Tag Archives: Queens

City Council rejects Whitestone sidewalk cafe bid


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The City Council unanimously struck down a controversial bid for a Whitestone sidewalk café Wednesday.

Owners of Nonna’s Pizzeria & Trattoria wanted to wrap an outdoor sitting area around their 22-30 154th St. Italian restaurant.

But a handful of neighbors said the proposal would bring excessive noise and take away parking spaces.

Lawmakers said the sidewalk is also not wide enough and too close to residential homes.

“The impact of this victory should ensure all future applicants make every effort to address the concerns of the community board and neighboring residents,” Councilman Paul Vallone said.

Restaurant manager Joe Lobue recently told The Courier the outdoor area would have let customers kick back and enjoy a meal in the sunshine.

The restaurant’s lawyer, who was in court Wednesday, did not immediately reply to a call for comment.

 

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Norwod Gardens then

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken?

Guess by commenting below!

The answer will be revealed next Friday.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: New York Hall of Science 

Queens man arrested for LI catalytic converter thefts has priors in NYC


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Ahanix1989

The 23-year-old Jamaica man arrested on Long Island last month for stripping three dozen cars of their costly catalytic converters has a lengthy rap sheet in the city, officials said.

Nassau County police charged Dorient G. Reid in February with grand larceny for his eight-month-long raid of body shop and U-Haul parking lots that damaged more than 35 cars and their exhaust systems.

Reid crossed the Queens border to try his luck after the NYPD arrested him last March for allegedly stealing five catalytic converters out of a used auto parts lot in Jamaica, an NYPD spokesperson said.

The apparent repeat offender had nine prior arrests in New York City, including one last year for offering an arresting officer a $500 bribe from his holding cell in Jamaica’s 113th Precinct, according to the NYPD and Queens district attorney’s office.

He faces multiple counts of grand larceny and auto stripping charges in both Nassau and New York City, the police departments said.

Reid will appear in Nassau court on March 28, a spokesperson for the county’s district attorney said. He also awaits a March 25 sentencing in Queens Criminal Court after pleading guilty in the bribery case, according to the borough’s district attorney’s office.

Catalytic converters, which contain precious metals inside, like platinum, have been the target of a costly citywide crime trend that is now on the decline.

In January, police arrested two men in Flushing for allegedly sawing nearly $5,000 worth of devices off eight trucks in a U-Haul storage lot at 36-30 College Point Boulevard, Crime Prevention Officer Anthony Lo Verme of the 109th Precinct said.

Since the collar, there have been no new converter thefts in the 109th Precinct, which covers downtown Flushing and upwards to Whitestone, according to Lo Verme.

Deputy Inspector Jason Huerta of the 111th Precinct — who reported a spike at the end of last year — believes the arrest will wipe out the crime around Bayside.

“We’re hoping that eliminates the problem here,” he said, “and I suspect it will.”

 

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Macy’s initiative to boost funds for two Queens parks


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

This month, Macy’s shoppers can spend some green to keep Queens green.

Two parks in the borough — Cunningham and Queens Botanical Garden — have been selected for the major department store’s “Heart Your Park” fundraising initiative that raises money for upkeep and improvement projects.

More than 550 parks in the nation were chosen for the program.

From March 7 to March 31, customers can make donations at three Macy’s locations in Flushing, Douglaston and Queens Center Mall.

Macy’s will match the total up to $250,000 and give the proceeds to the city’s Parks Department.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Friends of Cunningham Park President Marc Haken. “We’re constantly improving the park.”

Haken said his parks support group, which is funded through City Council and state assembly grants, has spent at least $100,000 over the last few years to maintain the Fresh Meadows park.

The much-needed help from Macy’s would go toward cleaning up hiking trails and fixing many eroded parts of the park, Haken added.

“It’s like owning a house,” he said. “There’s always stuff to do, equipment to be purchased.”

 

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Firefighters battle blazing Howard Beach brush fire


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Updated Monday, March 17, 9:25 a.m.

More than 100 firefighters tamed a massive brush fire that lit up Howard Beach late Saturday afternoon, the FDNY said.

Flames broke out in a field of reeds near Spring Creek Park at 83rd Street and 163rd Avenue at about 4:20 p.m., fire officials said.

The FDNY said it took about 138 firefighters and 33 units to put out the three-alarm blaze. It was under control by about 6:20 p.m.

There were no reported injuries, according to the Fire Department.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation, an FDNY spokesperson said.

 

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Woman found dead in Howard Beach motel: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

A 22-year-old woman was found dead in a Howard Beach motel Saturday morning, police said.

Authorities responded to a 9-1-1 call of an unconscious female at the Surfside Motel at 164-33 Cross Bay Blvd. about 11:25 a.m. Saturday.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.

 

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Jamaica man arrested in connection to 2012 shooting death


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Police have arrested and charged a man with murder in connection to the 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Sydney London.

London was found dead in the driver’s seat of his car, with a gunshot wound to the right side of his torso, near Ring Place and 118th Avenue, on April 11, 2012, police said.

