Members of one Astoria school, located about 50 feet away from a subway platform, are hoping a new proposed bill will help bring “peaceful learning.”
The community at P.S. 85 is met daily with noise problems caused by the N and Q elevated subway line, which shakes windows and disrupts lessons, according to parents and teachers.
Looking to bring a stop to the noise pollution, U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley announced on Monday the Peaceful Learning Act of 2014, new legislation that would require the formation of a program to lessen railway noise levels that “negatively impact” public schools in the city.
“As another school year begins, it is unconscionable that so many children whose schools are located near elevated trains are forced to learn under these adverse conditions,” said Crowley. “If we are serious about helping our children reach their full potential, providing an adequate and peaceful learning environment is priority number one.”
During the morning announcement, speakers were interrupted by trains passing by in front of the school. Teachers, parents and elected officials held up two fingers, a gesture used daily to pause school lectures every time a train passes.
During rush hour trains pass by every two minutes and during normal hours, every five minutes, according to officials.
The proposed federal bill will direct the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a study on the impact of the subway noise on schools, determine acceptable ideas and evaluate the usefulness of noise reduction programs, according to the congressman.
Then schools that would be considered subject to unacceptable noise levels will be qualified to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, together with local matching funds, to build barriers or acoustical shielding to soundproof the sites.
Last December, the P.S. 85 community and elected officials rallied to call on the MTA and Department of Education to help alleviate the noise problems.
“This cannot go on any longer. This school has been here for over a hundred years, trains came after, and the school has adjusted,” said Evie Hantzopoulos, vice president of the parent association at P.S. 85. “Our kids go with it, our teachers go with it. And we all know we shouldn’t get used to things that are bad for you.”
Rebecca Bratspies, who is director of the City University of New York School of Law Center for Urban Environmental Reform and also the parent of a third grader at P.S. 85, said last fall she and another parent, Eric Black, recorded a video from inside the classroom to show the level of noise students face.
While they recorded, the parents measured the noise level in the classroom to be 90 decibels, almost double the normal standard.
“[The children] come here every day trying hard to learn. They do their best,” said Bratspies. “Now we have to do our best.”
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 81. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph. Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 61. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph.
EVENT OF THE DAY: Monthly Jazz Jam at Flushing Town Hall
Come and enjoy live jazz by some of the borough’s top artists. Flushing Town Hall presents its monthly jazz jam, featuring performances by professional jazz musicians, grad students studying jazz, musical educators and special guest artists the Pablo Mayor Quintet. The event is free and starts at 7 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own
Man fatally jumps in front of N train in Astoria
Severed limbs flew onto an Astoria street Tuesday evening after a man threw himself in front of a Queens-bound N train, witnesses and a police source said. Read more: The Queens Courier
New York City Council to take up ban on foam containers
A bill is expected to be introduced to the New York City Council Wednesday that bans the use of polystyrene foam foodservice in New York City. Read more: ABC New York
NYC Landmarks Commission hears pleas from Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, others to preserve historic Forest Park Carousel
Fans of the Forest Park Carousel got a chance Tuesday to plead their case that the beloved ride should be designated as a city landmark. Read more: New York Daily News
Queens couple get prison for sex trafficking
A Queens man and his girlfriend have been sentenced to prison for sex trafficking. Read more: AP
Many Queens homeowners face skyrocketing flood insurance premiums or major repairs to meet demands of new federal codes
Homeowners in the Sandy-wrecked Rockaways may be forced to abandon their homes or spend up to $100,000 to raise them on stilts, thanks to new codes issued by the federal government. Read more: New York Daily News
Across U.S., nearly half say government spying OK within limits: PollNearly half of all Americans say the U.S. government’s broad surveillance tactics are acceptable within limits, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Tuesday that also found widespread concern about the methods that were revealed last week. Read more: Reuters
Severed limbs flew onto an Astoria street Tuesday evening after a man threw himself in front of a Queens-bound N train, witnesses and a police source said.
