Tag Archives: new york city

LIC, Jackson Heights highlighted in new ‘See Your City’ campaign


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Poster courtesy of NYC & Company

Two western Queens neighborhoods are part of a new campaign encouraging New Yorkers to stretch their legs and explore their own backyards.

NYC & Company, the official marketing, tourism and partnership organization for New York City, has launched a new promotional campaign called “See Your City” to motivate residents to explore the diverse neighborhoods found in all five boroughs.

The three-month promotional campaign will showcase 10 neighborhoods throughout the city including Jackson Heights and Long Island City.

“For visitors, a trip to New York City is a vacation for a lifetime. For a lucky 8 million, it’s just a subway ride away,” said Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company. “We want to give New Yorkers a new perspective on the five boroughs. Start thinking of the more than 250 New York City neighborhoods as 250 opportunities to travel.”

Content featuring itinerary suggestions and video postcards will be included on NYC & Company’s website and five of the 10 neighborhoods, including Long Island City, will be promoted through custom illustrations inspired by vintage travel posters.

The LIC poster features an art piece at Socrates Sculpture Park overlooking the Manhattan skyline and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

“With See Your City, we were challenged with the task of selling New York City to New Yorkers, and our goal was to create inspiration to convince New Yorkers to explore their own backyards,” said Emily Lessard, NYC & Company creative director.

The See Your City campaign will be promoted through bus shelters throughout the city, posts on NYC & Company’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, commercials running in city taxicabs, and through American Express’ digital channels.

Since Oct. 15, social media ambassadors have been promoting the program on Instagram through sharing images with the official hashtag #seeyourcity.

For more information and to check out the featured neighborhoods, visit www.nycgo.com/seeyourcity.

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New York Hospital Queens confident it could handle Ebola


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CDC/ Frederick A. Murphy

Ebola isn’t in New York City. But New York Hospital Queens has been preparing for an outbreak, according to a panel of four of the hospital’s doctors during a press conference on Tuesday.

“Everyone here is very concerned about the Ebola virus,” said Sorana Segal-Maurer, director of the hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases. “Because we’re located in an area where there’s a lot of international travel, we’ve taken steps to prepare for Ebola.”

The press conference was held to assure the public that the Flushing hospital was capable of handling and quarantining a patient infected with Ebola, the virus that has killed thousands in West Africa. The doctors emphasized that during this flu season, it’s hard to identify the Ebola virus because its symptoms in patients are similar to many seasonal colds.

To discern between a life-threatening illness and a common cold, the nurses and doctors in the Queens hospital ask patients about their travel history. A recent trip to Liberia lands the patient in quarantine, according to Dr. Mark Kindschuh. There are currently no patients in the hospital that are currently being held in quarantine.

“Our staff are trained to ask travel questions,” he said. But the doctors and the hospital don’t know what to do with the patients after that step, and they suggested that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention would step in.

“We do not know what those next steps are but we’re preparing for caring for Ebola patients here,” said Mimi Lim, director of Infection Control.

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Queens student treated for tuberculosis as cases rise in city


| mchan@queenscourier.com

CDC/ Melissa Brower

A Hillcrest High School student recently exposed to tuberculosis is receiving treatment and recovering from the potentially deadly bacterial infection, officials said.

The Health Department tested 170 students and six staff members who might have been at risk at the Queens school Tuesday as a precaution.

“Given that the person with TB is receiving treatment, there is no health risk to students or staff currently at the school,” a department spokeswoman said.

Tuberculosis cases are on the rise in the city for the first time in a decade, health officials said. They increased 1 percent from 651 in 2012 to 656 in 2013.

Most people infected were foreign-born, living in Flushing, western Queens and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, according to the Health Department.

Officials said 19 out of 100,000 people have contracted the disease in Corona, Woodside, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Maspeth and 15 out of 100,000 in Flushing.

“Many are likely infected in their country of origin and developed TB after entering the U.S.,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said.

Smokers and people with diabetes or HIV have a higher chance of getting tuberculosis and should be tested for the disease, Bassett said.

Tuberculosis, which usually affects the lungs, spreads from person to person through the air.

 

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Queens Boy Scouts need money for historic Normandy trip


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Hedy Debonet

Four Boy Scouts from Queens and about a dozen more in the city need help funding a historic trip to Normandy.

The Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils is hoping to give 15 young leaders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour Europe and visit France during the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Nearly 160,000 American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 to march across Europe to defeat Hitler at the height of World War II.

“The soldiers who stormed the beach that day are probably no older than the boys we’re taking on this trip,” said Hedy DeBonet, a trip leader from Fresh Meadows.

“This is what we will be showing to the youth on this trip — a reminder of the sacrifices made a generation ago, acknowledgement that freedom is bought at a terrible price,” she added.

Each teen must come up with $2,600 for airfare, hotels and admission fees for nearly a dozen tourist spots, including the Eiffel Tower and the Imperial War Museum.

So far, each Scout has paid for half. But more is needed before the nine-day trip, beginning April 18, DeBonet said.

“There’s so much history that the kids don’t really learn anymore,” she said. “It’s just a real hands-on learning experience.”

Tax deductible checks can be made out to the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7820, New York, NY 10118.

 

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Katz names Queens representative on Panel for Educational Policy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz has picked Deborah Dillingham of Forest Hills to serve on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).

The 13-member board, with representatives from each borough, votes to approve school policies, many which are controversial. Each borough president appoints one member to the PEP and the mayor appoints eight.

“Through her extensive work with our city’s school system, Deborah has shown she has the knowledge, savvy and commitment necessary to be an outstanding member of the Panel for Educational Policy,” Katz said.

Dillingham was president of District 28’s Community Education Council and served on the Queens Borough President’s Parent Advisory Committee, the District 28 Leadership Team and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee.

The mom of three was also president of the Parent’s Association of P.S. 101.

“She cares deeply about our children and the schooling they receive and has a track record of making sure our kids get the best education possible,” Katz said. “I know she will be a great asset to the PEP.”

Dillingham replaces Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s appointee, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, who battled against school closures and co-location plans under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

Fedkowskyj, of Middle Village, is mulling a run against incumbent State Senator Marge Markey.

 

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Cops help elderly Flushing couple dig car out of ice and snow


| mchan@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY NYPD

The last big snowfall to bury the city uncovered the best in two local cops.

Police Officers Adrienne Galvani and Cory Smith of the 109th Precinct took a brief detour from their anti-crime patrol, shortly after the Feb. 13 snowstorm, to help an elderly Flushing couple dig their buried car out of a thick sheet of ice.

“We pictured our grandparents in that situation,” Galvani said. “As soon as we saw them, we knew we had to stop and help them.”

Arnold Lederer, 98, and his wife Theresa, 86, had set aside the full day to dig out their 1997 Oldsmobile Intrigue in order to pick up an important prescription at their local pharmacy.

“There was a big pile of snow behind it and a big pile in front,” Theresa said. “It was quite deep and it was already icy. We were planning to take little breathers every few minutes.”

The officers took the shovels from their hands and told them to keep warm inside.

For 35 minutes, they chipped away at the ice, even breaking an ice pick in the process, said the longtime Queens couple who lives on Willets Point Blvd.

With Galvani steering the wheel and Smith pushing from behind, the pair even loosened the car out of its street parking spot and checked up with the Lederers the next day.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Galvani, who has been with the precinct for nearly 11 years. “They would have never gotten that car out.”

The Lederers are still in shock over the act of kindness.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by their generosity and the time that they spent,” Theresa said. “They wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee.”

 

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Queens lawmaker wants fire hydrants tagged with markers


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Councilmember Mark Weprin

All New York City hydrants should be tagged with high-flying flags to be spotted more easily during snowstorms, a Queens lawmaker is proposing.

Councilmember Mark Weprin is reintroducing legislation this March that would require markers be placed at least three feet above hydrants.

The bill, first introduced in 2011, would help firefighters quickly pinpoint nearest hydrants that are buried in the snow, Weprin said.

It would also help homeowners locate and dig them out faster and keep motorists from accidentally parking too close.

“Hydrants get snow plowed in. There are some you can’t even see,” Weprin said. “It seems like just a common sense change.”

Six major snowstorms have slammed the city so far this winter, Mayor Bill de Blasio said during the last blast on Feb. 13.

In Central Park, Bridgeport and LaGuardia Airport, it is the third snowiest February on record, according to the National Weather Service.

The bill has never moved out of the Committee on Fire and Criminal Justice Services, though similar laws exist in other cities like Orangetown, N.Y. and Santa Maria, Calif., Weprin said.

“I’m hoping we can make the case a little better now,” he said.

 

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City’s largest window manufacturer is not moving out of Queens: CEO


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The head of the city’s largest window manufacturer is refuting claims the Queens plant will hightail it out of the Big Apple.

Crystal [Window and Door Systems] is not moving,” CEO Steve Chen said. “The company’s headquarters and main production facility in the College Point Corporate Park in Queens will remain where it is for the foreseeable future.”

A news report, in a headline Wednesday, said the glass company was “moving due to city’s high costs.”

To clarify, Crystal officials said the 31-10 Whitestone Expwy. facility would stay the same, but they are considering expanding in Westchester.

“We already have other facilities in Chicago, California and even Missouri. We are just expanding,” said Steven Yu, the company’s marketing manager. “We are looking to add another plant.”

Chen said the company has explored expansion out of state, in the city and in other parts of Queens, but has not yet secured the right industrial site “at a cost effective price.”

“All of these expansion initiatives were intended to increase Crystal’s production capacity and have never been intended to replace the Queens facility,” the Crystal boss said.

The report also tied Chen’s decision not to expand in the city to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to increase minimum wages and mandate paid sick leave benefits.

But Yu said the company’s 380 employees all already earn above the proposed new minimum wage.

“Somehow the story got twisted,” he said.

 

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NYC public schools will be open Thursday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña has announced the Department of Education will keep all public schools open Thursday, as the Big Apple expects another round of snow.

All school field trips will be canceled Fariña said Wednesday night. Families with busing questions are asked to call 718-392-8855.

As always, parents should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children, the schools chancellor said in a statement. “Safety is a top priority for the department.”

Public schools have only closed once on Jan. 3, during the year’s first major snowstorm. They were kept open during the Jan. 22 storm which left the city with almost a foot of snow. Schools were also kept opened during a Feb. 5 storm that brought icy conditions.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted 8 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow through Friday morning. A Winter Storm Warning will be in effect from midnight tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.

Wednesday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed state agencies to prepare for the impending Nor’easter winter storm.

Snow will develop around 3 a.m., and continue throughout the day before tapering off about 24 hours later. During the day, with temperatures hovering around the mid-30s, there will be a mixture of snow, sleet and rain, according to the NWS.

 

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City fills more than 21,000 potholes in Queens


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

More than 21,000 pesky potholes in Queens have been filled so far during this year’s snowier than usual winter, the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) said.

Nearly 2,000 in the borough were fixed last weekend, as part of the city’s season-long repair efforts, a department spokesperson said.

Since January, the 1,000-member roadway crew has set a record pace, working around the clock to fix more than 75,000 potholes along the city’s rocky roads, DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

“These tireless public servants … will be filling many more given the snowstorms the city has already faced this winter, and the wear and tear that inflicts,” Trottenberg said.

Potholes typically pop up around February and die down by April, though the timeline is dependent on weather, experts say.

They form when water, that slips into cracks under the road, freezes and expands when the temperature changes, causing a freeze and thaw cycle that damages the road.

It becomes a hole when heavy traffic rolls over the weakened spot.

“It’s crazy, especially now after all the snow. Forget about it,” said Jose Soto, who drives from Flushing to Astoria. “It ruins your tires. You can get in an accident. It’s annoying. You have to zigzag.”

It typically takes a few minutes for crews to fill, compact and seal a pothole, a DOT spokesperson said.

More work is expected to be done next week on residential streets and major roadways, including the Long Island Expressway’s (LIE) eastbound service road, between Little Neck Parkway and the Nassau County border, and 149th Street at 27th Avenue in Linden Hill, the DOT said.

“It’s like a minefield on the LIE,” said driver Risa Doherty, who commutes from Roslyn in Nassau County to Bayside. “Cars are swerving around the potholes at high speeds.”

To report a pothole, call 3-1-1 or visit nyc.gov.

Craters generally have to be at least one foot in diameter and three inches deep to be fixed, according to the DOT’s website.

 

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St. Mary’s program that serves thousands of special needs children to end


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A valuable program will come to an end this year for nearly 3,000 children at St. Mary’s Healthcare System, officials announced this week.

The Bayside-based facility that serves children with special needs and complex medical conditions will close its Early Intervention (EI) program May 5 due to state Department of Health cuts to reimbursement rates, St. Mary Interim President and CEO Edwin Simpser said.

More than 750 children, who currently use the program, will need to be transitioned into other agencies, he said.

“We know that these are challenging times for other EI providers, who are experiencing similar struggles,” Simpser said, “and we will continue to advocate for more appropriate reimbursement rates for vital childhood programs, including EI, that are so essential to the success and future of our children.”

The cuts have made it difficult for the program to survive, St. Mary’s administration and other nonprofits said.

“Despite the growing need for service, EI rates have not increased in 12 years, making it almost impossible for not-for-profit providers, with hospital-based providers in particular, to operate,” said Christopher Treiber, associate executive director for Children’s Services at the InterAgency Council.

Each year, the state-funded EI program at St. Mary’s serves nearly 3,000 children, who are or might be at risk for developmental delays or disabilities.

For more than 20 years, it has provided free evaluations, special education and therapeutic, support services for children under three years old.

“Our main priority at this time is to ensure a smooth transition for the children,” Simpser said.

 

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NYC public schools remain open Wednesday


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The Department of Education will keep all public schools open Wednesday, Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina  announced, as the city expects icy conditions from its second snowstorm this week.

All school field trips are canceled, however, Fariña said about 2 a.m. Wednesday. Families with busing issues are asked to call 718-392-8855.

Parents, as always, should exercise their own judgment with regard to their children,” the schools chancellor said. “Safety is a top priority for the department.”

Though the city has been slammed with snowstorms since the start of the year, public schools have only closed once on Jan. 3, during the year’s first major snowstorm.

They were kept open Jan. 22, during the next storm that left the city with almost a foot of snow.

The decision angered parents and students, especially at Bayside High School, where a shortage of teachers forced students to waste the day in the auditorium, The Courier reported.

Two to four inches of snow is predicted for the area, as well as about one third of an inch of ice, the National Weather Service said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio warned city residents of a “difficult morning commute.”

A “hazardous travel advisory” is in effect for the area Wednesday, the New York City Office of Emergency Management said. The Department of Sanitation  issued a ‘snow alert’ for Tuesday, starting at 10 p.m.

About eight inches were already dumped on the area Monday. Another storm is expected this weekend.

 

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Deadline to join or continue on Queens community boards approaches


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Civic-minded Queens residents looking to shape their neighborhoods have until this Friday to apply to join one of the borough’s 14 community boards.

Borough President Melinda Katz has extended the deadline for those applying to be a new or returning community board member to Feb. 7, due to a snowier-than-usual January.

Community boards, which have up to 50 sitting members, advise city agencies on zoning, land use and community issues. The eyes and ears of the neighborhoods also make city budget and state liquor licensing recommendations.

“They play a significant role in helping city government address the needs of its residents,” Katz said. “Service on a community board is a great way to contribute to the well-being and quality of life of your neighborhood.”