Police charged 30-year-old Sekwan Carter, of Jamaica, Friday with murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

 

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Congressmember Crowley kicks of re-election campaign


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Dominick Totino Photography

Congressmember Joseph Crowley has launched his re-election campaign.

Crowley, who was first elected to Congress in 1998, was voted in last year to represent sections of Queens and the Bronx in the 14th Congressional District.

He officially kicked off his campaign for re-election on Sunday, March 9, in Sunnyside, though no opponents have declared their candidacies as of yet.

“It has been my privilege to represent the people of one of the most diverse districts in the country, and I am excited to announce I’ll be seeking re-election to continue to focus on the issues that matter most,” Crowley said.

The announcement came as the Woodside native gathered with other elected officials and supporters during his fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Sidetracks Restaurant.

“Too many families are still struggling to get by and we need to break the gridlock in Congress to get our country moving forward again,” he said. “Using my position in the elected leadership of the House Democratic Caucus, I am fully committed to making a real difference in people’s lives. That means putting New Yorkers back to work, raising the minimum wage, protecting social services that are vital to our most vulnerable communities, and fighting hard to make immigration reform a reality.”

Recently, Crowley introduced the On-The-Job Training Act that would guarantee American workers are able to gain new skills to both compete and succeed in the job market.

 

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Queens woman determined to walk again after losing legs in train accident


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The plan is to walk again and then ultimately soar through the city’s skies in a flying trapeze.

Teena Katz, who lost her legs after she was struck by a No. 7 train at Grand Central Station, is recovering quickly from the horrific accident last December.

“Minute by minute, day by day, it’s not easy by any means,” Katz said. “Some days are easier, and some days are harder. I just have to take each obstacle as they come and figure it out.”

The 31-year-old Auburndale financial analyst was on her way home from dinner in Manhattan the night after Christmas, when she felt light-headed on the subway station’s platform.

She dragged herself away from the edge of the platform “just in case,” but the next few moments were a blur.

“I leaned myself up by a staircase, and the next thing I know, I was waking up and I was laying on the tracks,” Katz said. “I didn’t realize that was where I was at first. I don’t have any recollection of being hit by the train or even falling.”

The “no-nonsense individual,” however, won’t be kept down. She has been chronicling her healing process on her blog, teenavsthe7train.com, which she peppers with jokes.

“There’s no happy ending to this story,” said her husband Ben, “but she never dwelled on the ‘how did I get here.’ She pushed those thoughts out of her mind. I think it’s what’s helped her recover as quickly as she has.”

Katz won’t be fitted for prosthetics for another two to four months, but she has high hopes of returning to a normal life.

That means figuring out how to get through once-easy daily activities like sitting on the couch and getting ready for bed.

“Very simple things like that, I have to plan for,” she said. “Everything takes twice as long now.”

It also means learning how to walk on new legs and, in the future, going back to the Trapeze School New York in Manhattan, where she used to fly at least twice a month.

“Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to do stuff like that again,” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to. It’s going to be hard. I might just swing. We’ll see.”

The family, who owns the Maggie Moo’s on Bell Boulevard, is accepting donations to fund the costly recovery process.

Contributions can be hand-delivered to the ice cream shop at 39-33 Bell Blvd. or be sent to Teena Katz at P.O. Box 604312, Bayside, NY 11360.

 

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Rep. Meng works to bring family members of teen crash victims to US


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo by Vic Nicastro

Family members of the two teens killed last month in a tragic car crash are working with Congressmember Grace Meng to fly from China to Queens to grieve.

Meng is trying to secure visas for Jiahao Liang’s mother and sister and Jennifer Gao’s grandmother and aunt.

The two died Feb. 18, when their car swerved off the Long Island Expressway, near Kissena Boulevard, and wrapped around a tree.

Their relatives await a March 11 interview from the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China. Meng said she intervened with the American Consulate in China after a friend of both families reached out to her for help.

“The death of these two teenagers is a terrible and horrible tragedy, and our hearts go out to their family and friends,” she said. “We will assist them with whatever needs they may have during this difficult time.”

Liang, 19, of Flushing, who drove the car and his passenger Gao, 16, of Oakland Gardens, were cremated about two weeks ago, Meng said.

 

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Rare skin infection outbreak tied to Chinatown seafood markets


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

FishHC1109_X_300_C_Y

The Health Department is warning customers of Chinatown seafood markets in Queens and other parts of the city about an outbreak of a rare skin infection.

Anyone who has handled live or raw fish or other seafood purchased at Chinatown markets in Queens, Brooklyn or Manhattan could be affected, the Health Department said Wednesday.

The infection is transferred through a break in the skin, such as a cut, and is caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium marinum.

People are strongly advised to wear waterproof gloves when handling any raw seafood that may have come from these markets.

There is no risk from consuming food from the markets, according to the Health Department.

So far, 30 cases of the infection have been identified.

Symptoms include red, tender lumps or swelling under the skin of the hands or arms. People may additionally develop swelling or pain in their hands or arms and have trouble moving their fingers.

If you exhibit any symptoms or believe you may have been infected, see an infectious disease physician or dermatologist. You can also call the Health Department’s Bureau of Communicable Disease at 347-396-2600 and ask to speak with a doctor.

Treatment includes antibiotics and should begin right away.

When left untreated it can become a more serious infection that requires surgery.

 

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Astoria man convicted of first-degree murder for killing girlfriend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size1

An Astoria man has been convicted in the brutal beating death of his girlfriend, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Jason Bohn, 35, was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder for strangling and torturing his 27-year-old girlfriend, Danielle Thomas, to death on June 26, 2012.

The live-in couple was feuding over phone calls Thomas had made, according to trial testimony.

“The victim was a young woman who fought for her life until she was overcome by the defendant,” Brown said. “He has justly been held accountable for his actions and it is likely he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

Bohn, a University of Florida law school graduate, was also convicted of tampering with physical evidence and first-degree criminal contempt following a seven-week jury trial before Queens Supreme Court Justice Michael Aloise.

He faces up to life in prison without parole when he is sentenced April 2.

Bohn’s attorney was not immediately available for comment.

 

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Queens Boy Scouts need money for historic Normandy trip


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Hedy Debonet

Four Boy Scouts from Queens and about a dozen more in the city need help funding a historic trip to Normandy.

The Boy Scouts of America Greater New York Councils is hoping to give 15 young leaders a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tour Europe and visit France during the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.

Nearly 160,000 American soldiers landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944 to march across Europe to defeat Hitler at the height of World War II.

“The soldiers who stormed the beach that day are probably no older than the boys we’re taking on this trip,” said Hedy DeBonet, a trip leader from Fresh Meadows.

“This is what we will be showing to the youth on this trip — a reminder of the sacrifices made a generation ago, acknowledgement that freedom is bought at a terrible price,” she added.

Each teen must come up with $2,600 for airfare, hotels and admission fees for nearly a dozen tourist spots, including the Eiffel Tower and the Imperial War Museum.

So far, each Scout has paid for half. But more is needed before the nine-day trip, beginning April 18, DeBonet said.

“There’s so much history that the kids don’t really learn anymore,” she said. “It’s just a real hands-on learning experience.”

Tax deductible checks can be made out to the Greater New York Councils, Boy Scouts of America, at 350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 7820, New York, NY 10118.

 

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Katz names Queens representative on Panel for Educational Policy


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz has picked Deborah Dillingham of Forest Hills to serve on the city’s Panel for Educational Policy (PEP).

The 13-member board, with representatives from each borough, votes to approve school policies, many which are controversial. Each borough president appoints one member to the PEP and the mayor appoints eight.

“Through her extensive work with our city’s school system, Deborah has shown she has the knowledge, savvy and commitment necessary to be an outstanding member of the Panel for Educational Policy,” Katz said.

Dillingham was president of District 28’s Community Education Council and served on the Queens Borough President’s Parent Advisory Committee, the District 28 Leadership Team and the Chancellor’s Parent Advisory Committee.

The mom of three was also president of the Parent’s Association of P.S. 101.

“She cares deeply about our children and the schooling they receive and has a track record of making sure our kids get the best education possible,” Katz said. “I know she will be a great asset to the PEP.”

Dillingham replaces Queens Borough President Helen Marshall’s appointee, Dmytro Fedkowskyj, who battled against school closures and co-location plans under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.

Fedkowskyj, of Middle Village, is mulling a run against incumbent State Senator Marge Markey.

 

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Cops help elderly Flushing couple dig car out of ice and snow


| mchan@queenscourier.com

PHOTO COURTESY NYPD

The last big snowfall to bury the city uncovered the best in two local cops.

Police Officers Adrienne Galvani and Cory Smith of the 109th Precinct took a brief detour from their anti-crime patrol, shortly after the Feb. 13 snowstorm, to help an elderly Flushing couple dig their buried car out of a thick sheet of ice.

“We pictured our grandparents in that situation,” Galvani said. “As soon as we saw them, we knew we had to stop and help them.”

Arnold Lederer, 98, and his wife Theresa, 86, had set aside the full day to dig out their 1997 Oldsmobile Intrigue in order to pick up an important prescription at their local pharmacy.

“There was a big pile of snow behind it and a big pile in front,” Theresa said. “It was quite deep and it was already icy. We were planning to take little breathers every few minutes.”

The officers took the shovels from their hands and told them to keep warm inside.

For 35 minutes, they chipped away at the ice, even breaking an ice pick in the process, said the longtime Queens couple who lives on Willets Point Blvd.

With Galvani steering the wheel and Smith pushing from behind, the pair even loosened the car out of its street parking spot and checked up with the Lederers the next day.

“It was the right thing to do,” said Galvani, who has been with the precinct for nearly 11 years. “They would have never gotten that car out.”

The Lederers are still in shock over the act of kindness.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by their generosity and the time that they spent,” Theresa said. “They wouldn’t even accept a cup of coffee.”

 

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