Tag Archives: woodhaven

Transit riders voice calls to ‘#FixWoodhaven’ in social media campaign


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos via Twitter/@Jslyyynnn and @jam14063

Woodhaven Boulevard commuters took to social media on Wednesday afternoon to voice their frustration over crowded bus lines, deterioration and other problems along the thoroughfare.

The Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives organized the #FixWoodhaven event, which encouraged Queens subway and bus riders to use the hashtag on social media to call for bus rapid transit (BRT) and street improvements along the heavily-used boulevard bisecting Elmhurst, Rego Park, Middle Village, Glendale, Woodhaven and Ozone Park.

“The Twitter campaign had over 250 tweets under the hashtag #FixWoodhaven,” according to a spokeswoman for the Riders Alliance and Transportation Alternatives.

“The people who were tweeting and part of the campaign included commuters who ride the bus daily along the Woodhaven corridor. The campaign was designed to speak to elected officials so they know the importance of BRT to their communities and constituents,” she said.

Volunteers with both transit advocacy groups also met with afternoon rush-hour commuters waiting for buses at stops along Hoffman Drive near Woodhaven Boulevard in Elmhurst. In pictures posted on Twitter and Instagram, riders were shown holding up signs noting that BRT would help reduce commute times and ease congestion.

In many instances, those who vented tagged or retweeted local elected officials seeking support for their cause, including City Council Members Elizabeth Crowley and Donovan Richards and Assemblyman Mike Miller.

“The proposed layouts for Woodhaven have benefits for pedestrians also. It’ll be safer and prettier! #FixWoodhaven #VisionZero,” tweeted @SamSamuelitoo.

“I support better, faster buses! Visiting fams in the Rockaways takes too long. #fixwoodhaven @RidersNY @brtfornyc,” added Twitter user @Jslyyynnn, who attached to her tweet a photo of herself holding a sign reading, “I live in Jackson Heights and I’m tired of overcrowded buses.”

“Let’s make public transportation, more efficient and desirable to ride! @transalt #FixWoodhaven @brtfornyc,” tweeted Juan Restrepo, @juan_john_hans.

For years, drivers, pedestrians and non-drivers have experienced commuting pains while traveling along Woodhaven Boulevard, especially during rush hour periods. Buses operating on the roadway — including two limited lines, the Q52 and Q53 — are often packed door-to-door with riders and are slow because of traffic congestion. The street also has a history of vehicular accidents involving pedestrians, many of which resulted in fatalities.

The city Department of Transportation in recent years started a “Congested Corridor” study for Woodhaven Boulevard, and recommended physical changes to the road’s configuration to make it safer and easier to travel. Working with the MTA, the DOT also recommends implementing Select Bus Service, a form of BRT, along both Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards, with stations created at major intersections such as Metropolitan Avenue and Jamaica Avenue.

As the Select Bus Service plans are still being finalized, the DOT is presently creating bus-only lanes along Woodhaven Boulevard between Eliot and Metropolitan avenues as a means of speeding up bus operation. Only buses would be permitted to travel in these lanes during the morning and afternoon rush hours on weekdays.

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Security video helps cops find two alleged Woodhaven burglars


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Robert Stridiron

With the help of video footage, police tracked down two men Friday morning hours after they allegedly broke into a pair of adjacent Woodhaven homes.

Prosecutors identified the pair as Justin Ramos, 21, of Woodhaven and Fredrico Gonzalez, 21, of Richmond Hill.

According to information from the Queens District Attorney’s office, the break-ins occurred between 5 and 9:45 a.m. Friday along 98th Street between Jamaica Avenue and Park Lane South.

Reportedly, Ramos and Gonzalez were observed opening the side window of one home, then prying open the door of a nearby shed. Once entering the shed, the suspects removed a bicycle and fled the scene.

Moments later, police said, Ramos was spotted bursting through the front door of a nearby home, causing it to crack. He reportedly grabbed a laptop computer belonging to a female resident, then exited out a back window and fled the scene.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to 911 calls from residents about the burglaries. During their investigation, police obtained security camera footage of the two suspects and searched the surrounding area.

Reportedly, police picked up Gonzalez a short time later at the corner of 94th Street and 86th Avenue in Woodhaven, while Ramos was stopped in the area of Jamaica Avenue and 121st Street. Both men were identified as the suspects based on the security camera footage, it was noted.

Gonzalez and Ramos were arraigned Saturday on charges of second-degree burglary and attempted burglary, along with additional counts of criminal mischief, petit larceny and criminal trespassing. Ramos was ordered held on $5,000 bail, while Gonzalez’s bail was set at $2,500; they are scheduled to return to court on Aug. 7.

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Commuter groped near Woodhaven Boulevard J train station


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police released a video and photo Friday afternoon of a man who allegedly groped a woman near a Woodhaven train station last month.

The perpetrator — described as a black male in his 20s, standing 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds — forcibly touched the 28-year-old woman in the area of Jamaica Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard at around 2 a.m. on June 27.

He reportedly groped the woman’s breasts and buttocks, then fled the location on foot.

The incident was later reported to the NYPD Transit Bureau and the 102nd Precinct; the woman was not injured.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.

 

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Upgrades coming for Woodhaven’s Mary Whalen Playground


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

For over a year, Forest Park’s Mary Whalen Playground, located near Forest Parkway and Park Lane South, has been awaiting repairs, but the wait will end next month.

On Aug. 18, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley will be holding a groundbreaking ceremony at the Woodhaven play space in Forest Park to kick off the start of the renovation.

Crowley has allocated $1 million from City Council funding for the site, while the Parks Department added another $180,000 from the department’s budget to reconstruct the playground.

Mary Whalen Playground was built in the 1940s and sits at the bottom of a large hill that was formed by an Ice Age glacier hundreds of thousands of years ago. The semi-circular park last received renovations in 1991.

The park is named after Mary Whalen, who was the vice president of Community Board 9 and a one-time president of the Woodhaven Block Association. She also founded the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation.

Currently, the park’s centerpiece, a spray shower water feature, has cracked asphalt surrounding it. The concrete wall near Park Lane South is eroding, and certain play equipment is outdated, including the 10-foot swings that do not meet American Society for Testing Material standards.

The renovations will upgrade the park to include new play equipment, a new central water feature, separate areas for preschoolers and pre-teens, a new teen court play area near the back of the playground, and a secondary ramp into the park from Park Lane South that will adhere to the standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project will also increase the green spaces of the playground by adding more canopy trees and repair the existing drainage system, perimeter walls and curbs.

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Con Edison reduces power in south Queens, urges customers to conserve


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr/Con Edison

Equipment problems and a power strain related to today’s hot weather forced Con Edison to cut back voltage by 8 percent in several southern Queens neighborhoods.

The reduction affects customers in the areas of Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Kew Gardens, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park and Woodhaven. In all, 138,000 customers are affected in the area generally bounded by the Jackie Robinson Parkway, Queens Boulevard, Van Wyck Expressway, Jamaica Bay and the Brooklyn/Queens border.

Con Edison said the cutback aims “to protect equipment and maintain service as repairs are made.” Until further notice, residents in the reduction zone should not use heavy-duty appliances such as washers, dryers and air conditioners and should turn off any unnecessary lights or televisions.

Queens is in the midst of this summer’s first heat wave, with temperatures today forecast at 92 degrees. Combined with oppressive humidity, it’ll actually feel more like 102 degrees, according to accuweather.com. Thunderstorms are also forecast for this evening.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation also issued an air quality health advisory through 10 p.m. Monday for the New York City area, as the stifling, muggy air may also include heavy amounts of pollutants such as ozone. Children, seniors and those with respiratory disorders should limit their outdoor activity.

The city will have cooling centers around the five boroughs open on Monday, including at senior centers, NYCHA facilities and parks. Call 311 or click here to locate the nearest center.

Con Edison urges customers who experience power outages to report them immediately to 800-75-CONED and visit its website to check the status of service restoration efforts. When reporting an outage, customers should have their account number available and notify the operator if neighbors on their block also lost power.

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Gravestone from Woodhaven cemetery found in local backyard


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Project Woodhaven

For many months, volunteers associated with the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society have worked to beautify and remove weeds from the Wyckoff-Snediker Family Cemetery, a graveyard located near All Saints Episcopal Church that dates back to the late 1700s.

The efforts, conducted in cooperation with the church (formerly St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church), have been both successful and rewarding, according to Ed Wendell of the society — and led to some amazing discoveries along the way.

During their most recent cleanup of the 98th Street site on July 11, Wendell received word from Irene Scheid, who lives adjacent to the cemetery, that her family recently unearthed what appeared to be a tombstone from her backyard. Volunteers came by Scheid’s home to pick up the thin stone tablet marked with the initials “G.S.B.”

Through research, Wendell said, it was determined that the gravestone once marked the burial site of Garret S. Bennet, who died in 1825 and was interred at the Wyckoff-Snediker Cemetery. Wendell said the connection between the stone and cemetery was confirmed through a review of a cemetery survey conducted in 1919, which noted the extent of every graveyard “down to the square foot.”

Bennet’s grave was indicated in the 1919 survey, but the tombstone was listed as missing.

“It’s been out of the cemetery for at least 96 years, probably longer, and it ended up in this woman’s backyard,” Wendell said.

Not much is known about Bennet’s life other than the dates of his death and birth (in 1792, during George Washington’s first term as president) and the fact that several of his relatives, including daughter Ida, are also interred at Wyckoff-Snediker. They all died at young ages during the 1825 cholera epidemic that struck the area, according to Wendell.

Now that the century-old headstone mystery has been solved, Wendell noted it shouldn’t be too difficult to restore the headstone to Bennet’s grave. Along with clearing overgrowth and removing litter from the cemetery, volunteers have been restoring monuments that were either tipped or moved by vandals.

“We know where it’s supposed to go. We know where he is and we can finally put his tombstone back where it belongs,” he said.

 

Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven
Along from restoring a piece of neighborhood history, Wendell hopes that the cemetery — once beautification efforts are complete — could be transformed into a passive community space where local residents can sit in peace and quiet and enjoy nature. The society hopes to hold an “open house” in October revealing to the public the extent of their efforts to that point.

“We don’t want it to be a place for loud music or play — just a nice, quiet space,” Wendell said. “To have something like that a few feet off Jamaica Avenue would be really nice for the community.”

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Participatory budgeting coming to Councilwoman Crowley’s district


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley is the latest city lawmaker to hop on the participatory budgeting bandwagon.

Crowley announced on Tuesday that residents in the 30th City Council District — which includes all or parts of Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Woodhaven and Woodside — will get to decide how to spend $1 million in city funds on community improvement projects.

She is the 11th member of the City Council’s Queens delegation to host participatory budgeting. During the 2015 fiscal year, City Council members Costa Constantinides, Daniel Dromm, Julissa Ferreras, Karen Koslowitz, I. Daneek Miller, Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Eric Ulrich, Paul Vallone and Jimmy Van Bramer — along with former City Councilman Mark Weprin — pledged to fund $12,871,000 in projects through the process.

“This year, I am able to bring participatory budgeting to my constituents and give them insight into the often lengthy and sometimes very expensive city budgeting process,” Crowley said in a statement. “This will provide a forum for active engagement between residents and myself to decide on capital projects, and calls for the participation of every community member.”

Through participatory budgeting, local residents brainstorm and then vote on a number of proposed capital budget projects for their community, such as street tree planting, park improvements, school technology upgrades, security cameras and street resurfacing.

The first round of community meetings focused on the process will be held in September, with voting taking place in February 2016. For additional information, call Crowley’s Glendale office at 718-366-3900.

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World War II veteran recalls wedding at historic Woodhaven tavern


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Neir’s Tavern in Woodhaven is not only an important Queens landmark, but also a meaningful part of one local family’s personal history, as this was the site where William and Peggy Burlingame were married back in 1946.

On Saturday, July 11, William “Bill” Burlingame returned to Neir’s for the first time in nearly 70 years with his daughters Arlene, Lois and Ellen to remember his wife and reminisce over pints of beer.

“We couldn’t wait to get here and have a really cold beer and a nice hamburger,” explained daughter Lois Kirchner.

The Burlingames sat near the fireplace in the tavern dining room and leafed through the 1946 wedding album while sipping pints of Budweiser from Mets glasses. As he turned the album’s pages, Bill spoke about his past and connection to the tavern.

The 91-year-old Army Air Corps veteran was raised in Ozone Park and attended Brooklyn Technical high school. He began patronizing Neir’s Tavern as a young man in 1942, when he met owner Mrs. Neir.

“She was Auntie Julie to us kids,” he recalled.

Burlingame shared many fond memories of Neir’s from this time, including the Currier and Ives racetrack portraits that adorned the walls, and the tavern’s bowling alley where the bowlers had to set their own pins.

When they weren’t skating at the Hillside Roller Rink, Burlingame and his then-bride-to-be would pop into the tavern for a drink and rounds of bowling.

“The bartender Dudley was fabulous,” he recalled. “He didn’t buy a bottle of Tom Collins mix, he made his own. He would also bring you the gin in a separate shot glass so that you knew you were getting what you paid for.”

In 1942, Burlingame volunteered to be drafted into the Armed Forces with the hope of becoming a mechanic with the Air Corps. Two years later, he returned home via ship and proposed to Peggy while on a 30-day furlough.

On April 27, 1946, the Burlingames were married at Our Lady of Perpetual Help church, followed by a small reception in the upstairs hall at Neir’s. They celebrated their nuptials with ham and cheese sandwiches from a local bakery, coffee and a barrel of beer from the tavern. Bill’s sister-in-law, Adelaide, played the piano during the reception while the happy couple danced.

The Burlingames moved out to Elmont where they purchased a home and started their family. Over the years, Bill and Peggy enjoyed looking through their wedding album with their three daughters and seven grandchildren.

The Burlingames’ wedding album consists of beautiful candid portraits of the young couple laughing, sharing slices of cake and even sneaking a kiss. With her coiffed barrel curls and long silken gown, Peggy Burlingame epitomized the timeless, classic beauty of the 1940s. In one portrait, she posed against a mantle adorned with fresh lilacs.

In 2013, Bill’s wife of 67 years passed away after a seven-year struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. “We really lost her like 10 years ago,” he recalled, choking back tears.

Last year, Bill came across a segment profiling Neir’s Tavern on the New York-based television show “$9.99″ and was shocked to discover the tavern still existed. In August 2014, Burlingame wrote a personal letter to Neir’s owner Loycent Gordon sharing his beloved memories of the tavern.

“It was very touching,” Gordon explained. “These are things that don’t happen anymore today. I’m really happy that we have a connection to history with a gentleman like Bill.”

Burlingame’s daughters began the yearlong process of putting the much-anticipated reunion together.

Bill’s framed, handwritten letter to Gordon hangs on a wall near the bar, further cementing the family’s connection to the tavern’s history. When asked what his wife would have thought of the event, Bill’s face lit up.

“She would be amazed,” he beamed. “She would be enjoying it. She was the life of the party.”

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Ulrich secures a record $5.6 million in funding for district


| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Southwest Queens will receive $5,685,000 in funding from the City Council, the most that has ever been awarded to the 32nd City Council District.

Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents neighborhoods including the Rockaways, Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven and South Richmond Hill, secured $685,000 in expense funding for local community groups, civic associations, senior centers, volunteer fire departments and other local groups.

New York Families for Autistic Children, Inc.Queens Chamber of CommerceHoward Beach- Lindenwood CivicRockaway Point Volunteer Emergency Services and Girl Scout Council of Greater New York were among the grant recipients.

“Above all, this year’s budget keeps New Yorkers and their families safe and protects the vital services we all rely upon,” Ulrich said. “It also provides funding for local groups that serve my constituents in every corner of the district. Since taking office, I have made sure that we receive our fair share of city services and resources in the budget. This year is no exception.”

Local schools in the district will receive funding for SAT programs and the $5 million allocated to capital projects will fund technology upgrades at 17 local schools and school library and auditorium renovations.

Forest Park will receive a number of enhancements and improved security measures. Residents who voted in the participatory budgeting process chose to refurbish the 9/11 Memorial and the Forest Park Dog Run and to install emergency call boxes throughout the park.

Libraries in Ozone Park and Richmond Hill have been awarded $200,000 for security upgrades and renovations.

The Richmond Hill library will look to install self-check-in and check-out machines, renovate the basement and purchase new computers and tablets, according to Rebecca Babirye-Alibatya, the library’s manager.

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Woodhaven graffiti cleanup will also help local charity


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Woodhaven Residents' Block Association

This summer’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) graffiti removal campaign will do more than just make the neighborhood more beautiful.

The civic group, which annually paints over graffiti found on local mailboxes across the community, will use the effort to raise funds for the NYFAC Foundation in Howard Beach, which supports families and children affected by autism.

On July 25, WRBA volunteers plan to scatter across the neighborhood to repaint more than 100 vandalized mailboxes. The organization will supply all the paint and tools necessary to get the job done, but local residents can pledge donations for the NYFAC Foundation per repainted mailbox. They may cap their pledges at a certain amount, such as 50 cents per mailbox up to a maximum of $25.

