Today the paper of record profiled Corona, one of the largest Latin American immigrant communities in the borough, for its “Living In” column. City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras tell the Times that overdevelopment is a challenge in this area, with two-family homes replaced with multifamily developments. She is concerned about less parking, more traffic, and strained community services. But the neighborhood, once heavily Italian American, remains a stronghold for Latin food and culture.
As for real estate, demand for housing here is going up, and so are prices. Two-family homes roughly range from $700,000 to $800,000, with larger condos and co-ops starting in the mid-$300,000s. Buildings with three or more units can range anywhere up to $1,500,000. As for available rentals, prices range from $1,250 for a studio up to $2,395 for a three bedroom in LeFrak City.
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, badly damaged in a fire this month, is gearing up to rebuild. The director of the Plaza del Sol Family Health Center started this fundraiser to help with the cost of construction. The goal is to raise a total of $10,000, so far around $3,000 has come in with 39 days left.
The fire, caused by faulty wiring, took more than 100 firefighters to put out. It ripped a massive hole through the church’s roof, caused interior damage and wrecked some of the stained glass. The petition does not clarify the extent of rebuilding required. Our Lady of Sorrows was established in Corona back in 1898 and has become a hub for local immigrants. The church offers offers English classes, childcare, after school programs, free immigration support, marriage counseling and prayer groups.
Earlier today Council Member Julissa Ferreras announced a new City Council initiative called Cleanup NYC. The $3,500,000 initiative will go toward street cleaning, with $70,000 specifically allocated to Corona. The work of sweeping, emptying trash cans and removing graffiti began in December and will last until June 30th, 2015, with the Association of Community Employment Programs for the Homeless administering the cleaning services. “Cleanup NYC is going to make Corona a better place to live and shop. I want to thank ACE and their men for helping us keep our streets cleaner and welcome them to our community,” Council Member Ferreras stated in a press release.
The areas of the neighborhood getting the most attention were selected based on the number of clean up requests made by residents. They include 108th Street between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue; on Corona Avenue from 104th Street to Otis Avenue; along 103rd Street from 37th Avenue to Nichols Avenue; and from 94th Street to 104th Street on 37th Avenue. Clean ups will take place five days a week, 9 am to 5 pm.
This past Sunday, a fire tore through Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church at 104th Street and 37th Avenue in Corona. The two-alarm fire lasted nearly two hours and wrecked the interior of the historic church, which is 147 years old. But today at the Queens Gazette, parishioners spoke to restoring the building. There are no specific details on how much work will need to be done, but photos show that the stained glass on the front of the building is done for. Fire marshals are still investigating the cause of the blaze, and they believe it to be caused by faulty wiring. According to the Gazette, “A spokesperson for the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens said that the diocese will work with the church to rebuild.”
The Louis Armstrong House Museum has filed permits with the Department of Buildings to begin construction on its $20,000,000 annex. Queens Courier reports that the project was majorly stalled — design work began back in 2007 — due to variance and zoning issues. The 8,737-square-foot educational visitors center, which will rise two stories, is going to hold more exhibit space as well as a store. It’s being built on vacant land next door to the house museum, which is visited by 12,000 people every year. No word on how long construction will last on the annex.
Jennifer Walden, director of marketing at the museum, told the Courier that this new center will “create a wonderful cultural campus in Corona that allows us to expand our programming for the community and our visitors from around the world.”
It’s part Cascanueces, part Shchelkunchik, and mostly unique. This Saturday, four local performing arts schools will offer two presentations of a decidedly Queens version of The Nutcracker. Expect some ballet, of course, but be prepared for plenty of salsa, Arabian belly dance, Chinese jazz, hula hoops, and hip hop. The companies – Mestizo Art Center; Cali Salsa; EC Squared Studio; and Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts – are all located in the heavy Hispanic neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona, and Elmhurst, so there will be a Latin flair with a mix of solo and group acts.
Details: The Nutcracker (Queens Version), Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Avenue South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, December 27th, 4:30 pm and 7 pm, $20 suggested donation.
Man, the Parks Department is really on a role with parks in Queens. They kicked off the community process for improving both Captain Tilly Park in Jamaica and Conch Playground in the Rockaways. Now they are holding a meeting regarding improvements for Louis Simeone Park in Corona. Tonight, the Parks Department is inviting the community to share input and feedback on what they would like to see in the upcoming renovations to Louis Simeone Park. It’ll take place from 6 to 8 pm at St. Paul the Apostle, 98-16 55th Avenue.
All three of these parts are a part of the Community Parks Initiative, a city-wide initiative to improve small and underutilized parks. The parks in Queens under this new program are Astoria Heights Playground, Bowne Playround in Flushing, Corona Mac Park/Simeone Louis Park, Grassmere Playground in the Far Rockaways, Rockaway Community Park/Conch Playground and the Van Alst Playground in Astoria.
Introducing “NoCo,” another ridiculous neighborhood name invented by brokers that is never gonna stick. According to DNAinfo, “The seller of newly built luxury condos on Northern Boulevard is calling the section of Corona “NoCo” to infuse it with some “cool” — but the moniker has confused residents who say they’ve never heard of the nickname.” Can’t say we’re surprised the nickname hasn’t spread like wildfire! The developments, located along Northern Boulevard west of 106th Street, include the Sage House Condos off 112th and the 106 Condos off 106th. And at 112th Place there are plans to build a convention center, which some developer claims will be called the “NoCo Convention Center.”
The website for 106 Condos states, “106 Point Condominiums is a new ground up development built along Northern Boulevard in the heart of North Corona; known affectionately by residents as ‘NoCo.’” Every resident DNAinfo spoke to said they had never heard of the name before. “No one has ever called anything NoCo over here,” a longtime resident said, “No one — and you can quote me on that.”
The next chance to root for the Mets is during spring training in Florida. But the next chance to have a blast at Citi Field is this Saturday at the inaugural Winter Fest. Family-friendly fun is the focus with the mandatory meet-and-greet with Santa, as well as arts & crafts provided by Oriental Trading, appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Met, cookie decorating, winter-themed games, holiday décor, caroling, and specialty eggnog. There’s also a charitable aspect to the festivities, as the hosts, Metropolitan Hospitality, will raise funds for Toys for Tots, a nonprofit that collects new, unwrapped presents to distribute as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children. An array of New York legends put their creative imprint on official Major League baseballs. These decorated and autographed balls will be auctioned off, with proceeds going to Toys for Tots.
Details: Winter Fest, Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Corona/Flushing, December 13th, 1 pm to 5 pm, $10/$7 for children, free parking in Lot G for ticket-holders (enter at Hodges VIP Entrance).
Bonus detail: Attendees are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped donations to Toys for Tots.
Go ahead, deck the halls. But for real holiday inspiration, head over to any one of four fantastic concerts scheduled for this upcoming, jam-packed weekend. The fun begins on Friday with a special show at Queens Museum featuring the Corona Youth Orchestra, the Corona Children’s Orchestra, and the No Frontiers Children’s Orchestra playing Beethoven and other classics. There’s a double dose on Saturday, as the Forest Hills Choirperforms a collection of choral pieces, such as “Magnificat” and “O Magnum Mysterium,” which honor the Virgin Mary. At night, the Queens College Choral Society, whose membership includes high school students and adults who have been with the group for more than 40 years, does Handel’s Messiah and other favorites with a full orchestra. Finish the fix — and get another dose of Handel’s Messiah – on Sunday when Our Lady of Martyrs Church’s Sacred Music Societyjoins forces with the Oratorio Society of Queens to offer an annual concert that always involves tremendous audience participation.