Tag Archives: New York Mets

Watch ‘Sharknado 2’ strike Citi Field


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BENJAMIN FANG

Watch out Mets fans—the Sharknado is back and it’s hitting Citi Field.

Sharknado 2,” the sequel to the fictional made-for-TV movie about a whirlwind so strong it lifts man-eating sharks into the city, will premiere on the Syfy network on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

In the movie, swarming sharks attack humans next to iconic New York City sites, including Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

As sharks fall out of the sky and water floods the city streets, Ian Ziering, who plays the protagonist, goes around town killing the deadly animals.

“Sharknado 2,” also features Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath and Judah Friedlander.

 

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Queens, Bronx borough presidents make edible wager on Subway Series


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

The stakes are going to be deliciously high when the New York Mets and New York Yankees take the field during this year’s Subway Series.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. are wagering an assortment of foods, each from their respective boroughs, based on the results of the four-game series taking place from Monday, May 12 through Thursday, May 15, the two announced Sunday.

If the Mets win more games than the Yankees, then Diaz will send Katz a sample tray of empanadas from Babalu on East Tremont Road and a dozen cannolis from Egidio Pastry Shop, located in Belmont, the Bronx’s Little Italy.

But if the Yankees win, Katz will send Diaz a tray of sandwiches from Leo’s Latticini, also known as Mama’s of Corona. For dessert, Katz will also send pastries from the Omonia Café in Astoria.

“Queens offers an incredibly diverse array of cuisine and has some of the best restaurants in the city, so Borough President Diaz is in for a real treat if the Yankees manage to win the series,” Katz said. “But I fully expect the Mets will win and that I will be enjoying some delicious food from the Bronx.”

Both stakes will be paid out if the two New York baseball teams split the four game series 2-2.

“We have great culinary options in The Bronx, so a Mets victory would certainly be a treat for Borough President Katz,” Diaz said. “But the Yankees are the greatest franchise in baseball history, and I’m sure their decades of dominance will continue through this week.”

 

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Singers compete in Mets annual Anthem Search


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

O say can you sing?

The New York Mets hosted the first round of their 2014 Anthem Search on Thursday to find the person who will sing the national anthem at opening day next year.

More than 150 contestants auditioned for the position, giving 60 seconds of their best vocals to a panel of judges.

“It’s the Mets version of American Idol,” said Gary Apple, an SNY broadcaster and judge of the competition. “I think it’s great for the Mets and baseball.”

This year’s Anthem Search is the first time the winner will be allowed to sing on opening day. Past winners choose dates throughout the season to sing.

Many talented singers saw the opportunity as a way to bolster their future singing goals.

“It would be an honor to sing in front of many people and represent the Mets and it would be really challenging and add to my experience in singing,” said 13-year-old Victoria Labban, a resident of Richmond Hill, who has sang at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Mets officials said contestants will be called soon after the auditions and be informed if they have made the cut.

The judges gave singers encouragement, but were also tough, because they said performing the anthem in front thousands of fans requires someone who wouldn’t choke up, forget any words, and of course sing well.

“There were definitely some people who should have gone to work and not come here today,” said Skeery Jones, a judge and radio personality for Z100.

In the second round Mets staff will determine a single winner, who will sing in 2014 opening day on March 31, when the Mets host the Washington Nationals.



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Mets’ Matt Harvey to undergo elbow surgery, miss 2014 season


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The New York Mets

As if not making the playoffs wasn’t bad enough for Mets fans, the team announced Friday that rookie sensation Matt Harvey will undergo Tommy John surgery, which will force him to miss the 2014 season.

“After further consultation with doctors, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has elected to have surgery to repair a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery later this month,” the Mets said.

Harvey was frequently mentioned among the league’s best pitchers during 2013, his official rookie season. He completed the season with a 9-5 record, 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178 and 1/3 innings.

The team announced Harvey’s elbow injury following a loss to the Detroit Tigers on August 24, in which Harvey gave up a career-high 13 hits.

Despite the Mets record of 74-88 on the season and third place in the National League East, Harvey was one of the shining stars that gave fans hope for next year. Now that will have to wait another season.

 

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Mike Piazza to be inducted into Mets Hall of Fame


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

Mike Piazza may have been snubbed by the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame committee this year, but he’ll always be special to the Mets.

