Tag Archives: Kew Gardens

Jon Torodash explores City Council run against incumbent Koslowitz


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jon Torodash 2013

Jon Torodash wants to bring “Civic Virtue” back to Queens.

The Kew Gardens resident has begun exploring a run as an independent against incumbent Councilmember Karen Koslowitz, a Democrat, for City Council District 29.

Born and raised in Forest Hills, Torodash, 31, returned to Queens about five years ago and said he would run a campaign based on government transparency. This platform, and his decision to possibly run, was inspired by his experience as a local advocate in the last few months.

Torodash, a software engineer, fought to keep the statue “Triumph of Civic Virtue” on Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

The effort failed, however, as the statue was hoisted from its pedestal last December. But Torodash said the exposure showed him the inner workings of government and things he wanted to change.

There are three issues that stand out on Torodash’s platform: transportation, safety and education.

Bus transit is one of the biggest problems for District 29, he said, with long waits leaving riders out in the cold. Torodash says he will explore new options, especially around Queens Center mall, including making bus schedules more consistent.

“There are a lot of common sense proposals that need to be looked at here,” he said.

If elected, Torodash said he wants to focus on safety boroughwide.

Torodash runs a test-prep business for teachers and taught Latin and English for three years. He said the Department of Education is unorganized and that the current education system does not empower parents and teachers.

Opting to run as an independent, he hopes his run will inspire other people to seek public office to affect change. While he said he has no quarrels with either the Democratic or Republican party, Torodash said a lack of history with either party might discourage the ordinary citizen from seeking office.

“I think that many people would get discouraged because they don’t have a party history,” he said.

 

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Where to watch the Super Bowl in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

While the Harbaugh brothers try to coach their teams to victory in the “HarBowl”, you can enjoy the game at one of Queens’ many bars, offering various drink and food specials throughout the night, along with free giveaways.

Bourbon Street, Bayside

For $45 per person, enjoy a hot and cold buffet, unlimited mixed drinks, bottled and tap beer, wine and soda during the game. Raffles and prize drawings will also be held during the event, which starts at 6 p.m.  Reservations and deposit required.

Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Astoria

“The Biggest Tailgating Party in Astoria,” offers free admission, free hot dogs, wing specials and $10 pitchers on select beers and the game is played on a 200-inch high-definition screen. The event will start at 6 p.m.

Studio Square NYC, Astoria

Starting at 4 p.m., enjoy unlimited draft beers, red & white sangria, loaded lemonade and red stag iced tea as well as an in-game buffet from the garden grill and shot specials during the game. Auction on past Super Bowl memorabilia and several raffles will be held for the chance to win an 80” led screen. Watch the game on more than three dozen 60” flat screen TV’s. Tickets are $40 online (studiosquarenyc.com) and $45 at the door.

Austin’s Ale House, Kew Gardens

For $50 per person enjoy bottled beer, top-shelf cocktails, half-time buffet and raffles & prize drawings. Order wings by Feb. 1.

Resorts World Casino, South Ozone Park 

Watch the game on a huge 16’x28’ flat screen TV, along with several other screens around the circular bar. Two packages are available. $25 per person gets you six wings and two domestic draft beers. The VIP package, priced at $60 per person (must order 25 tickets for a grand total of $1500), gets you 150 wings and 50 draft domestic beers.

Play, Elmhurst

Starting at 5 p.m., guests can enjoy a five hour open bar and watch the game on one of 16 flat screen TV’s for $25 per person. A mechanical bull, billiards, bowling and ping-pong and more also available. VIP tables are also available by calling 718-476-2828. VIP options include a bottle of liquor of your choice and two food platters or a la carte food and beverage service. After party will be held until 4 a.m. Tickets are required. Visit play.ticketleap.com to order.

 

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Central and southern Queens to receive water main upgrade


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEP

A $14 million upgrade to replace the borough’s aging water system will soon flow into portions of central and southern Queens, authorities said.

About 13 miles of new ductile iron water mains will be installed to replace old unlined cast ones in Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway, according to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The infrastructure improvement project is expected to improve water quality, pressure and distribution in residential and commercial areas of the neighborhoods by retiring mains that are over 60 years old, the DEP said.

