Category: Breaking News (page 1 of 7)

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.

First ride on Rockaway commuter ferry draws crowds, accolades

At 5 a.m. on Monday morning, people line up at the Beach 108 Street terminal to pay for first run of the Rockaway Commuter Ferry service.

Rockaway resident Jim McHugh was the first to buy a ticket for the new ferry service.

The first ferry, the “Urban Journey.” docks in Rockaway, ready for the first run to Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Queens Clerk Audrey Pheffer (right) and her daughter, Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, board the board at 5:30 a.m. on Monday morning.

James Patchett, the president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, made the early run.

Rob Schwach (right) the local representative for City Councilman Eric Ulrich, speaks with Justin, a deckhand who lives in Breezy Point.

Marty Ingram (in baseball cap), the co-chair for the CB 14 transportation committee, sits in the spacious downstairs cabin.


The ferryboat returns to the Beach 108 Street terminal dock.

At 7:30 a.m., the boat pulled out for the third run of the morning with 130 passengers and four crew aboard.

History will little note that the first ticket for the nascent Rockaway commuter ferry service that started early Monday morning was purchased shortly after 5 a.m. by Rockaway resident Jim McHugh.

Many followed his lead, and by the time the ferryboat “Urban Legend,” left its Beach 108 Street terminal at 5:30 a.m., there were 121 passengers – including more than a dozen media representatives – and four crew members aboard.

The 57-minute trip was the culmination of years of work by dedicated local residents and electeds, many of whom were along for the ride on the drizzly, chilly morning.

“This is a new life for Rockaway,” said Community Board 14 Chair Dolores Orr. “Many of us did not believe that this day would come, but here we are on our way to Manhattan on our new commuter ferry.”

James Patchett, the president of the city’s Economic Development Corporation, which is running the NYC Ferry Program, was on board for the maiden voyage.

He looked around the crowded ferryboat.

“What stands out in my mind is the level of enthusiasm,” he told “Everybody here is excited that this is finally happening, that they now have more than the A-Train and buses as transportation alternatives.”

Justin, a Breezy Point resident and deckhand on the “Urban Legend,” is a graduate of SUNY Maritime College. His job is to handle both lines and tickets. He even does his time monitoring the engine room.

He sees the service as a great thing for Rockaway residents.

“A nice comfortable ride in less than an hour from Rockaway to Manhattan is what the peninsula has needed for a long time,” he said.

The man who many call “Mr. Rockaway Ferry,” — Joe Hartigan, was on board.

For years, Hartigan pursued a commuter ferry for Rockaway at any meeting that would hear him – often a lonely quest – and on Monday morning he was beaming from ear to ear as he received congratulations from many of those aboard.

“I’m happy that the mayor kept his word,” Hartigan said. “We have to give him his due and thank him for the service. Now, it’s up to Rockaway residents to use the ferry and show that it really is needed and profitable.”

“And, Rockaway it first, not last as it usually does,” Hartigan added.

The ferry travels at about 25 miles per hour and the ride sometimes gets a little rough when the specially-built catamaran runs into the open ocean for about ten or fifteen minutes, but otherwise, the ride is smooth and calm. Riders can sit either inside for inclement weather or on the upper deck when the weather is nice.

There is a snack bar, with both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks available, although there was no beer in sight during the 5:30 a.m. run.

Marty Ingram is the vice-chair for CB 14’s transportation committee. Sitting in a comfortable seat on the bottom deck, Ingram said, “This is terrific, and I’m glad that it has finally come to fruition. There was a groundswell in Rockaway for this service and lots of local and elected worked hard to make it a reality.”

Riders can get free transfers to the East River ferries that dock a short walk from Pier 11, where the Rockaway ferry comes into Manhattan.

When the ferry pulled back into the Rockaway terminal at 7:30 a.m., there were 130 people waiting to board. The boat seats 149 passengers.

