Tag Archives: Manhattan

LIC community voices outrage against upcoming No. 7 train suspensions


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Long Island City residents and business owners are telling the MTA enough is enough.

The No. 7 train will soon be going through another round of suspensions causing it to not run in parts of western Queens and Manhattan for more than a dozen weekends this year, starting in the end of February, according to a notice from the MTA.

This news again upset residents, business owners and local politicians who gathered in front of the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue subway station on Friday to tell the MTA they are fed up with the constant disruptions and the lack of notice.

“Real people’s lives are affected in real ways here, this is not a game,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “This is about human beings, they’re trying to survive and the MTA is trying to kill us. We’ve got to stop this now.”

From February through July, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the transit agency said. There are nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

Business owners are tired of potential financial losses, residents are sick of longer commutes and local politicians just want the MTA to finally listen to their ideas and communicate with the neighborhood.

“It outrageous and all we are asking for is the opportunity to be heard, to present some common sense ideas that we have presented to them year after year after year,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has suggested the MTA offer a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city. “The MTA needs to listen to us once and for all.”

Rebecca Trent, LIC resident and owner of The Creek and The Cave on Jackson Avenue, said the area has grown by 500 percent and the suspension will only make business owners’ jobs harder.

“I don’t know how I’m going to survive this, I do not know and neither do many of my neighbors,” Trent said holding back tears. “What they are trying to do to this neighborhood is disgusting, we deserve better, enough is enough.”

Along with the shuttle service through the Midtown tunnel, Trent also said that in order to compensate the Long Island City community for the “irresponsible shutdowns,” the MTA should give local businesses, who will suffer, free ad space at the E and G subway stations and on the trains.

Richard Mazda, artistic director for The Secret Theatre, said he has had to put up with the disruptions to his business every single year and has faced problems during the annual LIC Arts Open festival, with artists and friends not being able to attend.

“You must have known that you were going to do this work, you have stage managed the release of this information so that we couldn’t fight you, but we will,” Mazda said to the MTA. “This is like the worst movie you have ever seen.”

The latest round of work, including continued installation of Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), replacement of critical track panels and reconstruction inside the Steinway Tube under the East River, is expected to modernize, improve a fortify the Flushing No. 7 line, according to the MTA. The work will also include tunnel duct reconstruction and replacement and improvements on components damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

“We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to the customers who depend on the No. 7 train and we appreciate their patience,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco. “We have made every effort to schedule these project simultaneously to get as much work done as we can during these periods.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Body of missing man who was staying with family in Queens found in Central Park Lake


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The body of a missing 22-year-old college student visiting family in Jamaica was recovered from the Central Park Lake Wednesday after taking his own life, according to officials.

Aronno Haque was last seen Monday afternoon around Manhattan’s Union Square Park, police said.

After discovering his personal belongings near the lake, police searched the water for him Tuesday and Wednesday before finding his body, the NYPD said.

Among his belongings was a bag with a suicide note inside of it, police said. The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Thursday that he took his own life and said his cause of death was drowning.

Haque was attending Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind. and is a Bangladesh native, according to a Reddit post.

When on break from school, he stayed with family members in Queens, police said.

According to a Facebook page set up in his memory, Haque was an only child.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Trio of local female filmmakers hope to make mark in movie industry


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of graphic designer Alison Chin and photographer Ben Jarosch

A trio of female filmmakers has come together to create a unique film, as they look to become leaders in an industry started by men.

The all-female filmmaking team, made up of director, writer and lead actress Victoria Negri, and producers Effie Fradelos and Katie Maguire, has begun working on a film called “Gold Star.”

The film, which was written by 26-year-old Negri, who lives in Manhattan, is based on the story of a girl growing up and building a relationship with a father 65 years older than her.

“Gold Star,” expected to begin filming in mid-April, will star Negri as the lead role and is based on the writer’s real life experiences with her father, who passed away in 2012.

“I always hoped people would want to work on my film while I was writing it, but I don’t think I ever really imagined I’d have people equally enthusiastic about my passion project as I am,” said Negri. “It’s especially important for me to involve other female filmmakers because I think it’s important to make movies about women that are created by women.”

This movie is the first time the filmmakers have come together to create a completely female team working on a female story bringing audiences real emotions and experiences they can feel a connection to.

“It is important for females to dispel all of the false, preconceived notions that women cannot work together,” said Maguire, 34, from Brooklyn. “As the popularity of independent film is growing so is the number of female directors and producers. It is important that women stick together and help bring to life stories from a female perspective.”

The filmmakers are aware they are working in an industry founded by men, but they remain strong and plan on working hard to turn the industry into one led by women. The film also plans to serve as a model to other women looking to enter the film industry.

