After nine neighborhood assemblies and public meetings in Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, the Woodside Houses, the Queensbridge Houses and the Big Six Towers, residents of the 26th District have pitched hundreds of ideas for an upcoming participatory budgeting vote. Several hundred residents showed up to the meetings, which took place over the past few months. According to Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, “140 residents within the 26th District have signed up to be Budget Delegates and will be responsible for working with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and City agencies to ensure the community’s favorite projects are funded and implemented in 2015.” Budget delegates will work with the Council Member until February, and in March delegates will present a draft of proposals to the community. The final project proposals will come out between March and April, with a community vote following. $1,000,000 in City Council capital funding will go toward the winning projects.
“Participatory Budgeting is democracy in action,” Council Member Van Bramer stated in a press release. “Throughout this process the community has taken on the responsibility of allocating $1 million to projects that they are developing. Over the past several months it has been exciting to watch residents and stakeholders from all around the 26th District come together to participate, discuss and debate which projects are needed in their very own neighborhoods.”
You’ll find a list of some of the community’s project proposals after the jump.
The proposal to extend the Motor Parkway Greenway is making headway! Last night, Queens Community Board 13 unanimously endorsed a proposal to extend the bicycle and pedestrian path eastward towards Glen Oaks. Currently, the greenway begins at Cunningham Park and abruptly ends at Winchester Boulevard. The organization pushing for this extension wants to create a crossing at Winchester Boulevard and connect the path all the way to 74th Avenue — following a route similar to the original Motor Parkway. (For history on the Motor Parkway, designed by William Kissam Vanderbilt in the early 1900s, go here.) To ultimately create seamless, convenient access to the Motor Parkway East greenway, several government organizations that own the land will have to coordinate with the Department of Transportation. You can see how the land ownership breaks down along the proposed route here.
CB 13′s Transportation Committee chairperson told the full board that the proposed project has received positive feedback, as well as 400 signatures on a petition. The board approved the plan because it doesn’t require eminent domain and because it would help restore a historic park of Queens. The Transportation Committee plans to draft a letter of support to the Department of Transportation.
This month, the Aperitif Bistro Lounge Wine Bar opened at 213-41 39th Avenue, in Bayside. (It’s the former location of Bentley’s Off Bell, which is predictably located right off Bell Bouelvard.) This is the second location of the restaurant; the first is located in Long Island. The menu focuses on “French cuisine infused with a Mediterranean and Asian flair,” with dishes like tuna and steak tartare, scallops and shrimp with sautéed leeks, steak frites and a seared duck breast. Here’s the menu for the Long Island location, where entrees run from $21 to $34.
The two-floor restaurant seats 148 and includes a bar and lounge area. Right now, Aperitif serves dinner daily and will start serving lunch and brunch in the next few weeks. The current hours are Monday through Thursday, 5 to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 pm.
Check out two more interior shots after the jump — the space looks great. GMAP
Calling all renovators! This Ridgewood townhouse at 18-40 Summerfield Street has got promise but it’s going to need a lot of work. It’s currently configured as three different apartments over a semi-finished basement, but this would be beautiful as a single-family home. The single interior photo shows that there are still traces of original detail to work with. There’s also a (rundown) two-car garage and (rundown) backyard space. Basically, work will be needed all around, which is why we think the ask of $887,000 is just too high. What say you?
If you’ve never been to the Broadway-Flushing section of Queens, it’s worth a visit — it’s home to some of Queens’ finest architecture, having been part of the Rickert-Finley real estate development around the turn of the 20th century featuring large plots, wide lawns, and beautiful, eclectic buildings. I’ve been familiar with the neighborhood since 1993 when I moved to the area from Bay Ridge to be closer to a job. Broadway, which runs from Northern Boulevard/Crocheron Avenue north to 29th Avenue between 158th Street and Utopia Parkway, is named for a former name of Northern Boulevard (the local LIRR station never dropped the name).
