Tag Archives: Mayor Bloomberg

Where to go in Queens for National Night Out


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

National Day Out 107th 002

National Night Out, an annual event of anti-crime rallies organized by police precincts, is tonight. At the precincts, community members can meet local officials and participate in activities for adults and children.

In Queens, Mayor Bloomberg will be at he 113th precinct at 6:30 p.m., and NYC Department of Education Chancelor Dennis Walcott will be at the 103rd at 6:30 p.m.

Check QueensCourier.com tomorrow morning for all the pictures from National Night Out in the borough.

National Night Out locations in Queens: 

100 PRECINCT and TRANSIT DISTRICT 23
Beach 108th Street and Shore Front Parkway
Rockaway Beach
5:00PM to 8:00PM

101 PRECINCT
BAYSWATER PARK
Beach 32nd Street and Beach Channel Drive
5:00PM to 9:00PM

102 PRECINCT
FOREST PARK MONUMENT
Myrtle Avenue and Park Lane South
6:00PM to 9:00PM

103 PRECINCT
150th Street and 89 Avenue
6:00PM to 9:00PM

105 PRECINCT
CABBELL PARK/CAMBRIA HEIGHTS PARK
121st Avenue and Francis Lewis Blvd.
5:00PM to 9:00PM

106 PRECINCT 1730
PS232 HAROLD SCHNEIDERMAN PLAYGROUND
153-23 83rd Street
Howard Beach
5:30PM to 9:30PM

107 PRECINCT
ELECTCHESTER SHOPPING MALL
Parsons Blvd. between 71st Avenue and Jewel Avenue
7:00PM to 10:00PM

113 PRECINCT
BAISLEY POND PARK
155th Street and Baisley Blvd.
6:00PM to 9:00PM

104 PRECINCT
MAFERA PARK
between 65th Street and 68th Avenue
5:00PM to 8:00PM

108 PRECINCT
JOHN ANDREWS PLAYGROUND
49th Avenue between Vernon Blvd. and 5th Street
5:00PM to 9:00PM

109 PRECINCT
PS20 PLAYGROUND
Barclay Avenue from Union Street to Bowne Street
5:00PM to 9:00PM

110 PRECINCT
FLUSHING MEADOW PARK
Zoo area
6:00PM to 9:00PM

111 PRECINCT
DOUGLASTON SHOPPING CENTER
Upper level in front of Modells
6100 Douglaston Parkway
7:00PM to 9:00PM

112 PRECINCT
MACDONALD PARK
Queens Blvd. and Yellowstone Blvd.
6:00PM to 9:00PM

114 PRECINCT
ASTORIA PARK – Great Lawn
Shore Blvd. between Ditmars Blvd. and Shore Road
5:00PM to 8:00PM

115 PRECINCT
NORTHERN BLVD. PARK
Northern Blvd. between 93rd Street and 94th Streets
6:00PM to 9:00PM

TRANSIT DISTRICT 20 (QUEENS) and PSA 9
Rear of 35-35 21st Street
between 23rd Street and 21st Avenue
5:00PM to 9:00PM

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali of Queens finishes third for second straight year

New York’s reigning wordsmith again came achingly close to a title at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, notching a third-place place finish for the second straight year. Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, Queens, who was sponsored by the Daily News, sailed through his third national bee until well into Thursday night’s finals – aired live on ESPN – when pronouncer Jacques Bailly hit him with “schwannoma,” a tumor of the sheath of the peripharal nerve. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

P.S. 174 Teacher Now Accused Of Molesting Five Boys

A Queens elementary school teacher arrested in February is now accused of molesting a total of five boys. 49-year-old Wilbert Cortez was originally charged with fondling two young boys in his classroom earlier this year. Read more: [NY1]

 

Deli fury at city’s ‘grocer’ injustice

Big Apple deli owners yesterday cried foul over Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban them from selling sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces — a rule that wouldn’t apply to “Big Gulp” king 7-Eleven and other grocery stores. Read more: [New York Post]

 

State Senator’s husband tells cops he was mugged at Aqueduct racino 

A casino may be the perfect place for bluffing, but not when guns and the law are involved. The husband of a Queens lawmaker claims that he was recently mugged at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Aqueduct racino. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Decorated Marine named valedictorian of York College in Jamaica 

A decorated former Marine corporal who served two tours of duty in Iraq has overcome yet another challenge: college, and with flying colors.Chemistry major Tony Wan, 25, of Fresh Meadows, was named valedictorian of his class at York College. Wan, the first college grad in his family, is to accept his diploma on Friday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Man Who Hijacked Plane In 1968 To Be Re-Sentenced

A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing Thursday for a man sent to prison 15 years ago for hijacking a plane from New York to Cuba in 1968. Authorities say 69-year-old Luis Armando Pena-Soltren hijacked the plane to Cuba after it took off from Kennedy Airport. Read more: [NY1]

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Long Island City experiences new real estate boom 

 

Long Island City is undergoing another real estate boom, buoyed by a new batch of residential towers, hotels and high-profile property deals. Local real estate experts said they believe the momentum — with an influx of waterfront high rises and almost 20 hotels — is due to the once industrial neighborhood’s soaring reputation and an improved economy. Read more: [New York Daily News]  

 

A rookie and veteran, both from Ladder 163 in Queens, set to be honored at FDNY Medal Day

