Tag Archives: LIRR

Looming LIRR strike draws closer, Congress won’t intervene


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sara Touzard


The potential for a Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) strike is moving full steam ahead as talks over wages between the eight unions representing workers and MTA officials continue to stall, and Congress said it won’t intervene.

The MTA began putting out ads in newspapers, television and radio outlets, as well as on its website and social media, to alert riders of the potential strike, which could occur as early as July 20.

MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast met with Congress members on July 9, following a failure in discussions with the National Mediation Board, but the lawmakers reportedly said it is “unlikely” that they would step in if a work stoppage occurred.

About 5,400 workers are planning to walk off the job, which would leave 300,000 riders stranded from Long Island, throughout Queens and other boroughs.

The MTA is planning “very limited,” weekday shuttle bus service to start within 24 to 48 hours of any strike, the agency said. But it warned, “Shuttle bus service should be your last resort.”

“We continue to hope that we can avoid a work stoppage at the bargaining table,”  Prendergast said. “But nevertheless, we want LIRR customers and all Long Island residents to be aware that there is a potential for a disruption of service and what that might mean.”

The MTA’s latest offer in June was for a 17 percent raise in wages, stretched over the next seven years without a change in pension. But the unions maintain that they want 17 percent raises over the next six years.

“[Prendergast] should be here in New York with the labor organizations, [not in Washington],” Anthony Simon, the lead labor negotiator, told the New York Times. “What is the chairman of the MTA doing 250 miles away from the solution?”

Governor Andrew Cuomo called for both sides to return to the bargaining table, after Congress members said they won’t step in.

“A strike is just not an option and would be a terrible failure by both the unions and the MTA,” Cuomo said. “The unions’ false belief that Congress would step in to mandate a settlement was a major impediment to any real progress. With this obstacle removed, it is now clear that the only path to resolution is at the bargaining table between the MTA and the unions, and they should proceed in good faith.”

 

 

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Douglaston station street plaza gets green light


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy the Department of Transportation

After months of negotiating, the Douglaston community will soon see its first street plaza.

Community Board 11 voted on Monday, June 16, to approve the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to implement the plaza near the LIRR station on 41st Avenue in July. The agency will extend the sidewalk into the turnaround where 235th Street and 41st Avenue meet to create the public plaza, while saving the traffic loop — which was a deal-breaker with the community.

The Douglaston Local Development Corporation (LDC) contacted the DOT last year for the street plaza, hoping that it would revitalize the businesses in the community by giving pedestrians a place to walk and rest while shopping and eating.

“I don’t think it’s going to be an instant solution,” said Dorothy Matinale, president of the Douglaston Village Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the LDC. “We’ve spent the last five years trying to figure out what we can do. Now, there will be some actual fruits of our labor.”

The plan eliminates about seven parking spaces, but adds 3,000 square feet of public space, new crosswalks, plants, umbrellas with movable tables and chairs, plants and granite blocks.

The LDC will be charged with maintaining the new plaza, and they plan to do so through fundraisers and private donations.
Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the plaza by many, some in the community voiced their opposition and concern. They fear traffic in the turnaround, which will be narrower after its makeover, could be slowed or backed up.

“It appears to me that there will be enough room in the turnaround for one car to turn around and leave,” said Eliot Socci, a resident of the neighborhood for 35 years and Douglaston Civic Association president. “By clipping the edges it might back up the traffic.”

 

 

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Freight train derails near Jamaica station, affects LIRR service


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

Updated Thursday, May 15 7:20 a.m.

A  NY & Atlantic Railway freight train derailed just east of the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station Wednesday, impacting transit service during the afternoon and evening commute, the MTA said.

Three cars from the freight train derailed just before 3 p.m., blocking one track, according to a spokesman for the agency.  No injuries were reported and and the cause of the derailment is under investigation.

As the evening commute started to wind down, eastbound service was operating on or close to schedule. The LIRR had to cancel four eastbound trains and delay about a dozen trains because of the derailment, according to the MTA.

The derailed cars were rerailed by the following morning, and the LIRR was operating normal rush hour service Thursday.

 

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Man fatally struck by LIRR train at Flushing-Main Street station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Flushing LIRR

A man was killed after he apparently jumped in front of an LIRR train Wednesday night as it was pulling into the Flushing-Main Street station.

A Port Washington branch train heading to Penn Station struck the victim, identified as only an adult man, about 8:40 p.m., according to an MTA spokeswoman.

