Tag Archives: Maspeth

Maspeth’s Knockdown Center gets liquor license with limitations


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

After much debate within the community, the Knockdown Center in Maspeth finally got its liquor license Tuesday from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) — but the permit comes with several significant stipulations.

In an agreement brokered between the SLA and Knockdown Center representatives, the art venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. will be permitted to serve alcohol to gatherings of between 1,000 and 1,800 people at up to 12 events annually. Tyler Myers of the Knockdown Center said in a phone interview Wednesday that after holding six large-scale events, the venue has the right to request that the SLA “relax” this stipulation.

These large gatherings must also take place on Friday or Saturday nights, according to Community Board 5 (CB 5) Chairman Vincent Arcuri.

Additionally, the Knockdown Center will be able to serve alcohol up to 60 times a year to gatherings of between 500 and 1,000, and another 60 times annually at events drawing up to 500 guests.

For several years, CB 5 — along with local civic groups and Maspeth residents — opposed the Knockdown Center’s attempts to obtain a liquor license, citing quality-of-life concerns related to large-scale events and the fact that the facility — formerly a glass factory — was encroaching on the industrial area.

In 2014, CB 5 voted unanimously to recommend denial of the Knockdown Center’s liquor license application. The SLA denied the first application, but the venue’s representatives reapplied for a license earlier this year. At its June 10 meeting, CB 5 again recommended denial of the revised application, but 12 members voted in favor of the permit this time around.

“The ruling is the ruling,” Arcuri said in an interview Wednesday. “The only question is what [the Knockdown Center] will do for the certificate of occupancy.”

The Knockdown Center submitted an application with the city Department of Buildings for a certificate of occupancy allowing a maximum of 3,100 people on the premises at any given time. Myers said the center is moving forward with that request, but noted it will abide by the terms of the liquor license permit.

“At every step, we’ve won more and more people over,” Myers said on Wednesday. “We are going to be art-focused and be good neighbors. We are willing to take future steps to prove ourselves to the community.”

The SLA agreement also requires that the Knockdown Center, located about 3/4-mile away from the nearest subway station, must also provide supplemental transportation services for its larger gatherings.

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Red Bull Mini Drome race comes to Maspeth


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy M & C Saatchi Sport & Entertainment

Competitive cyclists from all over the country will race to Maspeth on June 19 for this year’s Red Bull Mini Drome race.

The Red Bull Mini Drome race is an all-day racing competition for single-speed fixed gear cyclists where they can race against the clock and then against each other to see who can boast the fastest time at Project Studio, located at 56-70 58th St. in Maspeth, which is a former dance hall that has been used as a creative art space for the past 20 years.

This year’s race is set to be a special event because competitors will race around a rarely seen figure eight track. The figure eight track concept, which is known to only have existed a few times, one being the 1995 Toronto Cycle Messenger World Championships, involves more speed, extra precision and a bit of danger as cyclists take turn after turn without rest.

For this year’s race, Red Bull Mini Drome has taken the normal circular “velodrome” concept, which is usually located in arenas or outside, and shrunk it down to bring it inside.

Red Bull Mini Drome features the top cyclists from all five boroughs and across the country, including professional bike messengers, accomplished fixed gear competitors and Red Bull Athletes Austin Horse and Addison Zawada.

The racing event will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight and tickets are free for fans 21 and older and are given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Cycling fans can RSVP here.

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Star of Queens: Bishop Witold Mroziewski, auxiliary bishop-elect, Diocese of Brooklyn


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

BACKGROUND: Auxiliary Bishop-elect Witold Mroziewski was born in Augustow, Poland, on March 25, 1966. Mroziewski graduated from his seminary with a master’s degree in theology and was ordained on June 29, 1991. The following year, he was sent to the Diocese of Brooklyn to continue his parish duties as an associate to the pastor at Our Lady of Czestochowa. He was named pastor of Our Lady of Czestochowa in 2000 and worked there until he was transferred to Holy Cross Church in Maspeth in 2013. He will be ordained an auxiliary bishop on July 20.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Mroziewski and his parish have an active relationship with the 104th Precinct. “They are doing outstanding work and protecting all our events when we celebrate parish events and occasions,” Mroziewski said. He has also worked with the City Council to help rename 56th Road, the block of Holy Cross Church, Pope John Paul II Way. “The cooperation with them has been outstanding,” Mroziewski said of the City Council.

