Tag Archives: Victor Cruz

Giants star Victor Cruz makes Queens Center Mall appearance


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

Giants star player Victor Cruz drew hundreds of football fans to Queens Center Mall, where some waited more than three hours to meet the wide receiver during his July 20 book signing and meet-and-greet.

“He’s the best player in the NFL right now,” said fan Jordan Nichols, 16, of Jamaica. “And he’s going to put New York back in the Super Bowl — again.”

The first 500 fans received a printed photo with the breakout rookie, as well as a free autographed copy of Cruz’s new memoir “Victor Cruz: Out of the Blue,” which details his personal story of overcoming numerous setbacks.

“It’s just been amazing,” Cruz said. “It feels good to know that [people] admire me and they admire my story.”

The 25-year-old pro athlete shattered the Giants record for receiving yards (1,536) and played a key role in leading Big Blue to its fourth Super Bowl championship last year.

“New York is just full of energy and full of life,” Cruz said. “People from New York demand a lot out of these sports teams and we look to deliver.”

The book signing is the second event hosted by Time Warner Cable as part of the company’s “Enjoy Queens Better” campaign. Last week, Cruz participated in an interactive discussion with audience members at Queens Theatre.

— With additional reporting by Terence M. Cullen

Victor Cruz meets and greets fans in Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It was a giant day for football fans.

New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz stopped by the Queens Theatre on July 13 for an interactive discussion about his new book and to spread the message that he’s just an ordinary guy from Paterson, New Jersey.

“I was a small town kid just like some of these kids are and I strived and I fought tooth-and-nail to get where I am today,” Cruz said. “It’s not far-fetched, it’s not out of reach, you just have to work hard and understand what you want in life.”

This time last year many fans had no idea the 25-year-old, undrafted player was on the team.

But after a breakout rookie season, where Cruz shattered the Giants record for receiving yards (1,536) and led Big Blue to its fourth Super Bowl championship, he was immediately promoted from the bottom to the top of the NFL caste system.

“There is no better role model to have here today to speak to you than Victor Cruz,” said Assemblymember Francisco Moya, who opened the meet-and-greet. “This man is somebody who really fought adversity.”

Devotees in attendance received a free bag of goodies that included a copy of the new book, “Victor Cruz: Out of the Blue,” written by Peter Schrager.

However, many fans were thrilled to just meet the man who turned the Giants season around and made salsa dancing as trendy as ice cream on a hot summer day.

“It was a crazy experience meeting Victor [Cruz],” Giants fan Obi Wilson said. “I mean I’ve heard about him. I’ve seen him on TV. This is a guy that completely changed our season.”

Hundreds of kids hugging footballs, fans sporting blue and white number 80 jerseys and supporters waving Puerto Rican flags in the auditorium erupted when Cruz took the stage next to NY1’s Budd Mishkin.

Mishkin and Cruz spent an hour talking about the wide receiver’s personal challenges, including dodging negative influences in Patterson, tragic moments of how his friend died and flunking out of college twice. There were also lighter memories such as getting respect from opposing players and how salsa dancing became his signature touchdown celebration.

The fan-favorite dance move was born after a quarterback coach approached Cruz at a practice before his first start and told him to create a move that represents his culture if he scored.

“I was like ‘coach I don’t know if I can go in there and make a pot of rice and beans,’” Cruz recounted to laughter from the audience. “Five yards away from the end zone the first thing I thought of was not ‘this is my first touchdown,’ but ‘man I got to do this dance now.’”

After the one-on-one interview, Cruz fielded questions from fans in the audience and even brought a kid to sit near him on stage, fulfilling the child’s dream to meet the pro footballer.

The meet-and-greet with Cruz is the first of a pair hosted by Time Warner Cable. At the second meet-up on July 20, Cruz will sign copies of his book near the Time Warner Cable store in Queens Center Mall.

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Giants ticker tape set to fly downtown

Rabid Big Blue fans will flood the Canyon of Heroes today to watch Eli Manning and the Super Bowl champion Giants march up Broadway — and a lucky 500 will get to attend an exclusive City Hall ceremony afterward. Officials doled out 250 pairs of tickets after holding an online lottery for New York residents. More than 50,000 people had entered. The winners were notified at 2 p.m. and had six hours to rush to Midtown to claim their prize. Read More: New York Post

 

Queens Man In Custody Following Wife’s Death

A Queens man whose wife was found dead last week is now in police custody. Sources tell NY1 Jordan Hawes, 32, was picked up by police in Connecticut for driving a stolen car. Sources say he is being held in a psychiatric ward in a Connecticut hospital and has not yet been charged with any crime. His wife, Tara Hawes, 33, was found dead in the couple’s Astoria apartment Thursday night. Investigators say she died of blunt force trauma to the head. Read More: NY1

 

 Former EMS Chief Passes Away After Battling Brain Tumor

The city Fire Department is mourning a longtime Emergency Medical Services chief. John McFarland passed away Monday from complications related to a brain tumor. McFarland began as an EMT in 1983 and served in many positions, including chief of the academy and Queens Borough commander. The father of five is remembered as an advocate for patients who embraced technological advances in the field. Read More: NY1

 

Cemetery workers plunge into open grave

They wound up 6 feet under — and lived to tell about it. Four workers at a Queens cemetery plunged yesterday into a deep grave — on top of a freshly laid casket — leaving one of them injured. Raimundo Rodriguez, 49, had been working in a crew of four on the Harper family plot at the Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village when the freak accident occurred, workers said. The men had been removing the apparatus used to lower caskets into the ground at around 12:50 p.m. when suddenly, all of them “vanished.” Read More: New York Post

 

Dopey rob victim busted

Always tidy up before calling the cops — it’s a lesson that Michael Cokley learned the hard way. Late last year, he called 911 to report a gunpoint home-invasion robbery. As he described the ordeal to them at his Far Rockaway, Queens, apartment, cops smelled the distinctive aroma of marijuana and saw heroin out in the open, police say. After getting a search warrant, the cops allegedly discovered 34 grams of heroin, 91 glassine envelopes, four marijuana grinders and an electronic scale. Read More: New York Post

Bettor days for Aqueduct

Horse betting is up at Aqueduct following the opening of the new racino next door. The total handle on races is up 6.6 last month, compared with January 2011, according to figures compiled by the New York Racing Association. That includes bets made off premises. Wagering increased to $117,842,942 last month from $110,556,714 the prior period — or an increase of more than $7 million. Most of that increase was from off-track betting. The total on-track handle was up 1 percent — to $23,428,941 last month compared to $23,190,785 in the prior period. “We’re pleased with the increase in handle on and off the track,” said NYRA spokesman Dan Silver. Read More: New York Post

Astoria Giants fans pack bars to watch Super Bowl victory


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo courtesy of Alexa Altman

Astoria, known for its booming nightlife, did not disappoint for the Super Bowl. Locals filled area bars hoping for a cold drink and a Giants victory.

Dan Drazka cozied up to the bar at Sissy McGinty’s, nursing a frosted Coors Light and dressed in a crisp Victor Cruz jersey—support for his favorite player.

“I hope [Victor Cruz] catches a lot of passes so I can learn to dance like him,” said Drazka.

Drazka’s girlfriend Veronica came out to watch the game, bringing along her parents.

Margaret Smith from Astoria was also watching the game at Sissy McGinty’s, along with several of her friends.

“I hope they kick Patriot ass,” said Smith.

Down the street at Tu Casa, Giants fans crammed themselves around the bar in the front room to catch the game.  Jonathan Franco, a Giants fan who came to Tu Casa to support his team, was hopeful for a Giants win.

“The anticipation and the duration, it’s definitely exciting,” said Franco.

Giants upset Patriots again for fourth Super Bowl title


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Giants upset Patriots again for fourth Super Bowl title

At the end, Tom Coughlin did not need to push and prod his Giants, did not need to preach “All In” any longer, did not need to insist and demand and plea for his players to please, please, just “Finish.” All he needed to do was watch the confetti fall after his quarterback, Eli Manning, did it again and Justin Tuck and his defense did it again, did it to the Patriots, to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady again, incredibly, impossibly and, in some strange way, naturally. “This is the finish line for this year, yes it is!’’ Coughlin exclaimed. Photos, Videos, and More @ New York Post

 

