Second Hammels stabbing within one week

The second stabbing of the week took place at 44-12 Rockaway Beach Boulevard on Tuesday. The first, a homicide, took place on Sunday at 82-01 Beach Channel Drive, both in the Hammel Houses.

Just two days after a homicide in which the victim was stabbed to death, there was another knife attack at the sprawling Hammel Houses public housing complex on Tuesday night.

At about 8 p.m. on June 20, police were called to 84-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, only two blocks from 82-01 Beach Channel Drive, where Joseph Smith was stabbed to death last Sunday.

Police found Jammel Nelson with stab wounds to the chest. The victim told police that he had been involved in an argument with Ajax Jean-Pierre, 36, when Jean-Pierre pulled an unknown edged weapon and stabbed him in the chest. Police say his wounds were not life-threatening.

The assailant fled the area towards Beach 85 Street, eyewitnesses said, and police quickly called a Level One Mobilization looking for the Hispanic man. Some cops checked the Beach 90 Street subway platform with negative results.

Police canvassing the area saw a man fitting Jean-Pierre’s description at Beach 85 Street and Beach Channel Drive and he was identified as being the assailant in the attack.

He was put under arrest at 8:40 p.m., less than an hour after the attack by police officers from the precinct’s anti-crime team.

Jean-Pierre was arraigned on Wednesday night on charges of assault in the second and third degrees, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree and harassment in the second degree.


Cops bust homicide suspect in downtown Brooklyn

Police officer brings homicide suspect Norbert Williams into the 100 Precinct on Wednesday morning. 

Police from the 100 Precinct have corralled Norbert Williams, 52, the man wanted for stabbing Joseph Smart, 47, to death at the Hammel Houses last weekend.

Police sources said that Williams was tracked down to Dontown Brooklyn, where he was hiding out, by members of the precinct’s anti-crime team.

Police responding to a 911 call at 1:35 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 18, for a man injured at 82-01 Beach Channel Drive in the sprawling Hammel Houses public housing complex, found a man, later identified as 47-year-old Joseph Smart, of the same address, unconscious and unresponsive in a hallway.

The man had suffered multiple stab wounds to his back and torso, police said.

EMS workers who responded declared the man dead on the scene.

Williams quickly became a person of interest and he was quickly tracked down to our neighboring borough.

On Thursday morning, Williams was awaiting arraignment on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon, court sources say.


Detectives seek person of interest in 100 Precinct stabbing homicide

Norbert Williams, 52, is wanted for questioning in relation to the stabbing death of Joseph Smart in the Hammel Houses last Sunday.

Detectives from the 100 Precinct in Rockaway Park as looking for a local man identified as a suspect in its first homicide of the year.

Police sources identify the suspect as Norbert Williams, 52. He is described as 5 foot 11 inches and 160 pounds.

Police responding to a 911 call at 1:35 a.m., for a man injured at 82-01 Beach Channel Drive in the sprawling Hammel Houses public housing complex, found a man, later identified as 47-year-old Joseph Smart, of the same address, unconscious and unresponsive in a hallway.

The man had suffered multiple stab wounds to his back and torso, police said.

EMS workers who responded declared the man dead on the scene.

Anybody with information on the suspect is urged to call the 100 Precinct detective squad.




Baby found dead inside Bayswater home; Medical examiner to ascertain case of death

The baby’s body was found inside a Falcon Avenue home after his mother found him purple and unresponsive several hours after putting him in his crib.

A  Bayswater mother told police that she found her three-month old baby boy dead in his crib Saturday morning, according to police sources.

Police responded to a 911 call at home at 2951 Falcon Avenue, nearby Bayswater Park, Saturday morning and found a Zaire Reefe unconscious, police said. The baby was taken to St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, where he was pronounced dead.

His mother, Quanesha Hall, 37, told police that she had put him to bed in his crib and when she awoke and went to check him at about 9 p.m., he was bleeding from the nose and “looked purple.” Hall started CPR, put to no avail.

Police say that the investigation is ongoing and a medical examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause or death.

There have been no arrests.


First Homicide of year for 100 Precinct in Hammels stabbing

The first homicide of the year in the 100 Precinct took place inside a hallway at 82-01 Beach Channel Drive, in the sprawling Hammel Houses complex.

Police say that the 100 Precinct has registered its first homicide of the year, nearly 6 months into 2017.

Police responding to a 911 call at 1:35 a.m., for a man injured at 82-01 Beach Channel Drive in the sprawling Hammel Houses public housing complex, found an unidentified male unconscious and unresponsive.

The man had suffered multiple stab wounds to his torso, police said. His body was found in a hallway and police went through the building, checking elevators and other floors for clues.

EMS workers who responded declared the man dead on the scene.

There have been no arrests, and police say the investigation by the 100 Precinct Squad is ongoing.

Young cop pulls woman from surf

Cops, firefighters and onlookers line beachfront at Beach 94 Street after a young cop assigned to the Rockaway Summer Detail pulled a drowning woman from the surf.

The rescued woman is transported to an ambulance by EMS workers.

A police officer assigned to Rockaway’s summer detail stripped off his uniform and gun and plunged into the raging surf at Beach 94 Street on Monday night, saving the life of a woman who was drowning about 50 yards off shore as well as an onlooker who tried to save her.

Police say that William Lauria, 23, an NYPD cop regularly assigned to the 105 Precinct in Jamaica, noticed the woman in distress in the water at about 7:45 p.m., nearly two hours after the lifeguards had gone off duty. Lauria was on his normal patrol along the boardwalk when the saw the unidentified Staten Island woman, 25, struggling in the water.

He told reporters later that he ran down the boardwalk, stripped down to his shorts and dove in. Lauria had been a long-time lifeguard for the Town of Hempstead, police officials said.

He was able to help the struggling woman to shore, at the same time corralling a Good Samaritan who had jumped into the surf to try and save the woman.

“The man who initially tried to save the young woman was initially swept further out that her,” Lauria said. He asked a nearby surfer to use his board to help in rescuing the man.

Lauria has been on the job for about a year and a half and comes from a family of police officers, he said.


Mom, two toddlers injured in Seagirt Boulevard accident

A mother and her two children were injured when an out-of-control automobile jumped the sidewalk, police say. Accident is under investigation for criminality, but no arrests have been made, police say.

Detectives from the NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad are in Rockaway on Wednesday afternoon, investigating a motor vehicle accident that injured a woman and her two young sons on a Seagirt Avenue sidewalk. Police say that the accident happened at about 12:20 p.m. on Seagirt Boulevard near Beach 32 Street in Edgemere.

Investigators said it appears the car jumped the curb and struck the three people on the sidewalk. Police have not identified the injured, who were transported by EMS to area hospitals.

Police say that they are investigating the accident for criminality, but no arrests have yet been made.

Rain doesn’t dampen spirit of Memorial Day marchers

Despite impending rainstorm and an earlier drizzle, participants get ready for the parade at Beach 129 Street. Pictured, Eddie Pastore (right) and Eric Ulrich staffer Rob Schwach, who prepared a brochure with information about those who are memorialized in the Beach 120 Street Memorial Circle.

School children from St. Francis de Sales Church hold signs honoring parishioners who died in battle in various wars.

Ceremony at Four Chaplains Memorial at the church.

Everybody, especially young kids, sported American Flags at the parade.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (right) with staffer Rob Schwach.

Veterans lead off the march even though the rain began to pick up just as they began walking eastward on Rockaway Beach Boulevard from Beach 129 Street.

The Scholars’ Academy Marching Band supplied the beat for the marchers.

Xaverian’s Pipes and Drum Band took part in the parade.

Rain nearly wiped out the 2017 Memorial Day Parade in Rockaway, but Mother Nature stopped drizzling long enough to get the festivities started at St. Francis de Sales Church on Monday morning.

The impending thunderstorm warning cut down on both marchers and onlookers, but those who took part were eager to walk the parade route from Beach 129 Street to the Doughboy Monument on Beach 94 Street.


Less parking, more bike lanes set for Shore Front Parkway

The unused land on Shore Front Parkway will be used not for parking, but for more bike lanes, after CB 14 voted on the DOT plan on Tuesday night.

A large group of locals showed up at the meeting to support more bike lanes and oppose more parking.

Civic association president John Cori was the prime mover against the parking plan.

Board members Ozzie Edwards (left) and Ed Williams argued that their communities were not in on the input prior to the vote and that many in their communities do not even know what community board is.

The focus was on Shore Front Parkway and a city proposal to place metered parking on the south side of the busy road and the debate got contentious at the monthly meeting of Community Board 14 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Tuesday night.

After several committee and civic association meetings, the community board decided to turn down the parking plan, but accept a plan for more bike lanes to complement those on the boardwalk adjacent to the parkway.

There were actually four recommendations that came from the board’s own transportation committee.

The first was to turn down the city’s parking plan. That vote was carried with 27 yes votes to one opposed and four abstentions.

The second resolution was to reject the proposal for two bike lanes. A “yes “vote actually was in opposition to the bike lanes. There were 9 yes votes, 16 no votes and one abstention, rejecting the motion and approving the increased bike lanes.

The third was to clearly mark the bike lanes that already exist on the boardwalk. That vote carried with only five no votes.

The final resolution was to place speed cameras on the parkway nearby St. Camillus School on Beach 100 Street and St. Rose of Lime School on Beach 84 Street. That vote carried unanimously, although a number of members had left the meeting by the time the vote came up.

There was an early motion to table all of the other motions for more discussion, but it failed to get a second and died without a vote.

Even though the vote opposed the parking plan, there is still a chance that it will happen.

The city’s Department of Transportation says that Shore Front Parkway has become a “speedway,” with the majority of motorists driving 5 to 10 miles above the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit on the road.

