Tag Archives: New Years Eve

Queens man pleads guilty in city’s first murder of 2011


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

Four years ago a New Year’s Eve party in South Richmond Hill that started as a celebration ended up deadly for one man after he tried to break up a fight and escort a woman to her car.

On Tuesday, Carie Dixon, 30, of Jamaica, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in the death of that man, Dwayne Haughton, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Haughton, then a 29-year-old Jamaica resident, had just left a New Year’s Eve bash at a South Richmond Hill banquet hall on Jan. 1, 2011, when a group of women, including Dixon’s current and former girlfriends, got into an argument, according to Brown.

When the other women started to pelt the ex-girlfriend with snowballs, Haughton intervened and offered to escort her to her car.

As they walked toward the vehicle, another man then approached them, punched the woman in the face, and both she and Haughton fell to the ground, the district attorney said. Dixon then took out a gun and fired several shots, striking Haughton in the torso and right thigh. He later died at a local hospital.

Haughton’s death was the city’s first murder of 2011.

At his guilty plea, the judge indicated that Dixon would be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“A celebration of the New Year turned deadly when the defendant gunned down a man who was doing nothing more than trying to stop an attack on a woman,” Brown said. “This was a senseless act of violence for which the defendant will now be locked behind bars for a lengthy period of time.”

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Fire safety education campaign launched at LeFrak City following fatal New Year’s Eve blaze


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

A new campaign has been launched at LeFrak City to help educate residents to prevent a tragedy like the New Year’s Eve fire, which killed three people, from occurring again.

Just minutes before ringing in 2015, an unattended pot of a traditional Haitian soup cooking on a stove sparked a fire that left three dead in their Corona apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental, and no working smoke detectors were found in the home.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

In response to the fire, state Sen. Jose Peralta, together with the FDNY, LeFrak City Organization and Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, announced on Thursday the launch of a fire safety education campaign for the apartment complex. 

“New Yorkers awoke on New Year’s Day to news of the horrific tragedy that struck LeFrak City just as we were all ringing in 2015 and looking forward to the promise the new year held for us and our loved ones,” Peralta said.

During this campaign, the FDNY will conduct fire safety education presentations for tenants on Jan. 14 and Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Continental Room of the Rome Tower of LeFrak City, located at 96-10 57th Ave. 

Food Bazaar Supermarkets donated $500 worth of smoke detector batteries, which will be available to tenants who attend the presentations, made possible by the FDNY Foundation.

“The lesson from the fire is that a working smoke alarm can be a life-saving piece of home safety equipment,” Peralta said. “An operating smoke detector provides a quick and early warning, providing the extra few seconds needed to escape a fire and potential tragedy.”

According to Gerald Rivera, general manager of LeFrak City Maintenance Services, owners are required to periodically replace smoke detectors upon expiration of their life, which is about 10 years. The replacements must then have a non-removable and non-replaceable battery that gives power to the alarm for a minimum of 10 years.

“LeFrak City has a proactive program to replace all campus detectors over a two-year period, a full year in advance of the required deadline,” Rivera said. “Since December 2013, we have replaced 1,600 of the old smoke detectors and will complete all remaining 3,006 replacements by the end of 2015.”

Malikah K. Shabazz, a tenant and president of the LeFrak City Tenants’ Association, said she will inform other tenants about the presentation by working with management to post notices on each floor and in the lobby, and send emails reminding people.

“We get comfortable and take a lot of things for granted and a lot of times we have to constantly be reminded to take precautions when you’re cooking or whatever you are doing that uses flame. You just have to be very careful,” Shabazz said. “It’s a blessing for them to come into our community and assist us in any way that they can.”

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New Year’s Eve cooking accident caused deadly fire at LeFrak City: officials


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/Orest Petrychyn

Updated Friday, Jan. 2, 10:38 a.m.

An unattended pot of soup cooking on a stove sparked a horrific New Year’s Eve fire that left three dead in their LeFrak City apartment and sent flames shooting from the ninth-floor balcony, officials said.

The blaze was reported by a call to 911 at 11:46 p.m. on Wednesday and quickly went to a second alarm.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the fire at the 16-story apartment tower at 96-02 57th Ave. in Corona. After firefighters battled their way through a smoke-filled hallway, they found two women and a man unconscious and unresponsive in Apt. 9C.

All three were pronounced dead at area hospitals.

Police identified the victims, all residents of the apartment, as Nadia Donnay, 37, Louise Jean-Charles, 59, and Napolean Michel, 69.

