Tag Archives: woodhaven

New historical research group started in Woodhaven


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Woodhaven is known for its history, but there was no central repository for the trove of information about it — until now.

The Woodhaven History Research Group was recently started by Ed Wendell as part of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society.

The new group’s mission is to perform methodical searches of archives of the neighborhood to record names, addresses and any interesting pieces of information it finds about the town into a database, something that Wendell said would connect residents to the history of Woodhaven.

“There is all this great history about Woodhaven that many of us don’t even know yet,” he said. “My hope is to build a database that will outline the hyper-local history of the neighborhood.”

Wendell came up with the idea for the research group by chance.

He was invited by a local resident to a house where the man’s parents once lived. As they were checking out some of the home’s antiques, Wendell came across a flyer from the early 1900s with a man’s name on it who had a dog training service at the time. When Wendell plugged the name into the computer, he found “an incredible amount of history on the guy.”

He then wanted to have a place where he could archive such history, which is how the group began.

Wendell found a website that has archived The Lead Observer, Woodhaven’s newspaper, dating back to the early 1900s. He said he would like to split up the members of the group by giving them specific research areas.

After the research is completed, Wendell said he hopes that all members of the group will meet up and put together the pieces of history until “the puzzle is filled.”

The first meeting will be on Oct. 28 at the Avenue Diner, located at 91-06 Jamaica Ave., at 7 p.m. Wendell encourages all those who are interested in doing some local research and even those who would just like to learn more about Woodhaven to come down.

“I want people to be interested in their hyper-local history,” Wendell said. “Once you start searching, you never know what you’re going to find.”

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Plans released for possible QueensWay


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of thequeensway.org

It’s the Queens way.

A 3.5-mile stretch of recreational, walking and biking trails is planned for central and southern Queens as part of a multi-million dollar proposal that has coined the name, QueensWay.

“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.

The QueensWay plans, proposed by W X Y architecture + urban design, will add a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities and nature trails for the borough, said the Friends of the QueensWay.

The path, if built, will cross through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, affecting over 322,000 people living within a mile of it.

In the plans, there are proposed areas for ecology and education, where planners are hoping to build an outdoor classroom for children to be able to learn the biodiversity in Queens.

Also, there will be two sets of trails for bicyclist and pedestrians to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the QueensWay.

Furthermore, there are plans for basketball courts, a skate park, habitat wetlands, arts-related programs and a gateway entrance from the QueensWay to Forest Park.

“Parks are too often neglected and QueensWay would offer more access to open space and parkland,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “Parks provide an economic benefit to local business, retail establishments and restaurants and people of all ages would be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities which this new green space would provide.”

The estimated cost for the QueensWay is $120 million and, if started, will take three to five years to build.

Although it has the backing of many elected officials and community leaders, some feel the narrow stretch of former rail line could be put to better use.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is a staunch advocate for the restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line, which once ran on the property being looked at for the QueensWay. He has formed a coalition to fight to get it back.

“The QueensWay and Trust for Public Land have wasted taxpayer dollars on expensive, out-of-state consultants and one-sided studies that don’t actually represent the interests or needs of Queens’ families,” Goldfeder said. “Our growing coalition, including the MTA, will continue the fight to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development.”

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Historic 124-year-old Woodhaven Wyckoff Building sells for nearly $3M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of  Nicholas Strini/ PropertyShark

Woodhaven Village relic is trading hands after its owner went bankrupt.

The historic 124-year-old Wyckoff Building, which is known for its old-style architecture,  was sold for $2,801,188, according to city records filed Wednesday.

The Ozone Realty LLC, which bought the property on the corner of 95th Avenue and 93rd Street in 2007, filed for bankruptcy last year after failing to meet the mortgage on the building, which was held by New York Community Bank, according to city records. SDF30 93-02 Ozone Park LLC is the new owner of the building, records show.

The building has six residential apartments and two commercial units throughout four floors and more than 13,000 square feet of space.

Its architecture has characteristics of Queen Anne masonry and Romanesque Revival style semi-arched windows— features found in few properties in the area.

Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven 

Photo courtesy of Project Woodhaven

The former home of Woodhaven real estate firm Wyckoff & Co., according to published reports, it remains a representative of Woodhaven Village, although that part of the neighborhood is now Ozone Park.

The Wyckoff Building also had a Moorish style dome atop its roof as older pictures of the property show.

The building was falling apart in the 1970s but later restored, according to Project Woodhaven, a blog that chronicles the neighborhood.

