Tag Archives: Port Authority

Man arrested for trespassing at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

jfk airport

Police busted a New Jersey man for trespassing after he was caught entering a restricted area of John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Port Authority employees saw William Deenem 22, of Perth Amboy, go inside a fenced area of the airport at about 9:30 a.m, cops said.

He was then placed under arrest by Port Authority police without incident. Deenem has been charged with criminal trespass.

There was no disruption in travel.

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Airline employee assaulted at LaGuardia Airport: police


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

LAGUARDIA

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 22-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night for assaulting an airline employee at LaGuardia Airport after getting into a confrontation at baggage claim, officials said.

Antonio V. Sappleton, a resident of Yonkers, tried to claim his bag when the United Airlines employee asked to see his checked bag ticket.

According to Port Authority Police, Sappleton refused to show the ticket and punched the victim repeatedly. When the victim fell to the floor, he continued his assault by kicking him.

The 23-year-old airline employee was taken to Elmhurst Hospital to be treated for loose teeth, a split lip and contusions about his head and face, authorities said.

Police arrested Sappleton outside of the terminal. He was given a desk appearance ticket and ordered to appear in court on Sept. 30 on charges of assault and harassment, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

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Gov. announces measures to address Queens plane noise


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will double its sound monitors and create an office to address soaring noise complaints, under a string of new orders announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo Monday.

“Airport noise is rightly an important concern for residents of Queens, the Bronx and Nassau County,” Cuomo said. “We will listen to local residents and ensure their input is used to make both JFK and LaGuardia airports better neighbors.”

Gripes have been pouring in since the Federal Aviation Administration approved a new flight pattern in 2012 that brought on a barrage of low-flying planes over parts of northeast Queens.

“There have been days I felt so hopeless,” said Susan Carroll, of Flushing. “I get the takeoff. I get the landing. Flushing never gets a break from the airplane noise. We never get any peace.”

Carroll said she lodges so many complaints with the Port Authority’s hotline — at least one a day, since last summer — operators mistake her for an aviation expert.

“I actually cried tears of joy when I heard the news,” she said. “This is tremendous for all of us.”

Within the next few months, the Port Authority will implement a series of new measures that include monitoring flight tracks online, establishing regular roundtables with elected and federal officials, and conducting extensive noise studies.

More portable noise monitors will be placed in communities currently without one, the governor said. And the new noise office’s seven-member staff will collect and review data while responding to community complaints.

“We are committed to working with all communities we operate in to address their concerns, while bringing JFK and LaGuardia airports into the 21st century and maintaining the viability of our airports as major economic engines for the metropolitan region,” Port Authority Executive Director Pat Foye said.

 

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JFK baggage handlers accused of taking checks, money orders from mail


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Five John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) baggage handlers, including two Queens men, allegedly stole thousands of dollars worth of checks and money orders that were being sent through overseas mail, officials announced Friday.

The men are accused of taking the money orders and checks, which were bound for Japan, China, Korea, and other places, and depositing them into their own bank accounts. They also allegedly swiped credit cards and used them to buy iPad minis and other electronics from “Best Buy” kiosks at the airport, according to officials.

“Included among the items allegedly stolen from the mail were money orders mailed by a member of the armed services and in another instance, checks intended for child support,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Following multiple reports of thefts of credit cards, money orders and checks from U.S. mail, specifically mail being handled by Ground Services International baggage handlers at JFK, a joint investigation was launched by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Port Authority Police Department, according to the district attorney.

The investigation found that between July and February, the five accused baggage handlers allegedly took the checks and money orders, which ranged from $100 to $1,000, and stole the credit cards and used them to make the kiosk purchases. The thefts allegedly totaled more than $27,000, Brown said.

Anthony Austin, 26, of Hollis, Ariel Weaver, 20, of South Ozone Park, and Brooklyn residents Michael Williams, 29, Alexander Fluellen, 29, and Samuel Wright, 31, were arraigned Thursday in Queens Criminal Court on separate criminal complaints in which they are variously charged with grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, petit larceny and forgery, according to prosecutors.

Fluellen, Wright and Weaver were released without bail and Austin was held on $5,000 bail. Williams is being held pending arraignment.

 

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Fire breaks out at JFK Airport


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A fire at a John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport cargo building Tuesday night left more than a dozen people suffering from smoke inhalation, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey said.

The minor trash fire broke out around 7:30 p.m. on the cargo building’s loading bay of cargo building and was out in about 3o minutes, according to the FDNY and Port Authority.

Fourteen people were treated at the scene and four people were taken to the hospital, according to published reports.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.

 

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NYC airports experience most delays during recent extreme weather


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The latest spell of extreme weather left thousands of delays and cancellations at airports across the country, but New York City area airports were hit particularly hard, according to an analysis by the Global Gateway Alliance (GGA).

From Saturday, Jan. 4 to Tuesday, Jan. 7, John F. Kennedy International (JFK), LaGuardia and Newark airports had the most delays at 5,320 and second most cancellations at 2,155. The most cancellations at the city’s airports occurred on Monday, with 706, and the most delays were on Sunday, with 1,692.

Chicago’s two major airport hubs suffered from the most cancellations at 4,655 and the second most delays at 3,134.

More than 50 percent of all flights were cancelled or delayed during the four-day period at both New York area and Chicago airports, according to GGA.

JetBlue suspended outgoing flights at, JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Boston’s Logan airports to catch up with weather-related delays and cancellations Monday. The airline started gradually operating again at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but wasn’t 100 percent operational until about 3 p.m. that day

“The rampant cancellations and delays we saw this week are a wake-up call for leadership to  start focusing on better airports, and they underscore why Governor [Andrew] Cuomo’s announcement  that he is taking responsibility for NYC airport modernization is so timely” said Joe Sitt, Chairman and founder of GGA. “Bad weather that causes serious disruptions in air traffic is going to happen, but it shouldn’t continually wreak havoc. Travelers should expect everyone involved in the industry to create a modern, safe and efficient aviation system, and should hold our leaders accountable for delivering.”

In Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address Wednesday he said LaGuardia is ranked as the worst airport in America.

“That is a disgrace my friends and it is unacceptable and it is going to change,” he said.

The state, he said, would assume management responsibility from the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey for construction at JFK and LaGuardia airports to modernize them.

The GGA is specifically calling for faster implementation of NextGen, particularly at NYC airports and other hubs; better customer service contingency planning; modernized airport terminals; and remaining focused on safety.

 

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Cuomo talks economic successes, medical marijuana in State of State


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Governor Cuomo's Flickr

Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead for legalizing medical marijuana, while promoting tax relief measures and touting New York’s economic successes, in his last State of the State address before running for re-election.

“In three years, [we] have reversed decades of decline,” the governor said, referring to the state’s transformation from a $10 billion deficit to the $2 billion surplus during that period.

By spending less, the state can now tax less, Cuomo said, and will do so through a $2 billion package of tax relief proposals.

A renter’s tax credit would offer a refundable personal income tax credit to those who make under $100,000.
Cuomo proposed a reform to the estate tax, which, like the federal government would exempt the first $5.25 million of a person’s estate, instead of estates valued below $1 million, as the state does now.

Additional measures would provide relief on property and business taxes, and help simplify the tax code.

As anticipated, Cuomo called for a program that would research the feasibility of medical marijuana in New York.

He will use existing statutory authority, enacting an old law which established the Antonio G. Olivieri controlled substances therapeutic research program, to launch a pilot medical marijuana research program that allows up to 20 hospitals to provide medical marijuana to patients being treated for serious illnesses.

Focusing specifically on the New York City region, Cuomo said the borough’s airports were in need of care, particularly LaGuardia, which he said was ranked as the worst airport in the country.

Cuomo proposed modernizing LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy International airports, by having the state assume management responsibility from The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey.

The governor also stressed the importance of education investments in his address, particularly in technology in the classroom and universal, full-day pre-k.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is pushing for universal, full-day pre-k in the city, which would be funded by taxing the rich.

“I think it was very promising that the governor laid it out as a goal for the whole state,” the mayor, who attended the address, said in a press conference afterwards.

When asked if there was a conflict between his proposed tax raises and Cuomo’s tax relief package, de Blasio said that the state and the city each has its “own vision” when it comes to taxes.

Cuomo, despite critics who disagree with him for the need for ethics reform, promised to continue fighting political corruption.

“There has been a string of bad acts on almost a daily basis,” he said, proposing new anti-bribery and corruption laws.

“I believe the more trust we have from the public, the more we can do.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Snow likely. Temps nearly steady in the low to mid 30s. Winds WNW at 10 to 15 mph. 3 to 5 inches of snow expected.
Tuesday Night: Clear skies. Low 21F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Re-Gift of the Magi 

This comedic play reveals why the Wise Men made their perilous journey. Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar give Joshua an education in the shul of real life. Shows run until Dec. 21.at The Chain Theatre in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

‘Snow Alert’ issued for New York City

New York City’s sanitation department has issued a “snow alert” starting at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Read more: ABC New York

Whitestone family wins ‘Great Christmas Light Fight’ on ABC

The brightest house in Queens outshone three others in the country Monday night. Read more: The Queens Courier

Port Authority: 5 planes struck by snowy owls in tri-state area

The Port Authority has said they are working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation in order to relocate snowy owls after it was revealed that the agency had shot and killed some of the birds. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Audit: State DOT lacks records on railroad bridge inspections

An audit targeting the safety of New York state’s railroad bridges has turned up some startling information. Read more: CBS New York/AP

World leaders, South Africans honor Mandela

World leaders and joyous, singing South Africans honored Nelson Mandela on Tuesday at a Soweto soccer stadium that was two-thirds full amid cold, driving rain. Read more: AP

JFK Airport’s Worldport terminal lands on endangered list


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Stramaglia/Save the Worldport

John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Worldport terminal has flown into new territory — a list naming it one of America’s most endangered historic locations.

On June 19, the flying saucer shaped-terminal was chosen for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s latest list of America’s 11 most endangered historic places. The site has been slated for demolition by 2015.

The terminal, owned by the Port Authority and leased by Delta Air Lines, made the leap to the list through the dedication of “Save the Worldport,” a preservationist group co-founded in 2011 by New Jersey residents Kalev Savi and Anthony Stramaglia.

Although Savi is from New Jersey, he felt a connection to the site after growing up in an airline family. He got his first impression of the terminal at a very young age.

“I just remember approaching this enormous glass sculpture, I thought I was going into a flying saucer,” said Savi.

“It was the symbol of a new era.”

Savi started a Facebook group after being made aware of the Port Authority’s plan to demolish the terminal in order to create a parking lot for airplanes. He met Stramaglia through the group. The two have been trying to come up with renovation plans for the terminal.

“What this list really does is give legitimacy to our cause,” said Savi. “It really is a validation.”

The National Trust has listed 242 sites to date, and only a handful of those locations have been lost. “Save the Worldport” hopes the extra attention for the terminal will inspire architects, engineers and other organizations to save the site.

“We listed it because we feel it’s a significant part of aviation history, design history,” said Roberta Lane, the National Trust’s senior New York field officer and attorney. “The threat is obviously very real. We wanted to raise awareness of this threat and of this place.”

Yet the threat came closer to being realized when a bulldozer started tearing up the roadway leading to the terminal earlier this week.

“The old Pan Am Worldport terminal at JFK served this region for more than a half century, but is obsolete for 21st century aviation purposes,” said Delta and the Port Authority in a joint statement. “Unfortunately, JFK is a land-constrained airport and the choice we face is between job creation today in Queens and preservation of a facility that is no longer functional.”

The preservationist group will work together with the National Trust to continue meeting with the Port Authority about various repurposing ideas. Those include turning the terminal into a longterm rest facility for delayed visitors and bringing the retro, cool feeling back to travel.

 

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JFK Airport workers want a living wage


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

File photo/THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Security workers at John F. Kennedy International Airport find themselves in limbo – between terminals and supporting families on minimum wage.

“Nobody cares about our guys in the airport,” said Lorrington McKenzie who works traffic security outside the terminals.

