Large Italian restaurant to open in TF Cornerstone building, to be owned by Trattoria L’incontro chef

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15 Responses to Large Italian restaurant to open in TF Cornerstone building, to be owned by Trattoria L’incontro chef

  1. local

    Another Italian restaurant? Sigh. Maybe it'll force the others to improve...
    Was really hoping for another grocery option or hardware store or something new in that space.

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  2. Lisa E.

    welcome!

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  3. Anonymous

    to all the folks that keep asking for grocery options or hardware stores, do the math, and you'll see why that won't fly. you're not in kansas anymore, this is a luxury area now.

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  4. Anonymous

    A grocery store is opening in the Gantry Park Landing building by the end of the year. It is called Urban Market.

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  5. Dr. Angelo Ippolito

    If you've had the pleasure at eating at Rocco's restaurant in Astoria you know that something special is coming to LIC.

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  6. Anonymous

    @Anonymous - it's going to be upscale.

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  7. Great

    Wonderful, another destination spot to be filled with riff raff

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  8. Craig

    I don't get it? How many upscale restaurants must there be in this neighborhood? I'm sure there will be an exodus of folks soon if a grocery store or corner store doesn't open soon.

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  9. LIC Resident2

    @Great
    All the places on the water are destination spots filled with riff raff. None of the restaurants on Center Blvd are truly good restaurants with that magic combo of décor & food & service. And that's fine for Center Blvd, keep it that way.

    You want quality, you go to Vernon or Jackson.

    BTW - L’incontro in Astoria was an excellent spot long ago, before it started to go downhill. Lets hope Rocco brings back some of the old touches.

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  10. LittleBearNYC

    I first experiences Chef Rocco's cuisine when he owned a Pizzeria and very very small restaurant (with incredible food at cheap prices) on 31st Ave 15 years ago and love his large Astoria place.
    As others have stated- LIC is in for a treat!

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  11. Native

    A Hardware store is coming if my sources are correct :) Somewhere near 5th and 47th ...

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  12. Love LIC

    L'incontro is more hype than substance unfortunately, I foresee another mediocre Italian restaurant (Testaccio, Bella Via, Manetta's) that you could find in any suburb of Long Island.

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    • Chris

      Testaccio is far from mediocre.

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  13. Mel

    Another Italian place, geez!
    A decent grocery store that's not as high
    Priced as food cellar please! Even whole
    Foods has better prices!

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  14. Lic Resident

    Clearly you guys have not eaten at L'Incontro. This is one of the top italian restaurants in NYC. This is not just a neighborhood place. This is handmade pasta, incredible branzino, racks of lamb, mascarpone stuffed grouper; I mean wake up people! I was at his place last week and had a heirloom tomato, strawberry, and basil sorbet salad! The space is gorgeous and it would be a perfect fit for Rocco! With this level of food and service, the rest of the neighborhood will have to step up their game. The best part is he is fairly priced on top of everything else.

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Two cops receive award for saving LaGuardia professor’s life
Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month.

Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college.

The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat.

The two officers went into action.

Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.

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LIC: A strange caricature of a religious Muslim draws plenty of hate

anti-muslim

Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square Diner.

The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups.

The sign, however, has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it…such as “Islam stones women to death…” and “Muslims kill homo-sexuals.”

The messages may have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster.
.

muslim

 

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Van Bramer issues annual report–with focus on pedestrian safety, Citi Bike and arts/culture

1_7_CharterMeeting

Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

When he’s asked the tough questions, he typically doesn’t duck for cover.

What are your thoughts on 5Pointz? Private property, he responds.

Does it make sense to build over the Sunnyside Yards? Absolutely not.

Do you believe in term limits for community board members? Of course.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who darts from event-to-event, isn’t known for hedging his bets. Instead he is direct, fast on his feet, and very self assured.

It is this self confidence that leads him to release an annual self assessment—or report card—every January. It is a rare concept, since few– if any– other council members do it.

“I like people to know what I’m doing,” Van Bramer often says, who believes that his constituents have the right to know. “I don’t ever want anyone asking ‘What does he do?””

The 15-page report states in large font: “16,554 and counting” referring to the number of constituent cases Van Bramer and his staff have handled during the five years he has been in office. Furthermore, it says that in 2014 he served on six committees—including as chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries–and had a “95.3% attendance record.”