Board members, appointed by the borough president or nominated by their district’s councilmember, serve for two years. The new term begins April 1.

Applications are available here. For more information, call 718-286-2900.

For a list of Queens community boards, click here.

 

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Snow slams city again; more in forecast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Updated Monday, Feb. 3 1:45 p.m.

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Another round of snow is impacting New York City, just as Staten Island Chuck predicted six more weeks of winter.

“Things are going to be messy today,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing Monday afternoon.

“Snow is coming down faster than we can plow it.”

The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issued a “snow alert” starting at 1 a.m. Monday and will be deploying its snow fighting equipment as needed. Alternate side parking has been suspended Monday and Tuesday to facilitate with winter weather preparations, but payment at parking meters remains in effect.

The mayor also said that the timing of the storm could also make it difficult for snow clearing, and urged New Yorkers to stay off the road after rush hour so streets could be clear for the morning commute.

After receiving criticism about plow response during the  Jan. 21 snowstorm, de Blasio said a review was done and changes were made.

One change, he said, was to cancel garbage and recycling pick-up earlier, which was decided Sunday afternoon.

NYPD cameras have also been accessed by the DSNY to better target snow clearing operations.

To track the progress of DSNY clearing operations throughout the five boroughs, click here.

The New York City Office of Emergency Management has also issued a “Hazardous Travel Advisory” for Monday.

A winter storm warning has been issued citywide from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. by the National Weather Service (NWS) and 4 to 8 inches of snow are expected Monday with temperatures in the 30s. Visibility is expected to be low.

The snowfall will taper off by about 7 p.m., but the bad weather won’t end there.

The NWS has issued a winter storm watch for late Tuesday night through Wednesday afternoon, with 2 to 4 inches of snow along with sleet predicted. More snow could also hit the area over the weekend.

Meanwhile, Monday’s snowfall was already causing delays of several hours at local airports by the morning as well as delays on local bus routes.

The MTA has canceled Fastrack maintenance on the A and C lines in Brooklyn. During mid-day hours, subway trains will be stored underground on express tracks to for protection, impacting express service on portions of certain lines, the transit agency said. Express service, however, will be restored for the p.m. peak period. MTA bridges and tunnels are open.

Though the city’s public schools were open Monday, Chancellor Carmen Fariña announced that due to the weather, after-school programs and PSAL activities are canceled.

“Since snow is expected to make roads slippery, we urge New Yorkers to exercise caution when traveling to and from schools. Safety is a top priority for the Department,” she said.

 

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Decision to keep NYC public schools open upsets parents


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Updated at 11:40 a.m.

MELISSA CHAN AND MAGGIE HAYES

All New York City public schools will remain open Wednesday, education officials announced, dashing hopes city students might have about getting a second snow day this month, and angering parents who had to send their kids off.

“Keeping my kids home. Unsafe and crazy to keep school open. Guarantee plenty are doing the same as well as teachers having a hard time getting in,” Margaret Gomez said on The Courier’s Facebook page.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña made the call  Tuesday night at about 11:20 p.m., but warned “travel conditions may be difficult.”

“Families should exercise their own judgment when taking their children to school,” the notice said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he participated in the decision to keep schools open and that it was “the right thing to do.”

“We only close schools when it’s absolutely necessary,” he said. “We judged that we could go forward with school effectively today.”

School buses and mass transit are functioning “not perfectly, but well enough,” as of Wednesday morning, de Blasio said.

All after-school programs, field trips and PSAL games are also back to operating on a normal schedule, the schools chancellor announced.

The city closed public schools just a little more than two weeks ago on Jan. 3, during “Hercules,” the first major snowstorm of 2014.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday’s snow storm – with its predicted 10 to 14 inches of flakes and freezing temperatures – was on pace to be larger than the first.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a winter storm warning from 12 p.m. Tuesday until 6 a.m. Wednesday. The snow was not expected to taper off until 3 or 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Queens accumulated up to 11 inches of snow in some neighborhoods, according to the NWS.

 

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