LIC Business Improvement District likely to get a whole lot bigger

LIC Business Improvement District likely to expand down Jackson to Hunters Point

LIC Business Improvement District likely to expand down Jackson Ave to include Vernon Blvd

Existing LIC Partnership district

Existing LIC Partnership district

May 8, By Christian Murray

Vernon Boulevard and Jackson Avenue might look a lot cleaner if the Long Island City Partnership’s plan to expand its services into Hunters Point proves successful.

The LIC Partnership, which currently serves the Court Square/Queens Plaza district through the LIC Business Improvement District, is currently holding meetings with property owners and businesses in the Vernon Blvd/Jackson Avenue area to see whether they would like to be part of an expanded BID.

The expansion would incorporate the Vernon Blvd commercial corridor—from Jackson Avenue through 44h Drive. It would also cover all of Jackson Avenue—connecting to the existing BID in Court Square.

The businesses/landlords in the expanded district would each be required to pay a fee/assessment and in return the area would receive supplemental sanitation services, landscaping, streetscaping, marketing services and more. The assessments would also help fund capital improvements.

The LIC Partnership has spoken with several business/property owners in Hunters Point about the possible expansion. However, it wants the stakeholders in that area to decide whether to sign on.

A group of Hunters Point business/property owners have formed a steering committee to determine whether the concept makes sense, which is being co-chaired by Paula Kirby, from Plaxall, and Angelo Ippolito, the owner of LIC Chiropractic. To date, the committee has held two meetings to discuss the concept and the expansion has been viewed positively.

At the first meeting two months ago, Ippolito said that about 25 business owners attended and some were a little apprehensive at first. However, once they realized it would cost less than $700 per year (for a typical business), they believed it was worth it. Then, he added, they discussed how the funds would best be spent.

The second meeting was held about two weeks ago and a similar number of business/property owners attended. “It was a very positive meeting and I felt a lot of good vibes,” Kirby said.

Kirby said local businesses are calling for services such as enhanced lighting, tree guards, hanging baskets, street benches, plantings and neighborhood marketing—as well as supplemental sanitation services.

In about a month, Ippolitio said the steering committee will be finalizing the budget, which will determine how much it can spend on these services. The committee will also be finalizing the streets that will be included in the expansion.

The benefit of expanding the Long Island City BID—as opposed to creating a whole new BID for Hunters Point—is that there are significant cost savings, from sharing office space, staff and contractors.

However, the Hunters Point group would still control what goes on in that section of the district. It would hold separate meetings and would be represented fairly on the board, Ippolito said. However, the governance issues still have to be finalized.

Leslie Nilsson, the owner of Sage General Store on Jackson, embraces the idea of expansion. “It brings cohesiveness to the community and the amount it would cost businesses is well worth the benefits.”

Pat Burke, the owner of Woodbines, said he was in favor of the expansion based on his positive experience with the business improvement district in Sunnyside, where he owns another bar/restaurant. “It would be good to see improvements come to Vernon and Jackson such as nice seating, hanging baskets and garbage removal.”

The decision to expand the BID into Hunters Point, however, comes down to a vote by the property owners in the district. By law, 50% of the owners must support it in order for it to happen.

However, it would be extremely unlikely that the BID would incorporate Hunters Point unless there was overwhelming support, according to sources.

The public would also have a say on the proposal, as there would be public meetings.

The expansion is still at least a year away—since it takes more than nine months from the time the final plan is submitted to the city to it being approved.

During that period, the plan would have to be approved by a host of different agencies and government groups, such as The Department of Small Business Services, the City Planning Commission, Community Board 2, and the Queens Borough president. It would also have to be passed by the city council.

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5 Responses to LIC Business Improvement District likely to get a whole lot bigger

  1. Laura Supper

    Hi. thanks for this article.
    I am a business owner on Vernon Blvd, and I would like to set up a meeting with someone at the BID. Can you get me a contact name/number?
    thank you

  2. Anonymous

    Laura, here is a link to the contacts page on the LIC Partnership website:

    You need to contact either Dana Frankel or Deb Mesloh.

