11/21/14 2:00pm

athens-cafe-astoria-closedThe owners of Bareburger, the successful mini-chain that started in Astoria, have special plans in the works for the old Athens Cafe space at 32-07 30th Avenue. Athens Cafe closed earlier this month, with lots of rumors surrounding what would replace it. But this week, We Heart Astoria, Astoria Post and DNAinfo have all shared the exciting news that the Bareburger is planning an “exciting new concept” here. Here’s what they told WAH: “The Athens cafe location has been an iconic part of the Astoria community for years. Bareburger group saw an opportunity to inject some new life and an exciting new concept into a space abound with possibilities.”

There are no specific details yet, as they are very early in the planning process. All we know is that this will be a totally new venture for the Bareburger folks in Astoria. GMAP

Photo by Astoria Post

11/21/14 11:00am

ridgewood.plateau1Photo by Christina Wilkinson

In 1928, much of Queens was still largely unpopulated and unbuilt-upon. Ridgewood, however, was an exception to the rule, due to its proximity to Brooklyn, and real estate developers hoped to capitalize on the cachet of the neighborhood. By then, Ridgewood was dominated by attached brick and brownstone houses, as well as blocks of handsome, yellow-bricked apartments constructed by developer Gustave X. Mathews. He built from materials created in the Staten Island kilns of Balthazar Kreischer.

In that year, the developers Realty Associates purchased 70 acres in a neighborhood then labeled as “North Ridgewood” but now a part of northern Maspeth roughly defined by Maurice Avenue, 64th Street, Grand Avenue and 74th Street. Builder John Aylmer set to work constructing two and six-family homes in the newly-named Ridgewood Plateau, so named for its location atop one of Queens’ higher hills.

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To mark the one year anniversary of the whitewash of 5Pointz, the independent filmmaker P.J. Monsanto released an 18-minute documentary about the infamous graffiti warehouse. Titled “We Don’t Need More Rats Here,” it chronicles the artists’ efforts to save the building after the owner, Jerry Wolkoff, announced plans for a new residential development, and their reaction after all their work was painted over in the dead of night. There are also plenty of amazing shots of the building during its glory days, covered in artwork. Now, of course, the warehouse is under demolition.

We Don’t Need More Rats Here [Vimeo]
All 5Pointz coverage [Q'Stoner]

11/21/14 9:00am

queens-pointe- 90-02 Queens Boulevard-elmhurst

A recent Daily News article profiles the “humble Queens nabe” of Elmhurst, which has recently seen an onslaught of new development. The News mainly focuses on the residential conversion of the St. Johns Hospital complex, located across from the Queens Center Mall. When construction wraps on Queens Pointe, as it’s called, there will be 150 luxury rental apartments, several stories of retail and a 250-car parking garage. According to the article, “The developers estimate that they will be able to achieve rents of more than $45 a foot per year for the units, meaning a one-bedroom pad would likely go for over $2,500 a month.” (Luxury rentals at Elm East, on Broadway, leased quickly with rents topping $40 a foot.)

There are more developments slated for the neighborhood: a 69-unit condo tower at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, between 70th and 72nd Streets, and a six-story, 130-unit development for the long-empty site across from East Elm, also off Broadway. To be called West Elm, it’ll boast a private health club, an outdoor roof deck and 24-hour doorman. (Check out an exterior rendering after the jump.) There’s also the recent massive sale of the parking lot behind the Queens Place Mall.

With all that development, sales and rental prices are unsurprisingly rising in the neighborhood, which is better known for its low-rise housing stock. The median price for an apartment comes in at $338,500 — that’s compared to $288,500 in 2011. And an average apartment rents for $1,877 a month, compared to $1,350 in 2011.

Humble Queens Nabe is Suddenly a Luxe Lure for Developers [NY Daily News]

Rendering via New York Daily News (more…)

11/20/14 11:00am

bsQ_112414_5things_001

If you’re anything like the average American, by the time that Friday rolls around, you are going to have to work off a few holiday pounds. Never fear, Brownstoner Queens come to the rescue with a recipe for edgy adventure in Western Queens.

Your first stop is Queens Plaza. That’s where you’ll find the combined pedestrian and bicycle lanes for the Queensboro Bridge, at the intersection of Crescent Street and Queens Plaza North. Personally, I’m a walker, but you this path works for bikes too. You’re going to want to cross the bridge, heading for Manhattan. One thing to keep in mind is how early the sun sets this time of year – which is around 4:30 in the afternoon this week.

More after the jump… (more…)

11/20/14 9:00am

dutch-kills-centraal-bike-corral

Dominic Stiller, the President of the Dutch Kills Civic Association and owner of the bar Dutch Kills Centraal, has resigned from his post after an ongoing disagreement with the civic association about bikes. LIC Post reports that “the organization recently held a vote where its members agreed to oppose the placement of bicycle corrals in the Dutch Kills neighborhood if they led to the removal of parking spaces.” Stiller recently proposed a bike corral in front of his business (above) — space for parking eight bikes and room for two planters — but because it took away one parking space, Community Board One voted it down. According to the Post, Stiller resigned not because of his personal situation, but because of the association’s decision to vote down all bike corrals that threatened parking in the neighborhood. In his resignation letter, he called the focus on cars and parking “short sighted and unsustainable.”

The new president, Thea Romano, argues that there is a limited amount of parking in the neighborhood, with the association fighting for parking spaces for years. “A lot of the stuff that [Stiller] has been putting out there is just not true. He is putting such an awful light on the Dutch Kills Civic Association,” she told the Post.

President of Dutch Kills Civic Association Suddenly Leaves, Differences over Bicycles [LIC Post]

11/19/14 11:00am

45th Ave, 21-21, SB, PS 1

I used to work in Long Island City, as production manager to a now defunct bedding and home furnishings company. We had our sewing and shipping facilities in a factory building near the Silvercup Studios. Whenever I had the opportunity, I would walk around the neighborhood on my lunch hour and see what I could see. Long Island City was hardly the new outpost of cool at the time, although if you were paying attention, you could see that it was coming. This was around 1998-99.

PS 1 had recently opened, (pre-MOMA) and work was being done on the platforms of the 7 train. They were also spiffing up the old Court House. If you stood where you could see the towers of Manhattan across the river, it was pretty clear that Long Island City’s days as a forgotten backwater were numbered. The harbinger of change, Citibank, had been there for several years at that point, although the plaza around it was still pretty deserted. Still, it would only be a matter of time. This part of Queens was just too tantalizingly close to Manhattan.

One day, on one of my wandering walks, I came upon this block. I lived in Bedford Stuyvesant at that time, surrounded by brownstones. I lived in a brownstone. Was this Queens? Land of 20th century housing? (Ok, I didn’t know much back then.) Where did this block come from? How did it survive? The houses were in pretty great shape, as a group, and were made of brick and, what was that? Marble? Who built marble houses? What was the story here? This block was an architectural miracle. (more…)

bia-bar-restaurant

Just last week, the owners of Bia67, on South 6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, signed a deal for an expansion to Long Island City. Bia67 is taking over the commercial space at 23-10 Jackson Avenue, the old Quiznos located between Pearson and Davis Streets. (The Quiznos closed earlier this year.) The owners of Bia67 plan to build out a Vietnamese restaurant and bar this winter. The Brooklyn menu includes dim sum, noodles, banh mi sandwiches, pho and more.

Oren Friedman, of DY Realty Services, brokered the deal and has this to say about the restaurant’s arrival: “It will add some depth to the cuisine of the neighborhood and should make a nice lunch and after work spot for drinks.” Seems like a better addition to the neighborhood than Quiznos, that’s for sure. GMAP

Photo via Bia67

11/18/14 1:00pm

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Remember: Whatever happens under the mistletoe, stays under the mistletoe. As part of the 27th Annual Holiday Historic House Tour, seven local landmarks will offer seasonal refreshments, organize time-honored activities, and provide glimpses of Christmas celebrations from as far back as the 17th century on Sunday, December 7th. Visitors will be able to check out any (or all) of the venues — Kingsland Homestead; Voelker Orth Museum; Lewis H. Latimer House Museum; Friends Meeting House; Flushing Town Hall; Bowne House; and Louis Armstrong House Museum — and a van will continuously run between sites from 1 pm to 5 pm.

After the jump, more information on each participating venue and its tour plans… (more…)

11/18/14 9:00am

the-aston-forest-hills-condo

We knew there was tons of demand at the Forest Hills condo building The Aston, with 1,000 prospective buyers clamoring to see the one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments upon the sales launch in October. Now The Marketing Directors have reported that 50 percent of the units have sold after just four weeks.

There are only 97 units in the building, with one bedrooms starting from $455,000, two bedrooms from $790,000 and three bedrooms from $1,400,000. So far the apartments are selling at ask, but the three-bedroom units (there are three of them) haven’t been spoken for yet. Building amenities include a gym, outdoor terrace, parking garage and concierge.

All Aston coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP