5 Pointz is coming down, as city approves special permit

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77 Responses to 5 Pointz is coming down, as city approves special permit

  1. 40th Street

    Very disappointed to hear this. Goodbye gritty and colorful character of Queens, hello slick high rises... UGH.

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  2. me

    WELCOME MORE HIPSTERS!!!!!!!!!!! QUEENS IS OFFICIALLY DEAD!

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  3. =/

    This is a damn shame

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  4. pissed of Queens resident

    Lived here my entire life and have reveled at the beauty of 5pointz since I was a kid. And all of the sudden the renovate this neighborhood and all these fucking young hipster people start moving in and they think its okay to just tear down one of the things that makes Queens, Queens in order to make room for more unnecessary residents?!?! This is so fucking sad.

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  5. RANSOM

    bullshit. at least they are giving art spaces. this place better be covered in graffiti 100% of the time

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  6. Nick

    at least they are doing something artist oriented but still a shame. money rules the world. WE DONT NEED MORE PEOPLE IN THE CITY

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  7. Frozen94

    This indeed sucks. Affordable housing?!?!? To who? The already rich? Yeh ok.

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  8. Mike Novak

    The Bloombergering of NYC. How freakin' sad.

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  9. Really?

    Are you people nuts? This is not a publicly owned space. Its privately owned in AMERICA. This is a free society. The owners were nice enough to allow all the graffiti, all these years out of the goodness of their heart. On their privately owned property. WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TO OBJECT IN A WAY THAT COSTS THE OWNERS MONEY TO DO WHAT THEY WANT WITH THEIR OWN PROPERTY. What a bunch of losers. I hope you all never own anything. Or if you do I hope others interfere with your rights!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. Anonymous

    Really???? It's time to wake up! Like we need more towers! This is the beginning of the end.

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  11. does it really matter what my name is?

    No we are not nuts. It's a ICON of Queens. So it's privately owned. Big woop de doo. Out of the goodness of their heart? Yea ok, don't make me laugh. Have you seen the place and the poor shape it's in.

    Who the hell we are? Who the hell are you to talk to others like this? It's NOT costing them money. If they cared about that property they would have done something years ago. Sounds like they received a offer they couldn't refuse.

    Hope we never own anything? Do me a favor, rethink what you said. Become more of a human being and keep your mouth shut. We the people have the RIGHT to voice our opinions when it comes to OUR community.

    This is only the beginning, I'm sure they'll try to knock down many more places for more apartments that honestly aren't needed. Oh and are considered 'affordable' as well.

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  12. Joe

    The owner of the property has the right to do what He or She wants they paid for it. At least they left space available for artist which they don't have to do. Can't hate the owner for allowing people to paint on the building for so long. Also as much as people hate on the owner or owners its damn hard to own a building or a business especially in NY. It comes with great sacrifice that most people are not willing to do. So easy to criticize but you have to see the owners perspective. Just my opinion.

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  13. Yep

    I had an artist studio in this space for the last 2 years. Although it was amazing on the outside the inside was a mess. Im suprised the building didnt fall in on itself.

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  14. Mark

    holy shit you guys act like graffitid buildings are a good thing. Graffiti is illegal, and highly graffitid areas are a worldwide symbol for poor, hoodlum type neighborhoods.

    The people who want new buildings are hipsters? More like the graffiti lovers are the hipsters.
    Oh no I'm a fucking "street art appreciating" hipster so let's save this shitty graffitid builidng so that way we don't have to build taller, cleaner, efficient, housing!

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  15. really, really?

    Can you read? Or do you just think everyone is always reffering to whatever pisses you off?

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  16. Graffiti artist

    Hello Really, you are formal completely right. But since graffiti is a movement that sees lack of maintenance as an artistic opportunity, on this particular place something beautiful has grown. In stead of a crappy warehouse with no extra value for New York, this place has become a attraction for (street) artists, commuters, tourists and especially hipsters. It is a place of expression, inspiration and a temple for hiphop in New York. I personally blame the council of New York rather than the owner of the lot because the council should take responsibility for the loss of a unique attraction in Queens. i can imagine there will be not much in common with the atmosphere of the new studios and the current situation. In 2011 a dream came true for me to paint on the roof of this beatiful place, this will now remain as a memory of the past. Rest in Peace 5 pointz, peace to meres and marie and the crew. Once again the value of culture is underestimated for the power of money.

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  17. REALLY???

    Are you serious? Just because you have the right to do something doesn't mean it's gonna be positive for the community...that's exactly what tearing down 5pointz represents to the worldwide Hip-Hoppers. NYC is the birthplace of this Hip-Hop ish.

    Bush had the right to declare war, so does Obama. Following your logic, who are you to object to anything that doesn't directly relate to you? Obviously you have zero sense of any kind of Hip-Hop related education, leaving your comment as empty as if you were talking from your rear.

    Furthermore, a lot of these brothers and sisters protesting are actually from the borough, who the hell do you think they are to not be allowed to object? THIS IS AMERICA, FREEDOM IS NOT ONE WAY. I will protest w/e I want to as a citizen of this country, and hopefully you will take measures to ensure your growth of maturity and expansion of mind.

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  18. Fatima

    Someone needs to fin the headquarters of these developers and cover it in graffiti!

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  19. Caroline Caldwell

    What a shame. This is the destruction of a landmark. This is a real loss for both the art community as well as New York City. Well, it was an absolute privilege to experience 5Pointz in the flesh and get to know the amazing people who curate it.

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  20. To The Dumb F*** Above Me...

    Wish the worst upon yourself, you piece of shit.

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  21. yes!

    @Really? - Cities are built with private money and yes there are rights for developers to develop their own land but they city is a cultural mix some building deserve to be deemed important and/ or historic for the greater good of the city. That how there is approval for tearing down building in New York. The problem is New York has become too friendly to the tear down of the city. There are plenty of vacant lots they could use to build in that area. Plenty of shit they could tear down and nobody would blink an eye.

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  22. re: Really?

    blah blah blah blah

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  23. Anonymous

    To the person above me, raise your voice AFTER you've been, interacted, and experience 5Points, it's curator (Meres One), and your loving private owner. Scream private to the public and see who hears you. I for one am heart broken but would love to live where greatness stood. Not to gloat in what once was but to ensure its beautiful revelry is continued long after its gone. #tagthis

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  24. Dusty

    That's a damn shame, i've been over to NY from London many times to visit 5Pointz.
    Graffiti is synonymous with New York, 5Pointz is synonymous with Graffiti thus another reason to visit New York will be gone.
    Regardless of the fact that New Yorkers like it or not, it is the epicentre of a movement that is now worldwide, touching probably every country in the world.
    Every time i come over there's people from all over the world displaying their art.
    The locals might now have their 'affordable' housing but you'll lose probably a thousand or so visitors to New York.
    Having travelled extensively the name 5Pointz is known all over the world as an icon in New York, also when i'm there the subway trains that screech past have faces against the glass peering at the new art works that go up on a daily basis!
    Sometimes buildings aren't just bricks and mortar, they have an essence, an energy, that won't be there anymore.
    5Pointz RiP

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  25. Tai

    "Really", I hope you win the Darwin Awards.

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  26. Really???

    Your nuts, privatisation is ruining this world. capitalism controls democracy.
    People with your attitude are the problem. Interfere with your rights?? Its the community thats having there rights disregarded for cash.

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  27. LGone

    That's a fucking shame..those motherfuckers do whatever it takes to Permanently Take graffiti off the society.
    You can't Never do that fucking Assholes who says that we live in democracy and force us to do what they say.
    LONG LIVE GRAFFITI :)

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  28. Nunya Bidness

    Thank god; what an eyesore.

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  29. Sickened by This Betrayal

    Bloomberg and his cronies can't make anything but money. That warehouse was worth NOTHING all these years--the owner put nothing into it and evidently lost nothing or he would have sold it--until artists made the neighborhood a place if inestimable value.

    He is making a profit off the work poor artists put into the place all these years. He is nothing but a leech, using money to suck the life blood out of everyone around him.

    Remember what they said, it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. He is so engorged on the value other people created he can not see straight.

    He created nothing. He just consumes. And since I am Catholic I call that more than a shame, I call it a sin. The kicker is, you have to pray for your enemies. That is a tough one. Otherwise you are as bad as they are.

    And the pro-business mayor is destroying 200 small business in Willets Point for the same friends of his. The Vampire Squid is consuming Queens and our politicians pose for pictures with them.

    "They say you want a revolution. . . ."

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  30. Time's Up

    Sad to see 5 Pointz go. But at least I can get a good laugh out of people seriously discussing "hipsters," as if that were an actual group of people rather than shorthand for whomever people don't like.

