Tag Archives: Astoria Park

Top five summer activities in Astoria Park


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

Astoria Park is an outdoor urban oasis along the banks of the East River in northwestern Queens. The nearly 60-acre park, located on 19th Street off Ditmars Boulevard, is one of the largest outdoor spaces in the borough, with splendid waterfront views of upper Manhattan, as well as both the Triboro and Hell Gate bridges.

The park is the perfect staycation destination for day trippers, tourists and neighborhood regulars. Here are our picks for the top five best summer events and activities in the western Queens green space.

Astoria Pool
19th Street

This art deco, Olympic-sized swimming pool is the largest in the city, making it the perfect place for city dwellers to cool their heels on a hot summer day. Astoria Pool is free and open to the public from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Sunbathers can soak up rays on the poolside deck while swimmers enjoy splashing around in the shadow of the Triboro Bridge. The pool offers aquatics programs and swimming lessons for youths and adults, as well as a smaller wading pool for beginners.

AstoriaPark1

Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

Special Early Bird and Night Owl swim hours are also available through the Adult Lap Swim Program, which allows swimmers to focus on fitness and swim technique. First-, second- and third-place prizes will be awarded to men and women who have completed the most lengths until Friday, Aug. 7. For more information or to register, click here.

New World Queens Festival
Astoria Park Great Lawn
Saturday, Aug. 29, noon to 9 p.m.

astoriamusicandarts

Photo via Astoria Music and Arts Facebook page

This free outdoor festival presented by Astoria Music and Arts will feature over 60 musical acts and visual artists with the goal of raising eco-awareness. Artists range from bossa nova, reggae, ska, R&B, rock, psychedelic, Americana, indie, funk, blue grass and Afro-Cuban bands. There will also be DJs, a pie-eating contest sponsored by Astor Bake Shop and Little Club Heads, a family dance party experience for children 1 to 12 years old, a dance tent featuring Sol Dance Studios, a puppet show by WonderSpark from Raising Astoria, and a giant Kaiju Big Battle Monster. There will also be an on-site outdoor exhibit featuring the work of over 30 visual artists, sculptors and painters. The event is family- and pet-friendly.

Pack a picnic 

Butcher Bar

Photo courtesy of Butcher Bar

Escape the concrete jungle for an afternoon without ever having to leave Queens. With its jaw-dropping views of the city and the East River, Astoria Park is the perfect, picturesque picnic spot. Picnic essentials include a large blanket or quilt, sunscreen, a Frisbee, a good book, cloth napkins and trash bags for post-picnic cleanup. The key to a well-stocked picnic basket is to start with locally made, handheld favorites. Stop by Butcher Bar and pick up the “PBLT” sandwich ($10.99), featuring grilled smoked pork belly, the Philly cheese brisket ($13.49) or its saucy, braised pulled BBQ chicken ($10.99) topped with coleslaw, onions and pickles. Pair these delectable sandwiches with one of its all-natural sodas, lemonade or famous Butcher Bar iced tea.

Movies on the Waterfront
Astoria Park Great Lawn

Photo courtesy of the Facebook page of Give Me Astoria

Photo via Give Me Astoria Facebook page

Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and some ice cream and head over to the Great Lawn in Astoria Park this summer for the Monday night Movies on the Waterfront series organized by Central Astoria LCD. Check out “Frozen” (August 3), “How to Train Your Dragon” (Aug. 10), “Ghostbusters” (Aug. 17) and “The Incredibles” (Aug. 24) on a big screen under the stars. Movies start at 8:30 p.m. on the Great Lawn, located off Shore Boulevard between the Hell Gate Bridge and Astoria Pool. The series is sponsored by nearby Kaufman Astoria Studios and admission is free.

Pop an ollie!
Astoria Skate Plaza
Hoyt Avenue at 19th Street

Photo courtesy of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation

This 21,500-square-foot skate park is located at the southern end of Astoria Park, directly under the Triboro Bridge. Astoria Skate Plaza features multiple levels with stairs, rails, banks and ledges of varying heights and sizes. The park was created by Who Skates, a leader in municipal, urban skate park design, and features an open design that allows for a free-form style of skating. Although an attendant will be provided during official hours of operation, skaters will need to sign a special waiver with the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation before hitting the rails.

