Tag Archives: LaGuardia Community College

Police officers save man’s life in LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

For two police officers, a routine patrol in Long Island City on Tuesday turned into a moment of heroism.

Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of LaGuardia Community College, located at 29-10 Tomson Ave., cops said. Caldarera approached the 66-year-old man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance had been requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heart beat returned and he resumed breathing.

Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and the man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”

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LaGuardia Community College breaks ground on library expansion


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

LaGuardia Community College has launched a project that will give students at the Long Island City campus more room to conduct research and study.

Representatives of LaGuardia Community College and CUNY, as well as faculty and students, gathered on Dec. 5 to break ground on a project to renovate and expand the college’s library.

“LaGuardia Community College has a successful track record improving the lives and economic opportunities for countless sons and daughters of immigrants who continue to attend this world-class institution,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who secured $2 million in funding for the library expansion. “Together with this significant investment we will ensure more students are given a state-of-the-art facility they need to enhance their academic experience.”

Van’s Bramer’s funding will help renovate, expand and modernize the library by creating an open plan allowing better access for students and faculty.

During the renovations, which are expected to be completed by the fall of 2016, 17,000 square feet of the library’s 31,000-square-foot first floor will be rebuilt and the remaining space will be upgraded.

Students and faculty will be able to walk through a new entrance into an open space where natural light will be allowed to shine into the building.

The renovation will expand the library to the E-Building’s second floor. The college’s Humanities Department was moved to the C-Building to make room for the expansion.

Rendering courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

Rendering courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

“We are excited to embark on the construction project that will expand the existing library space,” said Shahir Erfan, LaGuardia’s vice president of administration. “The new space will leverage architectural/engineering design to promote learning and student engagement and the technology upgrades will enhance the student experience.”

Among the upgrades and renovations are expanded circulation, reference and periodical areas. There will also be a new 1,600-square-foot information commons to help visitors access information with printed materials and technology. The library will also feature four brand-new 800-square-foot open study rooms and a 450-square-foot meeting room. Two new 1,200-square-foot  computer labs will be added to the current 750-square-foot lab.

“To us students, the library is our sanctuary, to study, do homework and be academically active,” said Katherine Gutierrez, a student at LaGuardia and Student Government Association governor of political awareness. “More books and more space is what we need. We have waited for this renovation, and it will provide us exactly that.”

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Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

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LaGuardia Performing Arts Center photo exhibit to explore Muslim identity


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

LaGuardia Community College is hosting the photography exhibit “Faces of Islam” at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center from Nov. 13. The exhibit features more than 30 photographs of Muslims associated with the college: students, administrators, and their families and friends. The photographers took the images either for a class project or specifically for the exhibit.

The exhibit is part of “Beyond Sacred: Unthinking Muslim Identity,” a yearlong program of theater, dance, art exhibitions and public forums tailored toward spreading awareness and understanding about Islam in post-9/11 America. During the launch of the program in September, the center’s managing director Steven Hitt said that “Beyond Sacred” is “an exploration of Muslim identity through the lens of music, theater and dance that will open a dialogue among Muslim and non-Muslim communities, and will challenge the assumptions of group identity.”

The programming has five themes, titled “Beyond Sacred,” “Gender Sacred,” “Identity Sacred,” “Performing Sacred,” and “Beyond – Beyond Sacred.” Theatrical performances, music, dance, panel discussions and community forums will focus on each of these themes. Some of the highlights include a dance festival called “Leap of Faith,” a student production of the play “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” and a Berber Film Festival presented by the Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity.

While the line-up is impressive, the organizers are determined that the programming will neither encourage nor insult Islam.

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Traffic study released on site of fatal LIC accident


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More than a year ago, 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was fatally struck while on his way to school on Thomson Avenue. Now, LaGuardia Community College has released a traffic study on the highly congested roadway, to help prevent another life from being lost.

The comprehensive analysis was led by traffic engineering firm Philip Habib & Associates and recommends three changes be made to the corridor to improve safety for students and faculty.

The first change calls for the widening of sidewalks along Thomson Avenue by getting rid of one of the eastbound lanes, creating a buffer between vehicles and pedestrians.

The other suggestions are creating sidewalk bulb-outs, or curb extensions, and modifying current signal timing at select intersections.

The recommendations were decided after measuring hourly traffic volume and assessing signal timing, lane markings and curbside parking regulations. The firm also reviewed accident data from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT).

