Tag Archives: LIC

Coyote discovered on roof of Long Island City bar


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Brian Porter/Laura Süpper

Updated 1:55 p.m.

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO 

A “well-fed” coyote made its way onto the roof of a Long Island City bar Monday morning before escaping into a nearby building, according to witnesses.

The establishment’s owner, Brian Porter of LIC Bar, received a text message and photo that morning from a tenant above the bar alerting him to the wild animal.

When he arrived at the 45-58 Vernon Blvd. bar and saw the coyote hanging out beneath his air conditioning unit, he immediately noticed it looked liked a “well-fed animal.”

“It stood out that this animal, this coyote was pretty big. And it didn’t look like he was hungry,” he said.

Porter called police and animal control was contacted, and they tried to capture the coyote with tranquilizer guns and catching poles. A veterinarian from a nearby clinic also went up to inspect, thinking the animal might be a dog, but quickly backed off once she saw it was a coyote.

Photo by Paula Kirby

Photo by Paula Kirby

The animal eventually escaped into a window of the old Paragon Paint building, according to Porter, who believes the coyote got onto the roof by coming through a broken window of that building, which is adjacent to his bar.

He doesn’t know how the animal wandered into the neighborhood, but insists the rooftop visit wasn’t a clever publicity move.

That evening The Coyote Anderson Quartet was scheduled to perform at LIC Bar.

“It would be a little bit of a stretch if I was trying to pull that off as a PR stunt,” Porter said.

And even though the animal caused some chaos on Monday, this isn’t the first time a coyote has made it into the Big Apple.

Recent sightings of the four-legged animal go back to last year when a park-goer spotted a coyote in the Bronx, according to the NY Daily News. Another coyote was caught in January as it found itself trapped in an Upper West Side basketball court, according to the New York Post.

Coyotes started to be seen in northern New York in the 1930s, according to The New York Times, and by 1994 were noticed in the Bronx.

According to Park officials, three Bronx parks are now each home to a coyote family and there is a solitary coyote permanently living in Railroad Park in Jamaica, The Times said.

The Parks Department now plans to educate the public by posting fliers and distributing cards that outline “Five Easy Tips for Coyote Coexistence,” The Times reported. Some tips include not feeding the coyotes, storing food and garbage in animal-proof containers, and if approached by one you should “act big and make loud noises.”

Mary Pearl, the provost at Macaulay Honors College, who has a doctorate in wildlife biology, said coyotes can thrive in human habitation.

“They can eat everything and anything,” she said, including pet food, rodents, stray cats and dogs, and even berries and insects in the spring and summer.

Pearl, noting that a witness said the animal looked far from scrawny, said March and April was birthing season, and the building may be a good retreat for an expectant mother. But she added male coyotes can travel great distances.

Her best guess was that the coyote found its way to Long Island City via railroad tracks or possibly a parkway.

Despite recent sightings in the city, Pearl cautions that they are not infestation, since the creatures distribute themselves sparsely, and the animals help our ecosystem by getting rid of rodents and roadkill.

“Too often we have a response when we see wildlife in our midst that they should be removed,” she said.

“[Coyotes] don’t inundate a place, but it’s just surprising.”

Field staff from the Animal Care & Control of NYC visited the location, spoke to a witness and searched the area, but no additional sightings have been reported. Coyote sightings should be reported to 311, and but any animal “presenting imminent public safety risk” should be reported to 911.

Members of the community are being advised that if they come in contact or see the animal they should call the police immediately and not attempt to capture it.

Officers out of the 108th Precinct have been instructed to remain vigilant for the coyote while they are on patrol.

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Funny food art at LIC’s Falchi Building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image © Bill Wurtzel funnyfoodart.com

FROM BOROMAG.COM

Visitors to the Falchi Building’s Food Fox in Long Island City only have a few months remaining to enjoy the whimsical creations on display by renowned jazz guitarist Bill Wurtzel. Bill has been making artistic, healthy breakfasts just to amuse his wife, Claire, since they were married in 1961. Their book, “Funny Food,” is in its second printing, and a new book is being published by Rizzoli International. “I only started photographing my food art seven years ago,” explains Bill. “Since then I made about 7,000 dishes.”  We wondered what a typical dinner might look like in the Wurtzel home, and Bill shared, “Our 50th anniversary was a brunch and all guests were invited to make Funny Food.”

