Tag Archives: Myrtle Avenue

Man wanted in Ridgewood assault of 82-year-old woman


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police have released surveillance footage of a man suspected of punching an elderly woman as she was walking in Ridgewood Thursday morning.

On Sept. 25 at about 6:35 a.m. the 82-year-old victim was walking near the intersection of Myrtle Avenue and Seneca Street when the suspect came up behind her and struck her to the side of her face with a closed fist, causing bruising and swelling, according to cops.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic or black man, between 25 to 30 years old and 5 feet 7 inches tall. He was wearing blue jeans and a black T-shirt with a design in white.

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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Restoration project for Glendale library unveiled


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of Queens Library

Queens Library announced its plans to restore Glendale’s library to its former glory and make it more  accessible to the handicapped.

The library on 73rd Place was built in 1935 and since then little has been done to alter or improve the building, according to the project’s architect Matthew Baird. The budget for the project is $2.8 million and with this money, Baird plans on installing an elevator and restoring the interior and the attached garden.

The restoration team, which is part of the Department of Design and Construction, expects to start construction in 2017.

“It’s an incredible facility and we’d like to restore it to its grandeur,” Baird said during a Community Board 5 meeting. “It will be a fantastic place to be.”

The restoration project will also open up some windows that had been covered in bricks over the years, preventing light from entering the second floor. The bookshelves are battered and worn, something Baird wants to change by cleaning the shelves as well as much of the building.

When the library first opened, the garden was well-manicured but since then, the vegetation has become overgrown and Baird wants to not only trim the overgrowth but also install chairs so people can read outside.

The installation of a new elevator is an attempt to make the building more accessible to handicapped people. There will also be a new handicapped entrance on the Myrtle Avenue side.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley secured the $2.8 million through the City Council’s budget but the funds fall short of satisfying all of the library’s needs.

On the first floor there is a once vibrant mural that is now dull and dirty, but the project does not include funds to restore the artwork.

 

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Ridgewood thrift store finds new home for precious junk


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

For over three years, Alberto and Nanci Caceda squeezed antiques and clothes into their thrift shop on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood until they could squeeze no more.

So now they’re moving a few doors down the street to a store that is twice the size of the current Gotham Thrift Shop.

The new store can hold everything they’ve accumulated over the years, much of which is currently piled in their store’s basement, the backyard and a two-car garage.

“We have too much junk,” said Alberto, who spent 10 years in the military, including two tours in Iraq. “Well, I call it junk but it’s not really junk. It’s precious junk to me and a lot of people.”

Rather than move everything from the old store to the new one, they’re going to try and sell as much as possible by marking everything down by 20 percent in June.

They hope to open the new location on June 14 and mark the opening with a huge sale.

On Monday, Alberto stood in the front of the gutted, empty new store on Myrtle Avenue. Nanci was inside hanging a sign on the glass display that said “Future Home of Gotham Thrift.”

As Nanci put the sign up, Diego Gonzalez, a local, approached Alberto with a blue bike. It was an English-made Dunelt bike, and Alberto arranged to sell it for Gonzalez with a seller’s commission.

With the new space and its 4,000 square feet, the married couple would be able to display more and bigger things like bikes. They also hope to hire a longtime customer. Their current store is hardly 2,000 square feet, according to Alberto, and is crammed with all sorts of things, including a cigarette vending machine, lamps from the ‘50s and ‘60s, cassettes tapes and typewriters.

The store also serves to preserve old things in the community. In 2011, when the thrift shop first opened, the couple bought shoes at an auction that were made in a shoe factory in Maspeth. And in storage, they have stained-glass windows from the almost-century-old Ridgewood Theater. The theater has since been bought by a development company, according to Curbed, and is expected to be converted into a condo.

“It’s fun to go around and see this cool stuff,” Alberto said. “I sometimes see really amazing things.”

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DOT unveils new proposal for intersection between Queens and Brooklyn


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DOT

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is trying to untangle an intersection where Wyckoff Avenue, Myrtle Avenue and Palmetto Road meet.

By restricting car turns, the department hopes to prevent the many injuries and some deaths that have occurred because of the “confusion and chaos” of the area, according to a representative from the DOT. They presented all of these problems and possible solutions to Community Board 5 on Wednesday.

