Tag Archives: Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association

Popular Rainbow clothing store in Whitestone to close

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Kevin Fuchs/Welcome To Whitestone

Teen clothing chain Rainbow will be closing its location in the Whitestone Shopping Center.

Residents were disappointed to view a large banner in front of the store and posters in the window declaring the impending closure, which store employees believe will happen sometime in late July.

Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association, believed that competition from online retailers could be partially to blame for the chain shuttering its Whitestone outpost at 153-39 Cross Island Pkwy.

“It’s sad to see that a business that has been in the community for so many years is closing down,” said O’Connor. “It’s hard for retail stores to remain in business when it’s getting easier and easier to purchase items online from the comfort of your own home.”

Rainbow Shops opened up their first location in New York City in 1935, and the company has since expanded to 1,100 locations within 37 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The chain is known for providing clothing and accessories to women and teenage girls at a low price point.

Representatives for Rainbow did not immediately respond to The Courier for comment.


Two-alarm fire breaks out at Whitestone shopping center

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos and video courtesy of Welcome To Whitestone Civic Association

An early morning fire at Whitestone Commons left at least two businesses significantly damaged, reports said.

The blaze started about 6 a.m. at the shopping complex, located on 14th Avenue near Clintonville Street.

Firefighters were able to put out the flames about an hour later, the FDNY said.

At least two businesses were affected by the fire, Bagel Time and a clothing store called Prive, according to Devon O’Connor of the Welcome To Whitestone Civic Association, and photos from the scene. He said they appeared to be badly damaged.

No one was reported injured.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the FDNY would not confirm where it started.




Assemblyman Braunstein to introduce law to ban fake clothing drop-off bins

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Assemblyman Ed Braunstein is planning to introduce legislation to clean up clothing drop-off bins of businesses that masquerade as nonprofit organizations.

Under the bill, clothing bins that are not operated by organizations recognized as proper nonprofits by the IRS will be banned and the city will be able to remove the bins immediately. First-time offenders will be fined $250, and then $500 for every additional one during a calendar year.

Recently, there has been an explosion in bins all over the city, according to published reports. Bin owners collect donated clothes and sell them to thrift stores, using what should be donations for income, the assemblyman said.

“Enough is enough. It is time we remove these bins from our streets and ensure that these fake charities no longer benefit from their deceptive actions,” Braunstein said.

Currently, all clothing bins are banned in the city on public property. The Department of Sanitation places notices on the bins, giving operators 30 days to remove them. But organizations simply remove the notices and move the bins to other locations, the assemblyman and local leaders said.

“But if you’re parked illegally [the city] has no problem towing your car that day,” said Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association.

Besides hiding under the false pretense of a nonprofit company, residents have complained that the bins attract graffiti and are eyesores in the community.

Community Board 11, which represents Bayside, Douglaston and Oakland Gardens, has received numerous complaints of nearly a dozen bins around the community, which range in colors from a stark pink to black.

“It’s just a scheme for some crooked people to make money and it’s a horror story,” said Andy Rothman, a Bayside resident. “They shouldn’t be anywhere in New York City or New York State.”

Calls to Our Neighborhood Recycling, which owns a few bins in Bayside, were not returned.



EXCLUSIVE: Instagram cyberbullying rocks students at Whitestone’s St. Luke School

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association

Students at St. Luke School in Whitestone are under a cyberbullying attack.

Recently one rogue Instagram account called StLukeIdiots started posting pictures on the social media service of students from the Catholic school, using vulgar descriptions and wishing for some kids’ deaths.

“These kids are all ugly and fat! I’ll be posting the 6th graders that should die..,” the account StLukeidiots said in its description.

The user behind the account has yet to be found, according to Welcome to Whitestone Civic Association Founder Devon Michael O’Connor, who had parents of targeted students reach out to him.

“It’s absolutely disgusting,” O’Connor said. “It’s not nice. It’s cyberbullying. Who knows where this could lead? This needs to stop.”

Welcome to Whitestone posted the Instagram account to its Facebook page on Saturday night, and since then residents and parents have been reporting the account to Instagram administrators to force it to stop.

“Please go on Instagram and report this account: @stlukeidiots. This is cyber bullying and we cannot allow that type of behavior!”, the civic group said on its Facebook page.

While residents and students still don’t know who is controlling the StLukeIdiots account, there has been a friendlier account started called the Stlukebeauties, which has been posting pictures of the students with much nicer descriptions.

The identity of the user behind the Stlukebeauties is also unknown, according to O’Connor, but the account has been posting on StLukeIdiots, asking people to follow it and others have been leaving positive comments to fight the cyberbullying.