Long Island City Post

Long Island City NY news

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.

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Rockaway Brewing aims to sell beer by the can, but first needs funding

RockawayJuly 15, By Michael Florio

A local brewery is calling for community assistance to help it grow.

Rockaway Brewing Company, located at 46-01 5th Street, launched a 30-day Kickstarter campaign last month, in hopes of raising $30,000 to purchase a semi-automated canning line.

The brewery is looking to buy a machine where it can feed empty cans onto a conveyer belt, where they will be filled with beer and sealed. The cans would then come out ready for packaging.

“After that we would bring them to grocery stores and other places to sell,” said Marcus Burnett, a co-owner.

Currently, Rockaway Brewing’s beer is served on tap at John Brown Smokehouse, Alobar, Sweetleaf, as well as several bars in the Far Rockaways. It is also rotated in and out of the menu at several other bars in Western Queens.

Rockaway’s beer is primarily sold on tap–hence the need for cans.

Burnett said the company would be able to sell more beer if it could serve its product in a can. The beer is available in bottles, but only at the brewery, as a special.

While his goal is $30,000, that is only part of the cost of the machine and installation. The dream goal is $43,000, but Burnett did not want to ask for that much.

“If we get the $30,000, we will supply the rest,” he said.

The Kickstarter is 18-days in (with 12 remaining) and the company has raised $9,056 with 150 backers so far.

The donations are incentive based, starting at $5 for a free postcard all the way to $1,000, where the donor is declared an assistant brewer for the day. One backer has donated $1,000.

Other incentives include a tour for two for $500, as well as T-shirts, bottle openers, pint glasses and more.

All Kickstarter campaigns have a deadline, said Burnett, but they wanted theirs to be relatively short.

“It takes a lot of energy to keep a Kickstarter going and keep the momentum of the project going,” he said.

The brewery will host a closing party on July 26th, the day before the campaign ends. It will be open to the public, with all donations made that night going to the campaign. The party will feature a small tour of the brewery, a tasting of and a DJ.

Beer will be served until 10 p.m.

“Rockaway Brewing Company really appreciates the support we get from LIC and Queens,” Burnett said. “The community has been really supportive and we hope they will continue too.”


Cafe to open on 11th Street by the end of July

The Mill

The Mill, 44-16 11th Street

July 14, By Christian Murray

A high-end coffee shop is expected to open on the corner of 44th Drive and 11th Street by the end of the month.

The café, to be called The Mill, will be owned by Chip Brian and Mike Daddio who own several construction/design businesses that are located inside the 44-16 11th Street building where the café will be.

The partners currently operate two businesses on the 3rd floor of the building–Design Architecture NYC and Design Construction NYC. Furthermore, the partners are opening a design/consultancy firm called Neue Atelier that will be located on the ground floor—adjacent to where The Mill will be.

Brian said that they decided to open a café since “we have a large number of employees in the building and we have noticed that the northern end of Long Island City is a little devoid of high quality food establishments that serve quality coffee and healthy food,” he said.

He said that his objective is to provide a comfortable place for local residents –as well as one where his employees and clients could meet.

The Mill, which will be about 600 square feet in size, will seat about 8 people. However, there are plans to put a bench in front of the café.

Brian said his wife has been involved in putting together the concept with his design company working on the interior.

The interior features reclaimed materials from projects that he has designed for clients—and includes pieces from Bespoke Millwork, a company he owns that has a factory in Long Island City.

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Burglar left LIC Bar empty handed after discovering worker, while residents just walk by ransacked Manducatis Rustica

Perpetrator broke in through window covered with plywood

Perpetrator broke in through window covered with plywood

July 11, By Christian Murray

Brian Porter, the owner of LIC Bar, is very fortunate that his cleaner likes to work the early shift—around the same time that the perpetrator of a number of Vernon Blvd burglaries likes to ply his trade.

The suspect who broke into Porter’s bar on July 4 was inside the premises at about 4:30 am, at the very time his employee arrived at work to clean up the bar from the previous evening.

The suspect, who had smashed through the window on the 46th Avenue side of the bar to gain entry, was rattled when the worker arrived. “The burglar heard someone come in and he went downstairs and hid,” Porter said.

The suspect, Porter added, then tried to look for an exit downstairs but couldn’t find one. At that point, he bolted upstairs and ran out of the pub by going through the window he had smashed. He then fled down toward 5th Street empty handed.

