College Point has always been a rubber town. The village in northwest Queens, still very much isolated by the Whitestone Expressway and the old Flushing Airport grounds, was founded by German immigrant Conrad Poppenhusen, who received a patent from Charles Goodyear to produce rubber products and settled into the area in the Civil War era to build a factory, very much like his contemporary, piano manufacturer Henry Steinway. Like Steinway, Poppenhusen formed a company town surrounding his works, combining two forgotten smaller villages, Flammersburg and Strattonport. He founded a railroad to bering workers from the East River ferries to College Point (parts of it are now included in the Long Island Rail Road) as well as the town’s cultural center, the Poppenhusen Institute, which continues its work today. (more…)
Yesterday the New York Times published a very interesting article regarding the relationship between developer Rob Speyer (of Tishman Speyer) and Mayor de Blasio. By now everybody knows about the Mayor’s ambitious plan to build out 80,000 units of affordable housing. Lesser known is that Tishman Speyer’s Long Island City mega development, with a total of 1,789 apartments and 1.2 million square feet of development, will include none of it. The Times explains:
[Speyer] must begin the foundations by June 15 to qualify for a 15-year tax abatement worth about $200 million under a tax program known as 421-a that is intended to stimulate construction and generate affordable housing.
After mid-June, the program expires or could be renewed with regulations requiring developers to include a higher concentration of affordable housing. But under current rules, Mr. Speyer is one of six developers eligible for the subsidy without having to build a single low-cost unit, because of where their projects are. None of the other projects, though, is as big as Mr. Speyer’s.
The article also notes that Tishman Speyer is negotiating to buy $9 million worth of air rights from the MTA to add 75 more apartments to its already massive development.
At least 30 developers in New York are aiming to meet this deadline to qualify for the tax abatement, which has long been criticized by housing advocates because developers aren’t giving much back in return. After June, it’s said — but not confirmed — that the Mayor would only give generous tax abatements to developers that include affordable housing.
As it stands, there’s nothing anyone can do to get Tishman Speyer to include affordable units in its new LIC development. Tishman also has an incentive to make as much profit as possible — because the company failed to build a second office tower at this site by January 2011, it’s been forking over an annual $1 million penalty to the city.
De Blasio and Developer Are Close, but Not on Lower-Cost Housing [NY Times]
All Tishman Speyer coverage [Q'Stoner]
Photo by the Court Square Blog
Yesterday Mayor de Blasio announced $250 million in capital funding for immediate safety improvements along four dangerous NYC streets: Queens Boulevard, the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, and Brooklyn’s Atlantic and Fourth avenues. This “Great Streets” initiative is all part of his Vision Zero campaign to reduce traffic fatalities throughout New York.
Streetsblog is reporting that the bulk of the funds will be spent on Queens Boulevard, with a total of $100 million dedicated to the thoroughfare. The DOT plans to reconstruct the street with new curbs and concrete, and will consider bus lanes and protected bike lanes after a community process.
DOT already started hosting meetings concerning Queens Boulevard and the whole project is expected to take several years. (According to Streetsblog, DOT will spend most of the $100 million budget in the fiscal year of 2018.) The DOT hopes to begin installing shorter-term changes — curb extensions, changing signal timing, etc. — this year.
$84 million in capital funding was also allocated to Select Bus Service. DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced that the money will go to Woodhaven Boulevard and Utica Avenue, in Brooklyn, first.
Community Policing Pilot Program to Launch in Rockaway [Times Ledger]
Delta Plane at LaGuardia Airport Skids in Snow, 28 People Injured [NY Daily News]
Sunnyside Yards Debate Presses On [Queens Chronicle]
Ideas on Tap for Flushing Meadows [Queens Chronicle]
NE Queens Residents Identify Bus Problems at MTA Workshop [Times Ledger]
Artist Who Painted Rockaway Bus Shelters Heartbroken By Possible Demolition [DNAinfo]
Bicycle Lanes Coming to Jackson Avenue [LIC Post]
Bicycle Lanes Planned for Greenpoint and Roosevelt Avenues [Sunnyside Post]
Large Jackson Heights Home Signals Hope For NYC Real Estate [Curbed]
Are you fervently dreaming of summer today? Us, too. Here’s something else to dream of: Transportation Alternatives’ Queens Volunteer Committee just announced a date for its “Jamaica Bay Social Ride.” On Saturday, May 30th, “Prepare for some awesome riding and exploring as we take on Jamaica Bay.” The route isn’t finalized yet, but destinations will include Rockaway Beach, Arverne East and Broad Channel. The day should end around Howard Beach. There will also be guests from the National Parks Conservation Association to talk about the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Interested? You can join the event over on Facebook.
Today Ariel Property Advisors announced the sale of two properties in Astoria and Jamaica for a total of $4.8 million. Let’s start with Astoria first, since the neighborhood has quite a lot of development to keep track of. The property in question is located at 14-23 Broadway, between 14th Street and 21st Street. The 25 by 136-foot vacant lot sold for $1.95 million, and Ariel reports that the buyer plans to build residential. Going over old DOB documents, it looks like they are trying to work off of old plans to build an eight-story, 15-unit development that previously fell through.
Moving on to Jamaica, 175-42 Hillside Avenue between Edgerton Boulevard and 175th Street sold for $2.85 million. A massive development could rise at this site, which now holds a 2,054-square-foot KFC outpost. The 100 by 100-foot lot offers a grand total of 40,000 buildable square feet.
Mad Men has driven viewers crazy over the past seven years, but the AMC drama about 1960s ad executive/ alpha male Don Draper will begin its final seven episodes on April 5th. The Museum of the Moving Image will mark the end of this era with an exhibition and a film series. On display from March 14th through June 14th, Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men explores the creative process behind the show with original sets, props, costumes, advertising art, and personal notes from Weiner, the creator. Information on the film series and more photos on jump page.
All that anyone seems to talk about in Queens these days, at least in my circles, is how crowded the subways have become. According to the MTA, they’re experiencing record ridership, which is actually a good thing as people aren’t driving as much and using mass transit. The bad part is what happens when there’s trouble on one of the tracks and you have an entire subway line’s worth of people having to find an alternative route to work.
More after the jump… (more…)
If you’re in the market for a modern co-op, this one-bedroom unit at 105-07 66th Road may grab your interest. It’s modestly sized, at 725 square feet, and is boasting some new and shiny finishes in the kitchen and bathroom. Readers know we are a fan of the historic co-op unit, but we think this is a renovation well done. The only thing left is the asking price, which comes in at $219,000. What do you think of this one?