As the train slowed down and approached the stop, crew members saw the man about to jump onto the tracks, and applied the emergency brakes and blew the horn, the spokeswoman said. The train then hit the man, who did not survive.

The incident suspended service on the Port Washington branch until about 9:45 p.m., according to the MTA.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Sun and clouds mixed. High 54. Winds W at 15 to 25 mph. Thursday night: A clear sky. Low 34. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: LIC Partnership Networking Night

Join the LIC Partnership for our next Networking Night at See.Me. Explore the gallery’s current exhibit Year in Review, opening during Armory Arts Week. Meet your business and community neighbors over a wine and cheese tasting with wines provided by SquareWine & Spirits and cheese from LIC newcomer Artisanal Premium Cheese. Starts at 6 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police find gun, drug stash in Sunnyside home

Cops busted a Sunnyside man Wednesday after uncovering an arsenal of guns, ammunition and drugs in his home. Read more: The Queens Courier

Queens man sold hundreds of counterfeit coins: police

A Queens man has been accused of selling hundreds of counterfeit silver dollars to three Long Island stores, police say. Read more: NBC New York

MTA to install cameras, audio recorders on MNR, LIRR trains
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Wednesday that it plans to install video cameras and audio recorders on most Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road trains. Read more: CBS New York/AP

‘Mansion Tax’ produces geyser of revenue for New York
These members of the 1 percent are bringing smiles to the state’s tax collectors. Read more: New York Post

‘Credible lead’ investigated in search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
 Authorities say 18 ships, 29 planes and 6 helicopters are searching for two large objects deemed a “credible lead” in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Read more: AP

More snow on the way for Sunday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo by Arthur de Gaeta

Updated 5:00 p.m.

 

Ol’ man winter isn’t done just yet.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast snow from 2 to 4 inches, starting from this evening and continuing through Monday as temperatures drop to the 20s.

The NWS warned that the snow will bring hazardous travel due to reduced visibility and slippery roads, “especially during the Monday morning commute.”

The Department of Transportation suspended alternate side parking for Monday to help with snow removal. However, parking meters remain in effect.

In preparation for inclement weather, the city’s Department of Sanitation has issued a “snow alert,” starting at 11 a.m. The agency said its plows and spreaders will be ready.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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MTA granted eminent domain powers for Flushing LIRR project


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering courtesy of the MTA

The MTA has been given eminent domain powers to move forward with a long-awaited plan to upgrade the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) station in Flushing.

The agency’s board voted Jan. 29 to approve the potential use of eminent domain to acquire a one-story building at 40-36 Main St., currently owned by Ou Jiang City Supermarket, an MTA spokesperson said.

It may be a necessary measure in order to continue with a plan to reconfigure the Flushing-Main Street station’s east and westbound entrances.

“We’re hoping not to have to take that step,” said MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan, adding that a State Supreme Court judge in Queens would still need to sign off on the use. “We are hoping to negotiate with the building owner to arrive at a way to acquire that property.”

The MTA wants to construct elevators and wide staircases to make platforms more visible and handicapped accessible — a plan long welcomed by local leaders.

“The LIRR’s Main Street facility was built in the 1950s and is in dire need of an upgrade,” said Councilmember Peter Koo.

Koo said he has received multiple complaints from elderly and disabled riders of the station’s dim lighting and lack of accessibility.

Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing Business Improvement District, said the “hideous” blight has also become a nightmarish “dumping ground” for garbage.

“Our community has had to deal with these terrible conditions for way too long,” Koo said. “I’m glad this train is finally pulling out the station.”

Design work is underway, and construction is slated to begin in 2015, Donovan said. It is unclear when the project is expected to end.

The station is not expected to be impacted during morning and evening rush hour commutes, Donovan said, but there may be temporary closures during off-peak hours.

The project was expected to cost $8.5 million in 2012, MTA-LIRR President Helena Williams previously said. MTA officials now say the project’s budget is under review.

 

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Far Rockaway teen busted for anti-Semitic graffiti at LIRR station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA Long Island Rail Road

A Far Rockaway teen has been arrested for defacing the Cedarhurst Long Island Rail Road station with anti-Semitic graffiti on eight occasions, the MTA said.

Jonathan Schuster, 18, has been charged with felony criminal mischief in the third degree as a hate crime, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and making graffiti, according to MTA police.

