Incredulity and perplexity reigned last Friday during a City Council hearing regarding the state of Flushing Meadows Corona Park, with Parks Department staff enduring the brunt of questioning at the hands of a Parks Committee largely made up of Queens lawmakers. The questioning surrounded the current state of a park accustomed to a fraction of the attention left over from its more famous brethren. Dollar and staffing figures revealed a dearth of resources in the face of escalating need.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) Friday blasted the city’s Department of Environmental Protection for what they saw as a lackluster response to chronic flooding in Fresh Meadows and similar neighborhoods all across the city.
“This is a decades-old problem in neighborhoods like Fresh Meadows. But after the wake-up call Sandy delivered, there’s just no excuse for inaction. We need a water system that matches the extreme weather we face, and policies that treat homeowners fairly when their homes are damaged through no fault of their own,” de Blasio said during a rainy press conference, ironically adding “We can’t keep leaving families high and dry.”
The Malba Gardens Civic Association is worried the city’s Department of Transportation may have forgotten a promise to study traffic conditions in the area after former Queens DOT commissioner Maura McCarthy’s departure.
Two years ago, the civic asked Fifth Avenue be converted to a west-bound one-way street from 150th Street to the Whitestone Expressway Service Road. A DOT survey found 107 cars traveled down the street per hour, with a third of them speeding. Most were drivers who got off at the final exit before the Whitestone Bridge, after accidentally getting snagged onto the approach for the span.
Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside) honored Scripps National Spelling Bee Arvind Mahankali on Sunday with an American flag that she arranged to have flown over the U.S. Capitol in his honor.
The 13-year-old Bayside Hills MS 74 student won the contest on May 30 after he correctly spelled “knaidel,” the Yiddish word for matzo ball.
A recent Land Use hearing hosted by Borough President Helen Marshall regarding the redevelopment of Willets Point did not pass last Thursday without fanfare and a bit of a turf war, as the specter of a second community board’s involvement was not enough to sway an adamant Marshall, who repeatedly noted the dilapidated state of the Iron Triangle.
“The fact is Willets Point is a mess and has been one since I took office,” Marshall said at one point during the proceedings.
The New York City Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance identifying a man wanted for a grand larceny.
The suspect, pictured above, on June 10 at 10 a.m. allegedly broke the driver’s side window of a vehicle parked at 162-05 Crocheron Ave. and removed a plastic bag containing about $90,000.
Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) secured funding to bring NYPD ARGUS surveillance cameras to strategic locations in his district. These cameras will help the NYPD investigate crimes, monitor key locations and enhance public safety in the community.
“One of my top priorities is to help ensure the highest level of public safety for residents,” Koo said in a statement. “Therefore, I allocated resources to purchase the latest technology and surveillance equipment to assist the NYPD in protecting our community.”
Isaac Sasson, Democratic candidate for City Council in the 24th Council District in Queens, announced on Tuesday that he is ending his campaign for public office.
In a brief statement, the Flushing resident said will be focusing his efforts on his philanthropy and related positions in the Orthodox Jewish community.
Long Island Rail Road commuters are being advised to expect delays and cancellations during Tuesday’s afternoon rush hour as crews repair damage from a derailment inside an East River tunnel on Monday night.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said no one was hurt when the 10-car 5:51 train to Hempstead, LI, had two cars derail while eastbound in the tunnel. Eight switches and roughly 500 feet of track were damaged. The tunnel is one of four owned and operated by Amtrak.
With the Senate session winding down in Albany, and about a thousand bills left to debate, the hydrofracking moratorium bill may not even hit the floor for a vote. Most Queens lawmakers oppose allowing the drilling process in New York State without conclusive scientific evidence that it can be done safely, without contaminating groundwater.
The drilling process known as hydrofracking is used to obtain natural gas from rock formations, such as the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York’s Southern Tier to West Virginia. Fracking involves injecting millions of gallons of water along with a slurry of sand and about 600 chemicals into a narrow horizontal pipe at high pressure to induce “mini-earthquakes,” which release the natural gas.
New York is the only state in which Mixed Martial Arts is banned, and the controversy surrounding the sport is ongoing in Albany.
In response to a bill that would legalize MMA, 35 Assembly Democrats wrote a letter to Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), a longtime opponent of MMA, asking him to hold the line in opposition.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio minces no words when asked why he is running for mayor and why he feels he is the best choice for the Democratic nomination.
“I am fundamentally dissatisfied with things in the city,” he said last week at a meeting with the editorial board of the Queens Chronicle.
