City Planning Commission approves developer’s 5 Pointz zoning permit

5pointz in Long Island City QueensAugust 21, By Christian Murray

The 5 Pointz graffiti icon moved one step closer to meeting the wrecking ball this morning.

The developer’s application to demolish the site and erect 1,000 apartment units –370 more than what is permitted under current zoning rules—was approved by the City Planning Commission.

The only thing that can stop the special permit from being granted is the city council.

The city council is likely to put the zoning permit up for a vote within the next 50 days—after the city council holds two public hearings.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has enormous influence over the vote, said he would “meet with various stakeholders and ultimately make a decision based solely on what I believe is best for Long Island City.”

To date, the special permit has been approved by the planning commission, the Queens Borough President’s Office and, tacitly, by the leadership of Community Board 2.

The Queens Borough President’s office agreed to the special permit after an agreement was struck on June 26 between the leaders of Community Board 2 and developer Jerry Wolkoff. Wolkoff agreed to provide 75 affordable apartment units with preference for neighboring residents; 20 artist studios (up from the five that were initially proposed); and below market-rate parking.

The agreement followed the 40-member Community Board 2’s rejection of the plan on June 6. The board argued that the development was too large and out of character, made no provision for affordable housing and provided little in the way of art studio space.

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16 Responses to City Planning Commission approves developer’s 5 Pointz zoning permit

  1. Pete

    This doesn't necessarily bode well for public services and infrastructure. Has anyone conducted an impact study?

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  2. JJ

    Cool, let's just take everything that made these areas cool, hip, and trendy and eliminate it!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  3. Demosthenes

    ONE THOUSAND UNITS????
    The city is being sold to the highest bidder. Shameful.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  4. trial by internet

    thank God.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  5. Anonymous

    As said before it is sad to 5ptz go but as a matter of principle no zoning exemption should be granted. Artist studios, affordable units (75...wow....), below-market rate parking aren't a high enough price. Parkland,Green space, other community minded things.
    Also the city should take into account zoning was done taking into account transport options.
    Do not let the 7 train get even worse.

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  6. jason

    Good Riddance!!!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  7. Amanda

    5pointz is so close to the subway tracks and LIRR though.
    The developer is going to have a hard time finding people who want to live surrounded by so much noise.

    The space will be convenient, yes, but there is a lot of land in LIC that can be developed instead.

    5pointz has brought a lot of new faces to the borough, for better or for worse, but they should really leave this beautiful piece of art in its rightful, claimed place.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  8. Mike

    Demolishing this building, and the art on its facade, would be an absolute travesty. It is sad and scary that the permit has gotten this far. The City Council should deny this permit and, instead, look toward a grander vision (beyond more vapid condos, that is): a multi-use arts and artisnal-market complex that maintains the facade (and allows continued painting) with the interior filled with shops, bars and restaurants all operating alongside art studios/galleries and a concert venue able to handle smaller-scale national touring acts as well as intimate jazz and classical concerts where food and drink are served in tandem with music. That would truly be a visionary development.

    There are enough condos in LIC... nobody (except the people who buy and sell them) cares about more condos. A lot of people (around the region, nation and world!) would be interested in a new multi-use complex with an incredible graffiti facade and lots of interesting shops, restaurants, art studios/galleries and a superb music venue. There would be nothing like it in the entire borough or the entire city. The neighborhood is already thriving with cultural life... why not spur growth even more and lobby to save 5 Pointz and turn it into a mecca for shopping, food and concerts! More condos = $$$$ for a few. Arts and food = great culture for all!

    Call/email Van Bramer's office and let him know you do not want more vapid condos... but want visionary development, instead!

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  9. jason

    Everyone is forgetting that this is privately owned property and the owner was generous enough to allow graffiti upon his building. Now he has every right to sell or use the property as he wishes. If you own anything how would you like if someone told you can’t do what you want with it or say we will not allow you to do what you want with your property? Be realistic people and stop saying we need to fight or ask for help to stop the owner from doing what he wants with his property. If you are so concerned why don't you just buy the property from the current owner and keep as is. Go ahead and be the Hero you’re looking for.

