This week, Neir’s, the venerable tavern in Woodhaven, threw down the gauntlet as the Queens Historical Society anointed it NYC’s oldest continuously operated drinking establishment, challenging the self-proclaimed champion, McSorley’s on East 7th Street in the East Village, which claims 1854 as its opening year. NYC historian Richard McDermott claimed differently in the mid-1990s; according to his research employing old insurance maps, census data and tax-assessment records, indicators pointed to an 1862 opening. McSorley’s certainly gained cachet over the years from Joseph Mitchell’s stories in the New Yorker, collected in his book Up In the Old Hotel. Infamously, McSorley’s stubbornly insisted on settling for half its potential profits by only admitting male customers until a court challenge in 1970.
Both McSorley’s and Neir’s, if nature had not intervened, would lose out to the South Street Seaport’s Bridge Cafe, which under various ownership has been operated as a distillery, grocery and bar since 1794. However, the Bridge Cafe has been shuttered since the area was flooded by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, and it is unknown when it will reopen. Its website says it is “temporarily closed” and it’s hoped that ‘temporary’ is indeed the case.
This leaves us with Neir’s, which, for the time being, at least, is the present champion. At 87-48 78th Street at 88th Avenue (formerly Snedeker, Snediker, or Sneideicker Avenue, depending on what map you consult, and 3rd Avenue, stands one of New York City’s oldest taverns, Neir’s, opened by their account in 1829 as The Pump Room, or Old Blue Pump House, to serve Union Course patrons.
This Monday, Queens Community Board 1′s Transportation Committee voted to support safety improvements proposed for two miles of 21st Street between the Queensboro Bridge and Triboro Bridge. But many local pols and Astoria residents don’t think the plan measures up, according to Streetsblog. The current proposal includes LED lights to increase nighttime visibility, 12 painted curb extensions, new, high-visibility zebra markings to existing crosswalks as well as a new stripe along the curbside parking lane that should reduce speeding. There will also be a new traffic signal at 29th Avenue. At 10 intersections, the DOT has already increased the pedestrian countdown clock, giving peds a seven-second head start.
Pols think this makes for a good start, but that the changes aren’t significant enough for this dangerous thoroughfare. Councilmember Constantinides has previously called for Select Bus Service along 21st Street, and others are calling for a more comprehensive road diet. According to Streetsblog, “DOT says it studied a road diet but did not pursue it because of high traffic volumes, including during off-peak hours.”
The city released a Request for Proposals for a major tract of land — seven total acres! — right near JFK Airport, along the southern side of Rockaway Boulevard. According to The Commercial Observer, “The city-owned irregularly-shaped vacant lot is bound to the north by Rockaway Boulevard, to the south by Nassau Expressway and to the west by the Federal Aviation Administration office building, in Springfield Gardens, Queens.” (The city has owned the land for decades, with the ownershp having something to do with the airport.)
The RFP states that the site would fit a “modern campus plan with industrial and/or commercial programming… The project also provides a unique opportunity to define the JFK Industrial Business Zone and complement the airport’s growth.” The city is also trying to attract businesses that would benefit from the proximity to JFK. Submissions by developers are due May 4th.
It’s been a slow news day, so here’s a fun #tbt we picked up from The Wave’s Facebook page. Rockaway Archie, a local, shared the above photo with this caption: “TBT My Father (Lou Romas) standing in the doorway of my Grandfathers Restaurant (George Romas) some time in the late 1930′s early 1940′s. Located on Rockaway Beach Boulevard across from Uma’s, Next door to Uncle Louie G’s.” We always appreciate the old school throwbacks.
An extremely charming home just hit public records in Forest Hills Gardens, at 65 Continental Avenue. The five-bedroom, five-bathroom single family was asking $2,199,000 and it sold for $1,950,000. According to an old listing, the house had undergone a renovation, with “upgraded energy efficient windows, furnace and multi-zoned air conditioning, plus a home security camera system.” (We are completely drooling over the kitchen renovation, which does a nice job with a relatively small space.) Many of the old historic details, like a fireplace, wood floors and moldings, remain.
The sellers bought the property back in 2007 for $1,645,000 so they turned a decent profit. After the jump, check out an interior tour of the house in question. GMAP
A giant Petco outpost is now open in the large outdoor shopping center in Jackson Heights, located along 31st Avenue and 77th Street. (Thanks to Jackson Heights Life for the photo.) One year ago, Petco signed a long-term lease for 13,500 square feet in a stand-alone building within the shopping center. The store opening was delayed a little; it was initially scheduled for late 2014.
Muss Development, who handled Petco’s lease, also planned a number of upgrades for the shopping center, which holds a total of 24 retail stores and nine offices. Renovations were slated for the property’s lobby entrances, signage, facade and landscaping.
It’s time for a change. Since last December, various community advisors have been meeting periodically to discuss improvements to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Part of The World’s Park: Reconnecting a Regional Park with Its Neighbors project done in partnership with the NYC Parks Department, the Queens Museum, and Design Trust for Public Space, the focus is on the planning, design, and stewardship of the 1,225-acre public space. This Sunday, the public gets to provide input at the World’s Park Community Forum at Queens Museum. All are invited, plus there will be simultaneous Spanish and Mandarin translation and activities for non-speakers. More information on jump page.
If you’re in the market for a very affordable three-bedroom co-op in Queens, this unit at 57-10 Junction Boulevard is worth checking out. There are three bedrooms — the listing says it could be converted to four bedrooms, although the photos don’t suggest how — a living room, dining room, and one-and-a-half bathrooms. The asking price is $349,000, way less than you’ll pay for a three bedroom in Jackson Heights or anywhere else these days. But the apartment is definitely going to need some work. There’s nothing particularly fancy or unique about the space, but it certainly is not a wreck. It’s also just a few blocks from the Woodhaven Boulevard M/R train.
Back in 2013, I wrote a Q’Stoner post about Hallets Cove that offered “Two aboriginal realtors named Shawestcont and Erramorhar (as witnessed by their cohorts Warchan and Kethcanaparan) sold much of what we know as Astoria (but which they called Sintsinck) to William Hallett (who was similarly accompanied by a company of witnesses and countrymen) on August 1, 1664.”
The East River frontage — back then it was called the Sound River — which Hallet purchased had a huge waterbody intersecting with the shoreline from upland properties in what we would now call Ravenswood, and it was called Sunswick Creek.
According to the Greater Astoria Historical Society the name of the waterway can be explained as “A drained marsh near the foot of Broadway. Scholars believe it may come from an Indian word ‘Sunkisq’ meaning perhaps ‘Woman Chief’ or ‘Sachem’s Wife.’” For close to 250 years, Sunswick Creek was practically synonymous with this area of Queens, but what happened to it?