Flushing Library officially reopens

Having been closed for more than two years, the Queens Public Library Flushing Branch officially reopened its doors to the general public on April 25.

The library, which averages approximately 6,000 visitors per day, is one of the largest and busiest public libraries in the entire country.

Local elected officials including City Councilwoman Sandra Ung, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, and Queens Public Library President/CEO Dennis Walcott were in attendance on Monday morning, as the facility officially reopened its doors for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a great day for the Flushing community,” Ung said. “This library is so much more than a place to check out books, it hosts community events for families, provides a safe place for teens to gather after school, and keeps our seniors connected. For the many local residents who have limited English proficiency, the Flushing Library is often where they learn what is going on in their community.”

Ung said that in fact, all of the shelves on the third floor of the library contain materials in languages other than English.

So this branch doesn’t just serve Flushing residents, it’s a resource for the diverse immigrant communities across the borough,” Ung said. “I’m so pleased that it is finally open to the public again.”

The Flushing Library is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

The Adult Learning Center also reopened on Monday with classes for the public. The Center will be open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The library originally closed at the start of the pandemic along with all other QPL branches. The branch temporarily offered to-go service from November 2020 until March 2021, when the city began using the library as a free COVID-19 vaccination site. It quickly became one of the city’s most visited locations.

However, the city was forced to close it in mid-June when the building’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system failed. The system failure came at approximately the same time as a planned closure of the branch to construct a second elevator. Work on that project started in December.

The second elevator is scheduled for completion in April of 2023, at which point the current elevator will be closed and refurbished. Both elevators should be operational by December of 2023.

In order to reopen the library to the public, QPL officials agreed to complete the bulk of the work on the elevators at night, so the building can be open during the day. The current HVAC system will still heat the building, while a temporary chiller sitting on a trailer along Kissena Avenue will cool the library. A new permanent HVAC system will be installed within the next two years.

The Flushing branch is the busiest library in the nation. Back in 2019, the facility drew 1.7 million visitors, circulated 1 million items, and brought in 184,000 program attendees, who participated in English classes, GED prep courses, job readiness workshops, and a variety of other programs.

Ung previously toured the library last month with Congresswoman Grace Meng, Richards, and Walcott, who assured her the library would be open in April.

I want to thank QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott and his team for keeping their promise and reopening the library before the end of the month,” Ung added. “I’m sure in no time this will again be the busiest library in the country.”

Live racing returns to Belmont on April 28

In preparation for the 2022 Belmont Park spring/summer meet, which begins on April 28, the New York Racing Association, Inc. has updated information for fans planning to attend live racing events at Belmont Park this season.

Admission is $5 daily, outside of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 11. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at any admission gate. Gates will open at 11 a.m. daily unless otherwise indicated. During Twilight racing days the admission gates will open at 1 p.m.

NYRA will also be offering the Belmont Park season pass once again in 2022, which provides general admission during every live race day during the spring, summer, and fall meets, including all three days of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival. For more information visit NYRA.com.

Due to the construction of the UBS Arena, the size of the Belmont Park backyard has been reduced, resulting in updated safety and security protocols. As a result, fans are no longer permitted to enter certain areas of the park with outside alcoholic beverages or large coolers, which will only be permitted in the “Top of the Stretch” reserved picnic area.

Updated protocols do not apply to the Saratoga Race Course, where the longstanding NYRA policy allowing fans to enter with coolers and outside food and beverages remains in place.

During the month of April, the first post will be 1:20 p.m. daily before shifting to 1 p.m. beginning May 1. Twilight racing will be offered on Thursdays beginning May 12 with a first post time of 3:05 p.m.

The first post for the Kentucky Derby will be 12:20 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, and the first post for the Preakness Stakes will be 12 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

Long Island Rail Road will provide train service to and from Belmont Park every Saturday, throughout Memorial Day weekend, and on Father’s Day during the spring/summer meet. The LIRR will also expand service to help accommodate fans attending the 2022 Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

Doordash, Masbia deliver Kosher meals for Passover

Masbia, a nonprofit soup kitchen network that provides nutritious meals for New Yorkers in need, has partnered with DoorDash to deliver groceries in Queens and Brooklyn to families facing food insecurity via Project DASH, the company’s initiative to enable food banks, food pantries and social impact organizations to leverage DoorDash’s last mile logistics.

