Police release video of frightening Ridgewood home invasion

Police are looking for two individuals in connection with a gunpoint home invasion robbery that took place on Norman Street in Ridgewood on Sunday.

According to police, the victim reported that two males approached him inside the lobby of his building and one of the individuals displayed a black firearm while the other placed him in a chokehold.

The first individual then forced himself inside the victim’s second floor apartment at gunpoint, threatening the victim’s wife and their seven-year-old son, demanding money and car keys. The suspects fled in the victim’s black 2017 Audi A6 with $1,300 in cashand two credit cards.

Police described the first individual as a Hispanic male, approximately 20-years-old, 5’8″ tall, 140 pounds, with a thin build, light complexion, short, curly black hair and a beard. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue jeans. He was armed with a black handgun.

The second individual is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 20-years-old, 5’6″ tall, 150 pounds, with a light complexion, and short, straight, brown hair. He was last seen wearing a black shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

Fresh Pond Road Italian Festival returns in September

One of the organizations involved in last year’s festival.

The Fresh Pond Road Italian Festival will take over Fresh Pond Road in Ridgewood on September 9 and 10 again this year.

The event, which has faced criticism from the public in the past, will only be two days again this year, running until 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Earlier this year, Community Board 5 voted to deny the festival its permits again, however the decision to permit the festival ultimately was made by the Mayor’s Office.


Woman fights off attacker in Ridgewood

A woman fought off her attacker early this morning in Ridgewood.

According to Det. Thomas Bell of the NYPD 104th Precinct, the female victim was accosted by an unknown man while walking down the street near the intersection of Madison Street and Forest Avenue.

She was able to fight off her attacker, who fled northbound on Forest Avenue. A canvass of the area yielded negative results.

The investigation into this assault is ongoing at this time. If anyone has information regarding this incident please call the 104th Precinct at 718-386-3004.

Rescued Ridgewood kittens looking for a home

Two of the friendly felines looking for a home. (Photo courtesy A Tail of Two Kitties)

Last week, after a concerned citizen took to social media, demolition was halted at an apartment building at 778 Onderdonk Ave., leading to the rescue of dozens of cats trapped within the crumbling structure. Now the rescued felines are looking for a home.

Two shelters, A Tail of Two Kitties and Puppy Kitty NYC have begun taking the cats in and are seeking applications to foster the animals. The organizations say they are desperately trying to take in the cats that they have dubbed the Onderdonk Orphans to make room for more of the nearly 40 cats are that believed to be in the building.

The contact A Tail of Two Kitties, email: atailof2kittiesnyc@gmail.com or visit them on Facebook.

To contact Puppy Kitty NYC, visit the group on Facebook. 

EPA proposed plan for cleanup at Ridgewood superfund site

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officially proposed a $39.4 million clean up the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company Superfund site on Irving Avenue in Ridgewood.

According to EPA, a study of the site revealed that several buildings as well as soil and sewers were contaminated with radioactive materials from past industrial activities. While there is no immediate threat to nearby residents because of the agency’s past actions, the comprehensive plan addresses potential long-term risks through a combination of response actions, including permanent relocation of commercial businesses, demolishing contaminated buildings, excavating contaminated soil, and cleaning/replacing contaminated sewers.

“The EPA has used the Superfund program to successfully address shorter term risks posed by the radiation at this site, and this proposed plan moves us closer to a permanent fix that will protect those who live and work in the area over the long term,” said Catherine McCabe, the EPA’s acting regional administrator. “While we recognize that relocation will be a stress on these businesses, we are weighing that against the long-term risks from radiation, which include an increased risk of cancer. EPA believes that this proposal offers the best course of action.”

The proposal calls for permanent relocation of five commercial businesses, demolition of all contaminated buildings on site, cleaning/replacing the contaminated sewers and excavation, removal and off-site disposal of an estimated 24,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil, sediment and debris.

Ridgewood’s Jeffrey Leider wins crossfit competition

Earlier this month, Ridgewood resident Jeffrey Leider took home gold at the Warlock Summer Smash competition in Poughkeepsie, NY.

