Two charged in connection with stabbing of pizzeria owners

Queens pizzeria owner Charlie Suljovic, and his son, are being praised for their efforts to help thwart the attack of a 61-year-old woman outside their Elmhurst business last March.

Having overheard calls for help, the two storeowners rushed to assist the victim who was being mugged. In the struggle, both men were stabbed multiple times for trying to assist the woman in distress.

Now, nearly two months since the incident occured, two men have been indicted on charges of attempted murder in connection with the attack.

Supreme Gooding, 18, and Robert Whack, 30, were arraigned on Monday, June 13, by Queens Supreme Court Justice David Kirschner. If convicted, both men could face up to 25 years in prison.

The 17-count indictement made by the Office of Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz included charges of assault, robbery, criminal possession of a weapon, grand larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property.

One of the defendants, Whack, also faces an additional charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance, as police allegedly recovered 39 glassine envelopes of heroin from his jacket pocket.

The first of the two incidents occurred at about 5:35 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, when, according to the charges, a 75-year-old woman was entering her apartment building on 64th Street and felt her cane and purse being snatched away from her. Video surveillance observed the defendants allegedly running down the block in possession of the stolen purse.

Another incident took place on Saturday, March 26, at approximately 8:45 p.m., when one of the suspects grabbed the purse of a 61-year-old woman, who was walking on Baxter Avenue and Judge Street.

According to Katz, the 68-year-old pizzeria owner, Suljovic, and his 38-year-old son, Louie, overheard calls for help from bystanders and ran to assist the victim. Suljovic and his son were both stabbed in the struggle.

Suljovic sustained nine stab wounds to the chest and back, while suffering from a collapsed lung. His son also sustained a collapsed lung and a stab wound to his back, according to the charges. The 61-year-old victim also sustained a single stab wound to the back.

Police apprehended the suspects a short distance from away from the scene, not long after they had fled. Katz added that investigators allegedly recovered a knife from the jacket pocket of Whack, which also appeared to have blood on it.

“As alleged, the defendants targeted two women to steal their handbags and stabbed two Good Samaritans who selflessly intervened during one of the incidents,” Katz said. “Thankfully, no lives were lost, but we will not allow senseless violence to become the norm in our communities. Both defendants now face serious charges for their alleged actions.”

The father and son who selflessly rushed in to help an innocent victim in distress, outside of their restaurant at 8134 Baxter Avenue, were presented with a Congressional Proclamation from U.S. Rep. Grace Meng in April for their bravery.

2022 Election Profile: Assembly Candidate Ramon Cando

Ramon Cando, a Democratic district leader and proud member of Laborers Local 78, is one of two candidates in the running for the New York State Assembly’s 30th District—representing parts of Elmhurst, Woodside, and Maspeth.

Cando, 50, champions his role as part of a 3,200-member labor union of asbestos abatement and hazardous waste handlers in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey.

He will be running a contested primary against Steven Raga in the upcoming June 28th Democratic primary to try and fill the seat of outgoing State Assemblyman Brian Barnwell, who announced back in April that he would not seek re-election this year.

Public safety is a top priority for Cando, who said that the recent uptick of crime over the past two years has led him to run as a “common sense Democrat” with goals of repealing bail reform and granting judges the power to determine how dangerous defendants are. He also opposes the “defund the police” platform, insisting that the NYPD budget should be increased.

“Every single day there’s a shooting,” Cando told The Queens Ledger in a one-on-one exclusive. “I am really concerned that we’re getting used to it.”

Cando also carries the endorsements of City Councilman Robert Holden and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi.

Previously, as the District Leader for Assembly District 35, Cando earned 2,148 votes (58 percent) in the 2020 hyperlocal election, defeating James Fogle for the position.

In his capacity as a District Leader for the past two years, Cando says he helped distribute face masks, PPE equipment, and information about the vaccine in his Elmhurst community.