“This is a problem area, to say the least,” a DOT representative told the board. “So we’re looking very closely at this area. The injuries and deaths need to stop.”

Like a tangled clump of yarn, there are 25 different turns that cars can make, with just as many pedestrian injuries. Between 2008 and 2012, 29 people were injured in some combination between the intersections. In the last five years two people died on the eastern side of the intersection, according to NYPD records collected by the transportation department

Along with banning five turns, they also want to extend curbs for pedestrians in order to shorten the distance needed to cross the many streets where Queens and Brooklyn meet. The labyrinth of intersections also holds a huge transit hub with access to M and L subways and B13, B26, B52, B54, Q55 and Q58 buses. All of which creates huge volumes of people competing with huge volumes of cars all trying to reach their final destination.

The intersection that straddle the Brooklyn-Queens line has always posed a problem for the transportation department and for members of the community board.

“We have looked at this intersection twice in 10 years,” Chair of the Community Board Vincent Arcuri said. “And we just can’t seem to figure out the best solution yet so hopefully we can figure something out this time around.”

The DOT is also considering installment of flashing yellow warning lights on the subway support columns and in January they installed more lights under the train overpass.

The final decision will be made next Tuesday during the board’s transportation committee meeting.

 

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Second Myrtle Avenue pedestrian plaza gets community support


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Call it the Myrtle Avenue makeover.

Community Board 5 (CB5) is in favor of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) plan to transform the corner of Myrtle and 71st Avenues into a pedestrian plaza.

The plan to makeover the space was almost fully accepted at the board’s most recent transportation committee meeting, except for a few minor changes.

Photo courtesy the Department of Transportation 

“It’s a nice attribute for the community,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and a member of the community board. “Pedestrian plazas have become very popular throughout the city.”

The DOT will install new lighting, bike racks, plants, chess tables, chairs and umbrellas for shade, and raise the sidewalk for the new square.

Renz said the BID will look to create art and music programs and variety of services at the plaza for the community to enjoy when it is completed.

But before that, the DOT has to tweak the plan and present the final designs to the community board’s transportation committee for approval at an upcoming meeting.

The plaza is just one of two coming to Myrtle Avenue. The city’s Department of Design and Construction is in the final design phase for another public square at the intersection of Myrtle and Cooper Avenues in Glendale, which is known as the Glendale Veterans Triangle. It is expected to go out to bid and start construction by next year, according to Renz.

Rendering courtesy of the Department of Design and Construction

 

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Unlicensed teen driver hits, kills child in Ridgewood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A 19-year-old, driving with just a learner’s permit, struck a 7-year-old boy in Queens last night, said police.

Around 6:50 p.m., the woman was heading east on Myrtle Avenue when she hit the child as he was crossing on Madison Street.

The victim was taken to Wyckoff Hospital and pronounced dead.

The driver remained on the scene of the accident and produced a valid New York State learner’s permit. After a preliminary investigation, she was issued a summons for an unlicensed operator.

The NYPD is still investigating the accident.

 

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Community Board 9 votes down block conversion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Residents living on a stretch of 84th Avenue have reason to rejoice.

Community Board 9 unanimously voted on Tuesday, October 9 in opposition to a Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal to convert the street between Myrtle Avenue and Lefferts Boulevard from a two-way to a one-way eastbound street.

“Let’s get a rational study by the DOT,” said Andrea Crawford, the board’s transportation committee chair, when introducing the vote.

At the board’s September meeting, 84th Avenue residents spoke in opposition to the proposal, saying the DOT had not conducted a proper study on the street. By becoming a one-way, they said, the street could become a thoroughfare for speeders and divert traffic to other streets. Several residents returned, along with new speakers, for the October meeting to ask the board again to oppose the block conversion.

DOT representatives were not able to respond to requests at press time regarding the next step. A spokesperson said in Septemberthat an analysis from the agency showed the conversion was feasible, but DOT was waiting for the board’s vote before moving forward.

Residents, on the other hand, didn’t seem to agree with the feasibility, and are happy their community took a stand against it.

Laurence Levy lives on 84th Avenue and spoke to the board last week about his unhappiness with the DOT’s proposal for the block.

“I felt that we were pretty persuasive at the meeting,” he said afterward.

Levy noted that by changing the street to a one-way, it would only divert traffic to other blocks, causing an even bigger problem for more residents.

Should the street have changed, drivers would feel more inclined to speed and threaten the families and elderly living on the street.

“It’s a safety issue number one. You would make a dangerous situation, now already dangerous, by increasing the speed of the cars coming up the road,” Levy said. “Basically we would be making it easier for everybody in South Richmond Hill, Ozone Park to get where they want quicker. The burden would be on us essentially by sacrificing a direction in the road.”

The reroute would have also pushed traffic to other surrounding blocks, he said, and not really offering a solution.

“All you would be doing is shuffling the deck,” he said.

Plaza a place to relax in Ridgewood


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

A quarter century after the idea originated, the plan for a Ridgewood pedestrian plaza finally came to fruition.

The plaza, situated on 71st Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street, was closed to traffic during the first week of October. Chairs and tables were expected to be delivered to the street as The Courier Sun was going to press.

Granite blocks and planters line the plaza in the center of the Myrtle Avenue retail corridor. A pedestrian triangle with benches already existed as a barrier between Myrtle and 71st avenues.

When Venditti Square and Ridgewood Memorial Triangle were built 25 years ago, the 71st Avenue Triangle was to be constructed as well, but city cutbacks caused the plan to be scrapped.

The design was reset in motion when a proposal was submitted in 2011 to the city’s plaza program.

“After 25 years, we’re finally coming full circle and creating what was supposed to have been built back in the 80s,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District.

After the plan was approved, the DOT offered to construct the temporary plaza instead of the community waiting a couple of years for the permanent space to be designed. The temporary plaza allows the space to be utilized while a permanent one is planned. Renz said workshops will be held in the coming months regarding the permanent plaza.

“I like the idea, I’m interested in how it will be used,” said Ridgewood resident Debra Fairs.

The triangle will be home to local events — such as pictures with Santa — as well as a spot people can congregate to sit and relax, Renz said.

The space will be maintained by the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue BID.

Ridgewood plaza a reality


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The proposed plan for Ridgewood’s 71st Avenue Triangle will become a reality when a temporary pedestrian plaza is installed where the road meets Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street.

This project furthers Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to create public, open plazas throughout the city.

Ridgewood residents and area business owners met Tuesday night, September 4, with the city Department of Transportation (DOT) and officials from the Local Development Corp., Business Improvement District (BID) and Community Board 5 to brainstorm designs for the temporary plaza.

“We need to improve Myrtle Avenue,” said John Mistretta, the original owner of Joe and John’s Pizzeria, which has been open on Myrtle Avenue for nearly five decades.

Mistretta believes that with this new pedestrian plaza, people will be encouraged to come and walk around more frequently, hopefully restoring the success of the area’s retail businesses.

“We need to make it more like it was 40 years ago. There was a big, main shopping area, now it’s slowed down,” he said.

Along with promoting local businesses, the 71st Avenue Triangle was chosen as the plaza site because of its proximity to bus transit. The change will also widen crosswalks, hopefully eliminating any pedestrian-vehicle conflict.

Emily Weidenhof, project manager for the DOT, said that the installation will not affect any emergency response time, traffic will be minimally impacted, and any parking spots lost will be reclaimed on the opposite side of Myrtle Avenue.

Weidenhof encouraged those at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss among themselves just what was needed for the temporary plaza. She noted a need for pedestrian crossings, convenient seating, good lighting and continued maintenance.

“Your input is extremely important. That’s what helps these things meet your needs,” Weidenhof told the crowd. “If we get to the community, we can come back to enhance it in a more permanent condition later on.” In order to promote and enhance the temporary site, plans of public art forums and street fairs were discussed. The Ridgewood BID will be responsible for maintenance of the area, and business owners expressed a need for public trash and recycle bins.

The DOT, Ridgewood LDC and BID are continuing to work with local business owners and residents to accommodate all of their needs. If the temporary plaza proves successful in the community, a permanent site will be established by early next year.

“Build something, more people will come down,” said Mistretta. “We gotta give it to the people, to get it back.”

