08/01/14 9:00am


Man, Astoria Cove is moving swiftly through its public review process! Next Wednesday, developers Alma Realty will present to the City Planning Commission (here’s a PDF of the upcoming agenda). That’s the second to last step of the ULRUP process; City Council is the final hurdle. The CPC will hold a public hearing on the matter and must approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the application within a certain timeframe. It’s very rare that the City Council’s final vote goes against the City Planning Commission’s initial vote, so the decision next week will be telling. In June, Community Board 1 denied the housing proposal on the grounds that the developers were not offering enough affordable housing. This Wednesday, Borough President Katz also denied the plans, due to inadequate public transportation in the area as well as not enough affordable housing.

Indeed, the major question still lingering about the Astoria Cove development is affordable housing. Alma Realty bumped the number of affordable units, previously 295, to 345. That’s roughly 20 percent of the total 1,698 apartments, but housing advocates want to see as much as 50 percent affordable. If approved, this will be the first major rezoning effort under Mayor de Blasio, who has made a point of increasing affordable housing in New York. So far, he hasn’t chimed in on the matter of Astoria Cove.

Read the developer’s full application to the City Planning Commission after the jump… (more…)

07/31/14 11:00am


To start with, this giant was built during the winter, in 1914.

We’re used to this sort of thing these days, seeing enormous structural works of reinforced concrete being constructed willy nilly all over the place during all sorts of weather, but in 1914 – this building represented a revolutionary step forward in the construction business.

The Turner Company erected this 456-foot-long, five-story, 210,000-square-foot gargantua in Dutch Kills for the New York Consolidated Card Company, using a clever system of steam coils and heaters to keep ice from forming in the mixers and lines as they pumped the concrete into its forms. The technique they developed became the defacto standard methodology for winter construction. The structure was designed by the architecture and engineering firm of Ballinger & Perrot, of Philadelphia.

More after the jump… (more…)

07/31/14 9:00am


Ariel Property Advisors released its Queens 2014 Mid-Year Sales Report, and the numbers for investment property sales are incredibly strong. The first half of 2014 saw a 42 percent increase in investment property sales transactions as opposed to last year, as well as a 49 percent increase in the dollar volume of those trades. (Ariel’s market report tracks development, multifamily, industrial, and other commercial property sales over $850,000.) (more…)

07/30/14 9:00am


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.

Bliss Plaza Construction Kicked off in Sunnyside Yesterday [Q'Stoner]


07/29/14 12:30pm


The Spot: Murphy’s Lobster Grill, 48-20 Skillman Avenue, Sunnyside.

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.


07/29/14 9:00am


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…)

07/28/14 11:00am


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.



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]

07/24/14 9:00am


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.

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