Tag Archives: Rego Park

Six injured after bus crashes into Rego Park building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Aaron Amrhein

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 25 10:37 a.m. 

Six people were injured after a Resorts World Casino bus crashed into a Rego Park building Monday afternoon after trying to avoid hitting another vehicle, authorities said.

Fire officials responded to a call at 2:24 p.m. of a bus transporting people slamming into a two-story building located at 87-17 63rd Ave., the FDNY said.

According to officials, six people were hurt in the crash, including one person who was inside the building, and were taken to Jamaica Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens.

The 39-year-old driver of the bus — who was the most seriously injured and taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens with cuts and bruises on his face and hands — was trying to avoid a Toyota that made a sharp right turn in front of him at the intersection of 63rd Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard before losing control, according to police.

The bus, which was traveling on a designated bus lane on Woodhaven Boulevard, then hit the Toyota before going into the building and also striking a second vehicle that was parked.

The 37-year-old driver of the Toyota, who was not injured, was later issued a summons for an improper turn, according to police.

An investigation to determine the cause of the accident is still ongoing.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by the bus accident,” Resorts World said in a statement following the crash. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities in the investigation.”

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All-cash, multi-million deal for Rego Park commercial building


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield

One month was all one real estate broker needed to sell a Rego Park commercial building described as prime for development.

Cushman & Wakefield announced it sold 97-19/29 64th Rd., a 14,000-square-foot site off 98th Street and 64th Road, for $11.5 million in an all-cash transaction. The location currently has a two-story retail/office building that’s ripe for development, according to the agency.

“Within 30 days, we were able to generate a tremendous amount of interest and create a competitive bidding environment for our client,” said Thomas A. Donovan of Cushman & Wakefield. “A contract was negotiated and signed in one week, and a closing took place three months later at $11.5 million, which equates to approximately $554 per square foot on the existing building and $171 per buildable square foot.”

A spokesperson for Cushman & Wakefield indicated the plans for the site remain unknown, but the location’s zoning could allow for significant expansion. The site has 140 feet of frontage on 64th Road and another 100 feet of frontage on 98th Street and is located within a C4-2 commercial district.

The zoning code allows the new owners to build up to 47,600 square feet on the site, more than twice the size of the existing 20,771-square-foot building at the location. The new owners could add another 18,400 additional square feet of as-of-right development should community space be provided within the building space.

The location is two blocks away from the 63rd Drive subway station and within walking distance of the Rego Center mall, the Long Island Expressway and the Grand Central Parkway.

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Transit riders voice calls to ‘#FixWoodhaven’ in social media campaign


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@Jslyyynnn and @jam14063

Woodhaven Boulevard commuters took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to voice their frustration over crowded bus lines, deterioration and other problems along the thoroughfare.

The Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives organized the #FixWoodhaven event, which encouraged Queens subway and bus riders to use the hashtag on social media to call for bus rapid transit (BRT) and street improvements along the heavily used boulevard bisecting Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Glendale, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

“The Twitter campaign had over 250 tweets under the hashtag #FixWoodhaven,” according to a spokeswoman for the Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives.

“The people who were tweeting and part of the campaign included commuters who ride the bus daily along the Woodhaven corridor. The campaign was designed to speak to elected officials so they know the importance of BRT to their communities and constituents,” she said.

Volunteers with both transit advocacy groups also met with afternoon rush-hour commuters waiting for buses at stops along Hoffman Drive near Woodhaven Boulevard in Elmhurst. In pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram, riders were shown holding up signs noting that BRT would help reduce commute times and ease congestion.

In many instances, those who vented tagged or retweeted local elected officials seeking support for their cause, including City Council members Elizabeth Crowley and Donovan Richards and Assemblyman Mike Miller.

“The proposed layouts for Woodhaven have benefits for pedestrians also. It’ll be safer and prettier! #FixWoodhaven #VisionZero,” tweeted @SamSamuelitoo.

“I support better, faster buses! Visiting fams in the Rockaways takes too long. #fixwoodhaven @RidersNY @brtfornyc,” added Twitter user @Jslyyynnn, who attached to her tweet a photo of herself holding a sign reading, “I live in Jackson Heights and I’m tired of overcrowded buses.”

“Let’s make public transportation, more efficient and desirable to ride! @transalt #FixWoodhaven @brtfornyc,” tweeted Juan Restrepo, @juan_john_hans.

