Tag Archives: Queensbridge Houses

Cops seek man who slashed woman at Queensbridge Houses

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police released on Thursday morning images of a man wanted for slashing a 19-year-old woman during a dispute inside the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City earlier this month.

Authorities said the assault occurred at 8:20 p.m. on July 7 inside an apartment house on 10th Street, south of 41st Avenue.

According to police, the victim and suspect — both of whom are known to each other — became embroiled in an argument, during which the suspect displayed a knife and slashed the victim in the ankle. He fled the scene following the attack.

Officers from the 114th Precinct and EMS units responded to the location. Paramedics transported the victim to Mount Sinai Hospital Queens, where she was treated and released.

Police describe the suspect as a white man believed to be 20 years of age, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 230 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair in a long pony tail. He has a scar on his right cheek and tattoos on his forearms; the left tattoo features the word “Brooklyn” and the right has the word “Karlene.”

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


Shooting at Queensbridge Houses leaves one dead, two injured

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Property Shark/Scott Bintner

A 23-year-old man was gunned down and two others were injured in a shooting at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City early Saturday morning, police reported.

According to authorities, the gunfire erupted at about 2:30 a.m. in a courtyard of the housing complex on 12th Street between 40th and 41st avenues.

Officers from the 114th Precinct and NYPD Public Service Area 9, in responding to a 911 call, found 23-year-old Jahhad Marshall of First Street in Astoria unconscious and unresponsive after taking a bullet to the back. Paramedics rushed him to Cornell Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Police also found a 29-year-old woman with a gunshot wound to her right arm; she was rushed by EMS units to Elmhurst Hospital Center and was listed in stable condition.

During their investigation, detectives learned that a third victim, an 18-year-old man, was taken by private means to Metropolitan Hospital after being shot in the right leg at the location.

The New York Daily News reported that an argument erupted among several unidentified individuals prior to the gunfire, but police neither confirmed nor denied this report.

An investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are strictly confidential.


City to spend $300M over next three years on NYCHA housing roof replacements

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) announced a new initiative that will benefit thousands of residents, including those at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, in the upcoming years.

The city officials announced Saturday that $100 million will be going toward addressing the issue of mold at NYCHA housing developments. This funding comes from the mayor’s pledge to match the state’s $100 million investment in NYCHA.

In addition to this initial funding, over the next two years the city will continue to invest $100 million a year for roof replacements – totaling $300 million over three years.

“Years of federal and state disinvestment have led to deteriorating buildings, depriving tenants of the level of housing they deserve,” de Blasio said. “By making these critical investments in our aging NYCHA buildings, we are both protecting our residents – many of whom are children – and saving money spent on repairing these buildings.”

The first year’s funding, which is expected to begin construction next month, will cover the roof replacement on 66 buildings throughout the city, benefiting about 13,000 residents. These buildings were selected because they have the highest number of maintenance repair requests such as leak and painting repair, and mold work orders.

Included in these buildings are the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City, which will see 14 buildings on both the south and north sides of the development get roofs replaced.

The funding will replace the roofs and parapets, which are the protective walls along the roofs. This replacement is expected to eliminate core symptoms of mold, reduce operating expenses and preserve the structures by safeguarding them from moisture.

“This is a welcome announcement to the residents of the Queensbridge Houses who have waited many years for the completion of these critical repairs,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “This responsible investment will benefit thousands of New Yorkers and allow NYCHA to dedicate scarce resources to other essential improvements citywide.”


Free legal clinic services to be offered for NYCHA residents

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

NYCHA residents are getting a helping hand to make their lives easier.

The Safety Net Project of the Urban Justice Center and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer launched free legal clinic services on Monday that will serve residents of the New York City Housing Authority.

“NYCHA residents deserve stability and the right to live in dignity,” said Van Bramer, who helped allocate $50,000 toward the services. “Through these services thousands of NYCHA residents will be given the legal resources they need to fight against wrongful evictions and poor living conditions that have plagued so many families for far too long.”

