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City Planning, in its quest to rezone area, to hold public meeting next week to discuss the retail and cultural environment of Queens Plaza/Court Square

July 21, 2017 By Nathaly Pesantez

The ongoing discussion about the rezoning of a large portion of Long Island City will continue next week with a public workshop hosted by City Planning.

City Planning is analyzing a 50-block section of the Queens Plaza/Court Square area, which most believe is a precursor to a rezoning. As part of its study—aptly titled the LIC Core Study–DCP has been holding meetings to get feedback from residents and stakeholders about the area and what changes are needed.

The next meeting is on Wednesday, July 26 at the Long Island City Community Library (37-44 21st Street). The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

The focus of this meeting will be on the state of retailing, commerce and arts/culture in the core study area and what might improve it.

City Planning along with representatives of the Economic Development Corporation, Small Business Services and the Department of Cultural Affairs will be in attendance, according to Lisa Deller, chair of Community Board 2’s Land Use Committee.

LIC arts and culture institutions will also be present.

The DCP, as part of the LIC Core Study, is examining the area as it looks to promote a mixed-use neighborhood that includes more office space and affordable housing. To date, DCP has received pushback from some residents who oppose a rezoning claiming the area already lacks park space, neighborhood services and infrastructure and an influx of more people would make it worse.

Long Island City was chosen by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration as a target for rezoning back in 2015 as part of his push to increase the number of affordable housing units in New York City.

The likely rezoning is also, in part, a way for DCP to correct what came from the 2001 rezoning of the area. In 2001, DCP aimed to turn Queens Plaza/Court Square into a business center through an upzoning but instead it opened the door to a flood of luxury towers and apartments.

Since the 2001 rezoning, 13,000 apartments have been developed, with only 5 percent of them affordable, according to the DCP.

Much of the discussion about the possible rezoning to date has been about residential development and whether the area has the infrastructure to handle an influx of new people, Deller said.

The July 26 workshop will provide residents with the opportunity to talk about the impact it might have on small businesses and arts and culture.

Workshops will continue through summer and fall 2017.

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Astoria Mom

Reading these posts gives me hope that future ” development” around here can be responsive to community pressure. I keep thinking of the old movie trailer of Soylent Green- an overcrowded NYC with dwindling resources.Someone in the know said that developers will run out of money to play with..who knows?


Jane Jacobs was right. The author defended walkable, diverse Manhattan neighborhoods from the received wisdom of the time, that moving people by car through cities was paramount. A coalition she helped marshal, defenders of intimate neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, ended the attack, and their weapon was zoning for low rise, and the Village becammpreserved sphere. A developers nightmare, but a positive life choice, as a place for children and families of all ages.
It’s our Queens. The positive goal: low rise buildings only, for renewel, and preserve many more older buildings.


Your welcome Patricia Dorfman.. Your post is so right about current and future state of LIC. People like Brooklynmc just don’t get it. They will have no stores either. It does matter if longtime or even people who are here 3-5 years are displaced. Elitism is ruining LIC and the rest of NYC.

Patricia Dorfman

(thank you, mrlic) here is old post on the general topic of the overdevelopment. it is long, sorry

out of whack seemingly are the # of dislikes on comments in licpost which also represent real worry about our future as this article below does, with, admittedly, anecdotal evidence of general concern. but let’s all of all persuasions come juluy 26 to express the pros and cons.

“How Does This Benefit You?
Op Ed by Patricia Dorfman
reprinted with permission of the Woodside Herald. link to article:…/Woodside_Herald_7_7_17.pdf

A report from RentCafe* examined data about 1000 cities in the US, noted that Long Island City has the greatest number of new apartments built, close to 13,000 (more on the way) since 2010. The finding would indicate to many that uncontrolled building, without adequate infrastructure or even planning, or consideration of quality of life, is worse than we thought. Is there a plus for us who are not out-of-area speculators, giant real estate brokers, lawyers doing deals, developers or owners? No.
MORE BUSINESS FOR ME? If you are a small to medium-sized business in Queens, such as a supermarket or restaurant in areas where overdevelopment is spreading, you might think, if we get more skyscrapers full of people, at least I will do more business. Has that happened elsewhere in NYC? No, because without the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, at the end of your lease, your location is too valuable to let you keep it.

