07/28/14 11:00am

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Saturday last, I conducted a walking tour along the Brooklyn and Maspeth borders, and afterwards decided to enjoy the beautiful weather by walking back home to Astoria. My path carried me along the fence line of Mt. Zion cemetery (Maurice Avenue side) toward Tyler Avenue, where I made a left.

Just look at what was waiting for me to notice it when I turned onto Tyler – a 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe, which I believe to be the P15 model.

Man alive, I love Queens.

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new-york-state-pavilion

This week we got some bad news regarding the New York State Pavilion, but today better news emerged. Governor Cuomo recently announced he is allocating a total of $5,000,000 to help repair 14 historically significant properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Cuomo awarded $127,000 for repairs to the New York State Pavilion, the single property selected in Queens. Here are details on the repairs to come:

$127,000 to the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for a conditions assessment of damage to the NYS Pavilion cable roof structure to determine the impact of Sandy and develop cost estimates for stabilization; basic repairs may also be undertaken. The NYS Pavilion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with national significance as a landmark of American engineering and was one of most highly acclaimed structures at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair.

These funds are in addition to the $5,806,000 allocated to upgrade the structure’s electrical system, rebuild the staircases inside the Pavilion’s three towers, and repair the concrete platforms supporting the observation decks at the top of each of the towers. As People for the Pavilion said of the recent news, “The continued support from elected officials for the preservation of the Pavilion is extremely encouraging. PFP will continue to work with our partners at the local, city, state, and national levels to develop a sustainable reuse plan for the Pavilion, and to encourage further support for the structure.”

All New York State Pavilion coverage [Q'Stoner]

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It’s time to modernize a Queens spot where youngsters play a sport whose history dates back to before the 14th century. The Shannon Gaels Gaelic Athletic Association’s home field, Frank Golden Park in College Point, recently received $580,000 in public funds for an upgrade. The money — an $80,000 allocation from City Council Member Paul Vallone and a $500,000 allocation from Borough President Melinda Katz — will go to resurfacing the playing and scrimmage fields as well as installing an eight-foot fence around the park and a 30-foot retractable fence behind each goal post. With several hundred members who trace their heritage to all 32 counties on the Emerald Isle, the Shannon Gaels fields boys, girls and co-ed teams in various age groups that compete throughout the world. The association, which also organizes competitions involving other Irish sports such as hurling, was founded in 2002 with no home. Members practiced on sections of Forest, Juniper Valley, and Sunnyside Gardens parks until 2009, when they signed a 15-year lease with the NYC Parks Department for rights to seven acres of Golden Park, just south of 14th Avenue.

Information on the sport and more photos on jump page.

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queens-museum-bbq

Tonight from 7 to 10 pm, the Queens Museum is hosting This Ain’t Havana: Paladar in Queens. It’s a food/art/architecture collaboration by the artist Craig Shillitto and the Museum’s Cuban architects-in-residence Yoandy Rizo Fiallo and Osmany García Fuentes. Here’s what to look forward to: attendees will get to try a variety of Caribbean, Central and South American barbecue for free. Here are event details from the website:

Bringing together Queens pit and grill masters from an array of Latin American barbecue traditions, ‘This Ain’t Havana’ uses their small dishes as a symbolic journey throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America. Guests will gather at a ‘migrating’ table that during the course of the installation will be simultaneously added to and deconstructed, its materials being used to fuel the BBQ that is providing the evening’s fare. With food, drink, and fire, this participatory art project has something for everyone.

Sounds like our kind of thing. While the event is free, you must RSVP. You can do that here.

07/24/14 9:00am

Maspeth_fire_house-landmarking

More bad news for the Maspeth residents working to landmark the 1914 firehouse at 56-29 68th Street. The community wrote to the Landmarks Preservation Commission once Bill de Blasio stepped in as the new mayor, but the LPC research team said this month that the building was not eligible for landmarking. The LPC under Mayor Bloomberg also denied requests for designation.

The residents argue that the historic significance, the importance of the station during September 11th, and the firehouse’s centennial this year are solid reasons for landmarking. The LPC previously stated that they do not cite the Maspeth structure as a priority based on architectural significance, and they cannot count the events on September 11th as historically significant since the LPC calls for a 30-year minimum regarding historic relevance. The most recent rejection stated that “…to be eligible for consideration, a site must be greater than 30 years old, and the 9/11 Monument does not meet this criteria.” Steve Fischer, who is spearheading the landmark campaign, said this in an email: “We are frankly confounded by [the LPC's] repeated reference to a monument and we certainly question why the “30-year rule” has any bearing at all on our case. We have written a response to this latest LPC letter in which we try to clarify once again what the subject of our application entails and why it is worthy of consideration by the full Commission.” The neighborhood of Maspeth, despite being home to a number of historic buildings, does not have any landmarked structures.

After the jump, read the full letter just sent to the LPC in defense of the firehouse.

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mundo-paper-factory-hotel

Yesterday, the folks behind the restaurant Mundo posted the above photo to their Facebook account. It’s a very promising glimpse of their new space at the Paper Factory Hotel; the popular restaurant is relocating from Astoria. The blog We Heart LIC has tracked the opening with anticipation, and posted this video interview with the owners back in May.

The restaurant should open in the hotel this summer. Here are some details about the food, from the website: “Mundo’s menu highlights the best of earthy Mediterranean and unique global flavors with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients from local vendors and farms, and homemade dishes.” Mundo is especially known for its Red Sonja, a Turkish dish made from red lentil and bulgur wheat served on lettuce with fresh lemon. Can’t wait!

22-44-jackson-avenue-5pointz-permits

The construction of two glassy towers to replace the infamous 5Pointz graffiti warehouse is officially in motion. New York YIMBY reported that architect H. Thomas O’Hara filed building permits with the DOB yesterday morning. The filings really show how massive this development will be: 977,086 square feet of residential space and 39,765 square feet of commercial space, making 1,016,851 square feet total. There will also be a 32,099-square-foot plaza and a 262-car public parking garage. The two towers will hold 1,116 units, and roughly 20 percent will be priced affordably.

Demolition of the graffiti warehouse should begin in a few weeks; it’s expected to be gone by October. Site work for the new building should begin in three to five months, and eventually Long Island City will have one more development that looks just like every other new build in New York.

Permits Filed: 22-44 Jackson Avenue [New York YIMBY]
All 5Pointz coverage [Q'Stoner]

07/22/14 12:30pm

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Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Alobar, 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.

The Deal: When your restaurant’s philosophy revolves around farm-fresh produce and seasonal dishes, it’s imperative that the menu reflects the changing seasons. So although patrons may miss a favorite hearty dish – such as late winter’s Signature Dish of the Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi – summer is just an opportunity to find a new favorite.

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07/22/14 11:00am

In Queens, there are worlds within worlds. Over the last three years I have been at loose ends, occasionally working freelance jobs when I can get them, still hoping for a fulltime job with benefits, a Holy Grail of sorts for someone in their 50s who has never been in management. I spend some of the time at the Greater Astoria Historical Society, which is located on the 4th floor of the Quinn Funeral Home at 35-20 Broadway, scanning photographs and researching material for a new book; the Society and I collaborated on the Forgotten Queens Arcadia Publishing entry, released in December 2013.

Desiring relief from boredom and some needed exercise, I took a different route to the subway after leaving GAHS one day and turned right on Broadway onto 37th Street. I knew about 37th Street from its role in world industrial history (see below for that) but I wasn’t completely prepared for the sheer variety of architecture that greeted me in the single block between Broadway and 34th Avenue. Much of Astoria features blocks of apartment buildings, handsomely constructed, but seemingly turned out by photocopier (another hint). Some blocks, though, betray their age, with buildings of a century or better pressed up against the newest architectural stylings that will look dated and of their time in what’s likely a mere twenty years.

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sculpture-center

The Purves Street Block Association meeting is coming up this Wednesday, July 23rd, and there are two very interesting proposal on the agenda. First off, the Sculpture Center will present on its new building reopening, and related events planned. The Center started an expansion project in the spring of 2013; it includes 6,500 square feet of interior exhibition space, a 2,000-square-foot entrance lobby and a 1,500-square-foot enclosed courtyard. Last we heard, the ETA for the space was this fall.

The second item on the agenda is a presentation from Rockrose Development for new park space at Dutch Kills Street and Jackson Avenue. The area is mostly commercial with a few empty lots but unfortunately, there aren’t any more details to divulge at this time. If you’re interested in attending the meeting, it will take place at Sculpture Center, 44-19 Purves Street, from 7 to 8pm. RSVP to Cheryl@sculpture-center.org or call 718-361-1750.