Tag Archives: Kissena Park

Birds flock to winter hot spot Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Queens County Bird Club

Queens isn’t just the world’s borough. It’s also the birds’ borough.

Birds migrating south for the winter stop in Queens, using the borough’s numerous parks as a rest stop. Other birds, like the snow owl, dig in for the winter and stay in New York City for the season. Witnessing it all are the bird watchers of the Queens County Bird Club.

Bird watching – or birding, to use the hobby’s parlance – is a common practice in Queens, according to Arie Gilbert, president of the Queens County Bird Club. As the season nears winter, leaves falling from trees give parks a desolate, dead look, but they reveal many types of birds that won’t be found in warmer months. Gilbert’s club makes many trips to Alley Pond Park, Kissena Park, Forest Park and, of course, Gilbert said, Jamaica Bay.

“For anybody who even has a passing knowledge of birding knows about Queens and Jamaica Bay,” Gilbert said. “People from all over the world come to New York City to go to Jamaica Bay.”

In these hot spots, people will be able to see birds like the Iceland gull, the great-horned owl and the wood duck.

Along with bird watching trips, the club plans on holding a lecture on Nov. 19 that will help bird watchers identify and note the subtle difference in subspecies like those found in sparrows.

“Birding is not like football. It doesn’t have the same appeal,” Gilbert said. “But it’s a lot of fun being outdoors.”

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Korean culture celebrated in Kissena Park during ‘senior Olympics’


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Hundreds of elderly Korean Americans gathered in Kissena Park on Friday to celebrate their culture with music, food and a series of games called the “senior Olympics.”

“It’s a great event to get all the seniors together in an outdoors environment,” said Christina Choy, president of the YWCA of Queens said. The YWCA, which was started by Korean-American families in the 1970s, hosted the event and this was the 17th year the event was held.

“They’re all here to enjoy the event, get a free lunch and celebrate the Korean culture,” Choy said. She began to explain the need of outdoor experience when she spotted U.S. Rep. Grace Meng in the crowd.

“Oh my God, is that Meng? She’s kind of famous for us. She married a Korean,” Choy said before running off to ogle Meng.

Five hundred seniors, walkers and all, prepared for the Olympic games with a lunch provided by YWCA while three Korean woman played national Korean folk music.

The day’s events consisted of 10 games, including a Korean one where the player throws arrows into a bucket.

 

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Op-ed: Bowne Park: kiss your venerable trees goodbye


| oped@queenscourier.com

CARSTEN W. GLAESER

The July 10 Courier reporting on the planned “facelift” and revitalized green space of Flushing’s Bowne Park comes with a cost far greater than the proposed $2.45M capital construction expense, if we consider the large long-lived trees that populate the park. In addition to aesthetics, we must be mindful of the high economic value and benefits and services that those trees provide. Scientific evidence reveals new understandings of the benefits and services gained from large trees, elevating these organisms to significant and irreplaceable natural assets in communities. From improvements in our health and healing, the psychological benefits we find among large trees, the removal of gaseous air pollution and interception of harmful particulate matter, valued in the millions of dollars, to the cooling effects and the savings from costly storm water control systems by a tree’s absorbing capacity, we ought to do a better job protecting this invaluable natural resource.

Yet, one park-wide construction facelift across a highly tree-sensitive landscape will result in needless tree losses in short time. With its heavy equipment and excavation, the harmful compaction of soils along with the deliberate absence of effective tree and landscape protections shall see scores of large park trees compromised in health. Such is the historical pattern of many NYC Parks Capital Construction park-revitalization projects populated by public trees. It is a division that is misguided and tree-unfriendly.

In 2013, the Chronicle reported on such a Parks Capital project in Queens at the Ridgewood Reservoir. Several venerable, irreplaceable 150-year old specimen plane trees and the adjacent open landscape were abused and harmed for a design scheme that did all but consider the “trees’ needs.” In 2004, a $2.0M Parks Capital lake-revitalization project in Kissena Park saw similar large shade trees abused by having protection and oversight removed to expedite the project to the financial gain of a contractor. Once magnificent, broad-canopied lakeside trees valued at $1.8M (as a living public asset) are now mere tree-skeletons, with a cost value that is quickly approaching zero. Then there is Washington Square Park, with its historic trees, where that revitalization project allowed abuses on a magnitude that some believe bordered on criminal.

