Yesterday afternoon, reps from Sunnyside Shines, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer and the DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall cut the ribbon on a brand new public plaza for Sunnyside. The 5,500-square-foot space in question is known as Bliss Plaza, located at 46th Street under the elevated 7. Construction started up to transform the previously unused area in June. Another plaza, known as Lowery Plaza, is located off of 40th Street and is still under construction. It should be ready to use by this fall.
The pedestrian space now boasts new, leveled concrete, tables and chairs, granite blocks and planters. Sunnyside Shines will also host events here. Check out a photo of the sweet new space in action after the jump.
The Deal: Murphy’s Lobster Grill opened last October, an extension of the owner’s next-door namesake bar. Murphy’s Bar has been a Skillman Avenue staple for the last 10 years.
“When the space next door became available I decided to expand and run a seafood restaurant. There’s none in this part of Queens, and I have experience from my other restaurant in Mineola, Long Island,” says owner Mike Murphy.
Daniel Karatzas, a broker with Beaudoin Realty Group, just released the second quarter sales numbers for Jackson Heights. He found that the volume of transactions fell in the second quarter, for two reasons. The sales report issued by the city was cut off about 10 days at the end of June, and inventory in the neighborhood remains thin. Therefore, the constrained supply has limited the number of transactions. The numbers also showed that prices in Jackson Heights were generally higher compared to last year. (more…)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
On Friday, the 11th of July, I found myself at the very edge of Queens in a very special place. At the end of Vernon Boulevard in LIC, where the old Vernon Avenue Bridge and the Newtown Creek Towing Company were found, is a facility which is engaged in the hands-on work of the Superfund process. The Anchor QEA company operates out of here, carrying out the collection of samples and scientific tests which will determine the exact nature of what’s wrong with Newtown Creek. These samples and tests are overseen and directed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, and is an effort conducted by the so-called ”Potentially Responsible Parties” (PRPs).
These “Potentially Responsible Parties” have organized themselves together as the Newtown Creek Group, and they invited a small group of community members and representatives to their LIC facility to describe what they actually do at the Vernon street end and discuss the future of Newtown Creek.