Tag Archives: Woodside

New precinct captain will start ‘Neighborhood Friday’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Captain Brian Hennessy feels like he is back home, and he’s ready to bring the tools that helped him succeed in the 108th Precinct to his new command.

Hennessy is now the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers East Elmhurst, north Corona and Jackson Heights. He made the move from the 108th Precinct on Nov. 6, replacing Deputy Inspector Michael Cody, who since transferred to the narcotics bureau.

“The 108 was my first command and the community there was outstanding. To have that as my first command I was very lucky and I was very grateful,” Hennessy said about the precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and parts of Maspeth. “The community [at the 115] is very involved. It’s going to be good.”

The move for Hennessy is like a return back home, because before becoming the commanding officer of the 108th Precinct in May 2013, he was the second in command at the 115th Precinct for about two years.

“Inspector Cody taught me a lot,” Hennessy said. “He left me in good hands. The community here, just like the 108, is very supportive, very involved. So I enjoyed working here and I’m ecstatic to be back.”

Cody placed an emphasis on community, and Hennessy plans to continue that focus. He hopes to build on relationships with community members and bring in new programs to help strengthen the ties.

One of the big programs he hopes to start up soon is what he calls Community Fridays, which he started at his previous post. Every Friday, volunteers from the precinct and community would address quality-of-life issues such as graffiti and abandoned cars left on the streets. Another issue is homelessness, which Hennessy works closely with the Department of Homeless Services to address.

“Whatever was brought up in a community meeting or a blog or anywhere that we did see a complaint on something that needed to be fixed, we went out and took all the volunteers and did one section a week,” he said. “I’m a big proponent of community first. The relationship between the community and police has to be there in order for us to be successful.”

He also plans to bring in a conditions team to the community in which officers are assigned to different neighborhood and build “personal connections and interaction” with residents.

“They can follow up with any issues. It gives a personal face to the command,” Hennessy said.

Hennessy also hopes to work on the bigger issues in the surrounding neighborhoods such as prostitution and illegally vending on Roosevelt Avenue, gang violence and disturbances that come from the local bars and their patrons.

Working on what he began in the 108th Precinct, Hennessy also plans to start a Twitter account for the 115th Precinct because he said there were positive responses from residents at his previous post.

The next community council meeting for the 115th Precinct, which Hennessy will attend, will be held on Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. at the precinct, 92-15 Northern Blvd.

“You know when you come to the meeting and you give me a complaint, I’m going to personally address it,” Hennessy said. “I’m excited to be back, and I can’t wait to get out there and work with the community and help in any way we can.”

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Slow zones rolling into Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Just days before the citywide speed limit will be decreased to 25 mph, the Sunnyside community celebrated the news that it will soon be home to two new slow zones.

The slow zones, which will be launched in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside, were designed through input from the community, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 (CB 2).

“There’s nothing more important than keeping our children safe,” Van Bramer said during the announcement on Monday afternoon in front of P.S. 199 in Sunnyside. “The single most important thing for the parents in our district is keeping traffic slow, calm, manageable and keeping their children safe.”

As part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, the neighborhoods that will be included in these two slow zones were selected based on the transportation agency’s evaluation on crash history, traffic fatalities, community support, and the closeness of schools, senior centers and day care centers.

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has already started to set up the Sunnyside Slow Zone, which is expected to be completed before the end of the year. The borders will be 36th Street, Queens Boulevard, 51st Street and part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The area is split diagonally by Greenpoint Avenue, which is not part of the slow zone, according to the DOT.

Since 2007 there have been four fatalities in the proposed zone and, since 2008, there have been three severe pedestrian injuries and five severe injuries involving vehicle occupants.

The Sunnyside Slow Zone, which covers an area with four schools including P.S. 199, will be made up of 20 speed bumps, in addition to the current eight bumps, and 31 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

“One thing we have in our community is a lot of traffic. We have a lot of traffic that comes through our neighborhood very fast so this is what it’s about. It’s about saving lives and about improving the quality of our life in the community,” said Joseph Conley, chair of CB 2.

The Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone, which DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said would begin to be implemented in spring 2015, will be bordered by 43rd Street, 38th Avenue, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street, Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. There are three schools and three daycare/pre-K centers in the area.

According to the DOT, since 2007 there has been one death in the zone and three severe pedestrian injuries.

This slow zone was proposed to include 18 speed bumps, added to the already existing 12 bumps, and 19 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

“We are committed to Vision Zero, and Vision Zero starts with our children. It starts with young people. We have to make sure that not one young person ever loses their life on the streets of New York,” Van Bramer said.

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Woodside celebrates 3rd Annual ‘Woofside’ Halloween Pet Parade


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Woodside on the Move

Tails were wagging this weekend in Woodside as dozens of four-legged members of the community took part in a spooktacular event.

Community organization Woodside on the Move celebrated its third annual “Woofside” Halloween Pet Parade on Saturday.

Dressed in costumes, the pets enjoyed a day filled with music, a parade with their owners, some also dressed up, and a costume contest.

Funniest costume went to a pooch dressed as a martini cocktail with three olives sticking out of a cone, a ballerina won best trick, a family of Ghostbusters won best matching pet and owner, and a Sons of Anarchy biker won best costume, according to Adrian Bordoni, executive director of Woodside on the Move.

Parade participants learned about programs and rescue options and won raffle prizes and vet services from Skillman Pets, Queens Animal Hospital, Heavenly Angels and the ASPCA Therapy program.

The special guest was Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who has helped allocate funding for the expanded Woodside Dog Run, Bordoni said.

The annual event received contributions from SUDS Mutts, Friends of Sherry Park Dog Run, and the Woodside Dog Run committee.

For more information on future events, contact abeltran@woodsideonthemove.org.

 

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Real estate roundup: Worst landlords in Queens, new 11-story Elmhurst building revealed


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’

“New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside. The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.” Read more [Sunnyside Post]

Revealed: 70-32 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst

“The new 69-unit residential building at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, is being designed by Flushing-based architect Michael Kang. It will include about 55,000 square feet of residential space, with all apartments around 800 square feet in size. In most of the city this would mean rentals, but these will simply be small condos, as is common in New York’s Chinese neighborhoods.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Planned Parenthood Is Expanding to Queens

Planned Parenthood’s abortion services have made it the target of national activism and federal budget cuts. But in spite of vocal opposition elsewhere, the organization is about to expand in New York City, breaking ground Thursday on its only center in Queens.” Read more [New York Times] 

Watchmaker Bulova selling Woodside headquarters for $30M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Dnalor 01/ Wikipedia Commons

Bulova Corporation, a watch-making company, is selling its headquarters at 26-15 Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Woodside for $30 million, according to a published report.

The firm, which has owned the two-story office building since moving there in 1986, shifted a portion of its operations into a 33,000-square-foot space in the Empire State Building three months ago, Crain’s reported.

The property also includes a 200-spot parking lot, a warehouse and three acres of land.

The Bulova lot allows for 60,000 square feet of additional building space, which is attractive for developers looking to increase the commercial space at the site.

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Cultural Canopies exhibit awards artists


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Asha Mahadevan

The Courier/Mittman Gallery opened its Cultural Canopies group photography exhibit on Oct. 9 by announcing the winners of its art competition. The exhibit, located at 38-15 Bell Blvd. and curated by Vida Sabbaghi, celebrated the diversity of Queens and Brooklyn and included artists from both boroughs.

The first prize went to Norma Colon for her photograph of a man walking a dog in Brooklyn. Colon has been taking photographs for many years now but when she took this one, it was instinctive. “I just saw a man walking a dog and I clicked it [the picture],” she said, adding that she was “happy” she won the first prize.

The exhibition itself was inspired by Steven Hoelderich’s book Cultural Canopies of Queens. The book is a compilation of storefronts across the borough. Six photos from his book are part of the exhibit and one of them even won an award.

_2Second Prize

Hoeldrich’s photograph of Sean Ogs, a tavern in Woodside, placed second in the competition. “I jumped out of my skin,” when he heard he had won, he said. “I am tickled.” Hoeldrich, a resident of Astoria, took up photography after his grandfather inspired him to do so when he was a child.

Maeen Saleh’s photograph of a tree’s branches against a blue sky won the artist third place in the competition.

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Community rallies to find driver in Queens Boulevard hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The Woodside community is looking for the driver involved in a hit-and-run on Queens Boulevard that has left one man clinging to life.

According to officials, on Thursday at about 1:35 a.m., the victim, who is still unidentified, was struck on the westbound center lane of Queens Boulevard and 60th Street by a dark-colored Ford SUV as he attempted to cross the thoroughfare. The driver fled the scene.

Currently the victim, described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, is in critical but stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital, authorities said.

Members of the surrounding Woodside neighborhood gathered on Friday at the intersection to call on the public to help identify the driver involved in the incident.

“The person that struck the young man and left him to die on this street should turn themselves in right away and face the consequences of his/her actions, because what this person did was leave a young man to die,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “It’s one of the worst things that one human being can do to another.”

 

Van Bramer’s Justice for Hit-and-Run Victims Act, created after the councilman’s district faced three fatal hit-and-runs last year, was signed into law on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. It allows the city to establish civil penalties of up to $10,000 to drivers who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run. The bill will take effect starting Dec. 29.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

“Accidents are horrible and terribly unfortunate,” said Jerry LoMonte, resident of the Big Six Towers co-op apartment buildings, located across the street from the collision site. “[Leaving] the scene of the accident is horrible and criminal, and we need to protect ourselves against that.”

