Tag Archives: Ridgewood

Ridgewood group presses City Council members for more street trees


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Landmark Preservation Commission

Hoping to make Ridgewood greener, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) submitted to the neighborhood’s City Council members formal requests for additional street tree funding.

The requests came in the form of “capital budget street tree lists” that RPOCA members compiled through block-by-block surveys of the neighborhood. In all, the group found more than 3,000 potential locations for street trees, the majority of which are located in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s district.

The Williamsburg-based lawmaker’s jurisdiction includes the area of Ridgewood generally south and west of Myrtle and Forest avenues. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, based in neighboring Glendale, represents Ridgewood’s eastern half.

But according to former RPOCA President Paul Kerzner, neither of the last two budgets included funding for street trees in the community. Street trees were planted in the area through the city’s MillionTreesNYC public/private partnership initiative.

Kerzner said Reynoso previously told civic members he would secure funding to plant 300 trees in Ridgewood. He hopes the legislator will follow through on his promise, and that Crowley would also make a similar commitment.

To that end, Kerzner said, the RPOCA is urging Ridgewood residents to call or write Crowley and Reynoso informing them of the importance of street trees in beautifying the neighborhood and thank them in advance for their support.

However, sources familiar with the situation stated the city’s Parks Department received a $172,000 allocation from Crowley for street trees in Ridgewood. The Parks Department has already planted 112 trees in the Ridgewood area and plans to plant another 29 this spring.

“We need to make sure Queens remains a beautiful and healthy place for all New Yorkers to live and enjoy. That is why I am proud to have allocated funding for over 125 new street trees in Ridgewood,” Crowley said. “I will continue to work with the community and the Parks Department to ensure we continue to add street trees to our neighborhoods.”

This is the latest effort in the RPOCA’s ongoing campaign of adding more green to the community’s streetscapes.

“In 1971, less than 5 percent of the streets were tree-lined,” Kerzner recalled. “Forty-four years later, about 70 percent are now tree-lined, and some years, we don’t get any new trees. In other years, we get about a couple of hundred. We’re making steady progress.”

Kerzner, who himself participated in the RPOCA street tree survey, thanked other RPOCA members for their participation, including President Charles Ober, Peter Comber, Domingo Santos, Luis Rodriguez, John Maier, Carlos Ortiz, Simon Orr and Maryellen Borello.

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First Ridgewood Artists Coalition exhibit opens Sunday at Glendale brewery


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Ridgewood Artists Coalition (RAC) will hold its first exhibit, titled “The Ridgewood Artists Spring Showcase,” at Glendale’s Finback Brewery from this Sunday through April 26.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the brewery, located at 78-01 77th Ave. Donations collected at the reception will help support the Ridgewood Youth Market, a program that teaches teens and young adults small business lessons through operating farm stands in their neighborhoods.

The Ridgewood Youth Market is part of Grow NYC and is run in partnership with the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

The exhibit, described by its creators as “part survey and part dialogue,” is co-curated by RAC founder Emily Heinz and Finback manager Leah Blair and features local artists who live and work in Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.

“The artists involved emerge from a myriad of different backgrounds, spanning the spectrum of age, ethnicity, formal training and relationship to the area,” Heinz and Blair said in a joint statement. “This diversity is intrinsic to a New York neighborhood, and the spirit of this condition is reflected in the variation of the works, which simultaneously form a single yet multifarious voice informed by the specific perspective of a cross-section of urban life.”

The showcase is just one of many community-oriented events hosted and sponsored by Finback Brewery.

“This collaboration between the Ridgewood Artists Coalition and Finback Brewery is indicative of an emerging art practice that is inclined towards social awareness and local identity, and uses both to organically form a presence of contemporary art and artists who are critically engaged with art making and socially engaged with the community as a whole,” the statement said.

For more information about the Ridgewood Artists Coalition, contact them at RidgewoodArtists@gmail.com.

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Second annual prom dress drive this weekend in Ridgewood


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Times Newsweekly

Prom night is a milestone of a young woman’s life and every girl should be able to attend and feel like royalty. Joan England’s second annual Project PROMises prom dress event is allowing girls who may not be able to afford a dress the chance to find their perfect fit.