The incident at 31st Street and Broadway shut down power and train service in both directions between Queensboro Plaza and Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard for nearly four hours, according to police and city alerts.
A resident named Sean, who did not want to give his last name, said “everything was chaotic.”
Witnesses said they saw a heavy set severed leg on the street and body parts strewn on the tracks at around 4:13 p.m. One resident described what appeared to be “grinded up meat.”
“I asked the driver when he came down and he told me a man jumped,” said passerby John Sadiq. “He came rolling and crushing.”
The investigation is ongoing, a law enforcement source said.
Starting Monday night, there will be service disruptions on the N, Q and R trains between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m for four consecutive weeknights, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program:
N trains run in Queens and Brooklyn only.
Q trains run in Brooklyn and are rerouted via the D line in Manhattan.
R service ends early in Manhattan and Queens each night. (R shuttle service between 95th Street and 36th Street, Brooklyn runs all night.)
In Queens, take the M (or E local) instead of the R.
Take the 7 for service between Queens and Manhattan.
In Manhattan, use nearby stations on the 8th Avenue (A, E), 7th Avenue (1, 2) 6th Avenue (D, F, Q) and Lexington Avenue (4, 6) Lines.
Take the 2, 4, D, F or Q between Manhattan and Brooklyn.
N trains make local R stops between Jay Street-MetroTech and 36th Street.
Starting tonight, there will be service disruptions on the “N,” “Q” and “R” trains between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, as part of the MTA’s Fastrack maintenance program. The changes will last until Friday, February 1.
There will only be “N” service in Brooklyn and Queens, and the line will operate in two sections between Ditmars Boulevard and Queensboro Plaza, and between Stillwell Avenue and Jay Street-MetroTech.
After DeKalb Avenue, “Q” Manhattan-bound trains will run on the “D” line to 47-50th Streets, then to the 57 Street “F” station. Coney Island-bound “Q” trains will originate at the 57th Street “F” station then run via the “D” train to Brooklyn. Regular Coney Island-bound service resumes at DeKalb Avenue.
“R” train service will end early in Manhattan and Queens, with the last 95th Street-bound “R” train leaving 71st Avenue, and the last 71st Avenue-bound train leaving 95 Street at about 9:20 p.m. In Brooklyn, shuttle service between 36 Street and 95 Street will start early.
For alternative subway service during these disruptions, click here.
In the span of just one hour, three police officers were injured in two different shooting incidents in Brooklyn and the Bronx Thursday night, said the NYPD. They are all expected to survive.
Around 6:30 p.m., an off-duty officer, Juan Pichardo, was working at his family’s car dealership in the Bronx when two men, one armed with a gun, attempted to rob the place.
When Pichardo tried to grab the gunman, he fired his weapon, hitting Pichardo in the right thigh, but, with the help of a dealership employee, he was able to wrestle the robber to the ground and disarm him.
The other robber escaped with two others that were waiting in a getaway car, but they were caught by police only a short distance away from the dealership at 183rd Street and Katonah Avenue.
The gunman was reportedly a wanted member of a Bronx robbery crew.
About an hour later, in Brooklyn, two plainclothes officers who were on patrol in a Manhattan-bound ‘N’ train approached a rider who had violated transit rules by moving between two cars and asked him for identification as the train neared the Fort Hamilton Parkway station at 62nd Street.
Appearing to reach for his wallet, the suspect pulled out a 9-millimeter gun and shot Officer Lukasz Kozicki, , 32, three times, once in each of his upper thighs and once in the groin.
Officer Lukasz Kozickim 27, who was shot in the back of his bulletproof vest, returned fire, hitting the gunman and killing him.
During the shooting, a bullet also grazed the leg of a passenger in the same subway car.
Police are looking for the man who punched two women in the face after he tried to hug them on an “N” train.
