Tag Archives: Maspeth

Maspeth High School basketball makes the finals


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo: Courtesy Maspeth High School

The Maspeth High School Argonauts boys varsity basketball team continued its roll in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL) B-division championship tournament by defeating South Bronx High School on Sunday, March 15, at Queens College by a score of 71-64, advancing to the tournament finals.

The game saw the Argonauts jump out to an early lead, taking a 33-27 score into halftime. South Bronx battled their way back in the second half, scoring 29 points and knotting the game up at 56-56 after regulation. In overtime, the Argonauts dominated, outscoring South Bronx 15-8 to come out victorious.

Senior Paolo Tamer lead the Argonauts with a double-double, dropping 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. Junior Matthew Nickel added 18 points of his own to help Maspeth High School remain undefeated on the season.

The Argonauts will face off against Frederick Douglas Academy III on Saturday, March 21, in the championship game at Baruch College’s main gym at 1 p.m.

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Suspected shooter cuffed after opening fire on cops in Maspeth


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated Tuesday, March 17, 10 a.m. 

An unidentified gunman was taken into custody moments after he allegedly turned his weapon on police officers responding to a Maspeth emergency Monday morning.

Law enforcement sources said the shots were fired at about 8:20 a.m. as 104th Precinct officers visited a home on 56th Avenue off 60th Street.

Moments earlier, authorities said, police received a call regarding a “man with a gun” at the location.

When the officers arrived at the home, police stated, the suspect — described as a white male in his 20s — fired shots at the officers. No one, however, was hit.

The incident led to a massive police response and search. Within moments, police officers ordered the suspect to drop his firearm; he reportedly complied and was taken into custody.

The gun was recovered, but police did not disclose the type of weapon.

Five officers were also brought to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries suffered while responding to the shooting.

Charges against the shooter are pending the results of an ongoing investigation.

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CB 5 eyes city budget: district manager wants more cops, building inspectors


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Speaking during the annual Community Board 5 preliminary budget hearing on March 11 in Middle Village, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano called for more city funds to boost the 104th Precinct’s roster.

“What I do on behalf of the community board is in response to the preliminary budget as I see it,” Giordano said. “The estimated budget of the City of New York is in the neighborhood of $77 billion. And what I would normally focus on, as far as the expense budget goes, is our need and desire for 20 additional police officers in the 104th Precinct.”

According to Giordano, in 1995, patrol personnel were numbered at 203 officers, not including supervisors, and that number is down by 25 percent today. Even though crime is down, Giordano stated, the reduced staff at the precinct leads to response backlogs.

Other priorities for the expense budget, he touted, included “sanitation collection, cleaning dump-out locations, sanitation enforcement, education [and] fire department staffing.”

The district manager also recommended that the Department of Buildings hire more qualified building inspectors for Queens.

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

“I think the Buildings Department is down to like 19 inspectors for Queens County,” Giordano explained. “Since the economy is heating up and we’re going to see more construction, and we’re likely to see some pretty large buildings built … we need enough competent buildings inspectors to make sure that whatever construction is taking place is getting done according to plan and according to law and we also need those buildings inspectors to check on illegal uses.”

Parks in Maspeth and Middle Village are set to receive capital funding for reconstruction. Frank Principe Park in Maspeth will get $5 million and Juniper Valley Park is slated to receive funding to reconstruct either the running track or turf field, but the debate is not settled yet, Giordano said.

Projects that have already been funded and are currently underway include the installation of larger sewer pipes and the relocation of gas mains in the Penelope Avenue area in Middle Village and the Calamus Avenue/69th Street area.

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New Kosciuszko Bridge construction update


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of NYC DOT

The state Department of Transportation has issued a construction advisory regarding the initial phases of the new Kosciuszko Bridge project.

The bulk of the work affects side streets on both sides of the span in Greenpoint and west Maspeth, including new water mains, gas lines, electrical wires and storm/sewer pipes.

Crews from Con Edison and Verizon will also install duct banks on 56th Road, which will cause traffic to intermittently be shifted to the right and left. The road, however, will remain open to two-way traffic at all times.

Due to the continued removal of the red brick and concrete walls underneath the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) between Sutton and Apollo Streets, one lane of westbound Meeker Avenue between these limits will remain closed through the summer of 2015 to facilitate the removal of the wall and the subsequent rebuilding.