DoorDash has already made nearly 2,500 deliveries since the start of the partnership, which launched in February, with plans to make over 1,000 weekly deliveries for families that Masbia serves.

The partnership addresses a need for expanding access to kosher food for members of the Orthodox Jewish communities in Queens and Brooklyn, providing groceries that meet religious dietary restrictions. Fresh produce, dairy products, eggs and more are included in the deliveries.

Brooklyn and Queens are among the boroughs with the largest populations facing food insecurity, according to the New York City Office for Food Policy.

“DoorDash is proud to partner with Masbia, an organization that New Yorkers in need have been able to rely on for over a decade, to power the delivery of groceries and kosher food,” Sascha Owen, senior manager of Government Relations for DoorDash, said. “This partnership is part of our ongoing work to broaden food access through Project DASH and underscores the importance of businesses and community leaders coming together to break down barriers and meet our most vulnerable neighbors where they are.”

With 38 million people facing food insecurity in the United States, DoorDash is continuing its ongoing work to broaden food access to vulnerable communities.

The company has delivered thousands of charitable meals to New Yorkers in need through Project DASH, which enables food banks, food pantries and social impact organizations to leverage DoorDash’s last mile logistics to carry out their mission.

Last year, the initiative reached over 1 million deliveries, serving more than 21 million meals in more than 900 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

“We have seen firsthand the challenges to meeting the growing need for getting food to our neighbors in need — especially by providing dignity to people by eliminating their breadline experience one family at a time,” Alexander Rapaport, executive director at Masbia Soup Kitchen Network, said. “DoorDash’s commitment to making a community-wide impact and understanding of the urgency for addressing food insecurity speaks to their pledge of being a reliable community partner.”

With 38 million people facing food insecurity in the United States, DoorDash is continuing its ongoing work to broaden food access to vulnerable communities.

The company has delivered thousands of charitable meals to New Yorkers in need through Project DASH, which enables food banks, food pantries and social impact organizations to leverage DoorDash’s last mile logistics to carry out their mission. Last year, the initiative reached over one million deliveries, providing more than 21 million meals in more than 900 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

DoorDash is inviting New York City organizations interested in working together to expand its existing delivery efforts or brainstorm how delivery could enhance their programs to contact the Project DASH team.

Gianaris recognized for work to shut down puppy mill pipeline

Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris received the prestigious “Champion for Animals” award from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in recognition of his work to end the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline in New York State. He received the award alongside the bill’s Assembly sponsor, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan.

The Puppy Mill Pipeline Bill would end the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in New York pet stores. Senator Gianaris’ legislation to better protect consumers, public health and animal welfare passed the State Senate in 2020 and 2021. It is currently awaiting a vote in the State Assembly.

The legislation comes with the support of the ASPCA, the Humane Society of New York State, New York State Animal Protection Federation, Voters for Animal Rights, and the New York City Bar Association Animal Welfare section.

“With so many good animals in need of rescue, there is no need for puppy mills that abuse animals to supply pet stores. Our four-legged companions should be treated with respect, not like commodities,” Gianaris said. “I thank the ASPCA for this award and their ongoing support in passing this important law.”

The term, puppy mills, is used for out-of-state and often inhumane commercial breeding facilities that supply New York pet stores with different breeds of pets. Offspring of mill animals often have congenital issues resulting from poor breeding and can cost families thousands of dollars in veterinary care.

Pet breeders and stores are loosely regulated under the Animal Welfare Act by the United States Department of Agriculture.

In Iowa, Daniel Gingerich was licensed by the USDA in 2019, however, the agency didn’t inspect the facility until 2021. Upon inspection, the agency found dead and dying dogs, dogs hidden from inspectors, ongoing disease outbreaks, heat distress, lack of water, and food –– totaling up to 190 violations.

Based on veterinarian inspection documents filed with New York State, dogs were sold to over 25 locations in New York, including to Astoria Pets in Astoria and to HeyPets Inc in Flushing. Different breeds of dogs were also sold to a number of locations in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

According to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the state agency tasked with regulating pet dealers, there are approximately 80 pet stores registered throughout the state.

Also receiving ‘Champion for Animals’ awards were Robyn Dobernecker, Joe Stafford, Tina Updegrove, and Megan Wiedmann with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. The group was recognized for its role in the removal of 500 dogs living in horrific conditions in a USDA-breeding facility in Iowa.

ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker praised the work being done by legislators and animal advocates on the frontline.

“This year’s ASPCA ‘Champion for Animals’ Award recipients share a deep commitment to helping and protecting victims of animal cruelty through on-the-ground rescue work and effective state legislation,” Bershadker said. “We honor their dedication and accomplishments, and hope these efforts inspire even more acts of compassion to support animals in need.”

Perlman: Yud Aleph Nissan celebrated at Borough Hall

By Michael Perlman


It is always timely to commit good deeds, uphold our values as a team, and set an example for all generations, beginning with our youth, in order to build a solid foundation for a healthier and most respectful life ahead.

On April 12, Yud Aleph Nissan, also known as the eleventh day of Nissan, the 120th anniversary of the Rebbe’s birth was commemorated with a ceremony at Queens Borough Hall.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson OBM (1902 – 1994), was a leader of world Jewry. Today there are over 5000 Chabad emissaries worldwide, delivering the Rebbe’s mission of goodness and kindness to life, making the world a better place at large. He continues to be highly regarded for stirring the conscience and awakening the spirit.

Rabbi Mendy Hecht, founder of Chabad of Forest Hills North, along with a delegation of Shluchim from Queens Chabad emissaries, were invited to Queens Borough Hall and presented with a proclamation by Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, who designated April 12, 2022 as “Education and Sharing Day.”

It was also coordinated by Rabbi Mordechai Hecht of Anshe Sholom Chabad JCC in Kew Gardens, who extended the honor for Rabbi Mendy to attend.

“The Rebbe was a strong advocate for educating children, while mentioning the freedom of this country to do so, and using this opportunity after fleeing Nazi Germany to this safe haven to live freely through a moral and ethical life,” said Rabbi Mendy. The Rebbe receives recognition annually as a result of advocating for education of our youth and providing a moral compass, where American presidents since 1978, celebrate Education and Sharing Day. Rabbi Mendy continued, “On a day of the Rebbe’s 120th birthday, there is no better time to honor the Rebbe in this manner, especially since Queens is where the Rebbe’s resting place is situated, while many other states and cities are following suit.”
The proclamation read, “Whereas the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, was a passionate advocate for children and stressed the importance of educating children in ways that will help every child develop a strong intellect and a solid moral character; and whereas the Rebbe helped turn this guiding principle into reality by establishing a network of several thousand schools and educational centers in the United States and around the world; and whereas in 1978, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the Rebbe’s birthday as a national Education and Sharing Day has since been issued regularly upon the authorization and request of the Congress and the designation of the President.”

The proclamation continued, “On April 12, 2022, the nation will commemorate the 120th anniversary of the Rebbe’s birth as ‘Education and Sharing Day, USA,’ as Americans are called upon to follow the Rebbe’s example by working toward the furtherance of education and the betterment of society; and whereas the 2.4 million residents of Queens, ‘The World’s Borough,’ wholeheartedly join in this year’s commemoration of Education and Sharing Day, USA, as we pursue the Rebbe’s goal of helping all children receive an education that will help them succeed in all facets of life.”

Rabbi Mendy is hopeful that Education and Sharing Day at Queens Borough Hall will become an annual tradition. A proclamation was presented in the past by prior Queens BP Melinda Katz, as well as by BP Donovan Richards last year with a citation. Rabbi Mendy said, “We are confident that with this important message of educating our youth in a time of chaos and turmoil, it will become an annual tradition. We are thankful that BP Richards has shown his full support, to the extent he requested our presence on the Rebbe’s Birthday, to proclaim this special day without delay.”

Rabbi Mendy and his colleagues shared a universal message of increasing acts of kindness, as well as promoted the Rebbe’s teachings of universal values. This can be further implemented throughout communities on various levels, beginning with schools. The Rebbe was a strong advocate of a moment of silence. Rabbi Mendy explained, “I mentioned at the event that this moment of silence at the beginning of each day of school, was to ensure that each child reflects in a moment on something more meaningful than the craziness and all destruction transpiring around us. This doesn’t have to be restricted to religion, but something meaningful that should be guided by the child’s parent. The Rebbe intended that this would facilitate a more moral compass to a child, making this world a better place through good education, peace, and good deeds.”

