Tag Archives: Ridgewood

One-bedroom rents in February soar in Ridgewood, Rego Park studio rates tumble


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of StreetEasy.com/ Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate

Renters paid more for one-bedroom Ridgewood apartments in February as rates jumped more than 7 percent from January, according to the Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

One-bedroom rents in the neighborhood, which have been rising because of a spill-over effect from nearby trendy Brooklyn neighborhoods, climbed to an average of $1,749 per month in February from $1,630 in January, the report found.

While there was a big increase in Ridgewood, rents in Rego Park, which have been increasing in recent months due to an influx of luxury units, dropped.

The average monthly rents for studios in the neighborhood fell more than 12.5 percent to $1,527 in February. Prices of two-bedrooms in the area slid more than 5 percent as well to $2,453.

Overall rents in the borough followed Rego Park and dipped slightly to $2,089.37 in February from $2,103.96 in January. However, the experts at MNS expect prices to start trending upwards as the weather heats up.

“With listing inventory steadily increasing, we expect prices to follow suit, with demand for new units pushing prices up over the coming months, especially leading up to the summer months, particularly in the Astoria and LIC neighborhoods,” the report said.

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New Fox comedy set in Queens premiering March 31


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The co-creator of “The King of Queens” is bringing the borough back to the small screen with a new Fox comedy premiering this month.

Weird Loners” focuses on four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other in a neighborhood that’s supposed to be Ridgewood.

Unlike some sitcoms featuring single urbanites, the comedy speaks to the stigma of being older and still being alone, according to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn.

“There is the feeling that their lives are getting away from them,” Weithorn said. “But they bond together because they find each other.”

The show stars Becki Newton (“Ugly Betty”) as Caryn Goldfarb — described as a cute but high-strung dental hygienist who is love-crazed and an ultra-romantic. Her overeagerness and infatuation in her dating life has left her chronically single.

Zachary Knighton (“Happy Endings”) plays Stosh Lewandoski who is handsome, charming, smart and great at seducing women, but can’t maintain an intimate relationship. After losing his corporate condo, he is forced to move in with his cousin in Queens.

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Nate Torrence (“Hello Ladies”) plays his cousin Eric — a toll collector who is described as a sweet, odd man-child. He lives in his family home with his parents until they pass away and Stosh moves in with him.

Newcomer Meera Rohit Kumbhani plays Zara Sandhu — a mysterious and ethereal woman who likes to live in the moment. A lifelong heartbreaker, men and women regularly fall in love with her. After leaving yet another lover, she moves in with Caryn, who lives next door to Eric and Stosh.

These four characters may be considered “Weird Loners,” but the title is somewhat ironic according to Weithorn because everyone is a weird loner in a way.

“They’re just like all of us…they just have not been able to figure out how to do this one thing,” he said.

Weithorn, a Fresh Meadows native, started creating relatable characters based in Queens with his hit sitcom “The King of Queens,” which ran on CBS from 1998 to 2007.

“I feel like I can write [characters] better if I can feel what it’s like when they walk out their front door,” he said.

Ray Mickshaw / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Ray Mickshaw/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn’s shows haven’t been the only series set in the borough. “All in the Family” (1971-1979) was supposed to take place in Astoria, though the actual home is located in Glendale; and “Dear John” (1988–1992) was about a high school teacher who is forced to move to an apartment in Rego Park after divorcing his wife. Ugly Betty (2006–2010) focused on the title character’s job at the Manhattan offices of a top fashion magazine, but the dramedy also prominently featured the protagonist’s family home in Jackson Heights.

“The King of Queens” is the only one of the group to put the name of borough in the title, which was hard to sell at first, according to Weithorn. The title was given the go-ahead after the “Queens” was made into a street sign so people would know that Queens was a destination.

“I think we bombarded the American public with the image of Queens,” he said of the show, which is now in syndication.

After setting “The King of Queens” in Rego Park, Weithorn decided to use Ridgewood as the backdrop for “Weird Loners.”

Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

Weithorn 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 Stosh and Eric.

The two characters are children of Polish immigrants, a fact that is displayed proudly in Stosh’s name and the Polish banter the two sometimes have.

Weithorn doesn’t believe the show’s current scripts contain any direct references to the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

But there are scenes that demonstrate it’s a Queens show — Eric’s hardcore devotion to the Mets and a bonding moment between the group in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

“Hopefully we will get the chance to tell the world about Queens,” Weithorn said.

“Weird Loners” premieres on Fox Tuesday, March 31, at 9:30 p.m.

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Ridgewood travel agent allegedly ran immigration fraud scam


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

GavelMoneyHC1206_X_300_C_R

A Ridgewood-based travel agent allegedly stole thousands of dollars from an undocumented immigrant in return for procuring legal immigration status for the individual, who was actually working as an informant, prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown identified the travel agent as Dariusz Buczynski, 44, of 65th Place in Maspeth, who owns Anka Travel and Consulting Services located at 65-14 Fresh Pond Rd. and formerly at 71-20 Fresh Pond Rd., both in Ridgewood.

“In this particular case, the defendant is accused of being a con man who unscrupulously exploited an individual looking for help in achieving his American dream but ultimately found only an American nightmare,” Brown said. “Anyone who believes that he or she may have been a victim of the defendant’s alleged scheme is asked to contact my Office of Immigration Affairs at 1-718-286-6690 or my Integrity Unit at 1-718-286-6524.”

Buczynski was arraigned on Tuesday before Queens Criminal Court Judge Bruna DiBiase on a criminal complaint charging him with third-degree grand larceny and second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.

According to the criminal charges, the informant working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations went to Anka Travel and Consulting Services on July 27, 2012, met with Buczynski and asked for help in securing government documents granting legal status, including work documents and legal resident status. Buczynski told the informant that he would charge $12,000 for the process.

Between Oct. 25, 2012, and Oct. 9, 2013, the informant allegedly met with Buczynski at both of his office locations and supplied him with the documentation Buczynski requested. The informant also signed numerous documents regarding his immigration application and work authorization request.

During the Oct. 9, 2013 meeting, the informant was allegedly given four purported government forms that were printed out by Buczynski. Prosecutors said the suspect then told the informant that he should receive paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service in two to four weeks.

During the meetings, the informant allegedly paid Buczynski various amounts of money, including $6,000 in cash to begin the paperwork and $1,650 in cash for application fees and the informant’s working permit card.

Official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services records indicate that Buczynski never actually provided any applications or forms on the informant’s behalf. An examination of the illegitimate forms that Buczynski provided the informant allegedly revealed false barcodes.

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Seven arrested in Ridgewood, Maspeth massage parlor busts: police


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

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The NYPD’s Vice Enforcement Division arrested seven people at four different massage parlors in Maspeth and Ridgewood for allegedly not being licensed to perform massages and for offering sexual acts to clients.

The arrests were made on March 5 at 66-47 Grand Ave., 66-49 Grand Ave., 65-50 Grand Ave. and 52-01 Metropolitan Ave., police reported. According to detectives, none of the locations had the proper state Department of Education licenses to perform massage therapy.

At the 66-47 Grand Ave. location, law enforcement officials said an undercover detective was offered a massage and sexual intercourse by the defendant Chin Fen Lee, 52, for a sum of $140.

Police identified Liu Jia-Jia, 33, Li Hai Fang, 33, and Carol Hong, 29, as the defendants at the 66-49 Grand Ave. location. Jia-Jia reportedly offered an undercover detective a massage for $60, followed by an offer to perform a sexual act on the detective for $80 extra. Fang reportedly offered to perform a massage on an undercover detective for the sum of $60, and offered and agreed to perform a sexual act on the detective in exchange for an additional $40.

Hong was reported to have offered the undercover detective a full-body massage for a sum of $60. While Hong did not offer to perform a sexual act on the detective, she admitted that she did not have a license to perform massages.

