Tag Archives: us open

First phase of National Tennis Center expansion complete


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy United States Tennis Association

The United States Tennis Association announced Monday the completion of the first phase of a five-year, $500 million transformation of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, just weeks ahead of the 2014 US Open.

The renovations include new elevated seating around Courts 4, 5 and 6 that create a three-court stadium viewing experience for fans.

The elevated seating area will hold more than 1,300 fans, and Court 5 will be the US Open’s seventh television court. It will also feature two video screens and electronic line calling.

The changes to the courts will be followed by other expansions of the National Tennis Center, which include two new stadiums to replace the Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand stadiums, a retractable roof over Arthur Ashe Stadium, and the expansion of the south section of the tennis center campus to accommodate an additional 10,000 fans daily during the Grand Slam.

The entire project is projected to be completed by 2018.

The 2014 US Open begins on Monday, Aug. 25, and concludes on Sept. 8.

 

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Fresh Meadows tennis pro competing for US Open spot


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy USTA Middle States


A Fresh Meadows tennis player is closing in on a spot in the US Open later this year, but she’ll have to fight her way in.

Jennifer Elie, 27, won the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Middle States sectional national playoffs tournament on June 24, which slots her in as a wild card in the US Open qualifying tournament held a week prior to the national Grand Slam in August. Should Elie win that draw, she’ll advance to the US Open.

Elie, who played for Francis Lewis High School, has been a consistent player on the USTA Pro Circuit and in International Tennis Federation (ITF) events. She won two ITF singles titles in 2012 in Caracas, Venezuela, and has also won four USTA Pro Circuit and ITF-level doubles events.

Elie, who peaked at No. 286 in the world in April 2013, has a win over current world No. 18 Sloane Stephens at a $50,000 USTA Pro Circuit event in Kentucky in 2011.

 

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US Open generates $720M, draws thousands to Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Dominick Totino Photography

It’s game, set and match for the US Open.

For another year the star-studded tournament attracted thousands of tennis fans to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park and created a certain buzz in Queens.

The Open generated an overall economic impact of approximately $720 million for the city, according to the United States Tennis Association (USTA), and more than 713,000 fans attended the two-week event.

“Hotels were so overbooked that they sent customers to different venues,” said Rob McKay, director of tourism for the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

The Queens Tourism Council, in conjunction with the Queens Chamber of Commerce, organized an information kiosk at the Tennis Center that gave away about 2,000 Queens guidebooks to tennis fans that wanted to learn more about the borough. Kiosk volunteers also spoke to thousands of fans about hotels, restaurants and cultural spots.

The New York Hall of Science offered free general admission during the tournament and had a big exhibit on tennis legend Arthur Ashe with movies and interactive machines.

The starry atmosphere at the Open featured an abundance of celebrities, including former President Bill Clinton, “Sex and the City” actress Sarah Jessica Parker, musician Justin Timberlake, actor Ben Stiller and New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire.

Serena Williams, the number one ranked women’s player, won the women’s final 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1, after a windy match in Arthur Ashe Stadium against no. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka. The championship is Serena’s fifth US Open title and 17th Grand Slam win, which puts her at sixth place in women’s tennis history.

“I felt almost disappointed with my year to be honest,” said Williams, who only made the quarter finals in the Australian Open and the 4th round of Wimbledon. “So I definitely feel a lot better with at least a second Grand Slam under my belt this year.”

No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal, who suffered a stunning defeat in the first round of Wimbledon in June, defeated the number one ranked male player, Novak Djokovic, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 to win his 13th Grand Slam and second US Open.

“It’s true that I am playing more aggressively than before, more inside court, closer to the baseline, going more for the points, but all this is possible because I am playing well,” Nadal said.

Both champions collected $3.6 million in prize money.

 

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Governor Cuomo approves National Tennis Center expansion in Flushing Meadows


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Dominick Totino

The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) now has the governor’s blessing to expand its prized center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday he signed legislation allowing the city to give the USTA 0.68 acres of parkland to extend the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

The association’s $500 million plans include replacing the Louis Armstrong Stadium, building a new grandstand, adding two parking garages and a new row of tennis courts.

It also wants to expand public plazas and promenades to accommodate up to 10,000 more fans daily during US Open tournaments, which are held every year in August and September.