Other work includes the restriping of eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter Avenues, to create a work zone. This is required to access the roadway deck and low wall along the edge of the Queens-bound BQE that must be removed.

This work, scheduled to being on or about March 23, will involve the placement of a concrete barrier along the Queens-bound BQE and a traffic lane shift on eastbound Meeker Avenue, between Kingsland and Porter avenues. Intermittent lane closures during daytime and evening hours will be required.

Advanced notices for specific activities will be distributed to residents and businesses prior to the start of work. The construction schedule is weather permitting and subject to change.

The more than $500 million project involves the construction of two new cable-stayed suspension bridges to replace the existing, aging steel-truss span. The first new bridge will be erected adjacent to the south side of the existing bridge and is scheduled to open in late 2016.

Once the first new span is complete, all BQE traffic will be shifted onto it, and crews will begin demolishing the old bridge. The second cable-stayed span will rise in the original bridge’s footprint; it is expected to be completed by 2019.

For more information, visit www.dot.ny.gov/kbridge or email kosciuszko@dot.ny.gov.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE IS THIS PLACE

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Maspeth
church-3-624x414

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Seven arrested in Ridgewood, Maspeth massage parlor busts: police


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

The NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Division arrested seven people at four different massage parlors in Maspeth and Ridgewood for allegedly not being licensed to perform massages and for offering sexual acts to clients.

The arrests were made on March 5 at 66-47 Grand Ave., 66-49 Grand Ave., 65-50 Grand Ave. and 52-01 Metropolitan Ave., police reported. According to detectives, none of the locations had the proper state Department of Education licenses to perform massage therapy.

At the 66-47 Grand Ave. location, law enforcement officials said an undercover detective was offered a massage and sexual intercourse by the defendant Chin Fen Lee, 52, for a sum of $140.

Police identified Liu Jia-Jia, 33, Li Hai Fang, 33, and Carol Hong, 29, as the defendants at the 66-49 Grand Ave. location. Jia-Jia reportedly offered an undercover detective a massage for $60, followed by an offer to perform a sexual act on the detective for $80 extra. Fang reportedly offered to perform a massage on an undercover detective for the sum of $60, and offered and agreed to perform a sexual act on the detective in exchange for an additional $40.

Hong was reported to have offered the undercover detective a full-body massage for a sum of $60. While Hong did not offer to perform a sexual act on the detective, she admitted that she did not have a license to perform massages.

Police said one defendant — Ning Hao, 34, who worked at the 65-50 Grand Ave. location — reportedly agreed to perform a massage on an undercover detective for $60, then offered to perform a sexual act on the undercover detective for an additional $100. At the same location, Guo Lan, 24, reportedly offered to perform a full body massage on an undercover detective for $60. Lan admitted she lacked the proper license to perform massages, police said.

Meihua Piao, 51, from the 52-01 Metropolitan Ave. location, allegedly offered an undercover detective a massage and sexual act in exchange for a sum of $60, police reported.

Hong, Lee and Hao were brought into court on March 6 for a pre-arraignment and are expected back in court on April 14, authorities said.

Jia-Jia, Piao, Hao, Lee and Fang were charged with one count each of prostitution and unauthorized practice of profession. Hong and Lan were each charged with one count of unauthorized practice of profession.

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Maspeth High School looks to tighten admission standards


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Office of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Looking to take the cream of the high school crop, Maspeth High School is considering adopting new admission criteria, a local parent warned during Monday’s Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) civic association meeting in Elmhurst.

Joann Berger, I.S. 73 PTA president, informed attendees of a plan to convert the high school located at 54-40 74th St. to a limited screened school. The school opened in 2011 as a limited, unscreened community school, with students residing in District 24 given top priority for entry.

According to Berger, school administrators are petitioning the Community Education Council of District 24 (CEC 24) for a change in its enrollment criteria. Under the proposed changes, incoming students would need to meet a new set of criteria, such as higher grade point averages, in order to be accepted into the school.

“If they go screened, that means only those top students will be getting in,” Berger said. “It would be almost like a specialized school without having to take the specialized high school test.”

