Tag Archives: Ray Kelly

Op-ed: Bloomberg was a boon to this city


| oped@queenscourier.com


ANDREW SANTIS

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is no more.

To New Yorkers who criticize and accuse Bloomberg for being ignorant and a tyrant, this is a relief. For others, like me, it is saddening to see the man responsible for today’s New York go.

Bloomberg entered City Hall at a very peculiar time, as it was only four months after the 9/11 attacks. In addition, he faced three consecutive years of budget gaps and an underperforming school system. And yet, he was still very optimistic about the city’s future. On his inauguration day, he said, “New York is safe, strong, open for business and ready to lead the world in the 21st century.”

He was right.

Under Bloomberg’s watch, New York City became the safest large city in the country. He and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly reduced crime by 35 percent.

Bloomberg also became a public opponent of guns, leading efforts to eliminate the sale and distribution of illegal guns in the city. Eight thousand guns are now off the streets of New York. Bloomberg has also devoted his efforts to making New York City’s counterterrorism programs the best in the world.

To stimulate the city’s economy, Bloomberg created the Five Borough Economic Opportunity Plan, which focuses on creating jobs for New Yorkers, implementing a long-term vision for growing the city’s economy and building affordable, attractive neighborhoods in every borough. As a result, areas in Coney Island were rezoned for housing and commercial use. In addition, the Lower East Side will generate more than 1 million square feet of housing, open space and shops, the West Side of Midtown Manhattan will see residential housing, office buildings and the extension of the 7 line (also a Bloomberg initiative) and Willets Point in Queens will add housing, retail, entertainment, public space and much more that will transform the area around Citi Field.

Among Bloomberg’s major accomplishments was making New York the healthiest city in the world. First he tackled smoking by signing the Smoke Free Air Act in 2003, making smoking in public places illegal; he raised taxes on cigarettes; started an anti-smoking campaign and recently succeeded at raising the cigarette buying age to 21. Youth smoking has decreased by 51 percent and adult smoking by one third.

Obesity followed. In 2006, trans fats were banned from restaurants. In 2008, calorie counts began appearing on menus and menu boards. In 2010, he unveiled a plan to reduce salt in packaged and restaurant food. Thanks to his efforts, the city now boasts an 80.6-year life expectancy.

Of course, Bloomberg has had his share of flops. One was appointing Cathie Black as Schools Chancellor, and another was being unprepared for the 2010 Christmas blizzard. And let’s not forget the flawed, over-priced, revamped 9-1-1 system.

However, this will not eclipse the good Bloomberg has done.

There are more parks, affordable health insurance for all New Yorkers, environmentally friendly hybrid taxis, a city-wide information and non-emergency service and an improved public school system.

One thing is for sure: Bloomberg is leaving behind an unparalleled legacy.

On his inauguration day, Bloomberg promised Rudy Giuliani he would not fail the people of New York.

He did not.

Mayor Bloomberg, thanks for all you have done. I will miss you.

Andrew Santis is a sophomore in the Gabelli School of Business at Fordham University.

 

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NYC murders, shootings reach record lows


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leaving office with the fewest murders and shootings in recorded city history.

He made the announcement Friday along with NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly at the graduation ceremony for 1,171 new police officers at Madison Square Garden.

“New York’s crime-fighting strategies have made us America’s safest big city – and one that cities across the globe want to learn from,” said Bloomberg. “Twelve years ago, no one thought New York’s crime rate could go any lower. But it did.”

There have been 332 homicides so far in 2013, down 20 percent from the previous record low, set last year, according to the mayor. Murders have dropped 32 percent since 2001, when he was elected.

In Queens, there were 1,374 fewer homicides between 2002 and December 20 of this year than during the 12 years prior to that period.

Shootings have declined by 20 percent from 2012’s record low, with 1,093 shootings through Thursday, December 26, and have dropped by 32 percent since 2001.

The city began recording homicide numbers in 1963, when there were 548 murders. The homicide rate peaked in 1990 with 2,245 deaths, according to Police Department stats.