Van Bramer said that he has laid the groundwork for a number of Long Island City projects that will come to fruition this year.

Construction of the Hunters Point Library, which has been bogged down in red tape, is expected to begin this spring. Citi Bike, which has been plagued with problems, will finally be coming to Long Island City, and a segregated bicycle lane on the Pulaski Bridge will be built.

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, which he funded to the tune of $750,000, is expected to open in Court Square this year—its first branch in Queens.

“Many of these unveilings could all happen at once…which would make for an exciting time,” Van Bramer said. However, he couldn’t predict with certainty the timing of these events.

“We don’t have a firm date as to when Citi Bike will be here…but I expect to have the bikes here in the warm weather,” Van Bramer said. He said that there will be 10 docking stations in Long Island City and Queensbridge with more than 1,000 bikes.

The construction of the segregated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge is expected to begin in the first half of 2015, he said, with completion toward the end of the year. There have been delays, he said, but he has been assured of this timetable by Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

Van Bramer said that 16% of constituent calls involve transportation issues–from public transportation to signage on streets.

He said that in 2014 he helped combat problems such as the dangerous traffic conditions on Center Blvd and 5th Street. He said that he applied pressure on the DOT that led to stop signs going up on Center Blvd at 48th and 49th Avenues–as well as made sure that 5th Street  was converted to a one-way street with speed bumps.

“People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families,” Van Bramer said. “There are two parks, two schools and thousands of people who live nearby.”

Van Bramer is a staunch supporter of Vision Zero and was an early advocate for the arterial slow zones on Northern and Queens Blvds. Furthermore, he sponsored the “Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,” a law that recently went into effect that imposes a lofty civil penalty on drivers who flee the scene of an accident.

2014 Expansion of Doe Fund

2014 Expansion of Doe Fund

Van Bramer said that he continues to push ahead with quality of life issues. He said that a dedicated crew of workers are cleaning sections of Long Island City through the Doe Fund.

The Doe Fund program started in Hunters Point in 2013 and was expanded to incorporate a wider area in 2014. It was brought to Dutch Kills last year. Van Bramer said that it’s proven to be a success and he plans to continue funding it.

Van Bramer, who was named Majority Leader at the beginning of last year, said that the position allows him to be a better advocate for the district. For instance, he said, he was in a better position to be able to reach out to the administration in December to let it be known that the Pepsi sign should not lose its place on the “Landmarks Preservation calendar.”

Van Bramer is politically ambitious and does not hide it. He said that he will definitely run for city council one last time in 2017. He would not comment if he had Council speakership goals in mind—or whether a city-wide office would come after that.

“The council speakership was determined over a period of a few weeks [Dec. 2013] so it is way too far away to start thinking about that,” Van Bramer said. “And then another four years after that…anything could happen by then.”

For a full copy of Van Bramer’s report, Please click here

.

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Construction of Hunters Point Library expected to begin this spring
Hunters Point Library location

Hunters Point Library location

Jan. 20, By Christian Murray

A ground breaking on the Hunters Point Library could happen as early as this spring.

The city has the funding it needs to start construction, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

“The funding problem has been solved so we can begin construction,” Van Bramer said, although he added that he will have to add funding midway through the 2-year project.

“Hopefully there will be shovels in the ground …and I would hope we could begin construction in the first half of this year.”

Construction of the library, which will be built at Center Blvd/48th Ave (next to Gantry Plaza State Park) was expected to begin in 2013. However, there have been several delays due to the inability of the city to find a contractor willing to build it for the $28.6 million that had been allocated.

The bids came in ranging from $33 million to $42 million and the city had to do some value engineering in order to find a construction company that could build it within budget.

Officials said that they had to get rid of some of the more elaborate features to reduce the cost by about $5 million. They included replacing the aluminum exterior facade with cement and glass; forgoing custom interior fixtures; and going without the geothermal well system.

However, the library will feature a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city skyline, a garden, a gallery, a conference room, a computer center and youth and teen spaces.  The 21,500 square-foot facility will be largely a glass and cement structure.

Van Bramer said that while there was some value engineering, the changes would be merely cosmetic. “I think the project that will ultimately be built will be architecturally significant and a spectacular addition to the Hunters Point Community.”

Meanwhile, Mark Christie, who is the president of the Friends of Hunters Point Library, said: “I see this as the crown jewel of the Queens Library system.”

“It’s a beacon for the community—an inspiration for people, which will be a great community center especially as Hunters Point grows,” Christie said.

Initial rendering

Initial rendering

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Large piece of 5th Street property sells, next to 5sl
47-33 5th Street

47-33 5th Street (GMAPs)

Jan. 20, By Christian Murray

A large piece of Hunters Point real estate sold earlier this month—next to 5Sl and cater-corner with Duane Reade.

The property, 47-33 5th Street, sold for $12 million and the transaction was filed with the city Friday. The purchaser was Eunhasu Corp., an Elmhurst based real estate firm.

The four-story industrial building is zoned for residential development.

In 2009, the previous owner, 47-33 5th Street Corp, filed plans with the Building Department to construct a six-story structure with 14 units.

The property had been bought by that firm in 2003 for $2.25 million, according to city records.

The chief executive of Eunhasu is Kyu Heung Park.

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Bicyclist dead after being hit by truck at intersection of 41 Ave. and Vernon Blvd.
Vernon and 41st Avenue (GMAPs)

Vernon and 41st Avenue (GMAPs)

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray

A bicyclist was struck and killed by a truck at the intersection of Vernon Boulevard and 41st Avenue Saturday, according to police.

The 36-year-old victim was hit by a private sanitation truck at 5:13 pm as the driver turned east onto 41st Avenue from Vernon Blvd.

Police and EMS arrived on the scene and found the victim lying on 41st Avenue unconscious and unresponsive. He was pronounced dead.

The victim was identified as Hoyt Jacobs of Bushwick.

The driver of the truck remained on the scene.

There have been no arrests although the police are still investigating the incident.

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City looks at zoning change in Long Island City, WSJ reports

Linc-LIC-465x343

Jan. 16, Staff Report

The city has preliminary plans to rezone a section of Long Island City—which would lead to further construction in what is already a crane-filled neighborhood.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the city is targeting Long Island City “along the East River and just north of the Long Island Expressway for a possible rezoning that would promote the construction around Queens Plaza of more high-rise apartment buildings, including ones with lower rents.”

The Department of City Planning is about to conduct a study of 100 blocks around Queens Plaza, Court Square, Jackson Avenue and Northern Boulevard, the Journal reports.

The new zoning would prioritize mixed-income housing, as well as potential growth for arts and tech industries.

The first rezoning in 2001 led to 8,000 new units in the neighborhood, 20,000 more under construction, and a 5.9 percent rent increase over the past year, according to the Journal.

The plans are in their early stages.

Source: LIC Partnership

Source: LIC Partnership

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Vietnamese restaurant to open on Jackson Ave., by Court Square station
Bia Restaurant, 23-10 Jackson Ave.

Bia Restaurant, 23-10 Jackson Ave.

Jan. 15, By Christian Murray

A Vietnamese restaurant is opening by the Court Square train station in the location that was previously occupied by Quiznos.

Bia Restaurant, which currently has a location in Williamsburg, is expected to open at 23-10 Jackson Ave. in April, according to owner Hoan Quan.

The restaurant is across the street from MoMA PS 1 and is a block away from the old 5Pointz building.

Quan said the menu will be very similar to what’s being offered at the Williamsburg location (67 S 6th St), which includes dim sum, noodles, pho and banh mi sandwiches

The Court Square restaurant will be 2,000 sqf., with room for 60 chairs and space for 9 seats at the bar.

Quan went before Community Board 2 last night seeking a full liquor license. He was approved.

The board gave Quan permission to open until 1 am on weekends and until midnight on weeknights.

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Pols. introduce community board term limits bill, aim to bring on new members as neighborhoods change

QNCB1

Jan. 14, By Christian Murray and Michael Florio

The Chairman of Astoria’s Community Board 1 Vinicio Donato has held the top job since 1979.

Meanwhile, all the leading figures on the Community Board 1 have been there since the 1980s—including those in charge of zoning and overseeing liquor licenses.

The first vice chair George Stamatiades was appointed in 1982; second vice chair Norma Nieves-Blas was put on the board in 1987; the head of the Zoning & Variance Committee John Carusone joined in 1988; and the head of the public safety committee Antonio Meloni has been a member since 1988.

This scenario of long-serving board members holding key posts is very common throughout the city– and some legislators are looking to change that.

Councilman Daniel Dromm (Jackson Heights) introduced legislation in December that would limit the amount of time a board member could serve to six two-year terms (12 years). The legislation would only apply to board members appointed after April 1, 2016.

Existing board members would not be affected by the bill and would be able to stay as long as they desire—as long as their attendance records are in order.

“I applaud those board members who have served for 30 or 40 years but I think we need to start thinking about changing things up a bit,” Dromm said.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside/LIC as well as a section of Astoria, is one of seven other legislators who has co-sponsored the bill. Councilman Costa Constantinides is not a co-sponsor and declined to comment on the legislation for this article.

Dromm said that New York has undergone a great deal of change in the past 30 years and that should be reflected in terms of who sits on the community board. He said that when people sit on boards for three and four decades it creates a “huge power structure” that doesn’t always benefit a changing community.

The same people stay in charge, he said, since the new members don’t want to challenge the long-serving chair person or executive board members. “While new members do get appointed to the [50 person] boards each year, they rarely get into powerful positions or on the executive board,” Dromm said.

“These [chair] people wield a lot of power,” Dromm told the Sunnyside Post last year, since they decide who heads the committees and who is on them (see bylaws below). “They have a significant amount of power over the direction of the community.”

Van Bramer, a former Community Board 2 member, said that the “changing of the guard is healthy and it represents good-government and democracy.”

He said that council members are term limited and so too is the president of the United States. Therefore he believes that they should apply to community board members too.

Van Bramer said that he supports the bill since it isn’t aimed at removing existing board members or punishing them. “We all value their volunteerism and what they have done.”

However, Van Bramer said that more people should have an opportunity to serve on the board.

Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm

He noted that there are about 30 people looking to get on Community Board 2 yet only a few spots open up each year.

Community Board members are appointed by the borough president, with half the nominees coming from the council member from a given district.

Each board member has a two year term and then has to be reappointed by the borough president. The members are almost universally reappointed unless they have poor attendance records.

The amount of work a member does on the board is not measured, nor is their attendance at committee meetings. Therefore, a member could go to most of the monthly meetings, say or doing little and still be reappointed.

However, those opposed to Dromm’s bill argue that the long-serving members have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge that helps the board tackle complex topics.

“I am opposed to term limits because there is value in experience and the history of many issues that come before the board,” said Community Board 1 Chair Vinicio Donato in a statement.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who served on Community Board 7, told the Gotham Gazette in December that developers often present boards with complicated land-use proposals and that it often takes experienced board members to grasp it all.

Furthermore, Brewer said that seasoned board members are better able to negotiate with developers when it comes to affordable housing and other public amenities.

“Without that kind of expertise, the developers will have a field day,” Brewer told the Gazette. She does not support of the bill.

Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also opposes Dromm’s bill and does not believe in the concept of term limits for board members, according to her spokesman.

Lisa Deller, who is the land use committee head at Community Board 2, told the SunnysidePost last year that it took her a long time to get up to speed with how the city planning process works as well as other city issues. She said that unless someone is a land-use attorney, it takes years to work out all the nuances.

“I think [term limits] would diminish the power of the community board,” Deller said. She said it would increase participation but members would be term limited once they developed a level of expertise.”

However, Dromm said that the community board managers have the institutional knowledge and contacts– and that the board members should be able to confer with them.

Furthermore, the senior members can help mentor the new members.

Patrick O’Brien, who was recently voted in as the chairman of Community Board 2, said “like anything there are always two sides to every equation.”

“Turnover and involvement of new people is always a good thing, whether it is due to term limits or other reasons, but the loss of quality people who have developed relationships over the years with agencies…would be missed.”

He said that 12 years is “too long” for those board members who do little. However, “someone who has done a great deal and continues to do so in a really great way, well then 12 years is a hard limit—despite people thinking it is a good thing.”

“In some scenarios term limits are a good. In others it would be a real loss to the community and the community board,” O’Brien said.

.

