Queens Students Get Taste of Technology in 3-D Printing Competition



 DNAinfo  New York

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

QUEENS — Dozens of kids from Queens are getting a chance to learn 3-D printing techniques and will get to show off what they learned in a design competition that seeks to teach them the latest technology.

Earlier this year, the Rego Park Green Alliance, which organizes the project, trained 10 teachers from several public schools as well as after-school programs and community organizations, such as Woodside on the Move.

For the next eight to 10 weeks, the teachers will work with the students to design toys that will be printed by a 3-D printer and presented during an event on May 4, at P.S. 175 in Rego Park, said Yvonne Shortt, executive director of the Rego Park Green Alliance.

Shortt said she expects about 100 students between third and eighth grade to learn how to use 3-D printing applications during the competition.

The toys must fit inside a box that is 6 inches all around, as most portable printers can only print objects up to 10 inches tall, she said.

The goal, Shortt said, is not only to educate teachers and students about the latest technology, but also to promote creativity among kids in the neighborhood.

“The printers are still somewhat expensive and we are not seeing our community benefit from it as much as we would like to,” Shortt said.

The Rego Park Green Alliance will be lending its 3-D printers as well as laptops to those schools and programs that do not have their own equipment, said Shortt, whose group has been also teaching 3-D printing at local branches of the Queens Library.

During the event on May 4, teams will present their projects to a panel of judges and the community, including local high school students, who will be invited to ask questions, Shortt said.

Children will also take part in a live challenge where they will have to design something collaboratively with their team in one hour.

Teams will be competing for trophies that will be awarded for presentation, innovation and collaboration, Shortt said.

The designs will be also on display in May during LIC Arts Open at the group’s studio in Long Island City.

Christian Amez. Business Enterprise Instructor, Woodside on the Move



By Angy Altamirano

COMMUNITY SERVICE: Christian Amez has worked withWoodside on the Move for about five years, starting as an aide in the afterschool program. He ultimately created his own year-long class, the “Business Enterprise” program. It teaches children, in grades four and above, various financial literacy and math skills. From learning how to create a budget, to understanding credit and loans, these students ultimately create their own business plans and professionally pitch them to community leaders.

Woodside on the Move has served the Community Board 2 district for over 30 years, providing youth and cultural development programs all across Woodside and its surrounding neighborhoods.

BACKGROUND:  “I’m a first-generation American born in Queens. My family moved from Peru to Woodside, then finally Sunnyside,” said Amez. “Having grown up attending public schools in both neighborhoods (I.S. 125 and P.S. 150, respectively), the two are synonymous with home to me, so I spend a great deal of time getting to know my neighbors and participating in community outreach.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “My biggest challenge here had to be one I shared with Woodside on the Move, and that was our rally in May 2012 to restore funding for the afterschool and summer programs we host at P.S. 11 and 152,” said Amez.

During this time he said he had never seen so many students, parents, and community members engaged in what was a collective time of need.

FAVORITE MEMORY: The outpouring of support during the 2012 rally became Amez’s favorite memory at the organization.

“Soon after, due to the efforts of our executive director, Adrian Bordoni, all our staff, and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, we succeeded in temporarily restoring funding. In the following months, even more support came fromCongressmember Joseph Crowley, who donated hundreds of school supplies for the children to prepare for their upcoming school year,” said Amez.

INSPIRATION: “I went through a very transformational time while studying finance. A lot of businessmen and women dream of becoming CEOs or billionaires, but why create one success story when you can create many,” asked Amez. That is what inspired him to work at Woodside on the Move, where the organization can improve the future of the city locally from the ground up, starting with the children.


Moore Jackson Cemetery Clean Up



Created by Mitch Waxman



First things first, what we call 51st Street at the border of Astoria and Woodside was once known as Bowery Bay Road. Secondly, in 1733 this spot was on the outskirts of the colonial village of Newtown, and it was chosen by the wealthy Moore family as their private burial ground. They intermarried with other prominent Newtown families, such as the Hallets, Rapelyes, and Jacksons. Jackson Avenue in LIC is named for the Jackson family, by the way.

The sire of the Moore family, Rev. John Moore, arrived in Newtown in 1652. He died in 1657, but left behind a wife and several children who stayed in the area, where they enjoyed a large inheritance of real estate and cash.

One notable descendant of the Moore family was Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote “The Night Before Christmas” amongst other things.

The stone pictured above commemorates Augustine Moore, who died at age 17 in the year 1769.


Moore’s descendants were prominent and noteworthy characters in the historic record of colonial Newtown. One of them infamously picked the wrong side during the American Revolution, a British loyalist named Nathaniel Moore whose farmhouse adjoined the cemetery. The Moore house served as the headquarters of the British General Sir Henry Clinton during the American insurrection, and when the rebels took power, things became difficult for the family but they stuck it out.

Nathaniel Moore’s son, Nathaniel Moore Jr., died in 1827, and his will stipulated that the ancestral land and property be sold off to benefit his widow and children, excepting a quarter acre plot which contained the cemetery.


Queens developed around Moore Jackson Cemetery, a colonial era family burying ground which most experts agree on as containing at least 51 interments. Some 15 monuments are still present, and the entire plot is overgrown with trees and other greenery and plagued by litter and garbage.

As mentioned, the lot was defined in 1733 and remained in active use until 1868. It fell into disrepair in the late 19th century and became overgrown, but was surveyed by the Queens Topographical Survey in 1919.

Moore Jackson was forgotten again, and became completely overgrown by 1936 when a Works Progress Administration work crew assigned to clear brush in the area rediscovered the place.


Fill was added to the grounds when the streets outside it were regraded and raised, an effort which rearranged the position of the headstones. A developer attempted to gain control of it in the early 1950s, not realizing that the wooded lot was actually a cemetery. In 1956, a community organization erected fences around Moore Jackson, and other groups in the neighborhood began a schedule of clean ups and brush cleanings which continue to this day.

In 1997, the cemetery was declared a New York City landmark.


The Moore Jackson Cemetery is across the street from the eastern border of the NYCHA Woodside Houses on 51st Street, and the 54th Street side has large apartment buildings and a few two-story homes hemming it in. By all appearances, from the sidewalk, it looks like a community garden or overgrown lot.

How I ended up inside the gates basically boils down to one of those community groups who have historically taken responsibility for the place — Woodside on the Move.


Woodside on the Move is a community group founded in 1976 which proclaims its mission as “making Woodside and its surrounding Queens neighborhoods better places to live, work, and do business.” They facilitate graffiti removal, neighborhood clean ups, after school programs, cultural programs and a variety of other services. When WOTM announced they would be working here on their Twitter feed last week, I made it a point of coming by.


Paid student interns were working on mitigating the presence of two fallen trees in the cemetery and doing a general policing of the grounds. There was wood and branches everywhere, and given the overgrown and quite urban setting, they were working in a deliberate and careful manner. Garbage is often thrown over the fence, and little piles of broken glass were observed all along it.


This fellow’s name was Hector, and he was one of the two fellows supervising the clean up effort. As he described it to me, the Queens Historical Society, based in Flushing, watches over this ancient burying ground and recently sent a request to the office of NY City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer asking for assistance in clearing away the fallen trees. Mr. Van Bramer’s office contacted Woodside on the Move, who agreed to handle the job. And that’s how we all ended up at the Moore Jackson Cemetery.


Overseeing the operation was Adrian Bordoni, Woodside on the Move’s Executive Director. Mr. Bordoni explained that they were going to organize everything they could, but that some of the larger parts of the fallen tree would need to be handled by Parks Department personnel, as chain saws and a truck would be required to break them down and cart the wood away.

That’s the landmarked Moore Jackson Cemetery for you, which is found on 51st Street between 31st and 32nd avenues at the border of Woodside and Astoria.

Woodside on the Move – After School Program


By Jeanmarie Evelly

WOODSIDE — A group of Woodside kids is getting a lesson in business savvy.

Neighborhood nonprofitWoodside On The Move offers an afterschool and summer camp program that teaches fourth, fifth and sixth graders the ins and outs of finance and how to run a business.

The “Business Enterprise” program was started two years ago by instructors Christian Amez and Jason Pratts, who have backgrounds in finance and thought their students could benefit from some entrepreneurial education.

“We saw that there was an opportunity for the kids to learn something outside of the normal curriculum, and we wanted to give them something that didn’t follow the ‘teach to test’ paradigm,” said Amez.

This spring, students took classes twice a week after school at P.S. 152 in Woodside where they learned about supply and demand, the history of currency, savings and loans, and how to make and stick to a budget.

“We learned how we’re supposed to use our money, where we’re supposed to save our money, what kind of banks,” said fourth-grader Leilah Villareel.

The students even got a taste of Wall Street.

“We did mock portfolios where they got to buy and sell their own shares,” said Pratts. “We gave them capital seed and then they had to manage their own portfolios.”

At a graduation ceremony this week, students were given certificates to celebrate their completion of the course and got a commencement speech from local businessman Frank Ottomanelli of the well-known Ottomanelli & Sons butcher shop.

The neighborhood entrepreneur’s recent endeavour is the opening of Ottomanelli Burgers and Belgian Fries at 60-15 Woodside Ave., which snagged one of the top award at this year’s Queens Taste food competition.

Ottomanelli gave some seasoned advice to the young Woodside business grads.

“If you go into business, dream as much as you can, work as hard as you can and put the customer first,” he told the kids. “And always give back to your community.”

Those interested in learning more about Woodside on the Move’s educational programs can find more on their website www.woodsideonthemove.org.

Small turnout for Woodside group’s business conference


By Bill Parry

Woodside on the Move, a grass roots community organization, held its 1stAnnual Queens Business Conference last Wednesday and while it failed to draw much of a crowd, the 20 people that did attend gained a great deal of knowledge.

The event, which was held at the Anoroc Democratic Club (45-23 47th St.), featured an array of business leaders–and representatives from city agencies–from all over the borough.

“It was a really good networking opportunity,” said Woodside on the Move’s executive director Adrian Bordoni, who is hopeful that the word will get out and there will be a larger turnout next year.

The conference was split into morning and afternoon sessions where panels of business people shared their experiences and offered advice for those hoping to start or improve a small business.

The US Small Business Administration, The Queens Development Corporation, Astoria Federal, NYC Business Solutions, Sunnyside Shines and business enterprise instructors from PS 152 took part in the panels. “They all asked to be invited back next year,” Bordoni said, adding, that “they offered to have on-going workshops as well.”

“It may have been a small turnout but it was a successful day,” Bordoni said, who added, “We’ll get there.”

SUNNYSIDE POST Woodside on the Move group to host several spring events



Woodside on the Move, a grass roots community organization, is about to host a series of events—ranging from music to business networking—in coming weeks.

A major function of the organization is to provide community events that promote economic growth and neighborhood stabilization. This spring’s schedule is packed with seven events in five weeks–all of them free and open to the public.

“Our initiative is to be as active and as involved as possible,” said Adrian Bordoni, the group’s executive director.  “Woodside on the Move is growing and expanding, and we want to deliver something for everyone.”

The schedule gets underway on Saturday, April 20, with the 2nd annual Arts & Recreation Festival co-sponsored by The Fresh Air Fund, a group that sends inner city children to summer camp.  The festival will be held at Windmuller Park and will feature sports and music.

On Tuesday, April 23, a Bingo Night Fundraiser will take place at St. Sebastian’s Parish Center beginning at 5pm. The event will raise money to help Woodside on the Move’s housing division, which helps find affordable housing for families and seniors.

On Wednesday, May 1, the non-profit will host its first annual Queens Business Conference at the Anoroc Democratic Club [45-23 47th St.]. Several business people will share their experiences and advice.

On Saturday, May 4, Woodside on the Move will celebrate Mothers Day with a parade on Skillman Ave. starting at 46th St. and ending at 56th St.  This year’s grand marshall will be Congressman Joe Crowley who will be accompanied by his mother.  After the event, the group is offering mothers free haircuts and manicures by local stylists at PS 11.

Also on May 4, the group will host its 1st annual Cinco De Mayo Mexican Festival at the Windmuller Park Bandshell.

On Saturday, May 11th, the Skillman Project—a collection of bars and restaurants located on Skillman Avenue— will join with Woodside on the Move at Windmuller Park for the 2nd annual Irish Concert beginning at 5pm.

Finally, the schedule wraps up with a Memorial Day Concert to honor Veterans and Troops. It too will take place at Windmuller Park at 5pm.

“It’s a lot on our plate, but we wanted to fit all these community events into a small window of opportunity before the weather gets too hot,” said Bordoni.

QUEENS CHRONICLE-Annex construction at overcrowded PS 11 faces challenges

Read the original article here 

By Josey Bartlett, Chronicle Contributor

Officials say a plan to build an annex at a severely overcrowded elementary school in Woodside will be difficult because of space.

PS 11 at 54-25 Skillman Ave. is at 20 percent overcapacity with 220 of its youngest students spilling into more than decade-old temporary portable units. Last spring, the Fire Department issued a citation to the school for teaching students in the hallway.

The SCA announced the annex plan in November, something the District 30 Community Education Council, Principal Anna Efkarpides and area politicians have strived for for about nine years. The construction is slated for completion in 2016.

“We’ve looked all around,” School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo said of the organization’s decision to build the annex in the backyard of PS 11 at a meeting at the school on Friday morning. “It will be a difficult construction, but at the end of the day ,we will do it well.”

The 350-seat annex, designed by Omni Associates, will be built in the enclosed area behind the main school where the portable units and a few basketball courts sit.

A smaller school, built in 1990, flanks the space on the 54th Street side. The main facility surrounds the yard from the Roosevelt Avenue and 56th Street entrances. The back of the lot slopes steeply down to Doughboy Park.

The limited area around the buildings and the steep incline will make staging for construction complicated, according to Grillo. The SCA will try not to displace outdoor play space, she added.

These challenges prompted the portable units to be installed by crains, Community Education Co-Chairman Jeff Guyton said.

The annex will add about 100 children to the group of 1,350 students already attending PS 11. “This will make this a very large school,” Grillo said. But along with the challenges, the project boasts some positives.

The not-so-temporary, leaky, portables will be replaced.

“Our kids should never be forced to learn in trailers that are falling apart. They deserve the newest and the best school facilities,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).

The SCA will work with the school to decide where students should be taught during construction. Guyton has said in the past, the not-yet-completed PS 339, one block away at at 39th Avenue and 57th Street, could act as a swing school.

Another positive is that the annex will connect to the school’s main building. Students will not need to go out into the sometimes-inclement weather to get to the cafeteria, Efkarpides said.

The construction addresses safety issues as well. The back gate cannot be locked because of the entrance to park, she said. Having all the students in conjoining buildings will make it easier to monitor entrances.

Most of all, the annex adds more space for students.

The annex is one of five school buildings being built in Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. The combination of these schools will add over 2,000 seats to the 26th Council District. 

WOODSIDE HERALD – The Lights are Bright in Woodside

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By Sue Baldock

Woodside on the Move welcomed the season with their annual lighting of the Christmas tree last Saturday, December 1st. Adrian Bordoni, Executive Director of WOTM outdid himself this year. Statesmen, District Leaders and Council Members stood beside area children excitedly waiting to greet Santa. “This is a great event” beamed Senator Michael Gianaris. “Celebrating the holidays, the kids signing brings such joy; I look forward to it all year!” Sing they did! The PS 11 Carolers and St. Sebastian’s Cherubim & Seraphim Choir, lead by Mary Frances Grace, were fantastic; and the evening rounded out with a rousing rendition of Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer from PS 152. “This is a wonderful event. The children are terrific, the joy in their voices is loud and clear!” commented Patrice Lee, smiling as she sipped warm cocoa.

CM Jimmy van Bramer counted down the lighting and to everyone’s delight welcomed the last guest of the night. None other than Santa himself! With a “Ho Ho Ho” and gifts for all, Santa was delighted by how good all the girls and boys of Sunnyside and Woodside. Merry Christmas everyone!


QUEENS CHRONICLE – Willets plan faces pointed criticism

Question over city’s commitment to affordable housing at Iron Triangle

Read the original article here.

By Mark Lord, Chronicle Contributor

The city’s announcement that the burgeoning and long-contested development project at Willets Point would not be proceeding as originally outlined and the lack of sufficient affordable housing for the middle- and lower-income families living in the borough led about 100 distraught residents to pack a Queens Housing Coalition meeting on Nov. 20 in Jackson Heights.

The Willets Point Redevelopment Plan was approved by the City Council in 2008 and included the construction of 5,500 mixed-income residential units, 2,000 of which were to be affordable housing.

This past June, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the affordable housing plan would be delayed until 2025.

“We just want the mayor to remember the promise he made about affordable housing at Willets Point,” said QHC’s coordinator Ivan Contreras. “We feel betrayed.”

The group informed attendees of the revised plans for the area, including neighboring Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which include a 25,000-seat Major League Soccer stadium, additions to the U.S. Tennis Association Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and the construction of the largest shopping mall in the borough. The MLS and USTA projects are separate from the Willets Point plan, but the shopping center is part of it.

When Contreras turned to the crowd and asked, “Do we need another mall?” he was greeted with a resounding “No.”

“We need housing,” he said. “We need the mayor to construct low-cost housing. Affordable housing is not a luxury. It’s a priority. We need it and we need it now,” he said.

He cited statistics compiled by Catholic Migration Services, one of seven QHC member organizations, based on a recent survey of 50 individuals living in Corona, the closest neighborhood to Willets Point.

“Forty out of 50 people have trouble paying their rent,” he said. “This is not a game. We have to mobilize the community.

“How will building a stadium help us?” he asked. “If we continue this way, we’ll have to move out of Queens to the country and come here to work.

“Soon we will be electing a new mayor. We have the power to do something,” he said.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst), who took office after the original plan had been approved, said, “It is very frustrating for me to find out what the plans are. I’ve learned we’re not always going to get what we deserve. This is the time to negotiate.”

A native of Corona herself, Ferreras said, “I understand when entire families are living in a room. No one deserves that. This is a priority.

“I’m not against development. We need economic development, we need jobs in our community, but we need it done responsibly.

“I will fight for affordable housing, but I need you behind me,” she said.

Ferreras promised to keep the coalition abreast of any further change in plans and to ask the city-selected developers, The Related Companies and Sterling Equities, to attend a future meeting of the QHC to discuss the situation directly with members of the community.

“We have to put pressure on the mayor to comply with his promise,” Eduardo Barahona, executive director of Centro Hispano “Cuzcatlan,” another QHC member organization, said before the meeting. “We must fix the root of the problem. There is no strong legislation that makes it mandatory to give affordable housing where they do the rezoning.

“The Inclusionary Housing Program, which allows developers to build higher buildings if they agree to develop 20 percent of those buildings for affordable housing, should be mandatory for all developers and for the government.”

Barahona also believes it should be mandatory for the government to include affordable housing in projects as well as strengthened rent regulations when using their own government land.

“They are more on behalf of landlords, not tenants,” he said. “There is so much abuse from landlords who harass and overcharge.”

He was also critical of the Rent Guidelines Board, which determines annual rent increases. “That board is selected by the mayor,” he said. “If the mayor is not doing the right thing, how can the board do a good job? There should be a better way to decide the rent increases.”

WOODSIDE HERALD – Woodside to Host Meeting on Affordable Housing in Queens

Read the original article here.

Looking to convince Mayor Michael Bloomberg to include affordable housing in his Willets Point development plan, the Queens Housing Coalition and City Council Member Julissa Ferreras will participate in an open meeting at St. Sebastian Parish Center, 39-60 57th St. in Woodside, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 7 pm.

An alliance of seven borough-based organizations, QHC claims that Mayor Bloomberg promised to build affordable housing in Willets Point in 2008.  However, the administration recently announced that those plans had been postponed until 2025 in order to build a shopping mall that would be the largest in New York City.

“The population of the Queens borough is growing at an alarming rate and the city has not put in the effort to create affordable housing projects that meet the demand,” stated a QHC tenant leader. “We are very pleased that [Council Member Ferreras] has accepted our invitation to the next QHC monthly meeting. It is important to feel the support from elected officials and to advocate for community input in such an important project.”
Council Member Ferreras’ district includes the Willets Point area and Corona, Elmhurst and
parts of Jackson Heights. QHC consists of Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan (Jamaica), Queens
Community House (Jackson Heights), Catholic Migration Office (Sunnyside), Woodside on The
Move (Woodside,) Chhaya CDC (Jackson Heights), Minkwon Center for Community Action
(Flushing) and Asian Americans For Equality (Flushing).

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