Tag Archives: Kew Gardens

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Breezy. Winds from the SSW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 63. Winds from the WSW at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NW after midnight. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: Making Humps & Bumps exhibition

This is the last day to see the exhibition Making Humps & Bumps at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning, featuring rendering photographs and models of the sculpture, presenting the process of making the public art sculpture behind the scenes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens bike horror

A father of two biking to work in Queens died on his birthday yesterday after smashing into a truck, police said. Read more: New York Post

PCB leak worries at Queens school

A PCB leak at a school in Long Island City has parents and local leaders outraged. They gathered outside IS 204 on Tuesday morning to draw attention to the matter. Read more: Fox New York

New $2.3 million Elmhurst Park bathrooms have lots of style and room

So this is what a $2 million public bathroom looks like. The long-awaited comfort station at Elmhurst Park, with its edgy design and spacious bathrooms, has finally opened its doors. Read more: New York Daily News

City plans to open 5 new homeless shelters

New York City plans to open at least five new homeless shelters by the end of the year. The expansion is in response to a sharp increase in the homeless population. Read more: NBC New York

MTA announces schedule for potential fare hike public hearings

The MTA announced Tuesday scheduled dates for public hearings on its plan to raise fares. Read more: NY1

Controversial pro-Israel subway ads immediately defaced, stamped as hate speech

Some controversial subway ads have been up for just one day — and already, they’ve been vandalized and have generated thousands of complaints. Read more: CBS New York

Obama urges UN to confront roots of Muslim rage

President Barack Obama told world leaders Tuesday that attacks on U.S. citizens in Libya “were attacks on America,” and he called on them to join in confronting the root causes of the rage across the Muslim world. Read more: AP

 

 

Dining and drinking al fresco in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Water’s Edge

BY SWEETINA KAKAR

Now that the summer heat is gone, but it’s still nice enough to sit outdoors, it’s a great time to dine or drink al fresco at one of these spots in Queens. 

Austin Steak and Ale House
82-70 Austin Street, Kew Gardens, 718-849-3939

The pub-styled restaurant in the Kew Gardens neighborhood allows for a casual dining and lounging experience. Austin Steak and Ale House serves comfort foods along with a large selection of spirits and domestic and imported beer. The menu consists of variety of options for lunch or dinner, along with brunch only available on Sundays. The outdoor seating area, a patio and garden, features fresh plants, trees and table umbrellas. It offers private dining for events or large parties. The restaurant’s operation hours are Sunday and Monday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Tuesday to Saturday 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden
29-19 24th Avenue, Astoria, 718-274-4925

With long picnic tables, benches and outdoor grills under a large tent, this restaurant allows for a casual night out in the neighborhood of Astoria. Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden serves a homely outdoor and indoor environment along with a full course Czech dinner and grill menu and large selection of domestic and imported beer. They open their doors Monday through Thursday at 5 p.m., Friday at 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at noon. Their services are available until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday, and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Cávo Café Lounge and Garden
42-18 31st Avenue, Astoria, 718-721-1001

A popular night scene in Astoria is also known for its Greek inspired dinner menu. With two rooms, a second floor and outdoor seating, Cávo Café accommodates most dinning preferences such as private parties, intimate dinners to eating at a party with a DJ. The restaurant has three large full bars located at both ends and outside. The large chandeliers, drapes hanging from the ceiling, fresh plants and dim lighting give the restaurant a classy yet cozy atmosphere. Thursday night Cávo offers free dinner for women and every evening from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. kids eat for free as well. The restaurant’s operation hours are Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., and Friday and Saturday 5 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Il Bacco
253-24 Northern Boulevard, Little Neck, 718-224-7657

This authentic Italian restaurant in Little Neck offers 27 years of experience in Italian cuisine and hospitality. The restaurant is decorated with warm colors, dark wood, heavy drapes, mosaic tiles and chandeliers for a cozy yet sophisticated environment. The rooftop garden is inspired by a Tuscan-style villa accompanied by fresh plants and flowers. The restaurant is equipped with two full bars, one outdoors and another indoors, with a wide variety of red and white wines. The restaurant opens every day at 11:30 a.m.. except for Sunday at 1 p.m., and closes at 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Jade Eatery and Lounge
1 Station Square, Forest Hills, 718-793-2203

Jade Eatery and Lounge is located in the neighborhood of Forest Hills. With its tranquil décor, a waterfall, ponds, inspirational quotes on the walls and a large Buddha, Jade is a popular dining spot for authentic Indo-Asian cuisine. Its menu features a full sushi bar and dishes inspired from Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Korea cuisines. Jade features an Aged Copper Lounge with a full bar, Private Moroccan-style Lounge for special events, a DJ and an art gallery with rotating exhibits. The restaurant has both outdoor and indoor seating from noon to 9 p.m. everyday, except Sundays, when it closes at 8 p.m.