    Hipsters are responsible for tearing down 5 Pointz!
    Hipsters are crybabies for resisting the tear-down of 5 Pointz!
    Hipsters are poor white kids from the midwest!
    Hipsters are rich trust-funded white kids from the east coast!
    Hispters are poor artists who support graffiti!
    Hipsters are culture-less bores who hate graffiti!
    Hipsters are destroying NYC culture!
    Hipsters are the only ones trying to preserve NYC culture!

    Hence my repeated insistence that every comment including that word be banned, as it is such a useless catchall term with no fucking meaning whatsoever. Come on Christian! Hitler references do less to de-rail discussions than this hipster bullshit.

    And by the way Mark, although yours wasn't the only dumb comment, you do get a star for its exceptional stupidity. Graffiti per se is neither legal nor illegal. The graffiti that happened to be on 5 Pointz was sanctioned, and thus, legal. Happens to be beautiful too, but of course that's just my opinion, which happens to be shared by millions of others apparently.

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  31. Kenny

    Capitalism at its best

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  32. Square BallZ

    @Time's Up:

    You're 100% right, we shouldn't use the word 'hipsters'. 'Pieces of shit' will do just fine. Go smoke a dick in Williamsburg you pompous, arrogant, out-of-state A-hole.

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  33. EA

    This is a icon of queens! A place where people all over the world would come to show their art. A place of movie making.
    The owner is a greedy sun of a ____. He already owns about a quater of LIC! As far as I know there were millioners as far as Japan willing to buy this place and fix it up!
    You kid yourself if you think anything there will be affordable.

    With that said. When is the human chain starting?

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  34. Ro

    I think the people that oppose the tear down of 5Pointz went at it all wrong. It is inevitable that the owner has the right to tear down this property and build to the "as of right" zoning the site currently has. This is his undeniable right and any court will side with the owner. However, the owner was seeking additional FAR. Instead of insisting that the building stay intact they should have lobbied for the current shell to stay up and the new building be built above and around it. They should have also insisted that they hire a real architect as oppose the awful design they currently have, all in return for increasing the FAR. The funny thing is that if the owner is able to pull off a great design that integrates this "landmark" with his new building it will only add value to his property.

    It is sad to see this place go, but it would be sadder to see a citizen's rights trampled on by the masses.

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  35. So what

    I'm glad to see this "thing" come down. It's been an eyesore. I've lived roughly 2 miles away from that towering chunk of crap for 21 years and I'm happy they are tearing it down. None of you will stop this from happening, offering opinions and bickering like middle school kids like it will make a difference won't do anything. You're just all a bunch of screen-and-keyboard thugs. Get over it.

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  36. jason

    Good Riddance!

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  37. Anonymous

    I've lived in this neighborhood for a few years, and I think one of the main reasons why 5pointz was such a marvel was the very fact that 1 stop of manhattan you had a wild graffiti jungle.

    The main point of graffiti is its wild anti-establishment nature and the volatility of art that comes on like wild grass, is mowed away, and then reappears somewhere else.

    The supporters of keeping this warehouse "established" as a place for permanent graffiti is ironic then.

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  38. jan-michael

    Can hipsters be the children of poor immigrants?

    I'd like a membership to the hipster club

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  39. Anonymous

    If the supporters of 5pointz want to make permanent and institutionalize graffiti, then they are the epitome of "hipster" i.e., ironic.

    Furthermore name calling others as "hipsters" when you are the hipster yourself, is itself also ironic, and very well played, the irony inside the irony.

    If graffiti should live in its truest form, then whether it is an abandoned building or a sparkling new high rise, "grafitti"-on you brave artistic soldier against the establishment! But please do not become the new establishment.

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  40. Bill

    Make the space a park with giant stones to decorate.

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  41. jan-michael

    I hate all the hipsters moving to lic, I liked Queens before it was cool

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  42. Time's Up

    Hey Square Ballz, I don't think you understood my point. Perhaps you should read it another dozen times or so and perhaps it'll come clear.

    And I didn't know that having a relatively decent command of written English makes one pompous and arrogant.

    Oh, and I grew up and lived in Woodside, Sunnyside, and LIC my entire life. Which, if any, of those neighborhoods are out of state? I see you're on a roll.

    Any more nonsense, false suppositon, and weird misplaced anger to add to this fun comment thread?

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  43. Hilarious

    Well, as long as the rich people have somewhere to live! We all know how hard it is for rich people to find apartments here in NYC....

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  44. Anonymous

    So strange, that when development and condos are written about, people rant on about 'hipsters'. These 'hipsters' can't afford places in these new developments. These are for bankers, lawyers, and other well paid business people, who are much older than 'hipsters'.

    I would invite the people on here ranting about hipsters, to change their rant to, there are less and less places for artist, dancers, writers, musicians, painters to live, which is the cultural backbone of what makes all of New York a vibrant place to live. It is becoming a business hub, which is infinitely more boring, and lacking a soul.

    So whatever you have against 'hipsters' (who are usually artists, of the variety mentioned above) try to remember why New York is such an amazing place, and be careful what you wish for...

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  45. Pingback: Goodbye 5 Pointz - City-Data Forum

  46. invisible lean

    @really...are you a friggin idiot...yea you are...you probably support billions of dollars of government subsidies to the oil industry so they can make even more billions of dollars while paying no taxes polluting our planet..fools like kill this planet...now go be a good republican and go kill some more innocent little children attending elementary school with your legal guns..friggin idiot

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  47. WILLIAM TBB HIGHTOWER

    THEY CAN TEAR DOWN HISTORY BUT THERE CAN NEVER STOP THE MOVEMENT,,

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  48. AX ONE

    Let me tell you...I am one of the more notable street/train bombers since the 80's. people should be happy that the OWNERS of the property allowed graffiti to be done there for a day let alone many years. It's THEIR property and was bought with the main idea, like all RE investment property, with a PROFIT to be made. So they have found a way to realize the profit in their wise investment that was VERY risky at the time they made it. So all of you who who ARE NOT entrepreneurs or know about capitalism, don't open your mouth.You don't even begin to know the entire picture and don't have the capacity to. So go get me a hamburger and a side of fries.Mental ungrateful midgets that you are.

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  49. EulogyToAGreatCity

    Another step in the gentrification of New York City, and once again I'm not sure I like it. I don't protest that having a new apartment building is a good thing and affordable living spaces are hard to come by in the city. However, I lament the fact that my NYC is disappearing. What makes New York City the greatest city in my opinion, is the historical and cultural roots sunk deep into all aspects of life, from people to architecture. Don't we read cities by the buildings they have? I will miss old New York and watch as every borough is buried under the development of high rises. I watched as landmarks, such as the Battery Tunnel, Lincoln Tunnel, and Queensboro Bridge were rebranded by the names of people who were "great". How will this be different?

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  50. Graffiti Writer

    Graff should be illegal. Shame to see it go, but Graff should be illegal.
    I hit the BMTs in B'klyn. in the very early 80s when I was a kid.

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  51. Queens Resident

    What about the Older Generations whose mark remains on the currently sight and the sight alone. It can not be replicated amd how long will the walls on thisnew. Building be allowed for, the first year? These are words, sentences, phrases used to buy us and having us give them the stamp of approval but it will never be the same. Damn yuppies ruin everything, our culture, our dance our music. Can't pretend to be in it, you have to live it. Its graff but its also art and no one should deny that because at one time you believe that it was just that and that one time counts.

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  52. THE NYC Vidit

    This is a historic landmark, a piece of culture that directly influenced modern pop.

    >> It is not the birthplace of Hip Hop to those that said it above (that honor goes to my beloved BOOGIE DOWN BRONX) - but there was a direct relationship between Hip Hop's origins in the Bronx, and of course 5 Pointz. And for the record to Queens, don't forget your history.

    KRS-ONE announced THE BRIDGE IS OVER back in the 80s. So the young buck Queens kids talking about birthplace of Hip Hop need to revisit modern music and cultural history.

    Queens/Bronx rivalries aside, it is tragic to lose this monument. Curating artwork in the building is the antithesis of everything 5 Pointz stood for. Sorry, but it isn't a consolation prize or act of mercy by the developers.

    5 Pointz were a land of art - it wasn't the value dropping scribblings of "toys", but true legends and pioneers (and many current fantastic artists keeping graffiti alive and not commercializing it like Marc Ecko)

    That said, keep getting up...

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  53. Marco Ricco

    This place call to much attention in the last years so is normal some rich people see the opportunity.
    But instead of make of this place a cultural center as always expensive condos come to the mind of the investors...i can really show your how bad investment is this in profits....by the way i never be in Ny.
    I just study this city from 1986 when graffiti change my life and i decide to lear n the most i can to leave my roots on a Slum in Montevideo Uruguay....till i have the opportunity of work with people at high levels from Ny and assist to talks from Artists like Christo.
    Believe me Mr Condo Builder..you are loosing money.

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  54. S

    "The developers have also agreed to offer the 5 Pointz graffiti group the opportunity to curate the nearly 10,000 square feet of art panels & walls in the building."