Firefighters at Ladder 163 in Queens have double the reason to celebrate at this year’s FDNY Medal Day ceremony. Two of their members will be cited for going above and beyond the already-dangerous call of duty as a New York City firefighter. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Residents Flock To Rockaway Beach For Memorial Day Weekend

For early risers, Rockaway Beach can be almost a private playground on the sand and in the water. “You want to beat the crowds because it’s harder to get some good long rides in,” said one resident. “I’m still learning and I have a lot to learn but at least I’ll have some space.” Read more: [NY1]

 

Vet: US wishes I’d die

While Americans spend today at parades and ceremonies honoring service members killed in the line of duty, one Queens veteran believes government bureaucrats can’t wait for him to die. Frank Bari, a 62-year-old lawyer, has been waging an eight-year legal battle with the Veterans Administration over his claims that he was left permanently disabled by the Agent Orange that was sprayed on him while he served with the Coast Guard in Vietnam. Read more: [New York Post]

 

Jackson Heights man inducted into state Veterans Hall of Fame 

A Queens man who coordinated the largest air rescue behind enemy lines in American combat history has been posthumously inducted into the state Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame. George Vujnovich, a retired small business owner from Jackson Heights, was awarded the Bronze Star in 2010, 66 years after the conducting the rescue. He died in late April at the age of 96, shortly after state Sen. Jose Peralta informed him of the induction. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

NYC Honors Military Members Who Gave Their Lives

Events are going on around the city and the country Monday to honor those who died in service to the nation. Mayor Bloomberg paid tribute to the nation’s fallen at a ceremony at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument on the Upper West Side. Read more: [NY1]

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Queens jurors lead city in no-shows

Looks like Queens needs a boroughwide civics class. More than one-third, or 35 percent, of Queens residents ignore their jury-duty notices — the highest in the five boroughs. “We’re dealing with thousands of people, and we just don’t have the staff,” said Queens County Clerk Audrey Pheffer, who acts as the commissioner of jurors. In fact, Pheffer, a former assemblywoman, said the office stopped bothering to impose fines as it upgrades its jury-selection system. Read More: New York Post

Queens deli destroyed by early morning fire, explosion

A Queens deli was destroyed by an overnight fire — and an explosion at the store could be felt two blocks away. The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. at the corner of Hempstead Avenue and 220th Street. Firefighters used ladder trucks to spray the building, as the fire was too strong to fight from the inside. The business, Deli Grocery & Grill, is relatively new — only about two months old. No injuries were reported, and there’s no word on the cause of the fire. Read More: New York Post

 

Deliberations To Begin This Week In Queens Terror Trial

A jury could start deliberations as early as Monday in the case of a Queens man accused of plotting to blow up the city’s subways. Adis Medunjanin is accused of conspiring with admitted terrorist Najibullah Zazi to detonate suicide bombs on Manhattan subway lines in 2009. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and receiving terrorist training from al-Qaida. Medunjanin faces life in prison if convicted on conspiracy and terror charges. Read More: NY1

 

Hundreds Of Union Job Applicants Camp Out In Woodside

Hundreds of applicants vying for a job with the ironworkers’ union waited outside the union’s office in Woodside, Queens for nearly a week, leaving some neighbors upset about the camp-out. Read More: NY1

Historic Forest Park Greenhouse gets $3.8 million upgrade, replacing century-old structures with high-tech ones

The historic Forest Park Greenhouse, which grows plants and flowers that liven up concrete stretches in Queens and Brooklyn, is moving beyond its early 20th century roots. A section of the greenhouse has just undergone a $3.8 million reconstruction that will increase its capacity and make it more environmentally-friendly. The first stage of the renovation focused on two of the houses that were built in 1905 and designed by greenhouse experts of the time, Lord and Burnham. Read More: Daily News

 

1 WTC to vault past Empire State Building today and become tallest tower in city

ONE WORLD Trade Center is set to eclipse the Empire State Building as New York’s tallest building Monday afternoon, officials said. As long as the weather cooperates, the tower will surpass the 1,250-foot Empire State Building at 2 p.m. on its way to a final height of 1,776 feet. “It’s wonderful,” Mayor Bloomberg said Sunday. “It’s taken a long time. This is probably the most complex construction site in any place ever. I think what we’ve shown is that democracy works.” Read More: Daily News

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Late-night win brings relief for Yankees team struggling for clutch hits

This one, like its two immediate predecessors, carried the vibe of, “Well, we better beat the Orioles regularly. They’re terrible!” Yet this victory last night, 6-4 over Baltimore in 10 innings at Camden Yards, felt a little different, too. For a team eternally saddled with (and marketing) great expectations, you could sense some relief. Read More: New York Post

Wife bares hero’s stand

He died trying to be a hero. The wife of a man beaten to death outside his Astoria home in 2008 while trying to protect a neighbor from a crazed drifter yesterday told a Queens jury she begged him not to get involved. “I told him, ‘Please, please, don’t go,’ ” Dora Nowillo said of her husband Nicolas, 65. His alleged attacker, Eric Cherry, 47, faces manslaughter and assault charges. Read More: New York Post

Surfin’ US‘O’

Michelle Obama is flexing her muscle at the Rockaways’ legendary cabana clubs. The Obama administration made promoting the first lady’s “Let’s Move!” health-and-fitness campaign a criteria for winning the concessions contract for two Queens beach clubs in the Gateway National Recreation Area. The National Park Service insisted it wasn’t a case of government overreach. “These are presidential initiatives and we are part of the executive branch. Gee whiz,” said spokesman John Warren. “How can you disagree with . . . getting healthy?” Read More: New York Post

