Tag Archives: main street

Police looking for thief who stole gold necklace off victim’s neck in Flushing


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect in connection with a bizarre theft in which the victim was tricked into modeling scarves so the suspect could steal her gold necklace.

The suspect, described as a 40-year-old Asian woman, approached the victim, a 56-year-old woman, about modeling scarves for her on July 20 at about 1:45 p.m. in front of a retail store at 41-43 Main St. in Flushing, cops said.

Both women entered the store, and while the suspect was placing scarves on the victim’s neck, she removed a gold necklace from the older woman and fled the store in an unknown direction, according to authorities.

The suspect was last seen wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, and has black hair and a thin build.

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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Board approves variances for 12-story hotel, 14-story office building in Flushing


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering courtesy of Richard Lobel

A luxury hotel, under parent company InterContinental Hotels Group, may be coming to downtown Flushing.

Community Board 7 gave developer CA Plaza its advisory approval Monday to build a 12-story Hotel Indigo on Prince Street and a 14-story general office building on Main Street.

The board granted two variances to change the use of the office space from medical to general and to reduce the number of required parking spaces from 377 spots to 305.

Developers bought the 36-18 Main St. site in 2006, according to attorney Richard Lobel. They already had two special permits, approved by the board last November, to include a spa in the hotel and to build the office to 189 feet and the hotel to 154 feet.

The project now goes to the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA) for the final green light, though the hearing has not yet been calendared.

Community board officials said the project is heavily dependent on whether the city decides to install a traffic light on 36th Avenue and Prince Street to ease traffic the development is expected to bring.

Construction is slated for 2015.

 

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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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Celebrate the Year of the Horse with Lunar New Year events in Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Year of the Horse is galloping in with an array of exciting cultural festivities. 

This Lunar New Year, celebrated on Jan. 31, marks the 4,712th year on the Chinese calendar.

Regarded as one of the most important holidays in the Far East, Lunar New Year is customarily celebrated with a lively parade — complete with fiery, ornate dragons — and a colorful fireworks display.

CLICK HERE TO SEE LAST YEAR’S LUNAR NEW YEAR PARADE IN FLUSHING

Each year is named for one of the 12 figures of the Chinese zodiac.

To many, the horse is a symbol of competition, victory and the pursuit of freedom and passion.

“The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos — making unremitting efforts to improve themselves,” said Councilmember Peter Koo. “Such is also the spirit of the Flushing community.”

“With several projects taking off in northeast Queens, 2014 will bring exciting changes to Flushing and its surrounding area,” Koo said.

New Yorkers hoping to celebrate the Lunar New Year need not look very far.

Chinatown in Manhattan will ignite with New Year spirit Feb. 2, as the 15th annual parade dances downtown, starting at Little Italy through Chinatown at 1 p.m.

In Queens, on Feb. 8, Flushing will flood with festival-goers watching the 18th annual Lunar New Year Parade as it makes its way down Main Street.

Booths dishing out ethnic treats are set to line the streets for attendees hoping to grab a tasty snack while watching a beautiful fireworks display.

It is expected to start around 10 a.m. on Union Street and 37th Avenue. It usually ends at Main Street and 39th Avenue.

Last year, thousands flocked to the celebration to ring in the Year of the Snake.

Flushing Town Hall (FTH) also has a two-month lineup of music, art, dancing, calligraphy and mask making to celebrate the holiday and its rich history that dates back centuries.

“Since the inception of this festival at Flushing Town Hall, the Lunar New Year events have been able to bridge generational divides and unify cultures throughout Queens and abroad,” FTH Executive Director Ellen Kodadek said. “It’s a wonderful way to kick off the dawn of a new year.”

 

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Police: Suspects wanted for Flushing bank robbery


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

Police are looking for two suspects who allegedly robbed a bank at gunpoint Friday night.

About 7:10 p.m., the pair entered a TD Bank on Main Street in Flushing. The first suspect took out a firearm, announced a robbery and ordered a bank employee to the ground, police said. The second jumped over a counter, took $142 and both suspects fled.

One robber is male, around 6 feet tall, and was wearing a blue-hooded wind breaker with an “NY” logo, black jeans and black gloves. His face was covered by a scarf. The second suspect is also male, around 5 feet 10 inches tall with a dark complexion and medium build, police said. He was wearing a hat, sunglasses, a dark jacket, black gloves and dark jeans with dark-colored boots.