By not addressing the trees’ needs amid construction, municipalities allow for tree abuses. When tree-unfriendly and illogical design schemes with award-winning intentions take preference over the trees’ needs, the outcome is never good. An effectively implemented and enforced state-of-the-art Tree and Landscape Protection Plan could combat this abuse. If carried out by the right arboricultural professional and given a level of autonomy and close collaboration with the project engineer, a Tree and Landscape Protection Plan could effectively reverse the tree abuse trends and consequences that have been witnessed.

The friends of Bowne Park, civic members and all who value and enjoy the presence of their large park tree assets and wish to have those trees for decades or even a century longer need to demand the best for tree health and its protections. They must demand of Parks Capital to plan and implement a Tree and Landscape Protection Plan. Its maintenance and enforcement, by whom and for how long must be mandated and upheld, or else your venerable trees will go the way of others lost to similar revitalization projects — dead and gone before we even realize what has happened.

Carsten W. Glaeser is a Flushing-based independent Consulting Arborist. He has an advanced graduate degree from CUNY Graduate Center in the plant sciences and was a biology and plant sciences instructor for CUNY undergraduate students before turning to consulting. Dr. Glaeser is active in several professional arboricultural and urban forestry organizations and locally is the current vice president of the Kissena Park Civic Association.

 

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‘Snow day’ at Juniper Valley Park Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 4:00 p.m.

Just because Mother Nature has dropped a few inches of snow, doesn’t mean you can’t put on your snow boots, get the sled and, go out and have some fun.

Keeping in mind to stay safe and bundle up, the Department of Parks and Recreation has declared an official snow day for Saturday, January 4 at five parks across the city. The snow day will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In Queens, the Parks Department will hold a snow day at Juniper Valley Park, at 78th Street and Juniper Valley North in Middle Village. During the snow day, free organized activities include supervised safe sledding, snowman building contests, best snow angel contests, friendly snowball fights, music, and complimentary hot chocolate.

For more information, please call 311 or visit the Parks Department website for updates.

Even though Juniper Park will be the only park in the borough to include free activities in the case of a snow day, here are other local parks you can visit for some fun in the snow and suggestions for sledding spots, courtesy of the city’s Parks Department. But remember to stay warm and be safe!

Astoria Park, Astoria, 19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard

Bowne Park, Flushing, Small hillside on the 155th Street side of the park

Cunningham Park, Oakland Gardens

Crocheron Park, Bayside, 35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Forest Park, Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South

Hermon A. Macneil Park, College Point

lower Highland Park, Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street

Kissena Park, Flushing, Eastside of Lake: enter Metcalf and 164th Street

 

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Man accused of raping and burning woman in Flushing


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are hunting for a man accused of raping a woman inside his car in Flushing before burning her hair and clothes before she fled.

Wu Lin, 35, allegedly sexually assaulted a 31-year-old woman about 10 p.m. on Dec. 4, the NYPD said. The incident took place in Kissena Park at 165-14 Booth Memorial Avenue, police said.

Lin and the victim knew each other, police said.

Lin was described by police as Asian with black hair and brown eyes. He is 5-foot-7, weighing roughly 140 pounds.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-8477.

 

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Family of pregnant woman killed by tree in Kissena park to sue city


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The family of the pregnant woman killed by a felled tree in Kissena Park plans to sue the city, their lawyers said.

Ying Yi Li-Dikov, 30, who was six months pregnant with a baby girl, was sitting on a bench on August 4 when a 50-foot oak tree snapped eight feet from the ground and struck her from behind, city officials said.
Lawyers said an investigation is ongoing, but they anticipate a lawsuit.

“It boils down to negligent maintenance of the trees in the park,” said attorney Stefano Filippazzo.

The family released a statement through their lawyers saying Ying Yi and her unborn daughter “are now peacefully at rest.”

“The family of Mrs. Dikov wishes to thank everyone for their prayers, love and support during this incredibly difficult time,” the statement said. “Please continue to keep them in their prayers as they now begin the long journey of healing.”

