12/18/14 11:00am

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Remember when I told you about the time that I found a missing piece of the Queensboro Bridge? The post ended with a promise that the Roosevelt Island Historic Society had made to bring the item back to their location and preserve it.

Last weekend, I decided to stroll over to Roosevelt Island and see how my little discovery was faring under their stewardship. I’m happy to announce that it’s been given a place of prominence, and is sitting alongside the former Queensboro Trolley Station entrance which serves as the group’s HQ.

More after the jump… (more…)

12/17/14 9:00am

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Since launching in October, more than 60 percent of the co-op apartments at The Continental Park, located at 87-10 51st Avenue, are now in contract. The sales team tells us that units are entering contract at ask, with studios starting from $185,000, one bedrooms from $229,500, two bedrooms from $347,500 and three bedrooms from $509,500. All of the studio, one and three bedrooms are spoken for, with just two-bedroom units left.

The developers Myles Horn, ABC Properties and Fisher Associates purchased 79 units in the 153-unit co-op and redeveloped the apartments, redesigned the common spaces, and added amenities like a children’s playground, fitness center and lounge. (Take a tour of the building right here.) Yael Goldman, who is handling marketing and sales, reports that “We expected sales to move quickly, but the response has been greater than anyone could have imagined.” More than 1,000 people came to tour the units the first weekend the sales center opened.

All Continental Park coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

12/16/14 11:00am

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Of the many bridges that cross the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek, which includes the Pulaski (McGuiness Boulevard), J.J. Byrne (Greenpoint Avenue) Kosciuszko (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, and the late lamented Penny Bridge, my favorite is the rattling Grand Street Bridge, which connects outlandishly remote sections of Brooklyn and Queens, two neighborhoods in East Williamsburg and western Maspeth you wouldn’t visit unless you worked there. Or unless you are me.

The reason for my preference is simple. While the other Newtown Creek bridges are relatively bland products of the mid-to-late 20th century and are quite boring in aspect the Grand Street Bridge is a 1900 swing bridge that looks like something you would put together with an erector set when you were a kid.

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Wondering what it actually looks like inside of Hunters Point South, the high profile affordable housing development going up along the LIC waterfront? We recently took a tour of Hunters Point Commons, one of the two buildings in the development, which rises 37 stories and holds 619 apartments. Its next door neighbor, Hunters Point Crossing, is 32 stories with 306 units. Construction should wrap on both towers by the middle of next year, with occupancy slated for spring. (Work started up in 2013.) And although you can now apply for affordable housing here, work is still very much underway. In fact, today is the very last day to apply for the low- and middle-income apartment units, which you can do here. Qualified residents will be notified in February.

The development is the work of Related Companies, Phipps and Monadnock Constriction. The folks at Related tell us demand has been huge. There were reports of 25,000 applications in two weeks after the application process launched — the number was actually higher than that. And it isn’t hard to see why so many people want to live here. The views are incredible, there’s a long list of amenities, and the floor plans look impressive.

After the jump, see what all the fuss is about.

All Hunters Point South coverage [Q'Stoner] (more…)

12/12/14 9:00am

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Here it is, Elm West, the new development slated for 85-15 Queens Boulevard right across the street from rental development East Elm. YIMBY first spotted the rendering for the proposed 130-unit apartment building. It’ll come with a whopping 50,000 square feet of retail space, with some extra community space. There’s no word on the construction timeline yet — the Department of Buildings hasn’t issued new building permits.

Elm West is by the same Flushing-based developer as East Elm, Pi Capital Partners. Pi saw quite a bit of demand at East Elm, which has 83 rental units, and our guess is that this development will also do well. The design, at the very least, looks very similar, with the exception of the corner balconies planned for Elm West. We guess that’ll afford a great view of Queens Boulevard…

Revealed: Elm West at 85-15 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst [YIMBY] GMAP

Rendering via Pi Capital Partners

12/11/14 11:00am

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The Loose Wiles “thousand windows” Bakery on Thomson Avenue, which serves modernity as Building C of the LaGuardia Community College campus, is about to receive a face lift. It’s an important structure, and not just because it was the largest factory building under one roof in the entire United States when it was built in 1913 as the centerpiece of the Degnon Terminal. The erection of the building at the start of the 20th century signaled the beginning of an age of large scale manufacturing in Western Queens, and when the Loose Wiles “Sunshine Biscuits” signage came down in the 1980′s – it heralded the end of that era. The IDCNY signage which replaced it in the 1980′s represents the moment when LIC began to transform into its current incarnation – carefully guided by Urban Planners – a process which saw the Citi building rise in the early 1990′s, followed by the residential towers which continue to propagate between the East River and Queens Plaza.

LaGuardia Community College is in the early stages of a facelift for the century old building, which will alter its appearance and once again change the signage adorning it. It’s the end of the fourth age of LIC, and the beginning of something new.

More after the jump… (more…)

12/10/14 9:00am

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Yesterday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission unanimously approved the designation of the Central Ridgewood Historic District. The district spans 40 blocks of the neighborhood and covers 990 buildings — more than three times the total number of buildings in already-landmarked districts of Ridgewood. The district mostly consists of brick rowhouses built in the early 1900s, and includes the streetscapes of 69th Avenue, Madison Street, Catalpa Avenue (above), and the Meyerrose House at 66-75 Forest Avenue. Prominent architects featured in the area are Louis Berger (the architect of record for over 5,000 buildings in the Ridgewood-Bushwick area) and Paul Stier (who built about half of the houses in the Central Ridgewood Historic District). This district is, according to the LPC, “One of the most harmonious and architecturally-distinguished enclaves of working-class dwellings built in New York City during the early twentieth century.” Here are more details from the LPC:

The detailing of the buildings is mainly in the Renaissance Revival Style, often mixed with elements from other styles, such as Romanesque Revival and neo-Grec. Many of the buildings’ original brownstone stoops, cut-glass and wood doors, and iron fences, railings and gates remain intact, as do most of the pressed-metal cornices. Representing a cohesive collection of speculative urban architecture, the row houses in the Central Ridgewood Historic District retain a high level of architectural integrity and represent an important part of housing development in New York City.

This is the third historic district for Ridgewood, and the 11th for Queens. Check out two more photos of buildings in the district after the jump.

All Central Ridgewood Historic District coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photos via the LPC (more…)

12/09/14 11:00am

Quiet, suburban Rosedale is clustered along the Queens-Nassau County border, between Laurelton in the west and Valley Stream and Woodmere in the east. When visiting the area a couple of years ago, I was struck not by its architecture, which is mostly 50s and 60s suburban sprawl; I was more impressed with its resemblance to neighboring Nassau. It seems to be a part of Queens only by political considerations.

Till 1898, when New York City expanded to five boroughs, Queens and Nassau were one (very) large county. As you move along the Queens-Nassau border, you can see places where they might as well have never separated.

It’s also a place where some of Long Island’s longest roads begin and end….

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The neighborhood fixture Sunnyside Center Cinemas is shuttering on January 4th, reports Sunnyside Post. The owner, Broadway Stages, John Ciafone’s 45-25 Queens Boulevard Realty Corp., bought the property in 2012 for $6,650,000. Now their plan is to lease 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer to build out a residential development. According to Sunnyside Post, “The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights.” The ground-floor retail space would remain but would be completely refurbished. And next door, the bar PJ Horgan’s (also a tenant of 45-25 Queens Boulevard Realty Corp.) will stay open.

The Sunnyside Center Cinemas remained amazingly affordable throughout the years ($5 for children and senior tickets, $7.50 for adults) and the owner, Rudy Prashad, was negotiating a 20-year lease for the building before it sold. He told Sunnyside Post that “he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves.” What a bummer to say goodbye. UPDATE: The owner of the Sunnyside Center Cinemas is 45-25 Queens Boulevard Realty Corp., not Broadway Stages. The post has been updated.

Sunnyside’s Movie Theater to Close Next Month [Sunnyside Post]

Photo by Sunnyside Post

12/05/14 9:00am

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Great news to start your Friday: the Landmarks Preservation Commission withdrew its plan to “decalendar” 94 historic properties and two historic districts throughout New York City. Eight of those sites were in Queens, and included the Pepsi Cola sign in LIC, an extension to the Douglaston Historic District, the Old Calvary Cemetery Gatehouse, the Bowne Street Community Church in Flushing and the Spanish Towers and Fairway Apartments in Jackson Heights.

(Calendaring means that the LPC plans to take a designation vote on a structure or historic district; if something is calendared it usually means it’s on track to becoming a landmark.) The LPC wanted to clear its backlog of items on the calendar since 2010 or earlier, but the decision elicited lots of outrage and controversy for the lack of public input.

The New York Times spoke with LPC Chairwoman Meenakshi Srinivasan on the matter: “In withdrawing the proposal, she said she wanted to provide more time for people to speak up for certain properties while making clear all would be dealt with sooner rather than later.”

Landmarks Panel Drops Proposal to Trim List [NY Times]
The LPC Looks to Decalendar Eight Queens Sites [Q'Stoner]