Tag Archives: Ridgewood

New urgent care center opens in Ridgewood


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

A new urgent care facility has arrived in Ridgewood.

North Shore LIJ, partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to announce the grand opening of its new Ridgewood location. This facility, located at 55-05 Myrtle Ave., is the 13th GoHealth location to open since 2014, and the second in Queens.

The urgent care center is set up to treat non-life-threatening conditions, including early treatment for colds, flu and fever; sports-related injuries; allergies and asthma; and skin lacerations and other skin trauma. The doctors can also perform X-rays for joint and bone injuries as well as provide lab services for blood tests.

“This particular location, this corner, the adjacency to the train station is fantastic,” said Gary Weatherford, chief operating officer for the North Shore LIJ/GoHealth Urgent Care joint venture. “When we talk about improving access to healthcare, we’re very much community-oriented and in that sense what’s constant with that is our desire to provide the best patient experience possible.”

The facility itself is designed to be open and inviting, with an open-air feel to the waiting room and 50 percent larger patient rooms. The Ridgewood location is outfitted with four private exam rooms, large ADA-accessible bathrooms, a lab room, storage and stock rooms, and a friendly staff of physicians, physician assistants and radiology technicians.

Being partnered with North Shore LIJ gives GoHealth seamless integration with the hospital’s electronic medical records system. This allows GoHealth doctors to access patients’ medical records and utilize this information to better diagnose and treat patients on the spot.

“GoHealth is like the GPS for your healthcare,” said Dr. Robert Korn, medical director for GoHealth. “So essentially you come to us and we take care of your acute problem, but because we have this huge partner that’s on the other side of the table — the North Shore health system with 3,000 physicians, 15 acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, out-patient centers, rehab centers — we can now direct you, like a GPS, to the care you need.”

Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), welcomed GoHealth Urgent Care center to Ridgewood.

“On behalf of the Myrtle Avenue BID, we welcome GoHealth to Myrtle Avenue and the BID. We look forward to assisting them in any way,” Renz said. “This store has been vacant for some time and it is great to see a service facility that will bring people to our community on a daily basis.”

Dorie Figliola, community liaison for Assemblyman Mike Miller, was on hand and welcomed the urgent care facility to the neighborhood.

“This is a wonderful facility. I went for a little tour already, and on behalf of the assemblyman, I would like to welcome you into his district,” Figliola said.

The Ridgewood location is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

GoHealth will continue its expansion with a total of 50 sites slated to open over the next three years in the New York metropolitan area. The next Queens location will be coming to LeFrak City later this month.


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Ridgewood Ale House: A new place to hang out in the neighborhood


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Ridgewood’s largest retail district is now home to the area’s newest gastropub, the Ridgewood Ale House, located at 57-38 Myrtle Ave.

The two-level sports bar and restaurant has a large yet cozy loft-like interior complete with exposed brick, vintage industrial pendant lamps and chocolate leather booths.

“We saw the location and knew that Ridgewood needed a nice place for people to hang out,” said owner and Bushwick native Marcos Cordova. “Something different that wasn’t already there.”

With flat-screen televisions lining the dining room walls and bar, Ridgewood Ale House has become a top local destination for sporting events and viewing parties. Pub patrons can cozy up to the 35-foot wooden bar and enjoy one of Ridgewood Ale House’s 33 craft beer selections, including 12 taps featuring offerings from local Queens Brewery and Brooklyn Lager.

The ale house also boasts an impressive menu of specialty cocktails made with the best top-shelf liquor. Their signature drink, the Ale House Rocks, is a flavorful combination of Midori, peach schnapps, gin, rum, vodka, triple sec, sweet and sour mix with Blue Curacao and Red Bull ($12).

Diners can enjoy traditional pub offerings such as signature 8-ounce pure beef burgers ($7.45), New York strip steak ($24.95), chicken fingers ($6.95) and sliders ($10.95) in the light-filled upstairs dining room in cozy booths, each with its own flat-screen TV. One of the best-sellers at Ridgewood Ale House is their authentic wood fired pizza available in both 12-inch and 16-inch pies. Popular versions include the classic Margherita ($10-14), chicken bacon ranch ($13-17), Hawaiian ($13-17) and the prosciutto and balsamic ($14-18).

