After long delays, Jora finally opens

Jora, May 2013

Jora erects it sign, May 2013

August 6, By Christian Murray

It took more than 18 months but it has finally arrived.

Jora, which offers traditional Peruvian food, opened two weeks ago on the corner of 48th Avenue and 11th .

The restaurant is owned and operated by 26-year-old Alejandro Rojas, who comes to the neighborhood with pedigree.

Rojas’s father owns one of the oldest Peruvian restaurants in New York, which was established in Jackson Heights in 1976. That restaurant was initially called Inti raymi, but the name was later changed to Urubama.

Roja said he learned to cook working alongside his father and has also been to cooking school. This is his first restaurant.

Roja said the delay in opening was largely the result of some personal issues as opposed to city bureaucracy.

“We spent too much time at our other [Jackson Heights] place and then some other issues came up,” he said.

The restaurant is currently open from 5:30 pm through 11 pm and is serving entrees such as grilled skirt steak, Peruvian style seafood paella, braised lamb shank and pan roasted chicken breast.

In two weeks, Roja said that the restaurant will open at about 12:00pm to cater to the lunch crowd. In time, it will serve brunch on weekends.

Roja said that business has been good so far. “People have seen our [Jora] sign up for a long time and then when they saw the lights on they realized we had opened and came on it.”

The restaurant has a liquor license and has room for about 90 diners.

The restaurant replaces the long-vacant Crossroads Diner.

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Alejandro Rojas

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7 Responses to After long delays, Jora finally opens

  1. Jesse Fairbairn

    Super stoked that this place finally opened.

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  2. Nearby Guy

    Awesome Peruvian food; been there twice since it's opened! I also heard the menu will change every so often, which caters well to the local audience. Love that LIC still maintains its small business support. Salud!

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  3. Lic fan

    Can't wait to visit, I hear good things about the Jackson Heights restaurant so I expect better here. Buena suerte!

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  4. Time's Up

    I'm not sure why you'd expect better here LIC fan. Is Jackson Heights supposed to be inferior to Hunter's Point or something?

    That being said, Urubamba is indeed one of the best restaurants in NYC. I've been going for years. When I finally saw the Jora menu, I was disappointed b/c it looks nothing like Urubamba's. It also is much more limited.

    Jora has a tough road ahead if it wants to be deemed on the same level as its cousin.

    Nevertheless, I wish the owners great success and I will eat there soon anyway.

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  5. Anonymous

    Food was just OK and the service was abysmal. I wish them success but early signs are yet another overpriced restaurant serving mediocre food - a LIC speciality unfortunately.

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  6. Ted Winberry

    How original how many Peruvian places in queens now?

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  7. r185

    Restaurants need time to hit their stride. Cut them some slack, particularly regarding service early on.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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Co-owner of The Baroness bar opens performance center in Dutch Kills
Space for private lessons

Space for private lessons

Melanie Lema

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Sept. 29, By Michael Florio

A new performance center offering music and dance classes opened in Long Island City last week.

New York Stage of Mind, a performance-based music education center featuring singing, dancing and acting classes, opened last Tuesday in Dutch Kills at 37-34 29th Street.

Melanie Lemieux, a Montreal native who has lived in Dutch Kills for the past four years, is the owner-operator of the 2,000 square foot center. She also co-owns The Baroness, a bar located at 41-26 Crescent Street, with her husband, Kyle Radzyminski.

Lemieux said that Dutch Kills—as well as the greater Long Island City area—lacked a performance center like hers.

“LIC is constantly expanding and there is a need for a place that offers an intense musical theater program,” Lemieux said.

Lemieux said that she will be offering private lessons for voice, piano and guitar. There will also be dance programs in jazz, hip-hop, modern dance and tap.

The center will offer a weekly musical theater program, which consists of singing lessons and dance. The program will be offered to children, teenagers and adults. The program runs for a semester and at the end each semester the group will perform a musical.

The performance center will also have children’s classes, including the Broadway Youth Intro class, which will teach children ages four through six musical development and dance technique.

“There are a lot of new parents with young kids in the neighborhood and this is something new to offer them,” Lemieux said.

A Mommy and Me class will also be available.

This Wednesday, between 2 pm and 9 pm there will be an open house, where people can take a look at the facility and review the programs.

Lemieux said she has her master’s degree in singing and has performed for Cirque du Soleil, USO Liberty Bells and several other productions. She said that the other instructors have graduated from prestigious musical institutions. Many are still active on Broadway and Off-Broadway.

For more information, please click here.

Dance area

Dance area

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Upscale cafe/bar opens at Gantry Park Landing complex

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Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The residential apartments in the building have all been leased. The 199 units went on the market in July, with rents starting at $1,875 for a studio, $2,450 for a one-bedroom and $3,250 for a two-bedroom.

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Beans, Grapes and Leaves

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

Italianevent

Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Demolition of 5 Pointz enters a new phase
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Source: David Orecchia (from Citibank building)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray,

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

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

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

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5 pOINT sEPT 24B

 

 

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

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Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

For the full list, please click here.

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

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

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

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

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

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

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Modern Spaces opens second office in Astoria as development boom continues
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Sept. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

Source: Rob Basch

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

Julie Powell and Rob Basch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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