Tag Archives: Ridgewood

New Ridgewood restaurant criticized for ‘soft-core porn’ wall art


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

A new Ridgewood restaurant hoping to capture the influx of hipsters has alienated them with a series of photographs of nude women.

The bar stocks Brooklyn-made vodka. One wall is lined with exposed brick cobbled in California. The handmade chandeliers hanging over the oak-wood bar cost $600 a piece. Cream offers food that would be found in higher-end restaurants, such as pan-seared striped bass, herb-marinated rack of lamb and crème brûlée. Besides two floors for seating and a bar, Cream also has a backyard garden with wooden benches.

“You can have a drink here and really good food without going to Williamsburg or Manhattan,” owner John Black said.

It should have been an instant hit.

Many of the restaurant’s features appeal to reviewers but then they get to the photos.

“Wall décor is tasteless, with faceless women in various states of undress. Downloaded, low-res black & white nudie pics don’t make a restaurant’s décor artsy or sexy — just tacky,” one reviewer wrote about the restaurant on Yelp. “Even the bathroom has an 8×10 of a naked woman sitting on a toilet … gross.”

Others have complained of staring at “a crotch shot while eating” and that the photos border the line of “soft-core porn.” All of which made one reviewer on Yelp feel like they were “in some strange restaurant in NJ.”

But owner Black argues that the pictures are beautiful and that people who complain about the naked pictures are being obtuse. “I’m not showing any dirty girls,” Black, 76, said. “The hipsters should go back to the south or wherever it is they came from. They want me to be like Williamsburg.”

Black owns the Myrtle Avenue building that houses Cream and lives in the neighborhood.

He bought the building on Myrtle Avenue, in 2006 but due to Department of Building inspection problems, he wasn’t able to open the business until this May.

“We did everything twice and I had to spend an extra $300,000,” he said. “But in the end I said, ‘I’m not a quitter’ so I finished the job.”

 

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Queens graffiti legend electrocuted by third rail at Brooklyn subway station: report


| editorial@queenscourier.com


A Queens graffiti legend was killed earlier this week when he was electrocuted by the third rail at a Brooklyn subway station, according to a published report.

Jason Wulf, 42, known as “DG,” died around 10 p.m. Wednesday at the 25th Street Station in Sunset Park, the New York Post reported. Wulf was heading to his Queens home at the time, but it wasn’t clear what he was doing when he was found dead on the tracks and the MTA is investigating, the Post said.

An online fundraiser was also set up to raise money for his funeral service that reached its goal of $10,000. According to the Post, on Monday a wake for Wulf will be held at Seneca Chapels followed by a funeral service at St. Matthias Church in Ridgewood.

Wulf, a writer, artist and founder of NWC (New Wave Crew) comes from Ridgewood, and started his career in 1985, even “[painting] subway cars during the clean train movement, a time period in the 1990s when many writers continued to hit trains regardless of the MTA’s strict buff policy,” according to Animal New York.

“DG was able to pull off what many of his fellow writers couldn’t: Create a body of artwork that is intrinsically graffiti, but not a redundant reiteration of his work on the street. Despite his outpouring of creativity, he never embraced the art world or graffiti circuit. Although he sold canvasses, he represented that older school breed of graffiti writer who had no interest in mainstream recognition,” Bucky Turco of Animal New York wrote.

 

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Escaped prisoner who struck cop in Ridgewood caught in Manhattan


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA 

Updated Wednesday, June 18, 9:45 a.m. 

An escaped prisoner who struck a detective with an unmarked police van in Ridgewood as he attempted to flee Monday evening has been caught in Manhattan, cops said.

A Queens Narcotics Detective sustained an injury on his right leg at about 6:55 p.m. at Cooper Avenue and 59th Street while trying to catch 38-year-old Bryan McMenamin, an escaped prisoner who was arrested by Queens Narcotics for selling drugs within the confines of the 104th Precinct, police said.

McMenamin was apprehended at about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday inside an apartment on 15 Saint James Place in downtown Manhattan, according to officials.

In addition to facing charges for criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance in connection to his initial arrest, McMenamin faces charges of second-degree attempted murder, grand larceny, escape, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence following his escape, cops said.

