Jan. 28, By Christian Murray
A press conference will be held Thursday to announce the construction of the Hunters Point Library.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, library officials, local families and business owners will meet at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue at 9:30 am to announce that the project has been funded and that construction will soon begin.
The 21,500-square-foot library will be located at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, next to Gantry Plaza State Park. The project will feature a reading garden, rooftop terrace, reading rooms for all ages, a gallery, performance space, a children’s area and sweeping views of the New York City’s skyline from the East River.
Jan. 28, By Christian Murray
Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan announced today that she wants to be the next speaker of the New York State Assembly.
Nolan’s announcement came shortly after Sheldon Silver, the longtime leader of the assembly, agreed to give up the position he has held for 21 years as a result of federal corruption charges.
“I am formally announcing my candidacy for Speaker of the New York State Assembly,” Nolan wrote in a statement. “In my 30 year Assembly career I have conducted myself with honesty and integrity.”
Nolan would be the first woman to get the top job and it would result in Sunnyside and Long Island City being represented by two high-ranking officials: Nolan as speaker and Jimmy Van Bramer as New York City majority leader.
Nolan is one of a handful of names in the running for the speaker race, which include Majority Leader Joseph Morelle from Rochester, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.
“Lost in the names that have been mentioned as potential candidates for Speaker is that of a woman,” Nolan wrote. “A woman has never served as Speaker of the Assembly.”
The letter indicated that Nolan would have little tolerance for legislators who sexually harassed their staffers.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he had talked to Nolan this morning. “She is a very serious contender and I can tell you she is very determined,” he said. She is not just floating her name out there, she is moving on this very decisively.”
Nolan has served on several committees during her tenure.
“I have extensive experience working with constituencies from all over our state, and have indeed ushered many proposals through both the budget process and the legislative process. Whether the issue is education, labor, mass transit or women’s issues, I have been at the forefront of the process,” Nolan wrote.
Nolan also wrote that she has never had a second job while working in the assembly.
“The people of New York State has been my only job – whether it be my own constituents, school children or working men and women in our state.”
Nolan is likely to get the support from Joseph Crowley, the head of Queens Democratic Party that would bring her the full 18-member assembly bloc of Queens.
“It is time for this institution to return to the high standards that the people of our state rightfully demand and expect. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to do just that for the people of the State of New York. They deserve nothing less,” Nolan wrote.
The new speaker is expected to be picked on Feb. 10.
Jan. 28, By Christian Murray
A Brooklyn pizzeria is looking to take a bite out of Long Island City.
Residents of Hunters Point were mailed some promotional material earlier this month from a Greenpoint pizzeria that is looking to gobble up Long Island City market share.
The promotion—put out by Ria Bella (1049 Manhattan Avenue) –offers 20% off any delivery from western Queens residents.
The reception to the mailer so far has been mixed. Some residents welcome other eateries coming to Long Island City to compete. Others view it as poaching.
“I think [Ria Bella] is trying to reach out to the growing population in Long Island City,” said Jeremy Rosenberg, a 22-year-old resident and student with the CUNY School of Law.
“I like that businesses from other neighborhoods – and boroughs – are reaching out to me…but I hope that this does not crowd out new, local businesses from potentially opening up in LIC.”
However, one Long Island City business owner said that many Vernon Boulevard restaurants are finding it tough and outside competition just makes their situation worse.
Meanwhile, two residents were quick to point out that several Brooklyn eateries had crossed the Pulaski Bridge to reach Long Island City residents. Furthermore, this goes both way.
Tom Blaze, who opened the pizzeria Linizio on Vernon Boulevard in July, said that he was not concerned about Ria Bella’s campaign.
“As a resident of LIC for the past 50 years, I think it’s great that there are more varieties of restaurants to choose from,” Blaze said.
Other residents encouraged competition.
“When I first moved to LIC, I definitely didn’t look far past Vernon Blvd for dining options, so I appreciate a business in another borough reaching out,” said Jon Lechliter, a resident on Center Boulevard, who was happy to welcome the alternative.