“As the site of the US Open, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center brings thousands of fans to New York every year, boosting our tourism industry and spurring local economic activity,” Cuomo said.

“New York is proud to showcase the biggest players in tennis at this annual event,” he continued, “and I am committed to making this facility the best it can be to attract and host more events like the US Open.”

The governor’s approval follows the City Council’s green light in late July after the USTA agreed to pledge more than $10 million to the park.

The deal also called for the USTA to commit to ongoing community outreach programs, create an annual job fair for Queens residents and give 5,000 free Arthur Ashe Day tickets to Queens kids.

“The USTA is proud of its rich history in New York, which dates back to 1915,” said USTA President Dave Haggerty. “As the world’s largest annual sporting event, the US Open is proud to bring worldwide attention to the city and state that it calls home and is pleased that this legislation will allow the longstanding tradition to continue.”

As previously promised, the association will also give the city’s Parks Department back 1.56 acres of its leased land for public use. However, park advocates criticized the swap as giving back some parts of land that were already accessible to the public.

Alfredo Centola, a founding member of the Save Flushing Meadows-Corona Park advocacy group, said the governor’s approval “sets an extremely bad precedent of what’s to come.”

“While we are extremely disappointed, we’re not surprised that our government once again defies and denies the will of the people and rules in favor of large for-profit businesses,” Centola said. “This is exactly what New York has become, unfortunately.”

During the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), the six voting community boards affected by the expansion were split on the project. Borough President Helen Marshall in April ultimately recommended the project go forward.

Cuomo said the expansion, over 10 years, would create 800 construction jobs and 776 other full-time jobs for Queens residents.

Lawmakers said the project would give fans a better experience and the city’s economy a major boost.

The 2010 US Open, officials say, generated an estimated $756 million.

“The US Open is the premier sporting event in Queens, when the eyes of the world are on us,” said Assemblymember Jeffrion Aubry. “This expansion will secure the excitement and tradition of world class tennis in our community and state for both today’s tennis fans and those of the future.”

USTA officials said the project still needs approval from the Parks Department and Public Design Commission before permit applications are submitted to the city’s Department of Buildings.

National Tennis Center CEO Danny Zausner said he hopes the project will begin this winter and end by 2018.

 

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‘Biggest Loser’ trainer Bob Harper helps kids get active at US Open


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Fitness expert and “Biggest Loser” star Bob Harper served up some fun for children at the US Open.

Harper played tennis with young players on Saturday, August 31, after helping the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announce a new coalition to get kids active and healthy through sports.

The tennis association is partnering with 20 national sports governing bodies, such as USA Volleyball and USA Fencing, and other programs, including first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative for the joint venture.

Experts at the press conference agreed that children want to have fun and play, but adults need to do more to give them the opportunity to be active.

“Play is the work of children,” said Dr. Alexis Covine, USTA chief medical officer. “The reason why they would is because it’s fun.”

The tennis association and the national governing bodies will come together in roundtables to discuss the right path to get kids active.

So far their three goals are to: “Make a positive impact on the development of all athletes regardless of ability or income; Elevate the status and expectations of everyone coaching our youth from parent volunteers to career coaches; To drive improvements within the youth sports structure as a whole.”

The USTA has made strides towards these goal by eliminating rankings from 10 and Under Tennis programs so young players can play to have fun and they have started to push for use of smaller courts, racquets and balls that bounce lower to make the game easier. Before, if kids wanted to get into tennis they would have to use the same courts as adults.

Following the press conference Harper took to the practice courts to play tennis with children.

“Being active doesn’t need to be something that’s an albatross around your neck,” Harper said. “It’s about fun, it’s about getting out there with these kids, making a few moves, getting a little sweat on, I think it’s important to show kids and adults being active is a good and healthy way of life.”

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First lady Michelle Obama to attend Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of White House Press

Michelle Obama will make a grand slam appearance in Queens.

The first lady is attending the 18th annual Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Saturday, August 24, to give a speech to encourage youngsters to get healthy and active as a part of her Let’s Move! campaign.

“We are thrilled the First Lady will be joining us at Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, the largest single-day, grass-roots tennis and entertainment event in the world,” said USTA Chair Dave Haggerty. “Her message of leading a healthy lifestyle is the perfect fit for this action-packed program that celebrates the life and values of tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.”