Berger estimates that Maspeth High School has allocated approximately 300 seats per incoming school year. I.S. 73, which is a mere four blocks away from the high school, has nearly 690 students in their eighth-grade graduating class.

“They won’t even be able to accept half of the students from the school,” she added. “We don’t have enough high school seats within District 24 as it is.”

Maspeth High School first opened as part of the Metropolitan Avenue High School campus back in September 2011. It relocated to its current home in Maspeth the following year.

“This is the third year that they’re in the building, their first year with a graduating class, and they’re already requesting to change it to that new criteria,” Berger said.

According to Berger, representatives from Maspeth High School will make their proposal to the CEC 24 on March 24. Thereafter, the council will then make a recommendation for or against the plan to the Department of Education’s Office of Enrollment.

“The President’s Council and the PTAs in our district are not in favor of this,” she explained. “We are the most overcrowded school district in the city. We wanted a community school that is also a college preparatory school for our children.”

On May 9, CEC 24 will hold an election to fill nine of the 12 slots on the board designated to district parents. Parents of students of District 24 schools from kindergarten through eighth grade interested in seeking a CEC seat must apply online by March 11.

Berger estimates that there are approximately over 57,000 students in District 24. But she said the area known as “COMET-land” (Maspeth, Elmhurst and Woodside) is grossly underrepresented on CEC 24.

“There’s a huge section of our district which encompasses Glendale, Ridgewood, Middle Village, Maspeth, Elmhurst and Corona,” Berger explained, “Of the nine members who sit on the CEC, there is nobody representing areas north of Juniper Valley Park. Middle Village and Glendale are the only ones with parents currently sitting on the board right now.”

COMET President Rosemarie Daraio echoed the need for greater representation. “Nobody is representing students from Maspeth, Elmhurst or Winfield,” she said.

CEC members make decisions regarding school zoning issues, school construction and the allocation of capital funding to schools within the district.

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CB 5 committees pan Cross Harbor Tunnel plans


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Building a Cross Harbor Tunnel would shift the tri-state area’s traffic problems into Brooklyn and Queens, members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees declared during a meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

Panelists panned options in the Port Authority’s Cross Harbor Freight Program that call for a train tunnel or a combined train/truck tube through the harbor between rail yards in New Jersey and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The options include increased activity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge line and the connecting Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale — the only freight rail terminal linking geographic Long Island and the rest of the country.

Though the Port Authority claims the tunnel plans would help reduce tractor-trailer traffic on its existing Hudson River and harbor crossings, CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri charged, the proposal wouldn’t remedy congestion, but rather move it elsewhere in the city.

According to Arcuri, the tunnel plans included the creation or expansion of intermodal shipping facilities and warehouses near the Fresh Pond Rail Yard as well as Maspeth and East New York. At these sites, goods would be loaded and off-loaded between train cars and small trucks. Citing analysis performed by the Glendale-based Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), Arcuri said, the tunnels would effectively add hundreds of truck trips each day onto local streets.

“By taking the largest tractor-trailers off the road and putting [their cargo] on the trains, they’re adding thousands of smaller trucks to our area,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive argument against this current plan.”

John Maier, Public Transit Committee co-chair, echoed those sentiments, noting that much of the tunnel program’s concepts are based in “theory.” Municipal waste and construction and demolition debris from the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties make up the bulk of all local freight rail shipments. Other goods, he noted, are largely shipped by truck.

“The tunnel would do more to alleviate traffic outside of New York City than within it,” Maier said. “It’s not creating a lot of jobs because a lot of [shipping] is automated. It’s not a lot of yard jobs. It’s not a lot of anything, really. It would only reduce 6 percent of traffic on the Hudson River crossings while adding much more than 6 percent of traffic to East New York and Maspeth.”

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association stated that companies in the neighborhood’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) expressed similar concerns about a Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also pressed for easier shipping methods to reduce costs and travel time.

“There’s definitely demand,” she said. “It would save companies a lot of money to shave off a day of transit, either by rail or by barge.”

Local logistics also make a Cross Harbor Tunnel plan unfeasible, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. The plans indicate a tunnel would bring between 16 and 21 trains through the area each day — and current freight rail facilities are already overwhelmed with traffic.

“Right there, it’s physically impossible to pull that off unless the trains just rolled through at all hours of the day,” Giordano said.