FEELINGS ON BEING APPOINTED AN AUXILIARY BISHOP: “I got a phone call from the Nuncio who actually announced that Pope Francis appointed me auxiliary bishop. It was absolutely unexpected. It overwhelmed me and I was deeply touched because I never expected that honor, never. It’s a great responsibility, not only for Catholics, but for all people locally in the diocese and also in the universal church.”

CHALLENGES IN NEW POSITION: “From now on I will be more involved in public work. As a parish priest, I was recognized in the parish on a local level and sometimes in the community where that parish was located. Now, they will know me more often with my work and relation to the people of this diocese.

PERSONAL LIFE: “From childhood, I did like to be a sportsman. I was a good runner and I like to bike and to ski. Another hobby is contact with the people. I like having discussions and meetings with them to teach them and answer their questions. I enjoy talking to the children and the youth because they are the future of the nation, of the church and the local communities.”

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Suspect wanted for cellphone store robberies in Jamaica, Maspeth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo/Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a 30-year-old man wanted in connection to two robberies of Queens cellphone shops in the last two months.

On May 26 at about 6:25 p.m., the suspect — armed with a black firearm — entered the Metro PCS store located at 126-14 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica and demanded property, police said. He then took $600 and a victim’s cellphone before fleeing the site. There were no reported injuries.

On June 2 at about 6:16 p.m., the same suspect entered a Metro PCS at 66-10 Grand Ave. in Maspeth armed with a black firearm and demanded money, according to authorities. A female victim handed the man $186 and a wristlet. The suspect then fled the location and there were no reported injuries.

The suspect is described as a black man, between 5 feet 8 inches and 6 feet 1 inch tall, and 160 to 190 pounds. He was last seen wearing a black mask, gray Arizona Diamondbacks jacket with a logo on the breast area and an image of a snack on the sleeves.

Police have released a surveillance video from the first incident and photos from the second.


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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Maspeth church Trinity-St. Andrew’s selling old building  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Trinity-St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Maspeth is selling an old, underutilized building on the end of the block at the intersection of 60th Street and 60th Road.

The asking price for the property is $1.1 million, according to broker Rene Rose of Re/Max Liberty, and a buyer is already in contract to purchase the building.

Located at 60-11 60th St., the one-story property contains a gymnasium and kitchen, among other rooms, and was put up for sale because the church didn’t have a need for it anymore, according to Rev. Terrence Webber, the pastor at Trinity-St. Andrew’s.

The building was constructed in the 1950s and the church planned to add classrooms and a cafeteria to it for students, but that didn’t become a reality, according to the pastor.

The building has water damage and needs repairs. However, since it is zoned for residential use, a buyer could tear it down and develop it into housing.

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Maspeth students learn about public servants on Law Day


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Leaders in local, state and national law enforcement joined emergency response teams and civic groups in celebration of the 39th annual Law Day hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Maspeth on May 22 at Maspeth’s I.S. 73.

Maspeth-based lawyer and Kiwanis member Edward McGowan created Law Day back in 1976 as a civic project for his term as the group’s president. The event initially began with 10 guest speakers and has since expanded to include over 30 instructors and speakers from all facets of law enforcement and legal professions.

McGowan created the program as a way to give back to the children of the community, as well as to the school he himself once attended.

“This school is my foundation for what I am today,” he said. “The program is all about giving the kids the opportunity to sit in a classroom with a uniformed officer and ask questions.”

This year’s Law Day event featured representatives and guest speakers from a wide range of groups, including officers from the 104th Precinct, Maspeth Kiwanis, the MTA Police Unit, the Middle Village Ambulance Squad, NYC Office of Emergency Management, DSNY Community Affairs Unit, Maritime lawyers, NYPD Crime Prevention and Community Affairs Units, as well as agents from the FBI.

