Tag Archives: Maspeth

O’Neill’s: Classy, right outside your door


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Revitalized O’Neill’s restaurant and bar is ready to serve all lads and lassies looking to O’verindulge.

After reopening in September following a devastating fire two years ago, the Maspeth neighborhood favorite has increased its fine dining options, and brought in world-renowned chef Richard Burns.

Restaurant owners rebuilt the beloved bar section, but expanded areas for fine dining and private parties with a range of tasty and classy offerings on the menu.

“In this economy, in this day and age, we can target different areas from steak house, fine dining to a sports grill,” manager Danny Pyle said. “Put that all together and it’s just a fun, happening spot.”

The bar at O’Neill’s, which is known for its stellar wings and burgers, has many TV screens to catch the biggest sports moments and numerous beer offerings for any fan to enjoy.

But beyond the bar is a room for formal dining, which has more space between tables, softer lighting and no TVs, providing for a fine dining atmosphere much like some of the top eateries in the city.

Everything from appetizers to entrees, to soups and drinks, bring a level of dining not usually found in the neighborhood.

Appetizers include thick slices of applewood smoked slab bacon drenched in a sweet sauce, Maryland crab cakes with seaweed and irresistible roasted garlic bread blanketed by aged Gorgonzola cheese. Soups, such as a savory New England corn clam chowder and rich lobster bisque, are also on the menu.

Entrees range from salmon to steaks. The mouth-watering salmon is served on top of sautéed leaf spinach, while tender and sweet prime rib lamb chops on the bone are served with crunchy vegetables and hash brown potatoes. And to top the menu are thick cuts of succulent porterhouse steak with onion rings, potato and creamed spinach on the side.

“I thought about what did people like about O’Neill’s, what were the best things about O’Neill’s, and decided ‘let’s bring that back. And what else new can we add to the table?’” Pyle said, “That’s the fine dining.”

O’Neill’s
64-21 53rd Drive, Maspeth
718-672-9696
Open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. and
Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.

 

MORE DINING PROFILES

 

Incumbent Elizabeth Crowley comes out on top after tough challenge


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley will return to the City Council after overcoming a stiff challenge from candidate Craig Caruana.

The councilmember celebrated the win with supporters and family members at her victory party at Woodhaven House in Middle Village, after the race initially seemed close.

“This has been a long campaign, but the people of the 30th council district have spoken tonight,” Crowley said, “and guess what? They want to send me back to city hall.”

Crowley won nearly 59 percent of the vote, according to early polling numbers, while Caruana took about 41 percent, a gap of approximately 3,000 votes.

Crowley has served District 30, which encompasses Maspeth, Middle Village, Glendale, Ridgewood and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside for nearly four years, tackling issues from education, traffic and preventing firehouse closures.

The race against Caruana was initially one sided in the incumbent’s favor, but following an endorsement from mayoral candidate Joe Lhota and a feisty debate, Caruana, a political newbie, gained some traction.

“[Caruana] ran a good campaign,” Crowley said. “ I think that when you have a challenge it makes you work harder.”

Early results from polling sites showed Crowley only leading by about five percent, but that number gradually started to expand. Now with the election behind her she plans to get back on track with key issues.

“I want to improve transportation,” Crowley said. “Queens is growing and so is the 30th council district.”

Caruana, who was confident he could unseat Crowley, conceded and talked to his supporters at Collony’s Corner in Maspeth.

“There are serious losses that you take in life and this isn’t one of them,” he said. “If you expend yourself in fighting for something that you really believe in and you expend yourself sometimes in struggle, especially what you put your heart into, you can’t lose.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Despite setbacks, Maspeth Knockdown Center determined to host events


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

The Knockdown Center is not backing down.

The Department of Buildings (DOB) recently reviewed and disapproved the center’s plan for a Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation (PA) on October 24, but Knockdown’s manager said they will tweak their proposal until it meets regulations.

The PA is required for a site that seeks to have 75 or more people gathered indoors or more than 200 outside.

“We are committed to ensuring we have the optimal building plan from the DOB perspective, and have found the plan reviews very helpful, and believe that our plans will be approved soon,” said Tyler Myers, the center’s manager.

The Knockdown Center, a former glass and door factory turned arts hall, has hosted everything from weddings, Tiki Disco parties and even a mini-golf art exhibition, since last year.

The center became a hot controversial community issue after a representative announced they were considering applying for a license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to serve alcohol at future events at the 52-19 Flushing Avenue site.

