Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

Man wanted in Queens Boulevard store burglaries


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man suspected in three store burglaries along Queens Boulevard.

The suspect allegedly broke into each business by smashing the front door glass, then stole money, said cops.

Police have released a surveillance photo of the suspect from an October 4 burglary at the BNX 99 Cent Store located at 98-88 Queens Boulevard.

He is also wanted in a burglary on September 28 at the Bellal Mini Mart, at 101-22 Queens Boulevard, and a third, on October 9, at the JMD Convenience Store, at 95-13 Queens Boulevard.

 

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Woman killed in Queens Boulevard hit-and-run


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File image

A 58-year-old Elmhurst woman was killed Saturday night in an apparent hit-and-run while crossing Queens Boulevard, police said.

Nisath Hossain was struck by a car in Forest Hills near Queens Boulevard and 71st Avenue on September 21 shortly after 10 p.m., cops said.

The driver fled the scene, police said, and Hossain was later pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital.

Authorities believe Hossain was crossing the major thoroughfare when she was fatally hit by a car going westbound.

The notoriously dangerous Queens Boulevard is unofficially known by borough residents as the “Boulevard of Death.”

There are no arrests, police said, and the investigation is ongoing.

 

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Parents say school rezoning puts kids in danger


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Maps courtesy of the Department of Education

Parents say a District 24 rezoning proposal has crossed the lines.

The Division of Portfolio Planning in the city’s education department presented a rezoning draft, which targets overcrowding, at the Community Education Council (CEC) D24 meeting at P.S. 305 on September 12. But following an incident in which an SUV jumped the curb on Grand Avenue and injured five students, the plan drew heavy backlash from parents in attendance because some students will have to cross dangerous intersections.

Based on the plans, students would have to cross Queens Boulevard, the so-called “Boulevard of Death,” to get to P.S. 229 from the newly expanded northern area. Also, some children that formerly would be zoned for P.S. 229 will be instead moved to P.S. 153, which may force them to cross the Long Island Expressway via Maurice Avenue.

“You can’t even drive down Maurice Avenue, how are [children] going to walk,” said Sinead McGillen, a parent from P.S. 229. “Just leave us alone, we are happy where we are.”

The proposal will adjust zones based on neighborhood populations, and representatives from Portfolio Planning said they are confident every school will see reductions in congestion in future years.

“It’s definitely going to lower overcrowding,” said CEC D24 president Nick Comaianni. “Is it going to be enough? That’s yet to be seen. In my 10 years as president it’s never been enough. You build it, and it gets filled up.”

The zone changes would only affect incoming kindergarten students in the 2014-2015 school year, meaning that current students won’t change schools. Representatives of Portfolio Planning said they are also considering allowing siblings to stay in the same schools if there is space.

The plan was introduced to the parents for their feedback.

Portfolio Planning staffers took note of the troubled streets parents brought up during the meeting and they plan to reconfigure the proposal and meet with the CEC again on September 24.

LIE Crossing PS 153

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 50. Winds from the WNW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Low of 30. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Keely Garfield Dance – Telling The Bees

The custom of telling bees after their beekeeper died was believed to keep them from absconding or dying and encourage their affiliation with a new beekeeper. This tradition assumes a reciprocal relationship between animals and humans, between past, present and future and between the lines of life and death. Performer Keely Garfield forages links between the waggle and round dances of the honeybees, their industrious, cooperative societies, the sweet results of their toil and the sting of breakdown in our own organizing principles. Runs from March 13-16 at The Chocolate Factory Theatre in LIC. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Arrest in connection to bodies found in Howard Beach brush fire

A Brooklyn man was arrested in connection to the two bodies found in a brush fire in the Spring Park Preserve last week, authorities have announced. Read more: The Queens Courier

Dangerous billboard hangs over Queens Boulevard, leaves neighbors furious

A deteriorating and potentially dangerous sign hangs over Queens Boulevard, and a neighbor has been complaining that no one has taken action to prevent a potential tragedy. Read more: CBS New York

Ewww! MTA says elevator at Woodside, Queens LIRR constantly breaking down on account of urine

This elevator is more than just a wee bit slow. A lift at the Woodside, Queens, LIRR and subway complex is constantly breaking down from damage caused by people peeing inside it, officials said Monday. Read more: New York Daily News

Two city Sandy rebuilding projects to receive full federal funding

Four post-hurricane rebuilding projects, including two in New York City, will now be fully funded by the federal government, to the tune of more than $1 billion. Read more: NY1

Black smoke as morning fails to bring new pope

Cardinals in secret conclave failed twice on Wednesday morning to elect a new pope, as black smoke over the Sistine Chapel showed ballots on the first full day of voting were inconclusive. Read more: Reuters

David Wright drives in 5 as Team USA rolls Puerto Rico

Gio Gonzalez gave Team USA its best start yet, and David Wright provided a big finish. Read more: CBS New York

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Partly cloudy. High of 39 with a windchill as low as 19. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 32F with a windchill as low as 23. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Northern Boulevard in the Footsteps of Gatsby at the Greater Astoria Historical Society

Australian filmmaker Baz Luhrmann is wrapping up the latest remake of The Great Gatsby starting Leonardo DiCaprio. Set in NYC during the 1920s Jazz Age, this is the first serious drama attempting to render a major city in 3-D. The evening’s lecture starts with a brief history of Northern Boulevard and pictures from the time that the fictional Gatsby would have seen as he took his legendary drive through the borough. The program’s second half shows the film’s interpretation of locations based on the actual images sent to the production team. (The Greater Astoria Historical Society is credited as historical adviser to the movie production.) Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Body discovered near Forest Park

A man walking his dog near Forest Park found a man unconscious and unresponsive. Read more: Queens Courier

Mayor Bloomberg booed at St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways

Mayor Bloomberg was dogged by jeers as he marched in a St. Patrick’s Day parade through the Rockaways, booed by some residents frustrated with the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy. Read more: New York Daily News

United Way donating $5M to Sandy communities

The United Way of New York City is distributing $5 million in aid to communities affected by Superstorm Sandy. Read more: Fox New York/AP

MTA tries new sterilization method to control rat population: report

Transit officials are ready to try a new sterilization method to limit the amount of rodents infesting New York City’s subways, according to a published report. Read more: NBC New York

Grieving mother still waiting for change five years after son was killed on Queens Blvd.

Lizi Rahman still visits the white “ghost” bike on Queens Blvd. to occasionally swap out fresh flowers at the memorial for her son, Asif. Read more: New York Daily News

Cardinals begin pre-conclave meetings amid scandal

Cardinals from around the world gathered Monday inside the Vatican for their first round of meetings before the conclave to elect the next pope, amid scandals inside and out of the Vatican and the continued reverberations of Benedict XVI’s decision to retire. Read more: AP

Arrest in Queens Boulevard motel murder


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Authorities have arrested the person allegedly responsible for the murder of a Middle Village man found dead inside a Queens Boulevard motel last weekend, said police.

Lleuyel Garcia, 23, of Manhattan, has been charged with second degree murder in the death of 54-year-old Joseph Benzinger, as well as criminal possession of stolen property and tampering with physical evidence.

According to the NYPD, at 11:50 p.m., Saturday, February 9, Benzinger was found dead on the floor of a room at the Crown Motor Inn at 74-01 Queens Boulevard.

The Daily News reported that cleaning staff at the $45 per-hour Elmhurst motel discovered Benzinger in the room with a shirt wrapped around his neck.

Councilmember Daniel Dromm along with community leaders, held a press conference Tuesday, believing that the motel murder and other recent killings of gay men may be connected. But NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told WCBS 880 that they do not appear to be related.

“”Despite the arrest, it is vitally important that we continue to remain vigilant. The other murders committed against gay men remain unsolved but I am hopeful that the NYPD will capture the perpetrators,” Dromm said Thursday. “Again, I want to urge everyone that it is always important to practice safety whether meeting people online or in person.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with rain. Fog early. High of 45. Winds from the South at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 100% with rainfall amounts near 0.3 in. possible. Monday Night: Partly cloudy with a chance of rain. Fog overnight. Low of 34. Breezy. Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Forest Hills Celebrates 5,000 Years of Chinese Culture

Wenyi Wang will discuss Chinese history, culture and current events at the Central Queens Y. Light kosher Chinese refreshments will be served. Free with $6 suggested donation. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Pope Resigning on Feb. 28, Conclave in March

Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday he would resign Feb. 28, the first pontiff to do so in nearly 600 years. The decision sets the stage for a conclave to elect a new pope before the end of March. Read more: AP

Queens lawmaker seeks to curb pollution from freight locomotives with influx of state money

A Queens lawmaker is pushing the state to set aside money to alleviate the problem of train pollution that stretches across four counties. Read more: New York Daily News

Mass transit largely back on track following blizzard

Mass transit across the Tri-State Area is getting back to normal. Long Island Rail Road restored weekend service on its Far Rockaway, Long Beach, Hempstead and Oyster Bay branches in addition to the LIRR’s four busiest branches – Ronkonkoma, Huntington, Babylon and Port Washington. Read more: CBS New York

Long Island Expressway reopens after winter storm

Cars are travelling on both directions on the Long Island Expressway Monday, just in time for the morning commute. Read more: ABC New York

Middle Village man found strangled in his room at Queens Boulevard motel

A man was found strangled in his room at a Queens motel late Saturday night, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News 

Former state Sen. Huntley bought clothes for her dog in taxpayer-funded shopping sprees: source

Looting lawmaker Shirley Huntley loaded up on fancy clothes and spa treatments — and that was just for her pet poodle. Read more: New York Post

Teen births continue to decline in U.S

The number of U.S. babies born to teen mothers dropped to record lows in 2011, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more: Reuters

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Platinum Band

The Platinum Band is once again performing on the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Bar 360 Stage. The band, which boasts a heavy rotation of reggae music, takes you back to an era of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students sickened after pepper spray is released in Queens school

One student was hospitalized, and 10 more had to be sent home, after pepper spray was discharged in a school lunchroom in South Ozone Park, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Makeover for Queens traffic hub is underway

Pedestrian plazas and a gleaming stainless steel elevator are coming to Queens Blvd. and the Van Wyck Expressway but completion of the massive Kew Garden Interchange project is still years away. Read more: New York Daily News

Baggage handler who smuggled cocaine in planes is sentenced to life

An airline baggage handler who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the bellies of commercial jets was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, putting an emphatic stamp on a case that revealed rampant theft and corruption by some airline employees. Read more: New York Times

Union officials ask Queens district attorney for fair investigation of cop in fatal shooting of unarmed man on Grand Central Parkway

Union officals for the NYPD detective who shot an unarmed man to death on the Grand Central Parkway met Tuesday with the Queens district attorney to ask for a fair and impartial investigation. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC cabbie suspended after tossing passenger

A New York City cab driver has had his license suspended after a hearing in which he was shown on video shoving and pushing a passenger out of his cab. Read more: NBC New York

Face to face: Obama, Romney in crackling debate

An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election. Read more: AP

Forest Hills gets fresh flooding fix


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Away goes trouble, down the drain.

Rampant rains that saturated homes and submerged cars earlier this month expedited plans by the New York City Departments of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Design and Construction (DDC) to complete the installation of a water-distribution system, expected to alleviate flooding in steadily soaked Forest Hills.

The $24 million upgrade targets roadway flooding and added approximately one mile of new sewer lines and half a mile of water mains. The project was funded by the DEP and will be overseen by the DDC.

Paul Pearlman, owner of Emilio’s Ski Shop, said flooding remains a major problem in the area.

“Every time it rains, the water just comes right in,” Pearlman said. “The water gets so backed up it just comes in. Even if it’s just a little rain, it floods.”

The business owner, whose store is located at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 76th Avenue, said his shop’s basement flooded on Saturday, September 8, after the DEP announced the completion of the revamped sewer system.

According to DEP commissioner Carter Strickland, the city agency plans to invest over half a billion dollars into improving the sewer infrastructure in Queens, reducing system overflows, backups and flooding.

“These new roadways, catch basins, and sewers will reduce flooding, improve water delivery, and yield a more attractive streetscape for the residents of Forest Hills,” said Eric MacFarlane, deputy commissioner for infrastructure at the DDC.

The project includes the installation of approximately 1,700 feet of sanitary sewer lines, more than 4,000 feet of storm sewer lines, 55 catch basins and 49 manholes, as well as the replacement of a 2,400-foot section of a water distribution main — fixtures the city believes will increase sewer capacity, reduce flooding and diminish backups.

DOT addressing construction concerns in Briarwood


| mchan@queenscourier.com

SAMSUNG

Commuters in Briarwood say poor planning by the state has left them hanging two years after ongoing construction at a major subway station first started marring the community.

Civic leaders in the area called for better communication from the state’s Department of Transportation (DOT), during an August 25 rally at the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station on Queens Boulevard — an area they say is plagued by poor lighting and dangerous, confusing traffic rerouting.

“The whole traffic flow changed and people ended up driving on the wrong side of the road. It was just genuinely a mess,” said Beth Brooks, spokesperson for the Briarwood Action Network (BAN). “People are frustrated because it’s not like any of this is new. The state DOT really dropped the ball.”

The Briarwood component of the state’s Kew Gardens Interchange project, as the Courier reported last September, involves replacing the Queens Boulevard bridge over the Van Wyck Expressway, adding an auxiliary lane to the expressway and an elevator and new entrance to the subway station, which will not be open to the public for at least another year, said Adam Levine, spokesperson for the state’s DOT.

Construction along the south side of Queens Boulevard caused the station’s main entrance to close two weeks ago, Levine said, and vehicular traffic was then shifted to the north side of the boulevard, where the agency built a new pathway along the edge of the construction zone leading to a ramp into a newly built, but temporary, subway entrance.

Levine said the DOT installed a new, temporary traffic signal on Queens Boulevard, additional street lights and workers to guide pedestrians past the work zone during works hours.

But BAN leaders — who have observed several cars and a bus traveling on the wrong side of the road — say the changes put both pedestrians and motorists in dangers. The project, Brooks said, has also caused a noticeable buildup of litter after construction knocked out several city garbage cans along the route from the subway station to Main Street.

“The community was blindsided. We felt like we had been left out of the process that we thought we were included in,” Brooks said.

Levine said the DOT is “taking action” to address all the concerns and implement changes. Agency officials, he said, met with Briarwood leaders three days after the rally. Brooks said the DOT plans on scheduling a public meeting to discuss practical solutions and appointing a community liaison to the project.

“We got what we wanted,” Brooks said, “immediate attention.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 82. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 72. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WNW after midnight

EVENT of the DAY: Family Karaoke Night at Manducatis Rustica

At this Long Island City restaurant’s karaoke night there are over 40,000 songs to choose from plus $5 specialty drinks for adults and gelato for kids of all ages. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Brazen thief steals 2 silver Torah crowns from Queens synogogue during evening services

Two valuable silver Torah crowns were stolen from a Queens synagogue during evening prayer services, police said Tuesday. Read more: New York Daily News

Councilman proposes emergency lane along Queens Boulevard

While traffic on Queens Boulevard can be frustrating for drivers, one official says it may be causing bigger problems. Read more: NY1

Cagey peacock ruffles Queens cops’ feathers

They can rappel down skyscrapers, rescue plane-crash survivors from an icy river, and go toe-to-toe with terrorists.But elite NYPD Emergency Service Unit cops were outsmarted yesterday by a plucky peacock that has made a Queens neighborhood his home away from home for the past week. Read more: New York Post

Busted pipe slowly turning freshwater ponds salty in Broad Channel

A busted drain pipe and valve system is slowly ruining the ecology of Jamaica Bay, driving away birds that usually breed along two freshwater ponds. Read more: New York Daily News

Sources: U.S. Open ref arrested in connection with husband’s death

Sources say that police arrested a U.S. Open tennis referee Tuesday who is a suspect in her husband’s death. Read more: NY1

NYPD: Muslim spying led to no leads, terror cases

In more than six years of spying on Muslim neighborhoods, eavesdropping on conversations and cataloguing mosques, the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation, the department acknowledged in court testimony unsealed late Monday. Read more: AP

Blasting goes awry along 2nd Avenue subway; buildings, sidewalk damaged

Blasting along Manhattan’s still-under-construction 2nd Avenue subway line caused some damage Tuesday afternoon. Now, authorities want to know if human error was to blame. Read more: CBS New York

Searching for a new neighbor on ‘Sesame Street’

“Sesame Street” held its first-ever open casting call in New York this week to find its newest neighbor — a Hispanic character to reflect the long-running show’s increasingly diverse audience. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

BC/WSJ poll: Heading into conventions, Obama has four-point lead 

After Mitt Romney selected his vice presidential running mate, and just days before the political conventions kick off next week, President Barack Obama maintains his advantage in the race for the White House, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Read more: NBC news

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 86. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 40%.Tuesday Night: Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60% with rainfall amounts near 0.5 in. possible.

EVENT of the DAY: Live at the Gantries with Christel Rice

Traditional Irish flute player and Philadelphia native Christel Rice has created a sensational and unique style with her music. She studied with the late Michael Rafferty of Ballinakill, Ireland where she learned the regional style of flute playing. Come see her preform for free tonight at Gantry Plaza State Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Glendale property owner in talks to lease vacant Cooper Ave. land to local nonprofit for a homeless shelter

A Glendale property owner is mulling a plan to turn a former factory into a shelter for the homeless, though community leaders have vowed to fight it. Read more: New York Daily News 

Vallone urges emergency lanes on Queens Boulevard

Forget bike lanes and pedestrian plazas: It’s time to accommodate emergency responders navigating Queens’ deadliest road, a lawmaker says. Read more: New York Post

Congressional Candidate Meng comments on her father’s bribe charges

As Democratic congressional candidate Grace Meng picked up the endorsement of former Mayor Ed Koch at City Hall on Monday, she spoke publicly for the first time about her father’s arrest on wire fraud charges. Read more: NY1

Judge who accused cop of assault says Queens DA is whitewashing probe

The Queens judge who accused a cop of striking him in the throat with a military-style chop says the District Attorney’s probe appears to be a sham. Read more: New York Daily News 

DOE finds almost 70 percent of city students live in poor households

At Hillcrest High School in Jamaica, Queens, 65 percent of the students live in households that earn under $30,000. That is double the figure of just three years ago. While Hillcrest saw one of the biggest jumps, student poverty has increased citywide. Read more: NY1

Bratton makes rounds

Former New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is signaling his interest in succeeding Commissioner Raymond Kelly, holding private meetings with potential mayoral candidates during which he’s discussing public-safety strategies and his desire to return to service. Read more: Wall Street Journal 

Veteran officer, gunman die in Texas shootout

A routine serving of an eviction notice to a man living near the Texas A&M University campus turned deadly for Brazos County Constable Brian Bachmann when the resident opened fire on him, leading to the death of the law enforcement officer and another man before the gunman was killed. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

 

John Gotti grandson busted with a stash of steroids

The grandson of John (Teflon Don) Gotti was busted with a stash of steroids in Queens on Tuesday, police sources told the Daily News. A team of narcotics cops collared 18-year-old John Gotti — namesake of the notorious Gambino crime family boss — at a house near 92nd St. and 158th Ave. in Howard Beach shortly before 6 p.m., the sources said. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Georgia rapper busted at La Guardia Airport for having brass knuckles

What a knucklehead! A rapper from Georgia was busted with brass knuckles at LaGuardia Airport today, The Post has learned. Tauheed Epps, 34, who goes by the stage names 2 Chainz and Tity Boi, was stopped by TSA screeners at around 2:30 p.m. while passing through a security checkpoint in the Delta terminal, sources said. Read more: [New York Post]

 

NYRA Deal Aims To Revamp State’s Horse Racing Industry

Just weeks before the eyes of the horse racing world will be on the Belmont Stakes, Governor Andrew Cuomo, along with the state’s legislative leaders, announced Tuesday a deal to begin serious reform of the troubled New York Racing Association. Read more: [NY1]

 

R.A. Dickey K’s 11 Pirates as Lucas Duda lifts Mets

R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball is designed to baffle, not overwhelm. Against the free-swinging Pittsburg Pirates on Tuesday, it did both. His 80-mph knuckler dipping and darting all over the place, Dickey struck out a career-high 11 as the New York Mets hung on for a 3-2 victory. Dickey (6-1) tied a host of others for the most wins in the majors to continue the best start of his career. Read more: [ESPN]

 

