Tag Archives: Subway

Father Of Confessed Subway Bomb Plotter Awaits Sentencing


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Father Of Confessed Subway Bomb Plotter Awaits Sentencing

The father of confessed terror plotter Najibullah Zazi is set to be sentenced today in Brooklyn federal court. Mohammad Wali Zazi was accused of destroying evidence and lying to cover up his son’s plot to attack New York City’s subways in 2009. He was convicted last year of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The 55-year-old maintains his innocence as he faces up to 40 years in prison. Zazi’s son pleaded guilty to terror charges nearly two years ago. Read More: NY1

 

Knicks’ newest star getting used to ‘Linsanity’

Knicks new point guard sensation Jeremy Lin admitted he was still getting used to the new attention he has been getting and credited media and fans for all the “Lin puns’’ going around the city. “I didn’t know you can turn Lin into so many things,’’ Lin said at today’s morning shootaround in Westchester. “We’ve never done it before. Me and my family were laughing last night. We underestimated how creative everybody can be.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

‘Violent’ Madonna stalker escapes from LA psych hospital

A man convicted of stalking Madonna in 1996 and who has “very violent tendencies” has escaped from a psychiatric hospital, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) said. Robert Dewey Hoskins, 54, who once scaled a wall at the star’s Hollywood home and threatened to cut her throat from ear to ear, walked out of hospital last Friday, an LAPD spokesman said. “Hoskins is a very psychotic man when not taking his medication and has very violent tendencies,” the LAPD statement, cited by the Los Angeles Times, said. Read More: New York Post

DA subpoenas Cashman financial records for extort clues

Manhattan prosecutors have subpoenaed Yankee general manger Brian Cashman’s bank records—which sources say include evidence that he coughed up as much as $20,000 to accused extortionist and purported mistress Louise Meanwell as far back as April, The Post has learned. Those alleged payments raise the question of whether Meanwell was shaking Cashman down for nearly 10 months — or whether the big bucks were legitimate gifts as part of an affair, as she claims. Read More: New York Post

 

$1M iBust in Chelsea

Police raided a Chelsea apartment yesterday and discovered an enormous cache of counterfeit Apple products and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones worth almost $1 million retail, cops said. Officers began staking out the building on West 28th Street near Seventh Avenue after an arrest last month when they saw a man leave the building with a fake iPhone that he later tried to sell on a Hell’s Kitchen street corner, cops said. The alleged swindler, Iaron Baskerville, was arrested and charged with possession of a forged instrument and fraudulent accounting. Read More: New York Post

Loony ’toon guilty

A Muslim extremist from Brooklyn pleaded guilty yesterday to making online threats against the creators of “South Park” because the TV show depicted the prophet Mohammed as a bear. Jesse Curtis Morton, 33, and another homegrown radical, Zachary Adam Chesser, 22, created revolutionmuslim.com to spread their messages of hate, officials said. They were outraged over an April 2010 “South Park” episode in which Tom Cruise and other celebrities previously lampooned by the Comedy Central show sue the town — but offer to drop the case if they can meet Mohammed and find out why he had so far been spared their ridicule. Read More: New York Post

 

Video clears man charged with trying to run down cop

A Brooklyn homeowner charged with racing his car toward a cop and making the officer jump out of the way to save his life was himself saved by a surveillance video that shows him calmly parking his car while the cop never budges. John Hockenjos, 55, was charged last Sunday with first-degree reckless endangerment after Officer Diego Palacios swore that the MTA engineer created a “grave risk of death” by driving his sedan “at high rate of speed into a driveway towards” the officer, according to the criminal complaint. Read More: New York Post

 

MTA worker scares off fiend raping woman in Bowery J train tunnel

An MTA worker walking along the tracks near a desolate lower Manhattan subway station scared off a violent sex attacker during a rape, police sources said. “That saved her life,” one of the sources said of the MTA worker’s light that caught the victim’s attention as she was being beaten and raped. The 36-year-old Asian woman saw the light and screamed, causing her attacker to flee. Police say Michael Torres, 29, targeted the 36-year-old Asian woman just after 1 a.m. Wednesday at the J train stop on the Bowery at Delancey St. Read More: Daily News