“We represent the everyday woman filmmaker,” said Fradelos, 26, born in Astoria and now living in Bayside. “I think if you’re a young girl or a woman and you want to break into the industry, stop looking for others to give you their hand, and do it yourself, most people need that push and as filmmakers we should all push each other.”

Casting for the film is underway and the team hopes to film the movie in Connecticut and New York.

To raise money for the preproduction of the film, the filmmakers will hold a fundraiser on Tuesday, January 28 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Esperanto N.Y.C., located at 145 Avenue C in Manhattan. There will be a $20 entry fee to the event which will feature drinks, a raffle and live music.

The film is expected to be completed by the fall of 2014. To learn more about “Gold Star” and the female filmmakers you can visit the official website, Facebook page or follow @GoldStarFilm on Twitter.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Tech company Aereo moves out of LIC base, heads to Manhattan


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@Aereo

Technology startup Aereo is leaving its Long Island City headquarters for a bigger space in Manhattan, the company announced Friday.

“Moving day! We’ve outgrown our space in #LIC. Heading across the river to new digs. We love ‘ya #Queens!” Aereo posted on its Twitter account Dec. 20, along with a photo of its packed up office.

Launched last February, Aereo enables customers to view live and recorded broadcast TV on Internet-connected devices.

The company, sued by major broadcasters for copyright infringement, is undergoing a legal battle that may go to the US Supreme Court.

“We are unwavering in our belief that Aereo’s technology falls squarely within the law and we look forward to continuing to delight our customers,” Founder and CEO Chet Kanojia said in a statement last Thursday.

The company’s Twitter account said more updates on the expansion are coming soon.

The growing online TV service company was based out of 37-18 Northern Boulevard in Long Island City and has another headquarters in Boston. It also maintains an office and operations facility in Brooklyn, an Aereo spokesperson said.

The company, which employs more than 100 people, is expanding its national presence and launched in Baltimore this week.

A leader in the Queens technology community said the move might have been caused by the lack of affordable commercial office space in Long Island City.

“That’s something we need for the tech community to grow here,” said Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens. “They’re an extremely innovative and fast-growing tech company. I know they were looking for more space. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find it here in Long Island City.”

Coalition for Queens is a nonprofit, looking to transform the borough into a leading hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

“I’m very sad to see them to go. They’re a great company, really forward thinking. We would have loved to keep them here in Queens,” Hsu said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops searching for suspect in Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn jewelry store robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo and video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking to identify a suspect wanted in connection to seven jewelry store robberies across the city, including three in Queens.

During each robbery, the suspect enters the store, armed with a handgun, and two to three additional suspects jump over the counter and take the jewelry, said cops. No injuries were reported during any of the incidents.

The robberies happened at the following locations and times:

  • 169 Canal Street in Manhattan on September 10 at 4:15 p.m.
  • 5914 8th Avenue in Brooklyn on October 15at 6:45 p.m.
  • 66 East Broadway in Manhattan October 17, at 6:35 p.m. and on October 18 at 4:30 p.m.
  • 37-58 103rd Street in the Corona section of Queens on October 28 at 7:50 p.m.
  • 74-15 37th Avenue in the Jackson Heights section of Queens on October 31 at 6:35 p.m.
  • 37-11 Main Street in the Flushing section of Queens on November 9 at 5:55 p.m.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic male and have released video footage of him.

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Suspect sought in five Queens, Manhattan store robberies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man wanted in a string of store robberies in Queens and Manhattan.

During each incident, the suspect enters the business, simulates a firearm inside a black plastic bag and demands cash, according to police.

The first robbery occurred on Tuesday, August 6, at approximately 7 p.m. at a Metro PCS, located at 61-01 Woodside Avenue. The suspect also hit another Queens business, Pasticceria Amore, at 107-06 71st Road, on Friday, August 9, around 9:40 p.m.

The other three incidents occurred in Manhattan over the last week. Police have released photos of the suspect from one of those robberies, which occurred on Thursday, August 8 at about 2 a.m. at the OK Market on Madison Avenue near East 92nd Street.

Authorities said the suspect was wearing a black Oakland Raiders baseball cap, black shirt and sunglasses during all of the robberies. He is described as having a scar on the right side of his face and tattoos with lettering on his right and left arms.

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 or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Suspects sought in string of citywide robberies


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for the suspects responsible for a string of robberies in Queens and Manhattan.

The thieves, both males and females, have robbed a number of victims at gunpoint in the two boroughs at least eight separate times, authorities said.

They usually work in pairs and have a pattern of approaching unsuspecting victims, displaying either a firearm or knife, and then demanding their possessions — often their PIN numbers, too — before fleeing, police said.