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Councilman starts petition for traffic safety improvements surrounding Astoria Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Katrina Medoff

After the life of a 21-year-old woman was cut short last month on her way home, one local politician is putting his foot down and asking Astoria residents to join the fight to bring safety improvements in and around Astoria Park.

Councilman Costa Constantinides started a petition Monday calling for improvements to be made on streets such as Shore Boulevard, Ditmars Boulevard, 19th Street and Hoyt Avenue South.

“The streets surrounding Astoria Park are a dangerous stretch for pedestrians. The corridor is used by many families and children on the way to the park. All the while, many motorists race to and from the park at high rates of speed. A recent hit-and-run death that occurred in the area shows that we need better traffic safety,” Constantinides said. “We have made great strides recently in calming traffic in Astoria through safety improvements on 21st Street south of Hoyt Avenue and through the upcoming slow zone south of Astoria Boulevard. That’s why I have started a petition to support traffic improvements on the streets in and around Astoria Park. I look forward to working with DOT to make Astoria a safer place to live.”

The petition comes after Betty DiBiasio was struck on June 28 by a car as she was crossing a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 19th Street, just blocks from her home.

The car, which was being driven by 24-year-old Astoria resident Nicholas Colleran, drove through a stop sign and then struck DiBiasio, according to officials.

Colleran allegedly called 911 about an hour after the accident to report that his car had been stolen and in his vehicle theft investigation report claimed it had been taken from a parking lot in the back of his residence. The vehicle was discovered in another location in Astoria with a broken windshield and driver’s side-view mirror, and a damaged driver’s side front fender.

There also appeared to be blood and hair in the driver’s side windshield, where it was broken, and, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown, was consistent with a vehicle striking a pedestrian and the pedestrian hitting the windshield.

Colleran then turned himself into the police where he admitted that he had two beers before driving and striking DiBiasio and then leaving the scene.

He was charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting a death, third-degree falsely reporting an incident, failure to stop for a stop sign, driving by an unlicensed operator, failure to exercise due care and a violation of the city’s administrative code.

To sign Constantinides’ petition, click here.

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Swingtime Big Band to perform as part of Astoria Park concert series


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES file photo

BY KIRSTEN E. PAULSON

Swingtime Big Band will be performing swing-era music in Astoria Park on July 16 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the annual Central Astoria Local Development Coalition’s 2015 Waterfront Concert Series, which offers free weekly concerts through mid-August.

This 20-piece group, directed by Steven Shaiman, will play authentic recreations of the timeless swing music of Big Band leaders such as Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington and more.

According to the band’s website, the ensemble specializes in performing original arrangements of classic Big Band music, and bringing the style and spirit of the genre to life for 21st-century audiences. In 2007, the Big Band Hall of Fame recognized Swingtime as ambassadors of big band music for their efforts in “perpetuating, promoting and performing with integrity the sounds of the Big Band Era.”

Swingtime Big Band has performed in notable venues such as the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, the Plaza Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria and Tavern on the Green.

The event is free and will take place on the Great Lawn of Astoria Park on Shore Boulevard, between the Hell Gate Bridge and the Astoria Pool. Attendees are advised to bring their own chairs or blankets.

Performances will continue on Thursday evenings from July 23 through August 13 and will feature Michael Patrick’s Ring of Fire Band, Time Was, Dancin’ Machine and Spitfire.

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Free summer festival featuring more than 60 performers coming to Astoria Park


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Astoria Music & Arts

Astoria Park will shine bright next month during a day-long festival featuring more than 60 live performers, visual artists and activities for all ages.

The nonprofit Astoria Music & Arts, which is committed to supporting the diverse artistic community throughout Astoria and Long Island City, will be holding the New World Queens Festival on Aug. 29 at Astoria Park.

From noon to 9 p.m., visitors will be able to enjoy the free event that will feature live music, visual arts, dancers, performance artists and interactive children’s events.

