Tag Archives: Ridgewood

More than 4,200 new full-day pre-K seats added to schools: mayor


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@NYCMayorsOffice

The city will be adding 4,268 new full-day pre-kindergarten seats to its public schools by September now that funding has been secured through this year’s state budget, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday.

De Blasio made the announcement at Ridgewood ‘s P.S. 239, which this fall will be changing half-day pre-kindergarten seats into full-day ones, for a total of 36 spots.

“Today, we are more than 4,000 seats closer to ensuring that every 4-year-old has access to high quality full-day pre-K,” he said. “For months, we have been planning every facet of these programs to ensure we were ready to launch the moment funding was secured. Today, the rubber hits the road, and families will have more options for their children.”

The additional spots will bring the total number of full-day pre-kindergarten seats in public schools to 20,387 by the fall—the most in city history, according to the mayor.

De Blasio’s plan aims to make universal pre-kindergarten available to 53,604 children by September 2014 and 73,250 by the 2015-16 school year.

To be eligible to apply, children must be born in 2010 and live in New York City. The application deadline is April 23, and the Department of Education will notify families about placements in June. Families will also have an opportunity to apply for spots at community-based organizations later this spring.

Parents can apply and find out more information here or by visiting a borough enrollment office.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Friday: Cloudy with light rain developing this afternoon. High 58. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Friday night: Cloudy skies early, followed by partial clearing. Low 43. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: An Evening with Groucho

Award-winning actor Frank Ferrante recreates his highly acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx at Queens Theatre. The two-act comedy consists of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs, such as “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady.” March 29 shows at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., March 30 show at 3 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Two fatally shot inside Ridgewood home

A man and a woman were shot to death inside a Ridgewood home Thursday night, police said. Read more: The Queens Courier

MTA bus crashes into dump truck

An MTA bus driver rear-ended a dump truck on the 59th Street Ed Koch Bridge Thursday, tying up traffic during rush hour, authorities said. Read more: New York Post

Longer 911 response times bring dismay to pols at City Council

City ambulances are taking nine and a half minutes to get to the scene of life-threatening emergencies, new data show. Read more: New York Daily News

Sources: State lawmakers reach deal with demands on city for charter schools

The battle between Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo over charter schools has led to a tentative deal on a reform package from state lawmakers, sources told CBS 2 News. Read more: CBS New York

Poll: More Catholics say church is in touch since Pope Francis

Catholics appear to be feeling more of a connection to the church since the beginning of Pope Francis’ papacy, according to a new CBS News poll. Read more: CBS New York

Two fatally shot inside Ridgewood home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 10:11 a.m.

A man and a woman were shot to death inside a Ridgewood home Thursday night, police said.

Officers found the victims at the Summerfield Street residence about 6:45 p.m., according to officials.

Natalie Mejia-Tavares, 21, suffered from a gunshot wound to the torso and an unidentified 22-year-old man was shot once in the head, cops said. Both were pronounced dead at the scene.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

If anyone has information relating to this crime please contact the 104th Precinct Detective Squad at 718-386-3004 or to report information anonymously call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

 

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Ridgewood residents divided over planned luxury apartment building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Aufgang Architects

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Some Ridgewood residents are opposing a planned upscale building with a rooftop dog run, because it may be limited to renters of a certain pedigree.

Developers appeared at a public hearing at the Community Board 5 meeting on March 12 to introduce their proposed zoning change of the planned building’s site, 176 Woodward Avenue. But the meeting became feisty.

Residents who oppose the upscale building fear that it will gentrify of the neighborhood.

“What are we going to get that comes with this to make sure that our neighborhood could handle this and that it’s not a complete rift from the incomes that are in that neighborhood, so that when this wonderful looking project shows up all the folks that can’t afford wonderful looking projects in New York City don’t get kicked out,” Manny Jalonschi, a lifelong Ridgewood resident, asked.

The structure planned is a 90,000-square-foot building with 88 housing units, commercial retail space on the ground floor and 118 spots of underground parking. Owners are seeking a zoning change from manufacturing to residential. The building, which is being designed by Aufgang Architects, is estimated for $18 million.