3 slain in 12 hours

Three people were murdered in separate incidents during a 12-hour spate of violence in Queens over the weekend, police said. The bloodshed first erupted at around 5:45 p.m. Saturday, when career criminal George Portillo, 31, got in a fight with an unknown gunman on 95th Street and 31st Avenue in East Corona. Portillo was shot in the chest and died at Elmhurst Hospital. Police said his rap sheet included arrests for rape, assault, DWI and drugs. Another slaying occurred at 1:16 a.m. yesterday in South Jamaica, when 20-year-old Cody Kahn was fatally shot in the chest. Cops did not know what sparked the killing. Read More: New York Post

 

Seizure horror at Howard Beach school show

An elementary-school talent show turned tragic in Queens after a parent suffering a violent seizure accidently punched a man who was trying to help him — and the good Samaritan later died, cops said. Students had been performing at Ave Maria Catholic School in Howard Beach Thursday evening when strobe lights fired and a man was stricken by a seizure, a witness told The Post. The man, who later identified himself to The Post only as Mario, “was biting his tongue, foaming from the mouth,” the witness said. A grandparent, identified as Paul Trinchese, 61, of Howard Beach, tried to help Mario, who has a history of seizures, the witness said. Read More: New York Post

 

New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman traps alleged stalker Louise Neathway with volley of text messages

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman helped net his accused stalker with a final blistering volley of text messages that lured her out of her Tribeca apartment and into the hands of waiting investigators. The crafty Cashman and authorities set the trap for Louise Neathway in the hours before she was arrested on Feb. 1. “What will it take to make this go away, I can’t believe you’ve done this,” Cashman, 44, wrote in a text sent to his alleged mistress at 4:25 p.m. under the direction of cops. “We have to talk,” Neathway, 36, replied, “where is up to you.” Read More: Daily News

 

Dream come true for slain cop’s girls

Two of slain hero cop Peter Figoski’s daughters lived it up and rubbed elbows with A-listers during the trip of a lifetime yesterday as the Giants’ guests of honor at Super Bowl XLVI. Corrine, 14, and Caroline, 16, made the journey with mom Paulette courtesy of Giants co-owner Steven Tisch and movie honcho Harvey Weinstein. The girls, huge fans of Big Blue, would watch games with their dad before he was killed in December. Read More: New York Post
Watch this year’s Super Bowl ads – and read expert reviews

Sunday’s spots included a Clint Eastwood pitch for Detroit, Volkswagen revisiting its successful ‘Star Wars’ theme, a car duel between Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno, and a look at Ferris Bueller, a quarter-century after Matthew Broderick popularized the character on the silver screen. Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot for this year’s Super Bowl. Some of those commercials were worth the cost. Others … not so much. Read More: New York Post

Woman murdered in Queens


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman murdered in Queens

A 33-year-old woman was found murdered last night in a Queens apartment building, police said. The victim, whose identity was withheld, was slashed across the throat and found at 8:30 p.m. by her in-laws in a second-floor apartment at 26-80 30th St. in Astoria. It was unclear how long she had been dead. The medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy. Detectives are looking to speak with the woman’s husband, cops said. Read More: New York Post

 

East Side ‘rape’ bust

A maintenance worker has been busted for allegedly raping a woman after breaking into her Manhattan apartment while she slept. Alberto Delgado, 37, of Queens, was arrested Tuesday on rape charges for allegedly assaulting the 24-year-old woman in her apartment on East 30th Street near Third Avenue, police sources said. The attack occurred in the early-morning hours on Dec. 16 after the victim attended a party at another apartment in the building, the sources said. Read More: New York Post

CUNY Law shielding bad grads from bar

Anxious CUNY Law School administrators are urging struggling students not to take this summer’s bar exam in an apparent bid to boost the school’s sagging pass rates, irate students charged. The administrators even offered a handful of students a grant in the fall that’s normally reserved for those taking the July exam if they would agree to postpone sitting for the test until February 2013. Students say an associate dean has pulled at least six classmates in for a one-on-one sales pitch advocating for the delay — even though the February exam is reputedly more difficult. Read More: New York Post

Where to watch the Super Bowl in Queens

It won’t be just Giants and Patriots fans hitting the bars to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 5 — more than 110 million people watched last year’s game.  Bars and restaurants throughout Queens feature food and drink specials for Giants fans and anyone else that wants to take in the Super Bowl 42 rematch.  Here are a few places to watch the games in Queens… Read More: Queens Courier

 

