Tag Archives: Rockaways

Cops looking into death of Jamaica 2-year-old


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Police are investigating the death of a toddler after he was discovered unconscious at his Jamaica home Tuesday, the NYPD said.

Officers found the 2-year-old, who police identify as Naizer Reid, unresponsive inside his 156th Street residence about 3:15 p.m., cops said.

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

The medical examiner will determine the cause of death and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

The young boy’s death comes shortly after the death of another 2-year-old, a girl from the Rockaways, who was discovered unconscious in her home Monday night.

 

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Police investigating death of Rockaways toddler


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A 2-year-old is dead after she was found unconscious with bruising around her mouth in her Arverne home Monday night, cops said.

Officers, responding to a 9-1-1 call, found the girl, Kevasia Edwards, about 11:30 p.m. unresponsive inside her Beach 56th Place residence, police said.

She was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

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

According to the New York Daily News, the child’s mother, who “had a history with the city’s Administration for Children’s Services,” was being questioned.

 

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Star of Queens: Martin Colberg, president, Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

star

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Martin Colberg is the president of the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA), a civic association that addresses problems in the community of Woodhaven.

BACKGROUND: Colberg grew up in the Woodhaven and Richmond Hill areas, and has been in Woodhaven for the past 10 years.  Four years ago, Colberg attended his first WRBA meeting, and found the ideas of the association very interesting, saying “I was excited to put some more time and effort into my community.”

GOALS: Colberg has recently been named the new president of the WRBA, and is also the first Latino president, since the start of the association, 42 years ago. Colberg believes this to be a great representation of the growth and diversity in the neighborhood.

According to Colberg, his goal in the coming year will be to continue to get others involved in helping their community.

“I definitely want to concentrate on outreach, among other things in the coming year, just to get more numbers in our membership,” he said.

Colberg wants to concentrate on getting the younger generation involved in their community, hoping he can partner with schools or create a program, so that younger people can realize that they are needed.

BEST MEMORY:  One of Colberg’s best memories was watching his community come together to help those in need after Superstorm Sandy.

“It was such an eye-opening experience to watch so many members of the community put so much money, time and effort into helping those in need,” he said. Colberg recalled keeping the office open for a full week, as a drop-off station, and watching people come multiple times to give their time or make donations of clothes, food or money.

“I remember people getting to their last quarter tank of gas and still making one more trip to the Rockaways to help out.”

INSPIRATION: Colberg’s drive is just seeing others in his neighborhood get involved, saying, “in the fast-paced world that we are in, not a lot of people have that extra time to put into helping their community, but when they do show up, I feel like I have to help out as well.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: As the new president of the WRBA, his biggest challenge is yet to come.  Looking forward, he feels his challenge would just be to gain more exposure and get more people involved, which he believes he can accomplish by the end of the year.

 

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Astoria and LIC among Queens stops recommended for East River Ferry expansion


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the East River Ferry

Queens could be the big winner from an expansion of the East River Ferry service if the city can find a spare $80 million to expand existing infrastructure and a private ferry company willing to pony up $10 million a year to run it.

The New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) released its preliminary 2013 Citywide Ferry Study earlier this week, in which it considered 58 potential new ferry stops, including some based on community recommendations, for the East River.

In the end, the NYCEDC recommended 11 possible spots. The areas in Queens include Astoria Cove, Long Island City North, and Beach 108th and 116th Street in the Rockaways, according to the report. Ferry service was also recommended looked into for LaGuardia Airport.

“In the span of only a few years, ferry service has become an integral part of the City’s transportation infrastructure, serving millions of passengers and providing momentum for continued development along the City’s waterfront,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball.

According to the report, these new routes would require “considerable capital and operating subsidies” and an expanded new network featuring the East River Ferry and the additional routes would require “an annual subsidy for weekday service of close to $10 million.”

The potential new stops would also require additional capital investment to construct docking stations which feature shelters, ticketing machines, benches, bike racks, and two-slip or single-slip barges.

Following the recent study, the possible ferry service expansion proposal will now be reviewed by local elected officials, leaders, private ferry companies and the community at large in order to discuss the specific new routes and how to fund them.

Currently the only East River Ferry stop in Queens is by Hunter’s Point South Park in Long Island City between 54th Avenue and 2nd Street.

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Op-ed: We cannot forget the Philippines


| oped@queenscourier.com

STATE SENATOR TOBY ANN STAVISKY

Just over a month ago, the strongest storm ever recorded crashed into the coast of the Philippines. Wreaking devastation over large swaths of Southeast Asia, Typhoon Haiyan has affected over 12 million people in the region and claimed thousands of lives. Even today, the death toll continues to rise. At press time, the latest count was over 6,000 casualties.

It sometimes can be difficult to fathom the magnitude of a storm’s destruction and damage from half a world away. When the victims do not share our common traditions, history or culture, we may feel only remotely affected but that does not diminish the need to help others.

I and many of my Filipino constituents have seen this growing apathy towards the storm’s aftermath, evident in waning press coverage and conversation about the disaster. Our feelings were confirmed by a recent Pew poll which found more Americans were following news about the healthcare rollout than the aftermath of Haiyan. Fundraising numbers also corroborate this—one week after the typhoon hit, Americans raised about $33 million for relief efforts compared to $300 million in the immediate wake of Haiti earthquake in 2010.

So let us be clear—the disastrous denouement of Typhoon Haiyan was total and utter destruction for millions.

New York had a very small taste of the damage that natural disasters can bring when Hurricane Sandy struck our shores just over a year ago. Our friends and family in Staten Island, the Rockaways and Coney Island watched as their cherished homes and livelihoods were swept away by the storm surge. And as New Yorkers, we responded and rallied around our neighbors.

I urge the people of Queens to see the victims of Typhoon Haiyan just as they saw and were moved to action by the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I urge you to treat them as your friends, your family, your neighbors.

Which for many residents of the 16th Senate District, is true. According to a recent Asian American Federation analysis, Filipinos make up the fourth-largest Asian group in New York City, with most Filipinos living in Queens. The 16th Senate District alone is home to more than 10,000 Filipinos who mostly live in Elmhurst and Woodside, more than any other district in the state.

Last week, my colleagues Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilmember Daniel Dromm and I joined many Queens-based Filipino groups to observe the one-month anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan at a candlelight vigil and to review fundraising progress.

I was proud to stand with them that night and I pledge to stand with them until the rebuilding effort in the Philippines is finished. I hope you will join us.

Contributions can be made to the American Red Cross specifically to support Philippine typhoon relief at www.redcross.org. Various Filipino such as organizations Gawad Kalinga are also accepting donations and are able to deliver services with very low overhead costs.

If you are unsure if a non-profit is reputable, you should check their rating on Charity Navigator.

Toby Ann Stavisky, the first woman from Queens County elected to the State Senate and the first woman to Chair the Senate Committee on Higher Education. She currently represents the 16th Senate District.

 

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Star of Queens: Devon Michael O’Connor, president and founder, Welcome To Whitestone


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

image

NIKKI DJOKOVICH

Community Service: In 2011, Devon Michael O’Connor formed the non-profit Welcome To Whitestone Commercial and Residential Civic Association (WTW).  This fourth generation Whitestone resident gave other area residents and local businesses a voice backed by an association that would address their issues and concerns. WTW has formed relationships with other local associations, political leaders and city organizations in order to ensure action on the public’s issues and concerns. The association also promotes and produces family-fun events that benefit the local community.

Background: “This is my home. I’ve played in all the parks, graduated from the local schools and I shop in the local businesses. Now, as a business owner myself, I continue to urge the residents of Whitestone to support their local businesses,” O’Connor said.  To quote a friend of O’Connor’s, “It’s important to keep the unity in community.”

Favorite Memory: O’Connor’s most inspirational and spiritual memory is when he began collecting needed supplies for all who were affected by Sandy. Backed by an immense amount of support from the community, his civic group managed, in under 48 hours, to collect, sort and deliver over 600 large bags of food, clothing and toiletries to several shelters in the Rockaways.

Biggest Challenge: “One of the biggest challenges I faced was overcoming the political opposition I received when forming my civic group,” O’Connor said. He is very grateful for the Whitestone community being so accepting of the various projects that WTW has implemented.

Inspiration: O’Connor is inspired by individuals that understand that the future is a direct result of what is done in the present. Also by the people who are able to find solutions to the problems that others may have given up on. “If your goals are for the purpose of benefiting others in a positive way, the word ‘can’t’ is not an option,” says O’Connor.

 

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Queens College to study options for abandoned Rockaway Beach line


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Transportation advocates have had resurrection on the mind for the abandoned Rockaway Beach line (RBL), and are now getting local support to see if their vision can become a reality.

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder announced on Monday that Queens College will undertake a study to assess the proposed options for the tracks.

Along with a rail line revival, plans exist to convert the 3.5-mile long space to a public park, the QueensWay.

“The whole idea is to expose all possible options,” said Dr. Leonard Rodberg, chair of the Department of Urban Studies, which will conduct the study.

