Tag Archives: Roosevelt Avenue

82nd Street BID executive director resigns, some community members ‘celebrate’


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO

Some Jackson Heights and Corona community members say they are “celebrating” as news came in that the executive director behind a controversial business improvement district expansion is resigning.

Seth Taylor, current executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, announced this week he would be resigning from his position.

Starting Sept. 15, he will begin serving as the executive director of the NoHo NY BID. The move, he said, was done because he “felt it was a professionally opportune time to move onto another opportunity — in this case, NoHo.”

Taylor and the committee at the 82nd Street Partnership have been working to expand the business improvement district (BID) to Roosevelt Avenue and tackle issues of graffiti, crime, poor lighting and lack of sanitation.

Yet they have also been faced with the issue of a lack of support from residents and business owners in the area — many of whom claim that the change is not worth the rise of costs and would kick out immigrant business owners.

Marty Kirchner of Queens Neighborhood United, and some members of the Queens community, said they are “celebrating” the news of Taylor’s resignation.

Kirchner, speaking on behalf of Queens Neighborhoods United, a coalition of social justice activists, expressed “feeling bad” for those in NoHo. In a release, he claims that Seth Taylor’s resignation was welcomed with open arms by many members of the community.

“The resignation of Seth Taylor is a victory for the neighbors of Roosevelt Avenue,” said Christian Guiñanzaca, an organizer with the coalition. “Seth Taylor has always looked down on the immigrant communities of Queens. This just goes to show that you don’t mess with the people and come back unscratched.”

Still, Taylor says he feels he has succeeded, and that the general response he has received has been one of gratitude.

“This is an extremely diverse community and people are entitled to think and feel the way they like to,” Taylor said. “When you lead a neighborhood change initiative like we’ve done there’s always going to be individuals and groups of people that are resistant to any kind of change.”

Taylor, who has been the executive director for the 82nd Street Partnerships since 2012, said that although he is excited to begin his journey in a new borough, he considers his time in Queens “extremely positive” and will remain focused on his work here as he transitions over the next week and a half.

In regards to the continuation of the expansion, the 82nd Street Partnership has every intention of continuing with or without Taylor, and Queens Neighborhoods United said they will continue opposing the BID.

The board of directors working on the BID expansion is actively identifying potential candidates to replace Taylor after he moves on in the upcoming week.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

More Slow Zones coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More areas of Queens are slowing down.

The city’s Department of Transportation announced Friday the second phase of Arterial Slow Zones, which reduce speed limits to 25 mph, in 14 new locations throughout the city. New signs will be put up indicating the change.

Among the 14 locations are two Queens corridors. The first will run 5.8 miles on Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street and the approximate start month is set for September.

In December, the DOT is expected to begin implementing a 5.6-mile slow zone on Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street.

“Slow Zones are a critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We are glad to work closely with local communities in bringing these life saving measures to corridors across the city. These 14 additional zones meet another goal we set in February.”

In May the DOT announced that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard runs 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street.

DOT also implemented a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard stretching 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Op-ed: Why a Business Improvement District will help our business


| oped@queenscourier.com

MONICA CALDERÓN

As a small business owner on Roosevelt Avenue, I understand what it is to a run mom-and-pop shop in this neighborhood. My parents immigrated to Queens and set up the business I currently run.  For over a decade, our business has served as our family pride and our lifeline, and we have called Roosevelt Avenue our home.

We love Roosevelt Avenue, but we also know that it can be better. If you look just a few blocks away at the area within the current 82nd Street Partnership, you can see the difference. The street is clean and safe, with significantly less trash and graffiti. The Partnership helped get grants to pay for new storefronts, awnings, lights and signs. Businesses benefit from free marketing and promotion through the crowds that come to the street for events like Viva La Comida, as well as online and social media promotion.

Businesses along 82nd Street have a voice and an advocate that represents their interests and needs with city government, and can connect them with free services and workshops to help them strengthen their business and succeed.

We want that extra boost, too.

The good news is that we can have it. In the coming days and weeks, business owners, residents, and property owners located on Roosevelt Avenue from 81st Street to 104th Street, as well as Junction Boulevard from 40th Road to 35th Avenue, will have a chance to vote to extend the 82nd Street Partnership boundaries to form the Jackson Heights–Corona Business Improvement District. To us it’s a no-brainer — we will be voting yes.

