Tag Archives: Woodside

Avonte Oquendo remembered as smiling, courageous boy at funeral


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Cristabelle Tumola / Avonte Oquendo photo: handout

ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA 

After the search for autistic Rego Park teen Avonte Oquendo ended tragically, hundreds of mourners came out to say goodbye at his funeral Saturday, where he was remembered as a silent yet always smiling, courageous boy.

Family and friends gathered at a private ceremony held at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home in Manhattan, where a “beautiful silence” took over the room, said Leslie Burch, a close family friend. Also among those paying respects was actress Holly Robinson Peete, whose son has autism.

Avonte’s father is consoled before a service for his son at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home.

Mourners then made their way to St. Joseph’s Church, just a few blocks away, where a public mass was led by former Archbishop of New York Edward Michael Egan.

“He was a strong, courageous young man who handled the struggle with autism with tremendous greatness and true nobility,” said Egan, standing next to a large portrait of Avonte wearing a blue striped shirt, which was also handed out on prayer cards.

Egan also took the time to thank and recognize the efforts that went into the nearly four month search for the missing 14-year-old after he was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on Oct. 4.

Avonte’s mother waits to place a white rose on her son’s casket.

Officials confirmed Tuesday that remains found washed up along the East River in College Point last week were those of Avonte. The cause and manner of  death are pending on future tests, according to the medical examiner.

“Police officers and various agencies of our beloved city made it no less clear that they too knew how precious Avonte was,” said Egan.

Although Avonte’s family decided not to speak during the services Saturday, his mother, together with his brothers and other mourners, laid white roses on top of his white casket following the release of doves outside of the church.

Another family member that attended the service was Avonte’s cousin and best friend 20 –year-old Noah Javan Conti from Woodside who is mildly autistic.

Rocopra Conti, who raised Noah and also attended the funeral, remembers the last time he saw Avonte. That day the teen grabbed Rocopra’s face and gave him one last look.

Noah Javan Conti, Avonte’s cousin and best friend, and Rocopra Conti.

“That was the last moment we shared,” said Rocopra. “I knew how to love him, I knew what he was feeling. I just wish I could have done more.”

Family attorney David Perecman, who spoke at the funeral mass, said that even though the search was concluded, the story is not finished yet.

“I must ask all of you, I ask that this not be the last chapter in this very sad story. We must have at least one more,” said Perecman. “This loss that this family has of Avonte cannot be in vain, we must find out how to fix our schools, we must find out how to fix the system of security that failed this boy.”

There have been conflicting reports on how Avonte, who could not verbally communicate and was supposed to be supervised at all times, managed to leave his school the day he went missing.

Following the identification of her son, Vanessa Fontaine filed suit against the City of New York on Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court, according to court records.

Fontaine filed the court action demanding the NYPD release records relating to the disappearance of Avonte, according to published reports.

Perecman also said he will be filing a $25 million negligence claim against the city, focused on the Department of Education, for wrongful death.

 

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De Blasio takes on traffic deaths with ‘Vision Zero’ initiative


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

With 11 people, including seven pedestrians, killed in traffic accidents in just the first two weeks of the New Year, Mayor Bill de Blasio is calling for a stop to what he calls an epidemic.

De Blasio and his administration is launching an interagency working group, together with the NYPD, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Taxi & Limousine Commission, to implement a “Vision Zero” plan and make sure another life is not lost.

The mayor’s “Vision Zero” initiative aims to reduce traffic fatalities to zero within the next 10 years.

“Our top responsibility is protecting the health and safety of our people,” said de Blasio. “From tougher enforcement to more safely-designed streets and stronger laws, we’ll confront this problem from every side – and it starts today.”

De Blasio gathered with local officials, family members of victims of traffic fatalities and representative from the city agencies Wednesday to announce the working group at P.S. 152 in Woodside, just less than a block from where third-grader Noshat Nahian was fatally struck by a tractor trailer in December.