A mandatory moment of silence is already legislated in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. The most recent states are Arizona, Florida, and Kentucky, which Chabad played a major role in implementing. “Now we need it to be mandatory in New York, where it is optional,” said Rabbi Mendy. “Along with my colleagues, we asked for BP Richards’ support of this important legislation, starting in Queens, and hopefully will bring it on a state level as well. We hope to work further with the BP to accomplish this.”

At the ceremony, Rabbi Mendy presented BP Richards with a personalized Siddur featuring the Rebbe’s directive, recalling an earlier occasion when the presentation of a Siddur was made to the president. He explained, “The Rebbe suggested this gift on a similar occasion, stating that at the beginning of the prayer book, it mentions how upon waking up, we thank G-D for giving us another day, as in ‘Modeh Ani.’ Sharing this with the borough president is a beautiful idea to live by.”

It is significant for schools to practice religion freely, as in the case of Queens Jewish day schools. Rabbi Mendy takes pride in a very positive ceremony, marked by the assurance of BP Richards that he stands in solidarity with Queens Jewish Day Schools in support of freedom of religion. He said, “The Jewish faith offers a method of educating our children, and making sure we can have that freedom, makes it simpler for our children to practice and continue our Jewish heritage and values for generations to come, as taught in our Holy Torah. I commend him on how he will continue to work throughout Queens to promote the universal values taught by the Rebbe.”

Rabbi Mendy considers it a true honor. “We are all very thankful to the BP for taking out time from his extremely busy schedule to meet with us and honor the Rebbe in such a beautiful way. Now let’s all celebrate better education and sharing with our families and friends!” He topped it off with “L’Chaim!”

Ruhling: The Deep-Discount Guy

Chris Sciacco, who is wearing a grey sweater and a big smile, throws open the doors to Kaiya’s Pallets.

This is week No. 5 of the wholesale/discount store’s existence, and he’s really pumped.

Come on in! We have deals you can’t pass up!

Water is 10 cents a bottle.

Gatorade is 50 cents a bottle.

Diapers are on sale for $10 a pack.

And brand-name cereals are $3 to $5 for a two-pack.

Come on in! Fill your cart without emptying your wallet!

“I’d say that 90 percent of the people who come in here do not leave empty-handed,” says Chris, as he greets another customer. “I decided to open the store because there’s nothing cheap in Astoria.”

Kaiya’s Pallets, which he describes as “a mom-and-pop BJs-Costco,” certainly fits the bill.

Its ever-changing inventory of brand-name products, which range from toothpaste and olive oil to clothing and lounge chairs and appliances, is the very definition of deep-dollar discounts.

Despite his enthusiastic sales pitches, business is not Chris’ first love, something you might guess if you’ve seen the hilarious videos he creates and stars in that promote the store.

A native of Whitestone, Chris moved with his family to Maryland right before he started high school then came to New York City when he enrolled in The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts.

He majored in film.

“I always had a camera,” he says. “I was an athlete and goofball, and I was always making stupid stuff. I fell in love with filmmaking after I took a course in high school.”

His parents, he says, were not amused by his affinity for the cinematic art.

“I begged them to let me do it,” he says.

To appease them and ease their fears for his future, the summer before he started school, he worked at his uncle’s discount store, Thomas Ventures, in Corona.

He bartended his way through college, and when he graduated, he moved to Astoria in 2007 shortly before his daughter – in case you haven’t figured it out, she’s the Kaiya in Kaiya’s Pallets – was  born.

“I started working for my uncle full time,” he says. “He told me he wanted me to follow my dreams, so he allowed me to take time off to continue making films.”

Chris took him at his word: So far he has made 300 shorts, and his first feature-length film, The Improviser, has just been released.

In 2018, when his uncle died, Chris began running the store and successfully shepherded it through the pandemic by adding a wholesale component.

And that might have been the end of the story had his aunt not decided to retire and sell the store, which, he adds, may or may not happen any time soon.

“She encouraged me to start Kaiya’s Pallets, which is a mini version of Thomas Ventures,” he says. “Right now, I’m working seven days a week and going back and forth between the stores.”

It is, he admits, a lot.

Kaiya’s Pallets, which covers only 5,100 square feet, is staffed by Chris and four of his friends.

Kaiya, who is 13 and is the model for the store’s logo, works a weekend shift in the clothing section.

“At first she thought it was cute that I named the store after her,” says Chris, a proud single father since her birth. “But now all of her friends are making fun of her.”

