LIC Business Improvement District likely to get a whole lot bigger

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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

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  2. 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.

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  3. 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 though...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...

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  4. 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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Sunnyside Center Cinemas one of six NYC film theaters to play ‘The Interview’

The-Interview-Movie-Poster-HD-Wallpaper

Dec. 24, By Michael Florio

Sunnyside residents won’t have to go far to see ‘The Interview.’

Only six theaters in New York City are believed to be playing the film—one of which is Sunnyside Center Cinema.

“We are a cinema and we believe in freedom of choice in our country,” said Rudy Prashard, the owner of Sunnyside Center Cinemas who is also playing it at his Main Street Theater in Flushing. “People should have the right to see what they want.”

The Interview, which stars Seth Rogen and James Franco, is about the attempted assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un

The film has been controversial from the get-go.

Last week Sony Pictures announced that it would not be distribute the film after the major theater chains said they would not show it following threats of violence from hackers.

Sony back tracked this week and said it would in fact distribute it. Most theaters, however, have still decided not to play it.

However, Prashard said people should have the option to see the film. “If people don’t want to see it they don’t have to. We live in a free country.”

President Obama applauded Sony’s decision to release the film this week. He said he did not want the film company to cower to the hackers.

Prashard said he doesn’t believe he is putting anyone at risk by screening the film.

“I put my trust in the leader of the free world,” he said.

Prashard said that since he announced that he would play the film at his two theaters, he has received positive feedback.

“We have been getting calls constantly,” he said. All of them have been positive, he claimed

The film will be playing at both theaters on Christmas Day through the following week. The first screening will be at Noon, then 2 pm, 4 pm, 6 pm, 8 pm, 10 pm and midnight.

Only six theaters in New York are playing the film, with three in Queens.

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LIC residents, police come together and hold candlelight vigil for slain officers
Candlelight vigil outside police precinct

Candlelight vigil outside police precinct

The community and the officers of the 108 Police Precinct came together last night and held a candlelight vigil in honor of the two NYPD officers that were tragically killed in the line of duty in Brooklyn over the weekend.

More than 150 residents and about 30 police officers held candles to pay their respect to the two fallen officers outside the 108 precinct house, located at 5-47 50th Ave.

Captain John Travaglia, the 108 commanding officer, thanked the Long Island City community for its support during this time of great sadness.

“The tragic death of Police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu has shocked everyone,” Travaglia said.

However, it has been particular tough on New York’s finest.

“It is tough for someone like me, with 22-years in law enforcement to comprehend this, and is even tougher for our families and our community to understand,” Travaglia said.

“But what gets us through is the knowledge that our brothers in sisters in blue will never forget… and that the community will embrace and care for the love ones we lost,” Travaglia said.

Travaglia, who stood in front of crowd, said the police and the community will get through these tough times—and called the LIC community a beacon of light in this time of darkness.

Deputy Chief Steven Silks, who oversees the northern precinct in Queens, also thanked the community for coming out.

“You have no idea how much this means to the men and women of the police department,” Silks said. “Thank you very, very much on behalf of all of us.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer expressed the rage and emotion that was felt by so many in the crowd.

“We as a community just want to grieve over the horrific murder of two officers,” Van Bramer said. “We are all saddened and outraged… something like this should never happen.”

“We also want to let all the officers out there know that we support them and that we as a community value their work,” he added.

Police Officers Rafael Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were shot and killed while sitting in their patrol car in Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday afternoon, just before 3 pm.

A Rabbi and a number of priests were present to lead the community in prayer for the fallen officers.

Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, reflected on the vigil and said, “We hope that coming together as a community tonight we could in our way show our policemen and woman that we care for them.”

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Wine bar on Center Blvd opens
Rob Bralow

Rob Bralow

Dec. 22, By Christian Murray

BLVD, a new wine bar located at 47-20 Center Blvd, opened its door for the first time Saturday.

Rob Bralow, who is the manager and a partner in the business, said that the wine bar was full from the moment it opened Saturday until close.

“I was shocked,” Bralow said. He said the owners did not market its opening nor did they reach out to family and friends. “It was just a case of opening the doors and let’s see,” Bralow said.