    Oh, so the art will be private, for (mostly) wealthy people to enjoy...as opposed to art that everybody can see for free from the train. Fuck this shit and fuck city council.

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  55. Frank

    Ax One is NOT a train bomber. Anyone who appreciates graf or graffiti is not in favor of the destruction of their culture for a profit.

    Graf lovers should not be grateful or anything a private owner did. But I understand the desire to sell and make money off of your "investment."It'

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  56. LOg

    I started do dance and live the HH culture about 5 years ago,im from europe and i was planing to come next years to see it,the money will destroy this world and the culture as the story aswell....

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  57. The NYC Vidit

    @Frank: "Understand" feels weird saying, gives some odd form of legitimacy; comprehend (maybe) the financial factors at play and it makes my skin crawl.

    I also don't know how to express the disappointment, but thought we'd hear more noise from those part of the culture - a greater sense that this shouldn't happen.

    Maybe I'm too sentimental of back when a metropolis was covered in graffiti, colorful subway lines w/ local personality, and riding in between cars in the summer across the boroughs.

    May hap I'm an idiot; but this old kid from the Boogie Down, that remembers when the Bridge Ended and a man Ladies Love took down a Kool elder, is terribly upset. So much damn history there. FFS

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  58. The NYC Vidit

    You know, I feel like being an arse.

    How about we start picking some landmarks,

    * Old Quaker Meeting House
    * Mount fraking Rushmore
    * The San Jose Church
    * Fairbanks House
    * Newport Tower
    * James Blake House
    * Fort Niagara

    TEAR THEM ALL DOWN! Throw up some fancy modern real estate and we'll dedicate a remote hall to the landmark. "MOAR" Profit. We get revenue from a hiked up irrational rent from being on a landmark (New Silicon Valley baby, or wait a neo-Tokyo Williamsburg) AND revenue from silly tourists that still think they are experiencing the textile feel of the place.

    Win for all!

    Frak this noise.

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  59. Juicebox

    As the Hip Hop culture grew since 1970s, the 4 elements of hip hop are bboying, djing, mcing, and graffiti.

    Alot people say that they know what Hip Hop is and only think of Lil Wayne and Drake kind of shit.
    F*ck that shit. If you don't the 4 elements and act like you know what you are talking about...just shut it.
    There wouldnt be rappers if there were no bboys or the 4 elements of hiphop.
    NYC is tearing down a place where a culture became a worldwide influence. Who said graffiti is illegal? Why does it represent poverty?

    To Mark, I swear that there are graffiti artists that richer than you.
    Graffiti, or Hip Hop itself is an icon for self expression. This culture started in the ghetto and developed worldwide.
    Can you explain to me why this is hoodlum? Why this represents poverty?
    You calling me a hipster? Fine like i gave a fuck....But what i really care is that as time passes by, people are trying to get hold of this culture rather than sharing it to the ones who really need it. This culture is God's last chance to unite all race, differences, etc. in the name of love and respect. I don't care if this comment is gonna be taken down or be reported. Im telling what the NYC Council is doing. They are sure killing Hip Hop, a culture that inspired everyone worldwide. NYC Council is fucking up seriously.

    My last message to Mark......We Dont Give A Fuck if this is an icon of poverty, I dont give more fuck if this is like a hipster or ish. People like you......truly dont appreciate what real art is. Artists know what real art is. This place has been representing NYC big worldwide. This place symbolizes our struggle, love, and respect for a culture that can unite all race and religion with respect and love.

    Mark.....people like you destroy Hip Hop so I hope this shuts your fuckin big mouth.

    I'm done here. Peace and love and respect to the pioneers and legends for the Real Hip Hop culture.

    5POINTZ will persevere.

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  60. George Krassas

    May the host of Biggie Smallz forever haunt the new tenants.

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  61. Flowrex

    I understand that this land has been bought and it is the owners prerogative to do what they will with their property and this is a business desicion where they need to see a return.

    It is still really unfortunate though that they either understand the significance of the site world wide, have under estimated it's importance or actually as I suspect the graff just doesn't have the same value to them.

    The site is in my mind a world heritage site of modern times and represents the most powerful culture in today's society for all of the people and races it has connected worldwide through art (something spoken about more by alien ness the famous New York Bboy) I totally agree with his viewpoint on how it has changed the world, it connects more people than government and national multicultural initiatives on the basis that we connect through art from our own choice and we choose to partake in this cross culture/cross race, age, sex, creed platform through our own initiative and love for what we do, peace, love,unity and having fun.

    Hip hop is one of New York's and America's gift to the world and this site in particular is a Mecca and a beacon for world travellers who attend pilgrimages to New York (I do it annually) to birthplace of a culture which has connected us all and given many of us a voice and outlet for art.

    Whilst occupying Wall Street meant a lot to people occupy 5 pointz would not be a bad thing to attempt, continuos graff, breaking, dj's and mc's. Isn't there a way to have squatters rights in the USA.

    Anyway sorry for going on so much it's just a shame to see in this day and age that our art whilst used by commercial brands and governments as a vehicle for their messages to the hip hop generations the same brands and government do not have our back on this, it shows that their apparent interest is actually more of a superficial interest time limited to the amount of control or money they can derive from it. Everyone using our art for their own means commercially should be getting involved and having our back in this one. I wonder whether anyone will interject?

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  62. Attila_the_Pun

    Just what we need, another ugly high rise blocking out the sky.

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  63. Guest

    DEVELOPER PLEASE HIRE A WORLD CLASS ARCHITECT OR AT LEAST A CREATIVE ONE!!!!

    The design you have now is embarrassing and subpar.

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  64. Goose

    I would hope that PS-1 Being right down the street would be taking some of those panels off of the building with the Artwork.
    These could easily be transported to different locations and nearby city parks. God knows there are plenty of art spaces and old warehouse buildings in LIC that are out of use There are also plenty of art locations these could be housed fore everyone to see. . Like Socrates Sculpture Park, Reiny Park , Gantry Plaza

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  65. SirPreiss

    I'm from Germany and visited NY in September 2013. Witnessing 5Pointz was awesome to me and one of the greatest moments ever.

    Here in Germany graffiti is apprechiated as art. In New York - the cradle of graffiti art - I soon got the feeling this appreciation is gone everywhere. But at 5Pointz the spirit was still alive.

    For those who understand German here's an article I wrote about it:
    http://sirpreiss.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/special-5-pointz-in-queens-ny

    I hope 5Pointz will live on in any other form. The former idea of a graffiti museum should still be an option.

    Regards,
    SirPreiss

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  66. Karen Ng

    Agreeing with the comments above. Buiilding another soul less skyrise means NYC loses a landmark that makes new york city the place it is! Regardless of what you "let" them curate or good intentions to provide "affordable" housing or artist studios (c'mon who are they kidding!) These realtors and politicians are only seeing short term dollar signs and ignoring a piece of history that people from all over the world come to see! (Im from New Zealand and came to NYC because it is the birthplace of Hip Hop). 5 Pointz carries an important cultural LEGACY of Hip Hop, one which has united artists, dancers and musicians from all nations and cultures!

    Long Term LIC can make more money from preserving the history and culture of what makes this an important historical place, highlighting and restoring art and culture rather than "modernising" everything so that one city is indistinguishable from the next. There will no longer be a reason for me to bring/recommend ANYONE to go to LIC!

    I hope the "new" building gets graf all over it.... its so ugly anyway, you can tell they just wanna make a quick dollar out of the expense of an iconic monument.

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  67. Nydia

    There are ENOUGH condos and expensive places to live in NY. LEAVE 5PTZ ALONE!!!!!

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  68. Attila_the_Pun

    The politicians have been bought off.

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  69. Dumer

    I can certainly understand the sadness and outrage felt by the hip hop community at the loss of a cultural icon, but some points:

    1. There's no active intention to shut down/break/what-have-you the hip hop culture here. If there were, a more effective way to do so would be for outlets such as iTunes and record labels to simply drop hip hop music and for Hollywood to stop producing movies like Step Up and such.

    2. As many have pointed out, this simply is a money-making move. No more, no less.

    3. Hoping that the property owner leave it alone in the interest of cultural preservation is a pipe dream if he bought it for millions. A better solution would have seen the richer members of the hip hop community buy the property for themselves and maintained it as-is for the preservation of the culture's history. Hip hop has made many individuals very wealthy, so I'm not sure why they didn't step in to save 5 Pointz. They probably still can, with the right offer to the owner (seriously, Jay-Z can buy it on his own).

    4. That the community has forced the owner's hand to provide more affordable units and a bigger artists' space can already be seen as victories, considering that even a celebrity-tweeted petition to save 5 Pointz failed to garner the 50,000 signatures it was seeking.

