Sand Castle. // Adeel Anwar

Astoria Cyclist Dies, Racial Arrest Disparities Persist, Rockway Hosts Sandcastle Contest. It’s Queens Today.


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MONDAY, JULY 30, 2018 

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Constantinides Demands Traffic Study After Death of Astoria Cyclist

In the aftermath of the tragic death of cyclist Xellea Samonte, District 22 Council Member Costa Constantinides called on the Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study of the intersection where she was struck and killed by a car. Constantinides, whose district includes Astoria, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and Woodside, penned an open letter Friday asking the agency to take a close look at 23rd Avenue between 33rd and 36th Street in Astoria. “First, the Amtrak elevated structure rises above 23rd Avenue and the railway’s support columns are planted directly in the middle of the street’s driving lanes,” Constantinides wrote in the letter. “These columns narrow the roadway and make it very dangerous for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians there. Second, there are several active driveways which directly feed into street traffic.

NYPD Expands Neighborhood Policing To Queens Transit District

Neighborhood Policing—the NYPD’s core crime-fighting strategy that utilizes collaborative problem solving and trust-building to reduce crime—is expanding to Transit District 20 in Queens, the NYPD announced on Thursday. The expansion will be accompanied by a 15 percent increase in uniformed police officers on patrol in the district. Transit District 20 covers dozens of Queens station along the No. 7, E, M, R, F, G, J, Z, N and W lines. “By building trust and strengthening relationships with as many of the regular riders of this vast subway system as possible, we can proactively address many of the individual issues that are specific to these areas,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’ Neill.

Celebrate Ecuador Day With A Pre-Parade Breakfast

Assembly Member Michael DenDekker, in conjunction with Congressman Joseph Crowley and Council Member Francisco Moya, is sponsoring a breakfast honoring Ecuadorian heritage before the Ecuadorian Day Parade from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 5. This event will celebrate the richness of Ecuadorian culture and salute Ecuadorian-Americans for the contributions they have made to the Queens community. “The people of the Ecuadorian-American community have played in integral role in helping shape our neighborhood and all of Queens into a shining beacon of diversity,” DenDekker said. “I am very pleased to highlight the achievements of members of the Ecuadorian-American community.”

People of Color Accounted for 93% of Marijuana Arrests in First Half of 2018

A new report by the Police Reform Organizing Project revealed that 93 percent of people arrested for low-level marijuana possession were black or Latino, demonstrating the vast racial disparities in arrest patterns. The inequity is particularly starting when considering tudies repeatedly show that “How is it that whites use and sell marijuana at similar rates to blacks and Latinos but nine out of 10 people arrested formarijuana possession are black or brown? Because marijuana policies are selectively enforced — which is to say, because of an unjust system that criminalizes people of color for the same behavior that white people commit with relative impunity.”

Queens’ Costas Honored By Baseball Hall of Fame

Bob Costas was born in Queens, grew up in Commack and is now enshrined in Cooperstown. On Saturday, Costas earned the Ford C. Frick Broadcasting Award at the 2018 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. “For almost 40 years, Bob Costas has presented an incredibly thoughtful and informed voice on every game he calls for NBC, The Baseball Network and MLB Network,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “But it’s Bob’s pure affection for baseball that has made him a national treasure. From the first day he entered our living rooms, Bob became one of the National Pastime’s greatest friends.” There was one other Queens connection at the induction ceremony: former Met-killer Chipper Jones entered the Hall after voters elected the Braves third baseman in his first year of eligibility.

Dollar Volume of Queens Office Sales Increased By More Than 15,000%

“That’s not a typo,” The Real Deal wrote. Office dollar volume rose to about $473 million in the first half of 2018 after clocking in at just $3 million over the second half of last year, according to a report by Ariel Property Advisors. A large chunk of that total comes from the Atlas Capital Group buying out equity partner Square Mile Capital for $400 million. Overall, there were 320 deals including 404 properties in Queens during the first half of 2018. The sales combined to reach $2.35 billion, an increase of 45 percent by dollar volume and 13 percent by both deal and property volume compared to the second half of 2017.

Cops Seek Suspect In Murray Hill Robbery

Police from the 109th Precinct are looking for a suspect wanted for shoving a man and robbing him in the early morning last weekend Cops say the 28-year-old victim was inside 42-07 162nd Street at around 8 a.m. on Saturday when the perp pushed him and swiped $700 in cash. The suspect then left the location and fled northbound in a Nissan Altima on 162nd Street. Cops released surveillance video of the suspect on Wednesday and described him as a male, Hispanic, approximately 30 years old, with short black hair, a beard and tattoos on both arms, last seen wearing jeans and a t-shirt saying “Dodge.” Anyone with information in regards to the robbery is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

Rockaway Residents Flaunted Their Skills in B.Y.O.Bucket Castle-Sculpting Festival

As expert and amateur sand sculptors proved Sunday, you’re never too young to build a sandcastle, especially in Queens. Residents headed down to Rockaway Beach at 117th Street to compete in the 23rd Annual Sandcastle Contest, sponsored by the New York City Parks Department, Rockaway Times and District 32 Council Member Eric Ulrich. Attendees competed to win prizes for several age categories and the event was B.Y.O.B — bring your own bucket, shovel and other tools.

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