Police said one defendant — Ning Hao, 34, who worked at the 65-50 Grand Ave. location — reportedly agreed to perform a massage on an undercover detective for $60, then offered to perform a sexual act on the undercover detective for an additional $100. At the same location, Guo Lan, 24, reportedly offered to perform a full body massage on an undercover detective for $60. Lan admitted she lacked the proper license to perform massages, police said.

Meihua Piao, 51, from the 52-01 Metropolitan Ave. location, allegedly offered an undercover detective a massage and sexual act in exchange for a sum of $60, police reported.

Hong, Lee and Hao were brought into court on March 6 for a pre-arraignment and are expected back in court on April 14, authorities said.

Jia-Jia, Piao, Hao, Lee and Fang were charged with one count each of prostitution and unauthorized practice of profession. Hong and Lan were each charged with one count of unauthorized practice of profession.

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Beat Nite features Ridgewood art space


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo: Anthony Giudice

The 12th installment of Beat Nite, hosted by Norte Maar, took art enthusiasts and collectors to some of the alternative art spaces in Bushwick and Ridgewood on March 6. The event, produced by Jason Andrew, featured 10 art spaces within the community.

“When it started in 2009, there were only about six or seven venues,” Andrew said. “But now there are so many, we have to limit it down to only 10.” Each year a different curator takes charge of the event and selects 10 spaces that he or she wants to feature.

This year, Ben Sutton is the curator and chose the 10 spaces, including the host space, Norte Maar located at 83 Wyckoff Ave.; the Microscope Gallery, Transmitter and Tiger Strikes Asteroid (TSA) at 1329 Willoughby Ave.; Sardine at 286 Stanhope St.; and Kimberly-Klark at 788 Woodward Ave.

At the TSA gallery, artist Debra Ramsay had her three-piece project, which is part of the larger project “Generative Process,” on display. All three pieces work together to form one uniform concept.

Ramsay walked the same nature trail in upstate New Berlin each day and snapped 18 photographs — one every 100 steps. She did this for each season of the year. When she was done, she compiled a set of 72 unique and distinct colors, one color from each photo.

For the first piece of the project, Ramsay laid out the colors from season to season, displaying all the colors at once. In the second piece, the colors of spring hung on a line followed by the colors of summer behind them, then fall and finally winter. This allowed the viewer to see the change in color from the same spot throughout the entire year.

The final piece took all the colors from the spring season and combined them for an overall spring color. Ramsay did the same for summer, fall and winter. Finally, she took all the colors and combined them to create a single color that represented all of the seasons.

Photo: Anthony Giudice

Artist Debra Ramsay with one of her pieces (Photo by Anthony Giudice)

This artwork is designed to allow the viewer to process time in a different way, Ramsay said. By seeing the progression of color from one spot over the course of a year, it lets the viewer see what Ramsay saw each time she went out on her nature walk, she explained.

The art gallery, Kimberly-Klark, located on Woodward Avenue, is owned and operated by five artists. Each month the artists rotate who they would like to see featured in their space. This month Jonny Paul Gillette was selected and his exhibit, “Goals on Balls,” is on display from Feb. 28 to March 29.

Gillette took sports balls and placed a 16-by-20-inch canvas atop each ball. He then airbrushed a painting of the goal of each ball onto the canvas, while it was still perched on the ball. The football had a goal post and end zone painted on the canvas, the golf ball was accompanied by a painting of the cup and the dodgeball had an opposing player on its canvas.

Gillette lives and works in New York, and his exhibit at Kimberly-Klark is his first solo show in New York.

Robert Grand, one of Kimberly-Klark’s owners, lives in Ridgewood and is happy that he got a chance to open an art space his neighborhood.

Poster by Ellen Letcher

Poster by Ellen Letcher

Being in Ridgewood was a concern for him and his co-owners. “It’s been a really good turnout. And that was the question, would people come all the way out here,” Grand said. “People have been paying attention.”

One of the site’s other owners, Sydney Smith, said she was “really charmed by Ridgewood.”