LIC Bar
45-58 Vernon Boulevard., Long Island City, 718-786-5400

The 100-year-old bar, with its antique wood bar, tin ceilings, brick walls and outdoor area, is a casual and relaxing hangout in the very busy neighborhood of Long Island City. Adding to the mellow environment, acoustic bands perform live every Sunday evening. The full bar selections includes draft beers, single-malt scotch and mixed drinks. The garden is decorated with willow trees and heat lamps for chilly nights. LIC Bar is open for business Monday through Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.

Oasis Café and Bakery
196-30 Northern Boulevard, Flushing, 718-357-4843

Greek owned and inspired Oasis Café and Bakery serves more than bakery goods but breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees, also inspired by Greek cuisine, in the Flushing area. The outdoor garden features a Greek design with trees, a wooden deck, a sculpted water fountain, and pebbled ground. With three sections to the café, customers can either quickly come in to pick up their bakery goods or decided to sit indoors or outdoors for the entire Oasis experience. The indoor décor consists of neon colored lights and wall art for a modern and Greek infusion. The café includes two full bars, one indoor and one outdoors. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. every day.

Omonia Café
32-20 Broadway, Astoria, 718-274-6650

Omonia Café, established more than 30 years ago and located in Astoria, has a modern fun atmosphere with its colorfully lit ceiling and bar, dim lighting, spacious floor design and intriguing art. The café is enclosed by windows during cooler weather, continuing with the spacious pattern. The windows are opened up for the warmer seasons. The café serves brunch, lunch and dinner with a wide variety of European-influenced food. It’s equipped with a full bar and bakery, and is opened from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. every day.

Penthouse808
8-08 Queens Plaza South, Long Island City, 718-289-6118

Penthouse808 is a rooftop located above Ravel Hotel in Long Island City, which overlooks the Midtown skyline and the Queensboro Bridge. Indoors or outdoors, there is a view of  the skyline through its large windows. The restaurant includes a full bar and serves Pan Asian cuisine with a sushi bar for dinner. The restaurant offers private dining for events and large parties. On weekends, during after dining hours, the restaurant becomes a popular bar and lounge with a DJ. Dinning hours are from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday.

Riverview
2-01 50th Avenue, Long Island City, 718-392-5000

With a warm yet classy interior, Riverview is one of Long Island City’s most popular dinner and drinks restaurants. The restaurant is a road apart from the river giving you the view of the Midtown skyline while seated either outdoors or indoors. Riverview serves from late morning brunches to late night after dinner drinks in their lounge area. Their menu includes pasta and salad dishes along with signature seafood appetizers and entrees, which they offer to deliver to the neighborhood of L.I.C. With it’s spacious interior set-up Riverview allows private parties while still being able to seat other reservations. The dining hall is open every morning at 11 a.m. and closes as late as 1 a.m. Friday and Saturdays. The lounge is open every night until 1 a.m., except for Friday and Saturday as it stays open for an hour later.

Water’s Edge
401 44th Drive, Long Island City, 718-482-0033

Just at the edge of Queens in Long Island City on the water, overlooking the Midtown skyline, is well known restaurant Water’s Edge. The off the ground restaurant has dinning seats on a second floor along with outdoor seating on its same floor terrace. The modern interior and large windows, allow you to embrace the city vibe, even across a river. The restaurant’s menu consists of pasta and salad to seafood along with sandwiches and meat entrees. Water’s Edge serves lunch, opening at noon, Monday through Friday, but serves dinner Monday through Saturday until 11 p.m. and is closed on Sunday.

 

Community comes out against one way conversion in Kew Gardens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The city wants to go “one way,” but the community wants to go another.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has proposed turning 84th Avenue between Lefferts Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue from a two-way street to a one-way eastbound thoroughfare. Several residents spoke out to Community Board 9 on Tuesday, September 11 against the proposal, saying it would make the street incredibly dangerous to live on.

“I’m not sure making 84th Avenue one way will do anything but increase the speed, force traffic on to 85th and possibly even 86th Avenue,” said Dominic Pistone, president of the Kew Gardens Civic Association. “I don’t really know why this was proposed. If anything, when you make a street one way people tend to go faster on it because they don’t have to worry about hitting anybody going the opposite direction. It’s a dumb idea.”

Every resident on 84th Street who appeared before the community board spoke against the conversion.

Among worries about speeding, residents were also concerned about double-parking on the street, parking on blind corners and delivery trucks blocking traffic while delivering to The Atria, a senior living residence.

“It’s bad enough as it is,” said John Kenny, who lives on 84th Avenue. “If the DOT wants a study they can come to my yard at 5:30 in the morning…and can see what’s going on.”