In fact the team announced that it will induct Piazza into the Mets Hall of Fame on Fan Appreciation Day on September 29 at Citi Field.

“Mike Piazza reinvigorated our franchise when we acquired him in May, 1998,” said Jeff Wilpon, Mets COO . “Mike is one of the greatest players in our history and we are thrilled to induct him into the Mets Hall of Fame.”

The announcement came hours before Piazza helped his team win the Celebrity and Legends All-Star Softball Game at Citi Field on Sunday.

Piazza will become the 27th member of the Mets Hall of Fame during the induction ceremony prior to the afternoon game against the Milwaukee Brewers on that date.

Piazza played 972 games for the Mets, for eight of his 16-year career in MLB. He had a .308 batting average with 2,127 hits and is the MLB home run leader as a catcher with 427. He hit 220 home runs with the Mets, ranking second in franchise history, behind Darryl Strawberry (252). He ranks first in team history with a .542 slugging percentage and is third in RBI (655). Piazza was a seven-time All-Star with the Mets.

Piazza set a team-record with 124 RBI and hit 40 home runs in 1999 and then finished with 38 home runs and drove in 113 runs in 2000 to win the National League Division Championship and reached the World Series.

 

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Rising Stars of Queens honored


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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The stars aligned last week when The Queens Courier honored 40 of the borough’s budding young professionals. “It’s awesome to be honored, and it’s humbling to be among these people,” said Eric Abrams, 26, digital media and membership associate for the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “I feel like I’m on my way up.”

Abrams — recognized for his work for the Chamber, including his part in securing a $100,000 grant to develop a mobile phone app for Queens tourism — shared the limelight with several other “Rising Stars” honored for exemplifying outstanding leadership skills in their chosen fields and communities.

SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

Presented by Metropolitan Hospitality, the fifth annual “40 under 40” awards and networking event drew over 500 people and raised $2,500 in charity raffle funds collected to benefit the Hank Auffarth Family Center of The Child Center of NY and Morgan Center, a pre-school for kids with cancer.

“This makes me proud of my staff, the company and proud to work in Queens,” said Seth Taylor, 33, executive director at the 82nd Street Partnership. “It makes me think back to the work I’ve done and it reminds me of all the work to be done.”

On January 31, at the Caesars Club in Citi Field, event attendees networked with top professionals and mingled with representatives from leading businesses in the area, including this year’s event sponsors National Grid, TD Bank, Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care & Rehabilitation, Delta Airlines, Queens Library, Con Edison, Flushing Bank, Council for Airport Opportunity, Queens County Savings Bank, Time Warner Business Class, Samuel Field Y, Sandwire, Crystal Window & Door Systems, Investors Bank and Ehren Joseph Studios.

Danielle Monaro, a co-host on Z100’s Elvis Duran & The Morning Show, received the “Star of Stars” award and was the night’s honorary emcee.

“I went to St. John’s University, so I feel like I grew up in Queens,” she said. “It’s just really nice to see how diverse the crowd is, how everybody comes together and supports each other. It really does mean a lot that I was chosen to be here. “

VIDEO: MEET THE 2013 “RISING STARS”

Monaro, a New Jersey resident, said she started her gig as a radio personality at St. John’s, where she did theater and WSJU Radio before graduating in 1995.

She helped honor fellow award recipients, including “Mentor of the Year” Bud Harrelson, a 1969 New York Mets World Series champion.

