01/27/15 4:00pm


Earlier today the Mayor’s Office announced that New York City parks had reopened after a city-wide closure yesterday at 6pm. The Mayor also recommended going sledding. Don’t mind if we do! The Parks Department compiled a list of sledding spots, which includes the following locations in Queens…

Astoria Park (19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard); Bowne Park (the hillside on the 155 Street side of the park); Crocheron Park (35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond); Forest Park (Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South); Juniper Valley Park (Juniper Boulevard North and South near the Tennis Building at 75th Street); Lower Highland Park (Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street); and Kissena Park (Eastside of Lake if you enter Metcalf & 164 Street). Queens Courier also suggests Hermon A. Macneil Park in College Point.

Or you could always go surf the Rockaways. Have fun out there!

01/27/15 2:00pm


The city is awarding Madelaine Chocolate Company, which has struggled to stay open in the Rockaways since Hurricane Sandy, $13,200,000 in recovery funds. The business sustained $50,000,000 of damages in the storm and the owners had to put it up for sale last year. The Daily News reports that this funding will allow the company to double its current number of employees and stay open in its current home. (The staff of 400 was reduced to 100 after the storm.) Jorge Farber, one of the owners, told the News, “We are looking forward to being able to hire, over the next two years, a significant number of employees, many of whom have been waiting to come back to work.”

Madelaine has been in the Rockaways for 65 years and was once the largest private employer in the area — this boost is great news for the neighborhood.

Storm-Damaged Madelaine Chocolate Gets $13M from City to Stay Put in Rockaway [NY Daily News]
All Madelaine Chocolate Company coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Facebook

01/27/15 1:00pm


Food, more food, and books on food. What’s not to like? The Entrepreneur Space is a kitchen-and-business incubator that has about 175 clients who make everything from Finnish bread to designer marshmallows to catered finger food. On February 3rd, this Long Island City-based venue will celebrate its fourth birthday  with about 30 clients providing samples of their artisan products to attendees. Plus, authors of recent books about the borough — Andrea Lynn of Queens: A Culinary Passport; Adrienne Onofri of Walking Queens: 30 Tours for Discovering the Diverse Communities, Historic Places, and Natural Treasures of New York City’s Largest Borough; and Meg Cotner of the Food Lover’s Guide to Queens will be on hand to sell and sign copies of their tomes. To add to the fun, SquareWine & Spirits will provide alcoholic beverages, while caffeinated drinks will come from Coffeed, a specialty roaster/café less than a block from the E-Space. The event’s lead sponsor, Oscar, will be offering a new kind of health insurance plan before ObamaCare’s open enrollment deadline on February 15th.

Details: Cooks & Books Bash, Entrepreneur Space, 36-46 37th Street, Astoria/Long Island City, February 3rd, 6 pm to 8 pm, free.

Photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation

01/27/15 12:00pm


How cute is this Tudor-style ranch home, at 171-33 119th Road in Jamaica? It’s currently configured as a two bedroom, but the listing says it could be three. Although it’s a cozy space it comes with a finished basement and a backyard in dire need of some TLC. (That mirrored wall in the kitchen has got to go, too.) But overall this is a home with good bones, inlcuding cathedral ceilings and a fireplace in the living room. We also like that kitchen renovation. The ask of $349,000 sounds about right, but what do you think?

171-33 119th Road [Douglas Elliman] GMAP

01/27/15 11:00am


On the west side just south of 39th Avenue, we find the venerable fish-scale mansard roofed John William Ahles House (built in 1873).

According to longtime Bayside historian Joan Brown Wettingfeld, in 1873, Robert Bell, nephew of Abraham Bell, a local landowner for whom Bell Boulevard is named, built this house for his daughter, Lillie and her husband, John Ahles as a wedding gift on “Ahles Road” (now known as 41st Avenue). This road ran then from 208th Street to present day Bell Boulevard. Old maps show a portion of 41st Avenue as Ahles Road as late as 1941.

The naming of Ahles Road was no accident, for the road supervisor at the time was Abraham Bell II, and John William Ahles married Robert Bell’s daughter, Lillie, in June of 1873.

Known for his integrity and business acumen, John William Ahles died in 1915 after amassing a large fortune.


The old Bayside Theatre on the NE corner of Bell Boulevard and 39th Avenue opened in 1927 (as the Capitol Theatre) and was designed by prolific theatre house architect Thomas Lamb. According to cinematreasures commenters, it was closed during much of the Depression, but reopened in 1941.


01/27/15 10:00am

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 9.11.39 AM

2014 was a really good year for Jackson Heights real estate. So says Daniel Karatzas of Beaudoin Realty Group, who released his fourth quarter sales report on the neighborhood. He remarks on the number of records set in the past year alone: $2,100,000 for a three-family house, $999,000 for a two-family house, $915,000 for a seven-room co-op at The Towers and $750,000 for a six-room co-op at Hawthorne Court. The numbers show that demand has outstripped supply, especially in the second half of the year. But the fourth quarter numbers show a drop in apartment sales, taking into account the lack of units. Karatzas predicts that “the increase in prices may incent some sellers to take the plunge and list their property in 2015.”

In the fourth quarter, 18 homes sold total, up from 15 sales one year ago. The average sales prices for one-, two-, and three-family houses were higher than prior and year-ago periods, ranging between 3.7 and nearly 47 percent. That 47 percent increase comes from the three-family home sales in particular. For the quarter, the average sales price of three families came in high at $1,280,000. That’s because of two sales: a brick home on 76th Street used for commercial purposes sold for $1,250,000 and a building with development potential sold for $2,100,000. The average sales price of a one-family home was just above $700,000 (up 6 percent from last year), with two families boasting an average around $800,000 (up 13 percent).

Looking at all of 2014, the average sales price of homes was 12 percent higher than 2013, a continuation of the upward trend seen over the last five years. (See the graph above.) A total of three one-family houses sold for over $900,000 in 2014, and two two-family homes sold for $999,000.

Now, on to apartments. There were 101 closings in the fourth quarter, but the number of sales was down 34 percent compared with the prior quarter. According to Karatzas, “This is due to the dramatic decline in inventory compared with just two or three years ago, rather than buyers heading elsewhere. In fact, Jackson Heights has become a popular destination for many as apartment prices have surged in Manhattan and Brooklyn.” Average sales prices, in general, are up for co-ops. Since last year, prices on prewar elevator coops are up 5 percent (to $271,314), and up 14 percent for prewar walkup coops (to $452,583). Karatzas finds that over the last eight years, prewar elevator co-ops have sold consistently at a higher premium inside the historic district as opposed to out of it. The premium has ranged from 6 to 40 percent, with a rough average at 25 percent.

After the jump, check out more graphs outlining sales trends in Jackson Heights.


01/27/15 9:00am


Well, that was anticlimactic. Last night’s snowstorm was predicted to dump up to three feet of snow on NYC, causing a transportation ban and the suspension of all subway service. The transportation ban has been lifted and subways and buses resumed with limited service. A full Sunday schedule will begin at noon, but you should expect residual delays. The Metro North and LIRR will also be running on a Sunday schedule by noon. School remains cancelled for the day, parks are closed until further notice, and New York Public Libraries aren’t open today. Alternate side parking is suspended for today and tomorrow, as well as garbage and recycling pickup.

As for Queens, the borough saw anywhere from five to ten inches. DNAinfo reports that Eastern Queens was hardest hit in all of NYC, with 10.1 inches in Jamaica and nine in Forest Hills early this morning. Another two to three inches is expected to fall throughout the day, with the snow stopping around sundown.

Please send your Queens snow day photos to emily@brownstoner.com and we will post them on the blog! UPDATE: Check out some great snow photos taken by readers after the jump.

Photo by Simon King


01/27/15 8:30am


Transit Shutdown Leaves Streets Empty Near Busy Jamaica Transit Hub [NY1]
Two-Alarm Fire Rips Through Bay Terrace Home [NY Daily News]
Revitalized Ridgewood Commerical Building with Lucille Roberts Asking $8.5M [Queens Courier]
Queens World Film Festival Kicks off in Astoria [Times Ledger]
Blizzard 2015 Shuts Down NYC Subways, Cabs, Staten Island Ferry, Bridges, Tunnels [Gothamist]
Watching Super Bowl XLIX in Astoria [We Heart Astoria]

01/26/15 4:00pm


Stay safe and warm tonight, Queens! This afternoon, Mayor de Blasio announced that all schools are closed tomorrow, parks close this evening at 6 pm, and alternate side parking is suspended today, Tuesday and Wednesday. Subways will run on a limited schedule after 7 pm and commuter trains stop at 11 pm. Finally, all non-emergency vehicles have been ordered off the streets after 11 pm tonight. Keep up with the most recent blizzard updates through the Twitter accounts of the Mayor’s Office and NotifyNYC. UPDATE: Subways and other mass transit are closing tonight at 11 pm.

And if you’re on the lookout for a snow day adventure, Rockawayist published a great winter guide to the typically summertime destination. And yes, you can still rent a board and a wetsuit at Boarders Surf Shop in the dead of winter.

Photo via Rockawayist

01/26/15 2:00pm


The landmarked townhouse at 21-14 45th Avenue, once asking $2,550,000, just hit public records for $2,350,000. We featured the property back in August, when there were no photos of the interior. (We’ve scrounged up two, which you can see after the jump.) At the time the listing said to “Bring your architect and vision to create one very special home,” so our guess was that the interior needed serious work. It is also configured into two rental units, so any hopes of a single-family home will take some effort. Still, it’s an impressive sales price for the 3,065-square-foot property.

Did anybody get to check it out in person during the open houses?

Listing of the Day: 21-14 45th Avenue [Q'Stoner] GMAP