According to the NYPD, the suspect was riding on a Queens bound subway near the 31st Street and Broadway stop in Astoria around 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 13, when he approached a 27-year-old woman.
He started speaking with the victim then attempted to put his arm around her. She pushed the suspect away at which point he punched her in the face.
The same man then sat next to another female rider, age 32, and attempted to hug her. Again, the victim pushed him away and the suspect punched her, then fled the train.
Both victims refused medical attention at the scene.
Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 40 to 50 years old and 5’10″ tall.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then entering TIP577.
Thursday: A slight chance of drizzle. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68. East wind 6 to 8 mph. Thursday night: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 59. East wind 3 to 6 mph.
EVENT OF THE DAY: Arthur Hammer Memorial Exhibit Opening Reception
Marvel at a large collection of paintings of people, places and things left behind by Arthur Hammer. In about 1990, he opened the Arthur Hammer Fine Arts Gallery on West 25th Street in Manhattan. His gallery focused on the Modernist painters of the 1920s and 1930s and 1940s, which ultimately had a profound effect on the direction of his own work. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own
Accused cop killer released from Jamaica Hospital
Darrell Fuller, the suspect wanted in connection with killing a veteran Nassau County police officer and a civilian yesterday, was transferred from Jamaica Hospital to Nassau County for booking this afternoon. Under guard of Nassau County Police and NYPD, Fuller appeared sluggish as he walked out of a side entrance of the hospital into a black car. Read more: Queens Courier
Off-duty cop shot in Bronx in stable condition, 1 suspect dead
An off-duty cop, shot in the chest while attempting to break up an armed robbery, fired and killed one of the suspects while two others fled. The incident occurred at 6:30 p.m. in the Bronx when off-duty officer Ivan Marcano’s girlfriend witnessed a robbery in progress while the pair drove on Harrison Avenue. Read more: Queens Courier
Peninsula Hospital sale nearing completion
A group led by a nursing home magnate and former board member of Peninsula Hospital has scooped up the hospital’s assets in bankruptcy. However, future use out of the century-old shuttered hospital as a medical facility is unclear. Read more: Daily News
Former student testifies against accused St. John’s embezzler, ‘Dean of Mean’ Cecelia Chang
Even the family dog abused the scholars-turned-slaves of accused St. John’s University embezzler Cecelia Chang, a former student testified today. Chen Yu Yang, 27, echoed testimony from other former students, that Chang, the former head of the Asian Studies department, forced her into servitude to keep her work-study grant. Read more: NY Post
Queens train brake blasts a loud nuisance, residents say
The sound of the elevated N or Q train can be heard street level as it pulls into the Ditmars Boulevard station, the last stop in Queens. It happens at least every 10 minutes during rush hour. Read more: NY1
Brooklyn woman fails to set record for fastest trip through NYC subway system
History eluded the Brooklyn woman trying to beat the world record for the quickest trip through the city’s subway system. Stefanie Gray, 24, failed to finish in under 22 hours, 52 minutes and 36 seconds. Read more: NY Post
Residents of Astoria refuse to be frightened by fleeing thieves aiming to filch their phones.
Police say nine iPhones have been stolen along the “N” and “R” train lines since late December, with the most recent incident occurring on February 8. Five of the thefts have occurred in Astoria – three at the 36th Avenue station and two at the neighboring stop on 39th Avenue. Young women were victims in eight of the nine cases, police said.
The NYPD currently has descriptions of three of the suspects involved in the thefts – all black males in their 20s, roughly 6 feet tall and approximately 200 pounds.
A number of residents admitted they were unaware of the trend in their neighborhood, but were not nervous about losing their phones to the bandits.
“I heard that was going on in the city and other places but not here,” said Leticia Huero, a 20-year-old iPhone owner who uses the 36th Avenue station daily. “I’m not really worried about it though – you just have to be careful. I’m not going to be any more vigilant because people should already be vigilant. I might use it a little less now while I’m on the train, but I’ll probably end up still using it after a while.”