Suspects Stole Blind Woman’s Wallet In Queens Before Using Her Credit Cards

Police are looking for a pair of suspects still at large in a brazen Queens theft. A 68-year-old blind woman was walking with her guide dog through the F line train station at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 75th Avenue around 6 p.m. on April 16 when one of the suspects reached into her dress pocket and took her wallet, authorities said. Read more: [1010WINS]

 

Off-duty police officer rear-ends car, hurts driver in Queens DWI wreck

An off-duty veteran cop was collared Tuesday for taking off after rear-ending another car in Queens while he was drunk, police said. Ankur Joshi, 35, crashed his vehicle at Steinway St. and 25th Ave. in Astoria around 5:25 a.m., just five blocks from the 114th Precinct stationhouse where he works, police sources said. Read more: [New York Daily News] 

Forest Hills biz hurt by JetBlue departure


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Forest Hills Tower 3w

JetBlue’s takeoff from Forest Hills has been rocky for local businesses – now severely struggling to survive.

A number of merchants say they have lost large percentages of their business since the airline moved from its headquarters in the Forest Hills Tower, located on Queens Boulevard and Union Turnpike, to a modernized facility in Queens Plaza in Long Island City last week – taking with it roughly 900 employees and daily customers.

Con Edison, which has roughly 80 employees in the Forest Hills Tower, is also moving. Several employees left on April 6, and the rest are expected to move by the end of the year, according to a Con Edison spokesperson.

Rikin Patel, the 23 year old who runs Mini LLC, a coffee and snack shop in the lobby of the building, says business has dropped nearly 60 percent in the past week.

“Since JetBlue left, everything has been quiet. Business is very slow,” said Patel, who is now covering expenses out of pocket. “I’m just trying to survive right now. I’m trying to cut down expenses and survive until a new company comes. It’s been one week, so it is too early to say whether we’re able to survive.”

Patel believes business should return to normal when the space is filled with a new tenant.

Matt Davidov, owner of Hot Bialys & Bagels, located a block away from the office building, says his shop used to be very busy thanks to JetBlue customers, who accounted for at least 30 percent of his business.

“We had a lot of JetBlue people coming in. We used to be busy but not anymore,” Davidov said. “I’m concerned to the extent of how I’m going to pay for things, but I’m cutting down here and there. I could probably survive a few months longer without cutting down on the staff. Beyond that, I would have to make cuts.”

JetBlue employees used to get 10 percent off at Davidov’s store, due to the volume of customers, but the owner says he can no longer afford to offer discounts and still earn a profit – which he claims is a common dilemma in the area.

“All the businesses around here are suffering,” he said. “There were a lot of businesses that opened up just because of [JetBlue] being here.”

Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce, says one local shop recently closed in part because of JetBlue’s departure.

“We are sorry to see that [JetBlue is] leaving Forest Hills,” Brown said. “We liked the fact that JetBlue called Forest Hills its home. The small shops are going to feel the difference of 900 people not buying coffee or lunch or going shopping on their break or having a drink after work. Hopefully, another corporation will come in and take over the space because Forest Hills is such a vibrant place and a great place to do business.”

A spokesperson for Muss Development LLC, which owns the 17-story Forest Hills Tower, could not comment regarding prospective tenants or a timetable for replacing JetBlue, which occupied 10 stories of the building. The spokesperson did say there has been “a lot of interest from potential tenants.”

Ken Siegel, the international managing director of Jones Lang LaSalle, which is marketing the space, says there has been “a good amount of interest, both from local firms and firms from western Nassau and Manhattan.” Siegel expects to have the location “fully leased within the next few months,” due in large part to the building’s municipal incentives, panoramas of Manhattan and proximity to public transportation.

Reports have indicated that Plaza College, a business and health school located in Jackson Heights, and the Queens District Attorney’s Office is interested in potentially leasing the space.

Elderly Forest Hills woman missing


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Dolly Arias2w

Police are asking for the public’s help finding an elderly Forest Hills woman last seen on Sunday, March 4.

Dolly Arias, 72, was last seen leaving her Queens Boulevard apartment yesterday evening wearing a multi-colored jacket and black pants.

Police described the missing as 5-feet-6-inches tall, 120 pounds with black hair and brown eyes. Arias is in good physical health, but poor mental condition, according to authorities.

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