traveled to City Hall to pitch a proposal to City Council members for a
$60 million retail center in College
Point…And Council Speaker Peter Vallone called for a revision
of the City Charter – this one to “correct” flaws in the 1989
1997 was the year the film
Black,” put the Unisphere
on the silverscreen.
Plans to build a new, 600-seat elementary
or middle school in Jackson Heights stirred anger and controversy –
Board of Ed officials planned to build the school on the site of the Jewish
Center of Jackson Heights….
staffers sniffed out the story behind an internal City memo and exposed
a major asbestos contamination
condition at Terrace on the Park –Flushing Meadows’ premier catering
facility (see page 106)….
Cardozo High School senior Roletta
Chen scored a place as a finalist in the Westinghouse Talent
Search – Chen scored a 99.6 percent average at Cardozo…When
questioned about the fate of Queens tenants if rent regulations were
abolished, City Councilman Tom
Ognibene said, “Let them move to Montana”….
“The Nanny” lit up a Tribune
front page, while a feature article portrayed Fran Drescher from her childhood in Flushing to her rise to fame as
A federal court judge ruled that
Velazquez’s Queens district was unconstitutional, setting off
months of controversy and court hearings…The age-old system of two
fares for Queens commuters came to a screeching halt….
Violent winds caused a tree to tumble
onto a school bus in Laurelton,
killing four little girls inside….
Flushing Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin
dubbed businessman Thomas Huang “Flushing’s
Public Enemy No. 1” after Huang ran from prosecutors in Queens
for four days to avoid
charges of “enviornmental crimes” connected with his renovation of
the landmarked RKO Keith’s Theater….
Borough straphangers breathed a sigh of
relief as service on the No. 7
express train resumed after a four-year, $59 million makeover…and a
27-year veteran token booth
clerk was shot and killed by a 9mm-toting bandit who fled with
tokens and cash….
Cardozo High School grad George
Tenet was nominated by President Bill Clinton to head the Central
Intelligence Agency…A brazen bandit pushed his way into St.
Michael’s Church parish office in Flushing during Easter Sunday
Mass. He pushed a priest to the floor and fled with $600 cash….
Babies ruled in Queens in April as the
first-ever identical quadruplets
were born to an Astoria couple – Bianca, Nicole, Raquel and Victoria
Borges made history…but they were outnumbered by the Boniello sextuplets who arrived a few weeks later. Mom Beverly
Boniello made some history of her own by becoming only the 11th woman in
history to give birth to six babies at one time….
came to Shea Stadium in April, to pay tribute to baseball legend Jackie
Robinson on the 50th anniversary of his breaking the color barrier into
major league baseball. Gov. George Pataki officiated at a ceremony
renaming the Interboro Parkway in honor of Robinson…The City came down
hard on landlords who illegally converted space in homes to develop
“rentable” rooms. The crackdown followed the deaths by fire of four
people in a house in Maspeth that
was illegally converted….
Residents protested plans for a
15-theater movie complex
in Forest Hills/Glendale…Swingline
announced plans to close up shop in Long Island City, eliminating 450
Paul Simon announced plans to come home
to Queens during the summer of ’97. Simon planned a concert on the
Flushing campus of Queens College…Educator John Lee became the new
Superintendent of Queens High Schools….
Community School Board 27 was hit twice
in a two-week period by thieves who fled with computers and assorted
1997 was the year the borough said,
“Good Bye” to shopping institution
State Comptroller Carl McCall was tapped
to serve as Grand Marshal of the Queens
Gay Pride Parade…Queens Beep Claire Shulman crowned former
Queens College Professor Stephen
Stepanchev Queens’ first Poet Laureate…Cops in Elmhurst who
were flagged-down by a gypsy cab driver made a first-class
delivery A female passenger in the cab was extremely pregnant –
the cops delivered a baby girl in the back seat….
The NYPD and the Patrolman’s Benevolent
Association chose opposite sides in studies on asbestos contamination at the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst….
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown
announced his decision to try the borough’s first death penalty case. Allen Gordon, 24, was tried on a 33-count
indictment for his execution-style slaying of three women in Jamaica….
was closing for good. The closing of the nickel and dime stores touched
a soft spot in the hearts of Queensites…Four deaf mute Mexican
immigrants walked into the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights on a July
morning, exposing a slave ring
that stretched from Mexico across the U.S…A deadly
wind blew through a Queens construction site, injuring two
workers and killing two others who were working on a scaffold….
Court battles failed to restore Rep. Nydia
Velazquez’s Queens congressional district….
Plans for a cleanup of Flushing
Bay were moved up after studies showed the bay was filthy – and
“unsuitable for marine life.”….
Flake did a quick about-face, announcing his resignation from Congress. Flake
decided to minister full-time after all…A Queens developer met up with
stiff opposition to his proposal for development of luxury condos on the
site of the Socrates Sculpture
Park in Astoria….
A Tribune feature chipped away at
the shoddy paint job on the outside of the recently renovated Flushing
Town Hall…Rudy Giuliani came to Queens to announce a $147
million facelift planned for Jamaica
Residents at the Vista Towers Condominium fled the Flushing complex as the structure
began to crumble….
Tennis aficionados from all over gathered
in September to cut the ribbon on the new USTA Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium in Flushing Meadows….
The founder of the Alley Pond
Environmental Center died at St. Vincent’s Hospital after he was
struck by a taxicab. John
Kominski, 52, lived all his life in Flushing and spent 19 years
working on environmental causes…A ragtag team of pintsize softball
players in Dutch Kills stunned the sports world by walking away
with a league championship after rising from the dust – where they had
settled after losing all season long….
A 12-year-old boy saved the life of a drowning
lifeguard in a pool at the Windsor Park apartment complex…A
seven-alarm blaze ravaged a portion of the Steinway
Street shopping district in Astoria….
One man died and four others were injured
when a catwalk utilized by construction crews buckled, leaving the
workers dangling by a “thread” underneath the Queensborough Bridge…an agreement between City and State
officials paved the way for construction to finally begin on the
long-awaited rail link from
Kennedy Airport to the subway and the Long Island Rail Road….
One of the best and most well-liked
people at Queens Borough Hall passed away. James “Buz” O’Rourke was a long-time friend of Borough
President Claire Shulman, and a friend and spokesman for the communities
and members of the borough’s uniformed services….
was landmarked in October…The Tribune examined a Flushing
school board’s role in a bomb
threat that changed the face of a school board election…
Duckman was “relieved” of his judicial powers by a NY State committee that
found the judge had abused the bench….
Flushing Community Board district Manager
Reggie Colletta was
chosen by Claire Shulman to replace James “Buz” O’Rourke as
director of Constituent Affairs and Liaison with the City’s uniformed
Corona School Board Member Perry
Buckley resigned from the panel. Buckley confessed to murdering
his mistress and then visiting the body 12 days later, in a storage room
where he hid the corpse….
The Tribune scooped the rest of
the media again, by announcing the new owners of Terrace on the Park, and the paper promised a follow-up on the
cleanup of the asbestos mess at the facility….