07/09/14 8:30am


Universal Pre-K at Woodhaven and Ravenswood Library Branches [NY Daily News]
July Fourth Weekend Shines Down on Beach Concessions in Rockaway [NY Daily News]
Burgers and Beer at LIC Landing by Coffeed [WSJ]
Annual Tour de Queens Draws More Than 1,200 Riders [Queens Courier]
MTA asks Congress if it Will Intervene in an LIRR Strike [Times Ledger]
Railroad Underpass Transformed Into Outdoor Photo Gallery [DNAinfo]
Jamaica High School’s Highs and Lows Over the Past Century [DNAinfo]
5 Reasons to Add Queens to your NYC Travel Plans [KSL]

07/07/14 2:00pm

Latin rest

A new restaurant and bar has been approved to open in a former pizzeria at 46-19 48th Avenue in Sunnyside. The restaurant, to be called Amanecer Caliente, will be small, just 10 tables and six stools at the bar and will be open for breakfast at 7 AM and stay open all day and into the night.

The exact hours, however, were a sticking point between the owner and Community Board 2 (which has already been the focal point of complaints about its blanket rejections of outdoor seating requests from other restaurants). The owner of Amanecer Caliente wanted to stay open as a bar until 2 AM Sunday through Wednesday and until 4 AM from Thursday through Sunday. He explained that he planned to sell food at about a break even price and that all of his profit would come from liquor sales at the small establishment. The community board, however, curtailed his hours, forcing him to close at 11 PM on weeknights and midnight on weekends, citing concerns about rowdiness in the area at night.

Latin Bar/Restaurant to Open on 48th Avenue Between 46th and 47th Streets [Sunnyside Post]
LIC Restaurant Owners Complain That They Are Blocked From Offering Outdoor Seating

Photo: Scott Binter via PropertyShark

07/01/14 12:00pm


The Madison LIC, the 10 Story condo building near Court Square nicknamed the LIC Finger Building, has begun listing units. This one, unit 3A is a one bedroom, one bathroom asking $525,000. It has all the trimmings that one has come to expect in a new condo building–floor to ceiling windows, central air, quartz counter tops and shiny appliances. The building offers a gym, back yard, roof deck, virtual doorman and bike room. Since there is no floor plan in the listing for this unit but there is one available on the building’s site for unit 2A, the apartment directly below, we’ll assume that the the dimensions are the same. At 575 square feet, the ask is $913 a square foot. There is also a 36 square foot balcony so adding that in brings it down a bit. That seems like an ambitious ask for this neck of the woods, but according to The Madison’s website, one unit is already in contract. The building is expected to be finished next month. Is a nice one bedroom here worth that price?

42-77 Hunter Street, #3A [Modern Spaces] GMAP

06/30/14 2:00pm

topless rockaway

This month two artists opened a temporary gallery in Rockaway Beach. The gallery, Topless Rockaway, is in a former eye doctor’s office that had been abandoned since Hurricane Sandy hit. The artists, Jenni Crain and Brent Birnbaum worked with the landlord to renovate the space, pulling down old drop ceilings. They told DNAinfo that they preferred being in Rockway over gallery-heavy neighborhoods like Bushwick and Chelsea because of the community feel.

The pair hope to have four exhibits over the course of the summer. Topless Rockaway is at 90-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard and is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 8 pm and by appointment.

Artists Open Gallery Space to Help Revitalize Empty Rockaway Storefront [DNAinfo]
Temporary Gallery Moves Into Sandy-Damaged Space [NY1]

Photo: Topless Rockaway

06/13/14 3:00pm


The Department of Transportation proposed a five-mile stretch of bike lanes going east to west along Flushing from Classon Avenue, in Brooklyn to Woodward Avenue, in Ridgewood. DNAinfo reports that the lane would be installed this summer. It’s an extension of an already existing bike lane along Flushing from Downtown Brooklyn to Classon Avenue. As DNAinfo notes, “The new path would mostly consist of shared bike lanes, where cars and bikers use the same lane, but some sections would also have separate bike lanes, including curbside ones with three of protection between cars and bikers.” The DOT will not take away any parking spaces to install it. Community Board One, based in Brooklyn, voted to support the proposal.

5 Miles of Bike Lanes Proposed for Flushing Avenue [DNAinfo]

Photo via For The Love of Bikes

05/30/14 3:00pm


Three of the band members are dead, and the original crew hasn’t been seen together since an event at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square on July 20, 1999. Nevertheless, the Ramones are the focal point of a recently launched Queens tourism campaign. The punk legends’ song “Rockaway Beach” is part of a radio ad campaign to attract visitors to the peninsula, where businesses have been rebuilding since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Working with the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Volunteers of Legal Service, altruists from the law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman, led by attorney Jennifer Carmen, secured the rights to the ditty, which was first released in 1977. Citi Community Development then sponsored the ads as part of a larger project to restore businesses along Beach 116th Street.

In a way, the Ramones have come full circle, as they grew up in Forest Hills and rode many waves at Rockaway Beach during their youth. Here are some lyrics from the song: Chewin’ at a rhythm on my bubble gum; The sun is out, I want some; It’s not hard, not far to reach; We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach. Click here to listen to one of the ads, which are currently playing on WFAN, WCBS and WINS.

