Long Island City Post

Long Island City NY news

No. 7 train is NYC’s best subway line, according to advocacy group

No.7subwayJuly 30, By Michael Florio

The No. 7 train has been crowned New York City’s best subway line by the transit advocacy group Straphangers.

This is the seventh time in 16 years that the No. 7 has received the top ranking since Straphangers began its State of the Subways annual report of the city’s 20 subway lines.

Straphangers said that the No. 7-line comes more frequently than any train, especially during rush hour.

For instance, the report said that during the AM rush, a train comes ever 2:30 minutes, while the average wait time for all trains is 5:29 minutes. As for the PM rush, a 7-train comes just as often as the morning (2:30 minutes), while it takes other trains an average of 6:02 minutes.

The 7-line also travels a much greater distance before suffering delays from mechanical failures than other trains.

It was also deemed to be cleaner than the average subway line, and passengers were more likely to get a seat.

The Q train was named the dirtiest train of those tested, as 17 percent of its cars were deemed to be “moderate to heavily dirty.”

The 2 train was named the worst subway line, for the second time in 16 years. This was due largely to the fact that riders are least likely to get a seat.

Doe Fund workers to clean more Long Island City streets

Doe Fund Long Island CityJuly 30, By Michael Florio

Call it Phase Two in the effort to cleanup Long Island City’s streets.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced Tuesday that he has doubled the budget to clean the sidewalks of Long Island City.

Last year, the councilman started the program in Long Island City by allocating $35,000 to The Doe Fund, a non-profit group that hires former inmates and homeless people to sweep streets, pick up litter and empty trash.

The workers were in charge of maintaining Vernon Blvd (between 50th and 45th Avenues) and 11th Street (between 50th and 45th Avenues)—as well as some sections of Jackson Avenue.

“The program was enormously successful,” Van Bramer said, adding that it just made sense to build on it.

This week the Doe Fund started covering a number of additional streets—as the Long Island City program now has a budget of about $70,000. The new streets are Jackson Ave (between Vernon Blvd and 45th Avenue); 11th Street (increasing coverage to go to 44th Drive); the side streets between Vernon Blvd and 11th Street (from 45th to 50th Avenues); and 5th Street, from Borden Avenue through 46th Avenue.

The expanded area will receive service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while those locations that were established last year will continue to receive five-day service.

“This will dramatically improve the program here in Long Island City,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said the workers will also clean beneath the Pulaski Bridge on 50th Avenue, an area that many residents pass by in order to catch the No. 7 train. He said that the area was in desperate need of a cleaning.

“This area has been incredibly dirty,” Van Bramer said, adding that it is plagued by pigeon droppings and trash. “It’s been hard to get the various agencies to focus on it,” he said.

The DOE Fund is also coming to Dutch Kills this year, although the coverage area has still to be determined.

Van Bramer introduced The Doe Fund to the 26th Council District in Woodside two years ago. He then expanded it into Long Island City last year. All told his office will be spending $133,000 on the Woodside, Hunters Point and Dutch Kills programs this year.


Fire breaks out on 51st Avenue this morning, nine injured

Source: Patrick W Smith

10-39 51st Avenue (Source: Patrick W Smith)

July 30, By Christian Murray

Five firefighters and two residents were injured this morning after a fire broke out in the basement of a 3-story building on 51st Avenue, according to the FDNY.

The fire, which started at about 6:40 am, spread to the first floor at 10-39 51st Avenue and smoke was seen billowing out of the top of the building, according to the FDNY.

Twenty-five fire units, accompanied by 106 firefighters, responded to the two-alarm fire and brought it under control at 7:26 am, the FDNY said.

Three firefighters and two residents suffered minor injuries. Two firefighters suffered serious but non life-threatening injuries. They were all taken to area hospitals. There were not fatalities.

The American Red Cross was on the scene. It was working with about a dozen residents outside the building—many draped in Red Cross blankets– on finding alternative accommodation.





Pedestrian crosswalks to be added to Center Blvd next month, join new stop signs

stopsign2July 29, By Christian Murray

After years of pressure from political leaders and residents, crosswalks are coming to Center Boulevard.

