Man charged for manslaughter after death on tracks at Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station


A man has been charged with manslaughter in the death of a 48-year-old shoved on the subway tracks on Oct. 17 at the Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue station.

According to the charges, Carlos Garcia, 50, was in a physical altercation with the victim. Between 4:40 p.m. and 4:47 p.m., the defendant allegedly assaulted the victim, causing him to fall onto the subway tracks, the Queens District Attorney’s Office announced on Oct. 18. A train approached the subway platform at the time of the fall, striking the victim.

Garcia is of 133rd Street in South Ozone Park, and was arraigned on Oct. 17. The defendant has been ordered to return to court on Oct. 21. If convicted, Garcia faces up to 15 years in prison.

“The subway system is a vital lifeline for the millions of New Yorkers who depend on it to get around our great city,” Queens District Attorney Katz said in a statement. “The recent spate of violence on trains and in stations is a threat not only to commuters, but to the city’s economic and social vitality. The violence must end. We must do everything we can to ensure that all New Yorkers can commute safely, and to that end we have charged the defendant and will be holding him accountable.”


Richmond Hill Hero Remembered — Group Hails Hero Making A Difference

By Observer Staff

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On Thursday, Sept. 22, an organization that helps law enforcement officers, honored a few exceptional individuals instrumental to their cause. 

The mission of ‘Peer to Peer’ Post Tour Processing is a bit different than so many others that work on behalf of law enforcement. Their unique mission is centered around finding a safe place for support for officers, sharing experiences on their daily tour on a confidential virtual ‘zoom-like’ platform that helps police officers to process unusual experiences of the day. 

“We all should understand the trauma police officers go through on their job each day,” said TTM PTP president and founder Dr. Robyn Cannariato. “That daily exposure accumulates over time. Talking about it and sharing it with others in a peer-to-peer bubble is changing lives, and we’re glad to help.”

Cannariato herself is a retired police officer. She and her team are passionate about changing this terrible trend of officers who die by their own hands following incidents involving enforcement action.

This night the group honored a number of individuals at Russo’s on The Bay in Howard Beach. 

Leanne Simonsen, wife of Detective Brian Simonsen, a 42-year–old NYPD veteran who was killed in February of 2019 while responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Richmond Hill, spoke at the event. Simonsen talked about her struggle to go on. 

“Without the support of some of the people in this room,” she said, “I don’t know if I’d be here.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Simonsen poured her heart out to the 150 people at the event.

Also honored was a face Queens Chamber members are familiar with: Tommy DiMisa. DiMisa works for Vanguard, an employee benefits consulting firm, with a niche in non-profits. 

“Tommy is a special person,” said Cannariato. “His understanding of mental health and his work with non-profits like ours is exemplary.”

Philip Schoppmann received the Meritorious Service Award. 

A board member of TTM PTP, he is also a trainer in the Suffolk County PD and in doing so he spends most of his time working on the mental health of police officers. 

“Peer support teams are a vital part of a police officer’s mental well being,” he said. “It’s quite important that we not only provide education, but also resources for law enforcement, first responders and their families.” 


Chic new cafe opens in Forest Hills

Forest Cafe wants to be an ‘oasis’ for locals

By Jessica Meditz

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Forest Cafe’s attractive storefront.

All coffee lovers of Forest Hills and its surrounding communities now have a brand new cafe to add to their lists.

Forest Cafe, located at 68-04 Burns Street, celebrated its grand opening last Saturday, inviting the community into their spacious, bright and comfortable location.

The cafe is powered by the family-run staff of sisters, Julie and Nina Fung, and Nina’s fiancé, Paul Shim.

The trio has been residents of Forest Hills for about a decade, and are proud to serve their neighbors and the community they call home.

Forest Cafe’s three-person team (L to R): Nina Fung, Paul Shim and Julie Fung.

“Since we’ve been residents of Forest Hills for such a long time, we’ve always wanted a cozy cafe in the neighborhood to be able to study and work,” Julie Fung said. “Earlier this year, we saw this place and we just had a very clear vision of what we wanted it to be.”

The space, decorated in a trendy, minimalist style with pops of green both in the form of plants and the canopy exterior, offers a peaceful and cozy atmosphere for patrons.

Photo courtesy of Julie Fung.

Fung describes the cafe’s interior as a combination of Japanese and Scandinavian influences, and a mixture of all their decorative tastes.

There is ample seating for guests, including booth-style tables, stool seats, window benches and two cushioned chairs situated by a coffee table.

Also a plus is the complimentary Wi-Fi offered to patrons, as well as outlets to charge electronic devices.

Photo courtesy of Julie Fung.

“We really hope this place becomes an oasis for the Forest Hills community, for our friends, family or really just anyone who’s looking to stop by,” Fung said. “We wanted to make our cafe as peaceful as possible, which is also why we love this location so much. It’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Austin Street, while still being in the heart of Forest Hills.”

Forest Cafe offers a variety of drinks, including classic espresso drinks, such as Americanos, macchiatos, cortados, cappuccinos and lattes.

The drinks are made with Project X Coffee beans, which are inspired by Japan, grown in Brazil and roasted in Chicago.

They’re also excited to share some signature drinks, including their Forest latte, iced shakerato, ube latte, matcha latte, hojicha latte and a homemade iced tea.

The cafe’s namesake beverage is their signature latte that’s made with organic maple syrup, a hint of cinnamon and can be served hot or iced.

As for food, they serve croffles, which is a hybrid of a croissant and a waffle. They explained that the croffles are made fresh daily, and come in the flavors of plain, pistachio, Nutella or s’mores.

The team hopes to expand their menu soon, hopefully to include more savory items, as well as possibly obtaining a liquor license to experiment with drinks in the future.

“We make a lot of drinks at home that we’ve never been able to share publicly, or they’re hard to find. We have our own twist on these drinks, so that’s also what we wanted to provide,” Shim said.

“We enjoy seeing people drinking these drinks and enjoying it, and if it can get any better, we’d love to work on it,” he continued. “We all just love food, drinks and sharing it with others. It’s a love language.”

Living in the neighborhood for some time, all three team members love the beauty and the friendly, community atmosphere Forest Hills has to offer.

“I actually wouldn’t mind staying here for the rest of my life, to be honest,” Fung said. “I might wander here and there, but I think I’ll always want to come back to Forest Hills.”

“Our goal for this cafe is to become a staple in this neighborhood, a landmark. For example, if you’re in Forest Hills, you know about Forest Hills Stadium,” she added. “That’s how big we want to grow this place to be.”

Forest Cafe is open seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit @forestcafenyc on Instagram, or stop by Forest Cafe to welcome the business to the neighborhood.

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