Mike $laps Komen

Mayor Bloomberg rode to the rescue of Planned Parenthood yesterday, pledging up to $250,000 for the organization after the Susan G. Komen for the Cure breast-cancer foundation yanked funding for screenings. “Politics have no place in health care,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “Breast-cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care,” he said. “We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way,” he added. But Bloomberg refused to say whether he would cut his own ties with Komen. Read More: New York Post

 

Service disruptions on 7-line could put damper on Flushing Lunar New Year parade 

Queens’ massive Year of the Dragon celebration may be hindered by MTA subway disruptions, several elected officials and business owners fear. Saturday’s Flushing Lunar New Year Parade — one of the city’s largest celebrations — coincides with the ongoing 7-train rehabilitation that cuts service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza. The lack of a direct link from Manhattan to Flushing could stifle the flow of attendees, which usually tops more than 100,000 people, said parade organizer Peter Tu. Read More: Daily News

 

Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona gears up for Black History Month

Louis Armstrong was already an international jazz icon when he stepped out of a taxi in front of a Corona house in 1942 that his fourth wife, Lucille, had just picked out. After growing up in poverty in New Orleans, owning even a modest home in a middle-class Queens neighborhood was almost inconceivable. “He couldn’t believe he owned this house,” said Al Pomerantz, a volunteer at Satchmo’s Corona home that is now the Louis Armstrong House Museum. “It wasn’t until Lucille actually answered the door that he let [the cabbie\] drive away.” Read More: Daily News

Daytime Burglaries Rattle Queens Community

Some Indian New Yorkers think their Queens community is being targeted by thieves. “I turned the lock, and I was like, ‘wait a second, I locked the door when we left that morning,’” said Lea Balgobin, a burglary victim. She did, but someone had broken into her home after she left with her husband Rohan to run errands. The burglar only took cash and gold. “Every piece of jewelry we had, they took,” said Rohan Balgobin. Those items were worth over $50,000 according to the police report . The Balgobins say it’s common for Indians from Asia and the West Indies to keep large amounts of jewelry in their homes because people often give gold as gifts and the jewelry is passed for generations. Read More: NY1

Cop survives bullet to head


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cop survives bullet to head

An NYPD cop is lucky to be alive after he was shot in the base of the skull last night while chasing a murder suspect through a Brooklyn housing project, authorities said. “This was a miracle,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at Bellevue Hospital, where Officer Kevin Brennan had been rushed. “He’s one lucky young man.” Mayor Bloomberg said he spoke to Brennan about the cop’s 6-week-old daughter, Maeve. “He understood he was hit and he said he was in a lot of pain, but we joked about his daughter,” Bloomberg said. The harrowing incident unfolded when Brennan responded, along with two other plainclothes cops, to a report of shots fired at the Bushwick Houses at about 9 p.m. Read More: New York Post

 

Three-week-old daughter gives Giants’ Cruz Super strength

I don’t want to pinch myself, so I can stay in the moment and soak it all in. It’s been an amazing journey for me, and I don’t want it to end. Yesterday was a whirlwind with Media Day. It was exciting to see what it was all about. They got me to dance the salsa, of course, that was pretty cool, and a TV lady from Azteca Sports asked me to put on a sombrero and say hi to everybody in Mexico — saludos a Mexico! I signed a deal with IMG, which was huge for me to have someone like that market my off-the-field stuff and all the ventures I want to do and a lot of stuff I’ve dreamed about doing. It’s the start of something special. Read More: New York Post

 

Department of Education probe bungling saved ‘ogle’ teacher

Department of Education bureaucrats bungled the city’s best chance to rid itself of its notorious $100,000-a-year rubber-room teacher by failing to secure the testimony of a series of students who accused him of creepy behavior, documents obtained by The Post show. Typing instructor Alan Rosenfeld has received full pay without setting foot in the classroom in more than a decade — even after six junior-high-school girls accused him of leering at them and making inappropriate remarks. The case was botched because of the DOE’s inability to produce required documentation — such as attendance records — for four of the six student witnesses at his 2003 disciplinary hearing, records show. Read More: New York Post

 

DWI kid killer dodges prison

A drunken driver got a slap on the wrist from a Queens judge yesterday for drunkenly slamming his car into a 6-year-old girl who later died from her injuries. Kent Lowrie, 53, of Jamaica, was sentenced to five years’ probation. He had pleaded guilty last month to the vehicular manslaughter of Zhaneya Smith, who darted into the street toward an ice-cream truck and was struck by Lowrie’s car last June 28. Read More: New York Post