Music during the festival will include bossa nova, reggae, ska, R&B, rock, psychedelic, Americana, indie, funk, blue grass and Afro-Cuban.

“For over seven years, AM&A has brought music, art, dance, theater, comedy and film to the Astoria community, and this summer at Astoria Park we will be throwing the greatest music and arts festival in Astoria,” said Doris Cellar, director of operations for Astoria Music and Arts.

The festival, which is pet-friendly and will focus on eco-awareness, is also expected to feature a pie-eating contest by Astor Bake Shop, and a family fun dance party experience, sponsored by Little Club Heads, for children ages 1 to 12 and their parents.

Visitors will also be able to find a dance tent featuring Sol Dance Center, a puppet show by Wonder Spark from Raising Astoria, a giant Kaiju Big Battel monster and more.

For more information, email astoriamusicarts@gmail.com or visit www.astoriamusicandarts.org or www.facebook.com/Astoriamusicandarts.

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Enjoy an early Independence Day fireworks show on the Astoria waterfront


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/File photo

Fireworks will light up the evening sky over Astoria on June 30, during the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition (LDC)’s Annual Independence Day Celebration on Astoria Park’s waterfront.

The celebration will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is sponsored by the Central Astoria LDC with the support of Councilmen Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer, the city Department of Cultural Affairs and corporate sponsors including NRG and Kaufman Astoria Studios.

Thousands of spectators are expected to sprawl across the Astoria Park Great Lawn between the RFK-Triborough and Hell Gate bridges to enjoy the fireworks extravaganza. The show includes patriotic and Big Band music from the professional solider-musicians of the United States Military Academy’s the West Point Band.

The West Point Band is the Army’s oldest musical organization that provides world-class music to educate, train and inspire. They have showcased at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. West Point Band vocalist Master Sergeant Mary Kay Messenger will sing the National Anthem.

After the performance, the skies over the East River will light up with a fireworks display presented by the Grucci Family, bringing the crowd to its usual flag-waving frenzy of patriotism and American pride.

The annual Independence Day Celebration is part of Central Astoria’s 33rd Annual Waterfront Concert Series at Astoria Park which accompanies the summer season of events there, including the Carnival and the Movies on the Waterfront Series.

For more information or directions to the concert, contact the Central Astoria LDC by emailing info@centralastoria.nyc, calling 718-728-7820 or clicking here.

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Astoria group turns to community to raise money for film project


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy of Astoria Stand Up

One Astoria organization is turning to the diverse community it calls home to help release a film and soundtrack addressing the issue of social inequality in today’s world.

Astoria Stand Up was formed a little over a year ago and was born out of the idea of a short film called “Astoria Park,” written and directed by Paras Chaudhari and Chrysovalantis Stamelos.

Chaudhari and Stamelos, now Astoria residents, came up with the concept of the film in 2003 while they were students at Syracuse University and had the idea of creating a movie set in a basketball court, where opposing sides clashed heads.

However the “purpose” of the film wasn’t discovered until Chaudhari and Stamelos moved to Astoria and, as a South Asian American and Greek American, they decided to focus the script on examining the hatred and inequalities faced in a neighborhood as diverse as Astoria.

“As soon as the concept of the film happened we knew it would be a New York City film,” Chaudhari said. “Astoria Park represents this one big place in the neighborhood that no matter who you are and where you come from, you come to this place to relax and be with the community.”

What began as a four-minute music video turned into a half-hour short film following two enemies divided by their cultures and desires to own the right to a local basketball court. These two characters come into contact with other characters who also struggle with issues in sexuality, racism, identity, faith and how the problems are dealt with on and off the court.

“We weren’t seeing fair and accurate representation of ourselves in the mainstream media. Not only was it not fair, it was also dangerous representation,” Chaudhari said. “We wanted to take a gritty look at the socio-cultural shift that is continuing to happen and pick up especially in this neighborhood.”

The short film has since been featured at film festivals and has made headlines throughout the world.

However, for the writers, there was still more to do and after having spent some time trying to find private investors to fund the film they decided to instead turn to the community they represent – which is where Astoria Stand Up was born.

The group has since become a platform for underrepresented perspectives and communities and movement of artists fighting social inequalities simply by coming together and representing the change they want to see, according to Chaudhari.

“Astoria Stand Up has become its own entity and will continue to be a platform for underrepresented perspectives,” he said.

The group started a Kickstarter campaign last month to fund their project called “Harmony & Dissonance,” which looks to make “Astoria Park” into a feature film and also put together a soundtrack for the movie. The campaign has a goal set at $300,000 and ends on June 21.

The soundtrack, which will be called “Harmony Session” and includes ten tracks, will bring together poets and musicians of diverse backgrounds to collaborate on tracks that each will represent an act of social change.

A percentage of each track sold will then go toward an organization that is “making a difference in the world.”

Chaudhari added that he wants anyone interested in making a donation or anyone who has questions to reach out to the group because the main goal throughout the process has been to involve the community.

“For anyone that participates in this they are more than participants,” he said. “The people who contribute to this will be the ones that say, ‘Hey, I made this happen.’”

To donate to the Kickstarter, click here. For more information on Astoria Stand Up, visit www.astoriastandup.com.

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Experience a world of fun at Astoria Park international fest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most diverse neighborhoods in the “World’s Borough” will celebrate later this month the cultural traditions of its residents.

The Central Astoria Local Development Corporation (LDC) will hold the first Celebrate Astoria! International Cultural Fest on May 30 from noon to 5 p.m. on Astoria Park’s Great Lawn. It is free and open to the public, though guests are asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

The lineup features song, music and dance reflecting the many different ethnicities of Astoria residents, such as Dahdoo-Music of North Africa and the Middle East; the Bangladeshi Dance Troupe; Spanish Flamenco dance from the American Bolero Company; the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company;  Pontion Society Komninoi Dancers; Ayazamana Cultural Center’s Ecuadorian Dance; Issa Cabrera songs from Brazil; the Japanese Folk Dance Institute;  Niall O’Leary Irish Step Dancers; Banatual Romanian Folklore Dance; and Filippo with the Songs of Italy.

“We are excited to be the recipient of this grant. We thank Council member Constantinides for his vision in bringing an International Cultural Fest to Astoria, the personification of an immigrant community with its kaleidoscope of people from every part of the world,” said Central Astoria LDC Executive Director Marie Torniali. “Presenting so many cultural traditions on one stage in Astoria Park, celebrating Astoria, is an opportunity to showcase traditions of many different ethnic groups. This event also complements our 30-plus-year tradition of bringing the American music tradition to multicultural audiences. We hope to make this an annual event.”

The Central Astoria LDC holds many other events in Astoria Park, including the Astoria Park Carnival, Independence Celebration, Waterfront Concerts and Movies on the Waterfront.

Constantinides provided funding for the Celebrate Astoria! event through the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs Immigrant Initiative, which aims to provide cultural programs across the five boroughs.

For more information, call 718-728-7820 or click here.

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Astoria Park Alliance hosts It’s My Park Day


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alina Suriel

The Astoria Park Alliance hosted their community’s It’s My Park Day on Sunday, and talked to local parents about what upgrades they would like to see in Charybdis Playground.

One of the biggest focuses of this year’s It’s My Park Day at Astoria Park was increasing support for a possible expansion of the playground and ascertaining which aspects of the park are most in need of upgrading. Parents were invited to rank their choices for possible upgrades on a vision board with multiple categories that had options for park activities and programming, playground equipment, safety features and amenities.

Many parents expressed specific concerns about the restrooms at Charybdis Playground, saying that they can usually be found locked or too dirty to use.

Anthony Liberatoscioli, a volunteer with the Astoria Park Alliance who uses the park with his 4-year-old daughter, said that he wants to see the playground grow as Astoria becomes more and more popular for growing families.

“More and more families are coming to Astoria. They really need a place to come,” said Liberatoscioli.

Martha Lopez-Gilpin, co-chair of the Astoria Park Alliance, stressed that it was especially important to educate parents on the capital budgeting process through which city projects get funded, and how this affects the advocated park expansion. According to Lopez-Gilpin, it could take anywhere from three to five years for the project to see fruition, and several million dollars.

“It is hard to be patient, but it’s important that we go through this process well because we want to have the best playground possible,” said Gilpin.

Educational activities were also provided for children during It’s My Park Day, and each proved to be a hit with local tykes of all ages. A large group continuously colored and scribbled on an outline drawing provided by Charles Basman of Arthouse Astoria, a local conservatory that offers music and painting classes at an affordable rate. Volunteers also were teaching how to transplant and care for small flowering plants which the children were able to take home to keep.

Councilman Costa Constantinides said that the event was an important outlet for residents to share their input on their experiences with the park and what improvements need to be made.

“Having days like this is so important,” Constantinides said. “It’s giving residents of this neighborhood an opportunity to talk about what they want for their park.”

The It’s My Park program is a citywide, year-round initiative organized by the City Parks Foundation, a nonprofit that creates programs in parks throughout all five boroughs of New York City. The “It’s My Park” program engages over 400 groups annually in hands-on service projects and events, including cleaning up litter in parks, raking leaves and painting benches. Service projects also often feature free, family-oriented activities such as tennis lessons, face painting and historic house tours.


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Flyers score big in their Diocesan meet


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy St. Margaret's/Resurrection Flyers.

The St. Margaret’s/Resurrection Flyers brought the speed this weekend at Astoria Park, during the Diocesan meet.

The top performer of the day was senior girl Karolina Niepokoj, who, besides winning the gold medal, broke a 20-year-old record in the 800-meter run by four seconds. The new time to beat by a senior girl is 2:33 in the event.

Also receiving gold medals were junior girl Zara McPartland and bantam boy Ricky Hubert for their performance in the 800-meter run. Other gold medal winners were senior girl Aniara Higgins and senior boy Luc Cathersal for the running long jump, novice boy Andrew Kelly for the 400-meter run and novice girl Olia Higgins for the 100-meter run.

Diocesan victories and gold medal recipients for relays were junior girls Nina Allen and Shauna Hurson; senior girl Rebecca Hurson; junior boys Owen Kelly and John Boger; and senior boy John Ostling for their performances in the 400-meter medley.

Silver medal winners included novice girl Leana Ruiz for the 400-meter run, senior boy Daniel Longcar for the 200-meter run, novice boy Josiah Boulet for the 100-meter run and novice boy Kevin Isca for the 50-meter run. Senior boy Brian Kelly won the silver for the running long jump.

Receiving silver for their 800-meter medley relay race were bantam boys Kacper Niepokoj, Victor Osling, Robert Geraci and Shane Rooney.

Bringing home the bronze was senior girl Ciara Roche for her performance in the 800-meter run, as well as novice girl Aileen Mitritonda and novice boy Unai Higgins for their 400-meter run. Peewee boy Anthony Pedicini also received a bronze medal for his 50-meter run. Other bronze medal recipients for the running long jump were bantam girl Mackenize Collin and bantam boy Kevin Girdusky.

Winning the bronze for their performance in the 800-medley relay race were junior girls Zara Nafaa, Lili Cathersal, Bryanna Hurson and Jayde Sabin.

Also receiving medals for their tremendous efforts in their 100-meter races were senior girl Ellen McGovern, bantam girl Athalia Mulligan and novice girls Catherine Roche and Nora Olmo. Bantam boy Joshua Rivera received a medal for his great effort in his 50-meter run.

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Flyers impress at Astoria Park meet


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy St. Margaret's/Resurrection Flyers.

The St. Margaret’s/Resurrection Flyers brought home five gold medals in the Ray Suarez Memorial Meet at Astoria Park last weekend.

Novice boy Andrew Kelly won the gold in the 400-meter run, while novice girl Olaia Higgins took the gold for the 100-meter run. Winning gold medals for the running long jump were bantam girl Mackenize Collin, senior girl Ainara Higgins and senior boy Luc Cathersal.

