Tag Archives: Van Wyck Expressway

Subway entrance renovations under Kew Gardens Interchange completed


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of New York State Department of Transportation

The state completed reconstruction of the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway entrance on Tuesday as part of a $265 million project to improve an area where four highways intertwine and 500,000 vehicles pass through every day.

While much of the overall project is focused on reconstructing the Van Wyck Expressway, the Commissioner for the New York State Department of Transportation called the improvements to the subway “critical” to improving commuter flow in an area known as the Kew Gardens Interchange.

“The Kew Gardens Interchange project will enhance traffic mobility, improve travel speeds and reduce travel times for the entire Van Wyck Expressway corridor and for traffic heading to and from JFK Airport,” Commissioner Joan McDonald said. “For the many residents in this area who rely on mass transit, the project also includes improved access to the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway station.”

The new subway entrance for the E and F lines features a glass and stainless steel canopy, a widened staircase, enhanced tunnel lighting and new tile walls and flooring.

Future work on the Briarwood-Van Wyck subway entrance will include new landscaping, sidewalks, concrete pavement, lighting and an elevator.

By 2016, the state hopes to complete a part of the project that would completely reconstruct a half-mile section of the Van Wyck Expressway just south of the Interchange and six bridges over the Van Wyck Expressway.

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Police searching for suspect in shooting, robbery off Van Wyck Expressway


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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A man shot another driver off of the Van Wyck Expressway in Jamaica Friday night before robbing the victim’s girlfriend, police said.

On Sept. 26 at about 7:30 p.m. cops received a call about a man shot on the corner of the Van Wyck Expressway service road and 94th Avenue.

The victim later told police that his girlfriend and him were at a sneaker store when they saw two men watching them. As the couple left the store in a BMW, a white Jeep followed them, according to cops.

During the pursuit, the Jeep forced the BMW to crash into a fence and afterwards the suspect exited the Jeep and went to the driver’s door and shot the victim in the upper thigh, police said. Then the suspect went to the passenger side, struck the victim’s girlfriend on the head with the gun and stole three necklaces from her. The suspect then jumped back into the Jeep and fled the scene.

However, the Jeep was later recovered on 134th Street and 97th Avenue, police said.

The victim was taken to Jamaica Hospital in stable condition. The investigation is ongoing.

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Man fixing flat tire on Van Wyck fatally hit


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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Updated Monday, Sept. 15, 4:41 p.m. 

A man was struck and killed Sunday morning as he was changing a flat tire on the Van Wyck Expressway near the John F. Kennedy International Airport, officials said.

The 43-year-old victim, Felix Galarra, of Ozone Park, was fixing the flat just after 4 a.m. when a minivan hit the man and his vehicle, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials.

A passenger in the victim’s vehicle and three people who were in the minivan were taken to Jamaica Hospital with apparent non-life threatening injuries, a Port Authority spokesman said.

A section of the Van Wyck Expressway leading to the airport was reportedly shut down until just before 11 a.m. because of the accident.

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Two arrested after bikers, ATV riders drive recklessly on Van Wyck Expressway: cops


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police arrested a motorcyclist and an ATV rider on the Van Wyck Expressway near the Kew Gardens area on Saturday after a group of bikers were caught driving recklessly, cops said.

Omid Bedi, 30, and Equilla Ross, 39, were riding on the Van Wyck Expressway at about 5 p.m. when cops came to the roadway in response to several complaints about a large group of dirt bikes and ATV motorcycles driving recklessly, authorities said.

Police found the bikers on both sides of the expressway near Hillside Avenue, and observed one four-wheeled ATV driving the wrong way on the highway. They also said they saw some of the motorcyclists lift their bikes over the expressway median before fleeing and leaving behind two ATVs and a dirt bike. Bedi and Ross were apprehended at the scene.

Bedi, a Queens resident, who was riding a blue Yamaha ATV, has been charged with reckless endangerment, criminal nuisance, reckless driving, unregistered motorcycle and improper license violation. Ross, a resident of Mount Vernon, who was driving a red Honda motorcycle, has been charged with two counts of criminal nuisance.

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Cops arrest Ridgewood and Middle Village graffiti vandals


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

The next thing these vandals could be drawing is punishment.