Donnay and Jean-Charles were taken to Elmhurst Hospital. Michel was taken to Forest Hills Hospital.

The family was preparing a traditional Haitian New Year’s Eve soup on the stove that night when it was left unattended, causing the fire, according to officials. The FDNY determined the blaze was accidental and no working smoke alarms were found in the home.

“Right away, we took our jackets and we started knocking on the doors letting people know there’s a fire,” one resident told WCBS TV. “There was smoke all over the place.”

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries.

According to a LeFrak City Organization spokesman, the building has no fire violations and the apartment was outfitted with smoke detectors as required by law.

“Our deepest condolences go out to the families of those affected,” the spokesman said. “A smoke detector rider attesting to the presence of this life safety equipment was signed and initialed by the tenant in 2012.”


A YouTube video posted of the fire shows flames shooting from the ninth floor balcony.

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Last day of the year marks the end for Fresh Meadows Barnes & Noble


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

While the world was saying goodbye to 2014, dozens of Queens shoppers bid a sad farewell to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Fresh Meadows on its final day of business Wednesday.

The bookstore was quiet on its last day, with many clearance shelves already emptied out by bargain hunters. Workers piled leftover books on dollies to be delivered to the chain’s Forest Hills location. Customers picked through boxes of books that were marked down 50 percent.

During its decade in Fresh Meadows, residents and local leaders say the book retailer had become more than just a store. For many, the bookshop had been a community center complete with a coffee shop and children’s reading groups. The last customers lamented its passing.

“This library is a staple of the neighborhood,” said Veronica Sorrell, a longtime customer who came to the store on its last day. “And I never thought this place would close.”

Sorrell said the shop had become a quiet refuge for her and her family over the years.

“I practically raised my kids here,” she said. “When they were children I brought them to the story time sessions. And as they get older they slowly graduated to the fiction section. Now that’s all gone.”

Nearby, Sister Winifred Doyle searched for a puzzle book.

“I knew it was the last day,” she said. “And I knew I had to come in here one last time.”

She continued, “You know, I love a good puzzle, especially word puzzles. It doesn’t matter how difficult they are. I beat them. But, for the life of me, I can’t solve the puzzle of why this store is closing.”

The store has been in the area since 2004, and Barnes & Noble’s management will not be renewing its lease. The book chain’s management couldn’t reach an agreement over a lease extension earlier this year. A T.J. Maxx is set to replace the book store in 2015.

“We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension, but were not able to come to an agreement,” said David Deason, the vice president of development for Barnes & Noble. “We enjoyed serving our St. John’s/Fresh Meadows-area customers for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing to serve them at the nearby Bayside location.”

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Cardozo HS senior to take part in Times Square ball drop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sonam Lama /  Countdown Entertainment

One Queens teen will be the belle of the ball this New Year’s Eve.

Sonam Lama, a 16-year-old senior at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, will be one of five representatives from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to push the button, signaling the lowering of the Times Square New Year’s Eve ball, and help lead the 60-second countdown to 2015.

“It is such a great honor and there are so many thoughts and emotions going through my mind and my heart right now,” Lama said. “I feel blessed to have the opportunity to participate in New Year’s Eve in Times Square and am really looking forward to pressing the button along with other awesome and inspiring people.”

The IRC, an organization that helps refugees from around the world, resettled Lama from her native Nepal when she came to the United States in 2012.

Lama’s family was forced from their village after her father, an active member of the Nepali Congress party, faced pressure to join the Maoists.

Even after they moved to the city of Kathmandu, they were followed, and with no help from the police, they had to keep moving from location to location, according to Lama. In 2005, her father applied for political asylum in the U.S. and left Nepal.

Lama said she didn’t know a lot about America, but imagined her father would be wearing a suit, carrying briefcases and living in tall skyscrapers “like the movies.”

IRC President and CEO David Miliband, Nykhor Paul, an Sonam Lama practice pressing the button. (Photo courtesy of Countdown Entertainment)

IRC President and CEO David Miliband, Nykhor Paul and Sonam Lama practice pressing the button. (Photo courtesy of Countdown Entertainment)

When Lama and her family finally joined her father in May 2012, life in America was not what she imagined, including the small, older building that would be her home. But she did find improvements, such as medical help for her sister who needed a hearing aid.

Though the Elmhurst resident found no language barriers after learning English in school since kindergarten and from watching television, high school was a challenge.

Lama admits at first she had difficulty adapting to her large school, but after joining clubs and activities, such as the Red Cross, UNICEF, badminton and volleyball during her junior year, she was able to make friends.

