In an effort to keep the community updated on the neighborhood and any new businesses coming down the pipe, the LIC Courier premiers “What’s New” – a rundown of places and people of interest coming soon to western Queens.
At a recent Community Board 2 event, it was revealed that a Planet Fitness will be opening in LIC. The operation will be in the first floor of an existing building at the triangular intersection on Thomson Avenue.
The fitness center will have approximately 16,000 square feet of floor area, including weight machines, aerobic machines, treadmills and bicycles. It will be open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Planet Fitness currently operates about 12 chains in New York City, Astoria, Jamaica and the Bronx.
There are about 200 spaces in the parking garage for the building and there’s also a municipal parking lot across the street near the court house.
The old Lucky Mojo spot on 51st Avenue between Vernon Boulevard and 5th Street is now the home of Alewife Queens, a beer bistro boasting 28 beers on draft and 100 different varieties of bottled beer. Open since October 2, this unique, neighborhood tavern also offers reasonably priced, yet high end, pub fare. Alewife Queen is open Monday through Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 2 a.m. Check out www.alewifequeens.com.
Another long-awaited spot is Alobar, set to open on Vernon Boulevard in mid-November. Owner Jeff Blath said that his establishment will focus on seasonal and locally sourced food, with the fare coming from no further than 100-150 miles away. Expect “from farm to table” new American cuisine. The bar restaurant (located at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard) will also house a quality beer and wine menu. Check out www.alobarnyc.com for more information.
Another fresh new eatery is the Long Island City Gyro Company – a newly opened Greek and Mediterranean restaurant situated at the old La Vuelta spot on 44th Drive. Initial reviews rate this place far above average with mouthwatering lamb, beef, pork and chicken options. Check out www.licgyroco.com or visit them on Facebook for more information.
On the Mexican side of the border, the owners of LIC’s Asian fusion spot, Shi, will soon open Skinny’s Cantina on Center Boulevard. The space has been under construction for a number of months. When it opens, Skinny’s Cantina will offer a casual setting with Mexican cuisine and plenty of margaritas.
The chain gangs are also hard at work in the area – Dunkin Donuts and Subway recently opened spots in the neighborhood.
In the non-food arena, Krypton Neon, which creates custom Neon lighting for all sorts of clients, is moving to a new Hunters Point location on 46th Avenue on November 1. The new building is a larger space and might provide artist and owner Kenny Greenberg with the opportunity to host occasional events. Contact Greenberg at Kenny@neonshop.com for more info.
Another soon-to-be newcomer in LIC is the Wyndham Garden Long Island City Manhattan View Hotel. Located on the corner of Vernon, 9th Street and 44th Drive, the hotel will have 128 guest rooms and a restaurant and bar as well.
Ending where we began, another Community Board 2 meeting revealed a Department of Transportation (DOT) proposal for 37 new parking spots down a center median on 48th Avenue. DOT representatives said the plan would not move forward without the approval of the Board. On that note, it doesn’t look like the plan is going anywhere because almost everyone at the meeting had something negative to say about the proposal.
Many were concerned with safety and environmental hazards that would come along with any parking configuration. Residents were in agreement that they would rather see green solutions in the area – perhaps a tree-lined and grassy median leading to Gantry State Park on the waterfront.
“If you put in 37 parking spots, they’ll fill up and you’ll need 37 more,” said Eric Greenberg, a resident and founder of Green Mountain Graphics in LIC. “But if you put in trees, you get oxygen.”
To learn more about the DOT’s proposal, contact Community Board 2 at 718-533-8773 or visit www.cb2queens.org.