Far Rockaway man busted for DWI with four kids in car

Miguel Quezada

Far Rockaway resident Miguel Quezada was busted in Lawrence for drunk driving with four kids in the car. Photo: NCPD

A Far Rockaway dad violated Leandra’s Law Monday when he was caught driving drunk with his four sons as passengers, including one 2 weeks old, Nassau County police said.

Miguel A. Quezada, 28, of 1468 Beach Channel Drive, is charged with four counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child under 15, four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, driving while intoxicated, and three traffic violations, police said sources..

Quezada was driving a 2005 Toyota Sienna on Burnside Avenue in Inwood at about 3:30 a.m. when Fourth Precinct officers pulled him over for a traffic stop, according to police statement.

Officers determined Quezada was driving drunk and he was arrested, police said.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Police said the children’s mother, 26, also was a passenger in the vehicle. In addition to his wife, there were four male children, ages 2 weeks, 2 years old, 3years old, and 8 years old in the vehicle at the time. Nassau County police drove the wife and children home to Rockaway.

Quezada is charged with (4) four counts of Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated with a child under 15 (Leandra’s Law), (4) four counts of Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Driving While Intoxicated, and (3) three traffic violations. He was arraigned on Monday, February 08 at First District Court in Hempstead.

Under Leandra’s Law, passed in 2009, drivers who are intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child younger than 16 in the vehicle can be charged with a felony.

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After two years, former PS 106 principal canned


Marcella Sills was finally fired in January, after a two-year investigation that found that she was absent and unprofessional.

PS 106

Sills was the principal or Public School 106 on Beach 35 Street in Edgemere.

It took two years, but the despised principal of PS 106 in Edgemere is finally off the city’s payroll.

Marcella Sills, 50, who was removed from the school in in February of 2014, was fired on January 22 when hearing officer David Reilly found her guilty of “extreme misconduct,” including excessive lateness, failing to report her absences while collecting full pay and benefits, and causing the city Department of Education “widespread negative publicity.”

Teachers despised her because she was unprofessional and vindictive. Parents hated her because she was dismissive of their needs and would often refuse to speak with them, and because their children were not being adequately educated. Students called her “Wicked Witch” for her demeanor and her behavior towards them.

In January 2014, the New York Post dubbed the Rockaway school “The School of No,” because it had no books for the Common Core curriculum, no gym or art classes, no nurse’s office and no special-education teachers. Kids ushered into the auditorium saw “more movies than Siskel and Ebert,” whistleblowers said.

Sills, who made $128,000 a year, was tardy at least 178 times between September 2012 and January 2013. Sills said she was late because she cared for her sick mother. But she never documented her absences and “knowingly received unwarranted compensation and thereby committed a theft of time,” Reilly found.

“Ms. Sills’ conduct was unprofessional, unacceptable, and unbecoming of her position,” said DOE spokeswoman Devora Kaye.

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Riveters drop another to Boston Pride


Riveters defensemen Sydney Kidd (8) and Ashley Johnston (10) defend against at Price player.


New Riveter goalie Chelsea Laden (1) congratulated forward Lyudmila Belyakova, who scored the only Riveter goal in the 6-1 loss to Boston.


There was a large crowd on hand to cheer for the Riveters at Aviator Sports.


Goalie Laden blocks a shot on goal. The new addition was peppered with 36 shots and stopped 30 of them.


Boston forward Hilary Knight, arguably the best American female hockey player, is interviewed after the game.


Riveter goalie Chelsea Laden said after the game that she is glad to be in New York and was welcomed “with open arms” by the other players. At left is Riveter Celeste Brown, who was also at the press conference.

Chelsea Laden’s first start in a Riveters uniform did not go as she hoped it would.

Laden was traded last week – the first trade in the history of the nascent league – from the Connecticut Whale to the Riveters in return for a Riveter goalie.

The Quinnipiac College grad was saddened to leave the Whale, but added at a post-game press conference that she was welcomed with open arms by the women on the Riveters and is glad that she has a chance to play with them.

“They’re just an extraordinary group,” she said. “I’m really happy to be in Brooklyn and get a chance to play with them.