Instructors and speakers from each group were sent into classrooms to discuss their roles and professions with students in a series of three, 20-minute presentations.

“They get a chance to show a little bit about themselves and say, ‘Hey, you can do this, too,'” McGowan added.

Jon Kablack, a member of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), spoke with a seventh-grade class and shared his own experiences and struggles as a high school student.

“You learn, in life, from your mistakes and how to fix them,” he said. “But as a community servant, I want to come and help you fix those now, so that you’re not held back later in life.”

Kablack also discussed the topic of graffiti with the students, an important issue that often involves the community’s youth. He explained the differences between true art and vandalism and urged the class to report such incidents.

Kablack also encouraged the students to complete their homework and maintain good grades so that they could gain admittance to a good high school and college, and eventually the career of their choice.

“You can do anything you want to do,” he said.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit addressed a sixth-grade class with a similar message of encouragement.

“If you set your goals, you could do anything,” he said. “Sometimes you have to work harder than other people to get to your goals, but you will get there.”

Sadler explained how the NYPD’s motto of “Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect” should be applied to life inside and out of the classroom.

“Be that guy or gal that chooses the right way,” he said. “That’s why I became a cop. I wanted to show people how to be that better person and to protect and serve those who can’t protect and serve themselves.”

McGowan hopes to plan a large event and celebration for next year’s 40th Law Day anniversary.

“I hope I’m saving lives and creating something,” he said. “Out of this, I got to help a lot of people.”

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Photos: Queens honors and remembers soldiers with Memorial Day parades


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dominick Totino Photography/Gallery by Robert Pozarycki, Anthony Giudice, Liam La Guerre

Nearly a dozen Memorial Day parades were held in Queens over the weekend as the borough paid tribute to military men and women who protect the freedoms residents enjoy today.

Mayor Bill de Blasio marched in the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, which began at 2 p.m. on Northern Boulevard and Jayson Avenue, alongside U.S. Representative Grace Meng, Borough President Melinda Katz, Public Advocate Letitia James, Councilmen Paul Vallone and Mark Weprin and Assemblyman Ed Braunstein.

Retired U.S. Army Brigadier General Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, served as the parade’s grand marshal. Sutton hailed Memorial Day as a sacred time.

“It is a day that we come together to commemorate and remember and to think about all that we share in this great country and to remind ourselves that the cost and price of freedom is never free,” Sutton said. “That we are so blessed to be in the land of the free because of the brave.”

Parades were held in Woodside/Sunnyside, Whitestone, Laurelton, Howard Beach, Glendale/Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village, Forest Hills, College Point and Woodhaven.

New military recruits, veterans in vintage cars, fire fighters, police officers, JROTC members, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and marching bands participated in the borough’s parades while parents and children donned red, white and blue and waved the stars and stripes from sidewalks.

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In Glendale, 104th Precinct looks to improve on crime drop


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Crime numbers continue to plummet in the 104th Precinct, but the command is looking to do even better.

Capt. Mark Wachter, the 104th Precinct’s commanding officer, came to the precinct’s Community Council meeting on Tuesday at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale and reported a 26 percent reduction in overall crime in the past month. This included a significant downturn in domestic violence and felony assaults.

The precinct also experienced a 40 percent decrease in grand larcenies and stolen cars. Wachter credits crime prevention tactics, such as personalized home visits and spreading awareness about scams, with the large reduction.

In an effort to confront quality-of-life concerns, the 104th Precinct also held a successful undercover sting operation last Saturday to combat prostitution along Cypress Avenue and Starr Street on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. According to Wachter, officers made six arrests and seized one vehicle for illicit activity.

“We put pressure on and basically make it go away,” he said. “We don’t want it to go somewhere else; we want it to go away.”

Despite these victories, burglaries remain an area of particular concern for the command. The Community Council’s Public Safety Committee and P.O. Eddie Collado of the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit delivered a video presentation and discussion on home burglary prevention.

