FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 21, 2019 • THE QUEENS COURIER 19
Jewish leaders rail against anti-Semitism at rally
BY BILL PARRY
With anti-Semitic incidents on the rise
across the city, the Queens Jewish community
stood as one to denounce hate
during a rally outside the Kew Gardens
Hills library on March 17.
Th e NYPD reports that anti-Semitic hate
crimes constitute half of all hate crimes
across the fi ve boroughs. Queens has seen
its share of these incidents such as the discovery
of swastikas in a Rego Park schoolyard.
While not specifi cally declared a hate
crime by the NYPD, others pointed to the
recent assault a 16-year-old Bukharian teen
on 108th Street as further evidence of an
uptick in anti-semitism locally.
A crowd estimated to be more than 500
raised their voices as one against “this
ancient and odious hate,” as Councilman
Barry Grodenchik put it.
“I have a message for all the anti-Semites
out there,” he said. “We are not going
Assemblyman David Weprin
Councilwoman Karen Kozlowitz
Cynthia Zalisky, executive director of
the Jewish Community Council, and
Congresswoman Grace Meng
For more than an hour, elected offi cials
and religious leaders spoke of the need to
not be silent.
“Queens is united against anti-Semitism,”
Borough President Melinda Katz
said. “Th e world needs to see we stand
together against anti-Semitism as we
stand together in support of the state of
Congresswoman Grace Meng noted
that hate crimes motivated by anti-Semitism
“have reached their highest rates in
the last two decades” and she called on the
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
and the F.B.I. to do more to combat it. She
then addressed one such issue on everyone’s
“Th is has been a tough few weeks for
our community. It has felt a lot of anger,
a lot of hurt and a lot of grief due in large
part to a comment from a colleague of
mine, Representative Omar,” Meng said.
Th e crowd reacted with boos and chants
of “Omar Must Go” for several minutes
venting at the freshman Congresswoman
from Minnesota Ilhan Omar who made
two anti-Semitic comments in recent
weeks. Democratic Party leadership in the
House were unable to address it properly,
according to many of the rally’s speakers,
choosing instead to pass a more generic
anti-hate resolution instead.
One Jewish leader shared Speaker
Nancy Pelosi’s phone number. “We want
a million people to call,” the leader said.
A woman in the crowd responded by
saying, “You’ll only get an answering
Councilman Rory Lancman — who,
like Katz, is a candidate for Queens district
attorney — said when anti-Semitism
is on the rise they will continue to speak
out against it.
“We are Jews. We are proud. We are
Americans and we demand the same
justice, the same protection, the same
commitment that every other American
enjoys in this country,” he said. “To stay
quiet is not an option.”
Photo by Dean Moses
Bad wire blamed for massive Woodside Big Six outage
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
A wire malfunction is believed to be
the cause of a massive power failure that
threw thousands of residents living at the
Big Six apartment complex in Woodside
into darkness on March 19.
Th e failure occurred at about 5:15 p.m.
on March 19 at the Mitchell-Lama development
of high-rise apartment towers
located off the corner of Queens Boulevard
and 61st Street. More than 1,000 families
call the Big Six complex home.
According to resident Sam Goldman,
the outage knocked out electricity, heating
and water services to the building; the
entire Big Six complex is not part of the
Con Edison grid, and generates its own
power. He had to walk up six fl ights of
stairs, illuminated with some emergency
lighting, in order to reach his apartment.
Community Board 2 Chairperson
Denise Keehan Smith, who also lives at
the complex, told QNS that the Offi ce
of Emergency Management believes a
wire failed in one of the generators, and
that triggered a system failure that lasted
into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Nonetheless, a full investigation is
Members of the 108th Precinct were
dispatched to the premises, and some
temporary lighting was set up near the
Big Six’s power station as crews work to
According to WABC-TV, the Fire
Department rescued three people from
stalled elevators. Th e MTA also dispatched
a bus to serve as a warming station
for residents to heat up on a cold,
late winter night. FDNY members also
checked on residents known to have longterm
medical conditions to ensure that
they were safe, Keehan Smith added.
State Senator Michael Gianaris said on
Tuesday that he was working with Big
Six leaders as well as the city’s Offi ce of
Emergency Management and the Fire
Department to off er assistance.
“Th is complex generates its own power
Photo via Google Maps
supply and is not connected to a major
utility. I will work with residents to help
identify the cause of this outage and
address issues with their generator system
going forward,” he stated.
Power was reportedly restored to most
of the complex by 2 a.m. Wednesday.