 Laden made a couple big saves early on to keep the game scoreless, but at 4:29 of the first, Kelly Cooke buried the rebound of an Alyssa Gagliardi shot that made it 1-0 Boston.

Just seconds later, Riveter forward Lyudmila Belyakova scored on a power play to tie the game at 1. From there, though, it was all Boston. The Pride scored two late goals in the first to give them a 3-1 lead heading into the locker room.

Even as the Pride took 10 penalties throughout the game, the Riveters just could not solve Pride goaltender Brittany Ott, who ended the night with 16 saves. Failure to convert on the power play proved to be costly for the Riveters, who were outshot 36-17 in the loss.

Early in the second period, Gagliardi picked up her second assist as she gave a breakaway pass to Zoe Hickel who made it a 4-1 game. Boston came out strong in the third, and put two more on the board on their way to a 6-1 victory.

For the second time this season, Riveter coach Chad Wiseman did not appear for the post-game press conference, leaving talking to the press to Laden and Celeste Brown.


Burglaries up in both Rockaway precincts

Cops DTs at scene in Edgemere

Police and emergency services personnel outside of an Edgemere building where two women were shot, one of them fatally, on January 27.

The crime statistics for January are complete and they the belie the statements of Police Commissioner William Bratton that it was the safest January in the history of New York City. Last time we checked, and Rockaway is still part of New York City and in Rockaway, crime was up, particularly burglaries, which are up 350 percent in the 101 Precinct and 100 percent in the 100 Precinct.

While Index crime – crimes that must be reported to the FBI, including Murder, rape, robbery, felonious assault, burglary, grand larceny and car theft — is down citywide by 9.97 percent from January last year, less serious crimes such as petit larceny (up by 5.9%), misdemeanor assault (up by 9.3%) and Misdemeanor sex crimes (up by 34.2%) are rising.

As for our local precincts, index crime is up 11 percent in the 100 Precinct, led by jumps in robbery (up to 5 from 4 last year), felonious assault (up to 9 from 7 last year), burglary (up to 6 from 3 last year) and grand larceny (up to 9 from 7 last year).

In the 101 Precinct, index crime is down 8.82 percent from last year. Burglaries are up 350 percent, however, with nine this year compared with two at this time last year.

Auto thefts are down in both precincts.

Thanks largely to two incidents, shooting victims are up in the 101 Precinct, to three from two at this time last year. There were no shooting incidents in the 100 Precinct in January, where there was one last year.

On January 27 Tyquan Long, 29, a jealous lover, went on a bloody rampage, killing his girlfriend in her Edgemere apartment and shooting another woman in the hand in the lobby of the same building, because he suspected his girlfriend was sleeping with someone else.

Long, 29, allegedly shot girlfriend Joann Gravette, 36, in the stomach and left her dying on the floor of Apartment 11A inside 330 Beach 32 Street (Russian Towers) at around 11 a.m., according to police sources.

The gunman’s jealous rage allegedly continued as he stalked down into the lobby of the building and fired several more shots at the 51-year-old mother of his girlfriend’s suspected lover, striking her in the hand, sources said.

The wounded woman, identified as Barbara Romano, was taken to St. John’s Hospital in stable condition.

Long is reportedly still at large.

A week prior, there was another shooting in the 101 Precinct, this one at Beach 68 Street and Beach Channel Drive.

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Coastal flooding hits Rockaway, Broad Channel


Coastal flooding at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 59 Street in Arverne. Officials say that the flooding will continue all day Monday into Tuesday morning and is due to storm moving up the coast and moving out to sea. There are also high surf warnings for both Monday and Tuesday. Many originally thought the water was from a water main break. Photo by Theresa Racine.


Cars plow through the door-high water on Beach Channel Drive in Arverne. Photo by Theresa Racine


Rockaway Beach Boulevard was nearly impassible on Monday Morning. Pictured, the boulevard between Beach 108 and Beach 116 Streets.


West 12 Road

West 12 Road in Broad Channel in a photo posted on the community website.


A photo taken from Arverne View Houses on Beach 57 Street and posted by Jeffrey Maisonet.


Much of the west end, on both Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Cronston Avenue was flooded by the coastal flooding.

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Beach 130 Street, between Newport Avenue and Cronston Avenue.