Click here for the full story

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Astoria band wants to rock Queens with first EP


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Susan DiBello

Some things are just meant to be and are destined to come together — and in the case of Megan DiBello and Colin Clough, one encounter over a bummed cigarette has transformed into a perfect musical match.

DiBello and Clough are the creative minds behind the Astoria-based band Rocco & Lizzie, which is set to release its first EP titled “#SOMETHINGFOREVERYONE” on April 1 at the LIC Bar.

The two Astoria residents and poets met three years ago in Manhattan when DiBello asked for a cigarette from Clough. This led to a next-day brunch invite and a 7-hour phone call, and although Clough returned to his home in Virginia, by mid-2014 he made the move to New York.

Since then, the two have come together to create music. DiBello is the main lyricist of the duo and Clough composes the music on various instruments.

The name of the band comes from DiBello’s middle name, Elizabeth (“Lizzie”), which she said is the “sweet and nice” part of the group, while the name “Rocco” represents Clough and his more intense nature.

“They’re our personalities,” DiBello said of the names. “They are the driving forces of this album.”

Although their Facebook page categorizes them in the post-punk and rock genres, DiBello added that their music differs from song to song.

With the band’s heavy community involvement – writing the music in Queens, recording the EP at the Continental Recording Studio in Long Island City and constantly supporting the local music and literary community – she said she would call their music “Queens Rock.”

“I never heard of it, but I think it would be really cool,” she said of the new genre. “We’re a rock band but there are so many different levels, every song is very different.”

At the moment, the band consists of primarily DiBello and Clough, with contributions on the EP by guitarist and bassist Shako and drummer Tony Shing Siu Sze. However, the duo hopes to soon find a permanent bassist and drummer. 

DiBello added that the music on the EP, which will consist of five tracks, shares their personal stories. For example, a song called “Jonsey Boy” talks about the transition of a boy making a move, just like Clough made the move from Virginia to New York. 

“If you want people to buy it, you have to give them the reason why,” DiBello said. “We’re really living the story. [The music] is unique and completely community driven. And for myself, it’s some of the best poetry I’ve written in my life. They’re all stories about how we live.”

After the debut of their EP, plans are to release 14 more tracks by the end of the summer while also trying to play a lot of shows. They hope to perform during musical festivals and even have ideas of potentially starting their own music label to help others share their passion.

“We have a message. We want to show people that you can overcome any adversity in life as long as you’re passionate,” DiBello added.

Rocco & Lizzie’s EP release show will be at the LIC Bar, located at 45-58 Vernon Blvd., on April 1 at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

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NYC college students to vie for spot in Red Bull’s worldwide paper plane competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


New York City college students are getting wings this weekend in Long Island City.

On Sunday, over 250 students from seven city universities and colleges will try to earn a spot in the worldwide competition called Red Bull Paper Wings.

Participants from Manhattan College, and New York, Columbia, St. John’s, Hofstra, Fordham, and Rutgers universities will get together at Studio Square to create paper planes and compete to join 75 other students from around the nation in May at Red Bull’s competition in Austria.

Students from the schools can sign up at www.redbullpaperwings.com and on Sunday will receive the materials to build their planes on-site.

Professional skydiver and Red Bull athlete Jeff Provenzano will be judging the competition to see which design goes the farthest.

The event will take place Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. on the fifth floor event space at Studio Square, located at 35-44 37th St.

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LIC teens move on to robotics world championship


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of RoboTigers

One group of tigers from Long Island City has shown that they are fierce and on the way to the top.

The robotics team at Queens Vocational and Technical High School called “RoboTigers” and their robot “Based-God Trap Love” became Regional Winners at last weekend’s NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

Becoming Regional Winners means the team, made up of 32 students from the Long Island City high school ranging from freshmen to seniors, will be heading to the FIRST World Championship on April 22 to 25 in St. Louis, Missouri.

“It was a great experience, I never expected it to be like that,” said Maricarmen Ramirez, a 15-year-old sophomore in her first year on the team who worked in creating the robot in 3D. “I met a lot of people and it was a lot of fun.”

Based-God Trap Love on the field.

The “RoboTigers” were one of more than 160 teams, including New York and international teams, to compete during the event that took place from March 13 to 15.

According to Peter Beninati, one of the mentors on the team, the team has grown from six students when it started a few years ago to over 30 this year. Beninati was a team member and student at the school when the team took home a win in 2009.

“Every year we’re growing,” Beninati said. “Winning in 2009 and going to competition as a student made me realize that every student should have the opportunity to be on the team and see what it has to offer.”