“DOT received a request from the Borough President’s office to review the feasibility of conversion 84th Avenue between Lefferts Boulevard and Myrtle Avenue from two-ways to one way westbound,” a DOT spokesperson said in an email. “While DOT analysis shows that a conversion would be feasible, the agency is awaiting a Community Board vote on the matter before proceeding further.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of rain. High of 79. Winds from the SE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Monday night: Overcast with a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain showers after midnight. Low of 72. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 70% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: 30th Avenue Astoria Festival

Enjoy a plethora of booths selling food and goodies at the 30th Avenue Astoria Festival. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Peacock seen wandering Queens has been captured

The strut is up for one peacock that had been roaming Queens for weeks. The colorful bird was captured in Queens on Friday morning after it was spotted peacking the ground behind an apartment building. Read more: CBS New York

Hundreds grieve Queens high schooler Daniel Fernandez after party bus tragedy

The good times were rolling aboard the party bus to a Sweet 16 celebration — until tragedy struck for a Queens student who won’t see his 17th birthday. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens woman recovering from acid attack

A Queens woman whose eye and skin were horribly burned after her elderly dad doused her with sulfuric acid was up and talking yesterday as she battled back from the grisly attack. Read more: New York Post 

Seasonal parking bans please many Rockaways Residents but irk visitors

The houses in Neponsit and Belle Harbor, Queens, out past the last stop on the A train on the Rockaway Peninsula, are not what you picture when you think of New York City. Read more: New York Times

Citizenship help on offer thru City Council 

Immigrants will be able to get help applying for citizenship or deferred action — the new, temporary work and residency permits for young immigrants — at 30 City Council members’ offices starting next month. Read more: New York Daily News

On Labor Day, jobs debate a convention warm-up

Republicans and Democrats jockeyed for economic high ground in a Labor Day warm-up to the Democratic National Convention, with Republican Mitt Romney labeling the holiday “another day of worrying” for too many Americans anxious about finding a job. Read more: AP

Poll: Romney receives low score for convention speech

Mitt Romney’s speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week received a lower score than any presidential candidate’s convention speech since the poll starting asking the question in 1996, according to the polling firm Gallup. Read more: CBS News

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Sunny, with a high near 86. Northwest wind 8 to 10 mph. Thursday night: Clear, with a low around 72. West wind around 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: After School Special-Laughing Devil Comedy Club 

Join Jesse Jones as he brings his rowdy comic buddies to this weekly show. After School Special is a show designed to make every week a very special episode. Each Thursday at 8:00 p.m. you will be treated to a mix of alternative comics, mainstream comedians, story tellers and special guests as they hilariously give insight into the life as a stand-up.

Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Queens man arrested for synagogue crime spree

A man who stole valuable Torah relics from a Kew Gardens Hills synagogue earlier this month was arrested Tuesday and also charged with stealing religious items from two other synagogues in Queens this summer, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown announced today. Read more: Queens Courier

State rejects charter school application for kids of illegal Chinese immigrants

The state has shot down an application to create a year-round, bilingual charter school in Flushing aimed at the children of illegal Chinese immigrants. Lotus King Weiss, the lead applicant of the Whole Elephant Charter School, posted articles on the elementary school’s website about her being attacked in the U.S. due to her controversial Falun Dafa beliefs. Read more: Daily News

Queens judge sues city after alleged transit cop assault

Stung by the refusal of the Queens district attorney to prosecute the cops he says assaulted him, a state Supreme Court judge today took the first steps to sue the city. Queens Supreme Court Justice Thomas Raffaele walked into the Kew Gardens courthouse on his day off to file the notice of claim against the city, expressing his intention to file a lawsuit for the “untruths” and “slander” he claims was reported by a pair of transit cops to undercut criminal charges. Read more: NY Post

Ryan calls for a U.S. turnaround, led by Romney

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, whose budget plans have come to define conservative opposition to President Obama’s governing philosophy, accepted the Republican vice-presidential nomination on Wednesday as his party embraced the gamble that the small-government principles he represents have more political payoff than peril. Read more: NY Times

Isaac causing big problems, but proving to be far weaker than Katrina

Hurricane Isaac sidestepped New Orleans on Wednesday, sending the worst of its howling wind and heavy rain into a cluster of rural fishing villages that had few defenses against the slow-moving storm that could bring days of unending rain. Read more: CBS

Mourners say goodbye to man killed outside Empire State Building

Funeral services were held Wednesday for the man shot and killed near the Empire State Building last week. Mourners gathered for a solemn service at Our Lady of Sorrows in White Plains to honor fashion executive Steven Ercolino. Read more: CBS

74-year-old gunman tries to shoot his estranged wife in Staten Island bowling alley