At the Community Board 5 October meeting, the Land Use Committee rejected granting a liquor license for the center, although Knockdown could still make a case to the SLA for the license.

Residents and politicians in the community are split on the center, some feeling that it could bring jobs and is a good use of the more than century-year old building. Others believe it will create a club environment in a neighborhood where many residents live.

“There is some evidence of people being carried out, a lot of evidence of people partying and loud music, and there is evidence of love making right in the open,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association.

“We’re concerned that it will lower the quality of life.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Elizabeth Crowley, Craig Caruana face off in heated District 30 debate


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The first public debate between Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Craig Caruana was contentious.

The competitors faced off in a heated exchange on Monday. It was marked by frequent interruptions, yelling on both sides and cheers and jeers from attending residents of District 30, which includes Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, Glendale, parts of Woodhaven and Woodside.

The debate, which The Courier co-hosted, was organized by the Juniper Park Civic Association at Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village.

The showdown exploded from the very first question, which was about the Knockdown Center, a controversial arts hall in Maspeth that has hosted parties and is seeking a liquor license.

Crowley, who is in support of the center, said it will bring jobs and arts to the community.

“Do I support good jobs? Yes. Do I support arts as an economic engine? Yes,” Crowley said. “Now my opponent you will hear opposes this, and I believe it’s because he doesn’t have the ability to think outside the box when it comes to creating jobs.”

Caruana doesn’t believe the center will be used for arts, but as a club based on past parties that it has held.

“It’s not about jobs, it’s about hipsters coming from out of the area, creating a problem…” Caruana said. “This is a club that wants to sell liquor.”

The candidates sparred on various contentious projects in the community, such as the proposed Glendale homeless shelter, truck traffic and the Maspeth Bypass, the Ridgewood Reservoir development project and increased railroad garbage.

Many general questions were asked as well, including how the candidates would improve education, traffic problems, quality of life issues and decrease crime.

Crowley, who has been the councilmember for nearly four years, choose to answer questions based on her accomplishments, while taking jabs at Caruana.

Caruana, who has no experience as an elected official, stuck to his ideas to improve the neighborhood, relying on his background as a native of Middle Village and his work at the Pentagon.

Before the debate even got started crowds of Crowley and Caruana supporters were chanting at each other outside with placards, banners and megaphones for almost 20 minutes.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-Ed: Where are we one year later?


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH ADDABBO JR.

On any particular day, whether I’m working, getting a cup of coffee, shopping or having dinner in the district, people detail their experiences involving Superstorm Sandy in many different ways. A year later, many still get tears in their eyes, others remain frustrated about the lack of progress, while some see it as a chance to make improvements and some are optimistic about community improvements. One storm, a year later, still causes many emotions.

While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to control the level of our preparedness and what direction our government takes in addressing the next storm. We’ve learned a lot from Sandy, and I would urge my constituents to think ahead and make sure they have detailed emergency plans in place: know how to contact one another in case of an emergency; have adequate supplies of canned goods, medicines, batteries, flashlights and water on hand; know what to do to help secure your homes and properties to minimize risks during a storm. Useful hurricane preparedness information may be found at this NYS Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/event/hurricane-safety.cfm.

I, along with other elected officials, have been advocating for adequate funding and needed legislation to help the district address the many serious human, economic and other consequences resulting from Sandy. As a member of the New York State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy, I look forward to continuing the effort of our state in responding to Sandy’s devastation and obtaining assistance for those in need.  Currently, our city’s and state’s portion of the federal funding of $61 billion to help Sandy victims is being distributed through NYC Build It Back program, and the state’s utilization of community leaders in its NY Rising Community Reconstruction program aimed at improving our infrastructure.

A range of bills aimed at addressing various aspects of Sandy’s impact were passed by the state legislature and have been recently signed into law by the governor. Some topics include rebates of real property taxes, assisting Breezy Point residents with street frontage issues unique to Breezy Point, exemptions to filing fees related to federal Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the implementation of improved tornado warning systems.

This year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season is not yet over. We have learned a lot from Sandy and a year later are still dealing with its aftermath. It’s OK to share our emotions, feelings and sentiments about Sandy, knowing also that by working together we can rebuild and be prepared better than ever.

Senator Joseph Addabbo represents the 15th Senatorial District encompassing the communities – in whole or in part – of Broad Channel, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Glendale, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Woodside and the Rockaways.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Maspeth residents and leaders are split over arts center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Knockdown Center/Ariana Page Russell

Maspeth leaders and residents are ready to rumble over the Knockdown Center.