  3. LIC Res

    Would be great if the subway exit stairs by Ct Square Diner were included. It's the first image one sees stepping off the subway and it is perpetually filthy. The diner's garbage removal regularly ends up on the sidewalk and the curb drainage is poor. A monthly pressure washing would really improve that 40 or so sq feet, which is a main entry to the community.

  4. Gillmoli

    I really do hope this happens as I live on Jackson near the tunnel. More trees, benches, and trash cans would be a great addition to that block. Let's just see if the CB2 will vote in favor of it really depends on those very few people in the neighborhood who are able to "convince" the CB2 to approve everything they put in front of them, even without full support of the rest of the community...

  5. Richard Orlandi

    I represent NY Whitehall Bus Co. and am proud to service L.I.C. residents and businesses. We have been in business since 1997. It is my pleasure to continue serving L.I.City as it matures into an elite and upscale locality.


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Latest News

Upscale cafe/bar opens at Gantry Park Landing complex


Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Beans, Grapes and Leaves—an upscale coffee, tea and wine bar—opened Wednesday on the ground floor of the newly developed Gantry Park Landing complex at 2-14 50th Avenue.

The café offers premium coffee and tea–as well as four craft beers on tap and an extensive wine menu with more than 30 reds and 15 whites on offer. It also serves pastries and array of sandwiches.

“Think of a premium version of Starbucks with wine and beer,” said Simon Khan, the owner of the establishment, yesterday. “That is the concept and if it does well we will open other stores.”

Khan, a Sunnyside resident, is not new to the café business. He is a co-owner of Guy & Gallard, a company that has seven coffee /specialty food stores in Manhattan.

Khan said that he has been pleased with the reception Beans, Grapes and Leaves has received since opening. “This is our first weekend and people seem to like it.”

The café is the first of three commercial establishments to go into the Gantry Park Landing Complex.

Urban Market, a 7,500-square gourmet food store that will offer fresh meat and seafood, is expected to open by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, an urgent medical care center– North Shore-LIJ– is likely to open early 2015. It will be about 4,300 square feet in size.

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Beans, Grapes and Leaves

Beans, Grapes and Leaves

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Italian group to hold procession along Vernon Blvd. Sunday, as piece of LIC history lives on


Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

A piece of old-world Italian tradition will be on display on Vernon Boulevard this Sunday.

Members of Societa Sant’ Amato Di Nusco, which is located at 47-39 Vernon Boulevard, will be holding their annual procession through the streets of Hunters Point. The members will carry a life-sized statue of their patron saint, Saint Amato, as they pay homage to him.

Saint Amato is believed to have lived in the town of Nusco, about 40 miles outside of Naples, during the 11th century. He was canonized following his death in September 1093.

The Societa was established in 1903 by immigrants from Nusco, and since then they have paid tribute to their patron saint on the last Sunday of September.

“This was a big tradition we brought with us from Nucso,” said Frank Stagliano, the club’s secretary. “He [Saint Amato] is like our home town boy.”

The club, which operated out of Long Island City church basements and meeting halls in its early years, bought its Vernon Boulevard building in 1959, Stagliano said. He said that the club today has about 150 to 200 members, with about one-quarter of them still living in Long Island City.

Stagliano said that all the members are all from Nusco or have ancestors from there.

The group was founded to help fellow immigrants make their way in America, at a time when there were no social services to help those in need.

Sunday’s procession is the biggest event on the club’s calendar. The event starts at the club at 10 am, with the procession beginning at 11:30 am. It is followed by a church service at St Mary’s at 1 pm.

The procession will incorporate sections of 11th Street, Vernon Boulevard, 47th Road, 47th Avenue, 48th Avenue and Center Boulevard.


