11/26/14 1:15pm

Q’Stoner is taking off early for the Thanksgiving holiday and will be back to its regular programming on Monday, December 1st. Sending thanks to all our readers and tipsters. And while we have your attention, don’t forget to follow Brownstoner Queens on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for our daily newsletter in the left hand corner of the main page.

11/26/14 1:00pm

Zik

Human Rights Week 2014 is coming up, and as it has been for the past 350 years, Queens is the center of it all. On December 5th, the Flushing Interfaith Council will host a special concert featuring six diverse performing groups — Flamenco expert Barbara Martinez, chanters from the Hindu Temple Society of North America, NEMO (Katy Mantyk and Nemanja Rebic), TOMO Japan Choral Harmony, Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir (below), and Zikrayat (above) — in Flushing Town Hall. Expect folk songs, Hindu chants, Flamenco stomping, and Arab rhythms, but there might be some Gospel, Latin motets, and Hebrew rounds as well. The interfaith council’s goal is to celebrate religious freedom and raise awareness about religious persecution, so proceeds will benefit its Peace and Justice Committee and Burma Task Force USA.

Details: Deeper Harmonies, Flushing Town Hall, 135-35 Northern Boulevard, December 5th, 7 pm, $10-$15.

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Top photo: Zikrayat; bottom photo: Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir
11/26/14 12:30pm

Due to the national holiday on Thursday, this week is less active than normal. But there are belated Irish-Choctaw and Latin Thanksgiving extravaganzas, various Small Business Saturday events, French cinema, jazz, performance art, improv, embroidery, and literature. Here’s the rundown, broken down into holiday, music, arts, education, outdoor and comedy events.

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11/26/14 12:00pm

45-08-40th-street-sunnyside

Okay, so we already declared our love for this Sunnyside co-op complex, at 45-08 40th Street, this week. We’re doing it again because another unit, this one a three bedroom, also popped up on the market. Like the two bedroom we featured on Monday, it’s very well kept, if a little less unusual. The listing boasts “king sized bedrooms” — the two that are pictured are spacious indeed. It’s asking $415,000 with a monthly maintenance of $860.82. Seems like a good bet if you’re looking for a larger co-op and find yourself priced out of Jackson Heights or Forest Hills. One potential deal breaker? This building is a walkup, and we’re guessing the apartment number means it’s on the fifth floor.

45-08 40th Street, #A51 [Halstead] GMAP

11/26/14 11:00am

Poppenhusen Institute, poppenhuseninstitute.org 2

Here on the eve of Thanksgiving, is another look at a story about one of the great philanthropists of Queens. His regard for his workers and his community should be a model for us today. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

In these days of the “one percenters,” and the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots, it’s easy to make comparisons to the days of the Robber Barons of the late 19th century. That time was very similar to ours, in many ways. The late 19th century was a time in American history when consumers first began to show their power. Manufacturers of all kinds always produced what people needed, but for the first time in American history, they were now producing not just what was needed, but was wanted. The American obsession with consumer goods had begun.

The ability to purchase those things came from other societal changes, especially the rise of the middle class. It was now possible to work and make enough money to be able to afford some of the finer things in life. Entrepreneurs and inventors met those consumer needs, and great fortunes were made in producing all kinds of goods. Today, it seems that everything gets sent overseas to be manufactured, but 150 years ago, American factories were the lifeblood of cities and towns. Sometimes, an idea or product grew so large that an entire town grew up around it. (more…)

11/26/14 10:00am

QUEENS-Boulevard-before-after

Queens residents, transit groups and city organizations have all been talking about safety improvements for Queens Boulevard — also known as the Boulevard of Death, due to the high number of traffic fatalities. And in Transportation Alternatives’ fall magazine, architect John Massengale actually envisions it. Massengale argues that we have to go further than typical Department of Transportation-like fixes, which have included widened pedestrian islands at crosswalks, neckdowns, more crossing time and turn restrictions. Massengale envisions a thoroughfare that’s both pedestrian and bike friendly — most notably, he transformed the 60-foot right of way on each side of the street into pedestrian refuges. As Streetsblog suggests, the change “will set the tone for drivers as they approach intersections.” He also calls for wider planted medians coupled with narrower traffic lanes, as well as protected bike lanes on the service roads. Another suggestion is for taller buildings along the Bouelvard, creating a “grand boulevard” that feels less like a highway. Above is his “before and after” vision. What do you think?