“Over the last few years, many of our members have pitched in on efforts to fight graffiti and make our community neater, but this event will be special,” WRBA President Martin Colberg said in a statement. “We expect to reach every corner of Woodhaven while attracting new volunteers who are interested in supporting a deserving charity.”

Ed Wendell, a WRBA director, hopes that partnering with the NYFAC Foundation not only gives local volunteers the incentive to participate, but may also convince local vandals to think twice about messing up the volunteers’ hard work later.

“It’s a nice way to turn it from a negative to a positive story,” Wendell said. “Hopefully, some of these taggers, when they see this, may make them feel a little bad about [the vandalism].”

Andrew Baumann, longtime president and CEO of the NYFAC Foundation, expressed gratitude for the WRBA’s efforts.

“We are very grateful — and very humbled — that the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association would select us as the beneficiaries of their fundraising efforts,” Baumann said. “The association’s efforts will go a long way toward helping us ‘better the lives of those with autism’ and toward beautifying the community.”

Anyone interested in donating to the campaign is encouraged to email the WRBA at info@woodhaven-nyc.org, or visit the WRBA’s next town hall meeting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, at Emanuel Church of Christ, located at the corner of 91st Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. Those who wish to volunteer during the cleanup should email the WRBA or call 718-296-3735.

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Video released of suspect in failed Woodhaven stickup


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps/Inset courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the man caught on video attempting to rob a grocery store in Woodhaven last month.

According to authorities, the crook visited the shop located at 90-11 Jamaica Ave. at 9:30 p.m. on May 24, approached the cashier, displayed a handgun and demanded money.

Upon hearing the demand, the cashier fled into the basement, police said. Seconds later, the gunman exited the store empty-handed.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct responded to the incident; there were no injuries.

The NYPD described the perpetrator as a black male believed to be 40 years old, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 180 pounds, who was last observed wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and a black baseball cap.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


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Night at Forest Park Carousel helps Woodhaven educators


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Woodhaven residents of all ages gathered at the historic Forest Park Carousel on June 12 for an evening of fun and merriment to help benefit the School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) Educational Center for Women.

The center, located at 87-04 88th Ave. in Woodhaven, provides a four-tier ESL program and High School Equivalency Exam courses to local women from a variety of countries, backgrounds and religions.

The center was initially founded in 2004 at St. Clement Convent in South Ozone Park with only 18 students. Since relocating to St. Thomas Apostle Church in 2009, the center’s enrollment and services have greatly expanded.

“When we moved to Woodhaven, it just blossomed,” explained the center’s director, Sister Catherine Feeney. “We just gave out 84 certificates.”

Sushelia Loknath, a mother of two, was one of those recent graduates. Loknath completed the center’s High School Equivalency course and is awaiting a date to take the exam.

“I like everything about the center,” she said. “The teachers are there for us anytime we need them. They make a lot of sacrifices for us there and we really appreciate all they are doing. I feel so happy going there.”

Sonia Saleh, director of development at the center, echoed this sentiment. “We’re educating women and helping them to get better jobs. It makes a difference in the whole community,” she said. “The women are motivated. They come here because they want to learn. They want a better life. You get to see the women evolve.”

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

The special fundraising event at the Forest Park Carousel was created and organized by Woodhaven Historical Society President and SSND board member Edward Wendell.

“This group has a really deep impact on people’s lives. They’re really great,” he said.

Because students pay a one-time fee of $40 to attend multiple classes at the center, fundraising events such as this are a vital part of the center’s survival.

In addition to benefiting the center, the fundraiser also helps raise awareness and increases attendance at the landmark carousel.

“I love bringing together two different organizations to really help each other,” Wendell said.

“They do wonderful things for the people in the community,” said Wanda Sample, the center’s reigning 2015 Queen of Mardi Gras of the center’s major fundraising gathering held every February. “This is our first fundraiser here and hopefully we’ll have many more.”

Many of the women from the center brought their children to the fundraiser for an evening of face painting, hot dogs, $3 carousel rides and a special magic show.

“We want to reach out to the community and want the community to know about us and the school because we’re a big benefit to the community,” Saleh added.

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Rash of violent crimes raises concerns at Woodhaven meeting


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Woodhaven residents and elected officials expressed concern and outrage during Thursday night’s Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association (WRBA) meeting over the recent rash of high-profile crimes to hit the area.

Two recent shootings rocked the area. The first occurred roughly three weeks ago around 4 a.m. outside the Port O’Call nightclub near Atlantic Avenue and Woodhaven Boulevard. The more recent shooting was on the night of June 6 at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 89th Street.

Then the community was stunned by the June 10 discovery of a dead body near Victory Field in Forest Park now being investigated as a homicide.

“It’s just a bad wave right now … but it’s not just us. It could happen anywhere in the city,” P.O. Jose Severino of the 102nd Precinct Community Affairs Unit told WRBA members during the session at American Legion Post 118. “We have leads in most of these crimes … but both shooting victims are being uncooperative, so it’s making our investigation difficult.”

One resident expressed fear over personal safety in light of the shootings. “I could stop by Jamaica Avenue to get a container of milk and be caught in a shootout,” she said.

In an attempt to calm concerns, Severino explained that several safety measures have been implemented in the wake of the shootings, including outside help from Central Command.

“Right now, we have multiple shooting posts to help increase visibility in multiple locations where those crimes happened,” he said. “We have an automatic shooting initiative in place and will be there for 24 to 72 hours after.”

Regarding the Forest Park homicide, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley called the murder “unsettling” and shared in the community’s concerns.

“Safety in Forest Park is so important,” she said. “I myself often run in the park. We’ve been on top of the 102nd Precinct to make sure they have patrols there.”

Another resident raised the question about security cameras in the park. “About two weeks ago, we noticed a security camera mounted on a light post,” she said. “But last weekend, that camera was gone. Ironically, it would have been in the same spot where the murder was.”

Angel Vazquez, Assemblyman Mike Miller’s chief of staff, explained that he was working to get the NYPD to sign off on an agreement allowing for the installation of cameras at specific locations within the park.

According to Vazquez, the first part of the six-stage process of approval was just completed. Going forward, the camera plans would require three-way approval from the Assembly, Dormitory Authority and Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Greg Mitchell of Councilman Eric Ulrich’s office echoed Crowley’s concerns.

“Safety is our number one priority,” he said. “Through our budgeting, we did approve those emergency call boxes that will be going into Forest Park.”

Mitchell said he has been in touch with the capital department of the NYPD and expects the call boxes to be installed as soon as the upcoming budget passes.

WRBA President Martin Colberg urged residents to remain vigilant: “The biggest thing we can do is to call 311 or 911. Let’s get some kind of response out there and try to help each other as much as we can.”

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Flushing man found dead in Forest Park; cops launch homicide probe


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter / @projwoodhaven

Updated 9:29 p.m.

BY ROBERT POZARYCKI AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

Detectives are investigating the death of a 23-year-old man whose body was found in Forest Park Wednesday afternoon as a homicide, police sources said.

Two park-goers found the body of Diego Piedrahita near Park Lane South and Woodhaven Boulevard at about 3:25 p.m., according to authorities. The man had suffered from what was described as blunt force trauma to the head.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct and EMS responded to the scene and pronounced Piedrahita, a resident of Booth Memorial Avenue in Flushing, deceased at the scene.

The preliminary investigation indicated that he may have been dead for at least 10 to 12 hours before his body was found, police sources said. His wallet and identification were found at the scene and there were no signs of a robbery. The victim did not have a criminal record.

The medical examiner is determining the cause of death.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Woodhaven shooting victim isn’t helping investigation: cops


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Police continue to look for information regarding a shooting at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 89th Street in Woodhaven Saturday night.

A 23-year-old man shot at a Woodhaven intersection on Saturday night isn’t doing much to help authorities find the person who pulled the trigger on him, police sources said.

The man was shot once in the abdomen at the corner of Jamaica Avenue and 89th Street at about 9:53 p.m. on June 6, authorities said.

According to police, the man was involved in a dispute with a group of unidentified individuals seconds before the shooting. After a member of the group pulled out a gun and opened fire on him, the injured man reportedly managed to run to the corner of 85th Street and Jamaica Avenue, where police were contacted.

Officers from the 102nd Precinct and EMS units rushed to the scene. The man was taken to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and was listed in stable condition.

A police source described the victim as being uncooperative with detectives investigating the shooting.

Anyone with information regarding the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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