Two black males took a woman’s purse and jewelry at gunpoint during the first instance on June 29. The robbery took place near Slocum Crescent and Greenway Terrace.

The next day, a 24-year-old female victim entered a four-door sedan, which she believed to be a cab, and was robbed by three black women inside the vehicle. They took her purse, debit card and demanded her PIN number before dropping her off in front of 467 West 49th Street, police said.

The crimes continue up until at least July 5, when a black female robbed a 33-year-old man in Manhattan near Perry Street and Hudson Street at gunpoint. She demanded the PIN number to his debit card and robbed him of his belongings before fleeing.

A victim’s hands were bound by a cord, in one instance, while two suspects withdrew money from his account at a nearby ATM, police said.

Authorities say both male and female suspects are black and in their early to mid 20s.

One female is about 5-feet-8, between 180 and 190 pounds, while the other is 5-feet-2, between 110 and 115 pounds.

One male suspect is about 6-feet, 180 pounds and the other is described as 5-feet-5.

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 or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Overnight service disruptions on N, Q, R trains this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Starting Monday night, there will be service disruptions on the N, Q and R trains between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m for four consecutive weeknights, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program:

  • N trains run in Queens and Brooklyn only.
  • Q trains run in Brooklyn and are rerouted via the D line in Manhattan.
  • R service ends early in Manhattan and Queens each night. (R shuttle service between 95th Street and 36th Street, Brooklyn runs all night.)

Travel alternatives

  • In Queens, take the M (or E local) instead of the R.
  • Take the 7 for service between Queens and Manhattan.
  • In Manhattan, use nearby stations on the 8th Avenue (A, E), 7th Avenue (1, 2) 6th Avenue (D, F, Q) and Lexington Avenue (4, 6) Lines.
  • Take the 2, 4, D, F or Q between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
  • N trains make local R stops between Jay Street-MetroTech and 36th Street.

Police arrest man connected to citywide grand larceny spree


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

suspects

Authorities have arrested a man tied to a robbery spree where the suspects trick victims by telling them they have a flat tire, then steal property from inside their vehicles.

Mario Gutierrez, 50 of College Point, has been charged with grand larceny for four out of 13 incidents that occurred in Queens.

Two additional robberies in Brooklyn and one in Manhattan are connected to those crimes.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Robbers wanted in flat tire scheme in three boroughs


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

grand larcenies

Police have connected four recent grand larcenies throughout the city to 12 more that took place in Queens between August and February.

During each incident, victims are approached by one of the three suspects who distracts the victims usually by informing them that their cars have a flat tire. When the victims go to inspect the damage, the other suspects removes property from inside of the vehicles.

Two of the recent robberies occurred in Brooklyn, one was in Manhattan and the fourth was in Queens on Saturday, March 23 near 101st Avenue and 121st Street.

The suspects were caught on video during a grand larceny that took place at approximately 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 28 in a parking lot along Northern Boulevard, and the most recent incident on March 27, at about 12:35 p.m. near Withers Street and Union Avenue in Brooklyn.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Districting commission files final map for approval


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

The lines have been drawn and they’re staying.

New York City’s Districting Commission filed Monday, March 4 its final map to the City Clerk for approval. The final of three drafts had been submitted to the City Council on February 8, after which the legislature had three weeks to vote or the new districts would automatically be adopted.

And that’s just what happened.

The Commission will now file the map with the Department of Justice, who will have 60 days to ensure the plan is kosher with Section 5 the Voting Rights Act. Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan are all covered under this part of the law to ensure that minority voting rights are ensured and protected.

There are 35 minority districts in the city under the new plan, according to the Districting Commission, in which racial and language minorities are the dominate block in the district. This is a five district increase from the 30 of such created in 2003.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Queens small businesses burdened by fines, says de Blasio


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's Flickr

Queens small businesses are suffering because of excessive fines from city agencies, while Manhattan is left practically untouched, according to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Fine revenue from the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Department of Health (DOH) on Queens businesses has risen by $54 million between fiscal years 2002 and 2012, de Blasio said at a Tuesday, February 25 press conference. The public advocate alleged the city had continued to inconsistently fine business in the outer boroughs, particularly Queens, to drive revenue for the city in what he called “shocking, clear patterns.” It was from disproportionate fines on small businesses, he said, that the city had continued to make money as part of budgetary plans.

“It’s time to stop balancing the city budget on the backs of small business,” he said.

The announcement is part of a push by the public advocate’s office to show the discrepancy between how Manhattan businesses were treated in comparison to other areas of the city.

