Tag Archives: Woodside

Man dies after apparent random attack in Woodside

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Wednesday, June 25, 11:15 a.m.

A 56-year-old man who was punched in the face in Woodside by a stranger on Saturday has died, according to police.

The victim, identified as Roberto Martires, was on Roosevelt Avenue near 69th Street just after midnight Saturday when the suspect slugged him, cops said.

The assault, which happened only a few blocks from Martires’ home, was seemingly unprovoked, according to police.

Martires was taken Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition, where he died Tuesday, officials said.

According to published reports, Martires’ attacker asked if he was Filipino, then punched him, causing him to hit his head on the pavement.

Cops are looking for a man to question in connection to the assault, and describe him as Hispanic, in his mid twenties and with facial hair.

On Monday, police released a photo of the suspect, who was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a dark colored baseball cap.

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.



Actress Jodi Long talks Queens roots, sitcom success

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Peter Svenson/Family photo by Miranda Ruane

After spending years gracing the Broadway stage, the small screen and the silver screen, actress Jodi Long’s days growing up in Woodside could seem like a distant memory.

But for her, those experiences and the time spent with her performer parents have helped shape her work and life today.

Long is currently starring in the TBS comedy series “Sullivan & Son,” which kicks off its third season on Tuesday at 10 p.m.

The show centers around a bar in a middle-class Pittsburgh neighborhood owned by Long’s character (“Ok Cha”), her husband (played by Dan Lauria) and their son “Steve” (played by Steve Byrne). Long plays a Korean immigrant mother who, with funny one-liners, doles out tough love and isn’t afraid to tell everyone what they are doing wrong.

Though she is now playing a mother on TV, Long started acting as a child.

Born in Manhattan, she moved to Queens as a baby, with her parents, a Chinese-Aussie tap dancer father and Japanese-American showgirl mother. The two became a popular husband-and-wife nightclub act “Larry and Trudie” in the 1940s and 1950s, and were featured on the Ed Sullivan Show.

Long, with director Christine Choy, produced “Long Story Short,” which accounts her personal family story. The film won the Asian Pacific Film Festival’s Audience Award for Best Documentary.

Along with traveling with her vaudevillian parents as a child, Long landed her first gig in the Broadway play “Nowhere to Go But Up” when she was 7 years old.

“When you are a kid it’s sort of fun,” Long said of the experience and getting to play backstage among the rafters.

But she took a break from acting because her mother said she “needed to be in school.”
Remembering her days attending elementary and middle school in her local neighborhood, Long recalls a Queens that is different than it is today.

“It was diverse in a different way,” she said, noting she was one of only a couple of Asian children in Woodside at the time.

Long found more diversity in high school, when she attended the High School of the Performing Arts in Manhattan, where “it was about your talent, not the color of your skin,” she said.

“In one way acting, the art kind of staged me. It is kind of about the humanity,” Long added.

Long continued studying acting at SUNY Purchase College, and spent the next several decades working her way through roles, including on Broadway, and eventually coming to Hollywood landing parts in television shows and movies, such as “The Cosby Show,” “Sex & the City,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Franklin & Bash,” “The Hot Chick” and “Beginners.”

One of her latest projects is the indie movie “A Picture of You,” which premiered in New York on June 20. The dramatic film centers on estranged siblings who travel from New York City to rural Pennsylvania to pack up the home of their recently deceased mother, played by Long.

“For me I love acting,” Long said. “Whether it’s comedy, sitcom, dramedy.”

As for her current role in “Sullivan & Son,” Long said she sees some differences and similarities in Ok Cha and herself.

“I think I have a little more tact than the character,” she said.

“I think she is a strong woman. I’m a strong woman. [You] need that to survive show business.”



De Blasio signs package of Vision Zero bills at fatal Queens accident site

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

A Woodside intersection, where a fatal accident involving an 8-year-old student occurred last December, became the site where a package of traffic safety bills were signed in hopes of a brighter and safer future.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was joined by other elected and city officials as well as family members of victims of traffic fatalities, signed 11 bills supporting the city’s Vision Zero initiative on Monday at P.S. 152, less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by a tractor trailer in December.

“We’ve been taking aggressive action from that day forward, because we understand these collisions injure almost 4,000 New Yorkers a year, and kill over 250 New Yorkers in recent years,” de Blasio said. “And that’s been the minimum. And that’s been an unacceptable reality each year.”

Before signing the bills on June 23, de Blasio paid a visit to the completed Department of Transportation (DOT) project at Northern Boulevard and 61st Street, which includes two pedestrian islands, enhanced crosswalks and parking regulations.

Later this year the busy roadway, between 62nd and 102nd streets, will become one of the first Arterial Slow Zones, lowering the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph.

The package of bills includes requiring the DOT to study left turns and come up with a report every five years; to respond to and address major traffic signal issues within 24 hours; to produce a report on work zone safety guidelines on bridges; to install seven Neighborhood Slow Zones this year and in 2015; and to annually lower speeds to 15 to 20 mph near schools. The bills also require the agency to study major roadways and produce a report every five years.

The bills also refer to “Cooper’s Law,” named after 9-year-old Cooper Stock who was fatally struck in Manhattan, which requires the Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) to suspend drivers involved in a crash where a person is critically injured or killed and where a driver receives a summons for any traffic-related violation. The package also included the establishment of penalties for vehicles that fail to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, and requiring the TLC to review crashes with critical injuries or death.

“The passage of today’s bills will bring us closer to making Vision Zero a reality in every neighborhood in the City of New York,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “These laws will also will help reduce reckless driving and speeding through our local neighborhoods. Traffic safety is an issue our city takes seriously. Through this legislation, we will make our streets safer for all pedestrians, motorists and cyclists alike.”

The bills also address prohibiting stunt behaviors on motorcycles.

“We have promised the people of this city that we will use every tool we have to make streets safer,” de Blasio said. “Today is another step on our path to fulfilling that promise, and sparing more families the pain of losing a son, a daughter or a parent in a senseless tragedy.”



Broken rail not cause of May subway derailment: report

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

The May subway derailment in Woodside, which injured 19 people and forced about 1,000 straphangers to evacuate, was not caused by the broken rail initially discovered by the MTA, according to a published report.

Although a preliminary investigation found that the rail had broken under the Brooklyn-bound F train, investigators are now suspecting that the derailment occurred from a sequence and combination of “other relatively minor substandard site and track-equipment conditions,” according to the New York Daily News.

Sources told the Daily News that investigators were looking at items such as rail fasteners, rail ties and plates.

The F train was on the express track when the six center cars of the eight-car train derailed, officials said. Of those 19 injured, 15 suffered minor injuries and four were taken to the hospital with potentially serious injuries.

According to published reports, the rail section was made by a longtime supplier for the MTA, and was installed after a “hairline crack” was found at the derailment location.

Rail manufactured from the same batch has been installed at other locations, and the transit agency is trying to figure out where those rail sections are and their condition, reports said.

In a May release, the MTA emphasized its safety record, as well as track and other maintenance efforts, and said the city’s subway system has experienced only 17 mainline derailments in the last decade.



Man in critical condition after being punched on Woodside street

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A 56-year-old man was left in critical condition after a stranger punched him in the face in an apparently unprovoked attack on a Woodside street, cops said.

The assault happened just after midnight Saturday on Roosevelt Avenue near 69th Street, according to police.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital.

Police describe the man who they are looking to question in connection to the attack as Hispanic, in his mid twenties and with facial hair. They have also released a photo of him, and said he was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and a dark colored baseball cap.

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.



Worker killed by sanitation truck

| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DSNY

A sanitation worker died on Saturday after a coworker smashed into him with a street sweeper, according to police.

The collision happened at the Sanitation Depot on 48th Street in Maspeth around 1 p.m.

Steven Frosch, 43, was working on a street sweeper when another sanitation worker, 33, hit him with a street sweeper and pinned Frosch between the two large vehicles, officials said.

Police found Frosch unconscious and lying on the ground with severe body trauma. EMS responded and pronounced Frosch dead at the scene.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of New York’s strongest today while on the job in service of our city,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement, responding to the news. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Steven Frosch’s family – especially his wife and four children – as well as his friends and fellow sanitation workers.  New York City stands ready to support them all in this tragic time of need.”

Frosch had been with the Department of Sanitation since 1999.



Arrest made in Woodside attempted rape of 61-year-old woman

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man has been arrested for punching and trying to rape a 61-year-old woman in Woodside, according to police.

Frangklin Lliguichuzhca, 21, of Elmhurst, has been charged with attempted rape, sexual abuse and assault in connection to the attack, cops said

The victim was walking near 71st Street and 41st Avenue at about 10:45 p.m. on June 11 when the suspect came up to the woman and punched her in the face, police said.

He then pushed her to the ground and attempted to rape her , officials said. The victim fought back and the suspect fled.

The woman suffered minor injuries.

Suspect wanted in Woodside attempted rape of 61-year-old

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man punched and tried to rape a 61-year-old woman in Woodside last week, police said.

The victim was walking near 71st Street and 41st Avenue at about 10:45 p.m. on June 11 when she was attacked, cops said.

After the suspect approached the woman, he punched her in the face, pushed her to the ground and attempted to rape her, according to police. The victim fought back, and the suspect fled northbound on 71st Street. The woman suffered minor injuries, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, about 17 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall and 165 pounds, with brown eyes and short black hair. He was last seen wearing a blue soccer jersey with a red stripe, dark jeans and sneakers.

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.




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


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



Woodside street renamed after former Councilman Walter McCaffrey

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Woodside came together Saturday to honor a man who officials call the “great son” of the western Queens neighborhood.

Local politicians, community leaders and residents celebrated the life of former Councilman Walter McCaffrey during a ceremony in which 61st Street on Woodside Avenue was renamed “Walter McCaffrey Place.”

“The late Walter McCaffrey will never be forgotten,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who introduced legislation into the City Council to rename the Woodside street, where McCaffrey once had his district office. “A Woodsider till the end, Walter never stopped advocating for his neighborhood and this district, setting a high bar for all elected officials who followed him in office.”

McCaffrey, who passed away last July at 64 years old, was born and raised in Woodside, and served as councilman of the 26th District from 1985 to 2001. Before being elected to the Council, McCaffrey served as chair of Community Board (CB) 2.

“Here we are to honor the life and legacy of [Walter], the person who did so much for our city, so much for our community,” said Joseph Conley, chair of CB 2, during the renaming dedication. “And as Walter taught me and many people here today, there was no greater exercise in life than to reach out your hand and help somebody.

While in the City Council McCaffrey also served as chair of the Zoning and Franchises subcommittee, and was on the Land Use, Finance, Public Safety and Transportation committee.

Friends, colleagues and others who were at the street renaming ceremony remembered the late councilman for his sense of humor and devotion to serving the residents of western Queens.

“The dedication of Walter McCaffrey Place is a fitting tribute to a selfless public servant who was synonymous with the Woodside community,” Congressman Joseph Crowley said. “Walter fought for the people of Queens with great passion, leaving behind a legacy of advocacy and accomplishment that improved the lives of middle class families across the city.”



Queens native explores borough in new children’s book

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Illustrations © Rick Sanders

Demetra Tsavaris-Lecourezos is taking young readers on a journey around the world with the first magical stop in Queens.

Tsavaris-Lecourezos, who was born in Jackson Heights and raised in Woodside, is the author of a new children’s book and series titled “Young World Travelers and the Magical Crystal Globe,” where a group of kids from Florida are transported to any time period they want, wherever they want.

The first book of the series debuted Sunday at the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival. It takes these young world travelers back in time to experience the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, the Queens County Farm, before it was a museum, and a Civil War fort in Fort Totten.

“You pick up books in the bookstore and you are learning about the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building, but never about the structures in Queens,” Tsavaris-Lecourezos said.

The concept of the “Young World Travelers” series began nine years ago when Tsavaris-Lecourezos gave birth to her daughter Katerina, the year after marrying her high school sweetheart. Together with her husband, Constantinos (Gus) P. Lecourezos she began to come up an initial concept of writing a movie script that would be educational for children and revolve around traveling to Greece.

After realizing the large costs that involved turning the script into a film, Tsavaris-Lecourezos decided to create a children’s book. She wrote four books in total with the characters traveling to places in Egypt, England, Greece and New York.

In 2009, her husband passed away and Tsavaris-Lecourezos moved to Tarpon Springs, Florida with her daughter.

At the end of last year a friend suggested she take her concept to a publisher and when Tsavaris-Lecourezos approached publisher thewordverve inc. her ideas were accepted.

“It was all falling into place, I had no idea,” she said. “I’m rolling with it and I’m really excited.”

The “Young World Travelers” series is dedicated to Tsavaris-Lecourezos’ husband and mother. In the book the children receive a magical crystal globe, which allows them to time travel, from Mrs. Eva, who was named and inspired by Tsavaris-Lecourezos’ mother.

The 43-page book’s illustrator Rick Sanders is also a Queens native. Though Tsavaris-Lecourezos and him first met through thewordverve, they were coincidentally born in the same hospital.

During the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival, Tsavaris-Lecourezos held two readings to share the book with visitors of all ages.

“I was so honored to have been invited to such an event,” she said. “It was amazing and an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to debut my book there.”

To preorder “Young World Travelers and the Magical Crystal Globe,” click here.



Cops looking for suspect who groped teens, women in western Queens

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A man is wanted for inappropriately touching two teens and two women in Woodside and Astoria Tuesday morning, police said.

In each incident, the suspect approached the victims, tried to speak to them and touched their buttocks over their clothing, cops said.

The man first came up to a 23-year-old woman about 6:40 a.m. Tuesday at Northern Boulevard and 57th Street in Woodside, according to officials.