A Staten Island bowling alley was turned into a shooting range Wednesday when a 74-year-old man opened fire on his estranged wife. Armando Tritto squeezed off at least three errant shots at Maureen Tritto, 47, as she was preparing to open the snack bar at Rab’s Country Lanes in Dongan Hills, cops said. Read more: Daily News

Queens man arrested for synagogue crime spree


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Young Israel of Queens Valley

A Kew Gardens man who stole religious items from three Queens synagogues this summer has been arrested and charged with burglary, grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, according to District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“We’re very happy he’s been caught,” said Rosalyn Ungar, an administrator at Young Israel of Queens Valley, the third synagogue hit during the crime spree. “Hopefully this [arrest] will be a deterrent for any future robberies of religious institutions.”

Arrested on August 28, Roman Iskhakov, 26, first robbed Ahavath Sholom on 113th Street in Forest Hills on the morning of June 18, taking several religious items, including Torah breast plates, a silver pointer, wine cup and silver-coated plate, said the district attorney’s office.

Next, he burglarized Beth Gavriel Center for Bukharian Jews at 108th Street, also in Forest Hills, on the morning of August 14 and stole a silver plate, silver pointer and charity box containing around $200. Surveillance video showed a man taking several items from the synagogue and leaving.

The last stop on his crime spree was Young Israel of Queens Valley on August 16. Around 8 p.m., during evening services, he took two silver Torah crowns. Again, the suspect was caught on the synagogue’s security cameras.

According to the district attorney’s office, the value of the stolen goods from all three synagogues is more than $3,000. Iskhakov allegedly sold some of the items at pawnshops.

“I’m grateful that they caught him and I hope that we can get our silver back in the condition in which it was stolen,” said Ahavath Sholom’s office manager David Rodgers. The synagogue doesn’t know whether its items were among the ones pawned.

At Iskhakov’s August 29 arraignment the judge set bail at $50,000, according to court records. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

Iskhakov is represented by Legal Aid, according to the DA. Multiple attempts to reach an attorney were unsuccessful.

 

 

Man goes from Queens to ‘Project Runway’


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Barbara Nitke

When Ven Budhu was five years old, he saw the Disney movie “Beauty and the Beast.” It was a life-changing experience. Soon after, he was drawing Belle’s gown, and a lifelong love for women’s evening wear was born. Twenty three years later, he is designing dresses and is a contestant on “Project Runway.”

Budhu is appearing on season 10 of the Lifetime network reality competition, in which 16 designers battle for a chance to win $100,000 to start a fashion line, an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor, a spread in Marie Claire magazine and other prizes.

In each episode the contestants are given a design challenge. After four episodes, Budhu has yet to hear “auf wiedersehen” from host Heidi Klum, and has won two challenges.

In between those first fashion sketches and the reality competition, Budhu, 28, learned a lot about clothing design.

Born in Guyana, he emigrated to America when he was four years old and grew up in South Ozone Park. Although he always had an interest in evening wear, it also helped his future fashion career living in a house with three older sisters.

After receiving associate and bachelor’s degrees from the Fashion Institute of Technology, during which he spent a year studying in Florence, Italy, he worked as a freelance fashion designer.

Last year he started his own fashion company, Gavaskar, which he runs out of his Kew Gardens apartment. Not straying far from the passion he’s had since childhood, he mostly focuses on high-end women’s ready-to-wear and evening clothing, and describes his style as “romanticism married with modern sophistication.”

His designs garnered some high-profile attention when he was selected as one of four emerging designers to participate in a runway show during this past February’s New York Fashion Week.

Now, as a “Project Runway” contestant, he knows that even if he doesn’t win, he can accelerate his design career.

“I thought about it for a long time,” said Budhu who has been a “Project Runway” fan since it premiered. “I’m still young and wanted to try out before I regretted it. The worst thing is regret.”

As expected, he was surprised when he landed one of the designer spots.

“When I found out, I was in an office, and couldn’t be as loud as I wanted to be,” he said.
He was also excited to be the first Indian contestant on the show.

Lifetime’s season 10 of “Project Runway,” which premiered on July 20, is still filming, and Budhu could only discuss the episodes that have already aired.

“Honestly, I was so in shock,” Budhu said about his wins in episodes two and three.

In particular, his episode three win was meaningful because the challenge was to create a red carpet dress for a past “Project Runway” designer to wear to the Emmy Awards. For years, Budhu has been obsessed with pre-award shows.

He describes his experience on the show so far as both fun and intense.

“Living with people you don’t really know and trying to get along with everyone is challenging,” he said, “especially with being away from family and your everyday life.”

But he believes his fashion industry experience has prepared him for the show.

“I know mentally and emotionally I’m very strong and I can handle the criticism.”

