An Unguarded Fort, and Neighbors Who See a Risk

Protesters also chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, we say safety, they say no!”

Protesters also chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, we say safety, they say no!”

New York Times

March 22, 2009
Fort Totten

An Unguarded Fort, and Neighbors Who See a Risk

FORT TOTTEN in Bayside, Queens, sits atop a hilly peninsula near the Throgs Neck Bridge, where the waters of the East River meet Long Island Sound. The fort was built during the Civil War to guard the city against attack from the East River, but it closed in 1995, and since then, much of the land, along with many of its dilapidated Victorian buildings, has been handed over to the city.

A park now covers 50 acres of Fort Totten, and the Fire and Police Departments, as well as the Army Reserve 77th Regional Readiness Command and other groups, use some of the buildings on the remaining 100 or so acres.

Since the fort closed, the Fire Department has been in charge of security there, hiring private guards to patrol the fort and to staff a security booth at its entrance. But in February, the fort’s neighbors learned that the department would eliminate that security detail starting March 1, citing budget cuts.

The move has unleashed local fears that the park and its historic buildings, some of them abandoned, will be vulnerable to vandalism, arson and other crimes. Earlier this month, a few dozen residents held a rally at the fort’s entrance, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, we say safety, they say no!”

At one point, Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. spoke on a megaphone.

“During the toughest economic times,” Mr. Vallone said, “that’s when you have to keep the community and the people the safest.”

A group of security guards who had worked at the fort watched the protest.

“There will be a lot of chaos,” predicted one guard, Alexander Bolotinskiy, as he watched a car pass the empty security booth, where the sign still read, “Please Stop and Show ID.”

Steve Ritea, a Fire Department spokesman, said the change was part of a wider cut in security expenditures that would save nearly $1.2 million annually.

The Police Department, Mr. Ritea added, will continue to include the fort in its patrols. Fire marshals stationed at the fort will also provide an element of safety, he said.

But some residents are not placated. Among them is Carol Marian, president of the Bayside Historical Society, which is housed in the fort.

“This park is not a normal park,” Ms. Marian said, pointing out the many old buildings. “We have hidden corners where people can lurk.”


Cops: Queens Man Fatally Stabs Wife, Hangs Self at Baybridge Condominium Estates


1010 WINS

Cops: Queens Man Fatally Stabs Wife, Hangs Self

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — A Queens couple was found dead Sunday in what police believe was a murder-suicide.

The woman, 57, had been stabbed to death inside the couple’s home at the upscale Baybridge Condominium Estates in the Bayside neighborhood, police said.

The man, 64, hanged himself from the second floor balcony of the home, 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported.

They were discovered by their adult son.

Neighbors said they were a quiet couple and couldn’t imagine why the man would have turned violent.

Fort Totten Gate Security: An Ever Changing Story

A protest rally still remains a very real possibility.

A protest rally still remains a very real possibility.

At a meeting held on Tuesday, February 17, 2009, Fire Department Chiefs and Unit Heads decided to completely eliminate gate security at Fort Totten. This is contrary to earlier reports from official FDNY sources that the security would be provided by light duty fire fighters.

At this time attempts are being made to obtain copies of the conveyance agreement, which some interested parties believe call for FDNY to maintain gate security. As expected, FDNY is reluctant to make the documents available for review. Efforts are underway to obtain the documentation elsewhere.

A protest rally still remains a very real possibility.



Effective March 1, Fort Totten will no longer have gate security.

Effective March 1, Fort Totten will no longer have gate security.


Gate security at Fort Totten will be discontinued on Sunday, March 1, 2009. Fire Commissioner Scoppetta is taking this action in response to the Mayor’s recently announced budget cuts. Termination of the security contract will threaten Fort Totten and the surrounding community.

Both FDNY and NYPD house units on Fort Totten which have high security needs. To go into detail would be irresponsible but suffice it to say that these units deal with matters pertaining to terrorism and criminal investigation.

Without security there will be burglary and vandalism concerns at night. In addition, the abandoned old buildings, many of which are part of the Historic Monument Trust, would be prime targets for arson once it gets dark. Night time criminal activity in the Fort will spill over into Bay Terrace.

Completely removing security guards from Fort Totten’s front gate is ill-advised and will eventually cost the city more in terms of increased vandalism, burglary, arson, crimes involving violence and police services. This action poses a real threat to the safety of our community.

Bloomberg has now told us to drop dead. The Bay Terrace Cafe will send him the same good wishes when election day rolls around.

Queens Woman in JetBlue tussle grounded for 5 years

Anyone for Anger Management?

Anyone for Anger Management?

From BusinessWeek

Queens Woman in JetBlue tussle grounded for 5 years


A woman accused of punching an airline attendant who tried to stop her from smoking during a flight has been sentenced to five years of probation, during which she can’t fly on commercial airlines.

Christina Elizabeth Szele (ZELL’-ee) of Queens, N.Y., was ordered Thursday to pay $7,987 in restitution and to seek drug, alcohol and anger management counseling.

She pleaded guilty in November to interfering with a crew member.

Authorities say she shouted obscenities and racial slurs at an attendant on a JetBlue flight from New York to San Francisco in June. The FBI says crew members restrained Szele with plastic handcuffs, but she broke them and punched an attendant in the jaw.

The pilot diverted the plane to Denver, where Szele was arrested.

The Prosecutor From East Elmhurst

From Time

Thursday, Feb. 05, 2009
The Prosecutor

Eric Holder Jr. was trained long ago in crime and punishment. He grew up in the East Elmhurst section of Queens, N.Y.–so populated by cops and firefighters that rush hour looked like the shift change at a station house. A popular teen prank was setting off the red fire-alarm box near his modest brick house on 101st Street. Nearly everyone tried it once, but not Eric, the churchgoing Boy Scout who knew the consequence of disobeying rules: “A good, quick smack on the bottom,” his mother Miriam recalls. “If you did something wrong, you’re going to have to pay a price.”

United States Attorney General Eric Holder

United States Attorney General Eric Holder Jr.

That rule guided Holder after he left Queens to become a corruption prosecutor, municipal judge and U.S. Attorney. And it will probably guide him as the nation’s 82nd Attorney General. Holder takes over a sprawling, 110,000-person Justice Department that was treated at times like a private law firm by the Bush Administration, both in its novel interpretation of the law and in the way it purged employees who did not share its political views. Returning to the department he helped run in the late 1990s, Holder invited all employees to his grand fifth-floor office to introduce themselves. “It’s good to be back,” he said in remarks sent around the building.

But Holder faces huge challenges and a ticking clock as the nation’s top lawyer. The most urgent is how to implement President Barack Obama’s decision to close the brig at Guantánamo in a year and try some 250 alleged terrorists who have been kept there indefinitely. Some of their cases are so sensitive that presenting evidence in open court could compromise national security. As details of Bush-era practices on rendition, torture and wiretapping become known, Holder will have to rewrite some of the most secret rules of engagement used by the U.S. against al-Qaeda while balancing Democrats calling for the prosecution of Bush officials who authorized those policies. Though Obama would rather look forward and not back, Holder promised in his confirmation hearings to “follow the evidence, the facts, the law and let that take us where it should.”

The nation’s first African-American Attorney General, Holder, 58, brings a unique perspective to the job. In the 1970s, New Jersey police pulled over his Plymouth Duster to search for weapons. The car contained nothing more than Holder, then a dean’s-list undergraduate at Columbia University, and a group of black friends. It impressed on Holder the dangers of using the law as a blunt instrument, a lesson he applied years later in overseeing a racial-profiling settlement with the New Jersey state police. After Columbia Law School, he passed up high-paying jobs for a chance to prosecute corrupt officials as a Justice Department lawyer, piling up the convictions of a Philadelphia judge, a Florida state treasurer and crooked FBI agents. In 1988, Ronald Reagan appointed him to the D.C. superior court, the front line for those fighting drug and gang violence in the nation’s capital. Holder quickly earned the nickname Judge Hold ‘Em among defense lawyers for refusing to set bail for clients who were accused of violent crimes. He was known for listening carefully to arguments and showing leniency to defendants willing to assume blame. But hard-core criminals had the book thrown at them. “I told my clients, If you’re guilty, you need to plead early and often,” recalls attorney Glennon Threatt Jr. “He was completely intolerant of individuals who were found guilty of violent crimes.”

Read the entire article…………

Vandalism = Adult Sports?

The  individuals responsible for this illegal posting in Bay Terrace seem to believe that vandalism is now an Adult Sport. Our community is dedicated to stamping out graffiti, illegal posting, stickers and any other form of vandalism. The irresponsible people who deface our neighborhoods should face criminal charges, pay for the clean-up and be publicly embarrassed.

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