Known as the “NYCHA Dignity Campaign,’’ legal clinics will be made available to residents at the Jacob A. Riis Settlement House, located at 10-25 41st Ave., in the Queensbridge Houses on the first and third Tuesday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On the second and fourth Friday of each month clinics will be available on the fourth-floor conference room at Councilman Donovan Richards’ Rockaway office located at 19-31 Mott Ave.

“This free service will be vital service for all NYCHA residents,” said April Simpson-Taylor, president of the Queensbridge Tenants Association. “A lot of the residents will use this service because of the issues they face with housing. Whether they are with repairs in apartments, pending evictions or termination of their leases, these free legal services will give a voice to residents when it comes to fighting for the issues they care deeply about.”

The clinics will be offered by a team of attorneys, advocates, researchers and operations staff who will provide help with public assistance benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, shelter applications for homeless families and adult couples, and also public housing issues.

“I have nothing but great hope for this program and we hope it [goes] on to make the lives of NYCHA residents better,” Simpson-Taylor said.


Meeting held to strengthen relationship between western Queens NYCHA residents and NYPD

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Residents of NYCHA developments in western Queens came together Saturday afternoon to discuss strengthening relationships with the police officers assigned to protect them.

The community gathered during a meeting organized by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Victoria Schneps, publisher of The Queens Courier, with members of the NYPD to go over resident concerns and ways to build communication between community members and police.

“If we work together we’re going to be so much stronger,” Maloney said. “I think it’s important we come together and we try to figure out how we can make this city stronger because we’re only stronger when we’re together.”

During the meeting, residents voiced problems such as more lighting, more community engagement and communication by police officers who patrol the areas, and also support within the actual community between the older and younger generations.

“We are thrilled to be able to participate in bringing people in the community together,” Schneps said. “That’s what we are about, that’s what community journalism is about. Making sure we are talking to each other, many times through the pages of our papers, but also in person.”

Those present at the meeting at the Jacob Riis Settlement House, located at 10-25 41st Ave., within the Queensbridge Houses, included leaders from the Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside NYCHA houses.

NYPD representatives included Captain Mark A. Simmons, the commanding officer of Police Service Area (PSA) 9, which patrols the Queensbridge Houses, and members of the 114th Precinct.

“One of the things we have to do is when you see a police officer, thank them for their job, thank them for putting their lives on the line, thank them for going out on the streets to protect them,” Maloney said. “We have to show them that they are respected by people.

One resident of the Queensbridge Houses for 28 years, who goes by the name Sugaray, asked the officers available to show residents that they are more than just officers by coming by the neighborhood without uniforms.

“Come out and just be part of the community, show that you are human,” he said. “When we can see that the people in uniform are human and we can connect on a human-to-human level, that’s what builds relationships, that’s how you can build unity in the community.”

Simmons thanked the community for their support and said that by working together they will be able to get crime down.

“The greatest thing for you guys to know is that we support you and you support us and that’s the bond that we have here in PSA9,” Simmons added. “I am very proud to be here and I am very grateful that we are working together in the manner in which we are.”


Queens native makes career out of performing Hollywood stunts

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Derrick Simmons

Derrick Simmons has fallen from the sky, tumbled from a bridge and almost been run over by a car — and he’s done all of it on purpose.

The Queens native has spent the last two decades as a stuntman, standing in for many of the industry’s top actors.

He’s also acted through the years, getting his start in a national commercial while he was still a child.

Now, after writing, producing and acting in three of his own films, he’s hoping to move from taking the fall for Hollywood’s elite to becoming one of the rising stars himself.

“I love the action,“ Simmons said. “It doesn’t feel like a job because I love what I do.”

Simmons spent the first seven years of his life at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City. He then moved to Woodside, where he remained for the next 14 years, until relocating to the Upper East Side, where he still lives today.

His love for acting began at 10 years old. At that age, he started taking acting classes, and during his first showcase, a talent scout saw him and sent him on his first audition. From that audition, he was cast in a national Burger King commercial, opposite Stacey Dash, who would go on to star in the movie “Clueless.”

