01/29/15 10:00am

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Over on Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, you’ll notice the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at the corner of 54th Avenue. It’s the Gothic structure which is incongruous with its surroundings, which are mainly retail shops, a diner, and a medium sized shopping mall. The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is one of the oldest congregations in the entire city, and certainly the oldest in Queens. Pictured above is the latest building to serve the organization, erected in 1895, the first iteration having been built in 1652.

In 1652, men dressed like this.

The exterior shots in this post are from a couple of weeks ago, from when the missus and I went couch shopping. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to set up a tripod inside the church, so there are lots of interior shots after the jump.

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01/21/15 10:00am

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Last week, we told you that the nine-unit commercial property at 75-08 Broadway, right off 75th Street and the Jackson Heights subway station, sold for $5,850,000. While zoning would accommodate a new residential development, it looks like the buyers are keeping it commercial. A rep from Marcus & Millichap, the brokerage firm that represented both the buyer and seller, tell us that the 7,940-square-foot property will be redeveloped and filled with new tenants. The seller delivered the property mostly vacant, “with a clear path to becoming vacant in a short period of time.” Rents are expected to double post renovation. It’s still unclear if the new owner plans to expand upon the existing building, as zoning would allow for a building twice the size of what stands now.

Apparently bidding was fierce for the property, with a number of offers. Ultimately, Marcus & Millichap sold $150,000 above the original asking price.

Corner Parcel on Broadway Sells, With Potential to Go Residential [Q'Stoner] GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

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The 5,851-square-foot corner lot at 75-08 Broadway (right off 75th Street) just hit public records for $5,850,000. Right now the parcel holds nine different commercial units, but the C2-3/R6B zoning means a residential property is possible here. It would make sense, considering that the Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue transit hub is only one block away, not to mention zoning allows for a building twice the size than the one currently standing. There aren’t any Department of Building permits that would indicate an impending renovation or demolition, though, so we’ll have to keep our eye on it.

A Sunnyside-based company sold the property to “75-08 Broadway LLC,” a Manhattan-based buyer we couldn’t find more details on. GMAP

Photo via Google Maps

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

12/23/14 11:00am

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One recent Christmas season, I hiked Queens’ very own Broadway. The route begins in Ravenswood at the East River edge, and plunges southeast into the heart of Elmhurst, indeed the center of the original town of Newtown (Middleburgh) first settled by Dutch colonials in 1652 — after an original settlement 10 years earlier in Maspeth had foundered after Indian attacks. Queens’ Broadway, which attained its present length only in the early 20th century, is an amalgam of a number of roads: Broadway in Ravenswood ran southeast to the now-demapped Ridge Road near Newtown Road; and the southern part between Woodside Avenue and Queens Boulevard is the eastern section of the colonial-era Hellgate Ferry Road, which connected Elmhurst and the East River; twisting Woodside Avenue follows most of its route today.

I must admit that I’m unsure when these two roads were joined to create the present-day Queens Broadway. Maps from the 1910s and 1920s show a completed Broadway, but that may be a figment of mapmakers’ imaginations (they often show maps the way city agencies say the street will eventually appear). Meanwhile, historian Vincent Seyfried (the unsung master chronicler of Queens whose work inspires every borough and city historian) maintains, in Old Queens, NY in Early Photographs, that Broadway was only connected with Long Island City and Elmhurst when the IND subway was opened in 1933. In any event, we can call Queens’ Broadway the youngest of all the boroughs’ Broadways.

During this less than cheerful holiday season, given the recent news (and lack of decorative holiday snow this year: on average, there’s snow in NYC during the Christmas season two years out of every five) I wish everyone the best for the end of 2014 and the greatest 2015.

Kevin Walsh is the webmaster of Forgotten NY and the author of Forgotten New York and, with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, Forgotten Queens.

12/17/14 9:00am

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Since launching in October, more than 60 percent of the co-op apartments at The Continental Park, located at 87-10 51st Avenue, are now in contract. The sales team tells us that units are entering contract at ask, with studios starting from $185,000, one bedrooms from $229,500, two bedrooms from $347,500 and three bedrooms from $509,500. All of the studio, one and three bedrooms are spoken for, with just two-bedroom units left.

The developers Myles Horn, ABC Properties and Fisher Associates purchased 79 units in the 153-unit co-op and redeveloped the apartments, redesigned the common spaces, and added amenities like a children’s playground, fitness center and lounge. (Take a tour of the building right here.) Yael Goldman, who is handling marketing and sales, reports that “We expected sales to move quickly, but the response has been greater than anyone could have imagined.” More than 1,000 people came to tour the units the first weekend the sales center opened.