Cando, who immigrated from Ecuador in the 1990’s, points to his post-financial career in labor organizing as a factor into his decision to run for State Assembly.

“As a member of my union, I’ve learned how to organize my people,” Cando said.

While door-knocking within the district, he says he often meets constituents who are only interested in voting in the Presidential election. He stresses the importance of local races to residents in his district with the hope of earning their vote.

Cando’s pathway to Albany goes through new areas of the district that have been and are currently represented by other, more progressive, hispanic candidates, such as Catalina Cruz (AD39) and Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas (AD34).

The political newcomer sees an opportunity to bring out a more traditional latino vote, focusing his campaign run on crime and homelessness throughout the district.

Cando argues that many progressive avenues of public safety reform, including investments in city schools, and social services, may need 20 years to see results.

He says the younger generation of latino progressives are very passionate, but aren’t learning from what happened to countries like Venezuela, which went from one of the wealthiest Latin American nations in the world to a majority of its population living in poverty.

“The younger people — the progressives — these are the new socialists,” Cando said. “Why take money from our police officers? New York City is already one of the most expensive cities in the world.”

Pol Position: Council Members ‘Punished’ for voting against the budget

The New York City Council passed the $101 billion spending plan on June 10, following the nearly unanimous decision by its membership, which voted 44-6 in favor of the budget.

But, according to City & State, six of the members who voted against it were treated with a nasty surprise.

The six ‘nay’-saying members—Tiffany Cabán, Sandy Nurse, Alexa Avilés, Chi Ossé, Charles Barron, and Kristin Richardson Jordan—were not credited for projects they supported and received on average less for organizations they supported than the members who voted yes.

The Council Members who voted against the proposed spending plan were initially surprised that they had been left out of the $41.6 million discretionary funds, known as the “Speaker’s Initiative to Address Citywide Needs,” allowing them to allocate additional funding towards specific projects and causes.

However, it was later revealed that several of the council members did in fact receive money from the discretionary fund for their projects, but their names were simply not listed on the budget document next to projects they supported.

Based on initial reports, Cabán said that she planned to designate $150,000 in funding for the Variety Boys and Girls Club, which provides after-school programming for approximately 4,000 children in Western Queens. However, it appeared they would no longer receive it.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez responded on Twitter, calling the potential cut in discretionary funding “punishment” for Council Members opposed to the budget because of cuts in education, while increasing spending on police and incarceration.

Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: “To punish a council member for objecting to cuts in education and housing, NYC leaders are defunding a local Boys & Girls Club as ‘punishment.’”

Speaker Adrienne Adams replied, telling Politico that the allocation loss for the Variety Boys & Girls Club was an “oversight” that would be rectified.

Costa Constantinides, former City Council Member and chief executive of Variety Boys & Girls Club in Queens, later told The New York Times that while he had hoped that his organization would receive $150,000 from the budget, he was confident that Adams would sort out the issue.

“That would have been a really harsh cut if that were to stand,” Constantinides said. “I think we are all working together to find a great resolution.”

In the interim, thanks in part to Ocasio-Cortez’s efforts to help restore funding to the program, the Variety Boys and Girls Club continues its efforts to raise money to help serve the children in Queens.

Jastremski: Little things propelling the two best teams in Baseball

I know a baseball season is all about perspective.

When you play 162 games, it’s important not to get too low or too high regarding the state of affairs for your team.

However, it’s almost the end of June. That’s three plus months of baseball this season.

The Yankees have the best record in the sport. The Mets have the second best record in the sport.

It’s been well documented here, on my podcast and on my television appearances how enjoyable this has been for me!

To put the NY Baseball perspective in some context. So far, the Yankees are on pace to eclipse the win mark set by the record setting 1998 team.

For the Mets, they’re off to their best start since the 1986 season.

Fair to say 1986 and 1998 worked out pretty well for the Mets and Yankees respectively.

Look, I’m not telling you a Subway Series is a foregone conclusion yet.

There is a long way to go, but we can safely say, both NY baseball teams are really good.