 

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Street Talk: Following the death of a woman in Kissena Park, what do you think the city should do about trees?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

I’m not sure if the city’s at fault, but if it is then I think they should definitely have someone inspect the trees from now on.
David Williamson

I think there should be some sort of standardization and maintenance to make sure everything is up to par so that something like this doesn’t happen again.
Lynn Perkins

It’s imperative that the city has nature and natural life in it, but they should also take responsibility for its upkeep and maintenance.
Erik Ryan

I think the woman’s family should sue the city for not having the proper safety measures in place. We need to make sure that everybody who’s supposed to be making the city safer is actually doing his or her job.
Ashley Gomez

It sounds heartless, but I don’t think there’s much anyone can do about something like that. These things are unfortunate, but they happen.
Aaron Orlokowski

The city should check up on the trees in the parks, because there’s no way to know when something like this can happen again.
Yoni Ronn

Maybe the city should monitor the sizes of the trees.
Alex Rivera

The city should be responsible, and they should have to pay for that woman’s funeral services. They also need to go check out the area where the tree fell.
Cheryl Kinard

JOHANN HAMILTON

 

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Push to inspect trees as family mourns pregnant woman killed in Kissena Park


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The city is inspecting the felled tree that killed a 30-year-old expectant mother in Flushing as her family makes arrangements to mourn her.

“They’re just distraught,” said attorney Anthony Como, who spoke on behalf of the grieving family. “Right now, we’re just trying to investigate to find out what happened, how something like this could occur, and obviously to get some answers at this point.”

Yingyi Li, who was six months pregnant with a baby girl, was sitting on a bench in Kissena Park around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, August 4 when a fallen tree struck her from behind, police said.

The 50-foot oak tree snapped eight feet above the ground, city officials said.

The Parks Department said it was thoroughly examining the tree’s condition. It was 70 years old, said spokesperson Arthur Pincus.

Expert arborists who are unaffiliated with the department said the oak, which typically can live for 400 years, had signs of ongoing decay and was hollow in the base.

“The wood strength that is needed to keep the tree upright was no longer there,” said Carsten Glaeser, a Flushing-based tree consultant. “If the wood is no longer there, then the tree falls. All it takes is a little force and the tree keels over.”

Li had been married to Aleksandar Dikov, 20, for a little more than a year, their lawyer and neighbors said.

“The two of them were always together, very happy,” said Christina Leib. “She was very loved.”

The pair was living in Flushing with Dikov’s parents, who were too heartbroken to speak to reporters.

“They lost their first and only grandchild,” Como said.

Li owned her own clothing business in Flushing, the attorney said. She met Dikov, a military man, at the Flushing YMCA.

“She was a beautiful girl, so beautiful,” said neighbor Farida Yesmin. “I’m so upset. I can’t even explain.”

Congressmember Grace Meng said she intervened with Customs and Border Protection to allow Li’s father, Zhong Liang Li, to fly in from China.

His American visa was set to expire while he was traveling, Meng said.

Li’s uncle and a family friend were also arranged to enter the country.

At least 13 people have been injured or killed by city trees in the last two months, said Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates.

The Parks Department said there were six zone inspections this year in Kissena Park, including one in June. There are more than two million trees on city streets and inside parks.

The department is in the process of contracting an independent tree consultant to review all tree management procedures, a spokesperson said.

Croft and State Senator Tony Avella said the city should suspend its Million Tree Program and use the funds for tree maintenance.

“These tragic accidents can no longer be thought of as ‘acts of God,’” Avella said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 81. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Free screening of Despicable Me at Astoria Park

Central Astoria Local Development Coalition Inc. presents movie night on the Astoria Park Great Lawn. The free screening of Despicable Me will start at 8:30 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Pregnant woman killed by falling tree in Kissena Park

A pregnant woman died after she was hit by a falling tree in Kissena Park this evening, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Bayside man arrested after taking his girlfriend hostage

Police arrested a Bayside man early this morning after he took his girlfriend hostage in his home and refused to surrender to cops for hours. Read more: The Queens Courier

Project adds 600,000 cubic yards of sand to help Rockaway Beach

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced that $10 million contract provided by the Army Corps of Engineers will restore 600,000 cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach. Read more: Fox New York

CBS: No negotiations taking place with Time Warner

CBS says there are currently no negotiations taking place with Time Warner Cable, which stopped carrying the network in New York and other markets on Friday in a spat over fees. Read more: NBC New York

New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott warns that release of 2012 state and math test scores will show sharp declines

City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott warned Sunday that state reading and math test scores to be released this week will drop sharply because of tougher new exams. Read more: New York Daily News

State Dept: Posts in 19 countries to remain closed

Amid online “chatter” about terror threats, U.S. diplomatic posts in 19 cities in the Muslim world will be closed at least through the end of this week, the State Department said. Read more: AP

Pregnant woman killed by falling tree in Kissena Park


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

A pregnant woman died after she was hit by a falling tree in Kissena Park Sunday evening, cops said.