The working group will come together to implement the mayor’s plan by developing a report,  due to the mayor by Feb. 15 and released publicly, that will serve as a blueprint for the mayor’s “Vision Zero” plan for safer streets through the city.

The report is expected to have “concrete plans” to dedicate sufficient number of NYPD resources and personnel to prevent dangerous actions such as speeding and failing to yield to pedestrians; annually improve close to 50 dangerous corridors and intersections to “discourage dangerous driving;” greatly expand the amount of slow zones across the city; and pursue a traffic safety legislative agenda in order for the city to position red light and speed enforcement cameras based on safety needs.

“This will be a top-to-bottom effort to take on dangerous streets and dangerous driving,” said de Blasio. “We aren’t going to wait and lose a son, a daughter, a parent or a grandparent in another senseless and painful tragedy.”

De Blasio also said that as of Thursday, Jan. 16, speed cameras which have been installed on city streets will begin issuing tickets to enforce speed limits.

The NYPD will also be implementing additional and more severe enforcement against traffic violations, according to de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Since taking office Bratton has increased Highway Division personnel by 10 percent and has a goal to increase the staff by 50 percent.

 

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Man fatally struck by LIRR train at Woodside station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Updated 3:45 p.m.

A man was hit and killed by an LIRR train Tuesday night in Woodside after the train’s engineer saw him jump in front of the locomotive, an MTA spokesperson said.

An 11:35 p.m. train heading from Penn Station to Babylon struck the man, identified as Pawel Nierodzinski, 32, while the train was pulling into the LIRR Woodside stop, the MTA said.

The train’s engineer said that as the train entered the station, he saw a man crouch down and leap in front of the train before it hit him, according to the spokesperson.

Several eastbound and westbound LIRR trains experienced up to 10 to 30 minute delays due to the incident, the MTA said.

About 2:50 a.m. regular eastbound service in Queens was restored, and by 3 a.m. all trains were on or close to schedule.

 

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Fans young and old come to gingerbread village giveaway at NYSCI


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

It was a bittersweet feeling for Chef Jon Lovitch as he removed the first candy covered house out of “GingerBread Lane.”

Lovitch, a Bronx resident, is the creator behind the 1.5 ton, 300-square-foot village known as “GingerBread Lane,” named the largest gingerbread village in the world by the 2014 Guinness World Records.

The village, consisting of 160 houses made completely of edible gingerbread, royal icing and candy, was on display at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park from November up until this past weekend.

Instead of throwing out the estimated 2, 350 pounds of icing, 400 pounds of candy, and 500 pounds of gingerbread dough, Lovitch decided the best thing to do would be to give away pieces of the village to fans of all ages.

“People are really attached to GingerBread Lane,” said Lovitch. “They can take a piece of it with them. It just seems like the best way to do this.”

Fans came to the Hall of Science on Sunday to wait in line for the chance to take home a piece of history. Along with the houses, the gingerbread village was made up of 65 candy trees, four gingerbread cable cars, five gingerbread train cars, an underground candy subway station, a skating rink, a carousel, trains and more.

CHECK OUT OUR PHOTO GALLERY FOR MORE FROM THE GIVEAWAY 

Before starting the giveaway, Lovitch made sure to let everyone know that although the houses are made out of edible materials, he does not recommend anyone consume the pieces because the different candy is months old, has been through a lot of touching and some have even fallen to the ground.

Cole, 7, was the first lucky fan to get his pick of the village and chose a gingerbread house with a roof covered in star shaped candy.

“This gingerbread village is so spectacular and my kids have fallen in love with it,” said Cole’s mother, Kam Wong, from Woodside, who also brought 7-year-old daughter Isabella to the event. “I love the holiday times and just to have a reminder of it during the year is fantastic.”

Isabella was not shy about choosing the horse-filled carousel.

Making sure each fan could enjoy having the gingerbread houses and other edible pieces for a long time, Lovitch also gave each participant instructions on proper preservation.