During the competition, students had to battle with their custom-built robots and try to come on top during specific challenges throughout the weekend.

“I wasn’t expecting [the win]. We had mixed emotions throughout the day. It was quite surprising that we were able to make it on top,” said ninth-grader Toma Suciu, who works as a programmer on the team. “It’s definitely an interesting experience and I’m able to take in all the information around me and hopefully apply that to a future career.”

Queens Vocational and Technical High School’s Principal Melissa Burg said she is proud to see how far the students went during the competition and sees the team building and problem solving as important aspects that the students will be able to carry with them even after graduating.

“I go to the matches and support them and get excited and I love to watch them get excited,” Burg said. “The joy on their faces when they win is amazing.”

The “RoboTigers” were not the only Queens team to move on forward; the “Steel Hawks” from Townsend Harris High School in Flushing won the Engineering Inspiration Award and will also be heading to the world championship.

The Long Island City students will also be heading to the 16th Annual SBPLI Long Island Regional FIRST Robotics Competition on March 27 at Hofstra University.

“These students have worked so hard to get to the competition, from researching real-world programs to designing new inventions through robotics and using the engineering skills they’ve acquired,” said Pat Daly, executive director of NYC FIRST. “Year after year, we see the positive impact our programs have had on the lives of these students, and it’s beyond rewarding to see their excitement and passion develop with each season.”

NYC FIRST is the city-based nonprofit affiliate of FIRST, the international nonprofit mentoring organization created to get young people excited about science and technology.

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Community feedback leads to permanent bus service expansion along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

As they say, ask and you shall receive. Due to an immense amount of support from community members, it will now be easier to access the western Queens waterfront.

The MTA announced on Friday that weekend and increased weeknight service on the Q103 route, which runs down Vernon Boulevard between Astoria and Long Island City, will be permanently added after a successful pilot program started last June.

The service additions made during the experimental program include extending weeknight hours from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., and adding service on Saturdays and Sundays from about 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

During a public hearing in December on the increased service, community support was unanimous, according to the MTA.

Local leaders and business owners saw the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods, which have seen a rise in new residential developments and expanded cultural attractions.

Some of the cultural spots that the bus serves include the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park.

“I am thrilled the MTA heeded my call to make Q103 service expansion permanent. Western Queens has long needed better bus service, so it is gratifying that the MTA responded to our concerns,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “There is so much happening throughout western Queens that our need for better methods of traveling between our neighborhoods has never been more pressing. This service expansion represents a hard-fought victory, but I will never stop fighting for improved transit service in our community.”

The Q103 bus line also serves as the public’s only option to connect areas to subway stations such as the F line at 21 St–Queensbridge and the 7 line at Vernon Blvd–Jackson Av.

During the pilot program, ridership levels increased by 6.8 percent on weekdays compared to the five-month period before the trial, and by 30 percent compared to average weekday use in 2012, the MTA said. Currently weekday ridership is 1,100 customers, the average Saturday ridership is about 300, and on Sundays it is about 250.

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Suspect punches LIC construction worker, steals tools: NYPD


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A robber surprised a construction worker while he was at a job site in Long Island City last week, punching the man before taking off with his tools, police said.

The 29-year-old victim was working at a Euda Construction Company site located on 10th Street near 38th Avenue just after 2 p.m. on March 12 when the suspect approached him, cops said.

The suspect, who was pushing a grocery cart, then punched the construction worker, took a Hilti drill, Milwaukee camera and two nail guns, and fled.


Police have released video footage of the alleged robber and describe the man as black, about 6 feet tall and 200 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black hat, blue jeans and a brown coat.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.  

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Queens World Film Festival celebrates fifth year’s opening night


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

With the luck of the Irish, the Queens World Film Festival kicked off its fifth year of helping bring independent films to the big screen.

The six-day festival, which gives international and local filmmakers the opportunity to screen their films in Queens, celebrated its opening night on St. Patrick’s Day at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

Opening night featured five films, including two from local Queens filmmakers Jamil Lahham and Lisa Melodia. The films ranged from animation to short narratives. The night also included a bonus screening of Sundance Film Festival-winning film “World of Tomorrow,” which filled the room with laughter.

“I love this film festival because I love Queens, and everything and anything that is good starts right here in my home borough of Queens County. We do it right,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I admire and respect and really have come to love Don and Katha Cato because you can tell they pour everything, their heart and soul, into this festival.”