He said that a lot of people just happened to be walking by the building and then came in to check it out. “One couple was coming back from the grocery store carrying milk and eggs and then decided to sit down have some wine,” he said.

Bralow, who has been working at Blue Streaks’ Wines & Spirits in recent years, said that many people recognized him Saturday from the wine store. “Some knew we were opening and were glad for all of us,” he said.

The wine bar is offering a selection of 42 different wines by the bottle/glass and 4 house wines on tap, which sell for $6 per glass. There is also craft beer starting at $4.50 a bottle.

Bralow said that the staff has been trained to know the wine being sold and should be able to answer most questions. However, he said he would be on hand to answer the more complex questions.

Bralow said that BLVD will be open from 3pm through midnight Sunday to Thursday, and on Friday and Saturday nights through 2 am.

The wine bar is about 1,500 square feet in size. There are 19 seats at the bar and 14 seats at high-top tables. There is also an area in the back that can cater to 15-20 people.

TF-CORNSTERSONE-LEASBralow said the wine bar will be offering food shortly after the New Year– once the kitchen is ready. The bar will then offer artisanal cheeses, fine charcuterie, nuts and flat bread.

Much of the interior work and decor can be attributed to Alyssa Ruven who is married to Jim Pileski, a partner in the business and a co-owner of The Burger Garage. Some of the paintings on the wall are hers—and she played a big part in the selection of the lights and other subtle features.

The owners plan to apply for the use of their backyard patio space. They will seek permission to put up 3 or 4 tables, which could cater to between six and eight people.

Meanwhile, they also plan to apply for a sidewalk seating license that would permit them to put up four tables that could cater up to 8 people.

The owners plan to apply for these licenses in January since it can take six months before they get permission.

Bralow said the owners are not going to push the envelope in terms of seeking the maximum number of outdoor tables and chairs.

“We don’t want to start out crazy,” Bralow said. “We want to start with a few and see how it goes…since we want to be good neighbors.”

However, what’s most important, Bralow said, is the quality of the wine bar itself.  “We want a place where people feel comfortable to come in and sit down to enjoy a beer, wine or soda.”

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Faith-based organizations, community to hold vigil for slain officers

Dec. 21, Staff Report

Faith-based organizations will out coming tomorrow (Monday) to pay tribute to the officers tragically murdered in Brooklyn Saturday.

A candlelight vigil will be held at Police Precinct 108 at 6:30 pm for the community to pay its respects to the fallen NYPD Offices Wenjian Lui and Rafael Ramos.

Community Prayer Vigil Flyer-page-1

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LIC Restaurants band together to get presents for needy kids
Alobar

Alobar (2013)

Dec. 19, By Christian Murray

Several Long Island City restaurants are trying to bring the community together by collecting presents for needy children this Christmas.

The restaurants, which are part of the group LIC Eats, aim to distribute presents to 64 children living in a temporary Long Island City shelter. The children range in age from 6 months to 18 years.

Six establishments are participating and they are looking for community support to help get those presents. The restaurants are: The Creek and The Cave, Alobar, Woodbines, Manducatis Rustica, Sage General Store and Alewife.

Each restaurant has hung up about 10 paper ornaments, with each ornament containing details of each particular child, such as his/her age, gender, shoe size, clothing size, hobbies, favorite color and favorite TV show.

The restaurants are hoping that their customers will take an ornament and buy a gift for a given child.

Some of the restaurants will be offering rewards to those customers who pledge to drop off unwrapped presents by Sunday, Dec. 21. For instance, Jeff Blath the owner of Alobar, said he is offering a free entree.

The presents will be wrapped at The Creek and The Cave and will be delivered to the children on Christmas Eve.

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Long Island City is NO ‘low-rent’ neighborhood, prices remain firm

4610-Center-Blvd-5-465x3131

Dec. 18, By Michael Florio

Long Island City renters just can’t get a break.

The neighborhood is home to the highest average rental prices in Queens–whether it’s for studios, one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartments, according to the latest MNS Real Estate report.

Ed Cho, a real estate broker with Space Marketing Shop, said the average prices are so high because Long Island City has so many luxury apartments.

Cho said many of the luxury buildings come with high-rent amenities such as a fitness center, club room, a terrace, a swimming pool or even a yoga room.