“It is really fun exploring a new neighborhood. There is a good mix of people from all walks of life in Ridgewood,” she said.

The name given to the art space — Kimberly-Klark — follows a trend of naming art spaces after fictitious female characters and is a play on words with the famous personal care company Kimberly-Clark.

Kimberly-Klark is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m., or by appointment.

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Federal charges for alleged Ridgewood, Middle Village bank robber


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

An alleged bank robber busted in Ridgewood Tuesday now faces federal charges for carrying out a series of heists in the 104th Precinct dating back to last November.

Police picked up Brooklyn’s Reuben McLaughlin, 24, moments after he allegedly robbed the Capital One bank located at 70-01 Forest Ave. Tuesday morning.

Based on an investigation, authorities said, McLaughlin was tied to five other recent bank robberies, in which he allegedly passed demand notes to tellers and threatened to shoot them if they did not comply.

Because of the threats involving firearms, law enforcement sources noted, McLaughlin was transferred to the FBI’s New York office and booked on federal armed robbery charges.

According to authorities, the pattern began in Middle Village on Nov. 24, when McLaughlin visited the Capital One bank at 74-11 Metropolitan Ave. He allegedly robbed the branch again on Feb. 14.

Police said the suspect additionally held up the Astoria Bank located at 75-11 Metropolitan Ave., steps away from the Middle Village Capital One, on Dec. 30 and Feb. 4.

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Cleanup set for Ridgewood apartment house site


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

File photo

Builders planning to erect a seven-story apartment house on a former Ridgewood knitting mill site are set to move forward with an environmental cleanup, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

The cleanup focuses on 1632-1641 Madison St., formerly Philru Knitting Mills, where Essex Capital plans to develop a 90-unit apartment building. The action is moving forward under the DEC’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. Essex Capital’s holding company, 1614 Madison Partners LLC, will perform the cleanup under DEC oversight.

The cleanup action for the site includes Track 1 cleanup, which would allow unrestricted use of the site. The existing buildings would be demolished and an underground gasoline storage and any associated contaminated soil would be removed.

Additionally, crews will remove two feet of soil from the tetrahloroethylene “hot spot” area beneath the existing building slab on Lot 14 and dispose of it off-site; excavate two feet of soil from the rest of the building footprint beneath the slab of both lots; and collect “endpoint” samples after the initial excavation to evaluate the effectiveness of the cleanup.

If the DEC determines after the initial phase that further action is needed, crews will install a composite cover system consisting of a concrete building slab and/or two feet of soil meeting the soil cleanup objectives; a Site Management Plan for long-term maintenance of the engineering controls; and an Environmental Easement filed against the site to ensure the implementation of the Site Management Plan and allowing the use and development of the controlled property for restricted-residential use.

When the NYSDEC is satisfied with the cleanup process, they will approve a Final Engineering Report and issue a Certificate of Completion. After receiving the Certificate of Completion, 1614 Madison Partners LLC and Essex Capital Partners will be allowed to redevelop the site as they see fit. They would also have no liability to the state for contamination at the site, subject to certain condition, as well as be eligible for tax credits to offset the costs of the cleanup process and redevelopment of the site.

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Suspect nabbed in Ridgewood bank holdup could be linked to other robberies: police


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Detectives continue to investigate whether a suspected bank robber picked up in Ridgewood Tuesday is linked to a recent heist pattern within the 104th Precinct.

Reuben McLaughlin, 24, of Brooklyn, reportedly held up the Capital One branch at 70-01 Forest Ave. just before 11:40 a.m. Tuesday morning.

According to law enforcement sources, McLaughlin approached a teller and passed a note demanding cash. He also threatened to shoot the worker if his demands were not met.

Police said McLaughlin received $1,070 in cash, then fled the scene in an unknown direction.

Officers from the 104th Precinct were alerted to the robbery and, during a search of the surrounding area, located McLaughlin, authorities said.

