Hunters Point civic group calls on community board to compromise on backyard space

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32 Responses to Hunters Point civic group calls on community board to compromise on backyard space

  1. Cool Your Jets

    Actually, the majority of the signatures do have names. One of the key people involved in helping the restaurants acquire the use of their rear space lives right on Vernon. The petitioner lives right off Vernon and behind a restaurant with a rear yard. So there goes that argument.

    FYI, I was one of the anonymous signatures.

    And as long as we're talking about numbers, the NIMBY's counter petition only has 55 signatures. Some of those signatures are from people out of the country....

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  2. LIC

    I think that as a member of CB2 Patrick O’Brien, the chairman of the Community Board 2’s City Service/Public Safety Committee that oversees liquor licenses should revisit and look at currently outside patios and consider an investigation when business owners pay a lot of money for licenses and play by the rules when 1 local business owner isn't looked out to be playing by the rules. All the new places that have opened places to dine work with each other in a beautiful community that is growing. Sadly there is the 1 location who abuses the system and hurts those businesses within LIC.

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  3. Gillmoli

    Cool Your Jets, are you a member of the Facebook group, "Free The Yards"? If not, please join so you can stay up to date on all the news regarding this movement along with info for upcoming CB2 and Hunters Point Civic Association meetings.

    It looks like change is in the works and the rest of the community is finally being heard over the grossly over-amplified voices of that very small minority.

    Hopefully Mr. Van Bramer's visit to L'Inizio during the LIC Spring Stroll last weekend will help convince him to vote in favor of changing the rules and also gain the support of the rest of the board so we can all finally put this issue to bed.

    It would be an absolute shame to see this backyard space in particular go unused...they are growing their own tomatoes, red bell peppers, zucchini, and basil, just to name a few.

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  4. Cool Your Jets

    Thanks Gillmoli! Will do!

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  5. LittleBearNYC

    I will repeat this one more time- after the obnoxious, loud, rude behavior of the staff and owners of I'inzio at a local restaurant last Saturday night (3 tables asked them to keep it down, which prompted a ton of nasty cursing and yelling of "NO F%^KEN RESPECT" - the restaurant gave us half our meal for free due to these "cafione") I would be hesitant to have any of L'Inzio's neighbors subjected to what we went through for two hours.

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  6. Sonny L.

    While optimism is wonderful:

    - the SLA meeting was moved last minute
    - Mr. O'Brien (to whom I've personally written) ignored opening these back yards at that meeting and snidely dismissed the petition for the open space use in LIC as folly
    - YET prior to that, HAD welcomed revisiting opening back yards personally at the previous CB2 meeting before the community
    - there is a backroom correspondence between some restaurant owners and board members scrambling to make certain nothing opens (perhaps the competition would be too great? who knows?)

    LET'S FACE IT
    This situation must be hashed out together as a community. The neighbors are restless, and by neighbors, I include those who live ALL OVER the neighborhood near or far from the Vernon Moratorium.

    This trite situation is pathetic and a reflection of the cogs that stop the machine of progress and growth for our community.

    The more the CB2 fights to oppose growth in our community, the more parochial and antiquated their persona becomes, which undermines both the direction of our growing and changing demographic and ultimately will result in Van Bramer's term limits going into effect (as other CBs seek to do so with limits on whether politically seated folks can recommend Board members).

    It is simple, close the yards, lose business and revenues, cut job creation, and create general dissent among the LIC population. Economics 101 says it is the fast track to killing growth ~ i ask you, is that what the CB2 is about? or will their egos move aside to make way for some prosperity our neighborhood so desires and deserves?

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  7. Sonny L.

    Dear LIC - don't speak in tongues. It undermines your credibility. Say what you mean. It is a pay to play system for sure. That is what has been created by the referendum.

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  8. Nevermind The Haters

    ^^^cool story bro^^^

    It's a good thing decisions aren't made based on rumors and tall tales.

