02/23/15 9:00am

julissa-state-of-the-district

Last week, Council Member Julissa Ferreras delivered her State of the District address — the Council Member represents District 21 which covers Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona and Jackson Heights. There were a few major announcements, including the fate of the controversial Jackson Heights Business Improvement District, Willets Point updates, and a health care institution slated for Corona. We’ve broken down the biggies for you.

Willets Point
The last of the Willets Point auto shops are being relocated. Ferraras said that The Sunrise Auto Coop and Economic Development Corporation are now working towards finalizing a $5.8 million agreement to relocate Willets Points auto shops to a new work and business space in the Bronx.

And as part of the Willets Point deal Council Member Ferreras helped negotiated in 2013, there’s a new affordable housing development slated for Corona. The 67-unit rental building will be located 54-25 101st Street and will house low-income seniors. Amenities include a garden, community area and medical referral services, and there will be an early childhood development center on the ground floor. Construction should begin at the end of 2015 and is expected to last 18 months.

Jackson Heights BID
It looks like the controversial battle over establishing a Business Improvement District along 82nd Street is coming to an end. According to Ferreras, “Members of the community and the 82nd Street Partnership are near to reaching an agreement that will expand the Partnership from 82nd Street to 104th Street along Roosevelt Avenue.”

Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The push to establish a Flushing Meadows Corona Park Alliance is also making headway. According to the Council Member, she “plans to hold the Mayor’s Office to its promise of establishing [the alliance] by spring.” An alliance would serve to protect the park’s historical significance and green space and establish more community programming.

Higher Education and Health Care Institution for Corona
The Councilwoman also spoke on a $10 million project with Queensborough Community College and Urban Health Plan to establish a 19,000-square-foot higher education and health care institution in Corona. The facility will provide space for training and clinical rotations, as well as affordable primary and specialty health care for the community.

Elmhurst Hospital
Ferreras plans to fight for funding to upgrade the emergency room at Elmhurst Hospital — right now there is a $11.1 million gap in the city’s budget to do so. Her goal is to secure funding for 10,000 square feet of new space for the hospital, which would double the number of treatment bays and include five additional isolation rooms.

02/09/15 1:00pm

carolina&andres3hor

It’s the most diverse county in the world and the best tourism destination in the United States, so it’s no surprise that Queens is overflowing with wonderful Valentine’s Day activities and bargains. In fact, local chances for romance and fun related to this international holiday are so numerous that they run for more than two weeks and include everything from live music to a “love run,” hotel getaways, and even a blood drive for the do-gooders. Another photo and many more details are on the jump page.

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02/06/15 2:00pm

4316 111th Street-corona-vacant-lot

The long, vacant lot at 43-16 111th Street, on the corner of 45th Avenue, has sat empty for more than 20 years. Corona residents and the 596 Acres organization are trying to change that. 596 Acres reports that the Department of Transportation is willing to consider a request to transform the lot into community space. There will be a meeting on how to move forward next Tuesday, February 10th, 6:30 pm at Immigrant Movement International, 108-59 Roosevelt Avenue. (The meeting will be in both Spanish and English.) The goal is to have the space open to the community by the spring. GMAP

02/05/15 12:00pm

98-12-38th-avenue

Man, we feel bad for this Corona townhouse at 98-12 38th Avenue. For whatever reason, it still stands although much of the surrounding area is now dominated by newer development. It could be charming, but right now it’s just wrecked. The exterior needs work, the interior is a pit, the lot is overgrown — it is just a sad sight all around. It looks like there may be some interior details worth salvaging but we wouldn’t be surprised if a new buyer just decided to tear it down. How great would it look if it was restored, though? The ask comes in at $599,000.

98-12 38th Avenue [Keller Williams] GMAP

01/28/15 3:00pm

roosevelt-avenue-queens-091013

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.

Corona, Queens, Affordable, With Latin Flavor [NY Times]

01/21/15 4:00pm

our-lady-of-sorrows-church-corona

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.

Restoration Promised for Fire-Damaged Church in Corona [Q'Stoner]

Photo via YouCaring.com

01/09/15 4:00pm

corona-cleaning-iniative

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.

01/07/15 3:00pm

corona-church-fireThis 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.”

Parishioners Vow To Restore Fire Ravaged Corona Church [Queens Gazette]

Photo by Ilana Gold for CBS2

01/02/15 3:00pm

Louis-Armstrong-Annex-rendering

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.”

Construction Finally Set for $20M Louis Armstrong Museum Annex [Queens Courier] GMAP

Rendering via Louis Armstrong House Museum

12/23/14 1:00pm

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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 CenterCali SalsaEC 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.

Photo: Uruzua Queens Center of Performing Arts