Long Island college student Kerry Fitzsimons, 21, among three killed in fire near Marist College


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Long Island college student Kerry Fitzsimons, 21, among three killed in fire near Marist College

A Long Island college student was one of three people killed in a fire that ripped through an off-campus home near Marist College in upstate Poughkeepsie. The family of Kerry Fitzsimons, 21, of Commack, L.I., is struggling to comprehend the tragedy that took her life. Fitzsimons died early Saturday, trapped in an off-campus house she shared with other Marist students. “It’s unimaginable, the devastation,” a grieving aunt, who declined to give her name, said on Sunday. “She was an awesome, gorgeous , beautiful person.” Also killed were honor-roll fashion student Eva Block, 21, of Woodbridge, Conn., and aspiring blogger Kevin Johnson, 21, of New Canaan, Conn., a communications major at Dutchess Community College. Read More:  Daily News

 

Men killed in Manhattan subway tunnel and at station staircase in Queens

Four people were killed — two on the L train in Manhattan — in four separate accidents in the city transit system on Saturday. At about 10 p.m., straphangers were greeted by the gruesome scene of a man’s head wedged between the train car and the platform when they stepped off the L train at the Sixth Ave. subway station. Cops could not say how the man became pinned by the train. Read More: Daily News

Man admits killing Brooklyn dancer after meeting her at Manhattan club

A convicted sex offender who picked up an aspiring dancer from Texas at a Manhattan nightclub three years ago admitted Monday that he killed her in his upstate apartment because she became upset that he had a girlfriend. Michael Mele, wearing a dark suit, unexpectedly pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and evidence tampering in the killing of 25-year-old Laura Garza. The plea came just before the start of his murder trial in Orange County court. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Firecracker blast kills Queens man

A firecracker blast killed a Queens man inside his home this morning, cops said. The 50-year-old man was holding a firecracker in his hand when it went off at 9:28 a.m. inside his hallway in Ozone Park, police said. Other relatives were home at the time of the explosion, but no major damage was caused to the single family house on 111th Avenue. Read More: New York Post

 

Man convicted of $100M mortgage scam pleads guilty to plotting hit on ‘rat’

The convicted mastermind of a $100 million mortgage scam pleaded guilty today to plotting to take out a contract on the life of the “rat” who helped put him behind bars. Aaron Hand, who is already serving 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison for mortgage fraud, will have an 8- to 16-year sentence slapped on top of his existing prison term when he is sentenced Feb. 6 before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Laura Ward. He could have faced up to 25 years in prison if he’d gone to trial and been convicted of attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. Read More: New York Post

 

Godmother bilked daughter of 9/11 victim out of $1M: judge

Shanhellen Jimenez was in seventh grade when her mother was killed in the World Trade Center attacks. That year, the 12-year-old was awarded nearly $1 million by the federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The money — the lion’s share to become available to her when she turned 18 — was more than the middle-schooler could comprehend. Her divorced mom, Elena Ledesma, had worked as a maintenance supervisor for Marsh & McLennan on the 93rd floor of the north tower, taking home $400 a week. On that paltry paycheck, she supported Shanhellen and Angelina, her 17-year-old daughter, as well as her ailing mother, Candida Hernandez. Read More: New York Post

Shock cop suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Shock cop suicide

An NYPD cop fatally shot himself last night while on-duty and interviewing the victim of a Queens car break-in, sources told The Post. The officer, whose name was withheld pending family notification, got into a heated argument on his cellphone with his girlfriend and fired one bullet into his face after the conversation ended at around 11 p.m., the sources said. The cop, a five-year veteran assigned to the 111th Precinct, went with his partner to a house on 211th Street near 85th Avenue in Hollis Hills to talk to a man whose car had been broken into Wednesday. Read More: New York Post

