Tag Archives: Astoria

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

IDENTIFY

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: 30th Avenue N train stop in Astoria

WHERE-624x425

 

 

Report: Long Island City, Astoria rental prices fall, borough prices jump slightly


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

Prices are cooling off in the hot Long Island City rental market as values for studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments have dropped considerably since May, according to the September Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Studio prices in the neighborhood have fallen for four consecutive months, from an average of $2,602 in May to $2,293 in September, the report found, while one-bedroom apartments dropped an average of $90 since May. Two-bedrooms in the neighborhood increased slightly in September, but still remain more than $235 less than May’s prices.

The decrease in prices in the neighborhood are due to “a result of a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, which also pointed out that Long Island City still accounts for the highest average rents in the borough in all categories.

Overall rent prices in Queens increased slightly at 0.63 percent to $2,047 in September from $2,034 in August, while apartment inventory also jumped seven percent to 631 units.

However, Astoria, much like its neighbor on the waterfront, saw overall rent prices drop despite trending up in recent months. The overall average rents decreased 5.35 percent in the neighborhood during the month, the biggest decrease in Queens.

Studios saw a notable drop in Astoria, falling 11.04 percent or $205 during the month from $1,860 in August to $1,655 in September.

ASTORIA

A surprising increase came to Rego Park, as studios in the neighborhood stopped months of falling and dramatically increased 17.67 percent to $1,559 in September. The increase, which was exclusive to studios in the neighborhood, is a result of new luxury developments, the study found.

“A notable growth spurt continues to take place in Rego Park,” the report said. “This is the result of newly available units in high-end new developments and conversions led by The Contour at 97-45 Queens Blvd. and, more recently, The Rego Modern at 99-39 66th Ave.”

STUDIO REPORT

The neighborhood with the largest decrease of the month is Flushing, where one-bedroom apartments saw a stark drop of 12.88 percent or more than $220 from $1,762 in August to $1,535 in September.

Click here to see the full report.

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Astoria woman releases Queens food guide


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mark Bennington

One Astoria writer is taking readers on a delicious trip around the borough with her new book.

Andrea Lynn released her fourth food book called “Queens: A Culinary Passport” on Sept. 30, providing a guide to the most diverse borough and the variety of ethnic cuisines it has to offer.

Lynn, who grew up in Alabama and moved to Astoria seven years ago, attended culinary school in New York City and worked as a personal chef.

“Brooklyn gets a lot of hype, Manhattan gets a lot of hype, and it seems like Queens as a whole doesn’t get the same appreciation,” said Lynn, who is now a freelance food writer. “I decided why not try to do a book about it. I was trying to think of things that would let people explore things like I do.”

In the 214-page, fully-illustrated book, Lynn offers a guide to more than 40 restaurants and food stands, chef and restaurant profiles, interviews with establishment owners, and recipes, which Lynn said would help readers bring ethnic dishes home.

“I realized the more you start exploring, the more you find and it seems almost endless,” Lynn said. “I feel like [the book] scratches the surface. It’s a good guide to Queens but there is so much beyond it.”

The book also features ethnic grocery stores, fish markets, delis and more. It also includes “easy-to-follow” subway directions and neighborhood walking tours.

“The common excuse [from outside people] is that Queens is so far away,” Lynn said. “All the excuses that people make, the book troubleshoots the excuses. I tried to make it as accessible as possible.”

She said the hardest part of compiling the book was trying to fit everything because the borough has a lot to offer.

“You can’t get everything represented. There’s so much,” she said.

She also added that after finishing this guide, she hopes other people will also begin to work on food guides to specific neighborhoods in the borough.

“I hope [the readers] will use the book to explore Queens or even to just start making more ethnic dishes at home,” Lynn said. “Or even start learning how diverse the borough really is.”

“Queens: A Culinary Passport” is available on Amazon and bookstores, including the Astoria Bookshop, located at 31-29 31st St.

Lynn will be having a book signing at the Jackson Heights Fall Festival on Oct. 19 at 34th Avenue and 78th Street from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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Whitestone resident petitions again for Metro-North stops in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin

The wheels are turning once again for one Queens resident who hopes to bring more transportation options to the borough.

Ali Fadil, a Whitestone resident who previously lived in Astoria and Jackson Heights, has started an online petition calling on the MTA to bring Metro-North Railroad access into western Queens as part of its plan to expand the line to Penn Station.