The Department of Transportation, which erected stop signs on Center Boulevard—at 48th and 49th Avenues–earlier this month, said that it would be adding pedestrian crosswalks to those locations by the end of August.

“The DOT anticipates markings will be installed next month,” said a DOT spokeswoman in a statement. “These will augment the new signs.”

However, the DOT did require a last-minute nudge by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer to include the crosswalks, since it had its doubts about adding them as late as last week. The DOT claimed that it would be difficult to paint the lines on Center Boulevard due to its granite and cobblestone surface.

Van Bramer said he was surprised by the DOT’s initial hesitation to include them. He said he asked the agency to go back to the drawing board and find a solution.

Van Bramer, who held a press conference in May that called for stops signs and pedestrian crossings, said he pushed the DOT hard to make sure the pedestrian crossings were included.

“I am glad that the DOT has found a way to do it,” Van Bramer said.

“People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families and have a right to demand a safer Center Boulevard,” Van Bramer said. “There are two parks, two schools and thousands of people who live nearby.”

Van Bramer said that many drivers treat Center Boulevard like a speedway. He said that there were five serious accidents on Center Boulevard during the first few months this year, citing data from the local 108 police precinct.

He said that he had spoken to Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108th Precinct, and asked him to make sure drivers are stopping at the new stop signs.

The DOT also said it is working with the NYPD on enforcement-related concerns.



Uber offers one free ride during G-Train closures

uberJuly 27, By Christian Murray

It sure beats a shuttle bus.

Uber, the cab service company known best for its app, is running a promotion during the five weeks that G train service is down between Greenpoint and Long Island City.

The company is providing one-free trip between the two neighborhoods from now until August 31.

The promotion, which began Friday with the station closures, requires passengers to enter a promo code “FREETRANSFER” on their Uber app, which gets them one free ride (up to $30) between the two neighborhoods.

Edward Casabian, a senior marketing manager with the Long Island City-based Uber, said the company came up with the concept since so many of its own employees are being affected by the G-train station closures.

Three G train stations will be closed until September 2 as the MTA repairs damage caused by Hurricane Sandy. Those stations are Court Square, 21st Street and Greenpoint Avenue. The MTA will be offering shuttle buses during the 5-week period.

The company has offered similar deals between neighborhoods in the past, such as providing a 25% discount on trips to Chelsea for one weekend earlier this year.

However, Casabian said that there are no plans yet to start a promotion during weekends when the No. 7 train is down. “We’ll see how this one goes,” he said.

‘Backyard Pool’ to open in Long Island City

Backyard Pool

Backyard Pool

July 25, By Christian Murray

Socrates Sculpture Park is about to convert a small lot in Court Square into a life-sized, non-functioning swimming pool.

The new installation will be located on ‘The Lot’ (43-29 Crescent Street) and will consist of a concrete swimming pool filled with grass—instead of water.

Rockrose Development Corp., which opened the high-rise apartment building Linc LIC in Court Square last fall, is funding the piece.

The artwork is aptly titled “Backyard Pool” and is the work of Tamara Johnson.

The pool, which is kidney shaped, features a diving board and tiles.

The artwork aims to resemble small family pools that are found in suburban backyards around the country— including in Johnson’s hometown of Waco, Texas.

The piece is similar to another of Johnson’s works, “A Public Pool,” which was on display at Socrates Sculpture Park from Sept 2013 –March 2014, which was based on the Astoria Park Pool.

Backyard Pool will open on August 2, the same day that The Lot LIC Music & Film Series—sponsored by Rockrose–kicks off at that location for the season.

The Lot LIC Music & Film Series will run from Aug. 2 through Sept. 20 and will feature music every Saturday from 3 pm- 9pm and films every Thursday from 6 pm through 10 pm.

M. Wells Steakhouse, located next door to ‘The Lot,’ will offer food.



Restaurant owners to hold meeting to discuss recent burglaries

Perpetrator broke in through window covered with plywood

A thief broke in through the window covered with plywood

July 24, By Christian Murray

A number of Long Island City business owners will be holding a meeting Tuesday to address the rash of burglaries that have taken place on Vernon Boulevard in the past month.