    5. At the very least, people should ask that a whole wall section be preserved and moved elsewhere for preservation purposes. Even if the original building is long gone, part of it still lives on and preserved. Or if that's not possible, take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. So future generations would still have a remembrance of 5 Pointz.

    Personally, I'm sad to see it go. I haven't the money yet to visit 5 Pointz, but I was planning to go.

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  70. Dumer

    "Sickened by This Betrayal": Your comment doesn't make any sense. The property owner would've allowed the artists to keep doing what they do and kept 5 Pointz alive if those artists of yours actually brought in financial value to the owner. No right-minded businessman would tear down something that brings them solid profit margins.

    I won't argue that those artists brought in cultural value (they did, and they're great artists), but I have to question the financial value they put in.

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  71. Really?

    I am truly amazed at the ignorance of some people here. Those that oppose allowing someone who owns a property to exercise their right to do with their own building is insane. The building is of zero historical value or it would have been land marked like so many other buildings in the city. It is a regular warehouse that the owners allowed people to spray paint. This was very cool of them to allow that. So now they deserve to be harassed when they want to exercise their right to do what they want with their own property?

    That really moronic!!!!

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  72. Really?

    Those that oppose allowing someone who owns a property to exercise their right to do what they please, with their own building is insane

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  73. Mari Lyn

    Please sign my petition to stop the demolition of 5 pointz!!!

    http://chn.ge/19Ku8q2

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  74. Banvir Chaudhary

    Most of you morons will love to live in those condos or have a studio.
    This is a knee jerk reaction of people who do not take responsibility for the city to function. It is the working stiffs who make it possible for artistic type to live. Any thoughts?

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  75. Pingback: I'm becoming increasingly critical of gentrification - Urban, city, town planning, land use, zoning, transportation and transit, environmental issues, urban design, community development, subdivisions, revitalization - Page 19 - City-Data Forum

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Latest News

WiFi to come to Hunters Point park before summer

LIC-007

March 26, By Michael Florio

Long Island City residents will soon be able to surf the web at their newest waterfront park.

Installation of wireless Internet at Hunters Point South Park is scheduled to begin in April and is expected to be in operation by the end of spring, according to a Parks Department spokesperson.

Time Warner Cable is installing the technology as part of a $6 million commitment the company made in 2011 to bring WiFi to public parks in New York City, according to a Time Warner spokesperson.

Rob Basch, pesident of Hunters Point Parks Conservancy

Rob Basch, pesident of Hunters Point Parks Conservancy

The decision follows the strong advocacy of Rob Basch, president of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, who has been fighting to bring WiFi to the park for the last six months.

“We have met with representatives of the mayor’s office and New York City Parks to facilitate this project,” Basch said. “We are very pleased that this will be installed by the end of April. This will be a great addition to the park.”

The WiFi will be free at all times for Time Warner customers with standard Internet service and above. Residents will also be able to connect for three free 10 minute sessions per month.

A daily pass can be bought for 99 cents.

“We are excited to soon make our TWC WiFi services available to the Hunters Point South Park as part of our ongoing relationship with the NYC Parks,”  according to Time Warner spokesman in a statement.

The company has no plans to bring WiFi to any other LIC park at this time.

Previous Coverage: Waterfront Parks group signs up new members outlines 2015 plans

 

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Comedy group to raise funds for urban farmers, hosts show in LIC Friday
Smiling HogsHead Ranch

Smiling HogsHead Ranch

March 26, By Michael Florio

A western Queens comedy group is hosting an event to raise funds for an urban farming group that operates out of Long Island City.

Sunnyside Comedy, a local organization that hosts comedy shows in the neighborhood, is putting on the ‘All-Star Comedy Show’ at The Flux Factory, located at 39-31 29th Street, this Friday at 8 pm.

The proceeds will go to the Smiling Hogshead Ranch, a community farm located at 26 Davis Court in Long Island City. The urban farmers will use the funds for infrastructure improvements, insurance and to provide free programming.

Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, co-founders of Sunnyside Comedy, said they wanted to do a benefit for a local non-profit.

“The ranch is a really cool thing and they want to expand their program and Colin is a big fan of their work,” Goldwert said. “He believes in urban farming so we wanted to support it.”

Goldwert said that a lot of people living in western Queens may not know about urban farming. The event is a great way to inform people what it is.

“Smiling Hogshead Ranch helps cultivate community by gathering people around shared interests,” said Gil Lopez, co-founder of the Smiling Hogshead Ranch. “Many of these interests are outside of gardening and this comedy show is a perfect example.

The Flux Factory venue can seat about 70 people. Tickets to the event cost $20 online and $25 at the door.

Each ticket will be entered into a raffle, with the prizes provided by local businesses. There will also be beer specials, Goldwert said.

Many of the performing comics are based in Queens.

Joyelle Johnson, who has opened for Dave Chapelle and Maria Bamford, lives in Sunnyside. The show’s host, Liz Magee, lives in Astoria and often performs at Q.E.D.

The show’s headlining act will be performed by Ted Alexandro, a western Queens resident who has appeared on “Conan” and “Late Night With David Letterman.”

“In everything we do we try to highlight Queens,” Goldwert said. “It is the best place to perform because the local businesses support small shows.”

Sunnyside Comedy has put on two shows a month at varying Sunnyside venues since last summer, with every show featuring new comedians.

Goldwert said the group is looking for a permanent space to host venues.

To purchase tickets online go to funnybynature.brownpapertickets.com

sunnyside comedy

Previous coverage: Guerilla farmers leggaly allowed to put down roots i

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Greek restaurant to open on 50th Ave., by owners of Shi and Skinny’s Cantina
Location

Kavala

March 25, By Christian Murray

The owners of Shi Restaurant and Skinny’s Cantina are opening a Greek restaurant this summer.

The restaurant, called Kavala Estiatorio, will be located at 10-55 50th Avenue.

Skinny and Shih Lee are opening their third restaurant in the neighborhood and will be partners with Joseph Lucil, who is also a co-owner of Skinny’s Cantina. The Lee brothers also have an ownership stake in Pink Canary, the bakery located on Jackson Avenue.

“Skinny and Shih are known for sushi and Mexican [food]… but we wanted to bring another type of cuisine to the neighborhood,” Lucil said. “We speak to customers all the time and they tell us they want more options.”

Lucil, who lives in Hunters Point, said that the restaurant will offer traditional Greek food, with a couple of items that have a modern twist. He said that they plan to make sure it offers all the traditional favorites since it will be the only Greek restaurant in the neighborhood at this time.

The menu will consist of items such as: Souvlaki, tzatziki sauce, chickpeas, eggplant, grilled and crispy calamari, Saganaki, Spanakopita, crispy zucchini eggplant chips, grilled octopus, Branzino, Greek salad with feta cheese, and lemon potatoes.

The owners do have a chef, although they did not want to name him just yet.

The restaurant, which is expected to have a full liquor license, will feature a bar and an extensive wine list.

It will seat about 50 people, including the bar area. There is a 900 square foot patio area. However, Lucil said that they don’t plan to use it since the community is currently opposed to backyard use.

Lucil said that the timing is right to open the restaurant on 50th Avenue with the two Hunters Point South buildings about to come on line.

For previous coverage: Owners of Shi and Skinny’s Cantina plan to open bakery

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Van Bramer wants Clock Tower landmarked, expects it to be done by June

Bank1-475x356March 24, By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer wants to save the Clock Tower and is confident that it will landmarked by the end of June.

Van Bramer said that he wrote a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in November calling for it to be landmarked. He said that he met with the chairwoman of the LPC last week who said she supports preserving it.

“It is incredibly important that we preserve some of the history of Long Island City and Queens,” Van Bramer said. “Development is happening every day and it was definitely under threat of being torn down.”

Van Bramer said that the building’s landmark status will be a big victory for preservationists who started a grass roots campaign about a year ago to save it. An online petition was formed that has generated about 1,500 signatures.

The building, which has towered over Queens Plaza since 1927, is deemed by its advocates to be one of the most significant landmarks in Queens. The building, historically known as the Bank of Manhattan Building, was the tallest building in the borough until the construction of the Citigroup building in 1990.

The steps toward landmarking the building are viewed as mere formalities at this stage.

The LPC determined this morning that a public hearing should be held, which is the second stage of the landmarking process.  The public are open to testify at that meeting. The  LPC has not yet set a date as to when it will take place.

The LPC will then review the testimony and is expected to approve it at a later date. The City Planning Commission will provide an opinion on it and it will then go to the city council for a vote.

“When it comes to the council I will support it 1,000 percent,” Van Bramer said, who holds sway over the vote since the building is in his district.

“I am confident that it will be landmarked,” Van Bramer said, adding that the Landmarks Preservation Commissioner supports it too.

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Owners of Packard Square face criticism, failing to pay prevailing wage
View 59, Packard Square, Crescent Club

View 59, Packard Square, Crescent Club

March 24, By Michael Florio

Workers at a new high-rise residential building were surprised when they opened their paychecks at the end of last week—and discovered they got a big raise.

