The borough’s official tourism slogan is “It’s in Queens,” but over the summer, it could also be “It’s Outside in Queens,” as countless parks, cultural venues, and boulevards host countless plein air movies, concerts, plays, food festivals, and parades. Among the most popular is Live at the Gantries, a series of free performances in Gantry Plaza State Park featuring a diverse collection of musicians doing everything from Prog Rock to Reggae to Arab sounds with bellydancing. Tonight, Dahka Band, which infuses traditional music from Algeria, Nigeria, and Turkey and sings in Arabic, Berber, Yoruba, and English, will take the stage, which boasts the East River and the Midtown Manhattan skyline as its backdrop.
Information on the remaining performers and a photo of the venue are on the jump page.
Welcome to the Q’Stoner food feature, Signature Dish! Once a week we check in with Queens restaurants and ask the owners about the all-time favorite dishes they serve. If you know of a dish you’d like to see featured here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Spot: Alobar, 46-42 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City.
The Deal: When your restaurant’s philosophy revolves around farm-fresh produce and seasonal dishes, it’s imperative that the menu reflects the changing seasons. So although patrons may miss a favorite hearty dish – such as late winter’s Signature Dish of the Loaded Baked Potato Gnocchi – summer is just an opportunity to find a new favorite.
The Millstone, a new condo building in LIC, is nearing the sold-out mark. Ten of the 14 units sold, pushing the building over the 50 percent point. The development launched in April, with over 300 prospective buyers showing up to the grand opening. Later in April, the building already had six accepted offers.
The one-bedroom and two-bedroom duplex apartments are priced between $480,000 and $799,000. The finishes include double-paned windows, Brazilian teak floors and washer/dryer units.
G train riders, prepare yourselves. This Friday at 10:30 pm, the train will shut down for five whole weeks between Greenpoint and Long Island City. It will not stop between the Nassau Avenue station in Greenpoint and the Long Island City-Court Square station until Tuesday, September 2nd at 5 am. As DNAinfo points out, the closure is for Hurricane Sandy repairs — during the storm, three million gallons of salt water flooded the train tunnel. Besides Sandy repairs, the MTA will install permanent tunnel lighting and new signals.
The MTA will run a free shuttle service — details here — in replace of the subway line. The Greenpoint East River Ferry stop is also expected to reopen after shuttering in February.
The Purves Street Block Association meeting is coming up this Wednesday, July 23rd, and there are two very interesting proposal on the agenda. First off, the Sculpture Center will present on its new building reopening, and related events planned. The Center started an expansion project in the spring of 2013; it includes 6,500 square feet of interior exhibition space, a 2,000-square-foot entrance lobby and a 1,500-square-foot enclosed courtyard. Last we heard, the ETA for the space was this fall.
The second item on the agenda is a presentation from Rockrose Development for new park space at Dutch Kills Street and Jackson Avenue. The area is mostly commercial with a few empty lots but unfortunately, there aren’t any more details to divulge at this time. If you’re interested in attending the meeting, it will take place at Sculpture Center, 44-19 Purves Street, from 7 to 8pm. RSVP to Cheryl@sculpture-center.org or call 718-361-1750.
Brooklyn has hipsters. Queens has Hip-to-Hip. This theater company, which specializes in family-friendly productions, performs Shakespeare classics for free in various public spaces throughout the borough each summer. This year, Hip-to-Hip will put on the Bard of Avon’sTwo Gentlemen of Verona, an early slapstick comedy about love, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness…and a dog, and Cymbeline, a late romance/fairy tale about a king, his only daughter, an evil stepmother, and a forbidden love. The professional actors will perform in repertory, and 30 minutes before each performance, they will host “Kids & The Classics,” an interactive workshop for children of all ages.
On Friday, the 11th of July, I found myself at the very edge of Queens in a very special place. At the end of Vernon Boulevard in LIC, where the old Vernon Avenue Bridge and the Newtown Creek Towing Company were found, is a facility which is engaged in the hands-on work of the Superfund process. The Anchor QEA company operates out of here, carrying out the collection of samples and scientific tests which will determine the exact nature of what’s wrong with Newtown Creek. These samples and tests are overseen and directed by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, and is an effort conducted by the so-called ”Potentially Responsible Parties” (PRPs).
These “Potentially Responsible Parties” have organized themselves together as the Newtown Creek Group, and they invited a small group of community members and representatives to their LIC facility to describe what they actually do at the Vernon street end and discuss the future of Newtown Creek.
Last week, a Q’Stoner tipster spotted dumpsters out at 5Pointz — a sign of demolition to come. Today, LIC Post reports that the iconic graffiti warehouse will be gone by October. Owner/developer Jerry Wolkoff stated that demolition will begin in earnest in about two weeks and will continue for about two to three months. He told LIC Post, “Once demolition starts we will continue all the way through to 2016… until the job is complete.” The warehouse will be replaced by two 47- and 41-story towers, with a total of 1,000 apartment units.
Demolition comes nine months after the Wolkoffs secured City Council approval for the new buildings, and eight months after whitewashing the warehouse. The demo job was supposed to take place in early 2014, but Wolkoff said it took longer than expected to secure permits. He predicts the shiny development to replace 5Pointz will be the “coolest [residential] building in New York.”
Last night, over on 39th Street in Sunnyside, the NYS DOT held a meeting to discuss the forthcoming Kosciuszko Bridge project. This is a BIG deal for anybody who lives in North Brooklyn, Western Queens, or who drives on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. It’s also a HUGE deal for us as taxpayers. The first phase of this project, which will build half of the replacement span and demolish the existing bridge is $555 million – the largest contract in NYS DOT history. The contractors as chosen and announced by Governor Cuomo are Skanska, a construction firm based in NYC, which will be managing partner; Ecco III of Yonkers; Kiewit of Nebraska; and HNTB of Kansas.
The “New Meeker Avenue Bridge” opened back on August 23rd of 1939, and was a pet project of Robert Moses. It was the first link in the chain which would eventually become the BQE. This post at my Newtown Pentacle blog displays a series of historic shots from that long ago time, and this one here at Q’stoner discusses what’s found in DUKBO – Down Under the Kosciuszko Bridge Onramp.
The Department of Buildings issued new building permits for 47-28 11th Street, the parcel right next door to The Bindery condo development. (Shown above, the lot before the existing auto garage was demolished.) That means construction is coming soon! The coming development will have seven stories and 21 units. There will be a total of 18,791 square feet of residential space, and just 216 square feet of commercial space.
Kora Developers is behind the new build — you can see some of their uninspiring building designs here.