Tag Archives: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Vaughn College completes $40 million renovation of campus


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Tom Sibley/Wilk Marketing Communications

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology is flying high after the completion of a $40 million renovation and expansion of its more than 70-year-old campus.

The school celebrated the renovation in an event Thursday, unveiling a revitalized main campus building and new flight and air traffic control simulator rooms.

The event marked the end of a three-year campus transformation, which was designed and constructed by Ensign Engineering, Stalco Construction and John Ciardullo Associates.

Vaughn received $32 million in grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to soundproof the school’s main 29,000-square-foot building, and used its own money for the remaining upgrades.

The construction was divided into six phases. Phase 1 included the addition of a new atrium lobby, while phases 2 and 3 had renovations to the older sections of the campus.

Phase 4 included a section of the main building and conversion of the old library into offices and classrooms, and phases 5 and 6 included the new flight and traffic control simulator rooms.

The expansion and renovation of Vaughn College included exterior and interior improvements as well as a new soundproof roof at the airplane maintenance hangar.

The expansion and renovation of Vaughn College included exterior and interior improvements as well as a new soundproof roof at the airplane maintenance hangar.

New cutting-edge technology at the renovated and expanded Vaughn College include multiple flight simulators.

New cutting-edge technology at the renovated and expanded Vaughn College includes multiple flight simulators.

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Rep. King discuses homeland security over JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

While JFK may be the “safest airport” in the country, far too many people do not take homeland security seriously enough, U.S. Rep. Peter King told an airport civic group on Wednesday.

King, speaking at a JFK Airport Chamber of Commerce breakfast, said airport workers, including Transportation Security Administration and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey personnel, have been successful in hardening the facility against terrorist attacks.

“This is the safest airport in the United States because of these people,” King said.

But, he added, many people are lax on the issue of security.

“Too many people in the U.S. do not take homeland security seriously enough,” said the 11-year congressman. “It is important that we stay aware.

“New York is the number one target [for terrorists].”

King was introduced by Tom Kelliher, president of the Chamber, as “the leader in the ongoing effort of homeland security,” an important topic to one of the nation’s busiest airports.

Raised in Sunnyside, King is the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and now chairs a subcommittee on counter-terrorism.

He is outspoken on terror and security issues.

“The reality is [some] people in this country have foreign ideology,” he said. “Al-Qaida is adaptive.”

Though the hot topic was the nation’s security, King also discussed the issue of federal funding for Superstorm Sandy victims in New York.

“We had to fight tooth and nail for funding,” he said.

He noted that there had been conflict with insurance companies but the issues have been resolved and the money is now coming through to homeowners and businesses.

“Overall,” he said, “the job is being done and districts are coming back.”

 

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AirTrain to temporaily shut down starting Tuesday night


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

All AirTrain JFK service will be suspended system-wide, from 9 p.m. Tuesday until 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

During the shut down, free bus service will be provided at the following locations:

  • Jamaica Station to Federal Circle Station
  • Federal Circle Station to all airline terminals
  • Federal Circle Station to Lefferts Blvd Station
  • Long-Term Parking Lot 9 to the terminal area
  • In the terminal area

The Port Authority is advising riders to allow for extra travel time during the suspension. The schedule is subject to change and dependent on weather conditions. For updates, click here.

 

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Port Authority bids farewell to K-9 partner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

The Port Authority Police Department (PAPD) said goodbye to one of its best friends, a German shepherd named Phoenix, who helped protect the city’s travelers for over seven years.

Phoenix, a member of the PAPD K-9 Unit, Explosives Detection, recently passed away after fighting a long battle with cancer.

The bomb-sniffing dog was assigned to the unit in 2007 at 2 years old and since then loyally served alongside PAPD Officer Donald Golding.

“Phoenix never wavered in his dedication to duty,” Port Authority spokesman Joe Pentangelo said. “He was a good will ambassador and a crime fighter, and he will be missed.”

For over seven years, Phoenix, who lived with Golding, started the day at John F. Kennedy International Airport and from there was deployed to various locations throughout the city.

