Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

Stringer criticizes DHS for handling of homeless shelter placement process


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Salvatore Licata

Amid ongoing controversy over several Queens homeless shelters, the city comptroller has said the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) is “failing” in the way it deals with homelessness throughout the five boroughs.

In a letter to DHS Commissioner Gilbert Taylor, City Comptroller Scott Stringer addressed the ongoing “homelessness crisis, particularly among families” in New York City. He noted that there are different causes that contribute to the rise, however the “current playbook” in dealing with the issue needs to be changed.

“Especially concerning to my office is the emergency contracting approach that the Department of Homeless Services has employed to site new facilities in neighborhoods with minimal community consultation,” Stringer wrote in the letter on Thursday.

In one case, Glendale residents have been fighting for more than two years to stop an abandoned manufacturing plant from becoming a homeless shelter. The community complained that they were given little to no notice about the shelter.

“DHS must begin to immediately repair its relationships with local communities by creating a robust consultative process with community stakeholders for all of its currently planned sites and for those proposed in the future,” Stringer wrote. “This process should allow for meaningful input from local stakeholders, advocacy groups, and elected officials.”

In the past month, two western Queens neighborhoods have also had to deal with unannounced homeless shelters being moved into two hotels.

Hundreds of protestors spoke against the city’s initiative to house homeless families at the Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst without asking for any input from the community.

Last week, the DHS approved the conversion of the Westway Motor Inn on Astoria Boulevard into a shelter housing over 100 families. Residents and elected officials are outraged the agency let them know about the shelter just a day before the families began moving into it.

“If DHS continues to neglect communities until after emergency contracting decisions have been made it will neither benefit from local knowledge of the area nor engender harmonious integration with the surrounding communities,” Stringer wrote.

 

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New retail space coming to Rego Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Rendering Courtesy of Winick Realty Group

New retail opportunities are coming to Rego Park just blocks from three major Queens malls.

Leasing has begun on 8,095 square feet of ground retail space at 92-77 Queens Blvd., which is currently under construction, Winick Realty Group announced. The site is expected to be move-in ready by 2015.

“We truly believe that this is an unparalleled opportunity for any retailer to position themselves in front of three major malls, Queens Boulevard, the Long Island Expressway, two subway lines and 10 bus lines,” said Winick Realty Group real estate broker Robert Heicklen.

Located adjacent to Rego Center and blocks away from Queens Center and Queens Place malls, 92-77 offers retailers 35 feet of all-glass frontage on 93rd Street and front- and rear-facing backlit signage.

Deals including one for a 16,000-square foot fitness center and another for a “well-known national coffee brand” are pending for two of the three spaces on the property, according to Winick Realty Group. The overall site features a 400-square-foot loading dock and on-site parking.

According to a Winick Realty Group online flyer, Retro Fitness and Starbucks are expected soon.

“Winick Realty Group is excited to represent this type of high-profile, high-visibility exclusive as we continue to expand our leasing efforts in the borough of Queens,” said Winick Realty Group President Steven Baker.

 

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Pedestrian killed while crossing Queens Boulevard


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A woman was fatally struck on Queens Boulevard as she was crossing the roadway in Forest Hills Saturday night, cops said.

The victim, who was in her 60s, was near 71st Avenue about 10:30 p.m. when she was hit by a Chevrolet Malibu, police said. She was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

According to an initial investigation, the accident happened while the victim was crossing in the marked crosswalk against the traffic light, officials said.

The driver remained on the scene and there were no arrests made. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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DOT to implement Slow Zones on Northern and Queens boulevards


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan will be implemented at two highly trafficked Queens thoroughfares where collisions have claimed more than 20 lives in the last six years, officials said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard will run 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street. Starting later this month, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph and traffic signals will be retimed.

Since 2008, there have been five fatalities on Northern Boulevard, according to the DOT. One of the recent accidents involved 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was fatally struck by a truck on his way to school on Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.

Last month the DOT announced it would install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said.

In July, the DOT will implement a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard, which has seen 23 deaths in the past six years. The Slow Zone will stretch 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take actions,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevard, and many other dangerous roads throughout our city.”

The city agency also announced Slow Zones would go up on Jamaica Avenue later this month, and Rockaway Boulevard in August.

For more information on the Slow Zones, visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

 

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Car share service comes to Forest Hills


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Carpingo

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A Brooklyn-based car share company is rolling into Queens.

Carpingo, a subset of All Car Rent-a-Car, opened its second location in Queens in Forest Hills Friday, part of a plan to accelerate their business into the second most populous borough.

The company, which opened in Brooklyn in 2012, has more than 40 locations in its home borough, but officials said they’ve had their eyes on Queens for a while and are thinking of expanding here because of the wide potential for more users.

“Shared mobility is a big, big deal,” said Gladstone McFarlane, director of business development for Carpingo. “It’s something that is catching on. I know people who have owned cars, but are moving on, because they see a financial benefit or an environmental benefit.”

Registered Carpingo members can reserve cars online or from their mobile devices at any time during the day. Then they can pick up the cars from local parking garages and use membership cards to access the vehicles.

Carpingo’s Long Island City location opened last year, but since then the company has had trouble expanding in Queens while fighting rivals such as Zipcar. Now it’s moving forward cautiously with its new location.

The Forest Hills site has just two cars in the Central Parking garage on Queens Boulevard, but McFarlane said based on its performance they’ll add more cars and different makes and models.

“We’re a small company and we are trying to be the little engine that could,” McFarlane said. “Once we gauge activity then we will proceed.”

 

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$24M asking price for Elmhurst lot near Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

An Elmhurst lot, located across the street from the Queens Place mall, has been put up for sale for $24 million, according to real estate company Massey Knakal.

The 47,365-square-foot lot, located at 88-18 Justice Ave., is one block off of Queens Boulevard and adjacent to the Georgia Diner.

According to the listing provided by Massey Knakal, there is a Restrictive Declaration on the property allowing it to be developed “per existing approved plans,” though these could not be confirmed. The lot can also be used for residential and/or community facility development, but would require termination of the Restrictive Declaration. The property has 227,352-square-feet of development rights.

The lot is located close to Queens Center mall and a block from the M and R train lines at Grand Avenue. It is also near all the major highways.

 

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Four Queens streets among region’s most dangerous for pedestrians: report


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

As Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local leaders push to lower traffic deaths, a new report has identified four Queens roadways as some of the most dangerous  for pedestrians in downstate New York.

The analysis, from the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a nonprofit policy watchdog organization, found that from 2010 to 2012, Woodhaven Boulevard had the most pedestrian deaths with eight fatalities.

It was ranked sixth overall out of 12 counties in downstate New York and the second worst in the city, behind Broadway in Manhattan.

Tied with the 14th most deaths were Union Turnpike, Queens Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, which had five fatalities each.

Union Turnpike and Queens Boulevard, nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death,” were new to the list this year.

Over the weekend four pedestrians, including a 7-year-old girl, were struck in a hit-and-run at a bus stop on Northern Boulevard and 48th Street.

An 8-year-old Woodside boy was killed on his way to school in December when a truck driver, who was operating his vehicle on a suspended license, hit him at the intersection of 61st Street and Northern Boulevard.

On Jan. 15, with the child’s family at his side, de Blasio launched his Vision Zero initiative at the boy’s school.

The mayor and his administration is launching an interagency working group, together with the NYPDDepartment of TransportationDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement the plan, which aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

Nearly 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities occurred on arterial roadways, multi-lane roads that often have speed limits of 40 mph or more and little pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign analysis.

“These findings make it clear once again that we need to redesign our most dangerous arterial corridors,” said Paul Steely White, executive director of advocacy group Transportation Alternatives. “We can save lives by building complete streets with protected bike lanes, wider sidewalks and pedestrian safety islands.”

 

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Panda Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar: More than just great food


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Panda Asian Bistro

Among a plethora of chain restaurants, fast food joints, small eateries and convenience stores, there’s a new player on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park that is looking to change the game.

Panda Asian Bistro and Sushi Bar, which opened roughly six months ago, boasts a fusion of oriental specialties, and owners are considering expanding it as an entertainment venue.

“On Queens Boulevard, there are not many things you could do after night [fall],” co-founder Sam Cheng said. “We are trying to change it into an entertainment place rather than just pure restaurant. That’s the goal.”

The first floor of the restaurant has black and white striped walls and red bamboo sprinkled around near the windows. Every Friday night the eatery features a performer who does magic tricks.
Cheng said since it has been well received by patrons, they are considering expanding the performances.

A 1,200-square-foot, 80-seat party room for private events is located on the second floor of the restaurant. Cheng, who grew up in nearby Elmhurst, also said they are experimenting with turning the second floor into a lounge with live music.

Besides the entertainment value of Panda, the food is worth looking forward to. The eatery boasts a range of Asian specialties, including Chinese, Thai and Japanese food.

Appetizers are a mix of favorites such as gyoza dumplings, crispy duck rolls and Thai herbs calamari with an original spicy duck sauce.

Entrees, such as tender General Tso’s chicken and yaki udon, grace a wide menu, which includes many vegetarian choices as well.

Cheng said the sushi fish is bought from Japanese vendors, and rolled by a Japanese chef. There are plenty to choose from, including Yellowtail, ikura (salmon), ebi (shrimp), and maguro (tuna).

And so customers can fully enjoy the selection, Panda offers all-you-can-eat sushi every day for $19.95 on weekdays and $21.95 on weekends.
On top of the entertainment value and wide selection of dishes, customers should know that meals at Panda are free, if it’s your birthday.

Panda Asian Bistro
95-25 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-896-8811
Hours: Sunday –Thursday 11:00 am- 10:30 p.m.
Friday& Saturday: 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Credit card: yes
Delivery: yes

 

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NYPD to hold free public document shredding event at Queens Center Mall


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy of NYPD

Looking to help start the New Year on the right foot? The NYPD is holding a free document shredding public event to make sure personal information does not get into the wrong hands.

The NYPD’s Crime Prevention Section will be holding the event at Queens Center Mall on Sunday, Jan. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the intersection of 59th Avenue and Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst under the JCPenney sign. Police will help the public shred documents containing any personal or sensitive information for free.

Participants will also be able to bring their old hard drives to the event and have them destroyed. During the event you could also have your electronic devices registered with the NYPD Operation ID Program.

 

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Elderly woman, motorcyclist dead in Queens Boulevard crash


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Updated Monday, December 23 2:23 p.m.

An elderly woman and motorcyclist are dead following a collision on Queens Boulevard in Woodside on Saturday, cops said.

Police responded to the accident just after 4:30 p.m. in which the driver of the Suzuki motorcycle, Darien Baker, 31, collided with 78-year-old Marion Kurshuk at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 58th Street as the pedestrian was crossing the street.

Baker and Kurshuk were taken to Elmhurst General Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

 

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Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars makes $10K donation to local charities, groups after holiday pub crawl


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars

Less than a week after the Santas came to Sunnyside, the first wave of toys was donated to local charities and groups.

Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, a collective of 10 bars and restaurants on and around Queens Boulevard, held their Second Annual Sunnyside Santathon pub crawl for charity on December 7 where they raised $10,000 in monetary and toy donations.

The participating bars were Bar 43, The Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, The Gaslight, Arriba Arriba, Sidetracks, Molly Blooms, PJ Horgan’s, McGuinness Pub and Bliss Street Station.

The collective made their first donation Thursday at the United Forties Civic Association Holiday Party at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside where they were joined by representatives from the church, St. Raphael’s Church, 108th Precinct Captain Brian Hennessy and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The group also donated money to the food pantries at both churches.

“It just feels fantastic to be able to give back to the community,” said Liz Taylor, manager of Bliss Street Station. “The little kids will wake up Christmas morning and have something to play with.”

The organizations receiving toys include St. Teresa’s and St. Raphael’s Church, the 108th Precinct Toy Drive, MercyFirst Angel Guardian Orphanage in Brooklyn and Metro Homeless Shelter.

This year’s donations doubled from the inaugural Santathon last year. All who took part this year were dressed in their best Santa attire, and some even came as Santa’s little helpers.

“It was great to get together,” said Patrick Burke, owner of The Courtyard Ale House. “It shows the hard work we did really paid off. It was tremendous, we exceeded our expectation.”

Monetary and new, unwrapped toy donations are still being accepted at the 10 bars of Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars up until Christmas.