The silver medal winners included bantam boy Ricky Hubert for his performance in the 400-meter run and novice boy Josiah Boulet for the 100-meter run. For the 800-meter run, the Hurson sisters, Rebecca and Bryanna, brought home silver.

Other silver medal recipients were junior girls Nina Allen, Lili Cathersal, Claire Rooney and Shauna Hurson for the 800-meter relay race. The Flyers’ last silver medal winner was senior boy Brian Kelly for the running long jump.

Novice girl Aileen Mitritonda and novice boy Unai Higgins earned the bronze medal in the 400-meter run. Caira Roche also won the bronze for her performance in the 800-meter run.

The Flyers other medal recipients were; bantam girl Emily Browne for the 400-meter run and junior boy Owen Kelly for the 800-meter run. Receiving medals for the 100-meter run were bantam girl Athalia Mulligan and senior boy Joshua Boulet.

Novice girls Nora Olmo and Kate Lynagh put in great efforts in the 100-meter run. Other flyers who gave a tremendous effort were bantam boy Shane Rooney in the 400-meter run, junior boy Joseph Browne in the 800-meter run and junior boy John Boger for the running long jump.

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Five smallest condos in Queens for sale  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy StreetEasy and Modern Spaces

Condos are becoming more popular in western Queens neighborhoods, such as Long Island City and Astoria, as developers seek to maximize profits in a market with increasing land values and high construction costs.

In an effort to keep homes prices lower, developers are building smaller condos in buildings with more amenities and common spaces.

Studio condos are naturally smaller apartments and although these homes typically don’t offer enough space for families, it could be right for individuals or first-time homebuyers.

Here is a list of the five smallest condos on the market in Queens now, which was provided by the data team at StreetEasy.com. Not surprisingly, they are all studios in western Queens, and building amenities play a big role in the prices.

1. 14-43 28th Ave., #4B, Astoria

For: $329,000
Size: 400 square feet
Broker: Azure Realty NY LLC

This studio unit in The Astorian, a five-story, 10-year-old building with 38 units, comes with a private balcony, stainless steel appliances and — here’s the best part — a fold-up Murphy bed. It is a short walk away from the N and Q train station on 30th Avenue, which is approximately a 15-minute ride to Manhattan. The building also has a rooftop common space for events and barbecues with views of the neighborhood.


2. 25-40 Shore Blvd., #7, Astoria

For: $475,000
Size: 475 square feet
Broker: Markou Living LLC

Another studio in Astoria takes second place, but this apartment is in Shore Towers — a 23-floor, 407-unit amenity-laden building near the waterfront with views of Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. The building comes with a fitness room, indoor pool, free parking, tennis courts, a 24-hour doorman, and a free shuttle bus to and from the Astoria Blvd. N and Q train station — making for a 20-minute commute to Manhattan. Not to mention, it is also close to Astoria Park. Not far away from the building, the Durst Organization is set to revitalize the area for its mega Hallets Point development, which could increase prices in the neighborhood as demand increases.


3. 11-25 45th Ave., #2H, Long Island City

For: $619,000
Size: 479 square feet
Broker: Modern Spaces

Although listed as having just 479 square feet, as a disclaimer, the actual size of this studio unit in the Hunters Point section of Long Island City, is 946 square feet when including its massive balcony. The exterior space is the key to this home’s value. The owner of this unit will have the space to host get-togethers on this large private outdoor deck. The unit is in a six-story building called One Murray Park, which has 45 units. It is located across from Murray Playground and features a fitness center, a common roof deck, a library and bike storage. There is a variety of public transit lines nearby, including the G, E, M and 7 train lines at the Court Square subway station.


4. 44-27 Purves St., #6E, Long Island City

For: $519,000
Size: 484 square feet
Broker: Blu Realty Group

There are a few buildings under construction or planned for Purves Street, a dead-end strip off Jackson Avenue, such as a 35-story, eco-friendly rental with commercial space on the ground floor. But 44-27, a 14-story building with 64 units, was built nearly a decade ago on Purves Street before Long Island City became as hot as it is now. In 2006 the 6E unit was listed for about $262,000. In a telltale sign of how hot the neighborhood is, today it’s about double the price. The unit features a 50-square-foot balcony with large windows and has a washer and dryer hook-up. The building offers a range of amenities, such as free Wi-Fi, a gym, a sauna, a children’s playroom, a bike room and a roof deck. It is near the G, E, M and 7 train lines at the Court Square subway station.


