If you ride the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington line as I have every day for the past couple of decades, no doubt you have noticed the four-story brick factory on the south side of the tracks the train roars past on 94th Street, about midway between the Woodside and Shea Stadium (now Mets Willets Point) stations. Well, I did, anyway, because I had noted the long-unused train siding, one of the last remaining vestiges of a time when the LIRR was used to move freight. I’m happy to report that the old factory has, instead of being razed for more “Fedders specials,” has been reinvented for the 21st Century as a building housing three high schools.
Development over Sunnyside Yards may not just be something people vaguely talk about every few years. Capital New York reports that Amtrak is considering development, and may seek out investors by next spring for building opportunities. Amtrak executives have also discussed the possibility with Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo, with a spokesman for the mayor saying the site could potentially accommodate de Blasio’s affordable housing initiative.
Of course, there are still a lot of “what ifs.” Amtrak is evaluating many of its properties and isn’t looking to develop right away, instead seeking out partners to work on development strategies. And it’s still unclear how, exactly, development would look over the sprawling 167 acres of rail yards — any building strategy will be extremely complex and also require collaboration with the MTA. But as Capital says, “Still, the chairman’s comments were by far the most aggressive made on the topic by an executive at the company and were read as a significant moment for those thinking about the potential the Sunnyside Yards hold.”
Introducing Q.E.D., a new Astoria venue that plans to host arts and crafts, stand-up comedy, tastings, poetry slams, game nights, walking tours, storytelling, gardening, and much, much more. The owner, Queens resident Kambri Crews, has dubbed it an “after-school space for grown ups” — a sort of all-inclusive art and performance space that will appeal to many. The classes and workshops will be priced affordably and will not require long commitments, and the space will be open to all different types of performers. (It’s also available to rent out for private events.) Q.E.D. is located a few blocks from the Astoria/Ditmars subway stop, at 27-16 23rd Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets.
Events at Q.E.D. will start up in early November. Upcoming classes include stand-up comedy for beginners, PR and Marketing 101, Intro to American Sign Language and Intro to Humor Writing. Upcoming shows include open mic nights, adult story time, book releases, podcast recordings and musical performances. Seems to us like an awesome addition to the neighborhood. GMAP
Getty Petroleum, one of the companies held responsible for polluting the Newtown Creek waterway, agreed yesterday to fork over $16,000,000 for its cleanup. Getty, who filed for bankruptcy in 2011, is one among many who dumped around 30,000,000 gallons of toxic waste in the creek over the years. The EPA declared Newtown Creek a Superfund site in 2010, which, as the New York Daily News says, “compels companies responsible for polluting the site to pay to clean it up.” The $16M sum is the result of an agreement between Getty and the federal government as part of the company’s bankruptcy process.
According to Gothamist, Getty admitted to hazardous dumping way back in 2005. (The problem of illegal dumping in the creek is far from over, and continues to this day.) Here’s a statement on this recent settlement by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara: “Today’s settlement ensures that Getty takes responsibility for its contribution to that sad legacy, and pays a fair share of clean-up costs at the site. This Office is committed to holding those who contaminate our nation’s lands and waterways accountable for their actions, and bankruptcy is not a free pass for polluters.”
Here’s a cool video of the artist Borbay painting a commissioned piece of the Pepsi Cola sign along the Long Island City waterfront. At his website, he goes through the entire process with details and photos, and the final product is impressive indeed. Thanks to Curbed, who first posted the video.
Astoria Bike snapped the above photo of a two-way, green bike lane just painted along Vernon Boulevard. (There was a one-way, unpainted lane there before.) Lookin’ good! As the blog says, “When this is done, one will be able to bike all the way from Astoria to downtown Brooklyn more or less on a dedicated bike line.”
The NYC HPD announced that one of the Mitchell-Lama towers in Woodside opened up its waiting list for two- and three-bedroom co-op apartments. The exact address of the housing is not listed, but our guess is that it’s part of the Big Six complex — read more about the successful, desirable housing complex right here. Under Mitchell-Lama, the city regulates prices for moderate- and middle-income apartment units. Prices for two bedrooms at this particular development range from $36,467 to $40,519. Three bedrooms are priced between $48,721 and $52,781. (No, those numbers aren’t typos. Sigh.)
The city will only select 1000 applicants to be entered in the lottery for two-bedroom apartments, and 500 applicants for the three-bedroom apartments. There are income restrictions in place — view the full list of guidelines and details here [PDF]. Applications are due in the mail by October 31st, 2014.
Forest Hills, you’re officially on the NYC hipster map! Edge of the City reports that the neighborhood’s got its first indie, organic coffee shop. It’s called Red Pipe Cafe and it’s located at 71-60 Austin Street, the former Stoa Jewelry store. The space is open from 7 am to 10 pm and serves coffee, tea, sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts — everything is organic. There’s a decent amount of seating, and Edge of the City says the baristas make a mean cappuccino. Seems like a no brainer that a spot like this will do well along Austin Street.
As recently as the 1950s and 1960s, Flushing was a town of old-timey Victorian homes protected by shade trees, with a lively downtown centered on Main Street between Northern Boulevard and the Long Island Rail Road Port Washington line. After Flushing began to stagnate, a slow trickle of immigrants from eastern Asia began to arrive and revitalized the region, but at the cost of its sleepy-town atmosphere as the old Victorians were torn down and apartment buildings and attached homes replaced them.
Today, Flushing’s colonial relics, some of which are almost 400 years old, are uneasily juxtaposed with garish advertising and overcrowded streets. Commerce and history are rarely easy partners. The result of Flushing’s revival of the past decades is that it has preserved a few of its oldest buildings from the 17th century, but most from the 18th century and even many from the early 20th have been wiped out.
Sprinkled throughout Flushing, though, are several elderly dwellings that have held firm as wave over wave of change has overswept Flushing. One of those is one of Queens’ newest museums, the Voelker-Orth Museum and Victorian Garden, which opened to the public in 2003.
Yesterday we told you that the MTA planned to outfit 29 different subway stations in the borough with free Wi-Fi — we just didn’t know which stations the MTA picked. Today, the city made the official announcement and revealed the full list, which you can view here. Some of the stations included are Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue, Hunters Point Avenue, Queens Plaza, Steinway Street, 63 Drive/Rego Park, Jamaica Center, Court Square, 21st Street/Queensbridge, Kew Gardens/Union Turnpike, Forest Hills/71st Avenue, Elmhurst Avenue and Northern Boulevard. The service will be installed in October and November.
This is Phase Two of an effort to wire all 277 underground subway stations by 2017. Phase Three will include the Flushing Main Street Station, according to a press release by Governor Cuomo.