A senior at Priority-1:Torah Academy of Lawrence-Cedarhurst, a yeshiva located in the town, Schuster allegedly committed the acts starting in December 2012. He is accused of using a black marker to write anti-Semitic statements, which usually contained expletives, on platform advertising billboards, police said.

His arrest comes after a year-long investigation that included uniformed patrols and surveillance by undercover detectives, according to the MTA. A wanted poster was also issued last month and a reward was offered for any information leading to the perpetrator’s arrest. Tips lead detectives to Schuster who allegedly confessed to the crime, police said.

Since December 2012, there have been 11 incidents in which anti-Semitic graffiti was scrawled on advertisements at three Long Island Rail Road stations in the Five Towns area of Nassau County, including the eight at Cedarhurst station, three at Lawrence station and one at Hewlett station, authorities said.

MTA Police are continuing to investigate the other incidents.

 

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MTA service for Super Bowl week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA

Dubbed the “first mass transit Super Bowl,” the MTA is encouraging people attending the big game on Sunday, Feb. 2 as well as related festivities this week to use its subways, buses, and regional railroads.

The MTA will be providing additional service on the Long Island Rail Road and the Metro-North Railroad, and NYC transit will also be providing full service.

Super Bowl Boulevard will be covering Broadway from 34th Street to 47th Street beginning this Wednesday, Jan. 29 at noon. Super Bowl Boulevard consists of a 7-story Toboggan Run and endless possibilities for autographs and pictures for die-hard fans.

 

Wednesday, Jan. 29 to Friday, Jan. 31:

NYC Transit

The B,D,F,M,N,Q, or R trains will take you to 34th Street-Herald Square, the N,Q,R,S,1,2,3 or 7 trains will drop you off right at Times Square- 42nd Street, and the A,C, or E, to 42nd Street-Port Authority Bus Terminal.

Long Island Railroad

The LIRR will be adding extra late afternoon and evening trains on four branches (Babylon Branch, Ronkonkoma Branch, Port Jefferson Branch, Port Washington Branch) starting Jan 29th.

Babylon Branch:

Four extra Penn Station-bound trains will be departing Babylon Ronkonkoma Branch.

Ronkonkoma Branch:

An extra Penn Station-bound train will be departing from Ronkonkoma. Three Ronkonkoma-bound trains will be departing Penn Station.

Port Jefferson Branch:

Three extra Penn Station bound trains will be departing Huntington.

An extra Huntington-bound train will be departing Penn Station.

Port Washington Branch:

Three extra Penn Station-bound trains will be departing Great Neck

For more details, click here.

Metro-North Railroad

The Metro North Railroad will be running four extra trains per day.

Harlem Line:

An extra train will be departing Southeast, and arriving at Grand Central

Hudson Line:

An extra train will be departing Poughkeepsie, and arriving at Grand Central.

New Haven Line:

An extra train will be departing New Haven and arriving at Grand Central.

An extra train will also be departing Grand Central, and arriving in New Haven

 

Saturday Feb.1:

New York City Transit

New York City Transit will be running an extra 1 train. The S train on the 42nd Street Shuttle will be having rush-hour level service providing 3 extra trains

Metro-North Railroad

The Metro North Railroad will be providing 16 extra trains on the New Haven Line and two extra trains on the Hudson Line.

Long Island Rail Road

The Long Island Rail Road will be running six extra Babylon Branch Trains.

 

Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2:

Fans holding tickets to the Super Bowl will be able to take trains, Fans Express busses, and charter buses to the country’s first Mass Transit Super Bowl. Fans will be required to bring the ticket to show at the Secaucus Junction before being allowed to connect the MetLife Stadium shuttle train.

Ticket holders may also catch NJ transit to trains to Secaucus for a short shuttle train ride to MetLife Stadium.

Penn Station buses; M4, M7, M20, M34, M34A, and Q32

In addition, Fan Express buses will depart for the game form six points in Manhattan, and the MTA is a great way to get to all the departure points

  • Battery Place (4,5 to Bowling Green)
  • 6th Ave (A,C,D, and F to W. 4th St.)
  • Madison Square Park (N,R to 23rd St.)
  • Grand Central/45th St. (4,5,6,7, and S/Metro-North to Grand Central)
  • Waldorf Astoria Hotel (6 to 51st /E to Lexington Ave)
  • Time-Warner Center (1, A, C, D to 59th St-Columbus Circle)

 

After the game:

The Long Island Rail Road  will be running two extra trains from Penn Station.

A Babylon bound train will depart and a Huntington-bound train will depart.

