Jerry Wolkoff to add affordable housing, art studios to 5 Pointz plan

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25 Responses to Jerry Wolkoff to add affordable housing, art studios to 5 Pointz plan

  1. JdubNYC

    learnt?!

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  2. Mike Novak

    "Wolkoff, who was represented by his son David and a fleet of consultants"...Thats all one needs to know.

    Daddy, sonny and the consultants never "consulted" with the community.

    Let hope he is not like that scumbag Bruce Ratner who promised "affordable housing" as he and Bloomie used eminent domain to toss hardworking people out into the street, only to see that the "affordable housing" looks like it will never be built. Ratner can delay until 2035 and then pay a small fine.

    Only in Bloombergville.

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  3. Sick of Development

    I don't believe a word he says. Nor do I give Conley much credit. Fifty four units is a start, but he is getting 370 extra!

    How about he makes all of them affordable? Make this place nicer for the people who already live here! Don't push us out to make room for the overflow from Manhattan. Do you think we don't notice? Your protestations are insulting! You didn't realize. . . . Yeah, sure, I buy that. And, hey, do you have a bridge I can buy?

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  4. me

    what is affordable??? $2000 a month for a 1 bedroom.....oh that's right the "can't afford wanna be manhattanites" will flood this part of Long Island City>>>>>>>>>>>> Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh so sorry I forgot we're not Long Island City we're LIC ...another area destroyed!!

    2 more years and cya NYC done
    choking on these fake aholes moving & destroying NYC............................

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  5. SDO

    2K a month for a one bedroom in Long Island City? Surely you jest - try 2.8K and UP. My building in Sunnyside (south) finally broke the 2K mark on a smallish one bedroom (relatively speaking; the apts in my building are huge). The apt. rented within 2 weeks without being painted/prepped. None of us can believe it!

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  6. SDO

    PS Ironically, I went to high school with David Wolkoff...

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  7. Anonymous

    It is ironic and hypocritical to be disparaging towards the owner of this building and not see the selfishness of the people who benefited for free for 2 decades. The new plan seems more than fair and gives concessions to the disgusting mob.

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  8. db

    It is a real shame that no political or cultural organizations are advocating to preserve this place. It seems the deals have been made. It is essentially a bunch of artists and their lawyer trying to advocate for this cultural institution.

    A good comparison or model would be the Magic Gardens in Philly. Philly has a very different relationship to Public Art then New York, but we're talking about an art space that was preserved by the community and city. Today the Magic Gardens is a thriving tourist destination. Imagine a 5pointz preserved as a studio, artspace, etc. Multiply the Magic Gardens times a thousand in terms of the effect it would have on the economy as a tourist destination.

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  9. surreal estate agent

    Wolkoff never had to let that property be used for low-rent art studios or allow the building to be used as a graffiti canvas in the first place, but he did for nearly 20 years.

    At least give him credit for that. I can't think of any other property owner that can make that claim.

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  10. marie

    a few facts :

    The Wolkoff met hush hush with the cb2 after the no vote, and apparently guaranteed increased space for artists ? which artists , no one from 5 Pointz has been involved, and as of now, none of the studio space, nor gallery space is being offered to 5 Pointz. There has been no communication between G&M realty and the 5 Pointz collective, other than a letter of eviction and a phone call preventing the use of the roof, because I quote " people were mean to the Wolkoff family at the meeting.

    At the hearing with Helen Marshall , Mr Conley acted like he was part of the Wolkoff team stood in between them during the entire presentation.

    Mr Wolkoff indeed did not have to give the space to artists, but most of you need to understand that a lot of the artists that paint the building use to be tenants , and pay rent , till 2009 when the staircase collapsed. The low rent was a reflection of the poor shape of the building , it was a win win artists had space to work in , and G&M realty did not have to bring the building up to code , as artists are very low maintenance tenant.

    5 Pointz as a collective tried to rent more space on the ground floor back in 2010 , and started cleaning the space , the said space was taken away from the collective after fans started the save 5 Pointz petition.

    it is a difficult battle , and 5 Pointz today is an iconic site bringing a huge amount of tourists to LIC. Where are our elected officials ? 5 Pointz has been begging for a meeting with Jimmy Van bramer , without any success ...

    To be continued ...

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  11. Anon.an.on

    I don't like the term 'affordable housing', at what price point is housing affordable? If a luxury building rents the 1 beds for $3000, how much less would the 'affordable housing' versions be? And more to the point, is it fair that certain people get to live in the luxury building for less than others? I agree housing should be made available for all, but do those earning a lower wage really need to be living in a luxury building? Should those that have studied and worked hard and are now reaping the rewards by living in a nice apartment, have to share with those that arent. I myself do not live in a luxury building, nor could I afford to, I'm far from a wall street type, but I don't feel that because I earn a lower salary that I am entitled to a 2 bed with ensuite, roof deck and river view.

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  12. Sonny L

    I am beginning to wonder if we turned our backs on the wrong man. It sounds like finally someone cares about our community who could help us here.

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  13. Sonny L

    Naturally NOT at $3000/1BR/Mo but still

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  14. Tom

    5 Pointz is a huge cultural asset to LIC and NYC in general. It is what many tourists come to NYC to see, and are instead confronted with a sterile and boring city. Mr Wolkoff doesn't need more money, and if he really wants to do something for the community, he should work with the curators of 5 Pointz to develop it's full potential.

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  15. Tom

    and, Anon.an.on, 'is it fair that poor people get to live in nice apartments'? wow, that is an incredibly nasty sentiment. Most of us americans work hard, very hard, and the fact is that those born with money stay with money. The way the education and health system is set up makes it hard to break the cycle of poverty. I agree that nobody 'needs' luxury housing. That's not the point. The point is that New York needs affordable housing PERIOD. And if that housing happens to not be in run-down ghettos then that's a bonus! Have some empathy for struggling families and put your jealousy aside.

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  16. Anon.an.on

    @ Tom I disagree, it's not a nasty thing to say at all, I think it's a very vaild point that too many people are too scared to say. It is unfair that one person pays one price and someone else pays a different price for the exact same thing. That's not jealousy, that's sanity. I'm saying it should be fair accross the board, if you can't afford to live somewhere, then you shouldnt be living there.

    I agree that there is affordable housing needed, and I agree that it shouldnt have to be in run down ghettos, but inside luxury condo buildings is the complete opposite side of the scale. I would rather see affordable buildings dotted all over the city and queens.

    I think there are too many people that shrug theirs shoulders, blame their current situation on 'the system' or 'the goverment' or 'the schools', take no blame themselves, and then hold their hand out expecting the world to give them something for nothing. Now luxury condo's is to be added to that hand out list.

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  17. songline

    I love Art and always have. I think what the Wolkoff family is proposing is instrumental in making LIC a more desirable area for all concerned. I looked at the new building sketches and at the graffiti building too. I do not get the outrage at all. People want to live in nice places and when you give it to them they raise a stink, all for nothing. Graffiti is graffiti, and while talent did go into it. I think Art should be framed, and hung, and a nice area will help many in the long run.
    I do not see that the Wolkoffs are trying to do anything to harm the artists. Maybe instead of stores on the bottom they can have Art exhibits, galleries. Etc….

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  18. Mari Lyn

    Hello!

    I've started the petition "New York City Council: Stop the demolition of 5 Pointz" and need your help to get it off the ground.

    Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here's the link:

    http://www.change.org/petitions/new-york-city-council-stop-the-demolition-of-5-pointz

    Here's why it's important:

    This place is an open air art museum for the unique and beautiful art form that is graffiti. G&M realty plans to demolish the building to build two high rise apartement buildings intended for the financially affluent. While they are offereing the 5 pointz group studio space and the opportunity to curate the building, buch of this will be the antithesis of what it was that the graffiti mecca represented to the artists who journeyed there on a pigrimage to see artists' work that have inspired them. The art on dispay at 5 pointz is for the public. It is a place for artists to legally put their art on display, and it is a lifetime goal for many of us. Please, support the cause to save this beautiful open air art museum and prevent it from being turned into apartments, retail space, and a parking garage. You wouldn't tear down the Louvre would you? That's how much this means to graffiti artists around the world.

    You can sign my petition by clicking here.

    Thanks!

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  19. songline

    The thought of Bloomberg is enough to choke anyone. He was as good for this city as the terrorists were in 2011. Unless you are a billionaire like he is he has no use for you, and is moving you as far away as he can. Affordable housing is a lick and a promise.
    I just wonder how he stayed this long without being thrown out.
    The rendering for this place is nice, but we do not know if it is a 20/80 affordable. Meaning only 20% of the building will be affordable. Unless he does 80% market rates, he can’t afford to build it.
    So is it really affordable? Or is it not for everyone.
    I still rather see new buildings come in, new stores, expand the good areas. Right now that area is not really desirable for many. It is no neighborhood, it has no shopping, in short what is LIC really?

