08/21/14 4:00pm

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Today, construction workers raised the final beam of the Mount Sinai Queens Hospital expansion in Astoria, wrapping up the steel construction portion of the six-story building. NY1 filed a video report showing the beam signed by hospital staff and community leaders.

The $125,000,000 expansion will add 13,000 square feet to the hospital, a larger emergency department, new operating suites and other medical services. Check out a rendering for the new space after the jump. Construction on the addition is expected to wrap in 2016.

All Mount Sinai Queens coverage [Q'Stoner]

Screenshot via NY1


08/21/14 2:00pm


The other week, we snapped a photo of a commercial space under construction at 29-12 23rd Avenue, between 29th and 31st Streets in Astoria. It’s a work-in-progress by the owners of Sweet Afton, a popular Astoria bar. We Heart Astoria shares details that this bar outpost will be called The Bonnie. The space has been under construction for about three months and the owners hope to open later this year. We Heart Astoria gives the impression that the interior will be very much transformed — can’t wait to see the final product.

The Bonnie on 23rd Avenue Will Open Later This Year [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

08/19/14 12:30pm


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…)

08/18/14 4:00pm


The Museum of the Moving Image announced an awesome street fair planned for September — New York on Location. It’ll take plan on Sunday, September 21st from 11 am to 5 pm. This is a free, day-long and family-friendly event at the Kaufman Astoria Studios offering a special look at film production in NYC. Kaufman Astoria Studio will open movie trailers and trucks to the public, and movie professionals will be on hand to talk about about what they do on set. There will also be stunt professionals demonstrating high falls, street fighting and stunt driving. Food will even be available from movie catering trucks.

It’ll all take place on the backlot at Kaufman Astoria Studios, at the Museum of the Moving Image and on the surrounding streets. Can’t wait for this one!

Photo by Pat Alvarado for the Museum of the Moving Image

08/18/14 2:00pm

cafe-bene-ditmars-astoria Caffe Bene, a Korean coffee chain, has picked up on the coffee craze in Astoria. Astoria Post writes that the cafe will open two outposts in the neighborhood next month: one at 32-14 Steinway Street, off Broadway, and another at 30-31 Ditmars Boulevard (pictured), off 37th Street. The cafes will serve traditional offerings — coffee, hot and cold beverages, pastries, sandwiches, waffles, gelato — as well as a selection of Korean food items. The Steinway cafe will be 1,960 square feet and the Ditmars cafe will come in at 1,770 square feet.

The chain opened up in Sunnyside in May, and there’s another location in Flushing. Do you think these locations will see good business with all the local coffee spots now open in Astoria?

Caffe Bene Set to Open its Two Astoria Stores Next Month [Astoria Post]

08/18/14 11:00am


My neighborhood in Astoria, which is the little pocket that sits at the border of Woodside and Sunnyside along Northern Boulevard, has recently enjoyed a staccato rhythm somewhat different than the usual ones. Under normal circumstance, it’s car stereos and home improvement contractors supplying the beat, while lately it’s been an MTA construction project found at the intersection of Northern, 34th Avenue, and 46th Street.

Recently, one decided to follow the clanging and whirring to see what’s going on – here’s what I found… (more…)

08/15/14 9:00am

11-12 30th Drive-for-sale-queens

Even more waterfront development slated for Astoria? The huge parcel at 11-12 30th Drive, bordered by Vernon Boulevard, 30th Drive, 31st Avenue and 12th Street, is now on the market for $60,000,000. According to Crain’s, the site could accommodate a development up to ten stories tall, with as much as 460,000 square feet of residential space.

Once upon a time, the site held a plastics factory, but it was damaged by a fire in the late 90s. Now it’s a single-story factory building occupied by a grocery wholesaler. The property in question is near Astoria Cove — the 1,700-unit project currently going through its public review process — and Hallets Point, a proposed $1 billion residential development.

Big Waterfront Site in Queens Hits Market at $60M [Crain's] GMAP

08/14/14 3:00pm


The plaza in Astoria Square Park, on 30th Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets, is opening soon after a year-long construction period. DNAinfo reports that “the finished project will boast Greek-inspired designs — including checkered paving on the ground meant to mimic a theater in Athens.” The site will be repaved with concrete pavers in the shape of a sun symbol, “Sun of Vergina,” commonly found in Ancient Greek artwork. The other checkerboard paving is inspired by the Athens theater Odeion of Herodes Atticus. Before the renovation, the plaza already featured three large columns, a statue of Socrates and a bronze bust of Aristotle.

The $850,000 undertaking, which broke ground last summer, also includes upgrades in the form of new benches, fencing, lighting and plants. The Parks Department expects to open the finished plaza by next month, and it’ll once again start hosting concerts and performances.

Athens Square Park Plaza to Reopen in Sept. with Greek-Inspired Designs [DNAinfo] GMAP

Photo by Jeanmarie Evelly for DNAinfo

08/14/14 2:00pm


It’s a good day for coffee lovers in Western Queens, as Astoria Coffee opened its doors at 30-04 30th Street, off 30th Avenue. The business began as a whole bean delivery service; this is its first brick and mortar location. The menu includes not just coffee, but also tea and baked goods. A liquor license for wine and beer is still pending, so until then the cafe’s tentative closing time will be 8 pm. Today, it’ll be open until 5 pm as a special preview day for subscribers and social media followers. (And drinks are $1 off!)

This Saturday from 12 pm to 3 pm, Astoria Coffee is offering a public tasting at the cafe with one of its roasters from Cincinnati, Ohio. They’ll be closed this Friday to prepare for the tasting, then closed on Sunday because the space will be used as a film set. The official grand opening is set for Monday.

All Astoria Coffee coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

Photo via Twitter

08/13/14 12:00pm


This brick, two-family Astoria townhouse stands at 28-41 47th Street, off 30th Avenue. It’s on the market for $929,000. We really like that brick exterior, but the interior — or at least what the listing photos show — isn’t the stuff of inspiration. The house has been separated into two different units, with two very small kitchens. (Looks like this building may make more sense as an investment property, rather than trying to convert it into a single-family home.) There’s also a backyard, a parking space and a finished basement.

28-41 47th Street [Realty Executives Today] GMAP