People are talking about Sandy, the hurricane heading for the Eastern Seaboard, and how it will affect Central Queens. A trip down 63rd Drive this morning revealed that residents of Rego Park were out in force Sunday late morning and early afternoon purchasing batteries for flashlights in case the electricity goes out. The neighborhood was flocking to the greengrocer shops for fresh produce, bagel shops and grocery stores for staples. Coastal flooding is not a concern in Rego Park and Central Queens, because it is the part of the borough that is furthest away from the Atlantic and the East River. Rego Park is most concerned about the result of power loss from Con Edison, either by a city-wide power failure or — more likely as evidenced by last year’s tropical storm Irene — fallen trees bringing down power lines. And, as in every other part of New York, there is sadness about a possibly ruined Halloween, and fears of hardship for the November 6 presidential election. And the state’s decision to stop all mass transit by 7 p.m. Sunday will further send Central Queens into a tailspin, although
Mayor Bloomberg has done an excellent job of making a case for everybody to stay in their homes and “enjoy family” and “read a book”
But there are other happenings people are talking about in Central Queens. Thanks to the blog “Queens Crap”, there is a happy story of an old synagogue called “Tifereth Israel”, thought to be the oldest synagogue in Queens. It seems that the Central Asian immigration has gone beyond Rego Park and crossed the Long Island Expressway into Lefrak City, where there has been a Russian-language temple for several years now, and a residential building on Calloway Street has housed a Russian-style spa [bathhouse]. But the conversion of the old synagogue in Corona is a story of a resourceful rabbi’s wife to painstakingly go through a journey since 2008, to obtain landmark status for the building and thereby pay for the needed repairs and renovations through grants. Read the amazing story here.
From the good stuff, to the bad news: Rego Park and Central Queens are talking about two bad and ugly stories. First, read about a man in a hooded sweatshirt who robbed Valley National Bank on 63rd Drive near Queens Boulevard, then robbed the same bank again, and again. The bank robber hit on October 1, then again on October 12 and a third time on October 22. Read Matthew Hampton’s story in Forest Hills Patch.
And the most macabre and truly unbelievable story to come out of Central Queens: a New York Police Department cop had actually planned to capture, cook and eat several women. The officer, 28-year-old Gilberto Valle, lived in Forest Hills and worked in the 26th precinct in Morningside Heights in Manhattan. For further bizarre details of his cannibalistic plot, click this link for the DNA article