Tag Archives: Ozone Park

Ozone Park street plaza not living up to expectations


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

It started out as a beautification and community development project, but a pedestrian plaza on the Brooklyn-Queens border is an eyesore that is detrimental to business, locals say.

Five parking spots were permanently removed last November when the Department of Transportation (DOT) built the plaza at Drew Street and 101st at City Line.

“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. “This has been my worst year of business because they took away parking spaces for my customers but aren’t even using them.”

The site has deteriorated since its opening, locals charged.

Four tables and 12 chairs set up in a small section of the plaza while most of the space isn’t used.

Initial plans called for ample seating space, permanent bench seating and bike parking. When the plaza was first built there were plenty of chairs and tables, some even with umbrellas.

But a few weeks after its grand opening much of the furniture, which was chained up to a nearby light pole, was stolen and it hasn’t been fully replaced since, according to residents.

Now the plaza has just four tables, 12 chairs, two permanent benches and no bike parking space.

Moreover, the Bangladesh American Community Development and Youth Services Corporation (BACDYS), a local nonprofit organization, is responsible for the plaza’s upkeep, according to the DOT. Yet garbage overflowed from several cans and littered the floors on Monday.

BACDYS, which teamed up with the DOT to create the plaza, got support from local businesses and from Community Board 9 of Queens and Community Board 5 of Brooklyn before they went through with the project.

Many of the businesses on the strip did agree to the proposed idea under the impression that it would be good for the growth of their stores.

Photo courtesy of DOT

But Ubayda said it has done the exact opposite for his, which has put his store and livelihood in limbo.

Steve Melnick, a former resident of the area, shared his concern at the meetings that were held for the plaza before it was built. He said this plaza is nothing like it was planned.

“This [plaza] is something that this nonprofit group wanted but they are not following through,” Melnick said. “As tax payers, we have the right to know what’s going on with the property.”

Mary Ann Carey, District Manager of Community Board 9, has reached out to the DOT about the plaza, according to a spokeswoman from the board, but it is not yet known if they have responded.

A phone number for BACDYS was not accepting calls; there was no answer at another number for the group.

The DOT also did not immediately respond for comment.

 

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New architecture exhibit shows possibilities for QueensWay


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Carrie Wilbert

A new exhibition is opening Thursday that features winners of a QueensWay design competition.

The Center for Architecture will be hosting the exhibit, “QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm,” and the competition, which occurred earlier this year, was held by The Emerging New York Architects committee of the American Institute of Architecture.

In the competition, contestants were asked to come up with theoretical designs for what the 3.5-mile stretch from Rego Park to Ozone Park could be used for. The four winning designs and an honorable mention of the biennial competition will now go on to be displayed in Manhattan, where the Center of Architecture is located.

The QueensWay, an abandoned rail line, has been a point of much debate and controversy, with advocates arguing that it should be turned into a high line-style park.

Since the LIRR Rockaway Beach Line was abandoned in the 1960s, little has been changed to the elevated train. But over the last few years, The Trust for Public Land and Friends of the Queensway are currently studying the area.

New York Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder, along with the Queens College Urban Studies Department, launched a community impact study to help assess the best use for the line.

The competition received 120 entries form 28 countries. They were judged, according to the EMergin New York Architects, “based on the design’s ability to provide an effective and welcoming transition between the street and future greenway.”

But the assumption that the line will be a “future greenway” is a premature  at this point.


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FBI offers reward for fugitive in Ozone Park home invasion, murder


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FBI


The FBI is offering a reward for a man who has been charged with murdering the son of a Queens pizza shop owner after he tried to defend his father during a 2009 home invasion.

Antoine Burroughs, also known as “Butter” or “Youngblood,” along with an accomplice, Leon Whitfield, is accused of attempting to rob Bartolomeo Antoniello at his Ozone Park residence in September 2009, according to officials.

The pair was allegedly targeting any cash he had on hand from his pizza shop, Antoniello’s. His son, 29-year-old Gerardo Antoniello tried to protect his father, and was fatally shot in the head during the struggle, officials said.

Burroughs, who was indicted in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, on March 13, is charged with murder, robbery conspiracy, attempted robbery and discharging a firearm, according to the FBI. An arrest warrant for Burroughs was issued the same day. Whitfield was arrested on March 18.

The FBI is now offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of Burroughs.

He is described as 25 years old, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighs about 180 to 190 pounds and has a prominent mole on his right cheek. Burroughs was last known to be in Harlem, and is believed to have family and friends in Harlem and the Bronx. He should be considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Burroughs can contact the FBI at 212-384-1000.

