Tag Archives: Little Neck

Little Neck actor finds business success in Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Johnny Solo


Actor Johnny Solo is starring in many different roles in Astoria.

The 39-year-old Little Neck resident is the co-owner of three establishments in the western Queens neighborhood, two of which opened in the past few months.

The first of the trio, Grand Café located at 37-01 30th Ave., was started eight years ago and opened for brunch because “there weren’t that many options [on 30th Avenue] back then.”

The corner café has since attracted guests wanting indoor or outdoor seating for all meals of the day.

Then an idea for a new establishment came after an unfortunate circumstance of a partner’s wife being diagnosed with breast cancer, causing the team to change their lifestyles and eating habits to all-organic. She has since recovered.

“It started to slowly go into our lifestyle,” Solo said. “Once you get into the lifestyle, you don’t feel like you’re missing anything. We said that we are enjoying this so much, why don’t we build it in the back room of Grand Café.”

Two months ago organic juice and smoothie shop Ginger opened its door in what used to be Grand Café’s private events back room. Ginger offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more.

“The idea was to make the most flavorful, all-organic natural juices and smoothies, but also similar to what Starbucks did, make it the most comfortable, coolest place,” Solo said about the interior design of the shop, which features a large cushioned seating area, benches, antique decorations and walls made up of recycled wood.

Ginger also offers organic liquors, wines and champagnes. The shop provides customers with juicing programs, ranging from one- to three-day options. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

The shop’s items will soon be fully available on the Grand Café’s menu as Solo looks to give customers “healthier options.”

“We feel the way we changed the landscape with Grand Café, we feel now a decade later we will change the landscape again,” Solo said. “Part of our job now is reaching out and make [customers] understand. I don’t feel you’re really juicing if you aren’t going organic.”

Together with working on his acting career, during which he has starred in movies and television series such as Law & Order, and this September will debut a film he produced, Solo also co-owns Republic located at 33-29 Astoria Blvd.

The bar, which opened in April, is located at the site of a former wholesale meat packing warehouse and its menu features a Nutella calzone, salads, cocktails and “fun” pizza with names such as “The Queen,” Cherry Jackson!” and “Killa Kale.”

Opened Tuesdays through Sundays starting at 6 p.m., Republic offers music from DJs, screenings of artistic documentaries and the excitement even stretches to the unisex bathroom where patrons can pick up a piece of chalk and write all over the walls.

The exterior and interior of the bar also feature artwork from Brooklyn graffiti artist B.D. White.

“The locals were very happy because nothing was here,” Solo said. “[Republic] is building slowly.”

 

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Star of Queens: Lauren Elizabeth Cornea, Clinton Club of Northeast Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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JANAE HUNTER

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Lauren Cornea has been a Young Democrat with the Clinton Club of Northeast Queens, which serves the neighborhoods of Auburndale, Bay Terrace, Bayside, Douglaston, Flushing, Little Neck and Whitestone, since 2010. The club keeps the community updated on local events and politics in the neighborhood. She is also a member of the Bayside-Whitestone Lions Club and does community and volunteer work for the community through the chapter. When she is not doing work for these organizations or volunteering for attorney Paul Vallone, she is a Learning Leader volunteer, where she tutors students at P.S. 21Q in reading, writing and math.

BACKGROUND: Cornea was born and raised in Flushing. After graduating from the Harvey School, Cornea spent some time traveling in Europe. Now, she is back in Queens and works as a realtor at Amorelli Realty in Astoria, and is the single mother of two children, Dominic John, 8, and Violeta-Rose, 6.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “The greatest obstacle I have faced is being a single mother juggling career and family life,” Cornea said. Raising two young children and balancing a job can be hard, but she makes it work. As for her career, being a female commercial realtor is tough when there are so many men doing the job. “This is a man’s world, and I have had to work extra to live in it. I work extra hard for people to take me seriously and value what I have to say. I have worked very hard to be seen as a woman who is knowledgeable and hard working and not just seen as a pretty face.”

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “I have so many achievements that I’m proud of that it’s hard to choose,” said Cornea. “One of my top achievements has been closing the deal on Steinway Mansion. That deal took 18 months and when we finally closed the deal it went for $2.6 million.” But, she added, raising her children, successfully bouncing back from the divorce, having the opportunity to give back by teaching children to learn to read, write and do basic arithmetic, and being a successful woman in a male-dominated profession are also some of Cornea’s greatest achievements.