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  20. Carol

    Yes, the Wolkoffs have the right to do what they want with their property. But let's not pretend this won't be a huge loss to the character of NYC. 5 Pointz is a special place and it's a shame that, as usual, money triumphs over art and taste. Could those two towers be any more generic and bland?

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  21. Chris

    "I would never build a building that didn't have community support!"

    Then why did you white wash the building the day after a support rally that the very community you claim to respect came out for you lying piece of slime? To block the community's efforts to get landmark status? Oh yeah, some respect you have for the community. Just another rich jerk trying not to show his true colors.

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  22. Char

    LI City has many new developments and has been the place to go when you can’t afford Manhattan. I hope more people will ban together to support normal life style in NYC, STOP the outrageous gouging and displacing people. Seems like the Developers and the government all BS and get over on the people.
    Kudos to those people who stand up to make a difference.

    But LIC is no completion for Manhattan, and it does not have 1% of the conveniences or interest that Manhattan does. It is where to go when you can’t afford Manhattan. They better make it a neighborhood with good eateries, good shops, and all the things that make it a comfortable place. NOT Alienate potential business owners/ residents….
    When I drove through there recently it was cold, not good on stores, shops, eateries, or transportation FROM a passengers view in a car. The area needs to remain affordable.
    IT is no other then "close to the city" NOT some great special anything, I know marketing….it is what it is. But, but, but the people that live there if stabilized will get to see its renaissance as did the upper Upper West Side. People did not leave the UWS because new came in. But people will, and should ban together from allowing the rich to crush the not rich so they can get richer

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  23. J lance

    1. Today five points -thanks to the greedy, apathetic new owners. Their "white wash" is an eyesore. Affordable housing? For who? These two are greedy and selfish. They're not going to help the community. Just like my landlord. He won't upgrade anything and charges a years salary for rent. They're all full of crap.

    Ask yourself this.... If they were going to create affordable housing why spend money to tear it down? I'll tell you why. To build condos on prime realistate and what makes it prime? The artist. If all the artist were to leave these two guys would be screwed. Al we can do us not rent from them.

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  24. star

    The affordable housing is only twenty percent which isn't a big accomplishment . That's the standard affordable housing to get a tax break. Plenty of buildings in Manhattan offer that. Won't there be more community meetings where this can be brought up?

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  25. Chris

    The affordable housing is only 20% of the ADDITIONAL units Wolkoff wants to build, and in reality are only 5.4% of the total # of units...

    That is if it gets built and things like the affordable housing/art areas aren't "value engineered" out of the project when it goes over budget

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Clock Tower sold to institutional investors, time running out to save it

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Nov. 24, By Christian Murray

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Wine bar on Center Blvd to open before Christmas
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Nov. 24, By Christian Murray

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BMW with its tires and rims removed

BMW with its tires and rims removed

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Madera likely to offer sidewalk seating next summer

Madera1

Nov. 21, By Christian Murray

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Obama’s step-grandmother visits PS/IS 78
From left are, principal Louis Pavone; kindergarten teacher Melanie Gutierrez; Debra Akello, MSOF executive director; Mama Sarah; and Rosela Rasanga, far right, wife of governor of Kogelo, Kenya. (AP Photo/Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, Gerry Gianutsos) Photo: AP

From left are, principal Louis Pavone; kindergarten teacher Melanie Gutierrez; Debra Akello, MSOF executive director; Mama Sarah; and Rosela Rasanga, far right, wife of governor of Kogelo, Kenya. (AP Photo/Mama Sarah Obama Foundation, Gerry Gianutsos)
Photo: AP

Nov. 20, Associated Press with Christian Murray

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 Police Precinct
Capt. John Travaglia

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Nov. 20, By Christian Murray

A new commanding officer has been appointed to the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, who has spent a significant portion of his career in Queens, will be taking over the command following the departure of Capt. Brian Hennessy.

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City Harvest to package 225,000 pounds of food to deliver to shelters

cityharvestNov. 19, By Michael Florio

There is no shortage of residents looking for a hearty meal these days and one organization is looking to provide the hungry with some relief this winter.

City Harvest, a food rescue organization, will host its second annual 24-Hour Repackathon tomorrow in Long Island City, with the mission of delivering food to the hungry during the holiday season.

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The volunteers will be given 24-hours to pack the food and will work in 3-hour shifts.

