08/27/14 4:00pm

kevin-walsh-forgotten-ny-tour

Q’Stoner writer and the man behind Forgotten New York Kevin Walsh just announced a guided walking tour of Little Neck and Douglaston. It’s happening on Saturday, September 13th, beginning at noon at the Little Neck Long Island Railroad station and lasting for about three hours. (It ends in the same place.) Some details on the tour: “Here are some of Queens’ most outstanding vistas and some of its most beautiful and historic architecture in the neighborhood Forgotten NY’s Kevin Walsh calls home. Also included are gorgeous tree-lined streets, bayside vistas, hidden alleys and historic churches and cemeteries in this surprisingly historic region.” Tickets cost $15 for Greater Astoria Historical Society members and $20 for the public. Interested in attending? Just email info@astorialic.org.

08/27/14 3:00pm

astoria-cove-rendering

Right before the Astoria Cove developer’s date with the City Council, Councilman Costa Constantinides penned a letter to the council expressing reservations about the 1,723-unit mega development. He echoed criticism made by the Community Board, Borough President Katz and housing advocates regarding affordable housing. While developers Alma Realty already agreed to designate 20 percent of the units affordable through the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program, Constantinides still has concerns. Crain’s explains: “As he sees it, a legal door has been left open to bump up the number of affordable units, but designate them all for households making several times the neighborhood’s median income.” Under the city program, Alma could build those 345 units promised for low-income households. But, they could also build close to 700 units for moderate-income households.

An attorney representing the development assures that “the commitment is that the affordable housing will be for the low-income band.” Constantinides has requested that promise in writing, so the developers wouldn’t be able to change it later down the line. The City Planning Commission and City Council are expected to weigh in on the project in the coming weeks.

Big Queens Development Draws Fresh Fire [Crain's]
All Astoria Cove coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering by STUDIO V Architecture

08/27/14 2:00pm

tibetan-dumpling-cafe-sunnyside

Sunnyside just got authentic Tibetan cuisine in the form of the Tibetan Dumpling Café, now open at 49-08 Queens Boulevard between 49th and 50th Streets. The menu includes a number of Tibetan classics, including thali, a traditional platter including rice, lentils, curried meat or vegetables, cooked greens, yogurt and homemade pickles, thenthuk, a hand-pulled noodle soup and momos, the very delicious handmade Tibetan dumplings made of chicken, beef or vegetables. The cafe is the only exclusively Tibetan restaurant now operating in Sunnyside. Sunnyside Shines released a press release with this statement by the owner, Tashi Chopel: “The neighborhood is beautiful and filled with different kinds of food from many countries over the world. We decided to add a little taste of Tibet in the mix of all the beautiful flavors. Tibetan dumplings are a must-try – they are made from scratch from dough knotting and mincing meat, to shaping, steaming and serving fresh. Momos are a big part of the Tibetan culture!” You can see a photo of him in front of the cafe after the jump.

The Daily News also gave the Tibetan Dumpling Café a little love this morning; Chopel tells the News that he hopes to bring more familiarity and name recognition to momos. GMAP

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08/27/14 1:00pm

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The Mets have hosted some unforgettable non-baseball moments in 2014, such as concerts by 50 Cent and Boyz II Men; the Citi Field Sleepover; The Wright Thing; and Dinosaur Education Day. Now as the Flushing team’s season winds down, there’s still some great sports drama to take place at Citi Field, as well as unique promotions and another live concert.

This Saturday, Yen-Hsun Lu (below), Taiwan’s top-ranked professional tennis player, will headline the tenth annual Taiwan Heritage Night by throwing out the first pitch before the Philadelphia Phillies game. Beforehand at Mets Plaza, fans will be able to check out Taiwanese aboriginal dance with Techno San Tai Zi and singing performances. The island near mainland China’s tourism mascot, Oh Bear, will interact with Mr. Met in the stadium and be available for photo opportunities with fans. Plus, the first 750 purchasers through a special online offer will receive a limited edition of Taiwanese cheering sticks.

On September 27th, Austin Mahone will perform after the Houston Astros game. This 18-year-old singer/songwriter is poised for stardom with several hit singles on iTunes, including “What About Love?” which peaked at No. 7, “Say You’re a Friend,” and “Banga! Banga!,” which climbed as high as No. 14.

Oktoberfest will take place on September 26th, when ticket purchasers will get access to a pre-game party in Bullpen Plaza and a limited edition Mets Oktoberfest Beer Glass.

There are also three remaining chances to take advantage of Free Shirt Fridays. Every attendee will get a uniquely designed Mets themed tee shirt at the August 29th game against the Phillies; the September 12th game against the Washington Nationals; and the September 26th game against the Astros.

There are also three remaining chances (August 31st, September 14th, September 28th) to enjoy Family Sundays, when there are family-friendly activities such as kids inflatables, face painters, balloon artists and entertainment at Mets Plaza starting at 11 am. After the final pitch, children can go onto the field and run the bases during the Mr. Met Dash.

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Top photo: New York Mets; bottom photo: Yen-Hsun Lu

08/27/14 12:30pm

It’s U.S. Open time, and roughly 800,000 tourists will visit the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park during this internationally renowned, two-week competition. But that’s not the only outdoor fun on the horizon in Queens. Various concerts, ethnic street festivals, a beach movie, yoga, and a Mets salute to Taiwan mix with indoor activities such as foreign films and jazz jams this upcoming week. Here’s the rundown, broken down into kids, arts, outdoors, dance and music events.

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08/27/14 12:00pm

70-25-yellowstone-boulevard

Wow — this co-op unit is really something. It comes from the Gerard Towers, at 70-25 Yellowstone Boulevard in Forest Hills. First off, it’s large: around 1,800 square feet with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private terrace. There’s also a lot going on: interesting wallpaper, carpeting, mirrored walls and a bidet in the bathroom. The kitchen, which is partially open, is modernized and huge. The listing says it “must be seen” and we gotta admit — we’d like to see how this all works in person. It’s asking a total of $819,000.

70-25 Yellowstone Boulevard [SBNY RE] GMAP

08/27/14 11:00am

35-34 Bell Blvd, Bayside, Peter Greenberg, Wiki 1

One of the great things about New York City is that somewhere in the five boroughs, you can find just about anything. When it comes to architecture, that is certainly true. It’s really not surprising that there is even a cobblestone house in the city, a vernacular style of construction that usually is found in more remote rural areas. This one is a city landmark, and stands in Bayside, at 35-34 Bell Boulevard. (more…)

08/27/14 10:00am

woodhaven_phase-bus-lanes Early this fall, Woodhaven Boulevard will see its first round of bus improvements. Streetsblog writes that work “will bring nearly two miles of painted bus lanes and a road diet for service roads along more than a mile of Woodhaven Boulevard” — the DOT detailed the specifics in this PDF. Outlined in the map to the left, offset bus lanes will be implemented between Eliot Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue (about 1.4 miles) and curbside bus lanes will be implemented between 101st Avenue and Plattwood Avenue (a bit more than a half-mile through Ozone Park). The DOT expects these lanes to improve bus speeds by about 10 percent. Another stretch of Woodhaven, 1.3 miles from Park Lane South to Rockaway Boulevard, is getting street calming measures.

This is all good for Woodhaven Boulevard, but the bigger question is: what comes next? There’s been talk of NYC’s first Bus Rapid Transit route to be installed here. The DOT is also strongly considering Select Bus Service, which is found throughout the city. As Streetsblog says, “When the inevitable pressure to water down the Woodhaven BRT plan surfaces, will DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Mayor Bill de Blasio stand firm?” (Bill de Blasio made a campaign promise to bring “world-class” Bus Rapid Transit to NYC.) The DOT plans to hold another public meeting on the matter this fall, and then will release a design for the second phase of improvements later this fall.

First Phase of Woodhaven Bus Upgrades Coming This Fall. Then What? [Streetsblog]

Map via NYC DOT

08/27/14 9:00am

willets-point-development-map

DNAinfo published a great map pinpointing the many development projects centered around the Willets Point site. Willets Point, of course, will be a retail, housing, public space and school development. (A judge recently threw out a lawsuit against the project, so the developers are one step closer to construction.) DNAinfo reports that the city is working with 30 tenants on payments and relocation from the former auto body shop site, and that there are still some businesses in the area.

Then there’s the Corona Convention Center, where it’s unclear when construction will begin. There’s a car dealership now on site but workers are expected to leave soon. To the east of Willets Point, Flushing Commons is now under construction, and the first phase of work should wrap in the spring of 2017.

DNAinfo also sheds a little light on a large vacant lot on Janet Place, across from Citi Field, that sold for $33,000,000 last year. It should be a mixed-use development with housing and retail, but there’s no word on a construction timeline. Finally, there’s the “Flushing Brownfield Opportunity Area Project,” 60 acres along the Flushing River currently designated as a brownfield. Revitalization efforts are still in the planning phase, with a proposal to rezone the land to begin development expected in 2015.

Here’s How Far Willets Point Redevelopment Projects Have Progressed [DNAinfo]

08/27/14 8:30am

photo (1)

Queens Tourism Council Promotes Local Sights to US Open Spectators [NY1]
Changes Coming to Four Queens Bus Routes [Queens Courier]
Residents and Business Owners Lock Horns over Ozone Park Plaza [Queens Courier]
Stalled Austin Street Construction Site Becomes Graffiti-Covered Eyesore [DNAinfo]
Greek Restaurant Crave Temporarily Closed by the Health Dept. [Astoria Post]
Late Summer Scene: Working up a Play in Socrates Park [NY City Lens]