10/21/14 9:00am


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


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.

Sohmer piano in the Voelker-Orth House parlor


10/16/14 1:30pm


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.

Wi-Fi Coming for 29 Queens Subway Stations [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Wikipedia

10/16/14 10:00am


Tonight, the Ridgewood Property Owners and Civic Association along with the Landmarks Preservation Commission are holding a public meeting regarding the proposed Central Ridgewood Historic District. The Times Newsweekly ran a Facebook post announcing the meeting, and reports that the landmarking effort would protect around 900 homes in the area. As the Times Newsweekly said in an article on the proposed district, published way back in 2010, “The Central Ridgewood district, if enacted, would protect more than three times the total number of buildings in Ridgewood landmark districts.” (Currently, there are two districts in the neighborhood landmarked, as well as a block of Stockholm Street between Woodward and Onderdonk avenues.)

The proposed district, which spans 40 different blocks of the neighborhood, includes brick rowhouses built in the early 1900s and located in the grey area mapped above. The architecture firm Louis Berger and Company designed many of the rowhouses in question, and many of his Renaissance Revival details remain well preserved in the neighborhood.

The meeting tonight starts at 7 pm at the Cardella Center, which is located at the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Catalpa Avenue.

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 12.10.32 PM

Today, according to the Daily News, the city kicks off the lottery for affordable units at Hunters Point South. Nearly 50,000 NYC residents are expected to enter the lottery for 924 apartments. Applications can be submitted through the NYC Housing Connect website. The Hunters Point South website is also filled with lots of goodies, including rental prices, application instructions and a mailing list. (Thanks to We Heart Astoria for directing us there.) As you can see above, apartments are designated for both low and moderate income households. Prices under the moderate income bracket range from $1,561 to $4,346 for a studio to three bedroom; prices under the low income bracket range from $494 to $959. As We Heart Astoria says, “We have to say — the numbers in the moderate income table seem kind of high.” We agree, although those prices are significantly lower than the median price for an LIC studio this September, at $2,293.

We couldn’t find the actual income restrictions — for affordable NYC housing, you need to make a certain amount of money to be considered for certain types of apartments, and usually the bracket is quite limited. Community Board Two residents (Sunnyside, Woodside and LIC) will be given priority over other applicants on 50 percent of these units. Applicants have 60 days to submit applications; they will know if they’ve been picked for an affordable unit by early next year. UPDATE: See all the income restrictions broken down after the jump.

Long-Awaited Lottery to Begin for Two Towers of Affordable Hunter’s Point South [NY Daily News]
Hunters Point South Rental Listings Are Now Available [WHA]
All Hunters Point South coverage [Q'Stoner]


10/14/14 11:00am

Queens Boulevard in the mid-1910s

Sunnyside Gardens, in northwest Queens, was the creation of architects Clarence Stein and Henry Wright and the City Housing Corporation led by developer Alexander Bing. Constructed between 1924 and 1928, it consists of a series of “courts” (composed of rows of townhouses and small apartment buildings) built on all or part of sixteen blocks, a total of more than 600 buildings. The designated area also includes the Phipps Gardens apartment buildings, constructed in the early 1930s, and Sunnyside Gardens Park, one of two officially private parks remaining in New York City (the other is Gramercy Park in Manhattan).

The large complex is one of the most significant planned residential communities in New York City and has acheived nagtional and international recognition for its low-rise, low density housing arranged around landscaped open courtyards.

In the early years of the Great Depression, nearly 60 percent of Sunnyside Gardens’ residents lost their homes to foreclosure. Those difficult years saw organized resistance by residents who forcefully opposed efforts by city marshals to evict families. The character of Sunnyside Gardens was protected by 40-year easements which assured the integrity of the courtyards and common walkways and controlled changes to the exterior of every property, extending even to paint color.

From the 1940s through the mid-1960s, young families and artists moved to Sunnyside from more crowded parts of the city. Well-known residents of that period included Rudy Vallee, Judy Holliday and Perry Como and a young James Caan.

On June 26, 2007, the Landmarks Preservation Commission voted to designate the community. Before designation, there was considerable illegal or inappropriate work done on the Gardens’ houses. Since designation, the district is returning to its original character.


