Remember when Joe Biden was sworn in as president?
That wasn’t even a year ago.
2021 was packed with so many monumental occasions, especially in Queens. Many were great, and cause for celebration — like when the dragon boat festival returned to Flushing Meadows Corona Park after the pandemic forced it to take last year off — while just as much is hard to reflect on. There were plenty of hard moments too, such as the time a vandal hopped a church’s fence to break a monument dedicated to Covid-19 victims.
The good and bad created a memorable year in north Queens.
Here’s a look back at the second half of 2021:
State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) penned two letters to Attorney General Letitia James and state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli demanding an investigation into BioReference following allegations that the company discriminates against its Chinese American workers.
The Queens Public Library announced that the Flushing branch, the busiest library in the country, would be closed indefinitely in order to fix its heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, which broke down in May. While it is closed, the branch will also have an elevator installed. The location had been serving as a vaccination site since June.
A motorist hit a 4-year-old child in the Flushing Meadows Boathouse parking lot July 18, but fled the scene of the crime. The child was taken to the hospital in critical but stable condition. Argenis Rivas, 29, was arrested a few weeks later. He was indicted by a Queens grand jury, and his next court date is March 17.
John Choe attempted to enlist the help of Queens Borough President Donovan Richards after a special Community Board 7 committee voted to oust him from the panel. The former City Council candidate stated that he felt like he was being targeted for pushing against some of his colleagues. In August, CB 7 voted 39-3, with one abstention, to expel Choe from the panel. Richards decided not to intervene, citing the City Charter policy that allows the board to do as it did, but Choe said he’d be pursuing a federal investigation.
Sheldon Schwartz, a lifelong Holliswood doctor, celebrated his 102nd birthday July 25 and was presented with a proclamation by Assemblymember David Weprin (D-Fresh Meadows).
Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders held a rally in Murray Hill to boycott Amazon after one of the company’s delivery drivers allegedly attacked two elderly Korean men while on the job. The men are pursuing legal action against the company.
Chris Lee, 30, from Flushing was sentenced to nine years in prison for selling drugs and guns to an undercover cop over the course of five years.
The Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival of Greater New York celebrated its 30th anniversary after taking last year off because of the pandemic. Only 18 teams raced instead of the typical 200, and the Queens borough president’s team beat out the City Hall team in a special race.
Assemblymember Ron Kim (D-Flushing), a longtime adversary of Gov. Cuomo, said that his Aug. 10 resignation does not equate to accountability and wanted to see the investigations into his actions play out.
The South Asian Council for Social Services cut the ribbon Aug. 12 on its new community center, which is two doors down from its old, smaller space. The center opened to the public in September.
The Downtown Flushing Business Improvement District announced that starting in September, Lippman Plaza would be transformed into an outdoor vendor space every Friday in an effort to encourage tourism and rejuvenate commerce.
Dominick Malivert, a 22-year-old from St. Albans, was shot and killed at a karaoke bar in Flushing on Friday the 13th. An unidentified 22-year-old woman was also shot, and sustained a gunshot wound to her right hand. The alleged perpetrator, 19-year-old Richard Swygert, was arrested in August and charged with two counts of murder, two counts of attempted murder and carrying a loaded firearm.
City Council hopeful Tony Avella demanded that the city act on an abandoned and debilitated Whitestone home, which is attached to others on either side. The owner has been AWOL for at least 5 years and owes over $30K in Department of Buildings violations since 2013.
A vandal hopped the fence at 3 a.m. Aug. 17 to topple over a St. Bernadette statue at St. Michael’s Church in Flushing. The structure was erected earlier in the summer as a memorial for the parishioners who had died from Covid-19.
Errick Allen, a 109th Precinct police officer, was indicted by the state attorney general Aug. 17 for using his service weapon to murder his childhood friend in Farmingdale, LI in May 2020. He will appear in court Jan. 18.
Angelina Barini, a sex worker from Rego Park, pleaded guilty to killing Andrea Zamperoni, the head chef of Grand Central Station restaurant Cipriani Dolci, in an attempt to rob him two years ago. Earlier that summer, Barini gave another victim fentanyl-laced drugs, causing his death, in College Point.