Delta Launches Construction Of New Domestic Hub At LaGuardia

Delta broke ground Wednesday on an expansion of its new domestic hub at LaGuardia Airport.Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to help usher in the construction project, the largest at the airport in more than 40 years. The expanded terminal will increase service at LaGuardia by 60 percent, adding 100 new flights and 26 new destinations by this summer. flights between the airport and more than 60 cities. The airline is also investing $160 million to modernize Terminals C and D at LaGuardia and build a connector between them. Read More: NY1

 

Mayor Bloomberg is moving to regulate pay of unionized city trade workers, taking the power away from the City Controller

The Bloomberg administration is moving to seize regulatory control over close to 10,000 unionized city trade workers — yanking the power away from embattled City Controller John Liu. Officials from the city Office of Labor Relations on Wednesday contacted the unions representing city workers under some 95 job titles — including electricians, plumbers and steamfitters — to let them know about the impending switch. Since 1894, according to administration officials, the Controller’s office has set the trade workers’ pay levels based on the average earnings of their private sector counterparts. Read More: Daily News

Cop survives bullet to head


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cop survives bullet to head

An NYPD cop is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the base of the skull last night while chasing a murder suspect through a Brooklyn housing project, authorities said. “This was a miracle,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at Bellevue Hospital, where Officer Kevin Brennan had been rushed. “He’s one lucky young man.” Mayor Bloomberg said he spoke to Brennan about the cop’s 6-week-old daughter, Maeve. “He understood he was hit and he said he was in a lot of pain, but we joked about his daughter,” Bloomberg said. The harrowing incident unfolded when Brennan responded, along with two other plainclothes cops, to a report of shots fired at the Bushwick Houses at about 9 p.m. Read More: New York Post

 

Three-week-old daughter gives Giants’ Cruz Super strength

I don’t want to pinch myself, so I can stay in the moment and soak it all in. It’s been an amazing journey for me, and I don’t want it to end. Yesterday was a whirlwind with Media Day. It was exciting to see what it was all about. They got me to dance the salsa, of course, that was pretty cool, and a TV lady from Azteca Sports asked me to put on a sombrero and say hi to everybody in Mexico — saludos a Mexico! I signed a deal with IMG, which was huge for me to have someone like that market my off-the-field stuff and all the ventures I want to do and a lot of stuff I’ve dreamed about doing. It’s the start of something special. Read More: New York Post

 

Department of Education probe bungling saved ‘ogle’ teacher

Department of Education bureaucrats bungled the city’s best chance to rid itself of its notorious $100,000-a-year rubber-room teacher by failing to secure the testimony of a series of students who accused him of creepy behavior, documents obtained by The Post show. Typing instructor Alan Rosenfeld has received full pay without setting foot in the classroom in more than a decade — even after six junior-high-school girls accused him of leering at them and making inappropriate remarks. The case was botched because of the DOE’s inability to produce required documentation — such as attendance records — for four of the six student witnesses at his 2003 disciplinary hearing, records show. Read More: New York Post

 

DWI kid killer dodges prison

A drunken driver got a slap on the wrist from a Queens judge yesterday for drunkenly slamming his car into a 6-year-old girl who later died from her injuries. Kent Lowrie, 53, of Jamaica, was sentenced to five years’ probation. He had pleaded guilty last month to the vehicular manslaughter of Zhaneya Smith, who darted into the street toward an ice-cream truck and was struck by Lowrie’s car last June 28. Read More: New York Post

 

Club PO’d at P-Funk

Legendary funk master George Clinton and his band Parliament Funkadelic have been slapped with a lawsuit claiming they failed to perform at a Queens nightclub — and then kept a $15,000 deposit anyway. Owners of La Boom New York also allege in their Queens Supreme Court suit that Clinton, 70, and the band performed at another venue the same August 2011 night they were contracted to play the Woodside club. But Clinton’s agent, Jeff Allen, said, “La Boom chose to cancel the show. [The club] said there was no show and wanted the money back — it doesn’t work that way.” Read More: New York Post

 

Officials Seek Steeper Fines For Illegal Dumping

Jamaica Avenue has seen better days. At the intersection of 123rd Street, garbage is piled high. An oversized box for a flat screen TV and plastic bags filled with Christmas tree remains clog the path to a public garbage can. Trash bins are meant to collect litter from pedestrians, not hold garbage from someone’s home or work. “Businesses do it because they are trying to avoid paying private pickup. I have no idea why private people do it. Maybe they are too stupid to figure out when their pickup day is or maybe they are just too lazy,” said Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. New Yorkers living in illegal apartments may also be adding their trash to the pile. They may think putting garbage on the curb outside their home will draw unwanted attention. Read More: NY1

Watch Mayor Bloomberg dance to Lady Gaga in State of the City intro video


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Bloom

Before Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his way to the podium for his 11th State of the City speech, he was introduced by a short, entertaining video chronicling his “journey” to get to this year’s speech.  Along the way he poked fun at himself — he danced to Lady Gaga who helped him ring in the new year with a kiss — and issues he has fought for over the years, including bike lanes and taxis in the outer boroughs.  Numerous city officials were featured in the video — Chancellor Dennis Walcott, press secretary Stu Loeser, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan all made appearances.  The scene stealer, though, was former Mayor Ed Koch standing at the entrance of the former Queensboro Bridge shouting at drivers welcoming them to “his” bridge.  Watch the full video below.  What do you think of the video?