Porter, who has footage of the suspect, said his cleaner did not approach the suspect when he appeared, since he was unsure whether the burglar was acting alone or was part of the group. Nevertheless, the episode could have been a whole lot worse and Porter said he was thankful his worker was there.

The smashed window, however, is currently covered by plywood (see photo) and will be replaced next week.

However, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the owner of Manducatis Rustica, was not so lucky when the perpetrator targeted her establishment.

Cerbone-Teoli discovered she had been burgled when she arrived at her restaurant at about 8:00 am on June 22 to find glass all over the sidewalk and her front door open.

The burglar, who smashed his way through the front door window, went through her desk and ripped out her safe, before dumping it across the street in a flower pot in front of Auto Repair & Body Works at 46-17 Vernon Blvd.

Cerbone-Teoli also lost iPads and cash.

But the biggest disappointment for Cerbone-Teoli was the fact that many residents didn’t seemed to care about the incident. She said that several people walked past her battered restaurant well before she got there at 8:00 am and didn’t bother to call the police or try to make contact with her.

She said that one person’s dog peed on some of her items that were scattered all over the sidewalk before she arrived on the scene. She said someone showed her footage of joggers running by.

“I thought this neighborhood stuck together more than this,” Cerbone-Teoli said. “A neighborhood is only a neighborhood when people take care of each other.”

She said that many people used to call her complaining about noise when she used to have seats outside her restaurant but no one called when this incident occurred.

Meanwhile, Pat Burke, the owner of Woodbines, was alerted that he had been burgled shortly after a cleaner/night porter discovered that the front door glass had been smashed in at about 7 am on June 25. The thief took off with a Galaxy 10 tablet and $100 in cash.

Burke said he had footage of the burglar and was in the process of installing an alarm.

These three incidents come on the back of an incident in April, when two men broke into Vernon Wines & Liquors and unsuccessfully tried to take off with the ATM machine. As of last month, there had been no arrests with that case.


Three bars/restaurants broken into on Vernon Blvd, police release suspect’s image

Suspect

Suspect

July 10, By Christian Murray

A burglar has broken into a number of bars and restaurant along Vernon Boulevard in the past month taking off with cash and electronics.

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer at the 108 Police Precinct, said that three establishments had been broken into overnight in the past month—namely Manducatis Rustica, Woodbines and LIC Bar.

He said that the thief had broken into Manducatis Rustica and Woodbines by smashing in the glass front door. The suspect then fled with cash and electronics. However, at LIC Bar, the suspect climbed through a window but got nothing.

The NYPD released a photograph of the suspect today—and provided further details about these burglaries and others they believe he is linked to.

The first incident occurred on June 11 when the suspect broke in through the glass front door at Andre’s Pizza at 25-19 40 Ave. around 4 a.m. and removed a cash register containing $20.

The police said that the suspect then broke into Manducatis Rustica at 46-33 Vernon Blvd. on June 22 between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. The suspect took $700, two iPads and two iPad minis, police said.

On June 25, between 2 and 7:30 a.m., the suspect broke the front door window at Woodbines, at 47-10 Vernon Blvd., where he stole a Galaxy 10 tablet and $100 in cash, according to police.

The suspect then struck Seattle Café at 32-02 Queens Blvd. sometime during the weekend of June 27, again breaking the front door glass before stealing $850.

The last incident took place at LIC Bar at 45-58 Vernon Blvd on the Fourth of July just after 4 a.m. The suspect entered through a window but fled without taking anything, police said.

Just prior to gaining access to LIC Bar, the suspect tried to break into Alobar, according to owner Jeff Blath.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).


Greenmarket returns to Vernon Blvd on Saturday

Youthmarket

Youthmarket

July 10, By Christian Murray

The GrowNYC Youthmarket located at the corner of 48th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard will be up and running for the season starting this Saturday.

The market, run by teenagers, will be open every Saturday through Nov. 22, from 10 am to 2 pm. The market will offer the same fruits and vegetables found at most of the 50 GrowNYC markets across the city.

This will be the second year that the Youthmarket has operated at this location. The Long Island City YMCA is in charge of hiring local teenagers to run the farm stand.

GrowNYC had operated a standard greenmarket at this location until 2010, before it closed due to poor sales. Last year, GrowNYC launched a Youthmarket.

