Queens Courier Year in Review: The top stories from June 2019

Tiffany Caban declared victory in the Queens DA primary on June 25.
Photo: Mark Hallum/QNS

DA primary recap

After Tiffany Cabán came away from the night of the Democratic Primary for Queens District Attorney with a 1,100-vote lead over Borough President Melinda Katz, the CUNY Graduate Center printed a series of images showing which election districts that went heavy for the insurgent Democratic Socialist.

While it initially clear that Long Island City and Astoria districts were instrumental to boosting Cabán’s initial lead, but the images also showed that she posed a surprise challenge to Katz in the borough president’s own turf: Forest Hills and Kew Gardens.

The images show what ultimately delivered Katz her election victory. She dominated in the southeast. But they also show where Judge Gregory Lasak was able to sway majorities in traditional conservative strongholds across Queens in the northeast, Howard Beach and the western Rockaway Peninsula.

Photo: CUNY Mapping Service

Flushing man wins $5,000,000 on ‘Set for Life’ scratch-off ticket

In June, a Flushing man became set for life.

Jason Pae, 27, won the guaranteed $5,000,000 jackpot prize on the popular “Set for Life” scratch-off ticket. He purchased his ticket in Flushing while on his way home from work.

“I was on my way home from work and stopped at the deli for some Gatorade,” said Pae.  “I scratched the ticket in the store and my first thought was ‘Wow!’”

Pae is the 50th person to claim a prize totaling $1,000,000 or more this year, according to the New York Lottery. Pae chose to receive his prize money in annual installments of $260,000 before withholdings and will receive a net check totaling $164,590 annually for the rest of his life.

As for what he’s going to do with his newfound wealth? Pae said that he was going to fly to Korea to visit his family and start his own business.



‘We did it, y’all’: Public defender Cabán touts apparent victory in Queens district attorney primary

On June 25, it looked like Queens was going to get a 31-year-old queer Latina public defender as its next dsitrict attorney.

At the end of the primary night, Tiffany Cabán was up about 1,100 votes on Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, who declined to concede and instead opting to wait until all the paper ballots are counted.

The majority of the precincts had reported 39.6 of votes in favor as Cabán celebrated with a mass of supporters, including prominent elected officials, at LaBoom in Woodside. 

”We built a campaign that said every community deserves justice,” Cabán said in front of her crowd of supporters. “We did it, y’all.”

To onlookers, it looked like Cabán had replicated the 2018 victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is still reverberating through Queens with no example more clear than Tiffany Cabán prevailing at the polls in Tuesday’s primary for district attorney.

It would not be until two weeks later, when all the paper and absentee ballots had been counted, that Melinda Katz would emerge as the likely primary winner. And it was not until the end of July that the Board of Elections would finish a complete recount that finally determined  Katz won by 60 votes


Rego Park’s Shalimar Diner spared the wrecking ball, will be moved to Long Island with assist from a 1986 Met

It looked as if the beloved Shalimar Diner in Rego Park had permanently closed its doors last year after 45 years when the property and an adjoining lot were sold in a $6.5 million all-cash deal with developers.

That is before former New York Mets Lenny “Nails” Dykstra joined team hoping to grant the shuttered Shalimar Diner in Rego Park location in Long Island in June. 

In April, Rego Forest Preservation Council founder and chairman Michael Perlman launched an effort to find a taker for the classic structure for zero dollars and move it to a new location before the wrecking ball arrives.

Dykstra, the star outfielder on the 1986 World Champion Mets squad, joined forces with Manhattan attorney Ronald Hariri and Perlman to relocate the Shalimar Diner to Riverhead, Long Island, where it will likely reopen as a brewery and diner.

“These places are cultural cornerstones of the neighborhood but they’ve become an endangered species,” Perlman said. “It’s really sad and disheartening now how much land costs around here. The structure is prefabricated and manufactured to be easy to move.”

Courtesy of Michael Perlman