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Real estate roundup: New Rego Park building rendering revealed, controversial luxury building opening in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GF55 Partners

Revealed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

“The building, designed by GF55, will fit in perfectly with the other seven-story buildings that have been erected on the south side of Austin Street over the past decade or two. The structures have been filling in a formerly industrial low-rise strip, set up against the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, right beside what used to be the Rego Park station, shuttered in 1962.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Controversial High-End Building Opening as Part of Elmhurst ‘Renaissance’

“A controversial apartment building that was the subject of recent litigation is getting a luxury makeover as part of a hoped-for neighborhood “renaissance,” according to developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

New program aims to battle the growing graffiti menace in parts of south Queens

“The residents of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven are about to find out as officials kick off a new anti-graffiti program on Wednesday. For the first time, the Queens Economic Development Corp. is heading the program funded by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Suspect wanted in Woodhaven groping


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect who allegedly followed a 52-year-old woman into her Woodhaven building and groped her.

The incident happened in the vestibule of the victim’s building just after midnight on Saturday. After following the woman, the suspect grabbed the woman’s buttocks, authorities said. The victim then screamed and the suspect fled southbound on Jamaica Avenue.

Cops have released a video of the suspect entering the building, and describe him as Hispanic and in his late teens. He was wearing a Pirates baseball hat and a black T-shirt with the number 18 on the back.

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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Video captures suspect during Woodhaven convenience store holdup  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

A man took $2,500 from a Woodhaven convenience store last week after flashing a silver handgun at an employee, according to police

The suspect entered the business, the Prime Convenience Store on Atlantic Avenue near 75th Street, at about 12 p.m. on Thursday, displaying the weapon and demanding money from the store worker, authorities said. After receiving the cash, he fled the store westbound on Atlantic Avenue.


Police describe the suspect, who was caught during the robbery on video, as black, about 25 years old, 6 feet tall and 175 pounds. He was wearing a black and gold baseball hat, black sweatshirt and blue jeans.

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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West Nile spraying scheduled for parts of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Tuesday, Sept. 16, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens, including along the Brooklyn-Queens border, to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 17 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of City Line, Cypress Hills, Highland Park, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park, Spring Creek and Woodhaven (Bordered by Jamaica Avenue and to the north; Shepherd Avenue, Fulton Street Line and Fountain Avenue to the west; Jamaica Bay to the south; and Rockaway Rail-Line, Rockaway Boulevard and Woodhaven Boulevard to the east).

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

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West Nile spraying to target areas of Queens this week


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Health

On Wednesday, Aug. 27, there will be West Nile spraying in parts of Queens to help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of the disease.

The spraying will take place between the hours of 8:15 p.m. and 6 a.m. the next morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Thursday, Aug. 28 during the same hours.

The following neighborhoods are being treated due to rising West Nile virus activity with high mosquito populations, according to the city’s Health Department:

Parts of Auburndale, Murray Hill and Flushing (Bordered by 25th Avenue to the north; Murray Street to the west; 45th Avenue to the south; and 192nd Street, Francis Lewis Boulevard and Utopia Parkway to the east).

Parts of Elmhurst, Forest Hills, Forest Hills Garden, Forest Park, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park and Woodhaven (Bordered by 63rd Avenue, 80th Street and Long Island Expressway to the north; eastern boundary of Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Metropolitan Avenue, 73rd Place, Myrtle Avenue and eastern boundaries of Mt. Lebanon and Mt. Hope to west; Park Lane South to the south; and Metropolitan Avenue and Alderton Street to the east).

For the application, the Health Department will spray pesticide from trucks and use a very low concentration of Anvil®, 10 + 10, a synthetic pesticide. When properly used, this product poses no significant risks to human health.

The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to minimize direct exposure:

  • Whenever possible, stay indoors during spraying. People with asthma or other respiratory conditions  are encouraged to stay inside during spraying since direct exposure could worsen these conditions.
  • Air conditioners may remain on, however, if you wish to reduce the possibility of indoor exposure to pesticides, set the air conditioner vent to the closed position, or choose the re-circulate function.
  •  Remove children’s toys, outdoor equipment, and clothes from outdoor areas during spraying. If  outdoor equipment and toys are exposed to pesticides, wash them with soap and water before using  again.
  • Wash skin and clothing exposed to pesticides with soap and water. Always wash your produce thoroughly with water before cooking or eating.

 

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Woodhaven ‘eyesore’ to start rebuilding process


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Construction work at the site of a partially collapsed Woodhaven building will begin on Aug. 25, according to the building owner’s lawyer.

