Tag Archives: Northern Boulevard

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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Pols call for Northern Boulevard to be included in mayor’s Vision Zero initiative


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Local politicians and residents are saying the time to act is now, before another innocent life is taken on Northern Blvd

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with other elected officials and traffic safety advocates Thursday to call for Northern Blvd. to be added as one of the 50 locations in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative

“We are all committed to Vision Zero, and it is our obligation to speak up and stand up every single time pedestrians are killed or injured as a result of reckless driving,” said Van Bramer, who has developed a list of locations with traffic fatalities. “We’re calling for the administration to include Northern Boulevard, and really all over Northern Boulevard, stretching into Jackson Heights and Corona, deserve this recognition.”

The group gathered at the intersection of Northern Blvd. and 48th St. in Woodside, where four pedestrians were stuck Saturday while they were waiting for the bus. One of the victims was a 7-year-old girl who suffered a skull fracture but survived. 

“Here we go again,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who introduced a bill in the Senate, which would charge drivers who continue to drive without a valid license and are in an accident that causes serious injury or death with vehicular assault.

“Until we begin taking pedestrian safety seriously, we are going to keep standing at more and more press conferences talking about the same issue and we hope we don’t have to do it too many more times,”  he said.

Last month, de Blasio and his administration launched an interagency working group, together with the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement a Vision Zero initiative aiming to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

The announcement took place just less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian, who was on his way to school, was fatally struck in December by a tractor trailer on Northern Blvd. and 61st St.

The working group will come together to implement the mayor’s plan by developing a report, due to the mayor by Feb. 15 and released publicly, that will serve as a blueprint for the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan for safer streets through the city.

“Clearly Northern Blvd. deserves this recognition and we are asking the administration to include this series of intersections on Northern Boulevard so no child is ever killed trying to cross the street going to school,” said Van Bramer. “This is a street. For some, they may think it’s a highway, but the truth is there are people living, working and going to school all along Northern Blvd. and it has to be just as safe as any other street in the city of New York and until it is so, we will not rest.”

 

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Four Queens streets among region’s most dangerous for pedestrians: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local leaders push to lower traffic deaths, a new report has identified four Queens roadways as some of the most dangerous  for pedestrians in downstate New York.

The analysis, from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy watchdog organization, found that from 2010 to 2012, Woodhaven Boulevard had the most pedestrian deaths with eight fatalities.

It was ranked sixth overall out of 12 counties in downstate New York and the second worst in the city, behind Broadway in Manhattan.

Tied with the 14th most deaths were Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, which had five fatalities each.

Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard, nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” were new to the list this year.

Over the weekend four pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl, were struck in a hit-and-run at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street.

An 8-year-old Woodside boy was killed on his way to school in December when a truck driver, who was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, hit him at the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard.

On Jan. 15, with the child’s family at his side, de Blasio launched his Vision Zero initiative at the boy’s school.

The mayor and his administration is launching an interagency working group, together with the NYPDDepartment of TransportationDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement the plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

Nearly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on arterial roadways, multi-lane roads that often have speed limits of 40 mph or more and little pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign analysis.

“These findings make it clear once again that we need to redesign our most dangerous arterial corridors,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “We can save lives by building complete streets with protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety islands.”

 

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32-year-old man arrested in Sunnyside hit-and-run of four pedestrians


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 10:15 p.m.

A 32-year-old Jackson Heights man was arrested Sunday in connection to a hit-and-run in Sunnyside Saturday night that left five people in the hospital.

The NYPD arrested Luis Andrade on Sunday at about 3:55 p.m. and he is facing two charges of leaving the scene of an accident with serious injury. 

Andrade’s white Mazda sedan allegedly struck four pedestrians at about 7:40 p.m. Saturday as they waited at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street, police said.

The driver then fled the scene in the car and ditched the car a few blocks away.

The victims, who ranged from a seven-year-old girl to a 56-year-old man, were taken to Elmhurst Hospital and all are in non-critical condition. A fifth person, who was at the scene of the time of the accident but was not struck, was also taken to the hospital with high blood pressure, according to police.

 

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Jackson Heights, Corona community marches for safer streets after traffic deaths


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It was the final straw, and now the Jackson Heights and Corona communities are saying no more.

Family members of traffic accident victims, local elected officials and community members gathered Tuesday night to set off the inaugural action known as “Three Children Too Many.”

The group marched down Northern Boulevard, then 82nd Street, stopping to make statements about traffic control and give performances along the way. They then gathered on 79th Street and 37th Avenue to rally and remember young local lives that were cut short.

“You cope with this kind of thing and you feel terrible, sad, angry, but then there’s a tipping point,” said Laura Newman, one of the organizers of the march and resident of Jackson Heights. “We actually have to make it stop.”

Just a month before three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver, Jackson Heights resident Luis Bravo, 19, lost his life in a hit-and-run in Woodside. In December of last year, 11-year-old Miguel Torres was killed as he tried to cross the street heading to school on Northern Boulevard.

In April Councilmember Daniel Dromm led the push to bring more slow zones to Jackson Heights, focusing on the side streets that meet Northern Boulevard.

“Three Children Too Many” calls on mayor-elect Bill de Blasio to choose a police commissioner who will make sure law enforcement for vehicular crimes is strongly enforced and demands more traffic calming zones, continued traffic safety education for local children, and action facilitators to lead the community towards greater safety.

“Safety is (Department of Transportation) DOT’s top priority and the agency participated in [Tuesday’s] event to highlight our shared goal of making streets safer for everyone using them,” said DOT spokesperson Nicole Garcia. “We also have been in touch with the local community, including the march’s organizers and elected officials to get feedback, share education materials and discuss ways to enhance safety at this intersection and the surrounding area.”

The agency is also looking at the signal timing at Northern and Junction Boulevards to determine if adjustments can be made, said Garcia.

Michelle L. Kaucic, community coordinator of the DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach, said the community needs to continue advocating for change and must also spread the word of not drinking and driving. The community and DOT need to work together to make the streets safe as possible, said Kaucic.

At the end of the march, participants held a moment of silence and a candlelight vigil honoring Olvin, Luis, Miguel and other victims, as family members spoke.

“Safe streets are not a luxury, it’s what we deserve,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras, who lost two of her best friends 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident involving a drunk driver. “After losing several of our mothers, fathers, children and friends to fatal traffic collisions, we simply cannot tolerate to lose one more.”

 

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Fund to help family of toddler killed by alleged drunk driver in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

A family and community are left mourning three-year-old Olvin Jahir Figueroa after he was fatally struck by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on October 11 at approximately 9:50 p.m. the toddler was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother after visiting a nearby market, when a white 2011 Acura struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where the toddler was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras gathered with family, residents and members of the local church on Monday, October 14 to hold a candle light prayer vigil for Olvin.

“As a new mother with a baby boy of my own, I know what it is like to have so many hopes and dreams for your children,” said Ferreras. “Olvin’s parents will never get to see him attend his first day of school or see him graduate. He had his whole life ahead of him.”

The councilmember lost two of her best friends close to 20 years ago to a fatal traffic accident also involving a drunk driver at the same intersection.

Ferreras has set up a donation fund at TD Bank to help Olvin’s family with burial expenses. The account number is 4283969885. Checks should be made payable to the “Olvin Jahir Figueroa Burial Fund.”

 

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New Jackson Heights metal benches along Northern Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Daniel Dromm

Residents and visitors walking along Northern Boulevard now have 13 new spots to take a break.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm announced he had allocated $7,000 for Community Board 3 (CB3) to remove broken-down wooden benches down Northern Boulevard and replace them with 13 new metal benches as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) CityBench program.

“The new seating, through the CityBench program, replaced eyesores with benches the community of Jackson Heights can be proud of,” said Dromm.

The new Jackson Heights benches are located along Northern Boulevard between 80th and 90th Street.

“The benches were originally installed in the 1980s at the request of the now defunct Northern Boulevard Merchants Association,” said Giovanna Reid, CB3 district manager. “We decided to replace the benches because they were in severe disrepair and potential hazards. With the installation of the new CityBench, the appearance of Northern Boulevard has significantly improved.”

With the goal to make it easier to walk through the city for people of all ages, in 2011 the DOT launched CityBench, a three year program that would install 1,000 benches throughout the five boroughs. In the past two years, CityBench has installed more than 700 benches.

“CityBench is a pedestrian friendly, community driven program which is helping make Jackson Heights and neighborhoods throughout Queens more livable and walkable,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

 

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Driver charged after toddler struck, killed in Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A two-year-old boy is dead after being hit by an alleged drunk driver while crossing a Jackson Heights street with his mother.

According to police, on Friday night at approximately 9:50 p.m. Jaied Gigueroa was crossing the corner of Junction Boulevard and Northern Boulevard with his mother when a white 2011 Acura moving northbound on Junction Boulevard struck him. The 35-year-old driver then stopped and drove the toddler and his mother to New York Hospital Queens in Flushing where Jaied was pronounced dead.

The driver, Gilbert Echeverria, was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while intoxicated, police said. 

 

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DOT lifts parking restrictions along Northern Boulevard following complaints


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

JOHANN HAMILTON

The community has spoken, and they have been answered.

There have been increasing complaints from business owners as well as neighborhood residents that the parking restrictions on certain blocks along Northern Boulevard are more of a hindrance than a benefit.

Because of this, the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) will be removing the 4-7 p.m. parking restrictions along the south curb of Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway.

“As part of our ongoing efforts to provide safety and transportation enhancements to the Flushing community, DOT recently removed the evening rush-hour regulation from the south side of eastbound Northern Boulevard between Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Nicholas Mosquera, a DOT spokesperson. “This change, which was requested by Councilmember [Peter] Koo and also supported by the Community Board 7 Transportation Committee, will provide additional parking for the community and customers of nearby businesses during these hours, while retaining loading areas for local deliveries.”

The current regulations have become an issue because they prohibit parking during prime shopping hours, making it more difficult for residents to find spots.

“It was frustrating for me personally because I could never park my car in that area while I was at work,” said Malik Johnson. “The parking restrictions started at 4 and most people get off at 5, so we’d wind up having to park much farther away.”

The actual process of changing the parking regulations, which will take about two weeks, began on August 26. In addition to these changes, there will be spaces to accommodate commercial vehicles so that businesses can still receive and send out their deliveries.

“I want to thank the Department of Transportation for concluding its study and agreeing to change the parking regulations along Northern Boulevard, from Parsons Boulevard and Utopia Parkway,” said Koo. “After numerous meetings with local merchants, it was clear that the previous regulation was adversely impacting their businesses. With the change of this regulation, it will allow the customers to park and frequent these local businesses.”

 

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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 Friday.

 

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”:  Douglaston Parkway near Northern Boulevard

Drunk driver going wrong-way on Van Wyck slams into van with 13 teens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Maryland man accused of driving the wrong-way down the Van Wyck Expressway while intoxicated and hitting a van filled with teenagers has been charged with reckless endangerment and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning near Northern Boulevard. During that time, 34-year-old Jose Chimbo, of Baltimore, allegedly drove his 2004 Nissan Murano head on into a van with 13 teenage passengers who were being driven home from a party.

At the scene, Chimbo allegedly told officers that he had a few drinks.

According to a family member of one of the teen passengers, one of the teenage girls was seriously injured and required surgery. She broke the bones surrounding her eyes and her arm, and suffered a concussion and bleeding in her skull, he said. A parent who was also a passenger in the van suffered broken ribs.

“All of the kids sustained injuries in one form or another and many are now dealing with the emotional fallout of being involved,” said the family member.

Chimbo remains hospitalized with a broken leg and other injuries.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Police release video of Queens child luring suspect


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD has released the video of the suspect and the Escalade he used to try to lure two Queens girls.

On Friday, January 25, around 7:00 a.m., the suspect drove alongside a 13-year-old girl walking on Northern Boulevard near 102nd Street in Corona. He engaged the teen in conversation, but, realizing she did not know the man, the victim walked away from his car. The suspect then exited his vehicle, approached her once again as she walked away and grabbed her by arm.  The victim pulled away from him and fled.

Later that day, around 8:00 p.m., the suspect, operating the same vehicle, drove alongside a 14-year-old girl near Northern Boulevard and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing, and motioned her to approach the car. When she did not come towards the vehicle, the driver continued to follow her, but the victim did not comply and fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as a Hispanic male, 30 to 35 years old, 5’7″ to 5’9″ tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants and a blue collared shirt, and driving a late model Cadillac Escalade.

The police also released this sketch of the suspect and photo of his vehicle earlier this week:

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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Man wanted for trying to grab teen girls off streets of Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for trying to lure two teen girls off the street in two separate incidents last week.

On Friday, January 25, around 7:00 a.m., the suspect drove alongside a 13-year-old girl walking on Northern Boulevard near 102nd Street in Corona. He engaged the teen in conversation, but, realizing she did not know the man, the victim walked away from his car. The suspect then exited his vehicle, approached her once again as she walked away and grabbed her by arm.  The victim pulled away from him and fled.

Later that day, around 8:00 p.m., the suspect, operating the same vehicle, drove alongside a 14-year-old girl near Northern Boulevard and Parsons Boulevard in Flushing, and motioned her to approach the car. When she did not come towards the vehicle, the driver continued to follow her, but the victim did not comply and fled.

Authorities describe the suspect as a Hispanic male, 30 to 35 years old, 5’7″ to 5’9″ tall and 170 pounds. He was wearing a black jacket, dark pants and a blue collared shirt, and driving a late model Cadillac Escalade.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

The suspect was driving this late model Cadillac Escalade during both incidents.

 

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Man sought in five Queens larcenies


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is asking for your help in finding the man wanted in connection with five larcenies:

  • On Saturday, July 21, the man entered a location on Kissena Boulevard and removed a purse containing credit cards, money, sunglasses, keys and other miscellaneous items.
  • On Wednesday, August 1, the perp entered a location on Roosevelt Avenue and took a cell phone from the counter.
  • On Tuesday, October 2, the perp swiped a cell phone from a location on 41st Road.
  • On Friday, November 2, another cell phone was taken from a location on Northern Boulevard.
  • On Monday, November 26, the man took money from a woman’s purse on Maple Avenue.

Police say the suspect is a Hispanic man, 30 to 40 years old, 220 to 300 pounds, 5’10”-6’ tall, large build and casually dressed.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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Teen killed by dump truck in Jackson Heights


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Robert Stridiron

A teenage boy was struck and killed by a dump truck in Jackson Heights this morning at the intersection of 80th Street and Northern Boulevard.

The accident occurred at approximately 8:45 a.m. when the rear wheels of a white dump truck towing a green generator hit the teen as it turned onto Northern Boulevard from 80th Street.

The victim was pronounced dead on the scene.

The truck did not stay at the scene, though it is not certain if the driver knew he struck someone. Police are searching for the vehicle.

The victim is yet to be identified.