Joseph Naso, suspected serial killer, kept rape diary: authorities


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Joseph Naso, suspected serial killer, kept rape diary: authorities

A suspected serial killer who may be New York’s infamous “Double Initial” murderer kept a gruesome rape diary and posed photos of dead prostitutes, California authorities said Wednesday. A lead investigator revealed the damaging diary during a preliminary hearing for 78-year-old Joseph Naso — the Reno, Nevada, man charged with killing four northern California prostitutes with matching first and last initials in the 1970s and 1990s. “Girl in north Buffalo woods. She was real pretty. Had to knock her out first,” read one alleged entry in Naso’s journal. The diary — found in his house during a probation search tied to a larceny conviction — is filled with similar twisted entries and references to rape, Nevada Department of Public Safety Det. Richard Brown said. Read More: Daily News

 

Tea Party big Mark Meckler pleads guilty, gets fined $250 in gun at LaGuardia case

A Tea Party hotshot copped a plea Thursday to accusations he tried to carry a pistol and ammunition onto a flight at LaGuardia Airport last month. In an agreement with prosecutors, Mark Meckler, 49, was fined $250 after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. His Glock 27 handgun will be destroyed. Meckler, the high-profile founder of the Tea Party Patriots, declined to comment after a brief appearance in Queens Supreme Court. He smiled before he and his lawyer jumped into a waiting car. Read More: Daily News

 

Parks Department worker busted for hanging doll from noose at agency’s Bronx office

A Parks Department worker has been busted for hanging a baby doll from a noose at the agency’s Bronx headquarters, police said Thursday. Fariz Ahmemulic, 28, was charged with aggravated harassment as a hate crime. The suspect asked for a lawyer and did not say anything else to detectives. The Daily News reported last week that the city worker who found the noose claimed supervisors tried to cover up the Dec. 20 hate crime before police got involved. Read More: Daily News

 

Bloomberg vows to nix under-performing teachers in bombshell state of city speech

Mayor Bloomberg is laying down the gauntlet on the city’s under-performing teachers – promising to get rid of many of them in a bombshell announcement sure to cause a stir with their union. In his 11th annual State of the City Speech in the Bronx today, hizzoner is announcing that he could boot up to half the teachers in dozens of struggling schools whose federal grant funding was pulled earlier this month because of a fight with the United Federation of Teachers over evaluations. Bloomberg said he is going to circumvent the UFT and reapply for the $58 million in lost federal funds for these schools. Read More: New York Post

 

Week off may be curse for Packers, not blessing

Even the Packers admit Dunta Robinson had a point last Sunday. Robinson, the Falcons veteran cornerback, stood in the Atlanta locker room after a 24-2 NFC Wild Card loss to the Giants and predicted the Giants would have a decided edge against rested Green Bay this weekend because of one word: momentum. The Packers did not dispute that yesterday, mainly because they rode a similar wave of energy all the way to a victory in the Super Bowl last season. Read More: New York Post

 

Seven arrested in NY for $1M ID theft ring

A sophisticated ring of fraudsters rang up more than $1 million in crooked charges at major retailers including Home Depot, Sears and Kmart, authorities charged today. The long-running scam allegedly involved using the stolen identities of more than 180 New Yorkers with charge accounts at the stores to purchase pricey goods and gift cards. The merchandise was then returned for store credit, some of which was sold — along with the gift cards — for about 60 percent of face value. A complaint filed in Manhattan federal court identifies Phillip Smith, 54, of The Bronx, as the ringleader and mastermind of the scheme. Read More: New York Post

 

Kin lambastes evil killer of 4

Justice was delayed briefly for a Brooklyn man who killed four people in a drug-fueled rampage, but he still got an earful from the brother of one of his victims yesterday. Maksim Gelman had already killed three people when he mowed down Steve Tannenbaum, 60, in a stolen car last February. Gelman pleaded guilty to four counts of murder and a host of other charges, but his sentencing was delayed for a week after his lawyer sought to have him examined by a neuro-psychologist. But Tannenbaum’s brother Mitch, who traveled from out of state, was allowed by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Vincent DelGiudice to make his victim-impact statement so he would not have to return for the rescheduled Jan. 18 sentencing. Read More: New York Post

 

Velvet Underground sues Warhol Foundation in fight over who has rights to artist’s iconic banana design 

The legendary Velvet Underground, in a complaint filed by founders Lou Reed and John Cale, sued the Andy Warhol Foundation for illegally licensing the iconic banana cover from their 1967 debut album. The influential New York rockers, in taking a walk on the legal wild side, claimed the Foundation was wrongly peddling the banana image for use with Apple’s iPhone and iPad. “The banana design became a symbol, truly an icon, of the Velvet Underground,” charged the suit filed Wednesday in Manhattan Federal Court. Read More: Daily News

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

NYC Firebombing Suspect Charged with Hate Crime

A New York man suspected of five New York City fire bombings was arrested today and charged with a hate crime. Ray Lazier Lengend, 40, was charged with one count of arson as a hate crime and four counts of arson in connection with the Sunday attacks that targeted an Islamic center, a Hindu temple, a bodega and two private homes. Lengend was arrested by cops who staked out a vehicle overnight awaiting the return of the vehicle’s owner. According to law enforcement officials, Lengend made statements that appear to implicate him in at least some of the bombings, but stopped short of a confession in the first rounds of interrogation. Detectives, relying on statements from witnesses and grainy surveillance video, determined the suspected bomber drove a late model car with Virginia license plates. Read More: ABC News

