QEDC Director of Public Relations, Marketing & Tourism and Queens Ambassador Rob MacKay // Courtesy of Rob MacKay

Rob MacKay Dishes on His Beloved Borough, Ozone Park fights shelter site, DA Brown busts a rapist. It’s Queens Today.


News, events, sports and politics from the world’s most diverse urban center

THURSDAY, JULY 19, 2018 

The Queens Forecast: 84° and sunny during the day, 68° and clear in the evening

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Ozone Park Residents Confront DHS Over Proposed Men’s Shelter

Ozone Park residents angry about a proposal to convert a local church into a homeless shelter will get a chance to confront the Department of Homeless Services directly tonight.

In June, DHS said it planned to turn the former Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church into a shelter for homeless men with mental illness, a proposal that many local residents criticized.

DHS officials will meet with residents from Community District 9 for a town hall meeting to discuss the shelter plans at 7 pm in the Nativity Church Hall on 91st Street in Ozone Park.

“This is our chance to stand up for ourselves. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. We need to make as much noise as we can,” Ozone Park Residents Block Association President Sam Esposito wrote on Facebook. “We are asking for everyone to come out and support our efforts and stand with us to fight against the travesty, of a homeless shelter filled with mentally ill adult single men.”

Charmel Lucas, who resides in a Manhattan shelter and works for Picture the the Homeless, said she understands the response from community members, but she wants to see that not-in-my-backyard energy channeled into a push for more affordable housing.  

“At the end of the day, homeless people don’t want to see shelters built, we want to see extremely low-income housing built,” Lucas told the Queens Daily Eagle. “It’s ridiculous to build shelters when people just really need a place to live.”

Queens Is Fertile Ground for Legal Community, Borough Ambassador Says

Fresh off his appearance on the City & State Queens Power 50 list, Rob MacKay sat in his favorite neighborhood restaurant Aubergine Cafe and discussed how Queens has fostered a fertile environment for a flourishing legal community.

“We have a lot of immigration lawyers because we are so diverse,” MacKay told the Queens Daily Eagle. “And because the borough is so hot right now, we have a lot of land-use lawyers.”

On the other hand, safety improvements, like the Vision Zero initiatives along Queens Boulevard have hurt business for the borough’s “ambulance chasers,” he joked.

As the director of public relations, marketing and tourism at the Queens Economic Development Corporation, MacKay is perhaps the borough’s best ambassador, and one experienced with developments in the legal community.

Richmond Hill Rapist Sentenced to 3 Years

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced yesterday that a Richmond Hill resident was sentenced to three years in prison following a jury conviction last month for raping a 14-year-old girl in February of 2016. The victim in this case became entangled with the defendant when her 18-year-old friend, who owed the defendant money, threatened to post a nude video of the girl on the internet if she refused to have sex with the defendant, Albert Premnauth, 24. “The defendant in this case, forced the girl to have sex with him even though she cried and literally begged not to be raped,” Brown said in a statement. “A jury weighed all the evidence presented at trial and found the defendant guilty. Today, the court has ordered the defendant to prison as punishment for his crimes.” Brown said the case illustrated the danger of sharing nude photos and the risk of revenge porn. “This case tragically demonstrates how dangerous it is for youngsters to take explicit photos or videos of themselves and then send them to others — even those they consider to be trusted friends,” Brown said in a statement. “Once an image is sent, the sender loses all control over where that image goes next. In this instance, the 14-year-old victim, as a joke, sent a naked video of herself to her 14-year-old female friend on Snapchat. That video then ended up in the hands of the 18-year-old male friend. That friend, sadly, threatened to post it online if the girl did not have sex with the defendant to pay off his debt.”

Embark On A Cinematic Journey Through Ecuador — or Seattle

The Queens Museum’s Outdoor International Film Series returns tonight with a special screening How Much Further — Que Tan Lejos, in Spanish — a 2006 Ecuadorian film from director Tania Hermida. How Much Further tells the tale of Esperanza and Tristeza, a pair of travelers who both need to make it to Cuenca. When a workers’ striker delays their bus, they decides to embark on a hitchhiking adventure. Along the way, the duo meets a series of interesting characters who enable them to re-evaluate the purpose of their journey. The Queens Museum hosts the Passport Thursday events every week until August 9. There’s another free outdoor movie option tonight, too. Hunters Point South Park will screen Sleepless in Seattle as part of the CinemaLIC series. Nora Ephron’s romantic comedy begins at dusk (roughly 8 pm). The classic film, featuring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, and is located at Center Boulevard and Borden Avenue, LIC.

Live in Harmony With a Legendary Doo Wop Troupe or a Jazz Quintet

Legendary Doo Wop crooners The Devotions perform for free at the Central Astoria LDC’s 2018 Waterfront Concert Series tonight at 7:30. The concert will take place on the Astoria Park Great Lawn located at Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool. If you prefer instruments to vocal harmonies, head to Sgt. Collins Park Triangle for a free Woodside Concert Series event featuring the Chuck Braman Quintet, a jazz group. Admission is free and the show begins at 7 pm at 58th Street and Broadway.

Punctuate Your Evening with ‘Period’

Here’s how the Chocolate Factory describes “Period,” dancer Chris Schlichting’s vibrant performance: “[Schlichting] obsessive movement generation dispenses with preciousness and patterns to hammer out a Rosetta Stone to leave behind for the next, better world. Small tectonic collisions create a dense choreographic landscape in the spareness of the Chocolate Factory, and the dancers fasten themselves to intricate, churning movement in their slide toward extinction. Period is about letting go but not before exhausting every ounce of love one has left for dance.” Wow. The show begins at 8 pm at The Chocolate Factory Theatre, 5-49 49th Ave., LIC. Admission is $20.

City Council Relieves Queens’ Toxic Trash Burden

The New York City Council enacted a new law limiting the amount of trash that can be sent to neighborhoods that contain the majority of privately-owned, environmentally toxic waste transfer stations. A total of 26 of the city’s 38 privately-owned waste transfer stations are located in southeast Queens, north Brooklyn, the South Bronx. At trash freight stations, waste arrives from all over the city. It is then transferred by trucks for shipment to out-of-state landfills and incinerators, as well as recycling and composting facilities. The truck routes expose residents to air and noise pollution. The new law would cut the permitted capacity of waste transfer stations by 50 percent for north Brooklyn and 33 percent in both the South Bronx and southeast Queens.

The Council Also Passed Lancman’s Bill for Bail Bond Transparency

The City Council also passed a bill introduced by Council Member Rory Lancman that will provide bail bond business consumers information about their rights as well as basic information about the businesses. “Many bail bond businesses engage in unscrupulous business practices, and this bill would arm consumers with information, in multiple languages, so that they can avoid being taken advantage of,” the bill’s text states. “My bill is an important step forward towards treating [Bail Bonds] as the dangerous consumer financial products they have always been and informing vulnerable New Yorkers of the laws that already protect them,” Lancman said on Twitter.

Charter Revision Team May Promote Community Board Term Limits

The New York City Charter, the city’s governing document, could undergo major changes for the first time since 1989, including term limits on Community Board members. In an announcement Tuesday, the City Charter Revision Commission recommended instituting term limits on board members to foster inclusion and ensure boards reflect the communities they serve. The commission will host a series of public hearings as part of Charter Week next week. On Wednesday, July 25, the commission will host a public hearing from 9 am to 11 am at the Astoria Greenmarket located at 14th St, 31st Ave and 31st Road. On Thursday, July 26, the commission will head to Queens Borough Hall, located at 120-55 Queens Blvd in Kew Gardens, for a hearing at 6 pm.

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