Frank Sorrentino, the owner, said that Long Island City residents are starting to respond to his mailers.
“We have had a lot of orders from LIC since [our mailers went out]. After all, the average delivery time to Hunters Point is 25-30 minutes.”
Note: Ria Bella advertises with this site
Jan. 27, By Michael Florio
Tony Mazzarella, the owner of the Waterfront Crab House, passed away on Sunday. He was 77.
Mazzarella, who lived in Rockland County, owned the Crab House, located at 2-03 Borden Avenue, for nearly 40 years.
Mazzarella, who was a prize fighter in his youth, built the Crab House into an iconic restaurant that was as well known for its seafood as it was for its sports and boxing memorabilia. He was known for his grit—having brought the restaurant back to life after it was savaged by Superstorm Sandy and a prior fire.
Mazzarella had been suffering from several long-term medical issues at the time of his death.
“He was a very kind-hearted man and is going to be greatly missed,” said Diane Ballek, the president of the 108 Police Precinct Council, who knew him for more than 20 years.
Mazzarella was known just as much for his charitable work as he was for his restaurant.
Every Christmas he would write out a check to the precinct council that would be used to buy presents for the needy, Ballek said. He donated $1,000 each year for 15 years. He would also donate food for various events.
“He didn’t boast about his community work; he did it because he loved the community,” Ballek said.
Ballek is confident that Mazzarella’s children will keep the restaurant going.
“The Waterfront Crab House will live on forever,” Ballek said. “I’m sure his family is going to keep it running the way he did.”
Joe Conley, the former chair of Community Board 2, said Mazzarella was an active supporter of cancer-fighting causes. He served as a member of the board of directors for the Queens division of the American Cancer Society.
“He was the co founder of the Patty Fund for Childhood Cancer where he helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for children being treated for childhood cancer,” Conley wrote in a Facebook post.
Many Long Island City residents were saddened by his loss.
“He was a wonderful person who did so much for the community. He is an irreplaceable loss,” said Brent O’Leary, President of the Hunter Point Civic Association, who had known Mazzarella for eight years.
“A little bit of LIC history is gone today and we offer our condolences to his family,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said that Mazzarella would always offer the upstairs level at the Crab House for different organizations to use.
“He was a wonderful and caring person, and there should be more people like him,” said Teri Adams, a long-time resident who knew him since he opened the Crab House.
Mazzarella, a former boxer, was a member of the New York State Boxing Commission. He started the Golden Mittens boxing events to introduce sports to young kids as a way to encourage kids to stay away from drugs.
He is survived by his wife Robin and three children—Kris, Danny and Francesca–as well as two grandchildren.
The wake will be held at Pizzi Funeral Home, located at 120 Paris Ave, Northvale, New Jersey, this Thursday. Viewing will be held from 2 to 4 pm and 6 to 9 pm.
The funeral will be on Friday, 11 am, at Our Lady of Sacred Heart Church, located at 120 Kings Highway, Tappan, NY.
Jan. 26, By Michael Florio
The friends and family of a writer who was killed while riding his bicycle in Long Island City earlier this month have started a fundraiser in his honor.
Hoyt Jacobs, a 36-year-old writer, poet and teacher, was killed after being struck by a sanitation truck at the intersection of Vernon Blvd and 41st Avenue on January 18th.
His friends and family are raising money so they can create the Hoyt Jacobs Poetry Prize, which would be awarded annually to a student who shows excellence in poetry at Queens College, Jacobs’ alma mater.
Jacobs received his Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in poetry from Queens College. During his time at Queens College, he served as an adjunct professor for the English department.
The organizers of the fundraiser originally aimed to raise $3,000. However, in just five days there had been 113 donations, raising a total of $6,900.
The fundraiser can be found online at: http://www.gofundme.com/hoytprize.