INSPIRATION: “This may sound corny, but my biggest inspiration is definitely my kids,” said Cornea. “They rely on me for everything. On days when I do not feel like getting up, all I have to do is think about my two children who need me to be a success in order for them to have a better future.” Cornea said she is also inspired by her natural competitiveness that makes her try and be the best at whatever she does.

 

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Little Neck school first in the US to offer Essential Accessibility app


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

JANAE HUNTER 

A Little Neck elementary school is paving the way for people with disabilities.

P.S. 811Q on Marathon Parkway is the first school in the nation to partner with Canadian company Essential Accessibility and offer its app, which is designed to help people who can’t browse the web through conventional methods.

Through the app, students, parents, faculty and volunteers can navigate the web completely hands free through motion technology and voice activation. The app is most suitable for those who have dexterity challenges or reading difficulties brought on by conditions such as dyslexia, cerebral palsy, arthritis and paralysis, according to the company’s website.

“We are extremely proud to be the first school in the country to provide this groundbreaking app on our website,” said Penny Ryan, principal of P.S. 811Q.
Ryan hopes that this new app will allow those at the school with disabilities to access to school’s website for vital information, such as events and educational resources.

“By offering this app, we are able to better reach and involve all members of the P.S. 811Q community and empower them to become active participants in providing the brightest possible future for all students.”

The app is free and can be downloaded by clicking the blue wheelchair and keyboard icon on the upper right corner on the school’s website. Once downloaded, users will be able to access the app on any website.

 

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E. Gluck Corp. to lower giant Little Neck wall following protest


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Watch-maker E. Gluck Corporation will lower a newly-built, giant 36-foot wall, which surprised and disturbed residents near the company’s new location, Little Neck politicians announced.

Under the new design, which has been approved by the Buildings Department, the wall will be scaled down 14 feet to 22 feet, the company said Monday. In addition, E. Gluck will include 20 flowering pear trees and 75 white pine trees around the property at 60-15 Little Neck Pkwy.

“We are pleased to reach a solution that addresses the public’s concerns,” said Murray Stimler, senior vice president at E. Gluck. “Our goal is to be a good neighbor in Little Neck and a beneficial part of the community for many years to come.”

Last month, Assemblyman Ed Braunstein, Councilman Mark Weprin and state Sen. Tony Avella protested the wall with more than 100 residents. The current height blocks sunlight after certain hours and residents were afraid that it would hurt property values.

E. Gluck is moving this year into the lot, which is being developed by Steel Tribune LLC, and is the former site of electrical wiring company Leviton.

Initially, E. Gluck promised to put a one-story warehouse on the site, according to politicians. But residents woke up one day to find the towering dark gray wall, which sits on a hill that is about 10 feet high off the curb and extends nearly halfway through the block. The solution to lower the wall was welcome news for the elected officials.

“I appreciate that E. Gluck is making changes to its building plans to address some of the concerns raised by their neighbors and elected officials,” Braunstein said. “I am hopeful that moving forward the company will continue to make efforts to ensure that its operations do not negatively impact the surrounding community.”

 

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Little Neck wants monstrous wall to come down


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

 

Little Neck residents say they can see the writing on the wall for their neighborhood, if a Long Island City-based company moving in has its way.

More than 100 residents backed by local politicians protested on April 22 against watch manufacturer E. Gluck Corporation’s construction of a 35-foot wall, which is so high some said it blocks sunlight after certain hours. Community members fear it will hurt property values and their quality of life.

“It looks like the cross between a concentration camp and ‘The Wall’ from ‘Game of Thrones,’” said Joan Arnowitz, a resident who lives down the block from the wall. “I have an $800,000 house that’s now going to go down in value.”

E. Gluck is moving this year into the empty lot at 60-15 Little Neck Parkway, the former site of electrical wiring company Leviton. Residents and politicians were initially in support of the move, believing that E. Gluck, like Leviton, would be a quiet neighbor based on the wares it manufactures.

The company promised to put a one-story warehouse on the site, according to politicians. But residents woke up recently to find the towering dark gray wall, which sits on a hill that is about 10 feet high off the curb, extending nearly halfway through the block. It appears to be the outside wall of the warehouse under construction.

