Monthly Archives: April 2011

Pheffer to Leave Assembly

Legislator Will Resign Seat to Take Over as Queens County Clerk As The Forum went to press on Wednesday evening, we learned that Assemblymember Audrey Pheffer will officially resign on May 11 to become the Queens County clerk, filling the post left vacant by the death of Gloria D’Amico last year. Her acceptance of the clerk’s job will create a vacancy for the assembly seat. In earlier conversations, Pheffer told The Forum she would likely support her chief of staff, … Continue reading

Ideas Wanted for Queens Design Projects

“Wouldn’t it be great if the old, abandoned [Long Island Railroad track] running from Forest Park to Rockaway Beach was turned into a simpler version of the High Line [park] with native plants, an edible garden, along with a bike and pedestrian path?” “Wouldn’t it be great if…” is the tagline for a campaign by the Institute for Urban Design (IfUD) this month, in advance of the first annual Urban Design Week in September. The initiative has been asking New … Continue reading

Enforcement Needed to Solve Park Woes

One of Citizen for a Better Ridgewood’s biggest challenges is policing Grover Cleveland Playground. Last summer, residents around the park were fed up with unruly athletic league players and visitors illegally parking at bus stops, fire hydrants and driveways. Michael Hetzer, vice-president of CBR, said he has been working with the 104th Precinct and the Parks Department to address the issue. At last month’s meeting, Rene Herrera, community parks manager for Community Boards 5 and 6, listened to residents’ complaints. … Continue reading

Smoked Out: DA Brown Lights a Fire Under Illegal Cigarette Convictions

New York City smokers are subjected to the highest cigarette taxes in the country: $5.85 per pack. As the taxes increased, smuggling cigarettes has become a lucrative business opportunity, but Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is returning fire at illegal smuggling. Last week, Brown announced the formation of the Crimes Against Revenue Unit (CARU), which is tasked with investigating and prosecuting individuals who attempt to bypass tax obligations, such as smuggling cigarettes. Brown also announced that working with national and … Continue reading

Forest Hills Kids Celebrate Easter Fest

Pastor Michael Kytka said the Barnyard theme of this year’s Ascension Church Easter Fest in Forest Hills was a variation on a petting zoo theme of a few years ago. He laughed at the recollection of real farm animals grazing through one of the classrooms at P.S. 101 at 2 Russell Place. This year—the fifth year of Easter fest—all the barnyard animals were cardboard cutouts concealing Easter eggs. The upstairs classroom where the barnyard and an activities area full of … Continue reading

Regan Republicans Swear In

The executive board members of the Ronald Regan Republican Club were sworn into office on Monday evening by Councilmember Peter Koo. After the ceremony Koo spoke to the attendees about the importance of the work they do to unify and strengthen their party. Pictured from left to right: Robert Godamski, Secretary; Joann Ariola, Vice President; Jane Deacy, Republican District Leader 23rd AD; Councilmember Peter Koo; Joe Iaboni, President; Mary Ann Carey, Vice President; Tommy Savoca, Officer of Protocol; and John … Continue reading

9/11 Flag Inspires Rotary Club Members

The crowd at Tuesday night’s South West Queens Rotary Club meeting received a rare treat—the opportunity to touch and view a national treasure—the National 9/11 Flag. Firefighter Jimmy Sands gave a presentation about the 20 by 30 foot flag, which weighs 45 pounds, and was flown at 90 West Street, a few blocks south of the World Trade Center, and in the aftermath of the destruction, the flag was destroyed. Now, the New York Says Thank You Foundation is taking … Continue reading

Traffic Changes in Maspeth Bypass Continue

A revised version of street changes in Maspeth—part of the Maspeth Truck Bypass Plan—was approved on Tuesday by Community Board 5’s Transportation Committee. It will now go before the full board. The new Department of Transportation (DOT) plan will make a stretch of Maurice Avenue one-way northbound and 58th Street one-way southbound, while keeping Maspeth Avenue, originally proposed as a one-way eastbound street, as a two-way street. Additionally, 59th Street, 56th Drive and 56th Avenue are all proposed as opposing … Continue reading

Single Room Death Traps

How many more must die before something is done? A fire at an illegally subdivided building in the Bronx claimed the lives of three people Monday morning. This isn’t the first time a fire in an illegal apartment kills, nor will it be the last. There are numerous documented problems with illegal subdivisions. Neighborhoods are overrun with cars and people it can’t support. They may also be responsible for New York City’s shockingly low Census count. WNYC reported earlier this … Continue reading

Hospital Plan for St. John’s Flat-lining

New life may be coming to the former St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst, but it won’t be patients. A proposal filed last month with the Department of Buildings (DOB) seeks to turn the shuttered, graffiti-covered hospital into a dual-use businesses and residential complex. Since St. John’s Hospital closed in 2009 after its parent company, Caritas, declared bankruptcy, community groups, politicians and the building’s owners have been seeking a partner that could revive the former medical center. Those efforts may have … Continue reading

Parks Shows off Carousel

As the Forest Park carousel whirred to life, the three prospective operators who are considering submitting proposals to operate the city-owned attraction stood next to the exit. While the carousel looks about as it did in 2009, when the shutters came down and the motor went off, the prospective operators worried about whether or not it would be a money pit. The food concession was gutted—one of its few remaining appliances was a rotary pay phone—and the carousel itself needs … Continue reading

Body Washes Up In Broad Channel

Police from the 100th Precinct set up a crime scene in Broad Channel on Thursday morning when the body of an unidentified black male was discovered. According to police sources, the body washed up alongside a home on Thursday morning, across the street from the back entrance of PS 47 near W9th Street and Power Road There has been no identification of the victim and police are continuing an investigation into the identity of the man. It is unclear as … Continue reading

Detective Weber Honored at Retirement Ceremony: Served the 104th Precinct for Over Two Decades

Detective Kevin Weber, community affairs officer for the 104th Precinct, will be able to spend a lot more time at home. And while he’s there, he can reminisce about the impact he’s made by looking at the numerous awards and citations he received at his retirement ceremony at Maspeth Town Hall last Thursday. Weber joined the 104th Precinct 26 years ago as a beat cop, walking the streets of Ridgewood. He immediately began building relationships within the community and showed … Continue reading

Koslowitz: Honor Ferraro With Street Naming

Since Geraldine Ferraro passed away on March 26, after a more than decade long battle with cancer, Queens residents have mourned her loss. The City Council currently has a resolution on the floor to honor the accomplishments of the former New York state representative, submitted by Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), who recently added a new request for the City Council—one that would rename a street in Forest Hills, where Ferraro lived. Koslowitz submitted a bill request nearly three weeks … Continue reading

Stop & Shop Donates Kosher Food for Passover

In the last two years, during one of the worst recessions in the United States, Queens Jewish community leaders have had a 325 percent increase in requests for emergency assistance. To ensure the most needy Jewish residents get the proper food necessary to celebrate Passover, Stop & Shop Supermarkets partnered with the Queens Jewish Community Council and city politicians and donated 1,000 pounds of kosher food. Warren Hecht, president of the Queens Jewish Community Council, said he would love a … Continue reading