Tag Archives: Senator Joseph Addabbo

Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps rallies to resolve collapsed building issue


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Next year will be Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps’ 50th anniversary, but members don’t’ know if the organization will be around to see it.

The ambulance corps headquarters took damage when building adjoining, 78-19 Jamaica Avenue, collapsed nearly a year ago. Recently members were forced to vacate after melted snow from the collapsed building caused water to flood into the volunteer group’s structure. Now the ambulance corps has damaged walls and mold, members said, and the volunteer organization has to wait for an inspection before they can use the building again.

Members of the ambulance corps and supporters rallied in front the ambulance corps building Sunday to ask the city to speed up repairs on the crumbling building.

“It’s very frustrating, sad and makes me upset,” said John Bennett, a member of the board of the ambulance corps, who has been with the organization for more than three decades. “It feels like I’m losing someone very close.”

The ambulance corps recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building’s owner to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent. However, it’s another slow process they have to deal with while the building continues to suffer.

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department. The ambulance corps has lost its revenue source, and seniors want to move back into the volunteer groups’ building for its centralized location to transportation, wide space and other features.

“I miss the senior center because in the temporary location I can’t even use the bathroom,” Patricia Sexton said. “It’s not handicapped accessible.”

The owner of the collapsed building, George Kochabe, recently paid $3,200 in fines owed to the  Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has many open violations and Kochabe owes thousands more in fines. He could not be reached for comment.

Assemblymember Mike Miller and State Senator Joseph Addabbo are pushing to have the city tear down the building, rebuild it and bill Kochabe. They not only fear for the survival of the volunteer ambulance corps and the senior center, but also worry about the threat the crumbling building creates for pedestrians.

“We don’t want to find out how much more this building could take,” Addabbo said. “We don’t want to react to a bad situation or a tragedy.”

 

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Ridgewood newsstand razed, problems persists across street


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Office of Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley

One long-standing Ridgewood problem down, and one more to go.

The troublesome newsstand on Metropolitan Avenue near Fresh Pond Road, which had been an eyesore in the community, attracting garbage and graffiti for more than two decades, has finally been taken out of sight.

The MTA/LIRR, which owned the land, demolished it on Friday with $100,000 allocated from Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley.

“After long delays from both the DOT (Department of Transportation) and LIRR, I am happy to see persistence pay off,” Crowley said.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Crowley called a press conference in 2009 with Senator Joseph Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller to announce that they would remove the structure, and transform the space into a community garden.

But those promises were derailed due to complications with the LIRR and the DOT, which both have rights to the property.

The city was reluctant to have any work done in the area, according to Crowley, because of the renovations on the nearby bridge on Metropolitan Avenue.

Community leaders appreciate that the site has finally turned a corner, but now they want elected officials to focus on the other problem — literally across the street.

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

The DOT assumed control of the abandoned gas station on Metropolitan Avenue across from the newsstand site several years ago, but the property has also attracted graffiti. However, unlike the newsstand, the gas station is fenced in, meaning community volunteers can’t clean it up.

“The city takes available property, because they have to fix the bridge and then they let it go,” said Bob Holden, president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, which has cleaned up the newsstand site in the past. “They don’t keep it up, and this is a disgrace. If we, regular property owners, did that, we’d get fined.”

Photo courtesy Bob Holden

Plans aren’t complete for what the newsstand site will become, but for now the DOT “will make it nicer,” according to a Crowley spokesperson.

 

 

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Resorts World Casino welcomes new and free Red Express buses


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

PHOTOS COURTESY OF RESORTS WORLD

Resorts World Casino welcomed a new bus fleet, the Red Express, which will take patrons from Manhattan to the South Ozone Park gambling spot.

Casino president Edward Farrell, Community Board 10 chair Betty Bratton and State Senator Joseph Addabbo greeted the Red Express buses as they pulled into Resorts World, coming in from their first trip down from Manhattan’s Lincoln Center.

The luxury buses will run every 30 to 45 minutes from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday through Sunday. They are free of charge and can hold up to 40 passengers.

The West Side route begins at 96th Street and Columbus Avenue, and goes straight down to Central Park and Madison Avenue. The East Side route begins at 96th Street and Lexington Avenue, and goes straight down to Madison Avenue and Central Park South.

Additionally, the Midtown route starts at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue and runs through 6th Avenue and 50th Street.

All routes end, of course, at Resorts World Casino on Rockaway Boulevard.

 

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‘Peace officers’ may be coming to Resorts World Casino


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

One pol wants to keep the peace at Resorts World Casino.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo has been advancing legislation to create “peace officers” at the casino – security officers who would have the power to make arrests.