“We want to be a good, respectful neighbor, and we believe our use of the property is preferable to alternative uses allowed for this site, such as a distribution center that would significantly increase truck traffic on local streets,” the company said in a statement. “We have heard the concerns expressed by elected officials and members of the public, and we are currently evaluating our options based on their feedback.”

State Sen. Tony Avella asked the Department of Buildings (DOB) for a Stop Work Order for the property. He and other elected officials also hope to take away about $13 million in tax breaks that the company was granted from the city for the next 25 years.

“They lied to us. They told us that this would be a small project,” Avella said. “They made us an enemy. They didn’t have to do this, but they made an enemy out of us and we are going to fight for the community. This has to come down.”

 

 

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Star of Queens: Jade Reid, volunteer, Brandywine Senior Living


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Community Service: For the past four years, 15-year-old Jade Reid has been volunteering her time at the Brandywine Senior Living at The Savoy in Little Neck. During that time she has helped out with recreational activities and office work on weekday evenings and on weekends.

Background: Jade lives in Roosevelt, Long Island, and is a sophomore at Roosevelt High School.

When she is not volunteering at the senior home, Jade is active at her school. She is part of the basketball, soccer and softball teams, as well as the student government and yearbook club. She also volunteers in her school’s community services program where students help clean and maintain the community.

“It’s just part of my characteristics and how I view things,” she said. “I’m a helpful person and that’s why I decide to volunteer.”

Jade said she began volunteering at Brandywine after accompanying her mom, who works at the senior home, and just lending a helping hand.

“I was just looking for a place that needed help,” she said. “One day I decided to help and from that day on I just helped everybody.”

She volunteers every week, and when she has days off from school comes more frequently to the site. Even with school she said she makes time to volunteer and help those who need her.

Favorite Memory: Jade has many fond memories of the past four years she has spent volunteering at Brandywine, including many of the activities that are organized for the residents. During those times she has helped in barbecues and car washes.

“Those are the fun times,” she said. “Seeing the residents happy, makes me happy.”

Inspiration: Her biggest inspiration are the people who work at Brandywine, including her own mother. Jade hopes to go into a career in the nursing field and continue working on helping others.

 

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Little Neck restaurant Mizumi to expand, clean up eyesore


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Mizumi restaurant is pumping funds into a planned expansion that will clean up the eyesore next door, a defunct gas station, The Courier has learned.

Owners of the sushi restaurant and buffet bought the former Getty gas station on 231-06 Northern Blvd., which has been tagged with graffiti for more than a year, and plan to replace it with an extension of the eatery.

Besides cleaning off the vandalism, the Chiang family, which owns Mizumi, hired Advanced Cleanup Technologies to remediate any environmental concerns caused by the gas station or expansion as it sits directly in front of Alley Pond Park.

“As we all know, gas stations, or any automotive-related shops can negatively impact its neighborhood,” Ken Chiang said in an email. “We wanted to make sure that our environment and Alley Pond Park would not [be] affected by our expansion.”

Owners of the restaurant aren’t certain what to turn the expanded space into yet, but are contemplating adding extra seating capacity to accommodate large gatherings for catered private events. And the family hired the same Japanese interior and exterior designer who created Mizumi to articulate the style into the extension. After finalizing plans, they will present it to the Board of Standards and Appeals.

“I think everyone can agree that a restaurant or potentially a catering space is far more attractive for the community and storefront of Northern Boulevard than a gas station or auto repair center,” Chiang said.

 

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Little Neck woman celebrates a century


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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Woodrow Wilson was president, Babe Ruth played his first professional game and the world’s first transcontinental telephone line was established, the year Maria Regina Lucarelli was born.

Lucarelli, a resident of Brandywine Senior Living at the Savoy in Little Neck, will turn 100 years old on Sunday, April 13, and she will have a birthday party at the senior home to celebrate her experiences during the last century.

To reach the century mark, Lucarelli didn’t have to rely on a fountain of youth or a special anti-aging potion. Her advice to younger people is to just take it easy.

“You let each day go with whatever happens,” she said. “Go with the flow.”

Lucarelli’s life has been a wild ride through some of history’s darkest moments, including World Wars I and II and the Great Depression, as she struggled to achieve the “American Dream.”