Shootings statistics were first recorded with the introduction of NYPD’s Compstat crime reporting system in 1994, according to the mayor.

Crime in schools and on the subway has also seen significant drops in recent years.

Major crimes in schools are down 56 percent and violent crime has decreased 55 percent since 2001.

In 1990, there were 50 crimes per day on the subway, and only 7.1 crimes per day in 2013.

The mayor said the crime drop could not be attributed to putting more people in prison, since incarceration rates have decreased since 2001.

Policing strategies, such as Operation Impact, which pairs rookie and veteran officers to “flood high-crime zones” and Operation Crew Cut, an initiative combating loosely affiliated gangs, helped keep the shooting and murder rates down, the mayor said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Periods of rain. High around 45. Winds NNE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%. Rainfall around a quarter of an inch.
Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low 33. Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

Bring your friends, bring a scarf and gloves and remember to lace up tight! Ice skating season has begun at World Ice Arena at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park! Admission is $5 for all ages on weekdays and $8 on weekends and holidays. To rent skates be sure to bring socks and an additional $5. Monday through Friday the rink is open from 9 a.m. until 5:15 p.m. On weekends it is open: 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday nights; noon. until 4:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. until 9:50 p.m. Saturdays and noon  until 4:45 on Sundays. Information is subject to change, to inquire about any changes call 718-760-9001. World Ice Arena is located at Avery Avenue and 131st Street Flushing. Submit an event of your own

‘Day of Action’ planned by teachers, union

Teachers across New York will wear blue and rally for more funding and less testing as part of a national “Day of Action” organized across numerous states. Read more: AP

Safety upgrades coming to Metro-North derailment site: MTA

The MTA announced Sunday that safety improvements would be made at curves and bridges on Metro-North Railroad’s routes, including at the site of last week’s fatal derailment in the Bronx. Read more: NBC New York

Ray Kelly ‘content’ to quit as top dog

Outgoing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday he’s looking forward to moving on. Read more: New York Post 

Astor estate donates $9M for education programs

A fund created with assets from philanthropist Brooke Astor’s estate has awarded $9.2 million in grants to New York-based organizations for education and literacy programs. Read more: AP

Nelson Mandela remembered near and far on national day of prayer

While South Africans of all races flocked to houses of worship Sunday for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela on Sunday, the former South African president and civil rights icon was also being remembered in the United States. Read more: CBS New York

 

NYPD: Homicides among youth drop 50 percent


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video/Screen shot via YouTube/NYPD

A year after the NYPD announced an initiative combating loosely affiliated gangs, homicide rates among young people in the city have declined significantly.

Since the implementation of the Police Department’s “Operation Crew Cut,” crime statistics show that murders among people ages 13 to 21 have fallen 50.6 percent from 87 to 43 through November 24, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said Monday.

“Strategic enforcement and proactive policing combined with strong prosecutorial partnerships, including attention to the new battleground of social media, has resulted in lives being saved in New York City, mostly young minority men.” Kelly said. “Additionally, shootings and homicides citywide, regardless of victim age, are down 21 percent on top of 2012’s record lows.”

About one-third of New York City shootings in 2011 were committed by young people “motivated by geographic turf or other street crew rivalry,” according to the Police Department.

According to the NYPD, since Operation Crew Cut was established last October, police and prosecutors have conducted 25 investigations throughout city, resulting in more than 400 crew members indicted for crimes, which included murder, assault, robbery and weapon possession.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Overcast with rain showers, then a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 63. Breezy. Winds from the SW at 10 to 20 mph shifting to the WNW in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60%. Thursday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 41F. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Romeo and Juliet

The Poetics Theatre Collective presents a unique staging of Shakespeare’s timeless love story Romeo and Juliet in an intimate setting at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City from Thursday, November 7 - Saturday, November 16. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD commissioner appointment in limbo after Bill de Blasio elected

The clock is ticking for the newly elected mayor to name a police commissioner — the first changing of the guard at the NYPD in 12 years. Read more: New York Daily News

