Tag Archives: Maspeth

CB 2 names new chair, executive board members


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

With tears in his eyes, Joseph Conley said goodbye to the position he has held for close to three decades as he handed over the reins at Community Board 2 on Thursday night.

Conley officially announced at the December Community Board 2 monthly meeting that he would be stepping down as chair of the board. He gave the news to board members two days before the meeting via a letter.

“It’s been a great honor for me, a great privilege to be a voice of the community board and in some cases the face of the community board,” Conley said during the meeting. “There is no other reason to say other than it’s time.”

Patrick O’Brien, who previously held the position of second vice chair and has been a member of the board for 13 years, was voted as the new chair of Community Board 2.

Although he is stepping down from his position as chair of the board, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a part of Maspeth, Conley will finish his term as a board member, which ends in April.

“I have made lifelong friends in this room, people that I have shared my life, my family and you will remain all my friends,” Conley said while tearing up. The members of the board and audience cheered and gave him a standing ovation.

Conley said he joined the board because of the issue of the “squeegee men,” who would attempt to clean car windows on the side of the road at Queens Plaza. Since then he said he has seen each community flourish in its own unique way.

When thinking of his proudest moment of being part of the board, he said it had to be the community’s input for the new Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City and helping to come up with affordable housing in that area.

“It’s tough, it’s really tough only from the sense of the inspiration you get every day from people, trying to help people, making a difference — so it’s very hard,” Conley said. “I’m very happy for Pat. He will be a dynamic leader. He’s very thoughtful, and he has a good grasp of the issues in the community, so he will do a great job.”

Along with voting for a new chair, the executive board members decided to also put forth a new “slate” and vote on a new first and second vice chairman, secretary and treasurer. The decision was initially met with opposition from some board members, who said they felt it was too soon to be asked to vote, especially with only knowing two days before that Conley would be leaving.

However, after going back and forth, the members voted and the new executive board was chosen.

“It’s going to take some time to get the lay of the land even having been on the executive board. There are things that the chairman, particularly this chairman, has done that are going to be hard to duplicate, but you find your way and in a couple of months you do your own thing,” O’Brien said.

The new executive board consists of Stephen Cooper continuing as first vice chair, Lisa Deller going from secretary to second vice chair, Diane Ballek staying as treasurer, and Denise Keehan Smith becoming the new secretary.

O’Brien, who is a lifelong Long Island City resident, said he plans to continue the focus on key community issues, such as quality of life, transportation and development.

“We still have all the same issues. We’re going to miss Joe, but we’re not going to stop working towards all of those [issues]. The good news is that he’ll still be around,” O’Brien said. “We have more issues than answers, but that’s why we’ll work on it.”

Community Board 2’s next meeting will be on Jan. 8, 2015.

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Four busted for drifting at Flushing Meadows Corona Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

CarDashboardH0507_M_150_B_R

They may have been “Fast and Furious,” but four daredevil drivers ripping through a Queens park weren’t fast enough to escape from the police.

Four men were arrested for what officials describe as “movie-style stunt” performances in a parking lot at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to the district attorney’s office.

“Cars are not toys. Driving at high speeds and intentionally skidding a roughly 3,000-pound vehicle, especially where spectators are gathered, is dangerous and can result in tragedy,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Following a number of noise complaints from neighborhood residents, the police responded and shut down this illegal and potentially deadly activity. The vehicles have been seized and the drivers have been charged.”

The men used modified vehicles for drifting, a style of driving made popular by the “The Fast and the Furious” movies that combines high speeds and dangerous turns.

Spectators would watch these stunts, where the cars would sometimes allegedly strike other vehicles and stationary objects in the park’s parking lot, the district attorney said.

The four were busted after area residents called 311 to complain about the excessive noise. In total, 66 calls were received, and none have been logged in the neighborhood in the more than five weeks since the men were arrested.