10/14/14 10:00am


Later today the Trust for Public Land will reveal its latest QueensWay proposal, but the Times and the Daily News have run stories early in regards to the plans. Renderings envision outdoor nature classrooms, exercise stations, a commuter route, a bike trail, an arts hub, a rock climbing wall and food concessions that showcase ethnic eats. The goal of the design, according to the Times, “Is to keep some of the wild feel while adding cultural and recreational attractions.” There are also new access points proposed throughout the park, which is now an abandoned LIRR railway running from Ozone Park to Rego Park. The estimated cost is $120,000,000; so far the Friends of the QueensWay organization raised $1,200,000.

The report is the result of months of community workshops. While proponents of the QueensWay argue that the new park will directly benefit 320,000 people living within a mile of the abandoned rail line, not everyone wants it. There are still lingering concerns about privacy and security, and some transportation advocates want the railway reopened for trains. (The QueensWay designers addressed concerns of privacy by placing the bike path closest to the homes, adding trees and fencing and moving the lights to footpath level.) While the land is owned by the city, Mayor de Blasio hasn’t weighed in on the plans yet.

Check out more renderings after the jump.

A Plan to Turn a Queens Railway Into a Park [NY Times]
New Study Says QueensWay Project Would Cost $120 Million [NY Daily News]
All QueensWay coverage [Q'Stoner]

Renderings via Dlandstudio/WXY architecture+urban design


10/10/14 11:00am


In the late 19th and early 20th century, a trolley line connected Flushing and Jamaica, running originally through the farms and fields of Fresh Meadows. The above image was captured at 164th Street and 77th Avenue in 1936, just a few months before service ended in 1937. In short order, the tracks were pulled up, the weeds paved over, a center median added, and 164th Street became the fast and furious stretch we know it as today between Flushing Cemetery and the Grand Central Parkway. More images of this ilk can be found in the book I wrote in association with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Forgotten Queens. 



10/10/14 9:00am


Last week, State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli declared that Queens is home to two out of the five worst subway stations in New York City. Times Ledger writes that those lousy stations are the Seneca Avenue M station in Ridgewood (it ranked second to last) and the 52 Street 7 station in Woodside (which ranked fifth worst). The ranking was part of a report issued by DiNapoli, which criticized the MTA for being slow to make structural and architectural improvements at stations. (Although the Senaca Avenue station did receive some artwork recently.) He compiled the report using 2012 data compiled by NYC Transit.

Here are more details on the findings, from the Times Ledger: “More than 85 percent of the Seneca Avenue station’s structural components – such as stairs, columns and platform edges – required repair and more than 79 percent of the 52 Street’s parts needed fixes.” Actually, Brooklyn and Queens’ stations account for a third of all the problem stations — and in 2012, only 51 of the 468 total stations were completely free of any defects. It is worth nothing that since 2012, the MTA says to have repaired more than 150 of those stations. As for the others, the MTA says they are under construction or in the planning process. We know there are improvements ahead for the 7 line, but we don’t know about any such plans for the Seneca Avenue stop.

Incidentally, it looks to us like the Seneca Avenue M Station still has traces of its original construction visible from the exterior — rare for an elevated station, and kind of cool, we think.

Ridgewood Subway Station Among Worst in City: DiNapoli [Times Ledger]

Photo by The Subway Nut

10/09/14 11:00am


Nondescript. That’s how you’d describe the structure found at the northern side of 47th Avenue, between 27th and 28th Streets, in Long Island City. You’d probably mention the fading paint of an advertisement for some sort of beer found on the facade, to distinguish it.

The modern day street address for this 1934 structure is found on the 28th Street side (46-24 28th Street), but mail sent to the offices of “E. J. Burke, Ltd., of New York, Dublin, London and Liverpool” was delivered to a long vanished secondary structure at 47-24 27th Street which was constructed around 1923. The company that resided here, a family business of sorts, built out the entire block from Skillman to 47th Avenue, and from 27th to 28th, after relocating from their digs on West 46th over in Manhattan.

At either address, you could count on the stout flowing. This was the official Guinness brewery in America, after all.

More after the jump… (more…)