2014 brought plenty of shutdowns for the 7 train, and apparently the MTA isn’t wasting any time as we head into the new year. They released the schedule for the first five months of 2015 and, as LIC Post first reported, “The No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends.” Three other weekends will bring service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street. The MTA — who scheduled the shutdowns to install a new signal system, replace elevated tracks and reconstruct the Steinway Tubes between Queens and Manhattan — will replace subway service with shuttles and the East River Ferry.
Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer isn’t happy about the announcement, saying that the closures are frustrating considering the poor, delayed 7 train service over the past few months. “The MTA still isn’t engaging the community or responding to the community in a meaningful way… I am very disappointed,” he stated.
See the full schedule of closures, which span from January 2nd to May 25th, after the jump. (more…)
Just over the past year, value on industrial parcels in Queens has risen a hefty 60 percent, according to The Real Deal. The rapidly growing prices on land in LIC and Astoria (the Durst Organization recently bought the Hallets Point development site for $130,000,000) combined with a shrinking supply of industrial properties have also caused increasing rents on industrial properties around JFK Airport, LIC, Astoria, Maspeth, Flushing and Jamaica. Industrial rents are expected to grow steadily into the next year.
According to TRD, rents for Queens warehouse and distribution properties only rose 1.3 percent — to $13.31 — between the second and third quarters of 2014, and rents increased 6.3 percent on manufacturing properties — to $13.02 — during the same period.
This Friday the 19th, The Beast Next Door will open at 42-51 27th Street in Long Island City. The bar and cafe, located off Queens Plaza North, will offer coffee, sandwiches, salads, meats and cheeses, wine and draft beer (including local brews). The hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 2 am and Monday from 11 am to 7 pm. We Heart LIC checked out the soft opening and reports back on the 1,000-square-foot space:
It’s really quite nice—an open space with lots of tables, chairs, and benches; a cooler case and bar on the left (with lights hanging down above it, attached to a horizontally suspended ladder); and the beautiful Turkish-inspired carved art on the back wall. The place felt really cozy and warm, and I think this will be a wonderful option for local folks especially.
The bar’s grand opening will take place from 11 am to 2 am and include live music. At the back of the bar there’s a raised platform intended for bands and other performers.
Born in County Louth, Cathy Maguire is an Irish singer and songwriter who also dabbles in modeling, acting, and presenting TV shows. A prodigy, she recorded her first album at age 12 and completed her third album at age 17.
Born in County Galway, Gabriel Donohue is an Irish singer and songwriter who also plays the guitar, piano, bouzouki, mandolin, and other instruments. A prodigy, he was performing with the Leitrim Ramblers Ceili Band by age 14. He later joined Magic, a show band which had a few top hits in the Emerald Isle. He also did the TV thing.
This Saturday, Maguire and Donohue will join a talented ensemble to present Réalta Na Nollag, an Irish Christmas music concert that will include such favorites as “Christmas in Killarney,” “Wexford Carol,” “Don Oíche Ud in Mbeithel,” and “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” Plus, Murphy’s Lobster Bar, a Sunnyside establishment that won Best Appetizer at Queens Taste 2014, will provide mulled wine and mince pies.
Wondering what it actually looks like inside of Hunters Point South, the high profile affordable housing development going up along the LIC waterfront? We recently took a tour of Hunters Point Commons, one of the two buildings in the development, which rises 37 stories and holds 619 apartments. Its next door neighbor, Hunters Point Crossing, is 32 stories with 306 units. Construction should wrap on both towers by the middle of next year, with occupancy slated for spring. (Work started up in 2013.) And although you can now apply for affordable housing here, work is still very much underway. In fact, today is the very last day to apply for the low- and middle-income apartment units, which you can do here. Qualified residents will be notified in February.
The development is the work of Related Companies, Phipps and Monadnock Constriction. The folks at Related tell us demand has been huge. There were reports of 25,000 applications in two weeks after the application process launched — the number was actually higher than that. And it isn’t hard to see why so many people want to live here. The views are incredible, there’s a long list of amenities, and the floor plans look impressive.