Also present at the Friday morning rally was Elizabeth O’Hara, director of Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school, which is also located across the street of where the hit-and-run occurred. She was joined by six students holding signs that read “Please Slow Down, I have small feet,” and “Please stop at the crosswalk.”

DSC_0833

O’Hara asked drivers to slow down while driving on Queens Boulevard and to stop at the crosswalk before getting to the red light.

“At various times Queens Boulevard has been referred to as the Boulevard of Death but the truth is Queens Boulevard is surrounded by life,” Van Bramer said. “We have got to come to a place where this boulevard is no longer viewed as the Boulevard of Death but instead the Boulevard of Life.”

The hit-and-run investigation is still ongoing.

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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Woodside teen charged with selling drugs, guns to undercover cop


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Gavel 2

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 19-year-old Woodside resident and alleged gang member has been indicted for selling drugs and illegal guns to an undercover police officer, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

MD A. Ahmed was arraigned on Thursday on a 42-count indictment that includes, among other charges, criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a controlled substance.

According to Brown, Ahmed sold 11 guns with ammunition, marijuana and cocaine to the undercover cop between September 2013 and April 2014.

Ahmed is alleged to be a member of 8-Trey, a gang that is a subset of the Crip street gang.

He is currently being held on $200,000 bail. If convicted, Ahmed faces up to 25 years in prison.

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Pedestrian struck in Woodside hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A man was left critically injured following a hit-and-run in Woodside early Thursday morning, police said.

The victim, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, was crossing at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 60th Street at about 1:35 a.m. when he was struck by a dark-colored SUV, authorities said. The vehicle then drove off westbound on Queens Boulevard.

The pedestrian was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Police are still looking for the driver.

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Artist, volunteers beautify pedestrian walkway that connects Woodside and Jackson Heights


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

One busy overpass filled with traffic from pedestrians, vehicles and bicycles has received a stroke of color.

The overpass’s pedestrian walkway, located at 37th Avenue and 69th Street, connecting Woodside and Jackson Heights, and above the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, was painted on Friday as part of the Department of Transportation’s Barrier Beautification program.

According to Emily Colasacco, director of the DOT Public Art Program, the site was chosen because recently one lane of traffic was transformed into a pedestrian safety area to connect the sidewalks on both sides of the overpass.

“The goal was to really beautify the space and call attention to this new pedestrian safety refuge,” Colasacco said. “We’re always looking for simple designs, bold colors and something that is really going to pop off the barrier, something noticeable from afar.”

Artist Eirini Linardaki, alongside volunteers from the organization New York Cares, worked from the morning into the afternoon painting the 150-foot concrete barrier of the walkway blue, red, yellow and white.

“It starts off as a concrete slab and by the end of the day it’s this beautiful mural,” Colasacco said.

DSC_0797

The painters implemented Linardaki’s design, called “Composition in blue, yellow and red – homage to Piet Mondrian,” which depicts the game of pick-up sticks.

“I just wanted to use a game, I wanted to use something that is fun and could be interpreted in so many ways,” said Linardaki, who has been involved in public art projects for the past five years in New York City, France and Greece. “You want to create involvement and awareness, you want to allow people to be in contact with art and there’s no better way than public art.”

Along with depicting what Linardaki called a “retro” game, she said she hopes for it to be seen as an abstract art or as a New York City grid.

“I like the fact that people don’t know that it’s here; people are going to discover it when they’re passing by,” Linardaki said. “I do a lot of public art projects, because first of all it’s so direct and sometimes it draws people’s attention to spots they were not going to look at. It gives them a different perspective of their city.”

Barrier Beautification projects are temporary and Linardaki’s piece will be up for one year. The DOT will then revisit the site and decide what other art pieces can be implemented.

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Man seriously injured after jumping in front of LIRR train in Woodside: MTA  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Updated 2:00 p.m.

A 39-year-old man was seriously hurt Tuesday morning when he jumped in front of a train at the Long Island Rail Road Woodside station, the MTA said.

The man, a Sunnyside resident, was hit at about 10:30 a.m. after leaping from the platform into the path of a Ronkonkoma-bound train, according to the transit agency.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with severe head and leg injuries.

Eastbound service from Penn Station, with the exception of the Port Washington branch, was suspended for about an hour because of the incident, the MTA said.

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Track work to disrupt LIRR weekend service beginning Oct. 4


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Sara Touzard

Track work on the Long Island Rail Road will affect commuters along the Port Washington Branch on two consecutive weekends, Oct. 4-5 and Oct. 11-12.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, trains in both directions will run every hour instead of every half hour beginning at 12:26 p.m. and running through the rest of the day because of switch renewal work.

The next day, Sunday, Oct. 5, there will be no train service in either direction for a portion of the line from 3 p.m. until midnight.

Bayside will be the eastern terminus with shuttle buses operating in both directions between Bayside and Port Washington.

The next weekend, starting on Saturday, Oct. 11, one of the tracks in the Woodside area will be out of service for 27 hours. During this time, train service will be reduced to every hour.

Then on Sunday, Oct. 12, both tracks will be out of service from 3 p.m. to midnight.

Commuters going east will have to board Ronkonkoma Branch trains at Penn Station and transfer to buses at Woodside.

Going west, commuters at stations from Port Washington through Flushing-Main Street will need to board shuttle buses and transfer to trains at Woodside.

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Woodside street to be renamed after man behind Alfred Hitchcock film


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

the wrong man still 2

The story of one man, who influenced an Alfred Hitchcock film, will live on in the neighborhood his family called home.

This Saturday, the corner of 73rd Street and 41st Avenue in Woodside will be co-named after Christopher Emmanuel “Manny” Balestrero as “Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way.”

In 1953 Balestrero was arrested outside of his home after three witnesses identified him as the person who robbed a Prudential Insurance Company office, according to Councilman Daniel Dromm’s office. Balestrero was later charged with two armed robberies and taken to trial. After another man confessed to the crimes, he was exonerated.

“Manny Balestrero’s story is one example how we must continue to reexamine our criminal justice system,” said Dromm, who together with Community Board 4 helped get the street renamed after Balestrero.

In 1956 Alfred Hitchcock directed and produced the docudrama film “The Wrong Man,” starring Henry Fonda, which followed Balestrero’s real-life story and had scenes shot on the streets of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Woodside.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

“Street co-namings can also serve as an educational tool,” Dromm said. “I hope that when people see the ‘Manny ‘The Wrong Man’ Balestrero Way’ sign they will be compelled to delve into this history and in doing so they will learn a little about their community, about cinematic history and continue to think critically about how our justice system works.”

The Sept. 27 co-naming ceremony will take place from noon to 2 p.m.

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Plans for proposed Sunnyside, Woodside slow zones revealed


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

More streets in western Queens will soon be slower and safer.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) presented its plans for two proposed slow zones in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside, south of Queens Boulevard, before Community Board 2 (CB 2) during a public hearing on Wednesday night.

The slow zones were designed through input from the community, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and CB 2.

As part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, the neighborhoods that will be included in these two slow zones were selected based on the transportation agency’s evaluation on crash history, traffic fatalities, community support, and the closeness of schools and senior and day care centers.

THE COURIER/File Photo

THE COURIER/File Photo

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

The first proposed area, which would be called the Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone, would be bordered by 43rd Street, 38th Avenue, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street, Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. There are three schools and three daycare/pre-K centers in the area.

SG-W SZ

According to the DOT, since 2007 there has been one death in the proposed zone and three severe pedestrian injuries.

The Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone would include 18 proposed speed bumps, added to the already existing 12 bumps, and 19 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

In the proposed Sunnyside Slow Zone, which has four schools in the area, the borders would be 36th Street, Queens Boulevard, 51st Street and part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The area is split diagonally by Greenpoint Avenue, which is not part of the slow zone, according to the DOT.

Since 2007 there have been four fatalities in the proposed zone and since 2008 three severe pedestrian injuries and five severe injuries involving vehicle occupants.

The Sunnyside Slow Zone would include 20 speed bumps, in addition to the current eight bumps, and 31 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

CB 2 will vote on the proposal during its next monthly meeting.

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Former Community Board 2 district manager Dolores Rizzotto passes away


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rizzotto family

Dolores Rizzotto, former district manager of Community Board 2 for more than 15 years, died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to CB2 chair Joseph Conley.

Rizzotto, who chaired CB2 for more than 15 years, was 70.

“Dolores served the City of New York in many capacities but none so important as her role in our community as district manager,” Conley said. “Dolores worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for so many. Dolores will be sorely missed for her wisdom, compassion, sense of humor and leadership. Dolores was a true friend to all and an expert in helping so many.”

Rizzotto, a lifelong Corona resident who recently moved to Florida, retired in 2006 from CB2, which serves Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. Rizzotto would travel back and forth between Queens and Florida visiting family and friends.

She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Robert, and two grandchildren, Anthony and Thomas.

A wake will be held at Edward Guida Funeral Home, located at 47-20 104th St. in Corona. Visitations hours will be Sept. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be on Sept. 20 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-05 49th Ave. Rizzotto will be buried at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.

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