“You will not find these features in any other neighborhood in Queens,” he said.

Long Island City rental prices have continued to rise despite the onset of winter. Typically, prices dip as the winter months approach since demand wanes.

“There is greater demand in summer since there are new students and new hires moving into the neighborhood,” he said.

In fall/winter, the market typically softens. For instance, in Astoria the average rent has dipped in the past couple of months.

However, in LIC the market keeps chugging along.

One-bedroom apartments don’t seem to be getting any cheaper. One-bedrooms went for $2,960 in November compared to $2,894 in October, an increase of 2.3 percent. Six months ago, in June, that number was $2,875

The rental figures for two bedroom apartments were largely unchanged between October and November, with the latest number coming in at $3,816. In June, however, the average rent was lower, at $3,747.

The report noted that the average rental price for a studio in Long Island City was $2,406 in November, up from $2,266 in October. The November number, however, was lower than $2,599 in June.

Cho said that rental prices in LIC were largely flat over the summer—which might account for the recent uptick of one and two bedroom apartments.

Cho said that several new buildings opened in the spring and summer months, which increased supply and stabilized prices.

“Every time one building would fill up, a new development would open,” he said.

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12 weekends of No. 7 train service cuts through May, Nine to impact LIC

weekendoutages

Dec. 17, By Christian Murray

Get ready for the latest round of No. 7 train weekend service cuts.

The MTA released its schedule for the first five months of 2015 and the No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends.

In addition, there will be weekend service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street on three other weekends.

The first weekend of the Times Square/Queensboro Plaza cuts is scheduled to take place January 17-19, which will be the first of four weekends in a row that it will be down.

The MTA says that the cuts are in order for it to install a new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal system; replace elevated tracks; and for the reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tubes (which connects Queens to Manhattan).

The MTA, which is a state-run agency, claims that majority of this work has been scheduled over weekends when ridership is lower than normal.

However, Long Island City businesses and cultural groups did not get to weigh in on when those cuts would be and received little notice about the dates.

“The MTA still isn’t engaging the community or responding to the community in a meaningful way,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been in talks with the agency. “I am very disappointed.”

Van Bramer said that it was unacceptable that the MTA would close service for several weekends in a row in January and February—during the coldest month of the year.

He said that residents might be a little more forgiving about the closures if they had seen improved No. 7 train service as promised. However, “the truth is that over the past few months No. 7 train regular service has been poor and there have been lots of delays.”

He said that on December 11 the delays were so bad that the overcrowded subway platforms put commuters at risk.

 

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The Beast Next Door–a Court Square cafe/bar–opens Friday

Beastnextdoor

Dec. 17, By Michael Florio

The beast is finally here.

The Beast Next Door, a neighborhood café and bar located in Court Square, is set to open its doors this Friday.

John Veenema, the owner, had hoped to open in August but it took him much longer to transform what was an old garage space into the café/bar.

The conversion of the 42-51 27th Street location was more complicated than he anticipated. He had to replace rusty beams, change the plumbing system, put in new wiring and install a new heating system.

He said the space had to be completely overhauled.

Veenema, who has a background in visual arts, also went to great length when he designed the interior of the café/bar.

Inside hangs an old chandelier and placed alongside the walls are old church pews–which are to be used as benches. Meanwhile, the tables are made out of salvaged pallets and timber from an old wooden prison door.

The café/bar also features a raised area toward the back of the establishment that serves as a seating area at times and as an area for live music.

Along the back wall there is a woodcut Turkish-design mural that Veenema made himself.

“The bar will be elegant and have a romantic feel,” Veenema said. “I want people to feel comfortable here, to have a conversation, and for people to get to know one another.”

The Court Square café/bar has room for about 75 people, and while there won’t be sidewalk seating there will be French-style doors that will open up to the street.

“It will feel like you are outside on nice days,” Veenema said.

Veenema is expecting about 50 people to attend the grand opening party at 7pm this Friday. He has hired a band for the occasion that plays ‘80s style rock music.

Veenema hosted a soft opening last Saturday that was attended by friends, family and neighbors.

“We had a great turnout,” he said. “People really enjoyed the environment and liked the lighting and furniture. They felt it was a comfortable and nice place to hang out.”

