Tag Archives: Malba

Former Gambino associate’s grandson busted for allegedly shooting friend on Malba jetty


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man whose grandfather was reportedly a former Gambino family associate has been charged with attempted murder after he shot a childhood friend multiple times near the Malba shoreline, officials said.

Robert Sasso, 33, and his friend, 39-year-old Dean Oku, were smoking marijuana on a jetty off of Summit Place in the affluent neighborhood at about 2 a.m. on Aug. 29 when, during a conversation, Sasso shot Oku without warning, the Queens District Attorney’s Office said. Oku was struck in the abdomen, left leg and left arm, and taken to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

In addition to being charged with attempted murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon in the shooting, Sasso, a Flushing resident, was also busted for assaulting his live-in girlfriend, according to prosecutors.

Just two days before the shooting, Sasso is accused of punching his 33-year-old girlfriend, who had recently taken an order of protection out against him. He then allegedly pushed her out of his vehicle as it sat on an East Elmhurst street, causing bruising to her face, the district attorney’s office said.

Sasso has been separately charged with assault, harassment and criminal contempt in his girlfriend’s assault. He is currently awaiting arraignment in both cases and faces a total of up to 29 years in prison if convicted.

According to the New York Daily News, Sasso’s grandfather was a former Gambino family associate who was convicted in 1992 for helping John Gotti get payoffs from contractors. His father was also convicted for gun trafficking.

Sasso was suspected in the shooting of a construction supervisor in Hell’s Kitchen last year, the Daily News also said.

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Malba defends its smell


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Malba residents say something stinks about a recent website ranking that named their affluent neighborhood as the smelliest in Queens.

New York City real estate website BrickUnderground and apartment data site AddressReport compiled the list, which rated the 10 smelliest and 10 least smelly neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. The ranking used data from the frequency of 311 complaints for odor-related issues, such as missed trash collection, sewer backups and odors, vehicle and restaurant fumes, and dirty sidewalks and alleyways. The data was then weighted for each area’s population.

Malba was not only rated as Queens’ smelliest neighborhood, but also as the third smelliest in the three boroughs.

Malba locals had issues with the analysis, saying that the neighborhood, a section of northeast Queens with multi-million dollar houses and expansive water views, was clean, well-maintained and virtually odor-free.

“As a lifelong resident of Malba, I find this [ranking] highly insulting,” said Christopher Biancaniello, who likened the area to Beverly Hills.

“All of us homeowners take pride in our properties,” he added.

On a hot Friday afternoon last week, Steven Vitale, 24, who has also lived in the neighborhood his whole life, made an observation about the smell in the neighborhood.

“The smelliest thing here is me,” the jogger said, shirt soaked in sweat. “Otherwise, this area smells fine to me.”

Eliza Kalas, who has lived in Malba for the last five years, agreed.

“It’s not that bad here and it’s certainly not worth complaining about,” she said, referring to the 311 complaints. The only area she noticed with a slight smell was by the water on Boulevard Street.

USE

Other Queens neighborhoods on the smelliest list included Lindenwood, which came in at number two in the borough, followed by Neponsit, St. Albans, College Point, Howard Beach, Bayswater, Cambria Heights, Broad Channel and Beechurst/Whitestone.

Queens’ least smelly neighborhoods included North Corona, at number one, followed by Corona, Woodside and Elmhurst, Rego Park, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Bellerose, East Flushing and Ridgewood.

Nicholas Kaizer, vice president of the Malba Association, found issue with how the data was analyzed since, according to him, there are only around 400 homes in the area.

“Though not a statistician, it’s pretty obvious that the tiny size of the sample population seriously calls into question the value of the per capita method of analyzing odor complaints to the city,” he said, calling the data skewed.

“The sounds and smells coming off of our waterfront — and throughout our small neighborhood — are among our greatest assets and we jealously guard our native habitat, policing and tending to the grounds regularly, as our community has done for over 100 years,” Kaizer said.

-With additional reporting by Eric Jankiewicz

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Website names Malba Queens’ smelliest neighborhood


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Malba may stink, but Corona is breathing easy, according to a ranking of the city’s smelliest neighborhoods.