In the MTA’s 2015-2019 $32 billion Capital Program, the agency plans a project that would take the Metro-North’s New Haven line directly to Penn Station, adding four new stations in the Bronx. As part of expansion, the line would use existing track, owned by Amtrak, to go directly into Manhattan.

In doing this, the line would go into Queens but without making any stops in the borough.

“Metro-North wants to run trains through Queens but has no interest in serving Queens, especially since western Queens has seen a lot of growth in the past years,” Fadil said.

This is Fadil’s second petition regarding the expanding of Metro-North stops into the borough. In 2012, when he was only 18, Fadil began his initial petition which gathered 263 signatures. He said the support he got the first time around helped him make his plan more specific on what needs to be done.

“I am here to make sure that our communities get what we deserve and Queens shouldn’t be left out in the cold,” said Fadil, who is a senior studying political science and sociology at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. “When it comes to public transportation, it’s Queens that’s the forgotten borough, not Staten Island.”

The 20-year-old’s petition, which started on Monday and as of Tuesday has 44 signatures, calls on the transportation agency to bring the New Haven line to western Queens and also study two locations along the Amtrak line to be considered for stations. The locations are Astoria Boulevard between 41st and 44th streets, and Northern Boulevard at Broadway, which is close to the M and R trains and two local buses.

The petition also calls on Amtrak to make “necessary structural repairs” to the tracks which go over the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria and would be used during the expansion of the Metro-North New Haven line.

According to Fadil, the existing Amtrak line is “falling apart” and in need of repair.

In the capital program, the MTA said the Metro-North expansion would include upgrades to power and signal systems, installing of new track and realigning existing tracks, and replacing railroad bridges to accommodate more trains.

According to an MTA spokesperson, there are no plans to construct a Metro-North station in Queens because it is too costly to build an elevated station for a low ridership.

“If I see something that isn’t being done right, I want to see it done right for people,” Fadil said. “That’s why I do what I do.”

Fadil said he now hopes to get support from local elected officials and leaders to help make his ideas a reality.

To check out the petition, click here.

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Q&A: Modern Spaces VP explains Long Island City commercial market


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Evan Daniel

Evan Daniel joined Modern Spaces in August as the executive vice president of the firm’s new commercial property division. Before landing at the Long Island City-based real estate company, Daniel worked with Massey Knakal since 2006, covering Long Island City and Astoria. Daniel, who has been married for almost a decade and has two children, also enjoys coaching basketball to seventh- and eighth-grade children at Yeshiva of Central Queens.

In a question-and-answer session with The Courier, Daniel explained the current status of the commercial market in Long Island City and the problems it faces. 

Courier: What is the status of the commercial market in Long Island City?

Daniel: “White-hot and crazy. It doesn’t make sense. We are seeing land values that have literally tripled in a year. We shot passed $200 [per buildable square foot] earlier this year and in the best parts of Long Island City you’re seeing $225, $230, $250, and quite frankly people look at it as a bargain. Some people just look at Long Island City as a comparison to Williamsburg and they say ‘Well, in Williamsburg we’re paying $300 or $400 a buildable square foot.’ In Manhattan it’s over a $1,000. So in Long Island City, it looks cheap.”

Courier: Who is investing into the market?

Daniel: “The money coming into Long Island City is mostly foreign capital right now. I’m on the phone almost every night with investors from Shanghai, and they’re 12 hours ahead so you know what, they start their day 8:30 a.m. in the morning, that’s when I’m finishing my day, 8:30 p.m.”

Courier: How are these foreign investments affecting the market?

Daniel: “It keeps prices arbitrarily high. I can tell you the numbers today are much higher than what they should be and there is a lot of product coming on the market and I think right now a lot of speculation. I think there is going to be some sort of correction in the market where these numbers will come back to Earth a little. They probably already would have, if not for the influx of foreign capital.”

Courier: What would you tell someone that owns property in Long Island City now?

Daniel: “I don’t think we are going to $300 a buildable foot. My advice to sellers or owners if you have a development site is to build up when you have financing available, find a partner to build with you or sell it to somebody who is going to build.”

Courier: Now that more people are living in Long Island City, do you see more office and retail developments coming?