Several employees who work at the Packard Square complexes, a series of buildings located by Crescent and 24th Streets, have been fighting for higher wages and the right to unionize for months.

The workers, with the support of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and a local union leader, spoke out against their employer Ciampa Organization at the monthly Community Board 1 meeting last week.

They said that that Ciampa was failing to comply with the agreement it struck when it was approved for a 421a tax abatement, which essentially gave the company a $7 million tax break.

The developer, as a result of the abatement, is required to pay workers a prevailing wage of $17.58 per hour, as well as benefits such as affordable health care, said Rachel Cohen, the communications manager for 32BJ, a service employees international union.

However, Cohen said that the workers were being paid minimum wage, $8.75 an hour, with no health benefits.

“If the developers are getting multi-million dollar tax breaks, at the very least they should be paying good wages,” Van Bramer said at the board meeting. “They should make sure their workers have the benefits that everyone needs.”

Jonathan Par, a doorman who has worked for minimum wage at the Packard Building North, spoke at the community board meeting and claimed that the way the workers were treated was unfair.

“I want to go to school, but I cannot afford it,” he said.

Just days after the community board meeting, the workers received word that they would be getting a raise. They were not told how much—but when they opened their pay packages they noticed it had been increased to $17.58 per hour.

“This is a huge boost for these workers,” Cohen said. “Doubling their wages will change their lives.”

The $17.58 is the introductory rate for new workers, which jumps to $21.98 after 30 months of employment.  Cohen said that the 30-month clock begins once an employee is hired.

Despite the raise, workers are still fighting for back pay, arguing that Ciampa owes them lost wages, which they should have been paid from the beginning, Cohen said.

She added that the workers want to unionize and have reached out to join 32BJ.

Ciampa did not respond to calls for comment.

There are three Packard Square buildings comprised of 315 units and 16 workers. Most of the workers are supporting the campaign for to join the union, Cohen said.

Cohen said that two workers who had been leading the campaign, Kevin and Andre Galarza, were fired in January, which they believe was due to their efforts to unionize. The two filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board in February.

“We believe they were unjustly let go,” Van Bramer said.

The workers will continue to fight to get these two workers reinstated, Cohen said.

Ciampa is in the process of adding another building—its fourth–to Packard Square.

Cohen and the workers are urging Community Board 1 to oppose Ciampa’s application for a 421-a tax abatement concerning that building unless it treats its workers more fairly.

The fourth building, according to department of buildings records, will be 10 stories and contains 126 units and be located at 41-29 24th Street.

Par at CB1 meeting

Jonathon Par at CB1 meeting

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Exclusive: Residents have 27 choices on how to spend $1 million, voting begins April 11
Meeting

Participatory budget meeting last fall

March 23, By Christian Murray

Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside residents will get to vote next month on how $1 million in city funds should be spent.

Residents will be able to choose up to 3 projects from a list of 27 proposals that they believe are worth funding. The project that receives the most votes following the election will be funded—followed by other popular items- until the $1 million is exhausted.

The proposals (see sample ballot for full list below) include funding a bike lane network in Long Island City; adding trees between 49th and 69th Streets in Woodside; renovating playgrounds and parks; upgrading school equipment; beefing up library security; as well as funding a pedestrian safety project in Dutch Kills.

The vote, which is scheduled to take place between April 11 and 19, is part of what’s known as the participatory budgeting process. The program, introduced to the 26th City Council district for the first time this year, allows all residents 16 years and older to determine those projects they want funded.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he was not surprised by the items that are being put up for a vote, since they involve improving schools, parks, libraries and traffic safety.

“Good neighborhoods are ones that have good schools, well cared for parks, well funded libraries and good clean safe streets,” Van Bramer said. “That is what people care about the most and these are the items we see.”

Nine meetings were held throughout Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City last fall, and hundreds of attendees put forward an array of ideas. These ideas were whittled down by about 140 budget delegates to 27 in concert with Van Bramer and various city agencies.

“I think the process has been successful so far,” Van Bramer said, who is urging people to go out and vote.  There are 10 locations scattered throughout the district where residents will be able to cast their ballots (see list below).

“A lot of people have got more involved in the community in a meaningful way as a result of the process,” Van Bramer said. “It has encouraged people to come out and present their ideas.”

The 27 items will be presented to the community early next month, where residents will be able to take a closer look at what they involve.

A meeting is scheduled for April 6, from 7 pm to 9pm, at the Sunnyside Community Service Center [43-31 39th Street], where all the proposals will be discussed and debated on their merits.

.

Final Ballot by sunnysidepost


.

voting locations
.
Vote-presentation

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Construction of dedicated bike lane on Pulaski Bridge starts tomorrow
Rendering of dedicated bike lane from Brooklyn

Rendering of dedicated bike lane from Brooklyn

March 23, By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation starts construction Tuesday on the two-way protected bike lane spanning the Pulaski Bridge.

The dedicated bike lanes, which were expected to be completed in 2014, will bring an end to the tense relationships between cyclists and pedestrians who currently share a lane.

The change will result in a two-way protected bike lane that will span the bridge for cyclists. Meanwhile, an existing 8 ½ foot wide lane—that is currently used by both cyclists and pedestrians—will be for the exclusive use of pedestrians.

“We have needed this for some time,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “The pathway was too narrow—and this is a great addition for the bike lane network.”

Van Bramer said that it is especially timely with Citibike expected to come to Long Island City within a few months.

The decision to add the lane comes after years of friction between cyclists and pedestrians.

In 2009, when the community sought a solution to the problem of bike/pedestrian congestion, the DOT added markings and signage to help organize traffic and increase safety on the bridge.

“Since then, the pedestrian volumes have increased almost 50% and the bicycle volumes have more than doubled, which is huge growth particular in the bicycle mode,” said Nick Carey, Project Manager at NYCDOT Bicycle Program, last year.

However, the creation of the dedicated bike lane will bring some changes to Brooklyn-bound motorists.

The three lanes on the bridge going from Queens into Brooklyn will be cut to two, to make room for the dedicated bicycle lane.

New design

New design

 

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Landmarks Commission to evaluate whether to save Clock Tower; public meeting tomorrow

Bank1-475x356

March 23, By Christian Murray

The first formal step to landmark the Clock Tower will take place tomorrow when the Landmarks Preservation Commission will meet to evaluate whether a public hearing should be held as part of the process to landmark the famous building.

The public meeting tomorrow is significant since it indicates that the Chairperson of the Commission has already reviewed the application and has determined that it has merit and the formal process of whether to landmark it or not should begin.

The Clock Tower, located at 29-29 Queens Blvd., was built in 1927 and was the tallest building in Queens until the construction of the Citigroup building in Court Square. Advocates for the designation argue that it is one of the most significant architectural landmarks in the borough.

Tomorrow, the full commission—comprised of up to 11 Commissioners– will be briefed by LPC’s research group and will vote to determine whether a public hearing should take place—another significant step in the process.

If the majority of Commissioners agree, then a hearing will be scheduled.

At this point, if the owner of the property files a demolition permit with the Department of Buildings, LPC will be notified and it would most likely speed up the review/application process, according to a LPC spokeswoman.

Queens Plaza Park Development, the owner of the clock tower building, purchased it for $31 million in November. The same company owns the adjacent site at 29-37 41st Avenue, where it filed earlier this month to build a 70 story building at that site.

After a public hearing is held by LPC, a report will be produced and the commission will review it. They will then vote whether to landmark or not– or schedule another meeting. If they vote to landmark it, it will go to the City Planning Commission to provide feedback and the city council for a vote.

Click for landmark process

Public Hearing by sunnysidepost

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Weekend bus service along Vernon Boulevard becomes permanent

Q103-queens-bus

Q 103

Q 103

March 21, By Christian Murray

The bus that serves the western Queens waterfront between Astoria and Long Island City—via Vernon Blvd—will be available on weekends on a permanent basis, according to the MTA.

The expanded Q 103 bus service, which began offering weekend service on a trial basis in June 2014,  has now been incorporated as part of the MTA’s permanent schedule.

The service will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from approximately 8 am to 7 pm, the MTA said.

The permanent change will also increase weeknight hours—from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. These expanded hours were also part of the June 2014 trial.

The Q103 local route runs along Vernon Boulevard, through areas that have recently experienced tremendous population growth amid new residential developments and expanded cultural attractions such as the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park, according to the MTA.

The Q103 route is the only public transportation option along the Vernon Boulevard corridor serving those neighborhoods and connects those areas to the 21 St-Queensbridge and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue stop.

A public hearing was held in December to discuss the added Q 103 service and the community turned out in big numbers to support it.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris had been a strong advocate for the increased service from the get-go, noting that the Astoria/LIC link is essential given the cultural institutions and rising population.

