Tomorrow, the Lent-Riker-Smith Homestead will open up for public tours. Dutch settler Abraham Riker built the home in 1665, at 78-03 19th Road in East Elmhurst. The current owners began restoring the property in 1980, and started offering the occasional tour of what is the oldest private residence in the borough. (The title of the oldest home in Queens actually belongs to the Bowne House in Flushing.)
DNAinfo reports that the tour will offer a rare glimpse of the Riker burial ground in the backyard — it houses the remains of 132 family descendants of the property. Guests will also see restorations inside the home and the surrounding gardens. (Check out photos of the property at the official website.) The tour begins at 3 pm, and RSVPs to email@example.com are encouraged. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at the door.
This one-bedroom condo comes from the Garden Bay Manor building, located out by LaGuardia in East Elmhurst. (The listing tries to place this unit in Jackson Heights.) It’s priced at $279,000, with common charges of $421 a month. The 640-square-foot space is fairly straightforward, with hardwood floors and plenty of windows throughout. We’d imagine someone will want to reconfigure that eat-in kitchen, though, or update the kitchen itself. The apartment also comes with an extra room in the basement for storage and laundry, accounting for the higher ask. So, what do you make of this one?
Queens has caught the participatory budgeting bug. DNAinfo reports that the latest district to welcome the community budgeting forum is District 21 under City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras — Corona, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and LeFrak City. This fall, residents of those neighborhoods will get the chance to propose how to spend $1,000,000 within the district. Residents commonly fund school improvements, street safety measures, park renovations and more.
There are three neighborhood assemblies scheduled to kick the process off. The first is happening on September 25th, 6:30 pm at Elmcor, 98-19 Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst. On October 1st, there’s another 6:30 pm meeting at Transfiguration of Christ Greek Orthodox Church, 38-05 98th Street in Corona. Finally, a 6:30 pm meeting on October 2nd at Sherwood Village Community Room, 55-25 98th Place, Corona. All of the meetings will have Spanish translators present.
Community opposition rages on in regards to homeless shelters opening around Queens, despite the fact that Queens does not have that many homeless shelters. First off, Queens Courier reports that 200 residents showed up to a public hearing regarding the homeless shelter at the former Westway Motel on Astoria Boulevard. During the two hour meeting, according to the Courier, residents “raised concerns over community safety, overcrowding of schools, increase in property taxes, environmental studies of the area and crime.” They also expressed outrage that the Department of Homeless Services did not inform them about opening the shelter ahead of time. A member of the United Committee Civic Association stated, “It was a deliberate, furtive and covert operation reeking of disrespect of our local elected officials, community leaders and the community at large.” Reps at the DHS countered that they entered crisis mode in June due to a lack of capacity and a growing need for shelter, forcing them to find last-minute housing.
Another homeless shelter proposed for the Rockaways has residents up in arms. The Wave posted on its Facebook account a letter from the DHS outlining a “7-Day Community Notification Protocol for Emergency Shelter Siting.” The letter essentially outlines the plan for moving homeless families into the building. One elected official told The Wave, “This administration is going to do what it wants to do, whenever it wants to do it, and the people be damned.”
The borough of Queens has seen its share of homeless sheltercontroversies as of late. Now here’s another. On Monday, Congressman Joseph Crowley, Councilman Costa Constantinides, New York State Senator Jose Peralta, and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas wrote to the commissioner of the Department of Homeless Services concerning recent developments at the Westway Motor Inn at 71-11 Astoria Boulevard, on the border of Astoria and East Elmhurst. Earlier this month, the DHS approved the conversion of the Westway Motor Inn into a permanent shelter for over 100 homeless families, effective immediately. The shelter is now operated by the social services provider Woman In Need. Local pols and residents are most upset that no one in the community was notified or consulted beforehand by DHS. (Picking up on a trend here?) As the letter to DHS stated, “While we appreciate that DHS is legally required to provide shelter for the homeless, the agency’s failure to provide any notification to the people currently living in the area who are impacted by its implementation is unacceptable.”
This isn’t the first time DHS proposed a homeless shelter for this location. Back in 2012, the Daily News published a story on community opposition to opening a full-time shelter here. (At the time, the hotel housed homeless families in need of emergency housing overnight.) The DHS shelved the plan after overwhelming community opposition.