Gov. Cuomo wants Aqueduct racino to serve as 3.8 million square foot convention center

Governor Cuomo wants to up the ante on the future of the Aqueduct racino in Queens and make it home to the country’s largest convention center, the Daily News has learned. The planned project will be highlighted as part of the economic development agenda Cuomo will outline in his State of the State address Wednesday, two sources told The News. “The notion is that (Cuomo) is going to put the project on the fast-track to get it done,” one source said. “They need a couple of big economic development initiatives to announce.” Read More: Daily News

Pol, residents demand DOT repair broken curbs

Queens residents have had their hopes for safe sidewalks curbed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). Senator Tony Avella recently united with perturbed residents from northern and eastern Queens – who have suffered with broken curbs in front of their homes for years – to demand the DOT “accelerate” their sidewalk repair program. Read More: Queens Courier

Transit advocates oppose plan to turn defunct railroad into QueensWay park 

A plan to transform an abandoned rail line into a park in southern Queens is generating a lot of buzz, but a group of transit advocates has another vision. They believe the tracks, which have sat idle for five decades, should be reactivated to give southern Queens residents an easier commute to Manhattan. The Long Island Rail Road operated the line, which once ran from Rockaway, up through Ozone Park and Forest Park to Rego Park. It was discontinued in the early 1960s and the property is currently owned by the city. A growing group of supporters is pushing for a High Line-type park to be known as the QueensWay. Read More: Daily News

Lobbyist Is Expected to Plead Guilty in Corruption Case

Richard J. Lipsky, a prominent New York lobbyist who was charged in the bribery conspiracy case that also ensnared State Senator Carl Kruger, is expected to plead guilty on Wednesday in Federal District Court in Manhattan, a person briefed on the matter said Tuesday. Mr. Lipsky’s plea would come just two weeks after Kruger resigned from the Senate and pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the broad conspiracy case that has been seen as reflecting corruption in Albany. Mr. Kruger faces up to 50 years in prison when he is sentenced in April by Judge Jed S. Rakoff. Read More: New York Times

Officials Condemn Queens Firebomb Attacks

Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with religious leaders Tuesday morning in a strong show of support after Molotov cocktails hit an Islamic cultural center, a Hindu house of worship, and two other locations in Queens this weekend. “Whether it was senseless violence or a hate crime will be determined down the road. But in either case we’re just not going to tolerate it in this city. And fortunately the number of incidents like this are very low, but one is one too many,” Bloomberg said. Read More: NY1

TSA: Pre-Check Screenings Coming To JFK

The screening process is getting faster and easier for some passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Federal officials announced Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check Program will be enacted at the airport early this year. Eligible American Airlines passengers as well as members of the Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler programs will go through an expedited screening process which does not require taking off shoes, a jacket or belt. Read More: NY1

 

Mourners Gather At Fallen NYPD Officer’s Funeral


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mourners Gather At Fallen NYPD Officer’s Funeral

Family, friends, and fellow officers will gather on Long Island today to say a final goodbye to a city police officer who was gunned down last week in Brooklyn. The funeral for Officer Peter Figoski will take place at 11 a.m. at the Parish of St. Joseph Church in Babylon. Mayor Michael Bloomberg was among the hundreds who paid their respects on the second day of Figoski’s wake yesterday. Police say Figoski, 47, was shot in the face by Lamont Pride, 27, during a botched robbery last Monday morning in Cypress Hills. Pride is charged with first and second degree murder in Figoski’s death. Read More: NY1

 

Kim Jong Ils death rocks North Korea, gives region jitters

It was the scenario strategists from Beijing to Washington fretted over: Kim Jong Il’s sudden death befalls North Korea, before the isolated regime completed a power transfer to his young son and rejoined disarmament talks with the US. With news of Kim’s death Monday, the impoverished country with a nuclear program plunged further into uncertainty, raising risks for the region. Read More: New York Post

 

Roughin’ it to roofin’ it

Sheryl-Ann Peters’ occupation was never televised. But unlike Occupy Wall Street protesters — who recently seized a vacant East New York home and moved in a homeless family — her housing takeover was entirely legal. Peters became a first-time homeowner last month thanks to an affordable-housing program for neighborhoods hardest hit by the housing crisis. The city bought the vacant, foreclosed, three-bedroom in St. Albans, Queens in August 2010 for $266,833 under a federal housing program. It added $177,190 worth of renovations, bringing the total worth to $444,023. Read More: Daily News

 

FDNY: Five Firefighters Injured In Brooklyn Brownstone Fire

Five city firefighters were hospitalized Monday while fighting a two-alarm fire in brooklyn. The New York City Fire Department says crews responded to a three-story brownstone located at 1102 Prospect Place in Crown Heights just after 9 a.m. Two firefighters were taken to Cornell Burn Center, one of whom suffered burns over 40 percent of his body. Three others were also injured. No civilians were hurt. The fire was under control in about an hour. Read More: NY1

 

Sources: Cornell Wins Bid For Roosevelt Island Tech Campus

Cornell University is about to become the winner of a competition to build a new science and engineering campus in the city, sources tell NY1. An official announcement from Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected later today. The city has offered free land on Roosevelt Island and up to $100 million worth of infrastructure. In a major sign of strength, the Cornell bid received a $350 million anonymous donation to help build the campus. Stanford University — another top contender — announced Friday it was pulling its bid. Columbia and NYU were also in the running. Read More: NY1

