Tag Archives: sandy

Op-ed: Keep the Rockaway Ferry


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY JOE HARTIGAN

As a lifelong resident of Queens and a 34-year resident of the Rockaways, I would like to emphasize the great potential ferry service will have for Rockaway and the rest of the city.
Since those living in the Rockaways have the longest commute of any NYC residents, it is evident that the ferry service, which was established after Superstorm Sandy, has dramatically improved commuter travel time but is also the only nice thing that has happened to Rockaway since the storm.

The ferry service that was put in place after Superstorm Sandy in Rockaway was done in three days. The Rockaways were very fortunate that Seastreak had the proper vessels available to establish the ferry run after Sandy.

The ferry has cut the commute time from the middle of Rockaway to lower Manhattan by over a half-hour. The ferry service has had an on-time performance of better than 95 percent with not one police incident in the almost two years since it started.

According to the NYC Parks Department, in 2012, Rockaway Beach saw almost 8 million visitors before Superstorm Sandy. Rockaway could become the number one (or two) tourist destination in NYC by improving beach access through better transportation. Rockaway has more visitors than the Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Museum of Natural History and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few.

In the last week of August, the Rockaway/Brooklyn/Manhattan ferry did 1,300 rides per day. If the R/B/M ferry were free, it would give the Staten Island ferry a run for the top ridership spot.
The ferries would be built in New York State, thus creating jobs. Seastreak would base part of its operations in New York State, therefore creating 50 to 80 permanent jobs in NYC.

The route that I am proposing is JFK Airport-Rockaway-BAT Pier Brooklyn-Wall Street-Roosevelt Island-Astoria-Flushing, LaGuardia Airport and Willets Point Project. If the R/B/M ferry had the same number of ferry runs with the beach traffic and JFK Airport passengers, the ridership number would triple that of the East River ferry.

I am just trying to improve my neighborhood of Rockaway, Queens, by advocating for an overall NYC ferry service which, in turn, will assist in developing all areas of our city.

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Op-ed: Two catastrophic events, one Queens community


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY STATE SENATOR JOSEPH P. ADDABBO JR.

In the moments and months following Superstorm Sandy, I saw struggles and emotions of all types. I saw people wading through the floodwaters carrying every possession they could, I saw men and women piling their useless furniture, appliances, children’s toys and personal photos onto the curbs outside their damaged homes. I also saw the expressions of anxiety, grief and loss on the faces of every affected individual.

My district was crippled, to put it mildly. For me, the last time I remember seeing an event take such a disturbing toll on people, the last time people were so emotionally drained, was on Sept. 11, 2001.

Within the communities I represent, someone had lost someone in 9/11, gotten battered with Hurricane Irene and now may have lost their home during Sandy. It’s hit after hit, which are out of our control. But through it all, our resilience continues to shine.

And now, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11 and the two-year anniversary of Sandy on Oct. 29, as we remember the crises from our past, it reminds us it’s now more important than ever to work together for our future.

The city rebuilding program Build it Back has reimbursed and assisted a number of people. While I am grateful for their efforts, we know that its work is far from over.

Build it Back aid is doing more than just reimbursing storm victims; it’s giving back some stability and reassurance to people’s lives. Time and time again, I heard about my constituents spending their life savings, their kids’ college funds or their retirement money on replacing what Sandy took from them. Build it Back has the opportunity to restore these people’s lives and make the memory of the superstorm less of a nightmare. That is why it is so important as an elected official to work through the Build It Back process in quickly addressing the needs of Sandy victims.

After 9/11, our Queens community lost not their homes but their neighbors, their friends, their family. Memories like that will never fade, never change, but the support from the community never wavered. Thirteen years later, that continues to hold true. Most individuals take time around 9/11 to honor those who died, thank those who saved others and remember the tragic event as one way to understand the need to support our military in the fight against the evil and hatred of terrorism.

Tragic events such as Sandy and 9/11 remind us that we know how to band together to support each other when a situation arises. For many, the word ‘resilient’ is not just found in the dictionary, but has become a lifestyle.