5. 5-27 51st Ave., #4H, Long Island City

For: $605,000
Size: 490 square feet
Broker: Nest Seekers

The final condo on this list comes from the newest building. Five27, a five-story, 27-unit building in Long Island City, was completed in 2012. The unit features oak wood flooring and large windows for lots of natural light, and comes with a dishwasher and washer and dryer. Building amenities include a doorman, an outdoor common terrace, bike storage, a fitness center and a lounge for relaxing or hosting parties. Living in this unit would also put the owner close to Manhattan, which is one stop away on the 7 train.

 

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Homeless Queens woman sentenced for 2010 Astoria Park beating, strangulation


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


A 33-year-old homeless woman has been sentenced to 17 years to life in prison for her role in the 2010 fatal beating and strangulation of a 32-year-old man in Astoria Park, according to the Queens district attorney.

Kelly Harnett, whose last known address was in Astoria, was convicted of second-degree murder and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and sentenced on Thursday at the Queens Supreme Court.

“The defendant, along with a male co-defendant, brutally attacked a 32-year-old man in the park. The victim was robbed of his wallet and viciously beaten and choked to death,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. “This willful act of violence warranted a lengthy prison term.”

According to Brown, on July 7, 2010, at about 4 a.m. Harnett, together with Thomas Donovan, attacked the victim, Ruben Angel Vargas, by choking him manually and also with a shoelace from Harnett’s sneaker. Vargas was then kicked repeatedly in the head and torso and his wallet was taken while he lay motionless on the ground.

Donovan pleaded guilty in 2010 to first-degree manslaughter and is currently serving 15 years in prison.

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Astoria man with signs of Alzheimer’s missing for over a week


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police and family members are searching for a 63-year-old man who suffers from various mental disorders after he went missing from near his Astoria home last week without shoes or a jacket.

Philip Arabadjis, who is about 5 feet 11 inches tall, 290 pounds, and has brown and grey hair, was last seen near his home on 20th Avenue and 20th Street on Feb. 12 wearing a blue flannel shirt with black sweatpants, according to police. He has a medical history of schizophrenia, diabetes and signs of Alzheimer’s.

According to a missing poster, Arabadjis, who has no identification on him, is not aware of where he lives or his name and may be unresponsive to questions and look lost.

People are asked to check buildings, alleyways, or other possible places that can serve as hiding spots. He also enjoys walking in Astoria Park. 

Arabadjis’ daughter, Heather, has set up a Facebook page for her father called “Findphil” where she posts updates on the search for her dad. 

Poster via Findphil Facebook page

Poster via Findphil Facebook page

On Thursday, she posted that she has checked homeless shelters and hospitals. She also added that if her father is not found by Friday, she plans to organize a search for him on Saturday.

“I can’t say this enough, but I feel warm inside because of all the help and support I am getting from my friends and new people I have been meeting,” she wrote on Facebook. 

A $10,000 reward is been offered for any information that leads to finding Arabadjis. 

If you have any information call 911 or the 114th Precinct at 718-626-9335 with case #2015-349 or complaint report #2015-114-01280.

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Man arrested for shooting friend from Italy in Astoria Park: DA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

CrimeSceneTapeHC1010_L_300_C_R-624x416

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 3, 9:34 a.m. 

An Astoria man killed a friend who was visiting from Italy during an argument in a neighborhood park Saturday afternoon, shooting him in the back of the head, officials said.

“The defendant is accused of taking the life of a friend who was seeking his help in starting a new life in this country,” District Attorney Richard Brown said.

William Klinger, 42, of Rome, Italy, and his friend Alexander Bonich, 50, were inside Astoria Park, located at 19th Street and 23rd Road on Saturday afternoon when they began to argue, Brown said.

