Tag Archives: sutphin boulevard

Executive director of Sutphin Boulevard BID steps down

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Inset courtesy of LinkedIn/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Simone Price, executive director of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), stepped down from her role last week to take a job at the MTA.

Price, who has acted as executive director for seven years, led a number of initiatives to revitalize storefronts and attract new businesses to Jamaica. She will become the assistant director of government and community relations at the MTA starting on Sept. 8.

Price said this was her second job out of college and that she jokingly tells people that she “grew up in this role,” as she learned marketing, retail attraction, managing day-to-day operations, urban planning and economic development in her tenure.

One of her favorite projects included the upgrade of five storefront facades, which was made possible by a $95,000 grant from the city’s Small Business Services department (SBS). Her work, which has included helping existing retailers to improve their businesses and proving to prospective retailers that Jamaica is a viable place to operate a business, has led to strong relationships, she said.

“I’m really passionate about this work and worked really hard to make sure that their needs are met and quality of life is improved as a result of my work in the BID and the mission of the BID,” Price said.

Her Adopt-a-Family program is also a highlight of her career, she said, because she created a “sense of community and family” with the five-year program. Business owners are encouraged to donate toys, clothes and shoes to children in shelters and foster care centers across Queens. The program supports more than 100 families in need.

Though the BID has not found a new director, Price hopes that her replacement continues expanding the programs she established and also “[taps] into some of the areas that perhaps they have more of an expertise in.”

Price said the organization has a greater number of resources and grants available to them, which will allow the new director to hire more staff and leverage the growing popularity of the organization and the increasing real estate development in downtown Jamaica.

“Maybe they’ll think about expanding the boundaries once the development takes place” and “getting better quality retail in place and systems where you can quantify the services that are taking place…in terms of spending power, buying power in the area and the number of people that are coming here to shop,” Price said.

The BID represents 134 businesses between Hillside and 94th Avenues and is funded by a special tax assessment paid for by property owners in the district. To apply for the executive director position, visit the Sutphin Boulevard BID website.


Identify this place in Queens

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Jamaica Avenue and Sutphin Boulevard in Jamaica 



8-year-old boy dies after being hit by car in Jamaica

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

A young boy has died from injuries he sustained after he was struck by a car on Memorial Day near a Jamaica park, police announced.

According to reports, Sincere Atkins, of Brooklyn, was at 125th Avenue around Baisley Pond Park just before 5 p.m. on May 25 when he ran into Sutphin Boulevard mid-block and was hit by a 1996 Toyota Corolla.

Atkins was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries on May 29, police said Monday.

The driver remained on the scene of the accident and has not been charged.



Brooklyn man shot to death in Jamaica

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com


A Brooklyn man was found dead from a gunshot wound to the torso in Jamaica over the weekend, police said.

Officers from the 113th Precinct discovered the 54-year-old victim, identified as James Burnett, at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday near 110th Road and Sutphin Boulevard, authorities said.

EMS rushed Burnett to Jamaica Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.

There are currently no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.


City accepting proposals to develop NYPD parking garage in downtown Jamaica

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/PropertyShark 

Even more development is coming to Jamaica—this time on the site of a police department parking garage.

Not long after Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to focus on creating more housing with his State of the City address, the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC) officially announced a request for proposals to develop hundreds of market rate and affordable units out of an NYPD parking garage in downtown Jamaica.

The 59,500-square-foot site at 93rd Avenue and 169th Street could also include ground-floor retail, according to the EDC, which set an April 30 deadline for developers to submit plans for the lot. Of course the project is consistent with de Blasio’s goal to build and preserve 200,000 affordable housing units in 10 years.

The two-story garage is currently used by cops, and will have to be entirely demolished to construct the new project, according to the EDC. But it’s a price the city is willing to pay for more housing.

“The 168th Street garage site holds powerful potential to serve the Jamaica neighborhood with affordable housing and other amenities, while building upon the area’s strengths as a commercial, cultural and transit hub,” said EDC President Kyle Kimball.

Police vehicles will have to be “accommodated” in order to redevelop the site, the EDC said.

Photo courtesy of NYCEDC

Photo courtesy of NYCEDC

The development could create 400 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs, the EDC said, and would add another project to the dizzying amount of construction coming to Jamaica near the downtown spurred by under-utilized lots, cheap land prices, high traffic and access to a massive transportation hub.

This includes Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) giving its twin parking lots near 90th Avenue and 168th Street to Blumenfeld Development Group for a jumbo mixed-use residential and commercial project, with more than 265,000 square feet of space.

The GJDC is also working on a $225 million, 29-story residential and commercial tower across from the AirTrain and LIRR station on Sutphin Boulevard.

Not far away on Sutphin Boulevard, Able Management Group is constructing a 210-key hotel, and nearby York College has 3.5 acres of on-campus land that could be home to new companies that want to move into the area to partner with the institution through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY tax-break program.

TCX Development’s seven-story luxury rental building on Hillside Avenue is nearing completion, and some major properties have also hit the market or were recently sold, including a $22 million sale of a huge garage and commercial strip at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. There are already plans to develop the property into a housing and retail mix, according to a published report.

Also, the Jamaica Colosseum Mall, which was formerly a Macy’s department store, also hit the market for an astounding $45 million.

And finally, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development recently announced that it is accepting plans from developers for 17 vacant city-owned sites in Jamaica to create more affordable housing.


Suspects wanted for robbing, punching Queens F train riders

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for two men wanted in a string of robberies on the F train in Queens, where they punch their victims as they try to take their property.

The first theft took place at the 169th Street stop on Sept. 2 at about 4:10 a.m. A 23-year-old man was walking up the stairs of the subway station when two men grabbed him from behind, authorities said. The suspects threw the victim to the ground, punched him in the face and took his wallet from his back pocket. The suspects then fled.

On Sept. 30, at about 9 a.m., a 30-year-old man was on a northbound F train when he was approached by two men, police said. One of the men punched the victim in the face and demanded his iPad. When the victim exited the train at the Sutphin Boulevard station, the suspects followed him, but fled without stealing anything.

During the latest incident, on Oct. 8, at about 1:40 p.m., the two suspects targeted a 33-year-old man as he was sitting on a southbound F train, according to authorities. The train was stopped at the Parsons Boulevard stop when one of the suspects grabbed the victim’s cellphone from his hand and fled. When the victim tried to chase him, a second man punched the victim in the face.

Police have released a video of the suspects and described them as two Hispanic men in their 20s.

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.


Stabbing victim walks into Jamaica McDonald’s with knife in back

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A stabbing victim walked into a Jamaica McDonald’s Tuesday morning with the weapon still in his back, according to published reports.

The 53-year-old man was crossing Sutphin Boulevard, about a couple of blocks from the fast food joint at 91st Avenue around 9:45 a.m. when he was stabbed, police said.

Shocked witnesses reported seeing the man come into the McDonald’s with the knife sticking out of his back and speaking on his cell phone, reports said.

“I’m pretty sure he was on the phone talking to somebody in his family or a loved one or something, he was talking to them and telling them it might be the last time he’s speaking to them,” witness Tromaine Yancey told CBS 2.

“He was cool and calm. But you could tell he was shaken up,” Michel Green, told the New York Post. “I went to pull the knife out, but someone said, ‘No, no! It might have hit an artery!’ ”

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he was treated and later released the same day, cops said.

There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.




Cops looking for man after wife, two children found stabbed to death in Jamaica apartment

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos via Facebook

Updated Monday, Jan. 20, 2:30 p.m.

Police are looking for the father of two young girls who were discovered fatally stabbed inside their Jamaica home Sunday night with their mother, police said.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos, 28, who is a suspect in the case, is known to drive a white 2001 Chevrolet commercial van with the license plate 22128MD and a white 1995 Dodge Suburban with the license plate  GHS2798, according to the NYPD.

Deisy Garcia, 21, and her children, Daniela Mejia, 2, and Yaslin Mejia, 1, were found just after 7 p.m. in a bedroom of their Sutphin Boulevard apartment, cops said. Each victim had multiple stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Photo by Robert Stridiron

Garcia was reportedly a frequent churchgoer and her local parish, Iglesia Naciones Unidas en Cristo, said “our cry for her family [is] that God will fill them with peace and strength.”

“We give thanks to God for the years He gave her and for all the time we were able to share with her and her marvelous daughters,” they said.

Garcia, a native of Guatemala, was also a student at York College, according to her Facebook page.

Miguel Mejia-Ramos

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.

-With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes



New developments on their way to downtown Jamaica

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of GJDC

Development organizations are hoping to give downtown Jamaica a face-lift by bringing an entirely new mix of stores and restaurants to cater to the needs of large businesses and residents alike.

The Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District (BID), Jamaica Center BID, 165th Street MIA and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) have been working for years to attract business owners and ultimately revamp the area.

“There’s so much to offer in downtown Jamaica, and we just feel like people are really unaware,” said Simone Price, executive director of Sutphin BID.

To get their mission across, the groups organized an event called Jamaica Revealed. They invited dozens of area property owners and commercial real estate brokers to connect with prospective business operators.

The attendees took a trolley tour of the downtown area and were able to view vacant commercial spaces.

“This is a major investment and a major transformation of the area,” said GJDC President Carlisle Towery.

GJDC is focusing on three sites throughout the development area. There is a location at the intersection of Sutphin Boulevard and 94th Avenue that will become a 200-room hotel; a site on Parsons Boulevard that is hoped to be turned into a 200-seat sit-down restaurant; and a housing, retail and office space, according to representative Justin Rogers.

“Things are really happening in downtown Jamaica,” he said. “Development has been cleared to take off.”

Price said the groups hope to attract sit-down restaurants, office supply stores, artisanal food stores, furniture retailers and upscale shops to the area.

Sara Herbstman owns a site on 161st Street that will soon be transformed into two residential towers.

“With all of the support that is being talked about, the development will be successful,” she said. “Jamaica is a major transportation hub, and it’s underutilized. It has all the potential to be successful.”



MTA cop able to kill attacker despite eye injury

| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of MTA

An MTA cop was stabbed in the eye this morning at the Jamaica LIRR station, it has been reported, and the officer’s reporter was killed during the altercation.

The MTA officer, identified as John Barnett, suffered a serious wound to his left eye but he’s expected to survive, MTA Chairperson and CEO Joseph Lhota told The Post.

The incident occurred at about 9:30 this morning outside the station near Sutphin Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue, authorities told the newspaper.

Although the attacker, identified as Edgar Owens, had stabbed Barnett in the eye, the cop was still able to shoot Owens, who later died at Jamaica Hospital, The Post reported.

Owens approached and attacked Barnett without any provocation, Lhota told the newspaper.

Ride Safe Livery Stand pilot program hailed a success

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan.

Two months after its inception, transit officials have hailed the pilot Ride Safe Livery Stand program a success.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and Greater Jamaica Development Corporation (GJDC) — both instrumental figures in the stand’s creation — joined with other officials on Thursday, November 10 to celebrate the thriving launch of the first Ride Safe stand in Queens.

The stand — in operation since September — is located directly outside the Jamaica Long Island Rail Road station’s main entrance, at the intersection of Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue.

The cylinder-shaped, bold, bright yellow booth features an on-site dispatcher 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and two Queens Village Car Service vehicles that wait nearby for passengers.

“This stand is a key transportation hub, serving the core of Jamaica’s vital commercial district,” said David Yassky, commissioner and chair of TLC. “The ability to offer passengers the high-quality, safe and convenient taxi-like service they need and deserve in an area that is historically not served by yellow taxis is an innovation.”

The stand is designed to put an end to illegal pickups by unauthorized cabs, which officials say put riders in potential danger.

“The presence of aggressive taxi hustling around the Long Island Rail Road/Air Train station created serious quality-of-life problems and contributed to the public’s misperception of downtown Jamaica,” said Carlisle Towery, president of GJDC. “The institution of the Ride Safe program has transformed the area around the station.”

According to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department (MTAPD), illegal livery activity has drastically decreased in the vicinity of the Sutphin Boulevard and Archer Avenue intersection and also on 91st Street since the stand’s inception, which is also attributed to stepped up enforcement.

Of the 1,180 summons distributed for illegal livery violations this year, Captain Kevin Kieran of the MTAPD said many of the cab drivers were driving without licenses or with suspended licenses.

“This station has such a tremendous concentration of passengers that it was really attracting a lot of illegal activity,” Yassky said. “It’s always dangerous when passengers are getting into a car, and they have no idea if the car is properly licensed or insured. There’s a risk there. We’re making sure people can get into a vehicle, get where they’re going safely, and do it knowing that the driver has been screened, and that the car has been inspected and is properly insured.”

So far, transit officials say the stand has provided almost 3,000 safe and convenient livery rides.

“The stand is a good idea,” said commuter Bharat Chhugani. “I’ve seen people who have been overcharged by double the amount, especially if they’re not from around here.”

The cost of the ride is computed by mileage, and drivers must provide detailed receipts to passengers, which include the vehicle and license number in case of a problem.

“We can move around this area with comfort and with ease now,” said Jacqueline Boyce, chair of Community Board 12. “I’m just thrilled, and I look forward to seeing this being expanded and seeing this community keep getting the service it deserves.”

The stand is under a one-year term, although it may be extended or terminated early depending on circumstances.

There are four other Ride Safe stands throughout the city, including two in Brooklyn and one at the Staten Island Ferry Street George Terminal, according to Allan Fromberg, deputy commissioner for public affairs.