Tag Archives: NYFAC

20-mile bike ride benefits local nonprofits


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYFAC/Dominick Totino Photography

SALVATORE LICATA

More than 200 cyclists came out on Saturday for the inaugural “Loop,” a 20-mile bike ride that raised nearly $15,000 benefiting the New York Families for Autistic Children Foundation (NYFAC) and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

“It was a great ride. We had a good time,” said Joe Mure, who sits on the board of directors for JDRF and is also a trustee of NYFAC. “I think this was a great cause and a great reason to come out and get a little exercise.”

Riders started their route at the NYFAC building on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach. After the ribbon was cut by state Sen. Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, riders took off and journeyed over three bridges in two boroughs and then back to the NYFAC building where there was a celebratory barbecue.

“Our first annual Loop was a great success,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC. “So we’re already getting ready — mark your calendars for next July.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Bikini Bike Wash in Flushing benefits autism nonprofit


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYFAC Foundation

SALVATORE LICATA

The Bikini Bike Wash, hosted by Harley-Davidson of NYC, was shining up rides for a glowing cause on Northern Boulevard in Flushing on Saturday.

Bikers with big hearts came out to get their motorcycles cleaned and give back to the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) They were greeted by three bikini-wearing volunteers who went whole-hog scrubbing down the bikes to benefit the community.

“We are extremely grateful to Harley-Davidson of NYC, as well as to the riders and the volunteers for helping NYFAC,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC.

Harley-Davidson of NYC is hosting Bikini Bike Washes all summer long to benefit different organizations in the city.

NYFAC is also hosting “The Loop,” a 20-mile bike ride, on Saturday, July 26, to benefit both their organization and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. To sign up or for more information on the event, click here.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Lindenwood hosts ‘Wash for Autism’


| editorial@queenscourier.com

20140622_130627 (1)

SALVATORE LICATA

Over $10,000 was raised by the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) at the car “Wash for Autism” in Lindenwood on Sunday.

Along with volunteers, staff and board members of NYFAC washed over 100 cars, including those of state Sen. Joseph Addabbo and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, in the parking lot of the Queens County Savings Bank on 153rd Avenue. NYFAC also benefited from the annual car show in the lot, which featured nearly 30 classic cars and hot rods. The money raised by the organization was aimed at bettering the lives of those with autism.

“It was a great day and a great event,” said Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of NYFAC. “The community once again came out to show its support.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Autism expert says there’s still hope Avonte Oquendo will be found


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Close to six weeks have passed and although Avonte Oquendo’s whereabouts are still unknown, the search continues as hope in finding the autistic teen remains strong.

Avonte, 14, was last seen at the Center Boulevard School at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City around 12:38 p.m. on Friday, October 4. There have been conflicting reports on how the Rego Park teen, who cannot verbally communicate and is supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave the school.

The NYPD and volunteers have been searching daily for the boy, whose family says loves trains. Police have searched for him by helicopter, with divers, and in patrol cars and search vans with loudspeakers echoing Avonte’s mother’s calls.

The command center for volunteers and family searching for the boy is now operating out of an RV located on the side of The Riverview School on Borden Avenue and Center Boulevard.

According to Andrew Baumann, president and CEO of New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC), this is not an isolated case. Children with autism are prone to running and throughout the country there have been many cases of children disappearing, he said.

“I don’t believe that anyone should give up hope on finding Avonte alive and in good condition,” Baumann said. “I don’t believe in giving up, these kids are really resilient.”

Baumann also said the teen’s family had no control over what happened because they trusted the school to take responsibility. He believes school security agents should hold back any child attempting to leave and report the incident to the principal.

“I don’t care how old the child is, no child should ever be allowed to walk out of the school during the school day,” Baumann said.

Last week Senator Charles Schumer called for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to both create and fund a program which would provide voluntary tracking devices for children with autism or other developmental disorders.

According to Baumann, these devices would and do work great, but there should be ways to make sure they are 100 percent effective and cannot be removed if the child were to take off their clothes.

“Now we need people to take action, if they see him they should stay with him until the police come,” said Baumann. “The reward is nothing. It shouldn’t be about the money and the reward, it should be about doing the right thing.”

