Tag Archives: Williamsburg

Influx of hipsters revives 90-year-old Ridgewood German bar


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Gottscheer Hall was on its way to closing down two years ago. But the Ridgewood bar and grill turned a profit in 2012 because of younger, more affluent patrons who began to appear in larger and larger groups.

People packed the Gottscheer Hall on Sunday to watch the World Cup final. The patrons that afternoon were either older and of German descent or younger and attracted to the German appeal of the bar and grill that derives its name from a region in Europe that was once part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

“I like the history of the bar, the kitschiness. The beer is good and cheap,” Jonathan Deentler, 25, said as he ate a German pretzel and sausage with sauerkraut. “I guess you could say I’m being a cultural tourist.”

Deentler and his friends, who all live in Bushwick, began to come to the bar two years ago and have since often frequented it. Around that time, the Gottscheer Hall began to turn a profit, something that hadn’t been seen for 15 years, according to the bar’s secretary Roland Belay.

“The hipsters revived us,” Belay said. The German restaurant is celebrating its 90th anniversary this September but up until recently the business suffered a loss of patrons. Belay attributes this loss to the fact that the German immigrants who drank at the bar are getting older and dying off. The last big wave of Germans to the neighborhood was during WWII when the war displaced many Germans from the Gottschee region, now part of Slovenia.

“Every year we get fewer and fewer Germans coming here,” Belay said. “So we have to look forward and it seems like the hipsters will keep this business alive.”

Brian Questa, 26, lives in Williamsburg but decided to watch the World Cup match between Germany and Argentina in Gottscheer Hall. He, too, was attracted to the bar’s “authenticity,” something he thinks Williamsburg lost when it became gentrified. Questa plans on moving to Ridgewood soon because of cheaper rent and the charm of the neighborhood. He noted the irony of contributing to Ridgewood’s gentrification.

“I concede the fact that because there’s more young people taking an interest in it does make it more attractive to me,” said Questa, who identifies himself as a musical composer. “Unlike places like Maspeth where it’s all families living there.”

When Germany won the match, the bar erupted into cheers and German chants, with both the older Germans and the hipsters celebrating the moment. In the coming years, Belay and the other owners of the bar will have to juggle the necessity to make money with “preserving the German heritage,” as Belay put it. But he will also have to try not to make the bar “very fake,” like Questa said Williamsburg is.

“People come there to live in Williamsburg but it’s full of people just there to see and live in Williamsburg,” Questa said.

 

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Man wanted for allegedly sticking gun in girlfriend’s mouth


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man wanted for assaulting his girlfriend with a gun at her southwest Queens home.

On July 15 Alfredo Bonilla allegedly entered his girlfriend’s residence without permission and they got into an argument. Bonilla put a gun in her mouth, cutting her, said police. He stopped short of pulling the trigger and his girlfriend later called the authorities.

Bonilla, 42, is described as Hispanic, five feet four inches tall, about 140 pounds, and has black hair and brown eyes.

Cops say Bonilla is armed and dangerous and usually hangs out in Ridgewood and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His last known address is 369 Howard Avenue in Brooklyn.

 

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Sanitation worker rescues dog left in Astoria trash bag


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of BARC Shelter

It was just another day on the job for sanitation worker Victoria Roman — until something caught her eye.

On Friday morning, April 5 as the Brooklyn native was working in Astoria, she approached a garbage bag that began to move. When she and her partner looked inside, they found a wagging tail and a very sickly looking dog.

“First I thought it was just paper in the bag because she was white. When she moved I thought she was a rabbit,” said Roman. “I did what came naturally and what I think anyone else would do to an animal in that condition.”

After calling in her find to her superiors, Roman asked her supervisor to watch over the helpless animal until she finished her shift and could then find a way to care for the dog. Having dealt with the loss of her own dog, which she had for over 16 years, Roman decided not to take rescue home.

Due to financial problems, Roman could not immediately take the pup to her personal veterinarian and instead asked for help from a friend who referred her to BARC Shelter in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“I didn’t want to take her to a shelter where she would be put to sleep,” said Roman. “BARC is a non-kill shelter and they will find her a loving home.”

Although the Maltese, now lovingly nicknamed “Victoria” at the shelter after her rescuer, was found matted with feces and with an eye infection, she is now bathed, full of life and slowly getting better.

“She’s in good health,” said Alex Kaplun, dog kennel supervisor at BARC Shelter. “She’s been very curious, friendly and sweet. She’s learning how to be a dog.”

“Victoria,” who is believed to be eight years old, is currently living with the shelter’s owners, Tony Spato and Vinny Spinola and is under the care of Veterinarian Elaine Felton who is looking after her and treating her for anemia. Once

“Victoria” gains weight and the shelter believes she is healthy and in a comfortable state, then she will be put up for adoption.

Due to close to 100 applications coming in to adopt “Victoria,” the shelter is no longer taking any more but still welcomes donations to fund her recovery through the shelter’s website at barcshelther.org. Along with “Victoria,” Kaplun also hopes people can take the time to adopt other less unfortunate animals at the shelter who are looking for a place to call home.

 

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Brooklyn Cupcake makes a new home in Long Island City


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Brooklyn Cupcake

The fluorescent Pepsi sign brought Brooklyn Cupcake owner Carmen Rodriguez to Long Island City.

Years ago, when the neighborhood was still in its early days of development, she journeyed to find the iconic neon insignia and stumbled upon Long Island City, instantly forming a bond with the unique sector of the city. After catering several weddings in the area, she began exploring the possibility of opening another storefront in her new favorite neighborhood.

Brooklyn Cupcake recently announced plans to debut a second location in conjunction with Uncle Louie G’s on 48th Avenue off Vernon Boulevard, to create a one-stop dessert shop.

“There are no other bakeries [in LIC] and everyone needs a local bakery,” said Rodriguez.

Brooklyn Cupcake’s Williamsburg location, which will celebrate its second birthday this July, creates confectionary dreams like Vanilla Raspberry, Guava con Queso and Red Velvet for adoring customers. The team uses real cream cheese and whipped cream in their baking, instead of butter cream, to give their cupcakes a rich, smooth taste and texture. However it’s the fans that set this bakery apart from other sweet shops. The New York Daily News voted them the number one cupcake spot in NYC and they scored a coveted Zagat rating of 27 out of 30.

“Cupcakes are the ‘in’ thing – the logical dessert option if you’re looking to be the hit of the party, dinner whatever the occasion,” said Rodriguez. “You can show up with 12 different flavors and be sure to please almost everyone.”

The Long Island City location of Brooklyn Cupcake will also offer ice cream, milkshakes, coffee, tea and cakes.
Rodriguez says the secret to a killer cupcake is adding just a little something extra.

“It is made with love, it will always taste good,” she said.

 

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10 lb. pot bust at Astoria film studio


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

114_10lbs_mj_090612

An electrician at a Queens production studio of many well-known television shows and movies was arrested Thursday for 10 pounds of marijuana that was delivered to his workplace, said the NYPD.

At 2:30 p.m., on September 6, police were called to Kaufman Astoria Studios, at 34-37 36th Avenue, after building security intercepted two large cardboard boxes containing two plastic containers packed with approximately 10 pounds of marijuana.

The package was for an electrician working at the studio, Lowell Schulman, 53, of Brooklyn and addressed from a UPS rental facility in California, said police.

He allegedly admitted to the officers that the package was for him, but that he was expecting it to contain a much smaller amount of marijuana as well as cologne and books.

Police then proceeded to find five plastic dime bags containing crack cocaine in the left pocket of his pants.

Schulman has been charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal unlawful possession of marijuana and possession of a controlled substance.

At the time of his arrest authorities also discovered that Schulman has an open warrant.

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

New crane horror: Worker dies in W. Side collapse at subway pit

A construction worker was killed and three of his colleagues were injured last night when a crane collapsed at the No. 7 train subway-extension construction site on the West Side, authorities said. The accident occurred at around 7:20 p.m. at West 34th Street and 11th Avenue when two pieces of the crane — 80- and 40-foot sections — became dislodged and fell into the below-ground site and onto the workers, officials said. Read More: New York Post

French Academic Found Dead In His Midtown Hotel Room

Police were investigating late Tuesday the death of prominent French academic found inside a Midtown hotel room. Richard Descoings, 54, was discovered in his bed at the Michelangelo Hotel on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say hotel security went to his room after he did not check out. Sources say Descoings was found naked and his computer and phone were thrown from the seventh floor window. They also say police are looking for people who may have come into his room during the overnight hours. Read More: NY1

 

Off-Duty School Safety Agent Awaits Arraignment On Rape, Weapons Charges

An off-duty school safety agent was awaiting arraignment Monday after being arrested on rape charges in Queens. The New York City Police Department says Tommy Johnson, 28, is also charged with criminal weapons possession, menacing and assault. Sources say Johnson raped his ex-girlfriend in Brooklyn over the weekendJohnson currently lives in Ridgewood, Queens, where neighbors say he resides with his mother. Read More: NY1

 

Woman Dies Following Cooking Accident In Jackson Heights Home

A woman died Monday following an apparent cooking accident in her apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. The New York City Fire Department says they responded to a 911 call Monday morning for a woman in cardiac arrest. Fire officials believe the woman was severely burned when her sleeve caught on fire while cooking. They say she then went into the hallway, where she went into cardiac arrest. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Read More: NY1

 

