Long Island City Post

Long Island City NY news

5 Pointz artists win small battle in their war to save graffiti mecca

Source: George Burles

Source: George Burles

October 29, By Christian Murray

The 5Pointz artists just won’t go away.

The artists, who filed a federal court lawsuit against the owner of the so-called ‘Graffiti Mecca’ on Oct. 8, were able to convince a judge to extend their existing temporary restraining order another 14 days—thereby stopping the owner, Jerry Wolkoff, from demolishing the building through Nov. 12.

The judge, Frederic Block, also called for a hearing as a means to determine whether he should issue a preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction, if granted, would stop Wolkoff from demolishing the building until the lawsuit was resolved, which could take well over a year.

Block’s ruling follows a lawsuit filed by 16 artists against G&M Realty (Wolkoff), which argues that the building cannot be destroyed since it would undermine the plaintiffs’ artwork as defined by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act.

The lawsuit, which is a long-shot, claims that many pieces of work are recognized throughout the country and the destruction of the artwork would damage the artists.

Jeannine Chanes, the attorney for the artists, said that the artwork should be protected since it was completed post 1990 (when the Act was introduced), is highly acclaimed, and was done with the permission of a property owner. Therefore, she said, the artwork cannot be altered without each artist’s consent.

However, Wolkoff’s attorneys have argued in court that the artists always knew the building was going to be demolished and that they had very little reason to believe the art would be up their permanently.

Wolkoff could not be reached for this article.

New pizzeria on Vernon, aims to cater to LIC’s kids

Tom Blaze

Tom Blaze

October 28, By Christian Murray

A new pizzeria that is opening on Vernon Blvd this February will be a big draw for Long Island City’s kids, the new owner predicts.

“The rear year is large and is ideal for children’s pizza parties,” said Tom Blaze who will open the 47-23 Vernon Blvd restaurant. “This is what attracted me to opening it.”

Blaze said Long Island City is a neighborhood where there are plenty of children, yet there are few places for them to have a party. “Nothing beats a pizza party, where the kids can make their own pizza.”

The rear yard is roughly 1,200 square feet, the same size as the interior.

The pizzeria will be for casual dining and there will not be table service. However, he said that he will be renovating the interior–to ensure the decor is inviting. He said he will completely transform the store’s existing frontage.

Blaze said the focus will be on pizza, although he will sell salads, sandwiches, mozzarella cheese and bread.

Blaze said the mozzarella cheese will be made in-house. Meanwhile, the bread will be locally produced.  “We aim to keep all our products as local and organic as possible,” he said.

Blaze grew up and lives in Long Island City. He is a broker at Modern Spaces, about a block away from his new pizzeria on Vernon Blvd.

“Real estate remains a passion of mine,” Blaze said. He said that he has hired an Italian pizza maker (who has been in New York for the past 10 years) who will come on board when he opens.

Meanwhile, his sister will manage the day-to-day operations.

Blaze said that he plans to call the pizzeria “L’inizio”, which in English means a new beginning.

LIC: Woman punched in face, as thief tries to take her purse



October 25, By Christian Murray

The NYPD is searching for a man who allegedly punched a 47-year-old woman in the face and unsuccessfully tried to grab her purse in Long Island City on Sunday.

The police said that the woman was walking in the vicinity of 44 Drive and 11 Street at 3:15 am on Sunday, Oct. 20, when the male suspect approached her, punched her in the face and attempted to remove her purse.  He subsequently fled without the purse.  Minor injuries were reported at this incident.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).

Funny ladies come to LIC–fighting to be crowned best female comic

Scott Sharp

Scott Sharp

Oct. 24, By Christian Murray

About 100 funny ladies from across the nation are in Long Island City this week vying for the honor of being declared the best female standup comic.

The final is set to take place at the Laughing Devil (47-38 Vernon Blvd) on Saturday night, where the winner will walk away with the title—as well as $2,000, some high-profile gigs, and the chance to be seen by the biggest names in the industry.

The event, called the She-Devil Comedy Festival, is in its second year and the competitors were selected after submitting videos. The festival was created by Steve Hofstetter, a co-owner of the club.

Throughout the week competitors have been in knock out rounds at four venues throughout the city (including the Laughing Devil and the Breadbox Cafe).  The quarter finals are scheduled for Thursday night and semi-finals on Friday. (see schedule).

“People should know that this is the biggest all-female comedy festival in the world and it happens in Long Island City,” said an excited Scott Sharp, the general manager of the Laughing Devil.

Queens man pleads guilty– stemming from 2010 fatal stabbing of LIC resident

adam_rodriguez0d352c31-6b2c-4769-9d25-b36e6c94e3eeOctober 22, By Christian Murray

A 44-year-old Queens man pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter yesterday for fatally stabbing his brother’s 27-year-old roommate.

The defendant, Adam Rodriguez, had only been released from Rikers Island (on unrelated charges) hours before the grizzly incident.