The PROMises prom dress drive will take place on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, located at 59-03 Summerfield St. in Ridgewood, where middle school and high school girls looking for a dress for their prom can try on and pick out the perfect one, free of charge.

All students need to bring is a parent, their school ID or a copy of their report card. Over 200 gently used dresses were graciously donated by girls and women of the community for the event.

For more information on Joan England’s Project PROMises contact Christine Nelson at 1-718-629-8589 or by email at cnelson1125@gmail.com.

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Ridgewood bar to hold viewing party for ‘Weird Loners’ premiere


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The neighborhood that inspired the backdrop of a new Fox comedy will be holding a viewing party at a local bar for its premiere that is likely to be filled with more jeers than cheers.

Weird Loners” is about four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other.

Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, who also co-created “The King of Queens,” decided to use Ridgewood as the setting for the show.

He had the set designer research the old buildings of the neighborhood for the Los Angeles-shot show, and used a Polish delicatessen he visited in the area as a child for the inspiration for the background of two of the characters.

But these attempts to replicate Ridgewood don’t seem to be sitting well with some of its own who are planning on attending a party to watch its depiction on the small screen.

A “Let’s Watch ‘Weird Loners’ Together…Party” is set for Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Queens Tavern, at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., hosted by Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, who will be grabbing the mic during commercial breaks. According to the event description:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

If the show does get the ax early on, locals won’t need to worry about any direct references to Ridgewood.

According to Weithorn the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

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DOT proposes expanding bike network in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Gear up for round two of bike lane construction in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

Aaron Fraint, project manager with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) bicycle program, presented three options for a second phase of bike lane creation to the Community Board 5 Transportation Committee members on March 24.

All three options focused on creating a network of lanes.

“We would like to do a set of streets that all connect to each other because we see the bike network as just that, a network, rather than sets of routes that aren’t connected to anything,” Fraint said.

The first option would connect Ridgewood to Rego Park through Middle Village via Metropolitan Avenue, 69th Street and Eliot Avenue ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

“Metropolitan Avenue is very busy corridor…with a lot of commercial and industrial activity,” Fraint said, which is why creating safe bike lanes is so important.

The avenue is also 41 feet wide, which allows just enough room for a shared bike lane in both directions.

The DOT proposed using “sharrows,” symbols with a green background that notify motorists that bicyclists may be present.

Option two connects Glendale to Rego Park through Middle Village by using Central Avenue connecting to Cooper Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard, with a north/south route on 80th Street turning into Dry Harbor Road and 63rd Avenue, ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

Fraint said that both Central and Cooper avenues — which are 40 feet wide — have enough space for 12-foot-wide shared lanes in both directions with 8-foot parking lanes.

Cooper Avenue already has a shared bike lane on the extra-wide sidewalks that were installed on the underpass after its reconstruction. These connect to a shared bike lane on 80th Street, so “we would pick up where shared lanes left off on 80th Street and bring it over to Woodhaven Boulevard,” Fraint said.

The final option seeks to connect Ridgewood to Long Island City through Maspeth along Fresh Pond Road, 59th Drive to Rust Street. In the opposite direction, the route would take Rust Street to 60th Street then to 60th Avenue and back down Fresh Pond Road.

A segment of Fresh Pond Road, which is 44 feet wide, can accommodate 14-foot shared lanes in both directions, keeping the configuration of one travel lane in each direction and parking on both sides.

59th Drive is one-way westbound from the turn off Fresh Pond Road up until 60th Street, and at 26 feet wide, “we will be able to keep the condition as is, but add a shared lane for cyclists,” Fraint said.

As 59th Drive continues past 60th Street, it becomes a 30-foot-wide two-way street, and the DOT is looking to put in a center line and shared lane symbols.

The DOT is still working out what type of bicycle facilities would be the best fit on Rust Street.
Fraint added that a lot of cyclists are using that route and it is a logical connector between Ridgewood and Long Island City.

After the board heard all three options, they discussed which ones they would like to see implemented in the community.

“I do like the Metropolitan, 69th and Eliot [route],” said John Maier, co-chair of the committee. “I think Eliot makes a lot of sense.”