Also honored this year for their community work were Joseph Amodeo, development director for Quality Services for the Autism Community; Eric D. Abrams Digital Media & Membership Associate Queens Chamber of Commerce; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member, Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Seth Taylor, Executive Director, 82nd Street Partnership; Anahit Azatyan, manager of OKG Jewelry; Anokye Blissett, attorney at Law Firm of Russo & Blissett; Ricky Brava, senior partner at Apollo Financial Group; Ricardi Calixte, director of neighborhood economic development for the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Jennifer Colletti-Membreño, assistant director of development at Samuel Field Y; Elizabeth Culp, assistant vice president and branch manager at Roslyn Savings Bank; Paisley Demby, business services director at Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses at LaGuardia Community College; Josh Fatoullah, president and founder of JR Wealth Advisors; Dr. Peter Feibish, orthodontist at Dynamic Dental; Christian Goode, CFO and SVP of Resorts World NY; Gerdie Rene Gordon, member of Cambria Heights Development Corporation; Tracie Hall, vice president of strategy and organizational development of library services at Queens Library; Matthew Jahrsdoerfer, audit principal at Grassi & Co; Isabella Leung, human resource manager at Crystal Window & Door Systems; Jennifer Matthews, NTC marketing and events for USTA National Tennis Center; Maria Messados, principal/insurance broker for Queens Medallion; Ann O’Connor, cultural collaborator at Zoescope Studio; Tony Rappaport, licensed sales associate at Greenthal Property Sales & Management; Michael Ratner, partner at Abrams, Fensterman; Jeffrey Reich-Hale, director of sales and marketing at Wyndham Garden LIC; June Reid, department manager at Delta Air Lines at JFK International Airport; Jeff Yanni, general manager at Delta Air Lines at LaGuardia Airport; Elias Roman, CEO and co-founder of Songza Media, Inc; Rick Rosa, executive vice president and managing director at Douglas Elliman; Frank T. Santoro, counsel at Farrell Fritz, P.C; Suzanne Shusteris, manager at TD Bank; Aravella Simotas, assemblymember of District 36; Kevin Skelly, assistant general manager at Clearview Golf Corp.; Silvia Tejeda, licensed real estate broker at Rapid Realty Astoria Inc.; Ebony Young, executive director of Long Island City YMCA; Jason Hilliard, executive director for Congressmember Gregory Meeks; Frank Russo III, manager of Russo’s on the Bay; Abbi Leman, communications director at CUNY School of Law; Andrew Barnes, manager at National Grid; Wafa Abboud, founder and CEO of Human First, Inc.; Chris Lynch, director of operations of Parker’s Medical Transportation Division for Lakeville Ambulette Transportation; and Jeffrey DeShields, mortgage development officer and team leader for Sovereign Bank. “I feel blessed. You can’t ask for anything better,” said DeShields, 39.

Creative Group, LLC and Delta Airlines provided the raffled-off Cancun trip, which included four nights and five days at the Ocean Spa Resort or the Laguna Suites and two round trip airfare tickets.
Broadway tickets, an HD TV, two Nets tickets to the TGI Suite at the Barclays Center and many gift certificates were also given away by exhibitors.

Guests also snapped pictures in a free photo booth sponsored by Investors Bank and snacked on free Nathan’s hotdogs and pretzels.

Danielle Monaro, co-host of the Z100 Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, talks about The Queens Courier Rising Stars event on her radio show. 

 

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Former Met Mike Piazza, other nominees not voted into Baseball Hall of Fame; first time no inductees since 1996


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

No one’s going on the wall this year.

The candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame failed to get the needed 75-percent of votes today to make it into Cooperstown. This was the first time since 1996 that no one was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

One of those ball players was Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who, according to MLB.com, received 57.8 percent of the vote on his first ballot appearance.

Several sluggers accused of using performance enhancing drugs also appeared on the ballot: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire.

After the announcement that seems to be stunning the baseball world, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon commented that, “we are optimistic one day soon Mike‘s plaque, with a Mets cap, will be hanging in Cooperstown where it truly belongs.”

 

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Hundreds rally against development at Flushing Meadows


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

The Unisphere was lit-up red for American Heart Month

Hundreds of residents packed into the Our Lady of Sorrows auditorium in Corona to make known that they want to keep their park.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the biggest park in Queens, is currently being considered for the development of a new shopping mall, two new stadiums and concert venues and several parking garages and roads inside the park.

“We are here this evening because we are going to discuss an area that is our neighbor, it means so much to us,” said Monsignor Thomas Healy of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Several people held up signs reading, “Don’t destroy our second home,” and “Don’t kill our nature.”

The Fairness Coalition of Queens, a group of nonprofit community and religious organizations, hosted the town hall meeting on Monday, September 17 to speak with the community about the effects of the potential projects in the 1,255-acre park.

Many residents are displeased with the proposed plans because they wish to keep an area that, for many, is the only open space available near home. They do not want to lose an area that many people use for both relaxation and exercise.

City Councilmember Julissa Ferreras was also in attendance, and spoke to an enthusiastic crowd about her love for Flushing Meadows.

“We understand that each inch of land we give up is an inch we are not getting back,” she said. “Today this [meeting] has shown to the world that our community does matter, and that our park is our park.”