Lucarelli was born in Toritto, Italy, in 1914. As a child, she traveled with her parents to America, where she completed junior high school and learned English. Eventually, she moved back to Italy to settle down and help her family during the Great Depression.

In 1947, she married Filippo Lucarelli, a conductor and musician, and the pair had two daughters in Italy. In 1953, when the family decided to board a ship to move to America permanently, the couple learned at the last minute that Filippo’s papers weren’t in order. She went alone and he remained in Italy with the children.

Initially, the problem with Filippo’s papers should have taken a few weeks to fix, but ended up splitting the family up for about seven months, becoming the most devastating period of Lucarelli’s life.

“That was the biggest obstacle I think my mother and father had to face,” said Lucarelli’s daughter, Chiara Ceglian. “I just can’t imagine the heartache that everyone felt at that time.”

Photo courtesy Chiara Ceglian 

After the family was reunited, they lived in a small apartment near Gramercy Park in Manhattan, where the rent was a bargain at $50 a month.

In America, Lucarelli used her skills as a seamstress to become a fashion designer working for department stores, such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman.

She also mended clothes for private clients, “saving every penny” she earned, Ceglian said. After Lucarelli gave birth to her final daughter, the family moved to a house in Long Island with a relative. Then Lucarelli used her savings to buy her own house in Long Island, where she remained until she retired.

Her daughters are hosting her century birthday party, but cake and drinks aren’t on Lucarelli’s mind these days.

“I made it through the bad,” said Lucarelli, who is a great-grandmother of two. “I’m happy to be alive.”
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Queens middle school students vanquish the competition in Lego robot contest


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Peter Xanthus

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Four Queens middle school teams were victorious in the NYC FIRST Lego robot building competition on April 4-6.

The contest, which was held at the Jacob Javits Center, challenged students to construct robots from Lego blocks and navigate obstacle courses. More than 70 teams from the five boroughs competed this year.

The Hurricane Pandas of P.S. 94 in Little Neck won second place for the Champion’s Award, which is given for overall excellence and innovation. The Boogie Bots of Louis Pasteur Middle School in Little Neck won first for the Project Research Award for the research and problem solving category of the contest, while Bleeker All-Stars of Edward Bleeker Junior High School in Flushing won first for the Robot Design, Strategy and Innovation Award. And the M.S. 216 Ryan Lions of Fresh Meadows won first for the Robot Performance Award.

“I’m very, very proud,” said Peter Xanthus, a sixth-grade science teacher at M.S. 216 who advises the school’s team. “It’s been six years here and this is the first time we ever came in first place.”

As a part of the contest, children had to research and think of solutions together for when natural disasters strike, not only to introduce the students to engineering and robot building but also to teach the importance of teamwork.

“You could be the most brilliant person in the whole,” Xanthus said, “but if you don’t know how to get our thoughts across to other people, you won’t get anything done.”

 

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Little Neck residents come together to save annual Memorial Day Parade


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

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The show will go on.

The United War Veterans Council (UWVC) hosted the first of a series of meetings to organize the Little NeckDouglaston Memorial Day Parade, which was in danger of being canceled this year, on Wednesday, March 19, at Community Church of Little Neck.

Since the former parade board was dissolved, the UWVC, which organizes the annual National Veterans Day Parade in Manhattan, reached out to help save the event.

The UWVC isn’t taking over the event, but just wants to help the community organize the parade, which started in 1927.

“We’re not uncomfortable by taking this leap, and we are not uncomfortable to say to you that if you want it, we could help you get it done, but we can’t do it, you have to do it and we will help you keep on track and make sure that it happens,” said Vince McGowan, president and founder of the UWVC.

About 60 residents, some of who were on the former board of the parade, packed the room at the church, full of resolve to keep the parade alive.

The UWVC just took a census from the room about saving the parade. They then talked about the committees that would be needed to organize the parade, including the Executive Division, Legal, Treasury, Parade Operations, Marketing, Public Relations, and Institutional Involvement, Dignitary, Opening and Closing Church Ceremony Committees. They also noted possible volunteers from the community.

Past parades cost about $30,000, so the UWVC believes it should cost about the same this year. The group is pledging $10,000, and former State Senator Frank Padavan donated $1,000, according to Geraldine Spinella, who was the head of the Treasury Committee of the former board of the parade. Many kinks still need to be worked out, but residents left feeling confident the parade will be back again.

