Oct. 24, By Christian Murray
A kitchen and hardware store located at 47-17 5th Street is expected to open next month.
Ovidio Teja, the owner of Kitchen Plus More, is just waiting on Con Ed approval before he can open.
Taja, who has worked as the general manager at Food Cellar since it opened in 2008, said that he decided to open a kitchen/hardware store since so many grocery store customers would complain that there wasn’t such a store in Hunters Point.
The 2,500 square foot store will sell “anything you can image for the home,” Teja said, whether it be bed sheets or screwdrivers.
The store is currently packed with pots & pans, plumbing items, paint, ironing boards, kitchen appliances to glassware. He said that customers will also be able to get their keys cut at the store too.
He said that anything people can get at Home Depot they will be able to get at his store.
In addition, Urban Market, the gourmet store located at 2-14 50th Avenue, is expected to open during the first week of November, the general manager said today.
Oct. 23, By Christian Murray
Representatives of “I Love Kick Boxing LIC,” who aim to open a facility on the ground floor at 45-45 Center Boulevard, went before Community Board 2 last week seeking a “physical cultural establishment” permit as part of their quest to open in the first or second quarter next year.
New York City requires all health clubs, gyms or spas to obtain the permit in order to make sure that massage parlors or other undesirable establishments don’t open.
Frederick Becker, the attorney representing I Love Kick Boxing LIC, said the venue will focus primarily on physical fitness.
He said the 2,800-square foot facility would essentially be like “aerobics on steroids.”
Becker said the facility will be part of a well established franchise (see corporate website). There are branches throughout the US, including four in Queens.
The work outs, according to the corporate Facebook page, typically involve punching and kicking bags. The website said that participants learn techniques used by pro fighters like jabs, crosses, hooks, roundhouse kicks and front kicks, according to the corporate website. It also involves a series of exercises.
The facility would not be a venue where sparring or fights take place as there are no plans for a ring, according to Becker. Its focus is on fitness, conditioning and weight loss.
Becker said that the owner plans is to operate between 6 am and 10 pm (Mon-Friday) and 7am to 2 pm on weekends.
He said that the owner is working with the landlord and acoustic engineers to protect the residents from noise.
The facility will primarily provide classes—catering to groups of about 30 people. Becker said that each class is about 45-50 minutes long.
Communitea, the long-time coffee shop located at 47-02 Vernon Blvd, announced on Facebook Monday that it is closing.
The owners said that the coffee shop will be closing this Sunday since they had difficultly negotiating a new lease.
“We thank you for a wonderful decade of support and friendship. It has been our pleasure to be a part of this community and we are grateful for the opportunity to make so many amazing friends,” the owners wrote.
The upward trajectory of the Long Island City rental market is beginning to show signs that it is tapering off, with rental prices down in the third quarter compared to the second.
The cool down was also evident on a year-over-year basis with rents up only slightly compared to 3Q 2013, according to a recent report.
Modern Spaces, a LIC-based real estate firm, reported that rental prices for luxury apartments dipped by about 5 percent on average in the third quarter compared to the second. For instance, the rent charged for a luxury studio was $2,369 in 3Q 2014, down from $2,558 in the second quarter (see rental figures below). Meanwhile, the rent for a one bedroom luxury unit dropped from $3,158 to $3,013 over that period.
“The past quarter we are really seeing the rental market stabilizing and leveling out,” said Eric Benaim, the CEO of Modern Spaces, in a statement. “With all the new projects that have come online this year, competition between buildings is becoming increasingly apparent and the prices of rentals in the area have started to adjust.”
This year alone, TF Cornerstone began leasing its sixth and final luxury building – 46-10 Center B lvd—which is comprised of 584 units. Meanwhile, Rockrose announced in August that it had fully leased its 709-unit luxury building called Linc LIC.
Rockrose has started construction on a 50 story mixed-used development at 43-25 Hunter Street, which will include 974 rental units. That should be completed by 2017.
Despite the recent slowdown, on a year-over-year basis luxury rentals were up about 4 percent, according to the report. In 3Q 2013, a luxury studio was renting for $2,320 (compared to $2,369 in 3Q14)—while a luxury one bedroom for $2,901 (compared to $3,013 in 3Q14). Furthermore, a 2 bedroom in 3Q 2013 went for $4,106, while in 3Q 2014 it fetched $4,134.
The big firms such as TF Cornerstone and Rockrose are still not offering much in the way of incentives. It is rare to find one month free rent, although the developers will cover the cost of the brokerage fee.
The MTA has announced that the No. 7 train will be down between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for five weekends this fall.
In addition, No. 7 train service will be reduced between 74th Street Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.
The cuts begin this weekend, with service down from Saturday (Oct. 18) at 2 am through Monday (Oct 20) at 5 am.
The cuts will also take place on the following weekends—starting at 11:30pm through Monday at 5am.
The MTA said that it needs to work on weekends in order to complete its capital improvements. These include new signal systems, track replacement and Sandy recovery work.
The MTA said that it will be offering free shuttle buses between Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave. and Queensboro Plaza during the shutdown.
Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.
The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.
The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.
For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.
However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.
Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.
The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.
Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.
Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.
The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.
However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.
For more information on Park Smart click here
Oct. 17, Staff Report
The police are looking to locate a suspect who allegedly punched a 65-year-old man in the face last month.
The suspect allegedly struck the man at ENC Market, located at 5 Court Square, after he asked the victim for the phone number to a car service..
The 65-year-old victim said that he not have a phone number and carried on with his business.
The suspect was upset and then punched the suspect in the face causing swelling to his left cheek and eye.
The incident occurred on Sept. 22 at 10:50 pm.
Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
The MTA announced today that it had completed Phase II of its seven-phase plan to bring WiFi service to all 277 underground stations in New York City.
The second phase has brought WiFi service to an additional 11 Manhattan and 29 Queens stations–including several in Long Island City and Astoria. The total number of underground stations with WiFi service has now reached 76.
Phase II provides WiFi service to the underground stations in Long Island City and Astoria.
The Vernon/Jackson and Hunters Point Ave. stations are now covered by Phase II, as well as Grand Central and 42nd Bryant Park, which are key stations for 7 train riders. Times Square was part of phase I.
The Court Square station (which caters to the E, G, M and 7) was also added under the wireless plan.
Astoria residents who take the R train will also receive WiFi service. The service—under Phase II—is now available at the Queens Plaza, 36th Street, 46th Street and Steinway Street stations.
“Subway riders will now always be connected with our WiFi,” said Bill Bayne, CEO of Transit Wireless, which has partnered with the MTA. “We as consumers expect to be connected 24/7 no matter where we are.”
The WiFi, which provides voice and data service, is also viewed as increasing public safety—since people will be able to make calls from these station.
“Whether you’re checking your email, calling your kids or looking for emergency assistance, wireless service will bring the conveniences we’re used to above ground into the subway system,” MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said.
“This is a win for the riders in my district and all over the city,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Riders will now get the convenient and comfortable ride that they look for every day.”
Phase three will bring WiFi to another 105 stations and is expected to be completed by spring 2015.
The entire seven-phase project will cost upwards of $300 million.
The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development went live today.
The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect (https://a806-housingconnect.nyc.gov/nyclottery/lottery.html#home), which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.
Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.
There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.
For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.
However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.
The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.
Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.
By Michael Florio
Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) will be breaking ground Thursday on its first healthcare center in Queens.
The new center is being constructed in the Court Square section of Long Island City, at 21-41 45th Road. It is expected to open in 2015.
The 14,000-square-foot facility center, like other centers, will offer abortions, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and routine gynecological exams.
Planned Parenthood, a non-profit center, anticipates that it will serve 17,500 patients annually at the location.
In a statement, PPNYC said that thousands of Queens patients have to travel to other boroughs to receive its services.
“The new health center will strengthen our ability to provide Queens residents with the essential reproductive health care services they need,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of PPNYC.
Planned Parenthood estimates that one in five women in Queens do not have health insurance.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who allocated $750,000 of city funds to help bring the Long Island City facility to the area, said earlier this year that it was important to bring essential “healthcare for women and all new Yorkers” to Queens.
Malin said PPNYC selected this location because Court Square is accessible to subway lines.
Meanwhile, Life News, a news site catering toward the pro-life movement, was less than happy about the announcement. “Forty percent of Unborn Babies in New York City are Aborted, Planned Parenthood Wants More,” referring to the new facility.
The abortion rate in New York City has been falling. The Health Department reported that in 2012, 38 percent of viable pregnancies ended in “induced terminations.”