Tag Archives: woodhaven

West Nile spraying to target south Queens


| amatua@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of NYC Health Department

Another round of West Nile spraying is set for parts of Queens next week in an effort to reduce mosquito activity and the risk of the virus as some local residents are noticing the presence of more mosquitoes.

The treatment, which will include spraying pesticide from trucks, will take place on Tuesday, Aug. 24, between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. the following morning. In case of bad weather, the application will be delayed until Wednesday, Sept. 2, during the same hours.

Specifically, the spraying will include parts of Howard Beach, Lindenwood and Woodhaven, and will extend into neighboring parts of Brooklyn. The treatment area will be bordered by Atlantic Avenue, Euclid Avenue, Cypress Hills Street, Jackie Robinson Parkway, Vermont Street, Livona Avenue, Van Sinderen, Foster Avenue, Rockaway Parkway and Glenwood Road to the north; Paerdegat Avenue S. and Paerdegat Basin to the west; Jamaica Bay to the south; and Woodhaven Boulevard, Rockaway Boulevard and the A train subway track to the east.

Howard Beach residents have contacted Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder and state Senator Joseph Addabbo to call for increased mosquito spraying in the area, pointing to the increase in abandoned houses and standing water that have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

For these sprayings, the Health Department will use a very low concentration of the synthetic pesticide Anvil 10+10, which poses no significant risks to human health when properly used.

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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Pesticide spraying across many Queens neighborhoods set for Monday night


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Trucks will spray pesticide across nearly every corner in Queens this Monday night as part of the Health Department’s ongoing efforts to kill mosquitoes that may carry the West Nile virus.

Weather permitting, the spraying will begin at about 8:30 p.m. Monday and continue until 6 a.m. the next morning. In the event of inclement weather, the spraying will take place on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning at the same hours.

The spraying will occur in four clusters of Queens as follows:

  • Areas of Long Island City and Sunnyside generally bounded by 47th Avenue on the north; Dutch Kills on the west; Newtown Creek on south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and 43rd Street on the east.
  • Parts of Astoria and Woodside generally bounded by 20th Avenue and 30th Street on the north; 28th Avenue, 43rd Street and Newtown Road on the west; Broadway and Northern Boulevard on the south; and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, 30th Avenue, 78th Street, Astoria Boulevard and 75th Street on the east.
The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The northwest Queens spray zones. (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

  • Areas of Fresh Meadows, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Holliswood and Oakland Gardens generally bounded by 73rd Avenue on the north; 188th Street on the west; Jamaica Avenue, 199th Street, Hillside Avenue, 212th Street and the Grand Central Parkway on the south; and Springfield Boulevard on the east.
  • Parts of Briarwood, Forest Hills, Glendale, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Middle Village, Richmond Hill and Woodhaven generally bounded by the Grand Central and Jackie Robinson parkways, Groton Street, Yellowstone and Woodhaven boulevards and Eliot Avenue on the north; Lutheran Avenue, 71st Street, Metropolitan Avenue, All Faiths Cemetery, 76th Street, Cypress Hills Cemetery and Cypress Hills Street on the west; Jamaica and 89th avenues on the south; and 169th Street on the east.
The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

The central Queens spray zones (Maps courtesy NYC Health Department)

Though the pesticide used during these sprayings, Anvil 10+10, poses no significant health risks to humans, the Health Department advises residents in these areas — especially those with respiratory ailments — to stay indoors while spraying occurs. Windows should be kept closed; air conditioners may be used, but the vents should be closed to prevent possible indoor exposure to the pesticides.

Any toys, clothes and outdoor equipment should be moved inside prior to spraying; anything left outside while spraying occurs should be thoroughly washed before reuse. Produce grown in backyards should be washed before being consumed or cooked.

Persons exposed to the pesticide should thoroughly wash their skin with soap and water.

For more information, visit the Health Department’s website or call 311.

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More weekend closures scheduled for Jackie Robinson Parkway


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Get ready for another round of weekend shutdowns on the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Portions of the eastbound section of the parkway between Pennsylvania Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway will be closed as needed beginning tonight at 11 p.m. and continuing until 8 a.m. Saturday morning. Road closures will also occur each weeknight between Aug. 17 to 20 from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. the following morning; and from 11 p.m. on Aug. 21 until 8 a.m. on Aug. 22.

According to the state Department of Transportation, the closure is required as work crews replace signs and guardrails and install mow strips on the roadbed.

The DOT is currently resurfacing the entire stretch of the 5-mile roadway between Kew Gardens and Brooklyn at a cost of $17 million. Work is being done in phases; crews will turn to the westbound lanes once resurfacing on the eastbound side is complete.

Drivers are advised to use the following designated eastbound detour routes through Cypress Hills, Woodhaven, Glendale, Forest Hills and Kew Gardens:

  • Jamaica Avenue from Pennsylvania Avenue to Forest Parkway;
  • Forest Parkway from Jamaica Avenue to Park Lane South;
  • Park Lane South from Forest Parkway to Metropolitan Avenue; and
  • Metropolitan Avenue from Park Lane South to the Jackie Robinson Parkway.

Visit the DOT’s website or call 511 for further details.

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Pair wanted in Woodhaven deli burglary


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops have released photos of two suspects who broke into a Woodhaven deli on Monday.

According to authorities, the suspects were able to enter the La Pinata store located at 78-04 Jamaica Ave., near 78th Street, through a window just before 4 a.m. The duo then took an  undetermined amount of money from the register, a tip jar and two backpacks.

Anyone with information regarding the incident 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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Alleged Queens gang members busted in undercover gun, drug sale operation


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

BulletsInHandGunH0510_M_150_B_R

Eight purported street gang members from Queens have been charged after peddling guns and drugs during undercover buys, prosecutors announced.

“Illegal firearms that flood our streets pose a serious and deadly threat to public safety and the distribution of illegal drugs is a plague on our society. For those arrested, the message could not be clearer: law enforcement has no tolerance for those involved in the weapons and drug trade,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Tuesday.

According to prosecutors, seven of those arrested were alleged members of the Trinitarios, “a violent New York-based Dominican street gang,” and the eighth defendant is a reputed member of MS-13, another “violent street gang primarily composed of Central Americans.”

The buys, which took place in Queens between November 2012 and June 2014, included a total of 14 guns, with ammunition in some cases, and cocaine, MDPV and marijuana, according to the district attorney’s office. During that time, the members were unknowingly selling to NYPD operatives.

In one case, Lucas Singh, 30, of College Point, allegedly sold an undercover agent a defaced cut-down rifle along with 50 rounds of ammunition on July 30, 2013, for $850. He is also accused of selling another undercover operative a defaced .357 magnum revolver and a .32-caliber semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with ammunition for $1,200 on June 4. A week later, Singh sold the same operative a .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, and a .380 semi-automatic Kel-Tec pistol with 12 rounds of ammunition for $1,200.

The remaining defendants were identified as Eddie Cruz, 28 and Clase Wellington, 26, both of Glendale; Marcello Esquival, 26, of Jackson Heights; Francisco Gil, 25, Carlos Rosario-Mejia, 30, and Reginald Rosa, 25, all of Jamaica; and Angel Sanchez, 23, of Woodhaven.

They are variously charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal sale of marijuana.

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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 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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