For option two, Maier said that Fresh Pond Road is “already a traffic nightmare,” but that cyclists do use the route and it is worth taking a look at.

Panel members agreed that the first option would be the best fit for the communities. They liked option two, with some modifications to the 80th Street section. The DOT needs to further study the third option before the board accepts it. The DOT hopes to begin installing the accepted routes during 2015.

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L train riders fed up with delays, look to Cuomo for help


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Service problems along one subway line serving Ridgewood has some riders asking, “What the L?”

In recent weeks, the L train has suffered from hour-long delays, overcrowded platforms and other service problems. Riders Alliance member Alexis Saba shared her experience with transit delays. “On [March 17], I waited forever on the L train before we actually left,” she said. “When we finally left, the train crawled to Bedford, and were told that a rail was out and that Bedford was the last stop—and I couldn’t physically get out of the Bedford station due to the crowds.”

The Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization of public transportation riders that pushes for better service and affordable rates, has invited disgruntled subway riders to visit its website and share their “subway horror stories.” As previously reported, the organization plans to present the horror stories to Governor Andrew Cuomo in hopes of enticing him and members of the state Legislature to fully fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) five-year capital plan.

Delays like this are nothing new for the MTA. According to the Riders Alliance, in February, the MTA NYC Transit and Bus Committee Meeting Report showed that subway delays had increased 45.6 percent from 2013 to 2014. With the most recent MTA rate hike, riders are now paying $2.75 for a single fare and $116.50 for a monthly Metrocard, and they are getting worse service, the Riders Alliance charged.

“What we’re hearing from riders is that they feel like we’re paying more and more for less and less,” Deputy Director for the Riders Alliance Nick Sifuentes said.

The MTA’s capital plan of $32 billion will build, repair, maintain and enhance current MTA infrastructure. But the plan faces a $15 billion shortfall, and if this gap is not filled, it will result in increased transit fares, further reductions in service and more repair issues in coming years, the Riders Alliance believes.

“I know the L train horror stories all too well,” state Senator Martin Malave Dilan said. “Frustrated riders write or call my office frequently, some send photos of overcrowded platforms with lines running up the stairs and riders dangerously close to spilling over onto the tracks.”

“The current budget proposal leaves the MTA unable to address these and many issues,” he added. “The MTA capital plan is $15 billion in the red. This year’s proposed $1.6 billion capital allocation will have little effect and the Senate majority’s proposal to reduce it only makes matters worse. It’s irresponsible to ignore these shortfalls. For the daily commuters on the L, it’s inconceivable.”

John Maier, co-chair of the Public Transportation Committee of Community Board 5, feels that “We are at a funding crisis.” With little funding from the government, all expenses have to be paid by the commuter. “Something needs to change,” he continued. “The system needs a lot of help.”

The city’s budget plan is due on April 1, so commuters, elected officials and the MTA must wait to see if any additional funding will be funnelled in to seal the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s budget plan.

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Ridgewood apartment building sells for $21 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of StreetEasy.com

A Ridgewood apartment building recently sold for $21 million, which is more than double its last sale price in just three years, indicating the opportunity that real estate investors see in the neighborhood.

New Ridgewood LLC purchased the 50-unit rental building at 71-13 60th Lane from Bonjour Capital, according to city property records.

Bonjour Capital has owned the building since 2012 when it was constructed, and paid just $8.6 million then for it.

Due to its proximity to trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods and access to public transportation, rents and values in Ridgewood have been rising. In addition, relatively low land prices are helping it become a hot area for investors.

Some firms are already working on sizable development projects in Ridgewood, including Essex Capital’s 90-unit building on Madison Street and AB Capstone’s planned 17-story, mixed-use residential rental building on St. Nicholas Avenue.

The building at 71-13 60th Lane is situated near the neighborhood’s Myrtle Avenue commercial strip, where there are national banks, and various outlets for shopping and dining.

There is a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in the building, and the average monthly rent is around $2,661, according to Eastern Consolidated, which was marketing the building. The property has 53,865 square feet of space and parking available.