For years, drivers, pedestrians and non-drivers have experienced commuting pains while traveling along Woodhaven Boulevard, especially during rush-hour periods. Buses operating on the roadway — including two limited lines, the Q52 and Q53 — are often packed with riders and are slow because of traffic congestion. The street also has a history of vehicular accidents involving pedestrians, many of which resulted in fatalities.

The city Department of Transportation in recent years started a “Congested Corridor” study for Woodhaven Boulevard and recommended physical changes to the road’s configuration to make it safer and easier to travel. Working with the MTA, the DOT also recommends implementing Select Bus Service, a form of BRT, along both Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, with stations created at major intersections such as Metropolitan Avenue and Jamaica Avenue.

As the Select Bus Service plans are still being finalized, the DOT is presently creating bus-only lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard between Eliot and Metropolitan avenues as a means of speeding up bus operation. Only buses would be permitted to travel in these lanes during the morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays.

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Luxury apartment building above Rego Center now available for leasing


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cahn Communications

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

The Alexander at Rego Center, a new luxury rental building located at 61-55 Junction Blvd. in Rego Park, is now available for leasing and immediate occupancy.

The new building has 312 residential units ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom apartments. The luxurious interior design includes 9-foot ceilings, white oak flooring, Caesarstone quartz countertops and Italian porcelain tiles in bathrooms and kitchens, and Whirlpool stainless steel appliances. Rents start from $2,045 for a studio, $2,455 for a one-bedroom apartment, and $3,130 for a two-bedroom apartment.

The building’s amenities are designed to provide opportunities for plenty of recreational and social activity, and include a fitness center, a game room and lounge with a kitchen and fireplace, indoor and outdoor children’s playgrounds, and an outdoor terrace with seating, cabanas and a barbecue area. The building also includes onsite parking and bike storage. Pets are allowed.

The Alexander rises 27 stories above Rego Center, putting it in close proximity to a wide variety of shopping and dining options. It is also located within walking distance of the 63rd Drive station on the M and R subway lines, as well as the Long Island Expressway.

“We’re very excited to introduce The Alexander to the Rego Park community,” said Geoff Smith, vice president of development for Vornado Realty Trust. “This vibrant, family-friendly area has a strong sense of community and is bustling with retail, dining and recreational activities. We believe The Alexander is a perfect complement to the area, and one that will attract both existing and new residents who are drawn to Rego Park’s attributes and desire a more modern, amenity-rich lifestyle.”


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Update: Missing Rego Park man found


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

Updated Monday, July 27, 10:30 a.m.

The missing Rego Park man, identified by police as Manuel Guillen, who was reported missing over the weekend was found in good health on Sunday, according to authorities.

Prior to being located, police said Guillen was last seen in his residence at Madison York Assisted Living Home , located at 61-80 Woodhaven Blvd., on Friday afternoon.

No further information was made available.

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Top Queens hot dog spots for National Hot Dog Day


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The hot dog has long held the honor of being one of America’s favorite summertime treats, taking center stage at cookouts, campfires and ballparks throughout the summer months. To celebrate this iconic food, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council designated July as Hot Dog Month, with Thursday, July 23, as National Hot Dog Day.

Whether you prefer your dogs boiled, grilled, barbecued or topped with everything from classic relish to more exotic fare like pineapples and sriracha, indulge in this summertime staple at some of the best hot dog spots in Queens.

Ben’s Best
96-40 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-897-1700

IMG_5570

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

This gourmet kosher delicatessen has been a neighborhood staple, serving up classic deli fare such as mile-high hot pastrami on rye, kreplach and cabbage rolls for nearly 70 years. Their Empire National brand natural casing frankfurters are grilled to perfection.

Ben’s franks are served with choice of mustard, ketchup, relish and sauerkraut ($4.50), or topped with red onions, coleslaw, chili and even potato salad for just a dollar more. A can of Dr. Brown’s root beer or Cel-Ray celery soda makes the perfect pairing to this flavorful summertime feast.

La Perrada de Chalo
83-12 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights
718-639-6677

LaPerrada

Photo courtesy of La Perrada de Chalo

Established in 1995, La Perrada boasts the largest selection of authentic gourmet Colombian hot dogs in the city. The Iraqui ($4.15) is a unique salty and sweet mix of potato chips, eggs, pineapple, sauces and cheese. For tropical flavor, try the Al Gusto ($5) topped with Hawaiian pineapple, bacon, shrimp and eggs. The flavorful Criollo ($4.15) blends cabbage salad with pineapples, cheese, sauces and crushed chips for a crunchy treat.

