New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells wrote an excellent guide for Korean food in Queens, which can be found beyond the last stop on the 7 train “in Murray Hill, Auburndale, Bayside and beyond, serving famous Korean dishes and obscure ones.” Here’s a taste of what’s there: “Beef barbecue and blood sausage; wheat noodles in deep steaming bowls and arrowroot noodles in broth chilled with ice crystals; tofu casseroles and live octopus; Korean-Chinese restaurants and Korean-French bakeries; beery pubs and studious espresso bars; chicken fried in a shattering crust of rice flour and chicken boiled whole with ginseng.” Wells believes that the so-called “Queens kimchi belt” is one of the least explored and celebrated ethnic food districts in the city.
He lists 12 of his favorite spots, many of which are located in Murray Hill and Auburndale. And he offers some dining tips, as well: “I followed the lead of the locals. Rather than taking the full measure of a menu, as a restaurant critic normally would, I zeroed in on one or two specialties. I compared them with other competing versions nearby. I would taste all the claimants on the same day when I could, although I had to break my fried-chicken safari into two trips.”
Ariel Property Advisors released its Multifamily Month in Review for this past October, finding that the city’s multifamily dollar volume in October surpassed $1 billion for the second consecutive month and only for the fourth time this year. Focusing in on Queens, the month brought 14 buildings trades across seven multifamily transactions. The total cost of those sales came in at $116,503,000. Those numbers are down from September 2014 and October of 2013, which both brought a total of 10 multifamily sales. And October’s dollar volume dropped 60 percent from September, which came in at $289,741,836.
According to Ariel, the most significant deal from October was the $88,500,000 sale of a newly constructed, 214-unit elevator building at 12-27 Broadway in Astoria. The building sold for $613 per square foot, around a 40 percent increase from similar new construction buildings that sold last year.
Topos Bookstore is located at 788 Woodward Avenue, between Putnam Avenue and Madison Street. We hear there’s a good selection of books, including children’s books. Ridgewood Beat noted that there was an open house Sunday night, with an official grand opening coming soon. Then there’s Buttah Bakery, under construction at 377 Onderdonk Avenue between Stanhope and Stockholm Streets. The owners, two sisters from Williamsburg, gave Ridgewood Social some more details on the coming opening: “Buttah is an American bakery committed to using the freshest and highest quality ingredients. All of our items are freshly baked daily from scratch on premise. Our menu includes many sweet and savory American and Italian-American classic treats with a twist. We don’t have a Grand Opening date yet but we’re hoping for before the holidays.” Two very nice additions to the nabe!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…through Jackson Heights. Instead of Prancer, Vixen, and Comet, a group of warmly dressed carolers will wind through local streets on Saturday night as part of the sixth annual Winter Holiday Sing-A-Long. Participants — representing a wide array of ages, races, and voices — will chant, hum, and croon Christmas tunes and other religious or seasonal favorites in every language that group members know, including American Sign Language, thanks to students and faculty from the Lexington School for the Deaf on 30th Avenue. Sheet music will be provided, and some will bring musical instruments. More details on jump page.
This semi-detached, two-family home at 31-23 56th Street is up for sale in Woodside. It’s currently configured as a duplex apartment on the basement and first floor, with a one-bedroom unit on the second floor. There’s also a one-car garage (that looks a little busted up), a private driveway and an extremely deep backyard. The interior is in decent shape, but we’d guess a new owner may look to update or renovate. That backyard also offers potential for expanding the home, or building out a sweet backyard space. The asking price comes in at $685,000.
Of the many bridges that cross the noxious and noisome Newtown Creek, which includes the Pulaski (McGuiness Boulevard), J.J. Byrne (Greenpoint Avenue) Kosciuszko (Brooklyn-Queens Expressway), the Metropolitan Avenue Bridge, and the late lamented Penny Bridge, my favorite is the rattling Grand Street Bridge, which connects outlandishly remote sections of Brooklyn and Queens, two neighborhoods in East Williamsburg and western Maspeth you wouldn’t visit unless you worked there. Or unless you are me.
The reason for my preference is simple. While the other Newtown Creek bridges are relatively bland products of the mid-to-late 20th century and are quite boring in aspect the Grand Street Bridge is a 1900 swing bridge that looks like something you would put together with an erector set when you were a kid.
The Senate just passed a bill for the National Park Service to study the John Bowne House and Old Quaker Meeting House in Flushing for possible incorporation as National Park Service sites. Representative Grace Meng introduced the bill earlier this year and it has made steady progress — Queens Courier reports that it will now be sent to President Obama for his signature. If the bill does pass, the National Park Service will examine if the sites can be incorporated as a National Historic Park or a National Historic Site. If incorporated, the John Bowne House and Old Quaker Meeting House will receive federal upkeep.
The John Bowne House dates back to 1661 and played an important role in establishing religious freedom in America. (Read more about its history here.) As Representative Meng told the Courier, “It’s time for more people across the country to know about the Flushing Remonstrance, and putting these sites on a national stage is a sure way to accomplish that.”
The owner of Sunnyside Center Cinemas is planning to shutter his movie theater on January 4th after the building owner decided to lease out the building’s air rights to a residential developer. The news was met with protest from the community, and the owner offered a lease extension of six months. But according to Sunnyside Post, “Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said it was not worth hiring new staff or unpacking his equipment for six extra months. His last day remains January 4.” Prashad said if he had been offered the extension three months ago he would have taken it.
Local residents still plan to protest the closure of the affordable move theater. They are holding a rally this Sunday in front of Center Cinemas from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. “We hope it might help open up a discussion between the landlord and the theater owner,” one of the rally organizers told the Post. There’s also a petition to save the theater with about 900 signatures.
Conch Playground, located on Beach 49th Street between Elizabeth Avenue and Beach Channel Drive, is one of the 35 New York parks that will receive capital funding through the Community Parks Initiative. And the Parks Department is kicking off renovations by holding a community meeting tomorrow, December 16th. According to a press release, “Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski and representatives of Partnerships for Parks and the Queens Capital Projects team will join community members to get their input and feedback on what they would like to see in the upcoming renovations to Conch Playground.” Currently the park has playgrounds and handball courts.
The meeting will be held at P.S. 105 The Bay School, 420 Beach 51st Street, from 6 to 8 pm.