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

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More Headlines

City looks at zoning change in Long Island City, WSJ reports
Linc-LIC-465x343 Jan. 16, Staff Report The city has preliminary plans to rezone a section of Long Island City—which would lead to further construction in what is already a crane-filled neighborhood. The Wall Street Journal reported today that the city is targeting Long Island City “along the East River and just north of the Long Island Expressway for a possible rezoning that would promote the construction around Queens Plaza of more high-rise apartment buildings, including ones with lower rents.” The Department of City Planning is about to conduct a study of 100 blocks around Queens Plaza, Court Square, Jackson Avenue and Northern Boulevard, the Journal reports. The new zoning would prioritize mixed-income housing, as well as potential growth for arts and tech industries. The first rezoning in 2001 led to 8,000 new units in the neighborhood, 20,000 more under construction, and a 5.9 percent rent increase over the past year, according to the Journal. The plans are in their early stages.
Source: LIC Partnership

Source: LIC Partnership

Vietnamese restaurant to open on Jackson Ave., by Court Square station
Bia Restaurant, 23-10 Jackson Ave.

Bia Restaurant, 23-10 Jackson Ave.

Jan. 15, By Christian Murray A Vietnamese restaurant is opening by the Court Square train station in the location that was previously occupied by Quiznos. Bia Restaurant, which currently has a location in Williamsburg, is expected to open at 23-10 Jackson Ave. in April, according to owner Hoan Quan. The restaurant is across the street from MoMA PS 1 and is a block away from the old 5Pointz building. Quan said the menu will be very similar to what’s being offered at the Williamsburg location (67 S 6th St), which includes dim sum, noodles, pho and banh mi sandwiches The Court Square restaurant will be 2,000 sqf., with room for 60 chairs and space for 9 seats at the bar. Quan went before Community Board 2 last night seeking a full liquor license. He was approved. The board gave Quan permission to open until 1 am on weekends and until midnight on weeknights.
Pols. introduce community board term limits bill, aim to bring on new members as neighborhoods change
QNCB1 Jan. 14, By Christian Murray and Michael Florio The Chairman of Astoria’s Community Board 1 Vinicio Donato has held the top job since 1979. Meanwhile, all the leading figures on the Community Board 1 have been there since the 1980s—including those in charge of zoning and overseeing liquor licenses. The first vice chair George Stamatiades was appointed in 1982; second vice chair Norma Nieves-Blas was put on the board in 1987; the head of the Zoning & Variance Committee John Carusone joined in 1988; and the head of the public safety committee Antonio Meloni has been a member since 1988. This scenario of long-serving board members holding key posts is very common throughout the city-- and some legislators are looking to change that. Councilman Daniel Dromm (Jackson Heights) introduced legislation in December that would limit the amount of time a board member could serve to six two-year terms (12 years). The legislation would only apply to board members appointed after April 1, 2016. Existing board members would not be affected by the bill and would be able to stay as long as they desire—as long as their attendance records are in order. “I applaud those board members who have served for 30 or 40 years but I think we need to start thinking about changing things up a bit,” Dromm said. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside/LIC as well as a section of Astoria, is one of seven other legislators who has co-sponsored the bill. Councilman Costa Constantinides is not a co-sponsor and declined to comment on the legislation for this article. Dromm said that New York has undergone a great deal of change in the past 30 years and that should be reflected in terms of who sits on the community board. He said that when people sit on boards for three and four decades it creates a “huge power structure” that doesn’t always benefit a changing community. The same people stay in charge, he said, since the new members don’t want to challenge the long-serving chair person or executive board members. "While new members do get appointed to the [50 person] boards each year, they rarely get into powerful positions or on the executive board,” Dromm said. “These [chair] people wield a lot of power,” Dromm told the Sunnyside Post last year, since they decide who heads the committees and who is on them (see bylaws below). “They have a significant amount of power over the direction of the community.” Van Bramer, a former Community Board 2 member, said that the “changing of the guard is healthy and it represents good-government and democracy.” He said that council members are term limited and so too is the president of the United States. Therefore he believes that they should apply to community board members too. Van Bramer said that he supports the bill since it isn’t aimed at removing existing board members or punishing them. “We all value their volunteerism and what they have done.” However, Van Bramer said that more people should have an opportunity to serve on the board.
Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm

He noted that there are about 30 people looking to get on Community Board 2 yet only a few spots open up each year. Community Board members are appointed by the borough president, with half the nominees coming from the council member from a given district. Each board member has a two year term and then has to be reappointed by the borough president. The members are almost universally reappointed unless they have poor attendance records. The amount of work a member does on the board is not measured, nor is their attendance at committee meetings. Therefore, a member could go to most of the monthly meetings, say or doing little and still be reappointed. However, those opposed to Dromm’s bill argue that the long-serving members have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge that helps the board tackle complex topics. “I am opposed to term limits because there is value in experience and the history of many issues that come before the board,” said Community Board 1 Chair Vinicio Donato in a statement. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who served on Community Board 7, told the Gotham Gazette in December that developers often present boards with complicated land-use proposals and that it often takes experienced board members to grasp it all. Furthermore, Brewer said that seasoned board members are better able to negotiate with developers when it comes to affordable housing and other public amenities. "Without that kind of expertise, the developers will have a field day," Brewer told the Gazette. She does not support of the bill. Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also opposes Dromm’s bill and does not believe in the concept of term limits for board members, according to her spokesman. Lisa Deller, who is the land use committee head at Community Board 2, told the SunnysidePost last year that it took her a long time to get up to speed with how the city planning process works as well as other city issues. She said that unless someone is a land-use attorney, it takes years to work out all the nuances. “I think [term limits] would diminish the power of the community board,” Deller said. She said it would increase participation but members would be term limited once they developed a level of expertise.” However, Dromm said that the community board managers have the institutional knowledge and contacts-- and that the board members should be able to confer with them. Furthermore, the senior members can help mentor the new members. Patrick O’Brien, who was recently voted in as the chairman of Community Board 2, said “like anything there are always two sides to every equation.” “Turnover and involvement of new people is always a good thing, whether it is due to term limits or other reasons, but the loss of quality people who have developed relationships over the years with agencies…would be missed.” He said that 12 years is "too long" for those board members who do little. However, “someone who has done a great deal and continues to do so in a really great way, well then 12 years is a hard limit—despite people thinking it is a good thing.” “In some scenarios term limits are a good. In others it would be a real loss to the community and the community board,” O’Brien said. .

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

Long Island City cooking school opens, teaching culinary basics
Dan Doglin

Dan Dolgin

Jan. 13, By Michael Florio Throw away your take-out menus and put on your aprons. Dan Dolgin, 57, the founder of a cooking school based out of his Queens Plaza apartment, is looking to teach western Queens residents how to cook. The company he formed, CookSingleNYC, is geared toward beginners. He said he held his first lesson at his Crescent Club apartment in September. “Most cooking classes are for those who know a lot about cooking and are looking to improve that skill,” he said. “This is for people who are trapped in the world of takeout and would like to learn the basics of how to cook.” Dolgin said he teaches beginners how to roast, grill, sauté and stir-fry. He offers 3-hour group lessons where two meals are cooked--each consisting of a main entree item and some sides. Dolgin said his focus is not on specific recipes, but rather on cooking techniques. “If you know how to roast--you can roast chicken, salmon or a pork chop,” he said. A one-time three-hour class costs $95. To date, more than 175 people have taken classes. The classes are taught from Dolgin’s kitchen. “I have a big kitchen, which provides adequate space to teach six people at a time,” he said. Dolgin was inspired to open his cooking school after his marriage of 25 years ended in divorce and he began venturing back out into the social scene. He noticed that there were a lot people of all ages who do not know how to cook. “In New York there are a lot of excuses not to cook, from all the take-out options to having a small kitchen,” he said. His idea was originally geared toward single people, hence the name. However, he has broadened his base to all
Crescent Club