More than 6,700-square-feet of the building will be dedicated to retail space on the ground floor, and a 3,115-square-foot community facility will be built to accommodate artists in Ridgewood and nearby Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Preliminary room renting prices are $1,100- $1,200 for a studio, $1,400- $1,600 for a one-bedroom and $1,700- $1,800 for a two-bedroom apartment, according to the developer, who also said these estimates could change.

Some Ridgewood residents at the meeting voiced support, citing that the community has already changed.

“I support the zoning law, because it’s going to have a good impact on the community,” Ridgewood resident Joe Pergolese said. “People are trying to come into the community, so what we need is a building to happen there.”

The community board’s Land-Use Committee plans to meet and discuss the feedback of the project at the next meeting on April 7, before making a decision to support or oppose the rezoning. Councilmember Antonio Reynoso is also collecting feedback about the issue before voicing his support for either side.

 

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Cops arrest Ridgewood and Middle Village graffiti vandals


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

The next thing these vandals could be drawing is punishment.

Police arrested Joseph Guilfoyle, 43, of Ridgewood, and David Negron, 20, of Middle Village, for graffiti in numerous areas of Queens.

Guilfoyle was charged on Tuesday with eight complaints of graffiti in multiple precincts. He was wanted for vandalizing roadways, such as the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway.

Negron was charged on Saturday with 21 individual acts of graffiti. He tagged just about anything he could find, according to police, including store fronts of local businesses, ATM machines, mailboxes, doors, emergency call boxes and payphones, mostly in Maspeth and Ridgewood.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Considerable cloudiness. High 58. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: Cloudy. Low 41. Winds ENE at 5 to 10 mph.

Cops arrest Brooklyn man in connection with string of Ridgewood knifepoint robberies

Ridgewood can rest a little bit easier now, but cops are still telling residents to be aware. Read more: The Queens Courier

Common Core panel says limit time teaching to test

A panel created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to look into New York’s rollout of the controversial Common Core curriculum is recommending capping the amount of instructional time that can be used for standardized tests and test prep. Read more: NBC New York

Unions beg Mayor de Blasio to keep horse carriages

Leaders of the city’s most powerful unions — including many of Mayor de Blasio’s staunchest allies — are balking at his plans to banish horse carriages from city streets. Read more: New York Daily News

Housing becoming more expensive for NYers: comptroller

Housing is becoming unaffordable for millions of New Yorkers amid declining incomes and increasing costs for rent and home ownership, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said Monday. Read more: New York Post 

New ad campaign urges a ban on calling girls ‘bossy’

What goes through your mind when you hear the word “bossy?” Read more: CBS New York

Cops arrest Brooklyn man in connection with string of Ridgewood knifepoint robberies


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy NYPD

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Ridgewood can rest a little bit easier now, but cops are still telling residents to be aware.

Police arrested a Brooklyn resident on Monday afternoon in connection with four robberies in the neighborhood last month.

Bryant Aguilar was charged with four separate counts of robbery, for incidents that occurred during the final two weeks of February, police said.

There have been at least seven knifepoint robberies in Ridgewood from Jan. 22 through Feb.24.

Cops originally said the knifepoint robbery suspects were committing the crimes as a duo, and are still investigating a two-man knifepoint team that is connected to three incidents in which Aguilar was not involved.

The duo targeted mostly women between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight, and the perpetrators followed their victims down the street, authorities said.

No one involved in these knifepoint robberies has been reported injured.

Anyone with information is asked to call the 104th Precinct at 718-386-3004.

 

Here are the locations and dates of the knifepoint robberies:

  • 59-12 68th Ave. on 1/22/14 –Ridgewood
  • 60th Lane and 75th Avenue on 2/17/14- Ridgewood
  • 60 Place and Putnam Avenue on 2/21/14- Ridgewood
  • 59-50 Decatur St.on 2/23/14- Ridgewood
  • 1708 Summerfield St. on 2/24/14
  • Cypress Avenue and Summerfield Street on 2/24/14
  • Grove Street and Forest Avenue on 2/24/14



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Van backing out of Ridgewood driveway fatally hits pedestrian


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man was killed in Ridgewood Thursday night when a van struck him as it was pulling out of a driveway, police said.

