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The Queens World Film Festival celebrates filmmaking from around the borough and around the world and runs from Wednesday to Saturday. Here is a guide to the films being shown in selected thematic blocks this weekend.
Woodhaven residents and civic leaders have had enough of the problems caused by a vacant building that collapsed on Jamaica Avenue last April.
It’s been more than 10 months since the structure at 78-19 Jamaica Ave. partially imploded after heavy rains, destroying a minivan and damaging the recently-renovated Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps next door.
The federal case over the Police Department’s use of stop and frisk went before a new judge last week.
District Judge Analisa Torres will now rule on the lawsuit brought against the city by civil rights groups and people who say they were wrongly stopped by cops, in violation of their constitutional rights.
Although no one has been charged yet, the Luzerne County Pa. coroner’s office said earlier this week that the death of Bayside resident Michael Deng, 19, has been ruled a homicide.
Deng, a freshman at Baruch College, was being initiated into a fraternity during a hazing weekend at a rented house in the Poconos. As part of the ritual, he was allegedly made to wear a heavy backpack and was blindfolded while he was repeatedly tackled by fraternity members. He suffered major brain trauma.
A Queens Village man pleaded guilty in Nassau County on Tuesday to charges stemming from the theft of money from Home Depot’s employee donation-matching program.
Alfred Williams, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree grand larceny for allegedly collecting fraudulent donations said to be for a church he controlled in the amount of more than $111,000.
Vincent Asaro, 78, a reputed top member of the Bonanno organized crime family, was arrested by the FBI last Thursday in a pre-dawn raid at his Howard Beach home and charged with taking part in the 1978 heist of $6 million in cash and jewels at JFK Airport. He was also charged with murder for allegedly killing a man whom he believed to be an informant.
“[Asaro] devoted his adult life to the Bonanno crime family, with a criminal career that spanned decades,” said Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, in a statement. “Neither age nor time dimmed Asaro’s ruthless ways, as he continued to order violence to carry out mob business in recent months.”
Five men, including one from Howard Beach, were arrested Thursday in an FBI raid on alleged members of the Bonanno organized crime family.
Several more people have come forward to say that they paid in full for parties at the shuttered La Bella Vita catering hall only to have the owners take their money and run.
La Bella Vita, the popular Ozone Park catering hall at 106-09 Rockaway Blvd., abruptly closed last month after nearly three decades in business. After the closure, several people came forward to say they had paid for parties at the hall that were suddenly canceled and their money was not refunded. One of those included a holiday party for the Queens workers of the city Housing Authority.
When Helen Reddy sang, “I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore,” on her 1971 debut album, the words became a call to arms for women everywhere.
Although women have come a long way since then in achieving parity with men, they are still fighting for an equal place in society, a point driven home loudly at last Saturday’s panel discussion, “Standing with Women,” at Temple Beth Shalom in Flushing.
The brother of Congresswoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) faces possible charges in the death of an Oakland Gardens man during a fraternity hazing in December, according to published reports.
Andy Meng, 28, of Bayside is national president of the Pi Delta Psi fraternity, whose Baruch College chapter is accused of using illegal hazing practices in the death of Michael Deng, 19. Deng wanted to join the fraternity and died on Dec. 8 during an initiation weekend in Tunkhannock Township in the Poconos.
A bill to help protect the health and safety of dogs and cats by authorizing local municipalities to adopt more stringent laws to regulate pet dealers was signed into law last Friday by Gov. Cuomo.
It authorizes municipal governments to enact more stringent laws than those currently existing at the state level by removing the current pre-emption on municipalities to enact their own laws regulating or licensing pet dealers. Any new local ordinance must be at least as stringent as state law and must not result in the banning of the sale of dogs and cats raised in a safe and healthy manner.
In 2013, the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, Woodhaven Business Improvement District and the neighborhood as a whole experienced many changes, the biggest being November’s elections.
