Tag Archives: Sunnyside

Woodside resident to seek Assembly seat and ‘fight for the middle class’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Brian Barnwell

Brian Barnwell is looking to be the voice of a district he has called home all his life and one he says needs a big change and new leadership.

The 29-year-old Woodside resident and lawyer has announced that he will run next year for the seat in the state Assembly representing District 30, which covers the neighborhoods of Maspeth, Woodside, Middle Village and parts of Astoria, Sunnyside and Long Island City.

The seat is currently held by Assemblywoman Margaret Markey, who was first elected in 1998.

“I just feel like it’s time for a change. I feel like we need some new energy where people are going to go out and engage the community and bring the community voices into the conversation,” Barnwell said. “Everyone is getting pushed out. The teachers are being thrown under the bus. The students are being thrown under the bus. The middle class is just being destroyed and we can’t take it for granted anymore. So I want to be the voice of the middle class, because I am in the middle class.”

Barnwell’s desire to run for office was fueled recently when he began working as the director of special events for Councilman Costa Constantinides, and experienced many residents coming into the district office complaining about various issues – including affordable housing.

This made him realize that there needed to be a change and he would be that change.

The platform of his campaign will strongly focus on helping individuals in the middle class and those vying to move into the middle class. With being a member of the middle class himself, along with his family, Barnwell said he has personal experience with the issues constituents face.

“The middle class is what made this country great. It’s what makes any country great. If you don’t have a middle class, you’re in trouble,” Barnwell said.

Barnwell’s platform – focusing on taxes, education and affordable housing – includes issues such as lowering personal income and corporate taxes; helping raise minimum wage; empowering teachers, parents and administrators in local schools and creating new curriculum based on districts; building more schools; and increasing the amount of affordable housing in the developing area.

For now, Barnwell will stay at Constantinides’ office until September, then he will hit the streets and reach out to the communities to see what issues the residents are facing.

“I want people to tell me what’s wrong with this district,” Barnwell said. “You’ve got to lead. You’ve got to be a leader. This why we elect these people to be leaders, not followers, and I want to be a leader. I don’t want to be a follower.”

Barnwell will hold his first fundraiser on Aug. 12 at 7 p.m. at The Brewery NYC, located at 49-18 30th Ave. in Woodside.

For more information visit Barnwell’s Facebook page or follow @Barnwell2016 on Twitter.

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Street to be co-named after architect who helped design Sunnyside Gardens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Sunnyside Gardens will soon remember one of the women who envisioned the landscape and architecture that make up the neighborhood today.

The City Council unanimously passed a bill last week that would co-name streets throughout the city, including 45th Street between Skillman and 39th avenues, which will be named in honor of Marjorie Sewell Cautley as “Marjorie Sewell Cautley Way.”

Cautley, who died in 1954, was an American landscape architect who was known for her interest in the design of communal spaces and is remembered as being influential in the design of Sunnyside Gardens, along with other neighborhoods – such as Phipps Garden Apartments, Hillside Homes and Radburn in New Jersey.

“From her efforts to help build Sunnyside Gardens – one of our city’s first affordable housing developments – to developing the Phipps Garden Apartments, Ms. Cautley has established herself as one of America’s premier landscape architects,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “It is important that we commemorate her work here in Sunnyside while celebrating the lasting impact she has had on our community.”

Cautley has been credited for the design of Sunnyside Garden’s “superblocks,” where the houses lean toward rear courts, and for her use of native plants in all her projects.

In 1935, she became landscape consultant to the state of New Hampshire and oversaw the construction of 10 state parks, and she also taught at Columbia University and MIT. Later that year she also published a book called “Garden Design.”

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108th Precinct sees large crime decrease after new anti-crime team created


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

Crime in the 108th Precinct — which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth — has seen a large decrease after a new team of seasoned officers hit the streets, according to the precinct’s top cop.

