09/30/14 1:00pm

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The Museum of the Moving Image is showing its bookish side. Next week, the Kaufman Arts District venue will host two events featuring prolific authors. On Sunday, Robert E. Kapsis, a professor of sociology and film studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will speak before a screening of The Jerk, which stars Steve Martin (above). Kapsis, who has penned books on Alfred Hitchcock and Woody Allen, has just published Conversations with Steve Martin (University Press of Mississippi, 2014), a collection of interviews and profiles that focus on Martin as a writer, comedian, actor, artist, and original thinker. After the film, which is an expanded version of one of Martin’s comedy routines about a nitwit who grows up as “a poor black child” and decides to become white, Kapsis will sign copies of his book.

More information on this event and a discussion with a best-selling feminist author after the jump.

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09/30/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: Oliver’s Astoria, 37-19 Broadway, Astoria.

The Deal: Over the last year, the site of a former French restaurant on Broadway in Astoria has become the bustling craft beer gastropub. A main focus of Oliver’s Astoria has been making the restaurant a friendly neighborhood location, through its décor, events and provisioning.

On a warm Friday afternoon, the windows and doors are thrown open so the inside restaurant blends into the outdoor café, and plenty of patrons are idling over a late lunch and one of the rotating tap beers.

Oliver’s has a one-and-done keg policy that keeps the selection fresh and new. Although co-founder and general manager Rob Williamson says that it is more work than a typical bar, it’s helpful for bringing in special brewery guests and appealing to beer fans. The next guest brewery will be Dogfish Head on Thursday, October 9th.

“I’ve worked in beer bars forever,” he says. “The spectrum of beer is fantastic. Not all of them are winners but when they hit, they hit.”

To further the local vibe, Williamson says the restaurant works with local businesses to meet the menu needs. They purchase from the butcher and baker on the block.

“It’s always easier to shop in your backyard,” he says.

Oliver’s continues to expand its offerings and events, from Monday night trivia to brunch with $3 cocktails. The brunch menu has recently expanded to weekdays to accommodate Astoria’s large population of restaurant industry employees.

Read about Oliver’s Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

arris-lofts-penthouse

This three bedroom/three bathroom condo at The Arris Lofts just hit the market with a very bold asking price: $3,200,000. It’s a fancy shmancy unit with huge windows and a sprawling 2,339 square feet. What’s more, there are three (three!) outdoor spaces — two private terraces totaling 2,600 square feet, and a balcony off the master bedroom. The windows and walls are completely sound proofed, making it, as the listing says, “a true sanctuary” in LIC. The big question remains: what do you think a unit like this could realistically sell for?

27-28 Thomson Avenue [Modern Spaces] GMAP

09/30/14 11:00am

Hillside Avenue runs nearly continuously in a fast and furious pace from Myrtle Avenue in Richmond Hill to Jericho Turnpike in central Nassau County. One of the rather more obscure landmarks found along one of the road’s rare curves was, in fact, moved to its present position to facilitate Hillside Avenue’s very fast-and-furious-ness.

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When the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument, sculpted in 1896 by Frederick Wellington Ruckstuhl (among whose other works are the statue of Minerva in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery) was unveiled, it was in a traffic island smack in the center of Hillside Avenue at the intersection of Merrick Boulevard. Postcards from the early 20th century show a rural-tree-lined boulevard with the triumphant “Victory” raising her wreath and torch. As the century wore on, though, urbanization came to central and eastern Queens, and Hillside Avenue’s carriage-road aspect became ever more motorized and traffic-choked, and by the 1950s, Victory was holding up ‘progress.’

In 1960, she was moved off to the side of the road, to a crescent-shaped park defined by Hillside Avenue, 173rd Street and Warwick Crescent named for World War I casualty Major John W. Mark. The park also features a red-colored minimalist shaft, a 1973 work by artist Roger Balomey “not” titled as Untitled #1. Thus, there are two sculptures in Major Mark Park, neither of which is of Major Mark.

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09/30/14 10:00am

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Yesterday, Council Member Daniel Dromm announced the implementation of the Jackson Heights Slow Zone. Bordered by 34th Avenue, Broadway, Roosevelt Avenue and 87th Street, the area will now have a 20 mph speed limit, 26 new speed bumps and 23 neighborhood slow zone gateways, which are high-visibility blue signs announcing the speed limit. According to the Queens Courier, “The area was selected based on the transportation agency’s evaluation on crash history, traffic fatalities, community support, and the closeness of schools and senior and day care centers.” (There are six schools, two daycare and pre-K centers and a senior center nearby.)

