Tag Archives: Van Wyck Expressway

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