Yes, they’re talented, but I’ve noticed a specific difference in both the 2022 Yankees and Mets compared to some other versions over the years.

The Yankees and Mets both have this in common, they’re doing the little things very well.

The Yankees a year ago were the ultimate boom or bust team. They relied on the homerun entirely, they couldn’t run the bases, couldn’t field their position and couldn’t hold a lead.

If you’ve watched the Yankees at any point this year, you’re seeing a totally different brand of baseball.

The base running and defense is drastically better and it’s made a difference in their record.

For the Mets, the last two seasons hitting with runners in scoring position was an absolute nightmare.

The Mets couldn’t buy a big hit and in reality, it probably cost them trips to the postseason each of the last two years.

The offensive approach implemented by Buck Showalter and hitting coach Eric Chavez has required the Mets at times to get back to basics.

That approach has delivered top notch results.

Look, the Mets added some terrific hitters. Mark Cahna and Starling Marte for starters, but up and down the lineup, the approach at the plate is flat out better.

The Mets have done a masterful job all year of putting the ball in play and as a result of that, it has highlighted some of their opponent’s deficiencies.

No need to apologize for them, just take advantage.

Winning baseball can seem obvious at times, but it’s more than meets the eye.

The little nuances of the game that evaded the Yankees and Mets over the last two years have been mastered so far this season.

Little things lead to big things and a whole lot of wins around town these days…

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight after Mets postgame on SNY.

Perlman: Lights… Camera… ‘Maestro’

The track record of Forest Hills’ cinematic and televised history continues to be more diverse, with writer and director Bradley Cooper coming to town!

Special delivery of classic cars (Photo by Pat Lannan)

From June 15 to June 18, Markwood Road, as well as Summer Street between Greenway South and Seasongood Road was transformed into the 1940s, with the addition of classic, colorful cars alongside Forest Hills Gardens’ historic Tudor and Arts & Crafts architecture and lush landscapes.

“Maestro,” which is also being referred to as “Rybernia” under Panthera Productions, may remain as its designated title.

It will be a Netflix biopic that chronicles the life of composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, and particularly spotlights his love and marriage to Felicia Montealegre.

The cast features notable names including Cooper, who portrays Bernstein, Carey Mulligan as Montealegre, Sarah Silverman as Bernstein’s sister, Maya Hawke, and Batt Bomer.

The production team also features Josh Singer, who scripted this latest work, as well as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and Todd Phillips.

Singer was the recipient of an Academy Award for “Spotlight” as Best Original Screenplay in 2015.

In “The Life of Leonard Bernstein” by Jim Whitting, Rybernia originated in the late 1920s when Bernstein was 10, and reflects a collaboration of his nickname and his neighbor Eddie Ryack. The biopic takes place in the 1940s, 1970s, and 1980s, and begins in black and white and transitions into color, hence the decades.

Tudor charm & a 1940s classic (Photo by Abraham Chuang_NYDeTour)

For Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, Cooper told Mahershala Ali earlier this year, “I wanted to be a conductor since I was a kid. I was obsessed with it and asked Santa Claus for a baton when I was eight. Listening to music, falling in love with it, and being able to really know every single moment of a piece… I could do it as if I know everything about it without really being able to speak the language, obviously.”

The biopic began filming on the Upper West Side on June 6. It is set to be released next year, and will be the first film that Cooper co-wrote and directed since the remake of “A Star Is Born” in 2018.

Leonard Bernstein achieved stardom as a world’s greatest musician, and was notably the first American conductor to receive international fame.

Along with his family, he was a resident of the legendary Dakota in an eight-room apartment. Throughout his career, he was the recipient of seven Emmy Awards, 16 Grammy Awards including a Lifetime Achievement, two Tony Awards, and a Kennedy Center Honor.

Bernstein was the New York Philharmonic’s longtime music director, and achieved a legacy as the first American conductor to lead a major symphony orchestra.