Twitter sets IPO of $26 per share

Twitter late Wednesday set a price of $26 for its initial public offering of stock, which means the company’s shares can begin trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Ray Kelly in the running for JPMorgan job

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, unwanted by Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, is in the running for a top security job at JPMorgan Chase, sources at the financial giant told The Post. Read more: New York Post

David Dinkins released from hospital

Former New York City Mayor David Dinkins has been released from the hospital after treatment for pneumonia. Read more: AP

Blockbuster Video to shut down remaining U.S. stores

Not so many years ago, a Blockbuster video store could be found in virtually every neighborhood in the city. Read more: CBS New York/AP

 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain in the afternoon. High of 79. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Monday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 70F. Winds from the West at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: “Annie” at Astoria Park

The Central Astoria LDC presents “Annie” as part of its Monday night outdoor film series. The free screening starts at 8:30 p.m. at Astoria Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Cops searching for Sunnyside arson suspect

Police are looking for a suspect who allegedly set a car on fire in Sunnyside. Read more: The Queens Courier

Interracial couple attacked as they leave Queens bar

An interracial couple leaving a Queens bar were attacked by three men who shouted racial and ethnic slurs at them, police said. Read more: New York Daily News

Woodside, Queens crash leaves 2 people injured

Two people were injured Sunday afternoon when a vehicle slammed into a building in Woodside, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Police hunt for driver who hit officer in Queens

Police were searching Sunday evening for a hit-and-run driver who slammed into an officer in Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Stop-frisk ruling will hurt minorities, Ray Kelly says

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly assailed a federal judge’s finding of racial discrimination and demand for changes to his department’s stop and frisk practice, telling a Sunday news show that minority communities will be “the losers” if the ruling isn’t overturned. Read more: AP

 

 

Bayside man wrongfully jailed for attempted rape to sue for $133M


| mchan@queenscourier.com


The Bayside man exonerated by DNA after being wrongfully jailed for almost nine months is suing the city for more than $133 million, his lawyer said.

Kenneth King was charged with the attempted rape and sex abuse of a woman in Whitestone in September 2011.

The early morning attack along the Cross Island Parkway near 148th Street was foiled by former marine Bryan Teichman, who spooked the assailant and who later hesitantly picked King out of a lineup, according to the complaint filed against the city.

“I hope to God I am making the right choice,” the complaint shows him saying. “I think it’s #2.”

King was released last June from Rikers Island, where he spent most of his imprisonment, after DNA retrieved from the victim’s sweater did not match his, said defense attorney Scott Dufault. His case was dismissed a month later.

The free man is now suing the city for “negligently and intentionally” depriving him of his Constitutional rights, the complaint says. He is seeking monetary compensation from lost pay, attorney fees, physical injuries and emotional distress.

The defendants listed in the suit include the city’s Department of Corrections, the Queens district attorney’s office, the NYPD and its Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Dufault told The Courier last year that King is struggling to get back to his former life after losing his job as a plumber’s assistant while he was locked up.

He also suffers from severe back and leg pain and numbness in his arm from mistreatment at Rikers, the complaint says.

The victim never identified King herself, the lawsuit says, and the description she gave of the perp’s eyes and hair color did not match King’s. The DNA test was also done six months after the attack, though defense attorneys say they requested it be taken immediately.

The city’s law department declined to comment as it awaits a formal copy of the complaint, a spokesperson said.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain, then thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 88. Winds from the ENE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the North in the afternoon. Chance of rain 60%. Monday night: Overcast with thunderstorms, then a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain after midnight. Low of 75. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Family Movies in the Park

A Better Jamaica screens Sister Act. After witnessing a mob murder, Reno lounge singer Deloris Van Cartier trades her sequins and feathers for a rosary and a habit to go incognito as Sister Mary Clarence. She then transforms a horrible church choir into a performing dynamo and saves a parish from being demolished. Free at 8:30 p.m. at Cabbell Park. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Drowning man suffers heart attack, but is saved at Riis Park in Queens

A 55-year-old drowning man was pulled from the surf on a Queens beach and rushed to the hospital in cardiac arrest Sunday, officials said. Read more: New York Daily News

