12/16/14 2:00pm


This has really been a busy year for Ridgewood, what with all the trend pieces and landmarking and new business openings. This week brings two more arrivals to the neighborhood, Topos Bookstore and Buttah Bakery.

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!

Photo via Facebook

12/16/14 1:00pm


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.


12/16/14 12:00pm


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.

31-23 56th Street [Realty Executives Today] GMAP

12/16/14 11:00am


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.



12/16/14 10:00am


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.”

Local Pol Fights to Gain National Recognition of Flushing’s Ties to Religious Freedom [Queens Courier]
All Bowne House coverage [Q'Stoner]

Photo via Wikimedia Commons


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.

Center Cinemas Likely to Close Jan. 4, as Owner Rejects Six-Month Lease Extension [Sunnyside Post]
All Sunnyside Center Cinemas coverage [Q'Stoner]

12/16/14 8:30am


Kew Gardens $10.6 Million Water Line Upgrade Finished [NY Daily News]
Pol Says Homeless Families at Pan Am Hotel Have Bedbugs and Need Kitchens [NY Daily News]
Legislation Introduced to Provide Residents with Greater Say on Public Artwork [LIC Post]
For $800K, ‘Live As If You Were in a Soho Loft’… in Queens [Curbed]
Get Ready For Brunch At Sek’end Sun [We Heart Astoria]
Long Island City Looks Like Dubai [Astoria Ugly]
44-80 11th Street Tops Out [Court Square Blog]

12/15/14 4:00pm


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.

Photo via NYC Parks

12/15/14 3:00pm


Just over the past year, value on industrial parcels in Queens has risen a hefty 60 percent, according to The Real Deal. The rapidly growing prices on land in LIC and Astoria (the Durst Organization recently bought the Hallets Point development site for $130,000,000) combined with a shrinking supply of industrial properties have also caused increasing rents on industrial properties around JFK Airport, LIC, Astoria, Maspeth, Flushing and Jamaica. Industrial rents are expected to grow steadily into the next year.

According to TRD, rents for Queens warehouse and distribution properties only rose 1.3 percent — to $13.31 — between the second and third quarters of 2014, and rents increased 6.3 percent on manufacturing properties — to $13.02 — during the same period.

Queens Industrial Property Values Jump 60% — in One Year [TRD]


This Friday the 19th, The Beast Next Door will open at 42-51 27th Street in Long Island City. The bar and cafe, located off Queens Plaza North, will offer coffee, sandwiches, salads, meats and cheeses, wine and draft beer (including local brews). The hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 2 am and Monday from 11 am to 7 pm. We Heart LIC checked out the soft opening and reports back on the 1,000-square-foot space:

It’s really quite nice—an open space with lots of tables, chairs, and benches; a cooler case and bar on the left (with lights hanging down above it, attached to a horizontally suspended ladder); and the beautiful Turkish-inspired carved art on the back wall. The place felt really cozy and warm, and I think this will be a wonderful option for local folks especially.

The bar’s grand opening will take place from 11 am to 2 am and include live music. At the back of the bar there’s a raised platform intended for bands and other performers.

The Beast Next Door Opens This Friday [We Heart LIC] GMAP

Photo via The Beast Next Door