Amongst hopeful developers are the Wilpon family, the owner of the New York Mets, who proposes to use parkland west of Citi Field to build the largest shopping mall in the city, at 1.4 million-square-feet.

Also, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) wishes to construct two new tennis stadiums and two parking garages within the park.

Danny Zausner, managing director of the tennis center, previously said that the USTA plans will not impact the spot in a footprint perspective.

“We’re taking our existing parking lots in that perimeter and building up,” Zausner said.

Finally, Major League Soccer (MLS) seeks to build a 25,000-seat stadium and concert venue, along with an additional parking garage.

Senator Jose Peralta advocates the construction of an MLS stadium, and has a number of supporters behind him.

Peralta, a Willets Point supporter who went to Monday’s meeting, says that having a new soccer field in a soccer-crazed community could only be beneficial. The number of construction, game-day and permanent jobs could be advantageous to the largely working-class population.

If an MLS stadium is constructed, the senator’s office is also looking into replacement parkland to establish nearby.

In a statement issued by the MLS, it is said that the organization is committed to securing another team for the league located in New York City, and are “thrilled about bringing the world’s sport to the world’s park.” MLS is open to working with the community to build a facility for everyone to enjoy, they said.

“A privately financed soccer stadium to replace a big hole in the ground filled with dirty water is a good deal for soccer fans and the park-goers who would get to enjoy the many upgrades to the park,” said Peralta.

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


 

Intrepid-Bound Space Shuttle Enterprise Sails Through New York Harbor

The Space Shuttle Enterprise set off on a barge Sunday morning from John F. Kennedy Airport to sail to New Jersey. The shuttle prototype was lifted from a JFK hanger onto a barge on Saturday, and the barge set off from the airport just before 8 a.m. Sunday. Read more: [NY1]

 

2 Mets fanatics charged for running on field to celebrate Johan Santana’s no-hitter

A pair of super-zealous Mets fans who barged onto Citi Field on Friday night after hurler Johan Santana’s no-hitter were charged with criminal trespass on Sunday but released without bail. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 Man Wanted For Attempted Kidnapping By Queens School 

Police were searching Sunday for a man who allegedly tried to kidnap a young boy last week in North Corona, Queens. Authorities say Mark Synclair, 33, tried to grab the seven-year-old child outside P.S. 92 on Tuesday morning. Read more: [NY1]

 

Queens Library looks for new ways to battle budget cuts 

An army of strollers lined up outside the Broadway branch of the Queens Library to enlist the latest foot soldiers in the annual budget battle — toddlers and their caregivers. The borough library system is facing $26.7 million in proposed cuts under the Bloomberg Administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget. And library advocates are searching for new ways to get their message across. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Tourist, cabby die in 3-car LIE horror

A Utah woman and a Queens cabdriver were killed and the woman’s grandson was seriously injured early yesterday in a three-car smashup on the Long Island Expressway. Suzanne Nicholson, 60, and her grandson Gabe Larsen, 11, were headed from Kennedy Airport to a Manhattan hotel at about 12:30 a.m. when their cabby, Mohamed Hussain, rear-ended a 1995 Porsche near 66th Street in Queens, cops said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

Maher purchases stake in Amazin’s

He’s not joking — comedian and lifelong Mets fan Bill Maher now owns a piece of the team. HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” host made a surprise announcement that he’s a minority owner before last night’s win against the Cardinals, after a VIP tour with Mets Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon. Read more: [New York Post] 

Roundup of Johan Santana no-hitter links


| brennison@queenscourier.com

The-Afternoon-Roundup2

Santana Throws Mets’ First No-Hitter

The Mets’ historic streak without a no-hitter is over. Ace left-hander Johan Santana needed 134 pitches to complete the first no-hitter in the team’s 51-year history Friday as the Mets topped the St. Louis Cardinals 8-0. Read more: NY1

On Johan Santana’s magical night at Citi Field, NY Mets fans finally see a no-hitter

This was for all the times the Mets came close over the half-century they have been in business, the most famous of all when Tom Seaver had a perfect game against the Cubs one time and then a guy named Jimmy Qualls broke it up in the ninth inning. Read more: Daily News

Photo gallery from Santana’s no-hiter. View here: Daily News

Terry Collins sticks with Johan Santana and the rest is NY Mets history

The Friday started with thoughts of how Carlos Beltran would be received by the Mets faithful. But as the game wore on, as Mets ace Johan Santana, kept blanking the Cardinals on a magical Friday night at Citi Field, those thoughts quickly faded into the background. Read more: Daily News

