Tag Archives: Ridgewood

Community Board 5 appoints new members


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Nine new members were appointed to Community Board 5 this week.

The board, which includes Ridgewood, Glendale, Middle Village, Maspeth and Liberty Park, received five new members from City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley’s 30th District and four new members in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s 34th District.

The new members in Crowley’s district are Tobias Sheppard Bloch of Glendale, Karamjit Dawali of Glendale, Sarah Feldman of Ridgewood, David Sands of Glendale and Alex Maureau of Glendale.

In Reynoso’s district, the new members are Raquel Namuche of Ridgewood, Cathleen Knight of Ridgewood, Tom C. Dowd of Ridgewood and Carmen Santana of Ridgewood.

Richard Huber of Glendale was not reappointed this year.

Community board members are appointed by the Queens borough president largely based on the recommendation of the City Council member(s) within the board’s jurisdiction.

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‘Commuter Composting’ coming to Ridgewood and Kew Gardens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

BY ANGELA MATUA

Queens residents will soon have “Commuter Composting” in order to properly dispose of their household food waste, according to the Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

The DSNY is expanding its curbside organic waste recycling program and also adding 11 new food scrap drop-off locations. Residents will also see 19 more seasonal sites this summer, for a total of 64 sites throughout the city. The drop-off program offers composting opportunities for New Yorkers in neighborhoods or buildings that do not receive curbside collection of organic waste.

The “Commuter Composting” program will be offered in Ridgewood outside the Fresh Pond Road M train station, located on Fresh Pond Road near Putnam Avenue, on Wednesdays from 8 to 10 a.m.; and in Kew Gardens outside the Union Turnpike E/F train station, on Kew Gardens Road between 80th and 81st avenues, on Thursdays from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m.

The collected compost will be distributed to local greening groups such as urban farmers, community gardeners and street tree stewards to improve the quality of the soil.

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia said the program will help redirect organic material from ending up in landfills.  Last week, the DSNY announced it would expand its household organics collection program in Maspeth, Middle Village and other areas of the city.

“Organic material makes up about a third of our city’s trash,” Garcia said. “We are excited to be able to provide more opportunities for New Yorkers to recycle their food waste. By increasing the number of food scrap drop-off sites, more organic material can be composted instead of going to landfills.”

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Ridgewood reacts to first episode of ‘Weird Loners’


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANTHONY GIUDICE 

Imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.

A group of Ridgewood residents had mixed feelings as they gathered at a local bar to watch the premiere of “Weird Loners,” a new Fox comedy that uses the area as the inspiration for the show’s setting.

“The group [that lives in the] house in the show represents the patrons of the bar,” said Steven Lewis, co-owner of Queens Tavern, who, with Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, had the idea to hold a screening party at the bar. “There has never been a show centered in Ridgewood on TV. The show was better than I thought it would be.”

“Weird Loners” centers 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 Queens townhouse.

According to creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, the setting is based on Ridgewood, though the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the area. There are future plans, however, to more directly feature the neighborhood in the sitcom.

 Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)


Becki Newton as Caryn, Zachary Knighton as Stosh, Meera Rohit Kumbhani as Zara and Nate Torrence as Eric (Michael Becker/FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting)

About 25 to 30 people came out to the Queens Tavern Tuesday night to check out the show’s 9:30 p.m. debut and share their opinions, with the bar handing out noisemakers to the crowd so they could jeer at any mention of the borough.

During the fun and sarcastic mood of the evening, the crowd booed at the large living room of Becki Newton’s character Caryn and the exterior shots of the neighborhood. Weithorn had the set designer research Ridgewood’s old buildings, but the show was shot in Los Angeles.

“The show was corny,” said Morgan Pielli, who has lived in Ridgewood for two and a half years. “I thought it represented Ridgewood terribly. The set looked nothing like it.”

