Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Four men wanted for Richmond Hill barbershop robbery

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for four suspects wanted for the robbery of an employee in a Richmond Hill barbershop earlier this week.

The victim, a 27-year-old male, was working at a barbershop located at 132-03 Liberty Ave., when the four male suspects entered the establishment on Sept. 21 at 7:19 p.m., with two displaying black firearms.

The suspects then took the victim to the basement, where they removed his Samsung cellphone, iPad and approximately $52 in cash before fleeing the establishment.

Officers from the 106th Precinct responded to the scene. There were no reported injuries.

Surveillance video of the four suspects was taken at a neighboring store and recovered by the NYPD.

Police described the four suspects as black males. One was last seen wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt with a gray undershirt, a gray baseball cap, khaki pants and white sneakers; another was observed wearing a blue sweatshirt, light blue jeans and black sneakers.

The third perpetrator wore a white sweatshirt, dark blue jeans and black sneakers, while the fourth suspect was last seen wearing a gray sweatshirt, light jeans, blue and white baseball cap and white sneakers with black laces.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


‘Crime fighter’ honored by NYPD at street co-naming ceremony in Richmond Hill

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

New York’s Finest gathered outside of the childhood home of a beloved former deputy commissioner in Richmond Hill to honor his memory during a street co-naming ceremony Monday morning.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Councilman Eric Ulrich, Assemblyman Mike Miller, the NYPD Ceremonial Unit, Community Board 9, the Richmond Hill Historical Society and members of the community were on hand at the corner of 108th Street and Park Lane South for the unveiling of Jack Maple Place.

During his time with the NYPD, Maple rose through the ranks to become the deputy commissioner for crime-fighting strategies, serving under Bratton during his first tenure in former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s first term.

“There is so much I could say about Jack, so many stories to tell, I think like all of you, I miss him every day,” Bratton said. “I miss the personality, the humor, the toughness, the character and it is safe to say when they made Jack, they broke the mold and there will never be another one. He was truly one of a kind.”

“If there’s two words that describe Jack Maple, the epitome of all he was, is those two words: crime fighter,” Bratton added. “That was the essence of Jack Maple. We had to be where the crime was, we had to be where the criminals were, because that’s what we as cops do.”

Maple worked hard to keep the community he grew up in safe.

“Let me first begin by saying thank you, thank you to the family of Jack Maple,” Councilman Ulrich said. “Thank you to all the men and women of the New York City Police Department who have made this community and this city a safer place to live, to work, to raise a family. And that is made possible because, in no small part, due to the good ideas and the due diligence to someone like Jack Maple.”

During his time as a transit officer, Maple is credited with the creation of CompStat, a crime strategy program that increased accountability within the NYPD that is still used today.

“Truly a revolutionary idea which transformed the way the police department did policing, turned the city, turned the other cities around. Other police departments are now using it across America,” Ulrich said of CompStat. “Hopefully his life, his legacy, which we honor today, will inspire others.”


Richmond Hill man joins Broadway production of ‘Spring Awakening’

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kevin Parry

Richmond Hill native Robert Ariza has been busy studying the lines of four characters in the musical “Spring Awakening” while simultaneously learning American Sign Language (ASL).

Ariza, 25, is a swing actor, also known as an understudy for several roles, for the Deaf West Theatre’s production of the rock musical, which features actors performing in English and ASL. The musical, adapted from a German play of the same name, follows the lives of 12 young people as they navigate the intricacies of teenage sexuality.

Ariza, who attended famed performing arts school LaGuardia Arts High School, grew up wanting to be a pop singer. He didn’t know what musical theater was until his parents told him about the teen drama camp at Holy Child Jesus Church in Richmond Hill. The then-14-year-old acted in a production of “Footloose” and though he enjoyed the experience, he wasn’t hooked.

“I had a great time that summer doing ‘Footloose’ but I never really thought that it could be a viable career,” Ariza said.

That all changed after he saw his fellow classmates at LaGuardia High School perform “West Side Story.”