Daniel: “If you moved into this market with the first wave of developments six or seven years ago, it was dead at night and weekends. You’re starting to see more influx of retail. We need to see more big-box retail. Retail definitely will come and it should be able to come, because now you have so many people here and you have tremendous amount of jobs, and employees are here during the day, so now you can sustain retail.

“Office is difficult to say. Because it’s needed and it should happen and we are going to get a tremendous amount of demand we hope in the next couple of years as Roosevelt Island continues to build the Cornell Tech campus and that is going to create a lot of tech jobs and more creative jobs instead of more intensive labor jobs. The question is where are they going to go? Because there is no new construction of new office space and there is no incentive for developers to build new office space, because new office space is not as valuable as residential. So if I have a residential zoned area and I am a developer and I now have to pay $200 a buildable square foot, I can’t justify doing an office building. I will make less money on my office building than I would on my rental building.”

Courier: What must happen to get developers building more office space?

Daniel: “The city needs to figure out some sort of incentive to developers, whatever it may be, for somebody to build new offices. If [Long Island City] had these offices it will keep people here and it’ll give people incentive to stay here or come here, which will help the overall market. You will have your office market, you will have your retail market, and you will have your residential market, and they’ll all be in one mini-city in LIC.”

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LIC poet set to release second book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mike Geffner

One Long Island City resident has turned her heartache into poetry and will soon be releasing her second book.

Audrey Dimola, who has been living in the western Queens neighborhood all her life, is set to release her book “Traversals,” a collection of poetry and prose, on Nov. 3.

Unlike her first book called “Decisions We Make While We Dream,” a collection spanning 12 years of poetry and prose released in 2012, her new book reflects on specific events in her life that took place between the fall of 2011 and present day.

“That’s why I ended up calling it ‘Traversals’ because it ends up being about the journey, survival and going through heartbreak, going through loss and losing yourself and then finding yourself,” Dimola said. “My motto after that became to turn your ache into art.”

In the 176-page self-published book, Dimola uses poetry and prose to reflect on the hardships she faced in losing a loved one, ending a long-term relationship and then growing from the obstacles.

“It makes me pull back and realize that everything has a purpose and everything happens for a reason. And I wouldn’t be in this wonderful place that I am in right now if all those things wouldn’t have happened,” Dimola said. “I hope to be able to help other people.”

BOOK - promo shot

The poet also said putting the book together was an emotional experience, as she looked back on the events in her life. However, she sees the book as a way to honor the events and people that were a part of them.

“[The book] is the beginning of becoming the person that I am, breaking out of the shell and breaking out of myself,” Dimola said. “It’s just a wonderful milestone.”

Strongly involved in the Queens literary community, Dimola recently took part in open mic nights as part of the series The Inspired Word at COFFEED in Long Island City. She said she sees the art community growing and thinks it is important for artists not to be afraid of putting their work out there.

“I just want to stress to artists to not be afraid. In this day and age it is a lot easier to get your work out,” she said. “It is important to support each other, keeping the [art] community up and being brave.”

A formal release party of “Traversals” is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Q.E.D., located at 27-16 23rd. Ave. in Astoria, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The launch party will also feature poetic, musical and dance performances by other artists.

For more information visit www.audreydimola.com.

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George Clinton to sign memoir, give talk at Museum of Moving Image event


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Museum of the Moving Image

Astoria is gonna get some funk.

George Clinton, known as one of the trendsetters of funk music and the brain behind the 1970s bands Parliament and Funkadelic (P-Funk All Stars), is scheduled to make an appearance at the Museum of the Moving Image on Oct. 27.

Clinton will be present for the screening of the three-part 1994 TV special “Cosmic Slop,” which he hosted, and afterward be part of a discussion, moderated by Grammy winning artist James Mtume.

Following the discussion, there will be a book signing for Clinton’s new memoir called “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You? : A Memoir.”

Image courtesy of Atria Books

Image courtesy of Atria Books

This event is part of the museum’s “Changing the Picture” series which “celebrates and explores the work of film and television artists of color who are bringing diverse voices to the screen,” according to a description on the museum’s website.

An Evening with George Clinton and Cosmic Slop” begins at 7 p.m at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. Tickets are $20.