Within about the next hour and a half, he touched three more victims, ages 25, 16 and 14 in Astoria. He came up to the 25-year-old at a Rite Aid, on Steinway Street near 34th Avenue at about 7:45 a.m., then approached the 16-year-old on 35th Avenue near 38th Street around 8 a.m, and the second teen on 31st Avenue near 38th Street about 8:30 a.m, cops said.

Police have released photos of the suspect from the Rite Aid incident, and describe him as Hispanic, 25 to 30 years old, 6 feet tall and 220 to 250 pounds.

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.



Subway service returns to normal in Queens as derailment investigation continues

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

Updated Monday, May 5, 5:20 p.m.

As transit service returns to normal following a subway derailment in Woodside Friday, the MTA continues to investigate the derailment and why a section of rail at the accident site broke.

A preliminary investigation has found that the broken rail that was discovered where the train derailed was manufactured last November and installed this March, the MTA said.

“The MTA has not determined how or why the rail broke. Speed or human error do not appear to be a factor [in the derailment],” MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz said.

The broken rail section will be sent for testing as the investigation into the derailment’s cause continues.

In a release Saturday, the transit agency emphasized its safety record, and track and other maintenance efforts, and said the city’s subway system has experienced only 17 mainline derailments in the last decade.

Crews spent the weekend removing the subway train that derailed about 10:25 a.m. Friday just south of the 65th and Broadway R and M local stop. By 5 a.m. Monday E, F, M and R service, which had been affected by the accident, had returned to normal along the Queens Boulevard line.

The Brooklyn-bound F train was on the express track when the six center cars of the eight-car train derailed, injuring 19 and forcing about a 1,000 riders to evacuate, officials said. Of those hurt, 15 suffered minor injuries and four were taken to the hospital with potentially serious injuries.



Subway train derails in Woodside, injuring 19

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

Updated 5:05 p.m.

An F train derailed in Woodside Friday morning, injuring 19 people and forcing hundreds to evacuate, officials said.

The accident happened about 10:25 a.m. on the Brooklyn-bound express track near 65th Street and Broadway, the MTA said.

As the subway passed just south of the local R/M station, the six center cars of the eight-car train went off the tracks, according to the transit agency.

Photo: MTA / Patrick Cashin

It took about two hours to evacuate about 1,000 passengers. Fifteen people suffered minor injuries and four were taken to the hospital with potentially serious injuries, officials said.

The derailment also caused damage to the tracks and car equipment as well as delays and service changes across several lines, according to the agency.

There will be a detailed investigation into the cause of the derailment, including an examination of the tracks, signals and maintenance records, MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast said at a briefing on the accident Friday afternoon.

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

“We run 8,000 trains a day and the system is very safe,” he said.

Riders should expect to continue to experience service changes as a result of the derailment. The MTA was able to restore local E and F service by the Friday evening rush hour, but express service remains suspended in both directions along the Queens Boulevard line until after the derailed train is removed from the tracks, according to the agency.

  • The M and R trains will not run along the Queens Boulevard line.
  • R trains will run between Whitehall St and 57 St-7 Av in Manhattan.
  • M trains will run between Metropolitan Av in Queens and Chambers St in Manhattan.
  • LIRR is cross-honoring valid MetroCards in both directions between Penn Station and Jamaica Station, including Kew Gardens, Forest Hills and Woodside, as well as stops between Atlantic Terminal and Jamaica.
  • All service will be suspended along the Queens Boulevard line from 10 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday for the removal of the derailed train. Limited shuttle bus service will be provided but customers should use the 7 train as an alternate for some stops along the Queens Boulevard line or the MTA Long Island Rail Road.
  • Weekend construction work on the M, 7 and J lines has been canceled.

The MTA said there is no timetable for restoration of express service on the Queens Boulevard line.

Photo: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit



DOT to implement Slow Zones on Northern and Queens boulevards

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan will be implemented at two highly trafficked Queens thoroughfares where collisions have claimed more than 20 lives in the last six years, officials said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard will run 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street. Starting later this month, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph and traffic signals will be retimed.

Since 2008, there have been five fatalities on Northern Boulevard, according to the DOT. One of the recent accidents involved 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was fatally struck by a truck on his way to school on Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.

Last month the DOT announced it would install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said.

In July, the DOT will implement a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard, which has seen 23 deaths in the past six years. The Slow Zone will stretch 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take actions,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevard, and many other dangerous roads throughout our city.”

The city agency also announced Slow Zones would go up on Jamaica Avenue later this month, and Rockaway Boulevard in August.

For more information on the Slow Zones, visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/visionzero.