“The best people in the community were in this room and they will get it done,” said Spinella, who volunteered to continue as the head of the Treasury Committee.

Anyone that wishes to volunteer should attend the next meeting on Wednesday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m. at Community Church, or visit the parade’s website or Facebook  and Twitter accounts.

 

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Queens precinct ramps up speeding enforcement to meet ‘Vision Zero’


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Lead-footed drivers in the 111th Precinct will have to ease up on the gas soon or get a ticket.

The precinct plans to ramp up speeding enforcement and make sure motorists yield to pedestrians, Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta said.

The push is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “Vision Zero” initiative, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years. De Blasio’s plan also calls for a reduction in the citywide speed limit from 30 to 25 mph and stiffer penalties on reckless taxi and livery drivers.

Speeding and failing to yield make up 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities in the city, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Officers will be closely eyeing major area intersections like Northern and Bell Blvds. and Springfield Blvd. and Horace Harding Expwy., Huerta said.

The 111th Precinct  covers Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Auburndale, Hollis Hills and Fresh Meadows. It is one of many citywide precincts to beef up traffic enforcement in order to reach the mayor’s goals.

There have been no pedestrian deaths within the precinct this year, Huerta said.

However, a 2-year-old boy was hit by a car Monday afternoon in Auburndale after he darted onto 196th St. near Northern Blvd., police said, though he is expected to recover.

“They think the child is going to pull through,” Huerta said. “Obviously, it’s a tragedy.”

 

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Community Board 11 to lose longtime leader, elect new chair


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Community Board 11 will lose a longtime leader and elect a new chair next month.

The Queens board will bid farewell to Jerry Iannece, who is term-limited due to the board’s bylaws. An election to replace him will take place March 3.

“It was an awesome ride,” said Iannece, whose term ends March 31. “It was exciting, exhilarating. It’s been a labor of love in many ways.”

Iannece was first appointed as board chair in 2002, stepping down in 2007 due to term limits. He returned to take back the board’s helm in 2009.

Under his leadership, Community Board 11 was at the forefront of a $125 million ravine improvement project at Oakland Lake. The massive upgrade, which was more than 10 years in the making, fixed a flooding problem in Bayside Hills.

“It saved Oakland Lake, and it saved the ecosystem,” Iannece said. “It’s sort of a textbook case of how a civic can identify a problem, employ their resources and get a problem solved.”

But after a roller coaster, decade-long tenure — and multiple failed bids for political office — the civic leader plans to step down for good.

“It’s an exhausting, full-time job without pay. I think my time as chair of Community Board 11 has come to an end,” said Iannece, who most recently ran for City Council in 2009 and suffered a devastating defeat in his bid for state Assembly in 2012.

“Running for office for a few years took a lot out of me,” the attorney said. “It just wasn’t meant to be, but it’s OK.”

Board members will nominate and then vote in a new chair at the end of the March 3 meeting, which starts at 7:30 p.m. at 46-35 Oceania St. in Bayside.

The board covers Auburndale, Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Hollis Hills and Oakland Gardens.

“I think it’s always good to have fresh blood, to have someone with new ideas,” Iannece said. “We’ll find somebody that’s more than capable of filling my shoes and doing a great job.”

 

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Scobee Diner site plans move forward


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) has approved a variance that would pave the way for a new building at the former Scobee Diner site in Little Neck. 

The variance gives new owner Lion Bee Equities permission to move the vacant restaurant’s parking lot to the back of the property, converting some spaces in a residential zone to commercial spots.

Lion Bee Equities officials say the move, adopted Dec. 10 by the BSA , will improve safety and decrease traffic near the 252-29 Northern Blvd. site. It was given the green light last summer by Community Board 11 and then-Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.

Larger plans for the Great Neck-based company include demolishing the diner and transforming the site into a two-story mixed commercial and community facility with a CitiBank on the first floor and a dentist’s office on the second.

The CitiBank would include a drive-thru ATM with a Little Neck Parkway entrance. There will be 17 parking spaces in the new lot, including one handicapped space.

Scobee closed in 2010, when restaurant owners failed to reach agreement on purchasing the property from the landowners.