In recent weeks, police have been looking for a man responsible for five bank robberies at three locations in Ridgewood and Middle Village dating back to last November, including the Capital One on Forest Avenue; the Capital One at 74-11 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village; and the Astoria Bank at 75-25 Metropolitan Ave.

Additional charges against McLaughlin are pending the results of the ongoing investigation, police said.

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Cabbie hangs on as carjacker steals ride in Ridgewood


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Police continue to search for a carjacker who allegedly led a livery cab driver on a wild ride through Ridgewood early Saturday morning.

The attack occurred at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday in front of a location on Myrtle Avenue near Wyckoff Avenue in Ridgewood.

Earlier, according to police, the 36-year-old driver, while operating a white Toyota Camry with TLC plates, picked up the suspect — described as a bald-headed Hispanic man believed to be 34 years old, 6 feet 1 inches tall and 160 pounds — at the corner of Broadway and Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg.

The passenger then told the suspect to drive to the Ridgewood location.

Upon pulling over in Ridgewood at about 4:30 a.m., authorities said, the passenger choked the driver and forced him out of the car. The driver allegedly hopped onto the hood of the car as the suspect got behind the wheel and began to drive away.

According to police, the victim hung onto the hood while the crook drove eastbound on Myrtle Avenue for several blocks. After he got off the hood at the corner of Putnam and Myrtle avenues, the suspect sped away inside the cab.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the scene. The victim was not injured.

Police said the victim’s wallet, along with two iPhones and more than $1,000 in cash, were taken along with the vehicle.

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 and Bushwick featured at first QNS Real Estate Conference


| a.giudice@timesnewsweekly.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Ridgewood and Bushwick were highlighted as up-and-coming hubs of the real estate market during the first QNS Real Estate Conference, hosted by The Queens Courier and the Real Estate Board of New York.

Hundreds of investors, companies and people looking to learn more about the booming real estate market in Queens filled the room at Terrace on the Park, located at 52-11 111th St. in Flushing, for the QNS Real Estate Conference on Thursday, Feb. 26.

A panel of leading real estate experts was on hand to speak about the current state of Ridgewood and Bushwick and the possible future of the neighborhoods.

The panel included Lance Bertrand, licensed real estate salesperson for Halstead Property LLC; Sal Crifasi, CEO, licensed real estate broker, Crifasi Real Estate; Jamie Wiseman, principal, Cayuga Capital Management LLC; Mitchell Rutter, CEO and founding partner of Essex Capital; and Tony Argento, the president of Broadway Stages. The discussion was moderated by Liam La Guerre, the real estate editor for The Queens Courier.

Crifasi, whose business was established in Queens in 1979, knows the area well. When asked about the driving force that attracts people to the Ridgewood area, he said, “The driving force, I feel, is what drives most people, affordability and transportation.”

Ridgewood and Bushwick are growing communities, making real estate more affordable than neighboring communities. The L line runs right through the heart of the communities, giving residents easy access to other areas of the city.

Ridgewood is a unique community with 2,100 historic properties. Due to these landmarked buildings, Crifasi said investors should be careful because “you can’t change the facade, but you can do interior work. They’re still a great investment because of the appreciation value.”

“I think that whole area, both along the L train in Bushwick and up into Ridgewood, is an area of focus, particularly the retail district along Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood which is actually, I think, going to change rapidly as that whole area continues to grow,” Wiseman said.

Although the area is growing, there are challenges from an investment standpoint.

“The ability to actually make rental properties work” is one of the major challenges facing investors in Ridgewood and Bushwick, Wiseman said.

Rutter, with his company, is working on two sites in Ridgewood at 16-14 and 16-26 Madison St. These old warehouses will be converted into a 90-unit building, creating more apartments for residents.

“We are looking to attract the following: sharers, … new families, or those just out of college looking to start a career,” Rutter explained.

Argento recently purchased a large swatch of land in Glendale for his film production company, Broadway Stages.

“I’m overwhelmed with how great it is,” Argento said of the Glendale community, and Ridgewood as a whole.

Argento said that while looking for warehouse space, his company was priced out of many markets, “so Glendale was a natural place to go.”

