UPDATE: MTA train operator charged in jeweler’s death

Aron Aranbayev with actress Debra Messing

Aron Aranbayev with actress Debra Messing

Earlier this month, jeweler to the stars Aron Aranbayev was killed after the driver of a mysterious Dodge Magnum ran him over on 71st Avenue. Well, the mystery has been solved. MTA train operator Charles Jordan has been arrested for Aranbayev’s death.

Jordan is being charged with second-degree murder, second-degree murder with depraved indifference and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. The 46-year-old is said to have been possibly arguing with Aranbayev over a parking spot and eventually reversed his car before he plowed into Aranbayev on July 19. Suffering from severe head trauma, Aranbayev was taken to Jamaica Hospital where he died on July 20.

Aranbayev had celebrity clientele such as Lebron James, Khloe Kardashian and Floyd Mayweather. The 40-year-old was also a father of four, his youngest child just 6 months old.

Jordan was promoted to train operator in 2006 after serving as conductor since 2000. He has been suspended without pay.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Jordan is expected to be arraigned at Queens Criminal Court Thursday evening or Friday morning.


LIRR fatally struck individual near Forest Hills station

A person was fatally struck near the Forest Hills Long Island Railroad station at Austin St. and 71st Ave. around 11 p.m. on Tuesday night.

While there hasn’t been confirmation on whether the victim was a man or woman, authorities said the individual died on the scene. The Ronkonkoma-bound train had left Penn Station at around 10:30 p.m.

This is the second death in the area over a matter of weeks. Recently, 40-year-old famed jeweler Aron Aranbayev was plowed down by a Dodge Magnum driver with a serious case of road rage.


The New York Pops to play at Forest Hills Stadium next week

Courtesy of Richard Termine

Courtesy of Richard Termine

Fans of all ages can soon catch The New York Pops, the largest pops orchestra in the country, at their new summer home at Forest Hills Stadium.

The open-air venue, located at 1 Tennis Place, has seen the likes of The Who and Ed Sheeran perform for massive crowds this season. The New York Pops, who have been consistently selling out at Carnegie Hall, will undoubtedly draw in throngs of people during their two performances on Aug. 6 and 7 at 7:30 p.m.

While The New York Pops performed at a few open-air venues throughout the years, Conductor Steven Reineke is excited to finally have an outdoor home of their own, especially one with such a legendary caliber.

“It’s so inspiring to think of following in the footsteps of The Beatles, The Who, Barbra Streisand, and so many other musical icons of generations past,” he said. “I hope it will become a tradition for New York City families to come hear The New York Pops outdoors during the summers.”

On its inaugural night, The New York Pops will be joined by two-time Tony-Award winner Sutton Foster, who recently performed her solo debut with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall. The following night will feature special guest, and Oregon-based eclectic group, Pink Martini.

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Hit-and-run death of famed jeweler is the first homicide in years for Forest Hills

The Forest Hills jeweler who was the victim of an intended hit-and-run in Forest Hills is the first homicide within the 112th Precinct in three years.

The precinct, which has one of the lowest overall crime rates in the city, has recorded a few burglary sprees, car theft and armed robberies. The last homicide in the area occurred in 2011, when a man was found unconscious due to a neck compression. His girlfriend found the body inside of an apartment that looked to have been turned upside down by another person. Police haven’t made an arrest in that case.

The jeweler, Aron Aranbayev, worked with a plethora of celebrities. His clientele included Lebron James, Diddy, Jay Z and Carmelo Anthony.


Forest Hills South celebrates 75th anniversary

Forest Hills South 75th AnniversaryAs the sun set over Forest Hills South on July 18, nearly 360 residents and 30 staff members participated in a 75th anniversary celebration of their seven-building apartment complex.

A garden party featuring a barbecue buffet, four commemorative cakes bearing historic and recent property images, live rock and pop music by The Kitchen, and speeches by longtime residents.

Among the special guests was Dara Birnbaum, daughter of the development’s award-winning architect, the late Philip Birnbaum. The celebration reinforced neighborliness, a testament to the historic community’s existence.

Coinciding with the nearby 1939–1940 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, a growing Queens population was welcomed to Forest Hills South between 1939 and 1941, 604 apartments north of Queens Boulevard between 76th Drive and 78th Avenue.

On Saturday, residents expressed their pride in The Parkview, Meadowbrook, Beaverbrook, Girard, Dover, Dartmouth, and The Marlborough, which are stately Georgian Colonial buildings overlooking a park-like setting.

Read the full story here


Jeweler to the stars and escapee of Communist Russia killed in hit-and-run

aran lebron
A Forest Hills man, and Diamond District jeweler to the stars, died on Monday after being the victim of an unnecessary hit-and-run on Sunday.

40-year-old Aron “Eric” Aranbayev was getting out of his car around 11:15 p.m. on Sunday night when a Dodge Magnum sped past him. After he yelled at the driver to slow down, the Dodge driver pulled his brakes and reversed until Aranbayev was in front of him. The driver then ran him over. Aranbayev later died at Jamaica Hospital. Police are still searching for the suspect.

Along with his father, Rafael, and his cousin, Gabriel Jacobs, Aranbayev escaped Communist Russia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1985 from Uzbekistan. After starting a wholesale jewelry business, the men opened up Rafaello & Company in the Diamond District in 2009. There, Aranbayev became a hit among superstar clients. His clientele included Khloe Kardashian, Lebron James, Diddy, Jay Z, Busta Rhymes, Alicia Keys, Drake, Chris Brown, Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Nelly, Carmelo Anthony, Waka Flocka Flame, Kevin Hart and more.

At his funeral on Tuesday at the Bukharian Jewish Community Center, a friend said Aranbayev’s passion and tendency to speak his mind might’ve gotten him into trouble. Still, he claimed Aranbayev wasn’t a fighting man.

“If anyone talked with him for two minutes they were charmed,” said a loved one of Aranbayev. “If you met him, you loved him. There are hundreds of people (here), he touched all those lives in a positive way.”


Moca Asian Bistro closed down after health violations

mocaasianbistroMoca Asian Bistro, located within Forest Hills’ restaurant row at 107-18 70th Road, has been shut down by the Health Department after receiving a total of 46 health violation points.

According to the Health Department’s website, inspectors found live roaches in the restaurant’s kitchen. The restaurant hasn’t been vermin-proofed, which attracts vermin to the premise and allows them to exist there. Inspectors also found that workers would touch food that would not be cooked afterward with their bare hands, and the eatery conducted the improper use of pesticides.

A spokesman for the Department of Health said that Moca Asian Bistro could request a re-opening inspection once they can provide proof of extermination services, such as receipts, and a pest control plan.