Beach 119 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard.

At first, most Rockaway residents thought that the rising water on their streets and avenues was from a water main break.

The 911 emergency system was inundated with calls from residents living in Broad Channel (where the flooding was the worst) to Far Rockaway to Arverne to Rockaway Park to Neponsit and it quickly became clear to police that the problem was not a water main break, but coastal flooding.

In fact, the city had issued a warning last night that coastal flooding from a storm moving up the coast would bring flooding along the Atlantic coastline.

The flooding is expected to last until Tuesday morning.

According to the National Weather Service, the tide was 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet over normal and minor coastal flooding is expected for tonight’s high tide as well. That tide is expected at about 7:40 tonight in Rockaway and about an hour later in Broad Channel.

Beach impacts are expected, with elevated water levels and large, breaking waves, which will likely result in areas of dune erosion and localized overwashes in Rockaway, according to the weather service.

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Post: Sanders demanded kickback to fund local farm program; pol demands polygraph to prove innocence

Cilinary Kids

Chef Moses and Chef Melisa at their Arverne farm earlier this year after the farm tent was vandalized. The two have charged that State Senator James Sanders Jr. promised them public money, but demanded a large kickback for himself.

Sanders File

State Senator James Sanders Jr, who is running for the House of Representatives, at a recent community march. Sanders has denied the charges to the New York Post and has threatened to sue the two who charged him. He has also demanded a polygraph to prove his innocence and a polygraph for Moses and Rivera to prove that they lied in their report to law enforcement agencies.

Kids with cops 

Chef Moses speaks to police from the 101 Precinct who responded after his farm was vandalized. Moses alleges that the vandalism was done by members of youth group backed by Sanders and City Councilman Donovan Richards, who was the chief of staff for Sanders at the time the kickback scheme was proposed. The group told both onrockaway.com and the Post that they have been blackballed by the two politicians in favor of the youth group.

In August of 2015, onrockaway.com reported that State Senator James Sanders Jr. had told his staff to get their affairs in order because he was under investigation by unnamed law enforcement agencies and may soon be charged. The memo sent by Sanders to his staff did not delineate the charges or name the law enforcement agency involved.

In January of 2016, Marian Moses, also known as Chef Moses; his wife, Melisa Rivera, also known as Chef Melisa, and Theresa Racine, an Arverne activist, in a long interview told onrockaway.com that their group, Culinary Kids, was being blackballed by both City Councilman Donovan Richards and State Senator James Sanders in favor of a local youth group the two legislators were supporting, the Rockaway Youth Task Force.

The three told stories of requested kickbacks, a nighttime visit by Sanders to their Arverne farm site, where he navigated by flashlight and “flirted with Racine,” telling her with a wink and a laugh that “For money, I will do anything for you.”

Of the group’s fight for a spit of Arverne land with the RYTF, Sanders allegedly told them, “We have to find a way to avoid losing, and the question is, how do we all win?”

Chef Moses said at the time that they had been promised some state and city grants by Sanders, but were told that they would have to work through Kevin Alexander and his Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation, a non-profit development corporation heavily funded by both Richard and Sanders, as well as other local politicians. Alexander reportedly wanted an “excessive” amount of money to administer the grant and the Culinary kids has eventually refused the money.

Now, some of the questions raised by Sanders’ statements to his staff and the interviews that onrockaway.com had with the Moses, Rivera and Racine, may be answered.

Recently, according to an exclusive report in Sunday’s New York Post, the couple told federal prosecutors that Sanders offered them $1.7 million in taxpayer money to fund their operation — then demanded a $250,000 kickback.

The two reportedly told the feds that they refused Sanders, then a city councilman, during a 2012 sit-down. Sanders, who is running for Congress against Gregory Meeks, became irate, and the couple believe their charity has been blacklisted by government officials ever since, they told The Post.

Three weeks ago, Moses filed a civilian crime report with the office of Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara. According to the Post, sources said the feds were already investigating Sanders for steering City Council discretionary funds to other nonprofits, one of them reportedly a Far Rockaway mainstay that has been receiving taxpayer money for decades, first for assisting in winterizing homes and later for homeowner training programs.