McKenzie, along with other security officers, gets paid $8 an hour. He has not gotten a raise since he started working at JFK nearly four years ago.

To support his wife and three children, ages 10, 6 and 1, McKenzie has resorted to pawning anything and everything, including his wedding ring. He said he is also considering getting a second job on top of working full time at the airport.

“It’s tough,” he said. “I’m struggling.”

McKenzie said not having paid sick days adds to the “terrible conditions” of his job.

He is in charge of monitoring traffic coming in and out of the arrivals section and said drivers have gotten hostile in the past.

“They’re not allowed to sit in the terminal and wait for passengers. It’s for safety purposes,” he said. “But they get angry and frustrated when they have to drive around.”

Once, when he turned his back, he said, a driver punched him from behind.

“I was a little shaky,” he recalled. “I told Port Authority. But nothing came out of it.”

The Port Authority is responsible for contracts with private security firms that guard JFK.

Terminal 3, where McKenzie worked, closed after JFK opened a new terminal. Since then, McKenzie has not had a stable position. His company’s officials said he could be subject to a pay cut, or even lose his job altogether.

“The [job market] is all about who knows who,” he said. “I can’t just go out and get another job.”

Shah Rahman, another security guard, has not received a raise since he started working at the airport.

“The wage is quite insufficient,” he said. “It was good 10 years ago. But since that time, living expenses have risen. The minimum wage is not good for now.”

Rahman said he cannot afford to pay all of his living expenses. His wife and daughter both work part-time, but it’s still a struggle. His 23-year-old daughter is starting college soon, and the expenses will continue.

“Sometimes I have to borrow money from others,” Rahman said. “We have demanded raising our wages and paid sick days, but the company has not yet accepted our demands.”

The Port Authority did not return requests for comment as of press time.

 

CORRECTION**Lorrington McKenzie and Shah Rahman are non-union members working at JFK Airport. They are not members of local union SEIU 32BJ as previously reported. We regret the error.

 

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Plane returns to LaGuardia after engine failure


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

A Maine-bound flight had to turn around not long after takeoff Wednesday due to an engine failure, officials said.

An engine shut down in-air during Delta Connection flight 6256 not long after it left LaGuardia, according to the airline. The flight returned to LaGuardia, landed safely and taxied the runway.

There were no injuries during the incident, a Port Authority spokesperson said.

The failed engine had some Flushing residents worried about the roar in the sky.

One resident, a licensed pilot, described the sound “like a bulldozer coming down the street, only faster and overhead.” He added the engine made a repetitive clunking sound as it passed over the area.

 

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LaGuardia Airport evacuated due to suspicious device


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

LaGuardia Airport was evacuated Tuesday morning when a suspicious device was spotted on the third level of its central terminal building, according to a Port Authority spokesperson.

After an object with wires protruding out of it was reported around 1o:30 a.m., the area was cleared and the New York City bomb squad was sent in to investigate.

The bomb squad quickly determined it was part of a fluorescent light fixture and was non-threatening, said the spokesperson.

Passengers were allowed back in the airport about 45 minutes after the suspicious device was first reported.

Following Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon, the New York City Police Department said it was “stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations in the city through deployment of the NYPD’s critical response vehicles until more about the explosion is learned.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg also urged New Yorkers to “remain vigilant” and report anything that seems suspicious.

 

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Three Bronx men charged with conspiring to bring cocaine through JFK Airport


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Three Bronx men have been charged with conspiring to bring cocaine into the United States by arranging for a citizen of the Dominican Republic to swallow drugs and fly them into John F. Kennedy Airport, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced Friday, March 22. The drug carrier was also arrested.

The announcement came from Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, joined by Port Authority Police Superintendent Michael A. Fedorko and Port Authority Police Chief John Ryan.

Brown identified the defendants as Jarrol De La Cruz, 20, Pedro DeLeon, 34, Edward Rivera, 30, all from the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and Sergio Feliz Feliz, 19, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

According to Brown, the arrests are part of a long-term narcotics investigation involving the defendants and the airports, which is under the jurisdiction of the Port Authority Police Department. The investigation involved physical surveillance, court-authorized electronic eavesdropping and other investigative techniques.