 

Club PO’d at P-Funk

Legendary funk master George Clinton and his band Parliament Funkadelic have been slapped with a lawsuit claiming they failed to perform at a Queens nightclub — and then kept a $15,000 deposit anyway. Owners of La Boom New York also allege in their Queens Supreme Court suit that Clinton, 70, and the band performed at another venue the same August 2011 night they were contracted to play the Woodside club. But Clinton’s agent, Jeff Allen, said, “La Boom chose to cancel the show. [The club] said there was no show and wanted the money back — it doesn’t work that way.” Read More: New York Post

 

Officials Seek Steeper Fines For Illegal Dumping

Jamaica Avenue has seen better days. At the intersection of 123rd Street, garbage is piled high. An oversized box for a flat screen TV and plastic bags filled with Christmas tree remains clog the path to a public garbage can. Trash bins are meant to collect litter from pedestrians, not hold garbage from someone’s home or work. “Businesses do it because they are trying to avoid paying private pickup. I have no idea why private people do it. Maybe they are too stupid to figure out when their pickup day is or maybe they are just too lazy,” said Queens City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. New Yorkers living in illegal apartments may also be adding their trash to the pile. They may think putting garbage on the curb outside their home will draw unwanted attention. Read More: NY1

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Super Bowl Bound: Giants Nip 49ers In OT To Set Up Title Rematch Vs. Patriots

For the second time in five seasons, Big Blue is going to the big game. The New York Giants recovered two mishandled San Francisco kick returns, the last one setting up the game-winning field goal in sudden-death overtime, as Big Blue defeated the 49ers 20-17 in Sunday’s NFC Championship to advance to the Super Bowl for the second time since 2008. Sunday’s win sets up a Super Bowl rematch with the New England Patriots, whom the Giants defeated in Super Bowl XLII to claim the franchise’s third Super Bowl title and ruin the Patriots’ pursuit of a perfect season. Read More: NY1

 

 

‘Headless Body in Topless Bar’ killer seeks release from prison

The maniacal murderer who spawned the famous New York Post headline “Headless Body in Topless Bar” is trying to get sprung from prison, The Post has learned. Charles Dingle, 53, will ask a three-person parole panel this week to free him from the upstate Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo. But if his 1983 psychotic rampage and ensuing pathetic prison record are any indication, his chances are questionable. The convict’s infamous blood-drenched spree is considered one of New York’s most notorious crimes. Read More: New York Post

 

‘I tried to stop cop suicide’

The devastated fiancée of the suicidal cop who blew his brains out on the job last week revealed to The Post yesterday how she had desperately tried to talk him out of it in a phone call only seconds before he pulled the trigger. “We weren’t fighting,” insisted Maria Stuart, 28, who was planning to marry NYPD Officer Terrence Dean, 28, on Aug. 18. “All I was trying to do was tell Terrence he needs help.” Stuart said she had admitted to Dean during the frantic Thursday-night call that she had just phoned his Queens precinct house and made vague warnings about a suicidal officer. Read More: New York Post

 

MTA scuttles free-shuttle plan

MTA officials have proven again that they excel — at taking service away from desperate riders. Brass at the cash-strapped agency have incredibly rejected an offer of a free shuttle bus — financed in full by a local lawmaker — for 7-train riders slammed by 11 straight weekends of service outages. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer offered to pay for the $250,000 direct, no-transfer bus from Long Island City to Grand Central while the MTA worked on the signal system under the East River. The money would have come out of his own discretionary funds. Read More: New York Post

 

Two People Injured In Queens House Fire

An investigation is underway into a house fire in Jackson Heights, Queens that injured two people early Sunday. More than 100 firefighters responded to 37-39 90th Street around 1 a.m. and fire officials said two people were pulled from the home. One of the victims is said to be okay, and the other one was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious injuries. Read More: NY1

 

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Dies

Family members announced that former Penn State coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at age 85, after suffering from complications from lung cancer. A native of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Paterno attended Saint Edmund Elementary School and Brooklyn Preparatory High School and gave up a career in law to coach football. He coached the Nittany Lions for 46 years and won 409 games, more than any other coach in major college football history. Among the former Penn State athletes coached by Paterno is New York Giants offensive tackle Kareem McKenzie, whose team played in Sunday’s National Football Conference Championship game in San Francisco. Read More: NY1