Tag Archives: Ridgewood

PHOTOS: Good health and cheer found at Wyckoff Hospital street fair

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Eddie Torres/

The community was invited to come out and enjoy a day filled with fun, entertainment and information during the annual Wyckoff Heights Medical Center Health Fair on Aug. 15.

More than 70 information booths from the hospital’s departments as well as community vendors lined Stockholm Street between Wyckoff and St. Nicholas avenues on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. Ramon Rodriguez, the hospital’s CEO, was on hand to greet guests.

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Many of the booths provided presentations and educational materials as well as free screenings for blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, bone density and blood glucose to more than 500 visitors throughout the day. There were also activities for children including face painting, music and raffles.


Cops nab pair who used BB gun to rob man on Ridgewood street

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Two men were arrested last week after they allegedly used a BB gun to rob a man on a Ridgewood street, prosecutors revealed on Tuesday.

Ridgewood’s Enis Mustafa, 30, and Astrit Kupi, 22, were collared by 104th Precinct officers shortly after the stickup, which occurred at 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 10 in the area of 60th Place and Putnam Avenue, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Reportedly, the two suspects approached the male victim and attempted to yank the gold chain he was wearing around his neck.

Police said Kupi then allegedly punched the man in the face, and Mustafa pulled a black firearm out of his waistband, pointed it at the victim and demanded additional property.

The victim removed the gold chain as well as a gold bracelet from his wrist and nearly $400 in cash and threw them to the ground. Kupi and Mustafa picked up the items, then ordered the victim to leave.

According to the criminal complaint, responding officers soon spotted Kupi and Mustafa walking in the vicinity of 60th Street and 70th Avenue and stopped them; both men fit the description of the suspects.

Officers found the stolen cash in Kupi’s pants pocket, while the gold chain and bracelet — as well as a BB gun allegedly used in the robbery — were found on the ground near where the suspects were stopped.

Kupi and Mustafa were charged with second-degree armed robbery, second-degree robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of stolen property. Both remain held on $25,000 bond or $15,000 cash bail, according to court records.


Wyckoff Heights Hospital working to affiliate with North Shore/LIJ system

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

America’s health care industry is changing, and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border is looking to partner with a regional health care giant to expand and enhance its services.

According to Wyckoff Heights CEO Ramon Rodriguez, the hospital is in discussions with the North Shore/LIJ Health System regarding an affiliation agreement designed to retain Wyckoff’s independence while also providing additional health care options and “support for quality of care and clinical decisions.”

Serving tens of thousands of patients annually from both sides of the Brooklyn/Queens border, Rodriguez said, the hospital needs to transform its services to keep up with the national health care trend that has seen the rise of urgent care centers and outpatient/ambulatory services along with a reduction in extended hospital stays.

To that end, the board recently authorized Rodriguez to seek out affiliations with larger medical organizations in the New York City area. In responding to a request for proposals, he noted, North Shore/LIJ offered what the board considered to be the best options for Wyckoff Heights.

“We are expecting to continue the services we deliver and expand outpatient and ambulatory services,” Rodriguez said. “We’re trying to figure out how to be more efficient and effective and make Wyckoff Heights a better place for residents to turn.”

The hospital already has a working agreement with Maimonides Medical Center, also a North Shore/LIJ partner, to enhance patient care as part of a transformation plan submitted to the state. Should the state approve the plan, Wyckoff Heights would be in line to receive $60 million in “substantial capital to make improvements to [the hospital’s] clinical services and make it possible to transform to a more outpatient delivery system,” Rodriguez said.

One such plan to enhance care is the creation of a revamped Maternity Department featuring new birthing rooms.

Working with Maimonides, Wyckoff Heights is on target later this year to receive certification to perform cardiac catherizations, a potentially lifesaving procedure among heart attack and stroke patients currently outsourced to other medical centers.

Rodriguez added that Wyckoff Heights is also working with the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council to expand health care availability to the more than 6,000 people the nonprofit agency serves in both neighborhoods.

As for the North Shore/LIJ partnership, Rodriguez is confident that an agreement will be finalized within six months to a year.

“We’re very excited about it,” he added. “Our board, after much discussion, felt that it made the most sense.”

The Ridgewood Times is awaiting a response from North Shore/LIJ to a request for comment.


Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation kicks off summer fundraising campaign

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy of the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation

The Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) has begun its semi-annual fundraising campaign, asking members of the Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village communities to make donations to help fund programs that have made an important contribution to the areas’ quality of life.

The GRRC has been instrumental in stabilizing and upgrading the neighborhoods that make up Community Board 5 for the last 40 years, offering free programs such as landlord/tenant counseling, helping homeowners apply for low-interest home improvement loans, lobbying for street tree plantings, removing graffiti and more.

The donations will go towards the purchase of a lift for the hot pressure washer used in graffiti removal.

“The pressure washer is extremely heavy and getting it off and on the van is very difficult,” said Angela Mirabile, executive director of GRRC. “Our fundraising goal this year is $10,000 in private donations. This will cover the cost of the lift and replacement of worn equipment and supplies.”

The anti-graffiti program is one of the most used programs offered by GRRC. Last year, GRRC removed graffiti at 125 locations, and this year has cleaned over 110 sites. The organization anticipates cleaning 50 more sites by the end of November.