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, sat with her mom, Queens Clerk Audrey Pheffer and State Senator Joe Addabbo and representative of other politicians, including City Councilman Eric Ulrich.

“I am beyond thrilled,” she said as she looked out at the crowd waiting to board the boat. “This is just what Rockaway needs.”

A single ride costs $2.75, but there are discounts for a monthly pass and even deeper discounts for seniors who purchase the monthly pass. In addition, parking at the Beach 108 Street site costs $8, but there are monthly discounts as well. Free shuttle buses are available throughout the west end and to Beach 35 Street on the eastern end of the peninsula. See the ferry website for information.

Channel 4 News sent a producer on a subway ride from Rockaway, starting at the Beach 116 Street station. It took the producer 62 minutes to get to the Fulton Street station, the closest station to Pier 11. It took the ferry 58 minutes, a four-minute difference. Riders of the ferry would tell you, however, that they had a lot more fun and that the ferry ride was much more comfortable that being underground for nearly an hour.



House under construction collapses in Far Rockaway as heavy winds sweep in on Tuesday

Heavy winds on Tuesday blew down a house under construction at  the corner of Jarvis Avenue and Beach 7 Street in Far Rockaway, also knocking down an adjacent house that was also under construction.

Neighbor Israel Schreiber and his son take a look at the collapse as a reporter does a stand-up in front of the home.

The two homes were completely destroyed.  Because they were under construction, there were no injuries.

On Tuesday, at about 10:46 a.m., Israel Schreiber was working in his home office on Jarvis Avenue and Beach 7 Street in Far Rockaway when he felt a particularly heavy wind gust move through his home, part of the windy, snowy, icy day as a major storm swept over the peninsula.

Schreiber said that he heard a loud noise, something like thunder. His son thought that a large truck had driven by so close that his bed shook.

Schreiber and his son went outside to take a look and found that a neighboring home, not yet with a designated address under construction for more than a year, collapsed in the strong wind and then knocked over the next house, also under construction totaling both of the million dollar homes.

Police and fire units responded, as did many media outlets who were looking for strong storm stories that day.

Officials at the national weather service said that gusts of up to 65 miles per hour were being experienced on the peninsula at that time.

Schreiber told that the builder had put up ten homes. Eight were sold and occupied. The two that collapsed were not yet sold, he said.

The collapse site is a block north of Seagirt Boulevard.

There were no reported injuries in the collapse.


With less than 25 percent of vote in, Pheffer-Amato and Addabbo hold large leads


With less than 20 percent of the vote counted, State Senator Joseph Addabbo leads his Republican challenger, Michael Conigliano by 69.23 percent to 30.67 percent.


In the State Assembly, in a race for the seat held by Phil Goldfeder, with 35 percent of the vote counted, Democrat Stacey Pheffer-Amato leads her Republican challenger, Alan Zwirn by  approximately 65 percent to 35 percent.

Local residents, pols, demonstrate at City Hall in pouring rain, decry de Blasio’s homeless policy


Local residents and politicians huddle in the rain on Friday morning to protest against Mayor de Blasio’s homeless policy, including placing the homeless in the soon-to-be-close Playland Hotel in Rockaway Beach.


City Councilman Eric Ulrich (center) was joined by Senators Tony Avila and Joe Addabbo at the rally.


Rockaway resident Danny Ruscillo was one of those protesting in front of City Hall.

Led by City Councilman Eric Ulrich, who represents the western end of the Rockaway peninsula and parts of mainland Queens, a group of elected officials and residents, many of them from the peninsula, rallied on the steps of City Hall in the pouring rain on Friday to criticize Mayor Bill de Blasio and his failed homeless policies, an over reliance on using hotels as shelters and a lack of communication from City Hall.

The protest, which at times grew contentious, with residents shouting over elected officials, comes on the same week the city announced the number of homeless people has grown to more than 60,000 people, an increase of nearly 10,000 since de Blasio took office and the highest it has been since the city began keeping count two decades ago.

