Tag Archives: Ozone Park

5-alarm fire breaks out in Ozone Park residential building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FDNY

Updated Friday, Dec. 19, 9:45 a.m. 

A five-alarm blaze broke out in an Ozone Park building on Thursday, displacing residents and disrupting subway service, officials said.

The blaze started at about 4:20 p.m. in the four-story residential building at 103-45 97th St., near Liberty Avenue, officials said.

By 5 p.m., the fire had spread to five-alarms. It took firefighters until about 6:40 p.m. to bring it under control. The flames were contained to its roof and the attic area below it.

The fire also affected subway service in the area, causing suspensions and delays on the A and C lines.

One minor injury was treated at the scene, according to the FDNY. The injury, however, was related to exposure to the cold and not the fire.

Two dozen families were displaced by the fire, and 11 of them, which included 43 people, turned to the Red Cross for emergency housing, according to the organization.

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Burglar wanted for stealing $5K in jewelry from Ozone Park home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man stole thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry during a midday burglary on Saturday at an Ozone Park home, police said.

The burglar was able to enter the residence through an unlocked first-floor bedroom window, cops said.

Once inside, he took about $5,000 in jewelry from the top of a dresser before fleeing.

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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New pastor coming to St. Helen’s in Howard Beach


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

St. Helen’s Catholic Parish is getting ready to welcome a new pastor to their church.

Father Francis Colamaria will be coming to the Howard Beach parish on Jan. 31, taking over for its current pastor, Msgr. LoPinto. Colamaria is currently the administrative director and priest at Holy Child Jesus Parish in Richmond Hill and is excited about the change.

“Though I will miss Holy Child Jesus, I am really looking forward to serving the people of Howard Beach,” he said. “Msgr. LoPinto did a tremendous job of making new renovations to the church and school, which is great because now I can focus more on the spiritual portion.”

Colamaria, 39, has been a priest since 2001. He started at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Ozone Park and remained there until 2007. After that, he moved on to St. Ephrem’s in Brooklyn for a year and was also the chaplain at Xaverian High School. He is now the deputy chief chaplain of the MTA and has been at Holy Child Jesus since 2008.

One thing Colamaria is looking forward to is being able to work with the school more closely as he feels Catholic education is very important for children to learn.

“Catholic education provides morals, responsibility and creates love of family and life, which is sometimes lacking in this world,” he said. “It creates a good environment for our children and is one of the best products we have as a church.”

During his time at his current parish, Colamaria has run annual Oktoberfests and huge block parties and made a connection between the parish and school. He is looking forward to bringing some of his new ideas to St. Helen’s and learning from the retired Msgr. Pfeiffer, who he says is “a seasoned veteran.”

LoPinto will be moving on to become the head of Catholic Charities once Colamaria takes over. He said the people of Howard Beach have been through a lot, especially when dealing with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but he knows that their spirits have been unchanged.

“The people of Howard Beach are good people,” Colamaria noted. “It is a great environment and I look forward to learning more about it.”

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Opening ceremony held for new school in Ozone Park


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

School is officially in session for a lucky group of Ozone Park kids.

Queens Explorer’s Elementary School held a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 2 to formally celebrate the opening of the new campus. The school, which is also known as P.S. 316 and located at 90-07 101st Ave., opened up for its first school year in September.

“It’s a beautiful building that will inspire our young people to reach their full potential,” said Councilman Eric Ulrich. “This school is a tremendous investment in our community and a wonderful addition to the neighborhood. Clearly, the architects, engineers and contractors really went out of their way to build a school that we can all be proud of.”

The school will house pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.  It’s designed to serve up to 450 children.

As of now, the school only has pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, but it will continue to grow as those classes move to the next grade. As those children finish their year, a new grade will be developed until pre-K through fifth grade is housed.

Photo courtesy of Councilman Eric Ulrich

Photo courtesy of Councilman Eric Ulrich

The new school cost about $38 million and took a little over a year to build. It occupies the plot where the former St. Stanislaus Catholic School was.

There is also a new playground that is currently under construction across the street from the school.

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Changes coming to controversial Ozone Park pedestrian plaza


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

controversial pedestrian plaza in Ozone Park will be downsized following complaints from local business owners.