Last July, the DOT redesigned Thomson and Skillman avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to make left turns from Thomson onto Skillman Avenue. New signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street have also been installed.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue, where Drudak was struck by a minivan. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

Thomas Avenue brings in a large amount of pedestrian traffic with over 50,000 students and 2,500 faculty and staff from LaGuardia Community College, located on Thomson Avenue, and more than 2,000 students from five nearby high schools, according to Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president of LaGuardia Community College.

“For years, LaGuardia has been concerned about the pedestrian and vehicular safety of its students, faculty and staff,” Mellow said. “LaGuardia urges the city to rapidly make the necessary improvements for both pedestrian and vehicular safety by making modifications on Thomson Avenue, between Skillman Avenue and Van Dam Street.”

 

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Astoria resident victim of alleged livery cab hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Rich Feloni

Even playing it safe couldn’t keep Rich Feloni from becoming another hit-and-run victim.

Feloni was walking down Ditmars Boulevard toward the Q69 bus stop on his way to work Tuesday at about 8:50 a.m. when he was allegedly struck by a black livery cab on the corner of 45th Street.

The Astoria resident said that although he had the right of way, he still leaned forward to check on any incoming traffic. The cab, which Feloni believes was speeding and driving close to the parked cars on the street, then struck him as he was looking to the right and threw him off his feet.

“Even if I had the right of way I still leaned forward as precautionary measure. Next thing I know I’m getting whipped to my left and I see this car just making contact with me,” Feloni said. “It was just very reckless driving. This guy was going much faster than any car is driving in the morning.”

While on the floor, Feloni said the traffic light remained red and he noticed the cab slowed down. However, once he stood up, with help from nearby concerned pedestrians, the cab allegedly sped away from the scene.

A man who helped Feloni to his feet was able to jot down four numbers of the driver’s license plate and shared it with police.

Feloni was then taken to Mount Sinai Queens with a fractured ankle and abrasions on his face.

“I tried to be more precautionary, with all these crazy stories you hear,” Feloni said. “I’m glad I even paused.”

Police information was pending as of Wednesday afternoon.

Although The Courier cannot confirm that the cab driver was speeding when Feloni was allegedly struck, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announced it is currently exploring anti-speeding technology as part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero’s goal of zero traffic fatalities.

The TLC is looking at speed governors, also known as mandatory or intervention systems, and other advisory systems that alert drivers when they are going over the speed limit, driving while fatigued or driving recklessly.

A Vision Zero Town Hall meeting has also been scheduled for Wednesday, April 23, in Long Island City at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Ave.

 

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Small business advocates push for new Queens development center


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Queens needs another small business development center, but one with flexible hours staffed with “culturally competent” workers, advocates and lawmakers said Tuesday. 

The borough currently has two heavily-used centers, one in Long Island City’s LaGuardia Community College and another in Jamaica’s York College.

Advisers give free consultations and offer low-cost training at the centers, which are partially funded by federal Small Business Administration (SBA) funds.

But minority and immigrant owners struggle too much with language barriers at the existing sites to benefit from the services, small business owners and advocates said. And conflicting work hours are a huge deterrent.

“These centers run regular hours. But when you’re a business, you work 80 hours a week,” said Bill Imada, co-founder of the Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce.

Imada and a panel of small business advocates urged the SBA to fix its outreach to minority owners during a Congressional Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce hearing held at Queens College.

Local shop owners and Congressmember Grace Meng, who held the rare field hearing, said underserved areas like Flushing need help from staff members who speak mostly Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

“The other locations are very inconvenient for us in Flushing,” said Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce President Howard Dai. “It would give small business owners easier access, and information would spread word of mouth.”

Businesses can shut down when its owners, seeking aid, are turned away due to bad translations, said Joyce Moy, the executive director of the Asian and Asian-American Research Institute at CUNY.

“A third center in Queens, particularly with Asian and Hispanic language capacities, is urgently needed,” Moy said. “Without competence in culture, language and technical support, all of this outreach is nothing but false promises.”

The SBA’s acting chief of staff, Michele Chang, said the administration would implement more training and urged business owners to get virtual help using the SBA’s online learning center.

“We understand that being a small business owner is a hard job,” Chang said. “You work all hours of the day. It’s your lifeblood.”

 

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Mayor de Blasio takes on income gap in first State of the City address


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

In his first State of the City address, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to battle the inequality gap, with plans to raise the city’s minimum wage, provide more affordable housing and further educational opportunities.

Just a month after taking office, de Blasio laid out his ambitious agenda Monday, during the speech at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City.