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  10. Anonymous

    "Now he has every right to sell or use the property as he wishes. If you own anything how would you like if someone told you can’t do what you want with it or say we will not allow you to do what you want with your property?"

    No, he doesn't. It's called zoning. He is not entitled to a variance, and the City Council need not approve it.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  11. jason

    ANONYMOUS: THAT STILL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT OWNER STILL HAS THE RIGHT TO SELL IT OR TEAR THE BUILDING DOWN IF HE WISHES!!!! HE DOES NOT NEED A VARIANCE FOR THAT! ALSO, IF HE CHOOSES HE CAN BUILD ACCORDING TO THE ZONING LAWS, I DON’T THINK THAT HE IS SAY THAT HE WANTS TO BUILD AS HE PLEASES. I NEVER SAID ANYTHING ABOUT THE OWNER NOT COMPLYING WITH THE LAWS OR CITY COUNCIL APPROVAL. THE ANNOYING PART IS THAT PEOPLE STILL WANT TO DICTATE WHAT HE CAN DO OR CAN’T DO WITH HIS PROPERTY. IM SURE HE WILL COMPLY WITH ALL THE LAWS WHEN THE TIME COMES.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  12. Anonymous

    well, let him do it within zoning please.
    that's my point.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  13. mrtuffguy

    More apartments = more housing, people. Thi is a good thing.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  14. Anon

    I wonder how much the owner is paying Van Bramer.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  15. Anon

    More housing and people is not good for this area when the infrastructure has not been addressed. The 7 train is already crowded beyond belief.

    And gentrification breeds crime. The criminals think everyone in the neighborhood is rich because of what they pay in rent. They don't take into consideration all the people who have lived there for years and aren't rich.

    Gentrifcation also destroys any and all culture, which is extremely sad. Another boring condo building for the area.

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  16. Anon

    And how is this being considered when they're already building a condo building next to 5Pointz? Why is everything torn down and turned into a condo? I no longer understand this city.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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Latest News

Parking costs might rise in LIC, as DOT has preliminary plans to introduce ‘Park Smart’

metersOct. 17, By Christian Murray

Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.

The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.

The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.

For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.

However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.

Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.

The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.

Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.

Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.

The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.

However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.

For more information on Park Smart click here

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Police seek man who allegedly punched 65-year-old in face
suspect

suspect

Oct. 17, Staff Report

The police are looking to locate a suspect who allegedly punched a 65-year-old man in the face last month.

The suspect allegedly struck the man at ENC Market, located at 5 Court Square, after he asked the victim for the phone number to a car service..

The 65-year-old victim said that he not have a phone number and carried on with his business.

The suspect was upset and then punched the suspect in the face causing swelling to his left cheek and eye.

The incident occurred on Sept. 22 at 10:50 pm.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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LIC’s underground stations now have Wifi

Vernonirtstairlar
Oct. 16, By Michael Florio

The MTA announced today that it had completed Phase II of its seven-phase plan to bring WiFi service to all 277 underground stations in New York City.

The second phase has brought WiFi service to an additional 11 Manhattan and 29 Queens stations–including several in Long Island City and Astoria. The total number of underground stations with WiFi service has now reached 76.

Phase II provides WiFi service to the underground stations in Long Island City and Astoria.

The Vernon/Jackson and Hunters Point Ave. stations are now covered by Phase II, as well as Grand Central and 42nd Bryant Park, which are key stations for 7 train riders. Times Square was part of phase I.

The Court Square station (which caters to the E, G, M and 7) was also added under the wireless plan.

Astoria residents who take the R train will also receive WiFi service. The service—under Phase II—is now available at the Queens Plaza, 36th Street, 46th Street and Steinway Street stations.

“Subway riders will now always be connected with our WiFi,” said Bill Bayne, CEO of Transit Wireless, which has partnered with the MTA. “We as consumers expect to be connected 24/7 no matter where we are.”

The WiFi, which provides voice and data service, is also viewed as increasing public safety—since people will be able to make calls from these station.