Captain John Travaglia, who took over the precinct last November, told The Courier that he has seen a 23 percent decrease in crime in the 28-day period ending on July 19 and a 30 percent decrease in the year to date.

Burglaries, which are the main issue the neighborhoods face, have been down 61 percent in the 28-day period and 26 percent in the year to date.

The police captain credits the decrease in crime to the creation of a second anti-crime team at the precinct which is made up of five seasoned officers.

“I inherited a precinct from Captain Brian Hennessy that I thought was working very, very well. The one thing that I noticed was we were missing an anti-crime team. Most precincts function with two anti-crime teams and we only had one,” Travaglia said.

Travaglia added that after going over the personnel background folders for each of the officers in the new team, he noticed they were being underutilized at the precinct and wanted “to get them back in the game.”

Since being formed in March, the team has worked to solve crimes that have been under the radar as well as more prominent crimes, and has helped take down ongoing crimes in the neighborhoods.

“We have put together, to me, one of the best anti-crime teams in the city of New York,” he said. “They’re just very sharp individuals. And I always say that if I was a criminal in this region right now, I’d be very scared of these men.”

Along with helping bring the crime numbers down, Travaglia said the men who make up the team are humble and are always accepting information from other officers and members of the precinct.

He added that they also train other officers around them and many other officers want to emulate these seasoned cops.

“They’re not giants among men. They’re police officers on a team. They don’t take credit for anything. The team takes credit. They’re phenomenal officers and they’re a big component of our crime reduction,” Travaglia said.

The precinct has seen a slight issue concerning Long Island City’s nightlife. Travaglia said that there have been issues, for example felony assaults, that occur late at night surrounding these establishments.

In order to tackle this issue and stop problems from occurring, Travaglia is looking to get together with the owners and managers of local bars, restaurants and clubs during a nightlife best practices meeting.

“We need cooperation because you don’t want to meet me after the situation has happened. You worked hard to get your liquor license, you’ve worked hard to license your establishment, to build your reputation up,” he said. “I want people to be successful here. People are coming to Long Island City to patronize these establishments at night, to visit here, so I want everyone to have a safe experience and pleasant experience.”

The precinct hopes to hold the first nightlife meeting in August or September at the precinct house, located at 5-47 50th Ave.

In regards to traffic enforcement, Travaglia said that since he took the post at the 108th Precinct there have been no traffic fatalities in the neighborhoods and he helped engineer a team of officers to follow traffic trends.

He added that although he has gotten some backlash on enforcement on bicyclists, he said he hopes the 364 summonses given out in the 28-day period, compared to the 17 in the same period last year, will control the other thousands on the road.

In regards to vehicles, he said there have been 7,000 moving summonses and 2,500 parking summonses given year to date.

“Someone has to make sure everyone is adhering to the rules of the road,” Travaglia said. “It’s something that I found needed to be addressed. We’re here to make sure the roadways are safe for all.”

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Themed popup bar serving craft cocktails coming to Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Matthew Callahan

Something refreshing is popping up at a Sunnyside restaurant looking to celebrate the long days of summer.

Behind The Wood, an Astoria-based beverage consulting company, is coming together with Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar, located at 44-07 Queens Blvd., to bring the Behind The Wood Popup Bar starting this Friday and Saturday.

The popup bar, which will be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every weekend in the summer, will have a “summer solstice” theme featuring a summer-driven drink menu filled with craft cocktails all created fresh in house, homemade/refurbished décor, music, and different events such as a move night.

The drink menu will feature two parts. The top part will include four original drinks that are inspired by summer and the bottom half will be the “back to basics section” where guests will be able to also try variations of classic drinks.

The idea of the bar came after the owner of Venturo approached Behind The Wood co-owners Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin, who have more than 30 years combined in the hospitality industry, and said regulars to the restaurant were looking for a local place to get drinks.

Behind The Wood co-owners Mashia Baldwin and Scott Scaffidi.