Kareem Ali, 26, and Michael Mahabir, 27, both of Richmond Hill, Joel Santiago, 36, of Maspeth, and Darren Tang, 24, of Manhattan, were arraigned on Oct. 26 on charges of reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speed contests and races and failure to comply with directions, prosecutors said. Ali is also charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. The men, who face up to a year in jail if convicted, were released on their own recognizance.

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Joseph Conley turning over reins of CB2 after decades of leadership


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

An era is coming to an end Thursday night as a longtime community board chair is stepping down after nearly three decades of volunteer service.

Joseph Conley, who has been chairman of Community Board 2 (CB2) for almost 29 years, announced to board members via a letter Wednesday that it is time for him to hand over the reins, according to Sheila Lewandowski, CB2 member. 

“For a lot of us it was a surprise,” Lewandowski said. “He has really done an incredible job.”

Although he is stepping down from his position as chair of the community board, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a part of Maspeth, Conley will finish his term on the board as a member.  He is expected to make the official announcement during the board’s monthly meeting on Thursday night. 

Conley’s decision to step down comes as the western Queens neighborhoods serviced by the community board are going through major developments. 

“Community chair is a very tough job, what you do is for the most part unnoticed and unappreciated and he operated at the best interest of the community,” Lewandowski said. 

Lewandowski also added that this changing of the guard serves as an opportunity to open up the spot to other people and also possibly change the dynamic of the overall board. 

“I know there is conversation on whether we should just go for the most likely candidate right now or take a moment to absorb that we will not have Joe and then look around the room,” she said. “I think people are still digesting the fact that Joe won’t be at the helm anymore.”

The community board will be holding an election for officer positions, including chairman, first and vice chairman, secretary and treasurer, at its monthly meeting Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Service, located at 43-31 39th St. 

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Bridge and Tunnel microbrewery expanding to Ridgewood


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rich Castagna

A Queens microbrewery is planning a big move.

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, a “nano-scale” brewery in Maspeth, signed a lease for a warehouse space in Ridgewood, the brewery announced.

Currently, the brewery has been operating through a tiny 150-square-foot space, but the new 2,300-square-foot building will “allow for more production” and be home to a brewery that patrons can visit, owner Rich Castagna said.

Castagna founded Bridge and Tunnel and received a license to operate in 2012. It has been a one-man operation and distribution system since the brewery’s inception, but Castagna is now planning to hire some employees to help with the expanded brewery.

The new location will be around the intersection of Decatur Street and Wyckoff Avenue, near eatery Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, which already carries some Bridge and Tunnel beers. There could be collaborations with the restaurant in the future.

“We have a pretty good working relationship,” Castagna said. “We’re kind of both excited about things we can do together.”

Castagna is happy Ridgewood has become a more desirable neighborhood recently, but wants the brewery to be a place where people who have known the area for a long time can enjoy the history of the neighborhood.

Ridgewood is where he had his first beer, attended grammar school and high school and played little league, among other firsts.

“It’s where my roots are,” Castagna said. “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Castagna didn’t give a specific time for when the new brewery location will open up, but said he will begin moving into the space shorty.

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108th Precinct names new commanding officer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD110Pct

The 108th Precinct has a new top dog.

Captain John F. Travaglia has been named the new commanding officer of the police precinct that covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth.

He is replacing Captain Brian Hennessy, who on Nov. 6 became the commanding officer to the 115th Precinct.

Travaglia began his career in the NYPD in 1993 at the 105th Precinct. Throughout the years, he has also served in the 113th and 104th precincts, and Patrol Borough Queens South, Patrol Borough Queens North, Highway District, Highway 3 and Queens South Narcotics Division.

On Wednesday, Travaglia tweeted from the 108th Precinct’s Twitter account saying, “As the new Commanding Officer of the #108pct, I look forward to working with the wonderful communities of #LIC #Sunnyside #Woodside #Maspeth.”

The next 108th Community Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 7 a.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, 43-31 39th St. in Sunnyside.

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Sanitation worker honored with Maspeth garage dedication


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/NYC Sanitation

A Department of Sanitation garage is being renamed to honor a veteran sanitation worker who was run over by a street sweeper in June.

