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.

04/23/14 3:00pm


Yesterday a group of volunteers from Bike New York, the New York Restoration Project, and other organizations planted over 60 trees in Astoria Park in honor of Earth Day. They picked the location because it will be a rest area for the upcoming Five Boro Bike Tour, happening on Sunday, May 4th. The Greening Western Queens Fund sponsored this effort in “greening” the tour. The trees planted include a mix of tuliptree, red maples, eastern white pine and other species. You can see a few more photos of the planting event right after the jump.


04/23/14 2:00pm


The popular Mexico Blvd. food truck, which travels through Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, is putting down roots in Astoria. We Heart Astoria and DNAinfo report that the owners plan to open a restaurant under a different name on the corner of 36th Avenue and 33rd Street. The truck now serves tacos, tortas and flautas; the restaurant will offer an expanded menu of tacos as well as Mexican appetizers. The spot should be ready by late April or early May, and the food truck will keep on truckin’ after the restaurant is open.

Mexico Blvd. Food Truck Owners to Open Restaurant in Astoria [DNAinfo] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

04/23/14 1:00pm


Yes, those Osmonds. Since the 1970s, they’ve gone from cute youngsters in pint-size tuxedos to teen idols in chic hairdos to family-man performers and even (for some) to grandfathers. But over the decades, they have remained faithful to their harmonies, warm tones, stage antics and mix of jazz, barbershop, rock, country and pop music. On April 27th, the Osmond Brothers (above) will bring their act to the Queensborough Performing Arts Center, which has a busy spring schedule. On May 3rd, the Bayside venue will host Mario Cantone, who is probably best known as Anthony Marantino in the HBO series Sex in the City. The stand-up comedian (below) is famous for his dead-on celebrity impersonations and musical impressions that often leave audiences in stitches.

Details: The Osmond Brothers, Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, April 27th, 3 pm, $35.

Bonus details: Mario Cantone LIVE!, Queensborough Performing Arts Center, 222-05 56th Avenue, Bayside, May 3rd, 8 pm, $40.


04/23/14 12:30pm

Let’s dance… or let’s watch highly acclaimed, highly trained dance troupes, since a few are coming to Queens this week. There are also plenty of outdoor activities—hiking, biking, doing the luge, bird-watching, celebrating Earth Day—as well as the Osmond Brothers, comic Steve Solomon, and the borough’s premiere food-and-networking event, Queens Taste 2014. Here’s the rundown, broken down into music, dance, comedy, education, outdoors, arts and food events. If you have an event you’d like to see featured here, please email it to emily@brownstoner.com.