Rodriguez, who faces a 20-year prison sentence, testified that he went to his brother’s apartment at 12-18 37th Avenue in Long Island City on March 18, 2010, looking for a place to stay.

William Edmonds, the roommate of the defendant’s brother, was the only one home at the time and he called Rodriguez’s brother on the phone to ask him if it was okay for Rodriguez to stay.

However, according to testimony, Rodriguez’ brother refused to let him stay and an argument ensued about money.  In lieu of the money, Rodriguez said he would take his brother’s leather coat.

When Edmonds attempted to stop Rodriguez from taking the coat, Rodriguez stabbed him once in the chest and fled.

Edmonds was taken to the hospital, suffering a stab wound to the chest that had punctured his heart.  He died from his injuries approximately four months later.

NYPD likely to scale back search for missing autistic boy this week

Avonte Oquendo

Avonte Oquendo

October 22, By Christian Murray

The NYPD is likely to scale back its search for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo this week—if it continues to find no trace of the non-verbal autistic boy.

The police have devoted hundreds of officers to the search—sending out boat crews to scour the waters off Long Island City and helicopter teams to comb the area.

Avonte, who was last seen on surveillance video October 4th leaving his 51st Avenue school, has been missing for 18 days. There have been more than 200 tips and at least two possible sightings, but nothing has materialized.

However, in the process of looking for Avonte, the NYPD has found three other young people who had been reported missing.

“We are still devoting a lot of resources to the search,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday. However, “We will have to make some adjustments as for the deployment of the resources … this week if we are unsuccessful.”

Pizzeria to open on Vernon Blvd, where Mario’s Deli was located

mariosdeliOct 21, By Christian Murray

A pizzeria is opening on Vernon Blvd in the space that had been occupied by Mario’s Deli for the past 18 years.

The pizzeria, which will be located at 47-23 Vernon Blvd, is expected to open in February and represents a new era in Long Island City.

Tom Blaze, the owner, has yet to come up with a name for the eatery. However, he did say the pizzeria would be for casual dining (not a restaurant) and that he would be focusing on selling to residents.

While Blaze was discussing his plans at the new Vernon Blvd location, Mario Migliorelli (the owner of Mario’s Deli) was about 30 feet away cleaning up the empty store as he was about to hand the keys to the landlord.

Migliorelli, 61, who closed at the end of August (although his lease ends Oct. 30), said his business peaked and fell with the transformation of Long Island City.

“When I opened the deli, business was excellent,” Migliorelli said. “We had all these manufacturers—such as air-conditioning companies, Pepsi, Budweiser–and there were steady customers.”

But as the residential towers went up and the manufacturers started to disappear business began to dry up. “I did get a lot of the construction workers buying lunch which helped replace lost business—but they didn’t work all year round.”

Migliorelli said that as construction moved farther away from Vernon Blvd in recent years and new eateries and restaurants popped up business got even tougher.

“I had to rely on residents and they had a lot of places to go to,” he said.

Therefore, when his lease came up this year he decided that he didn’t want to work long hours to eke out a living. He decided to call it a day.

Migliorelli said he’s taking a few months off and going to work for Pepsi. “My wife works, so what I’m going to do…sit around at home all day?”


Mario Migliorelli, removing left over garbage

Police release updated picture of missing teen Avonte Oquendo

BW28YE5IMAEfVSA.jpg largeOctober 18, By Christian Murray

The police have released a new picture of missing autistic teen Avonte Oquendo, who disappeared from his Long Island City school two weeks ago.

The picture, which includes a photo of the shirt he was wearing the day he disappeared, was tweeted by the NYPD this afternoon.

The picture is an updated photo of Avonte and includes the gray and white striped shirt he was wearing that day.

The police, family and concerned citizens have been combing the city for Avonte, who is autistic and cannot speak, since he vanished.

Avonte has been missing since Oct. 4, and was last seen leaving his school at 1-50 51 Ave. wearing a gray striped shirt, black jeans and black sneakers. He is 5-foot-3 and weighs 125 pounds.

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

Court grants 5 Pointz artists a 10-day restraining order, as long-shot battle to save building continues

Photo: By George Burles

Photo: By George Burles

October 17, By Christian Murray

The demolition crew tasked with the job of bulldozing 5 Pointz is going to have to wait–as the 5 Pointz artists were able to convince a Federal Court Judge today to grant them a temporary restraining order, which prohibits the developer from tampering with the building.

The decision follows a lawsuit filed by 17 artists last week against G&M Realty (the owner of the property), which argues that the building cannot be destroyed since it would undermine the plaintiffs’ artwork as defined by the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act.

The lawsuit claims that many pieces of work are recognized throughout the country and the destruction of the artwork would damage the artists.

The District Court judge’s decision to grant a 10-day restraining order was deemed by the plaintiffs as the first step toward getting a permanent injunction.

The plaintiffs hope the judge will come back before October 28 and announce a hearing for a preliminary injunction. At that point, the artists would be called upon to testify.

