Sunday, August 7, 2022

100

 

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QNS 

For close to a century, the Forest Park Carousel has been part of the rituals of growing up in Woodhaven, Glendale, Richmond Hill and many of the other nearby neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn.

In many families, several generations have fond memories of riding on the carousel as children before passing along the tradition by taking their own children or grandchildren for their first ride. The Forest Park Carousel is not only a fun ride, but also a beautiful and historically significant piece of work.

Nearly all the figures were created by the hands of legendary Master Carver Daniel C. Muller, a crucial factor in the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission’s decision to designate the Forest Park Carousel a New York City Landmark in 2013.

To gain a better understanding of Muller, we need to start with Gustav Dentzel who had learned the craft of carousel-building from his father Michael in Germany and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1864. Though he initially took up trade as a cabinetmaker, in 1867, he began the G.A. Dentzel Steam and Horsepower Carousel Builder company.

Dentzel’s firm completed an average of four full carousels a year, some of the earliest carousels in the United States.

One of Dentzel’s carvers was also a close friend, John Heinrich Muller. When Mueller died suddenly, Dentzel raised his surviving two teenage sons as his own. The brothers, Daniel and Alfred, joined the Dentzel family business in 1890 and began carving carousel figures.

Although both brothers were talented carvers, it was Daniel C. Muller (born in 1872) who truly shone, honing his craft at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. D. C. Muller’s carvings were notable for being very beautiful and realistic. He was also known for militaristic carvings with horses sporting bugles, swords and canteens.

In 1903, the brothers left Dentzel and started their own company, D.C. Muller Brothers Carousel Manufacturing Company, a much smaller shop than Dentzel ran. The Mullers only managed to build 12 carousels over 14 years with much of the delays attributed to Muller’s attention to detail.

The Mullers closed the shop in 1917 and rejoined their former company, which had been run by William Dentzel since his father Gustav’s passing in 1909. They remained with the Dentzels until William passed away and the company folded in 1928 as the Golden Age of Carousels in America came to a close.

And that brings us to the Forest Park Carousel. In the early days of Forest Park, the golf course was much larger, covering all the land down to what is known today as Park Lane South. All the land that the Forest Park Carousel sits on today, plus all the area surrounding it, was originally part of the golf course.

The residents of Woodhaven complained and in 1923 the Parks Department reduced the size of the golf course and the land that was freed up was set aside as public park space. It was at that time that Forest Park began to more closely resemble the park we know today.

Plans for playgrounds, a concrete bandstand, tennis courts and a carousel were announced. It’s hard to imagine, but residents of Woodhaven were opposed to the placement of a carousel so close to Woodhaven Boulevard, which was a sleepy one-lane road called Woodhaven Avenue at the time.

Construction on a building to contain the carousel finished in December 1922, in the woods, well off from Woodhaven Avenue. And by the spring of 1923, a carousel was spinning in Forest Park.  The original carousel in Forest Park was a Muller creation and was owned and operated by Fred J. L. Hassinger of Glendale.

For over half a century, residents of Woodhaven and surrounding communities flocked to the Forest Park Carousel. Parents and grandparents put their children on the carousel, then sat and enjoyed the pipe organ music and the smell of hot dogs and popcorn.


Ozone Park hotel is a homeless shelter again

 


 Queens Chronicle

Amidst the city scrambling to find space to house an influx of asylum seekers and increasing homeless in New York City, one former Ozone Park shelter has been reactivated to meet the demand.

“The need for space has a direct correlation to New York being a sanctuary city,” Councilwoman Joann Ariola (R-Ozone Park) told the Chronicle.

She learned last week from the community board that the Travelodge on Redding Street would be converted back into a shelter.

That location and the adjacent Ozone Inn & Suites were previously used to shelter homeless families but were phased out by the city in the fall of 2021. Now, the one location will be used to house up to 75 families. So far, approximately 60 families had already moved in.

On Monday, the Mayor’s Office announced an emergency procurement declaration that allows the city to contract quickly with shelters and service providers.

“Over the past two months, we have seen a significant increase in the number of asylum seekers arriving in our city’s shelter system,” Mayor Adams said in a statement.

“To fulfill our city’s legal and moral mandate to provide quality shelter to anyone experiencing homelessness, and to ensure we are providing appropriate services to asylum seekers, we are immediately issuing an emergency procurement declaration to rapidly procure additional shelter and services to serve these individuals and families.”

According to officials, approximately 4,000 asylum seekers have entered the city shelter system since late May, largely contributing to the 10 percent increase in the city Department of Homeless Services’ census.

More than 100 additional asylum seekers are seeking housing each day, the Mayor’s Office stated in a press release.

As of May, there were nearly 50,000 homeless people, including over 15,000 children, living in the city’s shelter system, according to the Coalition for the Homeless.

The city is in talks with the federal government to seek reimbursements for the emergency costs.

Ariola said there will be bi-weekly meetings at the Travelodge with her office, Community Board 10, the NYPD and the DHS.

“I’m concerned about how the families are being treated and I’m concerned about any type of negative impact that could have on the surrounding community,” said Ariola.

 

F your soccer stadium

 

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 Queens Chronicle

A group of activists and Corona residents gathered along the outer wall of the Willets Point construction site, where Phase 1 of the city’s development project is underway, to voice their opposition to the potential building of a soccer stadium in the area this past Sunday.

Though Mayor Adams’ office told the Chronicle that no agreement has been made for a stadium — which would permanently house the New York City Football Club — at this point, state lobbying records show that the team’s owners, the City Football Group, have pitched the stadium to numerous area stakeholders, including Adams and Councilman Francisco Moya (D-Corona) [see separate story].

Upon hearing the news, longtime activist Bertha Lewis joined forces with the Black Leadership Action Coalition, Nos Quedamos Queens and former Councilman and state Sen. Hiram Monserrate, for Sunday’s rally.

“Our city, as the mayor has stated, has a housing crisis,” Monserrate said Sunday afternoon. “But somehow, our local councilmember and others have concocted a scheme to build another, fourth stadium in this neighborhood — number four — 25,000 more seats, when people don’t have a damn place to live.”

The news of a potential NYCFC stadium is the latest in a years-long saga surrounding development proposed for the area, during which time a previous soccer stadium, a shopping mall and, most recently, a casino, have been proposed for the broader Willets Point-Flushing Meadows Corona Park area. All of those plans, including the casino, have been met with widespread opposition from residents in the surrounding communities.

Not only do stadium opponents believe that the need for housing supersedes the need for the borough’s fourth stadium, but the 1,100 units of housing slated for Willets Point is far fewer than the 5,500 agreed upon in 2007 (a deal Monserrate helped broker), prior to the construction of Citi Field.

“It’s an insult. It’s ridiculous,” Lewis told the Chronicle. “1,100 units. And, oh, we’re supposed to be happy with that? It’s the same story.”

She added that 5,500 units of housing need to be built before anything else is, along with the school the public was promised; the latter is part of the current plan.

One of the chief arguments in favor of building a soccer stadium at Willets Point is that it would create a myriad of new jobs, both in the construction process and once the stadium opens. But Lewis rejects that argument outright.

“You mean selling hot dogs and popcorn? You think that’s a nice career? Don’t give me that bulls--t,” Lewis said.

 

Ruff times at Rufus King Park

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Queens Chronicle 

Last Thursday, Tunisia Morrison shared to Twitter a post displaying individuals passed out on benches in Rufus King Park, one with a needle stuck in his arm, and an image of human defecation in a fountain she says is frequented by children. The images were part of a presentation she and other members of the Friends of Dogs at Rufus King Park organization, a coalition of approximately 70 dog owners in the area, have been showing to elected officials in an effort to secure a dog run for the park.

The movement has gained more than 300 signatures on a petition posted to Change.org.

They say the dog run is necessary as a result of two issues. One, park enforcement officers in the area are strict in their enforcement of leashing rules, leaving the dogs with nowhere to roam. Even when dog owners circumvent the rules and let the dogs loose, they often encounter garbage and hazardous materials posing a risk to the animals’ safety, as well as the general state of the park as a community gathering space.

“I have a photo of a dog’s face that is three times the size it should be from rat poisoning and no signs across Downtown Jamaica that says that they dropped any,” Morrison said. “There’s a dog with a needle in its face. There’s a dog whose paw is literally ripped off from a bottle cap.”

“I didn’t know if I should post them because I live here and want to be proud of where I’m at, but if I’m sending this to elected officials already and trying to gain support around this dog run, then I’m 100 percent going to post these on Twitter and say, how is this OK for us or animals?” she added.

Parks Department rules stipulate dogs must be leashed at all times while on park grounds, unless in a designated unleashing zone or in a dog run. Still, Morrison says park enforcement officials frequently ignore more egregious violations, such as fighting and drug use, to chide community members over leashing violations.