 

Brooklyn Man Awaits Arraignment For Burning Woman Alive

A Brooklyn man is expected to be arraigned today on charges he killed a woman by setting her on fire in her apartment building elevator. Jerome Issac, 47, is charged with murder and arson. Police say he turned himself in yesterday reeking of gasoline and saying he set a fire. Investigators believe he waited for Deloris Gillespie, 73, on the fifth floor of her building in Prospect Heights Saturday afternoon. Police say Isaac is the man seen in surveillance photos. When the elevator doors opened, they say Isaac sprayed Gillespie with a liquid accelerant, and kept spraying after she crouched down. They say he lit a Molotov cocktail and set Gillespie on fire, then tossed the flaming bottle in the elevator and kept spraying the victim. Read More: NY1

 

Haggerty sent to prison for 1 and 1/3 years for Bloomberg campaign cash theft

Disgraced political consultant John Haggerty — described by his own lawyer as broke, divorced and dishonored — was sentenced this morning to serve at least one and one-third years — and as much as four years — in prison for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign cash from Mayor Bloomberg. The sentence was handed down by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ronald Zweibel, and immediately enacted, with Haggerty being cuffed and led away to a back holding cell for processing. The sentence covers Haggerty’s October conviction for money laundering and second degree grand larceny. Read More: New York Post

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

District Attorney says Queens teacher had sex with student, 13

Prosecutors say a New York City public school teacher is being charged with rape for a sexual relationship with a student that began when she was just 13. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 44-year-old Charles Oross engaged in a sexual relationship with the teen from January 2009 to April 2010. The district attorney said the encounters happened at the school, Intermediate School 238 in Queens, and in Oross’ car. Oross, of East Islip, N.Y., was awaiting arraignment Thursday. No information about an attorney was immediately available. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Tea Party big Mark Meckler pinched for gun possession at LaGuardia Airport Thursday 

A co-founder of an influential Tea Party group was arrested at LaGuardia Airport Thursday for illegally trying to bring a pistol and ammunition aboard a plane, authorities said. Mark Meckler of the Tea Party Patriots had a Glock 27 pistol and 19 bullets in a locked gun box — but he didn’t have a New York State permit for the firepower, which he told authorities he needs because he gets threats. Meckler, 49, handed the gun box to a Delta Airlines ticket agent around 5 a.m. Thursday, Queens prosecutors said. It was discovered during a pre-flight check. Read More: Daily News

 

NYPD cadet arrested for allegedly stealing this mother’s credit card in a $13 million ID theft ring in Queens 

An NYPD cadet was arrested Wednesday for stealing his mother’s credit card as part of a $13 million identity theft ring, authorities said. Raymond Gumti, 23, is accused of taking his mom’s TD Bank card and PIN numbers and using them to create a counterfeit credit card. He put the phony card in the name of another defendant who was indicted as a shopper in the scheme and racked up nearly $13,000 in unauthorized charges at stores like Apple, Louis Vuitton and Bloomingdales, a spokesman for the Queen’s District Attorney’s Office said. Read More: Daily News

 

Santa was really a Rotarian

Santa Claus rang his sleigh bells loudly as he combed the halls of the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP) Children’s Center. Followed closely by Frosty the Snowman, the pair peeked inside various rooms, searching for children. Toys in hand, they entered one at the end of the hallway — to an eruption of delighted squeals. Read More: Queens Courier

 

More Liu Donors Said to Be Examined in Fund-Raising Inquiry

The federal inquiry into the campaign finances of New York City’s comptroller, John C. Liu, a possible mayoral candidate in 2013, appears to be widening, with people knowledgeable about the matter saying Thursday that there has been an increased focus on seeking information from his supporters in the Chinese-American business community. In recent weeks, agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation have delivered subpoenas seeking a broad range of records and other information to a growing circle of Mr. Liu’s more generous donors, said the people knowledgeable about the matter, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Van Bramer Volunteers At LIC Food Pantry

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and his constituents reached out to help the St. Raphael’s Parish food pantry Thursday. Read More: NY1

 

Cop-slay judge bails

The Brooklyn judge who unleashed a violent ex-con weeks before he allegedly killed a cop was a no-show at work yesterday — the day after Mayor Bloomberg ripped into her for a bail bungle. Judge Evelyn Laporte was nowhere to be seen in Brooklyn Criminal Court as several City Council members denounced her ill-fated decision to spring Lamont Pride without bail after his arrest last month on drug charges. There was a warrant for his arrest in North Carolina for an August shooting when he was busted on Nov.3 in New York for crack and pot possession — but Laporte ignored prosecutors’ pleas for $2,500 bail. Pride, 27, is accused of gunning down Officer Peter Figoski during a Brooklyn home invasion on Monday. Read More: New York Post

 

Kid shoots off finger

The 11-year-old son of a Staten Island school teacher shot off a portion of his finger yesterday while playing with his father’s illegal gun, police said. The West Brighton youth was home alone with his 8-year-old brother in the basement of their single- family home when the gun went off at 2:40 p.m., according to law-enforcement sources. Michael Bilotto, a Department of Environmental Protection construction worker, was taken into custody for possession of an unlicensed handgun, police said. Read More: New York Post

 