“Whether you’re checking your email, calling your kids or looking for emergency assistance, wireless service will bring the conveniences we’re used to above ground into the subway system,” MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said.

“This is a win for the riders in my district and all over the city,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Riders will now get the convenient and comfortable ride that they look for every day.”

Phase three will bring WiFi to another 105 stations and is expected to be completed by spring 2015.

The entire seven-phase project will cost upwards of $300 million.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Stations

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South buildingOct. 15, By Christian Murray

The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development went live today.

The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect  (https://a806-housingconnect.nyc.gov/nyclottery/lottery.html#home), which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Court Square: Planned Parenthood to break ground on first Queens facility
Rendering

Rendering

By Michael Florio

Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) will be breaking ground Thursday on its first healthcare center in Queens.

The new center is being constructed in the Court Square section of Long Island City, at 21-41 45th Road. It is expected to open in 2015.

The 14,000-square-foot facility center, like other centers, will offer abortions, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and routine gynecological exams.

Planned Parenthood, a non-profit center, anticipates that it will serve 17,500 patients annually at the location.

In a statement, PPNYC said that thousands of Queens patients have to travel to other boroughs to receive its services.

“The new health center will strengthen our ability to provide Queens residents with the essential reproductive health care services they need,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of PPNYC.

Planned Parenthood estimates that one in five women in Queens do not have health insurance.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who allocated $750,000 of city funds to help bring the Long Island City facility to the area, said earlier this year that it was important to bring essential “healthcare for women and all new Yorkers” to Queens.

Malin said PPNYC selected this location because Court Square is accessible to subway lines.

Meanwhile, Life News, a news site catering toward the pro-life movement, was less than happy about the announcement. “Forty percent of Unborn Babies in New York City are Aborted, Planned Parenthood Wants More,” referring to the new facility.

The abortion rate in New York City has been falling. The Health Department reported that in 2012, 38 percent of viable pregnancies ended in “induced terminations.”

21-45 45th Road, Court Square

21-45 45th Road, Court Square

 

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8 people isolated — and later cleared–after suspicious powder discovered in LIC building

ambulance-e1412871498173Oct. 14, By Michael Florio

(Update: 7:30 pm)

A suspicious white powder was discovered this morning at the headquarters of the New York City Housing Authority in Long Island City this morning.

Eight people were initially isolated by the FDNY– but they were later cleared.

The powder was discovered on the fourth floor of the 23-02 49th Avenue building, around 10:50 am, inside a letter that was opened in the mail room, according to a NYPD spokesperson.

The Department of Environmental Protection is currently testing the powder to identify what it is but the NYPD said it was unlikely to be hazardous.

There were no injuries, the NYPD said, and the building was not evacuated.

 

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

JohnKwilsonOct. 13, By Christian Murray

This November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time.

Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee.

Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website).

Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said.

“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”

“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”

Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions.

“When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.”

His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.”

He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?”

He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success.

He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes.”Lower taxes equal more jobs,” he said.

Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed.

“Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.

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New French bakery just days away from opening

cafeshopOct. 10, By Christian Murray

A new French bakery is about to open in Hunters Point.

Cannelle Patisserie, a popular French bakery that opened in Jackson Heights more than six years ago, will be opening in the next week to 10 days.

The bakery, which is located on the ground floor of The Maximilian building at 5-11 47th Ave, will offer cakes, pastries, macaroons, coffee and sandwiches—much like its Jackson Heights location, said co-owner Jean-Claude Perennou.

The new bakery has space for 25 seats—and Perennou has plans to offer sidewalk seating next summer.

Perennou, a French native who has lived in the Hunters Point for the past 18 months, has plenty of industry experience.

Prior to opening Cannelle Patisserie, Perennou was a pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria for more than a decade—and has worked at several restaurants in New York and Paris. He attended Le Paraclet, a culinary school in France.

Perennou said he and his business partner wanted to expand into Hunters Point since there is no other French bakery in the neighborhood and that they would be filling a niche.

Furthermore, he said, the new bakery would not be too far from the Jackson Heights location, so they could travel back and forth with relative ease.

