04/24/14 4:00pm


Vanishing New York published a collection of photos taken by Tim Schreier of the dead zone that now occupies Willets Point. As he told VNY, “What I saw was a few businesses hanging on but, for the most part, it was like a ghost town.” Many of the small auto businesses decided to move to the Bronx. For those that decided to stay, it’s likely the city will use eminent domain to clear the 62 aces of land. And of course, this once diverse, dense collection of auto body shops will be replaced by a mega mall.

Willets Vanishing [Vanishing New York]

Photo by Tim Schreier

04/24/14 3:00pm


The home at 34 Greenway South, right in the heart of Forest Hills Gardens, just hit public records for $3,000,000. According to Streeteasy, the home last sold in 2005 for $2,100,000. We couldn’t find a listing for the most current sale, or even a decent photo of the facade. Trulia notes that it’s a single-family, two-story house built in 1925. It’s got 3,946 square feet and is on a 6,850-square-foot lot. Man, what we would do to see interior photos of this place. If you have any details on the home, please visit the tipline. GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

04/24/14 2:00pm


This photograph of Kennedy’s Restaurant in Breezy Point appeared on Twitter yesterday with the note, “Looking forward to Kennedy’s opening…it looks so nice…thank you to all who helped!” The historic restaurant, located right on the waterfront with views of Manhattan, opened in 1910 and was originally a casino. (You can read the fascinating history of the place over here.) According to the Kennedy’s website, the goal is to reopen by this summer. GMAP

04/24/14 1:00pm


In 2001, Pawel Althamer built a tree house in the heart of urban Warsaw. That same year, he interrupted a lecture he was giving and led the audience on a walk through the streets of the Polish capital. At the end, he informed that some of the passersby were hired actors who had orchestrated the experience. Althamer likes to combine visual experience with active participation from his observers. This sculptor and performance artist (video, installation, action) also likes to play with relocation of context. Currently, he is re-assembling his monumental, mixed-media piece Queen Mother of Reality at Socrates Sculpture Park. The larger-than-life figure is dedicated to — and inspired by — Queen Mother Delois Blakely, a U.S. Ambassador of Goodwill to Africa, whom Mayor Rudolph Giuliani swore in as “Community Mayor of Harlem” in 1995. The figure is supposed to bring attention to the Blakely’s pet cause: New York City’s displaced and homeless population. It will be at the Long Island City public space through August 3rd, but there will be an opening on May 11, featuring art workshops presented by the Minor Miracles Foundation and an experimental social project, Nails Across America, by artist Breanne Trammell. More Queen Mother-related programming is being planned for the summer.

Details: Queen Mother of Reality, Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, LIC, currently on view, but officially on display May 11th through August 3rd, free. Opening party on May 11th, 2 pm to 6 pm. 


Photos: Socrates Sculpture Park

04/24/14 12:00pm

20-53 47th street

This Astoria rental apartment comes from a brick townhouse located at 20-53 47th Street, on the eastern edge of the neighborhood. The interior of the two bedroom looks like a nice, very typical rental. It’d be helpful to see some photos of the actual bedrooms, though. The rent of $1,950 a month is sure to attract renters, but do you think the price is right for a unit located on the outskirts of the neighborhood and far from public transportation?

20-53 47th Street [Toula Polios Realty Group] GMAP


Hanging about and walking around Queens with a friend one afternoon last summer, our path carried us up Skillman Avenue and past the gargantuan Sunnyside Yards. Luckily, something I’d been trying to catch, as it happens, began to happen when Amtrak 934 sauntered into view.

From Wikipedia:

The Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) completed construction of the yard in 1910. At that time Sunnyside was the largest coach yard in the world, occupying 192 acres (0.78 km2) and containing 25.7 mi (41.4 km) of track. The yard served as the main train storage and service point for PRR trains serving New York City. It is connected to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan by the East River Tunnels. The Sunnyside North Yard initially had 45 tracks with a capacity of 526 cars. The South Yard had 45 tracks with a 552 car capacity.


It turns out that there is an entire industrial sector for whom the manufacture and maintenance of “train washes” is a focal point. It also seems to be the case that having a shiny clean locomotive pays a dividend in terms of aerodynamic drag and that the cleaner your train is, the more efficiently it runs.


04/24/14 10:00am


A tipster sent us this photo of the aftermath at the Jackson Heights commercial building on 37th Avenue that caught fire this week. The Times Ledger reports that the pharmacy, the immigrant service provider Queens Community House, the LGBT senior center, Plaza College and around 50 small businesses are all closed. Plaza College administrators are now searching for a new temporary location. Armondo’s Italian Restaurant posted a notice to its website that says the business underwent an “operational setback” and asks patrons to keep checking the site for updates. It’s still unclear what caused the five-alarm blaze, which started Monday around 5:30 pm and lasted until 11:40 pm.

Massive Five-Alarm Blaze in Jackson Heights Under Investigation [Times Ledger]
Five Alarm Fire Hit Jackson Heights Last Night [Q'Stoner]

04/24/14 9:00am


It looks like the Jackson Heights rental complex at 35th Avenue and 74th Street may go co-op. A thread popped up on Jackson Heights Life after Washington Plaza residents received a “red herring preliminary prospectus plan.” The prospectus states that 15 percent of tenants must declare an intent to buy for the co-op conversion to go into effect. As a resident stated, “So, there are 192 apartments, and 15% would be 27 units. However (and if I’m reading correctly), any apartments in which the legal tenants are elderly or disabled don’t count toward the total, so say there are 32 apartments that fall into that category… Now we’re looking at 15% of 160 units, or 24 units.” If enough residents decide to buy, this would be a non-eviction conversion where the rent-stabilized residents can stay and will be able to renew their leases. The preferential price for existing tenants for a one-bedroom apartment is estimated at $270,000 with a maintenance of $780. There will be a tenant meeting on the matter this Monday.

The Washington Plaza complex is made up of six six-story apartment buildings and a single-story gatehouse. There is a park that begins at the gatehouse and extends throughout the complex. You can read more on the architecture of the Art Deco design here.

Washington Plaza Going Coop? [Jackson Heights Life]

Photo via city-data.com

04/23/14 4:00pm


Calling all Queens residents who care about street safety and public transportation! There are two very interesting meetings regarding such on the calendar tonight. The first is a Vision Zero Town Hall, scheduled tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Avenue. The public is invited to share their concerns, ideas and feedback on the city’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths, particularly in Queens. (Thoughts on how to improve the Boulevard of Death? Bring those to the meeting.)

Secondly, the MTA and the DOT are holding a community workshop on how to improve bus service in the borough. NY1 reports that the MTA is particularly looking at improvements for Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, which serve more than 31,000 riders daily on local routes and nearly 3,000 riders on express lines. The city is seriously considering Select Bus Service for Woodhaven Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to the Rockaways, the first SBS route for Queens. If you’re interested in attending, the meeting begins at 6 pm tonight at JHS 210, the Elizabeth Blackwell School, in Jamaica.