To see if Budhu wins season 10 of “Project Runway,” watch him on Lifetime Thursdays at 9 p.m.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

EVENT of the DAY: A tale of two stadiums

Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium disappear under “the slow precision of giant machinery whose operators’ hands were not unlike skilled surgeons choreographing a dinosaur ballet.” The exhibit shows the changing face of New York through the eyes and viewpoints of three photographers: Rich Scarpitta, Steve Spak and Rob Yasinac.

[Click here for more info or submit your events]

Police search for livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape passenger 

Police are looking for a livery cab driver who allegedly tried to rape a passenger in Queens. They allege the driver followed the 20-year-old into her Astoria building after she got out of the cab Friday morning. Investigators said he grabbed her and tried to rape her. Read more: [NY1] 

City Board of Standards and Appeals green-lights large Mormon church in Flushing 

The Mormon church’s prayers to build a huge chapel in Flushing have been answered. The city Board of Standards and Appeals voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve construction of a church that is more than one-and-a-half times what is permitted under current zoning. The new chapel will be built on land owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 145-13 33rd Ave. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Secret plan would move the controversial Civic Virtue statue from Queens to Brooklyn 

The city has hatched a secret plan to move a controversial, crumbling public statue out of Queens and into Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, the Daily News has learned. The Triumph of Civic Virtue, which sits near Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens, has been both hailed as a priceless piece of public art worthy of restoration and derided as a sexist eyesore that should be trashed. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

City, federal gov’ts to work together to improve Jamaica Bay 

Nat Diaz visits Jamaica Bay often but he has other, less frequent visitors on his mind. “They’re not taking care of it,” he said. “They should be taking care of it a little more.” He’s not talking about just the city. It’s the federal government, too. Oversight of Jamaica Bay, its trails and beaches, are split between the two, which sometimes leads to, well, miscommunication. Read more: [NY1] 

JFK jet in laser scare 

A lunatic aimed a powerful laser beam at an airliner flying over Long Island on its way into JFK — sending the pilot to the hospital and endangering the lives of the 84 people aboard. The first officer on JetBlue Flight 657 from Syracuse was treated for injuries to both eyes after the blinding flash of light lit up the cockpit Sunday night — as the FBI and Suffolk cops hunted for the person responsible. He could face federal prison time. Read more: [New York Post] 

Kew Gardens co-op Parkway Village now historic


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Assemblymember Rory Lancman

Parkway Village in Kew Gardens Hills — deemed worthy of preservation — has joined the nation’s official list of historic places.

“As a community struggling to survive and flourish in challenging economic times, it is gratifying for long-time Parkway residents like me to witness the official recognition of Parkway Village’s illustrious history,” said Judith Guttman, co-president of the Parkway Village Historical Society. “I’m proud to be a Villager.”

Parkway, a roughly 35-acre co-op community, was built in the late 1940s. The more than 60-year-old post-war garden complex was originally built to house UN staff members.

While proposals to designate Parkway as a landmark were rejected at least twice — in 1997 and 2000 — by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission, it is now part of the National Register of Historic Places, a federal program aimed at protecting the country’s historic and archeological resources. Parkway also joins historic New York sites like Carnegie Hall, Central Park, the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge on the state’s Historic Registry.

“We all know how much overdevelopment threatens the character of historic neighborhoods like Parkway Village,” said Assemblymember Rory Lancman, who held a press conference on May 24 to commemorate the recognition. “Listing Parkway Village on the State and National Historic Registries is both a tremendous honor for its residents, and a sigh of relief for families in this area who want to see their neighborhoods and their quality of life preserved for future generations.”

To be eligible for listing on the register, properties must generally be at least 50 years old and still bear much resemblance to the way it looked in the past, according to the National Park Service. It must also have ties to important activities or people in history and have architectural and archeological significance for the future.

Parkway’s two- and three-story buildings — faced with red brick and lined with white columns and lintels — were once home to notable figures like diplomat Ralph Bunche and activists Betty Friedan and Roy Wilkins.

Properties listed on the register may be eligible for a 20 percent investment tax credit, including state and federal grants. They are also given consideration in planning for federal projects.

Two hot-sheets motels closed for prostitution activity


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Five motel employees who offered customers more than mints on their pillows may be checking into jail.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that the employees, who worked at the Kew Motor Inn, located at 139-01 Grand Central Parkway, and the Par Central Motor Inn, located at 82-85 Parsons Boulevard – both of which are located in residential areas of Kew Gardens – were arrested for prostitution-related offenses during police raids on the night of March 27. The two motels, which served as havens for prostitutes and their pimps, were also closed under the city’s nuisance abatement law.

According to Brown, undercover police officers posing as prostitutes and customers have visited the two motels since December of 2011, witnessing various acts of illegal activity.

