Jan. 7, Staff Report
The owner of a three-story apartment house in the heart of Hunters Point has filed plans to knock it down and build a 5-story mixed use building.
The property, located at 46-40 Vernon Blvd, would have ground floor retail with six residential units upstairs, according to Dec. 29 filings with the Department of Buildings.
The site is located between Alobar and Matted LIC.
The property is owned by Eileen Casson, who has held onto it for decades.
Jan. 26, By Michael Florio
The friends and family of a writer who was killed while riding his bicycle in Long Island City earlier this month have started a fundraiser in his honor.
Hoyt Jacobs, a 36-year-old writer, poet and teacher, was killed after being struck by a sanitation truck at the intersection of Vernon Blvd and 41st Avenue on January 18th.
His friends and family are raising money so they can create the Hoyt Jacobs Poetry Prize, which would be awarded annually to a student who shows excellence in poetry at Queens College, Jacobs’ alma mater.
Jacobs received his Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) in poetry from Queens College. During his time at Queens College, he served as an adjunct professor for the English department.
The organizers of the fundraiser originally aimed to raise $3,000. However, in just five days there had been 113 donations, raising a total of $6,900.
The fundraiser can be found online at: http://www.gofundme.com/hoytprize.
Jan. 26, Staff Report
The Queens Democratic machine is starting to flex its muscles and is calling for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to be next speaker should Sheldon Speaker be toppled, according to the New York Observer.
Top officials with the Queens Democratic Party are calling Assembly members in Queens, Manhattan and Nassau County to support Nolan, who has represented Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City since 1984.
“Queens is calling around, taking the temperature. They’re pushing Nolan,” an Albany Democratic source to the Observer. “They are floating her in case Shelly is no longer speaker so there’s a quick transfer of power and the body can move on.”
Sources say the Queens machine’s three top deputies–Michael Reich, Frank Bolz and Gerard Sweeney–are calling legislators to figure out what kind of support exists for a potential Nolan candidacy, the Observer reports.
Nolan is reportedly close to Silver and the teachers union, the Observer reports. Nolan has also forged an alliance with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who may look to exert his influence over the city’s Assembly delegation if Silver leaves his post.
Support from Joseph Crowley, the head of the Queens Democratic Party, could mean the full 18-member bloc of Queens lawmakers in the Assembly’s 150 member body would vote for her.
Nolan is regarded as one of the shrewder lawmakers in the body, the Observer reports, and would be the first woman ever elected speaker in New York, no small significance to female Assembly members.
Nolan could not be reached for this article.
Meanwhile, Silver, who is trying to hang onto the speaker role as he fights federal corruption charges, is expected to announce today that the assembly will be jointly run by five Assembly Democrats—one of whom is Nolan.
The other four are Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).
Silver’s move will be deemed temporary, so he can focus on fighting the charges of kickbacks and corruption. However, there is still uncertainty as to whether Silver will be forced out.
25 January, By Christian Murray
A four-story building on 5th Street that sold for a whopping $12 million earlier this month is going to be rehabbed.
The property, located at 47-33 5th Street, is one of the last remaining brick buildings in Hunters Point and that is why the buyer paid a premium for it, real estate experts said.
“The beauty of that building is that it is one of the last of the Mohicans,” said Rick Rosa, a broker with Douglas Elliman who is overseeing the development. The property is located next to 5sl and kitty corner to Duane Reade.
The owner, Eunhasa Corp., plans to gut the building and then make room for about 15 apartments. The property will also have ground floor retail.
Rosa said that the building will be completed in about 18 months and the owner is still determining whether to go condo or rental.
He said that rental prices for studios and 1 brm apartments have reached a point where buying—based on mortgage costs–is only a little higher than renting. However, with two bedroom apartments typically selling for over $1 million, renting is a much more affordable option, Rosa said.
Meanwhile, the corner property on Vernon Blvd and 50th Avenue (49-18 Vernon Blvd) is expected to be completed by spring 2016. The plans call for 15 rental apartments with room for two or three retail spaces, Rosa said.
One of the retail spaces will be occupied by the Butcher Gourmet Deli. The owner of the deli , which is located next door at 49-16 Vernon Blvd, is a co-owner of the site.
Jan. 23, By Michael Florio
A giant size parcel in the heart of Court Square has gone on the market with an asking price of $41.5 million.
The parcel represents an amalgam of seven properties located across the street from the Citigroup Tower.
The parcel is being marketed as “The Court Square Assemblage,” since six adjoining landlords are collectively selling their townhouse buildings.
The property is being marketed in tandem by the Corcoran Group and Modern Spaces.
The “Court Square Assemblage” is 11,145 square feet, according to a Modern Spaces. With zoning, a developer has 167,000 square feet of build able area.
The parcel is zoned for office, retail and mixed use development, according to Modern Spaces.
The portfolio of properties has only been on the market for three days. The buildings are located at 23-10 45th Ave.; 45-03 23rd Street; 45-05 23rd Street; 47-03 23rd Street; 23-14 45th Ave.; and 23-16 45th Avenue.
The sites are near CUNY Law School and are in an area where more than 10,000 new and in-development luxury housing units are located.
For more information, please click here.
Jan. 23, By Christian Murray
Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month.
Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college.
The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat.
The two officers went into action.
Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.
Jan. 21, By Christian Murray
A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square Diner.
The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups.
The sign, however, has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it…such as “Islam stones women to death…” and “Muslims kill homo-sexuals.”
The messages may have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster.
Jan. 21, By Christian Murray
When he’s asked the tough questions, he typically doesn’t duck for cover.
What are your thoughts on 5Pointz? Private property, he responds.
Does it make sense to build over the Sunnyside Yards? Absolutely not.