Liz Babish, who has also resided in Ridgewood for around two years and hails from New Jersey, was more optimistic about “Weird Loners” as a comedy, but said it wasn’t a reflection of her area.

“It has potential,” she said. “The show has a ‘New Girl’ vibe. Ridgewood was not represented at all.”

Babish was right about the “New Girl” feel — Jake Kasdan, an executive producer for the Zooey Deschanel series, is also an executive producer for “Weird Loners,” and even directed the pilot.

Attendees overall had positive reactions to the entertainment value of the first episode, which lays out how the four main characters — Caryn (Becki Newton), Stosh (Zachary Knighton), Zara (Meera Rohit Kumbhani) and Eric (Nate Torrence) meet and end up living adjacent to each other in Queens. The final scene finds the foursome mocking and then crashing a nighttime wedding in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

But they felt the comedy featured little of Ridgewood, and what it did portray wasn’t an accurate depiction.

“It didn’t show anything of Ridgewood. I hope it gets more street views of Ridgewood,” said Timothy Bakth, who has lived in Ridgewood for all 31 years of his life. “Being from Ridgewood my entire life, I wish they would have taken a look at Ridgewood 10 years ago; many things have changed.”

Queens Tavern is holding another viewing party next week, on April 7 at 9 p.m. “Weird Loners” airs Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.

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Ridgewood man kills himself after shooting wife, stepdaughter: police sources


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Updated Wednesday, April 1, 2:56 p.m. 

An apparent domestic dispute reportedly led a husband to shoot his wife and stepdaughter in their Ridgewood home before taking his own life Tuesday night, police sources said.

Reportedly, the shooting occurred at about 8:15 p.m. on Gates Avenue off Fresh Pond Road.

According to police, the gunman — whose identity was withheld due to the ongoing investigation — shot his 54-year-old wife in the back and his 31-year-old stepdaughter in the arm.

Officers from the 104th Precinct and EMS units responded to reports of the shooting. Paramedics rushed both victims to Elmhurst Hospital Center for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening.

Meanwhile, it was reported, the shooter locked himself inside the home, leading to an hour-long standoff with police.

Initial reports claimed the suspect turned the gun on himself, but police stated Wednesday morning that officers, after gaining entry into the location, found the suspect hanging from a rope. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Cops catch suspected Ridgewood car thief


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

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He should have found somewhere else to park.

The day after allegedly taking a man’s ride at gunpoint, a Ridgewood man was locked up by police after officers spotted the stolen vehicle parked on a neighborhood street.

Law enforcement sources said Gergory A. Spok, 26, allegedly attempted to steal a 2000 Chevrolet Malibu on Summerfield Street at about 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25.

According to authorities, Spok allegedly got into the driver’s seat after the rightful owner briefly exited the car to open a driveway gate.

When the owner returned to his vehicle, police noted, Spok pointed a black firearm at him, then sped away from the scene in the car. The theft was later reported to the 104th Precinct.

According to the criminal complaint provided by the Queens District Attorney’s office, Det. Oleg Matat of the 104th Precinct Detective Squad spotted the stolen vehicle at around 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon parked in front of a location on Forest Avenue. After a check of the car’s license plate confirmed that it was stolen, officers were dispatched to stake out the car until someone attempted to enter it.

P.O. Louis Marinacci responded to the scene and, from his own police vehicle, reportedly observed Spok enter the stolen Malibu and turn on the engine. Police said the officer stopped Spok without incident and took him into custody.

Spok was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on Friday on charges including first-degree armed robbery, second-degree robbery and criminal possession of stolen property. He remains held on $5,000 bail and is due back in court on April 10.

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Ridgewood group presses City Council members for more street trees


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Landmark Preservation Commission

Hoping to make Ridgewood greener, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association (RPOCA) submitted to the neighborhood’s City Council members formal requests for additional street tree funding.

The requests came in the form of “capital budget street tree lists” that RPOCA members compiled through block-by-block surveys of the neighborhood. In all, the group found more than 3,000 potential locations for street trees, the majority of which are located in Councilman Antonio Reynoso’s district.