Santana steals show in Carlos Beltran’s return to New York, ends 8,019-game drought

An intense cocktail of emotions coursed through Citi Field with two outs in the ninth inning Friday night. The 27,069 souls in the stands teetered on a precipice between joy and disappointment, desperate to see Mets history, while Johan Santana coped with surges of determination. Read more: Daily News

Baxter hurts shoulder preserving Mets’ no-hitter

Mike Baxter, after making the catch of his life last night, struggled to pull his T-shirt over his head after the game. Shaken, and in serious pain, he said he felt great on a night he gave up his body to keep Johan Santana’s no-hitter intact. Read more: NY Post

WATCH: Santana thanks Mets teammates in clubhouse. Watch here: NY Post

Beltran’s hit that wasn’t had some crying foul over Mets’ no-no

The umpire blew it, but the call and the no-hitter will stand. Maybe because of last night’s call by third base umpire Adrian Johnson, there will be new calls for expanded replay. Read more: NY Post

In Mets’ 51st Year, Finally, Their First No-Hitter

For 8,019 games, across 51 seasons, it had never happened for the Mets. Not at the Polo Grounds, not at Shea Stadium, not at Citi Field, not on the road. Not for Ryan or Seaver, not for Koosman or Matlack, not for Gooden or Cone, not for Leiter or Glavine. No Mets pitcher had ever thrown a no-hitter. Not until Friday. Read more: NY Times

Santana secures place in Mets lore

Johan Santana was the right man to do it, the right pitcher to deliver a magical moment that escaped more than a half-century’s worth of New York Mets. Truth is, he had this no-hitter coming to him since the day he tried to lift the Mets into the playoffs with a torn meniscus in his left knee. Read more: ESPN New York

 

Johan Santana throws New York Mets first ever franchise no-hitter


| josh.schneps@queenscourier.com

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Queens and every New York Mets fan is celebrating as Johan Santana has completed the first no-hitter in franchise history. In more than 8,000 games 36 Mets pitchers threw one-hitters.

Santana completed a magnificent performance on Friday, June 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals winning by a score of 8-0.

This game will live in infamy for all Mets fans who are still riding high on the recent announcement of the 2013 All Star Game taking place at Citi Field.

Santana threw 134 pitches and walked 5 in nine innings.

Queens native right fielder Mike Baxter made a diving catch against the left field wall suffering an injury to his shoulder and apparent concussion to save the n0-no in the seventh inning.

Making the victory even more sweet for Mets fans was that this was Carlos Beltran’s first return to Flushing.

“It was a crazy night,” said Santana at the post game press conference.

It certainly will be for Mets fans in Queens and beyond.

Banner Day returns, brings out the fans


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

banner day

Wearing a sparking golden crown and wielding a play horse, 1971 Banner Day winner Debby Brandon stood in line on the outskirts of Citi Field for the event’s return.

The contest, which was halted in 1996 but revived this year for the team’s 50th anniversary, featured more than 300 Mets fans parading around Citi Field with signs of their love and commitment to the team.

Brandon, 53, was devastated when the event was halted, but rejoiced in its return on Sunday, May 27.

“We’re thrilled,” Brandon, a resident of Middle Village, said. “We used to enter all the time.”

She entered the contest this year with a theme based on the Triple Crown, referring to the possibility of the Mets winning a third World Series title this year.

The event brought back memories of when she won Banner Day when she was just 12 years old.

Back then, Brandon dressed up in a handmade Mr. Met costume with her friend, who sported a Statue of Liberty outfit.

As they walked across the diamond, Brandon held a banner which read in colorful, bubble print “Even the Lady is a Mets fan,” while her friend held one that said “Come on baby light my fire,” – in reference to the popular song by “The Doors.”

The contest judges loved the idea and the girls won a trip to Puerto Rico.

They took one more person with them on the trip, Lynn Rapkiewicz, Brandon’s sister and the inventor of the idea.

“It was a good idea,” Rapkiewicz said. “We’re real New Yorkers and the whole idea was the Statue of Liberty represents all of New York, and to us New York is always the New York Mets.”

For the return of Banner Day the sisters attempted to win top prize again while also passing down the tradition.