Due to community outreach programs to address the concerns of the plaza, which is located on Drew Street and 101st Avenue, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is removing a portion of the plaza to restore metered parking along the block, a DOT spokeswoman said.

The plaza was installed about a year ago and is run and maintained by the Brooklyn based nonprofit Bangladeshi American Community Development and Youth Services (BACDYS). Once in place, it took up about nine parking spaces and cut off two-way traffic on 101st Avenue.

But giving back the parking spots is fine with Darma Diaz, the chief operating officer at BACDYS, if it makes for a more positive working relationship with the store merchants.

“We want this to be a positive part of the community,” Diaz said. “Of course you want more space, but we are more about having peace with the community.”

Business owners have complained that since it was installed, their businesses have had one of the worst years ever.

“This plaza has totally crippled my business,” said Ahmad Ubayda, owner of the 99 Cent Ozone Park Discount Hardware store on the corner of the block, back in July when The Courier first reported on it. “This has been my worst year of business because they took away parking spaces for my customers but aren’t even using [that area of the plaza].”

The portion of the plaza along 101st Avenue that the DOT will be removing is the least used part of it. Most of the tables, chairs and umbrellas are not put in that area, but are placed on Drew Street, where it once crossed over from 101st Avenue to Liberty Avenue.

plaza

But some stores still want the whole plaza removed because they feel the two-way traffic is necessary.

“I won’t be happy unless the whole thing is gone,” said one worker at the 99 cent store. “We need two-way traffic again.”

The removal of the portion of the plaza along 101st Avenue will take place by the end of the year, weather permitting, according to the DOT spokeswoman.

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Raccoon gets stuck on streetlight for hours in Ozone Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

A raccoon had to be rescued in Ozone Park Tuesday afternoon after he got stuck on top of a streetlight, authorities said.

The animal became stranded on the lamp post at about 10 a.m. at Woodhaven Boulevard and 95th Street, according to police. By 2 p.m., traffic had to be completely closed off on Woodhaven Boulevard going north.

A emergency service unit, using an FDNY cherry picker, was able to get the animal down from the streetlight by 4 p.m.

At that time, police said they were still waiting for animal control to arrive to take the animal to its Brooklyn facility. It wasn’t immediately clear would what happen to the animal after it’s taken to the location.

 

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Real estate roundup: Eight-story residential tower planned for downtown Jamaica, Queens eyed for juvenile offenders facilities


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark 

Eight stories in downtown Jamaica

“Applications have been filed to begin construction of an eight-story and 31-unit residential building of 22,728 square feet at the vacant lots of 87-65 – 87-69 171st Street, in Downtown Jamaica; the site’s two-story predecessor was demolished in 2003, and M. S. Savani is designing.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Two Queens neighborhoods being eyed for ‘limited secure’ facilities for juvenile offenders

“The city is searching for sites in Queens to place a “limited secure” facility for juvenile offenders, the News has learned. Sources said locations in South Ozone Park and Jamaica are being studied.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Checking in on Tishman Speyer’s Long Island City project

“28-18 Jackson Avenue, which is part of Tishman Speyer’s plan to bring approximately 1,600 residential apartments to Long Island City, is completely covered in pipe scaffolding now.Construction crews put the pipe scaffolding up with in the last two weeks, and a permit filed on September 11 calls for the full mechanical demolition of the building.” Read more [The Court Square Blog]

 

Dunkin’ Donuts, Japanese restaurant coming to new Ozone Park shopping center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Platinum Realty Associates 

new shopping plaza in Ozone Park will have a wide variety of retailers and restaurants, including national brands, according to a representative for Queens-based Platinum Realty Associates, which owns the center.

Dunkin’ Donuts and Domino’s Pizza have already signed on as tenants, as well as a “high-class Japanese restaurant” and a phone carrier, said David Koptiev, vice president of Platinum.

Koptiev added that they are also wrapping up negotiations with a medical office for a spot in the building, which is located where Cross Bay Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue meet.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to be very, very nice,” Koptiev said. “It’s more jobs, it’s more stores, it’s bringing a lot to the community.”

The one-story building should be completed by the end of the year, and retailers and tenants will begin moving in by early next year.

