Tag Archives: Richmond Hill

Queens Hindus to celebrate Diwali


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Buddy Singh

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

After a two-year hiatus, the annual motorcade in Richmond Hill celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali will drive down Liberty Avenue on Saturday. More than 30 cars will be featured in this celebration of the Festival of Lights, which is traditional to West Indian and Indian communities. Each car will be decorated with flowers, lights and the rich colors associated with the festival. The three best-dressed cars will be awarded cash prizes.

While the motorcade has been an annual event for more than 15 years, the excitement is heightened this year as the event could not be organized the past two years. According to Lakshmee Singh of the Divya Jyoti Association, which organizes the event, the motorcade could not be held in 2012 because city officials were unable to spare the manpower after Hurricane Sandy. In 2013, the association’s request for a permit was denied.

The organizers had to get creative and held a “nagar” or fair where participants installed booths and sold traditional Indo-Caribbean clothes, jewelry and food, while attendees enjoyed a cultural show with dancers performing to classical songs.

motorcade 2011 (508)

“This year, for the first time, we are having both the motorcade and the nagar,” said Singh.
The festivities will begin at 3 p.m. with a “havan” or prayer to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, at the Arya Spiritual Center Grounds at 104-20 133rd St. The motorcade will begin from near Sybil’s Bakery at 133rd St. and Liberty Ave. at 5:30 p.m. It will be followed by a cultural program featuring classical singers and dancers.

The Natya Tilakam Dance Company is participating in both the motorcade and the cultural show, said its founder Dana Marajh. “We are performing a fusion of semi-classical tandava [a dance form] and Bollywood,” said Marajh, as she and her team strung lights and hung curtains in preparation to decorate their car.

They are hopeful about winning the motorcade competition and already have plans for the prize money. “If we win, the proceeds will go toward a clothing drive we are doing for Halloween,” said Marajh.

One of their competitors is Singh’s Roti Shop. “We are hoping to win,” said Shivani Harryginsingh, 28, the shop’s manager, adding that the celebration is a great way for the young generation born and raised in the U.S. to stay in touch with their traditions. “You cannot be a Hindu and not know what it means,” she said. “This is not something you learn in school. You have to learn on your own. It’s our heritage and culture. We need to keep the tradition going.”
The event is free and open to people from all communities.

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Richmond Hill resident wins Sunshine Award for dancing


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Dheeraj Gayaram

Guyana native and Richmond Hill resident Dheraaj Gayaram has won more than 150 awards in Indian dancing competitions around the world.

But even after he retired from competition, he is still winning awards.

Gayaram, 49, was honored for his talents at the Sunshine Awards, which recognize excellence in performing arts, education, sports and science in various Caribbean Cultures.

The Sunshine Awards were founded in 1989, and Gayaram was honored in the performing arts category during an Oct. 4 Manhattan ceremony.

“I was really happy because I never thought, at this age, I would win another award,” Gayaram said. “It was an unbelievable.”

Gayaram started his dancing career in Guyana at the age of 9, which is when he won his first award.

He knew at that time that he had a talent for dance but was hesitant to pursue it even though his father begged him to.

“I wanted to be a doctor at the time,” Gayaram said. “But my father was persistent; he wanted me to dance.”

He continued to dance but it was only one of his hobbies until the age of 15 when his father passed away. He then made a choice to take his dancing talents more seriously and turn it into a career.

“From that point I made a choice and there was no turning back,” Gayaram said.

He took first place in nearly every competition he entered, so much so that he was later banned from competing because of how good he was.

In 1989, he moved from Guyana to Richmond Hill, where he continued to crush his competition in Indian dancing. Even though he has had such an illustrious career as a dancer, Gayaram struggles daily with continuing his dream due to the way he is treated by many people.

“I’m 49 years old and people are still making fun of me and trying to hurt me,” said Gayaram, who has two daughters. “There are many times when I think about quitting, but if there is one thing dancing taught me it was to be strong.”