Many of the local residents who braved the rainstorm to protest the siting of homeless shelters in Queens communities, including the rental of a dozen apartments at the soon-to-be-closed Playland Hotel, came by bus to Manhattan, transportation that was provided by State Senator Joseph Addabbo, Jr.

The elected officials in attendance — including City Council members Ulrich and Elizabeth Crowley, State Sens. Joseph Adabbo, Tony Avella and Jose Peralta — were all careful to say they were not casting blame on the homeless. Instead, they said, their attack was focused on the administration’s approach to dealing with the ongoing problem, which has worsened due to a lack of affordable housing and the rising cost of living.

“This morning, we are here as elected officials, as community leaders, not to denounce or demonize homeless families that are living in our shelter system,” Ulrich said. “What we are here to say today is that whatever policies the de Blasio administration has employed over the past three years to combat the homelessness in this city are not working. They’re hopeless policies, they’re failed policies.”

The clarification came after hundreds of Queens residents in Maspeth and other areas of Eastern Queens have taken to the streets of their neighborhoods in recent weeks to protest shelters, but  their protests have been characterized in televised ads by de Blasio officials as a show of intolerance and discrimination against families that have fallen on hard times.

Detectives bust man wanted for vicious Far Rockaway beating, robbery


Detectives from the 101 Precinct used this surveillance photo to assist in the arrest late Thursday night of Sherwin Benn, 32, for the beating and robbery of a deli clerk who refused to sell him beer because he could not pay the full price for the six pack.

Detectives from the 101 Precinct arrested a local man late Thursday night for the assault and robbery of a 57-year old Far Rockaway deli clerk who refused to sell a six-pack of beer to him because he could not pay for the beverage.

Police and court sources identify the man as Sherwin Benn, 32, of 14-19 Beach Channel Drive.

Benn has been charged by police with Attempted Murder in the second degree, Robbery in the first degree and Assault in the second degree.

Court documents say that Benn had only $3 to pay for the beer, which cost $3,25, and an argument ensued when the victim, identified as Abdul Almilaki, refused to take the lesser amount as payment at the Ronan Deli in Far Rockaway.

The victim was severely beaten on his way home from work and remains at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in critical condition with a fractured skull and head trauma, police say.

Sources say that the victim, who lives on New Haven Avenue in Far Rockaway, was walking home after his tour at a the Rohan deli when the was assaulted by Benn.

The victim’s 16-year-old nephew told police he was inside the New Haven Avenue home when he heard a commotion outside the door at about 3:30 a.m. on September 21.

The teen ran outside and found his uncle on the ground with a severe head wound and saw a man in a white t-shirt running from the scene.

Family members told police that the victim was carrying two cell phones, both of which were missing.

 Benn was awaiting his arraignment on Friday afternoon.


Undercover cops bust Brooklyn gangbanger as illegal gun buy goes bad


An undercover police officer from the Queens Gang Squad got into a fight while trying to take an illegal gun off the street on Wednesday evening at Beach 38 Street and the Rockaway Freeway, an isolated section of Edgemere.

An undercover police officer assigned to the Queens South Gang Squad was attempting to buy an illegal gun from an Edgemere gangbanger on Tuesday afternoon when the gun takedown went south and a fight ensued.

The gangbanger, identified as Brooklyn resident Jesse Ingram, 20, was finally busted, however, and the gun recovered.

Police sources say that the undercover cop was attempting to buy the 25 caliber pistol at about 4:46 p.m. at Beach 38 Street and the Rockaway Freeway on September 13 when Ingram tried to take it back and started fighting with the cop. It was unclear, police say, why the fight started, but the cop called in a signal 10-85, denoting the fact that an officer needed backup and quick.


Units from both the 100 and 101 Precincts as well as specialized units working in Rockaway responded.

At 5:29 p.m., the emergency service unit was called for both a perp search and a weapons search.