The Community Board approved the Department of Transportation’s slow zone proposal this summer. After the jump, see a picture of Council Member Dromm making the announcement with Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall.

Slow Zone Arrives in Jackson Heights [Queens Courier]
Community Board Three Supports Streetscape Improvements in Jackson Heights [Q'Stoner]

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09/30/14 9:00am

27-21-44th-Drive-development

Long Island City, it’s time to welcome one more tower to the neighborhood. New York YIMBY spotted permits at 27-21 44th Drive, in Court Square, for a 26-story, 145,000-square-foot residential building. Silvercup Studios — also gearing up to bring the Silvercup West mega development back to life — is developing this site. Silvercup purchased the land, which includes three adjoining lots, for $21,085,841 — it was asking $23,500,000.

The architect of record is GF55 Partners, who have done lots of work in the neighborhood. No rendering yet, but here are more details from YIMBY: “The building will have a 6,780-square foot commercial component on the ground floor, and 105,562 square feet of net residential space will occupy the rest of the structure, divided among 115 apartments. That translates into an average unit size of just under 1,000 square feet.”

26-Story Building Coming to Court Square [New York YIMBY]
Court Square Development Site Up for Sale, Residential Build Possible [Q'Stoner] GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

09/30/14 8:30am

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Mayor’s Office Hails Controversial Queens Development Astoria Cove [NY Daily News]
Volunteers Work to Ensure a Pristine Queens Shoreline [NY1]
Douglaston Plaza Opens Near LIRR Station [Queens Courier]
Borough Rental Prices on the Rise [The Forum]
Co-owner of The Baroness Bar Opens Performance Center in Dutch Kills [LIC Post]
At a Space in Queens, Avant-Music Plus Community [Hyperallergic]
A Plywood Fence Surrounds Most of Former 5Pointz Building [Court Square Blog]

09/29/14 4:00pm

REBNY Queens panel 1

The Real Estate Board of New York recently held the “Residential Sales Agent Boot Camp Seminar: Queens Overview,” in which reps from Argo Residential, Modern Spaces, Corcoran and Douglas Elliman discussed new developments, pricing and increasing consumer interest in the Queens real estate market. Apparently Queens merits its very own real estate seminars now! The free event was offered to REBNY residential members licensed for three years or less.

The picture of the panelists above includes Jodi Nath of Argo Residential, Rick Rosa of Douglas Elliman, Aleksey Gavrilov of Corcoran and Eric Benaim of Modern Spaces. The panel moderator was Miles Chapin of Warburg Realty Partnership. Topics of conversation included neighborhoods like Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights, and panelists stressed a need for more REBNY certified brokers in the borough to accommodate growing demand. During the panel, Jodi Nath noted that over the last 12 months, she has seen a 50 percent increase in inquiries for homes in the borough. “Buyers are becoming more and more attracted to Queens,” she said. “They are leaving Manhattan in the hopes of more space and are drawn to the competitive prices and breadth of inventory available in Queens over the other boroughs. They are increasingly attracted to the sense of community, parks, cultural centers and retail establishments.”

09/29/14 3:15pm

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Crain’s has just reported that today the City Planning Commission approved the controversial Astoria Cove mega development. Affordable housing was a huge concern around the proposal, and Alma Realty ultimately agreed to build 20 percent of the total 1,723 units as affordable through mandatory inclusionary zoning. As Crain’s explains, “That means Alma will be legally required to build the units without any subsidy, aside from an as-of-right tax abatement.”

There’s still a City Council vote ahead, but usually the City Council votes in line with the Planning Commission. The 20 percent affordable requirement is actually quite the disappointment — word was that the city would push for closer to 30 percent, with this decision considered a precedent for Mayor de Blasio’s new initiative to create and preserve affordable housing throughout New York.

Controversial Queens Development is Approved [Crain's]
All Astoria Cove coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering by Studio V Architecture

grandmas-dim-sum-skyview-center

The recent opening of Nordstrom Rack at the Shops at Skyview Center got quite a bit of attention, but there are a few more openings at the Flushing shopping center that flew under the radar. First off, Justice & Brothers, a national retailer that specializes in tween fashion and accessories, is now open on Level D. And the flagship location of Royal Beauty Spa, a nails and hair salon, just celebrated its grand opening on Level B last week. Grandma’s Dim Sum (pictured), a restaurant focused on Eastern Asian cuisine, is serving peking duck and dim sum on Level B; it joins Little Lamb as a sit-down dining option within the mall. Finally, GNC, the health and nutrition chain, opened on Level B over the summer.