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  9. Sonny L.

    I am a neighbor of L'inzio. Please do not speak for me.

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  10. Nevermind The Haters

    my comment was to LittleBear NYC

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  11. Sonny L.

    I am a neighbor of all those restaurants but William Garrett has spoken for me. I did not ask that of him.

    My voice and those of most of the rest of LIC, are being silenced by a few people claiming they have more of a right, are more entitled as a neighbor than the rest of us. I did not ask them to speak for me. We who wish to be heard are being silenced by the few.

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  12. Ajloehxn

    Who elected the community board? Or are those positions appointed? How do we the community that is interested in developing the neighborhood join or apply to be apart of the community board?

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  13. BiPolar

    Two comments from someone who supports limited back yard use.

    If you go to the SLA website in the video for Alobar the owner represents that there are no residents anywhere around them. Not a great strategy to stretch and twist the truth and probably why they lost.

    They also claimed they needed a back yard to compete with other restaurants but at the same time claim that CB2 has a moratorium on back yards. So who is their competition?

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  14. Anonymous

    It's partly true. The person directly above Alobar has an apartment that doesn't stretch all the way to the back. If you walk into Alobar, the apartment ends half way into the restaurant and they have no windows facing the back.

    And the person living at the top floor is the landlord of the entire building and supports Alobar's quest to open their rear yard.

    There is a moratorium on outdoor seating from El Ay Si all the way to Alobar as well as any restaurant that has a rear yard opening in the post-Lounge 47 age. The exception is for those bars/restaurants that were able to obtain the liquor license with outdoor seating privileges BEFORE William Garrett cried a river about it (i.e. LIC Bar).

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  15. Gillmoli

    Anonymous, I wonder if Riverview will eventually end up like Rebar in Dumbo...not paying rent is definitely a sign of something fishy going on...

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  16. Anthony D

    CB2 "sound engineer" wasn't happy with the music on Vernon for the block party. I can't believe he had the nerve to approach some of the volunteers and complain. Enough is enough already!

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  17. Anonymous

    WG did whine about music?
    Let's open the yards. If L'inzio is rude, it speaks for them.
    Also the immediate neighbour shouldn't have more right than all of the community, especially if it's WG. Let him live in a bar deserted land where he needs to drive to everywhere to get something.

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  18. LIC Res

    Litigate this.

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  19. Bipolar

    Thoughts of the day:

    To point at one person as the lone opponent to back yard seating is a foolish idea because one person cannot have that much influence and power.

    But more important it marginalizes and diminishes the importance of the many neighbors who either oppose or just want reasonable limits.

    How about some respect for all sides of the debate?

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  20. LIC Resident2

    @Bipolar
    While I agree and I think you have a solid point to keep both sides respectful, the truth of the situation is that this one particular person really does have MUCH more influence than one person should have in this matter. The truth is there IS something shady going on with how much pull he has had in the past. So naturally people tend to emphasize this point more than the larger debate at hand.

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  21. DDD

    Sonny L.

    Hope you enjoyed the Block Party.

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  22. Bipolar

    Today's thought:

    Maybe personal accusations or innuendos by anonymous posters who do not furnish any proof, should not be accepted as fact. People say they want fair representation. Doesn't that include being fair to those you disagree with?

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  23. Townie

    Maybe we don't accept the "accusations and innuendos...as fact." This is the internet. Maybe we're not morons.

    And
    we're not just SAYING we want fair representation. We actually do want it, duh.

    What's tomorrow's thought?

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  24. BiPolar

    Tomorrow's thought for Townie. Wow! Relax!

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  25. Vernon2

    A compromise can, and will, be achieved if both parties stop with the zero sum game. Lounge 47 was a late night disaster with no respect for the neighborhood and screwed it for those that followed. Alobar and L'Inizio seemed to have some bad advice regarding how to appeal to CB2 ( show up at meeting, don't lie about 1,300 petition, don't lie about no neighbors). Try something different. Demonize the guy Garrett who complained all you want. He's working within the system and achieved his desired outcome. Try it for yourself and you'll be surprised how quickly something will happen.