Behind The Wood co-owners Mashia Baldwin and Scott Scaffidi

Behind The Wood — which for the past two years has offered establishments services such as cocktail menu development; staff and management training; juice, house-made syrups and ice; bar equipment and tools; spirits recommendations; and bar design — had worked with Venturo before when it just opened and decided to help create the popup bar.

The bar will remain opened after the summer with the theme changing in the fall and then changing every two months. There will be a holiday theme around November and December, and possibly a tiki bar theme in the winter.

According to Scaffidi, the popup bar will also serve as a way for him and Baldwin to test the waters with future plans of opening their own establishment in Queens.

“The idea is that down the line we would like to open our own brick-and-mortar bar,” said Scott Scaffidi. “We are using this as a test kitchen to see how people respond and in that way it can be exciting for guests.”

For more information visit www.behindthewood.nyc.

Photo courtesy of Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin.

Photo courtesy of Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin

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First-ever documentary about Jamaica Bay to premiere in the fall


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jamaica Bay Lives

Sunnyside resident Dan Hendrick fell in love with Jamaica Bay 15 years ago, and he’s about to express that love in a new documentary set to debut later this year.

Growing up in Michigan, Hendrick spent a lot of time on his father’s boat, which cultivated his respect for and fascination with nature. After visiting Jamaica Bay, Hendrick went to a local library to learn more about it, but quickly realized that there were no books on the 18,000-acre wetland estuary. He decided to write the first one himself.

“I went around and I searched and searched and searched and low and behold no one had ever written a book about Jamaica Bay,” Hendrick said. “It’s just like this great place and the fact that in a city of millions of ambitious people living here, you think at this point, every angle has been covered and in some ways that just underscores how much Jamaica Bay was not celebrated.”

The book, “Jamaica Bay,” was released in 2006, and in April 2011, Hendrick set out to make a movie, titled “Jamaica Bay Lives.” Though his book is a great resource for facts about the bay, the environmentalist who works for a solar energy company wanted to tell a story about the relationship between the bay and the local community.

“The documentary has a different power than the book does,” Hendrick said. “We really wanted to reach a wider audience.”

Many of the main characters in the film are local civic leaders and residents who have dedicated their lives to preserving the bay. Don Riepe, a Broad Channel resident and head of Jamaica Bay Guardian, an environmental group that focuses on education, community engagement, advocacy and restoration, talks about the diverse wildlife that calls Jamaica Bay home.

“People will be amazed by the beauty of the marshes and diversity of wildlife right here at their back door,” Riepe said.

A crew of five captured around 400 hours of footage that was eventually condensed into a 75-minute documentary. Hendrick also called on the community to provide photographs and footage of the bay.

Much of the footage, Hendrick said, depicted damage from Hurricane Sandy including flooding and fires in the area. Though the hurricane delayed production, the superstorm made it clear how important places like Jamaica Bay are, he said.

“Urban nature is more important now than ever to protect because nature is a refuge for the city,” Hendrick said. “As we saw in Hurricane Sandy, nature plays a role in protecting our communities from storms, from more severe weather. It’s more important than ever.”

Once the film is finished, Hendrick hopes to take it beyond the big screen and television. Schools and community centers are a “critical” part of the film’s distribution plan because of the ability to educate locals about an important national park that is “right in their backyard,” Hendrick said.

The crew is in the process of putting the finishing touches on the film, including the addition of music, sound mixing and color adjustments. After watching the film, Hendrick hopes residents are encouraged to visit the bay and foster a relationship with it.

“All of our cities are urbanizing and you’ve got climate change upon us with big storms like this,” Hendrick said. “We need to reset our relationship [with nature] that we’ve abused over the years.”


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Where to celebrate Bastille Day in Queens this weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Aperitif Bistro

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Francophiles looking to indulge in French food and culture without the large city crowds can trade the Arc de Triomphe for the iconic Sunnyside Arch and celebrate Bastille weekend (July 11-12) in the heart of Queens.

Several Queens restaurants are holding early celebrations of Bastille Day, the holiday marking the start of the French Revolution on July 14, 1789.

One such location is the Tournesol Bistro Francais (50-12 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City, off the Vernon Blvd./Jackson Ave. 7 train station). Tournesol (French for “sunflower”) serves up French favorites like quiche Lorraine ($9), salade Nicoise ($12), brie panini with apples ($9.50) and croque monsieur ($9.50), a decadent grilled ham and cheese sandwich with bechamel sauce.

Adventurous eaters can try the escargots l’estragon ($9.50), a dish of sauteed snails in tarragon sauce. The magret de canard ($22) features succulent duck breast with celery puree in honey sauce.

Tournesol boasts an extensive wine list categorized by region in France. The Cotes de Provence Cuvee du Cep d’Or, a refreshing rose wine, is perfect for summer afternoons ($8/glass).

To celebrate Bastille Weekend, Tournesol will host a free petanque tournament on Saturday, July 11, from noon to 8 p.m. Petanque is similar to horseshoes but is played with metal “boules,” or balls.

Francophiles can also head over to Sunnyside and celebrate Bastille Day at the Bliss 46 Bistro (43-45 46th St. off the 46th St. and Bliss St. station). Bliss 46 was voted Best French Restaurant in Queens for 2015 by Courier readers in the Best of the Boro competition. The family-owned establishment is run by owner Deodoro Monge and his daughter, Melissa.

Bastille Weekend revelers will want to try their classic coq au vin ($15), a savory chicken stew with red wine, bacon and mashed potatoes, or the steak d’onglet ($19) with garlic butter, vegetables and fries.

Those seeking classic French crepes can find them at Cafe Triskell (33-04 36th Ave. in Astoria off the 36th Ave. N/Q station).

Founded in 2007 by chef, owner and Bretange native Phillipe Fallait, Cafe Triskell offers several varieties of both sweet and savory crepes. Standouts include the French aged goat cheese and herbs crepes ($9), banana with chocolate jam ($6) and the poached pear with homemade chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and whipped cream ($8).

The final stop on the Queens Bastille weekend journey is Aperitif Bistro (213-41 39th Ave. in Bayside). Black and gold pinstripe banquets and vintage globe lanterns give this Queens eatery a French flea market flair.

At Aperitif, patrons can indulge on filet mignon sliders ($14), steak tartare ($17) and prosciutto and figs with blue cheese and pears in a balsamic reduction ($7). Mascarpone crepes with fresh fruit ($16) provide a sweet finish to this French feast.

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Sunnyside woman talks novel set in Croatia during war


| kmedoff@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Sara Nović

Sara Nović, 27, of Sunnyside, traveled to Croatia after high school in 2005 because of family ties in the country, and she talked to a lot of people there about the civil war that had broken out in Yugoslavia in 1991, the beginning of the Croatian War of Independence that would last until 1995.

Those who were children during the war told Nović about playing games on a barricade made of sandbags and sleeping in a pantry while air raid sirens blared around Zagreb. Nović wrote everything down.

At the time, she didn’t know that this material would turn into her first novel, “Girl at War,” published on May 12. It’s since garnered praise from major publications such as The New York Times, although Nović avoids reviews and looks at the Internet “with one eye closed.”

“I guess I never considered writing to be a career that a person could have,” she said. “It was just a thing that I always did, but I thought it was a nerdy thing that I always did that I wasn’t supposed to be sharing with others.”

As an undergrad at Emerson, she wrote a short story about a child who grew up during the war. Her professor called her into his office and encouraged her to write a book about the topic, because he hadn’t read anything about Croatia. Nović replied, “Yeah, all right,” not really believing that she ever would, “but then I kind of did,” she said.

