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.
Let’s dance, or better yet, vamos a bailar. The borough hosts upcoming chances to experience or learn tango, salsa, merengue, bachata, and cha cha cha. There are also some interesting panel discussions on everything from the history of storefront signs to media depictions of African Americans as well as live music and inspiring art activities. Here’s the rundown, broken down into dance, education, arts and music events.
How much to rent a two bedroom/two bathroom in a new development of Astoria? This one, at 27-18 Hoyt Avenue South (aka Hoyt Plaza), is asking $3,400 a month. The apartment doesn’t look particularly big, with a narrow, open kitchen and living room. There’s only a photo of one of the bedrooms, and the listing also mentions there’s a private terrace (also not pictured). What you’ll get here are shiny new appliances and perks like a dishwasher, on-site laundry room, and building gym. What do you think?
My friend, preservationist Frampton Tolbert, has a new website, called Queens Modern. If you love mid-20th century Queens architecture, you will be a happy camper. You can wander around dozens of mid-century buildings here, finding all kinds of goodies. Frampton is a meticulous researcher, and the site contains building profiles, architect profiles, maps and a searchable database. The buildings that he has chosen were highlighted for mention and praise by the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Between 1948 and 1970, the Queens Chamber of Commerce Building Awards were bestowed on almost 400 buildings of all types throughout the borough. The site will eventually have all of them, and more on file, but is launching with almost 150 entries.
The mission of the site is to highlight and document the wealth of modern architecture that was built in Queens in the post-World War II era. American architecture was influenced by many things during this period, including modern “space age” shapes, building technologies and materials. As time has passed, many of these buildings are in danger of being destroyed or altered. The site seeks to showcase the best of them, and document as much as possible, an era that is now officially considered “old.”
Today, many of the architects, designers and their creations are experiencing a comeback in popularity, especially in furniture and the decorative arts. As I look through the site and in my own research for columns for Brownstoner Queens, I am often quite amazed at how truly modern some of the buildings are, even today. Interestingly, they appear at the furthest end of the time spectrum we are dealing with. Many of these buildings have stood the test of time much better than newer examples. (more…)
Over at 42-12 28th Street, there’s nowhere to go but up — 596 feet up. The Court Square Blog spotted the beginnings of construction at the LIC development site, where a 58-story, 477-unit tower will rise. This will be the tallest residential building for the borough of Queens, coming in just 12 feet shy of the Citigroup Building.
The developer, Heatherwood Communities, plans to wrap on this project June of 2017. When it’s done, the building will include ground-floor retail, storage, bike storage, parking, a pool, gym and roof terraces. Check out an exterior rendering of the tower after the jump.
Crain’s released this rendering of the largest residential project now underway in Ridgewood, at 16-14 and 16-26 Madison Street between Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues. The developer Essex Capital purchased the warehouse site last September for $4,700,000 and filed building permits in January. Construction is now underway and should last until the summer of 2016.
The seven-story building will hold 90 units (mostly one and two bedrooms), as well as “a WeWork-style business center” for renters who work from home — as Crain’s points out, this amenity is “largely associated with trendy neighborhoods like Williamsburg.” The developer told Crain’s, “We view Ridgewood as having an separate identity and a separate desirability from whatever places like Bushwick are offering,” but it’s pretty clear this building will try to target younger residents who might otherwise reside in Bushwick.
Earlier today the Mayor’s Office announced that New York City parks had reopened after a city-wide closure yesterday at 6pm. The Mayor also recommended going sledding. Don’t mind if we do! The Parks Department compiled a list of sledding spots, which includes the following locations in Queens…
Astoria Park (19th Street between Shore Boulevard off Ditmars Boulevard); Bowne Park (the hillside on the 155 Street side of the park); Crocheron Park (35th Avenue opposite Golden Pond); Forest Park (Mary Whelan Playground at 79th Street and Park Lane South); Juniper Valley Park (Juniper Boulevard North and South near the Tennis Building at 75th Street); Lower Highland Park (Jamaica Avenue & Elton Street); and Kissena Park (Eastside of Lake if you enter Metcalf & 164 Street). Queens Courier also suggests Hermon A. Macneil Park in College Point.
The city is awarding Madelaine Chocolate Company, which has struggled to stay open in the Rockaways since Hurricane Sandy, $13,200,000 in recovery funds. The business sustained $50,000,000 of damages in the storm and the owners had to put it up for sale last year. The Daily News reports that this funding will allow the company to double its current number of employees and stay open in its current home. (The staff of 400 was reduced to 100 after the storm.) Jorge Farber, one of the owners, told the News, “We are looking forward to being able to hire, over the next two years, a significant number of employees, many of whom have been waiting to come back to work.”
Madelaine has been in the Rockaways for 65 years and was once the largest private employer in the area — this boost is great news for the neighborhood.