The need, the city agency says, is to “calm” the road before placing enhanced crosswalks and new curb-cuts on the road.

Devices such as speed bumps, bike lanes and even parking calm the road, the agency says.

If the bike lanes do not do the job, they the agency will revisit the question,” DOT officials say.

John Cori, the president of the Rockaway Beach Civic Association, was the prime mover against the parking plan, which was supported by some in the community.

His organization took the lead in defeating the plan, which angered some other board members who live in proximity to Shore Front Parkway.

Both Ozzie Edwards and Ed Williams, officials in Arverne-by-the-Sea homeowners associations, say that their members were not asked about the plan and therefore had no input. They argued that many of their members are new to the peninsula and do not know about the Community Board.

There were more than 30 speakers, most of them opposed to the parking plan and in favor of more bike lanes.

The Dot will monitor the traffic during the summer months to see whether the new plans will sufficiently calm the speeding traffic.

Ferry draws 11,000 first-week riders, about 1/3 of capacity

First ferry leaves Rockaway terminal for run back to city on May 1.  Total ridership for ferry during first week was 11,000, about 1/3 of capacity.

The Beach 108 Street terminal as seen from Jamaica Bay.

While there was a large crowd on the first 5:30 a.m. ferry, the number of riders has reportedly dropped since the first run on May 1.

The Rockaway commuter ferry service is a start-up and nobody really knows what the ridership will look like going forward, including the Rockaway “experts” who predicted that the ferry would be overcrowded from its first week and the city’s experts at the Economic Development Corporation, who predict that eventually the city’s ferry service will eventually carry 4.6 million riders annually.

How many riders is enough? That’s a question that nobody is ready to answer.

It’s clear that some runs from Rockaway to Manhattan are grossly underused. On the first day, the 5:30 a.m. run, the first ever for the service, was mobbed, but the numbers included dozens of media types, politicians and city officials. The next day, the run reportedly included a dozen or so riders.

In all, according to DEC numbers, the ferry service from Rockaway carried 11,000 riders in its first week of operation.

What does that mean? There are 149 seats on the boat, a number that many locals decried as being too small, predicting that boats would quickly become overwhelmed by riders. Except for one of two runs during that week, that turned out not to be the case.

There are 32 runs daily back and forth from Rockaway to Pier 11 in Manhattan. That means the maximum capacity for the boats daily is 4,768 riders, or a maximum of 33,376 riders each week. The 11,000 number for the first week is about 1/3 of the boat’s capacity.

According to AM New York, the numbers were hailed by the mayor, who committed $325 million to launch the service and another $30 million annually for operations, but some experts say it’s too soon to call the endeavor a success. Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy and planning at New York University, told the digital publication that only time will tell.

“A ferry system for some areas of the city is going to be an acquired taste,” he said. “We have to give the service a full summer and full winter to see how the Rockaway population decides to use it.”

One Rockaway resident on the inaugural run was more succinct.

“You got the ferry back, now you have to either use it or lose it,” Joe Hartigan told reporters on that first bumpy run through the harbor.

While the ferry contract runs for five years, it is widely expected that changes and deletions to service would be made along the way. For example, locals fought for the 5:30 a.m. run (losing a run later in the day in the process) to accommodate construction workers who begin work early. It is widely expected that the early run will disappear sooner rather than later is ridership does not improve.

The mayor was upbeat.

“Thousands of New Yorkers are starting and ending their day riding NYC Ferry—and this is just the beginning,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We’re bringing people back to the water. With two more routes set to launch this summer, these numbers are only going to grow from here on out.”

A one-way ticket costs $2.75, but service is not incorporated with the MTA, a state-run agency. This means riders won’t be able to transfer freely to subways or city buses. Critics of the service have argued that this will limit ridership.

Rising costs led to the demise of an older, now-defunct Rockaway ferry service that the city supported after Superstorm Sandy badly damaged A train tracks in the area. Despite vocal support from Rockaway residents, that iteration of ferry service only served about 3,000 riders per week and was discontinued in 2013, according to the city’s Economic Development Corporation.

De Blasio and James Patchett, the commissioner of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the agency overseeing ferry operations, have marketed NYC Ferry as an alternative to driving or taking the subway.

 Moss countered to AM New York that the ferries, each with a 150-person capacity, would at best complement—not supplement—the subway system. For instance, the Rockaway route served 11,000 riders in a week while the 11 A train subway stations in the area combined serve 16,400 riders in one day, according to MTA statistics.

“Ferries are not going to be competitive,” Moss said. “The subway system has more than 400 stations with meaningful transit connections. This is much more of a specialized mode but it’s a delightful innovation. I think over time it’s going to develop a serious following.”

Locals are looking to the summer, when ridership is expected to balloon as visitors come to the beach, to improve the ridership to the point where the service is out of danger.

It is clear, however, just an informal check, shows that locals continue to use both the subway and the more-expensive express bus service to Manhattan.

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