The meeting will be held at Manducatis Rustica, which was one of three restaurants on Vernon Blvd. that were broken into in recent weeks. While the event is open to the public, the goal is to focus on how small businesses can band together to prevent additional break-ins.

Between June 22 and July 4, Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines and LIC Bar were all broken into by a thief who used a brick to smash through the front or side window to gain entry (click for details). While a sketch of the perpetrator has been circulated, no arrests have been made.

Rebecca Trent, who is the founder of LIC Eateries, is helping to put together the event. She said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, will be in attendance to provide attendees with all the details on the burglaries–as well as to offer feedback and suggestions.

Trent said the incidents are particularly alarming. She said that Long Island City is largely comprised of small business owners who don’t have a lot of money to spend on new windows and computers.

“I have encouraged all the restaurants to come out and I am hoping for a significant turnout,” Trent said.

Gianna Cerbone Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica, said the aim is to make people more aware of the current problem and for business owners to discuss their security concerns.


Location: Manducatis Rustica

Time: 6:30 pm

Date: Tuesday, July 29

LIC residents launch hyperlocal site called ‘Tenant King’

TKJuly 23, By Michael Florio

There is a new way for Long Island City residents to meet their neighbors.

Tenant King, a website that launched earlier this year, provides residents with the opportunity to connect online with fellow tenants/property owners through a private network of verified users.

The website, co-founded by three LIC residents, allows users to communicate with each other in their respective building, or across a number of buildings, if they so choose.

The hyperlocal platform currently offers two main features: an exchange where people can buy and sell goods; and an event calendar, which also provides residents with the ability to submit their own events.

“We are like Craigslist, without all the Craigslist randomness,” said CEO, Mihkel Noormagi, a Hunters Point resident. “If anyone wants to gather people for any reason, whether it’s people who walk their dogs at a certain time or someone trying to start a mommy group, they can with this.”

The founders have launched the website in Long Island City and plan to roll it out across New York City. They have already brought it to Battery Park City.

“Long Island city is a great community for us,” Noormagi said. “Since the community is relatively new, and a lot of people are moving in, many people want to get to know it better as well as their neighbors.”

The site will be releasing a third function in coming months, which will allow local vendors to offer deals to users.

This feature will also allow residents to be vendors. For instance, a resident could post services they offer– such as tutoring or babysitting- on the site.

The site is currently being offered in several buildings throughout Hunters Point and Court Square.

Currently, more than 10 percent of LIC high-rise residents are using the site, which accounts for about 700 users, according to Noormagi.

Users must verify their address–either with a piece of mail, credit card verification, or by taking a snap shot of their utility bill– before they can sign on.

Similar services to Tenant King have been offered—and controlled– by management companies in the past.

“A lot of time the management company won’t update it for weeks,” Noormagi said. “With us, the tenants are in control.”

90-year-old robbed outside Stop and Shop on 48th Street

robberystop and shopJuly 22, By Michael Florio

The police are seeking the public’s assistance in finding a suspect who they say robbed a 90-year-old man’s wallet, before making him drive to two ATM machines and take out money.

The incident occurred on Friday in front of a Stop and Shop located at 34-51 48th Street. The victim was walking to his car at 10:45 am when the suspect grabbed him by his neck and demanded his wallet.

The suspect then demanded the victim’s PIN number and that he drive to two locations where the victim was forced to remove money from an ATM machine, according to the NYPD.

The victim was not injured.

Police are asking the public for any information leading them to the suspect, who is described as a man in his 30s with braids.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-8477.

G train service shuts down in LIC until September

G-ClosuresJuly 21, By Christian Murray

The G train will shut down for five weeks between Greenpoint and Long Island City starting Friday.

The Court Square and 21st/Jackson Avenue stations in Long Island City and the Greenpoint Avenue station in Brooklyn will be closed from Friday, July 25, at 10:30 p.m. through to Tuesday, Sept. 2, according to the MTA.

The MTA claims that these shut downs are necessary to repair the tunnel—linking Greenpoint to Long Island City–which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

More than 3 million gallons of salt water flooded the tunnel during the storm, which damaged pump controls, electrical equipment, and a variety of other systems.

The MTA has already being doing work on these three stations. For instance, they were closed for 12 weekends last year for the MTA’s first repairs on the tube.

There will still be regular G train service between Church Avenue and Nassau Avenue in Brooklyn, but free shuttle buses will run on two routes to bring riders to the shuttered stations.

A map of the shuttle bus stops can be viewed here

5 Pointz to be completely demolished by October, with wrecking ball coming out in two weeks

Photo: By George Burles

Photo: By George Burles

By Christian Murray

The iconic 5 Pointz graffiti mecca will be completely flattened by the end of October if the developer’s plans pan out.

Jerry Wolkoff, who aims to put up two residential towers in its place, said today that the demolition of the building is scheduled to start in about two weeks and should take two to three months to complete.

“Once demolition starts we will continue all the way through to 2016…until the job is complete,” Jerry Wolkoff said.

The demolition will start nine months after Wolkoff got the approval he needed from the city council to go ahead with the controversial development. It also comes eight months after he whitewashed the building in order to quash the artists’ attempt to landmark or preserve the building.

Wolkoff said that the idea of painting the building was to reduce the pain as each piece of artwork came down. He said that he had hoped that time had healed the wounds since he had painted the building.

“I made it easier for everyone. People get emotional…and it is my piece of property and I can do what I want with it,” Wolkoff said. “They have to understand it.”

When Wolkoff whitewashed the building, many artists referred to him as an “art criminal” and a peaceful candlelight vigil was held. The artists viewed Wolkoff’s action to paint the building as underhanded and as a historic loss.

walls1Wolkoff said he had hoped to start the demolition job months earlier but said the process to get the demolition permits he needed from the city was a protracted one. This was the first time in years since Wolkoff had sought such permits from New York City, since many of his development jobs have taken place on Long Island.

“Since 9/11 the process to get demolition permits anywhere in New York City is a long one,” Wolkoff said, adding that the delays were not the result of his development being controversial.

Wolkoff said the new development will be the “coolest [residential] building in New York,” adding that he will be bringing the artist back with the space he is providing them with.

The plan calls for 1,000 apartment units, contained in two towers—with one tower being 47 stories and the other 41 stories.

Wolkoff has agreed to include 210 affordable units as part of the development and to build about 20 artists studios, equating to about 12,000 square feet.

Work of Looney Tunes director to go on display at Museum of Moving Image starting Saturday

Chuck Jones

Chuck Jones

July 16, By Michael Florio

Meep! Meep!

A new exhibit, “What’s Up Doc? The Animation Art of Chuck Jones,” is opening at the Museum of Moving Image this Saturday, which will pay tribute to the work of the famous animation director who helped put together the popular Looney Tunes series.

Jones is credited with perfecting Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, while creating many characters of his own including Road Runner, Pepe Le Pew and Wile E. Coyote.

The exhibit, which will run until January 19, will feature 23 of Jones’ animated films, a short documentary and an interactive experience, which will give insight into the animation process.

Following its debut in Queens, the exhibit will be taken on the road, where it will be shown in 13 cities through 2019.

The exhibit will feature more than 125 original sketches, drawings, storyboards, animation cells and photographs that reveal how Jones and his collaborators at Warner Bros.’s designed these cartoons.

It will also explore his partnership with author Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) on works such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which was released in 1966, and “Horton Hears a Who!” which came out in 1970.

The exhibit will feature behind-the-scenes audio of Jones directing the voice actors who played many of the popular Looney Tunes characters, as well as interviews with him.

“Chuck Jones is one of the enduring geniuses of American comedy,” said David Schwartz, Chief Curator of Museum of Moving Image.

“His work is marked by its ability to convey the distinctive personality of his characters, his endless comic invention, and his mastery of timing and visual and verbal humor,” Schwartz added.

The exhibit has been put together through the collaboration of the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, and the Museum of the Moving Image.

Jones graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute, now the California Institute of the Arts, in 1931. He created more than 300 animated films in a career that spanned over seven decades, including nearly 30 years at Warner Bros., where he started in 1933. He won four Academy Awards, including a lifetime achievement award in 1996.

Jones died in 2002 at the age of 89.