In addition to offering expertly prepared pub fare with a twist, Ridgewood Ale House also features musical performances by local bands, as well as a live DJ every Saturday night from 9 p.m. until close. They also host karaoke every Tuesday night, as well as Happy Hour featuring $5 beer, wine, pizza and cocktails from 5 to 7 p.m. daily. Early birds can stop by Ridgewood Ale House on Saturdays and Sundays for their $13.95 weekend brunch, which includes choice of breakfast entree, coffee, juice, Bloody Mary or mixed drink.

On Sept. 13, Ridgewood Ale House will participate in the Myrtle Avenue Street Festival. They will feature specials, as well as a band performing live on the street outside the pub.

The Ridgewood Ale House is open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. until 4 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

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PHOTOS: Ridgewood residents bid farewell to community garden under tracks


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

After a nearly two-month-long battle with the MTA to keep the garden gates open, local supporters and volunteers paid a final farewell to the Ridgewood Community Garden on Monday night with a barbecue and garden party.

The garden was created earlier in the year as a way to breathe life into the 2,250-square-foot tract of derelict land beneath the M train line at Woodward Avenue and Woodbine Street. Supporters of the garden worked to clear and renovate the land, remediate the soil and install milk crate planters and planting beds for vegetables, herbs and flowers. The garden recently yielded small crops of cherry tomatoes, dill, peppers and zucchini sprouts.

“From the beginning, the Ridgewood Community Garden was conceived as a simple experiment in neighborhood resilience,” explained Ridgewood Community Garden representative Clark Fitzgerald. “After living through the experience of Hurricane Sandy, and seeing what New Yorkers became capable of when they got organized together, my friends and I discovered and settled in this beautiful neighborhood, whose spirit and culture exemplify resilience and autonomy. Since moving to Ridgewood, never have I felt so at home in New York — and I grew up in the city.”

The group envisioned the garden as a community hub where Ridgewood residents could gather to enjoy the much-needed green space while also experiencing urban farming firsthand. Back in June, however, the MTA issued a vacate order to the garden and its volunteers, followed by padlocking the gates surrounding the land to prohibit garden access.

In the past two months, Community Board 5 and local elected officials such as Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan and City Councilman Antonio Reynoso have tried to intervene on behalf of the garden. Despite the groundswell of community support, several attempts to reach an amicable agreement with the MTA to keep the garden have failed.

“This summer we gathered here, as farmers, families, fitness enthusiasts, mycologists, doctors, teachers, carpenters, artists, friends and neighbors, and bore witness to what we are capable of when we put our minds to it,” Fitzgerald said. “We cleaned up a toxic waste dump, built raised beds, ran a compost hub, designed a rain catchment and irrigation system, remediated literally tons of polluted soil and turned a legendary eyesore into a gathering place and community sanctuary, only to have it taken from us for no reason.”

On Aug. 3, the MTA granted supporters access to the garden for one final farewell. Neighborhood volunteers, including local children and their parents, worked to rescue the bulk of the remediated soil from large troughs and planting beds. The children, unaware of the garden’s fate, continued to water the plants and flowers as the sound of the M train shuffled by overhead. Garden volunteers and supporters were treated to a special barbecue, complete with hotdogs, grilled vegetables and refreshments from Topos Bookstore, as well as cups of locally made IPA from Finback Brewery.

As for the possibility of finding a new location for the Ridgewood Community Garden, the group and its members remain optimistic.

“We are probably not going to pursue legal action, though it is well within our rights to do so,” Fitzgerald said. “We are going to keep moving forward. Despite tonight’s eviction, this vision of a resilient Ridgewood can and must be tended to, in newer, perhaps greener pastures, and for far longer than just one summer. As we celebrate tonight, let’s start thinking about our future together.”

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Volunteers still locked out of Ridgewood community garden


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Facebook/Ridgewood Community Garden

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Ridgewood Community Garden has been padlocked since late June, when the MTA first issued a vacate order prohibiting access to the land beneath the M train tracks between Woodbine Street and Woodward Avenue.