Key approval is won for Willets Point project

The city has won a key approval for its massive Willets Point redevelopment, dealing a blow to local property owners who hoped to delay or even halt the project. The Federal Highway Administration ruled that ramps proposed for the Van Wyck Expressway would have “no significant impact” on the surrounding area, according to a letter sent to the state Department of Transportation late last month and released Monday by city officials. Read More: Crain’s New York Business

 

NYPD investigating image on Al Qaeda forums as possible threat to New York City

A graphic featuring the New York skyline and posted on terrorism websites blares a chilling message in bold letters: “Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York.” The NYPD and the FBI are scrambling to locate the source of the message and trying to figure out whether it’s a credible threat or a sick taunt. The 3-D images spotted on Al Qaeda Internet forums Monday show the letters scrawled across a city street, as a father and son stroll by in amazement. Read More: Daily News

 

Authorities still looking for motive in Oakland shooting rampage at small Christian college that left seven dead

One wounded woman cowered in the bushes after the gunman opened fire on the campus of a small Christian university. One student hid in a locked classroom as the shooter banged on the door. Another heard the shots and ran to safety. All within an hour Monday, police said, a 43-year-old former student named One L. Goh walked into Oikos University, and began a rampage that left seven people dead and three people wounded, trapped some in the building and forced others to flee for their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

 

‘Rape’ victim dad’s anguish

Don’t let your daughters move to New York City. That’s the heart-wrenching advice of the father of a city schoolteacher who is still devastated after being sexually assaulted at gunpoint by an off-duty cop last summer. “It’s a dangerous city,” said the dad, whose name and location are being withheld to protect the identity of his 25-year-old daughter. “When things like this happen, it just makes you think twice,” the dad told The Post from his small, out-of-state farm. Read More: New York Post

 

 

Handyman Convicted Of Murder Of Manhattan Building Cleaner

A handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct was convicted of second-degree murder Monday. After deliberating for two days, jurors also found Joseph Pabon, 27, guilty of first-degree kidnapping. Prosecutors say Pabon smothered 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez with industrial tape in July 2009. Read More: NY1

 

Boy, 10, shot in Williamsburg

A 10-year-old boy was hit by a stray bullet in Williamsburg late last night, police said. The child was with his father below the elevated subway tracks on Broadway near the Hewes Street station at around 10:55 p.m., when teens down the block began arguing, cops and witnesses said. “Ten or 15 people [were] fighting. I called 911 when I heard the gunshots, two or three shots,” said Baruch Bing, 23, who lives near the shooting scene. Read More: New York Post

Koch endorses Queens House pol

Ed Koch’s legendary clout with Jewish voters is about to be tested again. Hoping to repeat his kingmaker role from a closely watched congressional race six months ago, the outspoken ex-mayor yesterday threw his support behind Assemblyman Rory Lancman in a three-way race for the Democratic Party nomination in Queens’ 6th Congressional District. He called Assemblywoman Grace Meng and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley “first rate” but said he preferred Lancman’s position on Israel. Read More: New York Post

Prosecutors want ‘Millionaire Madam’ lawyers to zip it 

A Manhattan judge is weighing prosecutors’ demand to bar lawyers for accused “Millionaire Madam” Anna Gristina from publicly discussing some of the most sensational evidence in the case. Gristina, a 44-year-old soccer mom who is being held on $2 million bail, was not in court Monday as officials asked for a “protective order” to keep their evidence secret. Read More: Daily News

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Cabdriver busted in ‘rape’

Cops arrested a cabby yesterday for allegedly raping a young passenger in his taxi at knifepoint after she left a Williamsburg bar. Gurmeet Singh, 40, picked up the 26-year-old woman on May 6, and she asked to be taken to her Manhattan building, cops said. After the intoxicated woman fell asleep, Singh, pulled over, bound the victim’s hands with a scarf and began raping her, cops said. Singh, who lives in Jamaica, then took the woman’s cellphone and cash and pushed her out of the cab, cops said. Read More: New York Post

Quid pro quo at Big A convention site

A biggest-in-the-nation convention center would mean a bigger racino at Aqueduct. Governor Cuomo said yesterday the Genting Group will seek more gaming machines at the racino it runs at Aqueduct Racetrack as the Malaysian-based gaming giant pours $4 billion into what would be the country’s largest convention center there. A bigger racino would mean renegotiating the state’s cut from video-lottery-machine revenues, Cuomo said on Albany’s Talk 1300 AM radio. A source said that would mean more money for the state from expanded operations but a smaller percentage of the take, although Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto said it’s too early to say, with discussions ongoing. Read More: New York Post

DOE Announces Two More Charter Schools Will Close

Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Charter High School is out-of-control. But it’s not the students — it’s the leadership, which has spent millions on consultants and real estate and refused to follow ethics rules. Since charter schools are independently run, there’s not much the Department of Education can do, except close them down. Officials say that is what they plan to do at the end of the school year. Williamsburg Charter High will be just the third city charter school to have its charter revoked in the middle of a five-year-term, but it won’t be the only charter to close this June. Read More: New York Post

For Comptroller’s Allies, a Day Without an Award Is a Rarity

In New York City, most city officials, a couple times a month, honor community organizations with special suitable-for-framing commendations, praising them for “distinguished leadership” or “dedicated service.”  Then there is John C. Liu. Since his election to the city comptroller position in 2009, Mr. Liu has showered people and groups with official commendations, handing out more than 760 — with nearly one-quarter of the recipients connected to his political campaign, according to an analysis conducted by The New York Times. Read More: New York Times

Wrist slap for elder con

A Queens social worker who posed as a relative to steal $220,000 from an 85-year-old man in her care got off with just five years’ probation yesterday. Jennifer Robinson, 37, of Cambria Heights, had faced up to 15 years in prison. But Queens Supreme Court Justice Fernando Camacho took it easy on Robinson. In 2009, she listed herself as a niece of the late Walter Witko, a dementia patient, to steal his assets, proseuctors said. Read More: New York Post

NJ Assembly’s GOP leader dies at Statehouse

As the long and busy final day of New Jersey’s legislative session was coming to a close, most lawmakers were preparing to head home for a few hours of sleep before the new session got under way. But in a matter of moments, everything changed. The Assembly and state Senate members, along with their aides and other staffers, stood stunned as they learned that Assembly Republican leader Alex DeCroce had collapsed and died around 11 p.m. Monday in a men’s room at the Statehouse. They had been working with the 75-year-old lawmaker all evening as the Legislature wrapped up its session with a flurry of last-minute bills, and one of his final acts as the GOP leader was to accuse Democrats of casting votes for an absent member. Read More: New York Post

Drunk in Staten Island train mishap made WTC movie

The drunken passenger pulled from the Staten Island Railway tracks by a good Samaritan — who was critically injured himself during the rescue — is an independent filmmaker who made the first movie about the 9/11 attacks, sources said yesterday. Jonathan M. Parisen, 40, of East Orange, NJ, wrote, produced and directed “Stairwell: Trapped in the World Trade Center” in 2002, and more recently was working on a flick called “Terrobot” about a giant robot that attacks New York City. Parisen was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal trespass for going on the tracks to retrieve his shoes at around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities said yesterday. Read More: New York Post

New Jay-Z tune a real ‘pop’ track

It’s a hip-hop homage to his favorite new girl. First-time pop Jay-Z yesterday released a touching new tune for baby daughter Blue Ivy Carter that features her newborn cries — and also reveals the heartbreak he and songstress wife Beyoncé suffered over a previous miscarriage. Read More: New York Post and Listen Below

Glory – Jay-Z feat. Blue Ivy Carter by Warhol2011

School aides protest pink slips


| nkarimi@queenscourier.com


As Local 372 members return to their jobs, bureaucrats at the Department of Education (DOE) are pre¬paring pink slips and layoff notices for nearly 800 school aides.

“During the budget negotiations this June, the Chancellor [Dennis Walcott] called Lillian Roberts [DC 37 executive director] to try to work with DC-37 to avert DOE layoffs. Unfortunately, the union would not agree to any real savings that could have saved these jobs, so schools took a larger budget cut than might have otherwise been necessary, and these layoffs are the result,” said Barbara Morgan, Deputy Press Secretary for the DOE.

In order to protest the loss of jobs for school aides, community coordinators, health aides and family workers, Assemblymember William Scarborough, Local 372, teachers, parents, elected officials and labor leaders gathered in Springfield Gardens at P.S. 15 the Jackie Robinson School, on Friday, September 23.

“Schools cannot afford to lose these workers. They formed a support network with them and in order for teachers to teach they need this network,” said Scarborough.

The protest, which drew about 75 people, was a means to give Mayor Michael Bloomberg a message — “Save Our Schools! Save Our Communities.”

“I am deeply concerned about these planned layoffs. These layoffs have threatened the most vulnerable in our city, many of them single mothers with children, and will have a devastating ripple effect on our economy. They must be rolled back,” said Scarborough.

Job losses will be most felt in areas such as East New York, Brownsville, Williamsburg, Washington Heights, and the South Bronx; places that are already in need of enhanced social services and suffer with higher unemployment rates, according to President of Local 372 Santos Crespo.

Over the course of the past three years, unions and schools have lost more than 1,600 school and health aides, according to Crespo.

“I know the city is planning an ongoing effort to save these jobs, but there are other things they can cut back on instead of laying off these members,” said Scarborough.