 

Bus teen shot on ‘slay’ line

A 16-year-old boy was shot in the leg yesterday while riding a bus on the Queens line that saw a fatal shooting last month, authorities said. The shooting took place at 3:20 p.m. on the southbound Q111 bus near Seagirt Avenue and Beach 20th Street in Far Rockaway, said an MTA spokesman. Police said the teen has been uncooperative and no arrests have been made. He was treated at Long Island Jewish Hospital After he was shot, the teen approached the driver to report that he had been shot in the leg, according to the MTA spokesman. On Dec 2, Damel Burton, 34, allegedly killed one innocent passenger and wounded another on a crowded Q111 bus in Jamaica. Read More: New York Post

 

Police Shoot Suspect In Attempted Carjacking

Police on Thursday shot a man accused of trying to carjack an elderly driver in Queens. Investigators say the suspect approached his 89-year-old victim while he was parked on Christie Avenue in Corona. The suspect allegedly struck the victim with a gun and then fled the scene. Police gave chase and the suspect later ran into a driveway on 46th Avenue. An officer fired one round at the suspect when he turned to police holding a gun. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun. Read More: NY1

 

Super outlook for Manning

This is when you separate the Mann from the boys. Win one game. Win this game. The hope and dreams of a storied franchise, of a city thirsting for another championship, heaped on one Mann’s shoulders. The Right Mann. The Only Mann Giants fans want for the job. Everyone can see the focus in his eyes, now and forever. He sees 49ers directly in front of him, and that Lombardi Trophy he craves to hoist again in the not-so-distant future. Read More: New York Post

 

‘Qaeda’ subway plotter No. 4

Federal prosecutors have revealed that there was a fourth man in the United States connected to a 2009 al Qaeda-sanctioned plot to blow up subway lines in New York City. Officials last week quietly revised the indictment against one of the conspirators, Adis Medunjanin, alleging that he — along with former high school classmates Najibullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay — tried to recruit someone identified only as “John Doe” to travel to Pakistan “to wage violent jihad.” It’s the first time prosecutors indicated there was a fourth person in the United States linked to what may have been the most legitimate terror plot since 9/11. Now Medunjanin’s attorney, Robert Gottlieb, wants Brooklyn federal prosecutors to unveil the identity of the mystery man before he turns up as a possible witness at a trial set for March. Read More: New York Post

 

Parody video ‘S—t New Yorkers Say’ by blogger Eliot Glazer goes viral — and he doesn’t go to Queens

 

Out of left field

Pieces of Citi Field history — all three years of it — are on sale to the highest bidder. In a decidedly odd online auction, the cash-strapped Mets are hawking seven separate chunks of the padded barrier, that’s been guarded by such “old-time” Amazin’s legends as Daniel Murphy and Jason Bay. Flushing faithful with a few thousand bucks in their pockets can get their hands on markers celebrating their favorite corporate sponsors and championship teams. Mets VP Jay Horwitz insisted the sale isn’t a cash grab, just a routine auction prompted by the team’s left-field redesign. Read More: New York Post

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Prosecutors and defense disclose plea talks in Jose Pimentel bomb plot case

Prosecutors and defense lawyers say they’re in plea negotiations in a rare state-level terror case against a New York City man. He’s charged with building a homemade bomb to try to attack soldiers, police and other government targets. The Manhattan district attorney’s office disclosed the plea talks during a court date Monday in Jose Pimentel’s case. Defense lawyer Lori Cohen says prosecutors haven’t made any firm offer yet. Pimentel didn’t have to appear for the brief session. He’s due back in court March 1. The 27-year-old is being held without bail on charges including weapons possession and conspiracy as terror crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

Man killed in Bx. shooting previously injured in August shootout

A gun-toting thug fatally shot a man in the Bronx yesterday, police said. The victim, Ricky Rodriguez-Recio, 20, was believed to be the intended target of a shooting in August that left a 2-year-old critically injured, sources said. The victim was outside of his home on East 181st Street in Bronx Park South at 6:17 p.m. when an unknown gunman opened fire striking him in the chest and hitting another man in the hand, cops said. Rodriguez-Recio was previously shot in the lower back on August 29 when Luis More, 23, opened fire at him, striking two children playing outside. Read More: New York Post

 

Report: Aqueduct Racino Pulled In $90M During Year’s Final Stretch

The money is reportedly flowing at the new Aqueduct racetrack casino in Queens. The Daily News says the racino brought in close to $90 million in revenue in November and December — more than five other gambling operations in New York made all last year. Only locations in Yonkers, Saratoga, and the Finger Lakes took in more money in 2011, but those are open year-round. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver pinned Aqueduct’s success on the number of video slots, table games, and its proximity to the city. Read More: NY1

 

Trial on tap in Giants Stadium escalator accident

Opening arguments are under way in a trial brought by eight people who were injured when a Giants Stadium escalator malfunctioned four years. The trial started Monday in state Superior Court in Hackensack in a lawsuit brought against the company that maintained the escalator and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operated Giants Stadium. The escalator malfunctioned as fans were leaving a New York Giants game against the New England Patriots on Dec. 29, 2007. An attorney for the plaintiffs says one person lost a leg and another has had more than a dozen operations on his foot. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Blue Ivy Carter an instant Twitter sensation: Jay-Z and Beyonce’s baby garners celebrity attention

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s baby was trending on Twitter at birth. The social media site was aflutter Sunday with celebrity pals and relatives of the hip-hop royal couple posting messages of 140 characters or less. “The most beautiful girl in the world,” Beyoncé’s sis, Solange Knowles, tweeted of her newborn niece, Blue Ivy Carter. Within hours of entering the world at Lenox Hill Hospital on the upper East Side Saturday night, the infant boasting the lineage of the R&B princess and the rap impresario caused a stir in the Twittersphere. Read More: Daily News

 

No Pants Subway Ride hits New York City for 11th year 

It’s like commuting, but without the pants. Straphangers throughout New York City nonchalantly stripped to their underwear from the waist down Sunday afternoon as part of a global practical joke coordinated by prankster outfit Improv Everywhere. To participate in the 11th annual No Pants Subway Ride, the only requirements were people had to be “willing to take pants off on subway” and “able to keep a straight face about it,” organizers said in a post on their website. Read More: Daily News

 

Trial begins in murder of Laura Garza, young Brooklyn woman who went missing from a Manhattan nightclub  

A murder trial is getting under way for a registered sex offender accused of murdering an aspiring dancer from Texas whose body was found in Pennsylvania more than a year after she went missing in New York. Jury selection is set to begin Monday in Orange County Court in the murder trial of Michael Mele of Wallkill. The victim, Laura Garza, met Mele at a Manhattan nightclub in December 2008 and disappeared afterward. Her body was found in April 2010 near Scranton, Pa. Garza had moved to Brooklyn from McAllen, Texas, five months before her disappearance. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island police investigate swastika drawn on garage door in Sea Cliff

Long Island cops are hunting the vandals who drew a swastika on a garage door in Sea Cliff. Nassau County police say the 63-year-old resident of the home discovered the Nazi symbol over the weekend. Police say it was drawn in black marker sometime between between 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. The incident is being investigated as aggravated harassment. Police say a school, park and three homes were the targets of similar vandalism in Sea Cliff between Dec. 27 and Dec. 30. Read More: Daily News

 

Police Release Photo Of Suspected Bronx Subway Groper

Police in the Bronx are looking for a man they say groped a woman on the subway. The incident happened around 7:30 p.m. on the evening of December 14 at the East Kingsbridge Road and Grand Concourse station on the D line. Police say a 25-year-old woman was walking up the stairs when a man approached from behind, lifted her dress and touched her backside. Read More: NY1

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/08/2011: Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies, 67


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Severed Foot Found On Front Lawn In Rosedale; Turns Out To Be Bear’s

There’s relief in Rosedale this morning after a gruesome discovery rattled nerves. A man taking out the garbage Sunday night found what appeared to be a severed child’s foot on his front lawn. Police responded to the scene to investigate. On Monday morning, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the foot was that of a bear. Read More: CBS News

 

 

Man Arrested For Alleged Groping Of Shayne DeJesus On Train

Police in Queens say they’ve arrested the man who allegedly groped Shayne DeJesus at the Union Square subway station. Froylan Andrade, 39, is charged with sex abuse after cops were able to identify him from a photo DeJesus snapped on the train. Read More: WPIX

 

 

Feds forced to return nearly $1 million to Gallagher’s 2000, a Long Island City strip club 

The feds have been ordered to return nearly $1 million seized from a Queens strip club after a judge cleared the owner of civil charges of financial improprieties. Robert Potenza, the pistol-packing owner of Gallagher’s 2000 in Long Island City, ran afoul of government agents who suspected the strip club king had made more than 100 bank deposits in amounts less than $10,000 in order to avoid federal reporting requirements. Read More: Daily News

 

 

Graffiti legend was also an NYPD cop

Police have discovered the identity of one of New York City’s most prolific graffiti vandals — and he’s one of their own. Steven Weinberg, 43, of Flushing, a patrolman who retired from the NYPD in 2001 after hurting his leg, is the notorious “Neo” — one of the peskiest subway taggers of the 1980s. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Boxing legend Joe Frazier dies, 67

In another era, Joe Frazier—”Smokin’ Joe” to anybody who cared about boxing—might have perched serenely atop the heavyweight boxing division for a decade, his powerful punches and stolid visage epitomizing pugilistic grace. Mr. Frazier, who died Monday at age 67 after a brief bout with liver cancer, was small by heavyweight standards. But he was a warrior who smothered his opponents with punches, including a devastating left hook he used to end many of his fights early. Read More: Wall Street Journal

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 10/25/2011: 8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case


| jlane@queenscourier.com

The Round Up

Egypt to release Queens native

The Prime Minister of Israel announced that Ilan Grapel, the Queens native and law student arrested during the Egyptian uprisings in June, will be released in exchange for 25 Egyptian prisoners, according to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Barbara Sheehan released from prison

According to published reports, the 50-year-old mother of two was released from Rikers Island earlier today, roughly two weeks after she was taken into custody. Barbara was in prison awaiting sentencing for criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree for the shooting death of her husband, retired NYPD sergeant Raymond Sheehan, on the morning of February 18, 2008. Read More: Queens Courier

 

15-year-old held in rape attempts in Queens

A 15-year-old Queens youth has been arrested on charges that he tried to rape two women this month, part of what the authorities say is a pattern of five attacks in the borough’s southeastern section that began in late September. Read More: New York Times

 

 

Queens suspect forcibly grabs woman’s breast in subway station

A suspect is being sought in connection with yet another sex crime in Queens. Police said that last Thursday a suspect approached 22-year-old woman at the Seneca Avenue M Line subway station and grabbed her breast and private area.  The suspect then fled the station for the street. Read More: CBS News

 

 

8 Officers Charged With Gun Trafficking in U.S. Corruption Case

Eight current and former New York Police Department officers were arrested early Tuesday on federal charges including gun trafficking and conspiracy to smuggle cigarettes, according to people briefed on the case. Read More: New York Times

 

 

Train derailment causing delays on 4,5 and 6 lines


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

A train derailment on the northbound No. 6 line early this morning caused delays and service changes on the 4, 5 and 6 trains.

Normal service has returned following the derailment though there are still residual delays.

If possible riders should use an alternate route to avoid delays.

No injuries were reported from the derailment and the cause is under investigation.

MTA reduces subway service for “minor holidays”


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

New York City subway riders may notice they are waiting a little longer for the train today.

Columbus Day marks the first time the MTA has implemented its “minor holiday” schedule.

After studying minor holidays, the agency discovered ridership levels are often less than 75 percent of peak ridership. The reduction in service on these days will be smaller than the reduction in ridership, according to the MTA. This is a pilot program that will see expansion if successful.

The changes affect the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 lines. The agency estimates it will save $200,000 annually.

The “minor holidays” that will see service reduced are: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Good Friday, Columbus Day, the Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve (when it falls on a Monday through Thursday), three weekdays following Christmas and New Years Eve (when it falls on a Monday through Thursday).

For MTA info dial 5-1-1


| brennison@queenscourier.com

For any MTA-related issue or question, Queens residents now have to remember only three numbers, 5-1-1.

The MTA and New York State Department of Transportation announced this week that the New York State Travel Information Line will handle MTA-related inquiries, also.

The number will still provide information regarding roads and bridges, traffic and congestion, ferries and public transportation run by other agencies.

Dialing 5-1-1 provided limited MTA information before, but now will also allow callers to select additional functions such as Lost & Found, MetroCard Balance Protection, comments and concerns, ticket machines, ticket refunds, and group travel.

“This is a great example of how we are working to make it easier for our customers to get information and interact with the MTA at the same time that we reduce the MTA’s administrative costs,” said MTA Managing Director Diana Jones Ritter. “Customers now have a single phone number for all transportation-related questions, instead of a long and sometimes confusing list of agencies and departments.”

The MTA reduced what was 117 separate public phone numbers into just one.

MTA ‘On the Go’ Info


| rcasiano@queenscourier.com

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The MTA is testing touch-screen displays that would be installed at subway stations in the city, including one in Queens, in an effort to provide commuters with easier access to vital information without the need of a computer.

So far, one On the Go! Travel Station is up in Manhattan and four more will be rolled out at four other subway and commuter rail hubs in the city. The Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue station is expected to get a new touch screen in a couple of weeks, according to a spokesperson from the MTA.

“With On the Go, we are adding yet another layer of state-of-the-art customer communications into our subway system,” said MTA NYC Transit President Thomas F. Prendergast, at the launch of the MTA’s new touch-screens at Manhattan’s Bowling Green station on September 19. “On the Go will provide riders with instant information that makes using the transit system more efficient.”

The 47-inch colorful displays will show commuters information about trips and will include real-time train service status, escalator and elevator status and local neighborhood maps as well as access to the online trip planner service. In addition, news and weather information will be featured on the screen as well.

These travel stations are supported by ads and third-party applications “mycity” and “Zagats” that add local history, shopping and dining options and more to the On the Go displays.

Besides Queens, more displays will be added to Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue-Pacific Street in Brooklyn. The displays may expand to additional subways stations throughout the city if the On the Go stations are successful and well received by customers, a spokesperson for the MTA said.

The new displays were designed by Antenna Design New York Inc. for the MTA and they use the Cisco Interactive Services Solutions software.

Construction to close subway entrance


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Commuters in Briarwood will be left hanging by more than just a strap until 2015.

Ongoing construction from the Kew Gardens Interchange project will force the more heavily used entrance of the Briarwood-Van Wyck station to close, pushing subway travelers out of an exit some residents have deemed dangerous.

The main entrance, located on the south side of Queens Boulevard, is expected to permanently close early this winter, according to the Department of Transportation (DOT), with construction efforts not expected to end until early 2015.
The remaining west side entrance leads out to the Van Wyck Expressway service road and borders Maple Grove Cemetery — a combination some residents find daunting.

“This is a problem for several reasons,” said resident Beth Brooks of the Briarwood Action Network. “Cars are used to speeding down there to get onto the Van Wyck. There is no stop light. There isn’t even a yield sign. There’s nothing there.”