On June 21, Steven Frosch, 43, was working on a street sweeper when another worker accidentally hit him with another street sweeper and pinned Frosch between the two large vehicles. Police found him unconscious and lying on the ground with severe body trauma.

Steve Frosch (Photo courtesy of the DSNY)

Steven Frosch (Photo courtesy of the DSNY)

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

To honor Frosch for his dedication to the department, his work garage, Queens West 5A in Maspeth, was named after him on Wednesday.

Frosch had been with the sanitation department for 15 years before the tragic accident took his life.

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Maspeth home evacuated after wall collapses


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

BY SALVATORE LICATA AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Part of a Maspeth home collapsed Friday afternoon, causing the evacuation of the house and two neighboring ones, according to the FDNY.

The basement side wall of the 69-11 58th Rd. residence partially caved in, along with part of the driveway’s concrete, fire officials said.

Authorities evacuated the home, along with two others — one that was attached to house and a second that was adjacent to the driveway.

No one was injured in the collapse, the FDNY said.

The fire department said it has secured the house and the Department of Buildings has taken over the investigation.

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Box maker Norampac selling huge Maspeth factory complex for $72M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Greiner-Maltz 

Corrugated box manufacturer Norampac is selling its Maspeth factory complex on Grand Avenue for $72 million, according to Greiner-Maltz, which is marketing the property.

The site is home to three buildings and additional land. The entire complex has development potential with up to approximately 770,000 square feet of buildable space, while the structures on the site are using about 320,000 square feet.

The box maker plans to buy and lease back the property while planning to build a larger, more efficient facility in the neighborhood to accommodate increased business, said John Maltz of the real estate firm.

The property has already seen interest from food distributors and lumber companies among others, Maltz said.

The largest structure on the compound is a two-story manufacturing and office building with a basement and penthouse located at 55-15 Grand Ave. It was constructed in 1925 and each floor of the structure has more than 100,000 square feet of space, while the penthouse level has about 8,000 square feet and the basement has 8,685 square feet.

On the same lot as the main building is a 29,590-square-foot structure and the final building has 71,953 square feet of space with loading docks located at 56-19 Grand Ave.

There is also 90,000 square feet of additional paved land on the site, primarily used for parking space and loading access.

Click here for more information about the listing.

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Maspeth shopping center sells for $56 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Binter/ PropertyShark

A shopping center in Maspeth is under new management after being sold for $56 million, according to city records filed Thursday.

The complex sits on two lots, 74-17 Grand Ave. and 53-01 74th St., which is the former home of Maspeth Bowl. It was bought by Shops at Grand Avenue LLC and sold by CPT Grand Avenue.

The building, a one-story structure with more than 101,000 square feet of space, was built in 1996 and has a number of local stores and recognizable brands as tenants, including a Stop & Shop, Sleepy’s and Party City branch.

City records show CPT Grand Avenue bought the mall in 2009 for $33.5 million.

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Police looking for suspect who wore blue gloves to rob Maspeth bank


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man dressed in all black, wearing blue gloves and donning sunglasses robbed a Maspeth bank Saturday morning, authorities said.

The suspect entered an Amalgamated Bank, located at 69-73 Grand Ave., at about 11:50 a.m. and demanded money from a teller, according to police. The teller complied and the suspect fled the bank with $873.

Authorities describe that suspect as a heavy-set white man, 40 to 50 years old and 5 feet 6 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black jacket, black hat, black sunglasses, black sweatpants and blue gloves.

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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Body found hanging on overpass in Maspeth


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

Updated 3:11 p.m.

A dead body was discovered hanging on a pedestrian walkway that goes over the Queens Midtown Expressway, according to police.

The deceased man, who was in his 30s, was found at about 8:15 a.m. Wednesday near Mazeau Street in Maspeth.

Authorities said the body was hanging on the overpass with a belt and the death appears to be a suicide.