“The burglar is an opportunist,” Collado said. According to police, perpetrators often gain access to homes through unlocked rear windows, doors and fire escapes.

Collado urged residents to secure windows and doors with the proper locks and volunteered to conduct personalized home safety surveys upon appointment. He also asked that residents register their valuable items such as electronics and bicycles with the precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit. The items are marked with serial numbers that can potentially help identify and recover them if lost or stolen.

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

P.O. Sean Paul Hynes was honored as Cop of the Month for apprehending a suspect wanted for robbing a Boar’s Head delivery truck driver at gunpoint on April 21 on Woodward Avenue at Woodbine Street in Ridgewood.

According to Wachter, Hynes and his fellow officers from the 104th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit were able to track the suspect and his getaway vehicle through the use of undisclosed computer resources. Within minutes of the robbery, Hynes was able to track the vehicle to a specific location in Brooklyn.

A brief foot pursuit ensued, after which the male suspect and his weapon were taken into custody.

“It’s one less gun on the street, but we can never measure how many victims the gun could have taken out,” Wachter said.

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Maspeth residents speak out on Frank Principe Park repairs


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Frank Principe Park in Maspeth is one step closer to getting the much-needed renovations the community has been wanting for years.

On May 13, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley held a visioning session at Maspeth Town Hall where members of the community, as well as community leaders, came together with the New York City Parks Department to suggest changes that they would like to see made to Principe Park.

The visioning session comes on the heels of Crowley allocating $5.7 million in city funding in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget to enhance the park and create green space the community can easily utilize.

The last major capital project for the park was done in 1996, which was a $3 million upgrade to the playground, tennis and basketball courts.

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley during last week's visioning session for Frank Principe Park. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Crowley's office.)

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley during last week’s visioning session for Frank Principe Park. (Photo courtesy Elizabeth Crowley’s office.)

“This funding will give new life to a park that has desperately needed it for decades. This renovation has been a top priority of Community Board 5 and the community for the past 10 years and I am pleased to finally get this done,” Crowley said. “I’m happy to have brought the public together to hear what they truly need in their backyards for their children, for their sports teams and for themselves.”

Currently, the park’s sports fields are prone to flooding and the asphalt running track is weather-beaten and outdated. Neither of these amenities have been upgraded since the park’s installation in the late 1980s.

During the visioning session, residents requested full-size soccer fields, baseball fields, astroturf on the fields, an adequate drainage system, high fences, bleachers, water fountains, garbage cans and other improvements.

Over the next few months, NYC Parks will consider the community’s suggestions and lay out a proposal which will be heard in the fall.

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Your guide to Memorial Day parades and vigils in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The sacrifices of American soldiers will be celebrated across Queens in the days to come at various Memorial Day parades and vigils.

Among the celebrations are the following events, scheduled to take place rain or shine:

Woodhaven
Residents of Woodhaven will hold an early tribute to America’s fallen troops with a ceremony on Thursday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m. The vigil, sponsored by the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, will take place at Forest Parkway Plaza, located at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and Forest Parkway.

The program includes patriotic music, a color guard, laying of wreaths and remarks from local elected officials and veterans.

College Point
The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day Inc. will begin their parade on at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 24, at the intersection of 28th Avenue and College Point Boulevard. Queens Borough President Melinda Katz is set to appear along with other local officials, and veteran Louis A. DiAgostino will be honored as the grand marshal.

Marching bands, drill teams and dance groups will all be performing at the event, and military servicemen and women will march in the festivities. The College Point Citizens for Memorial Day are accepting donations to offset parade costs. For more information contact parade chairman Rev. Adam Crabtree at 718-640-8840.

Forest Hills
The Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade hosted by the American Legion and the Forest Hills Kiwanis Club will take place on Sunday at noon. The parade starts from Metropolitan and Ascan avenues and will head westward down Metropolitan Avenue to Trotting Course Lane. From there, the parade will turn right and stop at the landmarked Remsen Cemetery between Trotting Course Lane and Alderton Street.