    See you at L'Inizio for a slice and a beer when it finally opens.

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  26. Townie

    uh, snap.
    zzzzzz

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  27. Tanya

    Hey, is there a link for that Facebook group? Like Facebook.com/whatever...Maybe I'm daft, but I couldn't find it while searching. Thanks!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  28. Gillmoli

    Hi Tanya, it's called "Free The Yards" on Facebook. Just type that into your FB search tab and it should come up. I look forward to "meeting" you online and hopefully at the next CB2 meeting!

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  29. Pizza

    L'inizio is open!?

    #psyched

    #yardstil11pm
    #communitycompromise

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Latest News

Owner of ‘I Love Kickboxing LIC’ seeks permit, aims to open before June
45-45 Center Blvd

45-45 Center Blvd

Oct. 23, By Christian Murray

Representatives of “I Love Kick Boxing LIC,” who aim to open a facility on the ground floor at 45-45 Center Boulevard, went before Community Board 2 last week seeking a “physical cultural establishment” permit as part of their quest to open in the first or second quarter next year.

New York City requires all health clubs, gyms or spas to obtain the permit in order to make sure that massage parlors or other undesirable establishments don’t open.

Frederick Becker, the attorney representing I Love Kick Boxing LIC, said the venue will focus primarily on physical fitness.

He said the 2,800-square foot facility would essentially be like “aerobics on steroids.”

Becker said the facility will be part of a well established franchise (see corporate website). There are branches throughout the US, including four in Queens.

The work outs, according to the corporate Facebook page, typically involve punching and kicking bags. The website said that participants learn techniques used by pro fighters like jabs, crosses, hooks, roundhouse kicks and front kicks, according to the corporate website. It also involves a series of exercises.

The facility would not be a venue where sparring or fights take place as there are no plans for a ring, according to Becker. Its focus is on fitness, conditioning and weight loss.

Becker said that the owner plans is to operate between 6 am and 10 pm (Mon-Friday) and 7am to 2 pm on weekends.

He said that the owner is working with the landlord and acoustic engineers to protect the residents from noise.

The facility will primarily provide classes—catering to groups of about 30 people. Becker said that each class is about 45-50 minutes long.

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Communitea, long-time Vernon Blvd coffee shop, is closing

Communitea_BldgOct. 22, By Christian Murray

Communitea, the long-time coffee shop located at 47-02 Vernon Blvd, announced on Facebook Monday that it is closing.

The owners said that the coffee shop will be closing this Sunday since they had difficultly negotiating a new lease.

“We thank you for a wonderful decade of support and friendship. It has been our pleasure to be a part of this community and we are grateful for the opportunity to make so many amazing friends,” the owners wrote.

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Red-hot LIC rental market shows signs of cooling down

Linc-LICOct. 20, By Christian Murray

The upward trajectory of the Long Island City rental market is beginning to show signs that it is tapering off, with rental prices down in the third quarter compared to the second.

The cool down was also evident on a year-over-year basis with rents up only slightly compared to 3Q 2013, according to a recent report.

Modern Spaces, a LIC-based real estate firm, reported that rental prices for luxury apartments dipped by about 5 percent on average in the third quarter compared to the second. For instance, the rent charged for a luxury studio was $2,369 in 3Q 2014, down from $2,558 in the second quarter (see rental figures below). Meanwhile, the rent for a one bedroom luxury unit dropped from $3,158 to $3,013 over that period.

“The past quarter we are really seeing the rental market stabilizing and leveling out,” said Eric Benaim, the CEO of Modern Spaces, in a statement. “With all the new projects that have come online this year, competition between buildings is becoming increasingly apparent and the prices of rentals in the area have started to adjust.”

