Q’Stoner readers, we are taking off early for the Labor Day weekend. We’ll be back to our regular scheduled programming on the morning of Tuesday, September 2nd. Enjoy the holiday! And don’t forget to follow Brownstoner Queens on Facebook and Twitter.
In 1931, workers excavated the north side of Northern Boulevard just west of Little Neck Parkway. The boulevard, formerly known as Broadway and also as the Flushing and North Hempstead Turnpike, was being widened to its present condition as the Automobile Age was in full flower. However, a cemetery containing remains of Matinecoc Indian families, longstanding in this region of Queens, was in the way.
The Matinecoc Indians, a branch of the Algonquin group, had occupied the lands of eastern Queens for centuries before Europeans arrived. While the Matinecoc tribes gradually sold off their holdings to the Dutch and British in other parts of Long Island, giving the lands a peaceful transfer, Thomas Hicks (of the Hicks family that settled Hicksville) forcibly evicted the Matinecocks in Little Neck. Decades after Hicks, and well after American independence, some Matinecoc remained. Members of the Waters family, prominent among the tribe, still live in homes along Little Neck Parkway north of Northern Boulevard.
The brokerage firm MNS released Queens rental reports for the months of June and July — the firm even debuted a video series that highlights current rental trends in the borough.
Rent prices in Queens increased by approximately 1.76 percent from $2,077 in June 2014 to $2,113 in July 2014. But listing inventory decreased a whopping 48 percent this past July compared to June. According to MNS, “When considering the activity for this month it is important to note that all neighborhoods (except for Long Island City and Astoria) had less than 50 units on the market at the time of this analysis, a relatively low sample size.” Rego Park, in particular, saw an influx of moderately priced vacant units despite lower levels in other neighborhoods. MNS also expects moderate up and down fluctuations taking place in the near future, with a long-term projection of prices increasing steadily.
The priciest rents of the summer were in LIC (no surprise there) — average rents ranged from $2,410 to $3,908 per month. From June to July, Astoria saw the highest rise in overall average rents throughout Queens — 7.41 percent. And although listing inventory was very low in Ridgewood this summer, the monthly average overall rent increased 2.31 percent. You’ll still find some of the cheapest rentals in Ridgewood (with two-beds asking an average of $2,183), as well as Flushing (where studios averaged at $1,250). Jackson Heights saw a 21.21 percent monthly increase in average rent for studios, causing the overall average rent to rise by approximately $50.
After the jump, check out graphics for the most expensive and least expensive neighborhoods in the borough, as well as a breakdown of studio and two-bedroom apartment rental prices… (more…)
The Roosevelt, the 31-unit rental located at 40-07 73rd Street off Roosevelt Avenue, is totally spoken for. Brokers from Citi Habitats inform us that the building is 100 percent leased; listings launched in October of 2013. Back then, the convertible two bedrooms started at $2,400 a month, with two bedrooms at $2,400 and three bedrooms at $3,600. All units came with their own outdoor space.
The Roosevelt made headlines when a penthouse unit rented for $4,100 a month, making it the most expensive apartment to ever rent in the neighborhoods of Woodside, Elmhurst or Jackson Heights. Citi Habitats didn’t negotiate on rents, although they offered apartments no fee with another offer for two months free on a 13 month lease. Before its life as a rental development, the Roosevelt was a failed condo project known as the Bravo. Guess rentals were the trick!
Sunnyside just got authentic Tibetan cuisine in the form of the Tibetan Dumpling Café, now open at 49-08 Queens Boulevard between 49th and 50th Streets. The menu includes a number of Tibetan classics, including thali, a traditional platter including rice, lentils, curried meat or vegetables, cooked greens, yogurt and homemade pickles, thenthuk, a hand-pulled noodle soup and momos, the very delicious handmade Tibetan dumplings made of chicken, beef or vegetables. The cafe is the only exclusively Tibetan restaurant now operating in Sunnyside. Sunnyside Shines released a press release with this statement by the owner, Tashi Chopel: “The neighborhood is beautiful and filled with different kinds of food from many countries over the world. We decided to add a little taste of Tibet in the mix of all the beautiful flavors. Tibetan dumplings are a must-try – they are made from scratch from dough knotting and mincing meat, to shaping, steaming and serving fresh. Momos are a big part of the Tibetan culture!” You can see a photo of him in front of the cafe after the jump.