This year’s grand marshal will be Roland Meier, president of the West Side Tennis Club. Members of ROTC, band, and local civic and children’s organizations such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will march in the parade. Organizers of the parade will hold a ceremony at Remsen Cemetery to honor veterans.

Maspeth
The United Veterans and Fraternal Organizations of Maspeth will honor the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice during their 31st Memorial Day Parade on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Grand marshals James Desio, retired US Army WWII veteran, and William Aronowicz, retired U.S. Marine Corp. WWII veteran, will lead the procession, beginning at Walter A. Garlinge Memorial Park, located at 72nd Street and Grand Avenue. At 2 p.m., there will be a memorial service for the deceased veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Middle Village
The St. Margaret Catholic War Veterans Post 1172 will honor those who died for the nation on Monday, May 25, with a special Mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Margaret Church, located at the corner of Juniper Valley Road and 80th Street.

Then, at 11 a.m., post members and residents will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Middle Village Veterans Triangle, located at the corner of Gray and 77th streets near 66th Road. The ceremony will include prayers, a military salute and the playing of taps.

Glendale/Ridgewood
The Allied Veterans Memorial Committee of Ridgewood and Glendale, a committee made up of delegates from six veteran organizations, will honor the more than 1.14 million men and women of the U.S. armed forces who died in defense of the country during the 77th Memorial Day parade Monday.

At 11 a.m., the parade will begin at the Glendale War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cooper Avenues, with a short memorial service to honor the war dead of Glendale. They will then march down Myrtle Avenue westbound to the Ridgewood War Memorial, located at Myrtle and Cypress Avenues, where there will be another short memorial service to honor the war dead of Ridgewood.

Howard Beach
The Howard Beach Memorial Day Parade will honor Vietnam War veterans, including the Howard Beach residents lost at war since the neighborhood’s founding.

There will be a memorial day Mass before the parade at Our Lady of Grace at 101st Street on Monday at 9:30 a.m. At 10:15 a.m., there will be a brief ceremony on top of Hawtree-Ramblersville Bridge and the parade will officially commence at Coleman’s Square at 11 a.m. The parade will stop at the Vietnam War Memorial, located at 99th Street and 157th Avenue and then head to the World War II Memorial at Assembly of God Church at 158-31 99th St. They will then march to St. Barnabas Church at 159-19 58th St. before marching back to Coleman Square.

Laurelton
The Laurelton Lions Club will present the 26th Annual Laurelton Memorial Day Parade, featuring The Queens Area Pathfinders Marching Band and The Black and Gold Marching Elite Band, on Monday starting at 9 a.m. The parade begins at Francis Lewis and Merrick boulevards, and will end at the Veterans Memorial Triangle at 225th Street and North Conduit Avenue.

Sponsors for this year’s parade include the Laurelton Lions Club, American Legion Benjamin Moore Post 1946, Garden Club of Laurelton, Federated Blocks of Laurelton and Concerned Citizens of Laurelton in Conjunction with Col. Edward O. Gourdin VFW POST 5298.

Whitestone
The Whitestone Memorial Day Parade will honor veterans and public servants from the community on Monday, May 25. The event will begin at noon at Whitestone Memorial Park at 149th Street and 15th Drive with a ceremony. Following the ceremony, the parade will commence and follow a rectangular route around the neighborhood back to Whitestone Memorial Park. Jim Dunn, a veteran from The American Legion in Whitestone, will serve as the grand marshal.

The parade will feature classic cars, elected officials, children from local sports leagues, and it will also celebrate the 100th anniversary of Whitestone’s Engine 295/Ladder 144 of the FDNY. For additional, information or to volunteer call Devon O’Connor, parade chairman, at 718-757-8546.