“Every time [my family] would hear the commercial on the TV we would run into the room and celebrate,” he said.

The commercial earned him entry into the Screen Actors Guild, but the young Simmons thought the $635 fee was a little steep. But after he received his $1,800 paycheck for the commercial, he decided to join.

More commercials as well as TV work soon followed, and as time went on, he would be pulled aside while acting and be replaced with a stuntman. During those moments Simmons had a thought — why can’t I do the stunts?

He started training with stuntmen, and landed one of his first stunt jobs in 1994 on the TV series “New York Undercover,” where he was thrown off a bridge.

From then on, his “phone started lighting up.”

Simmons has done stunts for Chris Rock in the movie “Dogma,” where he fell out of the sky, Taye Diggs in “The Best Man,” Whoopi Goldberg in the latest “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” installment, the Precious character in the film of the same name, Tracy Morgan in “30 Rock” and the movie “Cop Out,” among others.

“We come to the set and we do the action and there is a lot of adrenaline,” Simmons said.

“It’s a great job as long as you don’t get hurt,” he added.

Simmons has only been sent to the hospital twice as a result of performing stunts.

Once he broke his collarbone during a commercial shoot. The second time, he injured his ankle while filming a scene for “NYPD Blue,” where he had to run from a car and almost get hit by the vehicle.

Though he enjoys his work as a stuntman, Simmons said acting is his “first passion.” But he’s found a new love for filmmaking in roles that put him behind the camera.

In an effort to evolve and grow within the industry, he’s written, produced and directed three movies.

In the first “Jump Offs” (2007), he played three roles, and in the second, “Women Do It Better” (2009), he takes on four parts. Both films examine the world of relationships and “players.” The first movie is from the man’s point of view, and the second from the woman’s.

His latest film, “Nobody’s Perfect,” is his first thriller. The film is about a woman who meets the man of her dreams who turns into a nightmare once they get married. The movie won best film at the Mt. Vernon Film Festival this September.

Simmons hopes to turn more of his scripts into films and get to them to a larger audience so he can become more than just the man who does stunts for the big stars.

“As soon as you hear the word Derrick you will think the word entertainment,” he said.



Fire at Queensbridge Houses sends two to hospital

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated 1:18 p.m.

A fire at a building at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City Tuesday morning sent two people to the hospital, the FDNY said.

The blaze started about 10:40 a.m. in the fourth floor of the six-story residential building at 41-01 12th St. About 65 firefighters were at the scene, and by 11:25 a.m., the flames were under control, officials said.

Two people with minor injuries were taken to NYU Langone Medical Center, the FDNY said. Three other people refused medical treatment at the scene.


Fake home health service rep steals from elderly woman in LIC: cops

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect they say posed as a home health service representative and stole from a 75-year-old woman’s home in Long Island City.

On Oct. 13 the suspect, described as a 50-year-old woman, was allowed into the victim’s apartment, located inside the Queensbridge Houses at 40-09 12th St., at about 8:20 a.m. after posing as a representative from the victim’s home health service company, authorities said.

Once inside the apartment the suspect took the victim’s pocketbook and fled, according to police.

The NYPD has released a surveillance photo of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.



Man arrested in 2013 LIC murder

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

Police have arrested a 27-year-old man for the murder of an aspiring hip-hop artist last year in Long Island City.

Francisco Leal, 27, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest on Feb. 2, 2013, at the corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue near the Queensbridge Houses.

In December, the NYPD released a photo and information of the suspect wanted in connection to the murder.

Earlier last month, Clarence Scott, who police initially identified as Lawrence Scott, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force April 4 in Virginia, according to published reports. He was then arraigned on April 25 in Queens Criminal Court, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Scott, who is being held without bail, was arraigned on charges of  second-degree murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, according to a criminal complaint.



91-year-old WWII veteran fighting NYCHA for Flushing apartment

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre


Ninety-one-year-old Ralph Calinda has fought his fair share of battles over his lifetime.