Police arrested Joseph Guilfoyle, 43, of Ridgewood, and David Negron, 20, of Middle Village, for graffiti in numerous areas of Queens.

Guilfoyle was charged on Tuesday with eight complaints of graffiti in multiple precincts. He was wanted for vandalizing roadways, such as the Long Island Expressway, the Grand Central Parkway and the Van Wyck Expressway.

Negron was charged on Saturday with 21 individual acts of graffiti. He tagged just about anything he could find, according to police, including store fronts of local businesses, ATM machines, mailboxes, doors, emergency call boxes and payphones, mostly in Maspeth and Ridgewood.

 

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Man struck, killed trying to cross Van Wyck Expressway


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

A man was struck and killed by an oncoming van early Sunday morning as he was attempting to cross the Van Wyck Expressway, police said.

About 2 a.m., cops responded to a call about the man running through traffic in between expressway exits 4 and 5 in Jamaica. Upon arrival, police found the male, estimated to be in his 20s, unconscious and unresponsive with trauma to the body, according to the NYPD. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cops discovered the man was struck by a 2010 Ford van going northbound, driven by a 45-year-old male. The pedestrian was attempting to cross the expressway from east to west and was hit by the van. The vehicle remained on the scene, according to police.

There are no arrests, and the investigation is ongoing, police said.



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Update: Driver arrested in deadly hit-and-run on Van Wyck Expressway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic image

Police have arrested a truck driver who took off after fatally striking a woman in Jamaica early Saturday morning.

Carl Alvear, 34, of Maspeth, has been charged with manslaughter, cops said Sunday.

The incident happened around 4:50 a.m. on the northbound side of the Van Wyck Expressway, according to authorities.

The victim, who police identified Sunday as 31-year-old Queens resident Latrisha Been, was taken to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Published: Saturday, July 27, 12:23 p.m.
Updated: Sunday, July 28, 3:02 p.m.

 

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Drunk driver going wrong-way on Van Wyck slams into van with 13 teens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A Maryland man accused of driving the wrong-way down the Van Wyck Expressway while intoxicated and hitting a van filled with teenagers has been charged with reckless endangerment and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, announced Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

The incident occurred around 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning near Northern Boulevard. During that time, 34-year-old Jose Chimbo, of Baltimore, allegedly drove his 2004 Nissan Murano head on into a van with 13 teenage passengers who were being driven home from a party.

At the scene, Chimbo allegedly told officers that he had a few drinks.

According to a family member of one of the teen passengers, one of the teenage girls was seriously injured and required surgery. She broke the bones surrounding her eyes and her arm, and suffered a concussion and bleeding in her skull, he said. A parent who was also a passenger in the van suffered broken ribs.

“All of the kids sustained injuries in one form or another and many are now dealing with the emotional fallout of being involved,” said the family member.

Chimbo remains hospitalized with a broken leg and other injuries.

He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High of 61. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Wednesday night: Mostly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 55. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT of the DAY: The Platinum Band

The Platinum Band is once again performing on the Resorts World Casino New York City’s Bar 360 Stage. The band, which boasts a heavy rotation of reggae music, takes you back to an era of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Students sickened after pepper spray is released in Queens school

One student was hospitalized, and 10 more had to be sent home, after pepper spray was discharged in a school lunchroom in South Ozone Park, Queens. Read more: CBS New York

Makeover for Queens traffic hub is underway

Pedestrian plazas and a gleaming stainless steel elevator are coming to Queens Blvd. and the Van Wyck Expressway but completion of the massive Kew Garden Interchange project is still years away. Read more: New York Daily News

Baggage handler who smuggled cocaine in planes is sentenced to life

An airline baggage handler who was convicted of trafficking millions of dollars’ worth of drugs in the bellies of commercial jets was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, putting an emphatic stamp on a case that revealed rampant theft and corruption by some airline employees. Read more: New York Times

Union officials ask Queens district attorney for fair investigation of cop in fatal shooting of unarmed man on Grand Central Parkway

Union officals for the NYPD detective who shot an unarmed man to death on the Grand Central Parkway met Tuesday with the Queens district attorney to ask for a fair and impartial investigation. Read more: New York Daily News

NYC cabbie suspended after tossing passenger

A New York City cab driver has had his license suspended after a hearing in which he was shown on video shoving and pushing a passenger out of his cab. Read more: NBC New York

Face to face: Obama, Romney in crackling debate

An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election. Read more: AP

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

 

NYPD seeks help identifying murdered woman found in Queens attic


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

The police are asking for help in identifying a woman whose body was found in the attic of a Richmond Hill man who committed suicide about a few weeks earlier.