This year alone, TF Cornerstone began leasing its sixth and final luxury building – 46-10 Center B lvd—which is comprised of 584 units. Meanwhile, Rockrose announced in August that it had fully leased its 709-unit luxury building called Linc LIC.

Rockrose has started construction on a 50 story mixed-used development at 43-25 Hunter Street, which will include 974 rental units. That should be completed by 2017.

Despite the recent slowdown, on a year-over-year basis luxury rentals were up about 4 percent, according to the report. In 3Q 2013, a luxury studio was renting for $2,320 (compared to $2,369 in 3Q14)—while a luxury one bedroom for $2,901 (compared to $3,013 in 3Q14). Furthermore, a 2 bedroom in 3Q 2013 went for $4,106, while in 3Q 2014 it fetched $4,134.

The big firms such as TF Cornerstone and Rockrose are still not offering much in the way of incentives. It is rare to find one month free rent, although the developers will cover the cost of the brokerage fee.

q314

3Q13

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No. 7 train weekend service to be cut for 5 weekends this fall

7subway1Oct. 17, Staff Report

The MTA has announced that the No. 7 train will be down between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for five weekends this fall.

In addition, No. 7 train service will be reduced between 74th Street Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

The cuts begin this weekend, with service down from Saturday (Oct. 18) at 2 am through Monday (Oct 20) at 5 am.

The cuts will also take place on the following weekends—starting at 11:30pm through Monday at 5am.

Oct 24-27

Nov. 7-10

Nov 14-17

Nov. 21-24

The MTA said that it needs to work on weekends in order to complete its capital improvements. These include new signal systems, track replacement and Sandy recovery work.

The MTA said that it will be offering free shuttle buses between Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave. and Queensboro Plaza during the shutdown.

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

metersOct. 17, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Park Smart click here

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

suspect

Oct. 17, Staff Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LIC’s underground stations now have Wifi

Vernonirtstairlar
Oct. 16, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phase 1 Phase 2 Stations

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South buildingOct. 15, By Christian Murray

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

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

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

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

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

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

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

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

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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

Rendering

By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

21-45 45th Road, Court Square

21-45 45th Road, Court Square

 

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More Headlines

LIC’s underground stations now have Wifi
Vernonirtstairlar Oct. 16, By Michael Florio The MTA announced today that it had completed Phase II of its seven-phase plan to bring WiFi service to all 277 underground stations in New York City. The second phase has brought WiFi service to an additional 11 Manhattan and 29 Queens stations--including several in Long Island City and Astoria. The total number of underground stations with WiFi service has now reached 76. Phase II provides WiFi service to the underground stations in Long Island City and Astoria. The Vernon/Jackson and Hunters Point Ave. stations are now covered by Phase II, as well as Grand Central and 42nd Bryant Park, which are key stations for 7 train riders. Times Square was part of phase I. The Court Square station (which caters to the E, G, M and 7) was also added under the wireless plan. Astoria residents who take the R train will also receive WiFi service. The service—under Phase II—is now available at the Queens Plaza, 36th Street, 46th Street and Steinway Street stations. "Subway riders will now always be connected with our WiFi," said Bill Bayne, CEO of Transit Wireless, which has partnered with the MTA. "We as consumers expect to be connected 24/7 no matter where we are.” The WiFi, which provides voice and data service, is also viewed as increasing public safety—since people will be able to make calls from these station. “Whether you’re checking your email, calling your kids or looking for emergency assistance, wireless service will bring the conveniences we’re used to above ground into the subway system," MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast said. “This is a win for the riders in my district and all over the city,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Riders will now get the convenient and comfortable ride that they look for every day.” Phase three will bring WiFi to another 105 stations and is expected to be completed by spring 2015. The entire seven-phase project will cost upwards of $300 million.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Stations