 

Pol, businesses battle bulging baskets


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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Trash cans stationed on community corners and reserved for pedestrians have been bombarded by household rubbish, causing the receptacles to overflow, much to the dismay of local leaders and business owners.

“Monday morning, I come in and bags are piled up,” said Kenny Patel, owner of a fruit store along Myrtle Avenue, where much of the problem has occurred.

Some Glendale residents have been taking full trash bags and dumping them in city litter baskets, which quickly fills the cans, say locals.

“We need to educate the residents to not use these for household trash, that’s what makes the cans overflow,” said Assemblymember Mike Miller.

The assemblymember has been working with the Department of Sanitation to register businesses in the Adopt-A-Basket program to help keep sidewalks clean and prevent fines for local stores.

Business owners are responsible for trash in front of their store, which can become more difficult when trash cans are filled past capacity.

Sarsia Sabudin, who owns a deli on Myrtle Avenue that adopted a basket, said almost daily he needs to collect debris that litters the area in front of his shop due to an overstuffed wastebasket.

“I’ve seen people drive up, roll down their window and dump their bags into the garbage,” he said.

If a business adopts a trash can, the DSNY supplies the owners with green bags to line the receptacles. When these near capacity, the proprietor replaces the bag and places the full bag next to the container for pick up.

“It’s a lot better to have two or three garbage bags tied up neat, than an overflowing garbage can,” Miller said.

The program and increased enforcement will aid in the battle of bulging trash, Miller said.

“Once we identify a corner where we know the basket is being abused, we’ll have our enforcement agents monitor it,” said Ignazio Terranova, DSNY community affairs officer.

Dumping household or business trash in litter baskets carries a $100 fine.

Miller said he will contact the Sanitation Department with trouble areas and business that want to adopt a basket. The assemblymember also said he plans on requesting request additional days of collection.

The litter baskets along Myrtle Avenue are currently collected twice on Monday, once on Wednesday and Thursday, and once a month on Sunday.

DOT presents plan for Glendale plaza


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Department of Design and Construction

Some locals are worried a proposed pedestrian plaza won’t be a walk in the park for drivers.

Under the plan, a public space would be constructed between famed German restaurant Zum Stammtisch and the Glendale Veterans Triangle, closing off 70th Street between Myrtle and Cooper avenues. Benches, greenery and outdoor seating for Zum Stammtisch would be installed, with the Glendale Veterans Memorial standing in the center.
The project, first proposed in February, was presented to the Glendale community by Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives at a meeting on Wednesday, May 2 at Redeemer Lutheran, a block from the selected location.

Raising the concern of residents was the inability of drivers to turn onto Myrtle or Cooper Avenues at the intersection adjacent to the plaza, removing another central access point for the major arteries in the area with 70th Street to be closed.

“It’s a little bit of give and take, we’re not going to make everybody happy,” said Emily Weidenhof, project manager of public spaces.
Rich Huber, who is on the Transportation Committee of Community Board 5, said that while he does not think the plaza is a bad idea, he is worried about the congestion confused drivers and those circling for parking will cause.

“There will be an adjustment period,” said Borough Commissioner Maura McCarthy. “But as people get used to the closed street, they will find their way.”
Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (LDC), said the organization will be responsible for the upkeep of the plaza — sanitation, removing tables nightly and maintenance. The LDC provides a similar service for the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District in Ridgewood.

Community Board 5 (CB5) is still awaiting DOT revisions and the plaza’s final plans, said District Manager Gary Giordano, before making a recommendation.

“I think having a pedestrian plaza at that location could be a lovely addition to the neighborhood,” Giordano said. “But we need to make sure that traffic concerns, especially safety, are addressed and need to prepare for any security issues that might arise.”

Though the DOT said that no security cameras would be installed, Zum Stammtisch’s owners said they would place a surveillance camera outside the restaurant.
The approximately $1.5 million plan, which has not yet been finalized, must still be presented to CB5’s transportation committee, voted on and reviewed by the Public Design Commission.

If approved construction would not begin until the fall of 2013 or spring of 2014.

Rally to resurrect Glendale Social Security office


| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Billy Rennison

Congressional candidate Rory Lancman recently stood in the shadows of a shuttered Social Security office and called for the program to be saved both locally and nationally.