Hungry patrons can go all out with the Showy ($4.15) topped with mortadella, onions, pineapple, cheeses and chips.

New York Dog House
37-06 30th Ave., Astoria
718-274-3647

NY DogHouse2

Photo courtesy of The New York Dog House

A quick trip to nearby Astoria will land you in the dog house — the New York Dog House that is. This popular eatery is home to a diverse menu of uniquely named signature hot dogs, sausages and bratwurst.

The California Dog ($8) features a Weisswurst sausage topped with avocado, lettuce, red onion and herbs. For a tasty experience, ride the Pineapple Express ($8), a mix of fresh pineapple, pickled onion and cilantro pesto on a hearty bratwurst sausage. For Wild West flavor, try The Cowboy ($9) a cheddar bratwurst topped with caramelized onions, crispy chipotle, bacon and homemade BBQ sauce.

Travel from the west to the Far East ($9), and enjoy a savory Num Pang sausage topped with homemade sesame chili paste, pickled daikon, scallions and roasted peanuts.

Butcher Bar
37-10 30th Ave., Astoria
718-606-8140

ButcherBar

Photo via Butcher Bar’s Facebook page

As the name suggests, this purveyor of delectable organic, grass-fed cuts of meat promises a savory experience for diners. Their sausage, peppers and onions ($11.99), with your choice of Butcher Bar’s homemade grilled hot, sweet or Filipino-style sausage, is a hearty alternative to the classic hot dog.

Dominick’s Hot Dog Truck
Woodhaven Boulevard at 67th Avenue, Rego Park

IMG_5588

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Head back to Rego Park and make a pit stop at Dominick’s. This bright blue truck has long been a local favorite, serving up classic steamed Sabrett hot dogs topped with their homemade sautéed onions or sauerkraut ($3) and chili cheese dogs ($3.25).

Wash down all this savory goodness with a can of classic White Rock cream, orange or black cherry soda ($1.25) or chocolate Yoo-hoo ($1.50).

IMG_5591

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

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Seven Queens students accepted to the US service academies


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Congresswoman Grace Meng's office

Seven recent high school graduates from Queens will be all they can be in their college years after being accepted into various U.S. military service academies with the assistance of Congresswoman Grace Meng.

The academies consist of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado; U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point; and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut.

Kate Gerodias from Middle Village graduated from Forest Hills High School and will be attending the Naval Academy; Zachary Kurre from Glendale graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School and will attend West Point this summer; Selah Cho of Fresh Meadows finished school at Marion Military Institute in Alabama and will attend West Point; Kevin Guo from Rego Park graduated from Hunter College High School and will be continuing his education at the Naval Academy; Julia Hsu from Flushing graduated from West Point Prep School and will go on to West Point this summer; John Makiling of Flushing graduated from Naval Academy Prep School and will continue on to the Naval Academy; and Daniel Zakrevski from Richmond Hill graduated from Bronx High School of Science and will be attending the Merchant Marine Academy.

“I am honored to congratulate these seven exceptional students,” Meng said. “All are outstanding individuals who will be future military leaders of our country. I have no doubt that they’ll make Queens and the nation proud.”

Students looking to attend the service academies are required to be nominated by their Congress member. The institutions then evaluate the nominations from across the nation and decide which nominees to accept.

The students nominated by Meng compete against students from across the country and must meet the highly competitive educational, physical and extracurricular standards set by the institutions. Meng’s Academy Review Board, which is a panel of local community leaders, assists Meng in the nomination process for students looking to attend the academies.

This year, a total of 33 students applied to be nominated by Meng. Of those 33 students, 20 were nominated by the Congresswoman.

To congratulate the students for being accepted to the service academies, Meng hosted a reception for them and their families at her office in Flushing. She also presented each student with a certificate of Congressional recognition.

Meng plans to continue her “U.S. Service Academy Information Night” for Queens students who are interested in applying to the U.S. Service Academies. The day and location will be announced in the near future.

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Newly built Rego Park office building put up for sale for nearly $8M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Cushman & Wakefield

A seven-story Rego Park building that was constructed last year has been listed for sale.

The property at 97-17 64th Rd., which replaced a two-story office structure at the site, is being offered for $7,950,000 with Cushman & Wakefield.

The owner, listed publicly as 97-17 Realty LLC, bought the property for $930,000 in 2006, according to city records.

The office building is a few blocks from the Rego Center Mall and within walking distance of Queens Place and Queens Center malls. The 63rd Drive subway station is also nearby.

The building has 12,200 square feet of space, which is very valuable in Rego Park, a neighborhood with established properties and not much vacant land to offer developers to build.

“The quality of this newly built asset, along with its prime location, makes it a rare find in today’s [Rego Park] market,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Thomas Donovan.

Donovan is marketing the building with Eugene Kim, Tommy Lin and Robert Rappa.

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Starbucks drive-thru coming to Rego Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Dome Poon/Flickr Creative Commons

Coffee lovers may soon get an even quicker cup of joe at the borough’s first-ever Starbucks drive-thru expected to open in Rego Park.

The drive-thru will be located within a new development currently under construction at 92-77 Queens Blvd., according to DNAinfo, which first reported that the drive-thru was coming to the site along with the Wyndham Hotel.

A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed to The Courier that a drive-thru was coming to a location within the central Queens neighborhood but would not specify an opening date.

The space at 92-77 Queens Blvd., which is expected to be move-in ready later this year, is located adjacent to Rego Center and blocks away from Queens Center and Queens Place malls.

The site, which offers on-site parking, will also be home to a Retro Fitness.

Last month, Starbucks also announced it would be opening its first location in Ridgewood.

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Woman found dead inside Rego Park apartment house


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Property Shark/Christopher Bride

An investigation is ongoing regarding the death of a 40-year-old woman in a Rego Park apartment Monday morning.

Officers from the 112th Precinct were called to the apartment on 63rd Drive near Carlton Street sometime before 8:15 a.m. Monday and discovered the woman in a third-floor unit.

Paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced her dead; her body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death.

Her identity was not disclosed by police pending family notification.

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Queens Library CEO appeals for more city funding


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Borough Public Library

With a little more than a month until the city’s budget deadline, the Queens Borough Public Library is urging elected officials to make a much-needed investment in its system.

The Queens Library, along with the Brooklyn and New York public libraries, recently launched the “Invest in Libraries” campaign, which aims to engage New Yorkers in the debate and convince city lawmakers to provide an additional $65 million in combined funding in the 2016 fiscal year budget, which takes effect in July.

Queens Library’s Interim President and CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey outlined the campaign in an exclusive interview with The Courier Thursday. The Queens Library seeks an $18.2 million funding boost from the city, a drop in the bucket in a budget projected to meet or exceed $70 billion.

Should Queens Library receive the extra funding, Quinn-Carey claimed, it would restore the library’s funding level to that of 2008 and open the door toward adding more than 200 new jobs, expanding existing educational programs and restoring six-day service throughout the system. Since 2008, the library lost 20 percent of its funds, pared jobs and eliminated six-day service at two-thirds of its 62 branches.

Quinn-Carey charged that increasing library funds is a concept that aligns with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s efforts to increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.  For instance, the extra funds would enable Queens Library to expand its English as a second language program, which was held at 40 branches and proved so popular that some potential students were turned away due to a lack of available seats.

“This is really an investment not only in the traditional library system but also community engagement,” she said. “This is giving communities a greater chance of success.”

Additionally, the Queens Library is also seeking capital funds to renovate many aging, yet heavily used branches such as the Corona, Rego Park and Far Rockaway locations. De Blasio set aside $300 million in the city’s 10-year capital plan to renovate libraries, but Quinn-Carey noted the actual projected costs exceed $1.4 billion.

Quinn-Carey and the Queens Library have spent the better part of a year working to repair its image following a scandal centered around its former president and CEO, Thomas W. Galante. He came under fire early in 2014 after it was revealed that he collected a nearly $400,000 annual salary, ordered a six-figure renovation of his office and made other lavish expenses at a time when the library cut jobs and services due to funding cutbacks.

The library lost political and financial support, and local elected officials such as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz sought to change the library’s board of trustees after it resisted calls to force Galante out of office and fully open its financial books. Legislation enacted by the state in June empowered Katz and de Blasio to remove eight library trustees who supported Galante and resisted calls for full financial disclosure.

The board of trustees was stocked with new members by September, when it forced Galante into a leave of absence. Quinn-Carey was named as his interim replacement, and Galante was subsequently fired in December.

Quinn-Carey said she and the reconstituted board are working closely with the government to reform the library system. It engaged audit firms to assess the library’s risks and expenses. Steps were also taken to make the library more transparent; the library is now in compliance with the Freedom of Information Law and posts expense records on its website.