Arcuri concluded that “the current plan is unacceptable” and that the board needed to present a resolution not only dismissing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also advocating for increased barge shipments and container float operations across the harbor. The chairperson said a resolution will be developed and considered at the committees’ next meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

Meanwhile, Queens residents will have the opportunity to speak out on the Cross Harbor program during a public hearing on Tuesday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

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George Onorato, former Queens state senator, dies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Updated 5:00 p.m.

Lifelong Queens resident and former state Senator George Onorato, who served the 12th Senate District in western Queens for over two decades, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Onorato began serving the district, which encompasses Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside and Maspeth, in 1983 until he announced his retirement in 2010. He was succeeded by state Senator Michael Gianaris, who currently holds the position.

“George Onorato will always be part of the fabric of western Queens,” Gianaris said. “He dedicated his long and happy life to serving others and making the communities he represented better places to live. George Onorato served our country, our state and our neighborhoods in a way that made a positive difference in people’s lives. I will miss him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. May his memory be eternal.”

Onorato graduated from Long Island City High School and served in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952.

Former state Senator Serphin Maltese, who served with Onorato in the state senate for many years, remembered him as a ” true man of the people.”

“He gave a special view on things,” Maltese said. “I’m sorry to lose him.”

Onorato was married to Athena Georgakakos and had three children, Joanne, George and Janice.

Visitation is scheduled at the Joseph Farenga & Sons Funeral Home at 38-08 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

A funeral mass is scheduled to be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church at 22-17 45th St., followed by burial at St. Michael’s Cemetery at 72-02 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst.

With additional reporting by Robert Pozarycki

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DEP open again to Newtown Creek access in Maspeth


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of DEP

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is looking to clear the air with Community Board 5 (CB 5) over its plans for a Newtown Creek aeration facility in industrial Maspeth.

During its February meeting, CB 5 panned the DEP’s revised proposal for the plant at 58-26 47th St., which includes machines designed to inject oxygen into the creek and reduce water pollution. The plans excluded previously promised public waterfront access space.

But in a letter sent to CB 5 Chairman Vincent Arcuri following the meeting, DEP Associate Commissioner of Public Affairs Eric D. Landau stated that the agency is open to creek-side access at the facility on the condition that nearby sites first develop their own waterfronts for public use.

“[The] DEP will further enhance the site with waterfront access, if and when nearby properties have developed publicly-accessible waterfront spaces — what the community board has described to us as a larger waterfront promenade,” Landau said in the letter that the Times Newsweekly obtained on Thursday.

The plans include a walkway leading from 47th Street to the water’s edge, then a path immediately adjacent to the creek.

At the February CB 5 meeting, Tom Smith of the Department of City Planning said the DEP was excused from a city waterfront access mandate at the location due to concerns over public safety.

Landau also stated the DEP would “install benches and trees along the sidewalk” outside the facility “to create a seating area for the community.”

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Queens film series to focus on immigrant experience of women in New York City


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Zahida Pirani

A new Queens film series is giving foreign-born women a voice and showing what it means to be an immigrant within the five boroughs.

The nonprofit organization New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT) will be showcasing the series called Immigrant Women: Sharing Our Voice Through Film starting on Feb. 27 in Maspeth and will continue each month through June in other parts of Queens.

The series, which is put together through funding from the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley as part of the Cultural Immigrant Initiative, features works of female immigrants and first-generation American filmmakers. The pieces in the series focus on the immigrant experience within New York City.

“The immigrant experience is something really important and doesn’t really have the representation in mainstream media,” said Elizabeth Estrada, executive assistant at NYWIFT and project manager for the film series. “I think it’s great to know the stories of people that you live around and pass on the street.”

The first screening, scheduled to take place at Maspeth Town Hall at 53-37 72nd St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will focus on the intersection between immigrant women and activism, and will feature three short documentaries.

The documentaries included are “Judith: Portrait of a Street Vendor” directed and produced by Zahida Pirani; “Claiming Our Voice” directed and produced by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel; and “Living Quechua” directed and produced by Christine Mladic Janney.

Screenshot from the documentary "Claiming Our Voice." (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Screenshot from the documentary “Claiming Our Voice.” (Photo by Jennifer Pritheeva Samuel/Courtesy Fine Grain Films)

Following the screening, there will be a Q&A reception with the filmmakers and women in the documentaries.