“The state of our city, as we find it today, is a Tale of Two Cities – with an inequality gap that fundamentally threatens our future,” he said, referencing his campaign slogan.

The mayor said the school’s namesake, former Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, and the college in many ways, represented his own vision for the city.

“[LaGuardia Community College] is a place where New Yorkers from all walks of life can find a path to a future, with a good job and a shot at a better life,” de Blasio said.

Before detailing his plans to help close the income gap, he warned of the budgetary challenges the city is facing, with more than 150 unsettled municipal contracts. But he promised to “navigate towards a future that is progressive and fiscally responsible.”

He also vowed, through a series of measures, to “lift the floor for all New Yorkers.”

“New York will only work when it works as one city,” he said.

De Blasio said he would work with the City Council to increase the number of living wage jobs offered by employers that the city subsidizes.

The city will also ask Albany to give it the power to raise its minimum wage, he said.

In his address, de Blasio pledged to preserve or construct nearly 200,000 units of affordable housing, and said that a newly appointed team of leaders at the city’s housing agencies would release a plan to do so by May 1.

He additionally offered a plan to “protect the city’s almost half-million undocumented New Yorkers,” that would, regardless of immigration status, issue municipal ID cards to all New Yorkers this year.

The mayor also said he his administration would focus on Sandy recovery efforts “with a comprehensive review and updated plan.”

De Blasio’s speech, however, did not waiver much from his message of closing the income gap.

He said education was a key to ending the “Tale of Two Cities,” from pre-kindergarten to higher learning.

The mayor vowed to expand STEM and health care-oriented training programs in high schools and at CUNY, and set other goals to make sure more high-quality jobs in the five boroughs are filled are by those educated in the city’s schools.

He also made his case for his plan for universal, full-day pre-kindergarten that would tax the rich to pay for it.

“We’re simply asking Albany to allow New York City to tax itself – its wealthiest residents… those making a half-million or more a year,” de Blasio said.

 

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Op-ed: Support programs that boost our economy


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER NILY ROZIC

One by one, each student marched his way up to the front of the room to receive certificates of completion, each with a sense of accomplishment and hopefulness. One by one, each member of the cohort recounting stories of the past couple of weeks that gave them a second chance.

It was the workforce development initiative of the Queens Botanical Garden and LaGuardia Community College that made these second chances possible.

Unlike some traditional programs that lack strong ties to industry, workforce development programs often accelerate job creation because workers acquire precisely the kind of skills businesses need to expand. Today, examples like those of the Green Jobs Training Program include sustainable landscape design and maintenance, waste management, and other similar green practices.

More recently, the Robin Hood Foundation provided funding to create a workforce development program run by AAFE and One Flushing to recruit and assist those ready to enter the workforce. It is a welcome partnership that will enhance the growth and success of our local Flushing community.

Beyond that New York needs to implement creative ways to retain the talent we have. This year, I sponsored legislation that was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo making New York a national leader in workforce development and job training. I have also introduced legislation supported by Comptroller-elect Scott Stringer that would continue our economic growth and create quality jobs by investing in our engineering workforce. The financial aid program for engineering students who commit to staying in the city for five years after graduation is a smart investment to bolster an innovation economy and prepare our workforce for the 21st century.

This year’s budget also focused on workforce development and new industries in every community. Cuomo pushed for programs including innovative “Hot Spot” incubators, the Venture Capital Fund, and job linkage initiatives that push our state’s ideas, create new businesses, and train our workforce for jobs of tomorrow.

Queens is one of the most diverse counties in the entire country and it needs a government that can embrace and harness that to power its economic engine. We need to keep creating ways to support programs that boost our economy. The task for our next administration will be to help more of the city’s workforce develop the skills to obtain jobs—and more importantly careers—in sectors that are growing and expanding.

That is what I am determined to champion to do in next year’s legislative session—to be a champion of minority-owned and women-owned small businesses, provide resources to assist local businesses flourish, and forge better partnerships between private and public entities. There has never been a better time to support these pathways and programs that ultimately help our most critical economic resource–our workforce.

Assemblymember Nily Rozic represents New York’s 25th District, which spans the northeast portion of Queens, including the communities of Flushing, Queensboro Hill, Hillcrest, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Bayside, and Douglaston.

 

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Sunnyside unveils neighborhood map


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Residents and visitors will now have a colorful way to get around Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce got together with LaGuardia Community College to develop an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students in the Art and Humanities Department at LaGuardia were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions, amenities and landmarks to help familiarize visitors with the area. In July, three students were recognized as the top finalists. Carmen Zhu won first place, Adina Partoi won second place and Miho Nozawa won third place.