Jan. 26, Staff Report
The Queens Democratic machine is starting to flex its muscles and is calling for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to be next speaker should Sheldon Speaker be toppled, according to the New York Observer.
Top officials with the Queens Democratic Party are calling Assembly members in Queens, Manhattan and Nassau County to support Nolan, who has represented Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City since 1984.
“Queens is calling around, taking the temperature. They’re pushing Nolan,” an Albany Democratic source to the Observer. “They are floating her in case Shelly is no longer speaker so there’s a quick transfer of power and the body can move on.”
Sources say the Queens machine’s three top deputies–Michael Reich, Frank Bolz and Gerard Sweeney–are calling legislators to figure out what kind of support exists for a potential Nolan candidacy, the Observer reports.
Nolan is reportedly close to Silver and the teachers union, the Observer reports. Nolan has also forged an alliance with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who may look to exert his influence over the city’s Assembly delegation if Silver leaves his post.
Support from Joseph Crowley, the head of the Queens Democratic Party, could mean the full 18-member bloc of Queens lawmakers in the Assembly’s 150 member body would vote for her.
Nolan is regarded as one of the shrewder lawmakers in the body, the Observer reports, and would be the first woman ever elected speaker in New York, no small significance to female Assembly members.
Nolan could not be reached for this article.
Meanwhile, Silver, who is trying to hang onto the speaker role as he fights federal corruption charges, is expected to announce today that the assembly will be jointly run by five Assembly Democrats—one of whom is Nolan.
The other four are Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).
Silver’s move will be deemed temporary, so he can focus on fighting the charges of kickbacks and corruption. However, there is still uncertainty as to whether Silver will be forced out.
25 January, By Christian Murray
A four-story building on 5th Street that sold for a whopping $12 million earlier this month is going to be rehabbed.
The property, located at 47-33 5th Street, is one of the last remaining brick buildings in Hunters Point and that is why the buyer paid a premium for it, real estate experts said.
“The beauty of that building is that it is one of the last of the Mohicans,” said Rick Rosa, a broker with Douglas Elliman who is overseeing the development. The property is located next to 5sl and kitty corner to Duane Reade.
The owner, Eunhasa Corp., plans to gut the building and then make room for about 15 apartments. The property will also have ground floor retail.
Rosa said that the building will be completed in about 18 months and the owner is still determining whether to go condo or rental.
He said that rental prices for studios and 1 brm apartments have reached a point where buying—based on mortgage costs–is only a little higher than renting. However, with two bedroom apartments typically selling for over $1 million, renting is a much more affordable option, Rosa said.
Meanwhile, the corner property on Vernon Blvd and 50th Avenue (49-18 Vernon Blvd) is expected to be completed by spring 2016. The plans call for 15 rental apartments with room for two or three retail spaces, Rosa said.
One of the retail spaces will be occupied by the Butcher Gourmet Deli. The owner of the deli , which is located next door at 49-16 Vernon Blvd, is a co-owner of the site.
Jan. 23, By Michael Florio
A giant size parcel in the heart of Court Square has gone on the market with an asking price of $41.5 million.
The parcel represents an amalgam of seven properties located across the street from the Citigroup Tower.
The parcel is being marketed as “The Court Square Assemblage,” since six adjoining landlords are collectively selling their townhouse buildings.
The property is being marketed in tandem by the Corcoran Group and Modern Spaces.
The “Court Square Assemblage” is 11,145 square feet, according to a Modern Spaces. With zoning, a developer has 167,000 square feet of build able area.
The parcel is zoned for office, retail and mixed use development, according to Modern Spaces.
The portfolio of properties has only been on the market for three days. The buildings are located at 23-10 45th Ave.; 45-03 23rd Street; 45-05 23rd Street; 47-03 23rd Street; 23-14 45th Ave.; and 23-16 45th Avenue.
The sites are near CUNY Law School and are in an area where more than 10,000 new and in-development luxury housing units are located.
For more information, please click here.