Jeannine Chanes, the attorney for the artists, said that the artwork should be protected since it was completed post 1990 (when the Act was introduced), is highly acclaimed, and was done with the permission of a property owner. Therefore, she said, the artwork cannot be altered without each artist’s consent.

She said that G&M Realty needs to get a waiver from each of the artists before it can remove their work.

G&M Realty could not be reached for comment.

Chanes said the Visual Artists Rights Act is narrowly defined and only applies to paintings and sculptures. Furthermore, work for hire would not be protected either—nor graffiti art that is done without the property owner’s consent (such as Banksy).

“Aerosol art would be considered painting,” Chanes claims. “Jeannine was here…would not.”

VARA Complaint 10102013 Copy


New urban market–offering ethnic food to jewelry– to open in LIC on Friday

QNS Urban MKT to occupy 6,000 sq ft on the ground floor

QNS Urban MKT, located at 37-18 Northern Blvd.

October 17, By Christian Murray

A new indoor market is opening in the historic Standard Motor Parts Building in Long Island City Friday and aims to sell everything from jewelry to ethnic food.

Qns Urban Mkt will open on the ground floor of the iconic 37-18 Northern Blvd building, which is also the home of The Brooklyn Grange, a 2.5 acre rooftop farm that opened in 2010. The market will occupy 6,000 square feet and will be adjacent to Coffeed Shop.

It will operate Friday nights between 5pm-9pm and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm – all year round. It will feature as many as 15 local venders—which include Astoria’s Singlecut Beersmiths to lesser known companies, such as Mighty Meaty.

Jenny Yi, the marketing coordinator for QNS Urban MKT, told the LICPOST in July that the market would be different from the LIC Flea that opened in Hunters Point earlier this year.  To begin with, she said, it would be indoors and would operate all year round.

Furthermore, the promoters are trying to showcase entrepreneurship—by getting the vendors to share their start-up stories and give short lessons about their craft to the public.

The market will offer attendees live music on Fridays, while provide access to the rooftop farm on Saturdays until 3 pm.

Jie Whoon Kang, the founder, told the LICPOST in July that the market will work well with The Brooklyn Grange, an attraction in its own right. “Many people come to see the farm on weekends,” Kang said. Many, he said, who go to see the farm will be lured to the market by the food and products on offer.

Vendors include: Singlecut Beersmiths, COFFEED, Brooklyn Grange, Ice & Vice, Peartree Pantry, Emeche Cupcakes, Mel’s Melting Pot, Bibingka-esk, Mighty Meaty, Drink More Good, Grateful Bread Company, Chai Mookie, Bittersweet, A&B American Style, Tinsel Trading Co.,  Ely & Road, Nena Trading Co. and many more.

For more information, please click here.

Halloween pet parade coming to Long Island City

A local girl's costume

A local girl’s costume at a similar event in Sunnyside

October 16, By Christian Murray

Long Island City will be having its very own Halloween pet parade later this month.

The LIC Flea & Food market is sponsoring a “Howl-o-ween” event on Oct. 19, where owners are invited to dress their pets in costume.

At stake is more than $700 in prizes from Ricky’s NYC, Kiki LIC Pet Photography, Pooch Pals and LIC Dog Walk.

Several venders will be selling costumes on-site at the LIC Flea market.

Following the parade, Kiki LIC Pet Photography will offer portrait sessions for owners and their pets.

Meanwhile, residents are urged to give old chew toys to Rock & Rawhide, a nonprofit organization that helps dogs and cats in animal shelters.

The non-profit will also be collecting blankets, treats, cat scratch pads and other items. All items must be clean.


WHEN: Saturday, October 19th, 11am-12pm

WHERE: LIC Flea & Food:Waterfront entrance near 5th Street and Basin Road

Developer to break ground on massive residential tower in 3 months


October 16, By Christian Murray

Another apartment tower is slated for Court Square, this one a gigantic 58-story apartment building located at 42-12 28th Street.

The developer, Heatherwood Communities, plans to break ground on the 469-unit development in about 3 months and expects the giant project to be completed and rented in about 3 years.

The tower will be located between 42nd Road and Queens Plaza South, and will be designed by Goldstein, Hill and West.

The development will include ground floor retail, parking, a third-floor pool, gym and roof terraces on the 45th and 58th floors.

The project will be near Heatherwood’s 27 on 27th, another luxury rental, located at 27-03 42nd Road.

That property, which is comprised of 142 units, was fully leased in August, taking just five months to fill. The rents on that property range from $2,000 for a studio to $4,925 for a 2 bedroom penthouse.

Put Banksy in perspective, one man argues

A man seeking the safe return for Avonte Oquendo, the missing autistic boy who went missing in Long Island City, urged a crowd of photographers in front of the new Banksy piece in Woodside to be just as diligent in tracking down the boy as they are in searching for the Banksy’s art work.

Local resident George Burles produced the video.