During the trial period, the MTA said that ridership levels increased on weekdays by 6.8 percent compared to the five-month period before the pilot program’s implementation, and by 30 percent compared to the average weekday average in 2013.

Current weekday ridership is 1,100 customers; average Saturday ridership is approximately 300 customers, and 250 customers on Sundays.

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More Headlines

Construction of dedicated bike lane on Pulaski Bridge starts tomorrow
Rendering of dedicated bike lane from Brooklyn

Rendering of dedicated bike lane from Brooklyn

March 23, By Christian Murray The Department of Transportation starts construction Tuesday on the two-way protected bike lane spanning the Pulaski Bridge. The dedicated bike lanes, which were expected to be completed in 2014, will bring an end to the tense relationships between cyclists and pedestrians who currently share a lane. The change will result in a two-way protected bike lane that will span the bridge for cyclists. Meanwhile, an existing 8 ½ foot wide lane—that is currently used by both cyclists and pedestrians—will be for the exclusive use of pedestrians. “We have needed this for some time,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “The pathway was too narrow—and this is a great addition for the bike lane network.” Van Bramer said that it is especially timely with Citibike expected to come to Long Island City within a few months. The decision to add the lane comes after years of friction between cyclists and pedestrians. In 2009, when the community sought a solution to the problem of bike/pedestrian congestion, the DOT added markings and signage to help organize traffic and increase safety on the bridge. “Since then, the pedestrian volumes have increased almost 50% and the bicycle volumes have more than doubled, which is huge growth particular in the bicycle mode,” said Nick Carey, Project Manager at NYCDOT Bicycle Program, last year. However, the creation of the dedicated bike lane will bring some changes to Brooklyn-bound motorists. The three lanes on the bridge going from Queens into Brooklyn will be cut to two, to make room for the dedicated bicycle lane.
New design

New design

 
Landmarks Commission to evaluate whether to save Clock Tower; public meeting tomorrow
Bank1-475x356 March 23, By Christian Murray The first formal step to landmark the Clock Tower will take place tomorrow when the Landmarks Preservation Commission will meet to evaluate whether a public hearing should be held as part of the process to landmark the famous building. The public meeting tomorrow is significant since it indicates that the Chairperson of the Commission has already reviewed the application and has determined that it has merit and the formal process of whether to landmark it or not should begin. The Clock Tower, located at 29-29 Queens Blvd., was built in 1927 and was the tallest building in Queens until the construction of the Citigroup building in Court Square. Advocates for the designation argue that it is one of the most significant architectural landmarks in the borough. Tomorrow, the full commission—comprised of up to 11 Commissioners-- will be briefed by LPC’s research group and will vote to determine whether a public hearing should take place—another significant step in the process. If the majority of Commissioners agree, then a hearing will be scheduled. At this point, if the owner of the property files a demolition permit with the Department of Buildings, LPC will be notified and it would most likely speed up the review/application process, according to a LPC spokeswoman. Queens Plaza Park Development, the owner of the clock tower building, purchased it for $31 million in November. The same company owns the adjacent site at 29-37 41st Avenue, where it filed earlier this month to build a 70 story building at that site. After a public hearing is held by LPC, a report will be produced and the commission will review it. They will then vote whether to landmark or not-- or schedule another meeting. If they vote to landmark it, it will go to the City Planning Commission to provide feedback and the city council for a vote. Click for landmark process

Public Hearing by sunnysidepost

Weekend bus service along Vernon Boulevard becomes permanent
Q103-queens-bus
Q 103

Q 103

March 21, By Christian Murray The bus that serves the western Queens waterfront between Astoria and Long Island City—via Vernon Blvd—will be available on weekends on a permanent basis, according to the MTA. The expanded Q 103 bus service, which began offering weekend service on a trial basis in June 2014,  has now been incorporated as part of the MTA's permanent schedule. The service will be available on Saturdays and Sundays from approximately 8 am to 7 pm, the MTA said. The permanent change will also increase weeknight hours—from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm. These expanded hours were also part of the June 2014 trial. The Q103 local route runs along Vernon Boulevard, through areas that have recently experienced tremendous population growth amid new residential developments and expanded cultural attractions such as the Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park, according to the MTA. The Q103 route is the only public transportation option along the Vernon Boulevard corridor serving those neighborhoods and connects those areas to the 21 St-Queensbridge and Vernon Blvd-Jackson Avenue stop. A public hearing was held in December to discuss the added Q 103 service and the community turned out in big numbers to support it. State Sen. Mike Gianaris had been a strong advocate for the increased service from the get-go, noting that the Astoria/LIC link is essential given the cultural institutions and rising population. During the trial period, the MTA said that ridership levels increased on weekdays by 6.8 percent compared to the five-month period before the pilot program’s implementation, and by 30 percent compared to the average weekday average in 2013. Current weekday ridership is 1,100 customers; average Saturday ridership is approximately 300 customers, and 250 customers on Sundays.
Residents ask questions about selection process of pink sculpture, artists discuss affordable studio/apartment space
culturaltownhall1 March 20, By Michael Florio The Cultural Town Hall meeting that took place in Long Island City Wednesday night did not address the artistic merit of a controversial sculpture that is coming to the neighborhood—but how the artwork was selected. Tom Finkelpearl, the Commissioner of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, spoke before a packed audience at MoMA PS 1 where there was standing room only. They tackled a number of issues such as the selection of public art, affordable studio space for artists as well as new arts-related legislation. The meeting was organized following the public outcry concerning The Sunbather, a bright pink, 8 ½ feet tall sculpture planned to be placed at 43rd Ave and Jackson Ave. There was little criticism about the artwork itself, with questions focused more on how it was selected and how a location was chosen. Lisa Deller, Chairwoman of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee, said the community should have more input into these decisions. “I would love to see more engagement on potential sites, way before the artist is even selected,” she said. “There should be a discussion with the community.” Several attendees also called for greater community input before a piece of art is selected—and so too did Van Bramer.
The Sunbather

The Sunbather

Finkelpearl said the current selection process has been effective for the past 30 years. He said that a three-person panel comprised of art professionals make the selections. Richard Khuzami, who is the chairman of Community Board 1’s Consumer Affairs committee, said the community should have a representative on the panel. “You need the input of the non-artists within the community because they have to live with it.” Finkelpearl, however, said that it would be hard to fully gauge the opinion of the community, since the negative voices--which could be in the minority--often speak the loudest. “At what point do you say there is enough negative input?” he asked. Van Bramer said he is drafting legislation that would provide the public with the opportunity to express their views on a proposal, and make the process more transparent. For instance, many attendees said that they had no idea about the sculpture until after the plans were revealed. Van Bramer said his legislation calls for greater public notification, and that the Department of Cultural Affairs would be required to provide at least one public hearing, with advance notification. “This allows the department to hear the public,” he said. The legislation would also require that the selection process would take place in the community where the artwork would be located. The evening veered off toward the hot-button issues of affordable studio space and apartments. One resident said that there is a lack of affordable studio space in Long Island City. She said that many dance and art studios as well as costume shops have already been priced out of both Manhattan and now Queens, and the remaining ones will soon be gone. “If things don’t change fast, there won’t be any studios left in five years,” she said. She said that artists need to have the security that they won’t be priced out down the road. She said in the past few months the rent has risen nearly 40 percent in some buildings and that many artist can’t afford the increase. “We cannot live like that, not knowing what we are going to be doing down the road [when a lease ends],” she said “We need an arts district in this neighborhood,” she exclaimed. Van Bramer agreed with her. “We have to create something different to ensure these art spaces continue to exist,” Van Bramer said. “We share common goals.” Artists also expressed concern about affordable housing. Van Bramer said that the de Blasio administration has recently announced a housing plan to create 1,500 affordable units for artist, as well as 500 units of affordable work studios, over the next 10 years. “We have to make sure artists can live, create and make some money in New York City,” Van Bramer said.
MTA subway fares to rise Sunday while 7 train is down
7subway1March 19, Staff Report The No. 7 train may be down for Long Island City residents this Sunday but it will have no effect on subway prices rising that very same day. MTA fares are scheduled to rise this Sunday, March 22, after being approved in January. Single subway rides will be increasing to $2.75—from $2.50—the MTA said, while monthly passes will be raised to $116.50—from $112. Weekly passes will be $31. Meanwhile, this weekend there will be no service between Times Square and Hunters Point Avenue. Additionally, Flushing bound service will skip 33rd, 40th, 46th, 52nd and 69th Streets.
LIC Bar to pay tribute to ‘The Who’, raise funds for band’s charity while rock legends are in town
Rob Basch, Gus Rod and Roger Daltry

