10/29/14 3:00pm

This week, L+M Development Partners and the Department of Housing Preservation cut the ribbon at Arverne View, a renovated Mitchell-Lama affordable housing complex in the Rockaways. The event marked the conclusion of a pretty amazing story — L+M closed on the severely run-down complex right before Sandy hit, and the hurricane pretty much wiped out all 11 buildings. What followed was a $60,000,000 interior and exterior renovation to storm proof the complex and upgrade the apartments. The 1,093-unit complex is now 100 percent occupied; before Sandy there were 350 vacancies.

The film above, which is produced, directed and edited by Jason Hutt, chronicles that whole story. The film looks at the history of the Rockaways and the inception of Mitchell-Lama development, the eventual decline of the complex (then called Ocean Village), and L+M’s strategy for taking on the massive amount of work to be done after Hurricane Sandy. It was filmed over 20 months with over 17 hours of footage and eight hours of interviews. Well worth a watch.

Transformed: A Tale of the Rockaways [Arverne View]
All Arverne View coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/29/14 9:00am

rockaway-ferry-done

Despite a hard fight from Rockaway residents to save their ferry service, the city will stop running it at the end of this month. According to the Daily News, President of the EDC Kyle Kimball told residents at a town hall meeting that it just didn’t make sense for the city to shell out $5,000,000 a year to keep the ferry running. (The service was put in place after Sandy badly damaged other public transportation options from the Rockaways.) Riders paid $3.50 per ticket while the city paid around $30 for each rider. “I realize that I cannot convince you this is the right decision,” said Kimball, “There’s just a difference of opinion on how the city should spend its resources.”

Residents have protested the closure for months now, arguing that the ferry is a fast, convenient and affordable transit route for an area already lacking convenient public transportation. Earlier this month The Wave reported that Mayor de Blasio met with local elected pols on ways to possibly extend the service, with hopes that this was the “Hail Mary” the ferry needed.

City Officials Offer Apologies and Some Harsh Ferry News at Town Hall Meeting [NY Daily News]
All Rockaway Ferry coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/27/14 3:00pm

arverne-view-rockaways-ribbon-cutting

Today at 11 am, L+M Development Partners and the Department of Housing Preservation cut the ribbon at Arverne View, a renovated 1,093-unit Mitchell-Lama affordable housing complex in the Rockaways. L+M bought the 11-building complex (formerly known as Ocean Village) right before Sandy hit two years ago. What followed was a massive, $60,000,000 interior and exterior renovation that included new storm-proofing and resiliency measures, as well as safer and more livable common spaces. We published a three-part series late last year on the impressive undertaking, speaking to both the developers and the residents of the complex. Great to see that the work has come to a conclusion.

All Arverne View coverage [Q'Stoner]

10/03/14 4:00pm

rockaway-boardwalk

Can’t say we’re surprised to see this report by DNAinfo that there are even more delays to rebuild the Rockaway boardwalk. The city announced it’ll need another three months to work on the design and address community concerns regarding waterfront access. Residents called for more access points and ramps along Beach 108th Street to Beach 126th Street, and the city’s new design is still awaiting approval. Reps for the city don’t think they will meet the original construction deadline of Memorial Day 2016. DNAinfo also shares that the city doesn’t have a contract yet for the concrete decking of the boardwalk, which is replacing the wood decking. So, things aren’t looking good for this project, but when are they ever?

Rockaway Boardwalk Renewal Delayed Again as Project is Redesigned [DNAinfo]

Rendering via the EDC/Parks Department

09/23/14 10:00am

rockaway-ferry-rally

Rockaway residents are not giving up their fight to keep Rockaway Ferry service, which the city plans to end after this October. Yesterday, residents held another rally to make the ferry service permanent. The group took the ferry into Manhattan, marched to the Staten Island and Statue of Liberty ferry, went up to Wall Street and then Federal Hall. This rally follows a previous one hosted by the Queens Public Transit Committee on the steps of City Hall.

While the city claims that the ferry service (which started up after Hurricane Sandy) does not make financial sense, commuters counter that it’s a fast, convenient and affordable transit route for an area that already lacks convenient public transportation.

All Rockaway Ferry coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Rockaway Beach Line’s Twitter

09/12/14 1:00pm

d

There will be something sweet for foodies, green-living experts, nature lovers, youngsters, and even surfer dudes. Tomorrow, the fourth annual NYC Honey Fest will bring everything from monofloral honey to honey-infused desserts to beeswax-based cosmetics to the Rockaways. The daylong festival will include a bee-themed parade, a savory contest organized by the American Honey Tasting Society (submit form here), live music, film, a variety of food options, and children-friendly activities, such as hive-making and face-painting. More information and photos after the jump.

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09/11/14 2:00pm

rockaway-roasters

Now under construction in the Rockaways: Rockaway Roasters, a coffee cafe at 92-06 Rockaway Beach Boulevard. The Facebook page promises gourmet coffee (hot and cold), espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, an organic juice bar and more. It’ll be open seven days a week. There’s no official opening date yet, but it’s scheduled for the fall or winter of this year. GMAP

Photo via Facebook

09/09/14 9:00am

rockaway-beach

As the summer comes to a close, the NYC Parks Department released numbers on beach attendance for the season. According to Parks, the numbers were great — attendance grew by 22 percent citywide. For Queens in particular, 25 percent more people made it out to Rockaway Beach, with a total of 4,166,455 summer visitors. (The Bronx’s Orchard Beach saw the most growth in attendance, and Coney Island had the most visitors this summer at 11,453,890.) Pool attendance remained steady, with 1,600,000 visitors citywide. Finally, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the official closing day of city beaches, there were no drownings or tragic incidents.

Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver stated in a press release, “The growing number of visitors at our beaches is proof of NYC Parks’ continued commitment to maintaining and improving our facilities.” Rockaway Beach has seen significant improvement since Hurricane Sandy, with an influx of new sand and 48 of the more than 100 beaches open for swimmers this season. Boardwalk construction, however, will last until 2017.

Photo via NYC Parks

rockaways-pipeline

Al Jazeera New York published an in depth, interesting piece about a natural gas pipeline called the Rockaway Delivery Lateral Project, now under construction in the Rockaways. The project met protest when it was proposed in 2012, but was ultimately signed into law by Congress just weeks after the Rockaways was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Now it’s under construction and will run three miles between Jacob Riis Park and Fort Tilden and under a golf course to connect to a pipeline run by National Grid. However, the article raises serious concerns about the company installing the pipeline, Williams Companies.

According to the article, the company is “the subject of a U.S. Chemical Safety Board probe because of a recent string of incidents.” That includes a petrochemical facility explosion in Louisiana, a pipeline explosion in West Virigina, a pipeline fire in Wyoming and others. (According to data collected by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “Williams pipelines have been involved in at least 50 gas transmission incidents since 2006.”) While there is resistance to the company in the neighborhood, most residents don’t even know the project is going on. Activists tell Al Jazeera that “The review process was stacked against pipeline opponents from the start,” and then, of course, Sandy hit and most residents didn’t even have electricity to watch the news. If the timing was different, it’s very likely that opposition would have been much stronger, but as it is the pipeline will begin operating in November. Once it’s in, however, the danger doesn’t go away: “The pipeline goes in, and everyone will go back with their lives. That’s where the concern comes in, because everyone will forget,” says pipeline safety expert Mark McDonald.

In the Rockaways, Pipeline Debate Takes a Contentious Turn [Al Jazeera America] via Curbed

Photo via NYC Parks

08/21/14 3:00pm

theater-rockawaysThe abandoned theater building on Beach 116th Street, in the Rockaways, is due for a makeover. Rockaway Times reports that it’ll be transformed into a comprehensive urgent care facility, retail shops and parking. Recent engineer reports show the building is structurally sound — it’s been empty for two decades — although a later addition to the theater will have to be reconfigured or replaced. Architectural drawings are expected in the next few months, and the project is estimated to cost between $6,000,000 to $8,000,0000. There isn’t much more information beyond that, and details of the building ownership are unclear. It’d be great to see this project come to light, although we predict some hurdles for this one along the way…

Urgent Care on Stage: Theater Might Get Treatment [Rockaway Times]