The Queens World Film Festival, which will run through March 22, is organized by husband-and-wife duo of Don and Katha Cato, and this year will feature a total of 117 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include feature narratives, documentaries and LGBT pieces.

Through the week, the films will be sorted out into different blocks based on subject and will be shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights and the Museum of the Moving Image.

“[Katha and Don] have literally catapulted this festival to heights that not many folks could have foreseen when they first started this,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “Katha and Don and all the folks that are involved in the arts have truly been using the diversity that we bring to this borough to catapult us in tourism.”

Opening night also recognized director Leon Ichaso, known for movies such as “El Cantante,” “Ali” and “Hendrix,” as a “Spirit of Queens” honoree. Don Cato said Ichaso, who has been called the “poet of Latin New York,” was receiving the awards for his artistry, integrity and humanity.

The festival will also present Ichaso’s film “Bitter Sugar” on Wednesday at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“To all the filmmakers that are here please don’t lose the hope, it’s a hard world making movies,[but] it’s worth it,” Ichaso said. “It is festivals like this that in that journey we can take a rest, we can show what we do, we can meet each other and thank God they exist and thank God for the Queens World Film Festival.”

Closing night of the festival will feature a screening of the film “Dukhtar (Daughter)” by Afia Nathaniel, followed by an award ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“Experience these films during our festival, talk about them,” said Don at the end of the night. “The films are the stars of this festival.”

For a full schedule of the festival and to purchase tickets, visit www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.

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Suspect arrested in string of LIC, Astoria restaurant break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYPD

One man’s burglary spree has come to an end, as officers of the 114th and 108th precincts worked together to arrest him for allegedly breaking into businesses overnight in Long Island City and Astoria dating back to last June.

According to court records, each time 40-year-old Shameek Dunbar would break into the establishments through either a door or window, and once inside would take money, ranging from $20 to $1,000, from cash registers.

Dunbar was arrested on Feb. 25 at his home in Queensbridge when forensics evidence linked him to one of four burglaries in the confines of the 114th Precinct, a police source said.

Subsequent investigation linked him to seven more burglaries, these in the confines of the 108th Precinct.

“This was fantastic detective work,” said Capt. John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct. “It was good working together from both precincts.”

Criminal complaints detailed nine of the 11 incidents:

  • Between June 10, 2014, at 9 p.m. and June 11 at 9:30 a.m., Dunbar broke into Andres Pizza located at 25-19 40th Ave. through a glass door. He is observed through surveillance footage cutting wires on a cash register, worth about $450. The store owner alleges that $20 was taken from the register.
  • On Oct. 24, 2014, Dunbar broke into Tequila Sunrise located at 40-01 Northern Blvd. through a side window. The owner alleged $350 was taken from a cash register.
  • Between Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 3:12 a.m., the suspect entered Barista at 11-11 44th Rd. through a front glass door. Surveillance footage shows Dunbar throwing a rock at the door. He later took money.
  • On Jan. 2 between 3:04 and 4:18 a.m. Dunbar entered Hu Department Store located at 47-09 Northern Blvd. through the front door. Although the store owner alleged $1,000 was missing from the register, Dunbar said he tried to open the register but couldn’t and then left.
  • Between Jan. 18 at 11 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 4 a.m. Dunbar entered a business at 47-29 Vernon Blvd. through a window and surveillance shows him trying to pry open a register.
  • On Jan. 24 between 3:35 a.m. and 4:05 a.m. Dunbar broke into Pachanga Patterson located at 33-17 31st Ave. The store owner alleges $200 was missing from a cash register.
  • Between Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 1 at 3:17 a.m. the suspect broke into Petey’s Burger at 46-46 Vernon Blvd. through a side window. Surveillance footage shows him prying open a register and taking money.
  • Between Feb. 12 at 8:30 a.m. and Feb. 13 at 11:45 a.m., the suspect entered Breadbox Café at 47-11 11th St. through a door. He the used a screwdriver to pry open a register and took $300.
  • Between Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 3:45 a.m. the suspect entered Mix Nail Salon at 44-68 21st St. through the glass front door. Surveillance video shows the suspect entering the location, prying open a register and taking money.

Dunbar is facing charges of burglary, criminal mischief, possession of burglar tools, petit larceny, and for one of the incidents a charge of grand larceny.

He is due back in Queens Criminal Court on April 9. 

