22 DECEMBER 30, 2021 RIDGEWOOD TIMES WWW.QNS.COM
Queens’ top stories from September 2021
BY ANGÉLICA ACEVEDO
QNS is looking back at the top stories
throughout 2021, as we look
forward to 2022.
Below are the top stories from the
month of September, when a deadly
tropical storm ravaged Queens at the
beginning of the month. Another big
story that month was a grade fraud
and inappropriate behavior scandal
in Maspeth High School.
REMNANTS OF TROPICAL
STORM IDA DEVASTATED
Torrential downpours from the
remnants of Hurricane Ida caused
massive flooding throughout New
York City late Sept. 1, and into the early
morning hours of Sept. 2. That resulted
in about 11 deaths in Queens, according
Seven of those deaths happened
inside basements, including the death
of a mother, father and their 2-year-old
son in Woodside.
Woodside residents on 64th Street
were devastated to learn that the family
of three was found dead, as they
cleaned their homes and tried to fi x
their disabled cars while fi refi ghters
and police offi cers were at the scene
assessing the damage.
News of the family’s death left Martha
Suarez shaken and heartbroken, as
she stood across the street from their
residence. According to Suarez, the
family was from Nepal and had lived
in the basement apartment for about
fi ve years.
“All of them died? I can’t believe that,”
Suarez said, as tears streamed down
Among the victims was a woman
Everything inside many Queens homes were destroyed as a result of Tropical Storm Ida in September.
Photo by Dean Moses
who was discovered by offi cers from
the 114th Precinct on the morning of
Sept. 2 on the Grand Central Parkway
near the Brooklyn Expressway.
The woman was found unresponsive
inside a burnt vehicle, which police
believed was involved in a car crash
the night before.
Many residents and local business
owners reported devastating damage
to their homes and shops as a result of
the tropical storm, which brought a
record-setting 7.13 inches of rain in the
city on the night of Sept. 1, according to
the National Weather Service.
Frankie Recarte, the superintendent
at an apartment building in Astoria
Park South, said he lost everything
in a matter of 10 minutes as the water
reached his waist. Recarte fled to
higher levels of the building as the
stairwell and lower levels fl ooded.
In the early hours of the morning,
when it was safer to exit the building,
he and his wife went to a motel.
“It’s like a nightmare,” Recarte said.
President Joe Biden even visited East
Elmhurst after approving disaster
relief funds to New York City. He say it
was time for “bold action” to combat climate
change, which has made extreme
weather more frequent and ferocious.
There are still many Queens
residents who are waiting to receive
federal and state assistance in order to
make needed repairs.
MASPETH HIGH SCHOOL
OF GRADE FRAUD,
The DOE removed the Maspeth
High School’s principal due to grade
fraud allegations, then a report found
other misconduct in the school.
The school’s former principal,
Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, reportedly
intimidated teachers into passing
students despite their failing eff orts
as well as treating certain school staff
unfairly, according to an extensive
report by the Special Commissioner
of Investigation (SCI). The allegations
date back as far as 2015.
The misconduct at the school was a
matter of public discussion, according
to the report, and was even the subject
of news stories before any investigations
Other faculty were accused of
misconduct as well. Head Dean
Daniel Sepulveda, who was also the
wrestling coach, was accused of picking
up and slamming a student who
wasn’t on the team; becoming “friends”
with a female student; smoking marijuana
in his apartment; among other
Councilman Holden criticized the
DOE and mayor for dragging their
feet, while several others involved
in the scandal are still working at the
“There was no sense of urgency,”
Holden said, then added he looked
forward to working with the school’s
new principal, Selin Alicanoglu.
YEAR IN REVIEW
A bus navigates past abandoned cars on a fl ooded Grand Central Parkway service road in Queens on Sept. 2,
2021. Photo by REUTERS/Brendan McDermid