 

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Stats show universal pre-K’s limited reach in western, central Queens


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo by Rob Bennett for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Only 30 percent of 4-year-olds in parts of western and central Queens got into the pre-K of their choice, the lowest percentage of matched applicants in all of New York City.

Parents in Queens District 24 — Corona, Glendale, Ridgewood, Elmhurst, Long Island City, Maspeth and Middle Village — must now search for an alternative to public schools.

According to the Department of Education, the majority of parents with 4-year-olds — 70 percent — in the district recently received letters informing them that the public pre-K of their choice was already full.

In comparison, in Manhattan’s District 1 only 10 percent of applicants were unmatched and, overall, 38 percent of applicants throughout New York City were unmatched.

“Every single school in this district is overcrowded,” said Nick Comaianni, president of School Board District 24. “In the past we’ve actually had to get rid of pre-K seats to make room for kindergarten to fifth grade.”

As the city changes gears for Mayor Bill de Blasio’s aim to make pre-K universal, the DOE is using community-based organizations like local YMCAs and mom-and-pop pre-K programs to scoop up the applicants that didn’t get into a public school pre-K.

But Comaianni, who has been president of the board for 11 years, believes that the mayor’s office and the DOE are moving too fast.

“Someone should’ve done their homework before pushing pre-K through so quickly,” he said, noting that since the schools in the district are already overcrowded, there is no extra space for more students. “You can’t have pre-K if you don’t even have second grade.”

The DOE is opening up 53,000 full-day seats through community-based organizations in time for the new school year in September. While this will still leave some toddlers behind, by next year there will be 73,250 seats, enough to put every 4-year-old in New York City in school, according to education officials.

Which is just fine, Comaianni said, but warned: “In our haste to open these seats let’s hope we have qualified people who can teach pre-K and it’s not just a baby-sitting center.

Queens by school district:

Source: Office of Student Enrollment

 

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Queens teacher accused of sexual encounter with second student


| editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

A Queens teacher busted for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student was arrested again for sexually abusing another teen boy at the Ridgewood high school where she worked, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Joy Morsi, 39, a physical education teacher at Grover Cleveland High School, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The Massapequa, Long Island resident is accused of engaging in sexual acts with the second victim, also a 16-year-old student, inside the school on Saturday morning, the district attorney said.

She allegedly had sex with the first student in the basement and other areas of the school during their relationship, according to Brown.

Morsi was charged Tuesday with 20 counts of third-degree rape, 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with that case, officials said.

The victim is a wrestler at the school, according to the Daily News, and the relationship started in June of last year.  The relationship continued until recently when the victim told authorities about the affair two weeks ago after Morsi became jealous that he was taking a girl to prom, the Daily News reported.

Prosecutors said Morsi, who pleaded not guilty to the new charges, enticed another student  not long after the first relationship ended, according to the Daily News.

Morsi was again held on $25,000 bail on Wednesday, and is set to return to court on June 23.

 

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Queens teacher arrested for allegedly having sex with student


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Updated 5 p.m.

A teacher at Grover Cleveland High School is accused of raping a 16-year-old student numerous times in a yearlong relationship, according to officials.

Joy Morsi, 39, of Massapequa, Long Island, was arrested on Monday and charged the next day with 20 counts of third-degree rape, 20 counts of third-degree criminal sexual act and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, officials said. If convicted, Morsi could be sent to prison for four years. She did not give a statement at her Tuesday arraignment.

“We find these claims disturbing and reprehensible and she will remain reassigned — far from any student and the school — pending a criminal investigation,” said Department of Education spokesman David Pena. “We will work closely with the school to ensure they are given any needed support.”

The victim is a wrestler at the Ridgewood school, according to the Daily News, and the relationship started on June 10, 2013, when Morsi lured the student into a secluded closet and exposed herself to the teen. She also allegedly sent the student emails asking if he was a virgin.

Things continued until recently when the victim told authorities about the affair two weeks ago after Morsi became jealous that he was taking a girl to prom, the Daily News reported.

Morsi had sex with the student in the basement and other areas of the school during their relationship, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

“This case is particularly disturbing because the defendant is a teacher and schools should be safe havens for children,” Brown said. “Instead, this defendant is accused of sexually preying upon one of her students during rendezvous all over the school.”

Morsi’s next court date is June 23 and her bail is set at $25,000.