As small business owners in Queens face more and more challenges – online retailers, chain stores, high rents, navigating city rules and regulations – it is important that we come together as a community to create a stronger, safer and cleaner Roosevelt Avenue where people want to live, do business, and shop, at all hours, day or night. We urge our neighbors to vote yes to the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District.

For more information on the proposed Jackson Heights–Corona Business Improvement District, please visit www.JHCoronaBID.org.

Monica Calderón is an owner of L&C Accounting Service Inc.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Some small business owners, residents continue to say ‘no’ to BID in Jackson Heights, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The resistance continues.

During the first of two public meetings on Thursday, some Jackson Heights and Corona residents and business owners asked their community to vote no to the expansion that would bring a business improvement district to the neighborhood. They brought up issues which the BID would bring such as gentrification, and the rising of property costs and taxes.

“Right now they say $1,000 annually, once the project gets approved then a little bit more, a little bit more they squeeze one’s throat,” said Sergio Ruiz, a business owner of 15 years, about the estimated yearly cost per lot in the district.

The 82nd Street Partnership, a nonprofit group promoting the current local BID covering four blocks and over 160 businesses, announced last year it would be extending all the way through 114th  Street to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. It was later revised to stretch from 82nd Street to 104th Street and down Junction Boulevard. The corridor will include a total of 440 lots and about 850 commercial tenants.

Tania Mattos, a member of the coalition Queens Neighborhoods United, said the group has been trying to educate the community on what a BID is, the voting process and options, and they have been cleaning Roosevelt Avenue every two weeks.

“Roosevelt Avenue does not need the BID,” Mattos said. “It needs the city to wake up, to realize it has neglected Roosevelt Avenue for decades and I’ve seen it personally. Instead the broken sidewalks, perishing and poorly maintained elevated train is blamed on the residents.”

According to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, the concept of the BID came from every community resident she had spoken to expressing concerns about the safety and cleanliness of Roosevelt Avenue.

“They want to be able to walk, they want to be able to shop, they want to be able to come with their families and contribute to the businesses,” Ferreras said. “We have a very different and very vibrant business corridor, we deserve better, we deserve to be able to have a business corridor that is vibrant, clean and safe.”

Other business owners at the meeting showed their support for the BID and tried to encourage audience members to vote yes.

“We have to give it a chance and give ourselves a chance,” said Rosita Cali, a business owner and Jackson Heights resident for 17 years. “Let’s give ourselves the room, the chance to have the opportunity to try this and also if something comes out wrong we have the right to say that it’s not right. But if we give the opportunity and this is positive, why not enjoy all the changes?”

In the upcoming weeks, business owners, residents and property owners on Roosevelt Avenue will have to vote on whether they want the BID in their community.

“The BID is really an advocate for the business community, the goal here is to improve the shopping environment, make it cleaner, safer, more inviting and better for the small business,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

For more information, visit JHCoronaBID.org.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Police release sketch of suspect in Woodside punching death


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops have released a sketch of the suspect who fatally punched a 56-year-old man in Woodside last month.

Roberto Martires was on Roosevelt Avenue near 69th Street just after midnight on June 21 when he was attacked, cops said. A stranger allegedly walked up to Martires that Saturday night and slugged him the face.

Martires, who was just a few blocks from his home when he was assaulted, was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition, where he died from his injuries the following Tuesday, according to authorities.

Published reports initially said that Martires’ attacker asked if he was Filipino before punching him, causing him to hit his head on the pavement. But it was later reported that police are not investigating the incident as a hate crime and it may have resulted from the World Cup.

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.

Cops also released this photo of the suspect last month.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Driver charged after fatally striking pedestrian on Roosevelt Avenue


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

handcuffs-with-color-web-size11111


Updated Sunday, July 6, 8:25 a.m.

An alleged drunk driver has been charged after hitting and killing a pedestrian in Jackson Heights on Saturday, cops said.

The crash happened at about 4:30 a.m. on Roosevelt Avenue near 92nd Street, according to officials.

The victim, a man, who has yet to be identified by police, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver, 42-year-old Romulo Mejia, of Bradenton, Florida, and his passenger, a 35-year-old woman, were taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition, cops said.

Mejia has been charged with vehicular manslaughter with a previous conviction for DWI, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated unlicensed operator, and DWI with a previous conviction in the past 10 years, according to police.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man dies after apparent random attack in Woodside


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Wednesday, June 25, 11:15 a.m.

A 56-year-old man who was punched in the face in Woodside by a stranger on Saturday has died, according to police.

The victim, identified as Roberto Martires, was on Roosevelt Avenue near 69th Street just after midnight Saturday when the suspect slugged him, cops said.

The assault, which happened only a few blocks from Martires’ home, was seemingly unprovoked, according to police.

Martires was taken Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition, where he died Tuesday, officials said.

According to published reports, Martires’ attacker asked if he was Filipino, then punched him, causing him to hit his head on the pavement.

Cops are looking for a man to question in connection to the assault, and describe him as Hispanic, in his mid twenties and with facial hair.

On Monday, police released a photo of the suspect, who was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a dark colored baseball cap.

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man in critical condition after being punched on Woodside street


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD


A 56-year-old man was left in critical condition after a stranger punched him in the face in an apparently unprovoked attack on a Woodside street, cops said.

The assault happened just after midnight Saturday on Roosevelt Avenue near 69th Street, according to police.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital.

Police describe the man who they are looking to question in connection to the attack as Hispanic, in his mid twenties and with facial hair. They have also released a photo of him, and said he was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a dark colored baseball cap.

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New organization created to unify merchants around Corona Plaza


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Friends of Corona Plaza

A group of Corona merchants have come together to create a unified voice for a beloved pedestrian plaza.

Earlier this month commercial stakeholders around Corona Plaza, an open public plaza located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th streets, came together to talk about ideas that could help business and improve quality of life for pedestrians and merchants alike.

The group then decided to create a new organization called Friends of Corona Plaza with the purpose of bringing together all the commercial tenants to create a brighter future for the space.

“The goal is to have all the merchants, [such] as myself, to be unified as one voice,” said Edgar Gutierrez, store manager at the Walgreens located at 103-14 Roosevelt Ave., who was elected as president of the organization. “We want to have all the merchants as one and have one voice for all of Corona Plaza. We want to make sure [the merchants] are aware of what is going on in the plaza.”

The group also elected Pastor Victor Tiburcio of Aliento de Vida Church, located at 103-12 Roosevelt Ave., as vice president and Diego Ratzlaff, a physician’s assistant at Procare Health & Wellness, located at 40-03 National St., as secretary.

“What we want to do is unify the commercial tenants,” Ratzlaff said. “We want to be here, we work here, we are here daily. We want to advocate for Corona Plaza so it could be a great experience for the people who work and live here. We want more people to come in, and the more people that come in, the more business.”

Members of the group have been reaching out to other merchants to let them know about Friends of Corona Plaza, according to Gutierrez.

During the organization’s meeting in July, Gutierrez said the group plans on discussing its support for the expansion of the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District and also the Department of Transportation’s planned renovation project for Corona Plaza slated to begin early 2015.

“We want to touch base on the construction of the plaza and how will it affect the merchants in the area,” Gutierrez said.

The date and location for the next meeting of Friends of Corona Plaza are still pending.

The DOT did not immediately respond to request for comment.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

82nd Street Partnership unveils restoration of historic Jackson Heights building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

Together with the Jackson Heights Historic District, the 82nd Street Partnership has unveiled a restoration which marks the beginning of bringing a new look to the diverse area.

The 82nd Street Partnership gathered with representatives from the City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), community leaders, groups and merchants to unveil the restoration of a historic building at 82-01 Roosevelt Avenue.

The Tuesday unveiling was the beginning of the “Storefront Restoration Program” which will restore building façades and enhance the district’s sense of place by the end of the year.

The 82nd Street Partnership was one of the seven Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) which won SBS’ 2013 “Neighborhood Challenge” initiative with the goal to encourage innovation and creativity in local economic development programming.

Investing in the $50,000 award it received from the “challenge,” the BID set out to support property owners and merchants in Jackson Heights by assisting them with free design assistance and offering a matching construction grant as part of the new restoration program.

By the end of the year the program will have renovated seven ground floor and three upper floor storefronts at three properties on 82nd Street between 37th and Roosevelt Avenue enhancing the “look and feel” of the area by making the businesses more attractive and inviting to a larger group of customers.

Before

After

The overall restorations will help bring improvements to the area’s quality of life, help preserve retail diversity and improve business conditions, according to the 82nd Street Partnership.

Along with the restorations, the program will also remove 20 LPC violations from three properties.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Famous Famiglia opens at Jackson Heights subway station


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A new famiglia has come to Jackson Heights.

Famous Famiglia opened its doors on Monday at the subway station on 75th Street and Roosevelt Avenue together with local elected officials, family and friends.