“I want people to walk away more interested or inspired, and with this specific first screening, for them to be involved in something bigger than themselves,” Estrada added.

The following screenings of the series — dates and exact locations are still to be determined —  will take place in the surrounding neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood, each represented by Crowley.

“All of these women and filmmakers have important stories to tell, and I want people to know that,” Estrada said. “Women as a collective, especially immigrant women, have a story to tell and if they are given an opportunity to tell, that might be a way to change the way we think about women and immigrant women.”

NYWIFT is still accepting submissions for the film series and anyone interested can email info@nywift.com.

The first screening, “Immigrant Women Screening Series: Activism,” is free to the public.

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Martial arts teacher helps raise money for Maspeth child fighting cancer


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Angel Redondo

Maspeth residents are raising funds to help the family of a local 8-year-old boy currently battling leukemia.

Last month, doctors diagnosed Rocco Lanzer, a third-grader at P.S. 153 and a student at Maspeth Martial Arts and Fitness, with acute t-cell lymphoblastic leukemia. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and regular blood transfusions.

Angel Redondo, Rocco’s teacher at Maspeth Martial Arts, launched a fundraising effort after learning his student was ill. He posted a link on the studio’s website to a Paypal account where the public can make donations.

Word about the fundraiser quickly spread through social media, and by Friday, Feb. 13, Redondo had raised more than $1,000 to cover Lanzer’s medical care.

“I want to do whatever I can to raise as much money as I can,” Redondo said. He hopes to provide the Lanzer family with weekly checks from the public’s donations.

Maria Lanzer, Rocco’s mother, said her son’s prognosis is good, but his recovery could take up to two years to complete. She and her husband, Michael, have been staying with Rocco at the hospital on alternate nights.

“I appreciate what everyone’s doing for [Rocco],” Maria Lanzer said. “You walk into the hospital and your life is one way, and then your life is turned upside down with a diagnosis like that.” She said the donations would go a long way toward covering various bills and expenses related to Rocco’s treatment.

For those who cannot afford to make a financial donation, Redondo suggested that they donate blood at drives held in their communities. Click here to donate to the cause.

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CB 5 blasts Maspeth creek aeration plant plan


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Rendering via DEP

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Revisions to the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) plans for a Newtown Creek aeration facility in Maspeth were panned by Community Board 5 members during the advisory body’s meeting this week.

The proposed aeration facility, located at 58-26 47th St. on the creek’s waterfront, would house a 70-foot by 40-foot aeration building equipped with two blowers, external transformers, ventilation and air conditioning units.

Air would be diffused along the length of a pipe from the facility into the creek in an effort to increase dissolved oxygen levels in the surrounding water and reduce pollution levels.

Ray Meshkati, accountable project manager for the Newtown Creek East Planned Aeration Project, was optimistic that the project would be approved. “We think that we should be able to place this on line sometime in 2018,” he stated.

Meshkati’s optimism, however, was met with sharp criticism from board members after it was announced that public access to the waterfront space was omitted from the updated plans.

“This board passed a resolution in 2013 asking the DEP to give us several options in terms of public waterfront access,” Land Use Committee chair Walter Sanchez said.

Board 5 chair Vincent Arcuri also expressed outrage and concern over the changes.

“I don’t like people, especially agency people, going back on what they said to us,” Arcuri said. “Gary [Giordano] and I met with the commissioner and out of that meeting a sketch was produced showing future dedicated space to the promenade. Why this final document comes out without that future space shown or dedicated is an insult to me, this board and the community.”

Tom Smith, a representative from the Department of City Planning, explained that the DEP was granted a mayoral override allowing for the omission of public access along the waterfront and proposed promenade area due to questions over public safety.

“The concern from the agency was that this area may have a safety and security issue,” Smith said. “This would not be a staffed facility at all hours of the day. There’s little pedestrian traffic and any waterfront access would be significantly removed from the street itself.”

DEP Director of Community Affairs Ibrahim Abdul-Matin echoed these concerns: “The understanding is that as the larger area, which is mostly an industrial area, develops, there is going to be a larger plan for the entire waterfront. I can’t comment as to how [public access] will fit into a larger plan until there’s a much more comprehensive look at that waterfront as it develops and changes.”

