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.
This Saturday, you’re going to wish you were still a kid — it’s the annual Flushing Meadows Soap Box Derby. Kids ages 7 to 17 will compete, and all the cars were assembled by the kids and their parents in the weeks leading up to the race. According to the Times Ledger, “Most competitors use the fiberglass car bodies and components owned by the soap box derby group, although a few buy and build kits of their own.” Each race, held at 23rd Avenue and 94th Street in East Elmhurst, will have two heats in which two cars race for the best time. Races last from 10 am to 5pm. The final winners will represent NYC in the National All-American Race in Akron, Ohio next month.
A sale just hit public records for three parcels — from 112-12 to 112-24 Astoria Boulevard — on the corner of 112th Place. The location is just south of Grand Central Parkway, and west of Citi Field and Willets Point. The lots sold to “LGA Hospitality,” a company based in Flushing, for $5,610,000.
This Department of Buildings application shows that the previous owners wanted to build a huge hotel at the site — 48,423 square feet, six stories and 126 units. The DOB disapproved those hotel plans in January of 2013, but it seems like the new owners are trying again. The DOB issued a permit to the new owners to install a construction fence in conjunction with the new hotel building plans. However, the DOB has yet to issue new building permits for the hotel so don’t expect construction just yet. According to PropertyShark, all three lots ecompass 16,527 square feet. GMAP
The commercial structure now under construction on Northern Boulevard between 87th and 88th Streets is getting a Denny’s, alongside other chain restaurants. Queens Courier reports that this’ll be the third Denny’s Restaurant in NYC and the very first in Queens. (The first Denny’s chain will open in downtown Manhattan later this summer.) Other tenants slated to move into the 40,000-square-foot space include Red Mango, Dunkin’ Donuts, a Children of America Day Care and medical offices.
There were construction workers out at 87-10 Northern Boulevard, the hulking construction project between 87th and 88th Streets. According to this website, this will someday be “The Shops at Northern Boulevard,” a 40,000-square-foot retail space with underground parking. It’s not designed for a single tenant; rather, it will hold a variety of smaller retail spaces. No word on when construction will wrap. A sign on the construction fence says work was scheduled to finish in the spring of 2013, so it’s been incredibly delayed.
Click through for one more construction shot, as well as a rendering of the final product. GMAP
Earlier this week the owners of Addictive Boutique Winery, located at 32-62 87th Street East Elmhurst, showed us around their newly expanded shop. Owners Francisco Diaz and Patrick Duong decided to expand into the clothing boutique next door — which they also owned — after the success of the wine shop with nearby Jackson Heights residents. So they nearly doubled their space, and added to their collection of wine from about 130 to 400 bottles. (Wines come from all around the world and are priced between $8.99 and $260.) The new space will allow them to bring in larger crowds for wine tastings, which they host every Friday and Saturday.
The grand opening party for the expanded store is Saturday, May 17th at 6 pm. Expect wine samples, snacks and live music. Click through for tons of photos of the store, as well as more details on the renovation. GMAP
Jackson Heights Herald posted the above photo to its Twitter account — the very popular Cannelle Patisserie, located at 75-59 31st Avenue in East Elmhurst, is expanding to LIC! The new location, as you can see above, is 5-11 47th Avenue, which is the ground floor of the Maximilian rental building off of 5th Street. The opening date is slated for late spring.
The New York Times profiled the French bakery and its diverse clientele back in 2012. The spot sells pastries, cakes, tarts, quiches, sandwiches and breakfast options to rave reviews.
This East Elmhurst property at 30-20 88th Street is asking $669,000. The English Tudor-style home is charming from the outside, fairly straightforward on the inside. The exposed beams in the living room aren’t really doing it for us. The backyard, however, looks quite nice. Any opinions out there on the asking price?
St. Michael’s Cemetery in East Elmhurst has a probably–it is running out of space. And since there’s no reason to think people are going to stop dying, they need to get their hands on more land. One small plot of land that cemetery leaders have targeted is an irregularly-shaped parcel of unloved city park land known as St. Michael’s Park. The 4-acre plot is located at the Northeast corner of the cemetery, up against the BQE just south of Astoria Boulevard. Earlier this week, the blog Queens Crap posted a copy of a bill that would authorize the transfer of the park in return for a similar-sized property elsewhere in the borough. According to a Daily News story yesterday, local politicians support the swap. “I hope we can take a local eyesore, put it to productive use and find replacement land that can be used as a park,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris. “It’s an abandoned (and) overgrown area. People throw their garbage over the fence.” Are you okay with the plan? Queens Cemetery’s Attempts to Expand on Park Land in Limbo [NY Daily News]
Designed by William Delano and built in 1939, LaGuardia Airport’s Marine Air Terminal is one of two passenger terminals remaining from the first generation of USA air travel, dating back to the airport’s first days. (The other belongs to American Airlines.) LGA opened in October 1939 and the Marine Air Terminal was dedicated the following March, serving Pan American’s magnificent Yankee Clipper aircraft, seaplanes known as “flying boats.” Today it serves commuter airlines including the Delta Water Shuttle (a ferry service), air taxis, and a private weather station. (more…)