“Public health and the future growth of New York City are contingent on having an adequate supply of high quality water,” DEP Commissioner Carter Strickland said. “By installing nearly 13 miles of new water mains, we will ensure adequate water pressure for firefighting, basic sanitation and clean drinking water for these Queens neighborhoods for decades to come.”

The new water mains will be installed in locations near Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard, Kew Garden Road, Park Lane South, Myrtle Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and Beach 9th Street.

Construction will be done in phases, beginning March 2013, with expected completion in 2015.

Where to find last minute gifts in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

OKG

THE POTTER’S WHEEL
20-33 83rd Avenue, Kew Gardens, 718-441-6614
Handmade items make great holiday gifts. Our gallery offers many one-of-a-kind treasures made by passionate, local artists. With over thirty years of experience, our studio exhibits many styles from which to choose. Gift certificates for classes make great gifts, too. Get Creative! Make your own gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MIEKA
45 Glen Cove Road, Greenvale, NY, 516-367-8755
Woodbury Common, 8285 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury, NY, 516-367-8755

ELEGANT JEWELRY
45-31B Bell Boulevard, Bayside, 718-225.5000
Give Elegance this season! Pop the question with a custom made engagement ring from Elegant Jewelry and make the holidays sparkle! Specializing in designing engagement rings and wedding bands since 1983.

BELL FAMILY JEWELERS
40-21 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, 718-279-3035

LA BELLA BASKETS
Ameena Rodriguez (Gift Consultant # 6080), 888-809-9113
Beautiful gifts for a beautiful cause, including gift baskets, flower arrangements and cookie bouquets.

 

OKG JEWELRY
248-25 Northern Blvd. Little Neck, 718-423-2526

SHOE VILLAGE
45-22 162nd Street, Flushing, 718-762-1990
This winter get your loved one the gift of warmth and comfort with a pair of UGG AustraliaClassic Short Dylyn. This boot is made with premium genuine twin faced Sheepskin. UGG Australia has boots, shoes and slippers for women, men and kids.

Civic Virtue statue leaves Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

The controversial statue, officially called “Triumph of Civic Virtue,” which stirred debate for the last few years, was hoisted from its pedestal on Queens Boulevard just before 5 p.m. on Saturday, December 15 as bystanders looked on — many of whom were saddened by the action.

It has been moved to Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn effectively leaving the borough on loan to the cemetery. Many have opposed the move for several reasons, particularly though for its artistic value and the manner in which it was moved.

A week before the move, which took close to 10 hours of preparation, Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Elizabeth Crowley joined with Community Board 9 and Triumph of Civic Virtue to rally against the move. The coalition alleged that those opposed had purposely been stymied from attending a November 13 hearing on the move to Green-Wood.

And just days before, Community Board 9 voted to oppose the planned move, also citing that the aged statue was a work of public art, given to Queens more than 70 years ago and should be preserved as such. The statue should have been restored and kept in Queens, said Community Board 9 chair Andrea Crawford.

See more photos of the statue’s removal

    

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Platinum Band

The Platinum Band is once again performing on the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Bar 360 Stage. The band, which boasts a heavy rotation of reggae music, takes you back to an era of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students sickened after pepper spray is released in Queens school

One student was hospitalized, and 10 more had to be sent home, after pepper spray was discharged in a school lunchroom in South Ozone Park, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Makeover for Queens traffic hub is underway

Pedestrian plazas and a gleaming stainless steel elevator are coming to Queens Blvd. and the Van Wyck Expressway but completion of the massive Kew Garden Interchange project is still years away. Read more: New York Daily News

Baggage handler who smuggled cocaine in planes is sentenced to life

An airline baggage handler who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the bellies of commercial jets was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, putting an emphatic stamp on a case that revealed rampant theft and corruption by some airline employees. Read more: New York Times

Union officials ask Queens district attorney for fair investigation of cop in fatal shooting of unarmed man on Grand Central Parkway

Union officals for the NYPD detective who shot an unarmed man to death on the Grand Central Parkway met Tuesday with the Queens district attorney to ask for a fair and impartial investigation. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC cabbie suspended after tossing passenger

A New York City cab driver has had his license suspended after a hearing in which he was shown on video shoving and pushing a passenger out of his cab. Read more: NBC New York

Face to face: Obama, Romney in crackling debate

An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election. Read more: AP

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.