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Small bites…big flavors


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

It’s Friday at the Falchi Building, and that means a bold new menu of ceviche from the team that opened their stand in the Food Box last month.

Mimi and Diego may have been running their lunch counter, Don Tapas, for just a month — and they may have even gotten engaged just two months ago — but their story goes back even further by nearly two and half years.

SerranoHam

The lovers met while they were line cooks at William Hallet in Astoria, where they worked the brunch shift together for one and a half years. Turns out poaching eggs is a surefire recipe for success.

Though the two have amicably parted ways with their former employer, they carry with them much of what they learned. In fact, Diego still cooks for Mario Batali at Casa Mono when he isn’t preparing his own dishes. And the owner of William Hallet was even consulted for a tasting of the new tapas dishes. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s an all around love affair.

Ceviche

“Everything we do is made with love,” explains Diego. It’s the kind of love that the customers can taste. Striped bass soaks in a traditional Peruvian salsa creola of cilantro, onions, mandarin and lime. Shrimp and calamari take on ginger, star anise, yuzu and sesame seeds topped with wonton strips in a Japanese-Peruvian fusion known as Nekki. The leftover leche de tigre is just as delicious as the ceviche, so customers are encouraged to shoot the juice when finished.

Next is a plate called pan con tamate — literally bread with tomatoes — the first in a series of what Diego refers to as montadito, or a tapas-sized roll topped with anything. The next baguette is sliced open and stuffed with homemade meatballs, imported manchego and peppers. My personal favorite is loaded with plump slices of mildly spicy chorizo sausage, caramelized onions and piquillo peppers.

ChorizoBaguette

The aim of Don Papas is to offer savory morsels, tapas-style, from around the world, and this couple has nailed it. Mimi is from Venezuela, while Diego moved here from Columbia in ’99. The two have gathered a refined collective palate along the way, as well as a respect for fresh, locally sourced goods.

“We use only the highest-quality ingredients, and we love to support local businesses,” explains Mimi. The bread is custom-baked from Rollo Mio in Maspeth, and the meats come from Despaña in Woodside. “We have a passion for bringing people together to try new and amazing things” — things like their tortilla Española, which is a delicate omelet with garlic, onions and potatoes topped with a smear of aioli dulce made from roasted garlic poached in sweet sherry wine.

Everything at Don Tapas is tiny, affordable, and tasty. Now that’s the kind of meal you will want to sink your teeth into.

Don Tapas
Food Box at The Falchi Building
31-00 47th Ave., Long Island City
347-850-2575

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Sunnyside comedy group to hold fundraiser for LIC community farm


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Sunnyside Comedy

A Sunnyside comedy organization is hoping laughter can help one Long Island City community farm grow.

Sunnyside Comedy, a group that brings stand-up comedy from throughout the city to Queens, is getting together with Long Island City urban community farm Smiling Hogshead Ranch, located at 26 Davis Ct.,  to put on a stand-up comedy fundraiser called “Funny by Nature” on March 27 at the Flux Factory located at 39-31 29th St. in LIC.

The event will serve as a benefit for Smiling Hogshead Ranch, as all proceeds from the show will go toward funding the farm’s infrastructure improvements, insurance and free programming in 2015.

“Smiling Hogshead Ranch helps cultivate community by gathering people around shared interests,” said Gil Lopez, co-founder of the Ranch. “Many of these interests are outside of gardening, and this comedy show is a perfect example. We hope to discover other common threads and encourage guests to explore the art on the gallery walls, our newly published zine ‘The Feed’ and talk to our members to learn more about what Smiling Hogshead Ranch is all about.”

The fundraiser, which starts at 8 p.m., will feature acts from a lineup of New York City comics, many of whom live in Queens and have appeared on late night shows such as “Conan,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and specials on Comedy Central.

The comedians taking part in the event are Ted Alexandro, Aparna Nancherla, Joyelle Johnson, Charles McBee, Harrison Greenbaum, Frank Liotti and Katherine Williams. The show will be hosted by Liz Magee.

The night will also feature themed raffles and prizes, and refreshments from city craft breweries.

“The whole point of Sunnyside Comedy is to bring laughs and promote all that’s wonderful in western Queens,” said Colin Anton Samuel, who co-founded Sunnyside Comedy with Lindsay Goldwert. “This fundraiser is the perfect embodiment of everything Lindsay and I want to do.”