For more information, click here


DOT finally makes 5th Street one-way

one wayJuly 10, By Christian Murray

It has taken a lot of prodding—but the Department of Transportation has finally converted 5th Street (btw. 46th Road and 50th Ave.) into a one-way, south bound street.

Two DOT crews worked all day yesterday changing the signs and the job was done by 5:30 pm.

Community Board 2, particularly its chairman Joe Conley, had been pushing the DOT hard for the past 18 months to convert it into a one-way. The community board approved the conversion—and the addition of the street bumps—well over a year ago.

The DOT said recently that speed bumps would be installed at 48th and 49th Avenues around the same time as the street was converted to a one-way. As of yesterday, the speed bumps had not been put down.

The DOT has a separate unit that handles speed bumps.


Van Bramer allocates additional budget money to clean Long Island City/Dutch Kills streets

Vernon Blvd cleanup crew

Doe Fund arrives in Hunters Point for first time (August 2013)

July 9, By Christian Murray

The city is going to be hiring more workers to clean the streets of Long Island City.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who recruited the services of a non-profit group last year to clean a large section of Hunters Point, has allocated funds from the latest city budget to expand the coverage area to include Dutch Kills and a much wider swath of Long Island City.

Van Bramer allocated $34,000 from last year’s budget to hire two workers from the Doe Fund, a group that provides jobs to homeless people in an effort to help them rebuild their lives, to empty garbage and pick up trash on Vernon Blvd (between 50th and 45th Avenues) and 11th Street (50th Avenue through 45th Avenue)—as well as some parts of Jackson Avenue.

In the 2015 budget, Van Bramer has allocated an additional $70,000 toward expanding the Hunters Point program and cleaning the Dutch Kills neighborhood.

Van Bramer has not finalized the list of streets that will be added to the Hunters Point program. However, he said, that that the number of streets that will be added will be significant.

Furthermore, the list of streets that will be cleaned in Dutch Kills has yet to be compiled. However, Van Bramer said that a lot of attention will be paid to 36th Avenue.

Dutch Kills is roughly bounded by 36th Avenue to the north, Queens Plaza to the south, 21st Street to the west and 32nd Street to the east.

The recent passage of the city budget is going to bring plenty of other resources to Long Island City.

Van Bramer has secured $750,000 in funding for Planned Parenthood, which is opening a center in Court Square (21-45 45th Road) next year. The funds will be used to help the organization rehabilitate its new space.

The new center, which will be Planned Parenthood’s first in Queens, represents “an important expansion of their services and programs,” Van Bramer said. “I support healthcare for women and all new Yorkers, and Planned Parenthood provides a vast array of programs regarding sexual and reproductive health.”

City funds are also going toward several Western Queens arts organizations.

Van Bramer, who is chair of the city council’s Cultural Affairs and Libraries Committee, has secured $1 million for MoMA PS1 to construct new climate control systems.

MoMA PS1 to acquire building

MoMA PS1 to acquire building

Last year, MoMA PS 1 received $3 million to purchase a small apartment building that is located on the block where the museum now sits. MoMA PS1 is currently in negotiations with the current owner of that building.

Meanwhile, the Chocolate Factory Theater, which supports new and experimental productions and provides free art space to performers, will be receiving $250,000 to help it purchase the 5-49 49th Avenue property that it now rents. Last year, the Chocolate Factory was allocated $1.7 million of city funds toward the purchase of the property.

Van Bramer said that the Chocolate Factory is still in negotiations with the owner and that the additional funds should help it execute its plan of buying the property. Van Bramer said it is important that the Chocolate Factory has a secure home in Long Island City.

Meanwhile, Van Bramer said that $1 million has been allocated toward completing the Henson Wing at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. The new wing, which should be completed by the beginning of next year, will showcase hundreds of puppets and costumes that were donated to the museum by the children of the late Jim Henson.

The Noguchi Museum will also be receiving $750,000 to ensure that it can withstand future storms and flooding.

In Sunnyside, Van Bramer has secured $4.5 million in funds for the restoration and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theater, which is the only bilingual Hispanic theater in Queens.

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Live at the Gantries, a popular summer concert series, kicks off tomorrow

LiveatthegantriesJuly 7, By Michael Florio

Live at the Gantries, a music performance series that takes place at Gantry Plaza State Park each summer, kicks off Tuesday at 7 pm with a performance by Mundo Clave, a Latin/Cuban band.

Live at the Gantries will run for a six consecutive Tuesdays (from July 8 through Aug. 12 at 7 pm) and will feature some of Queens’ most celebrated entertainers.

The performances will take place inside the park adjacent to where 49th Avenue and Center Blvd meet.

The series offers up a diverse selection of music, from Raggae to the Blues.

Live at the Gantries began in 2008 and since its inception it has drawn crowds from across the city.

This year’s line-up is:

July 8—Mundo Clave—Latin/Cuban music

July 15—Solomon Hicks—Blues Guitarist

July 22—Dahka Band—global music

July 29—Kevin Batchelor’s Grand Concourse—Reggae/Ska musica

August 5—And You and I—rock music

August 12—Zikrayat—Arabic

MUNDO CLAVE Live at the Gantries from Live at the Gantries on Vimeo.


Precinct steps up traffic enforcement, drunk-drivers and speedsters targeted

accident location (taken March)

Thomson Avenue location where 16-year-old Tenzin Drudak was killed

July 3, By Christian Murray

The 108 Police Precinct has stepped up traffic enforcement this year, with the number of DWI arrests and tickets written for speeding up significantly from 2013.

Captain Brian Hennessy, Commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the precinct had made 86 DWI arrests for the year through June 29, up from 31 for the same period a year ago.

He said that speedsters too have been targeted—particularly around Queens Boulevard, Thomson Avenue, Van Dam Street and Skillman Avenue.

This year, the precinct had issued 259 tickets for speeding through June 29, up from 229 for the same period a year ago.

“Enforcement has definitely stepped up,” Hennessy said. He said that the precinct has focused heavily on areas where speeding has led to fatalities.

The Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City region has been plagued by traffic-related deaths in recent years, with 12 occurring (7 pedestrians) within the confines of the 108 Police Precinct last year alone, Hennessy said.

For instance, one woman died in December after losing control getting off the Queensboro Bridge (on the LIC side), while a 16-year-old boy was killed by a vehicle while he was walking on the sidewalk along Thomson Avenue.

So far this year, the number of traffic-related fatalities is zero.

The number of pedestrians struck and hurt by motorists has also dropped. Through June 29, there had been 71 incidents, compared to 86 for the same period a year ago, Hennessy said.

Furthermore, the precinct had issued 229 tickets to drivers who had failed to yield to pedestrians through June 29. That number had increased from 191 for the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, bicyclists too have been targeted. This year the precinct had issued 76 tickets to cyclists through June 29 for anything from running red lights to disobeying traffic signs. The precinct had issued 35 tickets by this time last year.

Hennessy said that Vision Zero is playing a part in keeping traffic deaths down. He said it has increased people’s awareness of traffic safety issues.

Furthermore, with Vision Zero, traffic-related deaths have become a much higher priority.

“Years ago crime was the main focus [for most police precincts],” Hennessy said. “Today a life lost in a car accident is treated as just as important as one lost in a murder.”


Van Bramer wants feedback on how best to spend $1 million in city funds, to host meeting on participatory budgeting

July 1, By Christian Murray

Residents of Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City will soon have a direct say on how $1 million in city funds will be spent in the district.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who each year allocates city funds for parks, clubs and schools, plans on introducing participatory budgeting in the 2015/2016 fiscal year, where about 30% of the discretionary funds he receives will be put in the hands of the community to spend.

Next week, Van Bramer will be hosting two “Participatory budget information session” —one in Sunnyside, the other in Queensbridge–to explain to residents how the process works and how individuals should put forward their ideas for the neighborhood. (see below for details)

The participatory budgeting program allows residents to determine where to allocate funds for capital projects in the district. The community might decide to spend funds on, say, improving a Long Island City park to funding a Woodside dog run.

The process involves holding a series of town hall meetings and workshops where residents present their ideas to the community and a vote is held on whether an item is worth funding.

“I’m excited by this,” Van Bramer said when he announced it at a Community Board 2 meeting earlier this year. “It is a community driven process that allows people to vote,” he said at the time. “It is a way to increase transparency.”

Van Bramer said he was reluctant to allow the community to vote on all or most of the funds. He said that some groups that are not as well organized might be overlooked in the process. However, he said at time, he would monitor how it works out and would make changes accordingly.

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