Tag Archives: woodhaven

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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Woodhaven apartment building sold above asking price


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A Woodhaven apartment building recently sold for $5 million, according to the realty service that sold the apartment Massey Knakal.

Located on 87th Street, just a block away from the J train, the realty company said that the building sold for more then it expected to get because most of the neighborhood is made up of single-family homes.

The building is a 35-unit, four-story walk-up building and it contains approximately 28,100 square feet and sits on a 100’ x 100’ lot.

There are two studios, 29 one -bedroom apartments, three two-bedroom apartments and one three-bedroom apartment.

 

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Two arrested in beating death of 55-year-old man in Woodhaven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image


Two men have been arrested after they robbed and beat a 55-year-old man to death in Woodhaven last week, police said.

Cops discovered Nazmul Islam, of Richmond Hill, unconscious and unresponsive on the sidewalk near 76th Street and Atlantic Avenue at about 4:30 a.m. on July 9, authorities said.

The duo struck Islam repeatedly on his head and body before taking his money, according to police. Islam was pronounced dead at the scene.

There were no apparent signs of trauma on his body, cops said, and the medical examiner later ruled his death a homicide

Carlos Genno, 22, of Ozone Park, and Nestor Rodriguez, 20, of Woodhaven, have been charged with murder and robbery, authorities said.

 

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Manhole fires and power outage hit Woodhaven area


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

An electric blowout left 1,218 residents without power in the Woodhaven area for an hour Thursday morning, according to a Con Edison spokesman.

Three manholes spewed out flames and power lines above ground also burst into flames at about 6:15 a.m., according to residents on 95th Avenue and 96th Street where the event occurred.

“I woke up to a popping noise and I saw tons of black smoke coming out of the [manhole] covers,” Irene Kesluk said. “The power lines were on fire and there was that acrid smell in the air.”

Kesluk said that her lights flickered during the outage but power was quickly restored. Con Edison responded to the flames with cleanup crews. The crews spent the afternoon cleaning out the black stained manholes.

According to a Con Edison worker on site, the electric blowout was caused by an over use of electricity by residents in Woodhaven.

National Grid and Verizon were also on site but there were no reports of gas lines being affected, but Kesluk said her landline was currently not working.

Nearby there was a smaller power outage that affected three Con Edison customers, according to the electric company’s spokesman. They still do no have power but they expect the area to be restored later in the afternoon.

“Con Ed and the fire department responded very quickly,” Kesluk said as she watched clean up crews hose out one of the burnt manholes.

 

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Proposed Select Bus Service on Woodhaven Boulevard met with skepticism


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Woodhaven residents are bracing for a plan to bring Select Bus Service to one of New York City’s largest vehicle corridors, Woodhaven Boulevard.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering the boulevard, which is bordered by Queens Boulevard in the north and Rockaway Boulevard to the south, as a candidate for the next area in New York City to have Select Bus Service (SBS).

Members of the neighborhood met on Monday with the nonprofit organization Riders Alliance to prepare for a workshop on June 25 with the DOT, where the community will be invited to help create an express bus service that will shorten the travel time for bus commuters on the 3.2 mile boulevard.

Kenichi Wilson, who has lived in Woodhaven for 33 years and is the chairman of the Community Board 9 transportation committee, believes that not much will come out of meeting with the DOT.

“They’re doing it and that’s that,” he said.

But the Riders Alliance believes that with enough community participation, the city agency will tailor the express bus service to the area’s specific needs.

Wilson stressed that the area is filled with many businesses that would be negatively affected if the DOT creates lanes dedicated to the buses because it would prevent delivery trucks from double parking in front of businesses on the boulevard.

“I have nothing against it except for having dedicated lanes doesn’t alleviate congestion for everyone. That’s not playing fair,” said Wilson, who is a local business owner. “I have a lot of friends who are restaurant owners who are concerned over deliveries.”

According to a report by the DOT, dedicated bus lanes aren’t the only solution. “Ideas for consideration could include physically-separated bus lanes, center-running (as opposed to curb-running) bus lanes, and use of rail and highway rights-of-way,” the report states.

And Wilson believes that unlike other areas — like Harlem — where SBS has been implemented, bus lanes on Woodhaven Boulevard would not only be unnecessary but would actually increase traffic and congestion, something the express bus service is meant to alleviate.

“It’s not alleviating congestion. It’s actually going to create more congestion,” he said and noted that most of Woodhaven Boulevard doesn’t suffer from bumper-to-bumper traffic. “They’re implementing bus lanes in non-congested areas. That doesn’t make sense.”

 

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Former Woodhaven resident pens play about Sandy


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Pavel Voz

The Flood,” a play written by then-Woodhaven resident Daniel McCabe as Superstorm Sandy roared into New York City, premieres this August at the New York International Fringe Festival.

In the aftermath of the storm, his family in Queens helped with relief efforts and he was reminded of the importance of family and his neighborhood.

“They’re the unsung heroes of New York City,” said McCabe, 34, who also stars in the play. “They’re the people who keep the lights on, who run the trains and give the city life.”

The other actors and actresses in the play came from around the world to live in New York City and Queens. John Duddy, a former boxer from Ireland who now lives in Middle Village will also be starring in the play. And Emma Ishta, McCabe’s wife from Australia, is featured in the production.

McCabe went to Saint Elizabeth School on Atlantic Avenue and 85th Street, where he was surrounded by the Irish working class. And he credits the characters in the neighborhood with influencing him to become a writer.

“I was surrounded by storytellers, real characters that just knew how to tell you about things,” he said. “It’s an interesting conversation dynamic when you have the train [on Jamaica Avenue] going overhead every five minutes and you just have to stop talking for that time.”