Sanders said in a post on his website on Sunday morning that the charges were baseless and that he will demand to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence. He also demanded that Moses and Rivera also take polygraph tests.

There is more to the case than simply statements by the two locals, however.

Mike Duvalle, a former Sanders staffer, who had run for Assembly at one point in time, told The Post that he met with the FBI last month in connection with that probe.

According to Rivera and Moses — former chefs looking to fund their community garden and agriculture program for kids — Sanders summoned them to his Far Rockaway office on Sept. 25, 2012, fresh off his victory over Sen. Shirley Huntley in a Senate Democratic primary. He said he wanted to discuss government grants.

The couple walked in to find Donovan Richards, then Sanders’ chief of staff, and an aide, Michael Lopes. Richards is now a city councilman.

Sanders reportedly greeted them and allegedly said he had some money for them — $1.7 million.

Moses made what turned out to be a prescient joke: “How much do you want? Do you want that in check or cash?”

Moses said that Sanders smirked.

They were then ushered into a wood-paneled conference room, where the lawmaker, wearing a dark blue suit, sat at the head of a table, with Lopes nearby. Richards was apparently dismissed from the meeting.

“He wanted to see if we really knew, were educated and could pull off” expanding the operation, Moses recalled. “After we spoke about aquaculture, he said, ‘I want to see how big you are thinking.’ ”

He then ordered Lopes out of the room. Lopes told The Post he doesn’t remember the meeting.

Sanders again told the pair that he could provide $1.7 million, the couple alleged.

“He was talking about possibilities of doing something on a larger scale,” Moses said.

Sanders allegedly suggested partnering with another community group, the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp., which Sanders had funded with almost $300,000 in city grants over four years.

Moses said he mentioned capital funding from the city, discretionary grants, and money from Queens Borough President Helen Marshall. Sanders promised to make the project happen “come hell or high water.”

According to the complaint, Sanders allegedly said, “Yeah, I’ll take that cash — two hundred fifty-thousand dollars. You know, a quarter.”

“He put his fingers up, two fingers on his right hand, then five fingers with his left hand, then he moved his fingers with that hand into a zero,” Moses recalled. “He wanted a quarter of a million dollars.”

A stunned Moses asked what would happen when the IRS looked at Culinary Kids’ books.

“He would not answer me. He didn’t say anything. I asked him two times. And he started talking to my wife instead,” Moses said.

Moses said he attempted to leave and that Sanders put his hand on his shoulder and told him, “Brother, you don’t understand what I’m trying to do.”

“I said, ‘I understand exactly what you’re trying to do!’ and I shoved his hand off my shoulder,” Moses ­recalled.

Sanders became incensed, according to the Post report.

“He . . . blew his stack, said, ‘I’m going to work with another organization, the Rockaway Youth Task Force.’ He was mad and pissed off. He was raising his tone. His body language changed. It was like night and day,” Moses said.

The 2¹/₂-hour meeting obviously over, Moses and Rivera walked out of the office as fast as they could.

In the complaint filed Jan. 18 with the US attorney and signed under penalty of perjury, Moses wrote: “Sen. James Sanders approached me and my wife and demanded a pay-to-play situation for him to help our nonprofit organization with his member item funding. We said no and we’ve been blacklisted by him and Councilman Donovan Richards.”

The US attorney is already busy probing Sanders’ funding of southeastern Queens nonprofits, according to sources and Sanders’ former driver, Duvalle.

Duvalle told The Post last week that the FBI grilled him last month specifically about the Margert Community Corp., an affordable-housing provider that Sanders funneled nearly $1 million to over six years.

“That’s where he had his money. Whenever anyone needed money, he said, ‘Get it from Margert,’ ” Duvalle, who retired in 2014, told The Post.

It wasn’t the first time such allegations have swirled around Sanders, who served on the City Council from 2002 until taking his Senate seat in January 2013.

Rivera said that in 2010, Culinary Kids asked Sanders for $5,000 in funding. Instead, he offered them $58,000, but only if the Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corp. managed the money as a fiscal conduit. The chefs were reluctant but tentatively agreed when state agricultural officials encouraged them to work within the system.

But in a follow-up meeting a week later, Rockaway Development CEO Kevin Alexander told them the RDRC needed to withhold $38,000 of the funds and would give it to them “incrementally,” Moses and Rivera claimed.

The couple rejected the arrangement and never received the money. Alexander told The Post that he didn’t remember details of the meeting and doesn’t know why the funding fell apart.

Sanders instead showered $3.1 million in member items on other charities between 2008 and 2013. Sanders’s successor, Richards, has doled out $6.3 million to city groups since.

Sanders denied the culinary couple’s claims to the Post “in the highest of fashion” and called Margert a “fine, outstanding organization.”

“The thing is ludicrous,” Sanders told The Post. “It is absolutely preposterous, and I’m speaking to lawyers about countersuits for anybody who is going to defame us in such a fashion.”

Moses and Rivera have struggled to grow Culinary Kids since refusing the alleged kickback. They blame Sanders for delaying their dreams.

“He should be incarcerated. He needs time away to reflect and learn the error of his ways,” Rivera said. “And other politicians should know they can’t do this to anybody, especially a small grassroots organization.”

“If we don’t put our foot down, he can do this to somebody else,” Moses added. “If you get caught with the hand in the cookie jar, then off with your head.”

Sanders commented on his officials website on Sunday morning.

“State Senator James Sanders Jr. fired back against accusations that he demanded a kickback in order to provide discretionary funds to a money seeking group.  He called the story, which ran in today’s New York Post, completely bogus and a blatant attempt to taint his image as he prepares to run for a congressional seat.

“I believe this a politically motivated, slanderous hit piece,” Sanders said. “The truth is being stood on its head. I built my political life as a reformer, one who has worked tirelessly to clean up our community and to be accused of seeking a kickback defies reality. To be accused of such a crime is an attempt to tarnish my history of standing against corruption. We shall have our day in court. The money seeking group will have to answer for their perjury and the puppet masters responsible for using them to smear me will have to answer for their actions.”

Sanders said he is going to Bharara’s office [on Monday], with an attorney present, where he will offer to take a polygraph (lie detector test) to clear his name, but he wants the money seeking group to also take one.

“These specious allegations cannot go unanswered. There are laws afoot and one of them is called perjury,” Sanders said. “We are calling upon U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to enforce the law on perjury, the law on giving a false statement.”

Sanders was quick to point out several holes in the money seeking group’s story. First, it is unlikely that he was even in town on the day of the alleged meeting.  Sanders’ chief of staff at the time Donovan Richards, now a City Council Member and an aide Mike Lopes, who were purportedly involved in the discussion have both said they have no recollection of the incident. Several months before, Lopes had already taken another job and by that time and was no longer employed by Sanders.

“Capital money is the hardest money to distribute,” Sanders said. “There are so many restrictions that it would be the most difficult money to do any skullduggery with. Plus the city’s budget had already been finalized on July 1st, months before this meeting was supposed to have happened. There is no way I could have given them any money.”

Sanders went on to explain that he has only had brief conversations with money seeking group regarding their work, but nothing that involved financing. The money seeking group has had run-ins with other non-profits in the community, and allegedly threatened the life of the leader of one of those groups, causing the police to intervene.

“This is a group of dubious distinction,” Sanders said. “This group is not unknown to the police.”

About four months ago, Sanders tried to broker peace between the money seeking group and the non-profit that they were allegedly feuding with, but it went nowhere.

“I said “Is there anything I could do to bring peace between your organizations and they said, ‘There is nothing you can do.’  After that I left because there was no sense in me sitting there, and that was the last interaction I had with them.”

Donovan Richards tweeted, “Proverbs 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape.”

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Ulrich votes no on pay raise; intro passes 40-7

City Council Chamber vote

The city council voted on Friday to give its members a 32% raise in return for some changes in the way it does business. Of our two council members, Richards voted yes, while Ulrich voted no.


Councilman Eric Ulrich was one of only seven council members who voted no to the introduction to give members a pay raise. The other two Republicans voted no as well. The final vote was 40-7 in favor of passage.

Republican City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents the west end in the city legislative body, was one of seven council members who voted no to a pay raise for members of the body.

In fact, all three Republicans in the council voted no to Introduction 1055, which called for a hike in members’ pay to $148,500 — a 32% raise over what they make now, and more than the $138,315 the official commission recommended.