“If you do take that time to preserve it, it’ll last a long time,” said Lovitch.

Although last year’s “GingerBread Lane” has already been taken apart, Lovitch plans on starting to work on this year’s new village by the end of the month and hopes to go even bigger.

The 2014-2015 GingerBread Lane will be on display at the NY Hall of Science in the fall.

 

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Expansion announced for overcrowded I.S. 125 in Woodside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Overcrowding may soon be one less problem to solve at one Woodside school.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with other elected officials, School Construction Authority (SCA) representatives, the school administration, parents and students to announce the expansion of I.S. 125, located at 46-02 47th Ave.

The SCA plans to build an approximately $50 million, 600-seat annex at the middle school, which has dealt with overcrowding for many years, according to officials. The annex is expected to replace the trailers located in the school’s playground and a “temporary” mini-building, which was erected more than 20 years ago.

“I.S. 125 is finally, after years of advocacy and fighting, going to get the expansion and addition that it truly deserves,” said Van Bramer. “[Students] they deserve to learn in a modern, state-of-the-art facility that will make everyone proud, that will only enhance learning.”

Construction of the annex is expected to begin as early as this year, including the demolition of the current mini-building, said Van Bramer.

The new addition will feature a brand new cafeteria, gymnasium and state-of-the-art classrooms.

“I’m so happy to be able to replace those [trailers and the mini-building] with a brand new state-of-the-art addition for these children,” said Lorraine Grillo, SCA president. “They deserve it, they have deserved it.”

Seventh grader and vice president of the student government Alysia Quan, 13, said the students are really excited to have the outdoor classrooms removed because they are freezing making their way to classes.

Currently, more than 200 seventh grade students have to walk in and out of the school building, through rain and snow, in order to attend their classes inside the trailers. Around 240 students have classes in the mini-building.

“We had a hope at 125, we had a hope that we would be able to have classrooms that weren’t in the cafeteria, we had a hope that there wouldn’t be classrooms in the library so that children could visit the library whenever they wanted to, we had a hope that in the auditorium we could have shows, we wouldn’t have to have classrooms,” said I.S. 125 Principal Judy Mittler. “In this world, the fact that a hope becomes a reality, and becomes a reality so quickly, is mind boggling. Thank you isn’t enough.”

The expansion of I.S. 125 is part of six new schools Van Bramer has helped bring into western Queens and which will all be fully operational by 2016.

“What’s more important in life than your children?” said Mittler. “And [the students], they’re my children too.”

 

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DOE proposes rezoning plan to ease overcrowding at Jackson Heights school


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map Courtesy of the Department of Education

One middle school in Jackson Heights may soon be less crowded.

The Department of Education (DOE) announced proposed rezoning changes to move the boundaries for I.S. 145, at 33-34 80th St., and I.S. 230, at 73-10 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights. The changes would take effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Under the rezoning, the boundaries for I.S. 230 would expand to serve a new annex located at 74-03 34th Ave., slated to open in September. The new building is expected to accommodate 420 middle school students.

After the rezoning, about 120 incoming sixth graders from I.S. 145 would be zoned to I.S. 230 in the 2015-2016 school year. No current students will be affected.

According to the DOE, the plan was developed through working with Community Education Council 30 in addressing the needs of the community.

“This rezoning plan reflects a year-long collaboration between the Department and the CEC to create a proposal that best addresses the needs of the entire community,” said  DOE spokesperson Harry Hartfield. “Any final approval of the plan will be decided by the CEC for District 30.”

Isaac Carmignani, co-president and chair of the zoning committee of CEC 30, said the rezoning would bring some relief to the overcrowding of I.S. 145, which together with I.S. 230, is part of School District 30 which suffers from a chronic overcrowding problem.

Currently I.S. 145’s sixth grade is 948 seats and after the rezoning, the number would drop to between 815 and 835. I.S. 230’s size would increase from 350 seats to between 460 to 480.