The event started last year as a way for City Harvest to package the donated food and increase awareness of poverty. Last year, 215,000 pounds of food was packaged in 24 hours.

The food will be delivered to more than 500 soup kitchens and food pantries, and will be enough to feed more than 2,100 families.

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Park said that one-in-five New Yorkers now live in poverty.

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“This food is very nutritious,” she said.

Park said that the group has enough volunteers for tomorrow’s event.

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President of Dutch Kills Civic Association suddenly leaves, differences over bicycles
Rendering of proposed corrral

Rendering of proposed corrral

Nov. 19, By Michael Florio

The president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association has abruptly left the organization.

Dominic Stiller, who became president of the civic association in January 2013, alerted the organization of his resignation last Monday with a letter to the board.

Stiller’s resignation was based on differing views toward bicycles.

The organization recently held a vote where its members agreed to oppose the placement of bicycle corrals in the Dutch Kills neighborhood if they led to the removal of parking spaces.

Earlier this year, Stiller called for a bicycle corral to be placed in front of his restaurant–Dutch Kills Centraal–located at 38-40 29th Street. His proposal, which he presented to full Community Board 1 in October, would have created room for up to eight bicycles–as well as two planters– but would have removed one parking space.

Community Board 1 voted against the proposal, stating that Stiller didn’t have enough community support.

Stiller said it was not Community Board 1’s denial of his bicycle corral that led him to resign. Instead, it was the vote held by the Dutch Kills Civic Association to kill the concept.

Stiller said the association is more concerned about keeping all the street spaces exclusively for car owners. In his letter he called this view “short sighted and unsustainable,” claiming that it is not working for the greater good.

“There is a recent awareness in the city and country about the importance of providing livable streets… and encouraging alternative forms of green commuting and transport,” Stiller wrote in his departure letter.

“I wish the Dutch Kills Civic had an interest and awareness and open mind to lead or at least support this cultural change locally; it doesn’t,” he wrote.

The new president Thea Romano said the Dutch Kills Civic Association is not opposed to bicycles and noted that the organization has supported bicycle lanes in the past. However, she said, the members are interested in preserving parking spaces.

“We have been fighting for parking for many years,” Romano said. “Whenever there is new construction project, we always request that there is a parking plan put in place.”

“There is a very limited amount of parking space in this community,” Romano said. Therefore, “when he came forward [in April] and said he wanted to take a space away, the board let him know that we weren’t with him.”

Stiller’s term as president was up on December 31st, but he had initially planned on maintaining a position on the board. Now, he said, he will find other ways to improve Dutch Kills.

“Thank you for working with me as president of the DKCA, I hope my resignation from the presidency and the board provides certain awareness to my commitment to alternative progressive methods of urban quality of life improvements. As Dutch Kills moves into the 21st century, these changes will be inevitable,” Stiller concluded the letter.

Romano claims that the association’s vote was not against Stiller’s bicycle corral but to preserve parking. However, she believes Stiller took the matter too personally.

“A lot of the stuff that he has been putting out there is just not true. He is putting such an awful light on the Dutch Kills Civic Association,” she said. “He took it very personally, that’s what it comes down too. One hundred percent.”

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 Police Precinct
Capt. John Travaglia

Capt. John Travaglia

Nov. 20, By Christian Murray A new commanding officer has been appointed to the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. Captain John Travaglia, who has spent a significant portion of his career in Queens, will be taking over the command following the departure of Capt. Brian Hennessy. This will be Travaglia’s first time as a commanding officer. He was most recently the executive officer at the 114th Precinct that covers Astoria. Prior to that, he was an executive officer of the 104th Precinct that covers Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood. Travaglia takes the top job at a time when there has been an uptick in burglaries and other property-related crime in the precinct.  However, Astoria too has seen a jump in burglaries and other property-related crime. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he has scheduled a meeting with Travaglia and has heard good things about him. “We look forward to meeting him as we all work to keep the neighborhood safe.”
City Harvest to package 225,000 pounds of food to deliver to shelters
cityharvestNov. 19, By Michael Florio There is no shortage of residents looking for a hearty meal these days and one organization is looking to provide the hungry with some relief this winter. City Harvest, a food rescue organization, will host its second annual 24-Hour Repackathon tomorrow in Long Island City, with the mission of delivering food to the hungry during the holiday season. The event will take place at 55-02 2nd Street where hundreds of volunteers will aim to package more than 225,000 pounds of donated food—which will then be distributed to families and shelters across the city. The volunteers will be given 24-hours to pack the food and will work in 3-hour shifts. The event started last year as a way for City Harvest to package the donated food and increase awareness of poverty. Last year, 215,000 pounds of food was packaged in 24 hours. The food will be delivered to more than 500 soup kitchens and food pantries, and will be enough to feed more than 2,100 families. Samantha Park, the communications manager at City Harvest, said that the majority of the end recipients are from working families. “There is usually at least one person in the family working full time,” she said. “With the expensive cost of living and other expenses, it is really difficult.” Park said that one-in-five New Yorkers now live in poverty. Park said that City Harvest tries to focus on gathering fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables. The organization also receives a large supply of canned/sealed food, such as peanut butter and tuna fish, which has a long shelf life. “This food is very nutritious,” she said. Park said that the group has enough volunteers for tomorrow's event.
President of Dutch Kills Civic Association suddenly leaves, differences over bicycles
Rendering of proposed corrral

Rendering of proposed corrral

Nov. 19, By Michael Florio The president of the Dutch Kills Civic Association has abruptly left the organization. Dominic Stiller, who became president of the civic association in January 2013, alerted the organization of his resignation last Monday with a letter to the board. Stiller’s resignation was based on differing views toward bicycles. The organization recently held a vote where its members agreed to oppose the placement of bicycle corrals in the Dutch Kills neighborhood if they led to the removal of parking spaces. Earlier this year, Stiller called for a bicycle corral to be placed in front of his restaurant--Dutch Kills Centraal--located at 38-40 29th Street. His proposal, which he presented to full Community Board 1 in October, would have created room for up to eight bicycles--as well as two planters-- but would have removed one parking space. Community Board 1 voted against the proposal, stating that Stiller didn’t have enough community support. Stiller said it was not Community Board 1’s denial of his bicycle corral that led him to resign. Instead, it was the vote held by the Dutch Kills Civic Association to kill the concept. Stiller said the association is more concerned about keeping all the street spaces exclusively for car owners. In his letter he called this view “short sighted and unsustainable,” claiming that it is not working for the greater good. “There is a recent awareness in the city and country about the importance of providing livable streets… and encouraging alternative forms of green commuting and transport,” Stiller wrote in his departure letter. “I wish the Dutch Kills Civic had an interest and awareness and open mind to lead or at least support this cultural change locally; it doesn't,” he wrote. The new president Thea Romano said the Dutch Kills Civic Association is not opposed to bicycles and noted that the organization has supported bicycle lanes in the past. However, she said, the members are interested in preserving parking spaces. “We have been fighting for parking for many years," Romano said. "Whenever there is new construction project, we always request that there is a parking plan put in place.” “There is a very limited amount of parking space in this community,” Romano said. Therefore, “when he came forward [in April] and said he wanted to take a space away, the board let him know that we weren’t with him.” Stiller’s term as president was up on December 31st, but he had initially planned on maintaining a position on the board. Now, he said, he will find other ways to improve Dutch Kills. “Thank you for working with me as president of the DKCA, I hope my resignation from the presidency and the board provides certain awareness to my commitment to alternative progressive methods of urban quality of life improvements. As Dutch Kills moves into the 21st century, these changes will be inevitable,” Stiller concluded the letter. Romano claims that the association’s vote was not against Stiller’s bicycle corral but to preserve parking. However, she believes Stiller took the matter too personally. “A lot of the stuff that he has been putting out there is just not true. He is putting such an awful light on the Dutch Kills Civic Association,” she said. “He took it very personally, that’s what it comes down too. One hundred percent.”
Two businesses about to leave Vernon Blvd., casualties of impending rent hikes
vernon boulevard 002 Nov. 18, By Christian Murray The business body count is continuing to mount on Vernon Blvd—as two commercial tenants are getting ready to leave. The Institute for Face & Body Solutions and LIC Chiropractic will be moving out of 47-12 Vernon Blvd in upcoming months. The building is about to be sold and they have been told that they should be prepared to leave. The owner, who runs the beauty shop, said that she is a middle of negotiating a new space nearby. Meanwhile, Dr. Angelo Ippolito, the owner of LIC Chiropractic, has already found space on 47th Avenue, just around the corner. The owner of the beauty shop said that the combined rent (of both the beauty shop and LIC Chiropractic) will most likely double to $9,000 per month. The loss of the two businesses adds to the carnage on Vernon Blvd in the past 18 months—with the closure of Cranky’s Cafe/1682 French Louisiana, Communitea, Papo Fried Chicken, Mario’s Deli and the impending closure of the Chinese restaurant New City Kitchen Express. “The rents are very high and it is very difficult for your typical business to make money,” said Rick Rosa, the managing director for Douglas Elliman’s Long Island City office. “Unless a business is filling a niche it can be very tough.” Meanwhile, at 47-12 Vernon, two of the four apartments upstairs have already been vacated. vernon boulevard 003
LIC Landing to put up an enclosure, to be open all winter
02 Nov. 17, By Christian Murray Fancy a winter coffee with waterfront views. LIC Landing by Coffeed, which is located by the water at Hunters Point South Park, plans to enclose its space this winter providing its patrons with protection from the elements. “We want to make the park more of a destination—a draw for both tourists and residents throughout the year,” said Frank ‘Turtle’ Raffaele, the chief executive of Coffeed. “After all, this is the Central Park of Queens.” Raffaele is currently receiving quotes for the enclosure—which would be constructed of glass or Plexiglass. He hasn’t decided whether it will be a 400 sqft. enclosure placed directly in front of the pick-up window (catering to about 40 people) or whether it will be 1,200 sqft. and cover the entire canopy area (catering to as many as 200 people). LIC Landing will be serving its full menu—which includes coffee, tea, wine, beer, pastries, burgers and salads—over the winter months and there will be waiter service for those who request it. Raffaele aims to have the enclosure up by Christmas, once the New York City Parks Department has signed off on it. In future years, he would put it up in October and then take it down in mid March. “We want to be open 365 days where we can serve customers as well as the ferry traffic,” Raffaele said. “This is a big win for Long Island City,” he said. The Long Island City community has been a large driver behind Raffaele’s decision to stay open. He said that the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a group that plans events and oversees neighborhood parks, as well as the Hunters Point Civic Association wanted him to do it, as well as several of his customers. “Even if I break even or lose a bit of money that’s OK,” Raffaele said. “We are serving our customers.” Furthermore, he said, many of his employees will be able to work all year round. LICLanding1
Urban Market opens with promise of competitive prices
2-14 50th Avenue