Bertrand said that rent is going up across the board in both Ridgewood and Bushwick, with Bushwick having a majority of industrial spaces and Ridgewood having more row houses.

The Bushwick native echoed the sentiments of many of the panelists by saying, “the main attractions for these areas are affordability, a lot of people who were priced out of Williamsburg and Greenpoint are now looking for these areas to find a new home, and transportation is a very valuable point in these areas.”

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CB 5 committees pan Cross Harbor Tunnel plans


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Building a Cross Harbor Tunnel would shift the tri-state area’s traffic problems into Brooklyn and Queens, members of the Community Board 5 (CB 5) Transportation and Public Transit committees declared during a meeting Tuesday night in Glendale.

Panelists panned options in the Port Authority’s Cross Harbor Freight Program that call for a train tunnel or a combined train/truck tube through the harbor between rail yards in New Jersey and Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The options include increased activity on the Long Island Rail Road’s Bay Ridge line and the connecting Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Glendale — the only freight rail terminal linking geographic Long Island and the rest of the country.

Though the Port Authority claims the tunnel plans would help reduce tractor-trailer traffic on its existing Hudson River and harbor crossings, CB 5 Chairperson Vincent Arcuri charged, the proposal wouldn’t remedy congestion, but rather move it elsewhere in the city.

According to Arcuri, the tunnel plans included the creation or expansion of intermodal shipping facilities and warehouses near the Fresh Pond Rail Yard as well as Maspeth and East New York. At these sites, goods would be loaded and off-loaded between train cars and small trucks. Citing analysis performed by the Glendale-based Civics United for Railroad and Environmental Solutions (CURES), Arcuri said, the tunnels would effectively add hundreds of truck trips each day onto local streets.

“By taking the largest tractor-trailers off the road and putting [their cargo] on the trains, they’re adding thousands of smaller trucks to our area,” he said. “We need to come up with a comprehensive argument against this current plan.”

John Maier, Public Transit Committee co-chair, echoed those sentiments, noting that much of the tunnel program’s concepts are based in “theory.” Municipal waste and construction and demolition debris from the city and Nassau and Suffolk counties make up the bulk of all local freight rail shipments. Other goods, he noted, are largely shipped by truck.

“The tunnel would do more to alleviate traffic outside of New York City than within it,” Maier said. “It’s not creating a lot of jobs because a lot of [shipping] is automated. It’s not a lot of yard jobs. It’s not a lot of anything, really. It would only reduce 6 percent of traffic on the Hudson River crossings while adding much more than 6 percent of traffic to East New York and Maspeth.”

Jean Tanler of the Maspeth Industrial Business Association stated that companies in the neighborhood’s Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) expressed similar concerns about a Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also pressed for easier shipping methods to reduce costs and travel time.

“There’s definitely demand,” she said. “It would save companies a lot of money to shave off a day of transit, either by rail or by barge.”

Local logistics also make a Cross Harbor Tunnel plan unfeasible, according to CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano. The plans indicate a tunnel would bring between 16 and 21 trains through the area each day — and current freight rail facilities are already overwhelmed with traffic.

“Right there, it’s physically impossible to pull that off unless the trains just rolled through at all hours of the day,” Giordano said.

Arcuri concluded that “the current plan is unacceptable” and that the board needed to present a resolution not only dismissing the Cross Harbor Tunnel, but also advocating for increased barge shipments and container float operations across the harbor. The chairperson said a resolution will be developed and considered at the committees’ next meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

Meanwhile, Queens residents will have the opportunity to speak out on the Cross Harbor program during a public hearing on Tuesday, March 3, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens.

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Fox’s ‘Gotham’ to film in Ridgewood Wednesday night


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co./Jessica Miglio/FOX

Ridgewood will become part of Gotham City Wednesday night.

Crews from the hit Fox drama “Gotham” are scheduled to shoot an exterior scene along Palmetto Street between Cypress and Seneca avenues from about 5 p.m. Wednesday until 1 a.m. the next morning.

