Stories from Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, Hollis, Queens Village, St. Albans, Laurelton, Richmond Hill, Rochdale Village, and South Ozone Park

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The Southeast Queens Chamber of Commerce and its partners are hosting an inaugural Black Business Expo on Sept. 17 at the Harvest Room at 90-40 160 St. in Jamaica from 5 to 8 p.m.

“Our small businesses have been struggling and need to come out and get some exposure! Jamaica Avenue has been rising as one of the best cultural epicenter hubs in all of New York City,” said the Rev. Roxanne Simone Lord Marcelle, the founder of the Southeast Queens Chamber, in an email. “Jamaica offers a very unique shopping experience for shoppers looking for both value and ‘pizzazz.’”

A retired NYPD couple held a 9/11 vigil in Queens Village at their home on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The remembrance also included an encased glass shard from one of the towers they had kept.

Some of the guests in attendance of Elaine and Winston Bailey’s memorial were Pastor Doris Johnson of Holy Ghost Upper Room in South Jamaica and Bishop Melvin Artis of the Greater Universal Highway Deliverance Church in St. Albans. Read more

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Police responded to a 911 call on Tuesday at 8:40 a.m. where an off-duty officer was in need of assistance in a domestic incident in South Ozone Park, which involved a male suspect later exchanging gunfire with officers.

Upon arrival, patrol officers knocked on the front door and initially engaged the man in conversation, according to Citizen App. However, the suspect later threatened to shoot the officers that led to the police backing away and requesting an Emergency Service Unit at the scene located at 133rd Avenue and 129th Street. Read more

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with the JFK Chamber of Commerce unveiled a 9/11 memorial monument at JFK Port Authority Building 14 in Jamaica last Friday morning.

During the ceremony officials dedicated the new structure — composed of a hunk of Twin Towers steel and several plaques printed with the names of two of the flights that were hijacked — to Port Authority members who died during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Read more

Ree Brinn, an account executive at the Queens Chronicle, hosted a networking event sponsored by the paper that updated entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders about the new Covid-19 mandates in New York at Antun’s of Queens Village last month.

The business and nonprofit leaders were grateful for the opportunity that kept them up-to-date on what to expect at in-door dining restaurants and other event establishments. Read more

The city’s Office of Emergency Management is offering resources for victims of Tropical Storm Ida in each of the five boroughs.

“By placing one service center in each borough, New Yorkers can seek aid at any location as well as on nyc.gov/ida and by calling 311,” said an agency spokeswoman via email. “Recovering from an emergency has many layers depending on the event, and can add to the emotional stress of the incident.” Read more

Thursday, September 16, 2021
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New York City reopened school buildings Monday to all of its public school students for the first time since classes went remote at the outset of the pandemic.

While the landmark day revealed some logistical challenges and frustrations that school administrators will have to address in the coming weeks, many parents expressed a general sense of optimism, and data showed higher attendance than last year’s hybrid opening. Read more

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A “Better Buses” busway pilot will continue on schedule in Downtown Jamaica despite backlash from a previous initiative on Merrick Boulevard that was implemented last year and led to a recent modification of bus enforcement times as a result of a petition and complaints from community leaders and elected officials. 

“I saw [the announcement],” said Candace Prince-Modeste, the Southeast Queens activist who created a Change.org petition for a modified enforcement period of the bus lane on Merrick Boulevard. “It feels like they’ve moved onto the next project without fully bringing the Merrick one to a resolution. And I don’t believe that enough residents are aware of these proposed changes to the Downtown area.” Read more

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, state Department of Transportation and city Department of Transportation are reminding the public that on Thursday, Sept. 23, the agencies will begin holding 13 public meetings on the state’s proposed congestion pricing program, formally known as Central Business District Tolling.

The agencies are proposing that a toll be set for every vehicle entering Midtown or Downtown Manhattan, a zone that could start as far south as 60th Street, to raise money for the MTA and reduce traffic congestion and pollution in Manhattan. Read more

Monday, September 13, 2021
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The NYPD announced an arrest on Friday afternoon in the vandalism that destroyed a pair of 84-year-old religious statues outside Our Lady of Mercy Church in Forest Hills on the morning of July 17.

Police said Jacqueline Nikiena, 23, of Olcott Street was charged with criminal mischief as a hate crime and aggravated harassment. Read more

Friday, September 10, 2021
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New York City’s Department of Transportation has issued a series of traffic and lane closure alerts in Queens for the weekend of Sept. 10 through 12. Schedules are subject to change due to inclement weather, security alerts and other emergencies. 