The plans will now go to the city’s Department of Buildings for review.

The department recently approved permits for E. Gluck Corp., a Long Island City-based watch manufacturer, to move into the long vacant site of the former Leviton building along Little Neck Parkway, according to Community Board 11.

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EXCLUSIVE: City eyes two more northeast Queens school sites


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) is looking for more than an acre of Queens land to build a new high school, The Courier has learned.

The SCA has allocated funds for the future institution, poised to alleviate Queens high school congestion, but is still scouring the borough for a site slightly larger than an acre to build it on, according to SCA Director of External Affairs Mary Leas.

“We’d love to find a nice, big site for a high school,” Leas said. “Over an acre would be best. It’s not easy to find a site that size. Then when we do, we really want to investigate it and see if we could make it work. An acre is a lot of property in the city.”

The SCA briefed Community District Education Council 26 (CDEC) Thursday on its proposed $12 billion capital budget for 2015 to 2019, which includes the new high school.

A Department of Education spokesperson told The Courier the city is eyeing a site in Whitestone that “has not been identified.”

Residents in the area, in September, said they saw SCA scouts surveying the vacant Whitestone Jewels Property at 150-33 6th Avenue. The six-acre site is in the midst of a foreclosure action by OneWest Bank.

State Senator Tony Avella said the location is not “viable” for a school, due to lack of infrastructure and public transportation options.

“The city would have to put in sewers and water mains. It would be a transportation nightmare for parents and students,” he said.

The authority ruled out a Little Neck school site — long suggested by the CDEC — due to its “remote” location near 58-20 Little Neck Parkway, on the border of Long Island.

“It’s very hard to site a high school in a community,” Leas said. “Just even looking at a site could cause quite a flurry of activity amongst communities that don’t want the high schools.”

The SCA’s preliminary five-year plan also includes building a 465-seat elementary school in either Oakland Gardens or Fresh Meadows.

Partial funds have been set aside for the potential elementary school, but the SCA has not found a site yet, according to Monica Gutierrez, an SCA community relations manager.

The City Council last week passed a controversial plan to build a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade school at 210-11 48th Avenue in Bayside. According to the SCA, it will likely take about three years to open. Its design process, which has not yet begun, is expected to be finalized in about a year.

The SCA gave the presentation to seek feedback from the school district that encompasses Bayside, Douglaston and Little Neck.

To suggest site locations to the city, email sites@nycsca.org.

 

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Survey says overcrowding problem at Queens schools


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Queens schools are failing in at least one subject– classroom sizes.

Hillcrest High School in Jamaica ranked highest in the number of oversized classrooms, 400, and Bayside’s Benjamin Cardozo High School follows with 385, according to a recent United Federation of Teachers (UFT) survey.

More than 230,000 students citywide spent some of the first few weeks back to school in crowded classes, the study found. About 6,313 classes were overcrowded, up almost 200 from last year, but more than 1,000 of those classes were found in Queens high schools alone.

Overcrowding is a problem throughout the entire city school system, but “Queens high schools have been hit the worst,” the UFT said.

Class sizes around the city in grades 1 through 3 have now reached a 14-year high. Although they have not reached the classroom size limit of 32 seats, first and second grade has grown to an average of 24 seats per class, with 25 in third grade.

“It is time to take this issue seriously,” said Michael Mulgrew, UFT president. “All our students, especially our youngest children, desperately need smaller class sizes.”

Recently Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that under his administration New York City schools had improved outstandingly on the academic side.

During his time in office many schools were shuttered, but more than new 650 schools were created. Bloomberg said 22 of the top 25 schools in the state are from New York City, and none were on that list before his administration.

“After 12 years reforming our once-broken school system, it’s clear that our hard work has paid huge dividends for our students,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

In fact, three Queens elementary schools, P.S. 46 in Oakland Gardens, P.S. 66 in Richmond Hill and P.S. 221 in Little Neck,  Richmond Hillwere named to the prestigious national Blue Ribbon award for excellence in education on September 24.

Despite the academic improvements, the UFT said children shouldn’t have to try to learn in overcrowded classrooms.

“Twelve years of Michael Bloomberg, and hundreds of thousands of students start the school year in oversize classes,” Mulgrew said. “There is no excuse for letting students stay in an oversize class.”

 

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