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Local advocates march for Queens Boulevard safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated, 5:22 p.m

A group of local residents want to make the “Boulevard of Death” a thing of the past.

Regardless of the snow, members of Transportation Alternatives’ (T.A.) Queens Activist Committee and residents gathered Saturday to march down Queens Boulevard during the “Winter Wander” Rally to call for a safer thoroughfare.

The group of advocates, who began the event at New Life Fellowship Church in Elmhurst, spoke about the Zero on Queens Boulevard campaign, calling for a redesign of the strip with pedestrian safety improvements, dedicated lanes for Select Bus Service (SBS) and protected bike lanes.

The snowy march served as the first step in letting people know what they can do to change the busy corridor.

“We’ve been trying to build community support for the city to re-envision Queens Boulevard,” said Jessame Hannus, co-chair of T.A.’s Queens Activist Committee, who carried a sign that read “30 mph” to remind drivers of the speed limit. “We just want to make it clear that this is a neighborhood street and we are all neighbors.”

Hannus said even though many accidents happen on the boulevard, the community just ignores them because they believe it is normal.

According to a “Queens Blvd. Crash Data” map by T.A., there have been 890 pedestrian injuries, 17 pedestrian fatalities, 205 cyclist injuries and 2 cyclist fatalities between 2002 to 2011 on Queens Boulevard stretching from Jackson Avenue in Long Island City to Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica.

“The community doesn’t respond to it,” she said. “It does not have to be this way and it’s not going to change unless we make a fuss about it.”

During the march street safety advocates discussed the history of the roadway, stopping at specific spots pedestrians lost their lives. The “Winter Wander” Rally ended in Forest Hills.

The Zero on Queens Boulevard campaign,  with more than 40 coalition partners and close to 2,000 petition signatures, has a long-term goal of making sure the city allocates funding and energy to change the boulevard on a large scale saving lives and strengthening the local economy.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm, who has worked with the Department of Transportation to implement neighborhood slow zones and other pedestrian safety improvements in his district, also joined the group on the march. In his district three children have also lost their lives in traffic fatalities in the past few months.

“This is a very, very serious issue and we have to continue to stress the seriousness of this because sometimes people dismiss it as just something that doesn’t affect their lives but when you look at the statistics you see that there are more pedestrian deaths than there are murders in the city of the New York,” said Dromm. “I believe in the three E’s:  engineering, education and enforcement on these issues and that’s what we have tried to do in my council district. More needs to be done.”

According to the DOT, there have been decade-long improvements to the seven-mile strip that have re-engineered the streets for enhanced safety. Some of these improvements include pedestrian countdown signals at more than 60 intersections at Queens Boulevard from Queens Plaza South to Hillside Avenue, lowering the speed limit on Queens Boulevard from 35 to 30 mph, installing 15 electronic boards displaying the speed of passing motorists, installing 46,000 linear feet of pedestrian fencing along the entire corridor to prevent jaywalking and many more.

“Safety is DOT’s top priority, in the last ten years, traffic fatalities have fallen borough-wide by nearly 35 percent,” said DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera. “Queens Boulevard saw 18 pedestrian fatalities at its height in 1997 and zero pedestrian fatalities in 2011, the first time this has been recorded, and two last year along the entire seven-mile corridor. We continue to look for ways to enhance safety both on Queens Boulevard and citywide.”

 

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Santas come to Sunnyside for charity pub crawl


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Santas arrived in Sunnyside to celebrate a festive night for charity.

Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, a collective of 10 bars and restaurants on and around Queens Boulevard, held their Second Annual Sunnyside Santathon pub crawl for charity on Saturday.

All who took part in this year’s Santathon were dressed in their best Santa attire, and some even came as Santa’s little helpers.

During the event, participants picked up $10 wristbands from the 10 participating bars, providing them with $3 drink specials.

The participating bars were Bar 43, The Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, The Gaslight, Arriba Arriba, Sidetracks, Molly Blooms, PJ Horgan’s, McGuinness Pub and Bliss Street Station.

Brian Scutch, 27, from Bayside heard about the holiday event from his friend Travis Silverstein, 29, who lives in Sunnyside. The two friends decided to put on their best Santa hats and start their crawl at Bar 43.