The center, a former glass and door factory turned arts hall, has hosted everything from weddings, Tiki Disco parties and even a mini-golf art exhibition since last year. Now, owners are applying for a license from the State’s Liquor Authority (SLA) to serve alcohol for future events at the 52-19 Flushing Avenue site.

But the center has recently come under fire from local leaders and residents, including Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, Senator Michael Gianaris, City Council candidate Craig Caruana and civic organizations, such as Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET).

“Bringing the arts to our neighborhood is good, but it’s a terrible idea to allow a club to serve alcohol to 600 to 5,000 people at dance parties, raves and concerts right across the street from residents’ homes,” Caruana said.

The industrial castle-like building in which the Knockdown Center operates is more than a century old.

Owners redid some of the inside and installed new windows, but kept most of it original so as to preserve the structure.
The immediate neighborhood consists of other manufacturing buildings and residential apartments.

Musical events will be held in the center and owners plan to host a flea market every Sunday  from Oct. 20. Some feel the facility has potential.

“I’m not against it right now as it stands,” said Anthony Nunziato, chair of civic group Maspeth-Middle Village Task Force. “I like the structure. I just want to make sure it’s workable in the community. It’s a place that’s been vacant in the community for years. By right, they can take it down and turn it into condos.”

Gary Giordano, Community Board 5 district manager, said as of last week he had not received any complaints of past Knockdown Center events. Giordano did say that owners may need to take into account transportation, security and respect for the community for future events.

The center, which officials said has been operating under temporary permits, is in the process of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy from the Department of Buildings. Max attendance at past events was about 800 people, said Tyler Myers, Knockdown Center manager, but owners estimate it can hold 8,000 people.

“We are working with them to discover what a workable capacity would be for the building that we would also feel comfortable operating,” Myers said. “I think the Knockdown Center represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring something really unique and really special to Maspeth certainly, but also the New York community at large.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who also represents Maspeth, is in full support of the center, saying that it could bring economic growth.

“Manufacturing has been moving out of that area, a lot of those buildings are just warehouses and are not producing many jobs,” Crowley said. “I only see that it brings a benefit in creating good jobs.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Overcast in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 64. Breezy. Winds from the NE at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then mostly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 55. Winds from the NE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Arms and the Man

One of George Bernard Shaw’s most beloved plays, Arms and the Man is a hilarious satire about the ironies of war and fallacies of romantic idealism. Performances will be at Long Island City’s Secret Theatre through October 13. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Norman Rockwell painting stolen in Maspeth

Police are asking for help finding a stolen Norman Rockwell painting. Read more: The Queens Courier

Undercover cop and civilian in motorcycle assault case arrested

An undercover NYPD officer and another civilian biker involved in the motorcycle assault case have been arrested. Read more: ABC New York

Scarsdale “Pot Mom” pleads guilty to running multimillion-dollar marijuana farm

A Westchester County mother of three pleaded guilty to running a multimillion-dollar marijuana-growing operating in a Queens warehouse. Read more: NBC New York

Documents: No weapon, motive found in car of Conn. woman in Capitol Hill chase

Police found no weapon or apparent evidence of motive while searching the car of a Stamford, Conn., woman who was fatally shot by police after trying to ram her vehicle through a White House barrier, according to court documents unsealed Tuesday. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Poll: GOP gets the blame in shutdown

Americans are holding Republicans primarily responsible for the partial government shutdown as public esteem sinks for all players in the impasse, President Barack Obama among them, according to a new poll. It’s a struggle with no heroes. Read more: AP

Norman Rockwell painting stolen in Maspeth


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Wednesday, October 8 4:38 p.m.

Police are asking for your help in finding a $1 million Norman Rockwell painting that was stolen in Maspeth last month.

The painting was discovered missing from Grand Avenue’s Welpak Art Moving and Storage on September 13, said cops.

Entitled “Sport,” the painting is approximately 22X28 inches and is oil paint on canvass. It was housed in a wooden frame which is gold in color, and depicts a man in a row boat wearing a yellow rain jacket, holding a fishing pole.

It was painted in 1939 and is signed by Norman Rockwell on the lower right and was used as the Saturday Evening Post cover.

According to WelPak’s website, the company offers fine art shipping and climate-controlled services, including artwork and antique storage, and has experience working with museums, art galleries, foundations, private collectors and art dealers.