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Real estate roundup: Alternate Silvercup expansion renderings, city approves shaming landlords, Court Square permits filed


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of LEESER Architecture

Imagine LIC’s Skyline with this Whimsical Silvercup Addition

The expansion of Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios to include Silvercup West, a mixed-use extension of the famed production studio, hasn’t been a dormant project after all; in fact, LEESER Architecture has been busy creating a plan as an alternate to the originally-proposed Richard Rogers design. Read more [Curbed]

Permits filed for two towers in Court Square

The first permits are up for yet another Court Square tower, this one coming to 27-19 44th Drive. Coincidentally, permits were filed for a 26-story tower right next door yesterday, and the buildings will actually be the same height, with both standing 282 feet tall. Read more [New York YIMBY]

NYC’s Queens to get 2,404 Apartments in Durst Project

Rendering courtesy of Durst Organization

Rendering courtesy of Durst Organization

A partnership including Durst Organization plans to build 2,404 apartments on the East River waterfront in the Astoria section of Queens, New York. Douglas Durst’s company said it will invest $1.5 billion in a 2.5 million square-foot (232,000-square-meter) residential and retail development on Hallets Point, a peninsula just southwest of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, according to an e-mailed statement. Read more [Bloomberg]

City to publicly shame harassing landlords

New York City officials will publicly post the names of landlords found to have harassed tenants, hoping the public shaming will be a deterrent. The mayor signed a bill on Tuesday that will require the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to post on its website the names of landlords found in housing court to have harassed tenants. Read more [New York Times] 

Astoria Cove gets green light from City Planning Commission


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

Despite opposition from residents, the community board and Borough President Melinda Katz, the Astoria Cove development won over the City Planning Commission.

The 2.2-million-square-foot project along the Astoria waterfront cleared a major hurdle Monday as the commission voted to approve its land-use application despite the push back from community members with a majority vote of 10 yes, two abstentions and one partial no.

“We are pleased by the outcome. And we are looking forward to working with Councilman Constantinides and the City Council and going forward with the process,” said Howard Weiss of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, which represents 2030 Astoria Developers, the team behind the project. “This project heralds a new era in affordable housing. It’s a great step forward in terms of the mayor’s 10-year housing plan.”

The partial no-vote centered on claims of insufficiency of affordable housing in the application. Community Board 2, Katz and others that opposed the project also called for more affordable housing to be included in the buildings, while developers are proposing 345 units or 20 percent of the 1,723 dwellings.

Members of the building services union 32BJ were displeased by the result and pledged to fight at the City Council level for more affordable housing and unionized jobs.

“Alma Realty should not be granted permission to develop Astoria Cove until they commit to responsible development,” said Lenore Friedlaender, executive director of Build Up NYC, a coalition of organizations that includes 32BJ. “We will continue to fight for the good jobs and affordable housing working families in Astoria need to grow and strengthen the middle class, and we look forward to engaging the entire City Council to make sure this gets done right.”

Astoria Cove will consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.

The project, which is expected to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.

Recently 2030 Astoria Developers purchased the remaining land needed for the project for more than $43 million.

The City Council has 50 days to vote on the application, and affordable housing will be one of the main subjects reviewed.

“While the new housing stock is sorely needed, the development must work for all Astorians,” Constantinides said. “When the project comes before the City Council, we will work with the developer and focus on providing ample affordable housing, dramatically increasing public transportation capacity on and off of the peninsula, and keeping the development within the fabric of the community.”

 

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Teddy Mountain of Astoria opens its doors


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

An Astoria husband and wife team has brought something cuddly to the borough.

Morris Davis and Karen Bennett-Davis opened the doors of Teddy Mountain of Astoria, located at 29-21 21st Ave., on Saturday, welcoming the community to what they called a “wonderland” for all ages.

Karen Bennett-Davis and Morris Davis (Photo courtesy of Morris Davis)

Karen Bennett-Davis and Morris Davis (Photo courtesy of Morris Davis)

Only the second of its kind in New York City, Teddy Mountain offers customers the ability to stuff, dress and accessorize their choice of animals, which range from teddy bears to penguins, dogs, elephants and much more. Stuffed animals are available in 16-inch and 8-inch options.

“We love the area. That’s why we decided to put [the store] in Astoria,” said Davis, who has lived in Astoria with his family for three years. “Since we’ve been here all we’ve seen are restaurants and bars and really nothing for kids. So we said, let’s do it. We’re about supporting the community.”

Davis also said the store is not only for girls; there are options for boys as well, and customers can take home their toys in a Teddy Mountain box or backpack.

