Author Archives: TheForum

Dozens of Alleged Borough Gang Members Indicted

A grand jury this week handed up indictments against more than 30 alleged borough gang members on charges of conspiring to murder two rival gang members and conspiring to commit robberies in order to raise bail money for an alleged gang leader on Rikers Island. The 31 defendants, who range in age from 15 to 22, are reputed members of SNOW, Loyalty Over Everything and Young Bosses street gangs. Seventeen defendants have been charged in the retaliation-murder plot; while the … Continue reading

City Adds More Sandy Scarred Streets to To-Do List

Elected officials this week announced that after some prodding, the city agreed to repave side streets initially left out of the Broad Channel Street Resurfacing Project. The program initially covered the area along Cross Bay Boulevard from West 5th Road to West 20th Road. After meeting with Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park), City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) and Dan Mundy, Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, officials from the city departments of Transportation and Design and Construction … Continue reading

Two Murderers Get Life Sentences

Two men in separate homicide cases were sentenced last week to 25 years to life in prison. Andrew Caballero, 39, of Flushing, and Karma Sonam, 20, of Astoria, received their terms on Wednesday. Caballero’s attorney, Robert Didio, indicated that he has filed a notice of appeal on behalf of his client to get the ball rolling on having the verdict overturned. Sonam’s lawyer, Warren Silverman, also began the appeal process; however since he was assigned to Sonam’s case by the … Continue reading

Family and Friends Mourn the Ink King of Queens

  Pete was gone. It was the news to which Cubo, one of his closest friends and business partners, awoke last Thursday morning—the news that jabs, hard, like a cold tattoo needle on goose-bumped skin. “I love him,” said Cubo. “And I miss him.” Pete Giaquinto, the legendary Ozone Park tattoo artist who co-owned and operated Pete & Cubo’s Tattoos & Piercing, died on Sept. 11, 2014. He was 68 years old. “He was my best friend,” Billy Altstatt, Giaquinto’s … Continue reading

De Blasio, Katz Appoint Two More Library Trustees

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz announced last week their latest selections to the Queens Borough Public Library Board of Trustees. The administration and borough president’s office began naming replacements in recent weeks for the eight trustees that were ousted earlier this year after voting “no” on a resolution to force Library chief executive officer Thomas Galante to take a leave of absence in the wake of several scathing published reports detailing his hefty six-figure salary … Continue reading

Heroin Hits Home

His name is John—that’s what he has asked us to call him—and he’s a heroin addict; has been for the last 18 months. Of this John is uniquely certain. Because this is familiar territory. Been here, done this. John’s dope saga, like those of so many in his native Queens, began with a pill. “I got a root canal,” the thirtysomething out-of-work laborer said, recounting an emergency visit to a dentist about five years ago. “Doc gave me Percocet for … Continue reading

Stricken First Responders Tout 9/11 Clinic, Zadroga Act

On Feb. 14, 2013, John Licato’s life flashed before his eyes; the eyes that this retired city police officer thought had witnessed it all—from the indescribable joy of the birth of his grandchildren, to the agony of human suffering at the hands of terrorists. And it was with those eyes that he watched his doctor inform him he had a malignant tumor in his neck. “My Valentine’s Day gift,” he said with a smile tinted with a hint of sarcasm. … Continue reading

Queens Man Impersonates Dead Brother

New York State Acting Welfare Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown today announced the arrest of a Queens man who was charged with defrauding federal, state and city government agencies of more than $581,000 in welfare benefits from 1994 to 2013. He allegedly did so by impersonating his twin brother, who died in 1962 shortly after his birth. “This is an outrageous theft of benefits, moneys that are intended for those truly in need,” … Continue reading

Cops Hunt Queens Center Perv

Police this week were still searching for a man they say sexually assaulted two women inside Queens Center Mall last Thursday. Cops said that around 3 p.m. the suspect approached a 25-year-old female employee of a clothing store inside the Elmhurst mall, placed his hand along her legs and grabbed her genital area over her clothing. He then fled the scene, but approximately five minutes later, he approached a 34-year-old female from behind, put his arms around her waist and … Continue reading

“Nosy” Neighbors Sniff Out 311 Odor Complaints

The summer brings it haul of noise complaints each year and the precinct which covers Howard Beach and parts of Broad Channel report some of the highest numbers in the city for noise complaints submitted. But a peek at 311 complaints for another issue escalated in the summer shows something else that seems to be bothering residents in both those communities. The smell of them. A quick look on the 311 site provides the complainant an opportunity to enter concerns … Continue reading

The Amazing Adrien Comes Full Circle

It’s been a long time since “The Amazing Adrien” performed his magic act and entertained children around his native Woodhaven community. Amazing as it may seem, that same boyhood entertainer is Adrien Brody, Academy Award winning actor (The Pianist), who has taken his original magic act to unimaginable heights. The Queens actor starred in a two-night miniseries on the life of famed escape artist Harry Houdini, buried in the Queens community of Glendale. The series aired on the History channel … Continue reading


Despite a citywide boom of beachgoers during an unusually cool summer, the Parks Department is claiming 2014 as another safe and successful beach and pool season, highlighted by the fact that not a single incident during regular operating hours at pools or public beaches. The department operates and maintains 14 miles of beaches and 55 outdoor pools, open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Parks also operates 12 indoor pools that are open year-round. Park pools saw steady attendance … Continue reading

Neighbors Fed Up With Foul Factory

Genesys Diaz won’t allow her 2-year-old daughter to play in their yard. Iris Gonzalez has her husband escort her to her car in the rear of her property early each morning. Robin Abdul-Wahhab won’t leave her home after 6 p.m. Frustrated neighbors of a long-defunct Ozone Park factory detailed this week how the property’s abhorrent conditions have taken a significant toll on their daily lives. Nearly a dozen exasperated homeowners attended Tuesday night’s Community Board 9 meeting to draw attention … Continue reading

Woodhaven History Buffs Dig Up Clues on Mary Eldert

A mystery grows in Queens. The Woodhaven Cultural and Historical Society last week uncovered more information on a 19th century area resident and civic leader, including where she is interred; however, it seems that the story of Mary Eldert has only just begun. While Eldert’s tombstone turned up about 12 years ago in the backyard of a house on 86th Street, until recently it was believed that she was buried in the Wyckoff-Snediker Family Cemetery on 96th Street. But Eldert, … Continue reading

All Aboard! New Q114 Limited Bus Serving South Queens

South Queens straphangers last week swiped their MetroCards for the first time aboard the new Q114 bus, but the route might seem familiar to those who have become accustomed to the Q113. The Q114 Limited is part of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s 2014 bus service improvements, which implemented $4.9 million in enhancements to routes in all five boroughs. These enhancements, according to MTA New York City Transit, include new routes, extensions and stops. “New York City changes all the time, … Continue reading