A spokesperson for Councilman James Gennaro (D-Hillcrest), within whose district Rufus King Park falls, says it is the role of park enforcement officers to act as a liaison for the NYPD and the city Department of Mental Health and Hygiene, as park enforcement officers lack the training required to handle potentially dangerous situations stemming from a mentally ill or drug-influenced person.

“If you actually can’t help this community in mitigating what’s happening in it, why the investment?” Morrison said. “Because that investment could have went into the dog run.”

“I don’t know why the New York City Parks Department does not want to invest as they should in building up quality of life, but this is the [story] of living in the 114- ZIP code, going back way before I was born,” she added.

Life in the fast bike lane

  


NY Post

 More than one-third of people riding motorized two-wheeleers on the Big Apple’s protected bike lanes and greenways speed dangerously, an analysis by The Post found.

Although the city last week revved up its crackdown on dangerous driving by operating speed cameras round the clock, bike lanes remain severe safety hazards flooded with scofflaws on e-bikes, mopeds and motorcycles that constantly disobey the 25-mph speed limit.

Over the past week, a team of Post journalists used a radar gun to track speeders on paths crossing the Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queensboro bridges, as well as bike lanes in Midtown and at Hudson River Park.

Of the 486 two-wheelers clocked, 167 – or 34% — sped above the 25 mph max, including some as high as 35 mph. They include dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles and others outlawed on city streets and bike lanes.

 he need for speed was especially noticeable on the Williamsburg Bridge where 44 – or 59% — of 74 motor bikes using its pathway over an hour-long period Friday went over 25 mph.

The Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge’s lanes were also filled with speeders. Over an hour, 37% and 30% of its bikers were also caught, respectively, speeding by the reporter and photographer.

On the Queensboro Bridge, 18% of the 87 motorized bikers clocked went over 25 mph – but, unlike the other East River crossings, its bike lane is shared with pedestrians who were forced to dodge dirt bikes and other rogue rides.

On Thursday afternoon, The Post set up near Stuyvesant High School on Chambers Street for an hour and clocked 33 – or 43% — of 77 motorized bikes zipping along the Hudson River Park bike path over the speed limit.

New Yorkers said they’re fed up with bike-lane lawbreakers.

“It’s a huge problem!” barked Peter Epstein, an avid 60-year-old bicyclist after pedaling along the scenic bike lane on Manhattan’s West Side. “People are walking by” because they have “the green light to cross the path, and these [motor] bikes are zooming right up to them; there’s not even time for anyone to react. It’s just crazy.”

Saturday, August 6, 2022

NYPD expected trouble at house party, then it came


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AMNY

A gang of men unleashed a hail of bullets, shooting into a residential Queens party late Friday night, which prompted detectives to return fire and injure three men, police said.

Members of the NYPD Violent Crime Squad were parked outside 219th Street and 130th Avenue in Laurelton observing a party which they believed had gang connections. The detectives sat in an unmarked car wearing plain clothes, according to Chief of Patrol Jeffery Maddrey when, at 11:35 p.m. on Aug. 5, a group of men arrived and began firing into the event.

“Now, understand there was about 75 to 100 people at this party and now you have a group of males firing into this group,” Chief Maddrey said during an early morning press conference on Aug. 6. “The detectives saw this, they realized danger was imminent.”

It was reported that the Violent Crime Squad rushed from their vehicle and attempted to stop the mayhem by immediately shooting at the men. After a brief firefight, police brought down three of the men with an array of bullet wounds. All three men were hurried to a local hospital, two of whom are expected to survive. A third man, however, is currently in critical condition.

The detectives were also removed to a medical facility for treatment of severe tinnitus, police said.

Early in the investigation, it wasn’t yet known if any of the revelers were also struck. Well after sunrise Saturday, Crime Scene Unit detectives were still canvassing the area for evidence, marking as many as 39 shell casings left in the exchange of bullets.

 

Duck sauce killer possessed gun while under house arrest, used it to commit suicide

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QNS 

Glenn Hirsch, the man charged in the April 30 murder of a Chinese food delivery man in Forest Hills, committed suicide on Friday morning, Aug. 5, just before he was set to appear in court, his attorney confirmed with QNS. He was 51 years old.

Hirsch’s body was discovered in his apartment by police at approximately 10:06 a.m. Hirsch’s attorney confirmed with QNS that Hirsch had shot himself.