“The defendants are accused of using a drug ‘mule’ to transport illicit drugs into this country in an apparent effort to conceal their activities from law enforcement. However, thanks to the diligent efforts of the Port Authority Police and members of my staff, their alleged scheme was foiled,” Brown said.

According to the charges, on December 1, 2012 at approximately 6 p.m. Port Authority Police conducted a car stop of a burgundy Chevy Impala on the Van Wyck Expressway in which the defendants De La Cruz, DeLeon, Cruz and Feliz were riding. Later, Feliz reportedly admitted to authorities he had swallowed 80 pellets containing cocaine and was taken to a local Queens hospital where he passed the pellets, containing an excess of eight ounces.

De La Cruz, DeLeon and Rivera are presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging them each with first- and second-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy and fourth-degree criminal facilitation. The fourth defendant, Felix, was arraigned on December 5, 2012, before Queens Criminal Court Judge John Zoll and was held on $200,000 bail. His next court date is April 9, 2013. If convicted, each of the four defendants faces up to ten years in prison.

 

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Assemblymember Vivian Cook under fire for plot of land purchased by her nonprofit


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

Assemblymember Vivian Cook is reportedly under fire for dubious spending, according to the New York Post.

The nonprofit group she headed, the Rockaway Boulevard Local Development Corp., allegedly spent over $500,000 in 2006 to buy a plot of land in Jamaica to build a business resource center.

However, the area on Rockaway Boulevard still remains vacant.

The Post reported that the Port Authority funded the purchase, and agreed to pay the nonprofit $8 million. By 2010, it had paid $2.5 million, but cut off funding after the Post revealed irresponsible spending. After an investigation on the matter, the group shut down.

Cook did not return calls for comment. Despite the nonprofit being shut down, they have not yet petitioned the state to dissolve, according to the Post, and therefore owe the city over $12,000 in property taxes for the land.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph. Tuesday night: Clear. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue

The Capitol Heights Lyric Opera presents, Jewish Love Songs: from the Shtetl to Second Avenue, a tribute to the Jewish love song, from the traditional (“Tum Balalaika”) to the immigrant era (“My Yiddishe Mame”) to the golden years of Yiddish Theater (“Bei Mir Bist Du Sheyn”). February 12 at the Forest Hills Library. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Willets Point property owners want city to pay legal fees after extensive eminent domain clash

The legal sparring over Willets Point isn’t quite over yet. Lawyers representing more than a dozen business owners of the gritty Iron Triangle are awaiting a judge’s decision on whether the city will be required to pay their legal expenses, which have surpassed more than $1 million. Read more: New York Daily News

With eye on mayor’s office, Quinn turns her attention to income inequality

Christine C. Quinn, confronting an emerging theme among her rivals in the Democratic mayoral primary, proposed an affordable housing plan and a middle-class tax break on Monday, in an acknowledgment that not all New Yorkers have prospered equally under the Bloomberg administration. Read more: New York Times

Lawsuit seeks to toss current employee protections for school bus drivers

Several school bus companies have filed a lawsuit against New York City Monday, seeking to have existing protections for drivers declared illegal as those drivers press on with a strike. Read more: CBS New York

Five city firehouses headed for landmark status

Five city firehouses, including a 100-year-old Rockaway building that escaped the fire and floods of Superstorm Sandy, could soon receive landmark designation. Read more: New York Daily News

Fake grenades in bag force Port Authority evacuation

The Port Authority bus terminal was evacuated and closed for under an hour Monday evening as police investigated a traveler’s report of a bag containing what appeared to be grenades, authorities said. Read more: NBC New York

Obama to stress jobs, guns in State of the Union

The American public will get a competing mix of rhetoric and imagery in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday, a speech that offers a heavy dose on the economy even as it plays out against a visual backdrop dominated by the current national debate over guns. Read more: ABC New York

China joins U.S., Japan in condemning North Korea nuclear test

North Korea conducted its third nuclear test on Tuesday in defiance of existing U.N. resolutions, drawing condemnation from around the world, including from its only major ally, China, which summoned the North Korean ambassador to protest. Read more: Reuters