“I remember that was the moment that I knew that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Ariza said.

Robert Ariza headshot - smaller

He quickly racked up experience by scoring parts in “Ragtime,” “Hair” and “City of Angels” at school, and he also performed outside of school in productions of “West Side Story” and “Bye Bye Birdy.” Ariza then attended the University of Michigan, where he played Hanschen in a production of “Spring Awakening,” and graduated with a degree in musical theater.

Before auditioning for the Broadway production of “Spring Awakening,” Ariza was coincidentally performing in a production of the play at the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca as the lead, Melchior. The director for the musical urged him to try out for a swing part in the Broadway production. Memorizing the lines was a breeze for Ariza but incorporating American Sign Language was “quite a challenge.”

For a callback, Ariza had to attend a 2-hour ASL session where he was taught how to sign while acting and signing. He had to show off his new skills to director Michael Arden and Steven Sater, who did the original book and lyrics for the musical.

Currently in the third week of rehearsal, Ariza said the rehearsal process has been a “whirlwind” as he prepares for the roles of Melchoir, Hanschen, Georg and Otto. Though the process has been challenging, Ariza said the actors, who performed the musical in a run in Los Angeles, have been welcoming and fun to work with.

“I have to say [my favorite part of this is] learning sign language and getting to know these deaf actors,” Ariza said. “I have so much respect for what they do, for not being able to hear and still being able to pursue their dreams and be in a Broadway musical, I mean that’s huge.”

Previews begin on Sept. 8 and the musical premieres on Sept. 27 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre through Jan. 9.


Richmond Hill to get four-story mixed-use buildings on 101st Avenue

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Google Maps

A commercial corridor on 101st Avenue in Richmond Hill will be turned into five mixed-use apartment buildings, filling two lots between 129th and 130th Streets, according to a published report.

The buildings will rise four stories and four of the buildings will have five apartments each, New York Yimby reported. Each of these four buildings will also feature a 400-square-foot retail space on the ground floor.

One site at 129-25 101st Ave. will be larger than the rest of the apartment buildings, housing eight units to be divided over 4,242 square feet. The retail space on the ground floor will measure 982 square feet. The space, which will house a total of 28 units and five storefronts, currently houses a vacant corner lot, a house in disrepair and a garage.

These buildings will be a departure from the one- and two-family houses found throughout most of Richmond Hill. The city downsized most of the neighborhood in 2012, according to New York Yimby, restricting building heights on side streets to 35 feet.


Pesticide spraying across many Queens neighborhoods set for Monday night

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Trucks will spray pesticide across nearly every corner in Queens this Monday night as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to kill mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at about 8:30 p.m. Monday and continue until 6 a.m. the next morning. In the event of inclement weather, the spraying will take place on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning at the same hours.

The spraying will occur in four clusters of Queens as follows:

  • Areas of Long Island City and Sunnyside generally bounded by 47th Avenue on the north; Dutch Kills on the west; Newtown Creek on south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 43rd Street on the east.
  • Parts of Astoria and Woodside generally bounded by 20th Avenue and 30th Street on the north; 28th Avenue, 43rd Street and Newtown Road on the west; Broadway and Northern Boulevard on the south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 30th Avenue, 78th Street, Astoria Boulevard and 75th Street on the east.
The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

  • Areas of Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood and Oakland Gardens generally bounded by 73rd Avenue on the north; 188th Street on the west; Jamaica Avenue, 199th Street, Hillside Avenue, 212th Street and the Grand Central Parkway on the south; and Springfield Boulevard on the east.
  • Parts of Briarwood, Forest Hills, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven generally bounded by the Grand Central and Jackie Robinson parkways, Groton Street, Yellowstone and Woodhaven boulevards and Eliot Avenue on the north; Lutheran Avenue, 71st Street, Metropolitan Avenue, All Faiths Cemetery, 76th Street, Cypress Hills Cemetery and Cypress Hills Street on the west; Jamaica and 89th avenues on the south; and 169th Street on the east.
The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

Though the pesticide used during these sprayings, Anvil 10+10, poses no significant health risks to humans, the Health Department advises residents in these areas — especially those with respiratory ailments — to stay indoors while spraying occurs. Windows should be kept closed; air conditioners may be used, but the vents should be closed to prevent possible indoor exposure to the pesticides.