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High school brings colorful posters to Queens businesses


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz


A local high school is designing posters and fliers for independent Glendale and Ridgewood businesses.


Andrew Drozd teaches three art and design classes at the Academy of Urban Planning in Bushwick where students work with local businesses in Brooklyn and Queens to apply design techniques to real world applications like advertisement.

“This is something that’s still in its infancy but we’re learning,” Drozd said.

“Students appreciate what they’re learning if there’s a real value attached to it.”

He first started the class this semester in April. The design exercise was meant to only last a couple of weeks.

“And now here we are, nearing the end of the school year and my students are still passionate about it,” Drozd said. “There’s been such an outpouring of support from the local business communities.”

Jesse Ibrahim owns Roma Deli in Glendale. He displays a huge poster at the entrance of his store.  The poster has pastel colors that frame a picture of the deli-front in the center. On the bottom right corner it says, “This poster was created by Jocelyn Perez a student at the Academy of Urban Planning.”

“I love it,” said Ibrahim, who has owned the deli for almost 15 years.  “Now my entrance is brightened. It’s very presentable.”

Ibrahim was first approached by Drozd two weeks ago and was then given an option of about 15 different poster designs all made by separate students.

“So there’s a level of competition,” Drozd said.

In Ridgewood, Armand Baklajan was expecting his poster any day now when it would be hand-delivered by Drozd.

“This is fantastic work,” he said, holding a sketch of his yet-to-be completed poster. “I wish I had such a motivated and passionate teacher when I was in high school.”

Drozd said that he has about 40 other businesses lined up for future posters. He first came up with the idea when he noticed that so many delis have hand-written signs advertising things like breakfast sandwiches.

“So there’s an element of social justice in this. We’re providing a service to people who could really benefit from it,” he said.

Each class produces about three posters a week using design programs and pictures. Drozd expects the work to continue through the summer and next school year the design exercise will be introduced to another batch of students.

“We’re going to ride this until it crashes,” he said.

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Ridgewood thrift store finds new home for precious junk


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

For over three years, Alberto and Nanci Caceda squeezed antiques and clothes into their thrift shop on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood until they could squeeze no more.

So now they’re moving a few doors down the street to a store that is twice the size of the current Gotham Thrift Shop.

The new store can hold everything they’ve accumulated over the years, much of which is currently piled in their store’s basement, the backyard and a two-car garage.

“We have too much junk,” said Alberto, who spent 10 years in the military, including two tours in Iraq. “Well, I call it junk but it’s not really junk. It’s precious junk to me and a lot of people.”

Rather than move everything from the old store to the new one, they’re going to try and sell as much as possible by marking everything down by 20 percent in June.

They hope to open the new location on June 14 and mark the opening with a huge sale.

On Monday, Alberto stood in the front of the gutted, empty new store on Myrtle Avenue. Nanci was inside hanging a sign on the glass display that said “Future Home of Gotham Thrift.”

As Nanci put the sign up, Diego Gonzalez, a local, approached Alberto with a blue bike. It was an English-made Dunelt bike, and Alberto arranged to sell it for Gonzalez with a seller’s commission.

With the new space and its 4,000 square feet, the married couple would be able to display more and bigger things like bikes. They also hope to hire a longtime customer. Their current store is hardly 2,000 square feet, according to Alberto, and is crammed with all sorts of things, including a cigarette vending machine, lamps from the ‘50s and ‘60s, cassettes tapes and typewriters.

The store also serves to preserve old things in the community. In 2011, when the thrift shop first opened, the couple bought shoes at an auction that were made in a shoe factory in Maspeth. And in storage, they have stained-glass windows from the almost-century-old Ridgewood Theater. The theater has since been bought by a development company, according to Curbed, and is expected to be converted into a condo.

“It’s fun to go around and see this cool stuff,” Alberto said. “I sometimes see really amazing things.”

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104th Precinct sting finds delis, restaurants selling alcohol to minors


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

police-web11

Updated Saturday, May 17 11:12 a.m.

Two Queens businesses have been forced to close as they were caught selling alcohol to minors for a third time, police said.

Mount Everest Deli, 5609 Myrtle Avenue, and Apulum Bar, 18-19 Palmetto St., were shuttered by cops after allegedly selling alcohol to undercover auxiliary cops who were under 21.