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Sandy rebuilding summit sees huge turnout


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE QUEENS COURIER/ Photo by Salvatore Licata

SALVATORE LICATA

An energized crowd of about 1,000 people gathered for a Faith in New York summit at the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica on Tuesday to learn about the progress and priorities of Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.

“This is a time for us to remember what was promised,” said the Rev.  Floyd Flake, pastor of the Greater Allen A.M.E. and a former Queens congressman. “Our people should not still be suffering the way they are, 21 months after the storm.”

Much of the meeting focused on families in Far Rockaway where suffering from Sandy is still the most prevalent issue, according to residents.  Many people are still suffering from leaking roofs, mold, no heat and no jobs as a result of the storm.

Amy Peterson, director of the Housing Recovery Office under Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other city officials listened to these concerned residents and assured them that things are changing.

“We are committed to working with all of you,” she said. “We are going to eliminate the red tape from Build it Back and everyone who has applied for it will get the support they need.”

Peterson said that since the de Blasio administration came to office, rebuilding is on the rise. But she said the fight is nowhere near over. Her office promised 500 checks to Sandy-affected homeowners by Labor Day. As of this week, 457 checks have gone out. She said that once Labor Day comes and they hit their goal, a new one will be made.

This was welcome news to Sandy survivors like Aracelis and Erik Cabrera who are still displaced from the storm.

“We applied for Build it Back but are still waiting to find out if we will receive the funds we desperately need,” Aracelis said as she wiped  tears from her eyes. “We are glad that Mayor de Blasio is focused on fixing Build it Back so that families like ours can rebuild our lives and our home.”

Peterson said that within the next 60 days she would host a large job fair that will prioritize those people who were affected by the storm. When advocates for rebuilding asked Peterson whether they can have a meeting with de Blasio himself about the recovery effort she chuckled but gave a reassuring answer.

“Well, I don’t know his [de Blasio's] schedule,” she said. “But yes, we will try to work it out.”

Source: Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

 

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Former Woodhaven resident pens play about Sandy


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Pavel Voz

The Flood,” a play written by then-Woodhaven resident Daniel McCabe as Superstorm Sandy roared into New York City, premieres this August at the New York International Fringe Festival.

In the aftermath of the storm, his family in Queens helped with relief efforts and he was reminded of the importance of family and his neighborhood.

“They’re the unsung heroes of New York City,” said McCabe, 34, who also stars in the play. “They’re the people who keep the lights on, who run the trains and give the city life.”

The other actors and actresses in the play came from around the world to live in New York City and Queens. John Duddy, a former boxer from Ireland who now lives in Middle Village will also be starring in the play. And Emma Ishta, McCabe’s wife from Australia, is featured in the production.

McCabe went to Saint Elizabeth School on Atlantic Avenue and 85th Street, where he was surrounded by the Irish working class. And he credits the characters in the neighborhood with influencing him to become a writer.

“I was surrounded by storytellers, real characters that just knew how to tell you about things,” he said. “It’s an interesting conversation dynamic when you have the train [on Jamaica Avenue] going overhead every five minutes and you just have to stop talking for that time.”

“The Flood,” which McCabe will also direct, takes place in the East Village just as Sandy begins to loom over the city. Charlie, his character, is a bartender dealing with family troubles and a suicidal brother.

“A lot of the conflict of these characters has a lot to do with growing up in working class neighborhoods,” he said.

Though McCabe, who has relatives in Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Bayside and Richmond Hill, now lives in Brooklyn, he and his wife often go back to Woodhaven, where his mother still lives.

“Woodhaven will always be my home,” he said.

 

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Repairs begin on Hamilton Beach boardwalk after Sandy damage


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

The city is finally repairing the boardwalk connecting Hamilton Beach and Howard Beach after Superstorm Sandy made it dangerous to use.

“No one from the city wanted to step up and take responsibility,” said Roger Gendron, the president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “But [Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office] kept going and going to get this done.”

While Ulrich’s office pushed for the repairs, which began on May 15, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) is ultimately responsible for doing the work since it owns the property, according to the councilman. But the department wasn’t quick to admit ownership and instead they told the community that the MTA owned the land. The two debated ownership, causing a delay in repairs.

