10/10/14 9:00am

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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

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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…)

10/09/14 9:00am

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Bike lanes along the Pulaski Bridge, proposed by the Department of Transportation for some time now, are desperately needed. That’s why it’s a total disappointment that the DOT probably won’t build the lanes out until next year — the goal was to wrap construction in 2014. Streetsblog reports that the DOT is still in the planning process of converting a traffic lane on the bridge to a two-way protected bike path. A spokesperson for Assembly Member Joe Lentol stated, “The final bid from the contractor is under review by the Comptroller’s office. By the beginning of November, DOT will begin internal pre-construction meetings. By the time that process is done they will be headed toward winter and the holiday [construction] embargo. Does not look like work is going to begin this calendar year.”

The DOT will announce its new construction schedule after securing a contractor, and more information could emerge by the end of this month. Meanwhile, bikers and pedestrians will fight for scraps along the bridge’s narrow walkway that currently serves both travelers.

Pulaski Bridge Bikeway Likely Delayed Until Next Year [Streetsblog]
All Pulaski Bridge coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering via the DOT

10/08/14 4:00pm

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The 3rd Annual Astoria Arts Festival kicks off this Friday, October 10th and lasts 10 whole days. We Heart Astoria published a very helpful guide on the events to expect in the coming days, which are spread out over 30 local venues. You can also check out a full schedule at the Astoria Arts Festival website. Events include a kickoff party this Friday at Front Toward Enemy, a collection of music, vendors and artists at Singlecut Brewery, an Art Walk at different Astoria businesses, and a closing party on Saturday, October 18th at Old Prague. Can’t wait!

Astoria Art Festival 2014 Event List and Map [We Heart Astoria]

10/08/14 2:00pm

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Don Korean Cuisine has set up shop in Astoria, at 42-06 30th Avenue off 42nd Street. We Heart Astoria spotted signage up but couldn’t find any sign of the business on the internet. No word of the opening date, but WAH expects it to be ready for business soon.

Don Korean Cuisine joins another Korean restaurant under construction in the neighborhood, Mokja. It’s moving into the old 1-800 Flowers space at 35-19 Broadway.

Don Korean Cuisine Opening On 30th Avenue [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

Photo by Andrea Lynn via We Heart Astoria

10/08/14 10:00am

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This week, the Department of City Planning released a study proposing better transit connections from Long Island City and Astoria to Brooklyn, Roosevelt Island and LaGuardia Airport. There are a slew of suggestions, outlined by the New York Daily News. One is a new transit corridor (potentially an express bus) extending from LaGuardia to Downtown Brooklyn. Another is expanded ferry and bus service from the Astoria waterfront.

Extended service to Roosevelt Island would be along the Q19 and Q39 bus lines, there’d be express service on the N and Q subway lines at the Ditmars Boulevard, Astoria Boulevard and Queensboro Plaza stops, and the bike path along 36th Avenue to Roosvelt Island would be improved. The Department also proposed some streetscape improvements, pictured above. Those include crosswalks and curb bumpouts along Vernon Boulevard, 21st Street and Crescent Street as well as building out “green medians” at Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue.

The DCP has worked on these proposals since April of 2013, but at this point it’s unclear what’s likely to become a reality.

Queens Needs Better Connections to Tech Centers in Brooklyn, Roosevelt Island: Study [NY Daily News]

Rendering via the Department of City Planning

SculptureStreet

Over the weekend, the SculptureCenter celebrated its brand new addition: a 2,000-square-foot, one-story entrance lobby with a bookshop, seating area and restrooms; 6,500 square feet of flexible interior exhibition space; an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries; and a 1,500-square-foot, enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events. In honor of the opening, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer officially renamed the block the museum is located on — Purves Street — as Sculpture Street. (Of course, we know it as the craziest block of development in Queens.) Council Member Van Bramer helped fund the $4,000,000 expansion project.

Pictured above, that’s the Council Member with Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, Mary Ceruti, the Executive Director of SculptureCenter, her daughter and Ruba Katrib, the curator of the upcoming exhibit “Puddle, pothole, portal.”

All SculptureCenter coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/07/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: William Hallet, 36-10 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: No one knows better what a neighborhood needs than the people who live there. So when Astorians Gary Anza and George Rallis noticed the lack of late-night American fare deep in Astoria, they started planning, and in July 2011 the restaurant William Hallet opened.

“The great thing about American food is you can take a little from each culture and create new dishes, which is where we wanted to take the menu when we conceived Hallet,” says Rallis.

The bar and restaurant focuses on late-night bites, perfect for sharing with a crowd, and over the last three years the crowd has been changing.

“There is a greater concentration of young single people, as opposed to ethnic family-centric households,” Rallis explains. “And although we try to cater to the new Astorians, when we create a new menu we still take cues from the ethnic diversity that is still prevalent in the neighborhood.”

And William Hallet will be there, with a selection of shareable dishes, whiskey, and draft beers.

Read about William Hallet’s Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

10/07/14 10:00am

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The “Boulevard of Death” may be seeing a major overhaul under the Department of Transportation. Streetsblog hears that “Word on the street is that Queens Boulevard could be the first major arterial redesign initiated by Polly Trottenberg’s DOT.” Apparently, Transportation Alternatives is working on conceptual designs for the thoroughfare before DOT begins community workshops; a DOT source told Streetsblog that the city agency will soon reach out to elected officials and community boards. Not unrelated, Community Board Six called for a total redesign of the boulevard early this summer.

The DOT made some safety changes about a decade ago, but Queens Boulevard continues to be one of NYC’s deadliest streets. Transportation Alternatives and the Community Board have pushed for stricter street safety measures for a long time, and we hope their insistence is about to pay off.

Rumor Mill: Safety Overhaul in the Works for the “Boulevard of Death” [Streetsblog]
All Queens Boulevard coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/06/14 11:00am

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An “intervention,” as the term is used in modernity, is when the family and friends of an addict or alcoholic gather to let the offending party know how their bad behavior is affecting the larger group. The idea is that the addict will be shamed into seeking some sort of professional treatment for their various issues. Clearly, things cannot continue as they are and the addict must mend their ways and conform to societal norms. There’s even a TV show called “Intervention” which presents the dramatic and emotional confrontations which ensue during these gatherings.

As everybody knows, those of us who live in Queens are dross consumerists. All of our time is spent at big box stores, fast food establishments, or just mindlessly sitting in traffic while going nowhere important. Work, breed, and die, that’s us. Brooklyn, on the other hand, has artisinal pickles, salty chocolate, and bacon ice cream. Queens needs to be more like Brooklyn, say the Brooklyn people. Well… that’s what everyone in Brooklyn and Manhattan thinks should happen around here.

Hence, the Queens Art Intervention was created, to expand our limited minds and offer a dab of color and smattering of high culture to our otherwise drab existence.

More after the jump… (more…)