The five defendants, identified as Par Central desk clerks Harripersa Ramjattan, Bhaskar Chaniha and Wojuech Sady and Kew Motor Inn desk clerks Atm Raham and Masum Chowdhury, allegedly accepted bribes, allowed undercover officers to rent rooms without proper identification and knowingly allowed prostitution activity on the premises. The employees also occasionally assisted in illegal actions, including notifying undercover officers posing as prostitutes when customers had arrived and directing the clients to the rooms.

“These two motels have been deemed public nuisances that have generated numerous prostitution-related arrests – including those involving underage girls – during the past year and have been the subject of numerous complaints from local residents,” Brown said. “This office – together with our law enforcement and other governmental agency colleagues – is committed to working with local communities in eliminating crime and business practices that promote criminal activity. The actions that we have taken this week send a clear message – businesses that allow prostitution or other illegal activity to occur on their premises are at risk of being shut down.”

Ramjattan and Raham, 63 and 56 years old respectively, have been charged with promoting prostitution, first-and-second-degree falsifying business records, second-degree commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution, and face seven years in prison if convicted. Chaniha, 52, and Chowdhury, 46, each face four years in prison if found guilty of first-and-second degree falsifying business records, second-degree commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. Wojuech Sady – the youngest of the defendants at 25 years of age – was charged with promoting prostitution, second-degree commercial bribe receiving, fourth-degree promoting prostitution and permitting prostitution. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen Accused Of Vandalizing Queens Playground

The teenager police believe was responsible for vandalizing a playground in Far Rockaway, Queens was arrested Thursday. Allan Swafford, 17, was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal mischief and burglary. Much of the new equipment in the new Far Rockaway park was broken. The damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and the June opening might now be delayed. Read More: NY1

 

Queens motels shut down, employees arrested in prostitution sting

Two Queens motels were shut down this week after five employees were busted by cops for their alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. Desk clerks Harripersa Ramjattan, Bhaskar Chanika, Wojuech D. Sady, Atm Raham and Masum Chowdhury at the Kew Motor Inn and Par Central Motor Inn, both located in Kew Gardens, were charged for promoting prostitution, falsifying business records, commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. Read More: New York Post

 

Demonstrators Want Police Officer Arrested For Shooting Unarmed Bronx Teen

A rally was held by a Bronx police precinct Thursday night, as advocates demanded that the police officer who killed unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham last month should be arrested and face criminal charges. Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot last month by Police Officer Richard Haste, who along with several narcotics agents chased the teen into his house on East 229th Street in Wakefield after an alleged drug deal. Read More: NY1

 

NYC stores ready to ditch synthetic pot in wake of state ban

Mohamed Alzokri, who runs A&M Candy on Amsterdam Ave. and 89th St., said the prohibition is the excuse he needed to pull the popular money-maker off his shelves “It’s not good for health. They should take it off the market,” he said, but added, “Everybody asks for it when they come in.” After a Daily News investigation on the fake weed often called K2 or Spice, the state health commissioner ordered a ban on its sale or distribution. Letters were sent to county health departments, which must put sellers on notice that they could face civil action if they don’t ditch the dangerous drug. Read More: Daily News

 

Deliberations To Begin In Handyman’s Murder Trial

Deliberations are set to begin Friday in the trial of a handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct. A lawyer for Joseph Pabon says officials rushed to judgement when they charged Pabon with smothering 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez in 2009. But during his summation Thursday, the prosecutor in the case argued the evidence proves Pabon’s guilt. Read More: NY1

 

Mega Millions jackpot grows again, reaches $540M

The Mega Millions jackpot just got bigger — $40 million bigger to be exact. The record lottery jackpot climbed to a staggering $540 million this afternoon, officials said. Since Tuesday’s drawing, when no winning tickets were sold, the jackpot has grown twice — from $363 million to $500 million to $540 amount. The $500 million was already the largest in history for a multistate game. Read More: New York Post

New security plan in works for problem-plagued Village McD’s

The owner of the problem-plagued Greenwich Village McDonald’s met last night with police brass and political reps to hash out plans to improve safety and security, The Post has learned. Some of the ideas floated were the hiring of off-duty NYPD officers to act as guards, giving police remote Internet access to the eatery’s surveillance cameras, and cordoning off seating after a certain hour to prevent customers from lingering, Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo of the Sixth Precinct told concerned residents at a community meeting. Read More: New York Post

Teen survives five-story elevator fall at Bronx apartment

A teen miraculously survived a five-story plunge inside a broken elevator at a Bronx apartment building last night, authorities and witnesses said. Kenneth Lacen, 17, had boarded the elevator on the fifth floor of the building on Woodycrest Avenue near Yankee Stadium at around 9 p.m. when it suddenly went into a terrifying free fall and crashed in the basement, authorities and witnesses told The Post. Read More: New York Post

Spike Lee settles for retweeting wrong address

An elderly couple has reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Florida home after the director help spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot an unarmed teen. The couple’s attorney, Matt Morgan, announced the settlement Thursday. Morgan says Lee called them to apologize for retweeting their address. Specifics of the settlement weren’t disclosed. Read More: New York Post

St. Patrick’s Day around Queens


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Queens’ St. Patrick’s parades have passed and for those that want to avoid the madness of Manhattan there are a plethora of options right here in the borough. Bars around Queens borough are serving up St. Paddy’s Day specials, so revelers can save some green.

Here are some spots around the borough to celebrate:

Austin Ale House, Kew Gardens:

Live music Friday and Saturday with a complimentary corned beef and cabbage buffet from 3-5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day and food and drink specials all day.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria:

Receive a St. Paddy’s Day mug with unlimited refills on select beers for just $15. There will also be live music, $4 shots of Bushmills, $5 shots of Jameson, $6 Jager bombs, $7 Irish car bombs and $10 corned beef and cabbage with potatoes and carrots.

Bourbon Street, Bayside:

Friday the restaurant will feature a pre-St. Patrick’s Day happy hour drink specials and “green” giveaways. On St. Paddy’s Day watch the parade from the bar with live music, free corned beef and cabbage from 3-5 p.m. For those suffering a post-holiday hangover the bar has a Sunday brunch with Bloody Mary drink specials.

Donovan’s, Bayside:

The New York institution since 1966 will be serving up a traditional Irish breakfast on St. Patrick’s Day between 9-11:30 a.m. Live Irish music by The Sporting Paddies will be performed between 5-8 p.m.

Gibbons’ Home, Maspeth:

The recently reopened Irish pub will feature live Irish music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Strawberry’s Sports Grill, Douglaston:

Darryl Strawberry’s restaurant will be featuring drink specials all day including: $2 Coors Lights, $3 domestic drafts, $3 green Jell-O shots, $4 Guinness drafts, $4 Killian’s, $5 Jameson shots and $7 car bombs. Fill up with smoked corned beef and coleslaw specials all day.

Studio Square, Astoria:

Enjoy a free corned beef and cabbage buffet between noon and 5 p.m. Wash that down with a pitcher of Killian’s Irish Red and three shots of Jameson for $18 or $2 Jameson shots.

Safari Beach Club, Bayside:

The bar will open at 8 a.m. and feature $5 Irish coffees. There will be free shots for ladies between 2-6 p.m. and live music beginning at 11 a.m.

Woodside, once the heart of Queens’ Irish-American community, still maintains a strong presence of Irish pride and features some of the best Irish pubs in the city. Stop by Sean Og Tavern, Saints and Sinners, Donovan’s Pub, Molly Blooms in neighboring Sunnyside, amongst a host of others for an authentic pub experience.

 

Vincent James Marciari


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Vincent James Marciari passed away on Sunday, March 4.

He was born in Kew Gardens and spent nearly all of his 92 years there. He was the youngest of eight children born to Dominic and Rose Marciari, who arrived in the United States at the turn of the 20th century from Calabria, Italy.

“Vincent’s generosity, selflessness, kindness and upbeat nature will endure for generations and will serve as an inspiration to all who knew him. The family is grateful and fortunate to have enjoyed his presence in their lives for so many decades, and we will all remember him in our hearts. Vinny’s spirit touched the lives of everyone fortunate enough to have come in contact with him, and left this world a brighter and better place for it.”

Marciari, widely known in Kew Gardens as “Vinny the Butcher,” was the proud owner of the neighborhood butcher shop “Blendermanns Meat Market,” where he had started out as a young apprentice.

“Vinny’s joyful and playful spirit was loved and cherished not only by the members of his family, but by countless Kew Gardens residents who were his customers at the butcher shop over the years,” say friends.

Marciari regularly attended Mass at Our Lady of the Cenacle in Richmond Hill, where the funeral mass was held.

He is survived by his wife, Renee Marciari, daughter Natalie Wilson, son Ross Brooks, grandchildren Troy Schipdam, Nola Brooks and Clara Brooks, son in-law Garth Wilson, and daughter in-law Adina Brooks.

The family requests all donations be sent to the Monter Cancer Center of the North Shore University Hospital LIJ Medical Center (https://support.northshorelij.com/sslpage.aspx?pid=428), Bobbi & The Strays (http://bobbiandthestrays.org/In_Memoriam.aspx) or Our Lady of the Cenacle Parish.