Joining Lama during the famed ball drop will be models Alek Wek and Nykhor Paul, both former refugees from South Sudan, Jencarlos Canela, an award-winning musician and actor who has volunteered with IRC, and IRC President and CEO David Miliband.

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Sun and clouds mixed. High 37. WSW winds at 5 to 10 mph, increasing to 15 to 25 mph. Tuesday night: Clear skies. Low 26. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Z Hotel’s New Year’s Eve special

Open bar and buffet until midnight, festive party favors, champagne toast at midnight, DJs Rob TV and Lil Roy. $125 ($39.95 dinner only/$75 open bar only). Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

De Blasio vows to end horse-drawn carriages in Central Park

The days of the horse-drawn carriage in New York City are galloping to a close. Read more: NBC New York

City sues FedEx for $52M over ‘illegal’ cigarette deliveries

New York City has sued FedEx, accusing the package-delivery company of illegally delivering millions of contraband cigarettes to people’s homes in violation of a 2006 settlement. Read more: New York Post

Speaker Silver calls for faster increase in state minimum wage

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) said Monday that he wants to accelerate the state’s scheduled minimum wage increase to $9 by 2015 and tie it to the inflation rate. Read more: CBS New York

Woman protests Bloomberg’s policies by lighting cigarette inside City Hall

As Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed a bill banning e-cigarette use indoors as one of the last pieces of legislation he approved, an opponent protested Bloomberg’s policies by lighting up a real cigarette right inside City Hall. Read more: CBS New York

Dead frog found in salad from chain sandwich shop

A sandwich restaurant chain says it’s looking into how a dead frog got into a customer’s salad in Manhattan Monday. Read more: NBC New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly to mostly cloudy. High 39. Winds NW at 10 to 20 mph. Monday Night: A few clouds. Low 24. Winds NNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Holiday Puppet Party Workshop

Children become puppet makers and performers at the Holiday Puppet Party Workshop at the Museum of the Moving Image. In this hour-long workshop kids use simple materials to design their own unique characters, and then take turns performing with them in a short televised puppet show. 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

De Blasio expected to pick veteran NYC educator Carmen Farina as next chancellor: report

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is expected to appoint veteran New York City educator Carmen Farina as the next chancellor of the nation’s largest school system, according to a report. Read more: NBC New York

Bloomberg gives final radio address as New York City mayor

Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg says serving New Yorkers as mayor for 12 years has been an “honor and privilege.” Read more: AP

Bloomberg spent $650 Million on NYC in 12 Years: report

A new report says Mayor Michael Bloomberg has spent $650 million of his own fortune on New York City over the course of three terms in office.  Read more: NBC New York

3 NYC employees arrested in separate incidents

Three New York City employees were arrested in separate incidents early Sunday. Read more: CBS New York

Justice Sotomayor to helm Times Square ball drop

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will lend some high-profile help to the countdown to 2014 in Times Square. Read more: NBC New York

 

New Year’s Eve fashion on a budget


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

fashion

Skirt (Papaya): $10.99

Sequin top (Papaya ): $15.99

Fur Vest (Papaya):  $19.99

Booties (Afaze): $38.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M):  $79.95

Slacks (H&M): $34.99

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $20

Bow Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $50

 

 

 

 

 

Dress (H&M): $14.95

Booties (Afaze): $38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M): $79.50

Vest (H&M): $29.95

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $45

Slacks (H&M): $34.95

Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $80

Dick Clark, Entertainment Icon Nicknamed ‘America’s Oldest Teenager,’ Dies at 82


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Dick Clark, the music industry maverick, longtime TV host and powerhouse producer who changed the way we listened to pop music with “American Bandstand,” and whose trademark “Rockin’ Eve” became a fixture of New Year’s celebrations, died today at the age of 82. Clark’s agent Paul Shefrin said in statement that the veteran host died this morning following a “massive heart attack.” Born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., on Nov. 30, 1929, Richard Wagstaff Clark began his lifelong career in show business began before he was even out of high school. He started working in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in upstate New York run by his father and uncle. It wasn’t long before the teenager was on the air, filling in for the weatherman and the announcer. Read More: ABC News

Health Department Reminds New Yorkers to Stay Safe on New Year’s Eve


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

Emergency room visits for alcohol-related injuries, illness soar on New Year’s Day each year 

As New Year’s Eve celebrations in the City get underway, the Health Department reminds New Yorkers to stay safe and be aware of the potential health risks of excessive drinking. Alcohol-related emergency department visits more than double on New Year’s Day compared to what is typically observed, according to an analysis by the New York City Health Department. Peak hours of arrival at the emergency department for alcohol-related visits are between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m.  This pattern is consistent across several years of data.

“As New Yorkers head out this weekend for New Year’s Eve, remember that alcohol can impair your judgment and coordination and that excessive drinking is dangerous,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “During the early hours of New Year’s Day, our hospitals see a great number of New Yorkers who suffer injuries or illnesses related to alcohol, more than any other day of the year. By taking some simple precautions like limiting your alcohol intake and planning a ride home, you can keep yourself and others safe.”

While alcohol-related emergency department visits peak in the early hours of New Year’s Day excessive drinking impacts New Yorkers year-round, particularly on weekends. Each year, alcohol kills an estimated 1,500 New Yorkers and in 2008 nearly half – 712 – of the deaths were due to alcohol-related injury or violence. Alcohol is associated with approximately 46% of homicides, 26% of deaths from accidents and poisoning, and 28% of motor vehicle-related deaths in New York City each year.

Excessive drinking is characterized by binge drinking – defined as five drinks for a man and four for a woman on one occasion – or heavy regular drinking. However, judgment, coordination, and reaction time are impaired with lower amounts of consumption. Limiting yourself to two alcoholic drinks on an occasion can greatly reduce the risk of injury or illness.

To further help keep you safe this New Year’s Eve, the Health Department and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offer the following tips:

  • Have “drink spacers” – make every other drink a non-alcoholic one, such as water. Drink seltzer with lime or lemon or water with a splash of juice for color.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Having food in your stomach allows your system to absorb alcohol more slowly.
  • Stop drinking while you’re still thinking. Excessive drinking can put you or someone else at risk for injury or violence and the consequences can be fatal.

For information about unhealthy drinking or treatment for alcohol dependence, call 311 or 800-LifeNet (800-543-3638).

*NOTE Pertaining to Figure Above: The Health Department currently tallies emergency department visits from 49 NYC hospitals accounting for 95% of annual emergency department visits in NYC. Alcohol-related emergency department visits are defined as any visit with a mention of alcohol in the chief complaint. The data do not represent all alcohol-related visits to emergency departments in NYC as data from the other 5% of hospitals is not included and some visits may not be reported as alcohol-related.

A feast just off Bell Boulevard


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Mosco
There are plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry on Bell Boulevard – but for a comfortably elegant setting, turn your attention just off of Bayside’s main strip.

Bentley’s Off Bell (213-41 39th Avenue), a newly opened restaurant featuring delectable international fare, entices patrons the moment the doors swing open. The restaurant is spacious and classy, with a bar/lounge area up front and a gorgeously cozy dining room in the back. Even before the food comes out, Bentley’s gives itself up as an ideal destination for a date or a group of friends.

But Bentley’s is more than just dinner – a staircase leads up to a private catering space. It’s the perfect spot for just about any catered affair, including afternoon business meetings, as the restaurant will open for such occasions. If requested, Bentley’s will provide both floors to private functions.

On the eating occasion, the focus rests squarely on the food. Bentley’s boasts a tempting tapas menu for eaters who want a little bit of everything. Options include mussels in a white wine pepper sauce, crispy fried formaggio, hot spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, portabello stuffed ravioli and sirloin sliders.

For entrees, be sure to try the braised beef short ribs. These mouthwatering gems are simmered in Burgandy wine for hours until succulently tender – flawlessly cooked, the meat easily cuts from the bone and is loaded with beefy sumptuousness. Another can’t-miss-dish is the almond crusted tilapia, coated with almonds and sautéed with lemon butter. The fish is moist and flakey. Both dishes are served with choice of potato and the vegetable of the day – I recommend the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a crisp vegetable medley.

Bentley’s also offers some great burgers too. Besides the standard burger, they also have a stuffed burger, which is both stuffed and topped with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon; and a béchamel cheese burger, a cheese lover’s dream smothered with béchamel cheddar cheese sauce.

And this elegant food is available for neighborhood prices. The owners believe that a touch of class shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg – the food is for everyone’s purse.

Specialty nights include Wine & Dine Wednesdays, where patrons can get half off their bottle of fine wine; Tequila Tuesdays, featuring $5 margaritas; Girls Night Out Thursdays, with $3 well drinks and $5 martinis; Taps and Tapas Mondays, featuring $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beers and half-price appetizers; as well as a Tavern Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, with half-price appetizers, $3 well drinks, $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beer and $5 house wine.

If you’re looking for a place to party for New Years Eve, Bentley’s will feature a special ala carte menu along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

 
”Bentley’s