If anyone sees Avonte, they should follow him and keep him within eye contact and call 9-1-1, said Baumann.

Since Avonte went missing, the reward to find him has increased to $95,000.

Avonte was last seen wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5’3” tall and weighs 125 pounds.

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

SANDY ONE YEAR LATER: Howard Beach autism center ready to survive another storm


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

At the New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) center in Howard Beach, the staff uses colorful plastic boxes for files and toys. Cardboard boxes aren’t allowed.

It isn’t that the staff prefers the colorful selection of plastic containers because they blend well with the center’s bright walls. The plastic boxes are a small example of how Sandy conscious the center has become following the immense damage it sustained from the superstorm.

“They cost a little more, but they’re waterproof,” said Andrew Baumann, CEO and president of NYFAC.

After Sandy touched down last October, water as high as four feet flooded the first floor of the nearly $6 million center, destroying walls, furniture and electrical equipment, and forcing the facility to close two weeks before it was slated to open.

But now because of some major adjustments it may be able to survive another Sandy-like storm. A backflow valve was installed to prevent sewer backup, and the center, which is mostly powered by solar panels, now has backup gas generators in case the power goes out. Baumann is also researching technology that would block or limit water outside from flowing into the building and is hoping to get funds to install it by next year. And of course, he has obtained flood insurance for the facility.

“I have so much flood insurance, if you split on the floor, I’m covered,” Baumann said.

To fix the damage and replace furniture and equipment after Sandy, Baumann had to borrow nearly $400,000 from his bank. The center was able to have its grand opening in April, nearly six months behind schedule.

Now it serves about 60 children with autism in day and evening sessions. The staff interacts and socializes with the children, who can play sports, instruments, bake, grow vegetables in an outside garden, play video games and read books, among other activities. Baumann said they plan to accept more children, but will do so slowly because it takes a while before the kids can get used to new people.

The facility is an inviting place for the children and Baumann hopes for the community in general as well.

In case another storm like Sandy does return, he wants residents to know that the center could provide shelter.

Baumann said the building, which has two floors, dozens of rooms, six bathrooms, two showers and a full kitchen, should be able to accommodate about 100 people in an emergency.

“I really think of this as more than just an autism center,” Bauman said. “It’s a community center.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Annual Lindenwood car wash raises $3K for New York Families for Autistic Children


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

NYFAC 04

New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) raised more than $3,000 from its seventh annual car wash, which took place in Lindenwood on Sunday, June 23.

Organizers held the wash in conjunction with a car show by the Bow Wow Boys Car Club.

The money will go toward rebuilding the NYFAC facility, which opened in April after suffering Sandy-related damage and a subsequent setback.

Organizers said the day was about the members of NYFAC, both staff and students, having fun in the sun and helping to raise money.

Karen Long, a NYFAC board member who chaired the event, said people came all day to pitch in. Some donated without getting a wash.

“They’re even passing in their cars giving us five dollars,” she added. “We have a great time. This is like the best fundraiser. It’s fun, we’re outdoors.”

Long’s son, Robert, is a member of NYFAC. The parent said he has been enjoying the new facility and the new programs.

Long said the community has been supportive of the rebuilding.

“People have been generous,” she said. “But there’s still work that has to be done.”

The facility was originally slated to open in early November 2012. NYFAC President Andrew Baumann said rebuilding the facility has been a long road, but the car wash was a day for everyone to have fun for a good cause.

“Today’s all about fun,” he said. “You can’t not do what you’ve always done. You can’t let nature hold you down.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New York Families for Autistic Children opens center after Sandy setback


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Ribboncutting

BY LIAM LA GUERRE

Richard Henry moved to New York City two months ago in search of a new autism facility for his daughter.

Fortunately, he won’t have to look any further.

After a six-month delay following Sandy, about 200 parents, children, staff members and politicians attended the grand opening of the $5.9 million New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) center in Howard Beach on April 7.

Henry, an Ozone Park resident, is only 10 minutes away from the center by car.

“My daughter will be really happy coming to a place like this, because she doesn’t have to travel long distance,” Henry, 62, said.