Woodside/Sunnyside
This year the St. Sebastian’s War Veterans will host the Woodside Memorial Day Parade to honor fellow veterans on Monday starting at 11 a.m. Parade participants will get together at the St. Sebastian’s School yard located at the corner of Woodside Avenue and 57th Street.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and John V. Daniels Jr. Post No 2813 in Sunnyside will host a Memorial Day event to honor veterans on Monday at 11 a.m. The event will be held at John Vincent Daniels Square, located on Roosevelt Avenue and 52nd Street. During the ceremony, a wreath will be placed at the flagpole in the middle of the park.

Little Neck/Douglaston
This year’s Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade, scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. Monday, pays special tribute to Vietnam War veterans. Dr. Loree Sutton, commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans’ Affairs, will serve as grand marshal of the march sponsored by the Little Neck/Douglaston Memorial Day Parade Association.

The march begins in Great Neck from the corner of Jayson Avenue and Northern Boulevard, then proceeds west on the boulevard to the yard of St. Anastasia’s Church, located near Northern Boulevard and 245th Street.

Knockdown Center continues push for liquor license


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of The Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

Continuing their quest for a liquor license, representatives of the Knockdown Center in Maspeth made their case directly to Community Board 5 (CB 5) during the advisory body’s Wednesday meeting in Middle Village.

Last year, the Knockdown Center was denied an application for a liquor license by the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA). Since that time, the Knockdown Center has been working hard to adjust their request and gain community support, even as local elected officials and civic leaders remain opposed.

“In the year since that denial, we’ve been able to audition our operational strategy and received much more support as a result,” said Tyler Myers, co-director of the Knockdown Center.

That support came in the form of a letter, dated Jan. 6, to the SLA by the 104th Precinct’s former commanding officer, Capt. Christopher Manson. In the letter, Manson noted that the Knockdown Center has been in regular contact with the 104th Precinct and “has repeatedly proven their ability to host several thousand guests with minimal impact to the precinct and the community.”

“We have performed overt and covert surveillance of the events held at Knockdown Center and have not observed any unlawful or inappropriate activity,” Manson wrote.

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Photo by Anthony Giudice

The letter also mentions that security at the center has kept contraband from entering the facility, owner of the Knockdown Center, David Sklar, monitoring noise levels during events, as well as maintaining a smooth traffic flow of vehicles and pedestrians outside of the facility.

“Throughout 2014, the Knockdown Center has proven their ability to successfully and safely host large events and have proven genuine desire to maintain the quality of life of area residents,” Manson wrote. “There is now a strong, working relationship between Knockdown Center and the 104th Precinct which could be used as a model for all licensed premises, and I have no opposition to their application to the Authority for a liquor license.”

The new commander of the 104th Precinct, Capt. Mark Wachter, reportedly echoed Manson’s “no opposition” stance after speaking with Myers and Sklar.

Rosemarie Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET); Robert Holden, president of Juniper Park Civic Association (JPCA); and Christina Wilkinson, president of Citizens for a Better Maspeth, also wrote a letter to the SLA asking for certain stipulations to be included if they decide to grant the Knockdown Center a liquor license.

They ask that civics, CB 5, the 104th Precinct and neighbors on 54th Street be notified of all events that will take place at the center with the number of people expected to attend; that security be present for all events with 600 or more attendees; that a shuttle bus be available for events with an expected attendance of 200 or more; and that for events numbering 800 or more guests, additional shuttle buses will be hired to make stops at L and M train stations, as well as several others.

“We are here tonight to ask the board to reconsider your original opposition in light of our record over the last year and the new stipulations we agreed to operate under,” Myers said. “We do not take the responsibility we ask for lightly and we do not take the community it is in for granted.”

Vincent Arcui, CB 5 chairperson, said the board would take the presentation as a formal request and will hand it over to the Land Use Services Committee to discuss and report back to the Executive Committee with their recommendation after their meeting. The Executive Committee will then take action.

The next SLA meeting for the Knockdown Center’s liquor license application is slated for June 2.

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CB 5 committee considers stricter liquor license rules


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Bar and club owners seeking liquor licenses in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village may soon need to show Community Board 5 more than just their business credentials.

Members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Public Safety Committee met Monday and considered a proposal that would require new applicants to complete a written form stating their intentions with regard to their businesses.

