The only road that connects Douglaston and Little Neck north of Northern Boulevard runs between Douglas Road, at the eastern edge of Douglaston at Udall’s Cove Park, and Little Neck Parkway alongside the Long Island Rail Road. The city has never really settled on a name for the road, and thus it’s known by a variety of names depending on what part of the route you happen to be on.
Until Hagstrom listed it in the 1970s, it had never made city maps, either, which leads me to believe the road in its complete route is a relatively recent connection. Area residents have been calling it simply “the back road.”
Plans are moving ahead to build a two-story commercial and community structure at the Scobee Diner, which closed in 2010 in Little Neck. Queens Courier reports that the BSA just granted the developers a variance to build. The proposed building will hold a CitiBank on the first floor with a drive-through ATM and a dentist’s office on the second floor. There will also be 17 parking spaces. The plans will now move to the Department of Buildings, although there is no word on the construction timeline yet.
A walk through the neighborhoods of the northern part of Queens, College Point, Whitestone, even Bayside, will reward the urban enthusiast with glimpses of the small Long Island North Shore towns they used to be. There are town centers at 14th Avenue and 150th Street in Whitestone, along College Point Boulevard between 14th and 18th Avenue, and Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue. The spaces between these town centers, once meadows or farmland, have been filled with block after block of one and two-family homes and seem to have been thoroughly “folded” into a uniform Queens fabric: definitely not the dense, urban feel of a Soho or a Park Slope, but not the thoroughly suburban atmosphere of a Levittown or Hicksville.
The two “northeasternmost” of Queens’ neighborhoods, Douglaston and Little Neck, however, have a different tone: they somehow seem carved out of the rather exclusive, monied precincts of the Nassau County townships immediately to the east, Great Neck and Manhasset. Both neighborhoods are served by a short shopping strip along Northern Boulevard, and the area’s hilly topography doesn’t lend itself to block upon block of similar-looking ranch houses.
The Moderne bank at Little Neck Parkway and Northern Boulevard, with its formidable eagle, was designed in 1927 by Paul LaVelle, who had previously worked with Stanford White. Little Neck National Bank was initiated by local realtor Bryce Rea, William Hutton and the aforementioned William Van Nostrand. It has been a Chase branch for over 30 years.
Across the street from the Chase was the Scobee diner, where future CIA director George Tenet bussed tables back in the Super Seventies. The diner opened in 1965, but closed in 2010, citing a catastrophic rent increase from the landlord. The diner was finally demolished in 2013, and a Citibank will rise in its place.
Man oh man, this house is ugly. It’s way out in Little Neck, at 252-42 Brattle Avenue. It’s asking $2,880,000. All we’ve got are photos of the exterior in all its glory — balconies, winding staircase, and some massive arched windows. Although there aren’t any interior photos, the listing tells us it is huge, and we can see the backyard’s sizable as well. But does all that space justify such a large price tag?
Juana Canton of Little Neck has been baking for family and friends for over 40 years, but just launched her own business to sell cookies in February 2013. Mama Juana’s Treats specializes in vegan, gluten-free, and low-glycemic cookies.
Tempting flavors like banana peanut butter, red velvet, and oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip are satisfying and flavorful, but are made with healthful ingredients like coconut oil, coconut sugar, agave syrup, flax seeds, carob, and organic beets for coloring. The cookies are currently being sold at Vitality & Health Natural Market in Astoria (GMAP), and they will soon hit the shelves at a Whole Foods in Jericho, in Nassau County.
Canton has personal reasons for wanting to create healthier alternatives to the traditional treats everyone loves. First, she has been redesigning her own diet since being diagnosed with diverticulitis, and later, diabetes. She became vegetarian eight years ago, then went fully vegan, and follows a low-glycemic diet to control her diabetes. She wanted to continue baking, so found ways to make her recipes free of animal products and low in sugar.
Since changing her diet was so effective in improving her own health, Canton developed a passion for nutrition. At the middle school in Astoria where she works as a lunch coordinator, she enjoys helping students make healthier choices, and has introduced both a vegetarian meal and a gluten-free meal to the menu.
One of her cookies is inspired by an 8th grader named Carla, who came to her upset one day because she found out she had to start following a strict gluten-free diet. Now Mama Juana’s Treats puts out a gluten-free oatmeal cookie named after Carla. Just as she developed her first gluten-free product, Canton keeps finding new ways to make her recipes healthier, while maintaining their indulgent flavor.
There’s something special about a bicycle shop. From the attentive service and professional advice, a pro bike shop can outfit you with the custom bipedal ride of your dreams. Proper fitting and selection is always an issue, so you want the right bike for the job at the right size whether off-roading, touring, or just a joyride. But let’s face it: frequent use can lead to a lot of wear and tear, sometimes wheels get dented or pedals fall off. Rest assure, most large and small shops are full service offering a variety of assistance after the sale from tune-ups to parts replacement and repair whether for adults, kids, or professional cyclists.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cycling the entire Queens Green Belt or simply commuting to work, there’s a professional bicycle shop each with it’s own style, specialization, and deals so shop around. The weather outside is getting warmer and it’s time to ride. Visit one of these shops for a great experience:
Roberts Bicycles. For over forty years Roberts Bicycles of Bayside has been outfitting the community with hand-built models and a wide selection from BMX to mountain bikes to baby bikes and everything in between. Roberts Bicycles has something to suit the most consummate tastes including helmets and apparel. Trained technicians are on staff to answer your questions and guide you through the selection process.
Peak Bikes. Offering free tune ups for life, Peak Bicycle Pro Shop of Douglaston focuses on the mountain bike crowd. Walk in and staff are eager to talk up bikes while the cycling community often gather here to organize rides in nearby Cunningham Park. Order a custom model, or restore your childhood cruiser.
Spin City Cycle. Located in Forest Hills, Spin City Cycles encourages customers to come in for a test ride on all of their models. With cycling being such a popular activity in Queens, sometimes a repair shop can be backlogged, so for those eager to get back in the saddle minus the wait, Spin City promises to repair your bicycle in 48 hours or less.
Bellitte Bicycles. You can’t go wrong shopping at the oldest bicycle store in the United States. Since 1918, Bellitte Bicycles of Jamaica has been family owned and operated offering 5,000 models to choose from. Service is a top priority at this huge shop but their low price guarantee is known to draw in customers for over 90 years.
Tony’s Bicycles. Tony’s Bicycles of Astoria has an excellent track record in the cycling community. All of their mechanics are factory trained and certified by companies like Trek, GT, Cannondale, Giant, and many more. Founded in the 1970’s, this bicycle shop is known for their commitment to value and service.
Bike Stop. While visiting Bike Stop you’ll find a wide selection from BMX to road bikes, even bicycles built for two. An eclectic staff offers expertise from different specialties all the while promising the only thing you’ll have to worry about is peddling. The site offers a comprehensive newbies guide to just about every subject ranging from parts and accessories to how to guides such as a buyer’s guide to rechargeable lighting systems.