The menu will consist of combination plates, which will include Italian cured meats and French cheeses–served with bread, slices of fruit and nuts. There will also be sandwiches, salads and pastries.

“We want to serve high quality food items,” Veenema said. “There will be no fried food served here.”

To drink, Veenema said he will be offering four beers on tap, which will consist of Rockaway Brewing Company’s Original ESB, Allagash White, Sixpoint Brewery’s The Crisp, and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

There will also be wine and liquor.

This is Veenema’s first bar. However, he has industry experience having worked at Block Star, a Manhattan bar that has since closed.

Veenema, who is originally from Canada, has lived in Court Square for the past five years—after living in Manhattan for more than a decade.

Veenema has long wanted to open a café/bar in Long Island City and initially checked out the Hunters Point area.

However, he said Court Square was a better option.

He said that the Court Square section of Long Island City is undergoing a great deal of development, yet still offers limited options for residents.

He said that it was difficult finding a location in the area since most property owners are looking to sell their property or develop it.

“We want to be a place in Court Square where residents can come and have a conversation,” he said. “It will be a place to hang out and relax.”

beastinside

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Van Bramer introduces legislation that would provide residents with greater say when public artwork is selected
Rendering from three weeks ago

Rendering of the ‘Sunbather’ from three weeks ago (Cost: $515,000)

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

Legislation is being introduced to ensure that the community has more of a say before bright pink sculptures–or any other pieces of art–are erected via the city’s Percent for Art program.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the Cultural Affairs Committee, is sponsoring legislation that will provide the public with a greater voice when it comes to the selection of artwork.

“We are going to take a good comprehensive look at the Percent for Art Law to strengthen and bolster the community engagement process,” Van Bramer said.

The catalyst for Van Bramer’s legislation stemmed from the Percent for Art’s selection of an 8 ½ foot tall pink sculpture that is likely to be placed at 43rd/Jackson Avenue. The public had virtually no input into the decision, which was left to a panel consisting of representatives from a variety of city agencies and three local arts experts.

The artwork the panel selected—called the ‘Sunbather’—has been universally panned ever since a rendering of it was posted online.

Van Bramer said that the selection process needs to be changed and that the public must be able to weigh in on it early in the process.

“I want to make sure that there are public meetings–including town hall meetings–as part of the process,” he said. At the moment, he added, “there are a select few on a private panel who make these decisions… and then they consult the community board when it is almost a done deal.”

Van Bramer, a strong advocate for the program and the arts community, said “the panel should come to the public early in the process and discuss what the plans are.” Then the panel should incorporate that feedback and proceed further.

The Percent for Art program became law in 1982 and requires a portion of funds that are raised for city construction projects to be set aside for public art. Van Bramer said the law needs to be revised to ensure that all city residents will be heard whenever a piece of artwork is going through the selection process.

Councilman Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

Van Bramer said that he spoke to Dept. of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl yesterday about the legislation and asked him to come to Long Island City for a town hall meeting to discuss the ‘Sunbather’ as well as the Percent for Art program in general.

Finkelpearl is scheduled to speak in Long Island City in January—and Van Bramer said that it is not a done-deal that the ‘Sunbather’ will go up until the public is heard.

Furthermore, Van Bramer said that the administration cares about transparency and that the renderings should be online and available at request going forward.

Ten days ago, when this publication asked for the rendering, a spokesman for the program said: “They [the renderings] are not made publicly available until the proposal has been reviewed and is approved.”

State Sen. Mike Gianaris described the Percent for Arts selection process as “very bureaucratic” when he was interviewed Saturday.

“This decision was too much top down without consultation with local civic groups or the community board,” he said. “Yet we are the people who live here and have to see it every day when they drop this thing in.”

Several people have taken to comment boards and social media to voice their dislike of the sculpture—with one critic referring to it as the ‘Pink Panther’ and another saying that Stevie Wonder must have selected it.

Meanwhile, Hunt Rodriguez, who placed his own sculpture on Jackson Avenue last week in protest, said today that the whole project upsets him.

His biggest beef is that it comes at a cost of $515,000. “We are spending all that money on this nonsense, while the city falls apart.”