The 25-year-old driver hit the man on 60th Lane near 75th Avenue about 10:45 p.m., according to the NYPD. The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was in the roadway at the time of the accident, cops said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

 

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92-year-old woman killed in Ridgewood fire


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

An elderly woman is dead after a fire at her Ridgewood home Monday morning, police said.

The blaze broke out around 10:30 a.m. at a residence on Himrod Street near Onderdonk Avenue, according to authorities.

After the fire was put out, responding officers found 92-year-old Maria Tchinkel inside, unresponsive and unconscious, police said.

Tchinkel was taken to Wyckoff Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The medical examiner will determine the cause of the death and the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the NYPD said.

 

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Police: Duo commits string of knifepoint robberies in Ridgewood


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Follow me  @liamlaguerre

 

Cops are warning residents of a dangerous duo lurking in Ridgewood.

The pair has robbed at least seven victims at knifepoint in the neighborhood within the last month, authorities said.

The suspects are two males, one 5’4 and the other about 6’0, armed with what has been described as “kitchen knives,” police said. They are either white or Hispanic.

The men have targeted mostly women between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight, and follow their victims down the street, cops said.

None of the victims reported any injures from the robberies. Police are still investigating the crimes.

Below  is a list of locations and dates of the knifepoint robberies reported in the 104th Precinct:

  • 59-12 68th Ave. on 1/22/14 
  • 60th Lane and 75 Avenue  on 2/17/14  
  • 60th Place and Putnam Avenue on 2/21/14 
  • 59-50 Decatur St. on 2/23/14 
  • 1708 Summerfield St. on 2/24/14 
  • Cypress Avenue and Summerfield Street on 2/24/14
  • Grove Street and Forest Avenue on 2/24/14

Anyone with information regarding these incidents should contact the 104th Precinct at 718386-3004.

 

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Industrial Business Zones in danger of losing funding


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Ted Renz is hoping what he fought so hard for won’t soon end.

Just last November, Renz, director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation, was at the forefront of the fight to get the neighborhood included in the Industrial Business Zone (IBZ) program.

But only three months later, the IBZ may be in jeopardy, as Mayor Bill de Blasio didn’t include $1.1 million in funding in his preliminary budget for the program, an initiative left over from the previous administration to save manufacturing jobs.

“We are disappointed that it wasn’t in the mayor’s budget,” Renz said. “We thought that he was a big supporter of manufacturing jobs. We hope that it will be reinstated (in his final budget).”

IBZs were created to stabilize industrial areas and spur growth in the manufacturing sector by offering tax credits of up to $1,000 per employee for businesses that relocated to them, and additional services to help companies grow.

Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allocated nearly $4 million to 16 IBZs in 2006.

However, since its inception, funding decreased to about $1.1 million in 2013. Bloomberg himself hasn’t allocated money to the initiative since 2010, but the City Council has restored it every year, according to the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The move could mean de Blasio, who supported manufacturing jobs during his campaign, will engage a different strategy to assist the sector, although his administration has not come up with any specifics.

“The de Blasio administration is committed to making smart, impactful investments that will help industrial business thrive in New York City, and is working with our agency partners to take a fresh look at the suite of programs that support this critical part of the city economy,” a spokesperson for the mayor said. “Spending differences in one program do not speak to the overall commitment to industrial firms and their jobs.”

Despite the decline in funding over the years, the program has grown to 21 IBZs, including Ridgewood and Woodside last year.

Community Board (CB) 5 especially pushed for the Ridgewood IBZ against opponents, which are owners who wanted to use their properties for residential use instead of industrial.

“It enables us to promote businesses more in that area and advocate for businesses, and provide programs for manufacturing,” said Renz, who is a member of CB 5.

In March, the city council will review the preliminary budget, and some are touting the IBZ’s signficance. “I am committed to restore it,” Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley said. “I know it is important not just to Maspeth and Ridgewood, but the rest of the city. It is something that the council treasures.”