World No. 1 and reigning US Open women’s champion Serena Williams will introduce Obama, who will be joined by a star-studded list of performers and tennis royalty.

The all-star lineup includes UK band Lawson, Swedish DJ duo Cazzette, Coco Jones, Ariana Grande, and Austin Mahone. Players on stage will be world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and five-time US Open champion Roger Federer. The event, which kicks off the start of the US Open on August 26, looks to be a family-friendly event before the nation’s most prestigious tennis tournament begins.

Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day schedule:

9:30 am
Grounds festival opens at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Free interactive games and family activities

9:30 am – 4 pm
Watch the pros practice (Louis Armstrong Stadium, Grandstand and Court 17)

10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Hess Express Stage – free concert featuring CityKids, Lucki Gurlz, Kenton Duty, Trevor Jackson, Megan Nicole and Before You Exit.

12:00 pm
Gates Open to Arthur Ashe Stadium

1:00 pm
Stadium Show Begins – Great seats for $10 & $20

3:00 pm
Stadium Show Concludes

 

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Borough President backs National Tennis Center expansion


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Borough President Helen Marshall is recommending the city and state go forward with proposed expansions at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Marshall’s Borough Board was one councilmember short at the Monday, April 8 meeting to take a vote, thus forcing her to give her ultimate “yes” recommendation.

“While the Borough Board is not voting tonight,” Marshal said. “I am submitting my formal recommendation later this week. And I can tell you that I am insisting that any alienated parkland must be replaced.”

During the Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP), the six voting Community Boards were split on the project. The three voting Community Boards that voted yes attached conditions mainly focused on the US Tennis Association being part of a conservancy for the park.

The plan, if approved next by the City Council and the state legislature, could begin this fall, according to USTA officials. Roughly 800 full-time construction jobs are expected for Queens workers over the six-year construction period.

While the project will only eat up about 0.68 acres of green space to the south of the Tennis Center, USTA has now promised to replace that land.

Danny Zausner, chief operating officer at the USTA, said lowering the southern border would ease foot traffic during the US Open. The relocated connector road, currently on the property leased to USTA, would now include sidewalks if the plan is approved.

Expansion at the tennis center and USTA’s community outreach have been questioned by some, however.

Councilmember Peter Koo, one of four city lawmakers at the meeting, told Zausner that small business owners in the past said they were rejected when trying to work with USTA to drive tennis fans into Flushing during the US Open.

Zausner, addressing Koo’s questions, said the association had worked with local businesses in surrounding neighborhoods, including Corona and Flushing, and had seen productive economic revenue to those areas.

But while there had been success, with Zausner pointing to the Sheraton LaGuardia East in Downtown Flushing, he said the USTA could further dialogue with more business owners.

“They [patrons] come for the day session, they run out for dinner either on the Corona side or the Flushing side, and then they come back for the night session,” Zausner said after the meeting. “As I mentioned to the councilmember, I think we’re doing a lot already but there’s no question we could be doing more.”

Borough President Helen Marshall delivers her remarks on expansion at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. (THE COURIER/Photos by Terence M. Cullen)

 

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Op-Ed: What USTA means to me


| oped@queenscourier.com

JenYu

BY JENNIFER YU

I often joke with my parents that I “live at the National Tennis Center (NTC).” That’s because I play tennis there practically every morning before school and also participate in two of their afternoon tennis programs. It’s great because I get to play tennis and compete with kids who have become some of my best friends. Before and after hitting the courts, we all hang out, talk and do our homework together. It’s so much fun.

I’m really hoping that the people of Queens will support the USTA’s plan to make the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park even better than it is now.

The NTC is home to hundreds of community programs like the ones I get to participate in each year. Also, it’s a place where kids like me learn not only the rules of the game but the importance of teamwork, and it’s also where the world’s top players come for the US Open Championships. I hope to one day compete in the US Open.

I first started playing at the NTC when I was eight years old. At the time, I could never have imagined that I would become a competitive and ranked tennis player. I began playing in one of the NTC’s summer camps. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I got training every day. I improved my strokes and made new friends. It was awesome.

