The turn-of-the-century English Garden City movement of Sir Ebenezer Howard and Sir Raymond Unwin served as the inspiration for Sunnyside Gardens, built from 1924-1928 from Skillman Avenue north to the LIRR and from 43rd to 50th Streets. This housing experiment was aimed at showing civic leaders that they could solve social problems and beautify the city, all while making a small profit. The City Housing Corporation, whose founders were then-schoolteacher and future first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, ethicist Felix Adler, attorney and housing developer Alexander Bing, urban planner Lewis Mumford, architects Clarence S. Stein, Henry Wright, and Frederick Lee Ackerman and landscape architect Marjorie S. Cautley, was responsible for the project. Co-founder Lewis Mumford[the long-time architecture critic at The New Yorker] was also one of the Garden’s first residents. The part of Skillman Avenue that runs through Sunnyside Gardens has been renamed in his honor.
The NYC Parks Department and the Historic House Trust released an RFP for a site-specific art experience at the Lewis Latimer House, in Flushing. Specifically, they are looking to commission a Queens-based artist to create a site-specific installation on the grounds of house — work that will “forge connections between the Latimer family’s African-American heritage and Flushing’s current Asian and Latin American residents.” The official RFP lives here [PDF].
Proposals are being accepted through October 31st, 2014 and artists must be based in or native to Queens. The installation is expected for June of next year. You can read more on the history of the Lewis Latimer House both here and here.
The Silvercup West development, a proposed $1 billion expansion of Silvercup Studios just south of the Queensboro Bridge, is back on the table. Queens Courier reports that the developers filed for special permit renewals, since the plan is stalled. Community Board Two’s land use committee will review the application for development; it should move to the full board at the next public meeting on October 2nd. According to the Courier, “The permits are for various design elements in the project, including a proposed 1,400-space parking garage, which was granted three years ago, but has expired since.”
When Silvercup Studios first released the plan eight years ago — the proposal then was a 2,200,000-square-foot complex with eight sound studios, an office tower, residential, cultural and retail space — the community board, borough president and city council all approved. Holdups occurred due to the New York Power Authority generators on the site, which have to be decommissioned and removed. Silvercup has, however, been working to restore the old terra cotta building at 42-10 Vernon Boulevard. The folks at Silvercup do not anticipate this current process to take long since the approvals are in place. If CB2 gives its blessing, then the plans go back to City Planning for review.
Just another day at the office! In the above photo, a professional stuntman performs a “high fall” from a scissors lift near Kaufman Astoria Studios. Usually these daredevils do this kind of stuff for a living, but on Sunday, they’ll take risks solely for the public’s enrichment during New York on Location, a celebration of film production in the Big Apple. Presented by the Museum of the Moving Image, Theatrical Teamsters Local 817, and Kaufman Astoria Studios, this family-friendly, outdoor street fair will offer attendees the rare opportunity to explore more than 20 movie trailers and trucks and chat with movie professionals about what they do on set. Some trucks will feature star dressing rooms, while others will contain props, cameras, wardrobes, and special effects. More details and another image on jump page.
El Coyote, part of a small chain of Mexican restaurants, just celebrated its grand opening in Forest Hills. Edge of the City reports that it replaced Garcia’s, in the upper level of the retail complex at 70-09 Austin Street. This is the second El Coyote outpost for Queens; the first is in Jackson Heights.
Late last year the owners told DNAinfo they planned for a slightly different menu that catered toward locals, alongside favorites like enchiladas and fajitas. (Here’s the menu for the Jackson Heights location.) The spot is open for both lunch and dinner.
The photo above with its rustic windmill and weathered farmhouse could be in Kansas or upstate New York. But if you look closely, in the background behind the windmill, high rise apartment buildings dot the landscape, not forests or other farms. We’re not in Kansas. We’re in New York City. The farm in the photograph is in Floral Park, Queens. This is a photograph of the Queens County Farm Museum. This is the largest tract of undisturbed farmland in the entire city, and has been a working farm continuously since 1697. Hard to believe, and even more astounding that not all that many people know about it.
1697- that’s 317 years. For America, that’s the equivalent of medieval times. While this may be a tourist attraction and an anomaly now, this is what vast portions of Queens looked like, right on up to the turn of the 20th century. For some parts of Queens, this farm is typical of life up until after World War II. Queens was the breadbasket of New York City, the borough of farms. (more…)
The city’s first Major League Soccer arena may still be built in Queens, after plans fell through to build one in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park. Capital New York reports that “Manchester City Football Club owner Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan and the New York Yankees, which are partnering in the joint venture for the New York City Football Club, are now looking at a possible site ‘adjacent to the aqueduct racetrack in Queens.’” They picked this location because there is lots of nearby land suited for development, although there are no specifics on the exact location.
Another plan to build the stadium near Yankee Stadium in the Bronx fell through, and now the MLS folks are looking all over New York City for a potential spot. (Bloomberg offered the development near Yankee Stadium as an alternative to Flushing Meadows – Corona Park.) According to Queens Courier, some local pols regard this new plan for the Aqueduct with skepticism, with State Senator Joe Addabbo stating, “Exact location and size of the stadium, traffic patterns, public safety and the certain impact on the surrounding neighborhood quality of life are just some of the issues that I would need answers to in examining this proposal.”
The SculptureCenter will officially reveal its shiny new expansion on Sunday, October 5th! The addition will include a new entrance lobby with a coatroom, restrooms and seating area, expanded exhibition space, an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries and a 1,500-square-foot enclosed courtyard. Work started up this spring, and the SculptureCenter remained open throughout the construction project.
The Court Square Blog posted awesome photos of the new interior — pictured above is the view from the main entrance. CSB reports that the SculptureCenter will celebrate its expansion with the new exhibit “Puddle, pothole, portal.” And from 12 to 3 pm on October 5th, there will be free activities at the center including art-making, music, food, tours and the official opening ceremony. From 2 to 5 pm, there will be music and drinks in the courtyard.
That’s a wrap for TF Cornerstone on the Long Island City waterfront. Yesterday, the developers reported that their sixth and final building, 4610 Center Boulevard, is 100 percent spoken for. According to the press release, “To date, more than 6,000 people call the TF Cornerstone buildings on the LIC waterfront home, occupying 2,615 rental units and 184 condominiums on Center Boulevard.” 4610 Center Boulevard, at 26 stories, held 584 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. When the building launched in April, prices ranged from $2,160 to $5,330 a month. The development hit the 50 percent mark in June.
TF Cornerstone purchased its 21-acres of waterfront property along Center Boulevard from PepsiCo in 2003. Says Sofia Estevez, Executive Vice President for TF Cornerstone: “The lease-up of 4610 Center Boulevard is an incredible milestone for both Long Island City and TF Cornerstone. We’ve spent the last 12 years not only building and leasing buildings along the LIC waterfront, but also immersing ourselves in the community and growing to love the neighborhood just as much as our residents do. The lease-up of this building is a true testament to the vibrancy of this area, and we look forward to our next chapter of development in LIC.”
Hungry? Would you like to enjoy a delicious meal and help others at the same time? Or are you ready to experience a wonderful taste of winter without getting cold? This Thursday, the Snowday food truck (above) will stop outside the Clock Tower at Dutch Kills Green and serve delicious, maple-themed lunches, including maple grilled cheese sandwiches, seasonal salads, beer-batted maple onion rings, and maple apple cupcakes. More information and photos after jump.