Together with Golding, Phoenix had searched thousands of unattended bags and packages as part of the PAPD’s mission to protect travelers at its airports, seaports, terminals and PATH system, Pentangelo said.

Phoenix was also featured in the PAPD’s 2014 wall calendar and appeared on one of the Port Authority’s public awareness posters.

When he wasn’t taking a bite out of crime, the German shepherd also took part in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s community outreach, where children were able to enjoy his “playful nature,” Pentangelo said.

 

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New TLC facility to protect JFK passengers from illegal ‘hustler’ vehicles


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will now have eyes everywhere at John F. Kennedy International (JFK) Airport.

The TLC and the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey unveiled a new satellite enforcement facility at JFK to consistently monitor any illegal “hustler” vehicles trying to get passengers.

“The TLC’s increased vigilance will help protect passengers at JFK Airport by reducing the chances they may unwittingly accept a ride from a fraudulent and potentially unsafe driver pretending to be a legitimate taxi operator,” said Joseph Dunne, Port Chief Security Officer.

Ten to 15 TLC inspectors and supervisors will be at the site during enforcement operations. At LaGuardia Airport, officials have made 192 seizures of illegal vehicles. Since July, there have been more than 800 hustler seizures.

“JFK is an exceptionally active transportation hub,” said David Yassky, TLC Commissioner and Chair. “It is a magnet for illegal for-hire activity. It’s very natural for us to be here and have a permanent home at JFK.”

 

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BP Marshall joins chorus for FAA exemption


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Borough President Helen Marshall has joined the ranks of Queens congressmembers who are urging the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to exempt two major city airports from a new federal rule.

“While the FAA’s Regional Administrator for our area has made an effort to work with my office and others in the borough, I believe that this is not the time to evade community input,” Marshall said in a letter to the administration.

The proposed FAA provision, officials said, would establish two new categorical exclusions, which would essentially allow the FAA to permanently implement new flight changes without conducting environmental studies.

Marshall and Congressmembers Steve Israel, Grace Meng and Joseph Crowley wrote a letter last week calling for the head of the FAA, Administrator Michael Huerta, to exempt LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy Airports from the order.

A categorical exclusion was applied to a newly approved flight path over Queens called the TNNIS IV climb. Residents said the change has brought upon a drastic increase in air noise.

“To implement such changes without first subjecting their potential impacts to the rigorous scrutiny of experts and the public during the environmental review process would, in my opinion, be irresponsible,” Marshall said.

Queens residents still have until September 30 to submit public comment to the FAA on the proposed rule by visiting www.regulations.gov or faxing comments to 202-493-2251.

Community Boards 7 and 13 passed a resolution this week urging the governor to support a bill that would require the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a noise study.

The boards join Community Board 11, which passed a resolution earlier this month.

 

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200 homes in Bayside, Flushing file airplane noise complaints last month


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Almost all the noise complaints filed last month at three major airports came from Queens, according to data obtained by The Courier.

More than 700 calls about airplane noise flooded LaGuardia Airport this June, while 348 grievances came in about John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to statistics from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Out of 1,061 total complaints that poured in last month, only 18 complaints were made to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey.

The complaints came from almost 200 homes in Queens, mostly in Flushing and Bayside, according to Port Authority data collected June 1-30.

About 500 complaints to LaGuardia were from those neighborhoods, with a majority of calls coming from residents near Travis Triangle and Bowne Park.

Residents from across the Queens border in nearby Floral Park made most of the complaints to JFK, a total of 200.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a new flight pattern last December, much to the dismay of residents who say the procedure causes nonstop noise from low-flying planes.

The Port Authority and the FAA said they expect upcoming projects to reduce noise.

Representatives from both agencies addressed the Queens Borough President’s Aviation Advisory Council on July 22.

They said plans to soon rebuild and modernize the Central Terminal Building at LaGuardia would allow for larger planes on the runways. With more passengers per plane, that would mean fewer aircraft in the sky.

Officials also said by 2016, airports will be mandated to only use planes with engine sound-absorbing designs.

Planes going in and out of New York airports, with the exception of corporate aircraft, are currently “Stage 3” planes. The designation means engines are moved further into the interior of the plane to lessen noise.

Propellers are also shaped to deaden sound.

Barbara Brown, chair of the Eastern Queens Alliance, said larger planes would not be helpful.

“Even if flights are getting quieter, that won’t mean anything if there are more flights taking place in general,” she said.

Port Authority officials said they are also in the process of replacing 22 noise monitoring terminals and should be done by spring 2014.

They added that a public website will soon launch for people to monitor noise decibel readings and file noise complaints.

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and multiple congressmembers from the city and Long Island have called for more action. They recently sent a letter to Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye urging his agency to create an airport advisory committee.

“It is simple common sense to say that the largest metropolitan area in the country should have an airport advisory committee like the one we are proposing,” Schumer said, “a body that would help increase quality of life for locals.”

The New York state legislature passed a bill this year that would require the Port Authority to conduct a one-time study to determine the effects of aircraft noise on Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Jersey residents.

It awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature in New York and ultimately needs New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s approval as well.

Additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

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Officials investigating LaGuardia landing gear collapse that injured 10


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is currently investigating a rough plane landing at LaGuardia Airport yesterday that left 10 people injured.

As a Southwest Airlines flight from Nashville, Tenn. with 149 people on board was touching down at the airport just before 5:45 a.m. Monday its front landing gear collapsed, according to a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesperson.

Ten people received minored injuries from the bumpy landing. Four were treated at the scene and six were taken to the hospital, said the spokesperson.

The airport shut down following the incident and did not reopen until 7:05 p.m Monday.

The runway where the Southwest flight landed remained closed until 6:59 a.m. today.

 

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Pols push for two-state study of airplane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Airport operators have become the target of the latest localized effort to quiet Queens skies.

The state legislature has passed a bill that would require the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to conduct a one-time study to determine the effects of aircraft noise on Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island and Jersey residents.

“With this study on aircraft noise, we can best determine the use of certain runways and flight paths and use federal funding to solve this serious issue,” said Assemblymember Edward Ra, who represents parts of Nassau County.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved a new flight pattern last December, much to the dismay of residents who say the procedure causes nonstop noise from low-flying planes.

The bill would require the bi-state authority to submit its findings to both state legislatures by next June, depending on when it is enacted.

It awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature in New York and ultimately needs Governor Chris Christie’s approval in New Jersey, though it was only introduced in the New Jersey Senate last month.

“We’re confident that if we get this study done, it will prove that there is a significant impact on our communities and the FAA and Port Authority will be required to find measures to remediate this problem,” said Assemblymember Ed Braunstein.

The legislation would also require the Port Authority — which operates five hubs in New York and New Jersey, including John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia Airports — to hold biennial public hearings.

“It is about time that all the communities that are affected stand up and say to the FAA and the Port Authority, ‘We’re not going to take it anymore,’’ said State Senator Tony Avella. “We may live by the airports, but when we all moved here, the air traffic was nothing like it is now.”

The FAA has since formed a committee to review its decision-making process, officials announced in May, and has agreed to hear out impacted communities.

PHOTOS: Future One World Trade Center observatory


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Port Authority

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has revealed what the state-of-the-art observatory that will open at One World Trade Center will offer visitors.

On floors 100 to 102 of the building, it has breathtaking views of the city as well as other features.

Its “Skypod” elevators will give visitors the “experience of being outside the building as they make their ascent and descent in a quick 60 seconds,” according to the Port Authority.

The observatory will also offer several dining options and an event space.

“One World Observatory will be a magnificent facility, a championship-caliber attraction that will make Lower Manhattan a premiere destination for New Yorkers and visitors from around the world,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo. “This spectacular venue is yet another step forward in the rebirth of the World Trade Center, of Lower Manhattan, and demonstrates the remarkable resilience of America.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Partly cloudy. Fog early. High of 59. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph. Monday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 48. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Greater Astoria Historical Society Christmas Party

Widely regarded as one of the greatest storytellers of all time, Charles Dickens left an indelible mark on how we celebrate the holidays. Tonight the Greater Astoria Historical Society will mark the 200th anniversary of the writer’s birth and have its annual holiday party with music, fun and special raffles. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Up to St. John’s University to continue case against estate of suicide dean, Cecilia Chang

The Queens district attorney will abandon his effort to get back the $1 million the late St. John’s University dean Cecilia Chang embezzled from the school — leaving the university to decide whether to continue the case against the estate of the suicide dean. Read more: New York Daily News

Cuomo to make $42B storm aid pitch to Congress

Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be in the nation’s capital to meet with members of Congress as he seeks billions of dollars in federal aid to help New York recover from Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Fox 5 New York

Work week begins with higher tolls on bridges and tunnels

The countdown was on Sunday night to the first morning rush since a new toll hike went into effect for bridges and tunnels run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Read more: CBS New York

Development will damage Flushing Meadows’ role as marshy buffer against storm surge and coastal flooding

The borough of Queens was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. Breezy Point, the Rockaways and other neighborhoods were completely devastated and may never be the same. We’d be foolish to think that Sandy was a once-in-a-lifetime storm. Instead, Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene are what we can expect more often in our future with climate change a clear and present danger. Read more: New York Daily New

Pig faces ‘big bad’ co-op

Say it oink so! Residents of a Queens co-op say the pet pig rooting around their courtyard isn’t kosher — and are determined to get the city to evict the unwelcome ungulate from the complex. Read more: New York Post

Some schools in New York, Connecticut to lengthen class time

New York and Connecticut are among five states set to announce Monday that they will add at least 300 hours of learning time to the calendar in some schools beginning next year. Read more: CBS New York

 No ‘fiscal cliff’ deal without higher rates, Geithner say

The Obama administration will entertain any Republican plans to avoid a so-called “fiscal cliff” at year’s end, but Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the Bush-era tax cuts for top incomes must go. Read more: CNN

 

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

 TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Partly cloudy in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 75. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 61. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: 9/11 anniversary events in Queens

To commemorate the eleventh anniversary of September 11, there are several remembrance events around the borough Tuesday evening.  Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD seek suspect in attack on woman in Queens

The NYPD is seeking the public’s help in identifying a suspect in connection with an attempted sexual attack in Queens. Read more: Wall Street Journal

Trial begins for man suspected of stealing two police guns from precinct

Two officers who had their guns stolen from the 103rd precinct in Queens last year took the stand in State Supreme Court on Monday to tell the court what happened, but could not say how. Read more: NY1

Ethnic politics in the mix in crowded Assembly primary in Flushing

The scramble to replace Assemblywoman Grace Meng has produced a crowded primary, charged with ethnic politics and intrigue. Read more: New York Daily News

School bus nightmare for Queens child

The new school year has meant four mornings of frustration for Shanie Fryer and her 3 year old daughter Annaya. The child’s bus has either shown-up hours late or not at all. Read more: ABC New York

Cuomo, Bloomberg, Christie reach a deal to end the impasse that has stalled construction of the 9-11 museum

The dispute that has all but halted construction on the 9-11 museum was resolved on the eve of the 11th anniversary of the terror attacks. Read more: New York Daily News

New York is lagging as seas and risks rise, critics warn

With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding. Read more: New York Times

For Sept. 11 anniversary, a turning point passed?

Is it time for a different kind of Sept. 11? Victims’ families and others were poised to gather and grieve Tuesday at ground zero, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa., for the first time after the emotional turning point of last year’s 10th anniversary. Read more: AP

 

Afternoon Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

The Afternoon Roundup

Terminal 7 at JFK evacuated after problem at security checkpoint

Air passengers were temporarily evacuated from a terminal at New York City’s Kennedy Airport after a problem at one of the security checkpoints. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey says that the Transportation Security Administration shut down Kennedy’s Terminal 7 at around 9:45 a.m. after determining that someone had gone through the checkpoint without being properly screened. Read more: [New York Post]

Queens Man Sentenced To Year In Jail In East Village Parking Space Beating Case

A judge has sentenced a Queens man to a year in jail for putting a woman into a coma after punching her in a fight over a parking space last year. Oscar Fuller was given the maximum sentence Friday. He was convicted in May of misdemeanor third degree assault after a violent altercation between himself and then 25-year-old Lana Rosas. He was acquitted of a more serious felony charge. Read more: [1010wins]

Queens Ice Company Cashes In During Heat Wave

They’ve sold about a half a million pounds of wet ice and a quarter million pounds of dry ice since Wednesday. On Friday the orders just kept coming in. The phone was ringing off the hook at the Natuzzi Bros Ice manufacturing and distribution company, where staffers worked around the clock to keep up with the demand. Read more: [NY1]

 Mets Take Game 1 Of Subway Series; Santana Gets Key To City

The Mets drew first blood in round two of the Subway Series Friday night. The Amazins scored five runs in the first inning, capped by a three-run home run by Ike Davis. Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones and Robinson Cano homered for the Bombers to cut the deficit but in the end, the Mets held on to win 6-4. Read more: [NY1]

Queens man says he’s been barred from seeing ailing mom; blames ruling by controversial judge

A Fresh Meadows man claims his vengeful family members have hijacked his elderly mother’s estate and barred him from seeing the ailing woman — thanks to a ruling by a controversial Queens judge. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Could Queens get two convention centers?


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Possession is nine-tenths of the law — a lesson Governor Andrew Cuomo has apparently learned the hard way.

According to published reports, when the governor proposed a plan for the largest convention center in the country next to Resorts World in South Ozone Park, he was under the impression the land belonged to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The property, however, is reportedly owned by New York City and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who may be hesitant to sell due to his plans for a convention center of his own in Willets Point.

The Willets Point convention center is part of a redevelopment of the entire area, which will include retail and entertainment amenities, a hotel, mixed-income housing, public open space and community uses.

The $4 billion project in South Ozone Park, dubbed the New York International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICE), would be financed by Resorts World and encompass 3.8 million-square-feet, including 3,000 hotel rooms.

Repeated attempts to contact Cuomo’s office went unreturned. The mayor’s office declined to comment pending further information.

Bettina Damiani, the project director of Good Jobs New York, a watchdog on the city’s economic development subsidy program, is disappointed the city and state have been unable to collaborate to promote the most productive project.

“Why is the Cuomo administration pushing for a convention center at Aqueduct when the Bloomberg administration has already put so much effort into one at Willets Point?” Damiani asked. “One hand not talking to the other is disappointing.”

Despite the recent rush to construct convention centers, Damiani believes the facilities may not be the best venture for New York.

“History shows convention centers are not a good investment,” she said. “A report by the Brookings Institution showed that attendance to convention centers has been declining across the country since the late 1990s.”

Other Queens leaders believe the borough could benefit from both facilities, with neither diminishing the other.

“The governor’s proposal is exciting, but I don’t think it prevents the one in Willets Point,” said Claire Shulman, president and CEO of the Flushing, Willets Point, Corona Local Development Corporation, which is advocating for the Willets Point project. “The one in Willets Point is a bit more modest of a convention center, which would deal with LaGuardia Airport business. Queens can use both.”

Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, echoed Shulman in promoting the distinct benefits each center would offer.

“The Ozone Park convention center is great for the borough,” Friedman said. “It is transformative, and in many ways, will help establish the borough as a tourist destination. It is a huge opportunity to rebuild south Queens area, specifically downtown Jamaica and the Rockaways. For years, Queens has suffered from tourists coming into our airports, taking cabs into Manhattan and not spending any money in the borough, and I think this will change that. The one in Willets Point is a completely different type of convention center. It is for smaller trade shows and exhibitions. The thoughts of convention centers in South Ozone Park and Willets Point are not mutually exclusive – they can support each other.”