“Who wouldn’t participate?” said Scutch, 27. “You’re given the opportunity to drink with fellow Santas.”

Silverstein knew he had attend this year’s Santathon after moving in to the neighborhood too late last year to join the inaugural pub crawl.

“I love Christmas,” said Silverstein. “Christmas is one of my favorite holidays of the year.”

All money raised at this year’s festive bar crawl will go to buy toys for local kids in need during the holiday season. During the next few weeks the group plans to go out to buy the toys and personally donate them to local organizations.

“When you see the smiles on kids’ faces, you know it’s all for a good cause,” said Nicholas Murphy, general manager at Bar 43, who hopes to surpass the almost $5,000 collected during last year’s Santathon. “We want to try to keep it clean and no trouble. We want to have fun and raise money for the children.”

Each bar is also collecting new, unwrapped toy donations until Christmas.

“Honestly it’s all for the kids to get toys for Christmas,” said Patrick Burke, owner of The Courtyard Ale House, who saw the amount of participants triple this year. “It’s growing, which is great to see. It’s a lot of fun, I’m really looking forward to the night.”

During last year’s inaugural Santathon, Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars collected almost $5,000 and hundreds of toys. Toys were donated to St. Teresa’s in Woodside, St. Raphael’s in Sunnyside, the 108th Precinct, the Metro homeless shelter on Queens Boulevard, Hour Children Center in Long Island City and more.

For more information on Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, click here.

 

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Sunnyside bars, restaurants to host Santathon pub crawl for charity


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map Courtesy of Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars

The Santas are coming to town.

Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, a collective of 10 bars and restaurants on and around Queens Boulevard, will be holding their Second Annual Sunnyside Santathon pub crawl for charity on Saturday starting at 3 p.m.

Whoever wants to participate must be dressed in their best Santa attire and can pick up $10 wristbands at any of the participating bars. Wristbands will allow participants to purchase $3 drink specials throughout the event. Any Santa can also submit their email address to be entered to win various gift vouchers to any of the 10 bars.

The participating bars are Bar 43, The Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, The Gaslight, Arriba Arriba, Sidetracks, Molly Blooms, PJ Horgan’s, McGuinness Pub and Bliss Street Station.

All money raised at this year’s festive bar crawl will go to buy toys for local kids in need during the holiday season.

Each bar is also collecting new, unwrapped toy donations until Christmas.

“We formed Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars to create events as a group that would bring more business to the area, really make it a destination spot and highlight what a great neighborhood we have here,” said Pat Burke, owner of The Courtyard Ale House. “Once we got together, we also saw the opportunity to raise funds for charities, specifically local organizations. Our group is still relatively new, but we are excited about what we have done and will continue to do to promote Sunnyside and give back to the community.”

During last year’s inaugural Santathon, Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars collected almost $5,000 and collected hundreds of toys. Toys were donated to St. Teresa’s in Woodside, St. Raphael’s in Sunnyside, the 108th Precinct, the Metro homeless shelter on Queens Boulevard, Hour Children Center in Long Island City and more.

For more information on Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, click here.

Sunnyside’s Santathon is just a week shy from the annual SantaCon which takes place on Saturday, December 14 in Manhattan and hops over to Brooklyn. SantaCon was under some harsh criticisms from residents complaining the participants drink too much and disturb the peace.

Yet, according to reports, the organizers of the pub crawl plan on giving the NYPD and elected officials a map of the event and will have volunteers make sure all participants behave.

 

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Two pedestrians fatally hit in Elmhurst; driver taken into custody


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 5:05 p.m.

Two men are dead after a vehicle jumped the sidewalk and struck them in Elmhurst Monday morning.

The 22-year-old driver was travelling westbound on Queens Boulevard near Broadway around 7:30 a.m. when he lost control of his car, hit a phone booth, lamp post, and two parked cars, then went onto the sidewalk, striking two pedestrians, said police.

One of the victims, 59-year-old Man Chit Cheng, was pronounced dead at the scene. The second, 41-year-old Mu Wang Lin, was transferred to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

The driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with minor injuries and subsequently taken into custody, said cops. As of late Monday morning, charges were pending and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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