Tag Archives: Northern Boulevard

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

IDENTIFY

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Northern Boulevard at Bell Boulevard in Bayside 

IDENTIFY-624x511

Influx of new commercial centers arriving in Bayside


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Three new commercial buildings are coming to a section of Northern Boulevard in Bayside, bringing an influx of retail space to the neighborhood strip.

Jeewha Kim, president of 211 St. LLC, filed permits with the Buildings Department on Friday for a new three-story commercial center at 211-02 Northern Blvd.

The new building will have 19,993 square feet of space with 66 parking spaces when completed, according to city filings.

About a block away from that development site, permits were issued last year for a two-story commercial plaza at 212-14 Northern Blvd., and renderings have been posted on the construction site. However, a partial stop work order exists on the property.

This building, designed by Victor K. Han Architect, will have 12,030 square feet of space and 40 parking spaces, including some underground.

On-site poster

On-site poster

Also, 209 Northern Property LLC has almost completed its two-story commercial building at 209-35 Northern Blvd.

That development will have 24,865 square feet and 84 spaces for parking, according to city records.

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Whitestone resident petitions again for Metro-North stops in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin

The wheels are turning once again for one Queens resident who hopes to bring more transportation options to the borough.

Ali Fadil, a Whitestone resident who previously lived in Astoria and Jackson Heights, has started an online petition calling on the MTA to bring Metro-North Railroad access into western Queens as part of its plan to expand the line to Penn Station.

In the MTA’s 2015-2019 $32 billion Capital Program, the agency plans a project that would take the Metro-North’s New Haven line directly to Penn Station, adding four new stations in the Bronx. As part of expansion, the line would use existing track, owned by Amtrak, to go directly into Manhattan.

In doing this, the line would go into Queens but without making any stops in the borough.

“Metro-North wants to run trains through Queens but has no interest in serving Queens, especially since western Queens has seen a lot of growth in the past years,” Fadil said.

This is Fadil’s second petition regarding the expanding of Metro-North stops into the borough. In 2012, when he was only 18, Fadil began his initial petition which gathered 263 signatures. He said the support he got the first time around helped him make his plan more specific on what needs to be done.

“I am here to make sure that our communities get what we deserve and Queens shouldn’t be left out in the cold,” said Fadil, who is a senior studying political science and sociology at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. “When it comes to public transportation, it’s Queens that’s the forgotten borough, not Staten Island.”

The 20-year-old’s petition, which started on Monday and as of Tuesday has 44 signatures, calls on the transportation agency to bring the New Haven line to western Queens and also study two locations along the Amtrak line to be considered for stations. The locations are Astoria Boulevard between 41st and 44th streets, and Northern Boulevard at Broadway, which is close to the M and R trains and two local buses.

The petition also calls on Amtrak to make “necessary structural repairs” to the tracks which go over the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria and would be used during the expansion of the Metro-North New Haven line.

According to Fadil, the existing Amtrak line is “falling apart” and in need of repair.

In the capital program, the MTA said the Metro-North expansion would include upgrades to power and signal systems, installing of new track and realigning existing tracks, and replacing railroad bridges to accommodate more trains.

According to an MTA spokesperson, there are no plans to construct a Metro-North station in Queens because it is too costly to build an elevated station for a low ridership.

“If I see something that isn’t being done right, I want to see it done right for people,” Fadil said. “That’s why I do what I do.”

Fadil said he now hopes to get support from local elected officials and leaders to help make his ideas a reality.

To check out the petition, click here.

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BP Katz holds hearing on Bayside car dealership


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Updated Friday, Sept. 19

Members of the Bayside community urged Borough President Melinda Katz to uphold Community Board 11’s decision to remove a Star Toyota and Scion dealership from the area during a hearing Thursday morning.

“For 40 years, this business has been a bad neighbor,” a community board 11 member said. “There’s excess noise in the night and in the day. Unlicensed cars constantly speed through the neighborhood, blowing every stop sign.”

Katz didn’t make a decision during the meeting but she remained skeptical that the dealership was sincere about responding to the community’s complaints about broken sidewalks, trash and fixing the fence.

The dealership’s manager, Michael Koufakis, didn’t attend the meeting but his lawyer, Todd Dale, said that all of the issues that the community raised were addressed.

“When presented with these problems, we took care of it,” he said, referring to the broken sidewalks and fence and all of the trash in the area.

“I find that, as borough president, people clean up right before these meetings and then they go back to their bad habits afterwards,” Katz said.

According to Katz’s spokesman, the borough president will make a decision to either allow the variance to be renewed or echo Community Board 11′s decision. She plans on making her decision before the case goes to the Board of Appeals (BSA), the last stop before a final decision is made. The variance allows the business to operate in a residential zone as long as it cooperates with the community board.

Neighbors of the dealership hope that the BSA and Katz will reject the variance application.

Rennie Xosa lives behind the dealership’s parking lot. He, as well as community board members, said that the lot is used by the dealership to showcase cars to customers, an act that would be illegal under the business’ zoning rules.

“I have this beautiful backyard but I often can’t use it because there are people over there checking the car alarm system, honking the horn, testing how loud the radio goes and all of these other things that shouldn’t be going on there,” Xosa said. “I won’t let these people kick me out of my own neighborhood. I’m staying here and fighting them.”

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Bayside residents tell car dealership to hit the road


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 17, 4:38 p.m.

Community Board 11 unanimously refused to renew a zoning variance that allowed a Bayside Toyota dealership to operate in a residential area after neighbors complained.

Star Toyota and Scion has been operating on Northern Boulevard for 40 years with the variance, but locals want the dealership gone for being, according to one board member, a “bad neighbor.”

“The community wants them removed because they don’t respect us,” said board member Steven Behar. “It’s as simple as that.”

Residents complained that the dealership parked their cars on residential streets and illegally dumped garbage in the neighborhood.

As a requirement of the variance, the dealership must meet with the community board every 10 years so their business can be reviewed.

After reviewing the business this time, the board decided to act on the complaints and vote down the renewal.

There are two more steps in the process: Borough President Melinda Katz is expected to announce a decision on Sept. 18 and, if she supports the community board’s decision, the Board of Standards and Appeals will make a final decision.

“We’re hoping that with the new [mayoral] administration and a real show of community support, we can have the BSA do what’s right for the community,” Behar said. “We’ve tried to solve this with them but they wouldn’t work with us so now it’s come to this.”

But Michael Koufakis, the dealership’s manager, said he’s open to the community’s complaints.

“I’m here every day. If anyone has any concerns, they can call me and I’ll make a reasonable effort to resolve it,” he said. “We will be addressing some of the issues that came to our attention through the community board.”

Further west on Northern Boulevard, a Flushing real estate business attempted to remove a condition in a similar variance.

Paul Luciano, owner of Utopia Real Estate, asked Community Board 7 to remove a restriction contained in the variance that prevents the building’s owner from making any alterations without the board’s permission.

But the board voted to maintain its power over the business, which has been in Flushing since 1957, by keeping the conditions of the variance in place.

“They [the community board] just want to hold the power over us for no reason,” Luciano said.
But locals said they feared changes would alter the nature of the neighborhood.

“If we’re not careful, our area will start to look like Main Street,” resident Terri Pouymari said.

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Students study local street to make Jackson Heights safer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Noah Beadle

Groups of “kid engineers” came together over the weekend to try to understand how to make Queens safer, one street at a time.

The advocacy organization, Make Queens Safer, hosted a Safer, Greener Streets Fair and Bike Bonanza on Saturday at Travers Park in Jackson Heights to raise awareness and allow visitors to learn more about street safety while also getting the chance to participate in activities.

One of the interactive events, called the Kid Engineers Traffic Study, allowed students from I.S. 230, P.S. 69, P.S. 212, P.S. 280, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film, the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, McClancy High School and Voice Charter School to assist in documenting traffic conditions down 34th Avenue between 74th and 80th streets.

The study was chosen for that particular stretch in Jackson Heights, which has a speed limit of 30 mph, because it is parallel to Northern Boulevard, is a major bike route and is near three schools and several parks, according to organizers.

“Providing the tools and knowledge on how to safely navigate the streets of our neighborhoods can help reduce accidents and improve the quality of life for all members of our community,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, who joined the students as they conducted the study.

TS-3

The students measured traffic speeds using radar guns westbound on 34th Avenue at 75th Street and eastbound on the avenue at 79th Street.

According to the students’ data, with more than 100 measurements taken, about 17 percent of the vehicles traveled 31 mph or faster at 75th Street, while 7 percent exceeded the limit at 79th Street.

Traffic was light compared to weekday traffic, according to organizers. Other notes taken at the sites included vehicles running red lights.

The final field study involved intersection safety observations.

The “kid engineers” examined driver, pedestrian and cyclist behaviors at 76th, 77th, and 80th streets along 34th Avenue.

Students collected data on vehicles stopping in crosswalks while ignoring painted stop lines, drivers using hand-held cellphones, and pedestrians talking on cellphones as they crossed the intersections. During this time the students also talked about ways pedestrians should stay safe while crossing the streets.

Other information collected involved two near collisions, vehicles turning without signals, cyclists running red lights and pedestrians walking out into the street before checking for traffic.

For the full data collected by the Kid Engineers Traffic Study, click here.

Throughout the day other events of the a Safer, Greener Streets Fair and Bike Bonanza included a Learn to Ride Class hosted by Bike New York, a helmet giveaway from the Department of Transportation and free youth bike repair by Recycle a Bicycle and Bike Yard.

“Our family spent the entire day talking about safety – bike safety and street safety,” said Veronica Marino, whose 11-year-old daughter participated in the events. “So many times it takes a tragedy to get people talking about these things.”

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Police looking for suspect who groped teen in Jackson Heights elevator


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man groped a 15-year-old girl after he followed the teen into her apartment building’s elevator in Jackson Heights last month, cops said.

The incident happened at about 9:20 p.m. on Aug. 13 in a building near 70th Street and Northern Boulevard, authorities said. Once inside the elevator, the suspect grabbed the girl’s buttocks and breast before fleeing.

Police describe the suspect as an Asian man in his late teens to early 20s and about 135 pounds. He was wearing a gray shirt and blue shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Movie starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne begins film preparations in Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A new movie, “Louder Than Bombs,”  starring Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert and Gabriel Bryne  is expected to begin filming in September in Bayside.

Crew members started moving equipment into the area on Thursday.  A Ryder truck was spotted in front of Anchor Inn on Northern Boulevard where the crew prepared the motel for shooting.

The director of the film is Joachim Trier and according to reports, the movie is set to be  completed and released in 2015.

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Eisenberg is known for his bigger roles in the movies “Social Network” and “Zombieland.” Bryne, the oldest of the trio, starred in many movies including “The Usual Suspects” and “In Treatment.” The French actress Huppert has played in many European movies but was also in “I Heart Huckabees.”

“Louder Than Bombs” is still in the very early stages but according to reports, the plot is about a late war photographer, played by Huppert, whose husband and two sons discover a secret about her past. The secret ends up unravelling the lives of the men into chaos. The movie is being labeled a drama.

The plot of “Louder Than Bombs” doesn’t take place in Queens but the crew plan on using two locations in the area, according to a spokeswoman for the crew. The first is in the inn on Northern Boulevard and the second is at a residential corner on 215th Place and 38th Avenue.

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More Slow Zones coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More areas of Queens are slowing down.

The city’s Department of Transportation announced Friday the second phase of Arterial Slow Zones, which reduce speed limits to 25 mph, in 14 new locations throughout the city. New signs will be put up indicating the change.

Among the 14 locations are two Queens corridors. The first will run 5.8 miles on Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street and the approximate start month is set for September.

In December, the DOT is expected to begin implementing a 5.6-mile slow zone on Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street.

“Slow Zones are a critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We are glad to work closely with local communities in bringing these life saving measures to corridors across the city. These 14 additional zones meet another goal we set in February.”

In May the DOT announced that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard runs 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street.

DOT also implemented a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard stretching 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

 

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Elegant Chinese dining


| padler@queenscourier.com

photo 1

It is a busy block as Northern Boulevard goes into Great Neck from Little Neck. It has been totally reborn
literally from top to bottom with new management, and it’s terrific dining.

The new restaurant is called Moonstone. Its name is taken from the stone and the good luck that a new moon brings. Here they are making their good fortune by providing a beautiful setting, excellent food and friendly professional service.

The rich woods and custom-made wall tiles on the curved ceiling of the bar, warm colors and pink lighting all add to the quality of the setting.

I like the linen tablecloths and napkins that add to the elegance of the environment.

I took friends Tracey and Seth Kupferberg to join me because I know they relish Chinese food since Seth’s office is in the heart of Flushing and he always dines there.

We began our meal with crabmeat and sweet corn soup. It was loaded with crabmeat in a rich broth. I tried my favorite vegetarian hot and sour soup and it was rich with tofu and spiced perfectly.

Then we had the chef’s steamed dim sum platter filled with crystal dumplings, pork Shu Mai, vegetarian dumplings, chicken and shrimp dumplings for only $10! It was perfect for sharing as were the rich and meaty imperial beef short ribs. Something different was the steamed Chilean sea bass roll presented in cabbage with ginger and an egg white. Delicious!

There is a large selection of appetizers from $2 and multiple dim sum choices. I love how the menu calls the meats “from the land” and the chicken and duck dishes “from the sky” and the long list of fish “from the sea.” You get the idea.

All are reasonably priced and offer abundant portions.

I enjoyed my favorite fish, their whole steamed branzino, but they also have red snapper and North Carolina black bass served whole and filleted at the table. There are remarkable green, white, black and red prawns done in unique sauces.

There is the traditional General Tso’s chicken done in a tasty sauce but also an unusual Sanpei chicken clay pot with Chinese sausage and cloud ear mushrooms. A must try!

They are open for lunch and offer a diverse three-course meal for only $15 including many choices of soups, main courses and desserts.

Whether for lunch or dinner you will be impressed with the food and as a bonus there is a handsome bar for drinks or dining casually.

Moonstone is open seven days a week, offers takeout and free delivery, and is handicap accessible.

Moonstone
14 Northern Blvd., Great Neck
516-500-1000

De Blasio signs package of Vision Zero bills at fatal Queens accident site


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

A Woodside intersection, where a fatal accident involving an 8-year-old student occurred last December, became the site where a package of traffic safety bills were signed in hopes of a brighter and safer future.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was joined by other elected and city officials as well as family members of victims of traffic fatalities, signed 11 bills supporting the city’s Vision Zero initiative on Monday at P.S. 152, less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by a tractor trailer in December.

“We’ve been taking aggressive action from that day forward, because we understand these collisions injure almost 4,000 New Yorkers a year, and kill over 250 New Yorkers in recent years,” de Blasio said. “And that’s been the minimum. And that’s been an unacceptable reality each year.”

Before signing the bills on June 23, de Blasio paid a visit to the completed Department of Transportation (DOT) project at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, which includes two pedestrian islands, enhanced crosswalks and parking regulations.

Later this year the busy roadway, between 62nd and 102nd streets, will become one of the first Arterial Slow Zones, lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The package of bills includes requiring the DOT to study left turns and come up with a report every five years; to respond to and address major traffic signal issues within 24 hours; to produce a report on work zone safety guidelines on bridges; to install seven Neighborhood Slow Zones this year and in 2015; and to annually lower speeds to 15 to 20 mph near schools. The bills also require the agency to study major roadways and produce a report every five years.

The bills also refer to “Cooper’s Law,” named after 9-year-old Cooper Stock who was fatally struck in Manhattan, which requires the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to suspend drivers involved in a crash where a person is critically injured or killed and where a driver receives a summons for any traffic-related violation. The package also included the establishment of penalties for vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, and requiring the TLC to review crashes with critical injuries or death.

“The passage of today’s bills will bring us closer to making Vision Zero a reality in every neighborhood in the City of New York,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “These laws will also will help reduce reckless driving and speeding through our local neighborhoods. Traffic safety is an issue our city takes seriously. Through this legislation, we will make our streets safer for all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike.”

The bills also address prohibiting stunt behaviors on motorcycles.

“We have promised the people of this city that we will use every tool we have to make streets safer,” de Blasio said. “Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter or a parent in a senseless tragedy.”

 

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Van crashes into MTA bus in Flushing


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Updated Sunday, May 4, 11:55 a.m.

A collision between an airport shuttle and MTA bus in Flushing Friday left 10 people injured, officials said.

The Q12 bus was making a left turn onto Prince Street from Northern Boulevard about 10 p.m. when the van made an illegal right turn onto Prince and struck the bus, cops said.

The bus was not in service at the time of the crash, and was only occupied by the driver, police said.

Both drivers were taken to local hospitals in stable condition. Eight other people, who were reportedly passengers in the van, were also hurt in the crash and taken to area hospitals, according to officials, but the extent of their injuries was unclear.

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DOT to implement Slow Zones on Northern and Queens boulevards


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan will be implemented at two highly trafficked Queens thoroughfares where collisions have claimed more than 20 lives in the last six years, officials said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard will run 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street. Starting later this month, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph and traffic signals will be retimed.

Since 2008, there have been five fatalities on Northern Boulevard, according to the DOT. One of the recent accidents involved 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was fatally struck by a truck on his way to school on Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.

Last month the DOT announced it would install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said.

In July, the DOT will implement a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard, which has seen 23 deaths in the past six years. The Slow Zone will stretch 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take actions,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevard, and many other dangerous roads throughout our city.”

The city agency also announced Slow Zones would go up on Jamaica Avenue later this month, and Rockaway Boulevard in August.

For more information on the Slow Zones, visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

 

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64-year-old man killed in LIC hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 9:49 p.m.

A 64-year-old man has died from injuries after a hit-and-run in Long Island City Friday night.

The NYPD responded to a 9-1-1 call at 10:25 p.m. Friday of a pedestrian struck on Northern Boulevard and 40th Road. There officers found Kumar Ragunath,64, unconscious and unresponsive with severe head trauma and a broken leg. He was then transported to Elmhurst Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

The victim was allegedly struck by a black or dark colored Chevy Blazer which was traveling in the right lane going westbound on Northern Boulevard, according to police. The car then struck the victim as he was trying to cross Northern Boulevard outside of any marked crosswalk.

The vehicle then fled the scene westbound on Northern Boulevard, said police. There are no arrests at this time and the case is being investigated by the NYPD’s Highway Patrol Collision Investigation Squad.

 

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Douglaston Deli owner passing down legacy to son


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Matt Walters isn’t completely sure when he realized he wanted to own his father’s deli.

It could have been when he was 8 years old and cleaned out his parents’ kitchen cabinet so he could pretend to have his own store in the basement.

There was also a time, at one and a half years old, when his mother dressed him up for Halloween with a white shirt and black apron, like his dad’s deli uniform.

But one thing’s for certain, although he has two brothers, it was always decided that he would succeed his dad.

“There was never a question of who was going to take over either,” Matt said. “They knew I wanted to do it and they went their separate ways.”

He started working in the 42-year-old Douglaston Deli on Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard 19 years ago, and will soon take it over from his dad, Richard, who plans to retire this year.

Matt has been learning how to operate the deli since he began his job there at 15 years old. Today the combo still works side by side at certain times of the day.

They don’t have defined roles, but the pair works in tandem to make sure customers receive their orders as soon as possible. With a certain quickness that comes with experience in the food industry, one takes orders, the other preps the food, which includes classic roast beef sandwiches and German style potato salad made fresh every day.

Photo courtesy Matt Walters 

While the neighborhood may have transformed in various ways since the deli opened, the store hasn’t changed much, and therefore holds a good relationship with the community. Matt plans to run the deli the same way as his dad.

“When people come in here they’re not a number,” Matt said. “We know them by first name and we’ve built up a lot of great relationships with customers around the area.”

Matt has no idea what’s in store for the next 42 years, but hopes the deli can stay in the family.

“I have a daughter that’s a year and a half old,” Matt said. “She might be the next owner of the deli.”

 

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