The pizza chain beat out a total of 12 other proposals which vied to call the vacant 4,000-square-foot space home in 2010, after the MTA advertised a new request for proposals. Famous Famiglia won and signed a lease in 2011.

“We are very excited about becoming a part of the Jackson Heights community,” said Paul Kolaj, Famous Famiglia CEO and co-founder. “Even though Famous Famiglia is an internationally successful pizza brand, the Jackson Heights location is especially meaningful to us.”

Kolaj said Queens is important to him and his family, because they first immigrated to the United States through John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1970. The family went on to grow up in the South Bronx and in 1986 launched the business in Manhattan on the Upper West Side.

“The very fabric of America is no more apparent than the diverse cross section that is Queens,” said Kolaj. “We appreciate the partnership and support of the MTA and we look forward to creating dozens of jobs through a successful business in Jackson Heights, and for the opportunity to make our contribution to the local community.”

A month before taking office four years ago, Councilmember Daniel Dromm held his first press conference calling for the MTA to fill the vacant space at the subway station. Now that the pizzeria has finally opened its doors, the councilmember said it will be a significant economic driver to the community and also helps out other local businesses along Roosevelt Avenue.

“This is the hub of Jackson Heights,” said Dromm. “I’m thrilled to see Famous Famiglia finally able to open their doors.”

All sales made on the Monday grand opening will be donated to Elmhurst Hospital’s “Helping Kids Heal” fund, going towards the pediatric center at the hospital.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops looking for E train rider who groped woman


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect who they say groped a woman onboard a subway train near Roosevelt Avenue Tuesday.

The 33-year-old victim was on a southbound E train around 1 p.m. when the suspect approached the woman, then forcibly touched her, said cops.

No injuries were reported from the incident.

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.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Jackson Heights-Corona BID shortens boundaries


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Maps courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

For the cost of a coffee and empanada, businesses and property owners along Roosevelt Avenue will be able to see a cleaner and safer community.

In March, the 82nd Street Partnership announced it would be extending its business improvement district (BID) through 114th Street to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. The new BID included the corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and National Street.

But after taking in community feedback and comments, and based on the Department of City Planning’s proposed plan to rezone 14 block fronts on Roosevelt Avenue as part of the East Elmhurst Rezoning, the BID has been revised to stretch from 82nd to 104th Street and down Junction Boulevard. The corridor will include a total of 440 lots and about 850 commercial tenants.

By shortening the corridor by 10 blocks, Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, said the BID’s new budget will be close to $860,000, which is less than the original over $1 million budget, making the BID “more affordable.”

According to Councilmember Julissa Ferreras the major issues – including lack of sanitation, graffiti, crime and poor lighting – are most commonly found along the revised boundaries.

“I remain confident that the proposed expansion will continue to address and remediate these quality of life issues in addition to enhancing the overall shopping and visiting experience in the area,” said Ferreras.

In response to recent criticisms saying the BID will push out the immigrant community with raising rents and taxes, Taylor said the investment property owners will have to make would only equal the price of a cup of coffee and empanada daily. Most property owners would contribute an average of $2.50 per day or $75 per month.

Some other things the BID hopes to bring to the community are more events in public spaces, which will be featured on its official website, and bring Wi-Fi to Roosevelt Avenue.

In order to keep the community informed and answer questions, the 82nd Street Partnership has been holding numerous public information meetings since the beginning of the year. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 17 at 4 p.m. at the Make the Road New York office located at 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue.

Ballots to vote for the BID will be sent out later this year to all members of the proposed corridors, including residents, property and business owners. For more information, visit JHCoronaBID.org.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Jackson Heights man arrested for fatal Roosevelt Avenue shooting


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Jackson Heights man has been arrested and charged for the murder of another man on Roosevelt Avenue.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, September 20 at approximately 5:54 p.m., after responding to a report of a man shot at 80th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, police found Ivan Rodriguez, 33, of Corona in front of 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue with a gunshot wound to his neck and head. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police arrested Pedro Silva, 20, of Jackson Heights in connection to the incident. He has been charged with two counts of murder, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of criminal use of a firearm. 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man dies after being shot in head, neck in Jackson Heights


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A 33-year-old man died Friday after he was shot in the head and neck in Jackson Heights, police said.

The name of the man was not yet released.

Police said the incident occurred September 20 shortly before 6 p.m. at 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

There were no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES