01/29/15 1:00pm


It’s so much more than a hometown band. Now in its 63rd year, Queens Symphony Orchestra offers about 20 live performances annually, as well as educational programs, chorale concerts, and operas. This Sunday, the ensemble will perform a family-friendly version of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Vegetable Garden, a 1936 musical fantasy about a boy who ventures out of a safe garden into a dangerous meadow where he has to use his cunning to survive. The score will include Mozart’s Magic Flute Overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4. Plus, the orchestra (seen above during The Frog Prince and Peter and the Wolf at LeFrak Concert Hall last February) will hold a “Meet the Instruments” event beforehand during which attendees can talk to the musicians, check out their tools of the trade, and learn about the concert’s theme.

Details: Queens Symphony Orchestra Presents Peter and the Vegetable Garden, LeFrak Concert Hall, Queens College, 65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing, February 1st, 3 pm, free. (Meet the Instruments at 2 pm.)

Photo: Queens Symphony Orchestra

01/29/15 12:00pm


This single-family, attached brick home in Maspeth is charming indeed… we love the front gate and yard. Inside, you’ll find some old and some new: original details like the fireplace, front windows and crown moldings, and a renovated kitchen, bathroom and finished basement. The listing photos ain’t great but it looks worth checking out in person. There’s an asking price of $799,000. What say you?

53-56 64th Street [O Kane Realty] GMAP

01/29/15 11:00am


The Hunters Point Library project is actually happening! This morning, Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, Senator Michael Gianaris, Community Board 2 members, PS/IS 78 students and parents, residents and business owners gathered to announce the beginning of construction of the Long Island City branch. There has been much drama surrounding the proposed library, with funding holdups, struggles to find a developer, high construction bids and design problems. Last year, news surfaced that the Queens Library planned to majorly alter the design by architect Steve Hall due to lack of funding. It’s still unclear how close the actual library will look like the original rendering, but Steven Holl is still the architect of record for the project.

Council Member Van Bramer helped raise $30,000,000 to finally begin construction at the now-empty parcel on Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue. Once complete, it’ll boast 21,500 total square feet, a reading garden, rooftop terrace, reading rooms for all ages, a gallery, performance space and children’s area. Now word yet on the construction timeline. Initially, the city scheduled groundbreaking for the fall of 2013 with plans to open it in 2015. Better late than never!

All Hunters Point Library coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Jimmy Van Bramer’s Twitter

01/29/15 10:00am


Over on Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, you’ll notice the First Presbyterian Church of Newtown at the corner of 54th Avenue. It’s the Gothic structure which is incongruous with its surroundings, which are mainly retail shops, a diner, and a medium sized shopping mall. The First Presbyterian Church of Newtown is one of the oldest congregations in the entire city, and certainly the oldest in Queens. Pictured above is the latest building to serve the organization, erected in 1895, the first iteration having been built in 1652.

In 1652, men dressed like this.

The exterior shots in this post are from a couple of weeks ago, from when the missus and I went couch shopping. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to set up a tripod inside the church, so there are lots of interior shots after the jump.



01/29/15 9:00am


Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas is putting the pressure on the Department of Transportation to fix the Astoria intersection of 32nd Street and Astoria Boulevard North, adjacent to the exit ramp of the Grand Central Parkway, according to Astoria Post. The DOT released a safety proposal here last summer, after the 114th Precinct identified this intersection as the most accident-prone in the area. The proposal included extending the median between Astoria Boulevard North and the Grand Central Parkway in order to separate local and expressway traffic, a left-turn ban at 31st Street for vehicles traveling west on Astoria Boulevard, and a right turn ban on 31st Street for vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway. The Community Board approved the plan in May and the DOT planned to implement the changes by fall of 2104. But so far… nothing.

Simotas tells that Post that she sent a letter to the DOT last week about the matter, and plans to press the agency until safety changes are finally implemented. As she told the Post, “There is no good reason why residents and motorists should still be endangered at this intersection after DOT and the Community Board have agreed on what needs to be done.”

Simotas Calls on DOT to Follow Through with its Traffic-Safety Plans at Astoria Blvd/31st Street Intersection [Astoria Post]
The DOT Releases a Proposal for Dangerous Astoria Intersection [Q'Stoner]

01/29/15 8:30am

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Storm Causes Mess in Sales for Queens Merchants [NY1]
Forest Hills Locals Create New Group After Being Barred From Facebook Page [DNAinfo]
At Astoria’s El Rey, There’s Mexican Food for Everyone [Village Voice]
Photos: Surfing In Rockaway During The Storm Was Cold But Beautiful [Gothamist]
Behold The Spaghetti Sandwich, Back On The Menu At M. Wells [Gothamist]
Nolan Announces that She Wants Assembly Speaker Job [LIC Post]
A Postmortem (For Now) on Cuomo’s LaGuardia AirTrain Plan [2nd Avenue Sagas]
Demolition Complete at 42-14 Crescent Street [Court Square Blog]


Tonight, the ‘Roosevelt Avenue Urbanites’ exhibit will be on display at the Falchi Building in Long Island City. The event takes on the controversial Roosevelt Avenue BID, proposed by the 82nd Street Partnership for a stretch of Jackson Heights and Corona. The Daily News writes that the exhibit includes eight projects envisioning the future of that 20-block stretch by students from Parsons New School for Design and three Italian universities. According to the News, “Projects include an oral history and social map of the area, a look at the potential for small business collaboration that would mimic a BID, and an exploration of the area’s unused open spaces.”

You can check out the ‘Roosevelt Avenue Urbanites’ exhibit tonight from 7 to 10 pm at the Falchi Building, 31-00 47th Avenue.

Urban Design Exhibition Tackles Controversial Queens BID [NY Daily News]

01/28/15 3:00pm


Today the paper of record profiled Corona, one of the largest Latin American immigrant communities in the borough, for its “Living In” column. City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras tell the Times that overdevelopment is a challenge in this area, with two-family homes replaced with multifamily developments. She is concerned about less parking, more traffic, and strained community services. But the neighborhood, once heavily Italian American, remains a stronghold for Latin food and culture.

As for real estate, demand for housing here is going up, and so are prices. Two-family homes roughly range from $700,000 to $800,000, with larger condos and co-ops starting in the mid-$300,000s. Buildings with three or more units can range anywhere up to $1,500,000. As for available rentals, prices range from $1,250 for a studio up to $2,395 for a three bedroom in LeFrak City.

Corona, Queens, Affordable, With Latin Flavor [NY Times]

01/28/15 2:00pm


The upscale French-Canadian restaurant inside of MoMA PS1, M. Wells Dinette, may be going casual. The food blog Eater heard a rumor that the menu, which now includes items like tartare, bone marrow, escargot and foie gras, will be redesigned to focus on sandwiches and other affordable bites. Eater thinks this makes a lot of sense, given that Dinette is only open Thursdays through Monday from noon to 6 pm, but they haven’t got confirmation from the M. Wells folks yet. Meanwhile, there’s always the M. Wells Steakhouse to gorge on an elaborate meal by the popular chef Hugue Dufour.

Is M. Wells Dinette Abandoning Haute Quebecoise Food for Sandwiches? [Eater]

Photo via M. Well’s Facebook

01/28/15 1:00pm


Two writers with intimate knowledge of Queens will participate in separate, upcoming enrichment events at the Greater Astoria Historical Society. On Saturday, Adrienne Onofri, who just published the guidebook Walking Queens, will lead a roundtable discussion on two of the borough’s hottest neighborhoods, Astoria and Long Island City. This licensed NYC tour guide, who also writes about theater for the Broadway World blog, will then sell and sign copies of her new book, which describes 30 routes to discover Queens on foot.

On Monday, Q’Stoner writer Kevin Walsh, a historian who also runs the Forgotten NY blog, will take attendees on an indoor tour of classic New York City storefront signs — with the help of slides. They come in all shapes and sizes and contain words in countless colors and fonts. Plus, some storefront signs have wacky and/or fascinating stories.

Saturday details: Discussion on Hot Neighborhoods and Book Signing, Greater Astoria Historical Society, Quinn Building, 35-20 Broadway, Fourth Floor, Astoria/Long Island City, January 31st, 1 pm, free.

Monday details: Kevin Walsh on Storefronts, GAHS, February 2nd, 7 pm, $5.
Photo: Kevin Walsh