“The Flood,” which McCabe will also direct, takes place in the East Village just as Sandy begins to loom over the city. Charlie, his character, is a bartender dealing with family troubles and a suicidal brother.

“A lot of the conflict of these characters has a lot to do with growing up in working class neighborhoods,” he said.

Though McCabe, who has relatives in Forest Hills, Woodhaven, Bayside and Richmond Hill, now lives in Brooklyn, he and his wife often go back to Woodhaven, where his mother still lives.

“Woodhaven will always be my home,” he said.

 

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Woodhaven’s New Pop’s Restaurant gets new owner


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

New Pop’s Restaurant, a diner that has been in Woodhaven for more than 20 years, is set to open on Father’s Day weekend after having been closed for more than a month, according to the diner’s new owner George Alexiov.

“I like this neighborhood,” Alexiov said. “I’ve been trying to find a business to run for the past seven years and now I’m very excited that I will be serving the people here.”

Alexiov has kept the interior design the same and in the last two weeks, after signing a 20-year lease on the Jamaica Avenue storefront, he’s been busy restoring the walls and tiles in the diner.

The menu, which is traditional diner fare, also hasn’t been altered. To mark the grand opening, Alexiov said he plans on giving customers a free glass of wine or beer.

“Looking forward to see what the new owners do,” Grace Cangiola said on Facebook about the new management. “I haven’t been there for quite a while. There’s not a lot of choices to eat at on the [a]venue, it will be nice to have it back.”

Alexiov, who is originally from Greece, has had experience with running food businesses in Brooklyn and said he plans on hiring six workers.

 

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Free lunches for kids to be distributed at Queens libraries this summer


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Liam La Guerre

BY PAULINA TAM

Twenty-two Queens Library locations, in partnership with the city’s Department of Education (DOE), will be distributing free summer meals to children and teens 18 years and under starting June 27 to August 29.

Bagged lunches will be served every Monday through Friday between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. and each will generally include a fresh sandwich, fruit, milk and sometimes a salad, according to library spokeswoman Joanne King.

“The library is an open public space and we want to attract people to come to the library,” King said. “While they’re here they can have free access to other programs. The Queens Library also has a very robust summer reading program and we want to encourage people to get involved with that so they can be better prepared for the academic program in the fall.”

There is no application, qualification or ID necessary to receive a free meal. Children and teens are recommended to arrive early to get lunches, while supplies last. The Queens Library is just one of many agencies collaborating with the DOE, and interested parties could call 311 to get a full list of participating locations.

Listed below are the participating Queens Library locations:

312 Beach 54 St., Arverne

14-01 Astoria Blvd., Astoria

117-11 Sutphin Blvd., Baisley Park

218-13 Linden Blvd., Cambria Heights

1637 Central Ave., Far Rockaway

41-17 Main St., Flushing

202-05 Hillside Ave., Hollis

89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica

134-26 225th St., Laurelton

98-30 57th Ave., Lefrak City

37-44 21st St., Long Island City

40-20 Broadway (at Steinway Street), Long Island City

92-24 Rockaway Blvd., Ozone Park

158-21 Jewel Ave., Pomonok (Flushing)

103-34 Lefferts Blvd., Richmond Hill

169-09 137th Ave., Rochdale Village

116-15 Rockaway Beach Blvd., Rockaway Park

204-01 Hollis Ave., South Hollis

108-41 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., South Jamaica

43-06 Greenpoint Ave., Sunnyside

85-41 Forest Pkwy., Woodhaven

54-22 Skillman Ave., Woodside

 

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Pedestrian struck, killed by truck in Woodhaven


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

A man was killed when a truck fatally hit him at a Woodhaven intersection Wednesday afternoon, cops said.

The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was crossing Atlantic Avenue at 85th Street about 3:40 p.m. when he was struck, officials said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The truck driver, a 53-year-old man, remained at the scene and the NYPD is still investigating the accident, according to police.

 

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New Woodhaven party store set to celebrate with community


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

ERIC JANKIEWICZ

A new store in Woodhaven has something to celebrate.

Khloe’s Party Zone, located on 87-18 Jamaica Ave., caters to celebrations, selling must-have party items such as ribbons and party hats.

“We’ve wanted to open a business for a while now and there are many things we have to offer to the community,” said Ixaida Erskine, who runs the business with her husband Michael.

While the store provides for all kinds of parties, there is a focus on children’s events.

Ixaida explained that the duo had originally wanted to open their business in Brooklyn, which is only a few blocks away, but the rent forced them to find a place in Queens, where prices are lower.

“But we’re happy we moved here. The experience with the community so far has been great,” Ixaida said.

There will be an official grand opening party on Saturday, April 19, when the couple will offer free face painting for children.

 

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Cabbies arrested after fight at JFK


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Port Authority police

Two livery cab drivers were arrested after a man accused one of them of trying to stab him as the three fought at  John F. Kennedy International Airport Monday afternoon, Port Authority police said.

The victim told police that during an altercation between the cabbies and himself outside of Terminal 8 about 4:30 p.m., one of the men, Wayne Walker, 41, started to chase and threaten him with a knife.

After officers at the scene told the other driver, Junior Rowe, 30, to stop, he allegedly escaped in his Ford Taurus. Rowe almost struck the officers as he sped off, police said.

When Rowe was forced to stop in traffic, he was removed from his car and arrested by police, according to officials.

The weapon, described in detail by the victim, was allegedly found on the floor of Walker’s car. He was also arrested, police said.

No one was injured during the incident and no flights were delayed.

Rowe, of Woodhaven, was charged with attempted assault on a police officer, menacing, reckless endangerment, obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct, police said. Walker, a Springfield Gardens resident, was charged with menacing, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct.

 

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