Parking will be restricted on the block and several nearby streets beginning at 8 p.m. Tuesday in order to accommodate production vehicles.

According to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, crews will dim street lights and use smoke and spark effects. Approximately 16 vehicles will also be brought in as part of the scenery.

“Gotham,” which debuted last fall on Fox, serves as a Batman prequel, depicting the rise of soon-to-be Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon prior to Batman’s arrival. It also presents the evolution of various villains such as Oswald Cobblepot (a.k.a. The Penguin).

The show stars Ben McKenzie as then-Detective Gordon; Donal Logue as Gordon’s partner, Det. Harvey Bullock; Robin Lord Taylor as Cobblepot; David Mazouz as young Bruce Wayne, the wealthy orphan who would become Batman; and Jada Pinkett Smith as nightclub owner and mobster Maria Mercedes (a.k.a. Fish) Mooney.

"No parking" notices were posted near Palmetto Street and Seneca Avenue in Ridgewood Tuesday in advance of scheduled filming for the Fox drama "Gotham." (Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Social)

“No parking” notices were posted near Palmetto Street and Seneca avenues in Ridgewood Tuesday in advance of scheduled filming for the Fox drama “Gotham.” (Photo courtesy of Ridgewood Social)

Parking restrictions will also be in effect on the following blocks:

Palmetto Street between Cypress and St. Nicholas avenues;

Gates Avenue (east side only) between Cypress and St. Nicholas avenues; and

Cypress Avenue (south side) between Grove and Madison streets and (north side) between Linden and Madison streets.

This is Ridgewood’s latest foray into Hollywood, as producers from various major television and film shows — such as NBC’s upcoming drama “Odyssey” and HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” —flocked to the neighborhood in recent months to shoot scenes.

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State suspends license of Woodhaven day care center following drug raid of basement apartment


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

A state agency suspended a Woodhaven day care center’s operating license less than a week after police raided the apartment below the facility during a narcotics investigation.

The Office of Children and Family Services withheld the license for My Precious Moments group family day care at 85-09 88th Ave. following its own probe into matters unrelated to last Thursday’s raid, according to an agency spokesperson.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Michael Gomez — who lives in a basement apartment below the day care center, which his mother owns — remains locked up on charges after police found quantities of MDMA (Molly) and marijuana in his residence.

Ridgewood’s Selestino Rodriguez of Bleecker Street — a friend of Gomez arrested with him at the scene last Thursday — was released without bail following arraignment.

The NYPD Queens Narcotics Squad, with cooperation from the 102nd Precinct’s Field Investigation Office, executed a search warrant at the location following an investigation in which Gomez allegedly sold quantities of Molly and/or marijuana to an undercover officer on Feb. 3 and Feb. 17.

Both transactions reportedly occurred at Gomez’s residence while children were at the day care center.

During Thursday’s raid, police recovered 7 ounces of Molly, 4 ounces of marijuana and more than $2,400 in cash.

Gomez and Rodriguez were charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of criminal sale of marijuana. Gomez was additionally charged with child endangerment, criminal sale of marijuana and criminal sale of a controlled substance. Both suspects are due back in court on March 9.

According to sources, My Precious Moments opened in May 2009 and cares for 16 children—12 of whom are between 6 weeks and 12 years old. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown noted that the day care center is located less than 1,500 feet from two parochial schools: St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy at 94-01 85th St. and St. Thomas the Apostle Academy at 87-49 87th St.

No one from My Precious Moments responded to phone calls that the Times Newsweekly made Tuesday morning.

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Selling Point: Retail property in Jackson Heights fetches $16.4 million and more sales


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

A couple of buildings located on the Jackson Heights commercial strip and an apartment building with nearly 50 units in Flushing are some of this week’s big transactions in the borough, based on city records.