On Saturday morning, police were called to at 97-26 Van Wyck Expressway because of a supicious odor coming from inside the home, said the NYPD. The man who lived in the home, Devendra Autar, hung himself inside the residence on July 20, according to the AP.

Police discovered the remains of an unidentified female inside a box in the attic, and later ruled the death a homicide.

The NYPD describes the victim as between 5 feet 3 inches and 5 feet 9 inches with dyed blonde hair and dark roots. She also the following six tattoos:

  • top of left wrist the name Danny
  • inside of left wrist the name Evelyn
  • left forearm the Cancer astrological symbol
  • right wrist a butterfly
  • front right shoulder an angel fish
  • right index finger the word serenity

Anyone who has information about the identity of this woman are asked to call the NYPD.

Rezoning will preserve character of Woodhaven, Richmond Hill


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Parts or all of 229 blocks in Woodhaven and south Richmond Hill will be rezoned, after the city council approved the divisive plans to preserve the character of the neighborhoods.

The new area, approved on Wednesday, July 25, is mainly bordered by Park Lane to the north; 103rd Avenue to the south; Eldert Lane to the west; and the Van Wyck Expressway to the east.

Residential zones R3-1 and R5 will remain in tact, according to the Department of City Planning. R3-1 is mostly north of Atlantic Avenue; R5 includes most of Atlantic and south of the avenue.

Jamaica and Atlantic avenues will be designated as commercial corridors, with the department citing easy accessibility to the streets via mass transit.

There had not been redistricting in the neighborhoods since the early 1960s, officials and residents said.

Community Board 9 had raised concerns years ago that one- and two-story homes were being bought and demolished, according to City Planning, and disproportionate buildings put up in their place.

“Hopefully it stabilizes the neighborhood,” said Andrea Crawford, chair of Community Board 9.

City Planning announced in late February that the department was reviewing the area in order to update the nearly 50-year-old map.

Commissioner Amanda M. Burden said in a statement earlier this year that rezoning would help adjust to the population and commercial growth Woodhaven and Richmond Hill have experienced over the years.

“The Woodhaven and Richmond Hill neighborhoods in Queens are characterized by very appealing one- and two-family wood-frame homes built in a variety of traditional styles,” Burden said. “The neighborhoods have seen their populations grow in recent years but due to antiquated zoning, they are experiencing growth in the wrong places.”

Mayor, NYPD helping victims of tragic Van Wyck Expressway crash


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo by Roy Renna / BMR Breaking News

One of the three survivors of a recent fiery car crash near the Van Wyck Expressway, which killed five people including two kids, has been treated and released from Jamaica Hospital, officials said.

Kingsley Maduka returned to his family in the Bronx, while Oby Okoro, the driver in the crash, is in the intensive care unit and her seven-year-old son Cjidechukwu Obioha is in stable condition.

A spokesperson for the hospital told the media that “the family is not speaking at this time.”

According to police, the group of eight was traveling eastbound on Atlantic Avenue in a 2008 black Mercedes Benz SUV near the intersection of the Van Wyck at about 3 a.m. on July 22, when the vehicle struck a concrete barrier. The collision caused the car to flip and roll over, subsequently coming to a rest on its passenger side and igniting in flames.

Firefighters and EMS personnel responded, and, once the fire was extinguished, five victims were pronounced dead at the scene: Munachimso Obioha, 8, Ebube Obafor-Mba, 9, and three adult females.

Okoro, Obioha and Maduka were taken to the hospital.

The group was coming back from a function celebrating Nigerian heritage, according to published reports.