Police eventually found Ingram and he was put under arrest at 6:39 p.m., cops said. The gun was recovered.

Police say that he resisted arrest.

He will be charged in Queens Criminal Court on Wednesday with 2 counts of criminal possession of a weapon, resisting arrest and disrupting governmental administration.


Fire destroys seven boats at Arverne marina, Edgemere high-rise fire brings all hands on Tuesday morning

Boat fire

One of the seven boats that were destroyed in a fast-moving fire at a marina at Beach 59 Street and Beach Channel Drive early on Tuesday morning. 

453 beach 40

Another fire, this one just after midnight on Tuesday morning, struck a fifth floor apartment at 453 Beach 40 Street in Edgemere.

Seven boats were destroyed and one civilian was slightly injured when a suspicious fire struck the marina at Beach 59 Street and Beach Channel Drive early on Tuesday morning.

Fire officials say that the first call from the marina came in to the 911 emergency system at 3:06 a.m. on September 6.

The fire quickly became an all-hands evolution with 12 fire units and 75 firefighters responding to the scene.

The fire was declared under control at 3:36 a.m.

Eyewitnesses say that some of the boats were part of the marina’s “Botel” program where guests rent the boats as they would a motel room for a night or for a longer stay.

The injured civilian refused medical treatment at the scene.

Sources say that fire marshals are investigating the fire, which has been called “Suspicious” in nature.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, just after midnight, there was a high-rise fire on the fifth floor of 453 Beach 40 Street, a public housing building.

The fire was called in at 12:07 a.m. and was declared under control just nine minutes later, sources said.

Another ocean rescue for NYPD Aviation Unit and again way after lifeguards went off duty


An NYPD Aviation Unit helicopter earlier this week in an ocean rescue off the shores of Riis Beach. On Thursday night, Aviation units rescued a man in the raging ocean off the beach at Beach 59 Street.

Another water rescue, the third involving the NYPD and FDNY in the past several days.

Police sources say that the 911 Emergency system was called at 6:57 p.m. on Thursday night, about an hour after the lifeguards had gone off duty. The call said that there was a man in trouble in the ocean off Beach 59 Street.

NYPD Harbor and Aviation units were requested.

The copter got there less than five minutes after the call and divers were once again put into the water, grabbing the errant male swimmer, who was about 200 yards off shore in the gathering darkness.

The FDNYs Marine Three boat also responded to the scene, along with the NYPDs Harbor Adam.

The divers brought the man out of the water at about 7:09 p.m. and turned him over to EMS units on the scene, but there is no word of his condition at press time.

For second night in a row, NYPD copters assist in Breezy Point rescue as two fishermen trapped on Jetty

Breezy Point jetty

Police helicopter hoisted two fishermen stranded on Breezy Point Jetty on Tuesday night.

Don’t look now, partner, but I think we have a problem!

Two men happily fishing off the Breezy Point Jetty, at the far western end of the Rockaway peninsula might have said that to each other when they look around and realized that the rising tide had covered the rocks that separated them from the land mass was covered with a few feet of water.

For the second night in a row, the NYPD’s aviation unit had to go into action to save a person at the Gateway National Park.

On Monday night they put two divers in the water to save a 73-year-old man who had gotten in trouble about 100 yards from shore. The police divers assisted the man to shore.

On Tuesday night, it was hoisting aboard two men who became stranded on the end of the rocks at about 6:59 p.m. on August 30.

The NYPD’s harbor unit was the first to respond to calls of help from the two men, but the water was so rough that the police launches could not safely get close to the rocks.

They called for help from aviation, which had a helicopter fueling at Floyd Bennett Field, right across Jamaica Bay. The copter arrived on scene at 7:04 p.m., with the two men climbing the tower at the end of the jetty to stay away from the rising tide.

Police reported that the two men were aboard the copter by 7:12 p.m. and they were quickly returned safely to shore.

The unidentified men refused medical attention.

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