12/18/14 11:00am


Remember when I told you about the time that I found a missing piece of the Queensboro Bridge? The post ended with a promise that the Roosevelt Island Historic Society had made to bring the item back to their location and preserve it.

Last weekend, I decided to stroll over to Roosevelt Island and see how my little discovery was faring under their stewardship. I’m happy to announce that it’s been given a place of prominence, and is sitting alongside the former Queensboro Trolley Station entrance which serves as the group’s HQ.

More after the jump… (more…)

12/18/14 10:00am


This week, Crain’s published an interesting article about Queens residents taking over abandoned park space, and the debate of whether or not it’s “squatting.” One example takes place in Bayside, where residents took care of an abandoned strip of land along the Clearview Expressway between 23rd and 26th avenues, transforming it into park space. But when the Parks Department found out, they ordered residents to clear any fixtures installed on the city land. A two-year fight followed, with the residents eventually giving in. According to Crain’s, “Now the Parks Department is hoping to build on that success, using it as a model to go on the offensive against what turns out to be a surprisingly widespread problem in the city.” Queens has the most cases of “incursions” against city property, with 49 cases out of a total 89 throughout the city.

In these cases, the Parks Department conducts a property survey and notifies residents that they have 30 days to comply if they find any type of incursion. As the President of Friends of Cunningham Park told Crain’s, “People who take pieces of parkland and make it their own are squatters, plain and simple.” But the residents of Bayside argue that they weren’t trying to claim the land, they just wanted it to look nice. Since the Parks Department enforced its ownership, it has sat empty with no plans for development.

Residents Call Parks Their Own [Crain's]

Photo by Philip Murtha via Crain’s

12/18/14 9:00am


This glassy, 11-story building is slated for Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street in Flushing, and the neighbors don’t like it one bit. “This thing looks like it’s something out of Miami Vice,” a resident told Queens Courier. “You can kiss goodbye any sense of history this neighborhood still had.” The development, which will replace the former Great Wall Supermarket, is located right next to the historic Flushing Town Hall — and many residents criticized the sleek design for clashing with its neighbor.

However, Community Board 7 passed a zoning change to allow for the developer to build. And Flushing Town Hall expressed its support of the development, saying that it will use the community space in the new building for events. This mixed-use development will hold both hotel and residential units, with hotel units on the third floor up to the eighth. The top three floors will hold 43 apartment units. And the ground floor will have 1,000 square feet of commercial space, which the developers hope to lease to coffee shops and restaurants.

Flushing Community Criticizes Modern Look of Planned Building [Queens Courier]

Rendering by Raymond Architecture via Queens Courier

12/18/14 8:30am


Western Queens Gets Greener: Park Officials [Queens Courier]
The Challenge of Buying in Jackson Heights: Q&A with Michael Carfagna [Queens Courier]
Former Monk and Sandwich-Maker Opens Bhutanese Restaurant in Queens [DNAinfo]
Astoria Rental Prices Dip in November, Experts Not Surprised [Astoria Post]
Mapping 10 Buildings That Could Totally Transform Jamaica [Curbed]
Tishman Speyer Nearly Done with Demo on LIC Project [Court Square Blog]
New Year’s Eve 2014 in Astoria and LIC [We Heart Astoria]

12/17/14 4:00pm


2014 brought plenty of shutdowns for the 7 train, and apparently the MTA isn’t wasting any time as we head into the new year. They released the schedule for the first five months of 2015 and, as LIC Post first reported, “The No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends.” Three other weekends will bring service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street. The MTA — who scheduled the shutdowns to install a new signal system, replace elevated tracks and reconstruct the Steinway Tubes between Queens and Manhattan — will replace subway service with shuttles and the East River Ferry.

Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer isn’t happy about the announcement, saying that the closures are frustrating considering the poor, delayed 7 train service over the past few months. “The MTA still isn’t engaging the community or responding to the community in a meaningful way… I am very disappointed,” he stated.

See the full schedule of closures, which span from January 2nd to May 25th, after the jump. (more…)

12/17/14 3:00pm


The T Building, a 10-story Art Moderne structure at the Queens Hospital Center in Jamaica, is on track for redevelopment. Queens Courier shares news that the city restarted the process to transform the building — a former tuberculosis center — into 206 units of affordable housing. Plans to redevelop the T Building go back to 2012. It was originally proposed to be housing for low-income residents with chronic illness, but that plan was shot down by nearby residents. Then it was facing demolition. Then the Queens Hospital Center proposed a new plan for housing mental and chronic health patients.

The city hasn’t released details on the new proposal for redevelopment, but it will be different than the initial plan opposed by residents. It’s possible 75 of the apartments will be reserved for hospital patients who are discharged without anywhere to live. According to the Courier, no plans are finalized and it’s likely construction won’t start for more than a year.

Plans Resume to Turn Historic T Building into Affordable Housing [Queens Courier]
All T Building coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Melissa Chan for Queens Courier

12/17/14 2:00pm


After a petition circulated to keep the Sunnyside Famers Market open all year round, the greenmarket will now open every Saturday from 8am to 3pm for the entire year. Previously, the market only stayed open May through December, but more than 1,000 residents as well as the community board pushed to extend it. Sunnyside Post spoke with Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, who said “I think the neighborhood is ready for it. There are a lot of people in the area who like fresh, local food—and they don’t want to have to go too far to get it especially in winter.” There are, however, residents opposed to the extended dates due to the loss of parking around the market location, Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

Right now around 16 vendors sell veggies, meat, fish and bread. Most are expected to stay on through the winter, except for the wine and fish vendors.

Sunnyside Farmers Market to be Open All Year Round [Sunnyside Post]
Closing Bell: Petition Aims to Make the Sunnyside Greenmarket Year Round [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Sunnyside Post

12/17/14 1:00pm
The legend lives on, but it won’t be pigeonholed. Trumpeter Theo Croker is both a bold newcomer on the jazz-soul scene and the grandson of arch-traditionalist trumpet legend Doc Cheatham, whose seven-decade, award-filled career ended on his death in 1997. Still in his twenties, Croker is deeply immersed in jazz , but he also writes and produces R&B, hip-hop, rap, and film scores, along with contemporary classical music. In addition to his grandfather, this 2006 Presser Music Foundation Award recipient lists Louis Armstrong, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, and Outkast among his influences. On Friday, Croker and his DVRK Funk outfit take their act to Flushing Town Hall. Expect some swinging jazz with trumpet, saxophone, drums, bass, piano…and general impunity. More details on jump page. (more…)
12/17/14 12:30pm

Last week, the well-respected Lonely Planet travel media company selected Queens as the best tourism destination of 2015. The stakes seem a bit higher now. Luckily, this week is jam-packed with awe-inspiring, unique, and enriching activities… and things will only get better next year. Here’s the rundown, broken down into education, arts and holiday events.


12/17/14 12:00pm


This freestanding Tudor at 45-16 194th Street in Flushing is charming from the outside but a little underwhelming inside. The interior looks well kept and fairly standard, with some details like ceiling beams in the living room. There are five total bedrooms (we wouldn’t have guessed this house could fit that many!) as well as a finished basement, paved backyard and garage. It’s located on a beautiful and leafy block, with many other similar Tudor homes, but isn’t all that close to any public transportation. The asking price? $938,000.

45-16 194th Street [Tony + William RE] GMAP