10/30/14 1:00pm

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Sometimes Queens is so diverse it’s scary. Upcoming Halloween events include everything from senior events to youth events; cemetery fun to casino fun; and food-making to mask-making. And let’s not even begin to discuss all the great neighborhoods for trick-or-treating. To aid decision-making, the Queens Tourism Council suggests the following activities because they combine enjoyment with safety, enrichment, and even some sweet treats. They appear on the jump page.

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10/29/14 9:00am

rockaway-ferry-done

Despite a hard fight from Rockaway residents to save their ferry service, the city will stop running it at the end of this month. According to the Daily News, President of the EDC Kyle Kimball told residents at a town hall meeting that it just didn’t make sense for the city to shell out $5,000,000 a year to keep the ferry running. (The service was put in place after Sandy badly damaged other public transportation options from the Rockaways.) Riders paid $3.50 per ticket while the city paid around $30 for each rider. “I realize that I cannot convince you this is the right decision,” said Kimball, “There’s just a difference of opinion on how the city should spend its resources.”

Residents have protested the closure for months now, arguing that the ferry is a fast, convenient and affordable transit route for an area already lacking convenient public transportation. Earlier this month The Wave reported that Mayor de Blasio met with local elected pols on ways to possibly extend the service, with hopes that this was the “Hail Mary” the ferry needed.

City Officials Offer Apologies and Some Harsh Ferry News at Town Hall Meeting [NY Daily News]
All Rockaway Ferry coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/28/14 1:30pm

citi-bike-expansion-queens

This just in: the Department of Transportation announced a Citi Bike expansion to Long Island City, Queensbridge and Astoria by the end of 2015. (Other neighborhoods include Bed Stuy, Greenpoint, Crown Heights and Park Slope.) The announcement isn’t a total surprise, but the timeline is new. It’s also too bad that Sunnyside was left out, as the neighborhood was expected to be included in the initial Queens rollout. No word yet on the number of stations or where they will be located, but feel free to start suggesting locations. Stay tuned for more details… UPDATE: The New York Times reports that the program will expand to 12,000 bikes at more than 700 stations. Prices for an annual membership will rise almost 60 percent from $95 to $149.

Photo via the DOT’s Instagram

10/27/14 11:00am

bsQ_102714_high_002

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the roof deck at the Pearson LIC, some 16 stories above Court Square here in Long Island City. The views from this spot are unparalleled, as it’s location next to the Sunnyside Yards allows for a seamless view of the horizon in any direction. I’ve gotten high in Long Island City before, by the way, last time it was with Melinda Katz.

As is my habit when presented with such vistas, I decided to shoot “stitched panorama” components. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it’s a “photoshop thing” which allows one to combine multiple images into singular wide angle ones. The odd shape of the frames in these shots is caused by me twisting about while trying to maintain the horizon level. Clicking on any of the shots in today’s post will take you out to my Flickr page, where progressively larger iterations of them can be accessed, all the way up to the originals, which might be as large as two to three feet across.

Center frame in this one is the mouth of Newtown Creek and the Freedom tower.

More after the jump… (more…)

10/27/14 9:00am

5pointz-demolition

The Court Square Blog posted the above photo on its Twitter account this weekend — the demolition of the actual 5Pointz warehouse has begun. Demolition of the rear section wrapped earlier this month; scaffolding appeared along Jackson Avenue last week. The Wolkoffs, the owners of the site, planned to finish demolition of the entire complex by the end of this month, then quickly start construction of the two 47- and 41-story apartment towers. RIP.

All 5Pointz Coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/24/14 10:00am

sunnyside-yards-development

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.”

Amtrak Weighing Development of Massive Queens Rail Yard [Capital New York]
Feasibility Study Urged for Sunnyside Yards Development [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Mitch Waxman

10/23/14 2:00pm

Q.E.D.-astoria

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

Photo via the Q.E.D. Astoria Facebook

newtown-creek

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.”

Getty Petroleum Agrees to Pay $16M to Clean Newtown Creek [NY Daily News]
Newtown Creek Gets $16 Million From A Company That Helped Ruin It [Gothamist]
All Newtown Creek coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Mitch Waxman

10/21/14 9:00am

big-six-woodside

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.

Photo by Mitch Waxman

10/17/14 11:00am

voelker1

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.

voelker2
Sohmer piano in the Voelker-Orth House parlor

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