“It doesn’t change the fact that they are going to still be tightly packed schools,” said Carmignani. “We all are looking at the bigger picture.”

Other schools that might be affected by the rezoning include P.S. 69, P.S. 149, P.S. 212 and P.S. 222 in Jackson Heights, P.S. 228 and P.S. 148 in East Elmhurst, and P.S. 152 in Woodside.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed rezoning changes and learn more information on how it will affect students will be held on Monday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. at I.S. 145.

“What we are trying to do is have as much community engagement as possible,” said Carmignani. “We’re looking forward to continue working on this issue as the months and years go by.”

For more information, contact CEC 30 at 718-391-8380 or email cec30@schools.nyc.gov.

 

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Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates arranges $2.2 million sale of 9,700 square-foot Woodside property


| editorial@queenscourier.com


Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates, Inc. has arranged for the $2.15 million sale of a 9,700 square-foot property in Woodside, announced Kalmon Dolgin and Neil Dolgin, co-presidents of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates.

Vincent Lopez of Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates was the broker for both the buyer, Video Concepts, and the seller, IL Nuraghe.

For the last two decades, Video Concepts, has been a leader in production and staging, creative services, interactive media, and event planning solutions, according to Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates.

The company is relocating and expanding from a self-owned, 4,400 square-foot space in Astoria to the Woodside property at 34-39 56th Street.

The property consists of a two-story warehouse and features 24-foot ceilings, two drive-in doors, a 1,200-square-foot mezzanine level and eight parking spaces.

The building underwent a state-of-the-art renovation by the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans Association before the seller purchased the building for wholesale wine storage, according to Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates. IL Nuraghe then sold the wine business and rented the property to Eurocraft Stone, a marble manufacturer, until listing it for sale with Kalmon Dolgin Affiliates.

Located between 37th Avenue and Broadway, the building is near the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, Northern Boulevard, Queens Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway, and is also accessible to the Woodside Long Island Rail Road station and the 7, M, and R subway lines.

 

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Parents welcome city’s first New Year’s baby at Elmhurst Hospital


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

New York City‘s first New Year cry was heard through Elmhurst Hospital as Tenzin Choetso was welcomed into the world.

Tenzin was born to parents Metok Dolma and Choegyal Dorjee one second after midnight on Jan. 1 at Elmhurst Hospital Center. The couple, both from Tibet and now living in Woodside, reportedly also has another daughter.

The baby girl, weighing 6 pounds, 11 ounces, received a name given by the Dalai Lama, according to a hospital spokesperson. The parents put in a request to the Dalai Lama for the baby’s naming while Dolma was pregnant, and the Tibetan spiritual leader responded by giving the name Tenzin, meaning “to conquer the wisdom of Buddha,” the spokesperson said.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was given the name Tenzin Gyatso.

“We are thrilled and excited that one of the first babies of 2014 was born at Elmhurst,” said Chris Constantino, Elmhurst Hospital Center’s executive director. “Our staff is overjoyed.”

Tenzin Choetso is not Elmhurst Hospital’s first “New Year’s baby.” In 2013, at exactly midnight, another baby was born at the hospital.

 

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Pols call for law change after driver with suspended license fatally strikes Woodside boy


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Local elected officials are calling for a change in the law to prevent another child, like 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, from losing their life.

Noshat was crossing the street with his 11-year-old sister on the way to school at P.S. 152 in Woodside around 8 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 when a tractor trailer traveling southbound on 61st Street made a left turn onto Northern Boulevard, striking him with its rear tires, police said. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palominos, 51, of Newark, N.J., who remained on the scene of the accident, has been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and operating vehicle in violation of safety rules, police said.

Osorio-Palominos was driving with a suspended license with multiple violations on his record during the accident, according to State Senator Michael Gianaris.

In response, Gianaris gathered with local officials, residents and advocacy groups at the site of the accident Monday to introduce legislation that would make it a felony if drivers with suspended licenses either seriously injure or kill someone with their vehicle. Under current law, a driver like Osorio-Palominos could be charged with a misdemeanor.