Eight other establishments received summonses for alleges alcohol sales to minors: Optimo Convenience Store, 6693 Fresh Pond Road; Linden Convenience Store, 6661 Fresh Pond Rd; M&A Deli and Grocery, 6920 Fresh Pond Rd; Start Smart Deli, 6042 Myrtle Avenue; Three Family Deli, 801 Cypress Avenue; Eddy’s Grocery, 10-34 Wyckoff Avenue; Sabor and Rumba Bar, 666 Seneca Avenue; and Sabores Restaurant and Bar, 392 Woodward Avenue.

The operation was carried out by the 104th Precinct on April 12, according to Detective Thomas Bell, the precinct’s community affairs officer.

The precinct goes out periodically in their coverage neighborhoods of Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth to look for businesses that sell alcohol to minors, Bell said.

Robert Holden, a local and president of the Juniper Park civic association, said that he has witnessed the remains of underage drinking in Juniper Park Valley Park in Middle Village.

“We find dozens of bottles thrown all over the baseball field. They just get wild and crazy,” he said, noting that these findings have been on the rise lately. He worries that if more kids are drinking, they will be putting themselves and others danger.

Holden said he has been pushing the cops to come down on businesses that sell beer and alcohol to minors.

“We hope they expand the sweeps,” Holden said. “We think it’s a good deterrent. The community works with the precinct and we’ve made this a priority.”

 

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Cops looking for suspect who robbed livery cab driver at gunpoint in Ridgewood


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A man held up a livery cab driver in Ridgewood Wednesday, taking off with $200, police said.

The victim picked up the suspect at Marcy Avenue and Fulton Street around 2 a.m., cops said.

At 67th Place near Myrtle Avenue, the passenger whipped out a gun and demanded money from the driver, according to officials. He then fled the cab with the cash. No injuries were reported.

Police describe the suspect as a Hispanic man and about 25 years old.

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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Ridgewood coffee shop owners to open second business with beer and wine license


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

ERIC JANKIEWICZ

Coffee isn’t the only buzzworthy drink the owners of Norma’s café want to offer their customers.

Crystal Williams and Denise Plowman, owners of the Ridgewood coffee shop, have been trying to get a beer and wine license for several months now. But due to Department of Building restrictions and Norma’s small size, they weren’t approved.

But instead of merely accepting the rejection, they are creating a new business entity that they hope will increase their chances for approval.

Even though the license has yet to be voted on, Williams and Plowman have rented out space on Woodward Avenue for their new venture, to be called Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar.

“So it’s a bit of a risk but this was a labor of love,” Williams said. “The neighborhood has been very supportive.”

Williams and Plowman submitted their plans to Community Board 5 and it is expected to be voted upon soon. If approved in that advisory vote, there will still be an “incredible amount of unromantic paperwork” that has to be done before the State Liquor Authority can grant the bar a beer and wine license, Williams said.

There is also a Kickstarter campaign for Julia’s, where Williams writes, “We feel like Ridgewood is missing a great beer and wine bar. We want to create the perfect date spot or a place to spend time with friends and feel spoiled. Our goal is to pick all of our favorite things about wine bars and leave out all the stuffy pretense.”

Taylor Clasper was working at Norma’s on a recent morning and told her co-worker Rin Wilhelmi, “I really want to work at the other place.”

Wilhelmi also wanted to work at Julia’s because she thought the tips would be good and “who wouldn’t want to work at a place that serves drinks?”

Facing the morning rush of people, Clasper considered all of the challenges facing the new business. She shrugged and said, “We’re the coffee shop that could.”

 

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New Fox comedy to feature 30-somethings living in Queens


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. / Michael Becker/FOX

A new Fox show, called “Weird Loners,” will use Queens as its backdrop.

The single-camera comedy, scheduled for 2015, focuses on “four single 30-something underdogs who are unexpectedly thrust into one another’s lives and form an unlikely bond in a Queens townhouse.” The show, which is still early in production, places the home in Ridgewood.

Nate Torrence and Zachary Knighton. (©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

From writer Michael J. Weithorn (“The King of Queens”) and director Jake Kasdan (“New Girl”), the show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”), Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”), Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) and newcomer Meera Khumbhani.