“It is evident that graffiti vandalism is once again on the rise, and we are doing our best to stay on top of it,” said Christa Walls, community liaison specialist for GRRC.

Mirabile added that funds will also go to cover general administration expenses as well as updating GRRC’s computer systems and software.

“In the past we have received donations ranging from $10 to $2,500. The people of our community support our effort and we are very thankful,” Mirabile said. “The public in this community has been very responsive to our campaign efforts. They are very active and we appreciate that.”

Donations can be made through the GRRC website, through PayPal or by mail to 68-56 Forest Ave., Ridgewood, NY 11385.


Queens real estate sales drop, but turn bigger profits in recent months: report

| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

Reflecting a market gripped by high demand and low supply, real estate sales in Queens decreased slightly but yielded higher prices during the second quarter of 2015, according to a report from broker Cushman & Wakefield.

Approximately 230 properties across the “World’s Borough” changed hands between April and June of this year, a 7 percent drop from the number sold during the first quarter of 2015. Even so, the aggregate sales consideration this quarter — the volume of money exchanged in real estate transactions — reached $835 million, an 8 percent increase from the first quarter.

Cushman & Wakefield described the first six months of 2015 as the second-highest dollar volume the Queens real estate market has seen within the first half of any year, with $1.6 billion in real estate sales generated.

“[At $313 million], development sites accounted for 20 percent of all dollar volume,” the report indicated, “followed by retail properties, with $259 million accounting for 16 percent of the total dollar volume.”

The average price for all types of real estate sold in Queens was $3.4 million, an 18 percent jump from the first half of 2014.

Queens’ strong real estate numbers were evident of a continued upward trend in New York City’s real estate market. According to the report, $37.8 billion in sales activity took place through June, and the city is “on pace to exceed the previous cycle’s high established in 2007.”

“The first half of 2015 will go down as one of the best six-month periods in the city’s history,” said Adrian Mercado, Cushman & Wakefield managing director of research. “All submarkets and property types are firing on all cylinders with market activity outpacing our year-end forecasts.”

Cushman & Wakefield catalogued 141 sales in Queens in which properties were sold for $1 million or more during the second quarter of 2015, accounting for 61.3 percent of real estate transactions during the period.

Among the most lucrative deals were the $71 million sale of an office building at 33-00 Northern Blvd. in Long Island City; a $4.35 million sale of a 23-unit lot of apartment buildings at 1705-1725 Putnam Ave. in Ridgewood; a $72.25 million sale of a 144-unit apartment building at 11-15 Broadway/30-50 21st St. in Astoria; and a $8.8 million sale of a 43,800-square-foot industrial building at 72-42 60th Lane in Glendale.


Star of Queens: Sarah Feldman, Community Board 5

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Sarah Feldman

Background: Sarah Feldman’s family was originally from New York City but moved to Houston in the ‘70s. Her parents then moved to the West Coast, where her father works for a software company. She moved back to New York in 2006 to study fine arts and web design at Parsons School of Design. Feldman moved to Ridgewood in 2011, where she met her fiance Neil Myers, and she fell in love with the neighborhood.

Occupation: Feldman is self-employed. She also owns a small jewelry business, Prince Peacock, and works at the YMCA teaching art to kids.

She owns Ridgewood Market, which sells affordable art, goods and alcohol.

“I wanted a safe environment that is community driven with the decisions of others,” Feldman said. “I wanted to bring awareness and a new, unbiased perspective of old businesses.” The next market will take place on Sept. 13.

Community Involvement: Feldman was recently appointed to Community Board 5. She’s one of the youngest people on the board and says that she’s learned so much already from the other board members.

“They’ve lived here all their lives,” Feldman said. “There is so much you can learn from them.”

Feldman additionally runs the Ridgewood Social website as its head of marketing.

Biggest Challenge: “The recession was scary,” Feldman said. Additionally, at one point, Feldman couldn’t leave the house due to a health problem.

She had a lot of social anxiety but was able to overcome it. Feldman absolutely loved the feeling of being welcomed into the Ridgewood community, and she has a very positive outlook on life.

Greatest Achievement: “My greatest achievement was my social anxiety not being as bad,” Feldman said. Now, she has more self-confidence, and she added that the people in her neighborhood definitely made her happier.

“Kindness can get you so much further in life than jealousy can,” Feldman said.

Biggest Inspiration: “My biggest inspiration was my grandmother and my stepmom,” Feldman said. Her grandmother, who passed away in 2008, was a creative artist and a feminist who was like a mother to Feldman.

Feldman’s stepmom was the mom she never had. She is self-sufficient and a great role model. “My stepmom practically saved my life,” Feldman said.



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.


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

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos 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.


PHOTOS: Ridgewood residents bid farewell to community garden under tracks

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos 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.”


Volunteers still locked out of Ridgewood community garden

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Facebook/Ridgewood Community Garden


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.


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.


Local group fights to preserve Ridgewood garden

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy of Clark Fitzgerald/Ridgewood Community Garden


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.


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.


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.


Celebrate the premiere of ‘Sharknado 3′ in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Syfy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.