MORE JOBS? If you are a resident public housing resident, some hear of a bright side such as we will have more jobs or promised training. Have promises been kept elsewhere in NYC? Environmental activist Elizabeth Yiampeirre of Uprose noted promises are not kept. “We just become second class citizens surrounded by rich people.” She suggested we all visit the development in Chelsea to see how life changes for the worse. With the current closing of small firms, there will not be enough “training” to make us the newly employed.
PLANNING: If you have recently moved into LIC, and are enjoying the bustle, hipness, views, and proximity to Manhattan, you might think that more development will not affect you. But do you see a dependable, bigger public transit system planned to handle the population increase? One ferry holds the same number of people as one subway car. Do you see public land being turned into parks for you or your kids? Do you see small businesses you use for daily needs thriving? Do you see traffic and parking getting better? Do you see any housing yet for middle income, poor people or homeless people?

PROPERTY VALUES: If you don’t mind paying for, as the administration calls it, a new city, being built on decking over Sunnyside Yards, because it will increase the value of your property, why? Unless you cash out and move, you will have next door 180 acres of railyard and surrounding land under construction for 20 years, a skyline with 60-story buildings, displacement of current residents and businesses, and an unpleasant density of population. Will your air be cleaner to breathe? Will you have parking, affordable shops, less traffic? How will the new city be powered, Astorian Mitch Waxman asks, new power plants?

BUT ISN’T THIS CITY LIFE? If you think that this is the natural ebb and flow of neighborhoods and cities, poorer people moving out and richer moving in, why is there no place less expensive to move to as in the past? Because NYC in its entirety is being gazed at by developers who think nothing is in their way, and with many of us believing, falsely, that it is “inevitable.” Wrong. We have the vote. And taxpayers will have to pay for the needed infrastructure if built, not developers. We were told that “affordable housing” would be affordable. It is not. When you hear “community stakeholders” or “visioning sessions,” know that that a plan has been made and now it will be presented to you by trying to make you believe you have had a say in it.

WHY NO SMALLER BUILDINGS? If you wonder why developers have asked for rezoning, instead of just rebuilding the current legal height, the reason is that developers are would rather earn the most possible – it is more profitable to get the law changed, that is, rezoning, so as to not just make some money, but a lot. It is more profitable to have gotten “Mandatory Inclusionary Housing” passed which allows lucrative bigger buildings, and 421-A renewed, to avoid property taxes. The Real Estate Board of NY, a lobbyist, has worked for this moment in NYC history, to cash in their chips.

ELECTEDS: If you wonder why the mayor and elected leaders are not taking the strong stands we would like, which favor the people, neighborhoods, small businesses of NYC and not big real estate, the reason is most believe they cannot. They have learned that the funds available to run and win are only available from big real estate, and if they do not comply, their careers are over. They have seen media smears for those taking the long view to save the city.

NON-PROFITS: Many non-profits in NYC rely on public grants, and they, too, think they have to keep silent to survive. What taxpayer-funded structure executive would feel comfortable allowing a “stop overdevelopment” summit, even though most would agree it is crucial public issue?

MEDIA: If you believe that there must not be a big problem because if there were, the big newspapers would let us know, you would be mistaken. The massive amount of advertising money flowing from real estate is too much to pass up.

THE ACTUAL PLAN: Instead of uniting the two cities, rich and poor, as promised, the planning going on is one rich city. At the recent LIC “summit,” most spoke of wider development as “when,” not “if,” according to LIC’s Kenneth Greenberg. A developer, also chairman of the LIC BID, just asked for permission to install 36 feet of wiring to heat half the public sidewalk for his high-rise on Purves St. Why? Presumably, because future luxury dwellers will not mind the higher rent for the amenity. But how will that work out? Homeless people wander within blocks. There is an urgent citywide need for less expensive housing, not luxury. Our taxpayer-paid NYPD will be asked to remove those trying to sleep on the toasty public sidewalk. It is not wrong for the chairman try to make as much as he can from his building. The problem is that it is part of a future that does not include the majority of us now living here or not believing that poorer people will be a concern.

WE CAN CHOOSE A BETTER NYC: Overdevelopment is happening in plain sight, with our permission. While we worry about national news, the land grab of Queens continues and a city that could have been home to all incomes as always. Many of us wrongly believe we can do nothing about it. Why not contact your electeds now and email your community boards? They WANT to hear from us. Let the developers get the approval of the people or stop.
*Cited in Sunnysidepost
**Full disclosure: The author signed the petition to include Councilman Van Bramer on the primary ballot.
photo caption:
“Groups such as Justice for All Coalition in Queens are speaking out. In their LIC march and rally at Queensboro Plaza June 22, speakers urged the need for unity and fairness in city decisions, opposing the BQX, LIC Core Rezoning as planned, Sunnyside Yards decking and in favor of the Small Business Jobs Survival Act. Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer pledged his support, and reiterated his promise to become key sponsor of the SBJSA. “


This public meeting seems akin to closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. As others have said the entire area looks like Blade Runner. Even leaving out the pricing levels and affordability, the level of housing density they’ve allowed LIC to reach far exceeds the local infrastructure. This is city planning that should have occurred 10 years ago. Now they’re attempting to plan their way out of a lack of planning over the last decade. Can’t wait to see what kind of feedback they get from longtime residents who have spent several years living in a 24/7 construction zone and watching every long established local business shut down.


Long time residents have nothing to do with it. Nobody cares who has been here 40 years or who has been here 3 years. It does not matter. Long established businesses shutting down is what happens when neighborhoods change. It is a NYC tradition.


wrong thread, but I agree with you. A trolley around LIC/Astoria would be great! Huge! I don’t mean a multi million dollar line. Some old school bus/trollies. Doing loops. Cost would be minimal.


What they really ought to do is run shuttles to Food Bazaar on Northern Blvd, its within easy walking distance of the complex, but a little tough with a lot of groceries. Big, clean, decently priced supermarket, something that doesn’t elsewhere in LIC.
People can even use the same shuttle to get to the multiplex movie theater (another amenity that doesn’t exist elsewhere in LIC) or to go shopping/eating on Steinway if they don’t feel like a 10 minute walk.


There is an old post on this LICPOST Site about 50% of condos sold in LIC for $1 million, there is a post reprinted from the Woodside herald by Patricia Dorfman. Read it, as she is spot on what will happen if he developers get their rezoning and everything else they want. It is maybe the best article that fully covers what will happen to lower income residents and small businesses along with no planning in LIC for the future. Developers will buy up small businesses as their leases expire etc.. to build their monoliths for rich tenants only. Only 5% of affordable apts have been built out of 13,000 this year. DumBlasio has targeted LIC for Development. Look at the state of our current transit system. It will only get wore with more people on them. Wake up future LIC buyers and current residents before this all comes to fruition.


The FAKE MRLIC wrote the July 21, 2017 post @ 3:26 pm. My take on this is if they get the rezoning for height along with the Trolley to nowhere (BQX) forget about trying to stay in LIC. the developers are running WILD as it is. No planning for all these people will make LIC more crowded than it is right now.


I cannot believe what LIC looks like now, it looks alien and unnatural to me. And like something out of Blade Runner or that old old movie Metropolis. And the city planners suddenly want to discuss the environment with the constituency?


Looks like downtown LA from a distance. Every building is just some glass eyesore without character


The Real MRLIC here: This rezoning means more Luxury buildings without proper planning to make LIC infrastructure more overburdened.


The FAKE MRLIC Jerk is at it again.He is speaking as me on the July 21,2017/3:25 PM post.


Affordable housing = if you can pay the rent or buy the condo it is affordable, if you can’t, bye bye nothing to see here. As it should be.


Fame MRLIC, seriously, why don’t you got to Al Jazeera America? It is an international mecca of troll losers. You can spend your entire day there being completely useless and people will actually vote you up so you don’t have to vote for yourself. We all win!


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