The Williamsburg-based lawmaker’s jurisdiction includes the area of Ridgewood generally south and west of Myrtle and Forest avenues. City Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, based in neighboring Glendale, represents Ridgewood’s eastern half.

But according to former RPOCA President Paul Kerzner, neither of the last two budgets included funding for street trees in the community. Street trees were planted in the area through the city’s MillionTreesNYC public/private partnership initiative.

Kerzner said Reynoso previously told civic members he would secure funding to plant 300 trees in Ridgewood. He hopes the legislator will follow through on his promise, and that Crowley would also make a similar commitment.

To that end, Kerzner said, the RPOCA is urging Ridgewood residents to call or write Crowley and Reynoso informing them of the importance of street trees in beautifying the neighborhood and thank them in advance for their support.

However, sources familiar with the situation stated the city’s Parks Department received a $172,000 allocation from Crowley for street trees in Ridgewood. The Parks Department has already planted 112 trees in the Ridgewood area and plans to plant another 29 this spring.

“We need to make sure Queens remains a beautiful and healthy place for all New Yorkers to live and enjoy. That is why I am proud to have allocated funding for over 125 new street trees in Ridgewood,” Crowley said. “I will continue to work with the community and the Parks Department to ensure we continue to add street trees to our neighborhoods.”

This is the latest effort in the RPOCA’s ongoing campaign of adding more green to the community’s streetscapes.

“In 1971, less than 5 percent of the streets were tree-lined,” Kerzner recalled. “Forty-four years later, about 70 percent are now tree-lined, and some years, we don’t get any new trees. In other years, we get about a couple of hundred. We’re making steady progress.”

Kerzner, who himself participated in the RPOCA street tree survey, thanked other RPOCA members for their participation, including President Charles Ober, Peter Comber, Domingo Santos, Luis Rodriguez, John Maier, Carlos Ortiz, Simon Orr and Maryellen Borello.

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First Ridgewood Artists Coalition exhibit opens Sunday at Glendale brewery


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Ridgewood Artists Coalition (RAC) will hold its first exhibit, titled “The Ridgewood Artists Spring Showcase,” at Glendale’s Finback Brewery from this Sunday through April 26.

The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Sunday from 1 to 7 p.m. at the brewery, located at 78-01 77th Ave. Donations collected at the reception will help support the Ridgewood Youth Market, a program that teaches teens and young adults small business lessons through operating farm stands in their neighborhoods.

The Ridgewood Youth Market is part of Grow NYC and is run in partnership with the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation.

The exhibit, described by its creators as “part survey and part dialogue,” is co-curated by RAC founder Emily Heinz and Finback manager Leah Blair and features local artists who live and work in Ridgewood, Maspeth, Middle Village and Glendale.

“The artists involved emerge from a myriad of different backgrounds, spanning the spectrum of age, ethnicity, formal training and relationship to the area,” Heinz and Blair said in a joint statement. “This diversity is intrinsic to a New York neighborhood, and the spirit of this condition is reflected in the variation of the works, which simultaneously form a single yet multifarious voice informed by the specific perspective of a cross-section of urban life.”

The showcase is just one of many community-oriented events hosted and sponsored by Finback Brewery.

“This collaboration between the Ridgewood Artists Coalition and Finback Brewery is indicative of an emerging art practice that is inclined towards social awareness and local identity, and uses both to organically form a presence of contemporary art and artists who are critically engaged with art making and socially engaged with the community as a whole,” the statement said.

For more information about the Ridgewood Artists Coalition, contact them at RidgewoodArtists@gmail.com.

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Second annual prom dress drive this weekend in Ridgewood


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Times Newsweekly

Prom night is a milestone of a young woman’s life and every girl should be able to attend and feel like royalty. Joan England’s second annual Project PROMises prom dress event is allowing girls who may not be able to afford a dress the chance to find their perfect fit.