I now play in national and regional tournaments and am ranked 12th in the USTA’s Eastern Section’s 12′s age division. I owe a lot of that to the NTC for helping me become the competitive player I am today.

The NTC also helped me grow as a person. Before I began playing tennis at the NTC, I was pretty shy. But after winning some matches on the court, along with daily encouragement and support from my coaches and fellow tennis buddies, my confidence and self-esteem began to soar.

Tennis has become a really important part of my life and the NTC is the place where it all happens. It’s like a second home to me. I’ve met so many great people at the NTC, and I couldn’t be happier. I get to train with the top players in the Eastern Section and receive some of the best coaching in New York. What could be better!

Thanks to the NTC, I can also continue my training during the winter. Through the USTA’s training program (in partnership with the New York Junior Tennis League), competitive players like myself receive coaching, and many program participants go on to earn academic and/or tennis scholarships to college.

I ask the residents of Queens to support the USTA project because the NTC exposes kids like me to the great sport of tennis and also makes it affordable for us.

 

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Op-Ed: In need of community support


| editorial@queenscourier.com


BY DANIEL ZAUSNER

“From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however makes a life.” Those profound words from the late tennis champion Arthur Ashe, which are enshrined at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (NTC) in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, serve as a daily inspiration to us as we continue to strive to build better lives for youth in Queens through the sport of tennis.

During hundreds of annual community programs at the NTC, we host more than 100,000 participants of all ages, many of whom are from Queens. In addition, through our partnership with the New York Junior Tennis League, which was co-founded by Ashe, we have been changing the lives of children in Queens, providing them with the required tools to excel both on and off the court. The program reaches thousands of local youth annually, providing 70 public schools in Queens with free tennis equipment and direct mentoring/training opportunities for 15,000 students, as well as after-school programs.

The USTA also provides more than 5,000 free tickets to Queens-based community groups for Arthur Ashe Kids Day, which serves as the official kickoff event for the US Open Tennis Championships.

Indeed, the USTA is an active and vital member of the local Queens community, striving to develop the character of kids through tennis and education.

For nearly a century, the US Open has been held in Queens, and since 1978, it has taken place in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The US Open and NTC – whose indoor and outdoor tennis courts are open to the public 11 months of the year – have transformed the New York City sports scene, pumping nearly $750 million a year into the local economy and showcasing to the world that Queens is the center of it all.

However, despite this success, the NTC and US Open are now at a crossroads. A facility upgrade is vital to sustain the long-term viability of the NTC as both a world class spectator venue and top public recreational facility. To this end, we have developed a plan that is mutually beneficial to the people of Queens, the US Open and the NTC.

As we visualized the scope of the plan, we understood and respected the importance of preserving the park, and as a result, our design calls for the minimal amount of additional parkland possible, just 0.68 acres, to complete the needed upgrade to the facilities at the NTC.

The sliver of land in question is mostly an existing asphalt road and the city has determined that no replacement land is required. In lieu of replacing the land, additional park improvements will be made.

It should also be noted that all of the upgrades will be financed solely by the USTA without government financial assistance.

However, this Queens jewel needs public support to move forward, as it obtains the various approvals and land use permits required for these improvements in order to complete this project.

Not only will this plan preserve the NTC’s stature as a top public recreational facility and internationally renowned spectator venue but it will help us continue our tradition of bettering the lives of youth and the community as a whole.

Daniel Zausner is chief operating officer of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

 

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Parkland at center of MLS stadium project


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

DSC_0985w

Major League Soccer (MLS) officials presented plans for a 25,000-seat stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the Queens Borough Board on Monday, December 3.

But while the league promised the board that soccer would be a good neighbor to the community, questions arose regarding parking, access, replacement of the 10 to 13 acres of parkland that would be eaten up by the stadium.

Professional soccer could kick off as soon as 2016, should the project be approved, said MLS President Mark Abbott. He acknowledged this was a lofty but plausible goal for the league.

Abbott assured the board that seven of the nine existing recreational soccer fields would be completely refurbished before the first shovel breaks ground at the stadium site at what is now the Fountain of Planets. By making the borough’s largest park its home, Abbott said MLS is committed to investing in the park and “making it better for the people who use [it].”

“The idea is, we’re coming here to be a partner with the park.”

Roughly 20 to 25 games would be played at the stadium per season, Abbott said, which includes an average of 17 regular season home games. Although the stadium would be within earshot of Citi Field and the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, the league plans not to host any games when the Mets are playing, or during the two weeks of the U.S. Open, alleviating congestion.

Regardless, many are concerned that parking for games will spill into the neighboring community and disturb residents’ day-to-day life.

League officials are currently working with the Mets to reach an agreement to use their parking facilities — mainly the lot that used to be Shea Stadium — but do not have a time frame for when executives will sit down with Mets management, Abbott said.

But one of the biggest concerns was where the parkland would be replaced.

Abbott, fielding questions from board members and councilmembers, said MLS will not pick a site for the lost acres without getting full community feedback from the surrounding neighborhoods.

“We’ve started to look at some sites, but that’s something we need the community’s input on,” Abbott said.

The league has set up several town hall meetings in or around the park to hear the community’s thoughts of where they would like to see new greenspace.

Councilmembers Peter Vallone and Mark Weprin agreed that before any official stance could be taken on the proposal, a dedicated, well-researched site for the new land has to be chosen.

“I don’t think we can responsibly take a position until we know all the details,” Vallone said. “Especially regarding what parkland would replace the park. This has to be parkland that effectively replaces and is as usable as this parkland is.”

Weprin said he was currently open minded to the idea, but many of the concerns first had to be addressed before any decision could be made.

“I think it could be great for economic development in the area,” he said. “But there are a lot of concerns that I would like to see addressed before we approve it. To reject it out right would be a mistake.”

Geoffrey Croft, president of NYC Park Advocates, however, hopes Queens residents will oppose the project, saying that any replaced land would never be the same as that lost to the project.

“These things are never of equal value, and never of equal usefulness,” he said. “And the community always gets ripped off.”

Andy Roddick to retire after U.S. Open


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Former U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick announced that at the conclusion of this year’s Open he is hanging up his racket and retiring from tennis.

The 30-year-old 2003 champion announced his decision at a press conference on Thursday, August 30 ahead of his second round match Friday night.

“I just feel like it’s time. I don’t know that I’m healthy enough or committed enough to go another year. I’ve always wanted to, in a perfect world, finish at this event. I’ve thought all year that I would know when I got to this tournament,” Roddick said. “When I was playing my first round, I knew.”

The most well-known American tennis player of his generation, Roddick said he’s not sure if he can give 100 percent both physically and mentally.

Roddick has struggled with injuries and finished outside the top 10 for the first time since 2001. He is currently ranked 22nd.

Known for his powerful serve — clocked as high as 155 mph — Roddick reached number one in the world following his victory at the U.S. Open in 2003, the last American male to win a Grand Slam title.

“I was pretty good for a long time,” he said. “For 13 or 14 years, I was invested fully every day.”

Roddick’s next match is Friday night at 7 p.m. against Bernard Tomic.

 

U.S. Open dining options please both fans and foodies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of USTA

With over 700,000 fans expected to attend the U.S. Open, which started August 27 and lasts until September 9, the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has a number of options to feed them.

At the tennis tournament there are 60 concession stands, five restaurants, the new Moët & Chandon Terrace, which features champagne and a full service bar, and several other food and drink offerings.

Though there will be game day favorites available, such as beer and hot dogs, the U.S. Open’s food and drink selection is more sophisticated and international than what you can get during most sporting events.

The Food Village is the U.S. Open’s main concessions area and serves cuisine from around the world—from Mexican to Indian, to Italian and Japanese—plus sandwiches, lobster rolls and half-pound burgers.

Other dining options include the new Heineken Red Star Café, the seafood and sushi restaurant Aces, steakhouse Champions Bar & Grill, Mojito Restaurant and Bar, which serves Latin cuisine, the Patio Café & Bar, which has a casual menu of salads, burgers sandwiches as well as specialty cocktails, and a wine and food bar featuring Mediterranean small plates.