Christina Wilkinson, an active member of the COMET (Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together) and the Juniper Park Civic (JPCA) associations, proposed the idea to the committee. This measure was introduced in response to the recent influx of bars, pubs and nightspots to Ridgewood and Bushwick.

According to Wilkinson, community boards 1 and 4 in Brooklyn have already adopted this practice in response to the rapid growth and popularity of their respective neighborhoods.

“At one point, Greenpoint was in the same boat that we’re in. They didn’t think it was going to be all that bad, and it got bad,” Wilkinson said. “I think we should be better prepared. Let’s learn from them. It’s working for them.”

Public Safety Committee Chair Robert Holden expressed support for the idea and asked District Manager Gary Giordano to discuss the issue with the Executive Committee. “We’re just trying to get more information,” he explained.

Newly appointed board member Alex Maureau agreed. “It’s also a good way for the local owners to get to know us, and vice versa,” he said.

Giordano voiced support for a shorter version of the written form. “I think it has a lot of merit,” he said. “We could certainly work out something.”

According to Giordano, the board can grant recommendations for or against liquor licenses. The board also notifies the 104th Precinct and Lt. George Hellmer, the precinct’s special operations coordinator, of establishments with a prior history of problems. The precinct, in turn, will notify the board of any prior arrests, summonses or felonies committed at establishments seeking licensing.

“I never want to be in a position to be okaying liquor licenses,” Giordano said. “In some cases, we have taken votes at community board meetings related to certain establishments that have been a problem. But we comment to the negative and I would prefer it that way.”

Under the current policy, prospective bar owners seeking liquor licenses must notify CB 5 30 days prior to applying for licensing from the State Liquor Authority.

Holden proposed that the extra form, if approved of by the Executive Board, be made available to bar owners as a PDF document on the board’s website. The agreement would be signed and submitted to the community board prior to seeking State Liquor Authority licensing.

P.O. Charles Sadler of the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit explained that he has adopted a “proactive instead of reactive” approach to new nightlife in the area. He said that he had personally visited five of Ridgewood’s newest bars, including The Monk and Onderdonk and Sons, in an effort to reach out to local bar owners.

Owners of each of the five establishments met with Sadler and other officers at a recent nightlife meeting hosted by the precinct. According to Sadler, all of the new bar owners and managers were made aware of the precinct’s regulations and guidelines, and all pledged respect and compliance.

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Precincts give crime updates at COMET meeting


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

The 108th Precinct’s commander raised concern over a rash of stolen vehicles and commercial burglaries in the Maspeth/Woodside area during the Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET) meeting held Monday in Elmhurst.

Captain John Travaglia said the number of cars being stolen in the neighborhoods has escalated, especially the older-model Dodge Caravans. According to Travaglia, at least four of these vehicles have been stolen within the confines of the 108th Precinct in the last 28 days.

“What we see a lot with that is, they’re easy to steal,” Travaglia said. “And then they’re easy to steal other things with because the seats will come out quick and maybe they’ll steal a motorcycle then, and throw the motorcycle in the back of that Dodge Caravan. So we’ve seen that type of activity going on in the precinct.”

The precinct has noticed an increase in commercial burglaries throughout the neighborhoods as well. The one burglary that was reported in the 28-day time frame from the 108th Precinct occurred at 70-32 Queens Blvd., where tools were stolen from off of a construction site.

“Construction sites, houses that are under construction are being burglarized for copper pipes [and] for tools,” Travaglia told those in attendance. “This has become a prevalent problem all over Queens.”

One major highlight for the 108th Precinct is the number of traffic fatalities that have occurred since November, which is zero.

“I can report the 108 Precinct [has] not had a traffic fatality since I’ve been there in November,” Travaglia announced. “It’s been fantastic. Year-to-date, we haven’t had a traffic fatality.”

Detective Thomas Bell from the 104th Precinct Community Affairs Unit also announced that the precinct is down in overall crime.

“Year-to-date, the 104 is down about 8.6 percent in crime,” Bell said. “We are down pretty much across the board.”