The FDNY and NYPD teamed up to rescue a man who had fallen 30 feet down a storm drain in Whitestone.
Queens College held its annual 9/11 commemoration ceremony the day before the 20th anniversary of the tragedy on the Cooperman Plaza, which has a perfect view of the city skyline. Forty college family members perished in the disaster.
Community Board 8 voted to approve a text amendment allowing sidewalk cafes, supporting the DOT’s plan to make outdoor dining permanent.
Eun-Kyung Kim, the executive director of the WYCA in Flushing, was chosen by John Liu to be a 2021 Woman of Distinction.
The mayor announced that $26.4 million has been allocated to finally complete the Queens Museum expansion. The project, which would create a new children’s museum, additional storage space and more, wrapped up its first phase in 2013 but sat idle since.
The Queens night Market raised $16,000 for Hurricane Ida victims on Sept. 18, its first night of its fall season. The money was directed to an organization that specifically works with undocumented immigrants.
The city Economic Development Group told the Chronicle that the Linden Place expansion, already 11 years beyond its original completion date, would be delayed yet again. The new date is not yet determined.
La Jornada received a donation of 10,000 bagels from Bagels by Bell, a Long Island business, to help feed the estimated 12,000 to 15,000 families that stopped by the food pantry each week in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
Four cops were sent to the hospital Sept. 27 at 3:45 a.m. in a mysterious incident in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. The New York Post said the officers were playing with fireworks that one of them had brought to his shift. The police said that the cause of the injuries and the circumstances surrounding the incident are part of an active and ongoing investigation.
The Alliance for Flushing Meadows Corona Park raised $78,000 at its annual Under the Sphere gala, which also celebrated executive director Janice Melnick, who will retire at the end of the calendar year.
The Alzheimer’s Association hosted its annual walk in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where Queens residents raised $78,000 for research.
The Glen Oaks Village Co-op donated a tractor to the Queens Farm Oct. 1. The condo cooperative chose to donate the machine rather than sell it for about $20,000 because they believed it would be more valuable to the nonprofit.
Khiron Anderson’s body was found in Oakland Lake Sept. 30, eight days after he was reported missing. The Office of the Medical Examiner is still examining his cause of death.
Mary Maggio Fischer was chosen by Stavisky as the Senate’s 16th District’s Woman of Distinction. The CB 8 member, 107th Precinct Community Council member, Georgetown Mews president and much more was honored Oct. 8 for her lifelong dedication to her neighborhood and advocacy for cystic fibrosis.
The Shield Institute and Holy Trinity Youth Group of Whitestone had a sports day together for the first time in nearly two years. The two groups had several joint events a year before the pandemic hit.
Crystal Window and Door Systems unveiled a 6-foot, bronze statue of the late and great Claire Shulman. The lifelike version of the former borough president sat in the company’s headquarters until late October, when it was moved to founder Thomas Chen’s private park in Duchess County.
The Queens Historical Society dedicated its newly constructed porch to former Board of Trustees member Joseph Brostek, who passed away in March 2020.
Elected officials gathered at Greater New York Automotive Dealers Association in College Point to learn more about the value of electric vehicles and to test drive some of the new energy-efficient models.
City Councilmember Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) announced his final partnership with Parks. He secured $4 million in funding to transform an unused baseball diamond at College Point Fields into a brand-new soccer field.
Frank Golden Memorial Park in College Point reopened after two years of being closed to the public. The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association will get priority use over the park, but it is open to all.
In a surprising upset, Republican Vickie Paladino won her bid against Democrat Avella in the race for City Council District 19. On election night, she had 49.7 percent of the vote, not counting absentee ballots, but Avella conceded two weeks later after learning he fell short by “a mere 387” votes.
Rapper Fetty Wap was arrested at Citi Field during the Rolling Loud concert, a three-day hip-hop festival. He and several others allegedly obtained narcotics on the West Coast and used the United States Postal Service and drivers with hidden vehicle compartments to transport the drugs across the country to Suffolk County, where they were stored.
The Parks Department officially unveiled the Olde Town of Flushing Burial Ground memorial, which has been etched with over 300 names of African American, Native American and sick 19th-century Flushing residents. The fight for a proper dedication at the park began in the 1990s.