Others view the crimes as inevitable, considering the volume of phones out in the open at any given time.
“Yeah, I can see how that happens. People are on their phones all the time and they don’t notice who’s around them,” said Mujammil Ali, 22, who visits the 36th Avenue station twice a day. “People just need to be more careful. They buy these expensive phones but they don’t watch out for thieves.”
Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who represents Astoria and is the chair of the Public Safety Committee, says many of the incidents occur above ground, prior to the train leaving the stations – when thieves snatch a phone and dash out seconds before the doors close.
According to Vallone, the police have responded to the recent rash in iPhone thefts by increasing their subway presence and instituting sting operations designed to nab phone snatchers.
Officers of the 114th Precinct have advised riders to use their phones sparingly, and to hide them whenever they do.
“If you have electronic devices while you are in transit, try not to have them visible. Be aware of your surroundings,” said an officer of the 114th Precinct’s Crime Prevention Unit. “Unfortunately, when you are using an iPhone or iPod, you tend to pay attention to that instead of what’s going on around you, which increases the chances of you becoming a victim. Perpetrators prey on people who aren’t paying attention.”
A crazed subway panhandler pulled a knife and threatened a straphanger on a crowded train yesterday before being subdued by a good Samaritan and held until cops arrived, authorities and witnesses said. The 35-year-old woman boarded the Manhattan-bound N train at around 6:40 p.m. at Queensboro Plaza and began asking for money. Another woman, 52, began mocking her, unleashing the vagrant’s anger. Read More: New York Post
‘Witness-tamper’ hit vs. Espada
The feds claim former New York Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada Jr. coached a woman to lie before a federal grand jury investigating corruption allegations against him, The Post has learned. Although witness tampering is a crime, Brooklyn federal prosecutors are not charging Espada with new counts stemming from the incident — but they want the jury in his upcoming corruption trial to hear about the alleged misconduct. Read More: New York Post
Soaring Gas Prices Fuel Concerns Among City Drivers
Drivers in the city and across the nation are being hit with record high prices at the pump. Gas prices are the highest ever for this time of year and experts say they will only continue to rise. The national average for a gallon of regular hit $3.57 cents, up more than a quarter since January 1. Prices in New York are even higher. The current average in the city is $3.96, up 15 percent from a year ago. Read More: NY1
Dolan’s mother meets Pope Benedict
Capping a whirlwind nine-day trip with a final visit to the Vatican, Timothy Cardinal Dolan introduced his 84-year-old mom to Pope Benedict XVI yesterday — then jokingly asked the pontiff if he could make her “the first lady of the College of Cardinals.” Amid cheers and applause, Dolan walked his mom, Shirley, up to the stage to greet his boss during a papal audience before an enthusiastic crowd inside the Paul VI Hall. “Holy Father, here is my mom!” Dolan said he told the pope. Read More: New York Post
Rivera’s early arrival could signal end of Yankees career
The chair was occupied, and — in its own way — that was perhaps the first clue it would not be for much longer. When the clubhouse door opened to the media early yesterday morning, there was Mariano Rivera sitting at his locker. On the surface, so what? But there are Mo Rules in spring, and one is that he will not report on time. No one around the Yankees cares. He is Mariano Rivera, and his history is he shows up in great shape, pinpointing pitches and needing six to eight innings in all to be ready for Opening Day. Read More: New York Post
JetBlue sign ordeal
JetBlue wants to light up the New York skyline with its iconic blue logo — but it must first clear layers of city red tape before taking off. The airline, which will move its corporate headquarters to Long Island City next month, plans to erect a 40-foot lighted sign on the rooftop of its new building at 27-01 Queens Plaza North. “When complete, it will be easily seen from the east side of Manhattan across the river,” JetBlue said. But JetBlue’s proposal must be reviewed and approved by two community boards, the borough president, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and mayor. Read More: New York Post