Crescent Club

beginners who are interested in learning how to cook. Dolgin does not have any culinary school training. Instead, he said he has gained experience by cooking dinner almost every night for 30 years and watching cooking shows. “I take cooking very seriously,” he said. “It has always been a passion of mine and I enjoy it and want to teach more people how to do so.” Prior to opening his cooking school, Dolgin was a vice president in global sourcing at Vanity Fair. He would travel the globe visiting manufacturing facilities. This job also allowed him to try a variety of international foods. “I think I have had exposure to food all over the world that many people haven’t had,” he said. He said he hopes to expand his cooking school and perhaps move the business out of his apartment. At the moment, he is focusing on getting the word out about his school, which he thinks will boost demand.  
Artists and Wolkoff still at war over 5Pointz, despite demolition almost complete
5 Pointz Jan. 12. By Michael Florio (updated: Jan.13) A number of artists who put the 5Pointz graffiti Mecca on the map have come together to deny the controversial developer from trade marking the 5Pointz name. Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti artist know as “Meres One,” started a petition in an attempt to deny the developer from using the name to market his apartment buildings in the “graveyard” of the graffiti Mecca. Jerry Wolkoff, owner of 5Pointz, is just days away from completely demolishing the structure, clearing the way for two high-rise apartment towers, one 47 stories and the other 41, containing nearly 1,000 units. The project will have 50,000 square feet of commercial space, 12,000 square feet for artist studios and will include a public park. Wolkoff plans to use the 5Pointz name, and his company G&M Realty has filed an application to trademark it. The petition, which sets out to prevent the name from being used on the towers, set its goal at 2,000 signatures. Currently, it has over 1,800 signatures. Jose Fernandez, a Woodside resident wrote on the petition: “They purchased the property, not the history.” Meanwhile, Orestes Gonzalez from Long Island City, wrote, “You can’t market a name that does not morally belong to you.” On the petition, Cohen writes that he was given full curatorial and operational control in 2002, allowing aerosol and street artist to come paint on the 200,000 square foot building turned canvas, without repercussions. He writes that he thought up the name 5Pointz. However, Wolkoff claims that he and Cohen both collaborated on the name. “Do you think I would just let any name go up on my building?” Wolkoff said in November. Wolkoff said that Meres used to walk around 5Pointz thinking it was his building—particularly after he announced his plan to develop the property. “I gave him permission to use it for all these years…and he would work with artists,” Wolkoff said in November. “But the property was always mine to develop and deep down Meres and his crew knew that.” While Wolkoff knows some of the artists will always criticize him, he hopes that will change once the two towers are completed and he invites the street artists back to display their work. (update) Wolkoff's application for the 5Pointz name with the US Patent and Trademark Office was turned down on Jan 6 because it was too similar to the moniker of California real estate company. He has six months to respond or appeal the decision. .

. Artist's Petition

Court Square building boom rolls on
27-01 Jackson Avenue

27-01 Jackson Avenue

Jan. 12, Staff Report The Court Square building boom shows no signs of abating. The number of building permits filed with the Department of Buildings for large-scale residential buildings continues to get grow. The latest filing is for a 15-story, 88 unit-residential building at 27-01 Jackson Avenue located near Rockrose’s planned 50 story tower. The 27-01 Jackson Avenue site is currently a gas station. Albert Shirian, the owner of the Jackson Avenue building, expects the permits to be approved within six weeks and for the ground to be broken within six months, according to reports.
44-12 Purves Street

44-12 Purves Street

(click here for a map/list of all LIC developments) Meanwhile, building permits have been filed for a 27-story building with 165 units at 44-12 Purves Street (27-19 44th Drive). The 44th Drive end of the site was home to a recently-closed auto repair shop. That building will be across the street from 44-41 Purves Street, a 25-story, 284 unit building expected to be completed in 2017. Meanwhile, permits were filed in December for the demolition of 44-46 Purves Street, a sited tucked in the far end of the street.
Permits filed for demolition

Permits filed for demolition of 44-46 Purves Street

Bareburger to open by early-to-mid February
bareburgerJan. 8, By Christian Murray Bareburger is set to open its Vernon Blvd location by mid February. Mark Turner, a co-owner in the 48-19 Vernon Boulevard restaurant, said that the burger chain will start training its staff in about two weeks with the goal of opening in early-to-mid February. He said the restaurant will not be a franchise operation but will be owned by the company, along with some equity owners/operators such as himself. Bareburger, which opened its first restaurant on 31st Avenue in Astoria five years ago, has gained traction by marketing its all-natural, organic produce. The menu states: “All Bareburger meats are free-range, pasture-raised, humanely raised, [and] antibiotic-, gluten-, and hormone-free.” Turner said that he has spoken to several parents in Long Island City who are glad that they will be able to get uncured meat for their children at the restaurant. The Vernon Blvd restaurant’s décor is built with recycled products—with light fixtures made from old silverware and chicken wire, Turner said. The walls and ceilings are covered by reclaimed wood—so too the chairs, table tops, stools, bar and counter tops. The floors have been constructed out of reclaimed mixed oak. The Vernon Boulevard location will be comprised of 42 seats, with plans to open a sidewalk café with 30 seats. Turner said that the restaurant will offer wine and beer. The restaurant will also be displaying the work of local artists. Turner got his start at Bareburger working the counter at the chain’s Murray Hill location. He then went on to manage the 31st Avenue before co-owning the Vernon Blvd location. Bareburger has built a chain of 20 restaurants—with several of them franchise operations.
Van Bramer voices concern over proposal to extend Vernon Mall; plan would remove 30-plus parking spaces
Vernon Mall Jan. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has “serious concerns” about the Department of City Planning’s proposal to extend the Vernon Mall beyond 51st Avenue to make way for public space. The proposal, put forward by City Planning at a community board meeting in November, would extend the mall toward Borden Avenue and replace the strip where more the 30 cars are parked. The additional public space, the department argued, would complement the existing mall that has trees and benches. However, the proposal has received some push back from local residents and business owners. They claim the loss of the parking spaces would hurt small business. “I have serious concerns about the Department of City Planning’s proposal...because of some of the adverse impacts it would have to the community and local business." “The proposal to re-envision the Vernon Boulevard Mall is still at a conceptual stage, and my office will continue to hear the concerns of local residents and business owners to ensure their feedback is incorporated into a plan that benefits the entire community.” At the community board meeting when the proposal was put forward, several board members were hesitant about the plan. While they appreciated the concept of additional public space, they were concerned that the lost parking spaces would cause problems. “Parking is a big issue,” said Sheila Lewandowski, a Long Island City resident and board member, at the November meeting. “It is very important … for the local businesses.” Meanwhile, Al Volpe, another board member, was very opposed to the plan. “You are going to kill the businesses down there,” he said. LICSunnyside 007
Plans filed to build 5-story structure next to Alobar on Vernon Blvd
Source: Google maps (white building)

Source: Google maps (46-40 Vernon Blvd--white building)

Jan. 7, Staff Report The owner of a three-story apartment house in the heart of Hunters Point has filed plans to knock it down and build a 5-story mixed use building. The property, located at 46-40 Vernon Blvd, would have ground floor retail with six residential units upstairs, according to Dec. 29 filings with the Department of Buildings. The site is located between Alobar and Matted LIC. The property is owned by Eileen Casson, who has held onto it for decades. .
LIC Partnership receives $100K for a comprehensive neighborhood study
QueensPlaza1 Jan. 6, By Christian Murray A comprehensive study is about to be conducted that will investigate this neighborhood’s recent transformation from an industrial hub to an area filled with luxury apartments, big-name hotels and cultural institutions. The study, to be conducted by the Long Island City Partnership, will be the foundation for a long-term plan that aims to ensure that the neighborhood still maintains its industrial roots — which still supply jobs — while also making way for residential development, commercial space, the tech sector and cultural institutions. The Long Island City Partnership recently received a $100,000 grant from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council (NYCREDC) to aid it in its quest to create an area plan—which would be a first for the neighborhood. “Currently experiencing a period of explosive transformation, much of it thirty years in the making, Long Island City is now ready for its own, comprehensive look, as a matter of citywide urgency and as a regional priority,” said LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin in a statement. “Funding for this study will allow us to work to set a vision and priorities consonant with the neighborhood’s goals,” Luskin added. The LIC Partnership applied for the grant with the support from elected officials and community leaders. "I am pleased our advocacy led to a State grant which recognizes the great work the LIC Partnership is doing, and the amazing growth taking place in our community,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement. “I look forward to working with everyone who loves Long Island City to ensure our community continues to grow in a responsible way."
Long-awaited hardware/kitchenware store opens
Kitchen Jan. 5, By Christian Murray Long Island City residents have been calling for a neighborhood hardware store for years. Now they have one and it is located at 47-17 5th Street. Kitchen Plus More, which sells everything from screw drivers to pots & pans, opened on Christmas Eve with its owner promising quality products at a low price. The store is currently packed with nuts & bolts, plumbing items, cleaning products, paint, light fixtures, kitchen appliances to glassware. There is also an area dedicated to soaps and candles. But there is still more inventory on order. Ovidiu Teja, the store owner, said that he is still waiting on items such as certain brands of paint to come in. Furthermore, he is waiting for a paint mixing machine and equipment to cut keys. Teja, who worked as the general manager of Food Cellar prior to opening the store, decided to open a hardware/kitchen store based on the feedback he would get from grocery customers. “Many people would complain that there wasn’t a hardware store in the neighborhood,” Teja said. The 2,500 square foot store will be open 7-days a week from 10am through 8pm. Teja said that he is encouraging shoppers to suggest items that he is not currently carrying. “Many people have asked for baby safety equipment,” Teja said. “I have already put in an order.”
Ovidiu Teja

Ovidiu Teja

 

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