Tag Archives: queensbridge

Museum of the Moving Image screens documentaries on hip-hop

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of CNN Films

Clive Campbell brought two turntables and a microphone to his sister’s birthday party in a Bronx apartment building on Aug. 11, 1973. This immigrant from Jamaica, who is now known as “DJ Kool Herc,” improvised a bit by scratching vinyl records to create beats and tell stories in rhyme while attendees danced. Hip-hop was born.

On Thursday, the Museum of the Moving Image kicks off Made You Look: Documenting the Art, History, Power and Politics of Hip-Hop Culture, a series of documentaries that examine this distinctly American genre from its origins to its current worldwide influence. “Fresh Dressed,” which features interviews with Kanye West, Sean Combs, Russell Simmons and urban fashion designers, screens on opening night. Then, director Sacha Jenkins, style legend Dapper Dan, and Elena Romero, who wrote “Free Stylin': How Hip Hop Changed the Fashion Industry,” will participate in a panel discussion moderated by Martha Diaz, director of the Hip-Hop Education Center. This free event takes place at the Jacob Riis Settlement House in Queensbridge.

The four-month series then continues at the museum. “In My Father’s House” will be presented on Sept. 25 with another discussion led by Diaz. Set in Chicago’s south side, this documentary depicts the yearlong journey of Grammy-winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith, from homelessness and alcoholism to self-discovery and redemption, highlighted by a reunion with his homeless father.

Shake the Dust,” which chronicles breakdancing’s influence on poor neighborhoods around the world, will show on Oct. 23 with another Diaz-guided chat. Queensbridge-raised rapper Nas is the executive producer of this movie, which features jaw-dropping dance moves.

The series ends with Rubble Kings and a conversation between director Shan Nicholson and Diaz. This film tells the story of New York City gangs from 1968 to 1975, their influence on city life, and the way they finally chose peace.


Participatory budgeting winners announced in western Queens

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


The residents of western Queens have spoken and the results are in regarding where they would like to see $1 million spent in each community.

Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer announced the winning projects of this year’s participatory budgeting process, where residents in each individual district were able to cast their vote on where they want city funding to be spent.

In Constantinides’ District 22, which covers Astoria and parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, 2,204 residents came out to vote last month and three projects were chosen as the winners.

A total of 825 residents voted on the first project that will spend $245,000 in district-wide public school technology upgrades. Through this project, $35,000 will be spent each for P.S. 84, P.S. 122, P.S. 234, I.S. 235, P.S. 17, P.S. 2 and I.S. 141.

The second project, which brought in 773 votes, is $500,000 to go toward turning a lot under the RFK Bridge, located at Hoyt Avenue between 23rd and 24th streets, which is currently empty, into a dog run.

The final project, with 715 votes, will transform I.S. 126’s parking lot in Astoria into a recreational playground for the school and community.

With the third project the total comes out to $1,245,000, so Constantinides plans to allocate more funding from his discretionary budget to fully support the projects.

“The entire process has been community-driven, inclusive, and engaging. I am excited to see the strong voter response that gave everyone a voice in the city budgeting process,” Constantinides said. “The technology upgrades across the district, a new dog run in a neighborhood that currently lacks even one, and a playground [where] students have no official schoolyard will enrich the lives of families and children throughout Astoria.”

Photo via Twitter/@JimmyVanBramer

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced the results of this year’s participatory budgeting process for District 26 on Wednesday night at LIC Bar. (Photo via Twitter/@JimmyVanBramer)

In Van Bramer’s District 26, covering Woodside, Sunnyside, LIC and parts of Astoria, the winning projects include a Long Island City Bikeway, a 10-person van for the Jacob Riis Settlement House for seniors and a playground upgrade at Queensbridge.

A total of $500,000 would go toward the Long Island City Bikeway, which would be an improved, safe and reliable bikeway system in the neighborhood. The Jacob Riis Settlement House van is a $55,000 project that would help transport seniors to and from programs. The third project is a $500,000 upgrade at a playground in the Queensbridge housing development that would replace rubber matting in five jungle gym areas.

During the announcement of the winners Wednesday night, Van Bramer also announced that because of the large voter turnout his office would be funding five more projects. These include $50,000 in accessibility improvements each for the Sunnyside and Woodside libraries, $200,000 for the Woodside Reforestry project, $100,000 for district-wide real-time passenger bus countdown clocks and $75,000 in technology upgrades for P.S./I.S. 78 in LIC.

In total, Van Bremer will be dedicating over $1.5 million in funding for projects chosen by the community.


Suspect arrested in string of LIC, Astoria restaurant break-ins

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYPD

One man’s burglary spree has come to an end, as officers of the 114th and 108th precincts worked together to arrest him for allegedly breaking into businesses overnight in Long Island City and Astoria dating back to last June.

According to court records, each time 40-year-old Shameek Dunbar would break into the establishments through either a door or window, and once inside would take money, ranging from $20 to $1,000, from cash registers.

Dunbar was arrested on Feb. 25 at his home in Queensbridge when forensics evidence linked him to one of four burglaries in the confines of the 114th Precinct, a police source said.

Subsequent investigation linked him to seven more burglaries, these in the confines of the 108th Precinct.

“This was fantastic detective work,” said Capt. John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct. “It was good working together from both precincts.”

Criminal complaints detailed nine of the 11 incidents:

  • Between June 10, 2014, at 9 p.m. and June 11 at 9:30 a.m., Dunbar broke into Andres Pizza located at 25-19 40th Ave. through a glass door. He is observed through surveillance footage cutting wires on a cash register, worth about $450. The store owner alleges that $20 was taken from the register.
  • On Oct. 24, 2014, Dunbar broke into Tequila Sunrise located at 40-01 Northern Blvd. through a side window. The owner alleged $350 was taken from a cash register.
  • Between Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 3:12 a.m., the suspect entered Barista at 11-11 44th Rd. through a front glass door. Surveillance footage shows Dunbar throwing a rock at the door. He later took money.
  • On Jan. 2 between 3:04 and 4:18 a.m. Dunbar entered Hu Department Store located at 47-09 Northern Blvd. through the front door. Although the store owner alleged $1,000 was missing from the register, Dunbar said he tried to open the register but couldn’t and then left.
  • Between Jan. 18 at 11 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 4 a.m. Dunbar entered a business at 47-29 Vernon Blvd. through a window and surveillance shows him trying to pry open a register.
  • On Jan. 24 between 3:35 a.m. and 4:05 a.m. Dunbar broke into Pachanga Patterson located at 33-17 31st Ave. The store owner alleges $200 was missing from a cash register.
  • Between Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 1 at 3:17 a.m. the suspect broke into Petey’s Burger at 46-46 Vernon Blvd. through a side window. Surveillance footage shows him prying open a register and taking money.
  • Between Feb. 12 at 8:30 a.m. and Feb. 13 at 11:45 a.m., the suspect entered Breadbox Café at 47-11 11th St. through a door. He the used a screwdriver to pry open a register and took $300.
  • Between Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 3:45 a.m. the suspect entered Mix Nail Salon at 44-68 21st St. through the glass front door. Surveillance video shows the suspect entering the location, prying open a register and taking money.

Dunbar is facing charges of burglary, criminal mischief, possession of burglar tools, petit larceny, and for one of the incidents a charge of grand larceny.

He is due back in Queens Criminal Court on April 9. 


NYPD’s first deputy commissioner honored at Black History Month celebration

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy the office of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer

Members of the NYPD, including First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, and local community leaders were honored for all their achievements during an annual Black History Month celebration in Long Island City.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer hosted his fifth annual Black History Month Celebration and Awards Night on Thursday night at the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House, located at 10-25 41st Ave. within the Queensbridge Houses.

During the event, attended by over 250 guests, Van Bramer presented a Distinguished Public Service Award to Tucker, who serves as the first deputy commissioner for the NYPD.

Other honorees of the night included Dolores Chauncey from Friends of Queensbridge Park; Captain Mark Simmons, commanding officer of PSA-9; Jacqueline Williams from the Ravenswood Senior Center; Judith Mitchell of NYCHA Family Services; Brian McMichael, owner of Miriam’s Restaurant in LIC; Vanessa Hayes; Daniel Taylor, treasurer of the Queensbridge Old Timers; and Dionne Jaggon, principal of P.S. 111 in LIC.

The celebration also featured performances by ELSCO Dance, the Queensbridge Senior Shakers and the Bryant High School Dance Company.


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.”


Mobb Deep to return to Queensbridge for free concert

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of City Parks Foundation

A Queens-bred rap duo is performing a free concert in their native neighborhood Thursday night.

Mobb Deep, who recently reunited for “The Infamous Mobb Deep,” their eighth album, will be appearing at 7 p.m. in Queensbridge Park, as part of SummerStage, the city’s largest free performing arts festival.

The famed pair, Havoc and Prodigy, grew up in the Queensbridge area of the borough, but met in Manhattan, where they were students at Graphic Arts High School, according to a biography on their website.

After bonding through their love of hip hop, they built a successful career with 20 years of music industry experience, and appearances on records that have sold over 40 million copies.

Queensbridge Park is located near the Queensboro Bridge at 41st Road and 40th Avenue between The East River, Vernon Boulevard and 21st Street.



City cuts ribbon on $6.65M Queensbridge Park project, seawall reconstruction

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The Long Island City waterfront has just received a much needed facelift.

Officials cut the ribbon on Tuesday on the $6.65 million project in Queensbridge Park which included the restoration and improvement of the seawall, and the creation of a six-foot-wide waterfront promenade with benches and plants as well as a small pier at the north end.

“The completion of the Queensbridge Park Seawall restores access to the waterfront, access that has been denied for far too long,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “No longer do Queensbridge residents need to look at the seawall as it crumbles into the East River. Instead, residents will be able to enjoy a park and waterfront just as lovely as any in New York City.”

The seawall protects the park from high tides and covers some of the mechanisms and underwater cables that keep a number of subway lines in order. It was previously blocked off by a chain-link fence due to decades of deterioration.

This project, managed by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, included the reconstruction of the seawall using rip-rap revetment. Rip-rap, made up of large rocks, was used to protect the shoreline by absorbing and deflecting waves and also decreasing the effects of erosion.

“New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline is one of its greatest assets, and we are proud to continue reconnecting New Yorkers to their waterfront,” said Dmitri Konon, NYCEDC executive vice president for capital programs.



Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup


Monday: A good deal of sunshine. High near 35. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 28. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: York College Celebrates 75 Years of Blue Note Records

On Monday at 6 p.m., the York College Cultural Diversity Center and the Male Initiative Program will host “The Blue Note Sound: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note Records.” The celebration will pay tribute to Blue Note Records’ contribution to jazz. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Spring nor’easter to dump more snow on tri-state

The tri-state is expected to get more snow this week as a nor’easter delivers a glancing blow Tuesday night, forecasters say, but the area should be spared from the worst of the wintry spring storm. Read more: NBC New York

3 people shot at Queensbridge housing projects in Long Island City; cops searching for shooter

Two men and a woman were shot in a Queens housing project Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

De Blasio on charter school students: ‘we need them to succeed’

Just weeks after moving to prevent their expansion, Mayor Bill de Blasio has offered an olive branch to the charter school movement. Read more: CBS New York

NYPD to train cabbies in new sergeant-taxi driver partnership

NYPD sergeants will be training city cabdrivers on how to protect themselves against violent passengers and farebeaters, as well as teach them methods for handling high-stress situations that could lead to road rage and accidents. Read more: New York Post

Giuliani: de Blasio taking city ‘in the wrong direction’

Rudy Giuliani sounded off on Mayor de Blasio Sunday, saying his successor is moving the city “in the wrong direction.” Read more: New York Post

Fresh food push comes to western Queens

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

8-29 FoodBagProgram (RELEASE) (2)

There’s now an oasis in the middle of a Queens food desert.

Residents of the Queensbridge Houses — a neighborhood where fresh produce is scarce — now have the option of purchasing a bag of fruits and vegetables every Wednesday afternoon, just outside their doors.

The push reflects a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, but is different in that payments run week-to-week rather than one full fee at the start of the season.

As part of the plan, initiated by GrowNYC and in connection with the Jacob Riis Settlement Houses, the healthy goods may be purchased on a weekly basis for $10 a bag. The roughly 10 items provided vary depending on the season, but promise seven days’ worth of produce for an individual or a couple who may not have had the option of fresh items before.

“If finding high-quality, fresh produce is unavailable or unaffordable, people are going to eat a lot less of it,” said GrowNYC spokesperson Olivia Blanchflower, who added that high instances of diet-related disease correlates with the lack of available fresh food.

According to Blanchflower, those who reside in the 7,000 Queensbridge-area homes only have immediate access to one supermarket.

A bulk of the items provided come directly from Green Pastures Farm located in eastern Pennsylvania, with additional fruits from New York farms added in by GrowNYC.

While each bag costs $10, Blanchflower said that the contents, when priced out, run between $13 and $18.

In an effort to assist GrowNYC’s initiative, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer allocated $10,000 to the non-profit.

“Access to healthy food options can be difficult for some residents to access in western Queens, especially seniors,” said Van Bramer. “By bringing fresh fruits and vegetables directly into a community that needs and wants them, our initiative is able to address a real need here in Queensbridge.”

Similar projects have been recently introduced in Bedford-Stuyvesant and will soon begin in East Harlem. The Queensbridge program is set to run through November.

WATCH: Police seek armed robber

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying and locating a suspect who is wanted in connection with a gun-point robbery which occurred in Queensbridge.

At 3:15 a.m. on Thursday, September 29, at the corner of 22nd Street and 41st Avenue, a male suspect approached the victim, pointed a firearm and demanded the victim’s wallet and cell phone.

The suspect fled on foot with the victim’s property into the Queensbridge Housing Development. There were no injuries.

The suspect is described as black male, between 20-23 years of age, 6-feet tall, and was last seen wearing a Dungaree jacket, baseball cap, white t-shirt and pants with the number nine on the left leg.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

All calls are strictly confidential.

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