Hirsch had allegedly been upset with the restaurant that the delivery worker, Zhiwen Yan, worked for, The Great Wall Restaurant in Forest Hills. There was a feud over duck sauce that led to the murder, earning Hirsch the moniker “Duck Sauce Killer.”

He allegedly stalked and harassed workers from the restaurant. Hirsch was seen on surveillance video during the night of April 30 allegedly driving by the restaurant after dropping his wife off at work. He had passed by the restaurant seven times before Yan left the restaurant to make a delivery at around 9:30 p.m. Hirsch followed him as he made the delivery. When Yan stopped at a red light at 67th Drive and 108th Street after completing the delivery, Hirsch approached Yan and shot him in the chest, according to authorities. Yan had died as a result of a single gunshot wound. He was 45.

Swimming banned at Riis Park after bacteria found in water

  

 


NBC News

A popular beach escape for sweltering New Yorkers took a hit this week, the same day heat indices climbed back near the triple digits.

Park officials announced the closure of all swimming at Jacob Riis Park until further notice citing unsafe water conditions.

Samples taken from water along the Queens beachline produced high bacteria levels that exceed the National Park Service safety standards.

Regular swimmers to NYC beaches know well the challenges of getting in the water this summer. In addition to a handful of shark sightings that have suspended swimming for brief periods, large stretches of the Rockaways have been closed through much of the summer for construction and restoration of the beach. 

 

 

Caption Mayor Adams and his happy team

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Friday, August 5, 2022

Alleged affordable housing building completed in Far Rockaway

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QNS

The 100 percent affordable housing project — called Beach 21st — transformed the vacant lot on city-owned land near the Far Rockaway-Mott Avenue subway station, delivering on key commitments from the “Downtown Far Rockaway Roadmap for Action,” a comprehensive plan released in 2016 to revitalize the neighborhood and improve the quality of life for local residents.

“Seven years ago, I convened the Downtown Far Rockaway Working Group to develop a $288 million roadmap for this community’s revitalization and reverse decades of deliberate disinvestment,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “I could not be more proud of the life-changing progress we are delivering for the families of this neighborhood in the form of housing, open space, education, and beyond — it truly is a new day for Far Rockaway, where its residents are finally being heard loud and clear.”

The multi-agency effort, led by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), delivered street safety upgrades, new pedestrian space, climate resilience, and flood protection measures to an area that was pummeled nearly a decade ago by Superstorm Sandy.

Councilwoman Selvena Brooks-Powers applauded the Department of Transportation for completing a $114 million infrastructure project that was completed three months early and $25 million under budget, the NYCEDC and community partners for their commitment to “synergetic community spaces to strengthen the neighborhood, provide vital housing to residents, and construct a stronger, better downtown Far Rockaway.

“Thriving communities need vital open spaces, community spaces, community engagement, affordable housing, and a formidable connection to critical services,” Brooks-Powers said. “The Beach 21st Street mixed-use development has the necessary synergy to assure that our community stays on the trajectory of vibrancy.”

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Julie Won's constitution for affordable housing development

 


Queens Post

Councilmember Julie Won has put together an extensive list of guidelines—with input from non-profit leaders and community organizations– that developers must adhere to when seeking a rezoning in order to get her support in the city council.

Won, who was a Community Board 2 member prior to being elected, says the document aims to democratize the rezoning process, providing the community with greater input as to what is deemed appropriate for development. She said past rezoning decisions were left almost exclusively in the hands of councilmembers and were less “community driven.”

The guidelines she has created is what she refers to as a “living document” that she says will change with the needs of the district and city.

“As an office, we partnered with nonprofit partners to craft our land use principals document and have socialized it with the City Council Land Use division as well as other community partners,” Won told the Queens Post. “This is a living document that will continue to evolve as our community also continues to evolve.”

The guidelines essentially call on developers to do more than what is standard today in order to get their rezoning applications approved. She is calling for greater community outreach (in multiple languages), offer affordable units at deeply affordable levels and to invest in public services.

Won’s guidelines are important since she will ultimately determine the fate of rezoning applications in the 26th Council district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and parts of Astoria. The council, which must approve all rezonings, typically votes in lockstep with the representative where a development is proposed in what’s known as member deference.

“We released our land use principles to promote our community’s role in building new developments in our district and bring transparency to the land use process. We want to make sure that developers meet the minimum requirements to do business with our district: community engagement, affordability, and community investment.”