Tag Archives: Queens

Video: Queens residents share how to say ‘I love you’ in seven languages

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

The first video of a series, looking to bringing awareness to public plazas throughout the city, gives a taste of the different ways Queens residents say “I love you,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a nonprofit organization of The Horticultural Society of New York, released the YouTube video “How to Plaza like a New Yorker Tip #1: Say ‘I Love You,’” two days before the Feb. 14 holiday.

In the video, which takes place at Diversity Plaza, officially called 37th Road Plaza, in Jackson Heights and was filmed by P2Films, people are asked how they say “I love you” in languages other than English.

The clip features people speaking in seven out of the 138 languages spoken in Queens. The languages featured are Farsi, Bangla, Hungarian, Italian, Urdu, Basaa and Tibetan.

Almost all the people in the video were just walking by the plaza during the filming and were asked if they would participate in the project.

“Everybody was just on their way, coming and going, and we just tried to stop people and asked if they spoke another language other than English and if they wanted to teach others how to say ‘I love you,’” said Micaela Birmingham of P2Films. “It was just fascinating to stand on one block and have all these voices pass by.”

Although seven languages are featured in the video, filmmakers encountered more than a dozen languages during the two to three hours at the site.

“These days you always have people on the street asking you to do something,” Birmingham added. “I was just so happy that people were generous enough to take a few minutes.”

This “how to” video is the first of a series by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, which will highlight activities that might already be happening at plazas throughout the five boroughs and showcase the neighborhoods surrounding them.

“I love this video,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “Queens and especially Jackson Heights is a mix of languages and cultures. This video is a sweet way to showcase our diversity and Diversity Plaza. Hats off to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.”

The idea of the video series came after the organization noticed that although bigger plazas, such as the one in Times Square, receive a lot of attention, there were smaller plazas in neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that people need to know exist.

“These videos are about getting more people to know about the plazas and understand all the great social capital that exists in and around them,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. “There are a lot of people that know about these plazas, but we really want people beyond that to recognize the vibrancy and importance of the plazas.”


City accepting proposals to develop NYPD parking garage in downtown Jamaica

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/PropertyShark 

Even more development is coming to Jamaica—this time on the site of a police department parking garage.

Not long after Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to focus on creating more housing with his State of the City address, the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) officially announced a request for proposals to develop hundreds of market rate and affordable units out of an NYPD parking garage in downtown Jamaica.

The 59,500-square-foot site at 93rd Avenue and 169th Street could also include ground-floor retail, according to the EDC, which set an April 30 deadline for developers to submit plans for the lot. Of course the project is consistent with de Blasio’s goal to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units in 10 years.

The two-story garage is currently used by cops, and will have to be entirely demolished to construct the new project, according to the EDC. But it’s a price the city is willing to pay for more housing.

“The 168th Street garage site holds powerful potential to serve the Jamaica neighborhood with affordable housing and other amenities, while building upon the area’s strengths as a commercial, cultural and transit hub,” said EDC President Kyle Kimball.

Police vehicles will have to be “accommodated” in order to redevelop the site, the EDC said.

Photo courtesy of NYCEDC

Photo courtesy of NYCEDC

The development could create 400 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs, the EDC said, and would add another project to the dizzying amount of construction coming to Jamaica near the downtown spurred by under-utilized lots, cheap land prices, high traffic and access to a massive transportation hub.

This includes Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) giving its twin parking lots near 90th Avenue and 168th Street to Blumenfeld Development Group for a jumbo mixed-use residential and commercial project, with more than 265,000 square feet of space.

The GJDC is also working on a $225 million, 29-story residential and commercial tower across from the AirTrain and LIRR station on Sutphin Boulevard.

Not far away on Sutphin Boulevard, Able Management Group is constructing a 210-key hotel, and nearby York College has 3.5 acres of on-campus land that could be home to new companies that want to move into the area to partner with the institution through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY tax-break program.

TCX Development’s seven-story luxury rental building on Hillside Avenue is nearing completion, and some major properties have also hit the market or were recently sold, including a $22 million sale of a huge garage and commercial strip at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. There are already plans to develop the property into a housing and retail mix, according to a published report.

Also, the Jamaica Colosseum Mall, which was formerly a Macy’s department store, also hit the market for an astounding $45 million.

And finally, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development recently announced that it is accepting plans from developers for 17 vacant city-owned sites in Jamaica to create more affordable housing.


NYPD sergeant accused of having sexual relationship with minor

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

rosedale police station4

An off-duty NYPD sergeant was arrested in Queens on Tuesday for having a sexual relationship with a minor, police and reports said.

Vladimir Krull, 37, has been charged with two counts each of rape, criminal sex act and sexual misconduct, as well as forcible touching, sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child, according to police.

He is accused of having a relationship with a girl under the age of 17 and who is the daughter
of a woman he knows, according to published reports.

Krull is assigned to the Midtown North Precinct, reports said. He has been suspended without pay.



Watch Rego Park woman compete in ‘Jeopardy!’ Teachers Tournament semifinals

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jeopardy Productions, Inc.


It’s a daily double for one Queens woman!

Bay Ridge Prep fifth-grade teacher and Rego Park resident Erin McLaughlin was chosen to compete on the hit game show “Jeopardy!” The competition was filmed a month ago, with McLaughlin’s latest episode airing this Monday night on ABC 7 as part of the show’s annual Teachers Tournament.

Though she came in second in her first game of the tournament on Feb. 2, she still advanced to the semifinals by landing one of four wildcard spots — given to the competitors who won the most money aside from the winner.

McLaughlin, who has been an avid fan of the show since she was a child, tried out for the show many times online. She even received auditions in the past.

She then got the call for the third audition. Despite jitters some may have during the audition process, McLaughlin’s experience was a positive one.

“They make it really fun,” she said. “We played a pretend game of ‘Jeopardy!’ and they gave advice on how to behave.”


Months after the audition, she was about to give up hope and take the online test again, when she was asked to fly to California to make her appearance on the game show.

“I was very surprised I got the call,” McLaughlin said. “Once you’re in the contestant pool, you are only in it for 18 months. After December, I was going to be out of the pool. That was it. I was just going to try again. But I guess the third time was the charm.”

Once her appearance was confirmed, she had six weeks to practice before she flew to the West Coast in December to compete against fellow teachers.

“I spent time studying categories that I didn’t know that much about like opera, presidents, composers,” McLaughlin said. “I took a lot of online quizzes. Other people quizzed me too. I knew a lot about pop culture and literature, so I didn’t prepare for those areas as much.”

When it was finally time to compete, she was ready to for the challenge. “I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. There was no time to be,” she said. “I’ve watched the show since I was a kid so it was so surreal being on the stage. When that famous music started to play, I finally realized that it’s really happening. It was so strange.”

McLaughlin also enjoyed meeting the show’s longtime host, Alex Trebek, whom she described as “nice and personable.” She also liked being amongst her peers.

“Meeting the other contestants was great because we all have the same jobs and we had a lot in common,” McLaughlin said.

She wasn’t the only one excited about competing in the show. Her husband and stepdaughter were in attendance, cheering her on, and her students back home were as well.

“My students are very excited for me,” McLaughlin said. “They interviewed me and also asked me lots of questions about my experience.”

Her school, Bay Ridge Prep, located in southern Brooklyn, is also thrilled for the dedicated teacher and showed it by throwing a party the day her first episode ran.

“They’ve been so great and supportive,” she said.

Although McLaughlin didn’t know what to expect, she realized that playing at home is slightly easier than the real thing. “It was harder than I thought it would be,” she admitted.

“It was lots of fun and I realized whatever the outcome was, it didn’t matter,” McLaughlin said. “I’m just sad I can’t do it again.”

To watch McLaughlin compete in the Teachers Tournament semifinals, tune in on Monday, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. on ABC 7. 

-With additional reporting by Cristabelle Tumola


Man suspected in fourth Queens bank robbery

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A man who police say robbed three Queens banks late last year is suspected of returning to one of those banks to continue his crime spree.

The suspect entered the Astoria Bank at 75-25 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village on Wednesday about 11:35 a.m., passed a note and demanded money, police said. The teller handed over the cash and the man fled eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue with about $8,300.

Cops believe the same suspect robbed the same bank, at the same time, on Dec. 30, taking off with $7,400.

The suspect is also wanted in two other bank robberies, including one just down the street.

On Nov. 24, he is accused of robbing a Capital One Bank at 74-11 Metropolitan Ave., near 75th Street in Middle Village, just after 3 p.m. After entering the bank, the suspect passed a demand note and fled on foot with about $750.

He also robbed a Capital One Bank, at 70-01 Forest Ave., near 70th Avenue, in Ridgewood on Dec. 9 about 11:30 a.m., police said. The suspect fled the bank on foot with $2,617.

Police have released a video of the suspect from the Feb. 4 robbery and describe him as black, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and 190 pounds.