The woman, Yingyi Li, 30, of Queens, was sitting on a bench under the tree when it fell, authorities said.

Police arrived on the scene at about 6:30 p.m. and the woman was rushed to New York Hospital Queens, where she was pronounced dead.

Another woman hit by the tree is in serious condition at the hospital, according to reports.

No reason as to why the tree fell was given.

 

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What to do this weekend in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of CODA

Saturday, June 29

Get outdoors and discover nature with the Urban Rangers this summer. Families and children eight and older are invited to participate in a catch-and-release freshwater fishing program held in Kissena Park. Starting at 11 a.m., interested families will meet at the entrance located on Rose and Oak Avenues. All equipment will be provided by the Urban Rangers and will be supplied on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The Long Island City Artists (LICA) is hosting a family sun-printing workshop at 2 p.m. at Flushing Town Hall. Creative minded families are encouraged to bring items such as leaves, lace, or feathers to use in the art of sunprinting. Items are placed on piece of paper and a silhouette image is transferred onto it. Visit www.flushingtownhall.org/events or call 718-463-7700 for details.

Sunday, June 30

Join the Bayside Historical Society in Crocheron Park for the Annual Lawn Concert. Starting at 6 p.m. the free concert will feature a country music performance by Savannah Sky followed by some good old fashioned rock and roll played by Rear View Mirror. Bring some lawn chairs, a picnic, and the whole family and enjoy some summer tunes. For more information visit www.baysidehistorical.org or call 718-352-148

The Urban Park Rangers will host a historical walking tour of Fort Totten Park starting at 1 p.m. The Urban Park Rangers specialize in interpretations of historic turning points of New York City. Anyone wishing to attend can meet up at the Fort Totten Park Visitor’s Center, visit nyc.gov/parks for more information

Saturday, June 29 thru Saturday, September 7

Starting June 29 and continuing every Saturday of the summer through September 7, MoMA PS1 presents its highly anticipated outdoor music series Warm Up. Warm Up is celebrating its 16th year and is keeping its tradition of introducing audiences to an array of musical styles, such as experimental live music, DJs both local and international, and emerging artists. The event is planned by a curatorial committee, selected by the museum to represent a wide spectrum of experiences in music, sound and the performing arts. Warm Up will feature a variety of musical performances, art/stage installations and a temporary urban landscape called “Party Wall.” Tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door for each Saturday. For more information call 718-784-2084 or visit www.momaps1.org/warmup

MORE WEEKEND EVENTS

Walk to raise funds for Flushing toddler’s chemo


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kimberly Scott

Kimberly Scott’s life changed in March, when doctors discovered a lemon sized tumor in her toddler’s brain.

“They said in a week, he would have died if he didn’t have the surgery,” she said.

Her 3-year-old son Alex now faces at least six months of aggressive chemotherapy after the cancerous brain tumor was removed.

Hundreds in the community will come together at Kissena Park Lake to “Walk for Alex” on June 8.

They will raise money to help pay for some of Alex’s medical expenses as the Flushing family tries to bring order back into their lives.

The walk begins at 10 a.m. this Saturday, with registration opening an hour in advance.

“It’s amazing how the community steps up,” said Kimberly Scott, 29. “I haven’t been able to work at all and my husband works intermittently. This helps us out fantastically until we get back on a good work schedule.”

The Scotts, who have two young sons, were billed $49,000 for the surgery alone. They do not know how much of that will be covered by insurance. They are also facing fees for hospital stays and chemo.

“How our life was before is how we want to keep it now,” said Scott, a medical assistant. “I don’t want to have to sell my son’s Wii so I can pay the Con Edison bill.”

