Before Queens residents spring forward this weekend, they’ll need to dig out of up to 7 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a winter storm warning for New York City from 7:00 p.m. Wednesday to 7:00 p.m. Thursday. The storm is expected to bring 4 to 7 inches of the white stuff.
Rain and sleet during the day Wednesday will change to snow overnight, according to NWS. The snow will keep falling on Thursday as temperatures drop to the low 20s by the afternoon. By about 7 p.m. the flakes will taper off.
Though the sun will return on Friday, temperatures will stay chilly with a high around 24 degrees.
But, as we turn our clocks ahead on Sunday and gain that extra hour of sunlight in the evenings, temperatures are also signaling that nicer weather is coming.
Small businesses in Queens are positive that 2015 will be a strong year, according to the second annual TD Bank Small Business Pulse Check.
About two-thirds of Queens businesses are optimistic or excited about the year, and 27 percent believe 2015 will be the best year ever for their company, the report found.
The firm surveyed nearly 500 business owners in the city with $5 million in revenue or less. About 100 of those companies are from Queens.
Despite the positive outlooks, more than half of Queens businesses surveyed don’t expect to hire new employees this year and just 29 percent hope to hire more workers, according to the questionnaire.
“Businesses in Queens and across the city are optimistic because not only did 75 percent of businesses in Queens (and 77 percent citywide) meet or exceed their revenue goals in 2014, but 63 percent of businesses in Queens anticipate being able to increase their revenues during 2015,” said Chris Giamo, TD Bank Regional President, Metro New York. “This trend toward growth naturally leads to a better outlook on business, but we are seeing that many business owners are still approaching expansion in a careful and well-planned way, meaning they aren’t ready to take major risks.”
But many businesses in the borough are thinking technology-forward. The survey found that nearly half of the companies, 46 percent, are already using smart pay technology services, such as Apple Pay, Square or other forms of mobile payment, which are gaining popularity.
It turns out that it’s not just western Queens that has a problem with overcrowded schools.
Community leaders from across the borough urged Borough President Melinda Katz to push for school expansions during a budget meeting on Monday. Katz is in the process of developing the Queens budget for 2016, and she invited the public to comment on what mattered to them and their priorities for 2016.
“We’re experiencing a huge influx of children and we just don’t have the space,” said Karyn Petersen, Community Board 10 district manager. “We could use more schools or expand the schools we have. Both would be preferable.”
Petersen’s wishes were echoed by many others. Across the borough, people are reporting an increase in population and a swelling number of school children. In Woodside and Sunnyside, parents petitioned the city to create a new middle school. In the Jackson Heights area, Giovanna Reid bemoaned the fact that a new high school hadn’t been created in decades.
One hundred and fifty people, many representing hospitals, libraries, colleges and other institutions, signed up to speak at the hearing.
“We need a new high school,” Reid said. “It’s about time for one.”
Along with a demand for more school seats, community leaders sought out funding to expand libraries, which, like the schools, are overcrowded. Along with a problem of limited space, many libraries are located on streets that are dangerous for pedestrians to cross.
“Kids have to cross the boulevard of death just to get to the library,” said Frank Gulluscio, the district manager for Community Board 6. “I mean I’m not trying to be dramatic but it’s a very dangerous place for kids to be even though many have to be there.”
With the start of Lunar New Year, Flushing’s large Asian communities are getting ready to celebrate the year of the goat (or sheep, or ram, depending on the translation). At Flushing Town Hall, artists from all over the world will be holding workshops and performances for the public. Two performances are featured in this video as a sample of what to expect.
The first is the EastRiver Ensemble, a group of dancers and musicians who will be performing at the cultural center on Feb. 28, and the second performance is Dancing Wind, an abstract dance that is meant to imitate earth, wind, fire and water.
On Saturday, a large parade will be held in downtown Flushing. In the past, hundreds of people have come out to celebrate in the parade, and organizers are expecting a similar showing of people with an increased boost from both groups celebrating together.
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.
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.”
The 59,500-square-foot site at 93rdAvenue 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Play 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.
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.