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.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

View of city from penthouse

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Junction Boulevard and Horace Harding Expressway



Where to watch the Big Game in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Play in Elmhurst and Break Bar and Billiards in Astoria


With New Year’s Eve a distant memory, it’s time for Americans to consider their Super Bowl Sunday plans. With which best friends, in what atmosphere, and with what booze and grub specials are you planning to maximize the winner-take-all extravaganza? Feb. 1 is creeping up on us all, so here are a few locales in Queens we deem nothing short of awesomely appropriate for the game.

Break Bar and Billiards
32-04b Broadway, Astoria • 718-777-5400 • break-ny.com
This self-proclaimed “adult playground” includes foosball and the truly novel vintage arcade. A rotating selection of 18 beers on tap, along with signature comfort food and 10 HD television displays comprise the other attractions. The ambiance is defined by the 7,000-square-foot space’s classic exposed brick.

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave., Astoria • 718-274-4925 • bohemianhall.com
One of the only beer gardens to survive prohibition, the Bohemian Hall’s Brouczech beer on tap and classic beef goulash would have already made the cult establishment a prime Super Bowl destination. However, $10 Stellas, Hoegaardens and Abita Ambers, $5 Bushmill shots, and appetizer specials for the big game day make it irresistible. As always, no cover charge at this joint. Festivities begin at 4 p.m.

Bourbon Street
40-12 Bell Blvd., Bayside • 718-224-2200 • bourbonstreetny.com
Laissez les bon temps roulez! That’s “Cajun cuisine at its best,” the tried-and-true philosophy of this Bell Boulevard institution. Seafood lovers rejoice: there are hot and cold buffets, including the signature bayou mussels and blackened crab cakes. Those who love unlimited drinks should rejoice even harder with the Super Bowl promotion of all-you-can-drink beer, wine, mixed drinks and soda. Kickoff on the big screens is at 6:25 p.m., and raffles and free giveaways abound. $45 reservation and deposit required.

C.J. Sullivan’s
213-10 41st Ave., Bayside • 718-224-0060
This burger joint’s customary bargain drink specials are the stars of the show on this Sunday, but they are accompanied by a free hot and cold buffet, including chicken francese and sausage and peppers. The five big TVs make the large dining area seem intimate.

77-17 Queens Blvd., Elmhurst • 718-476-2828 • play-ny.com
Billiards, bowling, ping pong, air hockey and a mechanical bull will help the pre-game hours fly by. For the main course, 30 large screens, including six mega screens and one at the end of each lane, will be firmly set on NBC for the showdown. A 72-foot illuminated stainless steel bar is worth noting as well, with imported beers on tap.

Tap House
72-07 Austin St.  Forest Hills • 718-997-0500
This under-the-radar gem in the heart of Austin Street is for the hyper-casual fan who likes to let loose, and loves a huge selection of wings. Featured are 10 HD flat screens and 20 beers on tap, along with notably prompt and pleasant waitresses and bartenders.  The Super Bowl Sunday special is a $50 open bar and buffet. Raffles and other drink specials will be decided before the game, and based on its already reasonable pricing toward younger crowds, you can swing by with a light wallet.

The Garden at Studio Square NYC
35-33 36th St., Astoria • 718-383-1001 • studiosquarebeergarden.com
This may be the closest you’ll feel to actually being at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Feb. 1. The mega sports party haven offers more than 30 screens throughout its 30,000-square-foot complex, which also includes two indoor areas and a cobblestone courtyard. Enjoy open beer from their advanced tap system, wine, sangria and unlimited wings from 4 p.m. until halftime. Tickets are $30-40 depending on how early you reserve them. 21 and over.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Vernon Boulevard 



Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Behind the Starbucks in Howard Beach


LIC boutique hostel to host first Queens Brewers Night

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of The Local NY

It is time to raise your glass to Queens.

In celebration of the booming borough being recently named the No. 1 travel destination in the United States by travel guidebook company Lonely Planet, Long Island City boutique hostel The Local NY will be hosting the first Queens Brewers Night.

In December, Queens made the top of the list of the company’s Best in the U.S. 2015, selected by Lonely Planet’s authors and ranked by its U.S. editors.

Each of the craft breweries recognized by Lonely Planet — Big Alice, Rockaway, Singlecut and Transmitter — will be serving their latest drinks on Feb. 7 alongside live music.

The Local NY, located at 13-02 44th Ave., was also featured by Lonely Planet.

Local bands Fairways, Hips & Brows and Fuxida will perform, and Queens food vendors will be selling food.

Queens Brewers Night goes from 7 to 10 p.m. and tickets are $20.15. To purchase tickets, click here.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Northern Boulevard and 48th Street








Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Evergreen Park in Ridgewood
Evergreen Park







Queens sports roundup

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Brian Ballweg, for Queens College Athletics

Francis Lewis Girls get knocked off by Bergtraum

Last year, Francis Lewis ended Murry Bergtraum’s reign as PSAL champions with a semifinal victory. On Jan. 5, Lewis fell to 8-2 overall with a 78-64 home loss to Bergtraum. The Lady Patriots were up 11 early on but were outscored 50-25 over the final 20 minutes. Chi La Bady scored 23 points while Sierra Green and Robyn Francis had 14 apiece in a game that saw the Patriots go more than eight minutes without a basket. Coach Stephen Tsai’s team will try to rebound on Jan. 9 against Boys and Girls High School.

Queens College women get win at Madison Square Garden

Jan. 4 marked the 40th anniversary of the first women’s college basketball game played at Madison Square Garden. That game was between Queens College and Immaculata College of Pennsylvania and the schools reprised their meeting. This time, Queens College got the win as sophomore forward Madison Rowland scored 28 points and had 11 rebounds in a 76-60 victory. Queens has won six straight games and is 9-2 following a 92-34 victory over Concordia on Jan. 5. Queens will next host District of Columbia on Jan. 10 in a home game.

St. John’s men looking to rebound from tough start to Big East play

After entering Big East play 11-1 for the first time in 29 years and on a seven-game losing streak, the Red Storm opened conference play with a 78-67 loss at Seton Hall on Dec. 31 and a 73-69 home loss to Butler on Jan. 3. The Red Storm have been without sophomore guard Rysheed Jordan due to “personal reasons,” but he returned Jan. 6 against Villanova. The Red Storm went from No. 15 in the AP Poll to 24th. Following the Villanova game, they will visit Providence on Jan. 14.

Christ the King beats Molloy, gets upset by Xaverian

Christ the King returned from its trip to Delaware and split a pair of league games. On Jan. 2, junior guard Jarred Rivers scored 21 points in a 73-53 home win over Molloy. The Royals then fell to 9-2 with a 51-49 home loss to Xaverian. Rawle Alkins had 21 points, and Marcus Layne’s three-point attempt at the buzzer deflected off the front of the rim. Next up for the Royals is a home game against Cardozo on Jan. 11.

Far Rockaway gets two non-league wins over the break

Far Rockaway improved to 9-1 overall by getting non-league wins over Roosevelt on Dec. 27 and Harborfields on Jan. 4. The game against Harborfields was at Long Island Lutheran and in the Sea Horses’ 48-44 win, senior shooting guard Williams Overo had 23 points and six rebounds. Overo is averaging 21 points in league games and Far Rockaway resumes league play Jan. 9 by visiting Pathways College Prep.

Former Christ the King star transfers from Duke

Sierra Calhoun led Christ the King to a pair of Brooklyn-Queens Catholic High School Athletic Association titles and to two appearances in the state semifinals. After averaging 24 points in her senior year, Calhoun headed to Duke. She averaged 10 points in 13 games for the Blue Devils but on Jan. 4 the school announced Calhoun was transferring to another Division I school.

St. Francis Prep hockey leading CHSHL B Division

The Terriers are 6-1-1 and have 19 points, giving them a four-point lead over Stepinac. St. Francis Prep began the season with four straight wins before a 6-2 loss to Xavier and a 3-3 tie with Stepinac. On Jan. 4, the Terriers had a 5-3 victory over St. Edmund’s Prep at Coney Island.


Street Talk: What is your New Year’s resolution?

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com



Martha Wahnon

“I don’t wait once a year to make a resolution. I am constantly trying to better myself. My latest resolution has been to be more of a peacemaker and not give into what causes arguments.”
Martha Wahnon

Jason Zassino

“I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. It is a hokey tradition. I have been trying to quit smoking but it is tough to do.”
Jason Zassino

Genesis Mera

“I want to learn to speak English fluently.”
Genesis Mera

Tanisha Isaacs

“Be a more positive, less bitter person.”
Tanisha Isaacs

Jonathan Milard

“Contact my family more often.”
Jonathan Milard

Victor Prado

“To invest more in people and to preach more the name of Jesus to people.”
Victor Prado

James O'Neil

“I never do New Year’s resolutions. Never have. After two weeks everyone is talking about how they’ve broken theirs.”
James O’Neil

Julie Halkiopoulos

“Be healthy enough so I can help my daughters as much as I can, be involved in their lives. Try to help more stray, abused animals, and elderly people.”
Julie Halkiopoulos



Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Lefferts Boulevard A train station 

Lefferts Blvd A train station