Despite the efforts of garden volunteers and community leaders such as City Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the MTA is standing by their decision to physically clear the land and destroy the garden on Aug. 3.

“A few days ago, [the MTA] took down their signs for us to evacuate, but they’re still being firm on Monday, Aug. 3, being the date when the whole lot is cleaned,” explained a garden volunteer. “This week we hope to reach out to Reynoso and Nolan again to see if they can help mediate with the MTA so we can maintain access to the lot.”

But all is not lost, according to garden volunteers. The group hopes to continue to raise awareness of the lack of green space within the neighborhood, while struggling to cultivate an outdoor hub for the community and local agriculture.

“No matter what the outcome, I think we need to foster as much community engagement as possible,” garden volunteer Leah Blair said. “It isn’t about the physical space, but what it represents.”

The garden volunteers raised the idea of distributing free “seed bombs” (packets) to the community to help encourage independent interest in urban gardening.

“The seed bomb can carry the greening of our urban landscape beyond the fenced oasis,” Blair said.

Garden volunteers ask that members of the community gather at the site on Aug. 3 in a show of support.

For updates and more information, visit the Ridgewood Community Garden’s Facebook page.

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Ray Liotta to be in Middle Village for new NBC show ‘Shades of Blue’ shoot


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Google maps/Wikimedia Commons/gdcgraphics

The stars just keep coming to Queens.

Ray Liotta, best known for his role as the mobster Henry Hill in “Goodfellas,” will be in Middle Village tomorrow for a shoot for the new NBC crime drama “Shades of Blue.”

The shoot takes place on Wednesday at Tropical Restaurant, located at 62-27 Fresh Pond Rd. where the restaurant owner, Sandra Gonzalez, confirmed that Liotta will be on set.

Liotta plays opposite Jennifer Lopez in the NBC show. Lopez plays a New York detective and single mother named Harlee Santos, who got involved with a group of dirty cops. She begins taking bribes and protection money that she uses to provide for her daughter. Lopez’s character finds herself trapped by the FBI and is forced to inform on her partners.

There’s no word yet on whether J-Lo will be on the set in Middle Village tomorrow.

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Local group fights to preserve Ridgewood garden


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of Clark Fitzgerald/Ridgewood Community Garden

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

When a small group of local organizers first saw a dormant stretch of land beneath the M train line between Woodbine Street and Woodward Avenue, they envisioned a community space brimming with agriculture, urban farming and educational programs.

Now, facing eviction from MTA New York City Transit, the group is rallying support and petitioning the MTA in an effort to preserve what organizers call Ridgewood’s first community garden.

“Ridgewood’s powerful spirit of resilience and neighborhood autonomy within New York inspired us to start the community garden,” the group’s media representative Clark Fitzgerald said. “Yet despite the strength of its community ties, Ridgewood…distinctly lacks green space for neighbors to gather and share their lives.”

The Ridgewood Community Garden group is a self-described mix of “young but seasoned farmers, urban ecologists, social media promoters and community organizers” working together to create much-needed green space within Ridgewood’s urban landscape.

“This space in particular was the obvious choice: 2,250 square feet of land in the heart of the neighborhood, discarded for decades, no more than a local dumping ground and cesspool, but full of potential if we put in the work, and capable of bringing the block together if we did it right,” Fitzgerald said. “We surveyed the site, tested the soil, and found it ideal for our experiment in urban rehabilitation in the neighborhood we love.”

According to Fitzgerald, the group’s organizers assumed stewardship over the land after first seeking out the land’s owners.

“Initially the MTA could not tell us whether or not they owned the property,” he explained. “When we found a hole cut in the fence, we decided to install a gate to steward access to the plot and were met with vast enthusiasm from everyone who came by, including many MTA agents from the M stations and bus terminal. With their implicit support, we moved forward on cleaning and revitalizing the land.”