Some of those seeking to boost tourism in the Rockaways gathered for a photo on Beach 116th Street on Thursday. They are (from left): Seth Bornstein, Queens Economic Development Corporation; Robert Kaskel, Thai Rock; Tom Murphy, Curran’s Superior Meats; Denise Diehm, The Gift is Love; Mark S. Mina, MSM Elite Productions; Michael Adel, Paninico Café; Krzysztof Sadlej, Beach 116th Street Partnership; Glenn DiResto, Rockaway Jet Ski; Ben Cox, Volunteers of Legal Service; Sharon Banks, Citi Rockaway Branch Manager; Edward Odom, Citi Community Development; and Michael Badalov, M & L Hair & Nail Salon.


Top photo: Ramones FB; Bottom photo: Queens Economic Development Corporation

05/30/14 2:00pm


A Q’Stoner reader sent the above photo and a nice tip: “Have an update for you on the cafe moving into the former corner bodega at Ditmars and 36th Street. Sheetrock and a beautiful tin ceiling are in, as well as a swanky set of windows on what looks like a street-side bar.” (You can see another picture of the interior after the jump.) Construction workers had gutted the space back in March.

In March, we incorrectly guessed that Avenue Cafe would expand here — that’s happening across the street. This is actually the site of a new Brooklyn Bagel cafe. According to We Heart Astoria, “It will be a comfy 3rd wave coffee lounge offering high-quality artisanal coffee. It will cater to most, but especially to those with a higher appreciation of coffee.” It should open this summer.

A Cafe Under Construction on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria [Q'Stoner] GMAP


05/16/14 10:00am


The National Park Service released a plan for the Gateway National Recreational Area, which encompasses parks in South Queens like the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Howard Beach’s Charles Park. The Forum reports that the proposal to expand the public use of Gateway includes “‘improved amenities and recreation facilities’ as trails and campsites, more community-based recreation such as sports leagues and event spaces, environmental educational programming, development of water trails, and expansion of beach access.” It’s the result of four years of planning by the National Park Service; now the final plan is up for public review. It’s expected that the National Park Service will adopt the plan, but it’s unclear if it’ll actually become a reality — according to the Forum, many of the plans put forth by the NPS never come to fruition.

Nearby residents worry that the increased amenities will bring more crowds to the area. There are also concerns that the NPS doesn’t adequately care for existing land now open to the public. The public will have a chance to comment and learn more about the proposal this Saturday, May 17th at the Jamaica Bay Greenway Coalition meeting. It’s at 10:30 am at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.

South Queens Residents Voice Concerns Over Final Gateway Plan [The Forum]

Photo via Wikipedia

05/14/14 4:00pm

The University of Central Florida’s Institute for Simulation and Training, alongside the non profit company CyArk, launched a Kickstarter to operate a 3D laser scan of the New York State Pavilion and create a digital record to aid preservation. Here are a few details on the unique project…

Digitally preserving the New York State Pavilion with 3D laser scanning can create an accurate record to serve as a base data set to aid conservation and future restoration. It will take our joint UCF and CyArk team five (5) days to 3D map the steel and concrete ruins of the Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow.

The field work to record the Pavilion in 3D is scheduled for early June. The team will record the remains of the New York State Pavilion’s Observation Towers and Tent of Tomorrow. If time allows, the team will also capture the Pavilion’s Theaterama to complete the context of the 3D data set (the Theaterama remains in use as the Queens Theater and has thus been maintained).

The meticulously detailed, and millimetrically accurate 3D data can be translated into three-dimensional architectural drawings and models for conservators to plan restoration efforts.

Additionally, the processed 3D data will be made freely available to the public for personal, educational, and scientific research uses.

The team hopes to raise at least $15,000 for the project, and they have already secured permission from the Parks Department to take it on. Given the recent enthusiasm behind preservation of the New York State Pavilion, they may just pull it off.

3D Preservation of a National Treasure [Kickstarter]
All New York State Pavilion coverage [Q'Stoner]

03/25/14 12:30pm

mushroom stroganoff_700

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 emily@brownstoner.com.

The Spot: Bear Restaurant, 12-14 31st Avenue, Long Island City.

The Deal: Bear Restaurant was opened by siblings Natasha and Sasha Pogrebinsky and serves the Eastern European cuisine of their childhood, with a local twist. Sasha mixes and develops cocktails while Natasha runs the kitchen.

“Traditions and culture are what drives the design of our menu, which changes frequently based on what is fresh and available at the local farmer’s markets,” says Natasha.

The cash-only restaurant has drawn the attention of the New York Times and Michelin Guides.

The Dish: When at Bear, try the as-seen-on-TV dish of mushroom stroganoff. Natasha prepared a variation of the dish when competing on Food Network’s Chopped (Season 16, Episode 14), and it has been a customer favorite since debuting on the menu.

The mushroom stew is made daily and combines stewed mushrooms, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and finished with sunflower and truffle butter. It’s then served over house-made pasta, which is cut by hand.

“Steeped in tradition, culture and history, Bear tries to transcend time by reinventing this age-old recipe from Eastern Europe and bring it into a more comfortable, modern and relaxed feel of the Bear dining room,” Natasha says.

For a refreshing drink, try Sasha’s St. Dill Martini, a sophisticated twist on the ubiquitous pickleback: a vodka and pickle martini.