In town to speak to graduates at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made a pit stop in Queens to visit with students and business leaders at Aviation High School and talk about the rising focus on career and technical education.
Noting that CTE schools are of special interest to his boss, President Obama, Duncan said he wanted to learn more about how they are working in the city. Aviation is the third such school he’s visited in New York City, and the first in Queens.
Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott honored 11 teachers from around the city this week as winners of the first “Big Apple Awards” to recognize excellence in education, but none from Queens made the cut. Each winner will receive a $3,500 grant for use in the classroom and will serve as a “Big Apple Ambassador,” advising the city Department of Education.
They came from across the borough on Tuesday afternoon to show their patriotism and win a chance to sing at the upcoming US Open Tennis Tournament at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The United States Tennis Association, the national governing body for tennis in this country and the primary promoter of the sport at every level, held its seventh annual US Open casting call for children hoping to perform at the 2013 event.
Students in the 4th through 7th grades from St. Andrew Avellino School were big winners in this year’s annual McGoldrick Library Art Contest.
The contest, themed “Dig Into Reading,” was open to all the schools in the Flushing community. There were hundreds of artworks submitted and only twenty were selected to win.
The New York Mets continued a decade-long tradition in joining with the New York Blood Center to host a blood drive last Thursday at Citi Field.
More than 500 donors attended the event, which took place in the stadium’s Caesar’s Club from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a total of 565 pints were collected, according to the NYBC.
The New York City Fire Department offers free CPR instruction courses to groups of between six and 40 through the FDNY Mobile CPR Training Unit.
Personnel from the FDNY’s EMS Division are available to teach compression-only CPR, as well as the use of automatic external defibrillators, both of which can help save a victim of a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
A Florida-bound plane was forced to land at JFK Airport Thursday morning after being struck by two birds.
JetBlue Flight 1205 to Fort Myers, Fla. took off from Westchester County Airport in White Plains around 8 a.m. and was struck by the birds over the Long Island Sound.
Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Bayside), center, and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) attended the Kissena Park Civic Association’s 2013 Art Competition last Saturday. Participants of all ages submitted artwork inspired by Kissena Park. The lawmakers later presented trophies and prizes to winners in various age categories.
Housing advocates, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods chanted “What do we want? Affordable housing!” across the street from Citi Field on Friday, decrying what they considered a lackluster push for it in Willets Point and calling for a new agreement between the city and the development group selected to rejuvenate the Iron Triangle.
“If they put a wrecking ball to 2,000 units of affordable housing to make room for a shopping mall, it would be front-page news and there would be no end to the outrage,” Peralta said. “That’s exactly what’s happening here. It’s just as outrageous. It’s just as unacceptable.”
Seven months have passed since the fateful night Taysha Dominguez lost her husband, Dante, in a hit-and-run accident at the corner of 41st Avenue and Union Street in Flushing, with the driver of the vehicle still on the lam.
“To flee the scene? That’s heartless,” Dominguez said as she choked back tears, adding the loss combined with the lack of closure fueled by the driver’s disappearance has torn her family apart.
The Fort Totten Pool, the only free public pool in Northeast Queens, may not open this summer if the City Council does not restore funding before passing the final budget.
It is one of four pools that were not included in the mayor’s preliminary budget proposal, according to Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson. The four pools together cost $1.5 million to operate for the season. The other three are: Wagner Pool in Manhattan, Faber Pool in Staten Island and Howard Pool in Brooklyn.
Within the halls of Albany roams a lawmaker, unelected and unseen, with one role: to introduce legislation no other state senator wants to be associated with. “Senator Rules” is his (or her) name, and he (or she) is the lead sponsor of a bill currently in the Senate’s Rules Committee that will alienate what is now parkland to allow the United States Tennis Association to expand its presence in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The legislation literally lists “Rules” as its sponsor, reflecting the committee’s ability to refer bills to itself. It is part of a common practice in the Senate, sources with knowledge of Senate practices told the Chronicle.
Keep the geeks!
The borough’s tech gurus and economic activists are watching Congress with baited breath as it debates a set of immigration reforms which would increase the number of the nation’s highly skilled workers in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM fields.
Arvind Mahankali, an eighth-grader at MS 74 in Bayside, was showered with confetti after he spelled “knaidel” correctly, winning the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Mahankali competed against 281 other contestants, who hailed from all 50 states, eight other countries and several U.S. territories, according to Chris Kemper, a spokesman for Scripps National Spelling Bee.