04/16/15 9:45am

NYCEDC

The city unveiled a multi-faceted economic development “action plan” to prevent foreclosures, improve streetscapes, create affordable housing, and increase job-training opportunities in Jamaica on Wednesday.

The actions include creating a Jamaica-specific marketing and branding program, expanding free WiFi access via the LinkNYC program, and capital improvements to Rufus King Park and Brinkerhoff Mall Park in St. Albans.  (more…)

04/15/15 11:00am

Prospect Cemetery, prospectcemeteryassociation.org 3

Queens has some of the oldest remaining homes in all of New York City. The borough’s history has a tangible footprint back to the 1600s, when the Dutch began the first settlements here. With that in mind, it’s also fitting that some of the oldest cemeteries are also in Queens.

For historians and descendants alike, one’s final resting place is almost as important as one’s dwelling place. How people lived, and what they were like as individuals and within the society can all be learned in a cemetery.

Cemeteries don’t tend to survive the urbanization of a neighborhood or city. A burial plot, whether it used to be in a churchyard or someone’s field way back when, can end up in the middle of a desirable building site, or even in the middle of the street, depending on how the neighborhood is laid out.

Final resting places are not always final, after all. Through the efforts of many, this one is, and has had quite a history (more…)

04/08/15 9:30am

Kris Seto

Some enrichment options head outdoors with such events as a carnival, a gardening extravaganza, and a guided walk. But with “April Showers” in mind, the borough also hosts indoor fun, such as comedy, live music, film, theater, photography, and some 3-D magic. Here’s the rundown. (more…)

04/01/15 10:45am

Jamaica HS, Hillside Ave, Peter Greenberg for Wikipedia 1

Harry Potter would have liked this building, it’s almost magical with its whimsical “witch’s hat” dormers. We don’t often think of Queens and amusing buildings in the same thought, but that’s why this is such a great building. If you’ve got to go to school, what child wouldn’t want to attend one with such great details? But how did it come to be?

By the end of the 19th century, Jamaica was one of the largest towns within the independent county of Queens. This was before Queens became a borough in greater New York City, an event that happened in 1898.

Because of its position geographically, and its many convenient forms of public transportation including the Long Island Railroad, Jamaica was developing rapidly. Houses were going up, factories were employing local people, and there were soon a lot of children to educate. (more…)

03/20/15 11:00am

Jamaica’s name has nothing to do with the Caribbean island country. The avenue, the neighborhood and the bay are instead named for the Jameco Indians, an Algonquian tribe that occupied the center and southern sections of what is today’s Queens County, for hundreds of years before the colonial era.

The Jameco name was Algonquian for beaver, which had been plentiful in the region; a remnant of this is Beaver Road, which ran beside the now-filled Beaver Pond south of the Long Island Rail Road. Native Americans used the trail, which connects to original trails that run from the East River to eastern Long Island, for trade with tribes spanning from the east coast to the midwest. After the Dutch settled the present day downtown area, known before 1664 as Rustdorp (“rest town”), Jamaica Avenue (as the Jamaica Plank Road) became a tolled highway for much of its length. The tolls were removed by the time of Queens’ consolidation with New York City in 1898.

Downtown Jamaica Avenue passes several buildings that went up during or just after the colonial period. It’s just north of Prospect Cemetery, which was established in 1668 immediately following the end of Dutch rule.

Today, though, I’m going to concentrate on a couple of buildings and items from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, known as the Beaux Arts period for its rococo architecture…

jamaica1

(more…)

03/18/15 11:00am

90-33 160th St. Jamaica, La Casita, CB, PS

Let’s face it, we may live in a time of great riches, but it’s not all that fabulous and posh anymore. Certainly not like the glamorous days of Hollywood and New York, when the swanky people got into their big cars and their fancy shiny silk gowns and tuxedos and partied the night away in nightclubs that often had exotic Latin names like the Copacabana, the Mocambo, and La Casina. “La Casina?” Ok, maybe not as swanky as other places, but in its day, it was quite the place.

