Tag Archives: queens center

Reward leading to arrest of pregnant Corona woman’s killer doubled


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via Google Maps/Facebook

The reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer of a pregnant mother of four who was gunned down the day before Thanksgiving in Corona has doubled to $12,000.

Brandee Anastasia Massey, 27 — who had just dropped off three of her four children at school — was murdered outside her 98-15 Horace Harding Expressway apartment on the morning of Nov. 26, police said.

The LeFrak City resident was shot in the chest and arm and taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. She was about six months pregnant, and doctors were able to deliver her baby, police said. But the child, a girl, died several hours later.

Police were considering Massey’s uncle as a possible suspect, according to published reports. The day after the Nov. 26 shooting, Police Commissioner William Bratton said the incident may have involved a domestic dispute with the uncle.

Food Bazaar Supermarkets has agreed to contribute $4,000 and Queens Center mall is donating $2,000, according to state Sen. Jose Peralta, who has already offered a $2,000 reward in the hope of developing leads in Massey’s murder investigation.

The LeFrak City Organization and NYPD additionally each offered $2,000 last month.

“Food Bazaar Supermarkets and Queens Center have deep roots in this community and understand that the most important thing we can do right now for the Massey family is to help law enforcement bring Brandee’s killer to justice and make whoever is responsible pay for this brutal crime,” Peralta said.

Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras' office

Joseph Massey, Brandee Anastasia Massey’s husband, and their four children. (Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras’ office)

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras announced last week that she has opened an education fund and launched a public fundraising campaign for Massey’s children, who are all under the age of 10.

LeFrak City Maintenance Services has made an initial pledge of $15,000. Anyone who would like to donate to the education fund can do so through www.rally.org/MasseyFund.

“These innocent children have suffered the greatest loss,” Ferreras said. “And while we cannot save them from the lifetime of pain and difficulty they will face growing up without a mother, as a community, we can give them a fighting chance at a better future.”

Anyone with information 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 or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Inside St. John’s Hospital’s transformation into Queens Pointe development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

After about a year of construction, the former St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst is beginning to look more and more like the new Queens Pointe residential and retail destination it will become.

The hospital, which closed in 2009, was acquired by a group of Asian-based investors for more than $50 million late last year, according to property records and published reports. Since that time, construction has been taking place to transform the 90-08 Queens Blvd. site’s interior space.

The seven-story building will have about 150 luxury rental apartments and a penthouse level with six units on the top four floors, while the basement, first and second floors will be used for a mix of community facility space and retail.

Construction on most of the apartments is almost complete and appliances have already been brought into some of the units.

The penthouse level features apartments with nearly 16-foot ceilings and views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as the Queens Center and Queens Place malls, which are across Queens Boulevard.

Marketing for the residential side of the building will begin early next year, according to a representative of Winick Realty Group, which is handling sales in Queens Pointe.

Marketing for the first floor and basement level, which are about 64,000 square feet combined, started months ago and received interest from various companies, including a gym, a supermarket and a clothing retailer. But the first floor and basement still have much interior construction remaining.

Representatives are negotiating with a school and a senior center to occupy part of the second floor. Construction on the second floor is partially complete, with new flooring, paint, ceiling tiles and lighting.

The development also includes a 250-spot parking garage across the street at 87-28 58th Ave., which will be available to retail customers and residents. Currently the parking facility has fading paint and graffiti, but there are plans to renovate the garage as well.

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Queens Center to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY MICHAEL SHAIN

No time for a second piece of pie at Thanksgiving this year.

For the first time, Queens Center is going to open at 6 p.m. the night of Thanksgiving, following a trend to start Black Friday earlier every year.

The move is prompted by the announcement this week that JCPenney and Macy’s are joining stores like Kmart and Walmart in being open on Thanksgiving night — getting a six-hour jump on the competition to start their first, big holiday sales.

“We always opened at midnight” for those stores that wanted to get the bargain rush going in the first hours of Black Friday, said John Scaturro, head of marketing for the Elmhurst mall. “But with stores like Sears opening early, now the big players are following suit.”

And since the two biggest stores in the mall are opening early, the owner of the mall, Macerich Co., has offered the chance to all the stores in the mall to open at 6 p.m. too.

“We project that 70 to 80 percent of our stores will elect to open Thanksgiving night,” Scaturro said. “Nobody is going to want to be closed in those first few hours.”

In the retail trade, the trend is being called “Black Friday creep,” a process that began more than a decade ago when big-box stores tested the idea of boosting sales by offering extraordinary bargains to die-hard shoppers willing to come to the stores at midnight.

Black Friday is the term used by retailers for the day after Thanksgiving — when people are off from work and the holiday shopping season officially began (and merchants could count on ending the day in the black).

But what started out as an experiment has taken off. Retailers — who have a bunch of bad years since economic crisis of 2007-8 — discovered shoppers have had enough football and family by nightfall on Thanksgiving and are itching to get out of the house.

“People always seem to be in very good spirits when they shop on those days. The truth is that, on Black Friday, we notice a lot of folks shopping for themselves — not for Christmas especially,” Scaturro said.

“Fall and winter clothes are the big items,” he said. “Shoe stores do very well on those days — and shoes are not something people buy for holiday shopping.”

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New video shows Queens mall sex abuse suspect  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Videos courtesy of NYPD

Police are hoping a newly released video will help catch a man suspected of sexually abusing two women inside of Queens Center.

The man allegedly groped a store employee inside the Elmhurst mall on the afternoon of Sept. 4 before sexually abusing another woman five minutes later.


The suspect entered a clothing store at about 3 p.m. and approached one of the employees, a 25-year-old woman, then placed his hand along the victim’s legs, grabbed her genital area over her clothing and fled, cops said.

About five minutes later, also inside the same 90-15 Queens Blvd. shopping center, the suspect came up to a 34-year-old woman, according to authorities. He put his arms around her waist and started rubbing his groin area on her buttocks, over the clothing, before fleeing.

Cops describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, about 6 feet 1 inch tall and 200 to 230 pounds, with dark hair. He was wearing a blue varsity jacket with red sleeves, black sunglasses, dark jeans, white sneakers, a black baseball hat, a white scarf and was carrying a briefcase.

The newly released footage is the second video authorities have released of the suspect.


Anyone with information 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 or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Man sexually abused two women at Queens mall: cops  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who allegedly groped a store employee inside Queens Center Thursday afternoon before sexually abusing another woman five minutes later.

The suspect entered a clothing store inside the Elmhurst mall at about 3 p.m. and approached one of the employees, a 25-year-old woman, according to authorities. He then placed his hand along the victim’s legs and grabbed her genital area over her clothing before fleeing, police said.

About five minutes later, also inside the same 90-15 Queens Blvd. shopping center, the suspect came up to a 34-year-old woman, put his arms around her waist and started rubbing his groin area on her buttocks, over the clothing, cops said. He then fled.

Police have released surveillance video of the suspect and describe him as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, about 6 feet 1 inch tall and 200 to 230 pounds, with dark hair. He was wearing a blue varsity jacket with red sleeves, black sunglasses, dark jeans, white sneakers, a black baseball hat, a white scarf and was carrying a briefcase.


Anyone with information 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 or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Backpacks donated to children of Pan American Hotel homeless shelter


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office

School-aged children living at the Boulevard Family Center in the former Pan American Hotel are all set for their first day of school.

Councilman Daniel Dromm, Queens Center and the Department of Homeless Services came together on Aug. 19 to distribute 200 backpacks, notebooks and water bottles to the children living at the homeless shelter located at 7900 Queens Blvd.

“The homeless children that moved into the former Pan Am Hotel in June are some of our newest neighbors and they need our support,” said Dromm, who believes it is appropriate to donate these backpacks to his “newest constituents.” “As a former teacher of 25 years, I know firsthand how important it is for students to come to school prepared to learn. These backpacks will help the children start the school year right.”

DHS and nonprofit Samaritan Village turned the Pan American Hotel into a homeless shelter for families in June. Since then the surrounding community has protested and rallied against the move, which happened without residents and elected officials being given prior notice.

Community members have voiced their concerns over community safety, increased in property taxes and crime, and overcrowding of nearby schools.

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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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Former international soccer player to host meet and greet at Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Courtesy Verizon Wireless

With the FIFA World Cup about only a month away, soccer fans will be able to get a taste of the sport at Queens Center this weekend.

In preparation for the big games being held from June 12 to July 13 in Brazil, Verizon is hosting five shopping mall “Estadio Verizon” (Verizon Stadium) events for fans. The events will feature interactive soccer games, a customized stadium scoreboard, trivia games and a soccer-themed Plinko board to win prizes.

This Saturday, former Colombian national team captain and Major League Soccer player Carlos “El Pibe” Valderrama will be at Queens Center doing a meet and greet with fans from 4 to 6 p.m.

Between noon and 6 p.m. this weekend, visitors at the Elmhurst mall will be able to learn about Verizon’s video offerings including its “La Connexion” and Spanish Language Packages that offer customized content for Hispanics and others who seek more Spanish-language programming.

Also, throughout the weekend and in honor of Mother’s Day, visitors at Queens Center will be able to make a free international call to their moms, using the latest Verizon Wireless mobile devices.

 

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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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Man busted for fires at Queens malls ordered to undergo psych evaluation


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A Jamaica man, who has been charged for setting a series of fires at multiple Queens shopping centers, has been held without bail and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, District Attorney Richard Brown said Wednesday.

“The defendant is charged with setting fires that were responsible for causing thousands of dollars worth of damage to many businesses, as well as endangering the lives of shoppers, store employees and responding firefighters,” Brown said. “These incidents should not be viewed as a prank. Arson is a serious crime that will be dealt with accordingly.”

Dereck Sumair, 23, was arraigned Wednesday on various charges of arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief in connection to the mall fires, according to the district attorney. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

According to police, Sumair was apprehended after allegedly setting a fire at a Burlington Coat Factory at the Rego Center mall, just before 4 p.m. Monday.

Earlier that afternoon, merchandise was set on fire at an Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Sears at the same 96-05 Queens Blvd. shopping center, the NYPD said.

On Monday, another blaze occurred at Macy’s at the nearby Queens Center mall at about 2:45 p.m., within about an hour of the other fires. Two more blazes were also set that afternoon at a Best Buy and Target at Queens Place, a block away, officials said.

Fires were also lit at a Toys”R”Us, Staples and T.J.Maxx at the Rego Center mall as well as a J.C. Penney at Queens Center Sunday evening, officials said.

On Thursday, Sumair allegedly set a blaze at the same Rego Center Sears from Monday.

No one was injured in any of the fires, but Sumair is accused of destroying clothing, towels, and other merchandise in the blazes, according to officials.

Surveillance photos from the Staples fire helped authorities identify the suspect as he was exiting the Burlington Coat Factory, police said.

When Sumair, was caught at the store, an officer allegedly found a lighter in his pocket, according to prosecutors. Afterwards, he allegedly admitted setting the mall fires.

Sumair was also charged with criminal mischief for breaking numerous windows with rocks at the Long Island Consultation Center in Rego Park on Dec. 19, 20 and 26. He allegedly told cops he “broke the windows for fun and to watch the police respond,” Brown said.

 

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Man charged after series of Queens mall fires: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 10:15 a.m.

A man has been arrested following a rash of store fires at three Queens malls, police said.

The suspect, identified as 23-year-old Dereck Sumair, of Jamaica, was apprehended after allegedly setting a fire at a Burlington Coat Factory at the Rego Center mall, just before 4 p.m. Monday, the NYPD said.

Earlier that afternoon, merchandise was set on fire at an Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Sears at the same 96-05 Queens Blvd. shopping center, according to police.

On Monday, another blaze occurred at Macy’s at the nearby Queens Center mall at about 3 p.m., within 30 minutes of the other fires. Two more blazes were set about an hour earlier, at a Best Buy and Target at Queens Place, a block away, cops said.

On Friday, fires were also lit at the same Rego Center Sears as well as a Toys”R”Us, Staples and T.J.Maxx at the shopping center, police said.

No one was injured in any of the blazes, cops said.

Surveillance photos from the Staples fire helped authorities identify the suspect as he was exiting the Burlington Coat Factory, the NYPD said.

Sumair has been charged with 12 counts of arson, 11 counts of reckless endangerment and 18 counts of criminal mischief, according to police, who did not make clear which fires Sumair is charged with starting.

 

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Queens Library space to open in Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Shoppers will soon be able to take a break in between stores and visit the library.

Queens Center, located at 90-15 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, has invited the Queens Library to open up a library space within the mall. It will be located adjacent to the food court and is expected to open in late spring.

“We are excited about bringing Queens Library to the Queens Center mall. It is an opportunity to reach even more people and familiarize them with everything Queens Library can do to enrich their lives,” said Queens Library’s Chief Operating Officer Bridget Quinn-Carey. “The library space at Queens Center mall will have books and reading material to engage people at the mall, or they can borrow and take books home. We will be hosting special programs as well.”

The library space, which will be Wi-Fi enabled, will include comfortable seating and offer a collection of popular books which people can sit down and read or borrow with their library cards. Laptops will be available to rent for use within the space and tablets may also be offered.

Free library card sign-up will be available at the location and there will be a schedule of promotional events in collaboration with other mall tenants  and programs, such as speakers, arts and crafts, kids’ educational entertainment and more. 

The space will also feature computer terminals to look up and request materials, order books  and research things to do in their neighborhoods. Full reference and referral services will be available by phone. 

 

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Development will bring new eateries, jobs near Queens Center


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

Shoppers at Queens Center will soon be able to dine on endless breadsticks, 12 ounce steaks and buckets of crab, just by crossing the street.

According to city officials, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse and Joe’s Crab Shack will be opening at the 26,000-square-foot restaurant development on a current vacant lot at the corner of 92nd Street and 59th Avenue in Elmhurst. The development will also feature a parking lot on the remaining space.

The location has been owned and developed by the College Point and Whitestone based Mattone Group since 2001. The Mattone Group originally planned to open up a movie theatre at the location but had trouble lining up a tenant, said city officials. The Economic Development Corporation filed a lawsuit against the owners because of their failure to use the lot after acquiring it. After reaching an approximately $3 million settlement earlier this year and creating a deed modification for the location, the Mattone Group found the three chain restaurants as new tenants.

The development is expected to break ground later this year and the new restaurants are expected to be completed by 2016, said city officials. The new eateries will also create close to 225 permanent jobs.

 

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New Year’s Eve fashion on a budget


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

fashion

Skirt (Papaya): $10.99

Sequin top (Papaya ): $15.99

Fur Vest (Papaya):  $19.99

Booties (Afaze): $38.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M):  $79.95

Slacks (H&M): $34.99

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $20

Bow Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $50

 

 

 

 

 

Dress (H&M): $14.95

Booties (Afaze): $38

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket (H&M): $79.50

Vest (H&M): $29.95

Shirt (J.C. Penney): $45

Slacks (H&M): $34.95

Tie (J.C. Penney): $20

Shoes (J.C. Penney): $80