Today’s a balmy 70-plus degrees – beach weather! And soon, the Rockabus will once again take you to Rockaway Beach for $10 (or $18 round trip), reports Capital New York. The bus will pick you up from last year’s excursion spot, Williamsburg, as well as new departure points in the Lower East Side and Grand Army Plaza. The beach has become a destination for young people (let’s resist the “h” word until we visit ourselves), and survived a wallop from Superstorm Sandy. All aboard!
Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, was thwarted in its quest to lease at Related Companies’ retail center in East New York, Brooklyn. But sources tell the Observer that the company is looking at some vacant land that would support a 300,000-square-foot store near the Queens-Brooklyn border. One possibility: Ridgewood, near the rapidly gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, according to Douglas Elliman broker Faith Hope Consolo. Meanwhile, a Wal-Mart spokesman told the salmon paper that there’s “nothing new regarding Walmart in NYC,” but said that New Yorkers want to shop at the store and travel to suburban locations to do so. The company’s most recent quarterly earnings missed estimates.
Ask for directions to “Long Island City” or “LIC” from the average joe, and they’ll describe how to get to the neighborhood adjoining the 12 acre Gantry Plaza State Park. They’d actually be telling you how to get to Hunters Point.
The municipality called Long Island City was absorbed into the five boroughs of the “City of Greater New York” on November 6th, 1894. LIC was a boom town, the concentrating point of all the rail on Long Island (its legal borders included Sunnyside, Middleton, Bowery Bay, Ravenswood, and Astoria). The agricultural product of eastern Long Island were all aimed at one of LIC’s former colonial centers, called Hunters Point, last stop on the Long Island Railroad before reaching Manhattan by boat or barge.
The first Europeans here, Dutchmen, called it Dominie’s Hoek. Named for its owner, who was a Reverend in the Dutch Reform church, the property was passed around until 1740 until it ended up with the Bennet family of Greenpoint. Anna Hunter was a member of that family, her name was assigned to the property when she inherited it, and it has been Hunters Point ever since. The original name “Dominie’s Hoek” is honored by a local bar, found at 48-17 Vernon Blvd.
The Yankees and England’s Manchester City announced Tuesday that they will form the newest Major League Soccer team, the New York City Football Club (NYCFC). Manchester City will play an exhibition match in the Bronx against Chelsea FC (the team from London, not the West 20s) this very Saturday, May 25. But a far more explosive question is where the new New York team ultimately plays.
The release says that NYCFC will have an interim home in 2015 but that it is “committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York.” Candidate No. 1? Flushing Meadows Corona Park, already a battleground between local groups and the U.S. Tennis Association.
It’s far from a done deal. A spokesman at City Planning told Brownstoner that any proposal would require a seven-month Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), which would involved input from the local community board and borough president, followed by votes by City Planning and the City Council. He declined to comment further on the proposal because it hasn’t been officially submitted.
Stadiums are inherently tied to the public sector. Virtually all pro teams extract some sort of tax abatement as part of a new stadium deal, with the argument that the thousands of future spectators will lead directly to consumer spending and new jobs. But studies haven’t supported the claims that arenas lead to an overall net benefit. And this proposal comes at a time when Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous venues in the world, is trying to secure its own future.
Ferran Soriano, head of Manchester City, issued a cautious note regarding development:
“New York City FC will have a permanent home in the City in the great traditions of New York sports and world soccer – a home that must be a sports, commercial and civic success…But in considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York. Only in this way, can the Club truly represent the City whose name it will carry.”
Mayor Bloomberg, a consistent fan of sports as an engine of economic development (see Atlantic Yards, Citi Field, the new Yankee Stadium and the defeated Jets proposal), was more bullish. But remember that this is his last year as mayor, and any decisions will likely be shaped by his successor.