Starting next spring, graduate and undergraduate students will be able to take research courses geared towards the RBL, studying the community impact of each plan. They will consider census data, existing transportation patterns and more.

During the summer of 2014, roughly a dozen students will be hired as research assistants to do field work, going out in the community and surveying both the area and residents. Completion is projected for the end of the summer.

“Our goal here is to do what’s in the best interest of Queens,” Goldfeder said. “We’ve got to look at all options.”

Rail line advocates are hoping for a compromise, and several members of the Queens Public Transit Committee would like to find “some common ground.”

“When you look at the QueensWay, it’s a great idea,” said Phil McManus, committee chair. “I’m not anti-park, I just think we need the train first.”

McManus said that bringing back the 40-minute commute between the Rockaways and midtown, paired with a park could be the best bet.

“If you exclusively do a park without a train, I’m afraid that we’d lose the train forever,” he said.

“We’re willing to work with whatever possible. I want transportation for this line, and beautification.”

For the upcoming study, Goldfeder plans to provide a capital grant of $50,000 to $100,000 to help with infrastructure needs. The college’s department will also set aside money from their budget.

“We need to utilize the tools that we’ve got, much like the rail line,” Goldfeder said. “Hopefully this can lead to the next step.”

 

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Doctors of the World opens free health clinic in the Rockaways


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Doctors of the World

Doctors of the World has officially opened its doors, and the Rockaways have a new, free health clinic during a time some have called a “health crisis in the borough.”

This is the first and only location in the country for Doctors of the World, which offers services in 79 other countries. Set at 2-30 Beach 102nd Street, it provides free primary medical services.

“We’ve had an overwhelming response so far,” said Dr. Amber Featherstone, medical director at the new clinic.

Featherstone previously worked overseas in Africa with Doctors Without Borders, and is excited to continue work with an international organization. She said she sees some parallels with patients stateside and those abroad.

“Patients don’t have access to good care,” she said. “They wait until they’re really sick to get care, or they care for themselves as best they can, but they are not able to fully fund the medication they need. The problems become more complicated because of that.”

Featherstone hopes that she and her team can get patients “some kind of medical insurance coverage, or help them get more stabilized in care,” she said, and be available to the people who aren’t getting the “continuous care they need.”

Currently, the Rockaway office, aside from Featherstone, has a clinic manager and a nurse manager. They are looking for volunteers, including medical providers, nurse practitioners, nursing staff, medical assistants and anybody who can perform administrative services.

“Especially people who are local and want to give something back,” Featherstone said.

As of now, operating hours are Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but Featherstone expects those days and hours to increase if they maintain the current customer volume. They are already booked solid for the next two weeks.

The majority of their clientele, Featherstone said, are patients needing a full, physical exam. “People who have been out of care, trying to hold it together for medical coverage,” she said.

A handful of patients prior to visiting Doctors of the World were paying out of pocket for things such as diabetes medicine. Now, Doctors is trying to establish partnerships with medical providers so as to ease the cost for patients.

The group has already formed a partnership with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for lower radiology rates, as well as Rite Aid for Medicaid rates.

However, for the first month of care, Doctors of the World is able to cover medication cost, but they “don’t have the funding to continue to cover long-term,” Featherstone said. They are hoping to get more funding for “that particular cost in the near future.”

 

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71-year-old killed at Rockaway nursing home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A 71-year-old man is dead after he was assaulted by his roommate at a Rockaway nursing home Wednesday.

The assault took place inside of the Beacon Nursing Home, at 140 Beach 113th Street, around 1:20 a.m. said cops.

The victim, unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to the head, was taken to Saint John’s Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Thomas Yarnavick, 66, a residence of the nursing home, has been arrested in connection to the assault and charged with second-degree murder and criminal possession of a weapon, said police.

According to published reports, Yarnavick was roommates with the victim. He allegedly used his wheelchair leg rest to beat the victim after a dispute over a curtain separating their beds.

 

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Chelsea Clinton helps with Sandy recovery during ‘Day of Action’ in the Rockaways


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Clinton Foundation

The Clintons joined the ongoing Sandy recovery in a “Day of Action” in the Rockaways.

Chelsea Clinton and hundreds of volunteers visited Brookville Park, Rockaway Park, P.S. 197 and homes in Far Rockaway on Saturday to revitalize the damaged communities. This is the fifth Day of Action, which has brought in volunteers from all over the country to give back to their own communities.

Clinton also participated in the St. Bernard Project to break ground on the future site of the first “Resilient House.”

The former first daughter joined the home’s future owners, the Lyons family, at the event.

The Resilient House will be designed by Sustainable TO Architecture + Building and is modeled to be energy efficient, cost effective and able to withstand future disasters.

 

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Op-Ed: Where are we one year later?


| oped@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH ADDABBO JR.

On any particular day, whether I’m working, getting a cup of coffee, shopping or having dinner in the district, people detail their experiences involving Superstorm Sandy in many different ways. A year later, many still get tears in their eyes, others remain frustrated about the lack of progress, while some see it as a chance to make improvements and some are optimistic about community improvements. One storm, a year later, still causes many emotions.

While we can’t control the weather, we can take steps to control the level of our preparedness and what direction our government takes in addressing the next storm. We’ve learned a lot from Sandy, and I would urge my constituents to think ahead and make sure they have detailed emergency plans in place: know how to contact one another in case of an emergency; have adequate supplies of canned goods, medicines, batteries, flashlights and water on hand; know what to do to help secure your homes and properties to minimize risks during a storm. Useful hurricane preparedness information may be found at this NYS Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Services website: http://www.dhses.ny.gov/oem/event/hurricane-safety.cfm.

I, along with other elected officials, have been advocating for adequate funding and needed legislation to help the district address the many serious human, economic and other consequences resulting from Sandy. As a member of the New York State Senate Bipartisan Task Force on Hurricane Sandy, I look forward to continuing the effort of our state in responding to Sandy’s devastation and obtaining assistance for those in need.  Currently, our city’s and state’s portion of the federal funding of $61 billion to help Sandy victims is being distributed through NYC Build It Back program, and the state’s utilization of community leaders in its NY Rising Community Reconstruction program aimed at improving our infrastructure.

A range of bills aimed at addressing various aspects of Sandy’s impact were passed by the state legislature and have been recently signed into law by the governor. Some topics include rebates of real property taxes, assisting Breezy Point residents with street frontage issues unique to Breezy Point, exemptions to filing fees related to federal Small Business Administration Disaster Loans, and the implementation of improved tornado warning systems.

This year’s Atlantic Hurricane Season is not yet over. We have learned a lot from Sandy and a year later are still dealing with its aftermath. It’s OK to share our emotions, feelings and sentiments about Sandy, knowing also that by working together we can rebuild and be prepared better than ever.

Senator Joseph Addabbo represents the 15th Senatorial District encompassing the communities – in whole or in part – of Broad Channel, Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Glendale, Hamilton Beach, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens Hills, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ozone Park, Rego Park, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood, South Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Woodside and the Rockaways.

 

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SANDY ONE YEAR LATER: Co-ops, condos still waiting for disaster aid


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A proposed federal law that would bring disaster aid to co-op and condo communities has not come any closer to being passed nearly one year after Sandy.

“It just doesn’t make sense,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “It’s just prolonging the financial hardship on co-ops. Right now, we’re stuck footing the bill for cleanup and repair from the storm, and I don’t think this will be the last storm.”

Schreiber said his northeast Queens co-op expects to shell out up to $60,000 in repairs not covered by insurance.

More than $250,000 in infrastructure damage was sustained nearby in the Glen Oaks Village co-op, according to its president, Bob Friedrich.

The bill exceeds $1 million for some Rockaway co-ops in the most hard-hit areas of Queens.

The Breezy Point Cooperative, which saw about 350 homes in the beach community decimated by fire and flood, has spent $1.5 million out of the co-op’s reserves and contingency funds to get back on its feet, according to Arthur Lighthall, the co-op’s general manager.

“We had to do a good amount of repair and restoration to get things back in order,” including getting the water supply back and fixing sidewalks, Lighthall said. “The bottom line is it’s us, the shareholders, who have to pay for it.”

The pricey repair costs fall on the shoulders of co-op and condo communities due to a glitch in the law keeping them from getting FEMA storm recovery grants, local leaders said.

The Stafford Act, which governs how FEMA responds to major disasters, does not include the word “co-op,” according to Congressmember Steve Israel.

However, there is no statute that bans co-op owners from being eligible for grants, a privilege given to homeowners.

Co-op and condos are also categorized as “business associations,” which makes them eligible for federal loans but not grants. It also means they cannot get funds to fix shared spaces like lobbies and roofs.

Israel introduced legislation this August that would better define co-ops in the Stafford Act, allow co-op and condo owners to apply for FEMA grants, and call for a new cap on FEMA’s Individual and Households Program.

The bipartisan bill has at least 14 cosponsors so far but currently sits in a subcommittee on the House’s Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, according to Israel’s office.

An aide to the congressmember said any movement of the bill was delayed by the partial government shutdown, which lasted 16 days in October.

“It’s been a year since Superstorm Sandy hit, and it’s time for co-op and condo associations to get the help they deserve,” Israel said. “Although I’ll continue to fight my hardest, it’s frustrating that this bill hasn’t been passed so these homeowners can receive the vital assistance they deserve.”

The City Council unanimously passed a resolution, which is only a formal position statement, last month calling for Congress to enact the law.

“It really shouldn’t be that difficult,” Schreiber said. “I just find it so disappointing that we have a Congress that can’t even get together on changing one line of text that will benefit constituents on the East Coast, West Coast and middle of the country.”

 

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Chelsea Clinton to join volunteers in Rockaways for second ‘Day of Action’ for Sandy victims


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Clinton Foundation will bring together residents and volunteers for a second “Day of Action” for Sandy victims.

Chelsea Clinton will visit the Rockaways on Saturday, October 26 and along with hundreds of volunteers will work to rebuild houses, clean and update public parks, conduct conservation activities and more.

Clinton will also join the St. Bernard Project and its partners to break ground on the future site of the first “Resilient House” in Far Rockaway, the Designing Recovery competition’s winning design for New York. The house is modeled to be energy efficient, cost effective and able to withstand future disasters.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Wednesday: Clear. High of 73. Winds from the North at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Overcast in the evening, then partly cloudy. Low of 55. Winds less than 5 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Moving Screening at Laughing Devil Comedy Club

Long Island City’s Laughing Devil Comedy Club invites you to grab a bite, toss back a drink and enjoy the best in classic comedy films on our massive new screen. This Wednesday night’s movie is “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Anthrax scare at Queens Criminal Court after Tylenol sent as ‘joke’ arrives in powder form

A boneheaded prank by an assistant district attorney against a fellow prosecutor set off an Anthrax panic in Queens Criminal Court Tuesday, law enforcement sources said. Read more: New York Daily News

Judge: Rent Too High candidate goes on NYC ballot

A man who wants to run for mayor as the Rent is Too Damn High Party’s candidate should be on the general election ballot, a judge has decided. Read more: NBC New York

City Council bill would ban employers from Facebook friending job seekers, employees

Some City Council members are trying to make sure that you don’t have to be friends with your boss — at least not on Facebook. Read more:  New York Daily News

Some 4,500 cabbies with more than 6 points on their license still driving due to computer glitch

If you’ve ever wondered if your cab driver should be behind the wheel, the answer might well be no. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Humpback whales ‘hanging out’ near the Rockaways

Humpback whales have been spotted just a few hundred yards from the Queens shoreline. Read more: CBS New York

 Senator Cruz rails through night against Obamacare

Republican Senator Ted Cruz slogged into the second day of his marathon attack on Obamacare from the Senate floor on Wednesday, showing almost no signs of relenting after speaking for nearly 16 hours. Read more: Reuters 

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Partly cloudy. High of 84. Winds from the SW at 5 to 10 mph. Friday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then overcast. Low of 72. Winds from the SSW at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Jerks: The Show

This late-night comedy showcase at the Laughing Devil Comedy Club in LIC on Friday, August 30 at 10:30 p.m. features NYC’s finest, most eloquent & lovable jerks. Leave your weak friends at home, as this show will appeal to your darker comedy tastes. As a special bonus, House of Jerky will provide free samples to the audience. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Poll: Spitzer and Stringer locked in dead heat in race for comptroller

A new poll shows a dramatic falloff in support for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer‘s comeback campaign to become New York City comptroller. He’s now tied with Democratic rival Scott Stringer. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Parts of the Rockaways will be open to swimmers for Labor Day weekend

This holiday weekend, parts of the Rockaways will have something for the first time all summer: swimmers. Read more: NY1

New proposal calls for inter-borough train connecting Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn

Transportation advocates hope New York City’s next mayor will take a fresh look at a bold idea — creating an inter-borough train that would link Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. Read more: CBS New York

Mr. Softee takes a hard line on suspected imposter ice cream trucks

Mister Softee is creaming the counterfeiters.The ice cream company is suing four fakers who are pushing ice cream in Queens this summer from vehicles outfitted to look like real Mister Softee trucks complete with blue and white paint jobs, logos and decals. Read more: New York Daily News

NBC poll: Americans skeptical of U.S. intervention in Syria

Fifty percent of Americans say they oppose the United States taking military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad, and nearly eight-in-10 believe President Barack Obama should receive congressional approval before using any force, according to a new NBC News poll. Read more: NBC News