Lancman was joined by colleague Assemblymember Cathy Nolan in front of the closed Social Security office on Myrtle Avenue, which shut its doors last year.

“This closed Social Security office is a brick-and-mortar manifestation of the Republican assault on Social Security in this country for the last 20 years,” said Lancman, who is running for the 6th Congressional District seat.

The assemblymembers called for the reopening of the Glendale facility that served thousands of residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
The office closed last summer in a money-saving maneuver after cuts to Social Security’s budget. The consolidation of the offices will save the agency approximately $3 million over 10 years.

More than half of the local residents that used the office do not have a car, Lancman said. Residents must now travel to the Rego Park office, which is about 45 minutes away from the Glendale location by public transportation.

During the press conference, area senior citizens gathered to speak about the pitfalls of the Glendale office closing.

“I don’t drive; to go to Rego Park is a nightmare,” said Linda McGrath, who had used the Glendale office. “It’s easier to get to Manhattan than it is to get from here to Rego Park.”

Another retiree, Kathleen Strong of Glendale, added that driving to and parking at the Rego Park branch would be a hassle.

“Congress may think that traveling a few extra miles to access Social Security benefits is no big deal, but the folks in Washington apparently don’t understand that things are a little different here in middle-class Queens neighborhoods like Glendale and Ridgewood,” Nolan said.

Besides calling for the office’s reopening, Lancman outlined what he called a very simple solution to saving Social Security.

“There is a broader assault on Social Security that goes much, much deeper than just the closing of individual offices,” Lancman said.

According to a recent report from the Social Security Board of Trustees, the combined assets of the Social Security Trust Funds (Old-Age and Survivors Insurance, and Disability Insurance) will be exhausted by 2033.

Lancman said that if elected to Congress, he would champion raising the taxable income cap in order to keep Social Security solvent for the next 75 years.
Currently, only the first $110,100 in income is subject to Social Security taxes, while any income over the threshold is exempt from the tax.

“There was a choice made to cut a billion from the Social Security Administration, then a choice made to cut this Social Security office as opposed to others, and those are the kind of choices that I want to fight against.”

[VIDEO] Police seek L train assault suspects


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Police are seeking the public’s help identifying suspects wanted for an assault on a Queens bound L train.

Just after 2 a.m. on November 8, three unidentified black males assaulted a 25-year-old Hispanic man at the Myrtle/Wycoff Avenues stop on the L train.

Anyone with information in regards to this crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

Ridgewood park honors Anthony Venditti


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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At Detective Anthony J. Venditti Memorial Plaza’s rededication in 1995, a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes was quoted. Paul Kerzner of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation echoed the same sentiments on Sunday, October 16 at the plaza honoring the slain police officer.
“I have seen all matter of things; a just man perishing in his justice and a wicked one surviving in his wickedness. Be not wicked to excess and be not foolish,” Kerzner said. “Now 16 years later we ask again; why should you die before your time?”
Twenty-five years after being killed in the line of duty, the Ridgewood park memorializing Venditti was rededicated recently with family, local leaders and fellow police officers — even Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly — in attendance.
“Besides rededicating this plaza, we’re here to celebrate Anthony’s life,” said Vincent Acuri, chairperson of Community Board 5.
Over 150 people attended the dedication of the square on the corner of St. Nicholas and Myrtle Avenues.
“Memorials are designed to commemorate great events, special people, great victories, great tragedies,” said Monsignor James Kelly, pastor of nearby St. Brigid’s Church. “This memorial park recalls a great tragedy, a good man and the dedication of New York City’s police personnel to law and order.”
Venditti was killed while on an undercover assignment on Myrtle Avenue in front of the then-Castillo Diner, steps away from where his memorial now stands. He was 34. The square was renamed after the slain officer in 1989 and the memorial plaque was added at the 1995 rededication.
“We will never forget Anthony’s service or his sacrifice, said Kelly. “Today we celebrate his life and honor his memory,”
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani sent along his best wishes.
“This rededication ceremony keeps [Venditti]’s legacy alive for his loved ones and the community he dedicated his life to protecting,” he said.
Bouquets were presented to Venditti’s wife Patricia and mother Anna before 60 white carnations were placed on the memorial honoring Venditti which reads: “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself; who is neither tarnished nor afraid.”