“Soccer is one of the world’s most exciting and popular sports, and it should be played on the world’s biggest stage – in New York City…New Yorkers are the greatest sports fans in the world, and they will welcome a Major League Soccer franchise with the full-throated and loyal support they are famous for. Manchester City has a great reputation for both winning teams and serious community investment, and that will help them fit in well with the excellent leadership of New York City’s other professional sports teams. Increasingly, sports events and activities – from the NHL playoffs to the MLB All-Star game to the SuperBowl – are spurring economic growth, as our investments in new arenas and infrastructure are paying off.”
What do you think?
Photo: L-R, Randy Levine of the Yankees, MLS Commissioner Don Garber, Ferran Soriano of Manchester City, via NYCFC
This three-family house at 64-45 68th Avenue in Ridgewood is handsome from the outside but is in dire need of TLC on the inside. But that’s okay because the asking price is just $570,000, a hundred grand less than the house went for in 2007. And if it looks a little worse for the wear, that probably has something to do with the fact that the property’s been tied up in foreclosure proceedings for the past couple of years. But the bank’s loss can be your gain! And did we mention that there’s a two-car garage? Sweet. 19 64-45 68th Avenue [Utopia Real Estate]GMAPP*Shark NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Developer Rockrose will build a 500-foot tower in Long Island City that will become the tallest residential building in Queens, the Observer reported. The bulding, at 43-25 Hunter Street, will have 975 residential units and is expected to break ground in the fourth quarter of this year. The total cost of the project is an estimated $400 million. The new building is close to the existing Citigroup Building at One Court Square, prompting Rockrose executive Justin Elghanayan to dub it Citigroup’s “girlfriend.” Seven warehouses will be demolished to make room: 25-25 44th Drive, 43-25, 43-15, 43-11 and 43-09 Hunter Street, as well as 27-02 and 27-06 43rd Avenue. Rockrose is also opening new residential properties at Linc LIC in Court Square and Eagle Loft at 43-22 Queens Street. TF Cornerstone, which is owned by other members of the Elghanayan family, is developing its own Long Island City portfolio near the waterfront.
Rendering via Rockrose / Observer
This post has been updated: Rockrose’s new building would be the tallest residential building in Queens, not the tallest overall.
More controversy has erupted in Willets Point, the industrial neighborhood near Citi Field that is already facing a redevelopment plan. This time, local auto repair shops are claiming that they were shut down by the Department of Buildings in an effort to evict them, CBS reported. The agency issued a “partial vacate” order a 38-01 126th Street, but the businesses that closed were at 37-03 126th Street and 38-05 126th Street. As a result, workers at the shops suddenly found themselves unemployed. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development, another government agency that owns the buildings, didn’t comment.
You won’t believe what you saw…or what you heard. On June 1, the NYC Musical Saw Festival will fill Astoria’s Trinity Lutheran Church with various art forms related to this bladed carpenter’s tool that is usually used for cutting wood. Organized by Natalia Paruz (seen above), this afternoon-long event will feature new compositions for the musical saw, a musical saw art exhibit, musical saw paintings, musical saw poetry, solos by musical saw players and musical saw workshops. Paruz, an Astoria resident who is affectionately called “The Saw Lady,” has dedicated her professional life to bringing her beloved-but-rare genre to audiences around the world. She has performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra with Zubin Mehta and NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, rocked MTV and VH1, and played on soundtracks to films such as El Carnaval de Sodoma. Event details on the jump… (more…)
More zoning changes are in store for flood-prone areas that may include Howard Beach and the Rockaways. The City wants to change building rules to conform to the latest federal standards for flood resistant construction, and the public review process started Monday, City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said. New rules would affect building heights, the location of mechanicals and off-street parking, the placement of stairs and ramps, activities on ground level, and the quality of the streetscape. But raising the ground floor above the flood line can make for some really ugly buildings, so the rules would allow gradual grading, stair turns, porches and plantings to “prevent unnecessarily stark landscapes with blank walls, and promote ‘eyes on the street’ to foster street-level vitality,” as a City press release put it. Burden, a Bloomberg appointee, has already rezoned a staggering 36 percent of the City, according to Crain’s, including areas like Jamaica and Flushing.