01/29/15 9:00am


Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is putting the pressure on the Department of Transportation to fix the Astoria intersection of 32nd Street and Astoria Boulevard North, adjacent to the exit ramp of the Grand Central Parkway, according to Astoria Post. The DOT released a safety proposal here last summer, after the 114th Precinct identified this intersection as the most accident-prone in the area. The proposal included extending the median between Astoria Boulevard North and the Grand Central Parkway in order to separate local and expressway traffic, a left-turn ban at 31st Street for vehicles traveling west on Astoria Boulevard, and a right turn ban on 31st Street for vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway. The Community Board approved the plan in May and the DOT planned to implement the changes by fall of 2104. But so far… nothing.

Simotas tells that Post that she sent a letter to the DOT last week about the matter, and plans to press the agency until safety changes are finally implemented. As she told the Post, “There is no good reason why residents and motorists should still be endangered at this intersection after DOT and the Community Board have agreed on what needs to be done.”

Simotas Calls on DOT to Follow Through with its Traffic-Safety Plans at Astoria Blvd/31st Street Intersection [Astoria Post]
The DOT Releases a Proposal for Dangerous Astoria Intersection [Q'Stoner]

01/28/15 1:00pm


Two writers with intimate knowledge of Queens will participate in separate, upcoming enrichment events at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. On Saturday, Adrienne Onofri, who just published the guidebook Walking Queens, will lead a roundtable discussion on two of the borough’s hottest neighborhoods, Astoria and Long Island City. This licensed NYC tour guide, who also writes about theater for the Broadway World blog, will then sell and sign copies of her new book, which describes 30 routes to discover Queens on foot.

On Monday, Q’Stoner writer Kevin Walsh, a historian who also runs the Forgotten NY blog, will take attendees on an indoor tour of classic New York City storefront signs — with the help of slides. They come in all shapes and sizes and contain words in countless colors and fonts. Plus, some storefront signs have wacky and/or fascinating stories.

Saturday details: Discussion on Hot Neighborhoods and Book Signing, Greater Astoria Historical Society, Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, Fourth Floor, Astoria/Long Island City, January 31st, 1 pm, free.

Monday details: Kevin Walsh on Storefronts, GAHS, February 2nd, 7 pm, $5.
Photo: Kevin Walsh
01/28/15 12:00pm


How much to rent a two bedroom/two bathroom in a new development of Astoria? This one, at 27-18 Hoyt Avenue South (aka Hoyt Plaza), is asking $3,400 a month. The apartment doesn’t look particularly big, with a narrow, open kitchen and living room. There’s only a photo of one of the bedrooms, and the listing also mentions there’s a private terrace (also not pictured). What you’ll get here are shiny new appliances and perks like a dishwasher, on-site laundry room, and building gym. What do you think?

27-18 Hoyt Avenue South, #3A [Douglas Elliman] GMAP

01/23/15 11:00am


In 2007, the Brooklyn Museum donated a colonial relic to the Greater Astoria Historical Society — a door that was part of the historic Blackwell Mansion in Ravenswood, Queens, likely built in 1730 by patriarch Jacob Blackwell (1692-1744).

After the Battle of Brooklyn (aka the battle of Long Island) in August 1776, the British and Hessians swept into Queens from the south and east. Upon their arrival in Astoria (not yet named as such), in September 1776, Colonel Jacob Blackwell had to flee. The British hacked the “Arrow of Confiscation” (seen clearly on the left in the above photo) into his front door, making it the property of the crown. This arrow marking still exists in the door’s exterior. Jacob Blackwell returned to the house and lived there through the worst of the British occupation, and died there in October 1780, still a British subject in a land not yet the independent United States.



01/22/15 12:00pm


In today’s edition of “the rent is too damn high,” here’s a 550-square-foot rental in Astoria asking $1,800 a month. It’s located at 21-24 Newtown Avenue, a few blocks west from the heart of the neighborhood. The unit’s got an alcove kitchen, which is nice, and the finishes and appliances look new. The living space is exactly what you would expect from a studio apartment. It’s also rent stabilized, so at least the rent can’t go too much higher, and the building has a common roof deck and laundry room. So, what do you think?

21-24 Newtown Avenue [MNS] GMAP

01/22/15 10:00am


Not long after the Durst Organization paid over $100,000,000 for a 90 percent stake in the Hallets Point development (and has apparently taken care of some legal issues), a construction timeline is now in sight. DNAinfo reports that the developers plan to break ground this October, with construction lasting for the next six years.

The development, which is right next door to the Astoria Cove mega development, will span seven acres of the peninsula and include seven residential buildings with 2,200 units. 20 percent of the units are designated as affordable, and two of those building will be on adjacent NYCHA property. On top of the residential development, there will be a public school, supermarket and waterfront esplanade.

Still no word on when Astoria Cove construction will kick off. City Council approved development plans late last year.

Hallets Point Project to Break Ground in October [DNAinfo]
All Hallets Point coverage [Q'Stoner]

Hallets Point Rendering via Lincoln Equities

01/16/15 12:00pm

30-67 47th Street
Broker: Douglas Elliman
Price: $2,700,000
Sunday, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

2Jamaica Estates
84-06 Chevy Chase Street
Broker: Exit Alliance Realty
Price: $1,235,000
Sunday, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

3Middle Village
62-21 80th Street
Broker: Tscherne Realty
Price: $578,000
Saturday, 1:00 – 4:00 pm

4Forest Hills
109-14 Ascan Avenue
Broker: Laffey Fine Homes
Price: $255,000
Sunday, 1:00 – 3:00 pm

01/14/15 1:00pm


Astoria, are you ready for some (more) major housing development? There’s a biggie coming to 31-51 31st Street, right off of Broadway. The parcel, which is a massive 26,000 square feet, has long been a parking lot. Its sale recently hit public records — “Astoria 31st Street Developers LLC” picked it up for $17,350,000. That led us to check Department of Buildings records, which show that there’s already a development in the pipeline here. And as you may have guessed, it’s gonna be big.

This building application proposes a seven-story, 114-unit building that spans 102,060 square feet. There will be 78,144 square feet of residential space, 19,761 square feet of commercial space, and 4,155 square feet for a community facility. The DOB is reviewing the application and has not issued new building permits yet. The only permit issued so far is for the demolition of the parking attendant booth. The architect of record is SLCE, who designed the MOMA Tower, 339 Bridge Street in Brooklyn, and 45-56 Pearson Street in LIC. We’ve reached out to them for a rendering and more details, so stay tuned… GMAP

01/12/15 4:00pm


Later this month, the Greater Astoria Historical Society is hosting a round table discussion moderated by Walking Queens author Adrienne Onofri. (We interviewed Adrienne about her book last year.) The topic of conversation is “Where Do We Go From Here? Behind the Hype About Astoria and LIC.” Community leaders with restaurant, arts, real estate, political, and community preservation backgrounds will discuss these two buzzed-about neighborhoods and what’s in store for the future. After the discussion, Adrienne will hold a book signing for Walking Queens.

The event is totally free and is happening on Saturday, January 31st, 1 pm at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. All the event details live here.

01/12/15 12:00pm


It’s not everyday we spot a three-bedroom co-op on the market in Astoria, but here’s one for sale at 33-68 21st Street. The interior, to be blunt, is going to need work. The kitchen is truly a sight for sore eyes, and we spot about four different types of flooring (none of them appealing) throughout the apartment. What you’re going to get here is space. There’s a total of 1,100 square feet and an interesting layout that has potential, but you’re going to have to put the work in. So do you think the ask of $449,000 makes sense?

33-68 21st Street [Realty Executives Today] GMAP