DSC_0737

The shop also has “Dolly World” section, a name chosen by Bennett-Davis, which offers girls the chance to pick one of three dolls to take home. There are also matching outfits for both the girls and dolls. The doll line is expected to expand, Davis said.

Along with the dolls and stuffed toys, Teddy Mountain of Astoria will also begin offering programs, events and birthday parties starting in two weeks in their event space.

“Different from our competitors, the parents get to relax,” Davis said. “Once they walk in our doors we take over. The parents can sit on our rocking chairs and let us handle it and we take care of the kids until they finish building the bears.”

The shop will host puppet shows and “Mommy and me” classes on the weekdays, and birthday party packages are available for the weekends.

One big event, created after the couple found it difficult to find a babysitter for their 6-year-old and 2-year-old sons, is Friday night Date Night. From 6 to 8 p.m. parents will be able to drop off their children at the shop, where children enjoy Disney movies, food and interactive games safely while their parents go out.

The Astoria couple also hopes that children can take home the experience of interacting with other children as they build the toys or attend events at the shop.

“We feel as though the kids in Manhattan have everything at their doorsteps, [while] the kids in Queens don’t,” Davis said. “This is something we thought we could bring to the kids here in Queens.”

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/teddymountainofastoria.

 

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Parks Department collecting bids to reconstruct Astoria’s Paul Raimonda Playground


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Department of Parks and Recreation 

The Parks Department started collecting bids Tuesday to renovate Astoria’s Paul Raimonda Playground and expects to begin construction in the spring of 2015.

The project, which was announced last year and received $1.56 million from the City Council and the mayor’s office, includes removing the bocce courts, adding adult fitness equipment, repairing the flag pole base, relocating the seating area, replacing play equipment, installing new planting beds and repaving asphalt areas throughout the playground located on 20th Avenue between 47th and 48th streets.

Also, to give the park a more local touch, the children’s spray shower in the park will be reconstructed in the shape of a baby grand piano, to pay homage to Steinway & Sons, the piano manufacturer that is located a few blocks away.

Renovation of the park will also address drainage issues, by surrounding trees with plant beds instead of existing cobblestones.

Paul Raimonda was a community leader and life-long resident of nearby Long Island City. He attended William C. Bryant High School and served four years in the Army Air Corps during World War II, according the Parks Department.

The bids are due back by Oct. 22.

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Top vegan-friendly food places in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Rose Valley Cakes Facebook page / Courtesy of Johnny Solo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

PETA recently declared New York City as 2014’s “Most Vegan-Friendly City” for its numerous establishments that offer veggie lovers an array of options. We’ve compiled this list of food places in Queens that offer delicious cuisine along with vegan-friendly choices.

Co Co Lin Vegetarian House
64-19 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood
718-416-1688
cocolins.com

This restaurant houses a wide array of vegetarian options that are made from a fuse of Chinese and Thai seasonings and flavors. Whether craving a smoothie or a simple vegan-friendly meal, Co Co Lin seems to have the right amount of options for both meat and veggie lovers alike.

Ginger Organic
37-01 30th Ave., Astoria
718-777-0626
facebook.com/GingerOrganicAstoria

Connected to Astoria’s Grand Café, this organic juice and smoothie shop just opened a few months ago. The establishment offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more, which is all 100 percent vegan. Ginger also serves up organic liquors, wines and champagnes. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

Happy Buddha
135-37 37th Ave., Flushing
718-358-0079
happybuddha.com

This veggie-loving restaurant in downtown Flushing earned a place on SuperVegan’s list of “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens” with a nice list of reviews from customers who are pleased with the vegetarian option in the community. Happy Buddha aims to create a peaceful environment for guests, and create a fusion of “innovative vegetarian cuisine, Zen surroundings, and respect for all living things.”

Rose Valley Cakes
134-03 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718- 523-2253
rosevalleycakes.com

This bakery meets plenty of dietary needs with their unique focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free baked goods. With impressive reviews and complex cake decorations, it has earned a 4-1/2 star rating on Yelp, and claims to be able to create “any confectionery creation you can think of.” Although it does offer specialty cakes of all sorts, it also sells bakery items that are available daily.

Simple Veggie Cuisine
95-26 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-830-0808
sveggie.com

Simple Veggie Cuisine keeps it simple with a wide array of options on their menu, and a promising amount of good reviews on Yelp. This restaurant offers Chinese food, with vegan options that are moderately priced and seemingly loved by the public.