It advertises storage facilities that are “alarmed to ensure maximum protection and safety.”
A person who answered the phone at WelPak said “this is an ongoing investigation and we are not allowed to discuss [the missing painting] with anyone.”

“It’s very common for a work of high value to be put in storage to keep it from being damaged,” said Danielle Rahm, director at New York Fine Art Appraisers, one of the leading independent appraisers of the fine and decorative arts in the country.

There would be no reason to not rely on a fine art storage facility as a safe way to keep the painting, she said.

The stolen painting was sold from a private collector for $1,085,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in New York this May, according to published reports.

“It would be very difficult to resell it at a known public auction,” said Rahm.

Once a painting is stolen, it is typically registered with the Art Loss Register, she said. This database of stolen art provides information that can be checked if someone tries to consign a work.

But, said Rahm, “there’s always a black market” for stolen art work.

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

Maspeth street co-named George Gibbons Jr. Way


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

For the past few years teary eyes and frowns were a familiar sight when talking about the hit-and-run murder of Maspeth resident George Gibbons.

Gibbons, who owned Gibbons Home bar on 69th Street, was killed in a 2011 traffic accident and it took a month-long manhunt to catch his murderer, Peter Rodriguez.

But at a ceremony on Saturday to co-name the street where Gibbons grew up in his honor, there was a different emotion. Smiles and laughter spread throughout the crowd of family members and friends as Gibbon’s father, George Sr., tugged numerous times at the white sheet of paper covering the new street sign, but failed to pull it off. And then, with a big final heave, he jerked the sheet off the brand new George Gibbons Jr. Way sign to a roar of cheers from the audience.

“It’s a very special day for us, we’re very excited,” said Gibbons’ sister Siobhan McEntee. “We hope that this sign will be a reminder to people of a good community leader as well as the importance of traffic laws.”

Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley, who drafted legislation to get the street co-named, the Gibbons family and more than a 100 friends attended the ceremony to pay tribute to the memory of the late Gibbons, who many said had one of the kindest hearts the world had ever known.

“He was like a brother. He would give you the shirt off his back,” said Tony Kalpin, Gibbons’ friend. “If you’re emotional and you’ve got something on your mind, he was the person you could go and talk to.”

Gibbons was killed on October 15, 2011 when the livery cab he was traveling in was struck by a car that Rodriguez was driving the wrong way on the Long Island Expressway service road. Gibbons was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. But Rodriguez left the scene of the accident and was on the run before he was caught in Connecticut.

Rodriguez was sentenced to three and a half to up to seven years in prison in May 2012 after he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crime and negligent homicide.

Gibbons’ death brought the Maspeth community together and exposed dangerous loopholes in New York’s traffic laws. Since then the family and Crowley have been fighting to get tougher laws for leaving the scene of a crime.

“We’re just trying to make sure we are strengthening laws,” Crowley said. “[Rodriguez] was a coward and ran away, and had to be caught.”

Gibbon’s bar was closed down temporarily after his death, but reopened under family management. His memory runs through it and now his street sign as well.

“He’s definitely here,” McEntee said. “He’s definitely always around us, we know that.”


 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Popular Maspeth restaurant O’Neill’s is back in business


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Just about everyone in Maspeth remembers when O’Neill’s restaurant and bar was reduced to ashes after a grease fire in 2011.

It was a devastating moment for the community, as the popular bar has been a staple in the neighborhood since 1933.

After extinguishing the blaze, local firefighters found within the rubble, the American flag that had flown over the watering hole. They held on to it for more than two years and encased it in a plaque that was presented to the owners of O’Neill’s during the bar’s grand reopening on Friday.

“It’s nice that we are able to give a little something back to them,” said Captain Joe Gandiello of FDNY Rescue 4. “This place has been here for forever it seems and it’s just a nice touch. It’s all we can do.”

During the summer the owners were hinting at a comeback. They eventually had a soft opening for the bar a few weeks ago and delayed the full ceremony for September 27.  But even during the soft opening, the bar was packed.

“I’m not only happy for myself, I’m happy for the community, because evidently they have been waiting for us to open,” said owner George O’Neill. “The night we opened, when we opened the door you couldn’t get in here.”

Representatives from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Congressmember Joe Crowley’s offices gave proclamations to the bar owners.

Just like it was before it was closed, the bar was bustling with so many local customers during its grand opening it was hard to walk around. Most came to the eatery because it was their favorite spot and to see old friends.