All Continental Park coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

12/12/14 9:00am

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Here it is, Elm West, the new development slated for 85-15 Queens Boulevard right across the street from rental development East Elm. YIMBY first spotted the rendering for the proposed 130-unit apartment building. It’ll come with a whopping 50,000 square feet of retail space, with some extra community space. There’s no word on the construction timeline yet — the Department of Buildings hasn’t issued new building permits.

Elm West is by the same Flushing-based developer as East Elm, Pi Capital Partners. Pi saw quite a bit of demand at East Elm, which has 83 rental units, and our guess is that this development will also do well. The design, at the very least, looks very similar, with the exception of the corner balconies planned for Elm West. We guess that’ll afford a great view of Queens Boulevard…

Revealed: Elm West at 85-15 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst [YIMBY] GMAP

Rendering via Pi Capital Partners

12/02/14 11:00am

Newtown, founded in the mid-1600s after its colonists had fled from Native American attacks further west in Maspeth – and building literally a “new town,” mocks NYC’s preservationists, who seemingly prefer to recognize only buildings and artifacts in Manhattan and prefer to lavish designations and titles on buildings in that borough while ignoring the amazing treasures in what are considered the outer boroughs. In Queens, along with Jamaica and Flushing, Newtown (renamed ‘Elmhurst’ by developer Cord Meyer in the 1890s) retains several edifices and locales that existed in the first decades after its founding.

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The brownstone and granite Gothic First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at 54th Avenue and Queens Boulevard was constructed in 1895 by architect Frank Collins with $70,000 donated to the church in the will of one of its elders. When Queens Boulevard was constructed in 1910 and widened in the 1920s, the church had to be moved back several feet. The congregation of the church goes back to Newtown’s earliest era — founded in 1695 with first minister Rev. John Moore, of the famed Moore local family. Several congregants signed the Flushing Remonstrance, a 17th-century demand for religious tolerance by Flushing’s Quakers. There is a time capsule in the cornerstone.

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11/21/14 9:00am

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A recent Daily News article profiles the “humble Queens nabe” of Elmhurst, which has recently seen an onslaught of new development. The News mainly focuses on the residential conversion of the St. Johns Hospital complex, located across from the Queens Center Mall. When construction wraps on Queens Pointe, as it’s called, there will be 150 luxury rental apartments, several stories of retail and a 250-car parking garage. According to the article, “The developers estimate that they will be able to achieve rents of more than $45 a foot per year for the units, meaning a one-bedroom pad would likely go for over $2,500 a month.” (Luxury rentals at Elm East, on Broadway, leased quickly with rents topping $40 a foot.)

There are more developments slated for the neighborhood: a 69-unit condo tower at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, between 70th and 72nd Streets, and a six-story, 130-unit development for the long-empty site across from East Elm, also off Broadway. To be called West Elm, it’ll boast a private health club, an outdoor roof deck and 24-hour doorman. (Check out an exterior rendering after the jump.) There’s also the recent massive sale of the parking lot behind the Queens Place Mall.

With all that development, sales and rental prices are unsurprisingly rising in the neighborhood, which is better known for its low-rise housing stock. The median price for an apartment comes in at $338,500 — that’s compared to $288,500 in 2011. And an average apartment rents for $1,877 a month, compared to $1,350 in 2011.

Humble Queens Nabe is Suddenly a Luxe Lure for Developers [NY Daily News]

Rendering via New York Daily News (more…)

11/18/14 3:00pm

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Some of the glassy facade is now on display at the under-construction Elmhurst Library, located at 86-01 Broadway. The finished product — you can see a rendering after the jump — will be four stories and 30,000 square feet, roughly double the size of the old library. The new space will have separate library areas for adults, children and teens, a 32-computer Cyber Center, an Adult Learning Center, an interior reading atrium, and front and rear community gardens.

When the building broke ground in 2011, the aim was to open it in 2013. Last year, the ETA was pushed back to 2014. The latest estimation is to wrap construction by spring 2015. The facade was supposed to be finished by this month, but that’s obviously not on track either. While construction continues, the city is operating a temporary library at 85-08 51st Avenue, off Broadway.

After the jump, check out a few more photos of the facade.

All Elmhurst Library coverage [Q'Stoner] GMAP

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