Any toys, clothes and outdoor equipment should be moved inside prior to spraying; anything left outside while spraying occurs should be thoroughly washed before reuse. Produce grown in backyards should be washed before being consumed or cooked.

Persons exposed to the pesticide should thoroughly wash their skin with soap and water.

For more information, visit the Health Department’s website or call 311.


Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens to be featured on the ‘Today’ show

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens

Members of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens in Richmond Hill will get their 15 minutes of fame on the “Today” show with Kathie Lee and Hoda on Wednesday.

Maria Cruz, 14, and Djhai Facey, 17,  will model clothing as a part of J.C. Penney’s “Bend the Trend” campaign, which hopes to encourage children going back to school to combine different trends for their own personal style. Cruz and Facey will be paired with teen YouTube stars in a mash-up fashion show and will keep the clothes they model during the show. The segment will air on NBC Channel 4 between 10 to 11 a.m.

J.C. Penney has also dubbed Aug. 12 “National Shout Out Day” and will encourage teens to post positive messages about each other on social media. The chain has also enlisted the help of YouTube stars the Merrill Twins, Stephanie and Matilda from Primrose Makeup, Josh Tryhane, Sierra Furtado, Paulina Cerrilina and Hunter March to use social media to promote positivity and share their back-to-school style.

Program Director Samantha Surujlall said the “Today” show reached out to the organization at the beginning of the summer to ask if the club would be interested in participating in the campaign.

“Each year the ‘Today’ show does a segment on back-to-school fashion,” Surujlall said. “Our two participants are going to be the ‘it’ team for back-to-school fashion.”


Richmond Hill mom charged with killing infant claimed baby was possessed

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot courtesy of Robert Stridiron

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 11, 11:10 a.m. 

The mother of a 3-week-old boy whose body was found in a Richmond Hill apartment building’s courtyard last week has been charged with murder after allegedly throwing the child out a four-story window because she believed an evil spirit had taken over the boy’s body.

Rashida Chowdhury, 21, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and intentional murder of a victim less than 11 years old, the NYPD announced Saturday.

A witness told authorities that just before 4 a.m. she had heard an unusual noise like a “thump” coming from the courtyard at 85-55 115th St., according to court documents. The witness then went to the lobby area of the building, looked through a window to the courtyard and saw a baby lying on the cement floor unresponsive and with an apparent injury to the head. She then called 911.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the 911 call at 85-55 115th St. at about 4:06 a.m. on Aug. 7, according to police. Upon arriving, they found the baby, Rizwan Ahmad, unconscious and unresponsive. Emergency medical personnel also responded and pronounced the infant dead at the scene.

During their investigation, authorities observed an open window on the fourth floor of the building and determined it to be the baby’s apartment, court documents said. The height from the window to the courtyard floor was determined to be about 42 feet high.

While being questioned, the child’s mother— who lived in the apartment with her 40-year-old husband and other family members — said she woke up between 3:30 and 4 a.m. and took Rizwan from the bed and went into the bathroom, according to the criminal complaint. While she was alone in the bathroom with the baby she said she tossed him out of the bathroom window.

According to court records, Chowdhury said that an evil spirit had taken over her infant son, who had recently been sick, and she was “stopping the pain.”

The mother of a 3-week-old boy, whose body was found in the courtyard of 85-55 115th St. (pictured), has been charged for murder. (Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Nicholas Strini)

The 3-week-old boy’s body was found in the courtyard of 85-55 115th St. (Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Nicholas Strini)

“This is a truly horrific and disturbing case of a mother accused of killing her helpless 3-week-old infant son by tossing him out of a window, where he fell more than 40 feet to the pavement and died,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “The alleged actions of the defendant are totally incomprehensible. She now faces serious charges that could lead to her spending the rest of her life behind bars if convicted.”