“It’s been gone for a long time,” said Tommy Young, a resident of Middle Village. “A lot of people used to get together here so I got to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a long time.”

Except for the fact that all the furniture and equipment is new, nothing has changed at O’Neill’s. There is still an area for fine dining, but also booths with mini TV screens for sports fans to watch what they want while they eat and of course the main bar in the center of the restaurant that anchors the bistro. The menu hasn’t change much either. There are still steaks, the popular Buffalo wings and brick-oven pizza.

There are more than 45 flat screen televisions around the bar and the owners have  added a catering room that can hold up to 200 people. They’ve also added a sprinkler system in the basement.

“Everything is pretty much brand new,” said manager Danny Pyle. “We’re thrilled to be able to serve the neighborhood. And they seem to feel the same way we do.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

 

 

 

Op-Ed: Ensuring the safety of our children


| oped@queenscourier.com

COUNCILMEMBER ELIZABETH CROWLEY

Drivers need to be more conscientious near schools. Just a few days ago, students of I.S. 73 in Maspeth got seriously injured by an out-of-control vehicle. As police investigate this accident, we owe it to those injured students and their classmates to make our streets safer.

Grand Avenue is a very busy street. The vehicular traffic is made worse during school arrival and dismissal time as P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are all located within six blocks of each other. I believe it is imperative to implement changes as soon as possible, and on Monday, along with PTA leaders, I met with Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall on site to discuss how to make Grand Avenue safer.

The stretch of Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 is in need of “Safe Routes to School” program and a slowdown zone where the speed limit is reduced to 20 miles per hour. The safe routes program redesigns streets, which include expanding sidewalks, new lane paintings and improved signal timing, to ease congestion around schools.

Recently, the DOT studied vehicle speeds around all schools in New York City, and they found that 98 percent of vehicles driving around P.S. 58, I.S. 73 and Maspeth High School are going over the speed limit. This is dangerous and simply unacceptable. A comprehensive study by the DOT to change traffic patterns and slow down drivers through its “Safe Routes to School” program would be a major help in reducing congestion around these schools.

There must be constant traffic enforcement by the NYPD and DOT today. I have called on both agencies to ticket trucks that are not making local deliveries, and speeding drivers who are endangering our children must be stopped. New York recently approved speed camera enforcement at 20 schools in the city. Placing one of these cameras at Grand Avenue near P.S. 58 and I.S. 73 would certainly slow drivers down once tickets begin arriving in the mail.

Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our children traveling to and from school. I have brought the concerns of the community to DOT, and together, we must demand the DOT prioritize safety on Grand Avenue. Our most vulnerable and precious resource are our children, and we must do everything to keep them safe.

Elizabeth Crowley represents the 30th Council District, covering Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Woodhaven

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Suspect sought in Maspeth Radio Shack robbery


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a suspect who allegedly robbed a Maspeth Radio Shack at gunpoint on Sunday.

The suspect entered the store, located at 70-01 Grand Avenue, around 6:50 p.m., displayed a firearm and demanded cash, said police. The victim complied and the suspect fled with $411.

Authorities describe the suspect as a man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, mask and white headphones.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or submit their tips by texting 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577 or by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

SUV jumps curb in Maspeth, injuring five students


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Video surveillance

Warning: This video contains graphic content.

CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND LIAM LA GUERRE

Five students were injured when an SUV jumped the curb in Maspeth Thursday morning.

The incident happened around 7:50 a.m. in front a deli at 71st Street and Grand Avenue, about a block from the students’ school, I.S. 73, cops said. The students are three 13-year-old girls, a 12-year-old boy and a 13-year-old boy, police said.

The students were taken to Elmhurst Hospital in serious, but not life-threatening condition, according to fire officials. One of the 13-year-old girls has a broken leg and another girl has a fractured leg, authorities said.

One girl was trapped underneath the vehicle, a silver Honda Pilot,  when the students were hit, according to witnesses. Good Samaritans lifted the vehicle and a resident pulled the girl out.

“I was so overwhelmed. I’m still in shock,” said Candice Cruz, who lives above the deli. When the car hit the students, she hurried to help and pulled the girl out from under the car. “Seeing the little body under there and the little girl trying to breathe, it was horrible.”

Photo courtesy of Candice Cruz

The driver of the SUV, who is a 40-year-old male, was trying to park the vehicle in a spot in front the deli, but pressed on the gas pedal too hard, according to authorities. Police did not charge the driver with a crime.