Amenities such as a game room, a resident lounge, a children’s play room and a roof deck with views of the neighborhood are included in the building.

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Early plans indicate a large residential tower is coming to Ridgewood


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of AB Capstone

The owner of properties on Myrtle and St. Nicholas avenues in the heart of Ridgewood is planning to construct a 17-story residential rental tower with 130 apartments, according to a source close to the project.

Construction permits have yet to be filed with the Buildings Department for the sites at 54-27 Myrtle Ave., and 336 and 350 St. Nicholas Ave., but early plans indicate that the project will have 200,000 square feet.

The building will also be mixed-use with retail space, the source said, but since the project is in the “very early stages,” designs and details may change.

Developer AB Capstone, which purchased the sites last year, filed demolition permits late last year for the sites, and recently posted an early rendering of the tower on its website.

The image shows the residential building with its entrance facing St. Nicholas Avenue. Other details about the building could not be confirmed yet, including price ranges or sizes for the units.

The development site is located a block from the L and M Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues subway station, which will be a big benefit for future residents.

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Brooklyn man collared in deadly Ridgewood shooting


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

A Brooklyn man has been charged with fatally shooting a 21-year-old man outside a Ridgewood pool hall last weekend, police announced Friday night.

Ricardo Delgado, 20, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, faces second-degree murder and weapons possession charges for the March 14 incident that claimed the life of 21-year-old Bushwick resident Eric Santiago.

Santiago was shot in the torso while standing along Palmetto Street between Cypress and St. Nicholas avenues, adjacent to the Arena pool hall, just before 1:15 a.m.

He was brought by private means to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.

According to the 104th Precinct Detective Squad, Delgado was taken into custody Thursday and is currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court.

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Captains exchange the baton at 104th Precinct Council meeting in Ridgewood


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The changing of the guard at the 104th Precinct became official during Tuesday night’s 104th Precinct Community Council meeting at Ridgewood’s Peter Cardella Senior Center.

Capt. Christopher Manson, who led the Ridgewood-based command for 26 months, handed over the reigns to the new commander, Capt. Mark Wachter. In what he joked was a “secret” NYPD ceremony, Manson presented Wachter with the commander’s pin, which is worn by all commanding officers on the lapel opposite their shields.

Manson, who was transferred to the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, reflected fondly on his time at the 104th Precinct.

“I enjoyed myself thoroughly working with this community over the past two years,” he said. “We are showing reductions in some of the major crime categories and I’m sure the trend will continue under Captain Wachter.”

The Community Council thanked Manson and presented him with a plaque in appreciation of his service. They then introduced Wachter and turned the meeting over to him.

“I’m very happy to be here. It’s like coming back home to the old neighborhood,” Wachter said.

Wachter was raised in Glendale where he attended St. Pancras School and Christ the King High School. He joined the NYPD in 1996 and previously served as the executive officer of the 110th Precinct in Corona, 114th Precinct in Astoria and 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights.

Most recently, Wachter served as the commanding officer of the Citi Field Detail in Flushing. His team provided security and traffic details during Mets home games, as well as conducted crime control operations throughout Queens while the Mets were on the road.

“Captain Manson left us in a very good place. I hope to continue that,” he said. “Every major category of crime is down. We’re going to try and continue Captain Manson’s strategies.”

One such strategy Captain Wachter hopes to build upon is increasing community awareness and outreach: “We look at the crimes as numbers, but each number is actually a person.”

This change in leadership comes on the heels of a very eventful two-week period in the 104th Precinct.

“I went out with a bang, that’s for sure,” Captain Manson quipped.

Manson addressed Saturday’s shooting outside the Arena Pool Hall on Palmetto Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in which 21-year-old Eric Santiago was shot in his stomach. Santiago sustained a ruptured abdominal artery and succumbed to his injuries seven hours later at Wyckoff Hospital.

Manson believes the shooting was the result of gang involvement in Brooklyn. “This isn’t a random shooting,” he said. “He was an intended target. I don’t think they wanted to kill him but rather send a message.”