“These efforts and a reform of policies and procedures should reassure the public that the library is a great institution and still able to deliver these great services,” Quinn-Carey said.

Click here for more information about the Invest in Libraries campaign.

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Renovated Rego Park Social Security office reopens


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Property Shark/Scott Bintner

The Social Security office in Rego Park is up and running once again.

Renovations to the office located at 63-44 Austin St. forced its closure last December, making the hundreds of daily visitors have to travel to other offices around Brooklyn and Queens – including Jamaica, Flushing and Bushwick.

“The reopening of the Social Security facility in Rego Park is great news,” U.S. Rep. Grace Meng said. “I’m pleased that the facility has been modernized and I hope these improvements will allow its staff to better serve our borough.”

All 32 employees stationed at the Rego Park office prior to the renovation returned upon the office’s reopening. The full-service facility handles all matters including retirement, disability and survivor’s benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for qualified individuals.

The office is open five days a week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Click here for more information.

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Rego Park woman sentenced for fatally pushing man in front of 7 train


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Daniel Schwen

A Rego Park woman began a 24-year prison sentence Wednesday for pushing a man to his death at a 7 train station in Sunnyside more than two years ago.

Erika Menendez, 33, pled guilty in March of this year to a manslaughter charge for killing Sunnando Sen, 46, at the 40th Street station on the night of Dec. 27, 2012.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, Menendez was seen talking to herself and pacing on the platform at about 8 p.m. that evening. Moments later, she shoved Sen from behind off the platform and into an arriving Manhattan-bound 7 train.

Sen was pronounced dead a short time later from blunt force trauma.

During questioning, Menendez reportedly claimed she attacked Sen, whom she believed was a Muslim, because she hated “Hindus and Muslims ever since” the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Her prior record includes attacking a fire department battalion chief in June 2003 in front of his home on Palmetto Street in Ridgewood.

“[Menendez] committed what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare — being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday. “The victim was shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself… [Her] actions clearly show that she is a threat to society and deserving of today’s sentence.”

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Map: Where recent college grads can afford rent in Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Minas Styponias

For recent college graduates, living in New York City while juggling student loans and living expenses can seem almost impossible.

Add in the need for fun and entertainment, and most won’t have a dime remaining from their paychecks.

However, a new study released Wednesday by real estate website StreetEasy shows, through an interactive map, in what neighborhoods recent graduates will be able to find affordable apartments as they begin a life of independence in the Big Apple. Some areas in the “World’s Borough” have been pointed out as leading contenders.

“One of our top tips for recent grads moving to NYC is to look outside of Manhattan, and our study shows that several neighborhoods in Queens are especially ‘grad-friendly,’” a StreetEasy representative said.

Astoria and Ridgewood top the list of those Queens neighborhoods, but affordable apartments can be found in many neighborhoods throughout the borough including Kew Gardens, Corona, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Rego Park and Flushing.

The map (below) reveals the availability of affordable apartments in city based on three variables. It uses the average entry-level salaries for the top 10 majors of recent grads moving to the NYC, including business, social sciences, education and engineering, the percent of income one is willing to pay toward rent and the possibility of roommates.

The study found what many have known for decades —  paying NYC rents is actually possible when roommates are included. However, the report also notes, it is possible to fly solo in the city and spend only 30 percent of income, but graduates will have to do serious apartment hunting.

It would also help, if only slightly, not to be an education major.

Zero percent of studio and one-bedroom listings are affordable to solo education majors, according to the study, whereas only 2.7 percent and 5.1 percent were available for social science and business majors respectively.

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Man suspected in second subway public lewdness incident in Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man wanted for exposing himself to a straphanger on an R train last month has now been connected to a similar public lewdness incident at a Queens subway station on Valentine’s Day, police said.

A 50-year-old woman was waiting for a Queens-bound F train at the Queens Boulevard and 63rd Drive stop in Rego Park about 5:30 a.m. on Feb. 14 when the suspect approached the victim and exposed himself to her. He then boarded an F train while the victim remained on the platform and waited for the next train.

The same man is also suspected of exposing himself to a 34-year-old woman on board a Queens-bound R train about 7:40 a.m. on March 2.

As the train was at the Grand Avenue stop in Elmhurst, the man sat down in front of the woman and allegedly exposed himself. He then got off at the next stop on Woodhaven and Queens boulevards.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 25-30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 120 to 140 pounds.

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

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