Ulrich had previously stated that he would vote against any pay raise.

The vote on Friday afternoon was 40 to 7 in favor of the raise, with four Democrats joining the minority Republican delegation in opposition.

City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, in a statement, said the Republicans didn’t support it because it went above the recommendations of the pay raise commission Mayor de Blasio convened. That commission called for raises that would bring their salaries $138,315.

“We felt the salary recommendations made by the Quadrennial Commission were the starting point of a public conversation about our jobs and our compensation,” he said.

“However, once it became clear that the proposed legislation by the Council would go beyond those recommendations, it precluded any potential support from our delegation.”

City Councilman Donovan Richards, who was one of the sponsors of the introduction that prohibited some outside work, joined the other 39 Democrats in voting for the raise.

The reforms that will come in exchange for the pay raise include a ban on most outside income that bring more than 15 percent of the member’s salary, an end to “lulu’s.” extra money earned by committee chairs and others who have an extra duty in the body, a move to transparency so that financial disclosure forms will be posted online for constituents to view without having to file a Freedom of Information Law request and a move to make the council a “full-time” job.

While not voting for the raises, Ulrich did vote for the reforms that were in return for the raise.

Some pols said that the raise wasn’t enough.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez declared members deserve $175,000, boasting of the long hours they work.

“We have a right to make a living to support our families,” he said.

“This is not our first job. … We have a masters. We have Ph.D.’s,” an impassioned member said in support of the introduction.

Member after member made the case for how hard they work, saying that justifies a big raise.

One member argued that more “single working mothers” were needed on the council and that the raise would attract them.

Another argued that the council “was moving in a progressive direction,” so “the reforms are about time.”

A third argued that the higher salaries were needed to “attract bright, young people to the council” and “would allow it to become more diverse.”

Under the Council’s proposal, the mayor, controller, public advocate, district attorneys  and other elected officials would get the more modest raises proposed by the commission.

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BCD Update: Traffic signals will allow turns; no repair work as yet


Beach Channel Drive remains closed between Beach 108 Street and Rockaway Freeway extension, but traffic signs will soon allow a turn on the red signal to allow traffic to move more smoothly.

On New Year’s Day, a vital link in Rockaway’s east-west traffic flow was closed because city officials deemed that the stretch on Beach Channel Drive between Beach 108 Street and the Rockaway Freeway connecter was “in danger of imminent collapse.”

It remains closed today, with more than a month gone by and no remedial work yet done. But the investigation continues, officials say.

On Friday, Al Silvestri, the Deputy Queens Borough Commissioner for the Department of transportation issued an update on the closure.

“Over the last few weeks, National Grid has conducted soil borings at different points along the closed one-block section of Beach Channel Drive and done Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to evaluate the subsurface condition of the roadway,” he said. “The results of these procedures are now being reviewed. NYC DOT is working with National Grid to discuss and determine the necessary next steps towards bringing this important community corridor fully back on line. The timeline for reopening and the cause are still being determined but we hope to have some news to share in the coming week or so.”

Over the time the road has been closed, motorists have called for some change in the traffic signals in the area of the detour and many complain that they received tickets for making a turn against a red light even though there was no way that traffic could be moving in the other direction because the road is closed.

The DOT first demurred, but Silvestri has said that changes will soon be made, with the DOT installing two additional “After Stop – Right Turn Permitted on Red” signs along the detour to help ease congestion. Those signs should be installed by the end of this week.

The new signals will be installed in the following locations:

Northbound Beach 108th Street – turning right (EB) onto Beach Channel Drive.

Southbound Beach 108th Street – turning right (WB) onto Rockaway Freeway.

A sign already exists at EB Beach Channel Drive making a right to go SB on Rockaway Freeway.

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Madoff’s were both FRHS grads, leave a negative legacy

Photo page Alpern

Ruth Alpern, who later became Ruth Madoff in the 1968 edition of the Dolphin, the Far Rockaway High School yearbook. The two met at the school and married a few years after graduation.

Alpern college

Alpern was popular in high school, voted as “Josie College.”

Madoff now

Ruth Alpern Madoff in a recent photo.