Board 5 member John Maier expressed similar concerns regarding the override of the original plan. “Public space will create energy and activity that’s not there now, but could be in the future,” he said. “I think to deny the public access is to deny the potential. That’s sad and unfortunate.”

The expansion plan also faced opposition from the local Newtown Creek Alliance. In a Feb. 11 letter, NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins petitioned the DEP and DEC for a delay in the project, citing concerns over habitat, wildlife and quality-of-life issues.

“We feel that the expansion should not advance without a serious re-evaluation of alternatives that can offer long-term solutions to improving water quality,” Elkins wrote.

The proposed expansion is part of a larger system of automatic air blowers and diffusers installed along the length of the creek. The first aeration facility, built along the English Kills near the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, was completed in 2008.

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Tech-based laundry, dry cleaning company to expand services into Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of WashClub NYC

Having your laundry washed is about to get as easy as tapping on a smartphone for residents in Long Island City, Ridgewood and Maspeth.

WashClub NYC, a tech-based laundry and dry cleaning company offering on-demand pickup and delivery, has announced it plans to make its way to Queens within the first few months of 2015.

The Brooklyn-based company, which launched in 2010 and has since been operating in Manhattan and Brooklyn, also debuted a new app for Apple and Android users. Customers will be able to schedule, track and personalize the care of their laundry and dry cleaning through an “easy three-tap method.”

“We’re creating a path that is disrupting the way the laundry and dry cleaning industry operates,” said Rick Rome, president of WashClub NYC. “By releasing our app and entering select neighborhoods of Queens, we are going to reach more New York customers than ever before.”

The way WashClub NYC works is customers, either on the web or via the app, create an account and schedule a free pickup. They will then have to get the laundry ready to be picked up on the scheduled date and time.

Within 24 to 48 hours, customers will receive an email or text message notification about 30 minutes or less before the driver arrives. Delivery is free and people can choose what time works best for them. On the app, customers can also track via Google maps where the driver is and how close they are.

Services offered by WashClub NYC, which does all the cleaning in-house, include wash and fold, dry cleaning and tailoring. All first-time users receive 20 percent off and a free laundry bag.

“Our overall company goal is to be able to service all of New York City eventually,” Rome said. “It’s the most convenient and easiest way to do your laundry.”

Rome added that the reason services will start being offered in Long Island City, Ridgewood and Maspeth is because of their proximity to the Brooklyn facility.

However, he said in the future he plans to open a facility in Queens to be able to serve the entire borough.

“Queens is a very important and exciting next step for us. We think Queens is going to be an absolute fantastic market place,” Rome said. “Queens is a stepping stone to the next area.”

For more information or to set up an account, visit www.WashClubNYC.com or call 888-920-1370.

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Councilwoman steers $5.7M in city funding to upgrade Frank Principe Park in Maspeth


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The baseball fields are plagued with drainage issues and the track is nothing more than a slab of asphalt. But that will soon change due to funding allocated to Frank Principe Park by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley.

She has designated $5.7 million for the upgrade of these two portions of the park, according to the Parks Department. The department said they are currently putting together a Request for Proposal for a design consultant for this project as it is only in the preliminary stage. But sources familiar with the plan said they are hoping to upgrade the drainage system of two of the baseball fields, replace the other two fields with a soccer field and add an actual track to the park.

The four baseball fields overlap each other, making it hard for more than two separate games to go on at once, eliminating the use of all four at any given time. Furthermore, when it rains, the fields quickly flood due to poor drainage and are unusable until the massive puddles dry out.

Upgrading this system by putting drainage tanks under the fields is one way they are looking to combat the problem, according to a source. With regards to the track, they are looking to build one that would be similar to the polyurethane-surfaced track in Juniper Valley Park, which goes around the soccer/football field.

“I am thrilled to have been able to allocate nearly $6 million dollars for renovations at Frank Principe Park,” Crowley said. “For the first time in over 25 years, these much-needed upgrades will breathe new life into the lower fields and track area. I look forward to engaging the community in the upcoming months on the redesign of the fields.”

Earlier this year, Crowley allocated $2.5 million for upgrades to the track and field in Juniper Valley Park. They have similar issues with Frank Principe Park with regards to drainage problems.

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