Wachter praised the new gun detection technology unveiled earlier in the week by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton as a “great tool” in combating such incidents of gun violence. Under the new ShotSpotter system, sensors installed on light poles and buildings would be able to detect and triangulate gunshots, as well as alert NYPD officers via Smartphone or tablet devices. The technology aims to increase response time and accuracy. The program is currently in pilot phases in areas of the Bronx and Brooklyn.

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Ridgewood woman gets ‘Married at First Sight’


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of A&E Married First Sight

One Ridgewood woman said “I do” to her perfect match, but she hadn’t laid eyes on him until moments before her vows — all for the A&E reality show “Married at First Sight.”

Jessica Castro, 30, was having trouble finding the committed relationship she was looking for after her fiancé, who she had been dating for seven years, cheated on her.

“[Dating] really is tiring. You go on a first date, and you go on another first date with a different guy,” she said. “No one really wants to settle down or they think that there’s someone better out there.”

Castro and her match, who will be revealed in the upcoming season of the reality show, were one of three couples to be paired by four matchmakers: psychologist Joseph Cilona, sexologist Logan Levkoff, sociologist Pepper Schwartz and spiritual adviser Greg Epstein. Two of the three couples from the first season are still happily married, while the third decided to get a divorce at the end of the six-week experiment.

This was the second time that Castro had applied to be on the show. Although she had made it through the entire process for season one, including interviews with the show’s experts, they were unable to find a suitable match for her.


“When I heard of season two, I figured, why not give it another shot?” she said. “I had a gut feeling that this would be it for me, that they would find me my match.”

So Castro, a receptionist at a Manhattan law firm, applied again. “I plugged in all my information into the website, and they reached out to me,” she said. First, she filled out “really intense” questionnaires. One took her five hours to fill out, and she had to “be an open book about everything,” such as her upbringing in Bushwick, which at the time was “one of the tougher neighborhoods in Brooklyn.” Then the experts each interviewed her for 20 to 30 minutes.

When Castro heard that she was matched for season two, “I was honestly in shock,” she said. “Dr. Pepper Schwartz called and said, ‘We have some wonderful news for you: we found your match,’ and I think my reaction was, ‘What?’ … She was like, ‘Yeah, you’re getting married next week!’”

“Everything was within days and it was a very intense preparation, but it was so worth it,” she continued. “It was 100 percent worth it.”

MAFS_S2_12122014_0253Going into the wedding day, Dec. 12, Castro’s biggest fear was that the families wouldn’t get along.

“I’m Puerto Rican and my family can be overbearing,” she said. “We’re loud, we can be obnoxious, but we like to have a really, really good time and we are loving at the same time. But you don’t know if the other family is as outgoing or kind of more reserved, so I was afraid to see how the families would mingle.”

Castro said that her parents’ support was extremely important as she prepared to walk down the aisle. When she signed up for the chance to be matched for the first season, her best friends told her, “You have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” she said, but her mom “was not thrilled.”

“When I found out the first time around I wasn’t matched, it was a little bit of a relief for all of us because, you know, it’s terrifying,” she said. “But my mom actually got to see season one, we all watched season one, and we realized how much the experts and the couples put their all into this. When I came around and I told them I was doing season two this time around, my mom cried and she said, ‘I know this is what you want.’”

“My mom is my best friend, my right-hand woman, and if she didn’t approve it would be devastating,” Castro said.

She didn’t tell her dad she was applying, though. “We kind of kept him in the dark at first, we told him it was a dating show, just so he wouldn’t freak out, because we didn’t want to give him all of the information and then say I’m not matched. So we figured we’d wait until I got a definite answer, and when I told him his eyes got watery and he said, ‘If this is what makes you happy, I support you.’”

During filming, Castro said that she “blocked the cameras out sometimes, because when you think that they’re there and they’re watching you, you freak out, you get nervous, and you don’t want it to come off as unnatural. You know, this is your life, it’s all real, none of it is fake.”

For her, the experiment was all about just being herself. “Don’t put up a front for anyone or anything. The only way you can truly go through the motions of this process is just to be yourself.”

She loved working with all of the experts, but psychologist Cilona helped her with communication, which she calls her “biggest downfall.”

