Tag Archives: person of interest

Queens is the new Hollywood

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CBS

Film crews unloaded crates of props and racks of costumes from the enormous trucks lining 35th Street next to Kaufman Astoria Studios. Neon notices posted on parking signs up and down both sides of the thoroughfare alerted residents that “Nurse Jackie,” the Showtime series starring Edie Falco, would be filming on that street over the next few days.

Western Queens, home to several of the city’s biggest film studios, has experienced an upswing in recent on-location shoots around the neighborhood, appearing as the backdrop for hit shows like “30 Rock,” “Gossip Girl” and “Person of Interest.” But consumed parking spots and increased traffic have locals and politicians questioning whether or not Hollywood’s existence in western Queens is symbiotic or parasitic.

Councilmember Peter Vallone said he became skeptical of the film industry’s presence after spotting illegitimate “No Parking” signs along both sides of 31st Street and on 23rd Avenue from 33rd Street to 28th Street, one of the most congested business areas in Queens. Vallone claimed the signs, which traced back to a Netflix original production called “Orange is the New Black,” were posted outside of the time designated to them by the Mayor’s Office of Film.

Vallone, while interested in helping to facilitate the movie and television industry, is adamant that crews respect the locals who call their on-and-off sets “home.”

“This is an industry that we like and want to cooperate with as much as possible,” said Vallone. “We want to make sure when they film in our neighborhood, they cause as little aggravation as possible for neighbors and business owners.”

According to Mayor’s Office of Film spokesperson Marybeth Ihle, the entertainment production industry employs over 130,000 New Yorkers and contributes $7.1 billion to the city’s economy each year.

“Whenever you see a film crew on your block, whether it’s the camera operator, costume designer or caterer, you’re really seeing your fellow New Yorkers hard at work,” said Ihle.

Production levels are on the rise throughout New York City, according to Ihle. At least 24 prime time television series are filming their current seasons in the Big Apple. Ihle said the Office of Film seeks to find a balance between the needs of the industry and those of the community.

According to Ihle, filming locations are determined by scouts who work with the director and producers to determine and secure the best location based on the needs of the script.

Western Queens isn’t the only film-worthy destination in the borough. Douglas Manor, a historic section of Douglaston regarded for its isolation and the unique architecture of its homes, has provided the scenery for countless movies and television shows, including CBS’s “Blue Bloods” and NBC’s “Person of Interest” and the recent Nicole Kidman art-house flick, “Rabbit Hole.” Currently, the “Sex and the City” prequel, called “The Carrie Diaries” is filming in Douglas Manor.

A neighborhood representative of Douglas Manor said the community is split between those who don’t mind sharing their streets with film crews and those who do. While filming locations are chosen by the city and not Douglas Manor residents, the representative said local officials attempt to soften the impact the industry has on their neighborhood.

“We try to make it so their presence isn’t overwhelming to the community,” said the representative. “We appreciate them working with us and listening to the needs of the community and reaching out to us.”

Mira Castillo, a manager at Café Bar on 36th Street in Astoria said many daytime patrons at her restaurant are studio employees on their lunch break and the film industry’s presence in the neighborhood boosts business.

“A lot of our day business relies on their business,” said Castillo.

But, it’s not just in-house patrons who are getting a midday meal from Café Bar. Castillo said her restaurant delivers daily to nearby Silvercup Studio.

“[The film industry’s presence] is a good thing,” said Castillo. “It feels like we’re a part of their process and helping get their jobs done.”

Recently, Café Bar was asked by a film company if scenes for a new television show could be shot inside their restaurant. Castillo said they had yet to make a final decision.

Four more US soldiers face court martial over alleged hazing death of New York GI

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Four more US soldiers face court martial over alleged hazing death of New York GI

Four more US soldiers are facing a possible court martial over the alleged hazing death in Afghanistan of a 19-year-old fellow serviceman of Chinese descent. The recommendation from military investigators follows a preliminary hearing at Kandahar Air Field on Monday. Seven of the eight servicemen — originally charged on multiple counts, including involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide linked to Pvt. Danny Chen’s death — could now end up in the military court. Investigators are still examining the case of the eighth soldier. Read More: New York Post

Liu-nacy! Embattled comp advises pols on money

Beleaguered city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasurer is facing fraud charges and his entire political fund-raising operation is ensnared in a federal probe — but, without a hint of irony, the Queens pol advised City Hall yesterday on how to manage its finances. For 45 minutes, Liu testified and answered City Council questions about Mayor Bloomberg’s 2013 budget proposal, agreeing with the proposed sale of 2,000 taxi medallions to raise $1 billion. Like Bloomberg, he also opposed holding off on pension contributions to temporarily fill budget gaps, calling it “kicking the can down the road.” Read More: New York Post

Person Of Interest Sought In Death Of Chelsea Man

Police are looking to question a person of interest in connection with the death of a man in Chelsea over the weekend. Authorities released pictures, above, of the man they’re looking for in connection with the death of 57-year-old John Laubach. At this point police are not calling the man a suspect. Laubach was found dead in his apartment Friday night. Sources say his hands, feet, and mouth were bound with duct tape, and there was a towel over his face. The apartment had also been ransacked. Read More: NY1


In Reversal, Albany Now Supports Women’s Choice Of Birth Control

Albany is ordering health insurers not to deny women their choice of contraceptives – or face the loss of state contracts. The state issued the warning after some women on Medicaid were told to use a cheaper, generic brand instead of their regular method. It was part of a state cost-cutting measure put in place back in October. According to the rule, if the generic version failed then patients could go back to their preferred form of birth control. Read More: NY1


High-end madam busted for running upper East Side brothel is a suburban mom with four children

A high-end madam who boasted she used cops as security and made millions by peddling flesh — including underage girls — to rich and powerful clients has been busted after a five-year probe, prosecutors said. The Manhattan district attorney’s office indicted petite, blond, green-eyed Anna Gristina, 44, in a corruption investigation that amassed 50 to 100 hours of audio and video recordings, some showing prostitutes doing the deed, according to court records. Read More: Daily News

‘Person of interest’ in custody for Molotov cocktail attacks

| smosco@queenscourier.com


A man is currently being held for questioning by authorities in connection with a string of five fire bombings, four in Queens and one on Long Island, being investigated as possible hate crimes.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, along with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other Queens elected officials, gathered at one of the targets, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center in Jamaica, to condemn the attacks.

“We currently have a person of interest in custody,” said Kelly at the press conference on Tuesday, January 3. Police linked the unnamed suspect’s vehicle to a bodega on Hillside Avenue in Jamaica where he was thrown out on December 27 after the owner suspected him of shoplifting. As he was pushed out of the store, the man allegedly threatened the owner with retaliation.

That bodega was later firebombed, along with four other targets, with a Molotov cocktail made from a glass Starbucks bottle – one of the items the man in question was suspected of shoplifting.

According to police, the incidents occurred between 8 and 10:15 p.m. on Sunday, January 1. No injuries were reported and damage to the mosque was minimal. On Monday, January 2, police released a sketch of the suspect and video showing the man hurling a flaming bottle at a home on 170th Street that doubles as a Hindu place of worship.

The other two targets were private homes, with one house sustaining heavy fire damage in the living room, though no injuries were reported. But according to Kelly, three young children were in the residence at the time of the attack – a fact which could very well up the charges.

After meeting with representatives of the mosque and elected officials, Bloomberg said that the city will not tolerate violence, whether it was a senseless act or a more targeted hate crime.

“In either case, one attack is too many,” he said. “We all know that we are in this together and discrimination against one is discrimination against many.”

Borough President Helen Marshall called it a “sad day” and said that she was extremely upset by the thought of attacks like these happening in a borough as diverse as Queens.

“This man must be punished by the fullest extent of the law,” she said. “To throw bombs without knowing who is inside – it’s just wrong, and it’s not Queens.”

4 more suspects collared in slaying of NYPD cop Peter Figoski

| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 more suspects collared in slaying of NYPD cop Peter Figoski

The accomplice who fled from cops after his low-life pal shot and killed Officer Peter Figoski has been caught, police said Tuesday. Three other suspects were also taken into custody overnight — two neighbors who live across the street and the alleged getaway driver. The accomplice was arrested at 2 a.m. and will be charged with murder in the slaying of Figoski, a decorated 22-year NYPD veteran and father of four daughters, officials said. Read More: Daily News

Violent ex-con arrested for shooting NYPD cop dead was wanted for shooting in North Carolina in August

The violent ex-con accused of gunning down a hero cop in Brooklyn Monday should have been locked up weeks ago for shooting a man in North Carolina, the Daily News has learned. Despite being arrested twice in New York since September, a series of legal snafus allowed Lamont Pride to roam the streets of the city free to kill. Read More: Daily News

Aqueduct racino set to open exclusive, luxury gaming floor 

The final touches are being put on another floor of gaming at the Aqueduct racino — but you’ll need be a high roller to wager and enjoy the amenities. The media got a sneak peek on Monday at the second floor — set to open Friday — which racino officials hope will lure out-of-state gamblers to the South Ozone Park attraction. Read More: Daily News

Woodside Residents Reach Out To Fire Victims

NY1’s Lisa McDivitt looks into how a Woodside community is helping those affected by a fire that occurred in their neighborhood one month ago. Watch the video: NY1

New Initiative Aids Small Businesses In Flushing

NY1’s Angela Chen looks at some small businesses in Flushing that are getting a helping hand from a new initiative. Watch the video: NY1

Queens graveyard worker sues over alleged abuse  in workplace at Cypress Hills Cemetery

A Queens graveyard worker says he was driven to drink and despair by cruel bosses at the Cypress Hills Cemetery and that his union did nothing to help him. Jozef Klaper, a 63-year-old Polish immigrant, claims in a lawsuit that foreman John Nicastro got into his head by calling him “Eddie Mouser” — the name of a dead cemetery worker. Read more: Daily News

Cops search for person of interest in murder of Police Officer Peter Figoski

| brennison@queenscourier.com


Police captured the guman who shot and killed Police Officer Peter Figoski in Brooklyn earlier this morning, but are still on the lookout for a second person of interest in connection with the murder.

Police described the second suspect as a Hispanic between 24-30 years of age with black hair and a light complexion.

The suspect fled the scene when Officer Glenn Estrada pursued and caught Lamont Pride who fired the shot that killed Figoski, according to police.

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