08/29/14 11:00am

indiancemetery

In 1931, workers excavated the north side of Northern Boulevard just west of Little Neck Parkway. The boulevard, formerly known as Broadway and also as the Flushing and North Hempstead Turnpike, was being widened to its present condition as the Automobile Age was in full flower. However, a cemetery containing remains of Matinecoc Indian families, longstanding in this region of Queens, was in the way.

The Matinecoc Indians, a branch of the Algonquin group, had occupied the lands of eastern Queens for centuries before Europeans arrived. While the Matinecoc tribes gradually sold off their holdings to the Dutch and British in other parts of Long Island, giving the lands a peaceful transfer, Thomas Hicks (of the Hicks family that settled Hicksville) forcibly evicted the Matinecocks in Little Neck. Decades after Hicks, and well after American independence, some Matinecoc remained. Members of the Waters family, prominent among the tribe, still live in homes along Little Neck Parkway north of Northern Boulevard.

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08/29/14 9:00am

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The brokerage firm MNS released Queens rental reports for the months of June and July — the firm even debuted a video series that highlights current rental trends in the borough.

Rent prices in Queens increased by approximately 1.76 percent from $2,077 in June 2014 to $2,113 in July 2014. But listing inventory decreased a whopping 48 percent this past July compared to June. According to MNS, “When considering the activity for this month it is important to note that all neighborhoods (except for Long Island City and Astoria) had less than 50 units on the market at the time of this analysis, a relatively low sample size.” Rego Park, in particular, saw an influx of moderately priced vacant units despite lower levels in other neighborhoods. MNS also expects moderate up and down fluctuations taking place in the near future, with a long-term projection of prices increasing steadily.

The priciest rents of the summer were in LIC (no surprise there) — average rents ranged from $2,410 to $3,908 per month. From June to July, Astoria saw the highest rise in overall average rents throughout Queens — 7.41 percent. And although listing inventory was very low in Ridgewood this summer, the monthly average overall rent increased 2.31 percent. You’ll still find some of the cheapest rentals in Ridgewood (with two-beds asking an average of $2,183), as well as Flushing (where studios averaged at $1,250). Jackson Heights saw a 21.21 percent monthly increase in average rent for studios, causing the overall average rent to rise by approximately $50.

After the jump, check out graphics for the most expensive and least expensive neighborhoods in the borough, as well as a breakdown of studio and two-bedroom apartment rental prices… (more…)

08/28/14 9:00am

40-07-73rd-Street

The Roosevelt, the 31-unit rental located at 40-07 73rd Street off Roosevelt Avenue, is totally spoken for. Brokers from Citi Habitats inform us that the building is 100 percent leased; listings launched in October of 2013. Back then, the convertible two bedrooms started at $2,400 a month, with two bedrooms at $2,400 and three bedrooms at $3,600. All units came with their own outdoor space.

The Roosevelt made headlines when a penthouse unit rented for $4,100 a month, making it the most expensive apartment to ever rent in the neighborhoods of Woodside, Elmhurst or Jackson Heights. Citi Habitats didn’t negotiate on rents, although they offered apartments no fee with another offer for two months free on a 13 month lease. Before its life as a rental development, the Roosevelt was a failed condo project known as the Bravo. Guess rentals were the trick!

All 40-07 73rd Street coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

08/27/14 11:00am

35-34 Bell Blvd, Bayside, Peter Greenberg, Wiki 1

One of the great things about New York City is that somewhere in the five boroughs, you can find just about anything. When it comes to architecture, that is certainly true. It’s really not surprising that there is even a cobblestone house in the city, a vernacular style of construction that usually is found in more remote rural areas. This one is a city landmark, and stands in Bayside, at 35-34 Bell Boulevard. (more…)

08/27/14 9:00am

willets-point-development-map

DNAinfo published a great map pinpointing the many development projects centered around the Willets Point site. Willets Point, of course, will be a retail, housing, public space and school development. (A judge recently threw out a lawsuit against the project, so the developers are one step closer to construction.) DNAinfo reports that the city is working with 30 tenants on payments and relocation from the former auto body shop site, and that there are still some businesses in the area.

Then there’s the Corona Convention Center, where it’s unclear when construction will begin. There’s a car dealership now on site but workers are expected to leave soon. To the east of Willets Point, Flushing Commons is now under construction, and the first phase of work should wrap in the spring of 2017.

DNAinfo also sheds a little light on a large vacant lot on Janet Place, across from Citi Field, that sold for $33,000,000 last year. It should be a mixed-use development with housing and retail, but there’s no word on a construction timeline. Finally, there’s the “Flushing Brownfield Opportunity Area Project,” 60 acres along the Flushing River currently designated as a brownfield. Revitalization efforts are still in the planning phase, with a proposal to rezone the land to begin development expected in 2015.

Here’s How Far Willets Point Redevelopment Projects Have Progressed [DNAinfo]

rockaways-pipeline

Al Jazeera New York published an in depth, interesting piece about a natural gas pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, now under construction in the Rockaways. The project met protest when it was proposed in 2012, but was ultimately signed into law by Congress just weeks after the Rockaways was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s under construction and will run three miles between Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden and under a golf course to connect to a pipeline run by National Grid. However, the article raises serious concerns about the company installing the pipeline, Williams Companies.

According to the article, the company is “the subject of a U.S. Chemical Safety Board probe because of a recent string of incidents.” That includes a petrochemical facility explosion in Louisiana, a pipeline explosion in West Virigina, a pipeline fire in Wyoming and others. (According to data collected by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “Williams pipelines have been involved in at least 50 gas transmission incidents since 2006.”) While there is resistance to the company in the neighborhood, most residents don’t even know the project is going on. Activists tell Al Jazeera that “The review process was stacked against pipeline opponents from the start,” and then, of course, Sandy hit and most residents didn’t even have electricity to watch the news. If the timing was different, it’s very likely that opposition would have been much stronger, but as it is the pipeline will begin operating in November. Once it’s in, however, the danger doesn’t go away: “The pipeline goes in, and everyone will go back with their lives. That’s where the concern comes in, because everyone will forget,” says pipeline safety expert Mark McDonald.

In the Rockaways, Pipeline Debate Takes a Contentious Turn [Al Jazeera America] via Curbed

Photo via NYC Parks

08/22/14 11:00am

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While it seems at times that Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens are dominated by unimaginative street names… numbers, letters… in actuality vast swaths in all four boroughs are still dominated by streets named for real people.

I had always been under the impression that Stockholm Street in Bushwick and Ridgewood was so named in honor of a putative Scandinavian community that may have resided there. I was wrong, though; Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss’ handy Brooklyn By Name states that Stockholm Street was named for the Stockholm brothers, Andrew and Abraham, who provided land on which the Second Dutch Reformed Church, built in 1850 and still standing at Bushwick Avenue and Himrod Street, was built.

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08/22/14 10:40am

5pointz-demolished

We’ve got word that demolition started today at the 5Pointz graffiti warehouse. This would make sense, as demolition was expected to begin any day now. No pictures yet, but we’ll update this post as anything comes in. And if you’re in the area, feel free to send news and photos to emily@brownstoner.com. UPDATE: Here’s a report from Animal New York: “This morning, a backhoe began tearing into the building that has served as a legal playground for aerosol artists for nearly two decades.” UPDATE #2: This is from Twitter: “todays work involves excavator on outer structure #5Pointz + protecting perimeter, according to construction worker.” Here’s a video of the work. And check out more photos after the jump.

All 5Pointz coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo by Jackie Strawbridge via Twitter for Queens Tribune

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08/21/14 9:00am

546 51st Avenue

This massive, beautiful multifamily townhouse at 5-46 51st Avenue just hit the market for a cool $8,000,000. (Nope, that’s no exaggeration — check out the listing right here.) It’s currently configured as an owner’s duplex with four bedrooms, and two floor-through units on the first and the top floor. It’ll be delivered to the buyer vacant. The duplex unit, with its sleek modern kitchen and historically detailed living room, is quite beautiful. It looks like the rental units aren’t as fancy, but nice nonetheless. There’s also a backyard garden.

LIC Talk notes that the current owner was born and raised in the townhouse. The blog says that the owner and his wife “feel that LIC has become more like Manhattan and lost the flavor of the good old days and charms that they know.” But if this pad sells for $8,000,000, they’ll be able to move to Manhattan anyway!

$8 Million Townhouse up for Sale in Hunters Point [LIC Talk] GMAP

08/19/14 12:30pm

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The Spot: fresk’o, 31-19 30th Avenue, Astoria.

The Deal: The newest frozen yogurt shop in Astoria, which opened June 1st, is nestled between a Baskin Robbins and a 16 Handles on 30th Avenue. The independently owned fresk’o sets itself apart through owner Gus Prentzas’ dedicated search for the perfect frozen yogurt and Greek yogurt flavors.

Prentzas is from Greece, where his grandparents and great grandparents owned a farm with sheep and goats and yogurt was a staple on the dinner tables. He translated that love of fresh and wholesome flavors into a three-and-a-half-year endeavor to find the ultimate frozen yogurt flavor. Fresk’o even translates from Greek to mean “fresh.”

The Greek heritage also influenced the shop’s location in Astoria, considered the heart of the Greek community. The frozen yogurt shop has already generated a large Greek following. Café tables outside attract a crowd on a warm afternoon, and Prentzas is in full swing greeting customers. “When someone walks in, they’re a customer, but they leave a friend,” he says.

In addition to the traditional frozen yogurt shop set up with soft serve fro-yo and a wide selection of nuts, chocolates, and fruits (bought fresh daily) as toppings, fresk’o also serves up a creamy Greek yogurt made from a combination of cow and goat’s milk and served with olive oil, walnuts, or Greek honey. With Greek yogurt for breakfast and frozen for dessert, the two options fulfill the shop’s motto of “Once a day is never enough.” The shop’s 10 am to midnight hours mean there are plenty of opportunities to come multiple times a day.

As the temperatures drop, Prentzas plans on adding waffles and hot cocoa to the menu.

Read about the Signature Dish from fresk’o after the jump… (more…)