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica
718-739-7453
smileofthebeyond.com

This vegetarian diner located in Jamaica was established in 1972, making it the first vegetarian diner in New York City. The diner offers classic and unique breakfast and lunch items and vegan-friendly options, which include everything from a good hot cup of organic coffee to a tofu scramble and more.

The Oneness-Fountain Heart
157-19 72nd Ave., Flushing
718-591-3663
oneness-fountain-heart.com

This vegetarian restaurant has been in Flushing since 1998, and is committed to creating an environment where you can “enjoy food that nourishes the body, heart and soul.” With unique options on their menu, like Cashew Nut Paella, it has earned an impressive list of reviews on Yelp, and was mentioned in the Long Island Restaurant Review as well as The Restaurant Fairy and others.

Veggie Castle II
132-09 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718-641-8342

This hidden treasure in South Richmond Hill is a grab-and-go go-to for many veggie lovers because of its vegan-friendly options and juice bar that offers a well-reviewed green juice, as well as smoothies.

What do you think are the top vegan-friendly food places in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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Modern Spaces set to open new Astoria office in October


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Logo courtesy of Modern Spaces  

Modern Spaces is now batting six for six in the retail estate office game.

The firm, which Eric Benaim launched in Long Island City in 2008, announced Monday that it is opening its sixth location in six years and its second in Astoria in October, hoping to hit a home run with the area as it did with its original neighborhood.

In a recent interview with The Courier, Benaim said he sees tons of potential in Astoria, which has already begun to see an influx of new development, and is why the neighborhood was chosen for the new office at 34-16 30th Ave.

“We are very happy to expand our Astoria reach with this new office, and are proud to be part of this community,” Benaim said. “The timing is opportune for us, as we have three new projects in Astoria that will be hitting the market early next year.”

The new office will be about 2,000 square feet and will house 25 agents. It will also have an outdoor garden space for events.

Lifelong Astoria resident Greg Kyroglou, who is the current managing director of the first Astoria location at 29-20 23rd Ave., has been promoted to managing director of the new office. He will also run the original Astoria location as well.

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Top 10 places to watch football in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO, ASHA MAHADEVAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

If you grow tired of watching the football games from your couch this season, there are plenty of bars in Queens that offer bigger TVs, fellow fans and an array of drink and beer specials to accompany the touchdowns.

Austin’s Steak and Ale House
82-70 Austin St., Kew Gardens
718-849-3939
austinsteakandalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of Austin's Ale House

Photo courtesy of Austin’s Ale House

Austin’s Ale House will be screening all of the games this football season on their 50-odd TV screens. In one of the rooms, they have TVs at the table. There is a 30-cent wing special all day on Sundays. Customers can also enjoy a Sunday brunch for $16.95 while watching the games, as well as 20 beers on draft and 50 beers in bottles.

Bar43
43-06 43rd St., Sunnyside
718-361-3090
bar43.com

For one, it has a sports bar with 10 TVs. Bar43 shows the games on all the days, and is offering specials on a mango fuel cocktail ($5) and high-water melon beer ($4).

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave., Astoria
718-274-4925
bohemianhall.com

Bohemian Hall 3

Photo courtesy of Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

There is happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. every day, during which there are $4 mugs of craft beer. You can watch football games on the TV sets installed all over the garden. Sounds perfect? Ah, there is a catch. Bohemian Hall won’t have every game on, just the ones that are on local channels or ESPN.

Break Bar and Billiards
32-04b Broadway, Astoria
718-777-5400
break-ny.com

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Break Bar and Billiards is showing all the games on 16 big-screen TVs and one 105-inch projector. Specials during the games are wings for $4.50 and beer towers (100 oz.) for $20. Happy hour is seven days a week, even when there is no game on.

Buffalo Wild Wings
107-16 71st Ave., Forest Hills
718-544-9453
buffalowildwings.com

Manager George Criskos of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Forest Hills claims that it has the best chicken wings. But he says that’s only the beginning. With 95 televisions and two 14-foot projectors, you can watch the game from every angle and drink one of its 30 draft beers or 26 bottled beers while you’re at it.