After performing an autopsy on the boy, the medical examiner classified the death as a homicide and said the baby died of a blunt impact of the head and torso with skull fractures and lacerations of brain, liver and spleen, according to court records.

Chowdhury was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court and is being held without bail. She has also been placed on suicide watch and is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 10.

If convicted on her charges, Chowdhury faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

The body of a one-month-old boy who died in Richmond Hill on the morning of Aug. 7 is placed into the medical examiner's van. (Photo by Robert Stridiron)

The body of an infant who died in Richmond Hill on the morning of Aug. 7 is placed into the medical examiner’s van. (Photo by Robert Stridiron)


Infant may have been thrown from window of Richmond Hill apartment: reports

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Updated 2:59 p.m.

Detectives are investigating the death of a 1-month-old boy who is believed to have been thrown from the window of a Richmond Hill apartment early on Friday morning.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to an apartment house on 115th Street near Myrtle Avenue and found the body of Rizwan Ahmad in the building’s courtyard, reports said.

Paramedics pronounced the child dead at the scene; his body was transported to the medical examiner’s office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

The New York Daily News reported that Ahmad’s 21-year-old mother was taken to Jamaica Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, and his 41-year-old father — along with four other residents — were brought to the 102nd Precinct’s stationhouse for questioning.

Presently, no charges have been filed and an investigation is ongoing.


PHOTOS: Queens residents enjoy a fun ‘Night Out’ with New York’s Finest

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Promoting greater harmony between police and the people they serve, Tuesday’s National Night Out Against Crime brought thousands of Queens residents out to venues across the “World’s Borough” for family-friendly activities.

From Astoria to the Rockaway Peninsula, each Night Out event included free games and activities for children of all ages as well as refreshments, live music and other entertainment. Residents also had the opportunity to meet with the officers who serve their community and learn more about the NYPD’s various crime prevention programs.

Local elected officials, including Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, attended each gathering and presented proclamations to the precinct commanders. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who made the rounds at Night Out events across the city, stopped by the 113th Precinct’s Night Out in Springfield Gardens.

The National Night Out Against Crime, founded by the National Association of Town Watch, aims to strengthen relationships between law enforcement and the communities. Millions of people across the U.S. and Canada were estimated to have participated in Night Out events Tuesday evening.


Con Edison reduces power in south Queens, urges customers to conserve

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/Con Edison

Equipment problems and a power strain related to today’s hot weather forced Con Edison to cut back voltage by 8 percent in several southern Queens neighborhoods.

The reduction affects customers in the areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven. In all, 138,000 customers are affected in the area generally bounded by the Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard, Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica Bay and the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Con Edison said the cutback aims “to protect equipment and maintain service as repairs are made.” Until further notice, residents in the reduction zone should not use heavy-duty appliances such as washers, dryers and air conditioners and should turn off any unnecessary lights or televisions.

Queens is in the midst of this summer’s first heat wave, with temperatures today forecast at 92 degrees. Combined with oppressive humidity, it’ll actually feel more like 102 degrees, according to accuweather.com. Thunderstorms are also forecast for this evening.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation also issued an air quality health advisory through 10 p.m. Monday for the New York City area, as the stifling, muggy air may also include heavy amounts of pollutants such as ozone. Children, seniors and those with respiratory disorders should limit their outdoor activity.

The city will have cooling centers around the five boroughs open on Monday, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities and parks. Call 311 or click here to locate the nearest center.

Con Edison urges customers who experience power outages to report them immediately to 800-75-CONED and visit its website to check the status of service restoration efforts. When reporting an outage, customers should have their account number available and notify the operator if neighbors on their block also lost power.


Ulrich secures a record $5.6 million in funding for district

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Southwest Queens will receive $5,685,000 in funding from the City Council, the most that has ever been awarded to the 32nd City Council District.

Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents neighborhoods including the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and South Richmond Hill, secured $685,000 in expense funding for local community groups, civic associations, senior centers, volunteer fire departments and other local groups.

New York Families for Autistic Children, Inc.Queens Chamber of CommerceHoward Beach- Lindenwood CivicRockaway Point Volunteer Emergency Services and Girl Scout Council of Greater New York were among the grant recipients.

“Above all, this year’s budget keeps New Yorkers and their families safe and protects the vital services we all rely upon,” Ulrich said. “It also provides funding for local groups that serve my constituents in every corner of the district. Since taking office, I have made sure that we receive our fair share of city services and resources in the budget. This year is no exception.”

Local schools in the district will receive funding for SAT programs and the $5 million allocated to capital projects will fund technology upgrades at 17 local schools and school library and auditorium renovations.

Forest Park will receive a number of enhancements and improved security measures. Residents who voted in the participatory budgeting process chose to refurbish the 9/11 Memorial and the Forest Park Dog Run and to install emergency call boxes throughout the park.

Libraries in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill have been awarded $200,000 for security upgrades and renovations.

The Richmond Hill library will look to install self-check-in and check-out machines, renovate the basement and purchase new computers and tablets, according to Rebecca Babirye-Alibatya, the library’s manager.


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.


Tour of Richmond Hill highlights the Indo-Caribbean community’s needs

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Ridgewood Times/Photos by Anthony Giudice

The Indo-Caribbean population and culture in Richmond Hill is booming, and as a result the residents are in need of programs and institutions that bring them together as a community.

Richard David, co-founder of the Indo-Caribbean Alliance (ICA), led a 2-hour walking tour on June 25 of Richmond Hill’s important Indo-Caribbean cultural hubs, including Little Guyana Bake Shop and the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, informing the participants of the support system that local organizations, like the ICA, provides to their community.

“The Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hill has exploded in the past 10 years, growing an estimated 23 percent from 2000 to 2010 and having the third highest foreign-born population in NYC,” said Joo Han, program and communications manager for the Asian American Federation (AAF). “However, the community has received little government funding due to its lack of visibility, despite its being the largest Indo-Caribbean community in NYC.”

One stop on the tour was Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, one of the oldest Hindu temples in the city.

Not only does the Mandir provide residents with a place to worship, but organizers are looking to create senior and youth programs to be held in the Mandir, in order to educate the community on the importance of joining together and helping others.

“There is no community center in the neighborhood,” said Varuna Sahabir, organizing secretary at the Shri Lakshmi Narayan Mandir. “Since there is no official place for the community to gather, it is a struggle to get people to come out to vote. The community needs to come together. That is why we are trying to reach out and help the people of the community.”

The tour concluded at the ICA office, located at 131-12 Liberty Ave., to discuss some of the community’s needs and how ICA provides support for youth and residents.

“We’re a community that can do a lot with a little support, but we have a lot of service needs,” David said. “Our youth are dropping out at unprecedented rates; we’re now faced with a generation of young people who have actually achieved less education than their parents. We need to address those needs.”

The ICA has several programs dedicated to youth, including a middle school initiative, a college bound program and a mentoring program.

“We do a leadership skill-building program, it’s a natural complement to some of our civic advocacy work because the students in our leadership program are also the ones registering people to vote, organizing debates, setting up different cleaning events for Liberty Avenue…it’s a really good way to get our programs to build greater cohesion,” David said.

According to the AAF Census Information Center the demographic profile of Richmond Hill shows that 74 percent of Indians and 72 percent of Asians were immigrants. This high level of immigration in the Indo-Caribbean community in Richmond Hill has led the ICA to create a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

DACA is a special, non-permanent immigration program that provides work permits and temporary relief from deportation to eligible residents. ICA offers help to interested residents to find free lawyers and see if they are eligible and may even be able to cover application fees.

For more information about ICA and all the services they offer please visit their website.