La Casina was in Jamaica, Queens, and like many nightspots of the day and on into today, was built as something else, and then transformed into a nightclub. The original 1904 building on this site was purchased in 1918 by Arnold Behrer Jr. and Clarence Behrer. They altered the building, turning it into a supper club on the site, and in 1932 leased it to Bernard Levy and La Casino, Inc. for four years. The lease specified that the building had to be used as a restaurant, cabaret, beer garden, casino or dance hall. They paid $1,800 a year for the space, and in four years, the rent would go up to $3000 a year. Any alterations to the space had to be approved by the landlord.

The La Casino Supper Club opened in 1933. (more…)

03/17/15 1:00pm

one

Tattoos date back an estimated 3,000 years, however there has never been an ink convention like the three-day festival scheduled to begin this Friday. The United Ink No Limits Tattoo Show will bring the diverse aspects of ink culture — including exhibits by the world’s greatest artists, live piercing, and even a unique beauty pageant — under one roof at Resorts World Casino New York City. There will also be magicians, suspension shows, games, contests, and seminars. Confirmed artists include Gypsy Rose Ink, Remember Orellana, and Cubo.

Details: No Limits Tattoo Festival, Resorts World Casino New York City, 110-00 Rockaway Boulevard, South Jamaica, March 20th, 2 pm to 11 pm, March 21st, noon to 11 pm, March 22nd, noon to 7 pm, $25.

Photo: New York Tattoo Show

03/16/15 9:00am

mary-immaculate-hospital-conversion-jamaica

Wowza: behold the future of the Mary Immaculate Hospital, to be converted into a residential development at 150-13 89th Avenue in Jamaica. YIMBY first published the rendering from the architects Goldstein, Hill & West. The Chetrit Group is moving forward to develop the site after purchasing it in 2009 and facing some construction holdups. The 298,000-square-foot, 324-unit complex spans an entire city block and faces Rufus King Park.

This is the second major hospital conversion happening around Jamaica, the other being the T Building at the Queens Hospital Center. That one includes 205 units, 75 of which will be reserved for Queens Hospital Center patients transitioning out of care.

Revealed: Mary Immaculate Hospital Redevelopment, 150-13 89th Avenue, Jamaica [YIMBY]
Construction Problems at the Mary Immaculate Hospital Conversion in Jamaica [Q'Stoner]

03/11/15 9:00am

atlantic-avenue-extension

Queens Courier reports that this year, the Economic Development Corporation plans to kick off an ambitious project to increase access to the Jamaica LIRR hub from the Van Wyck Expressway. Known as the Atlantic Avenue Extension project, it will connect Atlantic Avenue to 95th Avenue near the Van Wyck Expressway. There are some traffic changes too, according to the Courier, with “the now-two-way street [changed] to a northeast-bound one-way street. It will also do the same for 94th Avenue, which will now solely be southwest-bound.” The city hopes that this new east-west street connection will alleviate traffic on the Van Wyck and around Jamaica Station.

Building out the extension will also open up enough space to build out three new park areas, totaling .86 acres. The extension and the park project should break ground this summer, after being delayed since 2012. The project, which is fully funded, is costing the city $21 million.

Construction on Atlantic Avenue Extension Project Set to Begin This Year [Queens Courier]

Photo via the EDC

03/05/15 3:00pm

ariel-property-sale-queens

Today Ariel Property Advisors announced the sale of two properties in Astoria and Jamaica for a total of $4.8 million. Let’s start with Astoria first, since the neighborhood has quite a lot of development to keep track of. The property in question is located at 14-23 Broadway, between 14th Street and 21st Street. The 25 by 136-foot vacant lot sold for $1.95 million, and Ariel reports that the buyer plans to build residential. Going over old DOB documents, it looks like they are trying to work off of old plans to build an eight-story, 15-unit development that previously fell through.

Moving on to Jamaica, 175-42 Hillside Avenue between Edgerton Boulevard and 175th Street sold for $2.85 million. A massive development could rise at this site, which now holds a 2,054-square-foot KFC outpost. The 100 by 100-foot lot offers a grand total of 40,000 buildable square feet.