The 104th Precinct has seen two murders this year, compared to three at this time last year. There have been seven rapes compared to eight last year, 57 robberies compared to 62 last year. Felony assaults dropped to 63 this year from 69 last year, burglaries fell by just one, 110 versus 111 from 2014. Grand larcenies dropped from 198 last year to only 181 this year and grand larceny for automobiles dropped from 71 in 2014 to 57 this year.

P.O. David Saponieri from the 110th Precinct Community Affairs Unit also informed COMET about its crime numbers. There have only been six arrests during the 28-day period within COMET’s area of Elmhurst. There were two stolen cars, two grand larcenies and two burglaries.

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Armed crook steals safe cash from Maspeth distributor


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Detectives are searching for the gun-toting suspect who pulled off a heist Monday at a Maspeth auto parts distributor.

Police said the robbery occurred at 5:30 p.m. inside World Pac Auto Parts located at 55-55 58th St., near 55th Drive.

According to authorities, the suspect — described as a Hispanic male standing 6 feet tall, weighing 200 pounds with a dark complexion and hazel eyes — walked into the business and displayed a black revolver.

The crook reportedly ordered three employees to open the safe. When they refused to comply with the request, the perpetrator fired a shot into the ground; no one was struck or injured, police said.

After he fired the warning shot, the employees complied with the crook’s request and opened the safe, according to the NYPD. The bandit then removed an unknown amount of cash and ordered the employees to hand over their wallets and cellphones.

Once the workers provided the suspect with their belongings, authorities said, the suspect ordered them to lie face down on the floor and count to 120, then made his getaway.

There were no injuries reported.

The bandit was last observed wearing a black hat, a gray shirt, black jeans and black sneakers.

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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Local pol opposes liquor license for Maspeth’s Knockdown Center


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of The Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

The Knockdown Center in Maspeth again seeks a full liquor license — and again faces strong opposition from a local politician and Community Board 5.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan wrote a letter to State Liquor Authority (SLA) Commissioners Jeanique Greene and Kevin Kim asking them to deny the new liquor license application from the arts venue at 52-19 Flushing Ave. during a recertification hearing held on Tuesday.

The SLA did not make a decision on the matter at the hearing; it will be considered again at its June session.

In the letter, Nolan wrote, “The community board and the Maspeth community have very serious concerns that their quality of life will be seriously diminished if this establishment is granted a liquor license. I support and strongly endorse their concerns and would ask that your agency once again reject the application at the recertification hearing.”

During their March 12, 2014, monthly meeting, Community Board 5 (CB 5) unanimously voted in opposition to granting the Knockdown Center a liquor license.

“Our position has not changed since we made our recommendation last year,” said CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano in an interview Wednesday.

Nolan went on to explain why she feels the Knockdown Center should not be granted a liquor license.

She noted that the center is currently located in the Maspeth Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), making the area better suited for a manufacturing or industrial business. The zoning was created to provide financial incentives to businesses that went into manufacturing. The Knockdown Center was previously a door factory.

“A study by the New York Industrial Retention Center supports this reasoning and claims that commercial businesses like the Knockdown Center can disrupt and ultimately lead to a breakdown of the zones,” Nolan wrote. “As a supporter of the IBZ, I would be very concerned by this proposed outcome.”

Nolan also mentioned that the center has repeatedly applied for a place of assembly permit to have as many as 5,000 people at their events, which could lead to hundreds, and possibly thousands, of visitors traveling through the community.

“With only three bus lines and a considerable distance from the train, the added volume of people will further strain the already limited transportation options residents have in Maspeth and the surrounding communities in Queens,” she said.

Nolan cited the Knockdown Center’s previous events where large groups of people gathered in the area, which has several residential homes and apartments. One such event took place on Nov. 11, 2014, when the Knockdown Center held a concert.

“Throughout the night, there were both large crowds present, customers sitting on stoops of nearby homes and allegedly public urination in the streets,” Nolan said. “Several residents called in noise complaints that were filed with the city’s 311 system.”

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