Rob Basch, Gus Rodriguez (LICBar) and Roger Daltrey

March 18, By Christian Murray A Long Island City bar with strong ties to British rock legends ‘The Who’ is organizing a fundraiser to help support the band’s main charity—Teen Cancer America. LIC Bar, located at 45-58 Vernon Blvd., was helped by The Who shortly after Superstorm Sandy wrecked its sound system when its basement was flooded. When the band heard about LIC Bar’s plight it donated equipment to help the popular music venue get back on its feet. The bar decided to repay The Who months later by holding a fundraiser on behalf of the band’s primary charity--Teen Cancer America. At the time, the bar hosted the group ‘Who’s Next’, a tribute band, and raised $7,000. Hundreds attended and the venue was sold out. The bar is holding a similar event on May 29 on behalf of Teen Cancer America, the night before The Who plays at the historic Forest Hills Stadium. The last time The Who played Forest Hills was in 1971 when they promoted the release of their classic album "Who's Next." “We always planned to do another event and now the timing is right,” said Rob Basch, the president of the Hunters Point Parks Conversancy, who is organizing it. Furthermore, members of the band are in New York City to discuss the funding of a teenage cancer facility at Memorial Sloan Kettering, which is being built. After the 2013 fundraiser, Roger Daltrey, the lead singer, personally met with the organizers of the LIC Bar event and expressed his gratitude. "Roger Daltrey was incredible. He told me how pleased he was that a small local venue similar to where they played in the early days was able to make such an impact for his cause,” Basch said. “He said it had been his pleasure to help us out in our time of need and he was touched by what we had done for Teen Cancer America.” LICBarThe Teen Cancer charity began in the UK where it has helped transform the UK health system by building specialist facilities and programs for teenagers with cancer in every major cancer center. Teen Cancer America aims to replicate the British success and create these specialist centers across the United States. LIC Bar’s May 29 event will feature ‘Who’s Next’ and the band will be performing the same set The Who played at Forest Hills Stadium in 1971 and some other favorites. In addition to Who’s Next there will be special guests plus raffles of The Who memorabilia. Last time, a Gibson SG guitar autographed by Pete Townshend was raffled off. Members of the band have not made a commitment as to whether they will attend. However, they will be in New York the night of the event. Tickets: $20. Date: May 29 Time: 7 pm Tickets are about to go on sale at LICBAR.com  
Subway advocacy group takes aim at Cuomo over poor train service
subwayhorrorstoriesqns-2-e1426691030575 March 18, By Christian Murray A New York City subway advocacy group is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to provide the funding needed to fix the decaying No. 7, N and Q lines. The group, the Riders Alliance, is collecting subway riders' horror stories this week—and will present them to Cuomo and the state legislature who will be deciding whether to fund the MTA’s proposed $32 billion five-year-capital plan in upcoming months. “It’s easy to blame the MTA for all of these breakdowns and malfunctions, but the real culprits are Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature, who have not stepped up to provide the funds that would fix and upgrade our subways,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said. “If Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers don’t fund the next MTA capital program, riders are going to see a lot more of these signal malfunctions and train breakdowns in the future, he said. On Tuesday, members of the Riders Alliance were at Queensboro Plaza and asked N,Q and 7 riders to share their experiences. The move to collect riders’ “horror stories” has been prompted by a sharp increase in complaints about signal malfunctions, unexplained train delays and generally deteriorating service in recent weeks, according to the Riders Alliance. The group argues that the aging system can only be repaired if lawmakers decide to fund the next capital program. Carol Crump, a 7 train rider, shared here horror story Tuesday: "I rely on the 7 train to get me from Queens to work on the Upper West Side. But lately—weekend and late night service on the 7 train has been a joke! Sometimes I have to resort to taking the bus or car service and that’s not sustainable or affordable!" The Riders Alliance is collecting stories of similar experiences online at http://www.ridersny.org/2015/03/13/has-your-subway-gotten-worse/ through Friday, March 20th.
LIC Partnership starts planning for Vernon Blvd block party
2014 LIC Springs

2014 LIC Springs

March 17, By Michael Florio Vernon Boulevard will play host to a massive block party this spring. The Long Island City Partnership will once again be closing off traffic between 50th Avenue and 46th Avenue in order to hold the second annual community festival called LIC Springs. The event will take place on May 9th, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Last year more than 5,000 people turned out for the free festival and there are expectations that it will be larger this year. “More people will know to look out for it,” said Jenna Petok, the director of marketing for the LIC Partnership. “It could be much larger than last year.” Last year the partnership created a carnival-like atmosphere, by filling Vernon Boulevard with dancers, musicians, face painters, sculpture-makers, lego builders and an event-stage area. The LIC Partnershp hopes to do the same this year, but programming for the event is still in the planning stages. So far, the YMCA and PNT Fitness will host fitness classes for adults, teenagers and children. Manducatis Rustica will be hosting a spaghetti eating contest. There will be on-stage performances and space for attendees to dance, set up by the events producer, Jason Sagebiel from Sage Music. “We want to unite LIC and are excited to do so,” Petok said. The restaurants located on Vernon Boulevard will be able to put out tables and chairs on the sidewalk– and serve food without having to worry about city permits. Retailers will be able to use the sidewalk to put their products out, too. The LIC Partnership is seeking interest from any local business or organization that wants to participate. Businesses have until April 3rd to sign up. “This event showcases the entire community,” Petok said. “Businesses do not just have to be from Vernon [Blvd] to participate.” The No. 7 train will be running on the weekend of the event. For more information go to http://licpartnership.org/events/lic-springs.  
LIC Springs 2014

LIC Springs 2014

Queens World Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, with 30 countries represented
opening night 2014

opening night 2014

March 16, By Michael Florio The Queens World Film Festival (QWFF), which will screen more than 100 independent films, kicks off tomorrow night at the Museum of Moving Image. The festival, which runs from March 17 through 22nd, will feature 117 films from 30 nations. The films will be screened at three venues—The Secret Theater in LIC, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights and MoMI. The event begins with the screening of six films at MoMI tomorrow night, starting at 8:00pm. The opening-night screening will then be followed by a party at Studio Square that begins at 10 pm. The festival will include about 50 films from the United States, with the remainder coming from countries such as England, Greece, Switzerland, Ukraine, Dominican Republic and China, according to festival director Katha Cato. “These filmmakers around the world are attracted to this festival since it brings an American audience to see their film,” Cato said. The year’s festival will also include 19 films that were made by Queens residents. Their work will be screened at P.S. 69—the largest of the three venues with 400 seats. It will provide them with the greatest exposure, Kato said. One film was made in Sunnyside. E.J. McLeavey-Fisher created a short documentary film about the cantankerous 81 year old Joe Leisner, who was the owner of Comic Book Heaven in Sunnyside for many years before it closed down in 2013. This year’s festival will include a special screening of ‘Bitter Sugar,’ by Cuban-American Leon Ichaso. It will be screened at MoMI at 7:30pm Wednesday. Ichaso, who is an internationally recognized filmmaker, will be honored at the festival for his work, which captures the human struggle of immigrating to the US. “We are honoring his integrity, humanity and dedication to do good work and continue to create independent films,” Cato said. “His work endures the test of time.” For the full listing of movies, please click here.  

Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.

Ex-military Taekwondo master opens school in LIC
Mr. Ok

Jung Ju OK

March 16, By Michael Florio A former South Korean Army trainer plans to whip Long Island City into shape. Jung Ju Ok, a fifth generation black belt, has opened a taekwondo school in the Power House (50-09 2nd Street), where he plans to teach students self-defense and discipline. Tiger J Taekwondo, which opened January, is the only taekwondo school in Hunters Point, according to Ok. Ok, who is the school’s head master, taught taekwondo for the South Korean Army from 2005 to 2007, where he taught 50 soldiers to be black belts. He then immigrated to the US in 2011 to be a taekwondo head master for World Champion Taekwondo, a school in Atlanta. Ok practiced taekwondo for 20 years in Korea and graduated from the Korea National Sports University in South Korea, where he trained with gold medalist taekwondo students. Ok lived in Atlanta until moving to LIC in 2014. “We wanted to take our lives and careers to a bigger city,” Ok said. He said he picked LIC because his wife had friends in the neighborhood. Seulki Kim, co-owner and Ok’s wife, said the two noticed that there wasn’t a school in the neighborhood after moving here from Atlanta a year ago. “Those who have signed up with us say they were looking all over for taekwondo classes,” she said. Tiger J Taekwondo offers classes to adults, families, teenagers, kids in grade school—as well as little tiger classes for kids from 3-to-5-years old. He said his classes differ from other martial arts schools—since many others have instructors who work under a head master to teach the classes. He said at his school, he is the instructor. “I interact with students physically and mentally. I run, play, teach and train with the students in the class and my members really appreciate it.” The school is open Monday through Saturday. So far, a little over 40 members have signed up for classes. However, Kim said she expects business to pick up when the weather gets better. “Those who have signed up enjoy themselves,” she said. “They are very excited.” Ok said it typically takes three years for a student to qualify for a black belt test. There are 11 belts prior to reaching black belt, he said. After one year a student will usually reach the green belt, the fifth belt, Ok said. Each belt has a different philosophy, starting with the white belt that teaches focus, all the way to black, which teaches leadership. Any student of Tiger J Taekwondo who reaches the black belt level will receive a certificate from Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters. “The certificate will be recognized all over the world,” Ok said. Ok said taekwondo can benefit both adults and particularly children, since it teaches them self-defense as well as etiquette and respect. “There are a lot of young children in the community that can benefit from this,” he said.
Ok

