The co-op prices in Jackson Heights are creeping upward. Take, for example, this two bedroom at Laburnum Court, asking $599,000. (Monthly fees: $837.) It looks to be a beautiful, well-kept six room apartment. We don’t have square footage, but it does look smaller than the typical two-bedroom co-op unit in Jackson Heights — and that kitchen is definitely cozy. One thing’s for sure, though — that’s a nice chunk of cash that they’re asking for. Think they’ll get it?
One of our favorite weekends of the year has a date! The Jackson Heights Historic Weekend will take place on Saturday, June 13th and Sunday, June 14th. (Hey, remember summer?) On Saturday there will be a lecture on the history of Jackson Heights, an exhibit of historic photos, and — our favorite — a self-guided tour of the historic co-op building gardens. On Sunday, there will be escorted walking tours of the historic district for $10. For all the details, check out the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.
Roxanne is a lonely transgender sex worker whose life changes drastically after she takes in an abandoned 11-year-old girl. Alifa is an optimistic shepherdess in Somali who is positive that her life is going to change for the better. Hannah has a hard time juggling being six years old and a “big girl” at the same time. These three stories will play at various times in the borough during the fifth annual Queens World Film Festival, which starts on March 17th. At venues in Jackson Heights, the Kaufman Arts District, and Long Island City, the six-day celebration will present 117 films with diverse lengths, topics, and national origins. Details on the movies, venues, blocks, and themes are on the jump page along with another photo.
Last month, Council Member Julissa Ferreras announced that an agreement was close to being reached to establish a Business Improvement District from 82nd Street to 104th Street along Roosevelt Avenue; now DNAinfo reports that an agreement was reached to allow more community input. Both Council Member Ferreras and the 82nd Street Partnership came up with a proposal that will better represent the small business owners who initially opposed the BID. A minimum of eight commercial and residential tenants will serve on the 25-member board, with representatives for both street vendors and the LGBTQ community. There will also be one youth board member. (Previously, only property owners were required to serve on the board.) Any BID decision will require the approval of 18 members.
There is, however, a group called Queens Neighborhoods United that still opposes the BID — last week the group delivered a petition with 200 signatures to City Hall. The BID isn’t officially established yet, as a final vote by property owners still needs to be taken.
I was invited to ride along with the Transportation Alternatives Queens Volunteer Committee’s social ride on Sunday, which ended up carrying me all over the western edge of a Long Island. The meetup spot was at the Jackson Heights Roosevelt stop on the 7/E/R/M, so I left Astoria and travelled via the R train. The trip played out over several hours, criss-crossed from Queens into Brooklyn and then back again, and I was capturing images the whole way. Want to see where we went?
Council Member Costa Constantinides released the Participatory Budget ballot for District 22, which covers parts of Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. Community members in the 22nd District will be able to choose from eighteen project proposals to decide how to spend $1 million throughout the neighborhood. You can see a sample of the ballot right here [PDF]. Proposals include a new dog run under the RFK Bridge, renovations at the Astoria Houses, a redesign for 21st Street, a playground in Hallets Point, schoolyard upgrades at I.S. 126, a pedestrian plaza along Newtown Avenue and more.
Voting will take place from April 13th through the 19th. Ballot proposals that get the most votes and are within the $1 million limit will emerge as the winning, funded projects.
A giant Petco outpost is now open in the large outdoor shopping center in Jackson Heights, located along 31st Avenue and 77th Street. (Thanks to Jackson Heights Life for the photo.) One year ago, Petco signed a long-term lease for 13,500 square feet in a stand-alone building within the shopping center. The store opening was delayed a little; it was initially scheduled for late 2014.
Muss Development, who handled Petco’s lease, also planned a number of upgrades for the shopping center, which holds a total of 24 retail stores and nine offices. Renovations were slated for the property’s lobby entrances, signage, facade and landscaping.
The Prince family opened the first commercial plant nursery in the USA in 1735, specializing in fruit trees. Patriarch Robert Prince learned horticulture from the remaining Huguenots (French Protestants) in the Flushing area, and the business flourished during and after the Revolutionary period. In the early 1800s, Robert’s son William opened the first bridge over the Flushing River that allowed wagon and cart traffic to enter from western Queens. Competing plant nurseries of the Bloodgood and Parsons families also opened, and in the 1800s, Flushing was known around the Northeast for horticulture. Eventually, though, as Flushing gradually became more urban, the nurseries moved out or failed. Today, the only reminder of the plant shops is Flushing’ street plan, which bears plant names from A (Ash) to R (Rose), and Prince Street.
The Prince family home was constructed at Broadway and Lawrence Street (today Northern and College Point Boulevards) by the Embree family around 1750, and purchased by the Princes in 1800. It was torn down in the 1930s as the area became industrial.
A NYS historic marker here, now long gone, said:
Prince Homestead stands opposite. Built by E. Embree 1780. Washington stopped here to see the Prince Nurseries during his trip to Long Island 1789.
When Washington visited the Prince nursery he was unimpressed, but when Thomas Jefferson visited the following year he made several purchases that were planted at Monticello in Virginia.
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.
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.
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.
A teaser site is up for The Queensboro, an American bistro planned for Jackson Heights. It will be located at 80-04 Northern Boulevard between 80th and 81st Streets. Unfortunately we have no details yet on the menu or the vibe of the place. It is safe to assume there will be typical bistro fare, which there is definitely demand for around Jackson Heights. (If you have any more details, leave them in the comment section or shoot us a tip.) It’s supposed to open early this year. Stay tuned for more details… GMAP