With major international orchestras in his presence, it became the subject of a massive inventory of video and audio recordings. He also significantly revived the music of Gustav Mahler.

As a multi-genre composer, Bernstein pursued orchestral and symphonic music, opera, choral works, ballet, theatrical and film music, and chamber music among other works for the piano. “West Side Story” is his most recognized Broadway musical. His other signature theatrical works include “Candide,” “On The Town, “Wonderful Town,” and “MASS.”

Residents experienced the wow factor: “I love the fact that Forest Hills Gardens hasn’t really changed since the time period of the film, thanks to preservation efforts,” Pat Lannan said.

“I loved all of the cars that were used to reflect the period of time that the film will be set in. It really gave me a feeling of what it was like to walk in Forest Hills Gardens back in the 1940s, with the classic cars parked. It felt like a time machine.”

“Some things just happen, which is the charming part of living in the city,” said Abraham Chuang, the admin of the popular Facebook page NYDeTour, who noticed set location signs posted along Ascan Avenue, and then followed a trail through Seasongood Road to Summer Street.

Bradley Cooper. (Photo by Abraham Chuang_NYDeTour)

“Bradley Cooper was holding a cigarette in my photo, but I didn’t meet him face to face. There are more and more movies or TV series choosing Forest Hills and Rego Park for their scenes, and I am like, ‘What took you so long?’ Personally, I like the fact that the movie industry is starting to notice the beauty and uniqueness of Forest Hills,” he continued. “This is such a beautiful neighborhood that will alter the general impression to people who are not living in the city. Forest Hills Gardens is a fantastic secret garden with a nostalgic vibe that you can walk into, and what’s even more amazing is that every season has its own beauty.”

Upon encountering the film set, Roxana Eroxy said, “All cars talk to me, as they have stories and personalities. They are all beautiful ladies. Additionally, Forest Hills Gardens is heaven on earth, with a beautiful setting for filming old homes.”

Jeffrey Carrasquillo also expressed much excitement: “Forest Hills has been my home for the last 30 years, and I love the fact it’s being used for TV and movies. I can’t wait to see the episodes and the films!”

“I love all old cars, but I liked what looked like a circa 1950 Jackie Gleason bus the best, with its olive-green color with a yellowish trim,” he continued. “It reminded me of when it was a dime.”

Historically, film enthusiasts can find “Sentimental Tommy,” a silent drama film in 1921, and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 psychological crime thriller “Strangers on A Train,” which featured key scenes at Forest Hills Stadium.

Scenes from the 2001 film, “The Royal Tenenbaums,” were also shot on the property. The historic Eddie’s Sweet Shop accommodated scenes from the 1986 film “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” the 2007 film “The Ex,” as well as the 2010 romantic drama film, “Remember Me,” which featured Pierce Brosnan and Robert Pattinson.

Some standouts in more recent years were the five-part HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce” starring Kate Winslet and Guy Pearce, an FX spy drama “The Americans,” and a comedy-drama television series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”

In October, the autobiographical drama “Armageddon Time” starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway, was filmed near 6 Burns Street, and transformed it into the 1980s.

Wendell: Woodhaven’s own Professor Yoerger

George Yoerger’s future was set when a muscular stranger with a handlebar mustache walked on to his farm in East Norwalk, Connecticut and inquired about renting the family’s barn.

“I’m John L. Sullivan,” the man said, introducing himself. “I’m champion of the world.” The legendary Sullivan, aka The Boston Strong Boy, was the first heavyweight champ and he spent the next few months training on the Yoerger farm, and young George soon knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Inside the ring he was a tough fighter, but his true calling was outside the ring, where he became a well-respected boxing and self-defense instructor. At the turn of the century, he moved to Brooklyn with his wife Minnie and opened a gymnasium at Broadway and Myrtle which was an almost immediate success. Dubbing himself “Professor” Yoerger, he lured in customers with the promise:  “Six lessons free if you hit me on the nose!”