Last October, Sandy flooded the first floor of the facility, destroying walls, furniture and electrical equipment. It forced the center to close its doors about two weeks before it was even set to open.

The post-storm renovation cost a little more than $200,000, mostly to repair damages, but also to replace appliances, according to NYFAC president Andrew Baumann.

Baumann was able to pay for the damages by borrowing money from New York Community Bank. The building now has flood insurance, he said, which it did not before Sandy.

“It’s definitely a dream come true,” Baumann said. “It’s been a long, hard road.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder secured $100,000 in the state budget to help cover the cost of rebuilding the center. He believes the facility represents the community’s rebuilding as a whole.

“We’re not done here, there is a lot of work to do,” Goldfeder said. “But it’s just a tremendous symbol for the community of strength, unity, stability and that we’re going to come back.”

The entire building is self-sufficient and environmentally friendly, running only on energy from giant solar panels on the roof.

On the first floor, there are rooms for meetings, video and board games, showers, first aid, an instrument-filled music room and a fully-loaded kitchen.

The second floor has administrative offices, a 16-seat conference room, a training room, an evaluation room and a television studio, so the center can create its own shows.

“This is going to be a wonderful resource for the families affected by autism,” said Councilmember Eric Ulrich. “It’s going to be a one-stop shop for people to get support, to get the services they need … and to get help.”

The next step for the center is to build a gym above the parking lot. The $2 million project will include fitness machines, a basketball court inside and a volleyball court on the roof outside, Baumann said.

But for now the center is focused on providing services to people with autism.

“It was important that they opened their doors to those children and families in need of assistance,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo. “It was never a question of if it was going to open, it was when.”

Check out more photos from the NYFAC grand opening here

 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

Development up throughout Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

willets3w

Temperatures are not the only thing that’s been skyrocketing this summer.

Development in Queens has been booming in the borough, with announcements of major projects, the near-completion of others, and talks of even more to come.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on June 14 the long-awaited, finalized plans for a Willets Point facelift that is expected to bring more than 12,000 union construction jobs and 7,000 permanent jobs.

The project includes a 200-room hotel and 30,000-square-feet of retail space on what is now the Iron Triangle, a 20-acre convertible recreational area, and a 200-store shopping area on what is currently the west parking lot of Citi Field.

Roughly $3 billion in private investment will go into this project, as well as $100 million in city capital that will go toward demolition and permanent improvements. In turn, the overhaul of the area is expected to bring an estimated $4.2 billion in economic activity over the next 30 years.

It was announced the same day that the Billie Jean King Tennis Center, home to the U.S. Open, will undergo its own expansions and renovations.

The Louis Armstrong Stadium, which currently holds about 10,000 fans, will be replaced — in the same spot — with an updated stadium that will hold 15,000 fans and include administrative and broadcast spaces.

The Grandstand Stadium will be built in the southwest corner of the center, holding some 8,000 spectators.

The renovations, which are expected to begin in the fall of 2013, are expected to bring an extra 10,000 tennis fans to the center per day during the U.S. Open.

Following the announcements for the Tennis Center, Borough President Helen Marshall said this was a step forward for both Queens and the Tennis Center, which employs 6,000 with seasonal jobs, according to the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA).

Marshall said that this would further the already robust revenue the National Championship brings to Queens.

“For generations the borough of Queens has played host to the U.S. Open, a world class sporting event and a major economic catalyst for our city,” she said. “I look forward to working with the USTA to ensure that the new additions to the National Tennis Center bring the maximum benefit to the people of the borough of Queens.”

Sixty acres of downtown Flushing waterfront would also be revitalized as part of the state’s Department of State Brownfield Opportunity Areas program.

The proram consists of mixed use projects over the next 10 years, including recreational, commercial, entertainment and residential portions.

And sailing west, another waterfront in Queens might get a revamp of its own.

The Hallets Point project could break ground as early as the fall of 2013, the Daily News reported. The process would reshape seven acres of Astoria waterfront and see around 2,200 housing units throughout seven towers, along with a supermarket and a park along the East River.