Although Gayaram has encountered an abundance of hurtful people in his life, the huge support system that he has, headed by his children, helps him overcome the cruelty.

dheeraj

“I do it for my daughters,” Gayaram said. “I want to be the best father I can be for them and support them through my talents.”

Done with his competition career, Gayaram focuses his time on his dance studio now. He not only helps his students progress as dancers but also teaches them life lessons that have helped him get to where he is.

“I tell them you have to be happy with yourself. If you don’t like what you see in the mirror, no one will,” Gayaram noted. “Stay strong throughout your life and do not let people get to you.”

When he was honored at the Sunshine Awards, he said he was humbled to be surrounded by so many talented people.

“Just to be on the same stage as some of those people was an accomplishment,” Gayaram said. “It was the icing on the cake.”

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Plans released for possible QueensWay


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of thequeensway.org

It’s the Queens way.

A 3.5-mile stretch of recreational, walking and biking trails is planned for central and southern Queens as part of a multi-million dollar proposal that has coined the name, QueensWay.

“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.

The QueensWay plans, proposed by W X Y architecture + urban design, will add a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities and nature trails for the borough, said the Friends of the QueensWay.

The path, if built, will cross through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, affecting over 322,000 people living within a mile of it.

In the plans, there are proposed areas for ecology and education, where planners are hoping to build an outdoor classroom for children to be able to learn the biodiversity in Queens.

Also, there will be two sets of trails for bicyclist and pedestrians to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the QueensWay.

Furthermore, there are plans for basketball courts, a skate park, habitat wetlands, arts-related programs and a gateway entrance from the QueensWay to Forest Park.

“Parks are too often neglected and QueensWay would offer more access to open space and parkland,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “Parks provide an economic benefit to local business, retail establishments and restaurants and people of all ages would be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities which this new green space would provide.”

The estimated cost for the QueensWay is $120 million and, if started, will take three to five years to build.

Although it has the backing of many elected officials and community leaders, some feel the narrow stretch of former rail line could be put to better use.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is a staunch advocate for the restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line, which once ran on the property being looked at for the QueensWay. He has formed a coalition to fight to get it back.

“The QueensWay and Trust for Public Land have wasted taxpayer dollars on expensive, out-of-state consultants and one-sided studies that don’t actually represent the interests or needs of Queens’ families,” Goldfeder said. “Our growing coalition, including the MTA, will continue the fight to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development.”

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Real estate roundup: New Rego Park building rendering revealed, controversial luxury building opening in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GF55 Partners

Revealed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

“The building, designed by GF55, will fit in perfectly with the other seven-story buildings that have been erected on the south side of Austin Street over the past decade or two. The structures have been filling in a formerly industrial low-rise strip, set up against the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, right beside what used to be the Rego Park station, shuttered in 1962.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Controversial High-End Building Opening as Part of Elmhurst ‘Renaissance’

“A controversial apartment building that was the subject of recent litigation is getting a luxury makeover as part of a hoped-for neighborhood “renaissance,” according to developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

New program aims to battle the growing graffiti menace in parts of south Queens

“The residents of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven are about to find out as officials kick off a new anti-graffiti program on Wednesday. For the first time, the Queens Economic Development Corp. is heading the program funded by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Bones discovered in Richmond Hill  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

POLICE TAPE

Authorities are investigating unidentified bones that were unearthed by a utility worker in Richmond Hill Tuesday morning.

A National Grid subcontractor was digging a trench at a site on 108th Street near Jamaica Avenue at about 11:10 a.m. when he found five pieces of bone that appear to be human, cops said.

Police were called and the medical examiner is investigating.

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Man sought in 2013 Richmond Hill murder


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted in connection to the deadly shooting of a 23-year-old in Richmond Hill last December.

Gerrard Edwards was near Liberty Avenue and 112th Street at about 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 22 when he was shot, cops said. He was killed after he got into a dispute with a group of men while out with some friends and was then jumped and shot several times in the chest, according to published reports.

