Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

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.

One teen, two others shot on Jamaica Avenue


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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One teenager and two 20-year-olds were shot on Jamaica Avenue in what was according to witnesses, likely gang-related activity.

The shootings took place outside a Jamaica Avenue Wendy’s this afternoon at approximately 3 p.m. Two victims were shot in the leg, with one taking a bullet to the arm.

The victims were a 17-year-old black male and two 20-year-old Hispanic males, according to police.

Published reports indicate that the victims were members of the gang MS-13.

All three were taken to Jamaica Hospital and are listed in stable condition.

Jamaica Avenue was closed down between Queens Boulevard and 139th Street as dozens of police officers canvassed the area.

There are no descriptions of the suspects, police said.

Students from nearby M.S. 217 said they saw one victim with a gunshot wound to the left arm on their way home from school. The teens said that while gang activity is an issue in the area it had not escalated to gun violence before.

Jack Sharma, who lives one block away from the shooting, bemoaned teenager’s lack of respect for life.

“Kids don’t value life,” Sharma said. “It’s bad for my neighborhood.”

Sharma’s 16-year-old daughter saw the shooting’s aftermath as she picked up her brother and sister from school.

“This neighborhood is quiet,” Sharma said. “I did not expect this. It’s too close to home.”

 

Police search for suspect in three Queens bank robberies


| brennison@queenscourier.com

RMA #223-12 MCS Bank Robb. 2-24-12 (1)

Police are searching for a suspect they believe is responsible for three February bank robberies.

The suspect hit three Chase banks all along Queens Boulevard. In each instance the suspect, described by police as a 30-year-old black male, approached the teller with a note demanding money.

The three robberies occurred on February 3, February 14 and February 23 at the Rego Park, Long Island City and Forest Hills branches, respectively.

The suspect made off with money only one of the three times.

Anyone with information regarding the identity or whereabouts of the suspect 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 entering TIP577.

 

Pedestrian countdown signals saves lives on Queens Boulevard


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Bye-bye “Boulevard of Death.”

Sixty-six intersections along Queens Boulevard have acquired pedestrian countdown signals (PCS), the latest safety improvement made by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) throughout the borough. These fixtures, among over 2,100 new countdown signals installed in Queens in 2011, inform walkers of how much time is left before the light changes, keeping them from stepping into oncoming traffic.

“Safety numbers are more than statistics, safety is a nonstop campaign to prevent unnecessary, avoidable tragedies on our streets,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, who announced the introduction of the new PCS devices on Tuesday, January 24. “Though these tragedies are less common for pedestrians on Queens Boulevard today, we do not take these gains for granted and continue to take aggressive steps to make our streets even safer.”

The seven-mile stretch of Queens Boulevard now adorned with PCS devices was once an infamously dangerous street, the backdrop for 18 pedestrian fatalities at the height of its peril in 1997, according to the DOT. Since 2004, there have been one or two such fatalities a year and zero pedestrian fatalities in 2011 — the first time no pedestrian deaths were recorded since 1983, the first year detailed casualty records were kept.

The installation of PCS fixtures are part of the DOT’s Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, an initiative stemming from the study of over 7,000 crashes causing serious injuries or fatalities to pedestrians. The research analyzed the underlying causes of these accidents, discovering that pedestrian crashes are about two-thirds deadlier when they occur on wider streets.

As of October 2011, the DOT installed countdown signals at 842 of these broad intersections throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including major traffic ways such as the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, Hylan Boulevard on Staten Island and Broadway in Manhattan.

Queens gripped by fear of gropers


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Women across Queens have been gripped by a fear of gropers.

For the past month, female residents of Sunnyside and Woodside have been looking over their shoulders for a predator on pedals.

The neighboring communities are the most recent areas to experience repeated sexual attacks on women by men on bicycles.

Beginning September 15, five women and one 12-year-old girl have reported being groped from behind by a man riding a black mountain bike. The pervert has been described as Hispanic and between the ages of 30 and 40.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer joined local elected officials on October 17 on 46th Street and Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside in order to alert the public of the predator’s existence.

“Sunnyside and Woodside are safe neighborhoods but one assault against women is one too many,” said Van Bramer. “We will track down this cowardly criminal and make sure he is punished and put away. We must be vigilant as a community as the 108th Precinct pursues leads in the case.”

The first attack occurred on the morning of September 15, and the most recent incident happened at 8 a.m. on October 7 on 39th Avenue and 46th Street. The suspect reportedly strikes in the same general vicinity, with incidents usually occurring only a few blocks apart, say police.

A full-scale investigation by the NYPD and 108th Precinct is already underway. Police are asking for the public’s assistance in catching the criminal, and a surveillance video, which was taken October 6 and depicts the suspect riding his bicycle down the street, has been released.

“The women of our community should not have to walk through our neighborhoods in fear of being attacked,” said Congressmember Joseph Crowley. “I urge everyone to take a good look at the surveillance tape and contact the authorities if you recognize the suspect, as well as report any suspicious activity.”

Other areas of Queens have also experienced repeated sexual assaults on women in recent months.

According to a law enforcement source, the 114th Precinct arrested a suspect on a bicycle on the morning of October 18 after he reportedly groped a woman at Broadway and 31st Street in Astoria. The police have included the suspect in three lineups to determine whether he is part of a larger pattern of sexual assaults, but have thus far been unable to link him to any other incidents, the source said.

“We must have zero tolerance for the recent rash of groping incidents in our neighborhoods,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has introduced legislation that would make the groping of a child a felony requiring mandatory jail time. “In addition to the passage of my bill that would increase penalties for gropers, we must band together as a community to keep our streets safe and free from sexual predators.”

This past summer, 45 women shared their experiences of being groped by male bicycle riders on a blog for Astoria residents. The posts drew the attention of Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., who teamed with the 114th Precinct to investigate the incidents. Two suspects were eventually arrested and identified by multiple victims as their attackers.

“It concerns me very much,” said Anne Marie Culhane, an Astoria resident, referring to the gropings in her community last summer. “I have a 17-year-old daughter that walks around the neighborhood, so I’m scared for her more than myself. I told her she’s not allowed to walk around alone and if she sees anyone on a bike to go the other way. It’s scary because this guy can do it and you can’t stop him if he’s on a bike and you’re on foot.”

With incidents of sexual assault rising across the five boroughs, the police are on a city-wide groper hunt.

Joshua Flecha, a 32-year-old Astoria resident, was arrested in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn on Monday, October 17 at 2:30 a.m. lurking down the street with his pants unzipped and a pornographic video playing on his cell phone.

Flecha, who was carrying marijuana at the time of his arrest, has been charged with forcible touching and sexual abuse after a woman identified him as the man who attacked her in the Seventh Avenue “F” train station on May 7. He was included in several lineups, but has not yet been charged in relation to any other incidents.