And she’s making it fun for herself by promoting the store on social media.

In case you’re wondering, Chris is starting work on yet another film; it will, of course, be shot in Astoria.

And he’s planning on making a film about his grandfather, a Korean War POW who came out of the fighting with four Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and three Bronze Stars pinned to his uniform.

Sometime in the future, he hopes to open more Kaiya’s Pallets.

“My dream is to have another location on the other side of Astoria,” he says.

Jastremski: First round flop for drama-filled Nets

On Monday, the Nets chaotic and disappointing 2021-2022 season came to a close with a major thud.

At the beginning of the year, the Nets were title favorites.

There was no possible way the Nets could be a 7 seed and get swept in the first round right?

Believe it.

In fact the Nets are the first preseason title favorite to be swept in the first round ever.

So, the preseason narrative would have suggested that there is no way the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets would be comparable teams.

After all, the Nets took down the Celtics in 5 games in the first round a season ago.

Well, the Nets and Celtics weren’t comparable teams this year.

The Celtics were flat out better.

The Celtics taking down Brooklyn shouldn’t surprise anyone who watched NBA Basketball over the last four months.

The Celtics played as a team, got better as the season went along and looked like a group that had cohesion and unity.

The Nets featured none of those qualities.

It’s tough to have cohesion when the so called “Big 3” of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden is broken up midseason.

It’s tough to have top notch team chemistry when Kyrie Irving missed almost all of your home games because of the vaccine mandate.

Plus the kicker, Ben Simmons the headliner in the midseason Harden blockbuster didn’t find his way into one Nets game this season.

You lay out that adversity plus the injury to sharp shooter Joe Harris and it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the Nets fell well short of their championship or bust goal.

The reality for the Nets franchise is simple going into this summer, the past three years haven’t been good enough.

If I told a Nets fan after the Durant/Irving signings in the summer of 2020 that their team wouldn’t have seen a title, an NBA Finals appearance or a Conference Final three years later, they wouldn’t have believed me.

The franchise and their two best players Durant and Irving have fallen short of very lofty expectations.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were outplayed by Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart in this series.

How was Brooklyn supposed to have a chance against this dangerous Celtics team when it’s two star players weren’t leading the way.

The Nets window is not fully closed, but it’s closing fast.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are not getting any younger.

Who knows what Ben Simmons will add if anything to the Nets next season?

Can Steve Nash lead the team as a championship caliber coach, for my money the jury is very much still out on that.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving can still write a happily ever after ending to this story, but they better start re-writing the script now.

Three years in, Nets fans haven’t gotten enough bang for their buck.

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday & Thursday plus my picks on The Ringer Gambling Show every Tuesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. You can also watch me nightly on SNY’s Geico Sportsnight.

On the Record: Gerorge Hadjimanolis, Uber Driver

George Hadjimanolis, 64, loves his Astoria neighborhood. But sometimes living in America can come with its own hardships.

Hadjimanolis first immigrated to Astoria, from his home in Athens, Greece, in 1982. It’s where he raised his two sons. It’s a place with “low crime and [is] very family-oriented”. Although, Hadjimanolis says that crime has gone up a bit since the Greek and Italian wiseguys left the neighborhood.

“Although it’s counterintuitive, these guys made sure people were safe – even if they were doing illegal things,” Hadjimanolis said in an interview.

Hadjimanolis first came to the states to study business administration. He never got his degree but after 30 years working in the restaurant industry, he was finally able to open his own businesses in Greece when he moved back in 1999.

He did well for himself, owning multiple stores including a cafeteria and a retail shop. But it all came to a tumbling halt in the 2010s when the Greek economy faltered. He tried to keep the businesses afloat for another two years, sinking even more money into it before having to call it quits.

“I must not be lucky, there must be something after me,” Hadjimanolis joked.

Since coming back to the states Hadjimanolis has worked a slew of different jobs. Despite his resume filling up three pages, he says that it’s hard to find a job at his age.

“Put all this together, and then they never call you. Never bothered. You are qualified but never getting called – it’s surprised me many times,” Hadjimanolis said.

When he came back to Astoria in 2012 he got a job as a driver. It was for a coffee shop near his home and was good work but during the COVID pandemic was laid off. During the few months he was looking for his next job, was the only time Hadjimanolis has ever accepted any unemployment or government benefits – a point of personal pride. Hadjimanolis doesn’t even have health insurance as he says he doesn’t want to take from government-provided plans and can’t afford a plan on the regular market.