Edwards, a Richmond Hill resident, was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities describe the suspect, David Haridat, 31, as 5 feet 4 inches and about 150 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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Richmond Hill manufacturer expanding into new warehouse


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates

Richmond Hill-based KPA Studio, a provider of metal, glass, and windows to architectural firms and general contractors, has signed a lease for a 10,000-square-foot building in the neighborhood.

The signing, arranged by real estate firm Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, is for the one-story building at 91-20 130th St. and will expand operations for KPA Studio. Its original location in the neighborhood is at 130-29 91st Ave. A majority of the new facility will be used for aluminum production, according to Kalmon’s Dmitri Gourianov, who handled the leasing. 

KPA has supplied various architectural firms with materials for projects around the city, including the Kupferberg Holocaust Resource Center at Queensborough Community College, which is designed by TEK Architects, the Brooklyn Bowery and some H&M locations.

The new KPA location has 18-foot ceilings, three drive-in doors, and is located near the E, J, and Z subway lines.

There are a number of manufacturing and construction companies in the area of the new location, Gourianov said, including sheet metal, window and doors, and food production.

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Community Board 9 district manager announces retirement


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

After three and a half decades of service Mary Ann Carey is stepping down from her position as District Manager of Community Board 9, which covers Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

“In my thirty-five years of service to this great city with very little exceptions, I loved every minute,” Carey wrote in her resignation letter earlier this month. “I have overseen many projects too numerous to mention here and worked with four Borough Presidents, dozens of legislators, commissioners, District Managers and their staff.”

Current Chairman Ralph Gonzalez congratulated Carey, who began her work as District Manager when Ed Koch was mayor, on her retirement and said it would be hard to imagine anyone who can fill her shoes.

“She has done so much for the community, and for so long,” he said. “She can be proud of the legacy she’s leaving at Community Board 9. I know that many people in Queens and on the Board join me in thanking Mary Ann for her years of dedication.”

The process to search for the next District Manager will start at the next community board meeting.

 

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Police looking for man who exposed himself on Queens-bound E train


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A straphanger exposed himself to a woman on an E train as it was approaching a stop in Richmond Hill on Tuesday morning, cops said.

The Queens-bound train was about to enter the station around 10:30 a.m. when the 48-year-old woman noticed the man sitting in front of her and committing the lewd act, police said. After arriving at the Jamaica-Van Wyck stop, the man fled.

Police describe the suspect as black, about 35 to 40 years old and around 5 feet 8 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black hat, and a black and white spotted button-down shirt.

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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Lefferts branch of Queens Library to temporarily close for roof installation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BENJAMIN FANG

The books at the Lefferts library will soon have a new cover.

The branch, located at 103-84 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill, is temporarily closing, starting at the end of business on July 26, to install a new roof. The facility expects to reopen by the end of September.

Residents are advised to use the three closest Queens Library locations: 118-14 Hillside Ave. in Richmond Hill, 92-24 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park and 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.

During the closure, limited service will also be provided by a mobile library.

 

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Two arrested in beating death of 55-year-old man in Woodhaven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image


Two men have been arrested after they robbed and beat a 55-year-old man to death in Woodhaven last week, police said.

Cops discovered Nazmul Islam, of Richmond Hill, unconscious and unresponsive on the sidewalk near 76th Street and Atlantic Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. on July 9, authorities said.

The duo struck Islam repeatedly on his head and body before taking his money, according to police. Islam was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no apparent signs of trauma on his body, cops said, and the medical examiner later ruled his death a homicide

Carlos Genno, 22, of Ozone Park, and Nestor Rodriguez, 20, of Woodhaven, have been charged with murder and robbery, authorities said.

 

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Police looking for Richmond Hill serial burglar


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

Cops are looking for a serial burglar who has broken into at least three Richmond Hill apartments within the last month and stolen thousands of dollars in cash and property.

The suspect’s latest burglary occurred on May 6 at about 11:30 a.m. near Jamaica Avenue and 113th Street, authorities said. He entered the apartment and removed $1,000, a laptop, two watches and a Samsung tablet.