Ruth Madoff was born Ruth Alpern in Laurelton (Queens) to a practicing Jewish family IN 1940.

At the time, students from Laurelton traveled by Long Island Railroad to Far Rockaway every school day to attend Far Rockaway High School. They got off at the Beach 25 Street on the railroad, which today is a stop on the A-Train.

Madoff gained renewed notoriety this week with the two-part series about her husband, Ponzi Scheme king Bernie Madoff, who still resides in Federal prison.

Ruth met Madoff at Far Rockaway High School. He was in the class of 1956 and she was in the class of 1958. They were Far Rockaway’s “Brenda and Eddie,” with the kids from Laurelton being the top of the pecking order in this days – the A list.

In the 1958 version of the Dolphin, the school’s yearbook, the editor of onrockaway appears on the same page as Madoff, because he graduated in January of 1958 and she had a last name beginning with the letter A.

Ruth Alpern was popular in school. In fact, she was voted as “Josie College,” the girl in the class most like a college co-ed. Joe College was Frank Pindyck, who has faded to obscurity even if Alpern has not.

She was also on the staff of the school newspaper, The Chat, and a GO delegate. Bernie was on the school’s swimming team and worked in the summer in Atlantic Beach as a lifeguard for the team’s coach, Richie Sierra.

She graduated from Queens College in 1961.

On November 28, 1959, at age 18, she married Bernard “Bernie” Madoff. For a time, she worked as his bookkeeper and later became a titular vice president for the company. She and Bernie lived in splendor with several apartments around the world and a large yacht until the scheme went south and he went to prison for life.

Ruth moved away from Bernie after he went to prison and her son committed suicide.

Although many believed that she knew about her husband’s criminality, she was never charged with any involvement with the crime.

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Far Rockaway shopping area to get massive makeover

Downtown FR

City plans for a complete renovation of the Far Rockaway shopping area, centering around Mott and Central Avenues.

At one time, the Far Rockaway shopping center, the area around the convergence of Mott and Central Avenues (Beach 20 Street) was the place to be, with top shops, restaurants and doctor’s offices. The street was crowded on shopping days and on Sunday mornings, the two bakeries in the area were jammed with people buying Sunday breakfast.

The three movie theaters generated lots of business on Saturday nights, where Vaudeville shows were once presented and during weekend days kids crowded the seats to see two movies, cartoons, a serial and perhaps, some popcorn and a soda. All for a quarter.

Over time, the area deteriorated as store owners and medical practices fled the then crime-ridden area and the top shopping moved to the west end of the peninsula.

How, with a revival of sorts going on in the east end of the peninsula, the city is interested in revitalizing the shopping area to serve the growing population.

According to a report in StreetsblogNewYork, an on-line blog that specializes in street level development, the city’s Economic Development Corporation is working with City Councilman Donovan Richards and six city agencies on small business development, mixed-income housing construction, and public space and streetscape improvements. The project is complemented by post-Sandy boardwalk reconstruction at nearby Rockaway Beach, the city says.

City Hall’s 2016 budget sets aside $9.1 million in capital funds for street improvements near Mott Avenue. City officials add that there have been 15 severe injuries from vehicle accidents in the project area from 2010 to 2014 and the agency wants to cut down utilizing the mayors Vision Zero program.

DOT wants to give the downtown a “village” feel by making Mott Avenue a pedestrian-friendly main street and building out plaza space on the streets that intersect it.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation laid out some ideas for the area, including pedestrianizing a slip lane at the intersection of Mott Avenue and Central Avenue, to the Queens Community Board 14 transportation committee on January 6. DOT and the Department of Design and Construction are already enhancing a plaza between Beach 20 Street and Beach 21 Street, and plan to work with the Department of Environmental Protection to install trees and plants that will double as flood protection.

The proposal to pedestrianize the slip lane encountered some opposition from transportation committee members because it would repurpose some parking, always a problem in Rockaway. DOT’s Erin Maciel countered that people who live in Far Rockaway are much less likely to have access to a vehicle than residents on the western end of the peninsula. In fact, part of the city’s plans moving forward in both housing and streetscapes is to cut down on the use of vehicles, favoring instead mass transportation and bikes.

Harbor Optics jpg


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