Perennou said he looks forward to having a location where people will be able walk to the store. Currently, he said, most people have to drive to get to the Jackson Heights bakery.

“We are looking forward to opening in LIC and are eager to start,” he said.

Jean Claude

Jean Claude Perennou

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Two robbed in Murray Playground last month, police search for suspects

LICBAC

Oct. 9, By Michael Florio

The police are searching for two men wanted in connection with a gun point robbery that took place in Murray Playground (45th Ave and 21st Street) last month.

The two suspects entered the park at about 2:10 am Monday, Sept. 15, and approached a 22-year-old male and 22-year-old female. They displayed a firearm and demanded money.

The suspects removed a Samsung Galaxy cellular phone, a debit card, and $5 in cash from the male victim, and removed an iPhone and debit card from the female victim.

The suspects are both described as black males.

The police have released a photo of one of the suspects who using the male victim’s debit card at a Bank of America ATM, located at 2680 Broadway in Manhattan.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).

 

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonOct. 13, By Christian Murray This November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
New French bakery just days away from opening
cafeshopOct. 10, By Christian Murray A new French bakery is about to open in Hunters Point. Cannelle Patisserie, a popular French bakery that opened in Jackson Heights more than six years ago, will be opening in the next week to 10 days. The bakery, which is located on the ground floor of The Maximilian building at 5-11 47th Ave, will offer cakes, pastries, macaroons, coffee and sandwiches—much like its Jackson Heights location, said co-owner Jean-Claude Perennou. The new bakery has space for 25 seats—and Perennou has plans to offer sidewalk seating next summer. Perennou, a French native who has lived in the Hunters Point for the past 18 months, has plenty of industry experience. Prior to opening Cannelle Patisserie, Perennou was a pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria for more than a decade—and has worked at several restaurants in New York and Paris. He attended Le Paraclet, a culinary school in France. Perennou said he and his business partner wanted to expand into Hunters Point since there is no other French bakery in the neighborhood and that they would be filling a niche. Furthermore, he said, the new bakery would not be too far from the Jackson Heights location, so they could travel back and forth with relative ease. Perennou said he looks forward to having a location where people will be able walk to the store. Currently, he said, most people have to drive to get to the Jackson Heights bakery. “We are looking forward to opening in LIC and are eager to start,” he said.
Jean Claude

Jean Claude Perennou

Two robbed in Murray Playground last month, police search for suspects
LICBAC Oct. 9, By Michael Florio The police are searching for two men wanted in connection with a gun point robbery that took place in Murray Playground (45th Ave and 21st Street) last month. The two suspects entered the park at about 2:10 am Monday, Sept. 15, and approached a 22-year-old male and 22-year-old female. They displayed a firearm and demanded money. The suspects removed a Samsung Galaxy cellular phone, a debit card, and $5 in cash from the male victim, and removed an iPhone and debit card from the female victim. The suspects are both described as black males. The police have released a photo of one of the suspects who using the male victim's debit card at a Bank of America ATM, located at 2680 Broadway in Manhattan. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  
Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards
Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehOct. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks. Conley said at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting that the Sunnyside Yards could be used to build more affordable housing. “We should look at it with the possibility of creating a community…with affordable housing, market rate housing and retail,” Conley said. Conley called on the board to give him permission to send a letter to the Queens Borough President’s office requesting a study of the area. The board complied. The letter, however, alarmed several people who fear over development—with some claiming that the infrastructure is overstretched as it is. Van Bramer said the community is not calling for the development of the Sunnyside Yards. He said people are more concerned about school overcrowding, transportation issues and other problems that actually stem from development. “My office is in the business of receiving hundreds of letters and speaking to people about important issues all the time,” Van Bramer said. “Not one person has come to me and said ‘you should deck over the Sunnyside Yards and build housing.” Several Community Board 2 members said after last Thursday’s meeting that they were caught by surprise by Conley’s request. “I’m opposed to the concept of decking [building] over the Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said. “The idea gets floated whenever there is an economic boom…but I think it would be bad for the surrounding community.” Van Bramer, as councilman, has a big role to play in terms of land use decisions such as these. All significant zoning changes go through the city council and it is typically the elected official in a given district that makes the call. Van Bramer was unsure how the idea surfaced in the first place.
Jimmy Van Bramer

Jimmy Van Bramer

Conley said that the Sunnyside Yards—which go through Long Island City and Sunnyside--are owned by government agencies. Therefore, this provides the community with an opportunity to negotiate with developers as to the number of affordable units that could be built. “Jackson Avenue and 21st Street would be our jumping off point,” Conley said, adding that the study would then look toward Thomson Avenue and Queens Plaza. Van Bramer said that he too is in favor of affordable housing. However, he said, “Density is appropriate in some places and not others. I, for one, believe Sunnyside and Astoria are great low-density neighborhoods that should remain so.” Conley told the Daily News Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards also divide the neighborhoods and indicated that the housing would draw them closer. “Right now you have this scar that runs down the community,” he told the News. Van Bramer disagreed with this view. “I wouldn’t characterize these neighborhoods as having a scar running through them…and I don’t believe the neighborhoods are unreachable.”  
Police seek help in locating serial bank robber, suspect allegedly hit HSBC bank in LIC in 2012
Oct. 8, By Christian Murray suspect Call him the 21st Century version of Willie Sutton or John Dillinger. The police are searching for a man who has robbed eight Queens banks—and attempted to rob two others—in the past 2 1/2 years. The banks have been scattered throughout the borough—covering Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, East Elmhurst and Sunnyside. In total, the suspect has taken in about $50,000. One of the robberies occurred at the HSBC Bank branch at 22-15 43rd Avenue, where the suspect approached a teller and passed a note—before fleeing with $8,680 in cash. That incident occurred on August 20, 2012. The suspect’s modus operandi has been to enter a bank, pass a note and—on four occasions—display a firmarm. He also tends to hold a mobile phone up against his ear. No injuries have resulted from his spree. The suspect (see photo) is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, approximately 6-feet-tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and a button-down short sleeve shirt. He also had a light beard connected to a goatee, tinted eye glasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist. The first incident occurred on July 17, 2012, when he allegedly entered into an Amalgamated Bank at 78-01 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and took off with $1,450.suspect1 The latest robbery occurred Saturday, when the suspected entered Chase Bank at 69-55 Grand Avenue, passed a note and left with $5,170. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Oktoberfest fundraiser to be held at waterfront park Saturday
LIC-007Oct. 6, By Christian Murray Oktoberfest is coming to Hunters Point South Park this Saturday. The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and LIC Landing are hosting an Oktoberfest event on October 11 (btw. 4pm and 7pm) next to LIC Landing. The party is a fundraiser for the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, a non-profit group dedicated to maintaining the waterfront parks and hosting events. The funds raised will be used to host a series of events in the spring/summer of 2015—such as movies, a music series and family events. This Saturday’s fundraiser—aptly called ParkToberfest—will cost $50 a ticket, and attendees will be provided with unlimited beers between 4 pm and 7 pm from breweries such as Singlecut, Harpoon, Radeberger, Hofbrau and others. The cost of admission will also include a bratwurst sandwich, while other food—such as oysters-- is available for purchase. Music will be performed by the Street Beat Brass Band, a New York City brass band that plays an eclectic mix of music—from New Orleans Jazz, Mexican Banda, Gospel, Klezmer, and Funk. There will also be giveaways including T-shirts, hats and other beer-inspired gifts. “This will be our last fundraiser for the year before it gets too cold,” said Rob Basch, who is in charge of events for the Hunters Point Park Conservancy. Basch is hopeful that the weather will remain warm this Saturday. However, he said “Oktoberfest in Germany tends to be cold.” Basch is expecting about 200 people to turn out for the fundraiser. He said that the first 25 people to buy a ticket will receive a 1-litre Hofbrau Crystal mug, with the next 12 ticket buyers getting a 1-pint Hofbrau boot mug. Tickets can be purchased on the day or online at parkToberfest.eventbrite.com There will be an after party hosted by Alewife, where beer specials with be available to all ParkToberfest party goers. poster
Ramen restaurant to open on Vernon Blvd.
Japanese restaurant Oct. 5, By Christian Murray The owner of an Astoria ramen restaurant is opening a location on Vernon Boulevard. The restaurant, which is expected to be called Tamashii Blue, will be located 47-36 Vernon Boulevard. The ramen restaurant will be owned by Jhon Cho, who owns and operates Tamashii Ramen at 29-05 Broadway. The announcement comes weeks before Mu Ramen, a highly-touted ramen shop that had operated out of the Bricktown Bagels, opens at 12-09 Jackson Avenue. Cho said he plans to open his Vernon Boulevard restaurant in March. The restaurant will seat about 25 to 30 people—a little larger than the 22 seats that Mu Ramen will have. Cho said that he decided to open a Vernon Blvd location since there has been a lot of demand from Long Island City customers. He said many Long Island City residents call his Astoria restaurant hoping to place an order  that -due to distance--he is unable to meet.- Cho, a Korean national, has been in the US for 16 years and has worked or owned restaurants since. His father is Japanese while his mother is Korean. His mother operated a restaurant in Korea for more than 30 years, he said. For more information on Tamashi Ramen, click here.
Owner Jhon Cho