The PROMises prom dress drive will take place on Saturday, March 28, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, located at 59-03 Summerfield St. in Ridgewood, where middle school and high school girls looking for a dress for their prom can try on and pick out the perfect one, free of charge.

All students need to bring is a parent, their school ID or a copy of their report card. Over 200 gently used dresses were graciously donated by girls and women of the community for the event.

For more information on Joan England’s Project PROMises contact Christine Nelson at 1-718-629-8589 or by email at cnelson1125@gmail.com.

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Ridgewood bar to hold viewing party for ‘Weird Loners’ premiere


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Michael Becker / FOX/Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting

The neighborhood that inspired the backdrop of a new Fox comedy will be holding a viewing party at a local bar for its premiere that is likely to be filled with more jeers than cheers.

Weird Loners” is about four relationship-challenged 30-somethings who unexpectedly end up in each other’s lives and start bonding while living next door to each other.

Creator and executive producer Michael J. Weithorn, who also co-created “The King of Queens,” decided to use Ridgewood as the setting for the show.

He 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 two of the characters.

But these attempts to replicate Ridgewood don’t seem to be sitting well with some of its own who are planning on attending a party to watch its depiction on the small screen.

A “Let’s Watch ‘Weird Loners’ Together…Party” is set for Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Queens Tavern, at 68-69 Fresh Pond Rd., hosted by Sarah Feldman from Ridgewood Social, who will be grabbing the mic during commercial breaks. According to the event description:

Grab a beer and uncomfortably watch the first episode at Queens Tavern on their full screen! Be in awe of how large their indoor apartment is! Then ask yourself… “if that is considered weird by mainstream standards… what am I?” Make bets with your fellow friends on how long until this show gets cancelled!

P.S. The word “Quooklyn” is banned from the party.

If the show does get the ax early on, locals won’t need to worry about any direct references to Ridgewood.

According to Weithorn the show’s current scripts don’t directly mention the neighborhood so far, but there are future plans to feature it more prominently in the comedy.

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DOT proposes expanding bike network in CB 5 area


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Gear up for round two of bike lane construction in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.

Aaron Fraint, project manager with NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) bicycle program, presented three options for a second phase of bike lane creation to the Community Board 5 Transportation Committee members on March 24.

All three options focused on creating a network of lanes.

“We would like to do a set of streets that all connect to each other because we see the bike network as just that, a network, rather than sets of routes that aren’t connected to anything,” Fraint said.

The first option would connect Ridgewood to Rego Park through Middle Village via Metropolitan Avenue, 69th Street and Eliot Avenue ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

“Metropolitan Avenue is very busy corridor…with a lot of commercial and industrial activity,” Fraint said, which is why creating safe bike lanes is so important.

The avenue is also 41 feet wide, which allows just enough room for a shared bike lane in both directions.

The DOT proposed using “sharrows,” symbols with a green background that notify motorists that bicyclists may be present.

Option two connects Glendale to Rego Park through Middle Village by using Central Avenue connecting to Cooper Avenue to Woodhaven Boulevard, with a north/south route on 80th Street turning into Dry Harbor Road and 63rd Avenue, ending on Woodhaven Boulevard.

Fraint said that both Central and Cooper avenues — which are 40 feet wide — have enough space for 12-foot-wide shared lanes in both directions with 8-foot parking lanes.

Cooper Avenue already has a shared bike lane on the extra-wide sidewalks that were installed on the underpass after its reconstruction. These connect to a shared bike lane on 80th Street, so “we would pick up where shared lanes left off on 80th Street and bring it over to Woodhaven Boulevard,” Fraint said.

The final option seeks to connect Ridgewood to Long Island City through Maspeth along Fresh Pond Road, 59th Drive to Rust Street. In the opposite direction, the route would take Rust Street to 60th Street then to 60th Avenue and back down Fresh Pond Road.

A segment of Fresh Pond Road, which is 44 feet wide, can accommodate 14-foot shared lanes in both directions, keeping the configuration of one travel lane in each direction and parking on both sides.

59th Drive is one-way westbound from the turn off Fresh Pond Road up until 60th Street, and at 26 feet wide, “we will be able to keep the condition as is, but add a shared lane for cyclists,” Fraint said.

As 59th Drive continues past 60th Street, it becomes a 30-foot-wide two-way street, and the DOT is looking to put in a center line and shared lane symbols.

The DOT is still working out what type of bicycle facilities would be the best fit on Rust Street.
Fraint added that a lot of cyclists are using that route and it is a logical connector between Ridgewood and Long Island City.

After the board heard all three options, they discussed which ones they would like to see implemented in the community.

“I do like the Metropolitan, 69th and Eliot [route],” said John Maier, co-chair of the committee. “I think Eliot makes a lot of sense.”

For option two, Maier said that Fresh Pond Road is “already a traffic nightmare,” but that cyclists do use the route and it is worth taking a look at.

Panel members agreed that the first option would be the best fit for the communities. They liked option two, with some modifications to the 80th Street section. The DOT needs to further study the third option before the board accepts it. The DOT hopes to begin installing the accepted routes during 2015.

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L train riders fed up with delays, look to Cuomo for help


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Service problems along one subway line serving Ridgewood has some riders asking, “What the L?”

In recent weeks, the L train has suffered from hour-long delays, overcrowded platforms and other service problems. Riders Alliance member Alexis Saba shared her experience with transit delays. “On [March 17], I waited forever on the L train before we actually left,” she said. “When we finally left, the train crawled to Bedford, and were told that a rail was out and that Bedford was the last stop—and I couldn’t physically get out of the Bedford station due to the crowds.”

The Riders Alliance, a grassroots organization of public transportation riders that pushes for better service and affordable rates, has invited disgruntled subway riders to visit its website and share their “subway horror stories.” As previously reported, the organization plans to present the horror stories to Governor Andrew Cuomo in hopes of enticing him and members of the state Legislature to fully fund the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) five-year capital plan.

Delays like this are nothing new for the MTA. According to the Riders Alliance, in February, the MTA NYC Transit and Bus Committee Meeting Report showed that subway delays had increased 45.6 percent from 2013 to 2014. With the most recent MTA rate hike, riders are now paying $2.75 for a single fare and $116.50 for a monthly Metrocard, and they are getting worse service, the Riders Alliance charged.

“What we’re hearing from riders is that they feel like we’re paying more and more for less and less,” Deputy Director for the Riders Alliance Nick Sifuentes said.

The MTA’s capital plan of $32 billion will build, repair, maintain and enhance current MTA infrastructure. But the plan faces a $15 billion shortfall, and if this gap is not filled, it will result in increased transit fares, further reductions in service and more repair issues in coming years, the Riders Alliance believes.

“I know the L train horror stories all too well,” state Senator Martin Malave Dilan said. “Frustrated riders write or call my office frequently, some send photos of overcrowded platforms with lines running up the stairs and riders dangerously close to spilling over onto the tracks.”

“The current budget proposal leaves the MTA unable to address these and many issues,” he added. “The MTA capital plan is $15 billion in the red. This year’s proposed $1.6 billion capital allocation will have little effect and the Senate majority’s proposal to reduce it only makes matters worse. It’s irresponsible to ignore these shortfalls. For the daily commuters on the L, it’s inconceivable.”

John Maier, co-chair of the Public Transportation Committee of Community Board 5, feels that “We are at a funding crisis.” With little funding from the government, all expenses have to be paid by the commuter. “Something needs to change,” he continued. “The system needs a lot of help.”

The city’s budget plan is due on April 1, so commuters, elected officials and the MTA must wait to see if any additional funding will be funnelled in to seal the $15 billion gap in the MTA’s budget plan.

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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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