Long Island City residents erected a protest sculpture along Jackson Avenue, in response to the city’s plan to install its own pink sculpture at the cost of $450,000. The Department of Cultural Affairs revealed a rendering for a bright pink, eight-and-a-half-foot-tall sculpture last month as part of a Jackson Avenue streetscape improvement project. Residents protested the color and the cost, as well as the lack of public inclusion. And as DNAinfo has shown, the protest has taken the form of another sculpture. The colorful and angular piece includes a sign that says: “This is not against the artist. It is against the misuse of our tax dollars. It cost $350 dollars to make this sculpture which we are donating to Long Island City and there are many local artists that would do the same so this money could be spent on something constructive like education.” It’s unclear who the artist of the protest sculpture is.
The proposal for the pink sculpture is still in development and needs to be reviewed by the Public Design Commission. It wouldn’t be installed for another 18 months.
Yet one more remnant of Queens’ manufacturing past, the West Chemical Building, a.k.a. the CN Building, has been claimed by the gods of redevelopment this week. It’s just one of many manufacturing, storage and warehouse buildings along the array of cul-de-sacs off Jackson Avenue between Queens Boulevard and 21st Street to be repurposed or razed in favor of high-rise luxury housing in recent years.
A five-story poured concrete structure, marked by a siding entering the building, housed the manufacturing plant known variously as “CN Building”, “West Chemical Products”, or “West Disinfectants, ”an arched roof parapet on its east side with a truncated corner. An angled structure, likely containing a conveyor belt connected the building from its left side to a brick/poured concrete three-story building sporting a CN logo in relief.
Bad news for all Pulaski Bridge bikers and pedestrians: those bike lanes are going to take awhile. The Department of Transportation originally planned to finish the project, which will convert one southbound car lane on the bridge into a protected bike lane, by this year. Then it got pushed back to the spring of 2015. Now Streetsblog is reporting that the DOT may not finish construction until the end of 2015. There are two big reasons for the delays: the impending work on the Pulaski is tied to other bridge work in the city, and the drawbridge complicated the design. The cost of the redesign has also risen from $3,460,000 to $4,200,000.
Some good news is that the DOT signed a construction contract and finalized a design — check it out here. At the Queens entryway, there will be new markings and signage near the bike path entrance at Jackson Avenue, as well as more space for bicyclists to get onto and off the protected lane.
The Loose Wiles “thousand windows” Bakery on Thomson Avenue, which serves modernity as Building C of the LaGuardia Community College campus, is about to receive a face lift. It’s an important structure, and not just because it was the largest factory building under one roof in the entire United States when it was built in 1913 as the centerpiece of the Degnon Terminal. The erection of the building at the start of the 20th century signaled the beginning of an age of large scale manufacturing in Western Queens, and when the Loose Wiles “Sunshine Biscuits” signage came down in the 1980′s – it heralded the end of that era. The IDCNY signage which replaced it in the 1980′s represents the moment when LIC began to transform into its current incarnation – carefully guided by Urban Planners – a process which saw the Citi building rise in the early 1990′s, followed by the residential towers which continue to propagate between the East River and Queens Plaza.
LaGuardia Community College is in the early stages of a facelift for the century old building, which will alter its appearance and once again change the signage adorning it. It’s the end of the fourth age of LIC, and the beginning of something new.
A 66,500-square-foot parcel just sold in Long Island City for $14,000,000, according to public records. The location is 49-27 31st Street, between the Long Island Expressway and Hunters Point Avenue. According to the listing, the site has a 43,000-square-foot factory building and 23,500 square feet of parking — all to be delivered vacant. The area is zoned for manufacturing, so there likely won’t be any residential buildup here, but the buyer has the opportunity to develop up to 133,060 square feet, significantly larger than what’s already there. And there must have been a good deal of demand for the site as it sold significantly over ask — it first hit the market with a price tag of $12,500,000. GMAP