Rapkiewicz, 63, thought of a similar idea for her grandchildren, Danny and Samantha Hodurski. Because the event ran on Memorial Day Weekend, Danny, 9, dressed up as Uncle Sam and Samantha, 7, wore the Lady Liberty costume.

“Baseball is all about tradition,” Rapkiewicz said. “It was rewarding for me to see my grandchildren become part of the next generation of Mets fans.”

The kids held a banner that said “I want to yell ‘yippie’ for the next 50 years.”

Although it did not win the top prize, when the youngsters walked the warning track on Citi Field, fans yelled “yippie” in response.

Fans reminisced and traded similar stories as they waited for the competition to start.

Mary and Roger Bow, a husband and wife pair from Bayside, entered Banner Day in 1984 when they were just high school friends.

Two years later they married and more than a decade after that they had a child.

Now the entire family, including son Andy, now 14, participated in the contest with a revamped version of the couple’s original banner – a Mets influenced rendering of the famous picture of soldiers planting the American flag after World War II.

“This is so exciting,” Andy said “I love how my parents have been doing this since they were so young and how I get to be a part of it.”

Banner Day participants were so happy with the return that they wished the event would come to stay.

“I think it’s a great thing,” Rapkiewicz said. “The Mets, I think more than anybody, have been about the fans. To have them bring this back is great.”

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Maniac went for cop-killer bullets: police

The crazed gunman who wounded four Brooklyn cops was reaching for another rifle loaded with more powerful, armor-piercing bullets to inflict deadly injuries just before he was stopped, officials said yesterday. “If he would have been able to grab that gun, this would have been a lot more tragic. It would have been in God’s hands,” said a police official familiar with the case. “It’s apparent [the suspect] wanted to shoot it out with cops and go out in a blaze of glory.’’ Read More: New York Post

Cuomo at all-time high in latest poll; Bam and Gillibrand strong

Gov. Cuomo’s job approval has hit an all-time high while President Obama and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are cruising toward re-election in deep blue New York this year, according to a new poll out today. The Siena College survey found New York voters divided over Obamacare and the potential legalization of casino gambling but strongly supportive of expanding the state’s DNA databank and rolling back pension benefits for new public employees. Read More: New York Post

Liu’s legal bills outweigh donations

Embattled city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasury “is turning into a legal-defense fund.”

Liu’s campaign has spent more than $100,000 on lawyers and legal fees so far this year — more than he raised in campaign contributions. Liu only raised $82,305 from Jan. 1 through March 25. And the new report shows that Liu spent more than twice what he raised during the period — $162,354.92. The anemic fund-raising and ballooning legal bills come as Liu and his campaign operation face a federal criminal probe of their fund-raising activities. Read More: New York Post

Smoking banned in New York State Parks in New York City

In announcing the ban Monday, state officials said it was done to make state parks consistent with their city-run counterparts, where smoking was outlawed last year. Smoking will also be banned near pools and playgrounds at all other state parks outside of the city, as officials look to create “fresh-air” zones for parkgoers. Read More: Daily News


 

Park Officials Plan To Fix Up Vandalized Far Rockaway Playground By Summer

With the damages totalling more than $100,000, many Far Rockaway residents feared the city would halt construction on the Beach 29th playground, but the Parks Department says it will soon be back on schedule. “The contractor has been there a few times the manufacturer, we located the parts that we need, they’re now on order,” said Queens Park Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “We hope to be back in line and open the playground sometime during the summer.” Read More: NY1

 

 

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly fights the good fight in New York City’s long war against guns

This time it was 3301 Nostrand Ave. in the first moments of Easter Sunday, four Emergency Service Unit cops, cops as good as any Ray Kelly has, coming through the door of Apartment 6-K, all being shot by a “very bad dude” — Kelly’s words — named Nakwon Foxworth. Another bad dude in the City of New York with guns, one gun at least from the shoot-happy South. Read More: Daily News

 


 

Ire at home ‘free’ tenant

Queens landlord Debra Samuels says her only tenant hasn’t paid the $1,590 rent in more than a year — putting her two-family home in jeopardy. “We haven’t received a penny since February 2011 and she’s upstairs chilling, living free.” Samuels said. “I don’t see any resolution to this thing.” The cash crunch has put Samuels and her husband, who run a restaurant together, behind on their mortgage for the two-family Far Rockaway home.  Read More: New York Post

 

Catholic Charities boardmember quits over Cardinal Dolan’s stance on gay rights

Angered by Cardinal Dolan’s stance on gay rights, a member of the junior board of the city’s Catholic Charities revealed Saturday he has resigned. Joseph Amodeo quit after Dolan took umbrage at a letter from a group that works with homeless lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender youths. Read More: Daily News

Patience running thin in Queens


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

photo - rotundaw

Hope may spring eternal, but patience is running thin in Queens.

The New York Mets enter the 2012 season as significant underdogs in one of Major League Baseball’s best divisions. As good as the National League East became this offseason – with Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle joining the Miami Marlins, the emerging Washington Nationals getting scarier by the day, and the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves still going strong – the Mets did little to help their chances of shocking the baseball world this year.

Supporters stopped coming to the ballpark by the thousands in 2011, and attendance will likely suffer again this season with the Mets projected to be the NL East cellar dwellers. The only thing more frightening than the Mets’ bullpen is the team’s lineup – go ahead tell me the batters hitting one through eight…don’t worry, I’ll wait for you to stop gasping for air.

Fans are beginning to get fed up with the product on the field, lack of exciting new talent, ownership’s financial troubles and the out-of-control injury situation – seriously, how was the entire medical staff not sent packing after Ike Davis’ initially ordinary ankle injury cost him the entire 2011 campaign?

Despite no significant additions being made to the team – during one of the most talented free agent pools in history, I might add – there are certain developments Mets fans can actually look forward to this season.

First and foremost, the Wilpons settled their suit with the victims of Bernie Madoff and had only moderate damage – a measly $162 million over five years – compared to the $303 million the Mets owners would have paid if they lost in court. The Wilpons have already completed the sale of 12 minority shares of the team for $240 million and repaid $65 million in loans, and they have now reportedly promised to begin reinvesting in the club again.

The agreement should allow the owners to cease selling any more of the team like they are homes of MC Hammer and settle down financially. Mets fans can begin dreaming again of days when free agents flock to Willets Point to don the blue and orange.

Johan Santana returned to his rightful place as the team’s Opening Day starter on April 5. Santana, who missed the entire 2011 season with a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, can make Mets fans gleeful once every five games – if, and it is a monumental IF, he is healthy and looks remotely like he did before getting injured. Santana has always been a pleasure to watch, and he should draw crowds on the days he hits the mound.

The starters are the sole visible bright spot for the team, with Santana, the tireless R.A. Dickey and youngsters Dillon Gee and Jonathon Niese – who will hopefully take another step forward this season. The Mets can also feel optimism about hurlers Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler soon joining the big leagues.

Lastly, 2012 marks the 50-year anniversary of the Metropolitans, and the organization has planned a number of festivities to commemorate the milestone, including the return of Banner Day and a series of alumni bobblehead giveaways representing each decade of the team’s history.

This should keep Mets fans’ minds and eyes away from the field – at least the organization hopes so.

Mets to pay tribute to Carter on opening Day


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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In a tribute befitting his legacy, thousands of Mets fans will have the privilege to pay their respects to Gary “The Kid” Carter on Opening Day.

The New York Mets will honor Carter’s memory before their first game of the season against the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, April 5 at Citi Field. A pre-game ceremony will be held, with Carter’s wife, Sandy, son, D.J., and daughters, Kimmy and Christy and their families on the field for a moment of silence and the ceremonial first pitch.

“We are thrilled that the Carters will be with us,” said Mets COO Jeff Wilpon. “On Opening Day, Mets fans will have the chance to pay their respects and remember all of [Carter’s] accomplishments.”

Carter passed away on February 16 at the age of 57, following a 10-month battle with brain cancer. The Hall of Fame catcher was initially diagnosed with four brain tumors last May, a mere two weeks after completing his second season as head coach at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Mets players will wear a patch on their right sleeve featuring a black home plate with “KID 8” in white lettering to honor Carter throughout the 2012 season.

“Our family is so honored to be part of the Mets’ Opening Day at Citi Field,” said Sandy Carter. “It will be an incredible experience for us to celebrate Gary’s legacy by having our family throw out the first pitch. The Mets and the fans of New York always had a special place in Gary’s heart and that admiration will live on in our hearts for years to come. Thanks to the Wilpon family and the entire Mets organization for making this possible.”