Koptiev said they are looking to add three or four more retailers to the mix, but only tenants that “aren’t going to hurt the community or compete with businesses that are already there.”

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Plans released for possible QueensWay


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of thequeensway.org

It’s the Queens way.

A 3.5-mile stretch of recreational, walking and biking trails is planned for central and southern Queens as part of a multi-million dollar proposal that has coined the name, QueensWay.

“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.

The QueensWay plans, proposed by W X Y architecture + urban design, will add a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities and nature trails for the borough, said the Friends of the QueensWay.

The path, if built, will cross through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, affecting over 322,000 people living within a mile of it.

In the plans, there are proposed areas for ecology and education, where planners are hoping to build an outdoor classroom for children to be able to learn the biodiversity in Queens.

Also, there will be two sets of trails for bicyclist and pedestrians to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the QueensWay.

Furthermore, there are plans for basketball courts, a skate park, habitat wetlands, arts-related programs and a gateway entrance from the QueensWay to Forest Park.

“Parks are too often neglected and QueensWay would offer more access to open space and parkland,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “Parks provide an economic benefit to local business, retail establishments and restaurants and people of all ages would be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities which this new green space would provide.”

The estimated cost for the QueensWay is $120 million and, if started, will take three to five years to build.

Although it has the backing of many elected officials and community leaders, some feel the narrow stretch of former rail line could be put to better use.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is a staunch advocate for the restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line, which once ran on the property being looked at for the QueensWay. He has formed a coalition to fight to get it back.

“The QueensWay and Trust for Public Land have wasted taxpayer dollars on expensive, out-of-state consultants and one-sided studies that don’t actually represent the interests or needs of Queens’ families,” Goldfeder said. “Our growing coalition, including the MTA, will continue the fight to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development.”

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Suspect wanted in Queens mini-mart armed robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a suspect who held up two gas station mini-marts in Queens this month.

The first robbery occurred at a Mobil gas station on Elliot Avenue, near 69th Street in Middle Village on Oct. 4. Police said the suspect entered the station’s mini-mart at about 7:35 p.m., brandished a gun and demanded money from a store employee. The suspect then fled with $800.

Three days later, the same suspect allegedly robbed a CITGO mini-mart on 101st Avenue near Rockaway Boulevard at gunpoint. An employee at the Ozone Park business handed over the cash and the suspect left with $3,000 around 10:00 p.m.

Police have released a photo of the suspect from the Oct. 4 robbery.

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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New routes proposed in Howard Beach, Ozone Park for Jamaica Bay Greenway


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Howard Beach and Ozone Park will be home to new bike routes on the Jamaica Bay Greenway, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT).

The only problem is figuring out where.

The DOT has been hosting community workshops and asking for the input of residents on where they think the new routes are best for safety and convenience.

Currently, the Greenway is an 11-mile bike path that hugs Jamaica Bay, connecting Brooklyn and Queens.

It runs through Howard Beach, through Broad Channel to the Rockaways and then across the Marine Park Bridge to Brooklyn.

The DOT said there has been strong advocacy by residents for the Greenway to be expanded to Ozone Park to connect to the soccer and baseball fields on Conduit Avenue, across the street from Resorts World Casino.

For this connection, the DOT proposed using 155th Avenue or 156th Avenue.

While it’s looking to add new stretches to the Greenway, the DOT is also hoping to improve existing ones, like the part that connects the Joseph P. Addabbo Memorial Bridge to the Belt Parkway in Howard Beach.

One is to use 84th Street, a two-way road, instead of the existing paths on 91st Street and 92nd Street, which are both one-way. This would give both cars and cyclists more room on the street, said Alice Friedman, the DOT’s project manager for the Greenway.

The other option would be to add a path where 78th Street meets the Belt Parkway and use the existing grass area along Spring Creek to connect to the Addabbo Bridge.

Finally, there is a plan to build a route through Spring Creek connecting the parkway and the bridge. But Freidman mentioned that would be a long-term plan.

For the path on the Addabbo Bridge, which connects Broad Channel and Howard Beach, the DOT proposed three options:

  • Keep the path the way it exists with one lane on each side of the bridge,
  • Move the parking lane out and let the bike lane hug the sidewalk on both sides, or
  • Put two bike lanes on the south side of the bridge next to each other.

Most people found the last option the most viable for this section but would like to see an actual barrier between the car and bike lanes.

When all community workshop events are finished, the DOT will draft a finalized plan of what it believes it should look like, based on the residents’ input and their own planning.

The DOT expects to have the draft finished by the spring of 2015.

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Historic 124-year-old Woodhaven Wyckoff Building sells for nearly $3M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of  Nicholas Strini/ PropertyShark

Woodhaven Village relic is trading hands after its owner went bankrupt.

The historic 124-year-old Wyckoff Building, which is known for its old-style architecture,  was sold for $2,801,188, according to city records filed Wednesday.

The Ozone Realty LLC, which bought the property on the corner of 95th Avenue and 93rd Street in 2007, filed for bankruptcy last year after failing to meet the mortgage on the building, which was held by New York Community Bank, according to city records. SDF30 93-02 Ozone Park LLC is the new owner of the building, records show.

The building has six residential apartments and two commercial units throughout four floors and more than 13,000 square feet of space.

Its architecture has characteristics of Queen Anne masonry and Romanesque Revival style semi-arched windows— features found in few properties in the area.

Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven 

Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven

The former home of Woodhaven real estate firm Wyckoff & Co., according to published reports, it remains a representative of Woodhaven Village, although that part of the neighborhood is now Ozone Park.

The Wyckoff Building also had a Moorish style dome atop its roof as older pictures of the property show.

The building was falling apart in the 1970s but later restored, according to Project Woodhaven, a blog that chronicles the neighborhood.

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Real estate roundup: New Rego Park building rendering revealed, controversial luxury building opening in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GF55 Partners

Revealed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

“The building, designed by GF55, will fit in perfectly with the other seven-story buildings that have been erected on the south side of Austin Street over the past decade or two. The structures have been filling in a formerly industrial low-rise strip, set up against the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, right beside what used to be the Rego Park station, shuttered in 1962.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Controversial High-End Building Opening as Part of Elmhurst ‘Renaissance’

“A controversial apartment building that was the subject of recent litigation is getting a luxury makeover as part of a hoped-for neighborhood “renaissance,” according to developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

New program aims to battle the growing graffiti menace in parts of south Queens

“The residents of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven are about to find out as officials kick off a new anti-graffiti program on Wednesday. For the first time, the Queens Economic Development Corp. is heading the program funded by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Second suspect sought in Ozone Park knife robbery


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for one of two suspects wanted for robbing and slashing a victim with a knife in Ozone Park.

On Sept.23 at about 1 p.m. a 19-year-old man was walking at the intersection of 114th Street and 103rd Avenue when he was approached by two other men who began punching him in the face and body, according to cops. The suspects demanded the victim to hand over what he had and then one of slashed the victim on the wrist with a knife. They took a ring from the victim and then fled the scene.

Police describe the first suspect as a 17 to 19 year old black man with a slim build.

The second suspect, 19-year-old Joshua Cerna-Gonzalez, was arrested on Thursday and charged with robbery, cops said.

The NYPD has released a surveillance photo of the first suspect.

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

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Curbside bus lanes heading to Ozone Park


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

The busy traffic corridor of Woodhaven Boulevard in Ozone Park will soon be home to new curbside bus lanes on both sides to help alleviate congestion and make for an overall smoother ride for passengers.

Red painted bus lanes going southbound between 101st Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard and northbound between Plattwood Avenue and Liberty Avenue are set to be installed this fall, according to a DOT representative.

The lanes will serve the Q11, Q21, Q52, Q53 and the QM15 bus lines.

The exclusive lanes also help the buses reach subway connections more quickly without removing any travel lanes, according to the DOT.

The lanes will be “bus-only” for specific periods. Between Liberty Avenue and Rockaway Boulevard going southbound, the lane will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All other sections, going in both directions, will be bus-only during rush hours, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“This part of the boulevard is definitely a problem area,” said Jessica Nizar, a representative from Rider’s Alliance and an advocate for the Bus Rapid Transit for NYC coalition effort. “These lanes will help to alleviate some of the major problems that cause traffic here.”

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