Cop slay getaway driver’s lame defense: I drove thugs in exchange for gas money

The getaway driver charged with four others in the slaying of NYPD Officer Peter Figoski admits he knew the accused triggerman was carrying a gun before the botched robbery that led to the Brooklyn cop’s murder. In an exclusive jailhouse interview with the Daily News, Michael Velez, 21, said he looked over to Lamont Pride, who was sitting in the passenger seat and saw the weapon. Velez said he was stunned — and even more so when Pride, 27, put his finger on the trigger of 9-mm. Ruger. Read More: Daily News

 

Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction upheld on appeal 

A state appeals court on Thursday upheld disgraced lawmaker Hiram Monserrate’s 2009 assault conviction for roughing up his girlfriend in the lobby of his Queens apartment building three years ago. The four-judge panel dismissed the former Queens pol’s claim that prosecutors failed to prove a key element of the assault charge — that girlfriend Karla Giraldo endured “substantial pain” from a physical attack. Read More: Daily News

Woman dies after getting pinned between floors inside Madison Avenue elevator


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman dies after getting pinned between floors inside Madison Avenue elevator

A woman was crushed to death this morning in Midtown after getting pinned between floors while riding in an elevator, authorities said. The victim, who was not immediately identified by police, walked into the elevator at about 10 a.m. on the first floor at 285 Madison Avenue near 40th Street. Witnesses said the elevator, with two other people aboard, started to ascend to the second floor with its doors open after the woman had taken a step halfway inside the car. Read More: New York Post

 

NY opens heart: Post launches fund for hero’s four girls

The New York City Police Foundation and the New York Post have launched the Police Foundation Peter Figoski Scholarship Fund to raise money for the higher education of the slain hero cop’s four daughters. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly thanked The Post for making an initial contribution to the fund of $25,000. “Police Officer Figoski gave his life for this city, and, as a New Yorker, I am proud to see so many people reach out and express appreciation for Officer Figoski and support for his daughters, who have lost a loving father,” Kelly said. Read More: New York Post

 

Mayor Bloomberg announces results of undercover operation into illegal gun sales

Another undercover operation into gun sales — this time over the Internet — found that 62 percent of private sellers were willing to peddle firearms to people who couldn’t pass a federally-mandated backround check, Mayor Bloomberg announced today. One of the guns bought illegally by private investigators hired by the city was a Ruger P95 9 mm — the exact model of the weapon that a career criminal allegedly used to kill Police Officer Peter Figoski earlier this week. Read More: New York Post

 

Commissioner outraged that ‘cop killer’ was freed

Accused cop killer Lamont Pride “should not have been out on the streets’’ when he gunned down Officer Peter Figoski, a furious Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday. The city’s top cop laid blame on everyone from the Brooklyn judge who freed Pride without bail after a drug bust last month, to North Carolina authorities who issued a federal warrant for him after he allegedly shot a man there in August. “The request for bail was only $2,500,’’ Kelly said, referring to what Brooklyn prosecutors had asked Judge Evelyn Laporte for the ex-con on Nov. 4 and were denied. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens postal center to remain open – for now

Elected officials joined union representatives and several community leaders to deliver a clear message to the United States Postal Service (USPS) — don’t even think about closing Queens’ distribution center. And for now, it seems the USPS got the message. Just days after State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky and Congressmember Joseph Crowley led a rally to protest the impending closure of the Queens Processing and Distribution Center in Whitestone, the Postal Service acquiesced and struck a deal to freeze all postal closures until May 2012. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Suspect nabbed in Manhattan holdup spree

Police have busted one of a pair of robbers who have ripped off 14 stores and restaurants in midtown Manhattan, authorities said Tuesday. Duwayne Bascom, 30, of Brooklyn, was nabbed in connection with robberies at the Soul Fixins restaurant on W. 28th St. and the Blimpie on W. 23rd St. on Nov. 2. Police say Bascom walked into the two eateries within 40 minutes of each other and demanded money. Read More: Daily News

NYPD launches early morning raid and eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters


| hchin@homereporternews.com

An unconfirmed number of Occupy Wall Street protesters have been arrested during a surprise early morning raid and eviction of Zuccotti Park, where protesters have been camped for two months.

It was shortly after 1 a.m. on Tuesday, November 15, when word began to spread that the New York Police Department had surrounded the park and used a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) to disperse the crowd. The announcement came in emails and text messages as press access was blocked, but live video feeds of the proceedings – which reportedly include tear gas and police in riot gear making individual arrests – were being broadcast online at http://www.livestream.com/occupynyc and www.livestream.com/occupy_liberty.

According to one Brooklynite, the “police have a multiple block radius sealed off around Liberty [Street]. There are supporters & witnesses at least on the north & south of the square but they’ve disallowed press in the square. [The] crowd [is] in good spirits. [There are] hundreds of police in full riot gear.”

According to the Associated Press, around 70 people were arrested overnight, including some who chained themselves together – reportedly by linking arms and also using chains on their neck to prevent abuse.

These arrests included reporters and photographers from the Associated Press and The New York Daily Newswho were detained hours after the raid in the general vicinity of Zuccotti Park.

The action came following the announcement on OWS’s website that they were planning to “shut down Wall Street” with a demonstration. The show of police force sparked immediate mobilization of supporters from across the city, including Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Sunset Park and Bedford-Stuyvesant, into Manhattan to see it for themselves, with thousands of others from around the world gathering online to express support.