Klinger tried to walk away when Bonich allegedly told him to stop, but Klinger ignored him. That’s when Bonich shot him in the back in the head, the district attorney’s office said. Klinger fell to the ground and his pal shot him once more in the head.

According to published reports, Bonich killed Klinger, a Communist historian and fellow Croatian national, over a failed real estate deal in Italy.

Bonich then allegedly ditched the clothing he been wearing along with his weapon, ammunition and spent shells. He got rid of the antique revolver he used to kill his friend by tossing it in the East River, reports said.

Cops found Klinger’s body about 2:30 p.m. that day near the park’s pool, police said. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Bonich, an Astoria resident, is currently being held pending arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on charges of second-degree murder, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and tampering with physical evidence, according to the district attorney’s office. If convicted, he faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

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Astoria face and body painter brings out inner child with colorful designs


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of The Cheeky Chipmunk

For one Astoria artist, your face is her canvas.

Lenore Koppelman, 39, is the owner and artist behind The Cheeky Chipmunk, where she has turned face and body painting into living, breathing art.

Born in Queens and raised in New Orleans, La., Koppelman recalls that it was a tradition for her and her family to go to the French Quarter every Sunday after breakfast and get their faces painted. Koppelman said that every Sunday morning she would talk about what she would get painted on her face that day.

As she grew up, she went to college for interior design, and her inner knack for art and creativity followed her throughout the years.

Having lived in Forest Hills from when she was 3 to 6 years old, Koppelman decided to return to Queens eight years ago, and she made the move to Astoria. But her decision to make a career change did not happen until just last year.

While on a walk by Astoria Park with one of her best friends, Pamela Bob, Koppelman pondered over what her true calling was. Realizing that she loved art and loved working with people, she put the two together.

“We both realized at that moment [the face painting business] was going to happen. So I just felt this wave of calm come over me, like I had finally figured out what I was here to do,” Koppelman said. “I got goosebumps and said, ‘I am going to be a face painter.’”

She began painting her friend’s children’s faces for free and realized that something was missing.

“I was terrible. I was really bad. I had no idea how difficult face painting was. I think a lot of parents think, ‘How hard can it be?’” she said. “I then said, if I’m going to really do this, I’m going to have to learn how to do this.”

She began practicing, on herself and others, and reached out to the face painting industry. Koppelman said she was surprised to see the unity in the face and body painting community and she began attending workshops, and meeting other face painters at “jams.”

Koppelman also signed up for an online community called FABA (Face and Body Art) TV, where instructors from around the world share tutorials and tricks on design ideas. She also attended a workshop called Face Painting University and got to learn from professionals in the industry who had appeared in shows such as Skin Wars and Face Off.

“It really took wanting this so badly in order for me to really commit to learning it. This was a whole other level of passion and want. And aside from my little boy and husband, I couldn’t think of anything else I’m more passionate about,” Koppelman said.

Since taking the classes and becoming involved in the community, Koppelman said she felt an increase in confidence. Since September, she has been starting to book more gigs painting faces and bodies, and she even dabbles in maternity belly paintings.

The decision to name the business The Cheeky Chipmunk came from a childhood nickname given to her by her parents and her love for alliteration. She’s now busy offering face and body painting for almost any occasion, from birthdays to corporate events.

Koppelman has also spent her time volunteering for different organizations and events, most recently at a fundraiser held at an Astoria bar called The Quays for a local boy suffering from a rare blood disorder.

She said her favorite moment is the reveal—the moment when a child or adult opens their eyes after sitting patiently through the painting process just trusting her.

Although she is constantly learning and changing designs to meet the latest fads, Koppelman said she still can’t believe she is finally doing what she loves as a career. She hopes to one day publish a book with all her paintings done on her own face and start doing paintings on things in New York she would like to celebrate.

“It’s all about having fun and getting in touch with something inside of you that is magical and youthful and free,” Koppelman said. “Nothing horrible will come of it; it’s paint, it washes off, and it’s a good time. I would love to see more people find that kid inside that just wants to be free. Let the glitter fly free.”


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