Tickets for the show are $20 online at www.SunnysideComedy.nyc or funnybynature.brownpapertickets.com and $25 at the door, which opens at 7:30 p.m. on March 27.

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LIC high school students look for win in regional robotics competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Queens Vocational and Technical High School

One Long Island City high school is looking to put their skills to the test and take their robot to the top, while also having fun.

The robotics team at Queens Vocational and Technical High School called the “Robo Tigers” is one of more than 160 teams taking part in this weekend’s NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

NYC FIRST is the city-based nonprofit affiliate of FIRST, the international nonprofit mentoring organization created to get young people excited about science and technology.

Winners from this weekend’s three-day event will move on to the FIRST World Championship Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.

“These students have worked so hard to get to where they are, from researching real-world programs to designing new inventions through robotics and using the engineering skills they’ve acquired,” said Pat Daly, executive director of NYC FIRST. “Year after year, we see the positive impact our programs have had on the lives of these students, and it’s beyond rewarding to see their excitement and passion develop with each season.”

The “Robo Tigers” are made up of 32 students from the high school ranging from freshmen to seniors. These students will battle with others from the NYC area, as well as internationally from countries such as Brazil, Turkey and China.

The students will have to battle with their custom-built robots and try to come on top during specific challenges throughout the competition.

According to Brian Green, a mentor for the Queens Vocational and Technical High School’s robotics team and an alumni and former member of the team, the team allows students to work together and use what they have learned in their classrooms at the school.

Although the plan is to bring home another win – with the team becoming regional winners in 2009, 2012 and 2013 – Green said the trip to the competition is a great experience for the students.

“It’s a great networking experience. [The students] interact with engineers and industry professional that are actually out there,” Green said.

Guadalupe Juarez, a junior who has been part of the team since her freshman year, works on the “drive train,” which focuses on what helps the robot moves. She said she has had an interest in robotics since middle school and is excited to go to the competition for a third year in a row.

“I’m really excited because the environment is really entertaining and fun,” Juarez said. “The main goal is to have fun and enjoy the competition because winning isn’t everything.”

The NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo will take place from March 13 to 15 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 655 West 34th St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Robotics is not just about coming in and building and competing, it’s a way of life,” Green said. “Robotic are not what I do, it’s who I am.”

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Man arrested in shooting outside LIC club that left four injured


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYPD

Police have arrested one of two suspects wanted in a shooting outside a Long Island City club that left four bystanders injured last fall.

The NYPD announced Friday morning it collared 23-year-old Traevon Robinson of Jamaica, who was charged with four counts of felony assault and three counts of reckless endangerment.

Authorities said Robinson and an unidentified suspect were in front of Allure Club and Lounge, at 33-02 Queens Blvd., about 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 19 when they both pulled out guns and started firing at each other.

Four people were caught in the crossfire and taken to area hospitals for treatment. A 37-year-old man was struck once in the chest, and a 19-year-old woman, a 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old man were each hit once in the leg, authorities said.

Following the shooting, police released surveillance video of one of the suspects, who was later identified as Robinson.

Police are still looking for the second shooter but did not have a description of the suspect.

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Queens World Film Festival to kick off fifth year


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy Jamil Lahham

Along with recent celebrity sightings, including Oscar winner George Clooney, Astoria is ready to continue shining with this year’s Queens World Film Festival — bringing over a hundred unique local and international films to the booming borough.

The festival, celebrating its fifth year running, will take place from March 17 through March 22 and feature 117 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include short and feature narrative, documentaries, animation and LGBT pieces.

“It will be a week of something for everyone,” said festival director Katha Cato, who arranges the event along with her husband Don and a group of volunteers. “I’m so excited about the caliber of what we are about to expose Queens to.”

This year the six-day festival, which officially received a nonprofit status this year, brought in over 400 submissions from across the nation and around the world.

“Five [years] just feels like I can breathe a little bit. We made it to year five and that’s important,” Cato said. “We are experiencing and feeling it.”

The festival begins on March 17 at 8 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria. The evening will feature a block of six films, including two from Queens filmmakers.

“You can do any kind of shot and any type you want in Queens, to represent any nation or any demographic. You can find it somewhere, somehow in this borough,” Cato said. “You can create a lot of different worlds here and with these studios starting to understand that and with a film festival, this could be a huge industry here in this borough.”