Though Broadway-Flushing was designated a Historic District by the United States Department of the Interior and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 12, 2006, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has decided against making the neighborhood a historic district. Because of that, developers eyeing the area’s large plots are likely making plans to demolish many of the homes and fill the lawns with concrete.
Today, though, my attentionis restricted to a small triangle formed by Northern Boulevard, 162nd Street and Crocheron Avenue, for many years consisting of just concrete, but now gussied up with bushes and trees, and a sign reading “Studley Triangle.”
The triangle honors the formidably named upstate New Yorker Elmer Ebenezer Studley (1869-1942), a lieutenant in the Spanish-American War, attorney, and Congressman from 1933-1935. He was a Flushing resident in his later years and is buried in Flushing Cemetery.
The latest book obsession over at Q’Stoner is Queens: A Culinary Passport by Astoria-based food writer Andrea Lynn. The book is an awesome guide to eating in Queens, highlighting more than 40 diverse restaurants and food stands throughout the borough. There are also recipes inspired by Queens dishes, interviews with chefs and local foodies, and suggestions for under-the-radar grocery stores, markets and delis.
We spoke to Andrea about her experience writing the book, tips on navigating unfamiliar dining scenes, her top restaurant recommendations and more. You can purchase her book online on Amazon or in person at Astoria Bookshop.
Brownstoner Queens: What neighborhood do you live in and how did you end up there?
Andrea Lynn: I live in Astoria. My story for arriving into the neighborhood isn’t super original: I already knew a handful of people in Astoria, plus it was close to Manhattan for an easy work commute.
BQ: Where did the idea for a Queens-based food book originate?
AL: Well, I think Brooklyn gets a lot of hype for its trendy food scene, as does Manhattan, of course. Queens has such a fabulously diverse food culture which doesn’t get the merit it deserves. While specific Queens restaurants certainly get a bit of buzz, I felt the borough as whole doesn’t get the culinary love it deserves. So I had the idea to showcase the irresistible, ethnic food of Queens.
BQ: How would you describe the food scene in Queens right now? What was most important for you to capture in your book?
AL: I live off of 30th Avenue in Astoria, and it kind of blows my mind the amount of trendy restaurants and fancy cocktails in Astoria versus when I first moved here seven years ago. Same for Long Island City. But as far as the book, I wanted to capture a slice of the ethnic variety. A Culinary Passport isn’t just a catchy title but in Queens, you really feel like you’re traveling and experiencing so many other cultures.
Property Markets Group just paid $30,900,000 for the Long Island City Clock Tower, a sale that highly threatens the recent efforts to landmark the building. Criterion Group sold the property at a huge profit after just buying it in May for $15,000,000. Property Markets Group also owns the property adjacent to the tower, paying $46,300,000 for it earlier this month. A push to landmark the structure, designed by architect Morrell Smith, picked up this fall, with more than 800 supporters signing a landmarking petition.
But Christian Emanuel, who has helped lead the landmark effort, told The Real Deal that late last week commercial tenants in the clock tower were told to vacate within 180 days because of coming demolition. The group has already filed paperwork with the Landmarks Preservation Commission proposing the landmark, but no one knows if the LPC will actually move ahead with the designation process. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — this building deserves to be saved, especially considering the rate at which buildings are now demolished in Long Island City.
This Saturday, November 29th, Sunnyside Shines is hosting a “Small Business Saturday” in the neighborhood. From 12 pm to 1 pm, you can pick up a copy of Sunnyside’s Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide and a “Shop Small” bag at Bliss Plaza, Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. The guide offers gift ideas at 22 local businesses within the Business Improvement District. There will be free giveaways and live music at the plaza, and discounts at local stores like Bing’s Hallmark, Avalon Florist and Red Wing Shoes.
Sunnyside Post also reports that the guide will be sent to 18,000 addresses within the zip code 11104, as well as certain sections of Woodside.