Local business owners, elected officials and residents gathered on October 2 to celebrate the unveiling of Zhu’s finished map at Bar 43, located at 43-06 43rd Street in Sunnyside.

“This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “We are thrilled to get the word out about Sunnyside with such a beautiful map to be able to distribute to visitors.”

During the summer, the artwork created by the fine arts student was brought together with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses. Printed maps will now be distributed at hotels in Long Island City, local real estate offices and community events. A new business directory in the map will be updated each year.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City – and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. “We’re proud of the collaboration behind this project, and of this opportunity to showcase some of Sunnyside’s finest establishments.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 77. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW in the afternoon. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 66. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Bridging the Gap

The artistic world of the borough of Queens is alive and well, and to prove it LaGuardia Community College is hosting an exhibition comprising the diverse and rich works of 24 Queens artists. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public, is running through November 20. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Southwest fires captain in LaGuardia nose collapse landing

Southwest Airlines has fired the captain of a plane that landed so hard at New York’s LaGuardia airport that its nose gear collapsed. Read more: AP

Rally held for paralyzed biker in SUV Henry Hudson Parkway chase

Scores of bikers gathered at the hospital where one of their own is paralyzed after a violent confrontation and attack on a family that was surrounded and scared for their lives. Read more: ABC New York

NYC Sandy refugees say they need hotel program

New Yorkers who are still homeless a year after Sandy say they need more time to find shelter before the city evicts them from hotel rooms. Read more: NBC New York

Key deadline to apply for 9/11 fund

A key deadline to apply for the federal compensation fund for people with illnesses that might be related to toxic fallout from the Sept. 11 attacks is Thursday. Read more: Fox New York/AP

Best selling author Tom Clancy dead at 66

Tom Clancy, whose high-tech, Cold War thrillers such as “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games” made him the most widely read and influential military novelist of his time, has died. Read more: CBS New York

Community pushes for pedestrian safety in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Update Tuesday, October 1, 6:00 p.m. 

After three pedestrians were struck in the last three months — two fatally and one left in critical condition — the western Queens community is asking for safer traffic measures. 

According to police, on Friday, September 13 a woman was struck and killed as she was crossing Queens Plaza North and 27th Street. Just two month before, on July 2, another woman was struck and critically injured on 29th Street, just two blocks down. 

“We have a growing epidemic where pedestrians are not safe on the sidewalks and the streets of Queensboro Plaza,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who recently helped bring improvements to an intersection in front of LaGuardia Community College where a 16-year-old high school student was struck and killed in March. “Dutch Kills and Long Island City are home to thousands of new residents as well as hundreds of growing businesses. More and more people are crossing through Queensboro Plaza every single day.”

Van Bramer gathered along with other elected officials and residents on Friday, September 27 at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street to ask the Department of Transportation (DOT) for street safety enhancements to the busy plaza near the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. 

The changes to increase pedestrian safety at Queensboro Plaza include extending the current 20 second countdown clocks at the crosswalks to give pedestrians more time to cross the congested streets and installing more street signage allowing pedestrians to be more alert of bicycle lanes.

“Crossing Queens Plaza should not be like playing Frogger,” said Noah Budnick, deputy director of Transportation Alternatives. “We’re sending the message that traffic crashes are preventable.”

According to the DOT, between 2007 to 2011, there has been one reported pedestrian injury at the intersection of Queens Plaza North and 27th Street and from 2007 to present, there has been one fatality.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority and the agency is currently reviewing the location to see if there are ways to further enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area for all street users, including possible upgrades to signage,” said Nicholas Mosquera, DOT spokesperson.

A day after the call for safety measures in Queens Plaza, 19 year old Luis Bravo lost his life in a hit-and-run along Broadway in Woodside.

“Yet another person has been killed here in western Queens as a result of a vehicular collision,” said Van Bramer. “For over a year now the Department of Transportation has not done anything about motorists speeding along Broadway here in Woodside. Every time a pedestrian is struck and dies as a result of a vehicular collision we will speak out against it.”

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The councilmember gathered with local officials and residents on October 1 at the corner of 58th Street and Broadway where Bravo was struck and the vehicle fled the scene, to ask the DOT to bring safety measures to that area as well.

“It is heartbreaking anytime a young person’s life is lost, but this instance hurts because it was so sudden and the driver who killed Luis and sped off is still at large,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I urge everyone in our community to join together to bring this hit-and-run driver to justice, and I urge the DOT to do everything it can to make our streets safer.”

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run is encouraged to contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers by calling 800-577-TIPS.

 

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Safety improvements at fatal Long Island City intersection


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

Months after 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was struck and killed near LaGuardia Community College, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has answered students and residents’ pleas for safety enhancements.

Drudak, a student at the Applied Communications High School inside the community college’s building, died after being struck by a minivan that lost control and mounted the sidewalk at the intersection of Thomson Avenue and 30th Street in Long Island City. Four of five other pedestrians hit in the same incident were students at LaGuardia.

After Drudak’s death, residents, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and LaGuardia Community College officials called on the DOT to enhance pedestrian safety at the intersection.

“No New Yorker should feel their life is in jeopardy when they are walking along the sidewalks of our City streets” said Van Bramer.

Since April, the DOT has implemented short-term improvements including adjusting the timing of signals near the intersection and installing pedestrian countdown signals at Thomson and Skillman Avenues, 30th Street, 30th Place, 31st Street and 31st Place. The agency has also added signs and improved markings at Thomson Avenue and Van Dam Street.

In the latest changes, the DOT said it has redesigned Thomson and Skillman Avenues by closing the slip ramp and making it illegal for vehicles to makes left turns from Thomson Avenue onto Skillman Avenue.

The department added it has installed new signs and plastic markers to limit left turns from Thomson Avenue to 30th Street.

There is also a brand new 550-square-foot pedestrian space at the intersection of 30th Street and Thomson Avenue. It is bordered by stone blocks, plastic markings and six planters.

According to the DOT, all the changes were aimed at improving safety for the large volume of students and residents that walk through the intersection daily.

 

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Sunnyside map to help visitors, residents explore neighborhood


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District

Visitors and residents are getting a colorful way to find their way around Sunnyside and explore the thriving community.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College are developing an artistic, colorful map of Sunnyside targeted at both visitors and incoming residents.

At the start of the project, 14 students were asked to submit sketches of a Sunnyside map. They highlighted neighborhood attractions to help familiarize visitors with the area.

On July 2, three fine arts students were recognized as the top finalists. Miho Nozawa won third place, Adina Partoi won second place and Carmen Zhu won first place.

“We are looking forward to having such an exciting document to be able to distribute to visitors,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines BID. “This map is a great reflection of our thriving local business community.”

The final map will feature Zhu’s artwork and include a business directory along with advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses.

The map is expected to be completed and printed later this summer. It will be circulated in Long Island City hotels, real estate offices and community events.

“Sunnyside’s businesses are some of the best in New York City, and I’m very happy to say that the design of this map is an accurate representation of the beauty, energy, and warmth of the neighborhood,” said Swain Weiner, president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

 

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Astoria photo exhibit shows off diversity of neighborhood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

1

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The diversity of Astoria is the focus of a new photography exhibit that kicked off at LaGuardia Community College.

“The Astoria Project,” a collection of photographs snapped and curated by students of LaGuardia enrolled in photography classes, focuses on how people of different backgrounds interact within the neighborhood.

The idea for the exhibit came when Scott Sternbach, director of photography at LaGuardia Community College, and Dr. Anna Cieslik of the Max Planck Institute of Religious and Ethnic Diversity teamed up.

Yet both Cieslik and Sternbach said they found taking photos in the street more difficult than they anticipated. Sternbach then came up with the idea to have the college students take over the project as a learning experience.

“It’s an opportunity to hone their skills,” said Sternbach. “A lot of the students are shy and in order to do this you have to be brave, you have to be fearless.”

At the exhibit’s grand opening on April 11, students spoke of their experiences walking on the streets trying to find their subjects.

Eddie Santillan explained how he had to sit down and talk with one subject, an Italian man named Casper, before he was able to photograph him.

“I had to know the guy first,” said Santillan. “It was cool to get to know him for a bit.”

Alvaro Imbrett shared his similar experience while running the track around Astoria Park.

“There’s always hesitancy,” he said about the subjects he photographs, “but the photographer has to sell himself. You have to reassure the subject of what you’re doing.”

In addition to showing off the diversity of Astoria, Imbrett wanted to reflect himself in his photographs.

“I want them to see me,” he said. “I think every photographer’s work should resemble themselves.”

The exhibit will run until June in LaGuardia’s photo gallery. It will then make its way around the world, being displayed in Singapore, Johannesburg and Germany.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” said Santillan of his work travelling around the world. “I don’t think it’ll ever hit me.”

 

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