The group was recently awarded a $3,000 grant from Citizens Committee of New York City. In its 2014 grant application, the group expressed its goals for creating a “thriving complex ecosystem of edible plants, medicinal herbs, bees, hens and people like us” that would “become a center of Ridgewood social life and collective work for whoever wishes to jump in and get their hands dirty.”

Fitzgerald also credits strategic assistance from 596 Acres, a group that helps communities remediate abandoned lots, as well as huge political backing from Community Board 5Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, with the garden’s initial success.

According to Fitzgerald, the garden’s problems began back in June.

“An absentee landlord was reported for illegally dumping tons of waste in the lot from an apartment renovation, and reported the garden [in the same condition], for reasons malicious and unknown,” Fitzgerald said. “That week, MTA representatives came by to take pictures and confirmed everything was fine to stay, until the next morning, when we found our locks changed and signs posted that we were illegally occupying the area. We now found ourselves unable to water our many plants, and unclear as to how to proceed to secure this vital resource for our community.”

In a statement, MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said the MTA issued the vacate order due to concerns over security.

“We asked the owner of the property adjacent to the lot (Woodward Avenue Commons) to clean up the lot and remove a dumpster that was placed on the lot by one of his tenants (a restaurant),” Ortiz said. “The lot has since been cleaned. The Ridgewood Community Garden group never received permission to enter or use the lot and they are essentially trespassing.  We’ve asked them to vacate the lot no later than Aug. 3. We cannot have anyone occupy the lot under our structure as it is deemed a security risk. ”

In an effort to preserve the Ridgewood Community Garden, the group created a petition on change.org calling for the MTA to reach an agreement with the group allowing access to the land and plants, as well as guaranteeing custodianship through a garden license agreement.

“The garden’s necessity for us as a community is crystal clear, and I ask everyone who lives here and believes in Ridgewood’s future to do everything they can to preserve what we have managed to do at Ridgewood Community Garden,” Fitzgerald said.

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104th Precinct closes down two rowdy Ridgewood hot spots


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@NYPD104Pct

Excessive noise, drug use and even episodes of violence led police to shut down two Ridgewood bars earlier this week.

In executing court orders, the 104th Precinct padlocked the Arena Billiards Cafe located at 341 St. Nicholas Ave. and Sabor Y Rumba located at 666 Seneca Ave. for various infractions. The precinct announced the shutdowns on its Twitter account on Monday.

According to sources, the closures were the result of investigations launched through complaints from local residents. Police found that Sabor Y Rumba allegedly sold alcohol illegally to underage patrons and continued to sell booze to overly intoxicated patrons. The establishment also had a history of noise complaints.

The allegations at Arena Billiards were more serious, police sources noted, as the club served as an incubator of criminal activity that eventually spilled onto the streets, such as assaults, robberies, and drug use and possession.

In March, a 21-year-old man was shot to death on Palmetto Street, a few steps away from the Arena Billiards entrance.

The owners of both establishments were ordered to appear in civil court to answer to the various charges against them. They must pay any civil penalties incurred before reopening the establishments, according to police.

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Public comment period open for cleanup of Ridgewood site


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy New York City Office of Environmental Remediation

The latest site in an industrially zoned area of northern Ridgewood slated for redevelopment requires a serious cleanup, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

A recent report found that there were several semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and metals above cleanup guidelines at the site, located at 175 Woodward Ave., which had been used for storage of wooden pallets and shipping containers. Two mixed-use buildings, with ground-floor commercial space and apartments above it, are slated to rise on the site.

Soil vapor samples taken from the location revealed chlorinated solvents above the monitoring/mitigation level ranges established by the state Department of Health.

Now that the extent of the contamination has been assessed, the DEC is drafting a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAWP) to propose remedial actions to clean the site for redevelopment.

The RAWP proposes two cleanup options for the site: an unrestricted use soil cleanup plan, which would remove an estimated 850 tons of soil/fill from the site and properly dispose of it off-site; or the construction of a depressurization system underneath the building.

The unrestricted use option would, for development purposes, require that 75 percent of the property be excavated to depths of 11 feet below grade, while the remaining 25 percent will be excavated to 4 feet below grade. In addition, a hotspot area identified within 4 feet of the excavation site will be further delineated and excavated to depths of 14 feet below grade.