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Serial Queens bank robber strikes again: cops


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect wanted in eight bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 2:50 p.m. at a Chase Bank on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note while displaying a firearm. The suspect left with $5,170.

A previous incident happened on Aug. 30 at 12:40 p.m. when the suspect entered The Dimes Savings Bank, located at 77-23 27th Ave. in Flushing, while similarly passing a demand note to a bank teller and displaying a firearm. He walked away with $1,300.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Kew GardensLong Island CityAstoriaEast Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

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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Grand Street Bridge to be closed for construction on three Saturdays


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The Grand Street Bridge, linking Maspeth and Brooklyn, will be closed for parts of three consecutive Saturdays for much needed repair work, the Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

The DOT will be closing the bridge on Oct. 4, 11 and 18 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. to strengthen the deck gratings and replace the pedestrian path.

During that time motorists can use Metropolitan Avenue as an alternate route.

These repairs are not part of the DOT’s plan to replace the decrepit bridge entirely. It expects those plans to be finished by 2016.

But the DOT had promised to make short-term repairs to keep the bridge stabilized while plans are being drawn up.

“The agency continues to monitor the structure and make any necessary short-term repairs prior to the start of this project,” a DOT spokeswoman said in June. “DOT will also continue to update local stakeholders, including the community boards, on any temporary closures required for repair work.”

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Trucks plague Grand Avenue, ruining quality of life, locals say


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

There are still a truckload of problems in Maspeth.

Grand Avenue, a main artery that runs through Maspeth connecting Brooklyn to Queens, is used daily by many trucks and tractor-trailers as a thoroughfare between the boroughs.

The problem is the decades-old practice is illegal for most trucks, which continue to traverse the roadway despite an alternate truck route established by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

Trucks hurtling down Grand Avenue are hurting businesses and the quality of life in the neighborhood, said Anthony Nunziato, a resident of Maspeth and the owner of a Grand Avenue business.
“These trucks coming through cause numerous amounts of problems for us,” Nunziato said. “People are afraid to cross the street, traffic is constantly backed up, there is unnecessary noise and truck fumes are all over. It’s a real quality-of-life problem.”

Back in 2007, the DOT, along with Community Board 5, devised an alternate truck route named the Maspeth Bypass to alleviate this problem. The route, implemented in 2011, gives trucks and tractor-trailers a Brooklyn-Queens route that avoids Grand Avenue except for local deliveries.

Nunziato, who has owned Enchanted Florist on Grand Avenue for more than 28 years, said the restrictions are rarely enforced, which is why the trucks are still an outstanding issue.

“All we want is enforcement,” he said. “The alternate route was put in for a reason. There has to be something done.”

Moreover, 53-foot-long tractor-trailers, which must follow a strict traffic pattern when traveling in the city and may not make any pick-ups or deliveries when there, according to state law, roll down the avenue daily in apparent violation of state law, Nunziato said.

When asked about the enforcement of the illegal trucks on Grand Avenue, the DOT referred the question to the NYPD.

The 104th Precinct said they conduct enforcement with the state Department of Transportation, which will, after a request, set up a temporary weighing station to check for illegal trucks.

The NYPD’s official press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But Nunziato fears that as the trucks continue to rumble down the avenue, he will start to lose business.
“I have customers telling me all the time that it’s too dangerous to come down Grand or that there’s always too much traffic,” Nunziato said. “The bad part about it is that we actually devised another path for the trucks to use and it is just being ignored.”

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Top 10 places to watch football in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO, ASHA MAHADEVAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

If you grow tired of watching the football games from your couch this season, there are plenty of bars in Queens that offer bigger TVs, fellow fans and an array of drink and beer specials to accompany the touchdowns.

Austin’s Steak and Ale House
82-70 Austin St., Kew Gardens
718-849-3939
austinsteakandalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of Austin's Ale House

Photo courtesy of Austin’s Ale House

Austin’s Ale House will be screening all of the games this football season on their 50-odd TV screens. In one of the rooms, they have TVs at the table. There is a 30-cent wing special all day on Sundays. Customers can also enjoy a Sunday brunch for $16.95 while watching the games, as well as 20 beers on draft and 50 beers in bottles.