There is no criminal activity suspected at this time and the investigation is ongoing, cops said, though it has been reported that Okoro was traveling at a high rate of speed and had blown two red lights. “The mayor’s office and NYPD community affairs unit are helping the family out in any way that we can,” said officer Mark Costa of the 103rd Precinct.

Basdeo Narine, a resident who lives about a mile from the accident and passed by as he was driving his wife to work, said the Mercedes was completely smashed and he saw the five bodies, covered in sheets, laid out near the vehicle.

“It was mind crushing,” he said of the gruesome scene.

Narine said that though he doesn’t consider the intersection dangerous, people do take the turn at the Van Wyck and Atlantic and Archer Avenues at a high rate of speed. “I live here, so I know,” he said. “People can get up to 60 mph from light to light. But if you have kids in the car you are supposed to be cautious.”

In order to avoid such tragedies in the future, Narine said, the area needs a traffic light and a speed bump.

He said he’s not averse to contacting area politicians regarding the matter.

Yvonne Reddick, district manager of Community Board 12, agreed that the intersection is usually safe.

“That’s the first time that I’ve heard of an accident at that location,” Reddick said. “She just lost control. That was a tragedy. My heart goes out to the family.”

 

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein

The DA’s probe into whether TV anchor host Greg Kelly date-raped a woman last year is expected to wrap up quickly. “It could be over this week — no later than next week,” said one source. “They don’t want this thing to linger at all. It’s the police commissioner’s son: they are going to do everything they can to bring this to an end.” The politically sensitive case is in the hands of Martha Bashford, the widely respected boss of the Manhattan DA’s sex-crime unit. Linda Fairstein, who previously held the job, called Bashford the “best sex-crimes prosecutor in the country.” Fairstein, who is skeptical of the woman’s claims, said “based on my own experience, I don’t think it will take a very long time” to establish whether a crime was committed. Read More: Daily News

 

‘Dora’ is a Queens kid

Dora the Explorer is now a born-and-bred New Yorker from Queens. One of the city’s highest-paid child models, Fatima Ptacek, 11, has been tapped to provide the new bubbly voice of Dora Marquez, the adventurous, bilingual 8-year-old who is the main character of the international cartoon sensation. Ptacek — the daughter of a retired NYPD detective and a former accountant — said she scored the gig just by being her outgoing self. “I don’t do a special voice for Dora,” said Ptacek, whose Norwegian-American dad is from Queens and whose mom was born in Ecuador. Read More: New York Post

 

Pedestrian Hit On Van Wyck Expressway

A man was struck trying to cross the Van Wyck Expressway early Sunday. Fire officials say the 29-year-old man was hit around 12:40 a.m. on the expressway near Hillside Avenue. They say he was having trouble breathing and was taken to Jamaica Hospital, which he was listed in critical condition on Wednesday afternoon. Police say the car remained on the scene and no criminality was suspected. Read More: NY1

 

Parents and teachers demand ouster of principal they say runs St. Albans school like a ‘dictatorship’

Dozens of teachers and parents at a St. Albans elementary school are on the war path against the principal who they say runs the institution like a “dictatorship.” They maintain that Public School 118 went from an “A” school on its city progress report to a “C” under Principal Cynthia Ofori-Feaster’s 2 1/2-year tenure. They also claim she routinely yells at teachers in front of students and parents. About 50 employees and parents rallied on Friday in front of the school to call for her removal. Read More: Daily News

 

State Senator Wants To Ban Eating In The Subway System

Eating in the subway could soon come with a hefty price tag if one lawmaker gets his way. Manhattan State Senator Bill Perkins has proposed a bill that would slap straphangers with a $250 fine if they are caught eating on a subway train or platform or in a station. The legislation comes in response to the results of a survey, which found the biggest contributor to the subway rat problem is people eating food. Some riders who spoke with NY1 on Sunday said there is got to be a better way to fix the problem. “I think it’s a horrible idea, it’s very unnecessary. I think that people use the trains to commute every day. As New Yorkers, we multi-task all the time. It’s needed to get from A to B,” said a straphanger. Read More: NY1

 