 

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Suspects wanted for stealing from vehicles in Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


Cops are looking for two men who allegedly stole electronics and other personal property from vehicles sitting in Ozone Park driveways.

Additional items taken from the cars included clothing, checkbooks, sunglasses, a debit card and an airline ticket, officials said.

Police have released a photo from the first theft, which took place on June 12 at about 10 p.m. The two men struck three more times, once on June 14 and twice on June 17, according to officials.

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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NYPD seek pair in armed Ozone Park iPhone robbery


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

PAULINA TAM

Two teen suspects punched a 27-year-old woman in the face when she would not give up her iPhone in Ozone Park Saturday, police said.

The victim was approached by the pair around 5:30 p.m. on 81st Street near Liberty Avenue when they displayed a gun and demanded her phone, cops said.

Police describe the two suspects as black, about 16 years old and 5 feet 5 inches  to 5 feet 5 inches 6 inches tall. The first suspect wore a white and blue shirt and the second a red shirt. Authorities have also released a video of the suspects.

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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Queens man collared in Ozone Park, South Ozone burglary spree: DA


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size111

A Queens man has been busted for allegedly breaking into five homes in Ozone Park and South Ozone Park, stealing thousands of dollars in jewelry and other items.

Harry Garcia, 48, a Jamaica resident, was arraigned Saturday in Queens Criminal Court on charges of five counts of second-degree burglary, one count of second-degree grand larceny, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, one count of fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and one count of resisting arrest, prosecutors said.

Garcia is accused of committing the burglary spree between May 6 and June 6, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

He was finally collared Friday morning when NYPD officers investigating a pattern of residential burglaries caught Garcia entering a South Ozone Park backyard and trying to open a window and break into the 117th Street home, Brown said. Cops then said they saw him leave the backyard with a bag he wasn’t carrying when he entered the residence. He fled when police approached, and was apprehended a block away, where Garcia allegedly resisted arrest as he flailed his arms and legs as officers tried to handcuff him.

The bag he was carrying, which Garcia dropped when he fled, contained a Sony PlayStation and accessories, prosecutors said. Police also found a bracelet and chain when they searched Garcia.

Garcia is also charged in connection to four additional burglaries that occurred on May 6, on 109th Street in South Ozone Park; on May 13 on 135th Avenue in South Ozone Park; on May 23, on 83rd Street in Ozone Park; and on May 30 on 113th Street in Ozone Park, according to the district attorney.

If convicted Garcia faces up to 75 years in prison. He was ordered held on $60,000 bail and to return to court on June 23.

 

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Construction crushed, Tottenville Pirates steal championship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre



The tears started to flow uncontrollably off pitcher Britney Rodriguez’s face as she lined up for the presentation for the finalist medals.

She couldn’t help but cry. Her team, the High School of Construction Red Hawks, just dropped the city championship game against the Tottenville High School Pirates in a 13-3 blowout at St. John’s University on Sunday.

The lost was devastating, but what seemed to hurt the senior more was that her Red Hawks didn’t battle as the top-ranked city team.

“We are a better team than that and I don’t know what happened,” said Rodriguez, who signed with Lackawanna College. “We fell short and we didn’t come out the way we were supposed to.”

The Red Hawks aimed for back-to-back city titles, but played a sloppy, error-filled game, allowing five quick runs in the first inning. Then in the third inning, the Pirates added six more runs — two on wild pitches — to take an 11-0 lead.

“Those two innings were just unbelievable. That first inning set the tone,” Red Hawks coach Marco Migliaccio said. “To go out like this is pretty horrible, because this is not even close to what our best game should have been.”

Construction temporarily recovered out of its funk and scored three runs in the fourth inning, beginning with a bases-loaded single by junior Nicole Ovelheira. There was a glimmer of hope for the Red Hawks, but it was quickly dashed in the next inning as they struggled to get base runners. Tottenville piled on two more runs in final inning to deflect any hopes of a comeback.

“The nerves really hit the girls who have never been here before and then it hit all of us,” said senior Amy Pirozek, who will play at Hunter College next year. “We realized what was at stake and it just fell apart.”

Rodriguez, Pirozek and a few other seniors at the Ozone Park school are the remaining members of the team that built the Red Hawks into the A Division champion last year. They are happy for where the team has come in the past few years, but upset with their final game.

“It feels great, but this is not how I wanted it to end,” Rodriguez said.

 

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Free lunches for kids to be distributed at Queens libraries this summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY PAULINA TAM

Twenty-two Queens Library locations, in partnership with the city’s Department of Education (DOE), will be distributing free summer meals to children and teens 18 years and under starting June 27 to August 29.

Bagged lunches will be served every Monday through Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. and each will generally include a fresh sandwich, fruit, milk and sometimes a salad, according to library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“The library is an open public space and we want to attract people to come to the library,” King said. “While they’re here they can have free access to other programs. The Queens Library also has a very robust summer reading program and we want to encourage people to get involved with that so they can be better prepared for the academic program in the fall.”

There is no application, qualification or ID necessary to receive a free meal. Children and teens are recommended to arrive early to get lunches, while supplies last. The Queens Library is just one of many agencies collaborating with the DOE, and interested parties could call 311 to get a full list of participating locations.

Listed below are the participating Queens Library locations:

312 Beach 54 St., Arverne

14-01 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

117-11 Sutphin Blvd., Baisley Park

218-13 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights

1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway

41-17 Main St., Flushing

202-05 Hillside Ave., Hollis

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

134-26 225th St., Laurelton

98-30 57th Ave., Lefrak City

37-44 21st St., Long Island City

40-20 Broadway (at Steinway Street), Long Island City

92-24 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

158-21 Jewel Ave., Pomonok (Flushing)

103-34 Lefferts Blvd., Richmond Hill

169-09 137th Ave., Rochdale Village

116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park

204-01 Hollis Ave., South Hollis

108-41 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., South Jamaica

43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

85-41 Forest Pkwy., Woodhaven

54-22 Skillman Ave., Woodside

 

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Suspects wanted in assault on man in Ozone Park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD


A group of men attacked a 26-year-old in Ozone Park Sunday, punching and kicking the man before cutting him, police said.

The assault happened on 101st Avenue near Liberty Avenue, around 4:45 a.m. when the suspects came up to the victim and started beating him, cops said. One of the suspects, who the victim knew, then allegedly pulled out a sharp object and slashed the victim several times causing lacerations to his face, neck, back and hand. The suspects then fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital and is listed in stable condition, officials said.

Police have released a video of two of the suspects and said one was wearing a blue jean vest with a white t-shirt underneath and is named “Timmy,” but is also known by the nickname “Slime.” The second suspect was wearing a black baseball hat and white sweater.

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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23 Queens individuals arrested in NYC-area child porn bust


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of ICE


Twenty-three Queens residents, including an NYPD cop, registered nurse and paramedic, were arrested as part of a large-scale operation targeting the online distribution of child pornography.

The largest-ever enforcement operation in New York directed at predators who possess, produce or distribute sexually explicit images of children, resulted in the arrests of 71 individuals in the five boroughs, other areas of the state and New Jersey, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and other officials announced Wednesday.

During Operation Caireen, which began April 4 and ran until May 15, HSI special agents, NYPD detectives and other law enforcement partners infiltrated peer-to-peer file sharing networks to identify users in the New York City metropolitan area who tried to acquire or distribute known or suspected images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit activities, according to HSI.

Among the Queens residents arrested was an NYPD officer from Ozone Park, Yong Wu, who has been charged with possession of child pornography, officials said. He was arrested on April 28 following the execution of a search warrant on his home.

An Astoria registered nurse, Kenneth Gardner, who works at Westchester County Medical Center, has been charged with promoting a sex performance of a child under age 17, possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child and possessing a sexual performance by a child, according to HSI.

Aaron Young, a paramedic, was arrested at his Queens home on April 28 and charged with possession of child pornography, officials said.

“It must be remembered that the images involved in these cases are of real children being sexually abused and that each time an image is viewed, traded, printed or downloaded, the child in that image is being victimized again,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

Others facing charges include an au pair, and a man who served as both a den master with the Boy Scouts of America and a little league baseball coach.

 

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Assemblyman eyes vacant Ozone Park lot owned by ConEd for school parking


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder's office

Updated Friday, May 16 1:42 p.m.

A vacant lot in Ozone Park that has sat fallow for several years should be converted into a parking lot for teachers at a nearby middle school, an elected official said.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder has asked Con Edison to allow teachers and parents from M.S. 137 to park in the lot across 98th Street from the school.

The extra parking space would do more than just make parking convenient for teachers and parents, Goldfeder said.

“Allowing access to the vacant lot for parking will help encourage parents to be more involved in student activities with their children,” Goldfeder said. “Every organization has a responsibility to the communities they are located in and a small gesture from ConEd will go a long way in easing parking congestion for residents of Ozone Park and parents visiting the school.”

Parents complain that the area is severely congested and “parking is often difficult,” Goldfeder said in a letter to ConEd.

“The vacant lot would be the perfect solution to the longtime issue of parking in the area for homeowners and allow the school extra space to host special events.”

For their part, ConEd will respond to Goldfeder’s request after the company considers the matter.

” We will review it and respond to him. We are also reaching out to him to discuss the matter,” spokesman Allan Drury said.

 

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Van fatally strikes bicyclist in Ozone Park hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A bicyclist was killed in a hit-and-run crash Sunday night after a van knocked him to the ground, then ran him over as he was riding on Rockaway Boulevard, police said.

The victim, a man in his 40s who has yet to be identified by police, was traveling along the roadway near 90th Street in Ozone Park about 9:35 p.m. when the accident occurred, officials said.

The van, a black Mercedes Benz, was driving in the same direction on Rockaway Boulevard as the victim when it sideswiped him, and the bicyclist fell and was run over.

After the van’s driver briefly stopped and got out of his vehicle, he allegedly returned to the van, and fled westbound on Rockaway Boulevard.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to police.

There are no arrests and the investigation is still ongoing.

 

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Queens-bound service to temporarily shut down at two Ozone Park subway stops for station improvements


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

A $39 million project to revamp five Queens stations along the A line will shut down service at two Ozone Park stops for three months, the MTA said.

The project will renovate the 80 St-Hudson Street, 88 St-Boyd Avenue, Rockaway Boulevard, 104 St-Oxford Avenue and 111 St-Greenwood Avenue stations.

Improvements at all five stations will include new lighting and artwork, better platforms, enhanced safety features, and upgraded communications, according to the MTA. There will also be the repair or replacement of the mezzanine leading the platform stairs, mezzanine floors, doors and windows, and interior and exterior walls. Additionally, each station will be painted, and canopies, windscreen panels and railings will be replaced.

During the work, the Queens-bound platforms at the 88th St-Boyd Avenue and 104 St-Oxford Avenue stations will be closed from May 12 to August 18. There will still be normal A service toward Manhattan.

Queens-bound customers traveling to 88th St-Boyd Avenue must ride to the Rockaway Blvd Station and transfer to a Manhattan-bound A train.  Customers wishing to ride towards Ozone Park Lefferts Boulevard or the Rockaways from 88 St-Boyd Avenue must ride a Manhattan-bound A train to 80 St-Hudson Street and transfer to a Queens-bound A train.  Normal service will be provided travelling towards Manhattan.

Queens-bound riders traveling to 104 St-Oxford Avenue must ride to the 111 St-Greenwood Avenue Station and transfer to a Manhattan-bound A train.  Riders wishing to travel towards Ozone Park-Lefferts Boulevard from 104 St-Oxford Avenue must ride a Manhattan-bound A train to Rockaway Boulevard and transfer to an Ozone Park-Lefferts Boulevard-bound A train.

Work will move over to the Manhattan-bound platforms at these 88th St-Boyd Avenue and 104 St-Oxford Avenue stations after this first phase of the project is completed is tentatively scheduled to begin in September.

Click here for up-to-date information on planned service changes.

 

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Man gets 25 years for fatal stabbing of fellow parks worker in Flushing Meadows


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A former city Parks Department worker was sentenced to 25 years in prison for stabbing another employee to death during a fight at a Flushing recreation center.

Robert Swann, 53, of Ozone Park, was found guilty earlier this month of first-degree manslaughter, District Attorney Richard Brown said. He received the maximum prison term with his sentence.

According to trial testimony, Swann stabbed the victim, Ezra Black, 31, in the front torso on the afternoon of September 4, 2012 during a fight at the Al Oerter Recreation Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.  Swann allegedly told police that after he stabbed Black, he left the scene, and got rid of the knife and the clothing he was wearing in a field near the park.

Both men were seasonal Parks Department workers, according to Brown.

 

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Ozone Park man fatally hit on Atlantic Avenue


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A 54-year-old Ozone Park man was struck by a car and killed on Saturday as he attempted to cross Atlantic Avenue, cops said.

Police responded to the scene just after 9 p.m., where they found Oscar Pauzhi lying on the roadway with severe head trauma.

Pauzhi was hit by a 2006 Hyundai Elantra that was traveling westbound on Atlantic Avenue near the intersection of 107 Street in Richmond Hill, authorities said. He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The driver of the car remained on the scene, according to police. 

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

 

 

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