“The law needs to get tougher,” said Gianaris. “Those who have suspended licenses are twice as likely to kill somebody or injure somebody, or twice as likely to have major accidents, the law has to catch up with the data, we just need to get these people off the streets.”

Gianaris has also proposed the immediate impoundment of a vehicle’s license plate if it were being operated by someone with a suspended license.

The new bill will be co-sponsored by Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Jose Peralta and also supported by Assemblymember Michael Den Dekker, Congressmember Joseph Crowley and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

“I have an 8-year-old son and it could have been my child, it could have been my son that was hit that Friday morning,” said Peralta. “And we need to send a loud message not only to the city but to anyone who does this, who rides without a license, that this is not going to be acceptable.”

Advocate groups like Transportation Alternatives, Make Queens Safer and Woodside on the Move, are also looking to implement other safety measures like crossing guards, stalled green lights and much more.

“None of this should of happen, all of this could have been prevented,” said Van Bramer. “This school has been asking for a crossing guard at this location for months. [It’s] absolutely disgraceful that the administration did not provide the crossing guard when it was requested, when it was clearly needed. Anybody who has been on this street for more than five minutes knows that this requires a crossing guard.”

Advocacy group Make Queens Safer organized a traffic safety memorial and vigil at 61st Street and Northern Boulevard Sunday where Noshat’s family and hundreds of residents gathered to remember the 8-year-old and other victims of traffic fatalities.

 

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Elderly woman, motorcyclist dead in Queens Boulevard crash


| lguerre@queenscourier.com


Updated Monday, December 23 2:23 p.m.

An elderly woman and motorcyclist are dead following a collision on Queens Boulevard in Woodside on Saturday, cops said.

Police responded to the accident just after 4:30 p.m. in which the driver of the Suzuki motorcycle, Darien Baker, 31, collided with 78-year-old Marion Kurshuk at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 58th Street as the pedestrian was crossing the street.

Baker and Kurshuk were taken to Elmhurst General Hospital and pronounced dead on arrival, police said.

An investigation into the accident is ongoing.

 

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Truck fatally hits 8-year-old boy in Woodside; driver charged


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A third grader was struck and killed by a truck at a Woodside intersection Friday morning as he was on his way to school.

Noshat Nahian, 8, was crossing the street with his 11-year-old sister around 8 a.m. when a tractor trailer traveling southbound on 61st Street made a left turn, striking him with its rear tires, police said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The driver, Mauricio Osorio-Palominos, 51, of Newark, N.J., who remained on the scene of the accident, has been charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and operating vehicle in violation of safety rules, police said.

The child was a student at P.S. 152, located right where the accident occurred, according to  Christian Amez, of Woodside on the Move, which operates afterschool programs at P.S. 152.

“Woodside on the Move joins the entire community in mourning the loss we all suffered this morning,  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the young victim’s family, friends, and loved ones,” said Amez.

“It’s horrible. That poor mother,” said Lisbeth Jimenez, who has a son in fourth grade at the school.

“I feel scared to walk my son to school and even pick him up. Drivers don’t care about people,” she said.

 -With additional reporting by Angy Altamirano 

 

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Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars makes $10K donation to local charities, groups after holiday pub crawl


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars

Less than a week after the Santas came to Sunnyside, the first wave of toys was donated to local charities and groups.

Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars, a collective of 10 bars and restaurants on and around Queens Boulevard, held their Second Annual Sunnyside Santathon pub crawl for charity on December 7 where they raised $10,000 in monetary and toy donations.

The participating bars were Bar 43, The Courtyard Ale House, Maggie Mae’s, The Gaslight, Arriba Arriba, Sidetracks, Molly Blooms, PJ Horgan’s, McGuinness Pub and Bliss Street Station.

The collective made their first donation Thursday at the United Forties Civic Association Holiday Party at St. Teresa’s Church in Woodside where they were joined by representatives from the church, St. Raphael’s Church, 108th Precinct Captain Brian Hennessy and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The group also donated money to the food pantries at both churches.

“It just feels fantastic to be able to give back to the community,” said Liz Taylor, manager of Bliss Street Station. “The little kids will wake up Christmas morning and have something to play with.”

The organizations receiving toys include St. Teresa’s and St. Raphael’s Church, the 108th Precinct Toy Drive, MercyFirst Angel Guardian Orphanage in Brooklyn and Metro Homeless Shelter.

This year’s donations doubled from the inaugural Santathon last year. All who took part this year were dressed in their best Santa attire, and some even came as Santa’s little helpers.

“It was great to get together,” said Patrick Burke, owner of The Courtyard Ale House. “It shows the hard work we did really paid off. It was tremendous, we exceeded our expectation.”

Monetary and new, unwrapped toy donations are still being accepted at the 10 bars of Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars up until Christmas.




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Star of Queens: Christian Amez, Business Enterprise instructor, Woodside on the Move


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Amez

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Christian Amez has worked with Woodside on the Move for about five years, starting as an aide in the afterschool program. He ultimately created his own year-long class, the “Business Enterprise” program. It teaches children, in grades four and above, various financial literacy and math skills. From learning how to create a budget, to understanding credit and loans, these students ultimately create their own business plans and professionally pitch them to community leaders.

Woodside on the Move has served the Community Board 2 district for over 30 years, providing youth and cultural development programs all across Woodside and its surrounding neighborhoods.

BACKGROUND:  “I’m a first-generation American born in Queens. My family moved from Peru to Woodside, then finally Sunnyside,” said Amez. “Having grown up attending public schools in both neighborhoods (I.S. 125 and P.S. 150, respectively), the two are synonymous with home to me, so I spend a great deal of time getting to know my neighbors and participating in community outreach.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “My biggest challenge here had to be one I shared with Woodside on the Move, and that was our rally in May 2012 to restore funding for the afterschool and summer programs we host at P.S. 11 and 152,” said Amez.

During this time he said he had never seen so many students, parents, and community members engaged in what was a collective time of need.

FAVORITE MEMORY: The outpouring of support during the 2012 rally became Amez’s favorite memory at the organization.

“Soon after, due to the efforts of our executive director, Adrian Bordoni, all our staff, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, we succeeded in temporarily restoring funding. In the following months, even more support came from Congressmember Joseph Crowley, who donated hundreds of school supplies for the children to prepare for their upcoming school year,” said Amez.

INSPIRATION: “I went through a very transformational time while studying finance. A lot of businessmen and women dream of becoming CEOs or billionaires, but why create one success story when you can create many,” asked Amez. That is what inspired him to work at Woodside on the Move, where the organization can improve the future of the city locally from the ground up, starting with the children.

 

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NY Comptroller DiNapoli: ‘Queens is a New York success story’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Queens is on a roll and isn’t stopping any time soon, according to New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Queens is a New York success story,” DiNapoli said. “Superstorm Sandy impacted thousands of Queens residents, but the borough is on the recovery path. With a strong economy, a fast growing and diverse population, and several large projects on the horizon, Queens is booming.”

DiNapoli gathered with local elected officials and community leaders at Silvercup Studios in Long Island City Friday to release an economic snapshot of Queens, revealing how the borough has made an economic comeback over the past two years since the Great Recession.

According to the report, since 2012 the borough has had the highest level of employment among all the boroughs outside of Manhattan as private sector employment reached its highest recorded level of 486, 160 jobs. The largest employment sectors in Queens include health care, social assistance, transportation and, warehousing and retail trade.

“A look around the communities of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Astoria show what Comptroller DiNapoli’s excellent report illustrates – that the economy of Queens is back on track,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

The borough’s population has also grown by 20 percent over the past three decades, more than the citywide growth rate, according to the report.

The state comptroller’s economic snapshot also found that Queens is the most diverse large county in the United States, with immigrants from more than 120 countries making 48 percent of residents, with not a single dominant ethnic group.

In 2011, the borough had 44,070 business establishments with small businesses leading in the area, according to the report.

The report also found unemployment to be lower in the borough compared to the rest of the city. The unemployment rate averaged 8.3 percent in 2012 and in the first eight months of 2013 dropped to 7.8 percent.

“These numbers show that Queens has weathered the worst of the storm,” said Queens Borough President-elect Melinda Katz. “With nearly half a million Queens workers fueling growth and innovation in the private sector, our borough has moved past the Great Recession that gripped the entire country in recent years, As Borough President, I will build on the successful work of state leaders like Comptroller DiNapoli to ensure we continue creating jobs and growing the economy for all New Yorkers.”

Together with the number of jobs and low unemployment rate, film and television production have both been thriving in the borough. Silvercup Studios, with 410,000 square feet of space and 19 soundstages, is the biggest studio space in the city and Kaufman Astoria Studios has seven soundstages and the city’s only outdoor movie set.

“I just think that film and television production is a mutual part of New York and Queens and of surrounding areas and it provides jobs,” said actor Michael J. Fox, who is filming “The Michael J. Fox Show” at Silvercup Studios. “I want to voice whatever support I can to continue nurturing film and television production in New York, it’s a big part of the city. “

 

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Metro-North derailment victim remembered at Queens funeral


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Cristabelle Tumola

Metro-North derailment victim Kisook Ahn was a dedicated nurse who was driven to pursue her career in America because of her love for an autistic nephew, said mourners at her funeral on Saturday.

The funeral for Ahn was held Saturday morning at  Saint Sebastian Roman Catholic Church, in Woodside, where the 35-year-old was a member.

Ahn was coming home after she had finished the night shift as a registered nurse at Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center in Ossining, N.Y. when she lost her life in the Dec. 1 train accident.

Those in attendance at the service included friends, fellow parishioners as well as Ahn’s brother and brother-in-law who flew in from her native South Korea Wednesday.

Following the funeral, her brother Jin-Won Ahn, speaking through a translator and holding a photo of his sister in her gap and gown, said she “came here to pursue her dreams.”

He described his sister as a caring and loving aunt. Jin-Won said she came to America to study nursing because his eight-year-old son has autism and she wanted to learn more about it.

“[My sister] promised to me,” he said.

Jin-Won also said that is the reason she worked at Sunshine Children’s Home, where she provided care for medically complex children.

Ahn’s brother holds a photo of his sister following her funeral.

Ahn arrived in the U.S. from South Korea in 2008 as part of Lehman College’s exchange program with Sungshin Women’s University. In 2009, she completed an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing and received a master’s degree in the school’s family nurse practitioner program in 2012.

Catherine Alicia Georges, chair of Lehman College’s nursing department and a former teacher of Ahn, who attended the funeral, said Ahn “exemplified everything we wanted to see in a graduate.”

“[She was] somebody who was humanistic, who thought critically, who really cared about people regardless of where they come from. And that’s how we want to remember her as a truly dedicated and professional nurse,” said Georges.

In memory of her, the Lehman College Foundation and Perfect Choice Staffing, which was sponsoring Ahn for permanent residency, has established The Kisook Ahn Fund for Korean Nurses at Lehman College, which will help nursing students at the school.

Checks should be made out to “Lehman College Foundation/Kisook-Ahn” and sent to: Lehman College Foundation, Shuster Hall 310, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.

Jin-Won said he “was deeply impressed” by all the people, including co-workers and classmates, who came to the funeral Saturday.

The family plans on having a funeral service for Ahn in South Korea after bringing her cremated remains there, said Jin-Won.

When asked if he was planning to file legal action against the MTA, Jin-Won said he is “consulting with a few lawyers.”

 

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