Muslim Leader Still Cold On Kelly As Queens Community Center Opens

Pictures showing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Muslim leaders are proudly displayed at the Queens Muslim American Society Community Center. However, its president, Ahmed Jamil, is calling for the commissioner’s resignation because of his participation in the controversial film “The Third Jihad,” a documentary about radical Muslims. “Not every Muslim has violence. Absolutely this is nonsense. Nonsense. Not acceptable,” said Jamil. Kelly was interviewed for the film in 2007. When complaints were raised about its content, Kelly’s spokesperson initially said producers used old news clips of the commissioner. That turned out not to be true. Read More: NY1

 

Officials Investigate Queens Elevator Accident

It’s unclear how far the debris fell, but fire officials at the scene said it caused the elevator to collapse. Damage could clearly be seen on the elevator’s roof, and chunks of debris were scattered on the floor. No one was in the elevator when the incident occurred at the Cadillac Building on 83rd Avenue in Kew Gardens, but residents were shaken. The debris came crashing down nearly a week after one tenant, Shaun Broughton, got stuck inside the elevator for 45 minutes. Read More: NY1

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/14/2011: Livery Cab Driver Shot Dead In Far Rockaway


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Man Killed In Richmond Hill Car Crash

Police said a man was killed when his car slammed into a tree in front of a Queens hospital and burst into flames early Sunday morning. According to police, the unidentified man was speeding southbound down the Van Wyck Expressway about 2:15 a.m. when he tried to exit at Atlantic Avenue and lost control of his BMW. Read More: Fox News

Police Continue Search For Hit-And-Run Suspect

The family of hit-and-run victim George Gibbons joined Council Member Eliazbeth Crowley (D-Queens) to assist the NYPD in the efforts to apprehend suspect Peter Rodriguez. The 37-year-old Gibbons was a passenger of a livery cab when he was killed after the Lincoln Town Car he was in was slammed by a Chrysler Sebring that was driving in the wrong direction. Read More: Fox News

Livery Cab Driver Shot Dead In Far Rockaway; Reward Offered For Capture of Killer

Sunday of a livery cab driver found slumped over the wheel of his car with a bullet in his head and clutching a wad of cash. Relatives of Patrick Hall, a 30-year-old father of three, called the shooting “senseless,” and cops said the killer walked away from the 7:30 a.m. bloodshed in Far Rockaway without a cent. Read More: Daily News

“Occupy” Protester Interrupts Congressman Turner’s Local Swearing-In Ceremony

Occupy Wall Street protestors made an unexpected appearance at Congressman Bob Turner’s ceremonial swearing-in on Sunday in his district Queens. Months after he took office, the Republican took an oath before a large crowd at Queens Metropolitan High School in Forest Hills. Read More: NY1

Woodhaven Man Charged With Killing Neighbor

A Queens man was arraigned on murder and weapons charges in connection with the death of his neighbor in Woodhaven. Police say Mustafa Omran, 53, lived upstairs from Yasmen Rabban on 91st Avenue. Authorities were called to Rabban’s apartment last month after she had not been heard from in a while. When they got to the apartment, they found Rabban dead, with puncture wounds to her neck. Read More: NY1

Queens Swastika Graffiti Suspect Arraigned On Four Counts Of Criminal Mischief

A 40-year-old man was arraigned on hate crime charges in Queens Saturday. Franco Rodriguez is being held on $5,000 bail for allegedly painting swastikas on several buildings. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance. Rodriguez has been charged with four counts of malicious mischief, all as hate crimes. Police sources say he was identified on video surveillance. Read More: NY1

State Ban On Smoking At Outdoor Commuter Rail Platforms Takes Effect

A new state law that bans smoking on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s outdoor commuter rail platforms, including Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road stations, took effect Sunday. Smokers now face a $50 fine for breaking the rule. MTA police officers will give out warnings before they start writing tickets. The agency said the ban promotes a healthier, cleaner environment and reduces the chance of a track fire. Read More: NY1

Plans pitched to turn landmark New York State Pavilion into multi-million-dollar air museum   
Author Jeannette Remak wants to re-fashion the New York State Pavilion — built for the 1964 World’s Fair but left vacant for decades — into a tourist hotspot where vintage airplanes hang from the ceiling. Remak has support from the Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in East Elmhurst, which has offered interns to help run the museum. Read More: Daily News