Richmond Hill, where de Blasio delivered his address, was one of the hardest hit areas in the city, he said. Because many of these business owners work long hours, and more than the traditional five days, going to court and fighting fines is nearly impossible for them.

Vishnu Mahadeo, president of the Richmond Hill Economic Development Council, said the city had consistently picked on the immigrant communities.

Andy Jarbandhn, a business owner on Liberty Avenue, said he had gotten hammered with fines from DCA on matters he had never been informed of. Jarbandhn said he had racked up thousands of dollars in fines because of issues he tried to remedy — only to be hit with a follow-up fine.

“It seems we’re being led down a dark alley where we have no idea what the rules are,” he said.

The data provided by de Blasio’s office shows a major spike in fine revenue beginning with the economic downturn from 2007 to 2008. The public advocate said these “ill-gotten gains” were to balance the city budget at the expense of uninformed business owners.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Elmhurst worker fired for single sick day


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alex DiBlasi

For four months, Emilio Palaguachi, 43, worked 60-hour weeks behind the counter at Superior Deli on the Lower East Side. One day, he felt ill, and with the permission of his manager, missed a day of work to visit a doctor. But when he returned to work the next day, he was handed one day’s pay and fired.

“They didn’t give me any explanation,” said Palaguachi to a translator. “I asked if I had done something wrong and nobody knew what to say. Actually, everyone [co-workers] was upset because of how I was fired.”

As New York battles through one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, the divisive issue of sick leave hits hard with many workers struggling between recuperating from illness and retaining their jobs. More than a million New York City workers lack paid sick days, most operating in the food service, retail and health care industries, according to the NYC Paid Sick Days Campaign.

In August of 2009, the Paid Sick Time Act was first introduced to the New York City Council garnering support from members of the council, residents and civil rights groups. In 2012, the bill was revisited and rewritten to require businesses with more than 20 employees to allot nine paid sick days; companies with five to 20 workers to grant five days; and small businesses with fewer than five employees designate five unpaid, but job-protected, sick days each year. The bill has yet to be voted on by the council.

Julissa Bisono of Make the Road New York, a Jackson Heights based social justice organization, said opposition to the bill comes from small businesses, fearful that paid sick days may lead to bankruptcy.

“This bill will not only give people paid sick days but protect their jobs so they don’t come in the next day and find out that they don’t have a job because they took the day off to recover,” said Bisono.

Although the bill has 37 co-sponsors, City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn remains opposed, citing the city’s current economic status.

“This issue of paid sick leave, it’s a laudable goal,” Quinn said. “But in this economy if we do it right now in the way envisioned in the bill we’re going to put people out of business and we are going to lose jobs. This is not the right time to do it.”

Postponed by Superstorm Sandy, a second hearing on the bill has yet to be set by Quinn.

Palaguachi, who supports his wife and four young children, is concerned about finding another job and providing for his family. While his search has not yet been successful, Palaguachi said he hopes his next position will include benefits, sick days and days off for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“Workers like me should be able to go to the doctor if we feel bad, and not show up to work if we are feeling ill, especially if we handle food and see customers,” said Palaguachi. “A lot of people can’t afford to take a day off. A lot of people don’t take off because they don’t want to lose their job. If someone is sick, this law will help prevent people from getting sick. You can go to the doctor and you’re not worried about losing your job.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Suspect sought in Long Island City murder


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Authorities are looking for a suspect in the murder of a Manhattan man who was shot and killed in Long Island City Saturday night, police said.

Francisco Leal, 27, had a gunshot wound to his chest when cops found him on the corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue around 10 p.m.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital of Queens, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Anyone with information in regards to this homicide is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at  800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Service disruptions on ‘N,’ ‘Q,’ ‘R’ lines this week


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MTA / Patrick Cashin

Starting tonight, there will be service disruptions on the “N,” “Q” and “R” trains between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program. The changes will last until Friday, February 1.

There will only be “N” service in Brooklyn and Queens, and the line will operate in two sections between Ditmars Boulevard and Queensboro Plaza, and between Stillwell Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech.

After DeKalb Avenue, “Q” Manhattan-bound trains will run on the “D” line to 47-50th Streets, then to the 57 Street “F” station. Coney Island-bound “Q” trains will originate at the 57th Street “F” station then run via the “D” train to Brooklyn. Regular Coney Island-bound service resumes at DeKalb Avenue.

“R” train service will end early in Manhattan and Queens, with the last 95th Street-bound “R” train leaving 71st Avenue, and the last 71st Avenue-bound train leaving 95 Street at about 9:20 p.m. In Brooklyn, shuttle service between 36 Street and 95 Street will start early.

For alternative subway service during these disruptions, click here.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES