Tag Archives: Queens

A year in photos: The Queens Courier looks back at 2014


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Screen Shot 2014-12-24 at 12.35.11 PM

The Queens Courier is taking a look back at the year gone by, from the inauguration of a new mayor to the horrifying derailment of an F train under Queens Boulevard. The year saw more political ups and downs, tragedies and celebrations. Our high school basketball teams were champions and Queens was named the best place to visit in the nation. Looking forward to 2015, we wish our readers a very happy new year.

JANUARY 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio takes the oath of office from former U.S. President Bill Clinton during his inaugural ceremony at City Hall in New York

Photo via NYC Mayor’s Office Flickr

De Blasio gets to work

New York City’s 109th mayor, Bill de Blasio, was sworn in during a ceremony at his Brooklyn home just after midnight on Jan. 1 followed by a formal inauguration on the steps of City Hall later that day. Telling New Yorkers, “Our work begins today,” in his inauguration speech de Blasio pledged to expand the paid sick leave law, require big developers to build affordable housing, stem the tide of hospital closures, reform a broken stop-and-frisk policy, and provide universal, full-day pre-K and after-school programs for middle schoolers.

Hercules

THE COURIER/File photo

Hercules shows his strength

Snowfall in parts of the borough was reportedly as high as 11.5 inches during Hercules, the first major snowstorm of 2014. The weather event was also the first real test of the de Blasio administration, beginning on his second day in office. The rest of the 2014 winter season would not only challenge New Yorkers’ patience, but also that of the new mayor as he faced criticism over school closings and snow removal.

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola/ Handout

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola/ Handout

Avonte search ends tragically

The search for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo came to a devastating end four months after the autistic teen went missing from his Long Island City school when his remains were found washed up in College Point on Jan. 16. On Jan. 25, hundreds of mourners came out to say goodbye at the Rego Park resident’s funeral where he was remembered as a silent yet always smiling, courageous boy. The medical examiner later ruled the cause and manner of his death as undetermined.

FEBRUARY 

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Biden takes aim at LaGuardia

Vice President Joe Biden, while speaking about infrastructure in Philadelphia on Feb. 5, said LaGuardia Airport was similar to a “third-world country.” The comments immediately went viral and drew some negative reactions, including from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said it wasn’t Biden’s “finest moment.”

Photo courtesy of Exo Cafe

Photo courtesy of Exo Cafe

Plow damages restaurant 

A Forest Hills restaurant suffered thousands of dollars in damage when a Department of Sanitation plow truck struck a garbage can full of snow, ice and debris, which then hit the eatery, according to police. The Feb. 13 incident at Exo Café on Austin Street was caught on video and the footage quickly spread online. The accident not only damaged the eatery’s winter vestibule and shattered some of its windows, but also injured two customers.
Photo courtesy of Exo Café

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

Mayor’s caravan caught speeding

A local TV station said it caught a vehicle carrying Mayor Bill de Blasio breaking multiple traffic laws as it was driving back from a press conference on potholes in Maspeth on Feb. 20. According to CBS New York, which captured the incident on video, de Blasio’s two-vehicle caravan exceeded the speed limit, went through a stop sign and changed lanes without signaling. The incident came on the heels of the mayor’s Vision Zero plan to end traffic deaths.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

7 train woes

The Long Island City area prepared for another round of No. 7 train suspensions that were slated to start in the end of February and take place on most weekends through the fall. The service disruptions again upset residents and business owners who were fed up with the constant disruptions on the line. Though an impending storm delayed the suspensions and the MTA agreed to help promote Long Island City during the shutdowns, the agency did not agree to a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city.

MARCH 

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Basketball champs

The Benjamin Cardozo boys basketball team defeated Thomas Jefferson High School to win the PSAL Division AA city championship on March 9. The same day, the Francis Lewis Lady Patriots girls basketball team won its first PSAL Division AA championship. On March 10, the Christ the King boys basketball team won the CHSAA Class AA intersectional championship game, clinching a back-to-back city title.

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Rockwell painting recovered 

A Norman Rockwell painting worth more than a million dollars was recovered months after it disappeared from a Maspeth storage facility, police announced on March 12. The piece, entitled “Sport,” went missing from Grand Avenue’s WelPak Art Moving and Storage on Sept. 13, 2013. Painted in 1939, the work was signed by the artist. It was reportedly recovered in Ohio by a private investigator and no one was charged at the time.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Kaufman Arts District created

On March 28, Astoria let the world know that is it the place to be for the arts with the announcement of the designation of the Kaufman Arts District, the first of its kind in the borough. It was created in partnership with Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of the Moving Image and the Queens Council on the Arts. Its mission is “to advance and promote the area as a world-class vibrant cultural destination and home for creative industries.”

Photo courtesy of DeAnne Lorde

Photo courtesy of DeAnne Lorde

Cookie Queen

Springfield Gardens seventh-grader Najah Lorde more than doubled her Girl Scout cookie sales from last year to become the top seller in the city with 2,833 boxes. The 12-year-old, who has been selling cookies since she joined the Girl Scouts in second grade, said she is hoping to win next year by selling at least 3,000 boxes.

APRIL 

THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin

THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin

Friends killed in Steinway Creek plunge 

Four East Elmhurst friends lost their lives on April 4 when their Honda Accord rolled over into Steinway Creek in Astoria. Jada Monique Butts, 19, Tiani Martin, 19, Jaleel Feurtado, 20, Darius Fletcher, 21, and Crystal Graely, 19, were in the car coming from a birthday celebration. The driver, 20-year-old Andrew Gramm, managed to escape the car and called for help. After the accident, state Sen. Michael Gianaris called on the Department of Transportation to conduct a review of safety measures on the various roads that lead to the water.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

 First battle of the beards

Face fuzz from near and far made its way to Astoria on April 8 for the neighborhood’s inaugural Battle of the Beards at The Quays. A total of 23 competitors tricked out their facial hair, from full-grown beards to mustaches. Dan Roberts, one of the founding members of the Long Island Beard & Mustache Society, took home first place.

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

‘Hero’ cop mourned 

A funeral was held on April 14 for Officer Dennis Guerra in his hometown of Far Rockaway after he died from injuries suffered in an arson fire in Coney Island. Guerra and fellow housing officer Rosa Rodriguez were critically injured in a blaze at a Surf Avenue housing development when the elevator doors opened on the 13th floor and the officers were engulfed in smoke. Both officers suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning and the effects of smoke inhalation. Loved ones, city officials, such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, and thousands of NYPD officers were among those who came out to say goodbye to the 38-year-old Bayswater resident.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Kids’ graduation saved

Nearly 170 graduating fifth-graders at P.S. 117 in Briarwood were in danger of losing caps and gowns, yearbooks and a prom, which are usually sponsored by the school’s PTA, because the Department of Education was investigating $30,000 missing from the accounts of the school’s Parent Teacher Association. While the investigation was ongoing, the organization would not be allowed to fundraise and was barred from all financial dealings. However, on April 28 during a school meeting, Jack Friedman, the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and Nick Tomizawa, who represented the Briarwood Latchkey Generation Facebook group made up of Briarwood residents and alums of P.S. 117, announced they would contribute about $7,000 together to help save the school and give the students their graduation.

MAY 

SUBWAY DERAILMENT

Photo courtesy of MTA / Patrick Cashin

F train derails in Woodside

On May 2, six of eight cars of a Manhattan-bound F train, carrying about 1,000 passengers down the express tracks under Broadway at 60th Street in Woodside, derailed when an 8-foot-long section of the 19-foot, 6-inch rail fractured beneath it. Thirty straphangers and two train crew members suffered minor injuries in the crash, which caused an estimated $2 million in damages. In a report released on Dec. 12 by the MTA, investigators determined that it was not a single defect that caused the derailment but instead several defects in the tracks that went unreported and unrepaired for at least a year after they were first discovered by an automated inspection. Disciplinary action is being pursued against three maintenance supervisors and a track inspector for their roles in the derailment — failing to identify, document and correct the defects.

Photo by Bradley Hawks

Photo by Bradley Hawks

Astoria Flea & Food opens

The Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios arrived with a boom at the city’s first-ever backlot market on May 4, with thousands of people in attendance. The market, a partnership between the LIC Flea & Food and Kaufman Astoria Studios, operated from the studios’ outdoor lot, the first of its kind in the city, every Sunday for eight consecutive weeks. Upon arrival at the Astoria Flea entrance at 36th Street and 35th Avenue, visitors were welcomed by a brand-new, 40-foot-high steel gate, designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group. Visitors found new vendors and also old faces from the neighboring LIC Flea & Food.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

World’s Fair Anniversary Festival

An estimated 60,000 people flocked to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the site of the 1939-40 and 1964-65 World’s Fairs, on May 18 to honor the 75th and 50th anniversaries through a myriad of free activities, exhibitions and food, sponsored by the Queens borough president’s office and the Parks Department. Surrounding the iconic Unisphere, there were inflatable rides for children, international food courtesy of LIC Flea & Food, free tours, exhibitions from Queens educational institutions, memorabilia from past World’s Fairs, fireworks and music from various bands — including Beatles tribute band, the Liverpool Shuffle.

JUNE

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Cardozo HS names first black valedictorian

Shanelle Davis graduated as the first African-American valedictorian of Benjamin Cardozo High School this June and in the fall started her first college semester at Harvard University. The Jamaica resident is the first in her family to earn a higher degree and along with studying hard, she also took part in various clubs and activities.

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Elmhurst against homeless shelter 

Hundreds of protestors gathered on June 17 to protest the city’s initiative to house homeless families in the former Pan American Hotel on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst. Since then community members, leaders and elected officials have spoken against the plan to convert the site into a permanent shelter under a $42 million contract with the city. The shelter is now home to over 700 homeless residents, many of whom are children.

Photo courtesy of Bob Holden

Photo courtesy of Bob Holden

Middle Village boy dies of cancer

After a more than two-year battle against lymphocytic leukemia, 8-year-old Colin Flood, from Middle Village, died on June 22. After a successful bone marrow drive in 2012 and a brief victory over the cancer that same year, Colin experienced a resurgence of the disease in 2013. In March, the U.S. Coast Guard visited Colin in Juniper Valley Park and let him have fun in their helicopter.

JULY 

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

City to fund NYS Pavilion restoration

A total of $5.806 million was included in the city’s capital budget to begin the restoration of the New York State Pavilion, which is a relic of the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. The funds will be used to upgrade its electrical system, rebuild the staircases inside the Pavilion’s three towers and repair the concrete platforms supporting the observation decks at the top of each of the towers.

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

LIRR strike avoided

MTA officials and LIRR unions came to a tentative agreement July 17, avoiding a workers’ strike that would have stranded 300,000 commuters daily. LIRR workers will see a 17 percent wage increase over six and a half years with the new agreement. The MTA wanted a 17 percent wage increase over seven years, while the union desired it over six years. The deal settled the impasse between both sides and will allow the MTA to pay for the salary bump while not increasing fares for riders.