If the unrestricted use proposal is not selected, the DEC will move forward with plan B, which includes the installation of an active sub-slab depressurization system and a soil vapor barrier/waterproofing system below the concrete slab, as well as behind foundation walls of the proposed building. The plan also calls for the construction and maintenance of an engineered composite cover consisting of 6 feet of concrete slab below the footprint of the new building, and a concrete cap for the rear yard portion.

Before any form of cleanup takes place, the Office of Environmental Remediation (OER) is accepting public comments on the draft RAWP.

Residents can submit comments to Amanda Duchesne, project manager for OER, at 100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10038, by phone at 212-341-2077 or by email at ADuchesne@dep.nyc.gov; and Shaminder Chawla, deputy director for OER at the same mailing address, by phone at 212-442-3007 and by email at SChawla@dep.nyc.gov.

The OER is accepting public comments on the draft RAWP for until Aug. 15.

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Celebrate the premiere of ‘Sharknado 3′ in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Syfy

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Batten down the hatches and grab some bites at one of several Queens locations holding special screenings of “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” tonight.

The third installment in the tongue-in-cheek, B-movie franchise, premiering at 9 p.m. Wednesday on the Syfy channel, finds the entire Eastern Seaboard battered by killer sharks propelled onto land by another epic storm. It’s up to the aptly named chainsaw-wielding hero Fin Shepard, played by Ian Ziering of “Beverly Hills, 90210″ fame, and his wife April, played by actress Tara Reid, to do battle with the sharks and save the East Coast.

The franchise is known for its numerous celebrity cameos, with David Hasselhoff and Bo Derek appearing in this sequel as Fin’s parents. Local celebrity appearances include Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, along with the cast of the “Today Show.” Former Queens Congressman and 2013 mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner also appears as the movie’s National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration director.

The kitschy “Sharknado” trilogy has become an annual event, with many throwing shark-themed viewing parties to both celebrate and jeer at the over-the-top events and deliberately bad dialogue the movies have to offer. Here are a few ways to prepare for “Sharknado 3” in Queens.

Arepas Café and Grill
33-07 36th Ave., Astoria
718-937-3835

Shark is on the menu at this Astoria eatery in the form of savory Venezuelan arepas. The cazon arepa ($6.50) features shredded baby school shark, a form of white fish, served inside a gluten-free corn flatbread with onions, tomato, cilantro and peppers. The Pabellon Margariteno ($13) includes shredded baby school shark with white rice and black beans topped with grated white cheese and fried sweet plantains.

Sek’end Sun
32-11 Broadway, Astoria
917-832-6414

While the fate of many of Sharknado’s protagonists may hang in the balance, rejoice in being on dry land as you sip on Sek’end Sun’s cocktail ship of fools [on a cruel sea] ($10), a dark mix of strawberry-infused bourbon, balsamic vinegar, vanilla and lemon bitters.

Okeanos Greek Seafood Restaurant
35-02 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria
718-777-8844

For shark served with Mediterranean flare, Okeanos also features grilled or pan-seared baby shark ($13.50) with a side of garlic potato dip. Pair it with the taramosalata caviar spread ($5) or octopus with onions, peppers and capers ($15.95) for a luxurious taste of the sea.

The Astor Room
34-12 36th St., Astoria
718-255-1947

Fans of Sharknado’s gory action scenes may want to kick off their evenings at this Kaufman Astoria Studio’s cocktail bar and try the aptly named Blood and Sand ($12) which blends Buffalo Trace bourbon and Cherry Heering with Cocchi vermouth and freshly squeezed orange juice. Movie fans will marvel at The Astor Room’s cinematic history, as it once served as a commissary for Hollywood legends like Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson and W.C. Fields while they filmed at the studios.

5 Burro Cafe
72-05 Austin St., Forest Hills
718-544-2984

Head over to Forest Hills and sip on this iconic eatery’s signature cocktail, The Shark Attack ($10), a potent blend of vodka, Blue Curacao, grenadine, 7-Up and lemon/lime. As a bonus, this specialty cocktail is often served with a small toy shark, usually bearing the grenadine.