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Demolition of 5 Pointz enters a new phase
Source: David Or

Source: David Orecchia (from Citibank building)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray,

The demolition of 5 Pointz appears to be entering into a new phase as workers get ready to take down the main structure.

The low-rise warehouse complex at the rear of the building has gone and work has begun on demolishing the main area where artists would gather for events.

A small section within the central meeting area has already been destroyed and workers have brought in heavy machinery to start taking down the main structure.

5 Pointz Sept 24A

5 pOINT sEPT 24B



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Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award


Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Alobar and John Brown Smokehouse (10-43 44th Drive) were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Long Island City restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

For the full list, please click here.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, Maribel Egipciaco , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Martha Puruncajas, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Maribel Egipciaco, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Modern Spaces opens second office in Astoria as development boom continues
Astoria location

Astoria location

Sept. 23, By Christian Murray

The real estate market is heating up in Astoria–and LIC-based Modern Spaces is looking to get in on more of the action.

Modern Spaces, which has its flagship office at 47-42 Vernon Boulevard, will be opening its second office in Astoria next month at 34-16 30th Avenue.

The new location will be much more substantial than its first Astoria office, which is in the Ditmars section of the neighborhood  at 29-20 23rd Avenue.

The 30th Avenue office will be 2,000 square feet, with room to house 25 agents. It will also include an outdoor garden space that can be used for events.

Modern Spaces, which was founded in Long Island City in 2008, will have six offices when its second Astoria office opens. It has offices in Williamsburg and Chelsea.

Eric Benaim, founder of Modern Spaces, said: “We are very happy to expand our Astoria reach with this new office, and are proud to be part of this community. The timing is opportune for us, as we have three new projects in Astoria that will be hitting the market early next year.”

Modern Spaces also announced that Greg Kyroglou, an Astoria resident who currently manages the firm’s Ditmars office, will head up the new office.

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First movie at LIC park a big hit
Source: Rob Basch

Source: Rob Basch

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

More than 200 people attended the first movie screening at Hunters Point South Park on Saturday night.

The film, Julie & Julia, was displayed on a 26 x 24 foot screen, on what was a clear night offering unblemished views of Manhattan.

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, which organized the event, selected the movie since a good portion of it was shot in Long Island City. The film contrasts the life of Chef Julia Child with the experiences of Long Island City resident Julie Powell, who wrote a popular blog about cooking all of Child’s recipes from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” within a year.

Julie Powell and Rob Basch

Julie Powell and Rob Basch

Powell, who has seen the film 13 times, had many supporters at the event, particularly her friends from the Murray Park dog run. They were there to “support me and make fun of me,” she said.

Powell spoke before the movie and discussed showcasing Long Island City to the late Nora Ephron, who directed the movie. She also talked about Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon recipe, which she said captured the soul of Child’s French cook book.

“The weather was perfect and a lot of people came with blankets, pillows and picnics,” said Robert Basch, who organized the event with the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy. He said LIC Landing had a pop corn machine going and was selling its regular food.

Basch said he was not sure when the next movie will be screened.“We don’t want our sponsors to pay $2,000 if the weather’s terrible.”

The film was sponsored by real estate firm Nest Seekers International.

For future events, click on Hunters Point Parks Conservancy Facebook page.

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No. 7 train to be closed from Times Square to 74th Street this weekend

7subway1Sept. 19, By Michael Florio

Getting around New York City is going to be a lot tougher for many Long Island City residents this weekend.

Number 7 train service between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave will be suspended from 2 am Saturday through 4:30 am Monday, according to the MTA.

In lieu of the closures, the MTA will be providing two free shuttle services this weekend. One will run from Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to Queensboro Plaza, stopping at Hunters Point Ave, 45th Road/Court House Square, and Queens Plaza.

The other will run between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street/Broadway, stopping at 33rd Street, 40th Street, 46th Street, 52nd Street, 61st Street/Woodside, and 69th Street.

The service disruptions are due to ongoing construction taking place along the 7 line and are expected to continue until 2017.


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