Address: 37-46/48 82nd St./37-50 82nd St.
Price: $16,425,000

A group of investors bought these adjoining commercial properties at 37-46 through 37-50 82nd St. for $16.7 million. Clark Stores Inc., a firm based in Manhattan, is the seller. Jackson Heights Retail LLC, one of the buyers, now has a majority stake in the buildings, according to property records filed on Thursday. The larger two-story building at 37-46 82nd St. was once home to a women’s apparel store called Clark’s and later a KB Toys before the company went out of business. Combined, the buildings, which have two floors each, have more than 12,400 square feet of space. The property is part of the Jackson Heights Historic District.

Address: 41-40 Parsons Blvd.
Price: $10,750,000

This corner property is a six-story multi-family rental apartment building in Flushing with 48 units. There is a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in the building. There is more than 44,000 square feet of living space in the structure, which is a few blocks from Main Street. Wai Realty Corp. bought the property for $10.7 million from Bronx-based Bright & Sunny Corp., according to city records filed on Friday.

Address: 48-05 Metropolitan Ave. 
Price: $7,000,000

WM Capital Partners XXV LLC bought this old manufacturing-zoned building in Ridgewood for $7 million, according to records filed on Feb. 17. The building has nearly 141,000 square feet of space.

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Ridgewood proprietor helps greet France’s chief rabbi


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Victoria Schneps

Ridgewood businessman Herman Hochberg joined the mayor and others in welcoming France’s chief rabbi to Manhattan’s Park East Synagogue last week.

Chief Rabbi Haim Corsia spoke about the safety of French Jews following the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in January and other recent anti-Semitic events across Europe. Thursday’s event was reserved “for leaders and representatives of the Jewish community,” as noted on the official invitation.

Hochberg — owner of Queens Wines and Liquors, a staple in Ridgewood for more than 60 years — has served as president of the Park East Synagogue board of directors for the past seven years and previously greeted Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI during his 2008 visit to New York.

Along with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Park East’s Rabbi Arthur Schneier, Hochberg presented Corsia with a crystal apple as a token of the congregation’s appreciation and support.

In a phone interview, Hochberg remarked that Corsia held a very positive and hopeful outlook for the Jewish people of France, noting that the rabbi is working closely with the government to ensure that people, synagogues and schools are properly protected from evildoers. Hochberg noted that Corsica — who also serves as chaplain of the French army — worked closely with the government of French President François Hollande to assign 10,500 soldiers and law enforcement agents to protect Jewish sites across the nation.

“The rabbi is a very energetic young man and his objective of course is not to have people leave but have them stay and make sure there’s the proper protection,” Hochberg said. “They consider themselves Frenchmen. For many generations, they’ve been there.”

As quoted in the Jerusalem Post, Corsia told those gathered at Park East last Thursday he witnessed in France “a sense of indifference” toward anti-Semitism and bias crimes prior to last month’s attacks in France at a satirical news magazine’s office and a Kosher supermarket. But in the aftermath, Corsia declared, French people from all walks of life rose to denounce the attacks and other acts of violence.

“[T]he entire society finally rose to say ‘no’ to the terrorist, ‘no’ to muzzling freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” according to Corsia’s remarks published in the Jerusalem Post. “I am of the view that if Charlie Hebdo as such had not happened, I’m not sure that so many people would march in the street.”

Hochberg echoed those sentiments, noting that the rally in Paris following the attacks — which included 4 million people and heads of state from across the globe — showed solidarity for the victims and sent a message that hatred will not be tolerated.

Even so, anti-Semitic incidents occurred in France weeks after the attacks, including the desecration of about 250 tombs at a Jewish cemetery in the eastern part of the country. Citing French authorities, the Jerusalem Post reported that anti-Semitic threats and incidents doubled in France over the last year.

De Blasio, who visited Paris soon after January’s terrorist attacks, reiterated that the city stands with France in opposition to terrorism and anti-Semitism.

“It’s our moment to say we don’t like this trend we see. We don’t find it acceptable,” the mayor said, as quoted in published reports. “As Rabbi Corsia said powerfully, there are no small crimes. No small affront to the Jewish community is acceptable because it will only lead to larger affronts and more dangerous ones.”

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