The Long Island Expressway will continue to have single lanes both eastbound and westbound will be closed Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to allow the state Department of Transportation to carry out wall restoration and maintenance at multiple locations between the Nassau County border and the Queens Midtown Tunnel.  The work will continue until the state’s Covid-19 emergency is lifted. Read more

Thursday, September 09, 2021
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“This is America where I’m standing right now,” President Biden said in the middle of an East Elmhurst alley Sept. 7. “These are the people, whether it’s in Scranton or Clamont or anywhere around the country, who built this country and it’s about time we step up. They’re always the first ones that are hurt and the last ones that are helped. But that’s not going to happen this time.”

Biden visited the western Queens neighborhood one week after Hurricane Ida swept through the city, flooding streets, damaging homes and taking the lives of at least eight in the borough. Read more

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Tropical Depression Ida may have left a Hollis community down after the deaths of Phamatee Ramskriet, 43, and her son, Khrishah Ramskriet, 22, but it did not leave the residents out.

Immediately after the Sept. 1 flash flooding that swamped at least 15 homes in the area, Amrisa Bhagwandin, 30, a neighbor who lives across the street from the Ramskriets, created a GoFundMe page to get the funds needed for her own family and the neighborhood. Read more

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For Sebastian Raspanti, an Astoria native and retired firefighter with FDNY Engine 233 and Ladder 176, the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 should always be a day to honor those who lost their lives.

“What 9/11 is about was the lives that were lost and the people that were missing,” said Raspanti, a father of three girls. “They don’t have the experience that I have where I get to take care of my kids and have life experience with them ... there are a lot of people who are not here who weren’t able to see their kids go to their first day of school. That is really the impact of what happened.” Read more

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Hurricane Ida’s unexpected flash floods that bombarded Queens houses and apartment buildings and killed more than a dozen people have amplified a debate over basement apartment regulation in the city.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, housing advocates and a group of councilmembers pointed to a stalled program aimed at converting basement apartments that are prohibited by New York City zoning and building codes as a potential tool for combating basement apartment fatalities. Read more

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What started as a senior week celebration 19 years ago has grown to become Senior Appreciation Month, according to Councilman Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans), who announced a string of events at York College on Sept. 3.

“We are so grateful to be able to offer a mix of in-person and virtual programming this year for our annual senior month for us, and it means a lot that we’re able to gather together in person again and recognize those who have meant so much to us and on whose shoulders we stand,” said Miller in a press release. Read more

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Across the country, academically high-achieving students from low-income, first-generation, immigrant and minority families are either forgoing, dropping out of or being undermatched for college, according to CollegePoint, a Bloomberg Philanthropies-backed virtual advising program.

CollegePoint, an online initiative created seven years ago, aims to prevent that by finding college advisors who complement these accomplished students and set them up on a pathway that will help these scholars reach both their collegiate and career goals, according to Nick Watson, the CollegePoint program lead. Read more

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Hurricane Ida may have been downgraded to a tropical depression when it hit several states with flash flooding in the Northeast on Sept. 1, but it was just as dangerous as when it decimated Louisiana on Aug. 28.

Eight people in Queens have died since the torrential downpour hit New York City with nearly 10 inches of rain and 35 mph of sustained wind on Sept. 1, according to the NYPD and Accuweather, a weather news outlet. Read more

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It may have been a regular coffee date with his work friends and a lunchtime meeting that kept Michael Mulvaney directly out of harm’s way during the World Trade Center attacks of 1993 and 2001.

Mulvaney was buying his morning coffee in the World Trade Center concourse on Sept. 11, 2001 when he heard a rumbling that was all too familiar to him. Read more

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Nearly two years after the shooting death of Aamir Griffin, 14, on Oct. 26, 2019, a reputed Money World gang member could face up to 25 years in prison for the youth’s alleged slaying.

Sean Brown, 18, of Jamaica was indicted on Sept. 8 for murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, according to District Attorney Melinda Katz’s Office. As Aamir was playing basketball around 8 p.m. on the night in question at the Baisley Park Houses, a housing project in South Jamaica, Brown allegedly was nearby at Foch Boulevard seeking out a rival gang member, whom he mistook the teenager for and fired three shots from a .380-caliber firearm. Read more

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Days after answering Gov. Hochul’s call to provide federal relief for New York and to support infrastructure initiatives after flash flooding from Tropical Storm Ida poured into the Big Apple’s subway system, President Biden made a visit to East Elmhurst on Sept. 7.

“This goes so far beyond what anybody is willing to speak up to until now,” said Biden. “We just finished surveying the damage here in Queens.” Read more

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President Biden declared New York City’s four outer boroughs and Westchester County the site of a major disaster Monday, greenlighting federal aid for people affected by Hurricane Ida’s torrential downpours.

Assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will include funding for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses and aid from other recovery programs to help fight the effects of the disaster. Read more