 

 

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Upscale residential building coming to Ridgewood


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Aufgang Architects

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A new upscale residential building with various amenities, including a rooftop dog run, is coming to Ridgewood soon.

Aufgang Architects is designing the estimated $18 million, 90,000 square foot building at 176 Woodward Ave. The structure will have 88 housing units and commercial retail space on the ground floor.

Once completed, the building will offer residents onsite parking, a laundry room in each apartment, multipurpose rooms, an exercise room, a rooftop terrace with a dog run, a pet washing room and “luxuriously appointed lobbies and common areas.”

A spokesperson for Aufgang Architects said the project should be completed by the end of this year.

 

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Stalled Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village transportation projects suffer more setbacks


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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Ridgewood residents were hopeful that reconstruction of the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge would finally start this spring, but it’s been delayed again.

The path, which is elevated over LIRR tracks where Metropolitan Avenue intersects Fresh Pond Road, carries major truck traffic and is long overdue for repairs. In 2007, city officials informed Community Board (CB) 5 it was in danger of collapse.

Financial troubles delayed its original reconstruction start date back in 2009, and at a recent CB 5 Transportation Committee meeting, it was said that it’s been pushed back yet again, because the project has to undergo review and redesign.

The bridge is just one of a few major transportation projects, together worth about $115 million, in CB 5 that just keep getting delayed. The Metropolitan Avenue Bridge alone could be a $25 million project, CB 5 District Manager Gary Giordano said.

“You are talking about a lot of money for one district,” Giordano said. “We keep bringing them up at our transportation meeting because we believe that they need to be done and want don’t want to forget about them.”

Developers are now considering building an abutment, eliminating one track under the bridge, to help the building process.

There is also the Grand Street Bridge project, which connects Maspeth to Brooklyn over Newtown Creek.

The 111-year-old bridge is so narrow that it can’t support two-way traffic, although it is a two-way span, with all the big rigs and city buses that traverse it. The new bridge would cost about $50 million.

The plan for a new bridge was ready to go when Sandy struck in 2012 and flooded the area. Now plans are being redesigned to meet new flood regulations.

Besides the bridges, major street rebuilding plans have also been set back.

The Wyckoff Avenue Reconstruction Project, estimated to cost about $20 million, was supposed to start during the summer of 2010, but has been pushed back to 2026, according to the city Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The project would give Wyckoff Avenue new sewer lines, new water mains to replace the 70-year old ones, as well as a new concrete base on the roadway, new sidewalks and new curbing from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue.

The community has been waiting on a similar project in south Middle Village for about two decades. The area from 73rd Place to 80th Street, between Metropolitan Avenue to Cooper Avenue, are due for new sidewalks, sewer lines, new water mains, signage and street lights, estimated to cost about $20 million. The project has a due date of 2022, according to the DDC.

The projects are pushed back because the city keeps putting funding to higher priority initiatives, CB 5 Chair Vincent Arcuri said. But Arcuri said the planned repairs would help boost the community and should be pushed.

“When you rebuild the streets, the property value increases,” Arcuri said. “It becomes an economic boost to the community.”



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Board approves proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of City Planning

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) got the green light.

After an endorsement by freshman Councilmember Antonio Reynoso, CB 5 approved the proposed bike lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale on Wednesday with a 29-5 vote.

The Department of City Planning will begin implementing the phase one bike lanes of the proposal this summer, which connect to the Brooklyn network of paths.

One set flows parallel on Woodward and Onderdonk avenues from Flushing Avenue to Cooper Avenue. Another set runs on Harman and Himrod streets from Evergreen Avenue to Metropolitan Avenue.

“I’m very excited for this first step. I wish it could have been more,” said John Maier, co-chair of the CB 5 Transportation Committee. “I look forward to working with City Planning and the board to find phase two and possibly phase three.”

The city agency will also continue to evaluate the phase two bike lanes of the proposal, which could eventually add more paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase two contains an expansive network of lanes throughout the rest of CB 5. However, residents have complained about a proposed lane on Elliot Street through Mount Olivet Cemetery between 67th Street and Mount Olivet Crescent. The two-way street is so narrow it is already dangerous for car traffic.

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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