Tag Archives: Ridgewood

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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Pair wanted for slashing man’s throat in Ridgewood hate crime


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police released the video of two suspects wanted for slicing a 24-year-old man’s throat on a Ridgewood street early Thursday morning in an attack authorities are calling a bias crime.

The assault occurred at 2:20 a.m. in the vicinity of Seneca and Gates avenues.

According to law enforcement sources, the victim and a female acquaintance were walking through the area when a suspect — described as a Hispanic male between 25 and 30 years old and 5 feet 8 inches tall with a medium build  — ran up to the victim.

The male suspect allegedly said in Spanish, “I’m going to kill you white boy,” then slashed the man’s throat with an unidentified object.


The perpetrator and his companion — described as a Hispanic female between 25 and 30 years old and 5 feet 4 inches tall — then fled.

Officers from the 104th Precinct and EMS units responded to the scene. The victim was taken to a local hospital where he received numerous stitches.

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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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


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

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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


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

HandcuffsHC0511_L_300_C_Y-624x413

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


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.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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