Several USPS relay boxes were targeted by mail thieves in Downtown Flushing. The thieves took boxes of mail.
Chen of Crystal Windows and Door Systems donated $1.1 million to Queens College. It was the first major donation for the creation of a new School of the Arts. Chen’s portion will support Asian contemporary art at the college through exhibitions, student scholarships and a visiting artist program.
Vallone, Liu and Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal (D-Flushing) announced that the DOT would be implementing three all-way stop signs at College Point schools, a fight parents had initiated five years earlier.
CB 8 rejected a proposal for the Bukharian Jewish Congregation of Hillcrest to expand its shul upward, stating the applicants were unresponsive and did not need the extra space, and that the new building would affect the character of the neighborhood.
Ebenezer Baptist Church in Downtown Flushing celebrated its 151st birthday with a walk down memory lane. The congregation is in the process of building a history room inside the church to house the various pieces of history of the church.
Marlene and Kim Cody of the Whitestone Taxpayers Civic Association raised concerns that the Parks Department was not taking proper precautions on trees with the potential to fall. The agency takes years to take down dead trees, they said, but a Parks spokesperson said the forestry division prioritizes which ones to address based on a three-pronged investigation.
The dismembered remains of a man were found scattered along the eastbound Long Island Expressway at Exit 23. The police’s collision unit is investigating.
Christopher Tsang of College Point, Joe Lin of Flushing and Chung Wei Wang of Oakland Gardens were charged by the Queens DA for an “Oceans 11”-type heist. The men were allegedly ringleaders in a plot to rob a West Babylon, LI, warehouse of hundreds of thousands of dollars in merchandise.
Three months after Ida hit, the New York Hall of Science turned a corner in its recovery: It moved on from the damage removal process to concentrate on repair work. About half of the museum’s exhibits were destroyed by the storm, but the staff hopes to partially reopen in February.
The Rev. Peter Mahoney, 86, was ejected from the Diocese of Brooklyn after the Diocesan Review Board found sexual assault claims lodged against hime from the 1970s to be credible. He was ministering at St. Anne Catholic Church in Flushing and St. Nicholas of Tolentine in Jamaica at the time of the determination.
Police said a teenager walked into Robert A. Van Wyck Junior High School in Briarwood and pulled a knife on an 11-year-old in the bathroom in an attempt to rob him. He took the child’s water bottle before fleeing, and immediately attempting to rob a 51-year-old man on the street outside. The perpetrator used a knife, slicing his victim’s jacket, but not making contact with his skin, before throwing the water bottle at the victim and running away.
Beneath the Unisphere, city Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi unveiled the “Health of Asians and Pacific Islanders in New York City,” a groundbreaking report detailing the health of APIs disaggregated by ancestry. It touches on many factors of health, from blood pressure to vaccinations and suicide, and highlights the differences between heritages and how unreliable it is to place communitites under the “API umbrella.” The goal of the report is to better understand where health inequities exist.
Community Board 7 slammed a city proposal to build 90 temporary apartment-style units for homeless families at 39-03 College Point Blvd. Asian Americans for Equality, the agency leading the project, hopes to break ground in the spring and begin operating in 2024.
Quiming Wan, 52, was indicted for the murder of 29-year-old Joamei Zhou, whose body was found on the first floor landing of Wan’s Main Street apartment building on Nov. 1. According to the charges, Wan admitted to carrying the woman’s body out of the apartment and down the stairs. An autopsy determined that Zhou died by homicide, specifically from severe blood loss after “repeated forceful penetration from a blunt object.”
F&T Group and Grossing Art unveiled their 14th annual holiday installation in Downtown Flushing’s Queens Crossing Outdoor Plaza. This year’s featured Adam Eddy’s “Please Get the Moon for Me,” a hand-shaped structure inspired by the Children’s book, “Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me,” by Eric Carle.
Meng continued to call on House Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) to hold a vote on her bill to establish the first national Asian Pacific American museum. In justifying the need for the museum, she wrote in a letter: “The story of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) is interwoven within the history of America, but frequently our history is forgotten or ignored in the greater narrative of American history.”
Find Part I at qchron.com.
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