He bested 70 competitors, coming in 1st place in 4 out of 5 events. The competition featured exercise such as: pull-ups, thrusters, power cleans, squats, shoulder raises, snatches, rows, toe to bar, box jumps, and the assault bike.

Leider, a successful personal trainer with clients in Queens and Manhattan, owns his own company named LeaderLife Fitness.

The company holds true to Leider’s passion of a healthy & positive lifestyle with training clients and teams, cooking and delivering meals to clients, and writing in content about fitness and health. His wife, Angela Leider, is a big part of the company as well.

Jeff Leider is part of the crossfit team at Crossfit Ridgewood on Freshpond Road. Earlier this year, he ranked in the top 100 crossfitters on the North East.

“The work ethic I have is fueled by the love and support of my family and friends,” Leider told the Ridgewood blog.

Leider, a graduate of Baruch College, played basketball for the D3 Bearcats, and had a short stint in the ABA semi-professional basketball league. He initially began learning about fitness to strengthen his basketball game. Soon after his entrance into the world of fitness, he began to not only see the fruits of his training, but he fell in love with the process of training as well.

After a few corporate internships, the finance major decided that the field of fitness and personal training was what he was truly passionate about.

Leider has helped over one hundred of clients throughout his nine year training career.  “Most people should be training for functionality,” says Leider. “Functionality is very important to your health and well-being, and training involves strengthening the body to be capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions. You are training several muscle groups at once, which can improve balance, core stabilization, strength, and flexibility,” said Leider.

You can contact Jeff Leider at LeaderLifeFitness@gmail.com or visit www.leaderlifefitness.com .

Ridgewood landlord charged with retaliating against tenants who filed complaints

A Ridgewood landlord is being charged with retaliating against immigrant tenants after they reported him to the New York City Commission on Human Rights (CHR) for discrimination.

According to CHR, they served the landlord a notice back in March of the complaint alleging discrimination, after immigrant advocacy group Make the Road New York brought the case to the commission.

In response to the complaint, the landlord allegedly denied the allegations and indicated that he sent a copy of the letter to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which included tenants’ personal information, in violation of the NYC Human Rights Law’s retaliation protections.

“Our message is loud and clear: we will hold landlords accountable for discrimination in our city,” said Mayor de Blasio in a statement. “We stand with tenants, regardless of their origin, in Queens and across the five boroughs.”

CHR has the authority to fine violators with civil penalties of up to $250,000 for willful and malicious violations of the Law and can award compensatory damages to victims, including emotional distress damages and other benefits, according to a release from the commission.

The names and addresses of the landlord and tenants were withheld by the agency to protect the tenant’s privacy. 

Ridgewood Social to celebrate five years with party at The Footlight

Ridgewood Social turned five last month and the popular neighborhood blog is hosting a big party to celebrate.

The event, which is being held at the Footlight, 465 Seneca Ave., will feature cake and drinks. It will take place from 7-11 p.m. on Thursday, July 2o.

The blog was started by Sarah Feldman, who says she created it as away for people to explore the neighborhood and support local businesses. Now, the blog has thousands of followers and also focuses on inclusivity, fighting against gentrification, things to do, and supporting small businesses.

Pol re-affirms call for Ridgewood downzoning

A rendering of the finished project, from the developer.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan is continuing her call for a change to Ridgewood’s zoning laws that are allowing a 17-story tower to be build at 54-27 Myrtle Avenue.

Nolan originally wrote to Mayor Bill de Blasio in March, expressing concern over the development and recently received a response from City Planning Comissioner Marisa Lago that says the building is allowed to proceed, as of right.

“The Department of City Planning continues to believe that this density is appropriate for this location, due to its excellent proximity to mass transit and location along a primary street,” Lago said in a June 21 letter.

“I am aware of the property’s ‘as of right’ status,” Nolan wrote back, “However, the current zoning rules for Ridgewood are 17 years old and the pace of development has changed dramatically in the near two decade period since.”

Nolan believes, with the L and M trains shutting down for extensive periods over the next few years, a downzoning of Ridgewood is appropriate.