Learn more about the U.S. Open food offerings.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Clear. High of 82. Winds from the West at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon.Wednesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 64. Winds from the NW at 5 to 10 mph

EVENT of the DAY: Michael Jackson Birthday Bash 

“Do you Remember the Time” when you first saw the King of Pop’s slick moves literally glide across the dance floor? Do you remember singing the lyrics to “Billie Jean” at the top of your lungs? Or maybe, you laid in bed at night visualizing all the moves in the “Thriller” video. Either way, the music lives. On August 29, it is officially Michael Jackson Day at Resorts World Casino New York City. With MJX, the premier MJ Impersonator, and DJ Spinna on the ones and twos, it will be a night to remember.Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Dumping stops in Queens neighborhood

The work to restore this stretch of land along the Van Wyck Expressway is finally underway. It’s a welcoming sight for residents near 116th Avenue who remember what the area used to look like. Read more: NY1

Chain ladder breaks as kin flee fire

A Queens family desperately trying to escape a raging fire tearing through their home tried to use a chain-link ladder to escape — but it suddenly broke, forcing the five people to jump two stories Read more: New York Post 

Suspect charged with killing homeless man in Woodside

Police have arrested and charged Ramiro Martinez with the stabbing death of Enrique Morales Martinez on a street corner in Woodside, Queens on Sunday afternoon. Read more: NY1

CUNY considers constructing a Queens hotel

The City University of New York has retained Cushman & Wakefield Inc. to help the school determine if it should proceed with a plan to build a hotel in Long Island City, Queens, in order to expand its hospitality program. Read more: Crain’s New York

Isaac makes second landfall, levee overtopped in Plaquemines Parish

The center of Hurricane Isaac made a second landfall over Port Fourchon, La., early Wednesday, overtopping a levee southeast of New Orleans, knocking down trees and cutting power to more than 400,000 homes. Read more: ABC News

Republican convention is in full-throated roar

The Republican National Convention is finally in full-throated roar, cheering presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s name at every turn in a long-sought show of unity and mocking the man he is out to defeat in November. Read more: AP

Venus Williams an easy winner in return to the U.S. Open, beats fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-3, 6-1

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the American wearing a black cap over blue hair, blitzed compatriot Venus Williams early in their first-round match Tuesday, taking the first two games of the opening set. Read more: New York Daily News

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com


TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of a thunderstorm and a chance of rain in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 88. Winds from the WNW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 50%. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 66. Winds from the NNW at 10 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: Zumba on the Beach

This is the last chance of the summer to take an evening Zumba class at Rockaway Beach. This free Shape Up NYC class is a fusion of Latin, International and popular music dance that features aerobic, fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body with easy to follow dance steps. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

LIRR worker fatally electrocuted in Queens

A Long Island Rail Road worker is dead after he came in contact with the third rail near the Queens Village station.The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says service was temporarily suspended around the area after the accident Monday morning. Read more: AP/Wall Street Journal

Drama brewing over axed arts program in Glendale

Encore! A coalition of parents, teachers and students are rallying behind a displaced Queens drama teacher to ensure this isn’t his curtain call. Theater teacher Evan Behlivanis, 31, was told in late July that his nine-year tenure at Public School/Intermediate School 119 in Glendale was coming to an end due to budget constraints. Read more:  New York Daily News

Tennis fans brave soggy start to U.S. Open

The U.S. Open is back up and running in Queens with scores of eager fans ready for action following a three hour and 15-minute rain delay earlier today. About 700,000 fans are expected to visit Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for the 20-day tournament. Read more: NY1

City has just one Parks Enforcement Patrol officer for all of Queens, union charges

The ranks of city Parks Enforcement Patrol officers are so thin that only one officer is available to patrol all Queens parks this summer, union officials charged. Read more: New York Daily News

New Yorkers want to throw Department Of Sanitation policy in the trash

New Yorkers are crying foul over a sanitation policy that they say needs to be trashed. “I think it’s crazy that without a warning or anything, it should have been a warning. Unless they’re trying to make money, which is what I think,” Raymond Jansson of Whitestone, Queens told CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez on Monday night. Read more: CBS New York

Tropical Storm Isaac takes aim at New Orleans

Tropical Storm Isaac had nearly reached hurricane strength as it bore down on the U.S. Gulf Coast on Tuesday and appeared to be taking direct aim at New Orleans, almost seven years to the day since the Crescent City was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Read more: Reuters

Republican National Convention enlists first Sikh speaker

An American Sikh is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the first time the party has invited a Sikh to speak at a national convention. Read more: New York Times