 

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYPD officer Peter Figoski shot & killed by robber in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn

A city police officer was shot in the face and killed while responding to a call of a robbery in Brooklyn early Monday, authorities said. Officer Peter Figoski was hit once as he stood at the bottom of a staircase that led from the street to a basement apartment at 25 Pine Street in Cypress Hills. “The officer interrupted a burglary-robbery in progress,” said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD’s top spokesman. “It looks like the gunman may have surprised the officer. As the officer entered the location, he was shot by the gunman.” The tragic incident occurred about 2:15 a.m. Figoski was rushed to Jamaica Hospital but could not be saved. Read More: Daily News

Long Island City bank robber panicked after he fired his gun at the ceiling 

The FBI is hunting for a gun-toting bank robber, who was caught on camera after he fired a shot into the ceiling of a Queens bank to prove he meant business but left without a cent. The bandit, dressed in a dark colored cap, dark framed glasses and a dark jacket and black leather gloves, walked into the HSBC bank on 43rd Avenue near 22nd Street in Long Island City, shortly before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, said authorities.  Read More: Daily News

Ex-Officer Kills His Wife, a State Tax Agent, in Queens, the Police Say

A state tax agent who specialized in investigating the trafficking of illegal cigarettes was shot to death by her husband, a former New York police officer, the authorities said on Sunday. The body of the investigator, Tracey Young, 42, was discovered by the police and paramedics shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday in her apartment on the eighth floor of 143-41 84th Drive, in Briarwood. She had been shot several times in the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: New York Times

TSA Passenger Advocates Sought By New York Lawmakers

Two New York lawmakers have called for a passenger advocate at airports to immediately act on complaints by passengers over security screenings. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and state Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens want the Transportation Security Administration to create the position at all airports. The proposal, released Sunday, was prompted by an elderly woman’s recent claims that she was strip searched by security officials at Kennedy Airport, which the TSA denies, saying it doesn’t conduct strip searches. Others have since made similar claims. Read More: Huffington Post

Meeks’ money man eyes plea deal

A Queens businessman who once gave Congressmember Gregory Meeks $40,000 is negotiating a plea deal with federal authorities in Brooklyn, according to court records obtained by The Post. The “extensive plea negotiations” are scheduled to stretch into the end of February, leaving some to wonder if Meeks pal and Guyanese-born developer Edul Ahmad is helping the feds with other targets. “That’s a lot of time to negotiate a plea,” said a New York criminal lawyer not connected with the case. “The feds must think there are bigger fish they can catch.” Read More: New York Post

Lying lawyer slapped

A Queens lawyer has been suspended for six months for falsely accusing a New Jersey state trooper of using anti-Semitic slurs against him, according to a ruling released yesterday. Attorney Elliott Dear said he made up the outrageous allegations in hopes of getting out of a speeding ticket. Court papers say the unidentified trooper pulled over Dear, an orthodox Jew, for going 84 in a 55-mph zone while driving with his wife in 2007. Read More: New York Post

Hero FDNY captain rescues badly-burned grandpa from burning Queens building

A badly-burned Queens grandfather was pulled from his smoke-choked bedroom early Saturday after his desperate son screamed at firefighters to rescue the trapped man. “My father! My father!” howled Patrick Bryan, 32, as the FDNY reached his burning Flushing apartment at 2:12 a.m. Bryan, his wife and their 5-year-old daughter escaped from the two-story apartment building — but 64-year-old Patrick James Rohan was lying unconscious in a rear bedroom. Read More: Daily News

Kew Gardens Fire Injures Four, Cause Unknown

Fire officials are looking into what sparked a fire Saturday that left four people injured in Queens. The New York City Fire Department says it broke out around 2 a.m. in the kitchen on the top floor of a two-story apartment building located at 147-19 75th Road in Kew Gardens. Family members say residents were forced to escape from a second story window. Read More: NY1

Queens Man Charged With Murdering Former Roommate

A Queens man was arraigned Saturday on charges of second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon in connection with the shooting death of a man on Staten Island. Armand Skrine, 34, is being held without bail. On Thursday, police responded to a call of shots fired on Steuben Street in Park Hill. There they found David Williams, 30, on the seventh floor of his building with multiple gunshot wounds. Read More: NY1

Summer readers feted by Assemblymember Rory Lancman


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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More than 50 young readers throughout Queens were awarded for their participation in this year’s New York State Assembly Summer Reading Challenge on Monday, October 24.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman presented award certificates to students who accumulated at least 40 days of reading throughout the summer, either independently or with their parents and guardians.

“A lot of the time my kids don’t want to read, but if I tell them that they’ll get something out of it, they have the incentive to do it,” said Lisa Ramos, mother of Lara and Eduardo of P.S. 117 in Briarwood.

Student readers from public schools in Jamaica, Flushing, Briarwood, Kew Gardens, Fresh Meadows and Richmond Hill attended the ceremony held in the Briarwood Library.