“[Cilona] gave us some exercises, and when we met with him it was an eye-opener for both of us, like, we both want this and we really just have to put our best foot forward to make this work.”

Tune in to A&E on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. — starting with the season premiere on March 17 — to find out who Castro marries and if she and her husband decide to stay married come the end of the experiment.

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Queens Brewery hoping to host parties ahead of grand opening to raise money


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Queens Brewery

The grand opening ceremony for Queens Brewery’s new Ridgewood location probably won’t be held until after renovation is complete in September, but there may be parties at the space before that this summer.

The brewery is interested in renting out the outdoor space of its new home for events and parties to raise money to complete interior renovation of the facility.

“Building out a space does cost a lot of money and we want to raise it to get it done,” said Jason Wolf, who handles marketing for the brewery.

As part of its effort to raise money for construction costs, the brewery will also launch a Kickstarter campaign by next month. Wolf couldn’t say how much the they needed to raise yet.

After nearly two years and hundreds of thousands of pints of beers, the Queens Brewery recently announced that they were moving into a Ridgewood warehouse at 1539 Covert St., not far away from the L train Halsey Street station.

The new space boasts 2,500 square feet in two floors. The entire second floor will be used for beer production.

15-39 Covert St.

15-39 Covert St.

The first floor will be used for retail and leads into a huge backyard, which will be transformed into a beer garden.

Queens Brewery’s beers have been on tap in many bars citywide and even in Citi Field, but in the coming weeks the brewery will be introducing cans, which will be sold at grocery stores in the city, according to Wolf. Prices will vary, but they could retail for about $9.99 for a pack of four.

Wolf couldn’t announce which stores would sell the beers, but he added, “You’ll know the stores. It’ll be very easy to find these beers.”

Interior renovations for the Queens Brewery is expected to begin next month.

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CB 5 eyes city budget: district manager wants more cops, building inspectors


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark

Speaking during the annual Community Board 5 preliminary budget hearing on March 11 in Middle Village, Community Board 5 District Manager Gary Giordano called for more city funds to boost the 104th Precinct’s roster.

“What I do on behalf of the community board is in response to the preliminary budget as I see it,” Giordano said. “The estimated budget of the City of New York is in the neighborhood of $77 billion. And what I would normally focus on, as far as the expense budget goes, is our need and desire for 20 additional police officers in the 104th Precinct.”

According to Giordano, in 1995, patrol personnel were numbered at 203 officers, not including supervisors, and that number is down by 25 percent today. Even though crime is down, Giordano stated, the reduced staff at the precinct leads to response backlogs.

Other priorities for the expense budget, he touted, included “sanitation collection, cleaning dump-out locations, sanitation enforcement, education [and] fire department staffing.”

The district manager also recommended that the Department of Buildings hire more qualified building inspectors for Queens.

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

Community Board 5 District Manager, Gary Giordano (left) with Mark Hoffer from PANYNJ (center) and CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri during the CB 5 monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 11. (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

“I think the Buildings Department is down to like 19 inspectors for Queens County,” Giordano explained. “Since the economy is heating up and we’re going to see more construction, and we’re likely to see some pretty large buildings built … we need enough competent buildings inspectors to make sure that whatever construction is taking place is getting done according to plan and according to law and we also need those buildings inspectors to check on illegal uses.”

Parks in Maspeth and Middle Village are set to receive capital funding for reconstruction. Frank Principe Park in Maspeth will get $5 million and Juniper Valley Park is slated to receive funding to reconstruct either the running track or turf field, but the debate is not settled yet, Giordano said.

Projects that have already been funded and are currently underway include the installation of larger sewer pipes and the relocation of gas mains in the Penelope Avenue area in Middle Village and the Calamus Avenue/69th Street area.

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Ridgewood shooting victim walks into hospital, later dies of injuries


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Freshpond/Wikimedia Commons

Updated Tuesday, March 17, 10:30 a.m. 

Detectives continue to seek the suspect who fatally shot a 21-year-old Bushwick man on a Ridgewood street early Saturday morning.

Law enforcement sources said an unidentified perpetrator shot Eric Santiago of Himrod Street in front of a location on Palmetto Street between Cypress and St. Nicholas avenues, adjacent to the Arena Pool Hall, just before 1:15 a.m. Saturday.

Santiago was transported by private means to Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, where he walked into the emergency room seeking care, police said. He died at the hospital hours later while undergoing treatment.

Law enforcement sources said the unidentified shooter, who was last seen fleeing on foot westbound along Palmetto Street, was wearing dark clothing and a dark jacket with the letters “USA” on the back.

This marks the first homicide in the 104th Precinct this year. The last took place in March 2014, when a couple was murdered in their Ridgewood apartment.

The 104th Precinct Detective Squad is investigating the Santiago case.

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 Local Development Corporation requests funding to improve neighborhoods


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Angela Matua

The Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC) has many plans for the 2016 fiscal year, including performing a feasibility study of creating a new business improvement district along Myrtle Avenue in Glendale between Fresh Pond Road and 71st Place, which includes approximately 302 properties.

The nonprofit RLDC serves the economic interests of the commercial and industrial sectors of the Ridgewood/Glendale areas by providing ongoing management of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District’s (BID) programs and services, holiday lighting, beautification projects, streetscape improvements and supplemental sanitation services, among other projects and services.

In its fiscal year 2016 budget, the RLDC is requesting capacity support of $65,000. This funding will go toward general operating, administrative and operating costs for its Neighborhood Economic Development and Community Improvement Programs.

The creation of a new BID would provide the Myrtle Avenue Retail/Commercial District in Glendale the flexibility to finance a wide array of programs, projects and improvements and reliability due to multi-year revenue streams.

In order to fund this study, the RLDC is requesting $25,000 to $30,000.

The RLDC also requested program support to assist manufacturing firms in the “South of Myrtle Avenue Industrial Area,” which was recently designated an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), and other “M zoned” areas in Glendale and a portion of Middle Village along and adjacent to the Montauk Branch of New York & Atlantic Railroad, as well as other manufacturing uses in Ridgewood and Glendale.

This request requires $75,000 of funding, which would allow the RLDC to use the services of a consultant, graduate student or part-time employee to aid existing staff members with outreach and follow up with regard to providing comprehensive program services to businesses within the newly formed and designated IBZ for the South of Myrtle Avenue Industrial area.

The RLDC would work with Business Outreach Center, which already manages the Maspeth IBZ.

The RLDC feels that working with local manufacturers is important because they provide good, paying jobs for local residents. They also hope to strengthen the industrial and residential communities, seek opportunities for industrial growth and expansion and resolve conflicts between industrial and residential uses.

“A diversified manufacturing base is a sound economic policy,” Renz said in the budget report. “These local jobs produce both primary and secondary benefits from taxes and locally spent incomes.”

The RLDC would also like to see the restoration of seven-day garbage basket pickup from the DSNY within the Myrtle Avenue BID. This service has been cut down to only three days a week and the RLDC’s executive director, Ted Renz, feels “this is totally inadequate.”

“The first thing shoppers and potential store owners see are Myrtle Avenue’s overflowing garbage baskets,” he said in the RLDC’s expense budget report for fiscal year 2016. “It makes no sense to have a BID augment city services if the city keeps on reducing basic services like sanitation corner basket pickup.”

Requests for funds to improve Venditti Square were included in the RLDC budget report. The improvements include upgrading the Venditti Square Clock by installing a Carillon system that would play Westminster chimes and adding LED lighting. The RLDC also seeks to install 3-foot wrought iron fences around planting beds in the square for $25,000.

The RLDC is also looking for $20,000 in funding to repair or replace two historic marker signs, one at Carl Clemens Triangle and one at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues transit hub that would add important improvements to the plaza.

The planting of new trees is also included in the RLDC’s budget plans. They plan on planting 60 new street trees along Fresh Pond Road Commercial/Retail District between Metropolitan and Myrtle Avenues for $60,000, 65 new street trees within the boundaries of the Myrtle Avenue BID for $65,000 and 250 new street trees in the Myrtle Avenue Commercial/Retail District between Fresh Pond Road and 72nd Street in Glendale for $250,000.

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