The corner is usually filled with many children in the morning during school time, and many students go into the store to get breakfast, according to Julio Lopez, who works at the deli.

“I just [stepped off] the sidewalk because my friend called me,” said Weiss Safdary, a 10th grader at Grover Cleveland High School. “I would have been under there too.”

“Usually in the morning we’re comfortable because it’s safe, but today was different,” said Carl Panganbian, another 10th grader from Grover Cleveland, who said he knows one of the injured students. “Maybe they should put a metal thing on the sidewalk. It’s for student safety, because you never know when [an accident] is going to happen,” he added.

Grand Avenue is usually a busy commercial strip with many vehicles, but residents said accidents like this one are rare.

“Five years working over here, I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Gabino Calle, 32, who works at a pizza restaurant on the block.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

More bike lanes coming to western Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The wheels are turning in the right direction for one community’s push to get more bike lanes.

At a recent Community Board (CB5) Transportation Committee meeting, the Department of City Planning (DCP) revealed a list of streets that could have bike lanes in place by early 2014.

The DCP is looking to add six potential new routes to the area and streets that are under consideration are Eliot Avenue, Juniper Boulevard South, Central Avenue, Cooper Avenue, Woodward Avenue, Onderdonk Avenue, 80th Street and 69th Street.

Currently, there are a few lanes in the district, which encompasses Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Glendale, but hardly any at all that connect the bike-friendly neighborhoods surrounding the district to the north in Sunnyside and Long Island City, and parts of northern Brooklyn.

Map courtesy of DOT

“If you look at the bike map right now there is a big hole where Community Board 5 is,” said Donald Passantino, a member of the CB 5 Transportation Committee and an avid bike rider. “Part of this is that these [lanes] are supposed to connect with other neighborhoods.”

The board requested new lanes throughout the community last year through the Department of Transportation (DOT). The request was then turned over to City Planning, which has been assessing streets that the community recommended for new bike lanes.

Now the DCP will review bike planning practices with the DOT and continue to analyze the most practical streets for lanes, and then in the coming weeks meet with the community again to get additional input, according to a DCP representative.

“The real advantage of bike lanes more than anything else is that they calm traffic,” Passantino said. “The [street] looks narrower, which forces cars to drive slower and cuts down on deaths.”

City Planning will meet with the community board members again this month to talk about potential lanes.

Community Board 5 Bike Lane Street Design Presentation

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Cops put the brakes on illegal truck activity in southwest Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The 104th Precinct recently conducted a Truck Enforcement Operation that stalled about 80 law-breaking vehicles.

The precinct directed the program within neighborhoods it oversees — Middle Village, Maspeth, Ridgewood and Glendale. Some streets in these areas are notorious for truck traffic, such as Grand Avenue in Maspeth, where local civic leaders and elected officials have been fighting to reduce law-breaking truckers that try to avoid delays on the Long Island Expressway and cruise down residential streets.

“I am grateful to Captain [Christopher] Manson and the 104th Precinct for the recent effort at enforcing illegal truck activity,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley. “Working together, we have made great strides at reducing truck traffic in Maspeth, and we need to continue keeping this as a priority.”

The operation was conducted from August 6 to 9 because of the rise in truck accidents from July 8 to August 4. During that time 36 truck accidents were recorded by the precinct, which is double when compared with the same period last year.

Representatives of the precinct didn’t know what the cause of the rise was, but said that the majority of the accidents involved minor property damage.

“We don’t know when and how [accidents] are going to occur,” said Detective Thomas Bell, Community Affairs Officer. “We wish there were no accidents.”

Police officers were told to focus the operation on “corridors commonly used by trucks that are not designated as truck routes.”

Cops issued 50 summonses for rigs that were driving off truck routes and 14 violations for drivers who were in areas that didn’t comply with where their deliveries were listed. Eight operators received summonses for driving without a license and one was issued a summons for driving without a seat belt.

“I’m glad that they are being vigilant about it,” said Roe Daraio, president of Communities of Maspeth and Elmhurst Together (COMET), which organized a rally in Maspeth against the influx of trucks in community streets a few months ago.

During that rally, which lasted about an hour-and-a-half, more than 250 tractor trailers of varying sizes rolled up and down Grand and Flushing avenues, an intersection that is restricted to only trucks with local deliveries.

“The enforcement helps,” said Daraio. “It will deter some of them from coming in here.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES