Tag Archives: The Queens Courier

Huge turnout at Everything Kids Expo in LIC


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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SOPHIA ROSENBAUM

Children of all ages clamored up the steps to the third floor of the Long Island City YMCA to enjoy an array of activities from bouncy houses to circus routines at the second annual Everything Kids Expo.

More than 1,000 parents and children attended Sunday’s event, which promoted a healthy lifestyle while still having fun.

“The extraordinary turnout at our first-ever Long Island City YMCA location for the Everything Kids Expo was wall-to-wall,” said Victoria Schneps, president, CEO and publisher of The Queens Courier, presenting sponsor of the event. “Amy Amato, leading our team, provided the community with fun and information, and they obviously loved every minute of it. The Long Island City YMCA was a great partner for us.”

Children were able to get their faces painted at Frankie’s Carnival Time or learn some new dance moves while parents found out more information about summer camp opportunities, health coverage, sports and more.

“We’re here to promote our youth activities and bring the community together,” said Jonathan Imperial, the senior program director at the YMCA.

Eric Pichardo, 24, and his son Emmanuel enjoyed all the activities, but especially liked the face painting because Emmanuel was able to get a Spiderman web around his eye.

“It’s a good way to have Emmanuel interact with kids and get out of the house and away from the TV,” said Pichardo.
Raffle prizes were drawn throughout the five-hour event and included passes to a local gym, Big Apple Circus tickets, tickets to see the Mets and a grand prize trip to Cancún.

But it wasn’t all fun and games. Companies like Fidelis Care, which offers affordable health coverage, was on site to inform parents about their insurance options, and NY Life Insurance provided free ID cards for children.

Andrew Quinceno, who has been a personal trainer at the Long Island City YMCA since 2009, said that events like the Everything Kids Expo showcase what the YMCA is all about — youth development, social responsibility and healthy living.

“The YMCA is here for everyone,” said Quinceno, 26. “It’s one size fits all.”

Colleen Berga and her family won a six-month Queens-wide membership the YMCA of Greater New York. Colleen ecstatically proclaimed, “This is a such a great opportunity for my daughter. We fell into some hard times and I never thought I would be able to give my daughter anything like this. All she talks about is the Y!

The event was sponsored CITYMD, PM Pediatrics, Fidelis Care, Health Plus Amerigroup, Frankie’s Carnival Time and Big Apple Circus. Watch for the next Everything Kids Expo on June 29 at the Brooklyn Aviator Sports Center.

 

The Queens Courier staff recognized by New York Press Association


| editorial@queenscourier.com

The Queens Courier congratulates its staff in taking home a handful of awards at this year’s New York Press Association Better Newspaper Contest.

For the past three years, Courier reporters have been given the distinctive honor of Rookie Reporter of the Year. Former reporters Melissa Chan, Maggie Hayes and Terence Cullen previously took home the title and this year, Angy Altamirano placed in the category.

Altamirano, who covers western Queens and is editor of the LIC Courier magazine, was awarded second place for her “ability to write enticing, exciting leads.”

Of her work, the judges said, “Angy has an easy-to-read style … using short sentences instead of long wordy ones to tell her story.”
Melissa, who previously covered northeast Queens for The Courier, won second place in the News Story category for her “great hard news reporting” and getting to the facts quick and with detail.

The former reporter also took home another win along with Maggie, who previously covered southeast and southwest for the newspaper. The duo placed third place for In-Depth Reporting for their “nice presentation, good writing and plenty of interesting people …”

The Courier’s staff also took home awards for Best Special Section Cover and Best Large Space Ad.

Jennifer Decio earned first place for her large space ad which judges found conveyed an elegant message. “The photos and layout sell it!” wrote the judges.

Stephen Reina placed third for his special section cover which judges described as “both dynamic and sophisticated.”

“I’m so proud of our team, which is the best in the business,” said Joshua Schneps, co-publisher of The Queens Courier. “It demonstrates the quality of what we do and the depth of talent that we have in the company.”

 

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Friendship Lights brighten up lives of hundreds of New Yorkers


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Eli Garcia

Jack Giambanco is sharing the light of friendship.

It all started in the summer of 2012 when Giambanco had a dream involving people from all walks of life and all nationalities holding different colored, glowing lights in their hands.

After waking up, he knew he wanted to replicate the lights. After months of failed attempts, he finally cracked the code and came up with what he now calls “Friendship Lights.”

“From that moment on I could not stop. For a year I was trying to figure out how to make this, make it decent and make it with tools I had,” Giambanco said. “It all came from this one dream, from thin air.”

Friendship Lights are small devices made out of biodegradable and safe plastic that come with a light source that stays on constantly, reminding the holder of the person who gave it to him. The battery for the bubble gum scented lights can last months, and is easily replaceable.

After starting to bring his dream to life out of his Brooklyn home, Giambanco also began a “Friend of the Friendless” program in which he goes to local parks, mostly during the summer, and hands out lights, together with small inspirational notes.

He connects with people either through the free section on Craigslist or also via Facebook. So far, he said, he has given out about 400 lights and has met hundreds of people in the process, all with unique stories.

“It has been amazing,” he said. “I have met people that they don’t seem like they have a story to share and right away they want to talk to me about their situation. I wasn’t expecting to be in that position, but it’s been like a blessing to me.”

Giambanco and his sister shared the first batch of the lights during Sandy, when they saw neighbors who had their homes flooded and power lost. He said the lights helped the children feel more at ease.

“It came from nothing,” he said. “It goes to show that anyone can do anything. You don’t need millions of dollars, if you have a little desire you can do whatever it takes.”

Giambanco says he hopes to one day work with more people on the Friendship Lights project — and move his production to a facility.

Currently Giambanco, who is also a graphic artist at The Queens Courier, is working on the 2014 spring-summer collection that will feature eight specific color combinations. He is also creating lights for anti-war support in the Ukraine, made of yellow and blue, green and white lucky St. Patrick’s Day ones, anti-bully and autism awareness lights.

“I just want to make other people happy and spread good vibes,” he said. “It’s going to be a big summer for the Friendship Lights.”

If you don’t catch Giambanco at one of his “Friend of the Friendless” trips, Friendship Lights can also be purchased online. Giambanco is also looking for volunteers to help either create or spread the love of Friendship Lights. If you are interested, email jack@friendshiplights.com.

 

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Son’s gift of life inspires advocacy for kidney disease


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by James Bland

One son returned the gift of life to his mother.

Anthony Brown, recently named one of The Queens Courier’s Rising Stars, donated his kidney in 2013 to his mother Zita Brown after she was diagnosed with kidney disease a year before.

“It was so emotional because she didn’t know she had it,” he said. “It’s a progressive disease. She gets to the hospital for one thing and finds out she has another. They gave her six to seven months to live.”

Brown convinced his mother to let him donate his kidney after telling her that his life would not be complete without her by his side. Zita, originally from Laurelton, is now healthy and living in Florida. 

“I said, ‘Mom, I need you in my life, I can’t imagine having my first kid or wedding without you there,’” he said. “There are life moments that I need her there for. She then buckled down, crying, and said yes.”

The now 25-year-old Long Island City resident then felt he had a moral obligation to be the “voice for a population of people who don’t have a voice.”

Brown, an associate and banker with J.P. Morgan’s Long Island Private Bank, became a volunteer advocate with the American Kidney Fund and now travels around the country speaking about kidney disease, encouraging ways to get more money for research. 

“The decision [to donate] is something you have to make on your own,” he said. “But what I do is talk about my situation. Part of my mission is to make sure that people have a chance to at least consider it.”

He also took part in Kidney Action Day, hosted by the American Kidney Fund in Washington D.C., in which advocates come together and meet with local congressmembers to discuss the issues surrounding kidney diseases. 

Said Brown, “I feel blessed that I can live for something bigger than myself.”

For more info on the American Kidney Fund visit here.

 

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City Comptroller Scott Stringer sits down with The Queens Courier


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

City Comptroller Scott Stringer sat down with The Queens Courier to discuss his first weeks in office and just where he plans to go from here.

“We hit the ground running,” he said. “It’s getting out and listening to what people say. If you want to do audits and identify people and agencies, you talk to people in the streets and get a very good idea.”

Stringer oversees the city’s $150 billion pension fund and also registers an average of 22,000 city contracts from every business concerning technology, to day care, to public housing.

For the start of his term, he has already audited public housing as well as the three separate public library systems.

He is a supporter of raising the minimum wage to $11 to accommodate the city’s price of living, and also an advocate for establishing a guaranteed revenue stream for universal pre-kindergarten. He believes in advancing public schools, namely in technology, to give students a fighting chance at a successful future.

Stringer has also made some changes internally intended to improve the efficacy of the comptroller’s office. He has proposed to ban placement agents, the “middle men” who have been involved in various past scandals, and brought in risk management professionals.

“I can’t audit an agency unless my own house is in order,” he said.

With The Courier,  Stringer covered borough-centric topics and expanded on how he plans to keep Queens, and the whole city, afloat financially.

“Nobody knows this city better than me,” he said.

 

What is your political background?

“Well, I haven’t told anyone this, but the first thing I wanted to be was a pro quarterback with the New York Jets. Then I realized early on by the age of 12, I was a little washed up,” Stringer said.

Stringer’s family had a foot in the political door when his mother ran for City Council. Growing up in Washington Heights, he thought “everyone was involved in government or politics.”

“I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do,” he said. “The job of comptroller has never been more important [than] with this new government. I have the opportunity to work on issues I really care about.”

Stinger said the city’s economic issues are “really about civil rights and about moving everybody to where they have to be.”

“The challenge we face in the city [is] how do we bring everybody along economically,” he said.

The MTA has suspended No. 7-train service from Long Island City to Flushing for 22 weekends. What economic impact for local businesses do you foresee?

“When you have a large transportation project that in the long run will modernize the system, that’s something that’s goal-worthy,” Stringer said. “But when you don’t plan the reconstruction with the community, when you don’t partner with the businesses, you end up sacrificing people.”

“You’re sacrificing people in the name of progress, you can’t do it that way,” he said.

As comptroller, Stringer said he can “follow the money,” and make sure it is “being spent wisely.”

Additionally, he wants to “elevate this office so New Yorkers know when they want to bring an issue to my attention, they know what this office can do and what we’re going to do.”

The city Build it Back program for Sandy victims has tested the patience of many residents still trying to rebuild. How do you plan on monitoring those funds, as well as the $15 billion the city is set to receive in federal recovery funding?

During Stringer’s campaign, he proposed creating a Sandy Audit Bureau, designed specifically to watch every dollar designated for storm recovery. He has followed through and said he and the bureau will look at contractors and will be “laser focused” in making sure the money goes where it should.

“Where we find corruption or misuse of money, I want to make it very clear to everyone we will make referrals to law enforcement agencies based on our findings,” Stringer said. “The worst that can happen is you get hit by two hurricanes, because somebody took money or didn’t do the work they said they were going to.”

The comptroller is also working with Councilmember Donovan Richards and others involved with the Sandy Tracker, an online database monitoring recovery money coming in and out of the city.

He also said the administration should extend the deadline for Build it Back so more people can gain access to the recovery assistance program.

 

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VIDEO: Bayside homes musically light up for holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Queens Courier found two neighboring houses in Bayside shining bright for the holidays.

The houses, located on 56th Avenue and 214th Street, light up with different colors all around and are synchronized to various holiday tunes, including “Carol of the Bells”  by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

In the window you can find Santa Claus moving about and Frosty the Snowman, together with reindeer, nutcrackers and Santa’s little helpers on the lawn of both houses.

Christmas tree made up of only lights stands tall between the two homes, with Disney characters making their way up the tree to Mickey Mouse topping it off.

If you want to share photos or videos of your home’s holiday lights or other houses you see celebrating the holidays, email ctumola@queenscourier.com. Your photos or videos could appear on our website, Twitter, Facebook or in our paper.

 

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Queens Restaurant Week draws diners


| editorial@queenscourier.com

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As Queens Restaurant Week has officially begun, eatery owners are hoping more diners will gobble up deals being served throughout the borough.

The 10th annual promotion started Monday, September 30, and includes three-course dinners for $28 and three-course lunches for $14 at most participating Queens restaurants.

Ellen LaPerna, manager of Bourbon Street, said she has already seen a moderate amount of people take advantage of deals at the Bayside establishment.

“So far, so good,” she said.

This is Bourbon Street’s sixth year in the program, LaPerna said.

“People do come out and participate,” she said. “I think the community likes it. It’s just another reason for people to come out and try our food.”

Queens Restaurant Week ran until October 3 and will pick up again October 7 through 10.

Manager Colleen Bowerman of Austin’s Ale House & Trackside Café said her Kew Gardens eatery has participated in the promotion every year.

The restaurant typically sees a jump in diners during the extended second week, Bowerman said.

“We’re hoping it’ll pick up,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Dan Dolacinski, manager of CityRib in Jamaica, also has his fingers crossed.

This marks the barbecue joint’s first year participating after opening up this July.

“Every year, people like Restaurant Week,” he said. “We expect people to know we’re here in the community.”

Restaurant Week is presented by the Queens Tourism Council and is sponsored by Melrose Credit Union, jetBlue, Resorts World Casino New York City, Restaurant Depot, Tequila Sunrise of Bayside, The Queens Courier and The Best of the Boro.

The long list of participating restaurants, which features all sorts of Mexican, Cajun, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, can be found at www.itsinqueens.com/restaurantweek/Queens/.

 

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Health & Financial Fitness Expo: Get your finances and health in top shape!


| editorial@queenscourier.com

The word fitness is typically used to describe a person’s physical health, but financial fitness is also important for well-being.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo on Friday, May 17, will feature both — and show how you can keep them in top shape.

At the event, sponsored by The Queens Courier, there will be a panel featuring keynote speaker Ronald Fatoullah, Esq., as well as ones from Turnpike Orthopedic and Queens County Savings Bank.

The speakers will be discussing a range of topics concerning financial fitness, elder law, podiatry care  and home care planning.

There will also be networking opportunities, free coffee and cake, and exhibitors promoting long-term care insurance, health management, estate planning, financial services and more.

This year Dr. Perry Frankel will be performing health screenings for FREE. These include testings for blood pressure, vestibular disorder, carotid arteries and more.

Admission to the Health & Financial Fitness Expo is free, but limited seats are available, so call today to register.

To attend or for sponsorship or exhibitor opportunities please call 718-224-5863 ext. 201 or email aamato@queenscourier.com.

The Queens Courier’s Health & Financial Fitness Expo  will be held on Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m at Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, 272-48 Grand Central Parkway, Floral Park 11005.

 

Courier takes top honors at New York Press Association awards


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Tonia N. Cimino

The Queens Courier is breaking news – and breaking barriers.

Not only are we the first-place winners of the New York Press Association’s (NYPA) Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence two years in a row, but our staff of talented writers and artists walked away with numerous other accolades.

Last year, Melissa Chan set the bar by winning third place Rookie Reporter of the Year.

This year, her peers Maggie Hayes and Terence Cullen were also given the distinctive honor, beating out slews of writers state-wide.

Maggie, who covers all of southeast and southwest Queens, and is the editor of our North Shore Towers Courier, was awarded third place for her “excellent portfolio of stories.”

Of her work, the judges said, “Maggie covered each subject with skill and professionalism, using sources to tell the story . . . with a writing style that really works.”

Terence, who covers south Queens and is editor of our Queensborough magazine, blew away the NYPA staff by not only winning first place Rookie of the Year, but also first place Sports Writer of the Year.

NYPA Executive Director Michelle Rea said in her time with the organization, she had never seen such a feat.

“We are impressed by this reporter’s coverage of several challenging stories,” the judges said of Terence. “His reporting style and skills were excellent. This is a writer who seems to tackle any subject with ease and produces readable, well-sourced stories.”

Alexa Altman, our former LIC editor, won second place for Writer of the Year for her “wide variety of stories with strong imagery and a good grasp of language.”

For our coverage of Sandy and other news events throughout the year, we won first place Best In-Depth Reporting and second place Best Spot News Coverage.

“This newspaper does a lot for its community,” the judges said. “This paper saw its job as not just the storyteller of the storm, but the informer as well, and subsequently, by year’s end, the upstanding citizen.”

Our talented staff also took home awards for Best Special Section Advertising and a first-place win for Best Special Section Cover.

And our website, www.queenscourier.com – your source for breaking news – was classified by judges as “well organized and relevant,” in its second place win for Best Newspaper Website, thanks to the efforts of all, especially web editor Cristabelle Tumola.

“I am so proud of our team,” said Courier co-publisher Joshua Schneps. “They truly deserve to be recognized for their excellence, hard work and dedication. The awards represented both team and individual accomplishments in every part of the business.”

As we forge ahead, The Queens Courier will remain true to our motto, “We’re all about you.” We will, as the NYPA judges remarked, continue to do our community proud.

Queens Courier to host Senior Health Expo


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Attention all seniors: do you wish there was one place you could have all your questions answered?

That place is Towers on the Green in the North Shore Towers, where, on Friday, August 24 The Queens Courier will be hosting a FREE “Senior Health Expo.”

Beginning at 10 a.m., attendees can network with business, health care professionals and community leaders from across the borough.

Then, a discussion panel will touch on an array of topics, including elder law, estate planning, long-term care, home care planning, health management and pre-planning funerals.

Free coffee and cake will be served.

Towers on the Green is located at 272-48 Grand Central Parkway in Floral Park. Space is limited,so reserve now by calling 718-224-5863, ext 226.

The event is sponsored by The Queens Courier, Ronald Fatoullah & Associates, Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. and the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation.

It’s what we do


| editorial@queenscourier.com

The New York Lottery says “all you need is a dollar and a dream.”

We say all you need is The Queens Courier.

Since 1985 we have been bringing you hard-hitting, award-winning news — from national issues, to what’s going on in your own backyard — with the mantra “we’re all about you.”

Well, over the past few weeks our reporters have really run with the ball.

In early June — after appearing on our front cover — a Fresh Meadows homeowner who said he was bilked by the city in 2009 for over $2,000 was reimbursed more than half the cost and was refunded a piece of his pilfered American Dream.

John Biagi, 62, said when the city billed him $2,240.69 for what he called unnecessary sidewalk repairs, he felt his right as a homeowner was violated.

An infuriated Biagi called 3-1-1, filed three complaints and then contacted City Comptroller John Liu, the DOT, the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Councilmember Dan Halloran. When he only received help from Halloran after four years of getting the runaround from city agencies, Biagi, out of frustration, reached out to The Courier in March and propped up a white handcrafted billboard sign that read “Another Homeowner Screwed by NYC” in bold, red-painted lettering.

Now, the homeowner has been given back $1,442.62 — a check from the city Biagi was happy to cash. He has also replaced his billboard with a smaller one that reads “Refunded $1,442.62. Thanks for your support.”

And, following our story on 89-year-old Fresh Meadows resident Anna Gallotta, her tale of sidewalk woe was picked up by a major news network.

A 90-year-old viewer was so moved by the fact that the octogenarian was billed more than $2,000, for sidewalk repairs she was told she would not have to pay for, that he sent her a check for $1,000.

Not to mention the fact that Melissa Chan’s stories on the ongoing co-op/condo tax battle were linked to by The New York Times.

Moral of the story: we get things done.

Not only are we “all about you,” but also about affecting change — for the better — in the lives of our readers.

 

Senator Chuck Schumer headlines Courier’s ‘Power Breakfast’


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Picture 512

It was all about jobs this past Friday when Senator Charles Schumer headlined The Queens Courier’s third “Power Breakfast.”

In front of a packed house at Long Island City’s Water’s Edge Restaurant, Schumer gave a keynote speech about job growth in Queens, and answered questions from a panel of industry leaders.

The event was hosted by The Queens Courier and 1010 WINS Radio, and drew business owners and Queens residents for a morning of networking and information.

Moderator and 1010 WINS reporter Juliet Papa said that Schumer is a “doer” and a “worker” and has been in public service his entire life.

“In 1998 he was elected to the U.S. Senate and I was excited to be assigned to cover the election because I thought he would win,” Papa said.

Schumer told the attendees how he cares about jobs, loves Queens and how he rides his bicycle all over the borough getting to know all the neighborhoods. He said that New York City has recently gained 20,000 jobs, but unemployment is still over nine percent and that is unacceptable.

“We need to create more jobs in Queens and all throughout New York City, so I have recently proposed a new bill that will be coming up on the floor within the next two weeks called the Small Business Jobs Act,” Schumer explained. “It involves a two-fold incentive for business owners. It will allow businesses to deduct the full cost of equipment or expansion during the first year on their taxes and if the business expands payroll they will get a 10 percent credit.”

He also added that a recently-passed FAA bill will get hundreds of millions of dollars to improve the runaways and security around JFK and LaGuardia airports.

Schumer also answered questions from the panelists.

Robert Wychulis, chief executive with AmeriGroup/Health Plus asked, “What about the health care bill and what can health care partners do?”

Caryn A. Schwab, executive director Mount Sinai of Queens, wanted to know if the Supreme Court will rule on mandatory health coverage, to which the senator responded, “In general health care is better in New York City, but the Senate will continue to work on answers.”

Other panelists included Joe Osterman, director of the JFK Service Delivery Center-Bombardier, and Richard Dzwlewicz, regional vice president from TD Bank.

The Inn at New Hyde Park and St. Paul’s School of Nursing were among the many expo tables at the “Power Breakfast.”

“St. Paul’s School of Nursing is a new nursing school in Queens,” Nancy Klein, director of career services said. “So we want to get the word out.”

Jean Thomas, director of public affairs at the New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, said she also wanted to network and get the word out that the Infirmary recently launched a hearing loss awareness campaign.

Queens business owners, such as Anthony Lolli, founder/CEO of Rapid Realty, wanted to hear a word from the senator and were interested in networking with other businesses, and were glad to have been in attendance.

 

Courier wins at NYPA awards


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

News outlets from across the state gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of local publications, their reporters and designers, at the annual New York Press Association Awards.

The Queens Courier was honored to receive the Past Presidents’ Award for General Excellence in its division. Judges claimed the publication had crisp writing, a good mix of stories and a strong, dynamic use of art throughout.

Melissa Chan won third place in the Rookie Reporter of the Year category. A graduate of Adelphi University, Chan has been a reporter for The Queens Courier since September of 2011, originally covering the Howard Beach area before moving to northeast Queens.

“First place, third place, any kind of place — I’m just so incredibly honored and elated to be given such a prestigious award. There are not enough rooftops in the world for me to stand on and shout from right now,” said Chan. “There is so much talent within Queens, not to mention the entire state. I never in a million years thought I would get chosen.”

The Queens Courier also took home awards for advertising excellence, best special section cover and best real estate section.

 

Send in your nominations for the best in Queens Family, Education & Recreation


| editorial@queenscourier.com

bestofboro

After three supremely successful rounds of the Best of the Boro Competition, The Queens Courier is pleased to announce the next category — Family, Education & Recreation.

With seemingly endless entertainment options, this category allows residents to choose the borough’s best places for relaxation.

The eclectic category features more than 50 subcategories in a wide range of topics including: best batting cage, best children’s dance school, best golf course and best park, among a host of others.

The category will also tap into the borough’s school spirit, featuring categories such as best teacher, public school, private school and university.

Nominating your favorites is easy. Simply visit www.queenscourier.com and click on the Best of the Boro logo. There you can nominate the best in any or all of the categories.

The nomination process will begin on March 16 and last through April 6. Voting will open on April 9 and continue until April 27.

The first three rounds have garnered more than 175,000 votes. Keep an eye out around Queens for the Best of the Boro stickers in stores and eateries window — indicating that the borough’s residents chose it as second to none.

The winners from the Best of the Boro’s last category — Services, Home & Garden — will be announced in the March 29 issue of The Queens Courier.

To stay up-to-the-minute on the competition like the Best of the Boro page on Facebook and follow @BestOfTheBoro on Twitter.

Two Queens contestants make it to American Idol’s top 24


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Fox

Hundreds of thousands of “American Idol” hopefuls were narrowed down to 24 over the past month, with two Queens crooners making the cut.

Heejun Han, of Flushing, and Astoria’s Creighton Fraker both withstood the auditions, Hollywood and a trip to Las Vegas to make it to the shows semifinals round, and now have the opportunity to sing live in front of America, hopefully earning the viewers’ votes.

Fraker grew up as a preacher’s kid in South Dakota, finding his voice in church choirs and local boys’ singing groups. He took private lessons throughout the years and eventually joined a touring choir, serenading audiences across the nation.

The 28 year old moved to Astoria eight years ago.

For his turn in front of the judges, Fraker belted out Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You,” as well as an untitled original piece.

“[The judges] had only good things to say. They were shocked at how unique I was,” Fraker told The Courier.

READ CREIGHTON FRAKER’S INTERVIEW WITH THE QUEENS COURIER

Han, 22, originally from Korea, shocked the judging triumvirate with his audition performance of “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” by Michael Bolton.

“You have a beautiful tone,” Jennifer Lopez told Han, who said he loves singing Soul and R&B.

Han’s Facebook fan page already has nearly 8,000 likes.

In their final performances before the judges, both Fraker and Han paid homage to their hometown singing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind.”

The semifinalists will be sliced in half during next week’s round. The men will perform Tuesday night with the women singing for the “Idol” lives on Wednesday. Viewer votes will determine the 12 finalists who will compete to become the 11th American Idol on Thursday.  Each show airs on Fox 5 at 8 p.m.

Additional reporting by Alexa Altman