Tag Archives: Ridgewood

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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EXCLUSIVE: MTA to reduce Q54 bus service


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

While the MTA has planned fare increases for 2015, the agency will decrease service for the Q54.

The bus, which travels on Metropolitan Avenue through train-scarce Middle Village and Ridgewood, connects riders to transit hubs in downtown Jamaica on one end, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn on the other.

During weekday “PM peak” hours—from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.—the Q54 will now run every six minutes and 30 seconds, instead of every five minutes, according to notes from the MTA’s January Transit & Bus Committee Meeting. During the evening schedule, which follows “PM peak” hours, the Q54 will run every 20 minutes instead of every 15.

The planned cuts didn’t sit well with riders.

“It’s slow as it is. I don’t think they send enough (buses). When I get off the train there are a lot of people that wait with me,” said Middle Village resident Jeanette Marmol, who takes the bus to connect to the M train when commuting to work in Manhattan. “That doesn’t make sense. This is a really long route. Why would they slow it down?”

In April, 49 buses citywide—eight in Queens—will see changes, which will account for a slight increase in overall service, Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesperson said.

Of the eight Queens buses that will be impacted, the Q54 is the only one that will see an overall reduction. The MTA plans to add a one-minute speed increase between buses during the Q54’s “AM peak” hours of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

“These changes are made to provide the most efficient and effective service possible and reflect changes in ridership patterns,” Ortiz said.

 

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Ridgewood, Glendale could get new bike paths this summer


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy Department of City Planning

The ongoing plans to add new bike lanes to Community Board 5 (CB 5) seem to be rolling along smoothly.

CB 5’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend proposed lanes in Ridgewood and Glendale, which could be implemented as early as this summer.

The proposal, which includes lanes in the Department of City Planning’s phase one plan, will now hinge on a full board vote in the CB 5 February meeting.

If the board approves the new bike paths, City Planning will begin implementing the lanes this summer. The agency will also continue to evaluate phase two, which would eventually add more bike paths and connect routes in Maspeth and Middle Village.

Phase one of the plans connect to the bike lanes in 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.

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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Suspect sought in string of armed livery cab robberies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for a man wanted in connection to a series of Queens robberies targeting livery cab drivers, police said.

The suspect struck four times, once in October, and three times in January, the NYPD said.

During the first incident, on Oct. 12, near 27-44 Ericsson St., in East Elmhurst, the suspect robbed a 49-year-old driver at gunpoint while a second suspect took the victim’s property, according to police.

The suspect robbed another driver on Jan. 8 near 1716 Stephen St. in Ridgewood. When he asked him to open the trunk, a second suspect, displayed a gun, and demanded his property, then struck the driver in the face leaving him with minor injuries, cops said. The victim did not comply, and the suspects fled without taking anything.

On Jan. 21 the suspect robbed a driver at gunpoint near 27-40 Ericsson St. Three days later, he tried to rob a driver around the same location, but was unsuccessful, the NYPD said

Police have released surveillance video of the suspect from the Jan. 21 robbery after he allegedly used the victim’s credit cards.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

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Victims’ families, pols gather to support Vision Zero


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Many teary eyes were focused on “Vision Zero” during recent rallies in Queens.

Supporters of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to reduce traffic fatalities to nil gathered Sunday at a candle light vigil on the corner of Wyckoff and Myrtle Avenues in Ridgewood, where 23-year-old Ella Bandes was struck and killed by a city bus a year ago.

Politicians, advocacy groups, friends and families of victims called for safer streets and more responsible drivers during the event, which paid tribute to Bandes and many others.

“What we’ve been through in the past year is such a nightmare,” said Judy Kottick, Bandes’ mother. “Losing your child is the worst thing that could happen to anyone. We just don’t want anyone else to go through this.”

There have been nearly 20 auto-accident related fatalities in the city since the start of 2014.

People at the rally wanted drivers to be more aware of pedestrians and avoid breaking traffic laws. They also asked for support for Assemblymember Dan O’Donnell’s bill, which would lower the NYC speed limit to 20 mph from 30 mph, except where the City Council determines a different speed is appropriate.

Before the candle light vigil, supporters of “Vision Zero” rallied on Grand Avenue and 69th Place in Maspeth in honor of Angela Hurtado, who was killed at the intersection when a driver with a suspended license struck her on Jan. 18.

Transportation advocacy group Make Queens Safer called for support for State Senator Michael Gianaris’s bill, which would charge drivers who continue to drive without a valid license and are in an accident that causes serious injury or death with vehicular assault. It would be a class E felony, punishable by up to four years in prison.

“The people we are talking about have had their licenses suspended because they’re already known to be bad drivers, and the faster and easily we could make it for law enforcement to take them off the street, the better,” Gianaris said.

 

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104th Precinct to increase patrols in Highland Park


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The 104th Precinct wants park-goers to take a hike out of Highland Park at curfew.

Starting later this year officers will make daily patrols through the park at 8:30 p.m. to tell people to leave by 9 p.m., when it closes.

Residents living near Highland Park, a green space with many trails and ball fields near the Brooklyn-Queens border in Ridgewood, have been complaining about people using the park through the late hours of the night.

The Precinct has heard complaints of drinking and loud music playing after hours in the park dating back to last year, and Captain Chris Manson said that the party has ended.

Officers will start making the rounds as soon as the weather is warmer. If someone is spotted after the curfew they will be issued a summons.

“I want people to use the parks, but at a reasonable time,” Manson said. “I expect a major quality of life improvement.”

Manson said the increased enforcement could begin around the end of March.

Park enforcement has been a major issue throughout the confines of the 104th Precinct.

There have been about 270 summonses issued to people in parks in the region over the last month alone, according to statistics by the NYPD. Sixty of those summonses were given to people for just being in parks after hours.

Also, nearby Forest Park will receive NYPD cameras later this year to help improve safety, after a string of sexual assaults.

 

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Cops honored for Ridgewood pot bust


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

On Tuesday, December 17, the 104th Precinct Council honored seven officers, who were all helpful during a marijuana bust in Ridgewood in October.

The officers found 580 pot plants, which had the potential to be worth millions.

 

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Woman dies after jumping in front of train at Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A woman was killed Monday morning after she was struck by an M train at a subway station on the Ridgewood border, police said.

The woman, who police said was in her 30s, was pronounced dead about 9:30 a.m. at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues station

Cops said the woman was hit after she jumped in front of a Queens-bound train.

 

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104th Precinct officers donate to needy Ridgewood family


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Police officers from the 104th Precinct played Santa Claus for one Ridgewood family that recently suffered from domestic violence.

Officer Nicholas Cadavid and Sergeant Martha Lequerica organized a precinct donation collection for the family on Thursday, December 19, and raised more than $1,200.

Last week officers arrested a five-year-old boy’s father, whose name was withheld to protect the anonymity of the victims, for severely beating his son. The boy had bruises on his face and a gash on his forehead and need to be taken to a local hospital for stitches, police said.

“We see bad stuff every day but this one really stuck to us, when we saw the plight of this family,” said Captain Chris Manson of the 104th Precinct.

When the officers learned that the family of the boy was in need, they decided to donate some gifts. The boy lives with his mother and three other siblings, ages 11, 8, and a two-month-old infant in a Ridgewood apartment.

The officers brought the children snacks, bags filled with toys and clothes and boots for the cold weather. The money raised will go to buy bunk beds for the children.

 

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Guy Fieri’s ‘Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives’ stops by Queens Comfort


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Donnie D’Alessio/Queens Comfort

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” drove into the borough to film an episode at Astoria‘s Queens Comfort.

The Food Network show, hosted by colorful television personality, cookbook author and restaurateur Guy Fieri, follows him as he visits “classic ‘greasy spoon’ spots” around North America.

Queens Comfort owner Donnie D’Alessio, already a fan of the program, was “honored” when “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” contacted him a couple of months ago for an initial interview.

“For us to pop up in their research, it was so rewarding,” said D’Alessio.

“A lot of the food they showcase is very unique and it’s something that we pride ourselves on here,” he said about the 30th Avenue restaurant.

After making the cut, the show came to shoot at Queens Comfort for two days last week.

Though the filming took a lot of work, including shutting down the restaurant, preparing eight dishes, and remaking some of the food several times over, it was well worth it, said D’Alessio.

“I got along with him really well. He was fun to hang out with,” he said about meeting Fieri.

D’Alessio does not know when the episode featuring Queens Comfort will air yet, but no matter what exposure it may lead to, the experience is what was the most important.

“It all felt like a dream. I felt like Dorothy for two days,” he said.

Queens Comfort isn’t the only eatery in the borough “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” recently visited.

The show also filmed at Bun-Ker Vietnamese, located at 46-63 Metropolitan Ave. in Ridgewood, according to the restaurant.

 

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Driver arrested in Howard Beach car crash that left one dead


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Updated 5:24 p.m.

Police have arrested a motorist who they say is responsible for a car accident that killed 38-year-old Jimmy Sinisi early Saturday morning.

James Celauro, 23, of Ozone Park, is charged with vehicular manslaughter and DWAI, or driving while impaired by alcohol, authorities said.

Celauro crashed his 2006 Ford sedan into Sinisi’s 2001 Saturn around 1 a.m. in Howard Beach on November 30, according to police. He entered an intersection at 159th Avenue and 98th Street and struck Sinisi, police said.

Sinisi, of Ridgewood, was pronounced dead on arrival.

Also known as Marvin Gardens, Sinisi was a musician and a member of the band Wordy Bums, according to the group’s Facebook page.

Celauro is in stable condition, authorities said.

 

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‘Safe Routes’ coming to four Queens schools


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Safer streets are coming soon to four Queens middle and elementary schools.

The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) confirmed it has selected a construction company to make adjustments around the schools to increase safety, as a part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Safe Routes to Schools program.

The safe routes program is a city-wide initiative that seeks to improve safety to city schools with the highest accident rates.

A DDC representative said the $3.3 million improvements will begin by the spring of 2014 around I.S. 77 in Ridgewood, St. Stanislaus Kostka School in Maspeth, St. Joan of Arc School in Jackson Heights and P.S. 108 in South Ozone Park.

The work around the schools will include adding speed bumps, adjustment of streetlights and traffic signals, ramps to the sidewalks, work to improve the curbs for pedestrians, placement of bus pads in the streets and infrastructure and utility work.

These four schools are on DOT’s list of 135 priority schools for traffic safety improvements, which was originally created in 2003 by the city agency. Overall, there are 33 priority Queens schools on the list that are slated to see the improvements.

The work on the four schools is expected to be completed by the spring of 2015.

 

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