The GWDC and Woodhaven BID wish our newly elected officials the very best in their new positions. May they be very successful in their leadership of our city and supportive of Woodhaven. To our electeds leaving office we thank them for their excellent public service, leadership, commitment and their consideration of Woodhaven.
In Western Queens, 2013 was the year of development and affordable housing. Willets Point, Hallets Point, Hunters Point and 5Pointz became names commonly thrown around by politicians, community boards and civic groups throughout the area. There wasn’t a month that didn’t go by when residents, electeds and developers went head to head on major development projects, illegal apartments, a massive soccer stadium plan or even the possible closing of their neighborhood movie theater.
Elections and new laws adopted in 2013 promised sweeping changes across the city’s horizon in 2014, with a new mayor, a new City Council, and an uncertain future for policies on education, law enforcement and city finances.
The ongoing recovery from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy dominated life in South Queens for most of 2013 and was a factor in many other big stories, from the future of the abandoned Rockaway Beach LIRR line to the election battle between Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and his Democratic opponent Lew Simon.
But South Queens also dealt with a wide array of other issues in 2013, from crime at Forest Park to internal strife on Community Board 9.
It could be said that 2013 was a good year to be a political junkie in New York City with Public Advocate Bill de Blasio being elected mayor, and Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner enjoying short-lived political comeback tours.
It also proved to be a bad year to be a school advocate, a Republican seeking elective office or former state Sen. Shirley Huntley.
Martin Scorsese has always been fascinated by organized crime. Ironically, his latest crime saga, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is free of bullets, but he makes it clear that the world of white collar crime can be of far higher economic stakes than that of the gangster world.
Back in the day, before anyone knew what a caramel latte macchiato was, The Interlude coffee shop, tucked away by the Kew Gardens LIRR station, off Lefferts Boulevard, was a popular hangout, where locals schmoozed with their friends over a cup of joe and a slice of cherry pie.
It was a “folky” place for up-and-coming musical artists, such as Jose Feliciano and Al Cooper.
It’s rare that a free agent switches from one local ballclub to another. The only one who comes to mind is relief pitcher Pedro Feliciano, who left the Mets to join the Yankees in the fall of 2010. At the time, Feliciano was upset at how the Mets overworked him and then rewarded him by refusing to make him a reasonable offer. He never threw a pitch in a Yankees uniform because of injuries, and, ironically, rejoined the Mets as a free agent last year.
Feliciano now has company as a trivia answer, as recent Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson has accepted a four-year, $60 million deal from the Mets. This is the Mets’ first marquee free-agent signing since their ill-fated deal with outfielder Jason Bay four years ago.
Director and screenwriter David O. Russell, who was the mastermind behind last year’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” has brought a good deal of his repertory company back (Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro) for his new film, “American Hustle,” which is inspired by some of the events from the late 1970s Abscam scandal. Abscam was an FBI sting operation that caught a number of congressmen taking bribes in return for questionable favors.
Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) is that 30-something guy from the Bronx who owns a chain of dry-cleaning stores in New York City circa 1978. He is outwardly living the suburban dream married to a very attractive but somewhat neurotic woman, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence), in a beautiful home 0n Nassau County’s North Shore.
Police have been cracking down on the ongoing party situation at the Rockwood Park Jewish Center.
According to NYPD sources, cops from the 106th Precinct issued two summonses to party organizers at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 25 for not posting a liquor license and unlicensed sale of alcohol. The source did not say if the summonses were issued to the party promoters or the caterer, Crown Royale, but a member of the synagogue said it was not issued the summonses.
The first set of meetings between the groups leading the study of a proposed High Line-style park on the former Rockaway Beach rail corridor and the residents who live along the line started a little on the rocky side.
Before the conglomerate of organizations, led by urban park advocacy group The Trust for Public Land and the plan’s backers, Friends of the QueensWay, even began their short presentation in Woodhaven’s Emanuel Baptist Church on Nov. 12, they were shouted down by a handful of residents who thought the workshop was a public forum.