National Grid to install natural gas lines along Lefferts Boulevard

| amatua@queenscourier.com

File photo

National Grid’s efforts to modernize its gas system in Queens will affect drivers and residents on Lefferts Boulevard in the weeks ahead.

National Grid and its contractor, Network Infrastructure, have now begun work to install a new gas main along 84th Avenue between 115th Street and Lefferts Boulevard. Due to this construction, 84th Avenue between 115th and 116th streets will be closed to through traffic and on-street parking will be unavailable from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

It is part of the Queens Gas Reliability Project, a $100 million effort by National Grid scheduled to be completed in spring 2016. The construction will take between five and six weeks to complete.

“We are working closely with the local community to minimize the disruption and we thank them for their patience and cooperation during this complex construction project,” said Mike Ruiz, director of community and customer management at National Grid. “The Queens Gas Reliability Project is important to strengthening the network for our Queens customers and it’s a good example of our Connect 21 vision to modernize our energy delivery system and to help customers take more control of their energy use.”

New gas mains have already been installed in South Ozone Park, Richmond Hill and Kew Gardens.

National Grid will install more than 6 miles of gas mains through central and south Queens and once the installation is complete, crews will work in neighborhoods along the route, spanning from Rockaway Boulevard to Long Island Expressway, to upgrade the natural gas service in the local communities.

The Queens Gas Reliability Project is part of National Grid’s $1.3 billion investment focused on replacing aging gas mains; installing new mains and other facilities to accommodate customers requesting natural gas service; and ensuring that natural gas supplies can meet increasing customer demand.


Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens rallies to restore funding

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

Chants of “show us the money” reverberated throughout the gymnasium of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens on Wednesday, as parents, children and staff called for more funding for after-school programs.

The Richmond Hill-based nonprofit organization, which offers free after-school tutoring, homework assistance and athletic and arts programs, serves children from 6 to 18. But the elementary school programs, which serve 200 students, have lost their funding.

The City Council cut $420,000 from after-school programs for the next fiscal year and if it is not restored, club Associate Executive Director David Kupecky said, parents will have to choose between putting food on the table and providing their children with a safe space to attend after school.

“The mayor’s initiative this year is ‘after school for all,'” Kupecky said. “He’s talking about middle school, he’s talking about pre-K and I think that right now, elementary school is being forgotten.”

A City Council representative said no cuts have been made but the club lost an RFP proposal through the Comprehensive After School System of New York City (COMPASS). The representative also said that they are looking to provide funding for the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens and other programs that have been affected by budget shortfalls.

The Boys and Girls Club will have to charge parents $300 per month for the 36-week after-school program and $800 for the seven-week summer program if the funding is not restored in the final budget.

Marcus Gonzalez, a 20-year-old Jamaica resident who works at the Boys and Girls Club and has been attending the programs since he was 5, said that the mentors he met helped him when he struggled through high school and eventually pushed him to strive for more. He will be graduating from LaGuardia Community College in 2016 with an associate degree in early childhood education.

THE COURIER/Photos by Angela Matua

“If it wasn’t for the free-of-charge summer and after-school programs here where I grew up, who knows where I would be,” Gonzalez said.

Chrissy Mercado, a Richmond Hill resident whose three children attend the Boys and Girls Club after school, said she is worried about the impact these cuts will have on working families.

“These cuts will hurt parents who do not have family in the area to assist with child care,” Mercado said. “If this funding for our programs are cut this will force parents to make potentially dangerous decisions of leaving their children with after-school providers who may not be licensed, a terrifying thought.”

Shawna Richardson, who was a Richmond Hill and Far Rockaway resident but now lives in Brooklyn said she commutes to Queens every day so that her 12-year-old daughter can experience the same services that her 21-year-old son did when they lived in Queens.

“There are so many initiatives that the city is trying to embark on to improve the academic and social well-being of our children, our community, of our city as a whole,” Richardson said. “My children, our children are examples of the success and benefits that this club has already provided. So my theory is, why fix something that’s not broken?”