Stories from Bayside, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Bellerose, College Point, Whitestone, Auburndale and Glen Oaks

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A Fresh Meadows traffic circle was outfitted with new signals, lights and delineators to increase pedestrian safety this summer, changes that area residents say have caused an insufferable increase in vehicular congestion.

“It’s a complete nightmare,” Elaine Young, president of the West Cunningham Park Civic Association, said of the 188th Street and 64th Avenue circle, which lies parallel to the Long Island Expressway and in front of the Fresh Meadows Place shopping plaza.

The Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park is hosting its big gala next week: An Evening Under the Sphere.

The Sept. 23 fundraiser will feature an all-you-can-eat dining experience, provided by an array of favorite Queens Night Market international chefs. Soft drinks, wine, beer and dessert will be included. Read more

The city Department for the Aging will be launching a pilot program that will allow elderly residents or those with disabilities from Queens to use an app to schedule trips to the doctor.

Those ages 60 and older or those with disabilities age 18 and older will be able to take rides within the five boroughs and Nassau and Westchester counties. It will include a random participant selection process to ensure fairness for a yearly cohort of 1,038 participants citywide. 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 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

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

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

Friday, September 10, 2021

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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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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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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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

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Dead trees and an overgrowth of grass and weeds have overtaken the medians on Hillside Avenue that stretch from Springfield Boulevard to 231st Street next to Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village for decades, according to Kirby Lindell of Bell Park Manor Terrace, a housing cooperative for veterans.

After years of highlighting the issue, which many in Lindell’s neighborhood say has been a problem for decades, he had hoped that an expected tree removal process for September would go through this year. Read more