33 hurt in 22 weekend shootings in New York City

Police are looking into several shootings in Brooklyn and across New York City in what turned out to be a very violent weekend. Read more: ABC New York

MTA being pushed by Christine Quinn to speed up no-swipe cards as MetroCard replacement

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is pushing the MTA to speed up a delayed plan to let straphangers get on to subways without swiping MetroCards. Read more: New York Daily News

Kelly’s possible nomination as DHS meets some opposition

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is a potential candidate for the Director of Homeland Security but some groups in the city oppose the idea. Read more: Fox New York

Royal baby: Prince William’s wife, Kate, in labor

Prince William’s wife, Kate, is in the early stages of labor in a private wing of a central London hospital, palace officials said Monday. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 95. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SSE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 81 with a heat index of 88F. Winds from the South at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the WSW after midnight.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Golden Dragon Acrobats

After an exciting extended run last summer, the Golden Dragon Acrobats return to Queens Theatre more thrilling and daring than ever before! Witness daring feats of balance, spine tingling contortionists and towers of jugglers as the talented acrobats straight from China leave you wanting more! If you missed them last year now is you chance to catch the show that everyone was talking about. Runs July 17-28. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Local business owners, city clash over plans for Willets Point

Just before the start of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game on Tuesday night business owners near Citi Field  protested the city’s plan to shut them down. Read more: CBS New York

Ex-NY Sen. Huntley’s friend gets busted for alleged $85K charity fraud

The president of a Queens, N.Y., nonprofit with ties to former state Sen. Shirley Huntley was charged Tuesday with stealing more than $85,000 in taxpayer money. Read more: New York Daily News 

Obama: Ray Kelly ‘well-qualified’ for DHS post

President Barack Obama says New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be “well-qualified” to run the Department of Homeland Security. Read more: Fox New York 

Rivera perfect, AL beats NL 3-0 in All-Star game

Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect eighth inning in his final All-Star appearance, Jose Bautista, J.J. Hardy and Jason Kipnis drove in runs to back a night of pulsating pitching, and the American League beat the National League 3-0 Tuesday night to stop a three-year losing streak. Read more: AP

GOP strategist files objection to Eliot Spitzer’s comptroller petition signatures

Eliot Spitzer is facing a challenge to his bid to get on the ballot in the city comptroller’s race, after a Republican strategist contested the ex-governor’s petition signatures. Read more: CBS New York/AP

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers in the afternoon. High of 93. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with thunderstorms and rain showers. Low of 73. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 30%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Farmhouse Fest

Get Real presents “Farmhouse Fest” at Alewife in Long Island City on Tuesday, June 25. Ticket includes entrance to the festival unlimited tastings of Belgian, Dutch, French and American style Farmhouse craft beers; unlimited tastings of Farmhouse style wines; and tastings of Farmhouse style foods like cheeses, breads, meats & gourmet pickles all perfectly paired with featured wines and beers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD cops pinch bank robbery suspect fleeing heist of Queens Capitol One branch

An NYPD sergeant and a rookie cop on Monday nabbed a bandit suspected of robbing a string of banks in Queens and Nassau County, police sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

7-Year-Old Queens boy struck in head by pellet gun bullet

A 7-year-old Queens boy was hit in the back of the head with a bullet from a pellet gun while standing outside with his mother Monday evening, and police are searching for a suspect. Read more: NBC New York

Smoky plume At power plant draws alarm in Queens

A defective boiler was blamed for a plume of black smoke that blasted out of the “Big Allis” power plant in Queens Monday. Read more: CBS New York

$1.2M in cash goes missing from JFK-bound flight: FBI

The FBI is investigating the theft of $1.2 million in cash that was discovered missing from the cargo of a Swissair flight when it landed at John F. Kennedy International Airport late Monday, NBC 4 New York has learned. Read more: NBC New York

Kelly to Wallenda: You will not be doing an NYC skyscraper high wire act

Aerialist Nik Wallenda drew awe Sunday night as he successfully walked across the Grand Canyon without a harness, and now his sights are set on two of the most iconic buildings in New York City. Read more: CBS New York