Forest Hills Station House
106-11 71st Ave., Forest Hills
718-544-5000

As the Sharknado approaches, take cover inside this quaint pub located on the outskirts of Forest Hills Gardens and try the Dark and Stormy ($10), a spicy mix of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, ginger beer and lime.

Cozy Corner Tavern
60-01 70th Ave., Ridgewood
718-381-8397

This Ridgewood bar is hosting a special viewing party for the premiere of “Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!” The festivities begin at 7 p.m., when the bar will air last year’s “Sharknado 2: The Other One,” which was set in Queens and Manhattan. Then, stay tuned for the main event when “Sharknado 3” airs on every TV in the bar at 9 p.m. Cozy Corner also will be serving up Sharknado-inspired drinks, and shark-themed costumes and attire are encouraged.

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Road work leads to water service shutdown on Ridgewood blocks


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Homeowners on six Ridgewood blocks will temporarily lose their water service on Tuesday, July 21, as work crews replace fire hydrants in the area.

According to the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the shutdown is scheduled to take place, weather permitting, beginning at about 8 a.m. Tuesday and will last for up to eight hours; service may be restored earlier in the day if the work is completed early.

The affected blocks include Onderdonk Avenue between Putnam and 70th avenues; and 69th and 70th avenues between Onderdonk and Forest avenues.

The fire hydrant replacement is part of the Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Phase 1 project centering around traffic safety measures in the area of St. Matthias School, which is located at the corner of Woodward and Catalpa avenues.

The DDC advises homeowners on the affected blocks to shut off their water main valve prior to the scheduled service disruption. This measure will help avoid problems should sediment be released from a home’s plumbing.

All water-cooled appliances, such as air conditioners, should also be shut off for the duration of the disruption.

Once water service is restored, homeowners should turn the main water valve on, then run all faucets, sinks and tubs for a few minutes to flush out the system and release any sediment buildup.

Anyone with questions regarding the project is asked to call Bita Mousavi, the DDC’s community construction liaison, at 718-479-4404; visit the DDC’s website; or call 311 (mention Project No. HWCSCH3-ER).

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Ridgewood library brought thousands of visitors to June events


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan's office

Ridgewood’s local library is the place to be this summer.

The Ridgewood library attracted over 5,400 visitors with its regular and special programs last month. In addition, the Ridgewood branch is fourth in the library system in the number of programs offered and the number of people who visit the library, according to Joanne King, the director of communications for the Queens Library.

Three events in June helped catapult the Ridgewood branch to these strong numbers.

The first was Fun Day at the Library, which took place on June 20. Volunteers from the Friends of the Ridgewood Library (FORL) and students from Christ the King High School in Middle Village helped set up 39 tables for the flea market-style event.

Fun Day at the Library was an important factor in the future funding of the library. The money raised will help bolster the library’s collections and programs.

“We were so grateful to the hundreds of people who bought items and those who donated items and those who helped us sell the items,” said Thomas Dowd, president of FORL. “We raised about $1,200. That money will help us improve the library.”

The event brought out 27 vendors, local civic organizations, members of the fire department and face painters for the children. Another part of Fun Day at the Library was a telecast from Lincoln Center. This kind of telecast for world-class performers comes to only two libraries in Queens, Ridgewood being one of them.

“Because of our donations to the collection and the active pursuit of programming opportunities by our librarian, Vesna Simon, the Ridgewood branch is considered a principal library in the Queens System,” Dowd said.

Another well-attended Ridgewood library event was the “Invest in Libraries” rally held by Councilman Antonio Reynoso. The rally was in support of adding additional funds to the mayor’s executive budget for the three library systems in New York City.

Representatives of elected officials at all levels of government joined members of the Queens Library staff to promote the importance of library programs for informal education, early childhood development and English as a second language classes.

The June library participation numbers were also enhanced by the Ridgewood branch’s participation in I.S. 93’s 100th birthday celebration.

Located directly across the street from the library, the intermediate school is a chief beneficiary of the library. The relationship between the library and the school has become so close that the principal and two assistant principals often visit the library after school to help kids and to channel the enthusiasm of the young teens.

Volunteers from the FORL watched as kids and parents participated in events like “dunk the principal” during the celebration. Free library gifts were also given out and parents were encouraged to join the FORL group.

The FORL thinks that the Ridgewood branch can become an even more integral part of the cultural life of the community going forward. The library has just undergone a renovation of the 100-seat performance space, and a balcony and the children’s room was built.

In addition, FORL will launch a new initiative to read in the public parks. They will start on July 20 at 11 a.m. at Grover Cleveland Park.

“We now have many more laptops and tablet PCs for use. All the computers have been moved to the balcony to give more seating space,” Dowd said. “Our outdoor performance and exhibit space is underutilized for lack of security. Right now the budget does not allow the meeting room to stay open after the library closes.”

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Participatory budgeting coming to Councilwoman Crowley’s district


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is the latest city lawmaker to hop on the participatory budgeting bandwagon.

Crowley announced on Tuesday that residents in the 30th City Council District — which includes all or parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside — will get to decide how to spend $1 million in city funds on community improvement projects.

She is the 11th member of the City Council’s Queens delegation to host participatory budgeting. During the 2015 fiscal year, City Council members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, Karen Koslowitz, I. Daneek Miller, Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Eric Ulrich, Paul Vallone and Jimmy Van Bramer — along with former City Councilman Mark Weprin — pledged to fund $12,871,000 in projects through the process.

“This year, I am able to bring participatory budgeting to my constituents and give them insight into the often lengthy and sometimes very expensive city budgeting process,” Crowley said in a statement. “This will provide a forum for active engagement between residents and myself to decide on capital projects, and calls for the participation of every community member.”

Through participatory budgeting, local residents brainstorm and then vote on a number of proposed capital budget projects for their community, such as street tree planting, park improvements, school technology upgrades, security cameras and street resurfacing.

The first round of community meetings focused on the process will be held in September, with voting taking place in February 2016. For additional information, call Crowley’s Glendale office at 718-366-3900.

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Cops seek suspect in Ridgewood bus stop robbery


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD released video footage Friday night of a man wanted in connection with a recent robbery at a Ridgewood bus stop.

According to authorities, the incident occurred at 3:20 a.m. on June 17 at the bus stop located on Metropolitan Avenue near Woodward Avenue.

Reportedly, a 59-year-old man was standing at the location when he was approached by the suspect, a black male, and two white male cohorts. Police said the black male demanded the victim’s property, and the two white males grabbed the man from behind and threw him to the ground.

Authorities said the three perpetrators searched the victim and removed cash along with his wallet, which contained credit cards, then fled from the scene.

Officers from the 104th Precinct responded to the incident; the victim refused medical attention.

Through their investigation, detectives learned that the black male later used the victim’s credit cards at locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The video shows him making one of the illegal purchases.

Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

 

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104COP thanks Frank Kotnik for 25 years of service


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

For 25 years Frank Kotnik has served the communities of Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Ridgewood as a member of the 104 Civilian Observation Patrol (104COP), formerly known as G-COP (Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol).

During those two and a half decades, Kotnik devoted his time and energy to making those communities as safe as he could by organizing patrols, coordinating parades and lending help during times of need, such as after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy.

At Thursday night’s 104COP meeting at Christ the King High School in Middle Village, family, friends, colleagues and local politicians surprised Kotnik to celebrate his 25 years of service as he stepped down as president of 104COP.

As his final act as president, Kotnik handed over the gavel to Mark Pearson, the new president of 104COP. Although Kotnik stepped down as president, he will remain an active member of the board.

After the installation of all the newly elected officers of 104COP, the guests began showering Kotnik with thanks and gifts.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo presented Kotnik with a proclamation from the New York Senate, thanking him for his years of dedication to the communities that 104COP serves and for lending help to other communities in need.

“I will forever be grateful to 104COP, and to Frank, because a third of my district was severely impacted by Sandy,” Addabbo said. “And Frank led the charge down there for many of you members to help my people after Sandy. And I don’t mean a month after Sandy, but days, hours after Sandy, Frank was helping my constituents, who are still hurting. So for that I will forever grateful to Frank, so thank you.”

Kotnik was honored by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Councilman Antonio Reynoso with a proclamation, thanking him for his service.

“When I think of G-COP, I think of Frank,” Crowley said. “He’s always been president and the leader, and there is no other organization in the city of New York like G-COP.”

“As the newest member of this elite team here, let me tell you, I just wanted to say, Frank, I think I graduated preschool when you started at G-COP,” Reynoso said, to which the crowd erupted with laughter. “That speaks less of my age and more of his commitment to the mission of G-COP. A lot of people do things in short [stints], but he made a commitment to this community for much longer than that…and I truly want to thank you.”

Commanding Officer of the 104th Precinct, Captain Mark Wachter, personally thanked Kotnik for helping to keep the communities he has lived in since he was a child safe for so many years.

“Frank watched out for this community when I was very young,” Wachter said. “Because of Frank and the members of G-COP, this community is still safe. So on that personal level Frank, I thank you.”

Wacther then presented Kotnik with a plaque from the NYPD, thanking him for his years of service.

Among the others that honored Kotnik throughout the evening were representatives from Borough President Melinda Katz’s office, Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, representatives from the 104th Precinct Community Council, and the members of 104COP.

Kotnik thanked everyone for their love and support, now and over the years.

“Thank you, thank you for the support,” Kotnik said. “One thing that was forgotten, I know everyone is saying it was me, but it was ‘we.’ This patrol is always, as far as I’m concerned, is ‘we.’ We were going to do this together…All I can say to everybody, thank you for coming, God bless you all.”

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CB 5 sounds off on waste-by-rail company’s permits


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Anthony Giudice

After learning of the extended time frame for public comments regarding two waste-by-rail permits, members of Community Board 5 (CB 5) collectively voted against them during its meeting Wednesday night at Christ the King High School in Middle Village.

The board unanimously recommended denying the renewal of permits for One World Recycling Inc. and Coastal Distribution, which operate through the Fresh Pond Rail Yard that runs through parts of Middle Village, Glendale and Ridgewood, until certain stipulations are met.

One World Recycling submitted a permit renewal and modification application to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), requesting to increase their daily throughput from 370 tons to a total of 1,100 tons.

The permit submitted by Coastal Distribution requests to expand the type of waste it transports to include commercial and residential waste.

“The big problem we have is that somehow the idea of mixing commercial solid waste and construction and demolition debris…we disagree with that,” said Vincent Arcuri, chair of CB 5. “We also had a concern over the years, and continue to be concerned about the lack of solid covers on the construction and demolition rail cars.”

The current method for sealing construction and demolition debris in rail cars is by using a mesh lining to cover the rail car. The mesh leaves the waste vulnerable to rain and pests, as well as subjecting residents of the communities the rail cars pass through to dust, odors and vectors.

“We had success with the Department of Sanitation and them getting Waste Management to put the, what I would call, the putrescible or municipal solid waste in sealed containers,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of CB 5. “But the construction and demolition debris continues to move back and forth in our neighborhoods.”

Another issue raised by Arcuri about waste-by-rail operations is the lack of control of pollution from the rail cars traveling through the communities in CB 5.

“We’ve been working with the FRA (Federal Railroad Administration), the state and the CURES (Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions) group to basically upgrade all of the engines in the Long Island Rail Road’s transportation department,” Arcuri said.

The official stance of CB 5 is that “putrescible solid waste garbage should be transported separately in sealed containers as Waste Management currently does in its agreement to transport city garbage in sealed, odorless containers,” Arcuri said.

“Construction and demolition debris should also be loaded and transported in sealed, odorless containers that will totally prevent dust and odors from escaping,” he continued. “There should not be a renewal of, or granting of any permits to these two companies unless the above mentioned items are accomplished. And these companies should certainly not be permitted to expand their operations until these stipulations are included in their permits by New York State DEC.”

The board’s next step is to send their recommendation to NYSDEC before Aug. 9, the deadline for the public comment period.

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