She kept writing on and off throughout college and her MFA program at Columbia University, although she didn’t know that she was writing a book “until quite late,” she said, “even after I’d written a lot of it.” Eventually she decided to write the book for an audience partly because of the responses she received whenever she talked with other Americans about Croatia.

“Whenever I talked about Croatia, people didn’t really know anything, like where it was, never mind that a war had taken place,” she said. “So I think the very first impetus was anger, like why doesn’t anyone know about this? I don’t think it’s fiction’s job to educate people. It can’t do that—it would be a really boring book if you wrote a book like a textbook. But I think it can make people curious to find out about stuff.”

“Girl at War” focuses on the war’s impact on one girl, Ana Jurić, moving between her life as a 10-year-old in Zagreb when the war begins and her life as a college student at NYU who decides to return to her country after a decade away.

“I didn’t want the book to be in chronological order,” Nović said. “I think—I hope—the past and present thing shows that for Ana, the war is not over, how these things are still intertwined, always.” It’s also a reflection on memory and fragmentation: “This is a war, so people were under a lot of stress, anxiety, and it changes the way your memory works.”

Nović was influenced by the work of Izet Sarajlić, whose poetry she was translating, although she only realized that he impacted her book in retrospect. His wrote his collection “Sarajevo War Journal” during the first weeks of the war in the Bosnian capital.

“He’s very spare with his language, but he’s also very funny in this black humor [way],” she said. “When you’re amidst this terrible situation, you’re still a person, so still some things are funny. And that was something that I tried to put in the book with the way the kids respond to the war,” playing war games and fighting over the generator bike in underground air raid shelters.

Nović is deaf, and she has written about the experience of being a deaf novelist for The Guardian. She joked that she can “just sit anywhere and write and not be bothered by people,” but she said “’deaf’ is a really negative thing in our language,” with phrases like “falling on deaf ears.”

“It’s sometimes weird to write in a language that’s intrinsically negative about your personhood,” said Nović, who is trilingual in English, American Sign Language and Croatian. Since her hearing loss was progressive, “English is my first [language], just not my favorite anymore. Except when I’m writing. Then I like it again.”

Nović founded the online magazine Redeafined three years ago to combat misinformation on deaf issues. The busy author also teaches writing at Columbia University and at the Fashion Institute of Technology and serves as the fiction editor for Blunderbuss Magazine.

Now Nović is working on a “very new” writing project set in a deaf school in Boston.

“It’s just kind of a short story that gets longer and longer instead of ending, which I eye with suspicion because that’s what happened when I was writing [‘Girl at War’],” she said.

Sara Nović will be participating in a reading along with two other authors at LIC Bar, 45-58 Vernon Blvd., on July 14 from 8 to 9:30 p.m. “Girl at War” can be found in bookstores all over.

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108th Precinct commander touts major crime decline


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

Crime in the 108th Precinct has drastically decreased so far in 2015, with reports down by 23 percent for the year overall, police reported during Tuesday’s 108th Precinct Community Council meeting in Sunnyside.

“When looking at crime overall, it’s a great trend that we’re seeing right now,” said Capt. John Travaglia, the precinct’s commanding officer, who credited his patrol officers and anti-crime teams for their work in keeping the neighborhood safe.

According to Travaglia, there have been fewer incidents this year in nearly all categories versus the same 28-day period from last year. Felony assault is down by 60 percent, with six reported versus last year’s 15. Burglaries are also down by more than half, with 11 incidents recorded by police versus the 25 incidents that occurred last year. Grand larceny down considerably, with 27 reported in the past 28 days versus 47 during this time in 2014.

Robbery was the only criminal activity that saw a slight uptick, but according to Travaglia, arrests have been made to deal accordingly with these instances.

Travaglia said that traffic issues have also been decreasing. There has been a 3 percent decrease in accidents and reported traffic injuries are down 8 percent. Additionally, there has not been a fatal car accident in the 108th Precinct for the past eight months.

In sharp contrast to decreases across the board, bike summonses have gone up sharply in 2015, Travaglia said. Over the last 28 days, 352 tickets were issued to bike riders versus only 3 percent during this time last year. Bike summonses were caused by a variety of infractions ranging from personal safety issues such as not wearing a helmet, to traffic violations incurred by riding through a red light.

The increase in traffic safety enforcement among bikers is largely spurred by the Vision Zero initiative undertaken by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office and other city agencies to reduce death and serious injuries on city streets.

In recognition of their crime-fighting efforts, the 108th Precinct Anti-Crime Team was honored with the “Cop of the Month” award for their collective efforts in preventing crime and interrupting incidents in progress. The Ridgewood Times donated the plaque presented to the team.

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Sunnyside gets 15 new trash cans, replacing broken ones


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Sunnyside just received a gift that will help keep its streets shining and clean.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District announced Tuesday afternoon that the neighborhood had received 15 new trash receptacles down sidewalks on Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue.

The new trash cans, which were installed over the weekend, were fully funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and will be serviced daily by the Sunnyside Shines maintenance team.

“We thank Majority Leader Van Bramer for his dedication to beautifying Sunnyside’s commercial district,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines executive director. “These trash receptacles are a big upgrade for the district and provide a more functional and attractive option to manage trash collection on our busy streets.”

The new receptacles are made of fabricated steel and painted black. They replaced broken cans that no longer closed or locked, which were taken away by the Department of Sanitation.

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Popular Sunnyside Paraguayan restaurant to open offshoot in Bayside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Foodies in Bayside will soon have a new cuisine to add to their palates.

The owners of I Love Paraguay, located at 43-16 Greenpoint Ave., are in the process of opening an offshoot of their popular Sunnyside restaurant.

Although the owners are not yet ready to release the official location of the establishment, they did confirm the restaurant will be called “Sabor Guaraní” and is expected to open around August.

I Love Paraguay opened in 2007 and is run by Nancy, Carlos and Fabricio Ojeda, natives of Asunción in Paraguay.

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Burglar wanted for breaking into Sunnyside pizzeria


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A burglar was caught on camera after he busted through the door of a Sunnyside pizza shop and raided the eatery’s cash register over the weekend, police said.

The break-in took place about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday at Lenny’s Pizza located at 44-08 Greenpoint Ave. near 47th Avenue.

According to authorities, the suspect kicked in the front glass door of the restaurant before taking $500 from a cash register and fleeing on foot.

The adult male suspect was last seen wearing a striped polo shirt, baseball cap, jeans and white sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.


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Reward offered for help in finding serial Queens bank robber


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the FBI New York office

Federal agents and the NYPD are offering “a significant reward” for the public’s help in finding the man responsible for at least a dozen bank robberies in Queens dating back to last year — including several armed heists.

Authorities said the suspect last struck in Middle Village on Dec. 9, 2014, robbing cash from the Chase bank at 74-04 Eliot Ave. Many of the other robberies occurred in Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Maspeth, Sunnyside and Ridgewood.

During each incident, the suspect reportedly passed demand notes to a teller and walked away with various sums of money. In five capers, the perpetrator displayed a handgun in his waistband to bank employees, the FBI said.

Law enforcement agents describe the crook as a black or Hispanic male with a medium to light complexion standing 6 feet tall, and weighing between 200 and 250 pounds. He is usually seen on camera wearing glasses and a baseball cap with the logo of a sports team such as the New York Yankees or New England Patriots. The public should consider the suspect armed and dangerous.

Among the heists in the robbery pattern are the following incidents:

  • June 7, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 77-01 31st Ave. in East Elmhurst;
  • July 22, 2014, attempted robbery of a Santander bank located at 89-01 Northern Blvd. in Jackson Heights;
  • July 25, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 47-11 Queens Blvd. in Sunnyside;
  • Aug. 30, 2014, incident at a Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh located at 75-23 37th Ave. in Jackson Heights;
  • Oct. 4, 2014, robbery of a Chase bank located at 69-55 Grand Ave. in Maspeth; and
  •  Dec. 6, 2014, heist at a Chase bank located at 60-67 Myrtle Ave. in Ridgewood.

