled around his legs. The sculpture was intended to reflect virtue as a young man avoiding temptations of females, represented by the Sirens, so naturally feminists took issue with it.

In 2012, the statue was shipped to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery. It cost the city about $100,000 to renovate and move it, according to published reports.

It wasn’t the first time it was moved. The statue was originally at City Hall when it was completed in 1922, but in 1941, then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia moved it adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and mounted it on an existing classical fountain.

The statue did have many supporters though, including former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and Community Board 9. Some supporters wanted it returned to Queens.

However, restoring the fountain and dedicating it to women — without the return of the statue — has the support of Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The site will soon host a visible, meaningful tribute to the women of Queens and become a public space utilized and enjoyed by all,” a spokesperson for Katz said. “Once the winning bid is announced, we hope the vendor will begin expeditiously.”

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Kew Gardens native, television icon Dick Van Patten dies at 86


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Actor and Queens native Dick Van Patten, best known for his role in the late 1970s show “Eight is Enough,” died Tuesday morning, according to published reports.

Van Patten, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, reportedly was born and grew up in Kew Gardens and started his acting career as a child appearing on Broadway.

He later became known as the character Tom Bradford, a newspaper columnist and dad, on the hit show “Eight is Enough,” which ran from 1977 to 1981.

Van Patten also starred in several of director Mel Brooks’ comedies including “Spaceballs,” and “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” He was also an animal enthusiast who founded a pet food company and advocated for guide dogs.

The 86-year-old’s death was confirmed by his representative in a statement released to media Tuesday. He died at Saint John’s Hospital in California of complications associated with diabetes, according to reports.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia Van Patten, and three sons: Nels, Jimmy and Vincent.

In Queens, state Senator Leroy Comrie send his condolences to the actor’s family via Twitter and called Van Patten a “Queens kid.”

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Queens native Fran Drescher visits LIC mobile mammography clinic


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Queens welcomed back one of its natives in Long Island City Monday afternoon during an event aimed at keeping the local community healthy.

Actress and Kew Gardens native Fran Drescher, known for her quirky roles in television shows such as “The Nanny” in the ’90s, made a stop at the nonprofit Project Renewal’s mobile mammography clinic called the ScanVan located at the Community Healthcare Network’s LIC center.

Drescher, who is a uterine cancer survivor, founded the organization the Cancer Schmancer Movement, which aims to shift the nation’s priority from searching for a cure for cancer toward prevention and early detection of cancer.

“We’re all about prevention and early detection, which is why the ScanVan is something that we as a movement, the Cancer Schmancer Movement, supports and feels like anything that we can do to help women that are a little more underinsured or uninsured and a little more marginalized or out of touch or reach to get the capability to detect early. It’s key for survival,” Drescher said.

The organization will also host a cruise around Manhattan on Father’s Day to celebrate family health and kick off pride week, and with all proceeds going toward Cancer Schmancer.

With her organization’s mission in mind, Drescher greeted local community members and toured the mobile clinic. She also added that although she is now based out of California, Queens will always be in her heart.

“All my characters are from Queens. Queens is always very near and dear to my heart. I always write Queens as if I’m still living there and that’s what keeps it close to me and I love Queens and the people in it and it always remains very close to me,” she said.

DSC_1676

According to Mary Solomon, director of Project Renewal’s ScanVan, Drescher stopping by allowed community members to see that cancer could affect anyone, no matter who they are, and also emphasizes the importance of detecting cancer at an early stage.

“Cancer is non-discriminatory: it attracts every race, every gender, really every age group. You can be rich, you can be poor, you can be well-known or you can be obscure. Cancer is an insidious disease that will attack just about anyone,” Solomon said. “Her celebrity lends a little credibility to what we’re doing. We’re a little odd ball, we’re doing something you generally find at a hospital center or a breast center or in a radiology office so it’s a little on the edge but we know that if we don’t reach out to women we may not get their compliance.”

The 40-foot ScanVan, which each year stops at over 200 locations throughout the five boroughs and serves thousands of residents, provides free testing to women who are homeless, low-income, uninsured, underinsured, or are faced with other sorts of healthcare barriers.

Solomon added that with partnering with local community organizations, such as Community Healthcare Network, which provides health care to a diverse population, they will be able to reach women of all demographics.

“We strive to take away all those issues so there’s really no excuse,” Solomon said.

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