12/18/14 4:00pm


Man, the Parks Department is really on a role with parks in Queens. They kicked off the community process for improving both Captain Tilly Park in Jamaica and Conch Playground in the Rockaways. Now they are holding a meeting regarding improvements for Louis Simeone Park in Corona. Tonight, the Parks Department is inviting the community to share input and feedback on what they would like to see in the upcoming renovations to Louis Simeone Park. It’ll take place from 6 to 8 pm at St. Paul the Apostle, 98-16 55th Avenue.

All three of these parts are a part of the Community Parks Initiative, a city-wide initiative to improve small and underutilized parks. The parks in Queens under this new program are Astoria Heights Playground, Bowne Playround in Flushing, Corona Mac Park/Simeone Louis Park, Grassmere Playground in the Far Rockaways, Rockaway Community Park/Conch Playground and the Van Alst Playground in Astoria.

Photo via NYC Parks

12/18/14 3:00pm


An Astoria development site, at 30-11 12th Street off of 30th Avenue, is on the market for $8,000,000. Epic Commercial Realty has the listing, which is a 17,350-square-foot lot with a three-story vacant brick warehouse. There’s the possibility to build up to 34,700 square feet here, and the area is already zoned for residential use. The parcel also comes with proposed plans to construct a 38-unit development with a parking garage.

The location is just south of all the Astoria Cove/Hallets Point development hubbub, so our guess is that it’ll get snatched up in no time. GMAP

Photo via PropertyShark

12/18/14 1:00pm


The Spanish word “posada” can be translated as “inn” or “lodging” in English. The Spanish-born tradition “Las Posadas is a Christian celebration of the Virgin Mary’s pregnancy that has become very popular in the United States recently. Basically a simulation of the story of Jesus Christ’s nativity, participants parade through public streets like Mary and Joseph allegedly did on Christmas Eve, stopping at various houses to ask for shelter. This Saturday, the Latin American Culture Center of Queens will hold an enactment of Las Posadas with observers strolling through Astoria and making symbolic stops along the way to the ARROW Community Center, where a party will be born.

Details: Las Posadas Celebration, ARROW Community Center, 35-30 35th Street, Astoria, free, for more information, try 718-261-7664 or LACCQ@aol.com.

Photo: Hispanic Culture Online


This two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo comes from a newish development in Jamaica Estates at 178-36 Wexford Terrace. The listing photos are pretty blurry but it looks like a typical new construction build with a nice amount of space (although no square footage is listed). There’s also a private terrace and garage parking. The asking price for this comes in at $371,731. Like it?

178-36 Wexford Terrace [ERA/Top Service Realty] GMAP

12/18/14 11:00am


Remember when I told you about the time that I found a missing piece of the Queensboro Bridge? The post ended with a promise that the Roosevelt Island Historic Society had made to bring the item back to their location and preserve it.

Last weekend, I decided to stroll over to Roosevelt Island and see how my little discovery was faring under their stewardship. I’m happy to announce that it’s been given a place of prominence, and is sitting alongside the former Queensboro Trolley Station entrance which serves as the group’s HQ.

More after the jump… (more…)

12/18/14 10:00am


This week, Crain’s published an interesting article about Queens residents taking over abandoned park space, and the debate of whether or not it’s “squatting.” One example takes place in Bayside, where residents took care of an abandoned strip of land along the Clearview Expressway between 23rd and 26th avenues, transforming it into park space. But when the Parks Department found out, they ordered residents to clear any fixtures installed on the city land. A two-year fight followed, with the residents eventually giving in. According to Crain’s, “Now the Parks Department is hoping to build on that success, using it as a model to go on the offensive against what turns out to be a surprisingly widespread problem in the city.” Queens has the most cases of “incursions” against city property, with 49 cases out of a total 89 throughout the city.

In these cases, the Parks Department conducts a property survey and notifies residents that they have 30 days to comply if they find any type of incursion. As the President of Friends of Cunningham Park told Crain’s, “People who take pieces of parkland and make it their own are squatters, plain and simple.” But the residents of Bayside argue that they weren’t trying to claim the land, they just wanted it to look nice. Since the Parks Department enforced its ownership, it has sat empty with no plans for development.

Residents Call Parks Their Own [Crain's]

Photo by Philip Murtha via Crain’s

12/18/14 9:00am


This glassy, 11-story building is slated for Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street in Flushing, and the neighbors don’t like it one bit. “This thing looks like it’s something out of Miami Vice,” a resident told Queens Courier. “You can kiss goodbye any sense of history this neighborhood still had.” The development, which will replace the former Great Wall Supermarket, is located right next to the historic Flushing Town Hall — and many residents criticized the sleek design for clashing with its neighbor.

However, Community Board 7 passed a zoning change to allow for the developer to build. And Flushing Town Hall expressed its support of the development, saying that it will use the community space in the new building for events. This mixed-use development will hold both hotel and residential units, with hotel units on the third floor up to the eighth. The top three floors will hold 43 apartment units. And the ground floor will have 1,000 square feet of commercial space, which the developers hope to lease to coffee shops and restaurants.

Flushing Community Criticizes Modern Look of Planned Building [Queens Courier]

Rendering by Raymond Architecture via Queens Courier

12/18/14 8:30am


Western Queens Gets Greener: Park Officials [Queens Courier]
The Challenge of Buying in Jackson Heights: Q&A with Michael Carfagna [Queens Courier]
Former Monk and Sandwich-Maker Opens Bhutanese Restaurant in Queens [DNAinfo]
Astoria Rental Prices Dip in November, Experts Not Surprised [Astoria Post]
Mapping 10 Buildings That Could Totally Transform Jamaica [Curbed]
Tishman Speyer Nearly Done with Demo on LIC Project [Court Square Blog]
New Year’s Eve 2014 in Astoria and LIC [We Heart Astoria]

12/17/14 4:00pm


2014 brought plenty of shutdowns for the 7 train, and apparently the MTA isn’t wasting any time as we head into the new year. They released the schedule for the first five months of 2015 and, as LIC Post first reported, “The No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends.” Three other weekends will bring service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street. The MTA — who scheduled the shutdowns to install a new signal system, replace elevated tracks and reconstruct the Steinway Tubes between Queens and Manhattan — will replace subway service with shuttles and the East River Ferry.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer isn’t happy about the announcement, saying that the closures are frustrating considering the poor, delayed 7 train service over the past few months. “The MTA still isn’t engaging the community or responding to the community in a meaningful way… I am very disappointed,” he stated.

See the full schedule of closures, which span from January 2nd to May 25th, after the jump. (more…)

12/17/14 3:00pm


The T Building, a 10-story Art Moderne structure at the Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, is on track for redevelopment. Queens Courier shares news that the city restarted the process to transform the building — a former tuberculosis center — into 206 units of affordable housing. Plans to redevelop the T Building go back to 2012. It was originally proposed to be housing for low-income residents with chronic illness, but that plan was shot down by nearby residents. Then it was facing demolition. Then the Queens Hospital Center proposed a new plan for housing mental and chronic health patients.

The city hasn’t released details on the new proposal for redevelopment, but it will be different than the initial plan opposed by residents. It’s possible 75 of the apartments will be reserved for hospital patients who are discharged without anywhere to live. According to the Courier, no plans are finalized and it’s likely construction won’t start for more than a year.

Plans Resume to Turn Historic T Building into Affordable Housing [Queens Courier]
All T Building coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Melissa Chan for Queens Courier