BrickUnderground and apartment data site AddressReport compiled a list of the 10 smelliest and 10 least smelly neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, using data from the frequency of 311 complaints for odor-related issues that was then weighted for population. Among the complaints were sewer backups and odors, vehicle and restaurant fumes, and missed trash collection.

Malba was rated as Queen’s smelliest neighborhood and the third smelliest in the three boroughs after Brooklyn’s Greenwood Heights and Navy Hill. Koreatown was the smelliest area in Manhattan.

Other Queens neighborhoods with offensive smells included Lindenwood, which came in at number two, followed by Neponsit, St. Albans, College Point, Howard Beach, Bayswater, Cambria Heights, Broad Channel and Beechurst/Whitestone.

Overall, western Queens smelled better than the rest of the borough, with several of its neighborhoods landing on the least smelly list. North Corona was ranked as number one, followed by Corona, Woodside and Elmhurst. The remaining top 10 included Rego Park, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Bellerose, East Flushing and Ridgewood.

Starrett City and Brownsville were the least smelly in Brooklyn, and Roosevelt City and Battery Park City were the best smelling Manhattan neighborhoods.

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49-year-old motorcyclist dies in Whitestone Expressway crash


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

A motorcyclist riding on the Whitestone Expressway Saturday night was killed when he was ejected from his bike, according to police.

The 49-year-old victim was driving southbound on the expressway at the Cross Island Parkway around 10:18 p.m. when the accident occurred, cops said.

The motorcyclist, who has yet to be identified by police, was taken New York Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Suspect shoots man four times in Malba: police


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A tattooed suspect shot a man four times in Malba, leaving the victim in critical condition, according to police.

The 39-year-old victim and the shooter, identified by police as 33-year-old Robert Sasso, were by the shoreline near 141-36 Boulevard at about 2 a.m. Friday when they got into a dispute, cops said. After shooting the victim, Sasso fled in a white Ford Fusion.

The victim was taken to New York Hospital Queens in critical condition.

Police describe Sasso as 5 feet 9 inches tall and 180 pounds. He has tattoos neck arms and face, including one under his right eye that says “$MM.”

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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18-room luxury Malba home sells for $2.5M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy MLSLI

A new family will now be able to enjoy the Manhattan skyline after buying  a massive Malba home with big-city views from the second floor.

E&M Real Estate, which has served Whitestone, Malba and other northeast Queens neighborhoods for more than 30 years, closed the deal with the family on Aug. 6 for the Mediterranean brick house at 19 Center Drive for $2.5 million.

So what makes this house so pricey?

The single family residence has 18 rooms throughout 6,500 square feet in three floors, which includes a basement.

There are five bedrooms, all on the second floor, four and a half bathrooms, a theatre, an office and Jacuzzi suites.

A fireplace and an in-ground pool are also features of the home, which was built in 2002.

“It was one of a kind,” said Maryann Stravello founder of E&M Real Estate.

 

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West Nile spraying set for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, July 30, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, July 31 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba and Whitestone (Bordered by the East River, Powell’s Cove, 138th Street and 11th Avenue to the north; Flushing Bay and Flushing River to the west; Northern Boulevard to the south; and 149th Street, 20th Avenue and Whitestone Expressway to the east)

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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Whitestone, Malba residents angry over noise from low-flying helicopters


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan / Videos courtesy of Alfredo Centola

A recent helicopter route change meant to spare Long Island ears from a barrage of choppers could be the reason why some parts of Queens are now dealing with the rumble.

“There are days my home vibrates,” said Alfredo Centola, president of the Malba Gardens Civic Association. “Things fall off the shelves.”

Some 1,500 homes in Whitestone and Malba have been bombarded with low-flying helicopters daily, according to local leaders and residents.

On weekends, they say, crisscrossing choppers fly over their homes once every 30 seconds for about 12 hours a day.

“When they get really low, you feel it through your body,” said Joe Bono of Whitestone.

A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandate last August ordered helicopters flying to and from the city and eastern Long Island to follow a route along the north shore of Long Island between Huntington and the North Fork, according to the National Business Aviation Association.

The ruling came after a push from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer and noise complaints from residents, aviation leaders said.

But while it bars helicopter traffic over Long Island’s most populated areas, it directs a higher concentration of choppers to repeatedly fly over Whitestone and Malba, according to the Eastern Region Helicopter Council.