Lincoln Equities Group, the developer of the project, has agreed to set aside 20 percent of the units for affordable housing aimed at seniors, a project official told the Daily News. The site will be located close to the Astoria Houses, a public housing complex.

The Briarwood Organization is currently adding to its plaza on Bell Boulevard that will be home to business and medical offices. The site, located at 36-29 Bell Boulevard, is the most recent of several structures the century-old development company has built on Bell Boulevard. The building is expected to open September 2013, Briarwood partners said.

To the south, a new center that looks to spark development, creativity and understanding is in its last stages of completion.

A new center for New York Families of Austic Children is expected to open this September, said NYFAC CEO Andrew Baumann. The center will be home to programs ranging from drama to expression for children and adults with autism, Baumann said, along with support groups and educational programs for parents and family members.

The new center will be at 164-14 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach.

And as ground is being broken or the final cornerstone is laid, plans for even further development in the borough are still in the works.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation has opened four Requests For Proposals (RFPs) throughout the city — one of which is located in College Point.

The 40,000-square-foot rectangular lot is in the northeast portion of the area’s Corporate Park, which currently houses more than 200 corporations employing approximately 6,000 employees.

And in recent weeks there have been talks of bringing a new Major League Soccer (MLS) Stadium — and new team — to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The stadium, it has been reported, would sit some 20,000 to 25,000 soccer fans in one of the borough’s largest parks. Assemblymember Francisco Moya said the project would have multiple benefits for the borough, both economically and culturally.

The potential project — still in its earliest stages, according to the assemblymember — would be privately financed, not affecting taxpayers. As part of any deal, Moya said, the developer would renovate the several soccer fields in the park now.

Moya also noted the large soccer culture not just in Queens, but in the park. The devout FC Barcelona fan said he learned the game in Flushing Meadows as a child and has played there since.

“That’s where my dad took me to play,” he said. “That’s where I played my whole life.”

 

NYFAC car wash most successful ever


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

NYFAC CAR WASH 03w

It was a win-win for anyone looking to get his car washed last weekend in Howard Beach.

The Sixth Annual New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) Car Wash raised money to go toward programs that help people with autism and to educate parents and relatives.

For just $10 apiece, volunteers, including children with autism, their family members and friends, scrubbed hundreds of cars.

Andrew Baumann, CEO of NYFAC, said at the middle of the day he had seen close to 150 cars — the most since the fundraiser was started.

“It’s the best we’ve ever had,” he said.

To lend a hand, the All American Car Club and East Coast Car Association held a car show across the street, with a $20 entry fee for each vehicle.

Local politicians visited throughout the day to show their support of the community’s efforts, including Assemblymember Philip Goldfeder.

“The car wash is just another way for the community to work together with NYFAC and support a great organization and its cause,” Goldfeder said.

NYFAC is expected to open a new facility this September, which will have programs in art, music and speech therapy, along with parent training and support groups.

Input sought for new New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) center


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Baumann The new center for developmentally disabled children and adults will open in 2012.

A new center for developmentally disabled children and adults is coming to Howard Beach.

New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) looks to offer a number of new programs and workshops to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder and people diagnosed with a developmental disability at a more convenient location.

The center — the first NYFAC center in Queens — is slated to open closer to May 2012, according to spokesperson Mitch Udowitch. It will be located at 164-14 Cross Bay Boulevard, the former spot of Danny’s Szechuan Garden.

“South Queens in general is an area that has not been serviced and is in need of service,” Udowitch said. “It’s convenient for our Brooklyn and Queens clientele.”

The center will provide after-school educational and recreational programs for children, workshops during the day for adults and teen socialization networks. The center will also host support groups, family education programs, speech and occupational therapy.

“We want the building to serve as a community center, so we will be outreaching into the community to share our vision with residents that might want to get involved,” said President and CEO Andrew Baumann.

The center will also have a training area that can provide live web casts for professional development, a full-sized television studio to teach in and a working kitchen for its home economics program.

“We’re looking to especially help the children and improve their lives,” said Udowitch.

NYFAC, a nonprofit organization, is based in Ozone Park. It serves almost 80 families in Queens and Brooklyn. For more information, call NYFAC at 718-641-3441.