Some time after 3 a.m., filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message via Twitter calling for Occupiers and their supporters to rally in Foley Square, north of City Hall and across from the U.S. Supreme Court building.

By 4:30 a.m., the gathered masses began to split between a spot near Broadway and Pine Street, and Foley Square.

At 6:30 a.m., a temporary restraining order was issued prohibiting the NYPD from making any more evictions from Liberty Park “unless lawful arrests for criminal offenses,” and allowing protesters back in with tents or other property previously utilized, and prohibiting the enforcement of “rules published after the occupation began.”

The restraining order was obtained with help from attorneys working with the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) who are working as the Liberty Park Working Group.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has stated that the city will fight the restraining order in the interest of “protect[ing] public safety.”

Bloomberg also defended the surprise nighttime raid as being designed “to reduce the risk of confrontation in the park, and to minimize disruption to the surrounding neighborhood.”

[UPDATE] Occupy Wall Street News


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Poster Courtesy of OccupyWallSt.org

[Update] NYC, Occupy Wall Street wait for judge’s ruling  after Zuccotti Park evictions

A judge hand-picked by protest lawyers signed an early-morning emergency order saying the demonstrators can come back with their stuff. But the city refused to reopen the park before a Tuesday afternoon hearing in front of a different judge. A decision was expected by 3 p.m. Some Occupy Wall Street protesters had already moved to another public space, owned by Trinity Church, at Canal St. and Sixth Ave., where they used bolt cutters to open a fenced-in area. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Clear Zuccotti Park of Protesters

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Tuesday defended his decision to clear the park in Lower Manhattan that was the birthplace of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” in the park where the protesters had camped out for nearly two months. Read More: New York Times

 

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez Arrested, Injured at Occupy Wall Street Raid

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez has been arrested at the NYPD raid on Occupy Wall Street. David Segal, a spokesperson for Councilman Rodriguez, told the Observer he confirmed the Councilman’s arrest through a staffer at City Hall. Read More:  PolitickerNY

 

How to Protest Safely and Legally

Whether or not you agree with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement, hitting the streets to make your voice heard is a fundamental right in the United States, and it’s part of our country’s lifeblood. Whether you’re headed out in support or dissent, you should know what you’re getting into before you go. Even if you think the event is purely peaceful, someone else, another protest group, or the police may all have different ideas. Here are some tips to prepare before you go out to have your voice heard. Read More: Lifehacker

Occupy Wall Street Live Feed – This is one of the live video feeds that has managed to stay up amidst the chaos of the eviction of Zuccotti Park : http://www.ustream.tv/theother99

Zuccotti Park Eviction: Court Order Against City Says Protesters Can Return With Tents In Tow

The National Lawyers Guild says it has obtained a court order that allows Occupy Wall St. protesters to return with tents to a New York City park. The guild says the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Read More: Huffington Post

Occupy Wall Street outlines NYC plans for 2-month anniversary

Occupy Wall Street protesters and their supporters have outlined plans for the movement’s two-month anniversary on Thursday. They distributed a flier with the plans in Foley Square Tuesday morning. The protesters were evacuated overnight by the city from their Zuccotti Park encampment. On Thursday, protesters planned to confront Wall Street at 7 a.m. “with the stories of people on the front lines of economic injustice.” Read More: Wall Street Journal

Occupy Wall Street Press Release: A Call to OccupyRead Here

Video of last night’s police raid on Zucotti Park: Twitvid

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/15/2011: Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Mayor Bloomberg Announces City Will Have Record Number of Hotel Rooms

Overlooking Manhattan, on the Queens side of the East River, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city will reach a record 90,000 hotel rooms by year’s end – a clear message that people still love New York. The mayor made the announcement on the rooftop of the newly opened Z NYC Hotel in Long Island City, where he was joined by State Senator Michael Gianaris, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta and Z NYC owner Henry Zilberman. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Assemblyman Goldfeder Launches Petition To Make Cross Bay Bridge Free

A Queens official is renewing efforts to make the Cross Bay Bridge free of charge. State Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder has launched an online petition for residents of the Rockaways and Broad Channel to sign. He’s urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Governor Andrew Cuomo to put an end to the toll on the only intraborough bridge in the city. Read More: NY1

 

Tibetans in Queens mourn recent spate of self-immolations in their homeland 

About 50 Tibetans packed a small basement on 73rd St. in Jackson Heights on a recent Monday and set up a makeshift altar. A portrait of the Dalai Lama and Snow Lion flag of Tibet flanked an image of Buddha. Then the mantra of the Sangcho Monlam, a prayer for the dead, filled the room, normally a Burmese center. They were mourning two Tibetans — a nun and a monk — who set themselves ablaze to protest China’s rule. Read More: Daily News

 

Workers put finishing touches on first Fairway Market ready to debut in Queens

Hundreds of workers are putting the finishing touches on the borough’s first Fairway Market set to open on Wednesday. The Daily News got a sneak peek at the new Douglaston store — the largest in New York City — with owner Howie Glickberg as he personally inspected all the aisles on Monday. Read More: Daily News

 

PS 69 and IS 145 in congested Jackson Heights set to open playgrounds for public use 

A congested community in western Queens that fought long and hard for more parks is about to get a little more open space. The city is transforming two Jackson Heights schoolyards into student-designed playgrounds that will be open to the public after school and on weekends. Community leaders were also optimistic that the city will soon hammer out a deal to buy land from a nearby private school to expand Travers Park. Read More: Daily News