08/26/14 4:00pm

ridgewood-theater-conversion

Here’s a lovely ode by NY City Lens to the Ridgewood Theatre, which will be converted to a residential development. The theater stopped running in 2008 and has remained empty ever since. The article captures a brief summer moment in the theater’s life:

With its entrance boarded up, a single plywood panel remains ajar to let some air into the stillness of the excavated theatre. Inside, everything is bathed in shadow, as elusive as the future of the once grand space, now on the market for conversion into a residential building. Everything has been torn down and a dim light bulb hangs in the spot where a chandelier once lit the Greek revivalist theatre golden. A lone figure shuffles within the shadows, almost as if it were a ghost, though the quite human figure reappears in the circular shaft of green light to lay a wire and affirm, perhaps, that time is not stationary.

A group of teenagers walk past the shuttered theatre, slowing their footsteps to peer inside. They do not stop or talk about what they see.

Late Summer Scene: An Historic Theater’s Final Days in Ridgewood [NY City Lens]

Photo by Michael Perlman

08/26/14 3:00pm

Copyright (C), Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc, 2004

An 18-room Malba mansion at 19 Center Drive just got picked up for $2,500,000. Queens Courier reports that the 6,500-square-foot home has five bedrooms, a theater, a spiral staircase, fireplace and pool. You can check out pictures from the old listing here — this house is really something; the real estate agent calls it “one of a kind.” There are also huge windows with views of the Manhattan skyline. The Mediterranean-style home was constructed in 2002.

18-Room Luxury Malba Home Sells for $2.5M [Queens Courier] GMAP

Photo by the MLSLI

melas-cafe-kew-gardens-hills

Tomorrow Mela’s Cafe is opening at 71-02 Kissena Boulevard, on the corner of 71st Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills. Queens Courier got a sneak peek of the restaurant, which will serve creative Latin dishes. The space sits 90 people and has a bar, booths and tables. The interior looks nice and contemporary, with lots of exposed brick. The owners tell Queens Courier that they’ve set up USB ports and Wi-Fi to attract a younger crowd from nearby Queens College. It’ll be open 7 am to 11 pm every day.

Take a First Look Inside Mela’s Café in Kew Gardens Hills [Queens Courier] GMAP

Photo via Instagram

08/26/14 1:00pm

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It’s unique, but multifaceted. It’s local, but international. It’s filthy rich in culture, but free. On August 30th, the Queens Museum will host Oye Corona, an afternoon celebration of art, music, dance, print-making, and exercise at Corona Plaza. Visitors will be able to partake in creative activities with roots in Bangladesh, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and even the United States.

Photos and information on the inspiring activities follow the jump.

(more…)

08/26/14 11:00am

Maspeth isn’t a location many associate with DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), a founding father who served as NY State Assemblyman, NYS Senator, NYS Governor, US Senator and NYC Mayor during an illustrious career capped by his indefatigable support for the Erie Canal. Several streets around town were named for him, including Maspeth’s own Clinton Avenue, and when Green-Wood Cemetery opened in Brooklyn in 1838 his remains were later exhumed from the original burial plot in Albany, NY and moved to Brooklyn — as a tourist attraction for the nascent burial park.

clinton1

NYS Governor DeWitt Clinton lived in Maspeth for several decades in this house that had stood near Newtown Creek. Judge Joseph Sackett built a two-story wood frame mansion with porches around both levels in the area behind Clinton Hall (pictured after the jump) in 1750. During the Revolutionary War the house was occupied by American physician and general, Joseph Warren, and British Gen. William Howe planned an invasion of NYC via Newtown Creek from the mansion after its capture. (more…)

82nd-street-partnership-seth-taylor

Right before the controversial Jackson Heights/82nd Street BID expansion is put up for a vote, the executive director of the neighborhood organization has taken a new job in Manhattan. Seth Taylor (pictured left, with Director of Business Services Sofia Davila) has worked for the 82nd Street Partnership over the past two years and will start at the NoHo NY Business Improvement District on September 15th. He told DNAinfo, who broke the news, “There’s never an ideal time to move on, but we felt like this was a good time now that we’ve written our district plan [for the expansion].” Taylor caught a lot of heat during the public review process of the expansion, with many small business owners worried that the BID would price them out. At a public meeting in July, some BID opponents asked him to step down, said DNAinfo.

Taylor helped improve sanitation, increase fundraising and renovate storefronts in the neighborhood. He’s also behind the BID’s popular event Viva La Comida. The 82nd Street Partnership is now actively looking for his replacement.

82nd Street BID Director Stepping Down to Take Position in NoHo [DNAinfo]

rockaways-pipeline

Al Jazeera New York published an in depth, interesting piece about a natural gas pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, now under construction in the Rockaways. The project met protest when it was proposed in 2012, but was ultimately signed into law by Congress just weeks after the Rockaways was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s under construction and will run three miles between Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden and under a golf course to connect to a pipeline run by National Grid. However, the article raises serious concerns about the company installing the pipeline, Williams Companies.

According to the article, the company is “the subject of a U.S. Chemical Safety Board probe because of a recent string of incidents.” That includes a petrochemical facility explosion in Louisiana, a pipeline explosion in West Virigina, a pipeline fire in Wyoming and others. (According to data collected by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “Williams pipelines have been involved in at least 50 gas transmission incidents since 2006.”) While there is resistance to the company in the neighborhood, most residents don’t even know the project is going on. Activists tell Al Jazeera that “The review process was stacked against pipeline opponents from the start,” and then, of course, Sandy hit and most residents didn’t even have electricity to watch the news. If the timing was different, it’s very likely that opposition would have been much stronger, but as it is the pipeline will begin operating in November. Once it’s in, however, the danger doesn’t go away: “The pipeline goes in, and everyone will go back with their lives. That’s where the concern comes in, because everyone will forget,” says pipeline safety expert Mark McDonald.

In the Rockaways, Pipeline Debate Takes a Contentious Turn [Al Jazeera America] via Curbed

Photo via NYC Parks

08/26/14 8:30am

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Two Queens Companies in Contest to Protect NYC from Future Storms [NY Daily News]
PHOTOS: US Open 2014 Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day [Queens Courier]
Savanna Picks up Controlling Interest in One Court Square [The Real Deal]
Ozone Park Merchants Spar With Plaza Supporters [Streetsblog]
What to Eat at This Year’s U.S. Open [Grub Street]
Update on Greek Market Coming to 22-78 35th Street [We Heart Astoria]
Demolition Wraps up at 25-19 43rd Avenue [Court Square Blog]

08/25/14 4:00pm

Check out this awesome video by StreetsBlog chronicling the Bike Friendly Business District celebration that took place over the weekend in Sunnyside. This is Queens’ very first bike friendly BID. Over 50 cyclists showed up to visit and sample food from six of 70 bike-friendly restaurants in the area. Now, let’s get some CitiBikes in the nabe!

Sunnyside, Queens Becomes a Bike-Friendly Business District! [Streetfilms]
Closing Bell: Queens’ First Bike Friendly Business District is in Sunnyside [Q'Stoner]