Russia rejects US demand for Snowden’s extradition

Russia’s foreign minister bluntly rejected U.S. demands to extradite National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, saying Tuesday that Snowden hasn’t crossed the Russian border. Read more: AP

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 75. Winds from the NW at 10 to 15 mph. Tuesday night: Clear in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 59. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Taste of LIC

Come experience the diverse flavors of Long Island City at the 8th annual Taste of LIC food festival. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Gantry Plaza State Park,, the event, hosted by The Chocolate Factory Theater, will feature food and beverage samples from some of the borough’s culinary forerunners such as The Astor Room, Sweetleaf, and the Rockaway Brewing Company. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

NYPD deploys additional officers, resources in wake of weekend shootings

Following multiple shootings across the city this weekend, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has ordered additional police resources to prevent more violence, Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in a statement. Read more: The Queens Courier

Cuomo to propose bill allowing for later-term abortions in New York State

An abortion battle could be brewing in Albany, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to propose a major change to abortion laws in New York State. Read more: CBSNewYork/AP

Statue of Liberty visitors to be screened in Battery Park

The federal government has changed plans and will screen Statue of Liberty visitors in lower Manhattan instead of letting them board boats to be checked later on Ellis Island, officials announced Monday. Read more NBC New York

New NYC ad campaign targets sweetened teas, fruit drinks

New York City’s campaign to cut consumption of sugary drinks now features ads warning people about sweet teas, sports and energy drinks and fruit-flavored beverages. Read more: CBSNewYork/AP

Radio ad campaign to use Ramones hit ‘Rockaway Beach’ to lure visitors back to the shorefront devastated by Hurricane Sandy

The Ramones are back (sort of). And with their help, visitors to Rockaway Beach should be back this summer, too. Read more: New York Daily News

Christie faces major decision in NJ Senate choice

In filling a vacant Senate seat, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie faces a significant choice fraught with political implications for his re-election campaign and, perhaps, a future presidential run. Read more: AP

NYPD deploys additional officers, resources in wake of weekend shootings


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Following multiple shootings across the city this weekend, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has ordered additional police resources to prevent more violence, Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said in a statement.

These resources include the assignment of additional uniformed officers to public housing developments citywide, the deployment of plainclothes officers during shooting-prone hours experienced recently, and the deployment of Skywatch camera-equipped observation towers and mobile vehicle versions of those towers, according to Browne.

Warrants Division personnel will additionally focus on areas that experienced multiple shootings over the weekend to arrest individuals wanted on outstanding warrants, and investigators will monitor gang-affiliated street crews for any planned retaliations based on the weekend shootings, Browne also said.

According to the NYPD, in a 72-hour period from Friday through Sunday 26 people were shot, seven fatally. Three of the surviving victims were under the age of 16.

Murder and shooting rates, however, are still lower than they were at the same time last year, said officials.

Homicides have dropped 24 percent, shooting incidents are down 27 percent and the number of individuals shot has declined by 29 percent when compared to a year ago.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Fog early. High of 91. Winds from the WSW at 5 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 75. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Thursday Nights Out

Kick your weekends off early this summer by visiting Bell Boulevard, Bayside’s “Main Street.” Every Thursday this summer these businesses will be staying open late and offering specials on Thursdays. For the latest specials check out baysidevillage.net. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

FBI agent’s car found after theft in Queens

An FBI agent’s car was found abandoned Wednesday, the day after it was stolen in Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Ricin letters sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Two threatening letters containing traces of the deadly poison ricin were sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York and his gun-control group in Washington, police said. Read more: AP

Barbara Sheehan loses appeal on gun possession conviction

Barbara Sheehan, the woman acquitted of fatally shooting her husband inside their Howard Beach home, has lost her appeal of a criminal weapons conviction related to the same case, District Attorney Richard Brown announced Wednesday. Read more: The Queens Courier

Poll: Commissioner Kelly would be a game-changer in mayoral race 

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is not running for mayor, but one pollster said her survey shows voters would love for him to do so. Read more: CBS New York

NYC architects offer plans for a new Penn Station

Four teams of architects presented plans Wednesday for a reimagined Penn Station that would be a spacious, welcoming gateway to New York City instead of the crowded, confusing and dark transportation hub now used by hundreds of thousands of daily commuters. Read more: NBC New York 

Prosecutor tapped to head FBI known for role in Bush-era surveillance standoff

The man poised to be the next head of the FBI is a former prosecutor respected by both sides of the aisle who may be best known for his role in a Hollywood-esque Washington showdown that thwarted the reauthorization of a controversial surveillance program. Read more: NBC News 

City to conduct biohazard attack tests this summer


| editorial@queenscourier.com


The NYPD, MTA and the United States Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory will conduct several tests this summer in order to come up with a contingency plan in the case of an intentional or accidental release of biohazardous materials, announced the NYPD.

Known as the Subway-Surface Air Flow Exchange (S-SAFE), the project is the first of its kind to study the effects of airflow in above and underground locations. The project will be funded by a $3.4 million Department of Homeland Security Transit Security Grant.

“The NYPD, in partnership with the MTA, is responsible for keeping more than 5 million daily subway customers safe and secure,” MTA acting chairman Fernando Ferrer said. “This study will bolster the NYPD’s understanding of contaminant dispersion within the subway system as well as between the subway system and the street, thereby improving its ability to better protect both our customers and the city population at large.”

Approximately 200 samples of harmless gases will be dispersed throughout a non-consecutive three-day span in July. The test will take place throughout 21 different subway lines, several dozen stations and street-level locations.

The days for the tests will be determined by weather conditions and announced to the public a day in advance.

The gases that will be used are non-toxic, odorless and invisible and have been used in previous airflow tests. Police say the tests will have no effect on daily commutes.

“The NYPD works for the best but plans for the worst when it comes to potentially catastrophic attacks such as ones employing radiological contaminants or weaponized anthrax,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. “This field study with Brookhaven’s outstanding expertise will help prepare and safeguard the city’s population in the event of an actual attack.”

-BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

 

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Boston bombing suspects discussed Times Square attack, officials say


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of FBI

Following the Boston Marathon attack, the bombing suspects intended to detonate additional explosives in Times Square, said Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly today.

Kelly said that information gathered from surviving suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had initially indicated that he and his older brother were coming to New York to “party.” Yet after further investigation, Dzhokhar said that the pair had discussed the “spontaneous” plan to explode their remaining bombs in Times Square.

“Ten days ago, our city and nation received a horrific reminder that we remain targets for terrorists. Immediately upon news of the explosions in Boston, we fully mobilized the New York City Police Department’s vast counterterrorism operations – because we thought there was a possibility that there could be a related attack here,” said Bloomberg. “We now know that that possibility was, in fact, all too real.

According to Kelly, the suspects discussed their plan while driving in a hijacked Mercedes SUV after they fatally shot an MIT police offer. Their plan ultimately feel apart when the brother realized that car was low on gas and when they stopped at a nearby gas station, the driver escaped and called the police. This led to the shootout in Watertown, Massachusetts were the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

During the shootout, the suspects had “six improvised explosive devices” including a pressure cooker bomb and pipe bombs, said Kelly.

Dzhokar had been photographed with friends in Times Square “on or before April 18, 2012” and was later in New York in November.

“We don’t know if those visits were related in any way to what he described as the brothers’ spontaneous decision to target Times Square,” said Kelly.

Kelly said the NYPD Intelligence Division is “actively investigating to determine Dzhokar’s movement in New York City, as well as who he might have been with here.”

There is no evidence to indicate that New York City is currently a target of another terrorist attack “stemming” from the Boston bombings, said Kelly.

Even though Bloomberg said it cannot be known if the enormous police presence and extensive network of cameras in New York City would have been enough to stop the continuation of the terror, he is grateful the brothers were stopped in their tracks.

“We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists, had they arrived here from Boston, we’re just thankful we didn’t have to find out that answer,” said Bloomberg.

 

 

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