Bar43
43-06 43rd St., Sunnyside
718-361-3090
bar43.com

For one, it has a sports bar with 10 TVs. Bar43 shows the games on all the days, and is offering specials on a mango fuel cocktail ($5) and high-water melon beer ($4).

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave., Astoria
718-274-4925
bohemianhall.com

Bohemian Hall 3

Photo courtesy of Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

There is happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. every day, during which there are $4 mugs of craft beer. You can watch football games on the TV sets installed all over the garden. Sounds perfect? Ah, there is a catch. Bohemian Hall won’t have every game on, just the ones that are on local channels or ESPN.

Break Bar and Billiards
32-04b Broadway, Astoria
718-777-5400
break-ny.com

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Break Bar and Billiards is showing all the games on 16 big-screen TVs and one 105-inch projector. Specials during the games are wings for $4.50 and beer towers (100 oz.) for $20. Happy hour is seven days a week, even when there is no game on.

Buffalo Wild Wings
107-16 71st Ave., Forest Hills
718-544-9453
buffalowildwings.com

Manager George Criskos of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Forest Hills claims that it has the best chicken wings. But he says that’s only the beginning. With 95 televisions and two 14-foot projectors, you can watch the game from every angle and drink one of its 30 draft beers or 26 bottled beers while you’re at it.

Hooters of Fresh Meadows
61-09 190th St., Fresh Meadows
718-454-2800
facebook.com/hootersoffreshmeadows

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

As football season kicks off, the manager prepares by filling Hooters with jerseys that the restaurant will be giving away. The team at Hooters believes its locale is the best place to go during football season because it roots for every team, and gives back to those who come visit with prizes from jerseys to tickets to games.

Katch Astoria
31-19 Newtown Ave., Astoria
718-777-2230
katchastoria.com

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Tino Tsutras, general manager, describes Katch Astoria, as a “sports capable bar,” with its 63 TVs, 50 craft beers on tap and entirely handmade menu created from nothing frozen. During Sunday and Monday football there are 60-cent wing and $5 Brooklyn Brewery beer specials. Thursday is ladies’ night, with 50 percent off on sangria, house liquor, wine and Prosecco. Katch has every sporting event offered by satellite TV.

Miller’s Ale House at Rego Park
61-35 Junction Blvd., Rego Park
718-760-1090
millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Miller’s Ale House has 70 TVs showing the games through 20 separate satellites. No blackouts, it says. You can watch every single game on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. It has bucket specials (5 for $10), bottle specials (a pint of Bud Light for $2.75 and pitchers of Corona Light for $7) and food specials.

O’Neill’s Maspeth
64-21 53rd Dr., Maspeth
718-672-9696
oneillsmaspeth.com

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

With more than 50 TVs and surround sound, O’Neill’s wants to make you feel like you are at the game. Every day during football season, it’s offering $3 pints and $12 pitchers of Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4 pints and $14 pitchers of Corona Light, and $3 sangria. On Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays there are Coors Light beer tubes with 10 wings of your choice for $25 as well as 5 for $15 Coors Light buckets and 5 for $20 Corona buckets. Thursday is ladies’ night with buy-one-get-one-free well drinks. On select weeks, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Corona reps come in and hold giveaways and raffles during the games. Grill rooms have personal TVs at each booth, and there are projectors in each of the catering rooms for private parties.

The Garden at Studio Square NYC
35-33 36th St., Astoria
718-383-1001
www.studiosquarebeergarden.com

File photo

File photo

The Garden is known for its 9-by-16-foot high definition video wall and its space, which fits more than 2,000 people in the garden. Chief Marketing Officer Pete Mason also proudly mentioned that it won “the ESPN ultimate sports bar challenge in NY for 2014,” and that “if you can’t be there at the stadium, this is the next best thing.”

What are your favorite places to watch football in Queens? Let us know by commenting below.

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