A week earlier, on May 2, the suspect entered a residence near Jamaica Avenue and 108th Street at about 9 a.m. and took $2,000, a wedding band and comic books, cops said.

Police also said the suspect broke into an apartment near Jamaica Avenue and 123rd street at 8:50 a.m. on April 24 and stole two watches, a necklace and earrings.

None of the victims were home during the robberies, cops said.

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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Councilman Ruben Wills arrested on corruption charges


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Updated 2:25 p.m. 

Councilman Ruben Wills was arrested Wednesday after a corruption investigation discovered he allegedly stole public campaign funds and state grant money.

The Queens politician, who represents the 28th District, which includes Jamaica, Richmond Hill, Rochdale and South Ozone Park, was indicted on charges of grand larceny, scheme to defraud, falsifying business records and offering a false instrument for filing, according to the indictment.

Jelani Mills, a relative who works for Wills, and allegedly helped him redirect some of the cash, was also indicted Wednesday on charges of grand larceny and falsifying business records.

Wills is accused of stealing from both the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), according to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

He is charged with redirecting $11,500 in matching funds he received from the CFB during his 2009 City Council campaign–with the help of Mills–to New York 4 Life, a nonprofit Wills started, and using the money for personal purchases, according to court documents. Wills allegedly bought a $750 Louis Vuitton handbag at Macy’s, among other items. 

The councilman had been under investigation by the attorney general for $33,000 in state funds provided through a grant that was unaccounted for after it was given to New York 4 Life, according to published reports and the attorney general’s office.

Those funds were earmarked by former state Sen. Shirley Huntley while Wills was serving as her chief of staff.

New York 4 Life signed a contract with OCFS to receive that money, promising to conduct four public service projects, officials said, but the nonprofit allegedly only came through on one program that cost about $14,000. Wills is accused of pocketing the remaining $19,000 and using it for political and personal expenses, including purchases at Nordstrom’s and Century 21.

Huntley was arrested in a unrelated case in August 2012 and later pleaded guilty for covering up money funneled through a nonprofit she helped establish. It was revealed last May that Huntley had secretly recorded the conversations of seven elected officials, including Wills, while she was still in office at the request of federal prosecutors.

“The City Council takes these troubling allegations from the New York State Attorney General very seriously and will be reviewing them thoroughly, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said in a statement. “New Yorkers expect and deserve a government that is ethical and responsible and that is the standard we’re seeking to uphold.”

Wills, who was first elected to the Council in a 2010 special election, has been prohibited from doling out member items, or city funds, to his district, the Queens delegation chair and City Council speaker’s office will now designate them for him, reports and a source said.

He has also agreed to give up his chairmanship of the Council’s subcommittee on drug abuse, according to published reports.

Wills, who did not enter a plea and was released without bail, said Wednesday he had no plans to resign, reports said.

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Queens man who went missing from Manhattan hospital found safe


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

A Richmond Hill man who wandered off from a Manhattan hospital earlier this week has been found safe, police said.

Israel Jardinez, 24, was left seen at Mount Sinai Hospital, on East 102 Street, just before 6 p.m. Monday, officials said.

According to WABC, Jardinez has the mental capacity of a child and went missing while at the hospital for a doctor’s appointment.

Police said he was found Saturday in good condition and has been reunited with his family.

 

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Cops looking for Queens man who went missing from Manhattan hospital


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a Queens man who went missing from a Manhattan hospital Monday.

Israel Jardinez, a 24-year-old Richmond Hill resident, was last seen at Mount Sinai Hospital, on East 102 Street, about 5:45 p.m. on April 7, the NYPD said.

He is developmentally disabled and has the mental capacity of a child, WABC and CBS New York reported. According to WABC, Jardinez wandered off from the hospital while at a doctor’s appointment.

Jardinez is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall and 220 pounds, and has a partially closed left eye.  He was last seen wearing a black jacket with a “Mi-Raza” logo, tan pants, a black and white hoody and sneakers.

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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