Owner Jhon Cho

Inside Tamashi Ramen

Inside Tamashi Ramen

Exterior of Tamashii Ramen

Exterior of Tamashii Ramen at 29-05 Broadway

Family carnival to take place at Hunters Point South Park Saturday
Patrick Thompson

Patrick Thompson

Oct. 2, By Michael Florio The carnival is coming to town! New City Church, located at 46-28 Vernon Blvd, will be hosting its inaugural LIC Community Carnival this Saturday at Hunters Point Park South from 11 am until 3 pm. Several businesses and local organizations are co-sponsoring the event adding to the family-oriented day. There will be bean bag and grab bag games, pumpkin painting and face painting, all for free. “There will be a lot of games for kids--ages four through eight,” said Patrick Thompson, Lead Pastor at New City Church. Thompson said the church aims to make it an annual event. “We want it to be an event people can look forward to every fall,” he said. . Thompson said that there will be raffles, where participants can win gift cards from local restaurants. There will also be a so-called ‘cupcake walk,’ a game where participants walk around in a circle until the music stops. A number is then drawn and the person standing on the winning number will receive cupcakes, provided by 51st Bakery & Cafe (5-33 51st Ave). The church has teamed up with the Hunters Point Park Conservancy and LIC Landing by COFFEED to host the event. Frank Raffaele, owner of COFFEED, will be providing the carnival volunteers with food. Duane Reade will also be setting up a booth offering free flu shots. The rain date is this Sunday, from 11am to 3 pm. LIC Community Carnival.Back_-500x655
The Beer Closet, which will offer 400-different types of beer, to open next week
Beer Closet (file photo)

Beer Closet (file photo)