File photo

File photo

Eight Queens Library board members cut

Borough President Melinda Katz and Mayor Bill de Blasio removed eight trustees of the Queens Library on July 23. The firings came after a protracted battle over the tenure of library director Tom Galante, who drew fire after a smoking deck was built outside his office in the Central Library in Jamaica as well as revelations that he augmented his $400,000 salary with more than $200,000 in part-time pay from the Elmont, Long Island, school district.

File photo

File photo

Former Councilman Dan Halloran found guilty

Former Queens Councilman Dan Halloran was found guilty on July 29 for his role in a bribery scheme to get Democratic state Sen. Malcolm Smith on the GOP ticket in last year’s mayoral race. It took just over one hour for the jury to reach its verdict following the eight-week trial, and Halloran was convicted of all five counts against him. Halloran faces up to 55 years in prison and will be sentenced early next year.

AUGUST 

Photo courtesy of United States Tennis Association

Photo courtesy of United States Tennis Association

National Tennis Center expansion phase one complete

The United States Tennis Association announced the completion of the first phase of a five-year, $500 million transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Aug. 11, just weeks ahead of the 2014 US Open. The renovations include new elevated seating around Courts 4, 5 and 6 that create a three-court stadium viewing experience that can hold more than 1,300 fans and features a new televised court.

Rego Park School

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Rego Park special needs school abruptly closes

A Rego Park school for children with special needs closed on Aug. 13 and many of the disabled students of the year-round school have nowhere to go. The Life-Skills School, which served 43 students with mental and secondary emotional challenges ages 9 through 21, was the only school of its kind in Queens.

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

Demolition begins at 5Pointz

Demolition began at the building formerly known as the graffiti mecca 5Pointz on Aug. 22 after a long battle between the owner of the property and artists, who wanted to preserve the structure. Owner Jerry Wolkoff plans to build two apartment towers with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space at the site.

File photo

File photo

82nd Street BID executive director resigns 

The 82nd Street Partnership announced Aug. 27 that Executive Director Seth Taylor would resign from his position to serve as the head of the NoHo NY BID. Taylor had been working to tackle quality-of-life issues in the community and was hoping to expand the business improvement district, a plan that was met with backlash from some residents.

SEPTEMBER

THE COURIER/File photos

THE COURIER/File photos

Comrie defeats state Sen. Malcolm Smith in primaries, Avella defeats Liu

Leroy Comrie won the democratic state senate primary election over embattled former state Sen. Malcolm Smith in a landslide victory on Sept. 10. Incumbent state Sen. Tony Avella also defeated challenger John Liu, who was the former city comptroller.

Photo by Kelsey Bennett

Photo by Kelsey Bennett

Movie features 10-year-old Middle Village girl

A star was born in Middle Village. Olivia Panepinto was featured in the film “Once Upon a Time in Queens,” alongside Paul Sorvino, which debuted on Sept. 24 in the East Village. The film tells the story of an ex-mafia captain as he comes to grips with how his former life has changed after spending the last 20 years in federal prison.

the wrong man still 2

Woodside street re-named for man behind Alfred Hitchcock film

The corner of 73rd Street and 41st Avenue in Woodside was co-named after Christopher Emmanuel “Manny” Balestrero as “Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way,” on Sept. 27. Emmanuel was the influence of the Alfred Hitchcock film “The Wrong Man,” and once lived in the neighborhood.

 OCTOBER 

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Citi Bike finally coming to Queens

The city’s first bike share program will soon become a reality in Queens. Long Island City and Astoria are part of a list of neighborhoods in the city that will receive Citi Bike docking stations in upcoming years, officials announced on Oct. 28. Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase, which debuted last May, but was pushed back after equipment damages from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.

Photo courtesy of Astoria Trash

Photo courtesy of Astoria Trash

Instagram account focuses on trash problem in Astoria

One Astoria resident is getting a snapshot of what some have called an ongoing problem in the neighborhood. A resident of the neighborhood, who wished to remain anonymous, started an Instagram account after noticing how many pictures of trash she had on her phone from around Astoria. The account, “astoriatrash,” features photos taken by the Astoria resident and also submissions from other residents in what the account starter said was, “a community effort.”

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Popular Middle Village ‘Halloween House’ possessed for 10 years

Every Halloween there are traffic jams with people from around Queens waiting to get a glimpse and take pictures of Patrick Kenniff’s house in Middle Village. Kenniff started decorating his house on 75th Street near 68th Road for Halloween 10 years ago with a simple pumpkin head prop with an orange dress-like body. But ever since, he obsessively continued to add new decorations every year until there are now more than 100 decorations possessing the residence like a zombie parade. Viewing the house has become an annual attraction for families in the neighborhood and around the borough.

 NOVEMBER 

Danny Clinch/Flickr Creative Commons

Danny Clinch/Flickr Creative Commons

Crowdfunding effort to bring Pearl Jam to Forest Hills

This year, November could’ve been renamed Pearl Jam Awareness Month. Since Nov. 5, a devoted group of fans have raised almost $100,000 in crowd funds over two months. The fundraiser is a wildly hopeful dash to convince the ‘90s rock band to play in the Forest Hills Stadium. The members of the famous quintet have made no indication on what they plan to do. The group Pearl Jam Forest Hills will be holding a fundraiser in the New Year at Austin’s Ale House.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Dairy Queen arrives in Queens

Dairy Queen opened in Corona on Nov. 11, bringing its famous soft-serve treats back to the borough for the first time in decades. Located at 37-39 Junction Blvd., the Dairy Queen is one of four locations in the city, joining DQs in the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan, which just debuted in May. As many of our DQ expert readers pointed out, the dessert chain once existed in the borough prior to the 1980s, but the Corona eatery is currently the only location in Queens. The restaurant serves more than just dessert. Its menu features familiar sweets, including Blizzards, and lunch and dinner items, such as burgers, sandwiches and salads.

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

City Council passes Astoria Cove

After some tussling over this year’s key phrase — affordable housing — the City Council voted overwhelmingly on Nov. 25 to approve the Astoria Cove mega development, clearing the way for the major land use project. More than 460 units of the 1,723 total apartments throughout the 2.2-million-square-foot project on the Astoria waterfront will be affordable housing. The project, which is anticipated to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space, a school and some retail.

DECEMBER 

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Tensions erupt in Jackson Heights

Dozens of protesters gathered in Jackson Heights on Dec. 5 to protest Eric Garner’s death at the hands of police on Staten Island and to draw attention to the plight of undocumented immigrants who also fear police abuse. During that rainy evening, the people announced that the streets belonged to them before ending the protest on 82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue.

Photo via NYC Mayor's Flickr

Photo via NYC Mayor’s Flickr

103rd Precinct gets first police body cameras

The city chose nine officers from Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct on Dec. 9 to wear body cameras while out on patrol. The move was made by Mayor Bill de Blasio at a time when Staten Island’s grand jury hadn’t yet made its decision not to indict the police officer whole killed Eric Garner during a chokehold. The body cameras were an attempt to improve public relations between authorities and city residents.

Photo courtesy of the Queens Tourism Council

Photo courtesy of the Queens Tourism Council

Queens named top tourist destination

Queens ascended to the top of the list on Dec. 10 of Lonely Planet’s Best in the U.S. 2015, promising to be a huge boon for tourism activity. According to the leading travel guidebook company, Queens is a must-see U.S. destination. With 2015 set to be Queens’ year, the borough is expected to be “discovered,” as one writer wrote in Lonely Planet.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0912

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”:  82nd Street and Roosevelt Avenue 

WHERE-624x323

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Candlelight vigils held around Queens for slain officers


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Communities around Queens came together, holding emotional candlelight vigils to show their respect for the two NYPD officers who were murdered last week and to express sympathy for their families.

From Ridgewood to Long island City and Jackson Heights, among other neighborhoods, residents and the men and women in blue held a moment of silence for Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who were both shot dead by a deranged man who traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn with the intention of killing police officers.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in the city of New York,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who attended the 104th Precinct’s vigil in Ridgewood. “Our prayers go out to Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.”

In Long Island City, officers at the 108th Precinct, located at 5-47 50th Ave., gathered Monday night with residents, local leaders and elected officials during a vigil for Liu and Ramos.

“We in this community are a model, a beacon of light in the darkness,” said Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct.

People filled the street in front of the precinct holding candles and joined in prayer for the fallen officers.

“Our community responds with love, remembrance and gratitude for Officers Liu and Ramos and the NYPD,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Over in Jackson Heights, instead of the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Diversity Plaza, located on 37th Road and 74th Street, a vigil was organized to honor the two police officers and also “condemn violence in any form.”

Another vigil was held in Whitestone last night as well, with local residents and officers from the 109th Precinct.

On Sunday, Dec. 21, there was a candlelight vigil in front of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights as well.

The family of Ramos, who lived in Brooklyn, has made arrangements for his viewing ceremony on Dec. 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The funeral will be on Dec. 27 at the same location at 10 a.m.

Arrangements for Liu were still pending yesterday.

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See it: Queens homes light up for the holidays


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike Savitsky

Queens residents always go all out when decorating their homes for the holidays. This year is no different, and the 2014 light displays in the area do not disappoint.

The Queens Courier has found and photographed some of the best, so take a walk or drive around the area to spot these and other festive houses.

Howard Beach

 


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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE

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”:  IS 125 in Woodside

Woodside IS 125

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Build it Back looking to speed up and localize Sandy recovery process


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

The new Build it Back program is adding staff and hiring new construction managers in a bid to speed up the Superstorm Sandy recovery process.

The program is now hiring up to three new construction management firms for Sandy-stricken areas, hoping to increase the number of rebuilding projects getting underway. Along with hiring new managers, Build it Back is also looking to hire a local workforce of low-income residents who were affected by the storm to be part of the rebuilding process.

“This new procurement hits two of the city’s recovery goals: expanding our construction capacity to meet the needs of homeowners as quickly as possible and expanding our local workforce initiative to keep construction jobs within Sandy-affected communities,” said Amy Peterson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery. “Since the mayor’s overhaul, this has been a year of significant progress, and we expect the onboarding of new construction firms – who will deploy new strategies to target entire neighborhoods – will continue to accelerate the city’s Sandy recovery.”

There will be separate competitions for the new construction managers in the three boroughs hit by Sandy: Staten Island, Brooklyn and Queens. The city will hire up to three new firms, one for each borough if possible, that will focus on specific neighborhoods within each borough.

Once hired, the construction managers will sign a contract with a clause that will encourage them to have at least 20 percent of employees be Sandy-impacted residents. They will have to provide the city with full-time staff member tracking to make sure it is in compliance with the Sandy Recovery Hiring Program.

For the possible Sandy-impacted workers, they will be given job training and then have a chance at an apprenticeship to work on the construction team.

As the process moves along, construction managers will be asked to “bundle” homes that have much of the same structural damage in a particular neighborhood to deliver a higher volume of completed projects.

When the new system came in at the beginning of the year, there was no construction started. Now, there have been 933 rebuilding projects started and over 1,951 reimbursement checks given out totaling $34 million throughout the city.

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Give the gift of Queens this holiday season


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

gifts

BY PAULINA TAM AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Whether you are trying to find a present for your favorite neighbor or want to give a far-off relative a souvenir from your hometown, these Queens-themed gifts are as diverse as the borough they represent.

Bond No. 9 Queens

Queens perfume

Photo courtesy of Bond No. 9 New York

Price: 100ml bottle for $270 and 50ml bottle for $195

Queens is arguably the most ethnically diverse borough, and now local and outer-borough residents alike can smell like Queens. New York City-based fragrance company Bond No. 9’s unisex creation smells of “citrusy” bergamot and “come-hither” blackberry, among other notes that are mixed with sandalwood, musk and amber. Purchase it here: www.bondno9.com, Saks Fifth Avenue and their boutiques at 9 Bond Street, 399 Bleecker St., 897 Madison Ave., 863 Washington St. and 45 Main St.

Queens: A Culinary Passport (Exploring Ethnic Cuisine in New York City’s Most Diverse Borough) by Andrea Lynn

Price: Print list price is $19.99, but you can purchase it for the Kindle price of $8.89

Queens A Culinary Passport by Andrea Lynn PHOTO

File photo

This borough boasts a full range of ethnic restaurants to choose for all your dietary needs and cravings. But where to start? Astoria resident Andrea Lynn has the solution in her book, “Queens: A Culinary Passport.” Inside this fully illustrated book you can find chef and restaurant profiles, guides to more than 40 restaurants and food stands and, of course, recipes for the adventurous eater to try out at home. Purchase it here: www.amazon.com, www.us.macmillan.com.

Queens Is My Borough Pouch

Price: $12.95

Queens Is My Borough Pouch 2

Photo courtesy of Lockwood

Rep your borough or if you’re not a resident of Queens, your love for this diverse borough with the “Queens Is My Borough Pouch.” This cotton canvas mini sac measures 6.25 x 10 inches and is secure enough to hold all your essential to-go items, perfect for carrying all your traveling items as you go from country to country all in the comfort of Queens. It has a zipper top and is made in the USA. Purchase it here: 32-15 33rd St., Astoria, www.lockwoodshop.com.

Vintage Astoria Maps

Astoria vintage map

Photo courtesy of Lockwood

Price: $25.00

This exclusive Lockwood item is made by artist James McDonald. Each 11 x 17 inch Astoria map poster features a map of the neighborhood as seen through historical documents that have been scanned and brushed up by the artist. Choose from a parchment color or nautical blue, and prepare to get lost in a world that is strangely far away yet close to home. Purchase it here: 32-15 33rd St., Astoria, www.lockwoodshop.com.

No. 7 Manhattan to Queens T-Shirt

Men #7 Tee

Photo courtesy of New York Transit Museum

Price: $21.00, or $18.90 for members

All aboard! Ship this one-of-a-kind, 100 percent cotton short-sleeved tee to anyone who is a fan of both boroughs, believes the 7 train is the gateway to the best of both worlds or is simply a junkie for all things related to the MTA. If you’re a member of the Transit Museum, you can purchase the T-shirt for only $16.80. This shirt is a great choice for both women and men. Purchase it here: Retail stores at the New York Transit Museum (corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn Heights) or at the Grand Central Terminal Shuttle Passage, www.transitmuseumstore.com.

Queens NYC Typography Map Cell Phone Case iPhone 5 Cases

queens phone case

Photo courtesy of Zazzle

Price: $44.95 per case

This already custom-made iPhone 5 case of a typography map of Queens is designed to include all the borough’s neighborhood and park names within its boundaries. Can’t keep your fingers off of Queens? Have it always in the palm of your hands as you text and swipe away in and out of your beloved neighborhood. Artwork is designed by iconyc. Purchase it here: www.zazzle.com.

 

The Unisphere, Queens, New Aluminum License Plate

Globe License PlatePrice: $16.99

Drive around with the world within your grasp — at the back of your car, to be exact. This 12 x 6 inch license plate depicts iconic Queens landmark the Unisphere and is made of durable aluminum. It is also water-resistant, which is great to weather out any winter storm that might come your way. This plate used to be $19.50 and is available now at a cheaper price, and it can be shipped within two days of an online purchase. Purchase it here: www.cafepress.com.

Queens Baby OnsieInfant Bodysuit

Price: $22.00

Start the little ones early with their pride for Queens. Dress them up with a baby bodysuit that boldly displays their love for the borough. Purchase the suit in cloud white, sky blue, petal pink or kiwi. It is made of 100 percent soft ringspun cotton and there are three snap closures for easy diaper changes. Purchase it here: www.cafepress.com.

Myrtle Avenue, Queens, NYC Mug

Price: $16.50

Myrtle Avenue Large Mug

Photo courtesy of CafePress

You don’t have to live on Myrtle Avenue to drink your coffee or tea out of this Queens-friendly mug. There are various other Queens streets to choose from, and they’re all made of high-fired ceramic and are microwave and dishwasher safe. This mug holds 15 oz. of fluid and stands 4.5 inches tall. Now your mug will sure to stand out from all the rest at your company’s kitchen sink. Purchase it here: www.cafepress.com.

 

 

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

where

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”: Greenpoint and Borden avenues

DSC_0593-624x414

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0593

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”: Frank M. Charles Memorial Park

Frank M. Charles Memorial Park

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How to celebrate the holiday season in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Woodhaven BID’s tree lighting

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO

From holiday markets, to historic house tours, to tree lightings and more, these events are just some of the ways to feel festive in Queens this season.

LIC Holiday Market
When: Every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 21, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: 5-25 46th Ave., LIC
The LIC Flea Market will take over two floors, where will you will be able to visit your old favorite outdoor vendors, as well as meet new ones. There will be boutiques featuring clothes, art, soaps, jewelry, furnishings, accessories, delicious treats and more. There will also be live music, a beer garden and a chance to take pictures with Santa.

Sabba Park Snowflake Lighting & AcapellaQ Caroling
When: Dec. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: 48th Street and Queens Boulevard, Sunnyside
The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce invites you to welcome the holiday season with cookies, Santa and caroling by AcapellaQ. There will be traditional carols at the park, and then a procession to 46th Bliss St. Station Plaza for more caroling.

The Woodhaven BID’s Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting Ceremony
When: Dec. 5, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Forest Parkway Plaza, intersection of Forest Parkway and Jamaica Avenue
At this year’s lighting ceremony there will be costumed characters and a surprise visit from Santa Claus as part of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District’s “Holidays in Woodhaven Weekend.”

Welcome Santa to Woodhaven Parade
When: Dec. 6, 11:30 a.m.
Where: Woodhaven Manor, 96th Street and Jamaica Avenue
The parade will proceed along Woodhaven’s Jamaica Avenue to Dexter Court, and free goodies and Santa hats will be distributed at the beginning and at the end of the parade.

Holiday Happening
When: Dec. 6, from noon to 3 p.m.
Where: George Seuffert Bandshell in Forest Park, Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive
Celebrate the holiday season with crafts, music, games and a surprise visitor.

Wreathmaking Workshop
When: Dec. 6, 7
Where: 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park
Make an evergreen wreath with friends at workshops that are being held at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. at the Queens County Farm Museum. Admission is $20 per person. All materials are provided; you only need to bring a garden shear.

Flushing Historic House Tour and Holiday Market
When: Dec. 7, 1 p.m.
Where: 137-35 Northern Blvd., Flushing
You’re invited to visit seven historic sites in Flushing and learn about their unique histories as you celebrate the holiday season this year. Each site will offer special activities and refreshments, and a trolley will take visitors from one historic house to the next. Flushing Town Hall is also having their first Holiday Market where there will be artists and crafts from the Queens area selling their wares in the gallery from 1 to 5 p.m. during the tour. There will be paintings, paper goods, jewelry, handcrafted ceramics and more. Tickets are $25/$20 in advance for adults, and $10 for children 12 and under. For tickets or more information call the Queens Historical Society at 718-939-0647.

Winter Solstice Celebration and Tree Lighting
When: Dec. 7, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Queens Botanical Garden, 43-50 Main St., Flushing
Get in the holiday spirit with an afternoon of holiday celebrations filled with family fun, including a winter garden tour, live musical performances and a tree lighting ceremony. Garden admission is free.

Hands-on History: Deck the Halls
When: Dec. 13, from noon to 3 p.m.
Where: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica
On this special holiday tour of the museum, learn how the King family celebrated the season and create your own winter and holiday decorations.

Citi Field Winter Fest
When: Dec. 13, from 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave.
The New York Mets and Metropolitan Hospitality are hosting the first Winter Fest at Citi Field. Attendees will enjoy an afternoon of family fun activities including winter arts and crafts, mascot appearances and more. Family-friendly activities at the event will include a meet and greet with Santa, cookie decorating, fan photo opportunities and holiday caroling. There will also be festive food and beverages for sale, including a specialty eggnog and winter beer. Tickets for Winter Fest are $10 for adults and $7 for children and can be purchased online at Mets.com/WinterFest. Free parking is available in Lot G for ticket-holders.

Hands-on History: Deck the Halls
When:Dec. 13, from noon to 3 p.m.
Where: King Manor Museum, 150-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica
On this special holiday tour of the museum, learn how the King family celebrated the season and create your own winter and holiday decorations.

Winter Holiday Festival
When: Dec. 14 at 1 p.m.
Where: Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd.
This free art-making workshop is family-friendly and a fun way to celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa with activities geared toward each holiday. Storyteller Robin Bady will share her favorite stories, Timothy Bellavia will help you create beautiful Christmas wreaths using recycled fabrics and ribbons that will be donated to local senior centers in Queens, and storyteller Tammy Hall will share tales from African traditions of the Kwanzaa season.

Holiday Open House
When: Dec. 26, 27 and 28, from 12 to 4 p.m.
Where: 73-50 Little Neck Pkwy., Floral Park
Enjoy tours of the decorated Adriance Farmhouse at the Queens County Farm Museum’s annual Holiday Open House. There will be craft activities for the kids to enjoy, and all visitors are welcomed with a cup of freshly mulled cider. Admission is free.

To submit holiday events to our online calendar, email events@queenscourier.com.

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Queens Sports Preview: Everything you need to know for the weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Title

Commodores end season with playoff loss against FDR

Bayside fell one game short of reaching the championship game of the PSAL Varsity Bowl playoffs with a 32-20 loss to second-seeded FDR on Nov. 23 at Midwood High School. The Commodores finished the season with a 9-3 record and fell short in spite of two rushing touchdowns by senior Tyrell Plaza, who finished his career at the school with 30 touchdowns. Bayside has gone 29-14 over the last four seasons and loses 10 seniors.

St. John’s men head to MSG for tougher competition in NIT tip-off

St. John’s uses Madison Square Garden as its home court for many games, but this week, the arena will serve as a neutral site in the NIT season tip-off semifinals. St. John’s will face Big 10 foe Minnesota on Nov. 26 in the semifinals and will face No. 13 Gonzaga or Georgia. The Red Storm are 3-0 with wins over NJIT, Division II School Franklin Pierce and Long Island University.

St. John’s women faces in-state opposition

The St. John’s women’s basketball team has opened the season with an 11-point win at Yale and a 72-66 win over Florida in the home opener on Nov. 20. In the win over the Gators, Danaejah Grant and Aliyyah Handford had big games with 26 and 27 points respectively. The Red Storm were scheduled to visit Marist on Nov. 24 and host Binghamton on Nov. 29.

Cardozo’s Salnave gets scholarship from Rutgers

Guard Rashond Salnave will begin his junior year Dec. 2 against Thomas Edison and has started getting notice. In March, he had scholarship offers from Manhattan College and Fordham University. After helping the Judges win their first city championship since 1999, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Miami (Fla.) were among the schools to extend him offers. On Nov. 23, Salnave tweeted that Rutgers had offered him a scholarship. Salnave averaged 18 points last season and hit the game-winning free throws in the PSAL AA title game against Thomas Jefferson.

Former Christ the King standout Calhoun begins college career at Duke

Sierra Calhoun averaged 24 points in her senior season with Christ the King and was a McDonald’s All-American before heading to Duke. Calhoun’s brother, Omar, plays for Connecticut. With the seventh-ranked Blue Devils, Calhoun has started three games and is averaging seven points per game. Calhoun’s two games this week are Nov. 25 against Buffalo and Nov. 28 against Stony Brook.

Queens native starts strong for Marist men’s basketball team

Chavaughn Lewis is from Jamaica and went to high school at St. Mary’s of Manhasset. In his senior year, he averaged 23.9 points and reached the state federation title. Then he took his talents to Marist and was named captain of the Red Foxes as a junior last season. So far, he has averaged 19.5 points in two games this season. This week, Lewis and the Red Foxes will play three games in the Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Florida.

Former Holy Cross star has big game in Israel

Sylven Landesberg averaged 29.8 points as a senior for Holy Cross in 2007-08, and since graduating the Francis Lewis Boulevard school, he has gone a long way from Queens to the University of Virginia and then to Israel. Playing time has been difficult to come by for Landesberg with Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League, but on Nov. 22, he scored 22 points against Limoges CSP, his highest number of points with the team.

York College men’s basketball opens league play

York College opened play in the CUNYAC conference on Nov. 25 by visiting Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. York won the conference tournament last season and reached the second round of the Division III NCAA tournament. So far York has lost in overtime to McDaniel College and beaten Penn State-Harrisburg. Omar St. John, formerly of Van Buren High School, leads the team by averaging 14.5 points per game.

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Jackson Heights primary care program aimed at low-income, immigrant women


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Grameen PrimaCare

One nonprofit is looking to be the helping hand for women in Queens to lead healthier lives, no matter their immigration status.

Grameen PrimaCare, a New York City-based organization looking to provide high-quality, affordable and comprehensive access to healthcare, has opened its first primary care and health promotion program in Jackson Heights.

The program, called Grameen VidaSana, is open to women 18 years and older living in low-income, immigrant communities in Queens and who have no health insurance. The service at 82-11 37 Ave. opened in September.

“Our vision, our belief is that it’s unjust if all people don’t have equal access to affordable, quality healthcare, so that’s why we were born,” said Brooke Beardslee, executive director at Grameen PrimaCare. “We were born because it’s just clear that there are so many people in this country who, because of their documentation status, don’t have access to the affordable health care and we find that unacceptable.”

Grameen PrimaCare, is a sister organization of Grameen America, which was started in 2008 and is based on the structure of Grameen Bank, founded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Yunus offers microloans, training and support for women who do not otherwise have access to traditional banking structures. Grameen America opened its first branch in Jackson Heights.

For a monthly fee of $49, women using Grameen VidaSana receive unlimited access to a bilingual staff at the site that includes a doctor and four health coaches, also known as “compañeras de salud” in Spanish, who meet members first and then continue to work with them through their full membership.

Members also have access to group-based health workshops with a curriculum of many topics that the women themselves identified as concerns they need more information about. Some of these topics include diabetes management, hypertension management, obesity, stress, domestic violence, parenting and nutrition.

Program organizers have also been working with health care providers to find discounted and affordable referrals for members.

“Our practice is unique for many reasons: we are truly community based, we’re located in ground zero of the immigrant community,” Beardslee said. “[Jackson Heights] is ground zero for immigrant life and most likely [a large proportion of them are lacking documentation] and that’s who we are here for.”

According to Beardslee, the curriculum and overall program was designed after more than a year of working together with local community groups, such as Make the Road NY, and holding two health care fairs. During the fairs, they handed out 120-question questionnaires to all attendees. 

With their membership, women will also have access to classes such as Zumba, yoga, healthy cooking and ESL courses. For now these classes are free and open to the community as well. 

“We know that there has been such bad experience and mistrust, we know that the community is suspicious,” Beardslee said. “We want you to cross the threshold here and come meet us and then decide.”

Grameen VidaSana will be holding Giving Tuesday on Dec. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. featuring free flu shot vouchers, blood pressure checks, healthy cooking demonstrations, an opportunity to meet the doctor and health team at the site, and many giveaways.

