Is it summer yet? This news makes us pine for warmer months: DNAinfo reports that 16 months after Hurricane Sandy, Fort Tilden Beach will finally open this summer. The Parks Department just started work on Thursday to clean up storm damage; the goal is to open in time for the 2014 beach season. Parks will remove large pieces of debris, including hunks of roadway, from the beach. The cleanup took longer than average — staying shut for the beach season last year — because of the large amount of hurricane damage and the sprawling size of the park.
It’s time to break away from winter and jump into the great outdoors! Good thing the borough is ready. Tomorrow, the Queens Botanical Gardens will host two programs for nature lovers. At 10 am, the Flushing green space will launch its intergenerational garden (above). Interested individuals will be able to tour the facilities, meet gardeners of all races and ages, and learn the ropes with the coordinator. Then at noon, QBG will offer an introductory workshop on how to grow summer vegetables indoors. Meanwhile just south of Little Neck Bay, Urban Park Rangers will teach wilderness survival at the Alley Pond Park Adventure Center. Participants of all ages will learn how to build shelter, start a fire without matches, and find water sources in a forest. The fun continues on March 10th at the Rockaway Community Park Coastal Clean-Up, where do-gooders will work with Natural Areas Volunteers from the Parks Department to remove debris from the shoreline and protect Jamaica Bay’s natural habitat.
Start Your Summer Veggies Indoors, Queens Botanical Gardens, 43-50 Main Street, Flushing, March 8th, noon, $6, advance registration and payment required at email@example.com or 718-886-3800 ext. 230.
Wilderness Survival, Alley Pond Park Adventure Center, vicinity of Little Neck Bay, Long Island Expressway, Union Turnpike, Springfield Boulevard, Douglaston Parkway and Hanford Street, March 8th, 11 am, free, but call 718-352-1769.
A buyer just picked up five four-story buildings for $8,520,000 in the Far Rockaways, reports the Commercial Observer. The low-rise complex is located at 22-29 Dix Avenue, just off Beach Channel Drive. The buildings hold a total of 130 apartments; 84 percent were occupied at the time of the sale.
Cobb Realty is the new owner of the development. Here are a few details about the transaction, from the Commercial Observer: “This buyer moved at lightning speed to secure the deal and close the transaction in three weeks. Given the property was operating in the red for the past two years, which was further exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy, a highly competent operator was paramount to making the deal.” Hopefully the new owner has plans in place to better storm-proof this complex for residents.
The New York Times reports the good news that the sand is coming back to Rockaway beaches — 2.9 million cubic yards, to be exact. (That’s enough sand to fill more than two Empire State Buildings!) Expected to start this month and last through the summer, the project will bring sand to the stretch between Beach 19th and Beach 149th Streets and elevate the beach as much as 10 to 14 feet above sea level. An additional two feet of sand will go up along the boardwalk as added buffer. The added sand will be dredged from the ocean bottom offshore, then sprayed on the beaches through a large pipe. The work was supposed to begin in early winter, but was delayed because the dredge needed was finishing up a job in Delaware.
According to the Parks Department, the sand replenishment will happen concurrently with the boardwalk reconstruction. The city plans to begin the boardwalk construction sometime this spring and the work will last until 2017.
A nine-lot, 35,928-square-foot parcel is up for sale in the Rockaways. The properties in question are 114-02 through 115-02 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, between Beach 108th Street and Beach 116th Street. It’s zoned for both commercial and residential use, offering a total of 35,928 buildable square feet for commercial and 48,503 buildable square feet for residential. CPEX is marketing this as an opportunity for “retail, hotel, or mixed-use development” just a block away from the beach. The asking price for this mega-lot comes in at $2,950,000.
Build it Back, a program aimed at home recovery in neighborhoods badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy, is not delivering in South Queens. Queens Courier writes that residents, civic leaders and officials are calling for the program to be completely revamped and placed on top of Mayor de Blasio’s priority list. The President of the Broad Channel Civic Association called the program “a complete disaster,” with some residents still waiting for money promised and many more getting held up with slow responses, lost paperwork and bad communication. One big issue was that the program couldn’t move ahead to help residents demolish their houses because the funds weren’t allocated for use until next year.
Borough President Katz facilitated a discussion of these issues earlier this month. Build it Back’s program director, Kathryn Mallon, is trying to address complaints and reorganize their priority list to address Rockaway residents with the most need. And according to the Chronicle, a source close to Mayor de Blasio’s office says the mayor plans to “engage the communities to find ways to make the program work.”
The new and shiny Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea has officially opened at 207 Beach 73rd Street. The 44,000-square-foot space offers tons of amenities: Two pools, including a lap pool and a rec pool with a large slide and water features, a large gymnasium for basketball, volleyball and indoor sports clinics, a wellness center with cardiovascular and strength training equipment, large group exercise class space, community multi-purpose space for youth and family programs, and an outdoor rec field. The YMCA now houses the largest aquatics center in all of New York City.
This $23,000,000 facility was built under the Arverne-by-the-Sea urban renewal project using private, city, and developer funding. Home owners in Arverne-by-the-Sea get a free one-year membership. Check out interior pictures of the awesome new space after the jump…
The Parks Department is reusing wood from the Sandy-battered Rockaway boardwalk to repair a gap in the boardwalk between Beach 35th Street and Beach 39th Street. NY Daily News reports that when work wraps up, visitors will be able to walk along three miles of the boardwalk, from Beach 9th to Beach 60th Street, for the first time since Sandy. It’ll be the longest continuous strip of boardwalk completed since the storm hit. According to the Parks Department, “As part of this work, supports salvaged from the old boardwalk are being laid across intact concrete pile caps to create a frame that will be topped with decking.” This project should wrap in the springtime, while repairing the entire Rockaway boardwalk is expected to take years.
The Madelaine Chocolate Company, the Rockaways business badly damaged by Sandy, put its factory up for sale. DNAinfo reports that the owners listed the building for an undisclosed price, and it’s unclear if the business will seek a new location or shutter altogether. Madelaine has operated out of Rockaway Beach since 1967.
The business suffered from millions of dollars in damage after Hurricane Sandy and lost as much as $8 million of inventory. Madelaine reopened last July but never recovered to full operation. According to an earlier report by the Daily News, the company was in fact considering a move to another location, either in New York or elsewhere.
The one-family home at 135 Beach 142nd Street just hit public records for $2,500,000. The house sits on a 11,733-square-foot property that fronts the beach — not bad! The home itself is 5,395 square feet with six bedrooms and four bathrooms. We found this old listing from last year, when the property was asking $3,000,000. Sadly the listing doesn’t reveal any photos of the home or the beachfront land — it only says “Amazing, unprecedented opportunity to sell this oceanfront home on a huge 115 x 100 property situated on the most prestigious block in Neponsit. This is a once in a 100 year deal.” GMAP