2-14 50th Avenue

Nov. 14, By Christian Murray Hunters Point’s second supermarket—Urban Market-- opened on 50 Avenue today with the promise of providing residents the lowest prices in the neighborhood. Sam Mujalli, the owner of the 8,000 square foot store, said that his supermarket will provide Foodcellar (which has been the only supermarket in the area since it opened in 2008) with some stiff competition. Mujalli claims that his prices will be between 15% and 18% cheaper than Foodcellar’s. He said that he can provide these low prices since he has 11 supermarkets scattered throughout New York City and can buy in bulk. Furthermore, he said, his family has deep roots-- and connections-- in the industry.
Sam Mujalli

Sam Mujalli

“My family has been in the supermarket business for 45 years,” Mujalli said. “We didn’t just open a store overnight. My grandfather started it and then it went to my father and then me,” he said. Mujalli said that his grandfather opened a tiny store in Detroit before moving to New York and setting up a small store in Brooklyn. The family’s first big store was a Met Food in a tough section of the Bronx, he said. “Every two weeks people would come in to the store and take our money,” Mujalli said, as he rolled up his fingers into the shape of a gun. The family no longer owns that store. Mujalli said that 50 percent of the produce he will offer at Urban Market will be organic, with the remainder standard items. “You have to give people a choice,” he said. The store has a large produce department as well as an extensive cheese selection and a gourmet deli. Several elected officials came to the store to offer their support at the opening this morning—such as Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, State Sen. Mike Gianaris and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Gianaris said the store was needed since there has been a lack of supermarkets in the area for some time. He predicted the supermarket would do well. Meanwhile Mujalli said that he was excited to open in Hunters Point and appreciated the buzz surrounding the opening of the supermarket. “Lots of people have been on Facebook and Instagram in the past two months wondering when we were opening.” urbanmarket2
Darren Aronofsky and Patti Smith to appear at Museum of the Moving Image
SmithNov. 12, By Michael Florio Singer Patti Smith will join director Darren Aronofsky at the Museum of Moving Image next week to screen his film Noah. Smith and Aronofsky will talk about the film and their collaboration following the movie on Monday, November 17, at the museum. Smith will perform her song “Mercy Is,” which is featured in the film. Noah, which premiered last spring, is a based on the Old Testament story and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins and Emma Watson. “Noah is a remarkable cinematic accomplishment, a dazzling epic as well as a thoughtful and very timely interpretation of the biblical story,” said David Schwartz, the Museum’s Chief Curator in a statement. “We are thrilled Darren Aronofsky and Patti Smith will be here to discuss the movie, and it will be very special to hear her live performance.” Tickets for the event cost $25 and are currently on sale.
Station LIC on track to open November 17
StationLICphoto1 Nov. 11, By Christian Murray The railroad-themed bar/restaurant that is coming to Hunters Point is on track to open next week. Station LIC, located at 10-37 Jackson Avenue, will be opening on Monday, Nov. 17, according to its owners. Gregory Okshteyn, a co-owner who had originally planned to open the bar/restaurant in spring, said he had to push back the date several times since he had to overcome several obstacles -- such as obtaining a certificate of occupancy to getting the gas turned on. But the main delay, he said, has been his desire for perfection. “We want to show it off in its grandeur,” Okshteyn said. “We are patient and we want to do it right.” A few extra months is not much of a delay in the scheme of things. Okshteyn signed the lease 2 ½ years ago and has spent plenty of time on design and construction since. Okshteyn, who designs bar/restaurants for a living, set his sights on converting the triangular shaped