Currently, the west side entrance is used by less than one percent of the station’s ridership, according to MTA spokesperson Charles Seaton.

“It didn’t matter before because nobody ever walked there,” said Brooks, a resident for over 25 years. “But now you’re going to have thousands of people a day coming out of that entrance. It’s a death trap.”

Brooks also expressed concerns about walking alone next to the cemetery at night.

“It’s very dark over there even in daylight. There is no foot traffic. It’s very isolated. It’s a perfect place for muggers, rapists and other unsavory characters,” she said.

Ridgewood resident Christine Evath shared the same sentiment.

“That doesn’t sound good to me. Not as a young female — that doesn’t sound good at all,” she said.

According to the DOT, the Kew Gardens Interchange project requires the station’s south side entrance to close before further construction contracts can continue. Among many changes, an auxiliary lane will be added to the Van Wyck and improvements — including an added elevator and a new entrance — will be made to the subway station.

But a brand new subway station isn’t worth the “inconvenience” or danger for resident Fred Stokes.

“I’d rather keep what’s been safe so far than take any other risk,” he said.

The issue even warranted the concern of nearby officials at Arch Bishop Molloy High School.

“We’re concerned about their safety,” said Assistant Principal Ken Auer. “We just try to keep them informed and aware at all times. We told them to keep their eyes open and to leave extra time because it’s going to be a longer walk.”

The high school is located on 83-53 Manton Street, just a few blocks down from the west side entrance.

“It’s a serious issue, but they’re young adults and they have to be careful. There’s nothing else we can really do,” Auer said.

Assemblymember Rory Lancman told The Courier that even he wouldn’t be too comfortable crossing the Van Wyck Expressway service road to get to the west side subway entrance.

After observing the area, he said cars that turn right onto Queens Boulevard have a tendency to make the turn very quickly.

“If you have someone in the middle of the crossway, a car is not going to have enough time to stop and that person is not going to have enough time to get out of the way,” Lancman said. “If you add nighttime and rain, it’s a real possibility for tragedy.”

With the exception of the “inadequate traffic control” located at the intersection between Queens Boulevard and the Van Wyck Expressway entrance ramp, Lancman and Officer Joseph Martins of the 102nd Precinct said residents should be safe otherwise.

“Right now, if residents follow and strictly adhere to the pedestrian traffic patterns that are in place, they will be safe,” Lancman said.

This ride stinks!


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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The subway in Kew Gardens smells like anything but a bed of roses.

Commuters waiting at the Union Turnpike “E” and “F” train station have complained recently of a revolting stench engulfing the platforms.

“The smell is really bad, like something crawled down here and died,” said Jamie Skipper, a Kew Gardens resident who utilizes the station each day. “It is nauseating down here. It smells like a port-a-potty. You see everyone covering their faces and practically gagging. It’s not a good way to start the morning.”

Other riders were not pleased with the odor considering the hefty prices they are forced to pay to ride the subway.

“I pay $4.50 each day and I come here and it smells horribly,” said Leo Aminov, an 18-year-old Hunter College student. “It smells like something died in here. You have to hold your breath because you can’t take the stink.”

Upon investigating the smell, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) quickly discovered the root of the problem.

In a statement released on Wednesday, September 21, the MTA said the stench was emanating from “a large amount of refuse” that was discovered in an unused utility room in the tunnel. According to MTA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz, two homeless people were found in the room, and it is believed they left the refuse, which was partially composed of rotting food. The two destitute people were removed, and the MTA is still unsure how the utility room was breached.

During a two-night cleanup on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20 and 21, the MTA power washed and sanitized the room. A new security hasp will also be installed on the door to prevent a repeat occurrence.

Although commuters recognized an improvement, the smell continues to linger at the station.

“I can tell they are trying to cover it up,” Skipper said. “It is certainly not as bad as it was, but it is still here.”