Stories from Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill, South Ozone Park, City Line and JFK Airport

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Mayor de Blasio has a new best friend. The weatherman.

The mayor’s unpopular plan to prohibit swimming at city beaches this summer to fight the spread of the coronavirus got off to an unusually calm start over the long Memorial Day weekend, as cold temperatures and clammy, overcast skies kept the COVID-lockdown-crazed crowds away from the Rockaways.

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The police nearly outnumbered the protesters at an anti-lockdown protest outside New Park Pizza in Howard Beach during Memorial Day weekend.

A group of around 10 women, who organized through the Howard Beach Moms Facebook group, claimed that Gov. Cuomo’s limited definition of essential businesses is hurting small businesses in the area. Read more

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn on Tuesday granted its churches in Brooklyn and Queens clearance to open for private prayer, weddings, baptisms and funerals — all under certain restrictions.

In a statement released by the diocese last Friday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio said masks are required of all who enter a church. Funerals and limited celebrations of baptisms and weddings can have no more that 10 people in attendance in accordance with state guidelines. Read more

It took until early in the morning on May 21, but the city’s Panel for Educational Policy approved temporary co-locations for Success Academy charter middle schools beginning in September at IS 238-Susan B. Anthony Academy in Hollis and Brian Piccolo MS 53 in the Rockaways.

The final vote was cast at 1:01 a.m. after seven hours and scores of speakers including students from existing Success schools in Queens, MS 53 and the Village Academy, which also shares MS 53 with an existing Success elementary school. Read more

Friday, May 29, 2020
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New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing wholesale grocery distributor Quality King Distributors and CEO Glenn Nussdorf for alleged price gouging on more than 46,000 cans of Lysol spray during the coronavirus pandemic.

James said the company’s wholesale prices to sell Lysol disinfectant products to neighborhood grocery and discount stores, including several in Queens, were illegally increased. Read more

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Retired prosecutor Jim Quinn announced Friday that his campaign for borough president is over after failing to have the nonpartisan special election restored in court.

The election was slated for June 23 but was canceled by Gov. Cuomo. A Democratic primary will be held that day, but Quinn is not on that ballot. Quinn went to court to have the decision overturned but lost, and an appellate judge sided with Cuomo Wednesday. Read more

Thursday, May 28, 2020
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After 53 days in the hospital, Brian Morales was given a “Clap Off” by staff at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills-Northwell Health last Monday as he was discharged and went back to his Elmhurst home.

“A lot of goosebumps and a lot of tears,” said Rosemarie Robinson, the hospital’s ICU assistant director of nursing. “Happy tears for a change.” Read more

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The drama between Third District congressional candidates Michael Weinstock and Melanie D’Arrigo reached an apex after Weinstock posted to his personal Facebook page that “if [D’Arrigo] were a man, I’d consider giving her a good old-fashioned throat punch.”

The post appeared following weeks of accusations between the Long Islanders looking to challenge Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Nassau, Suffolk, Queens) in the upcoming June 23 Democratic primary for the seat that contains several northern Queens neighborhoods. Read more

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Northeast Queens was not able to observe Memorial Day with its traditional ceremonies and parades, so elected officials gathered virtually to honor the holiday and commemorate those who gave their lives while serving for the country.

“We observe a tradition that has gone unfailingly for as long as anybody can remember,” said ceremony host state Sen. John Liu (D-Flushing), referencing the College Point and Douglaston parades and Whitestone ceremony which were cancelled to reduce social gatherings during the pandemic. “This is not just a day to potentially go to the beach — walking around only, no swimming! — or to grill hotdogs and hamburgers. This is the day that we remember those Americans who paid the ultimate price so that you and I can live free here in America, the greatest nation on this earth.” Read more

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Ron Jeremy’s childhood tree has not yet been taken down.

The Department of Parks and Recreation determined the tree, which Jeremy’s father planted in front of the family’s home the day of the adult film star’s birth, was in “poor condition” and ordered its removal. Jeremy took to Twitter in an effort to save the 61st Street and Bell Boulevard tree, but the Parks Department has not swayed in its decision, though did say it poses “no imminent safety threat” and has not yet scheduled a date for its removal. Read more

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The Department of Homeless Services anticipates relocating the men at 78-16 Cooper Ave. in Glendale in the coming weeks, the agency told the Chronicle in an email last Wednesday.

The city is moving shelter residents to hotels to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Single-adult shelters with congregate settings are being targeted. Read more

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The 107th Precinct and Shmira Public Safety patrol are warning Jamaica Estates residents against individuals approaching homes and asking for money.

A precinct neighborhood coordination officer alerted members of the neighborhood via email after Shmira reported the incidents, one of which involved a male entering the residence of an elderly couple, who gave the individual money. Read more

Those seeking information about their coronavirus relief payments can now call an Internal Revenue Service telephone hotline for expedited answers.

Established May 19, the phone line is designed to help address many common questions that individuals have about receiving their funds, which are officially known as Economic Impact Payments. Read more

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Gov. Cuomo announced that families of frontline public employees who died from the coronavirus will be entitled to line-of-duty benefits.

“Today we’re saying we honor that service and we’re going to make sure that every government in the State of New York provides death benefits to those public heroes who died from COVID-19 during this emergency,” Cuomo said Monday at the Intrepid Sea Air and Space Museum. Read more

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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New York City this past weekend opened up more than three more miles of streets in Queens to cyclists and pedestrians among 13 miles dedicated throughout the five boroughs.

The additions bring the total length of open streets citywide to 43 miles, exceeding the de Blasio administration’s target of 40 miles by the end of March. Read more