Hunt Rodregizus sculpture

Hunt Rodriguez’ sculpture

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More Headlines

12 weekends of No. 7 train service cuts through May, Nine to impact LIC
weekendoutages Dec. 17, By Christian Murray Get ready for the latest round of No. 7 train weekend service cuts. The MTA released its schedule for the first five months of 2015 and the No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends. In addition, there will be weekend service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street on three other weekends. The first weekend of the Times Square/Queensboro Plaza cuts is scheduled to take place January 17-19, which will be the first of four weekends in a row that it will be down. The MTA says that the cuts are in order for it to install a new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal system; replace elevated tracks; and for the reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tubes (which connects Queens to Manhattan). The MTA, which is a state-run agency, claims that majority of this work has been scheduled over weekends when ridership is lower than normal. However, Long Island City businesses and cultural groups did not get to weigh in on when those cuts would be and received little notice about the dates. “The MTA still isn’t engaging the community or responding to the community in a meaningful way,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been in talks with the agency. “I am very disappointed.” Van Bramer said that it was unacceptable that the MTA would close service for several weekends in a row in January and February—during the coldest month of the year. He said that residents might be a little more forgiving about the closures if they had seen improved No. 7 train service as promised. However, “the truth is that over the past few months No. 7 train regular service has been poor and there have been lots of delays.” He said that on December 11 the delays were so bad that the overcrowded subway platforms put commuters at risk.  
The Beast Next Door–a Court Square cafe/bar–opens Friday
Beastnextdoor Dec. 17, By Michael Florio The beast is finally here. The Beast Next Door, a neighborhood café and bar located in Court Square, is set to open its doors this Friday. John Veenema, the owner, had hoped to open in August but it took him much longer to transform what was an old garage space into the café/bar. The conversion of the 42-51 27th Street location was more complicated than he anticipated. He had to replace rusty beams, change the plumbing system, put in new wiring and install a new heating system. He said the space had to be completely overhauled. Veenema, who has a background in visual arts, also went to great length when he designed the interior of the café/bar. Inside hangs an old chandelier and placed alongside the walls are old church pews--which are to be used as benches. Meanwhile, the tables are made out of salvaged pallets and timber from an old wooden prison door. The café/bar also features a raised area toward the back of the establishment that serves as a seating area at times and as an area for live music. Along the back wall there is a woodcut Turkish-design mural that Veenema made himself. “The bar will be elegant and have a romantic feel,” Veenema said. “I want people to feel comfortable here, to have a conversation, and for people to get to know one another.” The Court Square café/bar has room for about 75 people, and while there won’t be sidewalk seating there will be French-style doors that will open up to the street. “It will feel like you are outside on nice days,” Veenema said. Veenema is expecting about 50 people to attend the grand opening party at 7pm this Friday. He has hired a band for the occasion that plays ‘80s style rock music. Veenema hosted a soft opening last Saturday that was attended by friends, family and neighbors. “We had a great turnout,” he said. “People really enjoyed the environment and liked the lighting and furniture. They felt it was a comfortable and nice place to hang out.” The menu will consist of combination plates, which will include Italian cured meats and French cheeses–served with bread, slices of fruit and nuts. There will also be sandwiches, salads and pastries. “We want to serve high quality food items,” Veenema said. “There will be no fried food served here.” To drink, Veenema said he will be offering four beers on tap, which will consist of Rockaway Brewing Company’s Original ESB, Allagash White, Sixpoint Brewery’s The Crisp, and Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. There will also be wine and liquor. This is Veenema’s first bar. However, he has industry experience having worked at Block Star, a Manhattan bar that has since closed. Veenema, who is originally from Canada, has lived in Court Square for the past five years—after living in Manhattan for more than a decade. Veenema has long wanted to open a café/bar in Long Island City and initially checked out the Hunters Point area. However, he said Court Square was a better option. He said that the Court Square section of Long Island City is undergoing a great deal of development, yet still offers limited options for residents. He said that it was difficult finding a location in the area since most property owners are looking to sell their property or develop it. “We want to be a place in Court Square where residents can come and have a conversation,” he said. “It will be a place to hang out and relax.” beastinside
Van Bramer introduces legislation that would provide residents with greater say when public artwork is selected
Rendering from three weeks ago

Rendering of the 'Sunbather' from three weeks ago (Cost: $515,000)

