Tag Archives: Ridgewood

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


| 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


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Facebook

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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Op-ed: Proposals for QueensWay project


| oped@queenscourier.com


ASSEMBLYMEMBER MIKE MILLER

I want to take a moment to address the QueensWay project, a proposed public greenway that will transform the Long Island Rail Road Rockaway Beach Branch, which was abandoned over 50 years ago. Specifically, the former railroad extends 3.5 miles from Rego Park and Forest Hills down to Ozone Park. This proposed project is one of great concern to many residents in certain areas of the rail line due to its potential negative impact on the local residents.

Certain sections of the proposed QueensWay, specifically the area of the rail line that runs parallel to 98th Street in Woodhaven, will be adjacent to the backyards of nearly 200 homeowners. Although I have been informed by the Friends of QueensWay that they plan to build the QueensWay completely gated around the entrances and make it inaccessible at night, local residents should not be the ones burdened with the cost of building a more secure fence around their backyards to ensure the privacy and safety of their home.

To find additional evidence of the resident’s safety concern, you do not have to look any further than several incidents that have occurred in and around the vicinity of Forest Park in recent years. I echo the sentiments of residents by asking how can we expect the local precincts to carry the additional responsibility of patrolling and responding to incidents on the proposed QueensWay when our precincts are already being spread too thin within our district as it is? Many of the residents on 98th Street are okay with the rail line being underutilized and prefer it stay that way. I also agree that the rail line from Park Lane South down to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of the local residents.

Further, as per the suggestion of the MTA in its 20-year plan, the rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard should be left as is and eventually be used as a connection for an express line connection into Manhattan.

After carefully balancing the potential positive impact of the QueensWay versus the potential negative impact on certain local residents, I recommend that:

1) The QueensWay be built only on the part of the rail line that stretches from Rego Park to Park Lane South

2) The rail line from Park Lane South to Atlantic Avenue be left untouched as to not interfere with the quality of life of local residents; and

3) The rail line from Atlantic Avenue to Rockaway Boulevard also be left untouched, so it can eventually be used by the MTA as an express line connection into Manhattan

In regards to maintenance of the QueensWay, it must be said that this proposed project should not at all be compared to The High Line public greenway in Manhattan. I remain unconvinced that The QueensWay when built from Rego Park to Park Lane South could achieve anywhere close to the level of corporate membership, sponsorship, and support the High Line in Manhattan has based solely on the lack of surrounding businesses in the area and the lower level of tourism that attracts the private funding necessary to maintain a public greenway. Without a consistent level of support and sponsorship from local businesses in addition to private funding, I fear that the QueensWay will eventually become an eyesore for local residents when funding for maintenance becomes an issue.

Additionally, I am interested to know whether Queens-based companies and local businesses will be the ones who are given the contracts to build out this proposed project. I believe that if the QueensWay is going to be built for the benefit of Queens residents and if it will positively impact Queens’ local businesses, then why are there currently no Queens-based companies being sought for the contracts even in the early stages of this project? I can only see a positive impact on the economy of Queens if our own borough’s businesses benefit from building the QueensWay.

Michael G. Miller represents the 38th Assembly District, which includes the neighborhoods of Woodhaven, Ridgewood, Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Glendale. He was elected in September of 2009 in the Special Election called by Governor David Paterson.

 

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Radioactive Ridgewood site may get cleaned up


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

People that live and work around a radioactive Ridgewood site may not have to worry for much longer.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering making the area inclusive of 1129 to 1135 Irving Avenue a Superfund site to clean up radioactive contamination seeping from underground, and the agency has already taken some steps to ameliorate the problem.

“There are various federal, state and city assessments that have been made over many years regarding this site,” Elias Rodriguez, an (EPA) spokesperson, said. “The current work is being done to reduce people’s potential exposure.”

The Wolff Alport Chemical Company processed and sold minerals containing thorium from the 1920s to 1954 at the site. The area currently houses six businesses, including a deli, a construction company and an auto repair shop.

Since last year EPA officials have been examining the site more frequently. In September they began preparation for shielding operations, putting in concrete, lead and steel under the businesses and sidewalks to prevent exposure to subsurface gamma radiation, which could be harmful to people.

“The testing indicates that there is no immediate threat to nearby residents, employees or customers of businesses,” said an EPA report. “Exposure, however, to this residual radioactive contamination may pose a health threat under certain long-term exposure scenarios.”

The EPA is considering the site for the National Priorities List, which is a Superfund program for the most hazardous sites in the country.

People working in the area had no idea about the radiation, until EPA officials informed them. The agency had some businesses clear out for a few weeks to apply the shielding materials underground. The shielding process is slated to be completed in mid-December, according to the EPA.

“It’s a fresh start,” said Saldio Hernandez, owner of construction company Terra Nova, which has been on the site for about eight years. “It’s an upgrade to our daily working area. It’s been a headache, but we’re happy that this is being done.”

Even though the EPA is considering the site for Superfund status, it doesn’t mean that it will receive the designation. There is no time period for how long it would take to determine.

If the Ridgewood area gets the status, it would be the third active Superfund site in the city, including the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek in Brooklyn.

 

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Queens couples tie the knot on 11/12/13


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Cristabelle Tumola

Love was in the numbers for several Queens couples who chose the popular sequential wedding date of 11/12/13 to tie the knot.

Jonathan Rosa, 24 and Dina Acevedo, 33, of Middle Village didn’t know Tuesday, November 12 was significant when they decided to get married on that day, but when they found out they were excited.

“It’s like lottery numbers,” said Acevedo.

The pair, who has been together for almost four years and got engaged in January 2012, had several family members along as they tied the knot Tuesday morning at Queens Borough Hall.

There is another bonus to getting married on the date, said the couple.

“I thought about it and it would be easy [to remember the anniversary],” said Rosa.

Alcides Mercado, 33, and Jessica Cruz, 32, another couple who got married at Queens Borough Hall that day, were planning their wedding for Friday, but decided to switch to November 12 after they found out about the date’s importance just a day earlier.

The Ridgewood pair have been together for 11 years and engaged for six years, but decided to finally get married in a simple ceremony at Queens Borough Hall because they want to buy a home soon.

Despite the practical reasons for the wedding and the last minute ceremony, they still found romance in the day.

“I think [the snow] gives a story to tell,” Cruz said about the day’s weather.

“I’m happy that it’s finally official,” she said.

Queens, and the rest of the country, is likely to see a sharp increase in marriages on November 12.

David’s Bridal estimated that more than 3,000 brides would marry on 11/12/13, a 722 percent increase when compared to last year.

“Iconic dates have become a trend in the United States, reaching new heights when over 65,000 couples tied the knot on 07/07/07,” said Brian Beitler, chief marketing officer for David’s Bridal. “11/12/13 is a sequential pattern, and we have learned that couples love dates that have patterns. The last consecutive series of the century will occur next year, 12/13/14. It falls on a Saturday, so we predict this date could reach record-breaking numbers.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of snow and rain showers. High of 43. Breezy. Winds from the NNW at 15 to 20 mph. Chance of snow 80%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 30. Breezy. Winds from the NW at 15 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Human Plus: Real Lives + Real Engineering

In this interactive exhibit at the New York Hall of Science, visitors can create and explore a range of high and low tech tools that extend human abilities. The exhibit features a simulated downhill mono-ski course; a DJ station built out of a wheelchair and controlled by the wheels; a touch panel that translates music into vibrations; a hands-free computer mouse, controlled through slight movements of the head, that allows the guest to type messages, edit photos or watch videos; and a neuroprosthetic limb that can be controlled by a person’s thoughts. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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