Newton plays Caryn Goldfarb: “A cute, but high-strung dental hygienist whose romantic life, unfortunately, is dictated by the love-crazed, ultra-romantic 13-year-old barricaded inside the control room of her brain. Each time a handsome new man crosses her field of vision, infatuation and extreme over-eagerness take over, and she inevitably winds up back at square one – single and not getting any younger.”

Becki Newton and Zachary Knighton. (©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ray Mickshaw/FOX)

Knighton plays Stosh Lewandoski: Described as “handsome, charming and whip-smart,” he’s a “serial seducer who has never been able to maintain an intimate relationship with a woman for very long – a couple of hours, usually. When Stosh’s shenanigans result in him losing his corporate condo, he winds up moving in with his cousin Eric.”

Torrence plays Eric Lewandoski: “A sweet, odd man-child, whose “adult life has consisted of living at home with elderly parents and working as a toll collector on the Queensboro Bridge. After both of his parents pass away, he finds himself cast adrift in the world for the first time.”

Meera Khumbhani and Nate Torrence. (© 2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Michael Becker/FOX)

Meera Khumbhani plays Zara Sandhu: “Drop-dead gorgeous, mysterious and ethereal, Zara is a lifelong heartbreaker who’s only capable of living one way – ‘in the moment.’  Men and women fall in love with her on a regular basis, and she often reciprocates their feelings with great passion, until… she doesn’t.”

 

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Radioactive Ridgewood site added to Superfund list


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

ERIC JANKIEWICZ 

After months of planning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Thursday that a radioactive Ridgewood site has been added to the federal Superfund list, allowing the agency to further look into the site to reduce radiation levels.

“We often think about Superfund sites as being these shuttered, abandoned areas but what has me concerned is that this is a very densely populated area,” Judith Enck, the EPA’s regional administrator said.

The contaminated address of the site is 1129 to 1135 Irving Ave., where there are several businesses, including a deli and an auto shop. But the site was once used as a nuclear testing facility by the Wolff Alport Chemical Company, which no longer exists. The company processed and sold minerals containing a radioactive material called thorium from the 1920s to 1954 at the site.

The EPA first proposed the site be added to the Superfund list in December 2013. Superfund is a federal cleanup program created in 1980 by Congress to investigate and clean up the country’s most hazardous waste sites. But even before the proposal, the EPA worked with local businesses and the community to perform tests and installed a shielding material – made out of concrete, lead and steel – under the floors and sidewalk in 2012 in an effort to reduce the amount of radiation coming out of the site. The efforts have so far cost the environmental agency $2 million and the Superfund designation will allow them to have more funding.

As for what the EPA will exactly do with the new funds is still unknown. The rest of this year will be spent putting together evidence and data on the levels of radiation in the area. The agency will then release “a master plan that will be circulated to the community,” Enck said. But, according to the EPA, the community outreach is unlikely to happen this year.

“We want people who live in this area to give us feedback on our plans. And then once we get that back we will alter it based on what people tell us,” she said.

In the meantime, the community shouldn’t be worried about getting cancer or any other nasty side-effects of radiation, according to Enck.

“There is no immediate threat for people in this area,” she said.

The designation makes Ridgewood site the third Superfund location in New York City. The other two sites are the Gowanus Canal and Newton Creek in Brooklyn.

 

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Ridgewood stop-motion animator wins Tribeca #6SecFilms competition


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo: Behind-the-Scenes

KATRINA MEDOFF

Vine, a mobile app that allows users to create and share six-second looping videos, didn’t exist until January 2013 — but now, thanks to the app, Ridgewood resident Lawrence Becker, 32, is creating stop-motion videos full time.

And now, the stop-motion animator has been recognized by the TriBeCa Film Festival as one of the winners of the second annual #6SecFilms competition.

“I heard about [the contest] the year before, when they had the same contest, but I was late to it — I heard about it when it was already over,” Becker said. “This year, I jumped on it.”

More than 530 submissions were narrowed down by TriBeCa Film Festival programmers, who presented a short list to the jury. The jury then chose winners from each category.

Becker won a meeting with GrapeStory, which is an agency that connects Viners to companies, but “[t]he best prize is being able to call myself a TriBeCa Film Fest winner from now on,” he said.

Becker’s film, “The Vortex Finds a Host,” won the “genre” category of the competition.