Currently, the casino has security guards that are not authorized to make arrests. They instead must detain any criminal offenders and wait for local NYPD officers to arrive on the scene before carrying out any arrests.

“I think that the threat of an immediate arrest might serve as a greater deterrent to those who are seeking to cause trouble in the area, and peace officers would have that authority,” Addabbo said.

The peace officers would be unarmed but would provide added law enforcement presence at the casino.

The legislation recently cleared the Senate Committee on Racing, Gaming and Wagering, of which Addabbo is a ranking member. After being cleared by the whole Senate, it will go under consideration by the Assembly’s Codes Committee.

No wait for rebate on Cross Bay Bridge


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Rockaway residents roving across the Cross Bay Bridge will now be reimbursed for their travels from April 1 and on, according to the MTA.

The Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge Residency Rebate Program recently passed the state budget, said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. But while the discount program was expected to go into immediate effect once the budget was signed at the end of March, residents were told they may not see benefits until July 1 at the latest.

An MTA spokesperson said the money first has to be transferred from the state to the MTA before it goes from the MTA to Bridges and Tunnels, and all E-Z Pass tags have to be reprogrammed, which the representative said may take a couple of months in total.

Now — after persistent urging by Goldfeder and local leaders, including a petition containing 2,000 signatures in support of the toll’s elimination — the MTA said customers will receive credit for tolls incurred on the bridge retroactive to April 1 until back office operations are completed. According to the MTA, the rebate program will be fully operational by mid-summer, but residents will not be responsible for fees acquired right away.

“In this economy, every dollar counts,” Goldfeder said. “Hardworking families should not be burdened with this unfair fee for one day longer than they have to and now we will finally get the relief we so desperately need and deserve.”

The rebate plan is only valid at the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge for passenger vehicles using an E-ZPass, who are enrolled in the Rockaway Resident Program and who live in zip codes 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694, 11695 and 11697. It does not apply to commercial trucks, motorcycles, taxis, buses or limousines, according to the MTA.

With an E-Z Pass, Rockaway residents currently pay $1.19 each time they drive along the Cross Bay Bridge for up to two trips a day. While additional crossings are free afterwards, local elected officials and residents have long deemed the toll a problem.

The toll — the only intra-borough one in the city — was free for residents of Broad Channel and the Rockaways for 12 years, but was reinstated by the MTA in 2010.

The rebate, local leaders said, would stimulate more activity and revenue between Rockaway and Broad Channel businesses, while saving residents between $800 and $1,500 a year.

“There was never a good reason to impose this financial hardship on residents of our borough who travel from their homes on the peninsula to anywhere else in Queens, sometimes several times a day,” said Senator Joseph Addabbo. “It was long perceived by resident drivers and affected small businesses as a ‘fine’ for living on the peninsula.”

Peninsula Hospital’s patients absorbed by other hospitals


| mchan@queenscourier.com

While Peninsula Hospital struggles to stabilize itself financially, elected officials say they’re worried for already “overburdened” area hospitals receiving the brunt of patient overflow.

“Other hospitals are overtaxed and overburdened as it is,” said Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder. “St. John’s [Episcopal Hospital] was overburdened when Peninsula was completely opened. Now that it’s closed, I can’t imagine the patient load they have to deal with.”

According to Liz Sulik, a spokesperson for Peninsula, the hospital has transferred approximately 78 patients so far. She said they were moved to a “variety of hospitals” including the North Shore/LIJ Health system, based upon their acuity levels.

However, because of Peninsula’s “isolated geographic area” and recent hospital closures over the past few years, Senator Joseph Addabbo said there are few other facilities in the area that could openly receive the patient excess.

“Every second counts when we talk about emergencies and providing health care to residents. The need just gets magnified when you think about Peninsula’s geographic location. St. John’s cannot handle the entire peninsula,” Addabbo said. “We’re already seeing a reduction in hospital beds with a growing senior population and people moving into the communities. We certainly need these beds. Now is not the time to reduce them.”

But according to CEO Nelson Toebbe, St. John’s has flourished in the face of chaos.

“While it is regrettable that Peninsula General Hospital has closed, St. John’s has been able to fully accommodate the increase of patients,” he said. “Measures have been initiated in the past several months to enhance capacity, service and access to both inpatient and outpatient care. The board of managers, management and staff of Episcopal Health Services remain strongly committed to serve the healthcare needs of the Rockaways and the Five Towns.”

Back in August, when Peninsula faced potential closure threats after its former sponsor MediSys decided to end its affiliation with the hospital, St. John’s received permission from the state to begin expansion of its emergency room outpatient care, surgery, intensive care and in-patient facilities, according to Toebbe.

The added emergency department bays and 62 new medical, surgical, pediatric critical care beds helped house the extra patients, officials said.

Still, local politicians continue to push for Peninsula’s reopening.

“Southern Queens and the Rockaways need access to quality health care,” Goldfeder said. “Whatever problems there are, we need to get the right people in the hospital to resolve them and get the hospital back up and running.”

 

Addabbo calls for more cops in 106th Precinct


| mchan@queenscourier.com

The pressure is on for NYPD officials to assign more officers to an area local leaders are saying is quickly becoming inundated with mass volumes of visitors.

Senator Joseph Addabbo sent Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly a letter on February 8, requesting a “significant increase” in additional officers for the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park — home to the newest city hotspot, Resorts World Casino.

While Addabbo said there is “never a magic number” in regards to how many officers are needed, he said major changes to the precinct coverage areas should be coupled with substantial increases in their resources.

“We are a different precinct than we have been in the past. Rationally, there is a dire need for an increase of police officers,” Addabbo said. “I don’t expect a quick answer, but I think everyone is on the same page. Nobody would want to see the neighborhoods around Resorts World become a bad area if they want the casino to flourish.”

According to Betty Braton, chair of Community Board 10, the current number of officers the precinct has is not enough to properly service an area that now sees over 20,000 visitors per day and close to 100,000 on the weekend.

“That number of people adds to the load of the day-to-day work of police officers,” Braton said. “For the police department not to assign additional police officers to the 106th Precinct when we have that volume of people coming in, out and through our area is not acceptable.”

Addabbo said the fight to secure more resources for the precinct has been ongoing since even before the casino made its debut. Now, more than ever — especially with the proposed convention center at the same location — he said there is a “greater need for public security” in the area.

The senator also cited the “recent rise in crime in the area” as one of the reasons for his request, however NYPD officials did not comment regarding reported rumors of crime spikes near the Racino.

Though Stefan Friedman, spokesperson for Resorts World, declined to comment on these specific allegations, he said the facility has been “incredibly safe.”

“We just want to be preventive of any spikes in serious crimes,” Addabbo said. “We should always stay ahead of the curve.”

The NYPD did not comment as to whether the 106th Precinct will be getting additional officers.

Southeast News Briefs


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Job hiring event for veterans

BOROWIDE — Veterans seeking job opportunities are invited to attend a hiring fair, designed for employers who have open positions to fill within their companies and specifically want to offer those opportunities to veterans.

Sponsored by the America Works of New York, Inc. and the mayor’s office of veteran’s affairs, the event will take place on January 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 346 Broadway in Manhattan, on the eighth floor.

“Our veterans risk their lives to protect us every day,” Turner said. “They deserve all of the assistance we can give them to make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is a wonderful event that seeks not only to provide veterans information about potential jobs, but for them to interview and get hired on the spot.”

All veterans — especially those receiving federal aid, or those who are living in a shelter or in danger of homelessness — are encouraged to attend.

“This event is a good opportunity for unemployed veterans to put the skills they learned as members of the armed services to work for the American economy,” Turner said.

Employers will be interviewing veterans to work in fields of food service, personal training, driving, green technology, warehouse, security, banking, machine repair and maintenance.

To reserve a spot, call Carlyle Outten at 212-599-5627 Ext. 133 by January 13.

 

Public hearing on street changes

WOODHAVEN —

Residents seeking to voice their concern or hear more about street change proposals in the neighborhood can attend a public hearing on Wednesday, February 1 at 7 p.m. It will take place at St. Elizabeth’s on 84th Street and Atlantic Avenue.

 

Republican club meeting

OZONE PARK —

The next meeting for the Angelo Graci Republican Club will be held on Tuesday, January 24 at 8 p.m. It will take place in the Community Center of Christ Lutheran Church, located on the corner of 101st Avenue and 86th Street. The club is looking for new members.

 

Peninsula Hospital expands radiology services

FAR ROCKAWAY —

Peninsula Hospital Center recently expanded its radiology services, unveiling its new state of the art Novarad Radiology Information System. The newly-installed equipment is said to cut costs and time, saving the hospital thousands of dollars annually, officials said. It will allow hospital physicians to access their radiographic imaging studies remotely on their iPads or smart phones, among other things.

 

Ozone Park celebrates 130 years

OZONE PARK —

Southwest Queens neighborhood Ozone Park turns 130 years old this year. To highlight and celebrate the anniversary throughout the year, Senator Joseph Addabbo — who is a lifelong resident of Ozone Park — plans to speak before various civic groups, visit area schools, libraries, senior centers and attend observances held around the neighborhood.

“Ozone Park is a great community. It consists of hard working people, small businesses that serve the area and residents who truly care about the neighborhood,” Addabbo said.

 

Teen cancer survivor keeps on giving

MIDDLE VILLAGE —

Carly Rose Nieves will be celebrating her Sweet Sixteen on February 3. But in lieu of personal gifts, the Middle Village teen who battles with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia is asking for guests to bring new toys, games or gift cards to be donated to The John Theissen Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

“We weren’t sure if she would make it to that age, and she did,” said mom Lisa Horner. “Now, she just wants to help other people.”

For more information on how to help donate, email lhorner67@gmail.com.

 

Free informational lecture

HOWARD BEACH —

Senator Joseph Addabbo will host a series of open and free Social Security informational lectures on Medicare, e-services, retirement, disability and benefits around his 15th Senate District. The most upcoming event will take place on Tuesday, January 24 at the Howard Beach Senior Center, located at 156-45 84th Street. The lecture will begin at 10:30 a.m.

Conventional Wisdom: Cuomo pushes for center in Queens


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Resorts World

During his State of the State address on January 4, Governor Andrew Cuomo made many bold pronouncements, but perhaps his most ambitious statement was his proposal for the “nation’s largest convention center in Queens.”

And the governor already has a spot picked out and a developer in mind – Genting America, the company which brought the Resorts World casino to the grounds of the Aqueduct Racino in South Ozone Park, which announced its plans for a convention center in a letter of intent.

Dubbed the New York International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICE), the $4 billion project would be financed by Resorts World and would encompass 3.8 million-square-feet, with the first phase to be completed by November 2014 at the earliest.

The project would also include up to 3,000 hotel rooms, and officials believe, all told, it would bring 10,000 construction jobs, 10,000 permanent jobs and tens of thousands of ancillary jobs throughout the borough.

“I personally think this is a good thing,” said Paul Anteri, a resident from the area surrounding Resorts World. “It’ll bring more revenue to the area. Usually when you develop convention centers, it tends to bring a better type of people to the area. It brings business, jobs, tourism. A convention center means you’re going to need hotels, places for people to stay and eat. It’ll just help raise small businesses.”

While most elected officials are putting their support behind Cuomo, many believe developers must have their ears open to community input.

“I am enthusiastic about the idea of a convention center at the Aqueduct Racetrack site, but I also believe we should proceed forward in a cautious manner,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo. “I am an advocate for community input on this project and feel most people would want to see plans or drawings for the proposal. Given our current economic situation, I would certainly work toward creating the thousands of jobs and revenue to the city and state the convention center brings.”

Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder echoed Addabbo belief that the community must be involved in the planning process.

“The proposal to build the largest convention center in the nation at Aqueduct is an ambitious plan that must be undertaken responsibly and appropriately with real community involvement and participation,” he said.

Representatives from the Queens Chamber of Commerce, which has advocated for a convention center in Queens for almost a decade, added that this project will give the people of Queens what it needs most – jobs.

“This is a great day for the people of Queens County and the Queens Chamber of Commerce,” said Jack Friedman, executive director.

Carol Conslato, the Chamber’s president, who attended the State of the State speech, added, “The Governor’s plan to build a 3.8-million-square-foot facility with 3,000 new hotel rooms at Aqueduct Racetrack is a huge victory for the borough of Queens.”

Howard Beach has come ‘a long way’ since racial incident


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Twenty-five years after escalating racial tensions in Howard Beach thrust the neighborhood into infamy, residents and local leaders alike say the “tight community” has changed for the better.

On December 20, 1986, Howard Beach emerged into the spotlight when a gang of white teens — waving bats and bellowing racial slurs — brutally beat three black men who chanced upon the neighborhood after their car broke down. According to reports, one of the three — 23-year-old Michael Griffith — was chased onto oncoming traffic on Shore Parkway, where he was hit by a car and killed after attempting to escape the mob.

Four of the assailants were charged with murder, manslaughter and assault, and the incident was deemed one of the most explosive racial crimes in the city in recent years by multiple reports — eventually making Howard Beach synonymous with hate, residents said.

“For people who are not from the area, it’ll trigger something when they hear the words ‘Howard Beach,’” said Margaret, a resident who did not want to give her last name. “That was one incident. It was a very unfortunate incident, but it shouldn’t define an entire neighborhood.”

Elected officials and community leaders shared the same sentiment, saying the infamous incident has stained the neighborhood’s name.

“There are people in every community of which race relations are what it shouldn’t be,” said Betty Braton, chairperson of Community Board 10. “We’re tarnished for something the community did not do or condone.”

Even still, Senator Joseph Addabbo said he’s “very happy” with where the community stands 25 years later.

“It’s always an effort to get Howard Beach out of that limelight,” he said. “We have come so far since then. It took a while to get to this point and I’m very happy where we are now. Howard Beach is a great community, made up of great, hardworking people. I think they do well promoting the good will of Howard Beach, where there are so many more positive things going on.”

According to the 2010 census, the vast majority of Howard Beach residents — close to 77 percent — are white, only about 2 percent are black and close to 17 percent are Hispanic.

“We’re a lot more diverse than in the past,” said Christina Gold, president of the Lindenwood Alliance. “We’ve become bonded. We’re one family. What happened 25 years ago… I don’t think we have that issue now, and we’re going to continue to be that way.”

Still, some residents said 25 years isn’t enough time for people to outgrow such “deep-rooted” feelings of hate.

“To say that it’s vanished — it’d be wonderful to say that, but I don’t think so,” said Meybol Geramita. “Unfortunately, people don’t change that quickly.”

This March, a noose — long a symbol of hatred and intolerance — was discovered hanging on a tree near Lindenwood’s P.S. 232, much to the disgust and dismay of the neighborhood. However, elected officials deemed it an “isolated incident,” pointing to the diversity of the neighborhood as proof.

“Unfortunately, no area of our great city is immune to hate crimes. We’re seeing it in Queens and also in Brooklyn, but nowhere should it be tolerated,” Addabbo said. “I think there are still remnants of [racism], but we have come a long way, and as the years go on, it’ll keep diminishing.”

Senator Joseph Addabbo to hold mobile office hours


| mchan@queenscourier.com

For two Thursday evenings in December, Senator Joseph Addabbo will hold office hours at libraries in Richmond Hill to hear from constituents looking to voice their concerns. Addabbo will be available from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on December 8 at the Richmond Hill library (118-14 Hillside Avenue) and at the same time on December 15 at Lefferts library (103-34 Lefferts Boulevard). No appointments are necessary.

Addabbo and Goldfeder tour Aqueduct Racino


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Senator Joseph Addabbo

After touring Resorts World New York City on October 3, Assemblymember Phil Goldfeder (left) and Senator Joseph Addabbo (right) learned the Racino — set to open on October 28 — was up to speed with construction. They also previewed other amenities separate from the casino, including an indoor parking lot and family-friendly restaurants.

Martin Luther now has a middle school


| brennison@queenscourier.com

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After more than 50 years of serving Queens as a high school, Martin Luther expanded this year to include sixth, seventh and eighth graders.

The ribbon was cut for the new middle school on Thursday, September 29 on the revamped third floor of the Maspeth school building. Politicians, local business owners, parents, administrators and students were on hand to usher in the school’s new era.

“When so many parochial schools seem to be cutting back on programs, we’re trying to expand,” said Head of School Randal Gast. “The bricks and mortar of the future at Martin Luther as well as our community and our church [are the children].”

The school year kicked off for the 32 middle school students on September 7. While there are plans to expand in the coming years, Principal Barbara Chin-Sinn added that a smaller class size allows more one-on-one teaching time with each student.

State Senator Joseph Addabbo and Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley – both of whom have been incredibly supportive of the school, Gast said – spoke to the students about the opportunity they have at Martin Luther.

Crowley, whose brother and sister both attended the high school, said part of their success is due to the foundation they gained at Martin Luther.

“You’ll have even more of an advantage because you’re coming in at a younger age,” said Crowley. “You have a very unique opportunity.”

“At a time when schools are struggling to survive, here you are cutting the ribbon on an expansion at Martin Luther. That’s why you should really be proud today,” said Addabbo.

Chin-Sinn joined the Martin Luther staff after 25 years at St. John’s Lutheran School in Glendale. Chin-Sinn’s vision includes making sure each student is prepared for high school.

“Quality education is important,” she said. “Our teachers are very well-equipped.”

Each eighth grader will take the Regents exams in both Intermediate Algebra and Living Environment this June.

Academics is not the only benefit the students will be able to take advantage of. There are programs both before and after school for students, including band, basketball, volleyball, photography, chess and drama.

“It’s fun,” said sixth grader Sally of the extracurriculars. “There are lots of clubs to choose from.”

All the students are involved in some extracurricular activity, said Chin-Sinn.

The programs before school begin at 7 a.m., with extracurricular activities after school lasting from 2:45 until 6 p.m.

“I’m excited about the myriad of opportunities that are open for these children,” Chin-Sinn said.