He fought for the United States during World War II, he battles diabetes and high blood pressure every day, and now he’s facing a different conflict — keeping the apartment he has called home for more than 60 years.

Calinda lives alone in a three-bedroom apartment in the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Pomonok Houses in Flushing. Through NYCHA’s downsizing policy, which moves residents who “overuse apartments” to smaller ones, the city agency wants to kick him out of his home.

They have sent letters to force him to take one-bedroom apartments, but in foreign neighborhoods such as the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City and the Ravenswood Houses in Astoria. Finally, they asked him to move to an apartment in the Pomonok Houses, but it lacked essential appliances and was unfurnished. Calinda, who retired nearly three decades ago, believes he wouldn’t even be able to make the move physically or financially, since he depends on social security payments.

Councilman Rory Lancman and other politicians rallied with Calinda and his family against the NYCHA policy in a protest on Friday, to call on the agency to halt its downsizing of senior residents and to overhaul the initiative.

“They have lately stepped up in a very, very aggressive way,” Lancman said about NYCHA. “We are here today to demand that they stop and that they treat their long-time residents like valuable citizens of the communities that they’ve lived in, rather than as pieces of furniture they can move around from one place to the other.”

Calinda uses a cane to walk, and that’s only during the rare times he leaves his apartment. “Pop,” as he is known among family members, friends and neighbors, now enjoys painting, word puzzles and gardening.

But before he retired, Calinda used to build fighter jets for the Air Force. He even helped build the NASA space shuttles, and although Calinda wouldn’t say which one, he allegedly engraved the name of his late wife on the tail of one of the space rockets.

Calinda raised seven children from his apartment, which has six rooms, counting a living room, kitchen and a bathroom. He said he may have been willing to leave if NYCHA first came to him when his kids became adults and left 30 years ago, but not now.

“It’s been my home for so long, I just think it should be my home forever,” he said.

NYCHA has yet to return a request for comment.




Queens woman finds healing through art

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Rising from the ashes as a survivor of domestic violence, Beverly Cowan has reached a new moment in her life in which her passion for art has served as therapy. Now she hopes it will become a career.

Born and raised in Harlem, Cowan always enjoyed working with any form of art. She filled up coloring books and matched up paper dolls with the perfect patterned dresses.

She later moved to Staten Island, where Cowan said she reached a dark moment in her life. After losing the father of her two children, Cowan survived an attack by a boyfriend in 1996. She later moved to Long Island City and began a positive new life.

“I want to give strength to all women who go through the same thing,” she said.

Cowan began participating at her local church as a deacon and choir member. Around 2002, after decorating a vase with artificial flowers and creating a unique piece, she became excited to keep the craft going.

“I love what I do,” she said. “I have a passion for it. I didn’t go to school for this, it’s just a gift.”

She began her artwork with just arranging flowers inside different vases she would find and then moved into also creating centerpieces out of flowers and other material. Cowan then began covering clear vases in different colored paper and creating one-of-a-kind pieces.

She began “Diane’s Creation” as the general name for her pieces of art. Cowan said her mom and church call her by her middle name “Diane” and the business’s name refers to her survival and creating something new for herself.

All her vases are done from her home at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City and once Cowan comes up with a design in her head, the artwork begins.

She begins by gluing on a white paper base on the vase, glazing it over with clear glue, letting it dry, then taking colored papers in different shapes and pasting them onto the base to create various designs, and finishes with a final glaze glue coat.

“I just like working with paper,” she said. “Paper is a very unique piece of material. I try to make it as bold and beautiful as I can”

Each vase is given a distinct name and includes a felt bottom with a felt heart representing her logo, “Love.” One vase, called “Space in Time,” reflects the times she has survived and the time she has been given to recover, Cowan said.

“I had a lot of loss in my life and this is my therapy,” she said. “This keeps me alive and keeps me going on a positive note.”

In the past 11 years, Cowan has created over 100 items. Although she said she has never had any form of art education, she visits her local library two to three times a week to study different art books and learn new techniques.

The only obstacle Cowan is facing now is being able to continue her artwork financially. She has a list of art supplies she would need to expand further, but at this time cannot afford any of the items. Some include professional paint glaze, paper, flowers and a computer, which would allow her to sell her pieces to a larger market.

“I want to go large,” she said. “I want to go far. I believe I’m going to go far, it just takes time.”

Cowan’s vases vary in size and each is $50.





$300G in repairs not made at Long Island City NYCHA center

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos By Angy Altamirano

Long Island City seniors are waiting for fixes to be made to their senior center, and have been doing so for three years.

Funds allocated to fix various problems at the Jacob Riis Settlement House at the Queensbridge Houses have yet to be put to use, and now the community wants answers as to why.

Betty McCord, a senior at the center, said that it was difficult for her to breathe last month during a Queensbridge town meeting that took place inside the gym on a hot day. There were fans available but according to McCord, they did not help.

“This place is not suitable for our seniors” said McCord.

Over the past three years, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer has allocated $300,000 for the renovation of two bathrooms and the installation of an air conditioning system in the gym. After meeting with New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) six months ago, the agency only told him the changes would take two more years.

He added NYCHA gave reasons such as not enough designers or workers for the project’s delay.
Representatives of the center said the major problems of the bathrooms are the exposed pipes on the ceiling, toilets that are either too high or too low, rusting appliances, infestation of insects, and flooring that could be dangerous to seniors.

“The lack of safe, functional, and welcoming rest room facilities for our participants and staff, particularly our seniors and young people, has been a problem for several years now,” said Robert Madison, director of Senior Services at the Jacob Riis Senior Center. “Our older adults are often forced to use the upstairs facilities because many of them simply will not set foot in the downstairs bathrooms.”

On Friday, August 16, Van Bramer gathered with seniors and representatives of the Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House, the Jacob Riis Senior Center and the Queensbridge Houses to call on the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to repair problems at the community center.

“Jacob Riis Settlement Neighborhood House is the hub and heart of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “How long do our seniors and youth have to wait for these renovations and improvements to take place? It is impossible and unconscionable to believe that it is going to take NYCHA nearly five years to fix our community center. This is a disgrace. We cannot and will not wait any longer.”

According to a recent NYCHA report sent to the city council, the agency has held onto nearly $50 million in taxpayer dollars which should be used for repairing projects, such as restoring New York City community centers which include the Jacob Riis Settlement House.

“I call on NYCHA to get this work done for the residents of Queensbridge,” said Van Bramer. “Not tomorrow, but today.”

Requests for comment from NYCHA were not returned as of press time.




51 charged in drug sweep at Queens housing developments

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


An undercover drug investigation at two western Queens housing developments has led to the indictment of 28 men and women for selling narcotics, and the arrest of 23 others, announced District Attorney Richard Brown and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Authorities have 15 of the indicted individuals in custody and are still seeking 13 more.

Ranging in age from 18 to 57, the defendants are accused of peddling heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, methamphetamine and marijuana to undercover cops on hundreds of separate occasions over an eight-month period between 2012 and 2013 in and around the New York City Housing Authority’s Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City and the Ravenswood Houses in Astoria, said the district attorney’s office.

“These arrests are just the latest results of a coordinated law enforcement and prosecutorial anti-drug initiative that began soon after I took office more than twenty years ago. Since that time, we have targeted hundreds of drug dealers in public housing developments throughout Queens and in private housing developments like Lefrak City and have put a significant dent in the drug trafficking which has long troubled the residents of these developments. We will continue to work together with our police officers and our elected officials and community leaders to keep our citizens safe,” said Brown.




Long Island City murder leads to calls against gun violence

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The shooting of a 27-year-old aspiring hip-hop artist near the Queensbridge Houses is raising clamor among politicians and community activists fighting against gun violence.

The victim, Francisco Leal, 27, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest around 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at the corner of 21st Street and 41st Avenue. While the NYPD has released surveillance footage of a suspect, Leal’s killer has yet to be caught.