“As a direct result of Senator Schumer’s mandatory North Shore route — which we strongly oppose — the number of flights over the Throgs Neck route has dramatically increased, just as it has over the North Fork communities in Long Island,” said a spokesperson for the Council, Jeff Smith.

Max Young, a spokesperson for Schumer, pointed the finger of blame back, saying the Eastern Region Helicopter Council “has resisted all reasonable efforts” to cut down the noise in order to fly low and save money.

The above water route mandate does not begin until the middle of Long Island, according to the aide.

“The Eastern Regional Helicopter Council is either ignorant, lying or both.” Young said. “They could solve this entire problem by simply flying over water and flying higher, but so far they’ve refused.”

Queens leaders and residents said the helicopter noise has been ongoing for a little over a year but intensified in the last six months.

“You live in a borough with two airports. Living with airplane noise has sort of been a fact of life. That’s bad enough,” said Assemblymember Mike Simanowitz. “You have dozens of helicopters flying over this community on a daily basis. There’s no consideration given to the residents of this community.”

Simanowitz and State Senator Tony Avella said the problem is both a local noise and national safety issue.

“Terrorists are getting smarter and smarter,” Simanowitz said. “Every time we think of a better way to protect ourselves, they think of a better way to strike fear into our hearts. This would be a catastrophic way to do it.”

The pair of legislators has requested a briefing from the Department of Homeland Security and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“The very fact that . . . anybody can buy a ticket and get on, it’s a pretty scary thing,” Avella said.

In a statement, the FAA said it “does not have the authority to prohibit aircraft from flying over a particular area” unless the operation is unsafe.

“It’s getting outrageous,” said Kim Cody, president of the Greater Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association. “It’s destroying our quality of life and striking fear into homeowners.”

 

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Mailers direct Whitestone voters to wrong polling sites


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

An apparent mistake by the city’s Board of Elections (BOE) would have had Whitestone residents voting in Forest Hills during the upcoming primary.

About 100 people in Whitestone, College Point, Malba and Beechhurst were sent BOE mailers last week directing them to vote more than six miles away, double the distance of their usual polling place, a local civic leader said.

The 61-20 Grand Central Parkway poll site listed on the notices is on the border between Corona and Forest Hills.

“I’ve been in Whitestone for 27 years. I’ve always voted at P.S. 193. It’s four blocks from my house,” said resident George Mirtsopoulos, 58. “I get this notice saying I’m voting in Forest Hills. I thought it was ridiculous.”

Mirtsopoulos, Malba Gardens Civic president Alfredo Centola and the area’s city councilmember said they alerted the elections board of the blunder.

The BOE first told residents the change was due to recent redistricting and later switched to say it was a “glitch” that sent voters in the 11357 ZIP code to poll sites in the 11375 area, residents said. The two numbers differ only by switching the last two digits.

“You should check and double check,” Mirtsopoulos said. “Somebody should have said, ‘Wait. They live in Whitestone, why are they voting in Forest Hills?’ The bells and whistles should have gone off a little bit.”

The mailer blindsided multiple residents, mostly the elderly, who did not take immediate notice of change in poll site, Mirtsopoulos said.

“A lot of people on my block didn’t even realize it,” he said. “It would have caused a lot of confusion.”

Councilmember Dan Halloran — who awaits trial for bribery but represents the district for the remainder of the year — said his office “was flooded with calls from angry or upset people.”

He said an 84-year-old widow named Marilyn would not have traveled to Forest Hills despite voting in every election since 1955.

Residents who called the BOE to complain were told new mailers with the correct poll site would be sent out soon, but the Board had no immediate comment for the press.

 

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West Nile spraying in Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of James Gathany/CDC

On Monday, August 5 there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Tuesday, August 6 during the same hours.

Part of the following neighborhoods: Auburndale, College Point, Flushing, Linden Hill, Malba, Murray Hill and Whitestone.

Bordered by: Cross Island Parkway, 149 Street and 20th Avenue to the North; 124th Street, College Point Boulevard, Northern Boulevard and Union Street to the West; Sanford Avenue and Northern Boulevard to the South; and Utopia Parkway to the East.

Parts of the following zip codes: 11354, 11355, 11356, 11357 and 11361.

For the sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10 a synthetic
pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department  recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene