New StreetWise Blog:
Hustle and bustle in Howard Beach


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Howard Beach is a dynamic southern Queens neighborhood with more than 100 years of history in the borough.

With nearby waterways, Howard Beach appears to be separated from the hustle and bustle of the city at times, but at other times Cross Bay Boulevard can be a Metropolis unto itself.

It is bordered by Ozone Park and Richmond Hill to the north; Broad Channel and Jamaica Bay to the south; South Ozone Park and John F. Kennedy International Airport to the east; and Spring Creek Park and Brooklyn to the west.

BUSINESS AND TRANSPORTATION

Russo’s on the Bay

Located at 162-45 Cross Bay Boulevard, one of the most well known establishments in Howard Beach gained its notoriety without advertisements, thriving merely on reputation and word of mouth.

Russo’s on the Bay opened in 1987 and is owned by Frank Russo Jr., who worked under his father at the Villa Russo, a family run catering business, in Richmond Hill. It provides catering services as well as several venues for hosting a variety of occasions.

“We host for all kinds of engagements, both social and corporate,” said a manager at Russo’s. “Brides especially like our venues because they offer the ability to a make a ‘Grand Entrance’; such has arriving in a glass elevator or down a Broadway style staircase.”

“We pride ourselves in our quality of food and service,” continued the manager. “Over one hundred staff members work each day to provide the best possible experience.”

Russo’s is also known for its specialty dishes: ossobuco and duck a la range. It also sports an In-house bakery.

Russo Jr. is also opening a new establishment, called Vetro, which will be a sit down Italian restaurant, but will also sport a wine cellar and a rooftop cocktail lounge.

For more information, visit \http://www.russosonthebay.com/.

Tattoos for all at Studio Enigma

“From cops to soccer moms” is what describes the diversity of clientele that roll through the Studio Enigma Tattoo Parlor on 158-36 Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach. Established roughly nine years ago, Studio Enigma possesses a reputation for their artists having specialties.

“J Bizz,” a resident artist at the shop specializes in Japanese Art while his partner “Ninja” is known for his skills with classic black and grey work.

What sets Studio Enigma apart from other shops according to “J Bizz,” is that “there are always two people here with knowledge of the designs, ready to rock and roll,” not to mention that they are also very reasonable with prices. In addition to reasonably-priced ink, “J Bizz” emphasizes that, “we’re open 12-12 seven days a week. Our equipment is new and super sterile”

This shop serves host to many local clients as well as people from Brooklyn, Long Island and even Manhattan.

“We tattoo a lot of people around this neighborhood,” Ninja said. “Most of the guys who work over at Gino’s come here to get their tattoos. Most of the people work around here have come through.”

Everybody knows Frank the pharmacist at Cross Bay Chemist

Amid the massive expansions of large pharmacy retail chains, the Cross Bay Chemist is still standing tall. Manager Kasia Pantina says that the store’s success is largely based on “customer service, nothing but customer service.”

Unlike some of the larger franchises, this community pharmacy that has been in existence since August 2004 is willing to go that extra mile for customers, its operators say.

“We offer free pickup and delivery and keep credit cards on file,” said Kasia.

At the Cross Bay Chemist everybody is on a first name basis and knows resident Pharmacist Frank Pantina.

“You go to CVS one day and they have Joe in the morning and then somebody different in the afternoon. This is a family pharmacy,” said Kasia.

Transportation

Howard Beach is easily reached by car, with its main road being Cross Bay Boulevard. While a car is most convenient for traveling in and out of Howard Beach, a series of busses and trains also make travelling easier.

Both the A train and the AirTrain JFK are sources of transit between Howard Beach and the nearby JFK airport.

The Q21, Q11, and Q41 all travel through the area. The Q21 travels through Rockaway Park, Howard Beach, and Ozone Park. The Q11 runs between Elmhurst and Howard Beach and the Q41 goes from Howard Beach to Elmhurst. There is also the QM15, which provides express transit from Howard Beach to Manhattan, which many use to commute.

During the next few weeks, The Queens Courier will be spotlighting different communities exclusively on its web site examining the different elements of the neighborhoods including schools, business, transportation, crime, housing, recreation, entertainment and nightlife.

Each day, reporters will travel to the area and speak with residents, merchants and visitors about the neighborhood. The reporters will blog about the different aspects of the community at www.queenscourier.com with different entries updated every day.

The Queens Courier invites community members to use this as a platform to voice their compliments, concerns and questions about their neighborhood. Post a comment at the end of each blog entry or email story ideas or tips to editorial@queenscourier.com