The Daily News also gave the Tibetan Dumpling Café a little love this morning; Chopel tells the News that he hopes to bring more familiarity and name recognition to momos. GMAP
One of the great things about New York City is that somewhere in the five boroughs, you can find just about anything. When it comes to architecture, that is certainly true. It’s really not surprising that there is even a cobblestone house in the city, a vernacular style of construction that usually is found in more remote rural areas. This one is a city landmark, and stands in Bayside, at 35-34 Bell Boulevard. (more…)
DNAinfo published a great map pinpointing the many development projects centered around the Willets Point site. Willets Point, of course, will be a retail, housing, public space and school development. (A judge recently threw out a lawsuit against the project, so the developers are one step closer to construction.) DNAinfo reports that the city is working with 30 tenants on payments and relocation from the former auto body shop site, and that there are still some businesses in the area.
Then there’s the Corona Convention Center, where it’s unclear when construction will begin. There’s a car dealership now on site but workers are expected to leave soon. To the east of Willets Point, Flushing Commons is now under construction, and the first phase of work should wrap in the spring of 2017.
DNAinfo also sheds a little light on a large vacant lot on Janet Place, across from Citi Field, that sold for $33,000,000 last year. It should be a mixed-use development with housing and retail, but there’s no word on a construction timeline. Finally, there’s the “Flushing Brownfield Opportunity Area Project,” 60 acres along the Flushing River currently designated as a brownfield. Revitalization efforts are still in the planning phase, with a proposal to rezone the land to begin development expected in 2015.
Tomorrow Mela’s Cafe is opening at 71-02 Kissena Boulevard, on the corner of 71st Avenue in Kew Gardens Hills. Queens Courier got a sneak peek of the restaurant, which will serve creative Latin dishes. The space sits 90 people and has a bar, booths and tables. The interior looks nice and contemporary, with lots of exposed brick. The owners tell Queens Courier that they’ve set up USB ports and Wi-Fi to attract a younger crowd from nearby Queens College. It’ll be open 7 am to 11 pm every day.
Maspeth isn’t a location many associate with DeWitt Clinton (1769-1828), a founding father who served as NY State Assemblyman, NYS Senator, NYS Governor, US Senator and NYC Mayor during an illustrious career capped by his indefatigable support for the Erie Canal. Several streets around town were named for him, including Maspeth’s own Clinton Avenue, and when Green-Wood Cemetery opened in Brooklyn in 1838 his remains were later exhumed from the original burial plot in Albany, NY and moved to Brooklyn — as a tourist attraction for the nascent burial park.
NYS Governor DeWitt Clinton lived in Maspeth for several decades in this house that had stood near Newtown Creek. Judge Joseph Sackett built a two-story wood frame mansion with porches around both levels in the area behind Clinton Hall (pictured after the jump) in 1750. During the Revolutionary War the house was occupied by American physician and general, Joseph Warren, and British Gen. William Howe planned an invasion of NYC via Newtown Creek from the mansion after its capture. (more…)
Al Jazeera New York published an in depth, interesting piece about a natural gas pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, now under construction in the Rockaways. The project met protest when it was proposed in 2012, but was ultimately signed into law by Congress just weeks after the Rockaways was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s under construction and will run three miles between Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden and under a golf course to connect to a pipeline run by National Grid. However, the article raises serious concerns about the company installing the pipeline, Williams Companies.
According to the article, the company is “the subject of a U.S. Chemical Safety Board probe because of a recent string of incidents.” That includes a petrochemical facility explosion in Louisiana, a pipeline explosion in West Virigina, a pipeline fire in Wyoming and others. (According to data collected by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “Williams pipelines have been involved in at least 50 gas transmission incidents since 2006.”) While there is resistance to the company in the neighborhood, most residents don’t even know the project is going on. Activists tell Al Jazeera that “The review process was stacked against pipeline opponents from the start,” and then, of course, Sandy hit and most residents didn’t even have electricity to watch the news. If the timing was different, it’s very likely that opposition would have been much stronger, but as it is the pipeline will begin operating in November. Once it’s in, however, the danger doesn’t go away: “The pipeline goes in, and everyone will go back with their lives. That’s where the concern comes in, because everyone will forget,” says pipeline safety expert Mark McDonald.