The short narrative "Short Steps" by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

The short narrative “Short Steps” by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

Opening night will also recognize director Leon Ichaso, known for movies such as “El Cantante” starring Jennifer Lopez, as a “Spirit of Queens” honoree. The festival will also present Ichaso’s film “Bitter Sugar” on March 18 at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Throughout the festival, the independent films will be divided into different blocks based on subject and shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, and, for the first time, daily showings at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“It’s about pairing [the films] together to create the proper context so they all look, sound and feel the way the filmmaker wanted it,” Cato said. “And we are creating community within these filmmakers who are perhaps on the same journey and might perhaps work together [in the future].”

Closing night of the festival will feature a screening of the film “Dukhtar (Daughter)” by Afia Nathaniel and be followed by an award ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“I just hope everyone knows that a lot of love went into this festival and we’re going to fix any mistakes we encounter, but we want you to really experience the films,” Cato added. “Just experience them, don’t judge them. It’s a different medium, there aren’t studio films.”

Tickets for opening night and the rest of the festival are still available at www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.

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LIC Flea & Food set to open for third season in April


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Bradley Hawks

Although winter might still be hanging on for a few more weeks, a sign of warmer times has finally shown up as the third season of the outdoor LIC Flea & Food is set to open in April.

The popular Long Island City flea market, located at outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will make its grand re-opening on Saturday, April 11.

Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, hand-crafted jewelry and fashion, and much more. Visitors will be able to enjoy a lineup of returning LIC Flea favorites and also bring brand-new faces coming to the market.

LIC Flea allows shoppers to find unique vintage finds and also have the opportunity to meet curators and crafters — which make the flea market a one-of-a-kind place to shop and find everything you need.

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off the third season of LIC Flea & Food,” said Joshua Schneps, LIC Flea & Food president. “We have an awesome lineup of vendors from past seasons and many exciting new vendors.”

Some new food vendors include Lumpia Merienda, Chuta Madre and CakeBox NYC. Other new vendors are Anna Harper Jewelry and Queens³.

Returning favorites are Butcher Bar, Tea & Milk, Vivian Jewelry and Paris Images.

LIC Flea & Food will run every Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 6 p.m., through the end of October.

Potential vendors whose dreams have been to sell their product at the LIC Flea still have time to apply to the market. Applications are being accepted for the new season by registering online at www.licflea.com.

Here are some new LIC Flea & Food vendors to check out during opening weekend.

Chuta Madre
chutamadre.com
facebook.com/chutamadreny
Instagram and Twitter: @chutamadrenyc
Chuta Madre is a traditional Ecuadorian sanducheria crafting authentic homemade pork and turkey sandwiches. Their sandwiches are marinated with a unique blend of spices that bring the mouth-watering taste of South America to Long Island City. The process of slowly cooking the meat gives the sandwiches the perfect tenderness. Starting this business has always been a passion for the owners, who are excited to bring to the public homemade street fare and other tasty menu items.

Anna Harper Jewelry
Etsy.com/AnnaHarper
jewelry@AnnaHarper.com
Instagram: @jewelrybyannaharper
Anna Harper Jewelry handcrafts heirloom quality designs in recycled metals. Copper, sterling silver, fine silver and 24-karat gold jewelry, designed in classic and modern styles. All stones are responsibly resourced. Each piece is designed with the environment in mind, using old world techniques instead of modern mass production. Custom orders gladly accepted.

CakeBox NYC
facebook.com/CakeBoxNYC
CakeBox NYC is a concept deliberately spurned out of the simple desire to fulfill your sweet tooth. Their diverse array of unique Tres Leches cakes embrace the melting pot of ethnic backgrounds that have been the staple of New York City. CakeBox NYC will leave you salivating for more. “Life Is Too Short, Eat Dessert First!”

Queens³
Queens³ specializes in one-of-a-kind hand-crafted sewn goods. Each product is lovingly designed and carefully constructed by its two owners, Jer and Brady. “We’re just two queens in Queens that love to sew,” said the owners. They offer unique pillows, tote bags and pet beds made from vintage and designer fabrics. Find them on social media and Etsy @queenscubed.

Lumpia Merienda
lumpiamerienda.com
facebook.com/lumpiamerienda
Instagram and Twitter: @LumpiaMerienda
Lumpia Merienda started with a mother’s Filipino eggrolls, or “lumpias,” and the voracious appetites that gathered around the poker table every Friday night. Four friends are now bringing these addictive and crispy snacks to the masses for the first time at LIC Flea & Food, where they will fry up savory, sweet and vegetarian versions.

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