The mother of one of Alex’s classmates organized the walk, which has also received support from the Knights of Columbus, the International Nursery School and a number of charities. The groups hope to raise at least $5,000.

“I called her crying and thanked her so much,” Scott said.

While Alex suffers painful mouth and stomach sores, his mother said he has shown great perseverance.

“He should be having problems with speech, and he doesn’t,” Scott said. “He should be having weakness, but he doesn’t. He’s defying all the laws of cancer.”

Alex also has a huge post-surgery scar on his head, but does not have to worry about it so much since his father got an identical tattoo on his head.

“To me, that was the sweetest thing a father could do,” Kimberly Scott said. “Alex didn’t like everyone looking at him. He’s never going to be the only person with this thing on his head. Daddy will always have one too.”

 

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Suspects captured in Kissena Park chase charged with robbery, fake gun possession


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Two robbery suspects who led police on a high-speed chase through Queens have been charged with robbery, criminal use of a firearm and possession of an imitation pistol, according to the district attorney.

One of the defendants, Ravinder Dharamshot, 32, of Queens Village, has additionally been charged with reckless endangerment.

Dharamshot and his accomplice, 23-year-old Umair Farooq of Oakland Gardens, are accused of robbing several gas stations and a deli in the borough last month.

Around 5:15 a.m. on Wednesday, April 3, a police officer spotted a minivan that matched the description of the vehicle used in those robberies near Utopia Parkway and Cross Island Parkway and gave chase, according to the DA.

Dharamshot, who was driving the vehicle, allegedly started speeding dangerously, during which time he headed the wrong way down the Clearview Expressway and drove onto the sidewalk, nearly hitting pedestrians.

After striking a police car at Colden Street and Elder Avenue, injuring two officers, Dharamshot fled the minivan.
Farooq was apprehended shortly after the crash.

Following a manhunt through Kissena Park and the surrounding streets, police found Dharamshot in a parked car in Queens Village later that day.

The pair faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

 

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Kissena Park manhunt ends with capture of two robbery suspects


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A wild chase ended in the capture of two men wanted for several gas station robberies in Queens.

Police spotted the suspects driving the wrong way down the Clearview Expressway early Wednesday morning, April 3, said the NYPD. Refusing to pull over, the alleged robbers eventually ditched their vehicle and ran into nearby Kissena Park.

One suspect was quickly arrested and a gun was recovered in the vehicle.

An extensive manhunt, reportedly involving a police helicopter, was launched for the second man. He was found about an hour later hiding in a parked car on Moline Street off of Braddock Avenue.

The two men arrested allegedly robbed four gas stations and one grocery store in March and early April, according to police.

During at least three of the incidents, the suspects drove to the gas station in a dark-colored minivan, then the driver exited the vehicle, watched the locations and returned to the minivan. Afterwards, the second suspect exited the vehicle, entered the location and either displayed a black handgun or simulated having a gun under his shirt and demanded cigarettes and money from the register.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 48. Breezy. Winds from the WNW at 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Wednesday night: Clear. Low of 30 with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 25 mph

EVENT OF THE DAY: Spectacle: The Music Video

Spectacle: The Music Video at the Museum of the Moving Image explores the history and art of music videos in a first-of-its-kind exhibit. With 300 videos, artifacts and interactive installations it shows the cultural influence of music videos over the past 35 years, emphasizing their role in new creative technology and how they have pushed the boundaries of creative production. On view April 3-June 16. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Manhunt under way in Kissena Park after suspects flee

The NYPD is searching Kissena Park in Queens after officers pursued robbery suspects into the park Wednesday morning. Read more: ABC New York

Arrest in Forest Park attempted rape

Four days after a female jogger was attacked in Forest Park, police arrested Richard Kassebaum, 42, in connection with the assault. Read more: The Queens Courier 

Massive fire tears through concrete plant in Queens

A massive second-alarm fire burned through a concrete plant in Queens overnight. Read more: ABC New York

Pols, constituents shocked by Sen. Malcolm Smith bribery charge

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Jackson Heights leaders push for slow zone on Northern Blvd.

A rash of accidents along Northern Boulevard could be a sign that the northwestern Queens thoroughfare is becoming the new “Boulevard of Death.” Read more: New York Daily News

Obama, in Colorado, to press for gun measures

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