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.

Suspect wanted in Flushing restaurant robbery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for taking cash from a Flushing restaurant earlier this month.

According to the NYPD, the suspect entered the Oceanica Seafood Restaurant, located at 37-02 Main Street, around 8:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 11 and removed money from the cash register.

The suspect is described as a male Hispanic, and was last seen wearing blue and white striped pants, a gray baseball cap, gray hooded sweatshirt and was carrying a gray backpack.

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

 

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New $1 Flushing buses may be illegal


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A battle is brewing in downtown Flushing between recently emerged $1 buses that are taking away customers from a cutthroat competitor, and authorities who say the new set of wheels could be operating illegally.

Hordes of passengers lined up single file on 41st Avenue and Main Street for a $1 trip to Chinatown in Manhattan on Monday morning, July 9. Some said the new “big bus” was a more convenient, cheaper and roomier ride than an already established and authorized commuter van service across the corner.

“Before, in the small bus, the service was very bad. They don’t let us eat and drink, and they drove very fast,” said Michelle Dhu, 26. “It wasn’t safe.”

The smaller commuter buses are operated under Flushing Commute Van Management Corp. and can only hold up to 19 passengers. It is licensed by the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to shuttle people to Chinatown, Brooklyn and Elmhurst.

Fees for the commuter bus were as high as $2.75, Dhu said, before the company dropped the price to $1 to keep up with its newest rival.

Still, Dhu said throngs of people opted to swap services when the new ride rolled into town less than a month ago.

Passenger Claire Chen said she rode the minibus for six months, touting its faster excursions, and originally defended the company when she told The Courier it was not fair for the bigger bus to encroach on its settled turf.

But Chen, 21, quickly jumped ship and leaped off the line during the interview, when a collector asked her for double the price, straying from the latest $1 promise posted on nearby signs.

“If they just stayed the same price, I would have stayed with the small bus, but it keeps changing,” she said.

Councilmember Peter Koo said the large buses pose severe problems for both pedestrians who cannot pass through the large crowds waiting on line, and for drivers on the street whose vision is impeded by the large buses.

“We contacted all the agencies. In the very near future, they will do something to stop them,” Koo said.

A police source said the 109th Precinct has issued summonses to the buses for obstructing traffic. One bus, the source said, even crashed into the NYPD’s SkyWatch observation tower located outside of the Flushing library on 41st Avenue and Main Street.

The new $1 bus loads passengers in a “No Standing” zone, but vehicles considered commuter buses are allowed to do so. However, authorities said the new buses — which carry more than 50 passengers — are likely not commuter buses and are violating more than just traffic laws.

According to TLC spokesperson Allan Fromberg, under New York City law, commuter van services are only permitted to operate vehicles of up to 19 passengers. Larger vehicles exceeding that limit fall under the jurisdiction and licensing of the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT), he said.

DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera said city agencies are initiating an investigation and will pursue relevant legal or regulatory channels, including the possibility of state or federal enforcement.

The new bus service is said to be operated by New Oriental Tour, Inc., under the ownership of Tony Luo, who could not be reached. Drivers and fare collectors on site also declined to comment.

 

No. 7 train expansion to New Jersey may steam ahead


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The next stop on the No. 7 train may soon be New Jersey.

After Mayor Michael Bloomberg first announced his intention to extend the Flushing line into New Jersey, the plan had gone through ups and downs, but now the idea seems to be on the express line.

The mayor has reportedly spent $250,000 on a preliminary feasibility study.

The plan would extend the No. 7 train into Secaucus at the Secaucus Junction railroad station, connecting New Jersey to Manhattan’s East Side and Queens.

“The idea of having good transportation and mass transportation is something that’s very appealing to this city,” Bloomberg said at a recent press conference.

The idea originally came after a similar plan, the ARC – Access to the Region’s Core – was shelved by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie last year over worries of budget overrun. Reports have estimated the extension could be built for less than $10 million.

Christie, in an interview on WCBS 880, said he thinks the project will be able to come together, calling it a partnership between New Jersey, New York City, New York and the federal government.

The train, which now stretches between Main Street in Flushing and Times Square, is already being extended to Manhattan’s West Side with a stop being added at 34th Street and 11th Avenue, one block from the Hudson River. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.