09/15/14 2:00pm


Tomorrow marks the grand opening of Tacuba Cantina Mexicana, Astoria’s newest Latin American restaurant at 35-01 36th Street. The folks at We Heart Astoria broke down the menu, which includes guacamole, peruano (a Peruvian style ceviche), empanadas, carnitas tacos and Mariscada en Molcajete (shrimp, octopus, clams, tilapia and cilantro rice). The menu will also feature a large collection of tequilas and mezcal, as well as cocktails with fresh fruit.

Tacuba is the work of Chef Julian Medina, who also worked at the NYC restaurants Toloache, Yerba Buena and Coppelia. Hours will be Monday through Thursday, 11:30 am to 11 pm, Friday and Saturday, 11:30 am to 2:00 am and Sunday, 11:30 am to 11 pm.

Some Things to Look Forward to at Tacuba [We Heart Astoria] GMAP

Photo via Facebook

09/15/14 9:00am


On Monday, September 29th, the City Planning Commission is holding a review session over the massive Astoria Cove development. A tipster at Queens Crap reports that it’ll be “a Special Meeting regarding their Astoria Cove decision.” The CPC already hosted developers Alma Realty to present the development plans and held a public hearing. The CPC still has to approve, approve with modifications or disapprove the application — the vote will be telling, as the City Council usually votes with CPC. So far, both the Community Board and Borough President disapproved the application, on the grounds of not enough affordable housing.

The proposal as it stands includes 1,698 apartment units, 345 of which will be affordable.

All Astoria Cove coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering by Studio V Architecture

09/10/14 12:00pm


Calling all student types! This Astoria rental at 25-74 44th Street looks like a good share situation. There are three bedrooms and with an ask of $2,500 a month, it’s fairly affordable. This is a pretty straightforward rental unit, although one of those bedrooms appears to be very small. It also looks like this may be a duplex, although the listing doesn’t say. Think it’s promising?

25-74 44th Street [WonWoo John Chang] GMAP

09/09/14 12:30pm


The Spot: Snowdonia, 34-55 32nd Street, Astoria.

The Deal: For any quality gastropub, the beer selection is a top priority. It follows then that Oktoberfest would be the biggest holiday. Or at least that’s the case at the Astoria gastropub Snowdonia, which has launched a new prix fixe menu for the holiday.

“Oktoberfest is our favorite holiday, in no small part because it primarily features beer, amazing Bavarian food, and more beer,” says Matthew Callahan, the community manager at the restaurant.

There are five main dishes, each served with two sides for $15. Choices for the main include Bratwurst with sauerkraut; Wiener Schnitzel (breaded veal cutlet); Sauerbraten (wine-marinated beef roast); Rouladen (flank steak stuffed with bacon, onions and pickles); and Hasenpfeffer, while the sides on offer are German potato salad, braised red cabbage, spaetzle, or green beans.

“Traditionally Oktoberfest starts in late September and runs through October,” says Callahan. “We’re starting a bit early and running it for six weeks because the menu is just that awesome.”

Read about the Oktoberfest-themed Signature Dish after the jump… (more…)

09/08/14 3:00pm

21-01-03 31st Avenue-astoria

The corner lot at 21-01 31st Avenue, right off 21st Street, just sold in Astoria. Public records show it traded hands for $2,600,000. According to this old listing, “The subject consists of two tax lots on the northeast corner of 21st Street and 31st Avenue with a total footprint of 4,113 square feet.” The property also holds a charming and historic three-story brick house — you can see a photo after the jump. Sadly, it doesn’t look like the structure is long for this world. UPDATE: According to a commenter, it’s already been demolished.

The parcel is zoned for residential with a commercial overlay, and boasts a FAR of 4. That means a mixed-use build including commercial space could go up here, with as much as 16,452 square feet. Given the number of larger, newer apartment buildings fronting this stretch of 21st Street, it seems like we know exactly what to expect here. GMAP


09/03/14 2:00pm


Yesterday, the Queens Gazette Facebook page posted news that the Baskin Robbins, located at 30-08 Steinway Street off 30th Avenue, is shuttering. The ice cream chain has been open in that location for 40 years. The owner posted a touching goodbye notice at the store thanking the neighborhood for its support and patronage. He is retiring, and the last day will be today.

You can see an interior shot of the ice cream shop after the jump.

Photos by Queens Gazette

09/03/14 1:00pm


It’s time for some enrichment, and the Greater Astoria Historical Society is ready to offer three distinct options for self-improvement on three consecutive days. This Saturday, licensed guide Tony Rohling will lead a walking tour of Sunnyside Gardens (below), a planned community which is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Participants will examine the architecture and landscaping in this historic district and check out Phipps Garden Apartments, a model residential complex for working-class families that a philanthropic organization belonging to the Henry Phipps family built in 1931. It features stylish brick work and curved steel fire escapes.

On Sunday, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will launch its first Chautauqua in Astoria workshop. Chautauqua is a lakeside village in upstate New York where summer visitors enjoy fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship, and recreational activities. Plus, the term “Chautauqua” can mean an informational lecture, and modern Chautauquas (above) focus on re-creating famous figures related to a specific theme. Sally Ann Drucker, an experienced Chautauquan, will lead a series of workshops on legendary New Yorkers from the 19th Century. Participants choose and research a legendary figure, write a 20-minute script, and learn how to present their material to live audiences. After four workshops, Chautauqua in Astoria culminates in live performances. 

Then on September 8th, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will team up with the New York Nineteenth Century Society to present a lecture on the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, which was held in Philadelphia. Attendees will learn about the celebration of America’s 100th birthday, the inventions that debuted then, and the lasting impact the event had on the United States. (For example, the Statue of Liberty’s torch-bearing hand was on display at the exhibition before the completed monument was installed in New York Harbor.) 

Details after the jump. (more…)

09/02/14 2:00pm


There’s a petition out for Astoria residents and dog owners asking for “an adequate area to allow their dogs to socialize and exercise off-leash.” The neighborhood doesn’t have a proper dog run, and the petition claims that Bugsy’s Dog Run near Astoria Park is beat up and in bad shape, and that the off-leash hours in Astoria Park (pictured) are inconvenient. (As We Heart Astoria points out, “Astoria dog owners would love to see something like the Hunters Point Dog Park, which is pretty sweet.”)

The petition calls on City Council Member Costa Constantinides and the NYC Department of Parks to take action. There are more than 100 signatures recorded so far, with a goal to reach at least 199.

Create a New Astoria Dog Run [Change.org]

Astoria Park dogs by Mitch Waxman

08/28/14 12:00pm


Historic on the outside, modern on the inside. That’s the story at 34-25 28th Street, a single-family home for sale in Astoria. While there looks to be an old staircase and wood floors in the living room, the rest of this home appears to be thoroughly renovated. The kitchen, with black oak cabinetry, is as sleek as sleek can be. And the three bedrooms look fairly standard when it comes to modern renovations. The asking price for 1,800 square feet of space here? $899,000.

34-25 28th Street [Realty Executives Today] GMAP

08/27/14 3:00pm


Right before the Astoria Cove developer’s date with the City Council, Councilman Costa Constantinides penned a letter to the council expressing reservations about the 1,723-unit mega development. He echoed criticism made by the Community Board, Borough President Katz and housing advocates regarding affordable housing. While developers Alma Realty already agreed to designate 20 percent of the units affordable through the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program, Constantinides still has concerns. Crain’s explains: “As he sees it, a legal door has been left open to bump up the number of affordable units, but designate them all for households making several times the neighborhood’s median income.” Under the city program, Alma could build those 345 units promised for low-income households. But, they could also build close to 700 units for moderate-income households.

An attorney representing the development assures that “the commitment is that the affordable housing will be for the low-income band.” Constantinides has requested that promise in writing, so the developers wouldn’t be able to change it later down the line. The City Planning Commission and City Council are expected to weigh in on the project in the coming weeks.

Big Queens Development Draws Fresh Fire [Crain's]
All Astoria Cove coverage [Q'Stoner]

Rendering by STUDIO V Architecture