20 THE QUEENS COURIER • YEAR IN REVIEW • DECEMBER 26, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
year in review
The top stories from April 2019
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
BROTHER OF MISSING RIDGEWOOD
MAN DESCRIBES NIGHTMARE
SEARCH OF AREA HOSPITALS
A Ridgewood man who went missing for four days
was reunited with his brother following a long tireless
search of area hospitals.
Th e search for James Ralph ended when he was found
at a nearby hospital in critical condition aft er taking a
fall outside P.S. 88. Two teachers on lunch break found
Ralph and called 911, but without identifi cation of any
kind, proper family identifi cation was not easily made.
Ralph had apparently stepped out to move his car and
never returned, according to his brother, Andy. He had
left his phone and wallet in his apartment. Andy had
visited multiple hospitals to fi nd James. He was listed as
an “Unknown Anchor” aft er a matching anchor tattoo
he and his brother share.
Andy had reached out to the public for help with any
information on his brother’s whereabouts with fl iers. It
was this support that helped locate his brother when
a teacher from P.S. 88 reached out to him. Th e teacher
who called in about Ralph recognized the description
by Andy of Birkenstocks sandals, sweats and a jacket.
He was also recognized by the beard and long hair.
of missing Ridgewood man describes nightmare search
of area hospitals
RIDGEWOOD STANDS IN
FOR 1960S NEW JERSEY IN
‘SOPRANOS’ PREQUEL ‘THE
MANY SAINTS OF NEWARK’
Filming for the Sopranos prequel, “Th e Many Saints
of Newark” detailing the early life of Fictional crime
boss Tony Soprano took place in Ridgewood.
Directed by Alan Taylor and written by David Chase
and Lawrence Konner, the fi lm delves into the life of
Soprano, originally played by the late James Gandolfi ni.
Th e southwest Queens neighborhood was used as
a stand-in for Newark. Th e project was referred to as
“Central Ward,” a reference to part of Newark, produced
by Rose City Pictures, the company behind the
“Sopranos” prequel project.
Filming took place at three locations in Ridgewood
including 60-70 Putnam Ave., and 60-67 Palmetto
St., which would
act as exterior shots
for Junior’s neighborhood.
was played by Tony
Soprano’s uncle in
the HBO series that
debuted over 20
Th e cast includes
Jon Bernthal, Vera
Stoll, Ray Liotta
and Leslie Odom
Jr. Nivola plays
the father of
C h r i s t o p h e r
Moltisanti, who was portrayed in “Th e Sopranos” by
Michael Imperioli. Th e role of young Tony Soprano is
being played by Gandolfi ni’s 19-year-old son, Michael.
“Th e Many Saints of Newark” has a release date of
Sept. 25, 2020.
BAYSIDE RESIDENTS STUNNED
TO LEARN EIGHT SEX OFFENDERS
WERE MOVED INTO HOTEL
It was very unnerving for Bayside residents aft er
they received notifi cations of eight male sex off enders
allegedly residing in the Anchor Inn Motel, located at
215-34 Northern Blvd.
Th e registered sex off enders, according to the Parents
for Meagan’s Law alert, are also listed on the New York
State Division of Criminal Justice Services sex off ender
registry. Th e men ranged in age from 33 to 66. Four
of the individuals were said to be level 3, sexually violent
Upon hearing the news, concerned parents alerted
local politicians and the NYPD 111th Precinct
Community Aff airs Offi ce seeking information about
the matter to fi nd out more details about the motel with
a troubling past and fi ve individuals residing there.
Th ough the motel said they weren’t housing any registered
sex off enders, the New York State Department
of Justice had confi rmed that the sex off enders were
indeed placed at the Anchor Inn. However, the men
were eventually vacated from the site, according to a
Housing Preservation Spokesman, who said they were
placed there temporarily due to unsafe conditions at a
Th e relocation of the sex off enders came aft er state
Senator John Liu joined by Assembly members Nily
Rozic and Ed Braunstein and Councilmember Paul
Vallone on April 4 called for immediate removal of the
individuals by the DOCCS at the Anchor Inn Motel.
COMMUNITY BOARD CHAIR SAYS
BIGBOX RETAILER PLANS TO LEAVE
ELMHURST FOR MIDDLE VILLAGE
It was unclear whether or not Target’s Elmhurst store
at Queens Place would relocate elsewhere in Queens.
Louis Walker, Community Board 4’s chair, had
announced that the big-box retailer would be closing
at the end of December, but a spokesperson for Target
said the company had no plans to close the Queens
Walker’s account had also left it unclear what would
happen to the space if they chose to vacate, aft er indicating
that the store may be relocating to Rentar Plaza at
66-26 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village. Meanwhile,
the shopping center couldn’t confi rm if that was the case.
Local Councilman Robert Holden had welcomed
the idea of Target relocating to Middle Village adding
value to Rentar Plaza, and local residents had created
a Change.org petition calling on Target to take Rentar
Plaza into consideration.
However, activists from Queens Neighborhoods
United had opposed the eff ort to develop the space
claiming it would gentrify the area by putting momand
pop shops out of business. Th e fi ght against the
Target location had even gone to the state Supreme
Court on the grounds that zoning does not allow for
anything other than small vendors.
BROOKLYN MAN CONVICTED
OF MURDERING HOWARD
BEACH’S KARINA VETRANO
Following a mistrial in the fi rst case just before
Th anksgiving 2018 due to a deadlocked jury, 22-yearold
Chanel Lewis from Brooklyn was found guilty in
the second trial for the murder and sexual assault of
Howard Beach’s Karina Vetrano.
On Aug. 2, 2016, Vetrano was brutally beaten and
choked aft er going out for a run blocks from her 84th
Street home. Lewis was arrested for the crime six
months aft er it occurred, tied to the homicide through
DNA evidence recovered at the scene.
Vetrano’s body was found among the tall reeds of Spring
Creek Park hours aft er her father reported her missing on
Aug. 2, 2016. According to trial testimony, Lewis, who
was angered by a neighbor playing loud music, encountered
Vetrano while she ran through the park and, without
saying a word, went on the attack, repeatedly punching
her in the face and tearing her clothes off . Aft er sexually
assaulting Vetrano, he choked her to death.
Lewis was sentenced to life in prison without parole
on April 17.
James “Jayme” Ralph
Photo via Facebook/Ridgewood Property Owners
and Civic Association