For more details, click here.

 

MTA to suspend track and road work:

New York City Transit is suspending Manhattan weekend track work during Super Bowl weekend, Feb. 1-2, with the exception of the long-term Sandy recovery project to restore the R train through the Montague Tube. MTA Bridges and Tunnels will closely monitor all routine construction at its crossings Super Bowl week, particularly at the bridges and tunnels leading into Manhattan. All routine construction will be suspended at MTA crossings on Super Bowl weekend. The Bronx-Whitestone Bridge will maintain three lanes heading to the Bronx all weekend.

MTA service changes for Martin Luther King Jr. Day


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

On Monday, Jan. 20, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, there will be the following MTA service changes, according to the transit agency.

New York City Subway, Buses and Staten Island Railway

On Monday, Jan. 20, the city’s subway and Staten Island Railway will operate on a regular weekday schedule.

The city’s buses will operate on a weekday schedule with minor timing changes except for Staten Island, where Limited Stop routes S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98 will not operate. Weekday local service will operate along those routes. Limited stop routes S89 and S93 will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes. All Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens “X” express routes will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes.

Long Island Rail Road

LIRR will operate on a holiday schedule with 32 extra trains to and from Penn Station. Off peak fares will be in effect all day. Because it is a holiday schedule, there will be no service on the West Hempstead Branch and no service between Ronkonkoma and Greenport.

The departure and arrival times of the extra trains can be found in current LIRR branch timetables under the columns marked “Note M.” The timetables can also be found on the MTA LIRR web site.

Metro-North Railroad

Metro-North Railroad will operate on a Saturday schedule with 36 additional trains as indicated in the current Harlem, Hudson and New Haven Line timetables. Off peak fares apply all day.

Extra New York City-bound trains during the morning and northbound in the late afternoon will be provided.

There are 15 extra trains on the New Haven Line, nine inbound and six outbound.  There are three extra Hudson Line trains, two inbound and one outbound, and 14 extra Harlem Line trains, seven in each direction.

Special Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday timetables listing all trains are posted online at the Metro-North’s schedules page.

All additional trains will be included in Metro-North Train Time™ app for iPhone and Android as well as on the CooCoo text messaging service.

The uptown exits of Grand Central North will be closed all day.

 

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Man fatally struck by LIRR train at Woodside station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Updated 3:45 p.m.

A man was hit and killed by an LIRR train Tuesday night in Woodside after the train’s engineer saw him jump in front of the locomotive, an MTA spokesperson said.

An 11:35 p.m. train heading from Penn Station to Babylon struck the man, identified as Pawel Nierodzinski, 32, while the train was pulling into the LIRR Woodside stop, the MTA said.

The train’s engineer said that as the train entered the station, he saw a man crouch down and leap in front of the train before it hit him, according to the spokesperson.

Several eastbound and westbound LIRR trains experienced up to 10 to 30 minute delays due to the incident, the MTA said.

About 2:50 a.m. regular eastbound service in Queens was restored, and by 3 a.m. all trains were on or close to schedule.

 

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MTA service for Christmas, New Year’s holidays


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

The MTA has issued the following service changes for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, from Tuesday, December 24 through Thursday, January 2:

Tuesday, December 24

The subway will operate on a regular weekday schedule. The Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway will offer extra afternoon trains.

The Staten Island Railway will operate additional express service beginning two hours earlier, from 2:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. City buses will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes, except for Staten Island, where limited stop routes S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98 will not operate. Weekday local service will operate along those routes. Limited stop routes S89 and S93 will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes.

All Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens “X” express routes will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes.

Wednesday, December 25

New York City subways and buses and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Sunday schedule. The LIRR and Metro-North will operate on a special holiday schedules as noted in timetables.

Thursday, December 26, Friday, December 27, and Monday, December 30

Subways will operate on a regular weekday schedule. The LIRR and Metro-North will operate on a weekday schedules. Metro-North will offer additional inbound service operated in the late morning, and slightly reduced AM Peak service.

On Thursday, December 26, the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Monday schedule.

City buses will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes, except for Staten Island, where limited stop routes S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98 will not operate. Weekday local service will operate along those routes. Limited stop routes S89 and S93 will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes.

All Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens “X” express routes will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes

Saturday, December 28

Metro-North will operate special service for the Rutgers vs. Notre Dame college football game at Yankee Stadium at 12:15 p.m., with a shuttle service between Grand Central, Harlem-125th Street and Yankees-East 153rd Street stations.

Tuesday, December 31

Metro-North and the LIRR will operate on modified weekday schedules with extra New York City-bound service in the evening and extra service departing New York City after midnight. For special LIRR service from the Billy Joel concert at Barclays Center, extra trains leaving Atlantic Terminal will be timed to depart starting 20 minutes after the concert concludes.

Metro-North will have slightly reduced service during the traditional rush hour periods.

Customers heading to Times Square for the celebration should avoid using the 42 St-Times Square subway complex, since they may not be allowed to exit onto the street. In addition, the northbound platform at the 50th St. 1 station, and both north and southbound platforms at the 49th St. N/Q /R station will be closed from 7 p.m. until after midnight. Riders are urged to exit at the 57th Sts or 59 St- Columbus Circle stations instead and walk to Times Square.

Buses are not recommended for traveling to Times Square because of the numerous street closures in the area. Regular overnight bus service will resume as streets reopen after midnight. Following the celebration, trains on lines in and around Times Square will run every 8 to 12 minutes until approximately 3 a.m. The 42nd Street shuttle will operate all night.

City buses will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes, except for Staten Island, where limited stop routes S81, S84, S86, S90, S91, S92, S94, S96 and S98 will not operate. Weekday local service will operate along those routes. Limited stop routes S89 and S93 will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes. All Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Queens “X” express routes will operate on weekday schedules with minor timing changes.

Wednesday, January 1

City subways and buses and the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Sunday schedule, with longer waits on some bus routes. The LIRR and Metro-North will operate on a special holiday schedules. Metro-North will provide hourly service on most line segments and regular weekend service on branch lines.

Thursday, January 2

On Thursday, January 2, the Staten Island Railway will operate on a Monday schedule.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Generally cloudy. High 48. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy this evening. Fog developing late. Low 43. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The David Leonhardt Trio

The David Leonhardt Trio, an internationally acclaimed jazz group will have fingers snapping and toes tapping as they present a winter holiday concert of cool jazz and hot rhythms at Flushing Town Hall at 8 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

School bus company to shut down; NYC seeks alternative

While most parents should be relaxing during the Christmas break, many in New York City are now going to have to try and figure out how to get their kids to school. Read more: Fox New York

Super Bowl Monday possible if storm comes to Northeast: organizers

Super Bowl organizers say they’re prepared to deploy thousands of trucks and tons of salt to prevent snowy weather from interfering with the biggest football game of the year. Read more: NBC New York

MTA launches new apps for LIRR, Metro-North riders

Some new apps may help Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road customers avoid an extra long wait for the train. Read more: ABC New York

9/11 victims OK to sue Saudi government

Victims of the 9/11 attacks will have another chance to sue the Saudi Arabian government after a federal appeals court ruled Thursday that the original dismissal of the case was an “error of law.” Read more: New York Post

Target data breach leaves customers angry, frustrated

Potential victims of credit card fraud tied to Target’s security breach said they had trouble contacting the discounter through its website and call centers. Read more: AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: A mix of clouds and sun. High 33. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph. Friday night: Partly cloudy skies early will give way to cloudy skies late. Low 26. Winds NNW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Carols and Car Races

Grammy-nominated jazz guitarist and composer Amanda Monaco brings her quartet Formula One, which plays original compositions inspired by car racing to Flushing Town Hall on Friday, December 13. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

LIRR, NJT ban booze ahead of Santacon

There’s another attempt to crackdown on debauchery and drunkenness by a group of Santa Claus wannabees. Read more: ABC New York

Bloomberg gun group calls for crackdown on online gun sales loophole

Thousands of guns could be sold illegally by unlicensed firearms dealers on just one classified ad website, according to an investigation commissioned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Regulators to conduct safety review of Metro-North Railroad

The Federal Railroad Administration will launch an intensive two-month review of safety compliance and culture at Metro-North after a train derailed and killed four people earlier this month. Read more: CBS New York/AP

De Blasio to meet with Obama at White House Friday

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is set to meet with President Barack Obama at the White House Friday, along with several other newly elected mayors. Read more: NBC New York

Budget vote approved in the House

Battle-fatigued and suddenly bipartisan, the House voted Thursday night to ease across-the-board federal spending cuts and head off future government shutdowns, acting after Speaker John Boehner unleashed a stinging attack on tea party-aligned conservative groups campaigning for the measure’s defeat. Read more: AP