“This is an issue we’ve been working on for more than a year,” Ulrich said. “We kept going back and forth with DCAS. We were relentless. The city has to accept responsibility for its property and we’re here to make sure that happens.”

When the flooding hit the area, Gendron explained, the boardwalk became uprooted, and now, the once-straight boardwalk curves and drops in many spots. The boardwalk also sustained damages to the individual planks. Construction workers were observed by Gendron on Tuesday, May 20, working on the site.

Hamilton Beach is a small sliver of Howard Beach and is separated from the rest of the neighborhood by canals and waterways. In an area with less than a handful of ways in and out, the boardwalk is used as a main walkway for people going to and from the Howard Beach A train station.

“Anytime we lose any way out of Hamilton Beach, it hurts,” Gendron said.

Gendron and Ulrich both said that this repair is just one among many things that needs to be fixed.

“It’s just one part of the community that needed repairs and we aim to fix them all,” Ulrich said.

DCAS did not respond to comment requests before press time, and no completion date has been set by the department. When the project is complete, according to Gendron, the department will replace the wooden planks with a concrete walkway and new railings.

 

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MTA to increase M train service in the fall


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Some of the growing neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens are getting a much needed service boost.

The MTA just announced it plans to increases service to the L and M subway lines this fall, based on analysis of schedules and increased ridership demand.

The service increase will be as follows:

  • On Saturday L train service will be increased a total of 33 round trips between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • On Sunday L train services will be increased a total of 23 round trips between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.
  • Weekday evening L service will be increased a total of 3 round trips
  • Weekday M service will increase one round trip – one northbound trip in the morning and one southbound trip in the late afternoon

In order to lower wait times during peak periods, there will also be increased M line service on Forest Hills-bound weekday morning and Metropolitan Ave- bound weekday afternoon trains.

The service changes, which are scheduled for the fall of this year, will cost about $1.7 million annually. M line service changes will be simultaneous with the Superstorm Sandy-related restoration of R line service.

For up-to-date information, visit www.mta.info.

 

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New city guide to flood preparedness released


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ERIC JANKIEWICZ

Homeowners in New York City can now turn to a new source on how to protect their homes against Sandy-like storms. The city’s Department of Environmental Protection released a new guide Tuesday to help homeowners protect their properties and valuables against flooding from heavy rainfall and sewer backups.

In the department’s three-page guide, “Homeowner’s Guide to Flood Preparedness,” homeowners can find information about flooding problems and tips on prevention. While the illustrated guide provides many useful tips for homeowners, it wouldn’t help with extreme flooding that many communities in the city were hit by during Superstorm Sandy.

The guide can be found on the city’s website, www.nyc.gov.

Some of the issues addressed in the guide are installing check valves to prevent sewer backup, using barriers to block water from flowing into low-lying driveways and installing proper roof drainages.

“One of the consequences we are already seeing from climate change is an increase in the frequency and intensity of rain events that can result in flash flooding in low-lying areas of New York City,” the department’s Commissioner Emily Lloyd said in a statement. “However, there are steps homeowners can take that will help prevent flooding and this new guide is full of important information that will help New Yorkers protect their properties.”

The new flood preparedness guide was rolled out Monday at a meeting of nearly 300 members of the Empowered Queens United in Action and Leadership (EQUAL) organization at St. Catherine of Sienna Catholic Church in Saint Albans. The organization is made up of congregations located in southeast Queens, Sunnyside and Woodside. It was formed to empower community members to get directly involved in efforts to improve the quality of life in their communities.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Cloudy early, then off and on rain showers for the afternoon. High around 65. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%. Tuesday night: Becoming partly cloudy after some evening light rain. Low 47. Winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 70%.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Earth Day Festival

Develop your green thumb, learn about bee-keeping and the importance of clean waterways while making sculptures, jewelry and art out of recycled materials. Free at Flushing Town Hall at 1 p.m. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Judge weeps during Queens pedophile sentencing

A Queens Supreme Court judge broke down and cried — and said he had never presided over a more troubling case — as he sentenced Kerbet (Kirby) Dixon to at least 25 1/3 years in prison for sexually abusing two young members of his family in his Queens home in 2008 and 2009. Read more: New York Daily News

Officials probe whether EMTs were delayed to fire that killed 2 kids

Mayor de Blasio said the city is investigating whether there was a delay in getting EMTs to a fire where two 4-year-old children died Sunday after one of them may have been playing with a lighter. Read more: NBC New York

Mayor Bill de Blasio: FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano in ‘interim role’

Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed Monday that FDNY Commissioner Sal Cassano is serving in an “interim role.” Read more: CBS New York

Cuomo holds huge lead over GOP challenger – for now

Gov. Cuomo holds an enormous 30-point lead over GOP challenger Rob Astorino — but that margin would be cut in half if a ” more liberal” third party candidate entered the race, according to a poll released Tuesday. Read more: New York Post

Report: Sandy’s fallout affecting small business in tri-state area

When Long Beach delicatessen owner P.J. Whelan heard the findings of a Federal Reserve Bank of New York poll released Monday on Superstorm Sandy’s effect on small businesses, he began nodding in agreement. Read more: CBS New York/AP

De Blasio announces Sandy recovery overhaul


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a major overhaul to speed up Sandy recovery Thursday, along with the release of a detailed report on the city’s response to the storm.

The report includes recommendations that are expected to provide financial relief to businesses and homeowners, and revamp current recovery programs, the mayor said, as well as details on the city’s infrastructure rebuilding and storm mitigation efforts.

“We can’t stand idly by as red tape and bureaucratic bottlenecks prevent far too many New Yorkers from getting the relief they need. That’s why, from day one, we prioritized more efficient recovery,” de Blasio said. “And now, we’ve laid out a blueprint to provide critical financial relief to homeowners and directly engage communities in the rebuilding process—all while continuing our work to ensure a stronger and more resilient New York.”

Part of the engagement process will involve appointing borough directors in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, who will have the authority to direct city agencies to increase community engagement and coordination, and bringing Build It Back staff directly into affected communities, according to the mayor’s administration.

“These latest announcements from the administration have brought new hope to many of our residents who have been displaced and are fighting to put their lives back together and move forward,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “My office will continue to focus resources on the issues and challenges still outstanding for these residents, so we may collectively find solutions.”

The report additionally highlights other improvements the mayor announced last month to Build It Back, a federally-funded program to assist those whose homes, offices and other properties were damaged by Sandy.

Comptroller Scott Stringer also just announced the formation of a Sandy oversight unit and an audit of the Build It Back program.

“It is critical to have an accounting of how government has responded to this event, and what we can do to better prepare for the future,” he said.

Stringer also said that he will be holding town hall meetings in affected neighborhoods during the upcoming months to get community input on what his office should be examining as it comes up with an audit plan of issues on the city’s Sandy response.

The meetings will include the following locations in Queens, with future town halls to be announced for June:

April 30, 6-8 p.m., Bay House, 500 Bayside Dr., Breezy Point

May 20, 6-8 p.m., Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, 348 Beach 71st St., Arverne

For updates on town halls, click here.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 51. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph. Thursday night: Mainly clear. Low 36. Winds ENE at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Happy Hour with QNSMADE & SingleCut Beersmiths

Come hang out at SingleCut Beersmiths in Astoria and try some locally made Queens craft beer. QNSMADE’s mission is to give a voice to the people that make up this borough and provide a space to bring together all the amazing things that are happening in the many pockets of Queens. With seven days left to go on its Kickstarter,  let’s come together and make this happen. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Police arrest man accused of making anti-Muslim statements toward teen on Queens bus

A man wanted for making anti-Muslim statements toward a 15-year-old girl aboard a Queens bus while spiting at the teen and threatening to punch her has been arrested, cops said. Read more: The Queens Courier

Bratton issues new guidelines for jaywalking stops 

Less than four months after officers started cracking down on jaywalkers in New York City, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is telling officers to use more discretion when stopping people who cross the street illegally, according to law enforcement sources. Read more: NBC New York

EXCLUSIVE: City Controller Scott Stringer launching audit of Build it Back Hurricane Sandy home re-building program

The City’s troubled Build it Back program, which has only served a handful of Hurricane Sandy victims since the 2012 natural disaster struck, is going under the microscope. Read more: New York Daily News

Plane evacuated at JFK Airport after bomb threat: officials

A plane was evacuated at John F. Kennedy International Airport Wednesday evening after a bomb threat was made, officials say. Read more: NBC New York

Contract talks heat up between transit workers, MTA

Transit workers came closer to making a deal with the MTA Tuesday more than two years after their labor contract expired, union sources told The Post. Read more: New York Post

Queens Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Tuesday: Sunny to partly cloudy. High 56. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph. Tuesday night: A few clouds. Low 39. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Samuel Field Y Fundraiser Dinner at Bourbon Street to Support Programs for Children with Autism

The Samuel Field Y invites you to show your support of our programs for children with autism by having dinner at Bourbon Street Cafe on Tuesday, April 1, between 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.. A generous portion of your bill will be donated back to the Samuel Field Y and used towards funding for programs for children with autism. Make your reservations today by calling (718) 224-2200. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York legislature passes $140 billion budget

The New York Legislature has passed a $140 billion election-year budget that expands pre-kindergarten statewide and provides tax relief to homeowners and corporations. Read more: ABC New York

Students suspensions in city up in 2013: report

Student suspensions in the city’s public schools shot up 26 percent in the latter part of 2013, according to statistics released Monday. Read more: New York Post

Not one home fully rebuilt under city-run Sandy program: officials

New York City politicians and victims of Sandy are attacking a city-run program that’s supposed to rebuild homes destroyed by the storm but that officials admit has yet to complete a single project. Read more: NBC New York

Legislation would transform NYC’s alternate-side parking rules

Alternate side of the street parking is so important to New York City drivers that when you call 311 it’s the first information delivered. Read more: Fox New York

Legislation could mean more speed cameras for NYC, Long Island

If you speed in a school zone, it will likely cost you big in the future. Read more: CBS New York

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: Rain and snow showers this morning. Then becoming partly cloudy this afternoon. High near 55. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 70%. Monday night: Clear skies. Low 34. Winds N at 15 to 25 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: The Kaleidoscope

“The Kaleidoscope” starts at 8:00 p.m. at The Creek and the Cave at 10-93 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City. The Kaleidoscope is an experiment where friends and strangers get together and perform. Four improvisers create teams with whom they have never performed and will never exist again. Like a kaleidoscope:, every time you look you will see something different. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York City Council to hold hearing on Superstorm Sandy recovery

Members of the de Blasio administration and people affected by Superstorm Sandy are expected to speak Monday morning at a City Council oversight hearing. Read more: CBS New York

Report: Unpaid tolls rose on no-cash NYC bridge

The amount of uncollected tolls on a New York bridge skyrocketed after electronic E-ZPass systems replaced all cash toll lanes, according to a published report. Read more: NBC New York

With pre-k fight behind him, de Blasio to shift focus to affordable housing

Now that state lawmakers have closed a budget deal to fund prekindergarten in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio is ready to turn to the next items on his sweeping liberal agenda. Read more: CBS New York/AP

Bratton raps Kelly and Bloomberg on stop and frisk

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton turned on the city’s former leaders Sunday, saying the department had a terrible morale problem when he took over because of the way his predecessor, Ray Kelly, and former Mayor Bloomberg used stop-and-frisk. Read more: New York Post

Obamacare website down as deadline arrives

People trying to apply and enroll for private health insurance through Obamacare before Monday’s midnight deadline are discovering the website is “currently unavailable.” Read more: NBC News

G train to shut down between Brooklyn and LIC for five weeks


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Starting in July, G train riders are going to have to find a new way to get from Brooklyn to Queens.

The line will be shut down for five weeks, including weekdays and weekends, starting on July 28 with service suspended between the Nassau Avenue and Court Square stations, according to the MTA.

The closures are due to Sandy-related repairs, which involve track, structural, signal and electrical component repairs and replacement work, the transit agency said. The work was scheduled during this period because it is when the G train has the lowest ridership.