Jung Ju Ok

Gastropub to move into former Communitea location, although subject to a hearing in LIC
Gantry LIC March 13, By Christian Murray A gastropub is expected to open in the space that was previously occupied by Communitea—although the proprietors will be subject to a hearing in Long Island City following concerns about potential noise and bar saturation. The establishment will be called The Gantry LIC, located at 47-02 Vernon Blvd, and will be owned by the proprietors of LIC Bar, which is located at 45-58 Vernon Blvd. Phil Carroll and Brian Porter went before Community Board 2 Wednesday in their quest to get a liquor license. They said that the establishment will place a heavy emphasis on food and that they had no intention to use the existing backyard space. Furthermore, they said there would no live music. Despite this, William and Beth Garrett, two Vernon Blvd residents, attended the meeting and asked the committee in charge of reviewing liquor applications to hold a special hearing in Hunters Point where residents would be able to learn more about the establishment. Garrett said the venue would be two doors down from his house and he was concerned about it since he could hear noise through his walls from Blend, a restaurant located next door.  He also noted that there were 13 bars/restaurants within 500 ft. of the proposed location. Porter said the establishment would be a small space with room for 12 seats at the bar and about 20 in the main area. He said that he would be looking into establishing a sidewalk café in the future, although not this year. The menu that Porter presented to the board was extensive, offering a range of items such as mussels, lobster bisque, calamari, salmon, cod, burgers and Irish favorites such as Shepherd’s pie. The hearing in Long Island City will focus soley on The Gantry LIC. This is rare since most hearings in the past have dealt with several establishments at the same time. This hearing is likely to take place in April. Carol Terrano, who sits on the board, said “how fair is it for a new business to have to wait [until then]. Something about this doesn’t seem right to me.”
Another tower to go up near Queensboro Plaza, according to buildings dept. filing
930 apartments

29-37 41st Ave.

March 12, By Michael Florio Another large tower is about to go up near Queensboro Plaza. Property Markets Group plans to build a 70-story tower, located at 29-37 41st Ave, according to documents filed with the Department of Buildings. The structure, which would be 772 feet tall, would include 930 apartments and six commercial units on the ground floor. A corner parking lot would also be constructed with 100 spaces. The property is located next to the clock tower building, which PMG also owns. Preservationists are trying to get the clock tower landmarked and have been trying to rally support at community board meetings and elsewhere. SLCE Architects will be designing the project, according to the application.
Van Bramer lambasts MTA over No. 7 weekday service, MTA pushes back
Tara Turtell

Tara Turtell

March 11, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer took off the gloves this morning and threw a volley of punches toward the MTA concerning its No. 7 train ‘weekday’ service. Van Bramer, who was joined by several disgruntled 7 train riders, held a rally at the 40th Street station this morning and said that weekday service had fallen to a new low. He said that rush-hour commuters have had to contend with trains breaking down, signal malfunctions and overcrowded platforms that have put people’s lives at risk. “Queens riders are fed up with poor 7 train service,” he said. “Riders are paying for a service that is poor, inconsistent and just plain late.” He said that the level of service was “outrageous, potentially dangerous and disgraceful.” He said that the MTA, a state-run agency, was not being held accountable and that its standard excuse that ‘it will get better one day’ was inadequate to commuters who have to get to work on time. He called on the MTA to publicly release detailed information about every disruption (during rush hour) over the last year and to respond to angry riders at a town hall meeting. But the MTA pushed back. “We will be more than happy to look at the data but what does that accomplish?” wrote Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, in an e-mail. “To confirm what we already know?” “We are already working hard to make the 7 line more reliable by installing a new signal system, thousands of feet of track panels and making Sandy-related repairs—all vital work to improve service on the line.” “We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to our customers who depend on the No. 7 line and we appreciate their patience.” But Tara Turtell, one of several angry riders, wasn’t so patient with the MTA recently when she waited in the freezing cold on the 40th Street platform for over 45 minutes. She said that 10 trains came through the station, which were too packed for anyone to board. Turtell said she got to work an hour late and that she was so cold that she was unable to E-mail her boss as to her delay. "Unfortunately that was just one of many times the 7 train has made me excessively late to work. When I complain to the MTA all I hear are halfhearted apologies and absolutely no desire to improve, which makes the situation that much more frustrating,” she said. Van Bramer said that the MTA’s response to the community has been inadequate. He said that he sent the MTA a letter on Dec. 12 following another period when his constituents were complaining about weekday service. Van Bramer said he received a response two months later where the MTA wrote that over the course of the past 12 months "there were periods where delays and incidents have spiked.” Furthermore, Van Bramer said, the MTA stated in that letter that the No. 7 train outperformed the entire subway system as a whole with fewer delays on average. Van Bramer said that the MTA had promised the community that it would receive improved weekday service—in return for the hardship caused by the weekend outages. “My question to the MTA: why then has it sunk to new lows over the last four months?’” But the MTA struck back claiming that Van Bramer was getting in the way of progress by trying to postpone No. 7 train weekend work for events such as the St. Pat’s for All parade. “It is disingenuous of the councilman to request on several occasions that we postpone work on the 7 line then hold a rally to complain about service,” Ortiz wrote. Despite the MTAs claims, Pat O’Brien, the chairman of Community Board 2, said the level of service has been unacceptable. “The MTA may call it the 7 line but for all of us it is our life line—to get to work, school and doctor’s appointments.”
Following pink sculpture outcry, Van Bramer organizes Cultural Town Hall meeting
Early rendering

Early rendering

March 11, By Christian Murray Tom Finkelpearl, the Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, will be co-hosting a town hall meeting at MoMA PS 1 next Wednesday with Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. The town hall meeting was called back in December following the department’s plan to place a bright pink, 8 ½ feet tall sculpture on 43rd/Jackson Avenue. The $515,000 tax-payer funded sculpture drew much criticism when the public became aware it--since they had virtually no say in the process. The decision was left to a panel consisting of representatives from a number of city agencies and three local arts experts. The artwork was described by residents shortly after the plans became public as the 'Pink Panther' and 'Gumby’s grandmother.' Many people still refer to it by those monikers than its proper name ‘The Sunbather.’ Van Bramer, who chairs the city council's Cultural Affairs committee, announced that there would be a meeting with Finkelpearl in response to the outcry. He also said that he would draft legislation that would provide greater community input as to what gets erected as part of the department’s Percent for Art program.
Protest art against the proposed sculpture

Protest art against the proposed sculpture

The Sunbather is part of the Percent for Art program, where funds are specifically set aside for public art whenever capital is raised for city construction projects. Van Bramer, however, said the town hall would not just be about the Percent for Art program. It would be a forum where the public is free to ask a wide-range of questions. “This is a great opportunity for our community,” he said. “People will be able to talk to me as chair of cultural affairs and the commissioner at the same event.” He said artists might have questions such as how to find affordable studio space or affordable housing in general. For instance, he said, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his state of the city address that he planned to provide 1,500 affordable apartments for artists and musicians over the next 10 years. Richard Mazda, the owner of the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, said he was impressed that artists would be given an open forum to ask questions. He said that he would be sending representatives from his theater since he has to perform that night. However, he said he would be looking to ask questions as to how the major western Queens institutions—such as MoMA PS 1 and the SculptureCenter—could work more closely with the community and grass roots organizations. He said that could involve half-price tickets for residents—or even free entry to the major institutions during the LIC Arts Open. The major institutions do not participate in the event. Meanwhile, Sheila Lewandowski, the executive director of The Chocolate Factory, said the event was another example of Van Bramer’s willingness to hear from artists—-whether they are individual artisans, non-profit groups or companies. Topics that might come up, Lewandowski said, might pertain to an arts bill that Van Bramer and Councilman Stephen Levin are close to passing. The bill, called the Comprehensive Cultural Plan, would analyze different neighborhoods and provide funding to those communities that are underserved. The bill also aims to address the problems that artists face in getting affordable studio and rehearsal space given the city’s booming real estate market. “He [Van Bramer] recognizes how important art is to New York’s identity,” she said. Furthermore, she added, artists from all over the city will be coming to the town hall. Details: Town Hall Location: MoMA PS1 (22-25 Jackson Ave.) Date: Wednesday, March 18 Time: 6:30pm to 8:30 pm

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