This upcoming Monday, December 9th, Senator Gianaris, Assemblywoman Simotas, local leaders, parents and students will hold a rally to fight the train noise disturbing PS 85. The school is located along 31st Avenue and the passing N/Q subway line consistently disrupts classes. The rally will ask the MTA and and the Department of Education to address these noise problems. It will be held right outside PS 85, 23-70 31st Street, at 9 am.
Fatty’s Cafe, which has lived for ten years on Ditmars and Crescent, is making moves. We Heart Astoria notes that Fatty’s will move to 45-17 28th Avenue, the former Stove restaurant space, while the old Fatty’s Cafe space will become a pharmacy. The new location will have a total of 1,600 square feet as well as a backyard. The Fatty’s crew promises it’ll be “bigger and FATTER than ever!” The old location will close in late December, the 28th Avenue location is slated to debut this January.
Astoria’s Paul Raimonda Playground is getting some exciting upgrades, according to DNAinfo. The Parks Department will replace an unused bocce ball court with an adult fitness area, add benches, replace asphalt, and reconstruct the flag pole. Parks also plans to build out a spray shower area that is shaped like a Steinway piano (the Steinway & Sons factory is nearby), with pre-cast concrete piano keys and a musical scale in bronze lettering. The second phase of the project includes repairs to the gate, new playground equipment, and resealing the basketball court. Work should kick off in the fall of 2014.
This Astoria condo, at 25-19 35th Street, is 700 square feet and asking $499,000. The one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom unit looks exactly how you’d expect a newish condo unit looks. A few perks: a balcony, a huge walk-in closet, and a large-looking bedroom. Think the price is right?
They have a lot in common. Judith Sloan (above) is an actress, audio artist, writer, radio producer, educator and poet whose work combines humor, pathos and a love of the absurd. Warren Lehreris a writer and designer who reunites storytelling with the printed word. This married couple from Sunnyside cofounded EarSay, an arts organization that documents and portrays the lives of the uncelebrated. Their book Crossing the BLVD is part of a multimedia project that began with storytelling workshops in libraries, community centers and schools throughout Queens, and includes public radio documentaries, a traveling exhibition of photographs and sound stations, a performance and an interactive website. This Friday, Sloan will perform excerpts from her work-in-progress Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide, which mixes theatre, radio and poetry, at the Queens Council on the Arts as part of its 3rd Space program. During the same event, Lehrer will offer a performance/reading of A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, an illuminated novel consisting of 101 books written by a controversial author who gets introspective while in jail. A discussion about their process and a Q&A with the audience will follow.
Details: Performances by Judith Sloan and Warren Lehrer, Queens Council on the Arts, 37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria, December 6th, 7 pm, $5.
Just this afternoon local pols joined Kaufman Astoria Studios to celebrate the grand opening of New York City’s first outdoor stage. Kaufman Astoria designed the block-long, 34,800-square-foot studio space for productions to shoot realistic outdoor scenes and stunts. Construction began over the summer. The backlot also features a gate designed by David Rockwell which now serves as the new entrance to the studio. The backlot completes another phase in the overall vision for the studio campus to create an arts and cultural district — Kaufman hopes to continue to expand in Astoria to establish an even larger presence in the neighborhood.
Astoria Park is your last stop in Queens, at which point you’ll be getting wet. The waters which lie off the shore are a section of the formerly industrial East River called Hell Gate. The park offers no water access, of course, but there is a nice walkway along Shore Road which allows one to stroll and observe.
It’s a lovely spot, and quite popular with those lucky enough to live nearby. One is always struck by the polychrome nature of the rocky shoreline, which is deposited to and subtracted from on a daily basis by the tides. On a sunny day, the amount of color one experiences here can literally dazzle.
More evidence of the “hipster market” coming to Queens: the Times Ledger reports that landlords in Sunnyside and Astoria are seeing some of the highest yields on rentals in so-called hip neighborhoods throughout the country. The industry research firm RealtyTrac narrowed down “hipster neighborhoods” throughout the states — a neighborhood where at least 20 percent of the population is between the ages of 25 and 34, at least 20 percent of residents either walk or take public transportation to work, and at least 50 percent of people in the neighborhood rent. Sunnyside’s 11104 ZIP code, which stretches east from 39th Street to 42nd Street, Greenpoint Avenue and 49th Street, was the five boroughs’ highest showing on rental yields, placing 12th. According to the Times Ledger, “11104 boasts average rents of $1,870 a month for a three-bedroom apartment and median property prices around $380,050. Investors can look forward to a 5.9 percent gross yield on their rental properties.” Astoria’s 11102 ZIP code placed 14th on the list. Average rents of $2,600 a month offer a gross yield of 5.69 percent. Following Astoria was Sunset Park, in Brooklyn, with a yield of 5.66 percent. At the very top of the list, RealtyTrac found the highest hipster yields in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and in Pittsburgh.
Talk about an interesting property. This two-family home at 22-41 31st Street, in Astoria, is asking $699,000. It’s an absolutely gorgeous facade, but the question is — what’s inside? The total lack of pictures leave much to the imagination, and the listing says you’ll have to “restore this classic to its old world charm.” The home is also located behind a commercial property and is nestled between 31st and 33rd streets. Anybody know the state of this home, and if the price is fair?
Yesterday, Assembly Member Aravella Simotas met with the Department of Transportation and Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall to discuss possible fixes for a dangerous intersection in Astoria. The location in question is at 32nd Street and Astoria Boulevard North, adjacent to the exit ramp of the Grand Central Parkway. The 114th Precinct calls this the most accident-prone intersection in the area — according to a press release, “Currently, drivers exiting the Grand Central Parkway must cross three crowded lanes of traffic, often composed of truck traffic driving west on Astoria Boulevard North, in order to reach local streets. Likewise, trucks exiting the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway following Astoria Boulevard must cross this local traffic to reach the RFK Bridge and points west.” This creates gridlock as well as numerous pedestrian and automobile accidents.
In coming months, Assembly Member Simotas will work with the DOT and Commissioner Hall to determine the best means of re-configuring the intersection. As Simotas says, “Our goal is to ensure the free flow of traffic, pedestrians, and goods through Astoria as safely as possible.”
Photo via the Office of Assembly Member Aravella Simotas