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray Legislation is being introduced to ensure that the community has more of a say before bright pink sculptures--or any other pieces of art--are erected via the city’s Percent for Art program. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who chairs the Cultural Affairs Committee, is sponsoring legislation that will provide the public with a greater voice when it comes to the selection of artwork. “We are going to take a good comprehensive look at the Percent for Art Law to strengthen and bolster the community engagement process,” Van Bramer said. The catalyst for Van Bramer’s legislation stemmed from the Percent for Art's selection of an 8 ½ foot tall pink sculpture that is likely to be placed at 43rd/Jackson Avenue. The public had virtually no input into the decision, which was left to a panel consisting of representatives from a variety of city agencies and three local arts experts. The artwork the panel selected—called the 'Sunbather'—has been universally panned ever since a rendering of it was posted online. Van Bramer said that the selection process needs to be changed and that the public must be able to weigh in on it early in the process. “I want to make sure that there are public meetings--including town hall meetings--as part of the process,” he said. At the moment, he added, “there are a select few on a private panel who make these decisions… and then they consult the community board when it is almost a done deal.” Van Bramer, a strong advocate for the program and the arts community, said “the panel should come to the public early in the process and discuss what the plans are.” Then the panel should incorporate that feedback and proceed further. The Percent for Art program became law in 1982 and requires a portion of funds that are raised for city construction projects to be set aside for public art. Van Bramer said the law needs to be revised to ensure that all city residents will be heard whenever a piece of artwork is going through the selection process.
Councilman Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

Van Bramer said that he spoke to Dept. of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl yesterday about the legislation and asked him to come to Long Island City for a town hall meeting to discuss the ‘Sunbather’ as well as the Percent for Art program in general. Finkelpearl is scheduled to speak in Long Island City in January—and Van Bramer said that it is not a done-deal that the 'Sunbather' will go up until the public is heard. Furthermore, Van Bramer said that the administration cares about transparency and that the renderings should be online and available at request going forward. Ten days ago, when this publication asked for the rendering, a spokesman for the program said: “They [the renderings] are not made publicly available until the proposal has been reviewed and is approved.” State Sen. Mike Gianaris described the Percent for Arts selection process as “very bureaucratic” when he was interviewed Saturday. “This decision was too much top down without consultation with local civic groups or the community board,” he said. “Yet we are the people who live here and have to see it every day when they drop this thing in.” Several people have taken to comment boards and social media to voice their dislike of the sculpture—with one critic referring to it as the ‘Pink Panther’ and another saying that Stevie Wonder must have selected it. Meanwhile, Hunt Rodriguez, who placed his own sculpture on Jackson Avenue last week in protest, said today that the whole project upsets him. His biggest beef is that it comes at a cost of $515,000. “We are spending all that money on this nonsense, while the city falls apart.”
Hunt Rodregizus sculpture

Hunt Rodriguez' sculpture

Several LIC residents collect food and toys for the needy, as holiday spirit kicks in
Brent O'Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association

Brent O'Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association at St. Raphael's Food Pantry

Dec. 13, By Christian Murray Two Long Island City civic leaders stepped into action recently when they heard that a greater number of New Yorkers are likely to go hungry this Holiday Season. Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, and John Dallaire, who represents the LIC/Astoria Lions Club, put together a food drive and gathered more than 3,300 lbs of food—equating to about 60 boxes. The two organizations teamed up with local grocery stores (such as Food Cellar, Urban Market in LIC and Associated in Sunnyside), which put out collection boxes. Furthermore, donation boxes were placed in several high-rise apartment buildings throughout the city. On Thursday, O’Leary-- aided by a group of volunteers--sorted through the boxes, hired a van and delivered them to Bread of Life Food Pantry in Queensbridge, The Hour Children Food Pantry in Long Island City and the St Rafael’s Food Pantry in Sunnyside. “The generosity of the area is amazing,” O’Leary said, adding that their initial goal was 2,000 lbs. “I’m proud to be a part of a loving neighborhood that supports each other.” Meanwhile, on Saturday, members of the 108 Police Precinct Community Council were handing out toys to children from a Queens Blvd. temporary homeless shelter. Diane Ballek, president of the community council, said that the group had gathered more than 250 toys—with many paid for via donations from local businesses. Furthermore, Ballek said, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the owner of Manducatis Rustica in Long Island City, collected dozens of toys for the event—as she was able to get plenty of people in Hunters Point to contribute.
Saturday's Precinct food drive