Hooters of Fresh Meadows
61-09 190th St., Fresh Meadows
718-454-2800
facebook.com/hootersoffreshmeadows

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

As football season kicks off, the manager prepares by filling Hooters with jerseys that the restaurant will be giving away. The team at Hooters believes its locale is the best place to go during football season because it roots for every team, and gives back to those who come visit with prizes from jerseys to tickets to games.

Katch Astoria
31-19 Newtown Ave., Astoria
718-777-2230
katchastoria.com

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Tino Tsutras, general manager, describes Katch Astoria, as a “sports capable bar,” with its 63 TVs, 50 craft beers on tap and entirely handmade menu created from nothing frozen. During Sunday and Monday football there are 60-cent wing and $5 Brooklyn Brewery beer specials. Thursday is ladies’ night, with 50 percent off on sangria, house liquor, wine and Prosecco. Katch has every sporting event offered by satellite TV.

Miller’s Ale House at Rego Park
61-35 Junction Blvd., Rego Park
718-760-1090
millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Miller’s Ale House has 70 TVs showing the games through 20 separate satellites. No blackouts, it says. You can watch every single game on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. It has bucket specials (5 for $10), bottle specials (a pint of Bud Light for $2.75 and pitchers of Corona Light for $7) and food specials.

O’Neill’s Maspeth
64-21 53rd Dr., Maspeth
718-672-9696
oneillsmaspeth.com

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

With more than 50 TVs and surround sound, O’Neill’s wants to make you feel like you are at the game. Every day during football season, it’s offering $3 pints and $12 pitchers of Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4 pints and $14 pitchers of Corona Light, and $3 sangria. On Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays there are Coors Light beer tubes with 10 wings of your choice for $25 as well as 5 for $15 Coors Light buckets and 5 for $20 Corona buckets. Thursday is ladies’ night with buy-one-get-one-free well drinks. On select weeks, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Corona reps come in and hold giveaways and raffles during the games. Grill rooms have personal TVs at each booth, and there are projectors in each of the catering rooms for private parties.

The Garden at Studio Square NYC
35-33 36th St., Astoria
718-383-1001
www.studiosquarebeergarden.com

File photo

File photo

The Garden is known for its 9-by-16-foot high definition video wall and its space, which fits more than 2,000 people in the garden. Chief Marketing Officer Pete Mason also proudly mentioned that it won “the ESPN ultimate sports bar challenge in NY for 2014,” and that “if you can’t be there at the stadium, this is the next best thing.”

What are your favorite places to watch football in Queens? Let us know by commenting below.

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Astoria Cove developers pay $43.5 million for remaining land


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

Astoria Cove developers recently finalized the sale for the final bits of the land designated for the mega project, although they have yet to win any steps in the project’s land use case.

In the transaction, 2030 Astoria Developers LLC, the group behind the 2.2-million-square-foot project, bought four lots from Superior Steel Studs Inc. for $40.02 million, according to city records filed on Monday. The lots’ addresses are 8-51, 8-01, 4-55 and 4-57 26th Ave.

An additional lot on 4-34 26th Avenue was bought for $3.48 million from Rayan Realty Corp., according to city records.

The developers now own all properties associated with the project, according to Howard Weiss of Davidoff Hutcher & Citron, which represents the team of developers led by Queens-based Alma Realty.

However, the project still has to clear its Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) case. The City Planning Commission plans to hold a meeting on Sept. 29 about its decision on the proposal. Weiss said they are confident they’ll receive the commission’s blessing.

“I believe the City Planning Commission will approve the project as proposed with respect to the affordable housing and with respect to all the [aspects] of the Astoria Cove project,” Weiss said. “The reason why I feel confident is because the Astoria Cove project is consistent with the mayor’s housing plan.”

But most opponents of the development are hoping to see a change in the affordable housing part of the proposal.

Various coalition members and residents testified against the development in a City Planning Commission public hearing in August, calling for the project to include at least 50 percent affordable housing, while developers are proposing 345 units or 20 percent of the 1,723 dwellings.

In their recommendations to deny the project, both Community Board 1 and Borough President Melinda Katz also suggested that the developers increase the units for affordable housing.

Astoria Cove is expected to consist of five buildings, three on the waterfront ranging from 26 to 32 stories and two on the upland portion of the site, including a six-story residential building.

The project, which is anticipated to take more than 10 years to complete in four different phases, will also include about 84,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space.

Following the commission’s decision, the proposal will go to the City Council.

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