building into a station house from the get-go. The establishment sits directly above the Vernon/Jackson subway station. Okshteyn, who has lived on Center Blvd for the past three years, was able to nab the location by happenstance. He was walking past the site with Rabbi Zev Wineberg, who is in charge of the JCC-Chabad LIC, and suggested to him that it would make for a great place for a bar/restaurant. Rabbi Wineberg just happened to be investigating the location in his quest to find space for a synagogue. He handed Okshteyn a copy of the lease. The building had been empty for the 20 years—although it had been used for the movie ‘Cocktail’ starring Tom Cruise. The location is best known among long-time residents as the home of Blessinger’s, a local watering hole that was there for 50 years (1930s through the 1980s). Okshteyn, who wanted to know about the history of the location, was able to find a Blessinger via Facebook who was able to provide him with some background information. Construction began on the bar/restaurant in January. Okshteyn said that during the demolition phase the first thing he got rid of was the sheet-rock. In doing so, he uncovered the wooden beams, exposed brick walls and iron columns that are now features of the establishment. The bar/restaurant has two levels. The upstairs has capacity for 55 people—including the bar area—and the downstairs has room for 16. In the downstairs hallway, Okshteyn has photos of famous train wrecks that took place in Europe and North America in the past century. The building’s exterior currently features a red light denoting the point of entry to the station. However, Okshteyn has plans to permit artists to paint murals on the outside walls—perhaps on a quarterly basis. He wants to create a place where artists, filmmakers and photographers all feel welcome. The bar/restaurant is likely to offer American bistro-style food such as broccoli Parmesan fritters, fried green olives stuffed with gorgonzola, jalapeno peppers wrapped in bacon along with sandwiches and salads. Larger plates will consist of spice rub roast chicken, fried eggplant Parmesan with smoked mozzarella and its own house burger called the Station Burger that will feature grass-fed beef, maple glazed bacon and pepper jack cheese. However, Okshteyn is looking to offer what will be known as the Ponzi burger. He said the concept is that you get your burger for free under the condition that you buy the next persons. The idea is that you will meet the person who bought you your burger and you will also meet the person who you bought the burger for. “I want people to get to know their neighbors,” Okshteyn said. “I even put the tables close together for this reason.” The venue will be open at 5pm during the week and noon on weekends. The establishment is permitted to open until 2 am. stationLICphoto4use stationlicphoto5
DOT to add protective barriers to Vernon Blvd bike lanes
Jersey barriers

Jersey barriers

The Department of Transportation plans to put up jersey barriers on Vernon Boulevard—from 46th Avenue to 30th Road in Astoria—as a means to protect bicyclists from motorists. The jersey barriers represent another step by the DOT to provide a smooth bicycle connection between the parks in Long Island City and Astoria. The bike lanes on Vernon Blvd – from 46th Ave. to 30th Road-- were redesigned last year, when the DOT created a two-way protected bike lane running along the west side of the street. A buffer of 5 feet– between cars and cyclists--was included. However, Shawn Macias, project manager for the DOT, said that the agency has received feedback since its 2013 redesign that some cyclists want more protection that the existing buffer provides. He said that some motorists use the bike lanes to turn their vehicles around or will even park there illegally. Therefore, Macias said the DOT plans to put up jersey barriers where the 5-foot buffers are currently located. The DOT will not be placing the barriers across the entire strip—just in certain locations Community Board 2 at its monthly meeting Thursday approved the plan. Macias said that since the DOT redesigned the bike lanes in 2013 bicycle and pedestrian traffic has gone up significantly.

2014 10 Vernon Blvd Cb1 Cb2

Capt Brian Hennessy, head of the 108 police precinct, transferred
Captain-Brian-Hennessy1Nov. 6, By Christian Murray The commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct—which covers Sunnyside, Woodside & Long Island City—has been transferred to head up a larger more crime-ridden Queens precinct. Captain Brian Hennessy, who has spent just 18 months as the commanding officer of the 108, started today as the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and the north section of Corona. That precinct is larger and has more problems--such as gang activity, prostitution and drugs. The move represents a promotion, since gaining experience in a tougher precinct is often viewed as the way captains climb up the NYPD ladder. While the 108 has had some high-profile crimes recently—such as the robbery of an 81-year old at a Chase ATM and a wave of burglaries in Sunnyside—the precinct is still viewed as a low-crime area. The crime rate—based on the number of reports—is flat so far this year, compared to the same period in 2013. The number of murders and reported rapes are down—although the number of burglaries are up about 7 percent. Hennessy said he enjoyed his time at the 108 Precinct. “I love this community and its leaders,” Hennessy said. “There are so many people who care and want to get involved,” he said. “It was an honor to be there.” The NYPD has yet to appoint a new commanding officer. In the interim, Capt. Richard Hellman, the executive officer of the 108th Precinct, is in command. However, Hennessy’s short stint did disappoint many—since most commanding officers stay at a precinct for two-to-three years. “I am very upset that he is leaving us so soon,” said Diane Ballek, the president of the 108 Community Council. “He is the best captain we have had in a long time,” Ballek said. “If you needed to reach him he was always there,” she said. “He would talk to people [with quality-of-life issues] for an hour some times.” His predecessor Capt. Donald Powers was viewed by many as less responsive and not so much of a people-person, several people said. “I am disappointed [that Capt. Hennessy has been transferred] since I believe he was doing a good job,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I appreciated working with him and thought he was responsive and a straight shooter who cared about our neighborhood.” Van Bramer said he would be asking NYPD officials whether Hennessy’s short stint represents a new policy or whether what happened was an anomaly. Van Bramer also said he wants a new commanding officer to be named soon. “We cannot have a prolonged absence of leadership,” he said.

Crime Numbers 2014

Wolkoff claims that the 5 Pointz name is his, plans to use name for new towers
JacksonAvenueNov. 5, By Christian Murray Jerry Wolkoff, who is the final stages of demolishing Long Island City’s famous graffiti Mecca, said he plans to call his residential development 5 Pointz. Wolkoff, whose company G&M Realty filed an application to trademark the name in March, has received a wave of criticism from artists who claim they made the name famous. A spokeswoman for the artists told DNAinfo yesterday that Wolkoff’s trademark attempt was an effort to bank on their name. "It's ironic that the same corporation which single-handedly destroyed all the artwork known as 5Pointz is trying to capitalize on its name," she told DNAinfo. "The disrespect continues, I suppose,"  said Jonathan Cohen, who was the curator at 5Pointz and goes by the tag name Meres One. Wolkoff said the property is known as 5 Pointz. “People would go to 5 Pointz to see the street art,” Wolkoff said. “They would go visit my building—not anyone else’s building—to see the art.”
Jerry Wolkoff (source: Newsday)

Jerry Wolkoff (source: Newsday)

Furthermore, Wolkoff said, he worked with Meres in coming up with the 5 Pointz name in the first place. He said that Meres did not come up with the name alone--despite reports saying otherwise. “We collaborated on it,” Wolkoff said. “Do you think I would just let any name go up on my building?” Wolkoff said that Meres used to walk around 5 Pointz thinking it was his building—particularly after he announced his plan to develop the property. “I gave him permission to use it for all these years…and he would work with artists,” Wolkoff said. But the property was always mine to develop, he said, and deep down Meres and his crew knew that. Wolkoff is about to start construction at the beginning of 2015 on two high-rise apartment towers containing 1,000 rental units. Wolkoff said that he is always going to be criticized by a handful of artists. However, he hopes that will change once he has completed the two towers and the artists are invited back to display their street art. But he said that he has come to the realization that developers are not typically seen in a positive light. “I am the man with the black horse because I am the developer and they will always be riding the white horse,” he said.  

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