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PIX 11 News trashes Queens Plaza South, Crescent Street

CLICK ON IMAGE

CLICK ON IMAGE

The trash piles around Queens Plaza South and Crescent Street are getting larger and larger, despite the ongoing development and the gentrification of the neighborhood.

PIX 11 News did this illuminating report on the issue over the weekend.


Woman killed crossing Queens Plaza Friday night

Sept. 14, By Christian Murray

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a car while crossing Queens Plaza North last night, according to police.

The victim, an unidentified woman believed to be in her 50s, was hit by a blue 2009 Honda CRV at the intersection of 27th Street and Queens Plaza North at about 9:45 pm.

The police arrived on the scene moments later and transported her to Mount Sinai Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

A preliminary investigation determined that the woman was walking from the south side of the plaza toward Queens Plaza North. The driver of the Honda, who remained on the scene, was traveling toward Manhattan on Queens Plaza North.

(File: 27th and Queens Plaza North)

(27th and Queens Plaza North)


New wine bar in the works for Center Boulevard

Blue streakSept. 13, By Christian Murray

Blue Streak Wines & Spirits, located at 47-20 Center Blvd, is planning to open a wine bar two doors down.

The owner of the wine & spirits store, Stephen Spiller, has applied for a restaurant wine license to operate the new wine bar. The wine bar, Spiller said, would also offer small plate tapas style food.

The new location, which is also part of the same 47-20 Center Blvd TF Cornerstone building, is 1,500 square feet in size. That space is currently being occupied by TF Cornerstone’s leasing office.

“We are very excited and think it will be a very good location for a wine bar,” Spiller said. He said the wine & spirits store would continue to operate.

Spiller said that Long Island City has been good to him. He opened Blue Streak on Center Blvd six years ago, before Shi opened and Skinny’s Cantina across the street.

“I thought this would be a great neighborhood and all of my expectations have been met.”

Leasing office

Leasing office

 


Nail salon nabs prime Vernon Blvd location

Sept. 13, 2013 001

Sept. 13, By Christian Murray

A new business is set to move in to a prime Vernon Blvd space.

A new nail salon, which will be located at 48-13 Vernon Blvd, is going to take over the 1,000 square foot space that was previously occupied by State Farm Insurance, according to workers on the site today. The workers did not know when the store would open or what the salon’s name will be.

State Farm moved to Jackson Ave at the beginning of the year


Another high-rise rental building to go up by Queens Plaza

development

rendering

rendering

Sept. 13, By Christian Murray

A 21 story rental building is about to be constructed on an empty lot in the Queens Plaza North section of Long Island City.

The World-Wide Group, a decades-old real estate firm, is spending $157 million on the development, which is located at 41-50 24th Street (btw. 41st Ave. and 42nd Road).

The building is expected to include 421 luxury apartments, 8,400 square feet of ground floor retail space and 25,000 square feet of amenities. Those amenities will include a landscaped roof deck, outdoor pool and a gymnasium.

The apartments in the building are expected to range in size–from studios to three bedrooms.

Rents have yet to be set.

Current average rent for a studio in the Queens Plaza area is $1,990 a month, $2,750 for one-bedroom, and $3,750 for two-bedrooms, Jodi Stasse, of Citi Habitats, told the Crains NY.

The developer bought the 24th Street site last year for $29 million and is expected to complete the building in 18 months.

This rental development is one of several being constructed just north of the Queensboro Bridge.

Property Markets Group announced plans for a 410-unit rental building on 42nd Road, according to Crains NY, while Meadow Partners said it will convert a commercial building on Crescent Street into a new residential and retail project.


Massive Long Island City rock climbing venue to open first week of October

Sept. 12, By Christian Murray

The largest indoor rock climbing venue in the US is expected to open in Long Island City in less than three weeks.

Mike Wolfert, the owner of The Cliffs of LIC, said that about 30 contractors are in the midst of completing his 30,000 sqf recreation center that will offer rock climbing, a gymnasium and an apparel store.

Wolfert took on the massive task of converting a former warehouse located at 11-11 44th Drive into the facility at the beginning of the year. The venue will feature walls that tower up to 60-feet high.

However, the construction process has not been an easy one.

Wolfert, who had planned to open in May, was slapped with a stop-work order in April that brought construction to a halt for nearly five months.  He was unable to restart construction until Sept. 4.