Saturday's Precinct toy drive

Protest art has gone up, as opposition to the big pink sculpture builds
Protest art

Protest art placed near Court Square Diner (source hyperallergic)

Dec. 12, By Christian Murray The bright pink $515,000 sculpture scheduled to be placed on Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue has not only drawn fierce verbal criticism-- but now protest art. An anonymous piece of protest art appeared on Jackson Avenue on Wednesday, according to the art website hyperallergic. The art piece is in opposition to the 8 ½ foot tall pink ‘Sunbather.” The protest art alleges that the Sunbather is a waste of public money and that the funds would be better spent elsewhere. A message attached to the artwork reads: "This is not against the artist. It is against the misuse of our tax dollars...This money could be spent on something constructive like education." However, as previously reported, Sara Reisman, the director of Percent for Art, told Community Board 2 last week that a sculpture is going up and that the artist selected won’t change. As to changing the size and color: “We aren’t in a position that we can say to an artist that you must do this?” she said. Reisman then later claimed that the board's feedback would be taken into consideration. For hyperallergic story: Please click here
Source: hyperallergic

Source: hyperallergic

 
Rendering from three weeks ago

Rendering of the Sunbather from three weeks ago

 
Pizzeria to open on Vernon, in former Papo Fried Chicken space
zach-465x332 Dec. 12, By Christian Murray A new pizzeria is opening on Vernon Blvd next spring moving, taking over the space that was previously occupied by Papo Fried Chicken Zacks Pizzeria. The pizzeria, to be called sLICe, will be located at 48-11 Vernon Boulevard and will be partly owned by Anthony Perez, co-owner of Blend and Blend on the Water. Perez said the pizzeria will sell New York Style-pizza—as well as items such as pasta, meatballs and little calzones. Papo Fried Chicken closed in April. It was closed down by the Health Department and then never reopened.
Lonely Planet names Queens as best place to visit in US next year
Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report The borough of Queens was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, a leading news outlet that covers the travel industry. Queens drew praise for its eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway. “Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens. Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org). If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.” Warm-Up_photo1“Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk — this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and wine bars.” Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA). “I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, after the announcement. “It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.” The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products. For the write up on Queens, please click here.
Court Square resident launches online grocery delivery service
pickuplaterflier Dec. 9, By Michael Florio A new online grocery delivery service has just begun serving Long Island City residents. PickUpLater, an online company that was created by a Court Square resident, started taking grocery orders at the end of last month. The company, founded by Kodjo Hounnake, has partnered with Foodcellar, the well known Long Island City grocery store located at 4-85 47th Road. Foodcellar is the only supermarket the company does business with yet; however, it plans to develop relationships with other stores in the borough. The PickUpLater site allows residents to pick a grocery store (currently just Foodcellar) and then select the items they want. The items listed are comprehensive—from fish to fruits and vegetables.
Kodjo Hounnake

Kodjo Hounnake

The PickUpLater service will then do the shopping on behalf of customers and drop them off at their door. The company provides shoppers with three different options: they can pick up their order at the store for 99 cents; have it delivered within two hours for $5.99; or get it dropped off after two hours for $3.99. The company makes its money by charging about 10 percent extra on the price of each item than what Foodcellar would charge at the store. Hounnake said the company is devoted to customer service. The personal shopper, he said, will remain in contact with the customer during the entire process. For instance, if a customer wants an item that is not available, the personal shopper will ask the customer if he/she wants something else. Once the order is complete, the shopper will let their customers know that he/she is on the way to their apartment. Foodcellar is opening a second location at 43-18 Crescent Street next year, and that store is interested in partnering up with PickUpLater, according to Hounnake. Hounnake said he is in discussions with other grocery stores in the wider LIC neighborhood, but would not disclose which ones. “We want to offer our services with Foodcellar for the next few months and do it right,” he said. “Then we will start considering other stores.” Hounnake said he did not market the site when it went live since he wanted to take care of any kinks. “We wanted time to find and fix any bugs on the website,” he said. “We prefer one or two people to run into a problem on the site, rather than hundreds running into problems at the same time.” Hounnake said that the service is bug free and that the company is now marketing it. He said fliers will be handed out in the evenings to those exiting the subway. Foodcellar has also promoted it through its social media accounts, on its website and through signs in its store. “We are expecting orders to increase the back end of next week,” he said. Hounnake, who has lived in LIC since 2009 and claims to be the first resident of the Vere building, was inspired to create the site after ordering food on GrubHub last October. “It just hit me, why don’t we have a similar service like this for our groceries,” he said. However, he is not without competition. Instacart, a similar grocery delivery service, expanded into Western Queens in August. Hounnake said PickUpLater will differentiate itself from Instacart and other competitors by focusing on local, mid-market stores. “Instacart focuses on larger, chain grocery stores, such as Costco and Fairway,” he said. “At this point we are not reaching out to those stores. We want local stores.” To visit the site, click here .
Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 9, By Christian Murray Call it a preemptive strike. A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards. A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week. The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures. Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.” Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. But the petitioners say not so fast. “Sunnyside and Long Island City's infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads. “The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don 't know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards - bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.” Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.” Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: "We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse." Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF
Community Board’s say on ‘Pink Sculpture’ appears limited at best
Updated rendering

Rendering

Dec. 8, By Christian Murray The controversial pink sculpture proposed to go up on the median on Jackson Avenue appears to be a done deal—despite the director of the city agency in charge of the project saying otherwise. Sara Reisman, the director of Percent for Art, assured Community Board 2 members Thursday that their feedback would be taken into consideration in terms of the 8 ½ foot magenta-pink sculpture. Despite her assurances, Reisman said that a sculpture will be placed at the 43rd/Jackson Ave location no matter what-- and that the artist selected won’t change. During the evening, when board members made suggestions as to the color and scale, she said: “We aren’t in a position that we can say to an artist that you must do this?” Joe Conley, the outgoing chairman of Community 2, asked Reisman if the sculpture in the rendering was going up on the site. Reisman said in one word “yeah.” “So it’s a fait accompli,” Conley said, referring to sculpture—called the Sunbather-- that will cost taxpayers $515,000. Reisman said that it was not the case. She said that the sculpture still has to be reviewed by the Design Commission and the community board’s feedback will be included. “So give us feedback and we will work with it.” However, the community board’s voice appears to be limited. The board only plays an advisory role in the selection process since it isn’t a voting-member of the panel that selects the artwork. Furthermore, with this project, a board staffer did not notify members of the board until late in the process that a sculpture was even going up at that location. The panel, which voted on the project, was comprised of a representative from City Planning, Department of Transportation, Economic Development Corp and three local arts experts. The initial rendering of the 8 ½ foot tall bright pink sculpture—made out of bronze--has undergone a slight change since it was unveiled at the community board’s Nov. 19 Land Use Committee meeting, which was published on this site. Reisman said that the rendering would continue to change. However, Pat O’Brien, the incoming Chairman, said it is very difficult to provide feedback on a rendering that will continue to evolve. He said that the community board needs some parameters as to how much it will change. The artist Ohad Meromi, who was in attendance, said he selected the bright pink color because he believed it would take the concrete edge off the area and would make up for the shadows from the tall buildings. However, he said that the shade of pink and the scale might still might be modified. Meromi, who is based in Brooklyn, was one of 40 artists considered for the project, Reisman said. She said that half the artists considered by the panel were from Long Island City. The panel liked his concept of the body in repose—as well as its scale. “The sculpture will start off bright pink but will look better with age,” Meromi said.
Rendering from three weeks ago

Rendering from three weeks ago

NYPost: Luxury building fences off low-rent tenants
Q41-21-10-41st-avenue-queensDec 8, Staff Report The landlord who owns one Long Island City building has fenced off the terraces occupied by low-rent tenants, according to a New York Post story. The building known as Q41, located at 23-10 41st Avenue, has 117 units, with all but eight units deemed affordable and priced for middle-income earners. Eight of the tenants with affordable units no longer have access to their large terrace space, according the Post. The large terraces for these tenants have been fenced off. Market rate units with similar terraces have no wire barricade. To read the complete story, please click here to the NY Post.

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