It’s said that the Department of Transportation is planning to embark on a major overhaul for Queens Bouelvard, so some of these grand visions may not be too far off.

Envisioning a Safer Queens Boulevard Where People Want to Walk [Streetsblog]
All Queens Boulevard coverage [Q'Stoner]

Image via Massengale & Co LLC and Urban Advantage for Transportation Alternatives

astoria-cove-approved-city-council

It’s no big surprise, considering the Astoria Cove developers and the City Council’s Land Use Committee already reached an agreement this month. But yesterday the full City Council voted unanimously to approve the Astoria Cove project. The agreement reached includes 27 percent affordable housing, 20 percent of which will be reserved for low-income households, a unionized workforce, retail and a supermarket, a new school, a renovated local library, upgraded parks, and an upgraded senior center at the NYCHA Astoria Houses. The developers also agreed to build out a ferry dock, although the city has not announced plans for ferry service there. Of the decision, Council Member Costa Constantinides, who pushed for more affordable housing in the development, stated, “For the first time in City history, the developer will be required, by law, to provide permanently affordable housing that is within the reach of Astorians. In one of the largest agreements on affordable housing in city history, a record 27% of the development will be permanently reserved for low- and middle-income households.”

You would guess construction on the 1,723-unit mega development would begin soon, but Crain’s expresses doubts, with a suspicion that Alma may even flip the property. We shall see…

All Astoria Cove coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Facebook

11/26/14 8:30am

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Mu Ramen Opens in LIC on Monday [NY Times]
Artist Hopes to Bring Arts Center to Rockaway Park [NY1]
Large Day Care Center Coming to Arris Lofts in LIC [Queens Courier]
Flushing Groups Urge City to Seek Community Input on Redevelopment Plans [Queens Courier]
City Seeks Ideas to Transform Jamaica Garage Into Affordable Housing [DNAinfo]
This Year’s ‘Taste of Woodside’ Draws Plenty of Restaurants and Good Crowd [Sunnyside Post]
27-07 43rd Avenue Begins to Rise [Court Square Blog]

11/25/14 4:00pm

11_24_ParticipatoryBudgeting_2

After nine neighborhood assemblies and public meetings in Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, the Woodside Houses, the Queensbridge Houses and the Big Six Towers, residents of the 26th District have pitched hundreds of ideas for an upcoming participatory budgeting vote. Several hundred residents showed up to the meetings, which took place over the past few months. According to Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, “140 residents within the 26th District have signed up to be Budget Delegates and will be responsible for working with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and City agencies to ensure the community’s favorite projects are funded and implemented in 2015.” Budget delegates will work with the Council Member until February, and in March delegates will present a draft of proposals to the community. The final project proposals will come out between March and April, with a community vote following. $1,000,000 in City Council capital funding will go toward the winning projects.

“Participatory Budgeting is democracy in action,” Council Member Van Bramer stated in a press release. “Throughout this process the community has taken on the responsibility of allocating $1 million to projects that they are developing. Over the past several months it has been exciting to watch residents and stakeholders from all around the 26th District come together to participate, discuss and debate which projects are needed in their very own neighborhoods.”

You’ll find a list of some of the community’s project proposals after the jump.

All Participatory Budgeting coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer

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11/25/14 3:00pm

grand-motor-parkway

The proposal to extend the Motor Parkway Greenway is making headway! Last night, Queens Community Board 13 unanimously endorsed a proposal to extend the bicycle and pedestrian path eastward towards Glen Oaks. Currently, the greenway begins at Cunningham Park and abruptly ends at Winchester Boulevard. The organization pushing for this extension wants to create a crossing at Winchester Boulevard and connect the path all the way to 74th Avenue — following a route similar to the original Motor Parkway. (For history on the Motor Parkway, designed by William Kissam Vanderbilt in the early 1900s, go here.) To ultimately create seamless, convenient access to the Motor Parkway East greenway, several government organizations that own the land will have to coordinate with the Department of Transportation. You can see how the land ownership breaks down along the proposed route here.

CB 13′s Transportation Committee chairperson told the full board that the proposed project has received positive feedback, as well as 400 signatures on a petition. The board approved the plan because it doesn’t require eminent domain and because it would help restore a historic park of Queens. The Transportation Committee plans to draft a letter of support to the Department of Transportation.

All Motor Parkway East coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Motor Parkway East