When Suga Ray, a teacher, activist and childhood friend of Leal’s heard his friend had been fatally shot in the neighborhood where they grew up, his first reaction was “heartbreak.” Ray said Leal had a great personality, loved creating music and cared deeply about his community.

“Since we were kids, he always said he wanted to make a better way for his family, himself and the community,” said Ray. “He always wanted better than what we had.”

According to the NYPD, there have been 99 shootings citywide from January 1 through February 3, 2013.

“There’s an epidemic of gun violence, both here at Queensbridge and the city and across the country,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who organized a rally following Leal’s death. “How do we bring young people away from guns, away from violence and into a better place?”

The councilmember believes increased programs for young people, including after-school programs, partnerships with libraries and cultural and athletic programs keep kids out of trouble. Last year, the Bloomberg administration proposed to eliminate all after-school programs and according to the Campaign for Children, after-school programs faced cuts of around $170 million. While after-school programs were saved in 2012, discussions about slicing programs in 2013 continue.

“Those kinds of programs are absolute life-savers, especially for low-income families where there aren’t more available options,” said Van Bramer.

The city’s flailing unemployment rate, Van Bramer added, is a factor in the upswing of violence.

“If there’s no help, if there’s no jobs, if there’s no economic self-sufficiency, people can gravitate towards things they shouldn’t be involved in,” said Van Bramer.

April Simpson, the newly elected president of the Queensbridge Resident Association, said ending violence is not just the responsibility of the police, but rests on residents as well.

“Someone lost a child last night. That could be my child tomorrow. That could be your child tomorrow. We need to say something. We need to take back our communities. We need to come together as one. We can’t protect our children if we’re sitting around and we’re not saying anything.”

Ray believes the key to ending youth on youth violence is to provide more opportunities which teaching people about inner peace and channeling aggression into positive outlets such as art and music — a passion of his late friend’s.

“That another young person would want to take another young person’s life is disheartening,” said Ray. “It happens so much. It’s happened to so many of my friends. It’s heartbreaking.”




Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain in the afternoon. High of 73. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Tuesday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 64. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: An Evening with Don Francisco, Celebrating 50 Years of Sábado Gigante

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Don Francisco —a.k.a. Mario Kreutzberger. In a rare New York appearance, the variety show host will participate in an intimate discussion with a special guest moderator and show a selection of unforgettable clips from his Saturday night show’s 50-year history presented by Univisión. Sábado Gigante is the longest-running variety show in television history, and Don Francisco has been there from the beginning, hosting more than 2,600 episodes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Girl struck by stray bullet while doing homework returns home for rally

A Queens community is saying enough is enough to gun violence after a teenager was shot while doing homework. Read more: CBS New  York

College student starts petition for Metro-North stop in Queens

A college student from Queens has launched a petition urging the MTA to open a Metro-North station in Queens. Quinnipiac University sophomore Ali Fadil, 18, of Whitestone, began collecting signatures about two weeks ago after he learned the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was looking at running trains on Metro-North’s New Haven line through western Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens men get 6 1/2 years for role in fatal 2010 stabbing

Two Queens men were thrown in prison today for their role in the death of a good Samaritan who came to the aid of a transgender man the pair were bothering. Read more: New York Post

Second American Airlines flight returns to JFK after row of seats comes loose

Planes have been grounded and the feds are now investigating American Airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration is probing two separate instances of rows of airplane seats dislodging in mid-air. Read more: CBS New York

New Brooklyn arena serves as a test: Will fans accept smaller sodas?

At the amenity-laden Barclays Center in Brooklyn, hungry concertgoers can dine on fresh-from-Maine lobster rolls, gourmet barbecue brisket and slices of cheesecake from Junior’s on nearby Flatbush Avenue. Read more: New York Times

Candidates prep for debates; No. 2s campaign

The presidential candidates are leaving the heavy lifting of campaigning to their running mates Tuesday as they spend one more day preparing for their first debate, scheduled for Wednesday night. Read more: ABC New York/AP