The full details of the service plan for this G line closure are still being finalized. During the five weeks, there will be no scheduled suspensions on the No. 7 and L subway lines.

Beginning this month, the No. 7 line is slated to be suspended for a total of 22 weekends this year.

Last July, the MTA shut down the G line for 12 weekends in order to make Sandy-related repairs. Although the agency provided shuttle buses during the suspensions, there was an uproar from local leaders, residents and business owners who said the shut down caused riders inconveniences.

 

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Newly opened Rockaway YMCA to boost local economy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Raymond Liang for the YMCA

The YMCA has a new home by the sea.

The YMCA of Greater New York celebrated the opening of its new branch, Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea, on March 14 during a ribbon cutting with local elected officials and community leaders. The ceremony was originally scheduled a month before but postponed due to the weather.

The 44,000-square-foot facility, developed by Benjamin-Beechwood LLC, faced some construction delays after Superstorm Sandy swept through the city. However, the 207 Beach 73rd St. location opened its doors to the general public on Feb. 18 and had a record of 1,100 new members in its first week of operation.

“For the first time in our organization’s 161 year history, the YMCA has a permanent, brick-and-mortar branch in the Rockaways,” said Jack Lund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “This new Y is not only bringing vital programs and services to the people of the Rockaways, but it is creating jobs and helping to sustain economic development in the area.”

The site now includes the largest aquatic center of any of the 24 YMCA locations in New York City which features a lap pool, a family-friendly recreational pool with a water slide and much more.

The overall Rockaways location also includes a full-court gymnasium, fitness center, outdoor recreational field, community multi-purpose space for youth and family programs, and other amenities. Some of the programs that will be available at the new location include after-school and college readiness, youth employment and job training, child care and adult learning.

“The new Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea is a bright and shining example of our neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization and recovery from super storm Sandy,” Councilmember Donovan Richards Jr. said. “This facility will provide jobs for local Rockaways residents and stand to serve as our neighborhood’s heart –providing a safe, community center dedicated to improving the quality of life for all our families.”

After Superstorm Sandy hit the Rockaways, the YMCA of Greater New York helped distribute cases of water, blankets, clothing and household items to families. The organization also donated backpacks with schools supplies and winter clothing to 1,000 students at P.S. 197.

The new Rockaways location is open Monday through Friend from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information visit here.

 

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Madelaine Chocolate facility up for sale but owners say business is here to stay


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

FILE PHOTO

The beloved Madelaine Chocolate factory is up for sale, following a brief comeback after Sandy.

The Rockaway Beach sweet spot suffered over $50 million in structural damages and loss of sales after the superstorm and was forced to shut down for about a year. They partially reopened in October 2013, but as of last week, the facility is on the market, said co-owner Jorge Farber.

“Considering the extent of the damage, there was only so much we have been able to do,” Farber said. “We are sitting on a 200,000-square-foot facility and only utilizing 50 percent of it.”

Madelaine Chocolate officials listed the site with real estate firm CBRE for an undisclosed amount of money. Interested buyers have the option of taking over the unused half or the entire four-building complex.

“There are all kinds of options we need to explore,” Farber said. “We’re going to relocate only if we can sell it. It’s a long, long process.”

The organization does not yet have a relocation space in mind, but one thing is for sure—their chocolates are here to stay.

“Our customer base has remained intact considering we were out for a year,” Farber said. “I’m just sitting on excess real estate.”

After Sandy, Madelaine Chocolate received a $250,000 grant from National Grid and $6.9 million from Empire State Development to retain its 315 employees. The Small Business Association also loaned the company close to $13 million.

They were able to rehire 120 people and partially operate on four of the 14 chocolate production lines.

But despite assistance, the complex at the foot of the Cross Bay Bridge is on the market. Before the storm, it was one of the biggest local employers in the region and had 315 full-time employees.

“The Madelaine Chocolate Company is not only a community gem, but has been one of the largest employers and supporters of our community for decades,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder after the reopening.

At its peak, the 65-year-old chocolatier group produced 20 million pounds of chocolate annually and garnered $40 million in total sales. Its eight kitchens produced about 100,000 pounds of chocolate a day.

 

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