Queens Today — Aug. 27

By Evan Rosen

Biker on the Lam After Stealing $1200 and an Iced Tea

Two Queens gas stations were robbed last Tuesday by the same motorcyclist, PIX 11 reported. The first incident took place at the Mobil Gas Station on Queens Boulevard and 68th Street in Elmhurst around 6:30 a.m. when the thief held a 64-year-old cashier at gunpoint. Police say he stole $300 in cash and an Arizona iced-tea before fleeing. The motorcyclist robbed another Mobil Gas Station at Greenpoint Avenue and Hunters Point Avenue about two miles away, cops say. Again, the suspect threatened a clerk with a handgun before swiping $900, PIX11 reported. No injuries were reported in either of the robberies, but the thief remains at large. He iss described as being roughly 5 feet 7 inches tall and was last seen wearing a helmet with a black and silver skull and a mirrored visor, dark-colored pants, and a black jacket.

Grace Under Fire For Complicated Real Estate Maneuverings

Rep. Grace Meng, a vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and a candidate to become head of the Queens Democratic organization, has some questions to answer about her personal finance, campaign, and property records, Crain’s reports. Her parents’ home sits in the center of a web of complicated real estate deals. When she ran for Congress in 2012, Meng listed the property among her assets, but on Aug. 14 of this year, Meng filed multiple amendments to remove the Bayside home from her list of possessions after a reporter’s inquiry, Crain’s reports. City property records show no change in the deed-holder, but they do show ownership shifting in a way that could serve an attempt to avoid estate taxes.

SAICBA-Q Reflect Growing Influence in Queens

Members of the South Asian and Indo-Caribbean Bar Association joined Judge Ushir Pandit-Durant and U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens Democratic Party leader for an event at the Lawrence Yacht and Country Club in Long Island Wednesday

The SAICBA-Q was established in 2017 to unite attorneys of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean descent. Queens County contains one of the largest concentrations of people of South Asian and Indo-Caribbean descent in the U.S.

The bar association aims to foster professional development and legal excellence, increase diversity in the judiciary and legal profession and increase access to legal services and justice for all communities in Queens.

New Law Compels Landlords to Take a Stand on Smoking

A new smoking disclosure policy takes effect in residential buildings across the city Tuesday, compelling landlords to take a stand on smoking or risk a fine.

The new measure mandates that all residential buildings with three or more units adopt an official smoking policy and share it with tenants and residents.

Unlike the recently enacted smoking ban inside New York City Housing Authority buildings, the new law does not prohibit smoking inside buildings. Instead, landlords and building owners are required to disclose their policy on whether or not the building allows smoking and post the policy in a prominent place. Read more coverage here.

As Hate Crimes Surge, Miller Announces $250K to Support Muslim Community

Last Friday, Council Member I. Daneek Miller joined Council Speaker Corey Johnson to announce a $250,000 commitment to local Muslim organizations, in conjunction with the New York Immigration Coalition.

The money is part of the city’s commitment to establishing a Muslim Empowerment Initiative.  

Miller, the only Muslim serving on the city council, said the money is necessary to combat a surge in hate-fueled attacks on the Muslim community.

“The policies flowing from Washington D.C. of late have served to marginalize and malign our country’s immigrants and minorities,” Miller said. “In response, this Council has redoubled its efforts to celebrate diversity, promote inclusion, and preserve fundamental rights for all New Yorkers. The Muslim Empowerment Initiative, in particular, represents our latest commitment to stand squarely with our Muslim brothers and sisters.” Read more coverage here.

‘Wheels of Justice’ Coming To A Street Near You

They say the wheels of justice turn slowly, but try telling that to staff in the New York Legal Assistance Group’s Mobile Legal Help Center who drive to a different neighborhood every day to provide vital legal services to low-income New Yorkers. NYLAG has pioneered the use of the innovative van to meet New Yorkers-in-need in their own neighborhoods. Next month, the van will motor through Woodside, Flushing and Rockaway Beach. The 40-foot van features two office spaces and a waiting area where NYLAG staff, pro bono attorneys from law firms and volunteers from local law schools serve clients. “The van allows us go to neighborhoods that are less accessible,” said Fulvia Vargas, a staff attorney for Mobile Legal Help Center. “Clients may not know they have a legal issue and they can get help.” Read more here.

Noisy LGA Routes May Actually Lower Life Expectancy

Residents of northeast Queens just found out that the noisy planes they have complained about for years aren’t just affecting their quality of life — they may also limit their life expectancy, according to a new study. Researchers from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health examined the impact of noise on health as well as the economic benefits of more efficient plane routes. They found that prolonged exposure to loud sounds could increase the likelihood of cardiovascular disease and anxiety and trim a whole year off a person’s life. They published their report, which used routes out of LaGuardia Airport as a case study, on Aug. 15. Many of the flights out of LaGuardia — especially the Tennis Climb route over Forest Hills — depend on new automated flight systems, the study’s lead author Dr. Peter Muenning said. Read more coverage here.

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