Application period for Hunters Point South has begun
Hunters Point South buildingOct. 15, By Christian Murray The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development went live today. The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect  (https://a806-housingconnect.nyc.gov/nyclottery/lottery.html#home), which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought. Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application. There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year. For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom. However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000. The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom. Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. affordablerents affordablehousingmoderate income
Court Square: Planned Parenthood to break ground on first Queens facility
Rendering

Rendering

By Michael Florio Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) will be breaking ground Thursday on its first healthcare center in Queens. The new center is being constructed in the Court Square section of Long Island City, at 21-41 45th Road. It is expected to open in 2015. The 14,000-square-foot facility center, like other centers, will offer abortions, breast and cervical cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and routine gynecological exams. Planned Parenthood, a non-profit center, anticipates that it will serve 17,500 patients annually at the location. In a statement, PPNYC said that thousands of Queens patients have to travel to other boroughs to receive its services. “The new health center will strengthen our ability to provide Queens residents with the essential reproductive health care services they need,” said Joan Malin, President and CEO of PPNYC. Planned Parenthood estimates that one in five women in Queens do not have health insurance. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who allocated $750,000 of city funds to help bring the Long Island City facility to the area, said earlier this year that it was important to bring essential “healthcare for women and all new Yorkers” to Queens. Malin said PPNYC selected this location because Court Square is accessible to subway lines. Meanwhile, Life News, a news site catering toward the pro-life movement, was less than happy about the announcement. “Forty percent of Unborn Babies in New York City are Aborted, Planned Parenthood Wants More,” referring to the new facility. The abortion rate in New York City has been falling. The Health Department reported that in 2012, 38 percent of viable pregnancies ended in “induced terminations.”
21-45 45th Road, Court Square

21-45 45th Road, Court Square

 
8 people isolated — and later cleared–after suspicious powder discovered in LIC building
ambulance-e1412871498173Oct. 14, By Michael Florio (Update: 7:30 pm) A suspicious white powder was discovered this morning at the headquarters of the New York City Housing Authority in Long Island City this morning. Eight people were initially isolated by the FDNY-- but they were later cleared. The powder was discovered on the fourth floor of the 23-02 49th Avenue building, around 10:50 am, inside a letter that was opened in the mail room, according to a NYPD spokesperson. The Department of Environmental Protection is currently testing the powder to identify what it is but the NYPD said it was unlikely to be hazardous. There were no injuries, the NYPD said, and the building was not evacuated.  
Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonOct. 13, By Christian Murray This November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
New French bakery just days away from opening
cafeshopOct. 10, By Christian Murray A new French bakery is about to open in Hunters Point. Cannelle Patisserie, a popular French bakery that opened in Jackson Heights more than six years ago, will be opening in the next week to 10 days. The bakery, which is located on the ground floor of The Maximilian building at 5-11 47th Ave, will offer cakes, pastries, macaroons, coffee and sandwiches—much like its Jackson Heights location, said co-owner Jean-Claude Perennou. The new bakery has space for 25 seats—and Perennou has plans to offer sidewalk seating next summer. Perennou, a French native who has lived in the Hunters Point for the past 18 months, has plenty of industry experience. Prior to opening Cannelle Patisserie, Perennou was a pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria for more than a decade—and has worked at several restaurants in New York and Paris. He attended Le Paraclet, a culinary school in France. Perennou said he and his business partner wanted to expand into Hunters Point since there is no other French bakery in the neighborhood and that they would be filling a niche. Furthermore, he said, the new bakery would not be too far from the Jackson Heights location, so they could travel back and forth with relative ease. Perennou said he looks forward to having a location where people will be able walk to the store. Currently, he said, most people have to drive to get to the Jackson Heights bakery. “We are looking forward to opening in LIC and are eager to start,” he said.
Jean Claude

Jean Claude Perennou

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

Jimmy Van Bramer

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

Owner Jhon Cho

Inside Tamashi Ramen

Inside Tamashi Ramen

Exterior of Tamashii Ramen

Exterior of Tamashii Ramen at 29-05 Broadway

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