“I submitted a bunch [of films] to ‘animation’ — that’s what I primarily do,” Becker said. But, luckily,

“I also submitted to ‘genre,’ because many of my films have a fantasy/sci-fi quality to them.”

Becker’s winning Vine depicts a giant, living snowman-turned-vortex of snow filtering into his mouth.

“With all the snow we had this winter, I started going out and playing in the snow, just kind of experimenting with snow animation, and it just slowly started turning into a film,” Becker said.

To create the film, Becker took footage of himself out in the snow at McCarren Park in Williamsburg.

“I take footage out in the snow and make a fool out of myself in public because I’m acting with things that aren’t there,” he said.

He then put that video on a flat screen monitor and laid it down horizontally under multiple layers of glass on which he animated “snow” made of Styrofoam and baking powder.

Becker explained that the multiple layers of glass created a 3-D effect: “It’s how Walt Disney used to do his animating,” with a character on one layer and the background on other layers, he said.

“The Vortex Finds a Host” is just part of a short film, which will end up being around a minute and a half to two minutes long when completed.

Another of Becker’s snow animations, which made it into the list of runners-up, is the beginning of the longer film. “You see a snowball burst like a planet blowing up,” Becker described.

Becker started creating Vines a year ago, in April 2013, and has turned it into a career.

He now creates animations for companies such as ESPN, Bud Light, Tillamook Cheese, Sony’s “Astronauts Wanted,” the Food Network and Coca-Cola Co.

“They all keep rolling in,” Becker said, since Vines are very popular right now.

His big break came when he hosted one of social media news site Mashable’s weekly Vine contests (his week’s theme was Star Wars Mashups, and he himself created a themed Vine).

ESPN took notice and contacted him, and he’s worked consistently since then.

Stop-motion animation has always been a passion of Becker’s and “since I was a kid, it was what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “Vine got me there.”

 

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Newtown Creek sludge project nearing completion


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Jeff Stone

JEFF STONE

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is celebrating the end of a month-long project in Newtown Creek that, if successful, will eventually make the water running through Ridgewood, Maspeth and Greenpoint much more inviting.

DEP crews have been traveling through the contaminated creek since the end of March, cleaning up silt, industrial waste and untreated sewage overflow that has been left largely undisturbed since the 1970s. The project, which is expected to be fully complete by no later than the end of April, aims to make Newtown Creek passable for a new fleet of DEP sludge vessels that will transport wastewater from elsewhere in the city to a new facility deeper inland.

Sludge vessels can be seen six days a week traveling through the East and Hudson Rivers, transporting sludge (semi-solid material leftover from industrial wastewater or sewage treatment) to decontamination facilities. Those facilities then extract any harmful materials and dump the clean water back into rivers around the metro area.

Yet, despite its status as one of the most contaminated bodies of water in the city, Newtown Creek is not currently equipped with its own dewatering plant. Sludge from the area is transported through a pipeline under the East River to a wastewater treatment plant in Greenpoint. City officials hope to soon use that valuable Brooklyn real estate for affordable housing and a new park, but the first step in removing the treatment facility is cleaning Newtown Creek.

Step one, for the most part, is finished. Environmental officials said that barges will be taking their final trips through the area using sonar technology to ensure that a new fleet of sludge vessels will be able to travel through without incident.

“Most likely there will be a few spots where they have to touch up and lay a fresh layer of sand down,” a DEP representative said Friday. “The barge and dredge machinery will be on Newtown Creek for at least another week or so, but the majority of the work will be completed by this weekend.”

Before the project began last month, DEP officials and nearby residents were concerned that the stirred-up silt bed would omit a smell of rotten eggs into the spring air. The very notion was enough to prompt a flurry of social media activity from Queens and Brooklyn residents alike. None of the dire predictions came to pass, though, thanks to the crews’ round-the-clock reliance on air and water quality monitors.

“The fact that there’ve been two complaints and all of our monitoring indicates that we’re well within our acceptable limits, everything has gone smoothly,” the spokesman said.

Work at Newtown Creek is a symptom of a citywide effort to equip designated priority areas like Gowanus Canal, Jamaica Bay, Flushing Bay and the Bronx River with green infrastructure. The city will spend $2.4 billion over the next 20 years on treating wastewater and rain overflow before it enters New York’s waterways.

 

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