But while he was busy training pupils how to box, Minnie began to get cozy with one of his friends and the neighbors began to talk. One approached Yoerger with these suspicions and one night he and two private detectives burst into their apartment and found his friend hiding in the bedroom.

Yoerger sued his friend for $100,000 for alienation of affection and the trial made scandalous headlines for several months.

He returned to the headlines several years later when a small gang of thugs tried to rough him up for some money and a blue diamond he had in his possession. They failed to see the flaw in their plan and the Professor of boxing whipped the bunch of them and called the police. Another public trial followed, and Professor Yoerger was hailed a hero.

Later in life he met a much younger woman and they fell in love. The woman was Florence Lott, whose family was among some of the earliest residents of Woodhaven, many of whom are still buried in the Colonial Era Wyckoff-Snedicker Family Cemetery (on 96th Street in Woodhaven).

They moved into Lott’s family home on Lott Avenue (named for the family, and today known as 76th Street), a few hundred feet south of Jamaica Avenue, where it still stands today.
Yoerger semi-retired from the boxing profession and closed the gym in Brooklyn (though he opened a small private gymnasium in the backyard of his home in Woodhaven). Since training was still in his blood, he embarked on a second career – training dogs. He started his training with his own dog, Trixie, who he would take out for paid exhibitions.
Trixie’s most popular trick was to sit at a table, open a menu, select a meal, go through the motions of eating and when finished, wiping her face with her paw.

Trixie was advertised as the dog “with the mind of a child,” and with each public appearance, his renown as a dog trainer grew, and this business flourished as well. He was commissioned to write several newspaper articles giving owners advice with their dogs and his fame was such that he and Trixie were asked to take part in a dog show at the Jamaica Arena to help raise funds for the Helen Keller Free Clinic.

Helen Keller herself attended the show and it was said that she affectionately pet many of the hundreds of children and their dogs that took part in the show. She told one reporter that if she was to be granted but a single split-second of sight that she would choose to see “a child and its dog.”

In his later years, Yoerger added fencing, trick pistol shooting, and diamond appraising to his activities, also finding time to found the Long Island Society of Magicians. In 1949, Professor Yoerger (by now in his 80s) appeared on television, providing commentary for live bouts being broadcast from the boxing arena at Ridgewood Grove.

Professor George Yoerger would pass away in 1951 shortly after his 84th birthday (his young wife Florence would outlive him by over twenty years, passing away in late 1973).  He had a long, remarkable life, and it’s even more remarkable when you discover the fact that he was deaf his entire life.

Professor George Yoerger was a colorful character and you can learn more about him and other interesting people from our community’s rich history at monthly meetings of the WoodhavenCultural & Historical Society. Email us at [email protected] for more information.


Armando C. Agulto, Sr. passed away on Friday, June 17, 2022 at the age of 87. Beloved Husband of Teresita Agulto. Loving Father of Amelita LaMalva, Armando Agulto Jr., Arturo Agulto and Abelardo Agulto. Cherished Grandfather of Christian, Benjamin, Lee, Grace, Adrienne, Aileen, Andrew, Jonathan, Raymond, Arco, Carlo and Carmina and Great Grandfather of Arien, Krysten, Kylee, Ayden, Chloe and Zoe. Dear Brother of Aurora, Adoracion, Angelita, Adelina, Francisco Jr., Aida and the late Alfredo & Avelino. Mass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Adalbert Church on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 10 AM. Private Cremation followed at Fresh Pond Crematory, Middle Village, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.


Elizabeth A. Burns passed away on Thursday, June 16, 2022 at the age of 83. Beloved Mother of Nancy Foster, Michele Pizzella and Christine. Loving Grandmother of Michael, Dylan, Shannon, Austin, Beth and Kelsey. Dear Cousin of Fran. Mass of Christian Burial offered at Our Lady of Hope church on Tuesday, June 21, 2022 9:45 AM. Interment followed at Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

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