“My client is sincerely saddened that the community is upset with him,” said Elio Forcina, the building owner’s lawyer. “When the new building is complete it will be one that the community is proud of.”

The building, located on 78-19 Jamaica Ave., was originally supposed to be fully repaired by Oct. 15, a date established in a prior court appearance.  But because the owner received his permit to work on the building later than he expected due to MTA issues and his having to switch contractors, the date was pushed back to Dec. 1.

“He would have started the work earlier if there wasn’t an issue with the MTA,” Forcina said.

At the hearing on Monday, the building owner submitted the permit he received and the plans for construction, which were both approved by the court, added his lawyer.

“My client got the permit a little later than he thought,” Forcina said. “But he is doing everything he can to fix it.”

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Community Board 9 district manager announces retirement


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

After three and a half decades of service Mary Ann Carey is stepping down from her position as District Manager of Community Board 9, which covers Richmond Hill, Kew Gardens, Ozone Park and Woodhaven.

“In my thirty-five years of service to this great city with very little exceptions, I loved every minute,” Carey wrote in her resignation letter earlier this month. “I have overseen many projects too numerous to mention here and worked with four Borough Presidents, dozens of legislators, commissioners, District Managers and their staff.”

Current Chairman Ralph Gonzalez congratulated Carey, who began her work as District Manager when Ed Koch was mayor, on her retirement and said it would be hard to imagine anyone who can fill her shoes.

“She has done so much for the community, and for so long,” he said. “She can be proud of the legacy she’s leaving at Community Board 9. I know that many people in Queens and on the Board join me in thanking Mary Ann for her years of dedication.”

The process to search for the next District Manager will start at the next community board meeting.

 

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Councilman Ulrich allocates $25K to clean up graffiti in district


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Cross Bay Boulevard can draw comparisons to 5Pointz with the amount of graffiti that has stricken its surrounding neighborhoods, but clean-up is on the way.

In his discretionary budget, Councilman Eric Ulrich has allocated $25,000 to graffiti clean-up in the district. Ulrich is teaming up with the Queens Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which will choose a company for the clean-up, for the first time and is hoping to start the job next month.

Cleaning up graffiti in these neighborhoods and all of Council District 32 is something that Ulrich has funded throughout his time as councilman, but this year he has allocated more money than ever to hit even more problem areas, according to Rudy Giuliani, a representative for the councilman.

The focus areas that Ulrich outlined are the neighborhoods of Woodhaven and Ozone Park. This is where graffiti is the biggest problem in Ulrich’s district, Giuliani said. The company that is hired by the Queens EDC will then move on to other areas in the district, which include Howard Beach, Lindenwood and the Rockaways.

 

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Historic Woodhaven cemetery gets new life


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Ed Wendell

Only one month ago, the historic Wyckoff-Snediker Family Cemetery in Woodhaven was completely covered in foliage and debris.

Now, after several clean-up sessions, volunteers have reclaimed a large portion of the land, located at 85-45 96th St. on the grounds of All Saints Episcopal Church.

“The cemetery clean-up has turned into a nice combination of neighborhood beautification and education for young students,” said Ed Wendell, organizer of the clean-up and president of the Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society. “Still a lot of work ahead of us, but we’re making solid progress.”

About two dozen volunteers came out on Aug. 9 for the clean-up and gathered close to 70 bags of garbage and cut down half a dozen dead and rotted trees to uncover historic tombstones in the cemetery. Their efforts have cleared nearly 50 percent of the cemetery already and Wendell hopes to keep this going until it is completely reclaimed.

Once the tombstones are cleared and legible, Wendell encourages the student volunteers do genealogy research and find some of the rich history that is present in the cemetery.

He said having the students do the genealogy research is a great learning experience but doing this works goes a step further than technical education.

“Not only are students learning how to do genealogy and research,” he said, “they are learning about using tools. When it came to cutting down the trees, the experienced hands we had on site explained how to properly tie down a tree so it could be taken down safely.”

The clean-up project is sponsored by both the Woodhaven Cultural & Historical Society and the St. Thomas the Apostle Woodhaven History Club. It takes place every second Saturday of the month and the society welcomes students from all over to participate. To find out more on the clean-up go to projectwoodhaven.com.

 

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Goodbye yellow brick road


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Thomas Curry

Somewhere under the asphalt, bricks are yellow.

That somewhere is in Woodhaven, where a routine repaving revealed a long-buried patch of yellow bricks.

And while this yellow brick road leads to Jamaica Avenue rather than the Emerald City,  it offers a glimpse of Belgian bricks that once covered most of Woodhaven and other parts of New York City.

