Sidewalk cafes in LIC and Sunnyside and more in the QNYC Evening Edition for Friday January 25, 2013

More sidewalk cafes may come to LIC and Sunnyside

This week we learned that more sidewalk cafes may be coming to LIC and Sunnyside, since the Department of Planning is considering changing the zoning rules to allow them. Sure, there are some sidewalk cafes out there in these areas, but technically they are operating illegally, despite their possession of city permits. Neighboring Astoria has many, many sidewalk cafes, especially along 30th Avenue, and they seem wildly successful – it would be strange to imagine Astoria without them. Here’s hoping allowing sidewalk cafes in LIC and Sunnyside will help restaurants and cafes become more appealing, desirable, and help boost their bottom line.

Dave Cook visits Jamaica

We love this Flickr photoset by Dave Cook, aka Eating in Translation, of his recent time in Jamaica, Queens. For sure we will be trying the food at Maima’s, a Liberian restaurant, very soon. We can also confirm that the pupusas at Rincon Salvadoreña are pretty tasty.

An ice sculptor in LIC

Check out the story of  Shintaro Okamoto of Okamoto Studio, an LIC/Astoria-based ice sculpting business. He was recently profiled by “Astoria Characters” author Nancy Ruhling in the Huffington Post. He is from Japan originally, spent time in Alaska, and learned the art of ice sculpting while being a sushi chef. Now he is in LIC making beautiful art from ice, and has had his works shown throughout NYC. So interesting!

John Brown Smokehouse on CBS

Congrats to John Brown Smokehouse – again! They continue to get accolades and great press. They were on CBS (Channel 2) this morning, featuring their dish of chicken and cornbread waffles with pork belly pastrami hash, prepared by John Brown’s head pit master John Bowen (he’s also head banjo player). We love his pronunciation of greasy as “greazy,” too. Beware – you may start to drool involuntarily. Takeaway quote: “It’s like the food pyramid right in your mouth!”

It’s true – housing prices have risen in Astoria and LIC

The NYDN published an article recently about how housing prices have gone up in western Queens. From an anecdotal POV, it’s understandable, since people speak so highly of this part of NYC and the local message boards are filled with folks looking for an apartment, but the numbers show an increase, too:

Our friends at Modern Spaces say that during the last quarter of 2012, the average rent and sale price for a 1 bedroom apartment in Astoria was $1,600 and $387,786, respectively. In LIC, the average average rent and sale price for a 1 bedroom apartment was $2,400 and $501,732, respectively. Compared to 2011, in 2012 in LIC, rents went up about $50/month and price per square foot did too, by an increase of $32 ($700 to $732).

And in the words of of Arthur Rosenfield, president of the Long Island City/Astoria Chamber of Commerce, about Astoria and LIC,  ”The quality of life is just phenomenal.”