Oct. 1, By Christian Murray A new store that plans to offer as many as 400 domestic and foreign beers is expected to open on 51st Avenue next week. The Beer Closet, located at 5-37 51st Avenue, will be selling bottles and cans from across the globe. It will sell five craft beers by the growler, a number that will grow over time. The Beer Closet will initially sell about 150 different beers and will ramp-up the number in coming months. Initially, the owner will sell cheese and chocolate—items that the owner said goes with beer. The business is owned by Mario Cruz, who has worked at Vernon Wine & Liquor for the past 2 years. Cruz, a 32-year-old former marine, got the idea for the store after many customers would walk into the liquor store also requesting beer. The owners of Vernon Wine & Liquor will be advising Cruz on how to operate the business and will be offering joint loyalty programs—where points accumulated at one store can be redeemed at the other. Cruz said that in the first year the focus will be on developing the retail operation. However, next year he would like to have a bar/tasting area at the back of the store with the possibility of opening the rear yard. Cruz, however, said recently that he would monitor the discussions concerning backyard use to see whether that it is a viable option. The retail store will be cut off from the potential bar/tasting space—via a wall. There will be access through to the rear space via French doors. The owner has created the partition since a separate space is needed for the bar/tasting area in order to get a liquor license. A grand opening party has been tentatively planned for Saturday, Oct. 18. Meanwhile, Vernon Wine & Liquor has been undergoing a significant makeover. The back of the store—where the wine is kept—has been completely revamped. The front area is also undergoing change—with plans for a new awning. “We want to be known for being a wine shop as opposed to a liquor store,” said Vanessa Conway, the store manager, whose fiance is a co-owner of the store. “We will keep offering all the basics... but will pay more attention on wine.”
Casa Enrique and M. Wells Steakhouse win Michelin star
casa-outside-crop-u4869 Sept. 30, By Christian Murray Michelin Travel Publications rolled out its New York City's 2015 Michelin Guide today, and two out of the 73 area restaurants that earned the highly sought honor—a star--are from Long Island City. Casa Enrique, the Mexican restaurant located at 5-48 49thAve, and M. Wells Steakhouse, which opened at 43-15 Crescent Street less than a year, were honored with a star. The Michelin Guide, or Le Guide Michelin, awards the top restaurants with one, two or three stars. It is only the exceptional restaurants that make the cut. Only six restaurants received 3 stars, with nine restaurants receiving 2. (Click for list) The guide's recommendations are put together by a team of anonymous inspectors, who all undergo strict training and sign confidentiality agreements before filing their assigned reports. Last week, Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse were among the Michelin 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks, which notes those restaurants that provide high-quality cuisine at a reasonable price. .
Hundreds turn out in quest for Hunters Point affordable housing, as residents learn about rental prices and income limits
Affordable-housing-004-560x323Sept. 30, By Christian Murray More than 400-people attended an affordable housing meeting in Sunnyside last night to see whether they would be eligible for a piece of the Hunters Point South dream. The goal for most was to find out how whether they qualified for one of the 925 affordable units on offer—which comes with building amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor terrace, internet café and meeting rooms. The complex, which contains two buildings, will be comprised of studios, 1 brms, 2 brms and 3 bedroom units. The application period is expected to begin October 15 and there will be 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall under the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year. For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom. However, many attendees wanted to find out about the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio was a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000. affordablerents The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom. “This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” said Frank Monterisis, the senior vice president of Related Companies. He said the waterfront complex comes with all the modern fixtures and amenities. However, some residents said after the meeting that they thought the “moderate income” apartments were too expensive and complained that they made too much money to qualify for the “low income” units. One man said during the meeting that he was paying less rent now than what the affordable [moderate income] units will be. However, while some people grumbled, the rents are still significantly less than what is available on the open market. In a recent report released by Modern Spaces, the average studio apartment in a luxury Long Island City building is currently renting for more than $2,500, while one bedrooms are going for about $3,200. The Hunters Point South apartments, unlike the other luxury Hunters Point buildings, will be “permanently” affordable. Therefore, the rent renewals are determined by a New York City formula– based on the Rent Guidelines Board. Furthermore, once a lease is signed, tenants are not subject to any income restrictions from that point on. However, the key is getting an apartment in the first place—and tens of thousands of people are expected to apply. Attendees were told that they will have 60 days to get their application in after the application period begins. Monterisi said that there will be a vigorous marketing campaign once the 60-day period opens. Residents can also register at HuntersPointSouthLiving.com to be notified of the date. Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units. The application can be submitted online at New York Housing Connect (nyc.gov/housingconnect). Applicants will be required to create a personal profile that provides details as to their income, assets and the number of people who are likely to live in a given unit. There is no actual limit on assets when applying for a “moderate” apartment. The main focus is on the applicant’s earnings and whether those assets will affect that figure. Successful applicants will be notified during the first quarter of 2015, with the goal for it to be fully leased by spring 2015. Two more affordable housing meetings have been scheduled, with on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Big Six Towers in Woodside, and the other on Oct. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Academy for Careers in Film & TV. affordablehousingmoderate income

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