Do you believe in term limits for community board members? Of course.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who darts from event-to-event, isn’t known for hedging his bets. Instead he is direct, fast on his feet, and very self assured.
It is this self confidence that leads him to release an annual self assessment—or report card—every January. It is a rare concept, since few– if any– other council members do it.
“I like people to know what I’m doing,” Van Bramer often says, who believes that his constituents have the right to know. “I don’t ever want anyone asking ‘What does he do?””
The 15-page report states in large font: “16,554 and counting” referring to the number of constituent cases Van Bramer and his staff have handled during the five years he has been in office. Furthermore, it says that in 2014 he served on six committees—including as chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries–and had a “95.3% attendance record.”
Van Bramer said that he has laid the groundwork for a number of Long Island City projects that will come to fruition this year.
Construction of the Hunters Point Library, which has been bogged down in red tape, is expected to begin this spring. Citi Bike, which has been plagued with problems, will finally be coming to Long Island City, and a segregated bicycle lane on the Pulaski Bridge will be built.
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood, which he funded to the tune of $750,000, is expected to open in Court Square this year—its first branch in Queens.
“Many of these unveilings could all happen at once…which would make for an exciting time,” Van Bramer said. However, he couldn’t predict with certainty the timing of these events.
“We don’t have a firm date as to when Citi Bike will be here…but I expect to have the bikes here in the warm weather,” Van Bramer said. He said that there will be 10 docking stations in Long Island City and Queensbridge with more than 1,000 bikes.
The construction of the segregated bike lane on the Pulaski Bridge is expected to begin in the first half of 2015, he said, with completion toward the end of the year. There have been delays, he said, but he has been assured of this timetable by Dept. of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.
Van Bramer said that 16% of constituent calls involve transportation issues–from public transportation to signage on streets.
He said that in 2014 he helped combat problems such as the dangerous traffic conditions on Center Blvd and 5th Street. He said that he applied pressure on the DOT that led to stop signs going up on Center Blvd at 48th and 49th Avenues–as well as made sure that 5th Street was converted to a one-way street with speed bumps.
“People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families,” Van Bramer said. “There are two parks, two schools and thousands of people who live nearby.”
Van Bramer is a staunch supporter of Vision Zero and was an early advocate for the arterial slow zones on Northern and Queens Blvds. Furthermore, he sponsored the “Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,” a law that recently went into effect that imposes a lofty civil penalty on drivers who flee the scene of an accident.
Van Bramer said that he continues to push ahead with quality of life issues. He said that a dedicated crew of workers are cleaning sections of Long Island City through the Doe Fund.
The Doe Fund program started in Hunters Point in 2013 and was expanded to incorporate a wider area in 2014. It was brought to Dutch Kills last year. Van Bramer said that it’s proven to be a success and he plans to continue funding it.
Van Bramer, who was named Majority Leader at the beginning of last year, said that the position allows him to be a better advocate for the district. For instance, he said, he was in a better position to be able to reach out to the administration in December to let it be known that the Pepsi sign should not lose its place on the “Landmarks Preservation calendar.”
Van Bramer is politically ambitious and does not hide it. He said that he will definitely run for city council one last time in 2017. He would not comment if he had Council speakership goals in mind—or whether a city-wide office would come after that.
“The council speakership was determined over a period of a few weeks [Dec. 2013] so it is way too far away to start thinking about that,” Van Bramer said. “And then another four years after that…anything could happen by then.”
For a full copy of Van Bramer’s report, Please click here
Jan. 20, By Christian Murray
A ground breaking on the Hunters Point Library could happen as early as this spring.
The city has the funding it needs to start construction, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.
“The funding problem has been solved so we can begin construction,” Van Bramer said, although he added that he will have to add funding midway through the 2-year project.
“Hopefully there will be shovels in the ground …and I would hope we could begin construction in the first half of this year.”
Construction of the library, which will be built at Center Blvd/48th Ave (next to Gantry Plaza State Park) was expected to begin in 2013. However, there have been several delays due to the inability of the city to find a contractor willing to build it for the $28.6 million that had been allocated.
The bids came in ranging from $33 million to $42 million and the city had to do some value engineering in order to find a construction company that could build it within budget.
Officials said that they had to get rid of some of the more elaborate features to reduce the cost by about $5 million. They included replacing the aluminum exterior facade with cement and glass; forgoing custom interior fixtures; and going without the geothermal well system.
However, the library will feature a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city skyline, a garden, a gallery, a conference room, a computer center and youth and teen spaces. The 21,500 square-foot facility will be largely a glass and cement structure.
Van Bramer said that while there was some value engineering, the changes would be merely cosmetic. “I think the project that will ultimately be built will be architecturally significant and a spectacular addition to the Hunters Point Community.”
Meanwhile, Mark Christie, who is the president of the Friends of Hunters Point Library, said: “I see this as the crown jewel of the Queens Library system.”
“It’s a beacon for the community—an inspiration for people, which will be a great community center especially as Hunters Point grows,” Christie said.
Jan. 20, By Christian Murray
A large piece of Hunters Point real estate sold earlier this month—next to 5Sl and cater-corner with Duane Reade.
The property, 47-33 5th Street, sold for $12 million and the transaction was filed with the city Friday. The purchaser was Eunhasu Corp., an Elmhurst based real estate firm.
The four-story industrial building is zoned for residential development.
In 2009, the previous owner, 47-33 5th Street Corp, filed plans with the Building Department to construct a six-story structure with 14 units.
The property had been bought by that firm in 2003 for $2.25 million, according to city records.
The chief executive of Eunhasu is Kyu Heung Park.
. Artist's Petition