The FBI-NYPD Violent Crime Task Force is investigating the pattern.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is urged to call the Task Force at 212-384-1000; all calls will be kept confidential.

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Sunnyside to celebrate Flag Day on Saturday


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/File photo

The Sunnyside community is coming together this weekend to celebrate the history and adoption of the stars and stripes that make up the flag of the United States of America.

This Saturday will mark the Kiwanis Club of Sunnyside’s 46th annual Flag Day Parade along Greenpoint Avenue.

The celebration commemorates Flag Day, which is on June 14, and features members of the nonprofit Sunnyside Drum Corps.

The parade is set to begin at 11 a.m. on 41st Street and will go down seven blocks to 48th Street.

Once the parade is over a celebration filled with music and community pride will take place at the Veterans Memorial Plaza inside Sabba Park, located on Queens Boulevard and 49th Street.

For more information, call 718-786-4141 or visit sunnysideparade.com.

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CB 2 unanimously approves Queens Boulevard safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

Queens Boulevard is now one step closer to going from the “Boulevard of Death” to the “Boulevard of Life.”

Community Board 2 (CB 2) unanimously voted Thursday night to approve the Department of Transportation’s proposed safety improvements and redesign of a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The DOT said it decided to focus on this section first because, according to statistics, there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

“Community Board 2’s unanimous vote tonight is a big step toward turning Queens Boulevard into the Boulevard of Life,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement after the meeting. “This investment made by the de Blasio Administration will make the boulevard safer, greener and better for all users. I would like to thank the community for its support and local leaders, such as Councilman [Jimmy] Van Bramer, for their leadership.”

A preliminary plan for the strip was released in March. The proposal presented by DOT representatives during the June 4 meeting was based on community input gathered during safety workshops earlier this year and also a meeting held with CB 2’s Transportation Committee two days prior to last night’s vote.

DSC_1479

Some of the features of the first redesign segment, expected to be implemented in August, include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Goals for the redesign include keeping the main line moving, reducing constant lane change, completing crosswalks and connecting neighborhoods, and eliminating highway-like design features.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings.

As part of their decision, CB 2 members asked the DOT to keep an ongoing dialogue with the community and address issues such as the loss of parking spaces and some of the turn lanes off the center median of the thoroughfare.

DSC_1469

(THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano)

Residents at the meeting voiced their support for the proposal and praised DOT for the proposed safety improvements.

“What I’m really excited about the proposal today is that it kind of paints a future and gives an idea of what it would be like to have a road safe enough to bicycle on and it makes me excited to get my bicycle out and actually ride it,” said Patrick Rhea, a resident who walks and drives on Queens Boulevard.

The DOT plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

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Police hunt burglars in western Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos and video courtesy of NYPD

Authorities are searching for the suspects — including one apparently relaxed lookout — wanted in two separate break-ins of residences in Woodside and Sunnyside last week.

1256-15 108 precinct Burg 5-29-15 (1)The first incident occurred just after 5 p.m. on Friday at a second-floor apartment on 48th Avenue in Sunnyside, according to police.

The suspect — described as a Hispanic male standing about 5 feet 8 inches and weighing about 190 pounds with black hair and wearing a striped shirt — accessed the apartment by climbing the fire escape and opening an unlocked window, cops said. He then took an IWC watch and $300 in cash.

In an unrelated incident, on Sunday at about 2:45 p.m., two men were involved in the burglary of a private residence located on 37th Avenue in Woodside, authorities said.

One of the suspects allegedly broke into the home through a rear basement door, while another male acted as a lookout in the front of the residence. The suspects then stole electronics and jewelry before fleeing.

 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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