Woodhaven resident Thomas Curry noticed that yellow bricks were peeking out of 88th Street near Park Lane South in June.

“When they ripped up the streets to repave last week – they revealed the old Belgian Blocks that the streets in Woodhaven once had,” he wrote on Facebook. “Follow the yellow brick road.”

According to Forgotten New York, a blog about New York City’s history, these bricks were used for many streets before blacktop roads substituted them in the 1940s. The bricks can still be found in places like DUMBO and the South Street Seaport.

In a picture taken during the 1940s of Schmidt’s Candy Shop, which is still around, Belgian blocks can be seen on Jamaica Avenue with trolley car tracks.

“All of Woodhaven used to be covered in those bricks. I wish it was like that now,” said Ed Wendell, president of the Woodhaven Historical and Cultural Society. “Or that they could be kept somehow. But then I guess bricks like that pose their own problem especially in the winter when you try to plow the area.”

Wendell said he saw the yellow bricks and noted that every so often the tornado of progress reveals Woodhaven’s history.

“The best is when a business closes and a new owner takes the building and removes the awning of the old business,” he said. “That’s when you get to see the original signage of whatever the building originally was and for a second Woodhaven is taken back to an earlier time.”


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Man slits Woodhaven woman’s throat in failed subway mugging


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Hazel Puenespina

Updated Friday, July 25, 9:30 p.m.

A Woodhaven woman was at an Elmhurst subway station when a man grabbed her from behind, put her in a headlock and cut her throat open before running away with her purse, police said.

“I never imagined anything this brutal would happen to me in my life,”  said Hazel Puentespina, 32. “I was terrified for my life and I thought I was going to die right there.”

The attacker approached Puentespina from behind on the platform of the Woodhaven Boulevard E/M/R train station at 11:25 p.m. on July 12, according to police.

He then forced her down to the ground and used a blade taped to a screwdriver to cut the lower right side of Puentespina’s neck, missing her main artery by a few inches, cops said.

“It all happened so fast. I knew I was being robbed but then I felt my throat stinging,” Puentespina said. ” That’s when I knew something else was happening.”

The assailant then ran off with her bag, which contained less than $50.

Only one straphanger was willing to get involved, a man on the platform who kicked the attacker down, Puentespina said.

“Everyone just stood around and watched me while my own blood soaked me,” she said.

The attacker was able to get away but he left the weapon and purse behind, according to police.

Puentespina was taken to the Elmhurst Hospital where she was given 15 stitches. She was released from the hospital the next day, according to a spokeswoman for the hospital.

“The doctor said I was lucky to be alive,” Puentaspina said, explaining that if the assailant had cut a little further up, her main artery would’ve been hit.

The police described the attacker as 5 foot 10 inches with  short, black hair.  No one has been arrested in connection with the attack.

Puentespina said she hopes to go to law school in the future and wants to put the attack behind her.

“I want to move on with my life and this guy needs to be caught for that to happen,” she said.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the incident happened at the Woodhaven Boulevard J/Z station. 

 

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Woodhaven ‘eyesore’ will not be knocked down


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

The owners of a partially collapsed Woodhaven building have prevented the city from demolishing their building by coming to a settlement to repair the collapsed roof by Oct. 15, according to court records and the lawyer representing its owners.

The building on 78-19 Jamaica Ave., considered an eyesore by many in the community, had originally been given a stay of demolition which expired on July 16. But the owners were able to prevent a demolition of the building after they sued the city for “arbitrary and capricious” conduct. The owners settled, agreeing to have the building fixed and completed by October.

“The engineer is working diligently to comply with the Department of Buildings,” , said Elio Forcina, the owners’ lawyer. “Once the building is finished, it will be very beautiful and the community will love it.”

The building was originally occupied by a furniture store until it was vacated in April 2013 when the middle of the roof collapsed. It is now wrapped in scaffolding and its next-door neighbors, The Catholic Charities Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center, also had to closed, relocating to the nearby American Legion Post 118 building.

During a meeting on the issue, held by the Woodhaven Residents’ Block Association, Department of Buildings (DOB) representative Kenneth Lazar told residents that construction would begin after Independence Day, according to the DOB.

But after Forcina sued the DOB and Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the two settled on the October completion date.

“As of now, my client’s done everything he can,” Forcino said.

The building had been deemed unsafe by the DOB, prompting the call for demolition, but Forcino said that the dilapidated building didn’t pose any public health risk and therefore it wasn’t fair that the city was going to demolish the structure.

“We felt that the city was being capricious because this was never a public safety issue.”

 

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