“We’re anticipating health literacy rising with the women who become members of Grameen VidaSana,” Beardslee said. “That through all this talking they’re just going to become so much more informed and feel in control with their health.”

Grameen VidaSana is currently open Monday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday 1 to 5 p.m., Wednesday 3 to 7 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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Queens Sports Preview: Everything you need to know for the weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of St. John's University

BY LARRY FLEISHER

Commodores continue playoffs against FDR

Bayside High School is one game away from reaching the championship game of the PSAL Varsity Bowl playoffs and will face second-seeded FDR on Nov. 23 at noon at Midwood High School. The fourth-seeded Commodores opened the playoffs with a 26-6 victory over James Madison. Junior running back Marcus Watson had 111 yards while senior Tyrell Plaza rushed for two touchdowns and had eight tackles. One of Bayside’s two losses was a 16-6 defeat at FDR on Sept. 27.

St. John’s men looking for more complete performances as schedule gets tougher

Saying St. John’s 91-84 win over Division II school Franklin Pierce was uneven would be an understatement. The Red Storm improved to 2-0 on Nov. 17, but did so in a game where they trailed by seven at halftime and then began the second half with 21 straight points. D’Angelo Harrison had a career-high 31 points and 17 rebounds. The Red Storm faced Long Island University on Nov. 19 and will face Minnesota and, possibly, No. 13 Gonzaga in next week’s NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.

Former Holy Cross star helps Quinnipiac open season with victory

Evan Conti’s 1,120 points are the fifth highest in Holy Cross history. Since graduating from the school in 2011, he has taken his talents to Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn. Conti began his senior season by totaling 13 points, six assists and six rebounds in an 88-85 double overtime thriller over Yale. Conti and his team faced La Salle on Nov. 18 and will visit Albany on Nov. 22.

St. John’s women’s basketball faces Florida in home opener

The St. John’s women’s basketball team opened its season by getting a career-high 30 points from Danejah Grant in a 61-50 win at Yale on Nov. 15. On Nov. 20, St. John’s opens its home schedule against Florida and will be facing the Gators for the second straight season. Last year, St. John’s fell behind by 18 at halftime in a 72-68 loss in Gainesville.

Former Red Storm forward Sampson could make pro debut at MSG

Jakarr Sampson averaged 12.8 points last season for St. John’s and decided to declare for the NBA draft. Although he was undrafted, he made the Philadelphia 76ers opening night roster. So far, Sampson is averaging 2.3 points and has appeared in nine games, although his playing time has been limited so far. The 76ers are winless (0-10) through Nov. 17 and will face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on the night of Nov. 22.

Queens College players make East Coast Conference honor roll

Queens College men’s basketball opened the season with an 83-77 loss to Goldey-Beacom in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 14. In the loss, senior guard Jeremiah Mordi had 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting and was named to the East Coast Conference honor roll. Mordi, however, was 8-of-28 from the field as the Knights fell to 0-3 with double digit losses to University of the Sciences and Georgian Court. Queens will resume its schedule on Dec. 1 at Adelphi. The women’s team opened the season with a pair of close games, a 60-58 loss to St. Michaels and a 61-59 win over Franklin Pierce. Forward Madison Rowland had a double-double in the win and was named to the East Coast Conference honor roll. The Lady Knights continue play on Nov. 19 at Dominican College.

Holy Cross begins hockey season

Holy Cross will begin its hockey season on Nov. 23 in Brooklyn against St. Joseph’s of Staten Island. In their first year competing in the Catholic League’s A Division, the Knights finished fourth in the Catholic League’s A Division at 9-4-2 and then lost their first round best-of-three series to Msgr. Farrell of Staten Island. Holy Cross won both meetings with St. Joseph’s by a combined 10-1 margin.

Boxing comes to Queens

Though the main event in boxing is Long Island native Chris Algieri’s challenge of Manny Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title on Nov. 22 in Macau China, fight fans can get their fix on Nov. 21 at International Fight Night at Resorts World Casino in Jamaica. On the nine-fight card run by New Legend Boxing, there are three fighters with connections to Queens. Allan Phelan of Astoria by way of County Kildare in Ireland will fight in a six-round junior lightweight bout. Featherweight Jose Miguel De La Rosa, a Dominican Republic native living in Queens and Jamaica middleweight Devaun Lee will have four-round fights.

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

image

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”: The view from The Garden at Studio Square Flowers-on-Roof1-624x416

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Councilman promises to fund purchase of Fresh Meadows colonial cemetery


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

Fresh Meadows Councilman Rory Lancman pledged to fully fund the purchase of a historical cemetery on 182nd Avenue from the current private owner that has no intention of preserving the plot of land.

“Buying the cemetery is the easy part,” Lancman said about the Brinckerhoff Cemetery. “We need to make sure that an organization with the infrastructure can shoulder the responsibility of upkeeping and maintaining the cemetery.”

The 18th century cemetery was designated a landmark in 2012, thwarting the efforts of the owner, Linda Cai, to develop the land into housing or commercial property.

Lancman, whose coverage area includes Fresh Meadows, said that his office was in the process of looking for an organization that would be able to take care of the colonial cemetery.

The Friends of the The Brinckerhoff Colonial Cemetery, a nonprofit, helped the site gain the landmark status and is in the process of raising money to buy the cemetery. But so far, Lancman hasn’t offered to buy the property for the group because he isn’t sure if the organization

“I’m not going to make the decision unilaterally,” Lancman said. “We need to sit down with the community and figure it out.”

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