Wolfert said that between rent, debt servicing, staff costs and lawyers fees the stop-work order cost him as much as $500,000.

Wolfert, however, said the stop work order was issued because of a misunderstanding. He said that he filed an application to make alterations to the warehouse that was approved by the buildings department.  At the same time, he sought a zoning change that would allow him to build a sports/recreation facility.

When a building inspector arrived on the premises he determined that the alterations to the warehouse were for the purposes of creating a sports facility—which Wolfert had yet to receive the zoning for– and issued a stop work order.

It was at that point that Wolfert got into a tangle with the authorities for allegedly bribing the official. He was arrested in May and the case is still going through the courts.

Wolfert said the stop work order had nothing to do with how the facility was being constructed and he is glad the construction issue has been resolved.

Wolfert said he wants to focus on the good news.

“We are just weeks way from opening one of the best gyms in the United States,” he said.

The Cliffs will be so large that 500 climbers will be able to scale the walls at the same time.

The center will include a gym that offers full-fitness cardio and free weights, as well as a retail store that sells climbing gear.

Wolfert said the club is currently selling annual memberships for $1045, which come with a monthly guest pass, gym access and climbing classes.

He said he is looking to introduce programs for children – with scholarships for children from low income families.

Starting October, the club will be available for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and other events.


Vernon Blvd bus route undergoes service upgrade

q103map

Sept. 10, By Christian Murray

The MTA bus line that goes along Vernon Blvd., makes its way past Socrates Sculpture Park and goes deep into Astoria has undergone some improvement.

Since Monday, the Q103 bus line has increased its frequency of service between Long Island City and Astoria. The MTA has increased the number of buses that make the trip on a daily basis from 25 to 30.

The added service is concentrated during the morning rush hour, when buses will come every 15 minutes—as opposed to every 20 minutes before the service upgrade.

The service will start earlier and end later. The first bus will run at 5:40 am instead of 6:10 am and the last bus will be at 7:50 pm instead of 7:18pm.

However, the Q103 still does not have late night or weekend service.

“We are fighting to have it up and running on weekends but we see the changes as a step in the right direction,” said Lauren Houston, a member of the Riders Alliance who lives in Astoria.

“As Long Island City welcomes new residents, visitors and businesses, these linkages have become increasingly important,” said Dana Frankel, district services manager at the Long Island City Partnership.

These bus improvements follow months of advocacy from State Senator Gianaris and members of the Riders Alliance.

In early March through May of this year, Riders Alliance members surveyed bus riders to identify the problems Q103 riders were experiencing.

Riders identified frequency and reliability as their greatest concerns.  The Riders Alliance then wrote to the MTA requesting improved bus service, and followed up by asking riders to sign a petition calling on the MTA to improve service.

Gianaris thanked the MTA for the upgrades, although he said the service needs to keep pace with Western Queens’ growth rate.  “We need to make sure public transportation keeps up,” he said.

Bobby Preti, Riders Alliance member and Astoria bus rider, said, “Knowing that my bus will come more often… is a welcome change.”


The Laughing Devil gets into the movie business

LaughingDevil

Sept. 10, By Christian Murray

The Laughing Devil Comedy Club, located at 47-38 Vernon Blvd.,  has installed a 99-inch movie screen—which it says is almost ready for showing films.

The club plans to start rolling out classic movies on its big screen on Wednesday evenings as well as on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.  This Saturday is expected to be the club’s first showing—with the screening of Spaceballs.

On the weekends, the club’s patrons will be able to watch movies and order brunch catered by neighboring restaurant El Ay Si.

Tickets for weekend brunch movies will be $7, while on Wednesday tickets will be $3.  The schedule can now be found on the club’s website.

The Laughing Devil has plans to start offering independent movies and documentaries (as well as children’s films) in coming months. It also plans to start hosting sports nights, playing football, baseball and UFC.  The club believes that its 99-inch screen is the largest in Hunters Point.

Next year, the club will also host its inaugural Laughing Devil Comedy Film Festival, where it will screen brand new films from all over the world before they are picked up for wider distribution.

Daniel Reynolds, a partner in the Laughing Devil, is an independent filmmaker. He will pick many of the movies that will play as part of the series as well as many of the independent movies played throughout the year.

The Laughing Devil will continue to host its Thursday night movie event, titled Devil Science Theater 3000. With this raucous event, the audience plays drinking games and collectively makes fun of the worst movies of all time.


Auto break-ins spiked in LIC this summer, but now under control, cops say

auto break-in on 44th Drive

auto break-in on 44th Drive

Sept. 9, By Christian Murray

The police believe that they have nabbed a man responsible for a large number of  neighborhood auto break-ins.

Long Island City—from Court Square through Hunters Point—has been subject to about 60 auto break-ins in recent months, according to Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 police precinct. However, an August 24 bust has brought that spike to a halt, he said.

One victim, in an e-mail, wrote about an August 19 incident by his building. “My car, along with two others on my block (44th Dr between 21st and 23rd Streets) was burglarized. The thief smashed our windows, ransacked our car interiors and took whatever items of value he/she could find.”

But around the time of that break-in, the police were able to get their hands on some video evidence taken from the rooftop of a building on 44th Drive (between 21st and 23rd Streets). While the video was grainy, the police were able to get a bit of an outline of who the perpetrator was and how he broke into the vehicles.

Hennessy said the police caught the perpetrator breaking into the cars by wrapping his fist up in clothing and punching the windows.

They arrested Rafael Medina, a 45-year-old from the Bronx, who was out on parole when he was busted. He is back in prison.


Express bus service to La Guardia Airport begins Sunday

Laguardia

Sept. 6, By Christian Murray

Getting to La Guardia Airport is going to be getting a little bit easier for many Long Island City residents.

Starting Sunday, a new express bus service will take passengers from 61st/Woodside to La Guardia Airport.

The new Q70 route, which will make just one stop—at Jackson Heights/Roosevelt Avenue—could get travelers from Long Island City to LaGuardia in less than 30 minutes by taking the 7 train to Woodside and the Q70 to the airport.

Officials claim that travelers in midtown Manhattan could get to the airport via the 7 train and Q70 in 35 minutes.

Also beginning Sunday is the new B32 bus route between Williamsburg Bridge Plaza in Brooklyn and the Court Square-23rd St. E/M train station in Long Island City.

q70 bus timetable by sunnysidepost


Hunters Point Library to see slight design changes, possible delays

Library rendering

Library rendering

Sept. 6, By Christian Murray

Construction of the Hunters Point Library is likely to be delayed yet again following the city’s inability to find a developer willing to build it for the $28 million that was budgeted.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, speaking at the Hunters Point Civic Association meeting last night, said the city has had to modify the design plans to keep the construction cost below $28 million.  He didn’t say what those design changes would be, other than saying they would merely be “cosmetic.”

The library, if all goes to plan, 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, which will be built at Center Blvd and 48th Ave (next to Gantry Plaza State Park) , will be largely a glass and cement structure.

Van Bramer did not disclose how much the construction companies quoted to do the initial job.

The revised plan is about to go out for bid. Van Bramer said the city is trying to expedite the whole process so there will be a groundbreaking late fall.  The project is expected to be completed by 2015.


Shannon Pot to face wrecking ball, new dentist office opens

Shannon Pot

Sept. 4, By Christian Murray

The Shannon Pot, a well known Irish bar that has been part of the Court Square neighborhood for years, is going to be demolished, according to the pub’s manager.

The bar/restaurant, located at 45-06 Davis Street, has been operating without a lease for years, the manager said.  Therefore, it was only a matter of time that the pub would be demolished, he said.

News that the pub was being demolished was first reported this morning in Lost City, a Queens blog. The article, based on a tip from a Lost City reader, said that the pub would be razed in the next few months to make way for a new condo development.

The manager, however, said that he was not aware of such a timeline and was not sure when the pub would be closing.

In other Court Square business news, a new dentistry opened Sept. 3 at 24-24 Jackson Avenue.  The office, called Court Square Dentistry, was established by Ian Mapes DDS. Information on the dentistry can be found at http://www.courtsquaredentistry.com

Mapes also has an office in Brooklyn, which he opened in 2011, called Williamsburg Smile Design.

Courtsquare


Hair and nail salon opens on Vernon

HollywoodHairandNails

Staff Report, Sept. 4

A new beauty salon opened at 47-14 Vernon Boulevard two weeks ago offering a full range of services for women, men and children.

The salon, called Hollywood Hair & Nails, caters to clients requesting manicure/pedicures, haircuts, highlights and hair straightening treatments.

The price list for haircuts is as follows.

pricelist