Hadjimanolis says his plan now is to work for Uber for another five months before he goes back home for a trip to Greece. Afterwards, he will look for a different job since Uber doesn’t pay well enough and requires too many hours.

“Hopefully, I will get lucky this time.”

PingPod opens new location in Astoria

PingPod, a futuristic table-tennis company, providing 24/7 on-demand access for players, recently opened its fourth location at 30-18 Steinway Street in Astoria.

Since it first launched in 2020 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the pod-based ping-pong company has rapidly expanded adding new locations at West 37 Street and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

The brand new 3,200 square-foot gaming space in Astoria features a six-table multi-pod space, including two private pods with a separate entrance, and a dedicated robot table.

Max Kogler, one of the three partners behind PingPod’s unique business model, said that the company’s main goal is to make it easy for people to play table tennis by bringing smaller pods, which are highly visible from the street, to residential areas of the city.

“When we first started exploring Astoria for PingPod we were struck by the vibrancy and diversity of the neighborhood,” Kogler said in a release. “While Astoria is teeming with life and with an abundance of restaurants, there seemed to be a lack of recreational activities. We believe that PingPod will help fill that void by providing a safe and comfortable space for all people from retired adults to young families. We are so excited to be in Astoria.”

PingPod was created by David Silberman as a state-of-the-art concept, aimed at launching a network of the world’s first tech-enabled autonomous table tennis “pods,” which are open retail spaces, ranging from one to six tables that are available to rent in 30-minute increments via an online application.

There are no on-site employees and the locations operate 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. Players who register can reserve a table online and check-in at an automated kiosk. When participants arrive at the table, they are provided with a basket full of high-quality ping-pong balls and free paddles to use.

In the two years since it launched, PingPod has proven to be a popular spot for casual players seeking fun date nights, new fitness opportunities, and training for competitive players preparing for their next tournament. So far, PingPod has registered more than 14,000 people to play, with more than 40,000 hours of logged game time.

Community plagued by overnight commercial parking

Finding a parking space is complicated enough without having to worry about commercial trucks illegally parking overnight on residential streets.

To address this issue, which continues to plague residential neighborhoods in Eastern Queens, New York City Councilwoman Linda Lee approached DOT representatives during a Transportation and Infrastructure hearing, about the department’s efforts to correct the issue.

“A lot of colleagues of mine are struggling with the commercial truck parking issue which has been prevalent in Queens, and I know the Bronx as well,” Lee said. “It’s been something that the State and City have been trying to address through legislation and higher fines for some of the commercial truck drivers, but also there are no places for them to park. I know a lot of us are hearing from our constituents about this because it is also causing litter and other issues related to commercial truck parking.”

Lee suggested that the department explore options to increase overnight off-street parking for trucks and commercial vehicles, including potentially using federal funding to expand the parking infrastructure.

Commercial truck drivers are limited in the number of hours they can drive each day and are required to take mandatory rest stops if they exceed those hours. Because of this, many park illegally in residential communities, particularly in the outer boroughs, causing concern over the quality of life.

Moreover, the already existing parking lots near JFK Airport and other shipping hubs are currently at full capacity and are unable to accommodate the demand for parking. Several even have waitlists for the next available spot.

Due to the rise of e-commerce, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, trucking in New York City has increased significantly while commercial parking has remained limited.

Lee suggested that because of a lack of off-street parking for trucks and commercial vehicles, many companies and owner-operators are left to pay the fines as a cost of doing business. She also indicated that enforcement through booting and towing operations has also proven insufficient due to the overwhelming number of trucks involved and the limited towing and storage space available.

DOT replied that they are working with the NYC Economic Development Corporation to expand sites for overnight commercial truck parking, but could not provide specifics regarding the proposed locations or the estimated number of additional spots.

New York State lawmakers are also considering two active bills that aim to stiffen penalties for trucks left unattended overnight.

One would seek to increase fines specifically for tractor-trailers, truck trailers, tractors, and semi-trailers parked on residential streets in New York City, while the other, would increase fines to $1,000 for illegally parked trailers and semitrailers “in a city with a population of one million or more.” Both proposals are currently in committee.


Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing