Tag Archives: Astoria

Arrest in deadly Astoria hit-and-run

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Image via Google Maps

An unlicensed driver has been arrested for blowing through a stop sign before fatally striking a young woman in Astoria Saturday and fleeing the scene, prosecutors announced.

Nicholas Colleran, 24, of Astoria, 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 – right of way, according to District Attorney Richard Brown.

The victim, Betty DiBiasio, 21, was crossing a marked crosswalk at the intersection of Ditmars Boulevard and 19th Street, just blocks from her home, at about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, when Colleran drove through a stop sign in his 2002 Chevy Impala without stopping and struck DiBiasio, according to officials.

Witnesses allegedly said that DiBiasio hit the driver’s side windshield before falling to the ground and the car drove off without stopping. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Meanwhile, Colleran allegedly called 911 about an hour after the accident to report his Chevy stolen and in a vehicle theft investigation report claimed it had been taken from a parking lot in the back of his residence. But later that morning, it 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 the district attorney’s office, was consistent with a vehicle striking a pedestrian and the pedestrian hitting the windshield.

On Sunday, Colleran turned himself in at the 114th Precinct in Astoria, where he allegedly admitted to police that he had two beers before driving and had struck DiBiasio. Colleran, who was unable to produce a valid driver’s license, also said that he panicked after hitting DiBiasio and fled the scene. He then called the police and falsely reported his vehicle stolen.

If convicted Colleran faces up to seven years in prison.



Cops looking for Astoria bank robber who fled in wheelchair

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a man in a wheelchair who stole more than $1,000 in cash from an Astoria bank Monday afternoon.

The robbery happened just after 2 p.m. at the Santander Bank located at 37-10 Broadway, according to authorities.

After entering the bank, the suspect — described as a black male, 25 to 30 years old, about 160 pounds, clean-shaven and wearing a gray hoodie — passed a note to the teller demanding money, police said. He then took $1,212 in cash and fled westbound on Broadway in a black wheelchair.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect’s whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.

1544-15 Bank Robbery 114 pct 6-29-15 (1)




Astoria woman killed in hit-and-run on Ditmars Boulevard

| lguerre@queenscourier.com


An Astoria woman was struck and killed by a vehicle Saturday in an early morning collision.

The woman, identified by police as 21-year-old Betty Jean Dibiasio, was crossing Ditmars Boulevard near 19th Street when a car going westbound smacked into her, knocking her onto the ground and causing a serious head injury, cops said. The driver then fled the area, authorities said.

Officers responded to the scene around 12:30 a.m. and found Dibiasio unconscious with a severe head injury. She was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital, where officials pronounced her dead.

No arrests have been made and an investigation on the incident is ongoing.

The accident comes a day after local Astoria leaders unveiled safety improvements for 21st Street between Hoyt Avenue South and Queens Plaza. The two-mile stretch has had five fatalities and seven severe injuries between 2009 and 2013.

And although it’s uncertain at this time if the hit-and-run driver was speeding, starting this summer the Department of Transportation will implement a slow zone in Astoria to lessen fatal auto accidents.

The streets inside the boundaries of Astoria Boulevard to the north, Steinway Street to the east, 30th Avenue to the south and 21st Street to the west will all be included in the slow zone, which will be implemented later this summer. Those boundary streets (Astoria Boulevard, etc.) will not be part of the zone itself; only the local streets inside will be.

The current speed of the affected streets, which include a long section of Newtown Avenue, will be reduced from the current 25 mph to 20 mph, and 14 speed bumps and new signage will be added throughout to remind motorists to reduce their speeds.


Safety improvements unveiled at ‘deadly’ Astoria intersection

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DOT

A two-mile-long Astoria thoroughfare that has seen five fatalities and seven severe injuries between 2009 and 2013 has just gotten safer for pedestrians.

Representatives from the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) joined local elected officials and residents Friday morning to unveil corridor safety improvements for 21st Street between Hoyt Avenue South and Queens Plaza.

“We launched Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative in Queens over a year ago and every day we see the difference these safety project have throughout the ‘World’s Borough,’ from 21st Street to Queens Boulevard and beyond,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg.

The Astoria corridor, which is also a truck route, is made of a 60-foot-wide road with two travel lanes in each direction.

The safety improvements, which are part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, include adding a new pedestrian crossing at 29th Avenue through a new traffic signal; upgrading existing street lights to LED lights and adding more street lights on 21st Street to improve visibility; adding parking lane stripes along the street to define moving lines; and adding 12 painted curb extensions along the corridor to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians at nine intersections.

“For far too long, 21st Street has been known as a deadly speedway and the improvements we are introducing will help put an end to the reckless driving that has claimed too many lives,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Earlier this year, DOT also installed seven-second Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs), which give pedestrian-only walk time before vehicles get a green light, at 10 intersections on 21st Street.

“This thoroughfare has long been notorious for pedestrian fatalities. Cars frequently travel above the speed limit and there have been several deaths due to car accidents on the street over the last decade,” said Councilman Costa Constantinides. “These Vision Zero improvements will make the street, home to major senior and youth developments, safer for pedestrians and drivers from across the community.”

Image courtesy of DOT

Image courtesy of DOT


LIC and Astoria waterfront to be tested as potential sites for floating pool

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Family & PlayLab

The Long Island City or Astoria waterfront might become the home of a floating pool that will filter water from the East River to become safe and swimmable water.

The designers behind +POOL, the world’s first water-filtering, floating pool, has reached the next step into making their design into reality as they announced they will be looking at 10 locations across the city as potential homes for their pool, first reported by Curbed.

+POOL, which brings collaborators from design offices Family and PlayLab, plans a pool area “for everyone” as it brings four pools into one plus-sign-shaped complex, including a kid’s pool, sports pool, lap pool and lounge pool.

Described “like a giant strainer,” according to the +Pool official website, the floating pool will filter the river water within its walls, removing bacteria, contaminants and odors.

Dong-Ping Wong, one of the founding partners of the project, said the main key of the design is to try to filter all the water without chemicals. The reason behind this is because the filtered water will later go back into the river as there is a turn over every few hours.

Of the 10 locations being looked at, one is the Hunters Point in Long Island City, while the other is Hallets Point in Astoria.

According to a +POOL representative, they will look into the water conditions at both Queens sites to understand the depth, access points, navigable channels, 100-year flood wave heights, current speeds, tidal elevation and harbor conditions.

Water quality testing for sites that might be able to accommodate +POOL will include testing various parameters to understand how +POOL’s filtration system will support the site, the representative said.

The other sites that will be looked at include Bush Terminal Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Domino Sugar Factory, Governor’s Island, Hudson River Park, St. George and Transmitter Park.

Wong added that he understands people’s reactions into the idea of swimming in water that had been in the river but their goal is to invite people to the areas and over time desensitize their thoughts when it comes to the body of water.

“It’s not just a cesspool. It’s a pretty incredible body of water,” Wong said. “The hope is eventually people will see it as a real natural resource.”

He also said that their plan is to bring the floating pool to the neighborhoods that are in the process of developing, such as the Long Island City and Astoria waterfront, and work to have a positive impact on those communities.

The group has started to look at the potential sites and a location is hoped to be confirmed by the end of the year.


Tree attacking Astoria woman’s house

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Joanne D’Errico

Now that’s a tree-hugger.

Longtime Astoria resident Joanne D’Errico is stumped about what to do about a clingy street tree whose branches have been barking up her home, blocking windows and pressing on the front of her house.

“It looks like it’s eating my house,” D’Errico said. “God forbid if there’s a fire, there is no way to open the windows.”

D’Errico has called 311 numerous times since last summer to complain and have the problem fixed, but city officials have not remedied the situation.

D’Errico has lived in the home near the middle of Crescent Street between 24th Avenue and Hoyt Avenue North for 50 years.

She isn’t completely certain but said roughly 20 years ago the city planted the tree in front of her home. The branches block all windows on the second floor, preventing her from opening them. She fears if the branches grow any longer they could actually damage the windows during strong winds.

The branches have actually pressed in a window before and she had to fix it, D’Errico said.

Because money doesn’t grow on trees, D’Errico is not planning to cut the tree herself because she is afraid of being fined for tampering with Parks Department property.

She is still hoping to leave the issue to the city agency, and actually likes having the tree in front her home.

“I love trees,” D’Errico said. “I just want it off my windows.”

Representatives from the Parks Department have not yet responded to The Courier’s request for comment on the handling of this situation.


Astoria co-op calls for gas service to be restored, sheds light on bigger problems

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirao

Shareholders and residents of one Astoria co-op building are caught in the middle of a blame game, and want to get the services they are paying for and deserve.

The occupants of Acropolis Gardens, located between 33rd and 35th streets off Ditmars Boulevard, gathered with Councilman Costa Constantinides and Public Advocate Letitia James Monday calling on the building’s management company to restore gas and hot water, which have been out in the building since late April.

The gas service in eight of the 16 buildings that make up the complex was turned off after a fire occurred on April 29. Since then only two of the eight buildings have gotten the gas service back.

“For eight of the 16 buildings here, this is week eight of not being able to take a hot shower after a long day. This is week number eight of not being able to come home and use their stove to cook themselves a hot meal,” Constantinides said. “This has been week eight of their lives being turned upside down and today we are here to say enough is enough. It’s time to get the work done.”

Con Edison has not turned the gas back on in the buildings because of internal piping issues the building’s management company, Metropolitan Pacific Properties, needs to address first, according to a spokesman.

“The service was shut off to several of the buildings because of unauthorized, improper hookups that violate building codes. Building management has been made fully aware of what they need to do,” the spokesman said. “Gas was shut off for the safety of the residents. We’ll continue working with the city to make restorations as proper repairs are made.”

The co-op board held a rally Sunday with residents and members of the management company calling on Con Edison to turn the gas back on in the complex.

“I’m not only affected but everyone in the complex is affected and ultimately the goal of a a co-op is to operate effectively as one and what is going on is atrocious and it really seems to be Con Edison’s negligence and faulty,” said Ryan Herzich, a resident and shareholder at the Acropolis for about a year, who attended the rally. “Management has been doing everything they can to alleviate that. They’ve been very responsive and proactive in communications with me and all the other tenants and shareholders.”


Steve Osman, CEO of Metropolitan Pacific Properties, speaks during a rally Sunday. (Photo by Michael Johnson)

Steve Osman, CEO of Metropolitan Pacific Properties, said that all work being done within the complex has proper permits and they are in the process of replacing oil burners with natural gas.

During the rally on Monday morning, both Constantinides and James said that instead of pointing fingers, the management company has to first deal with the issue and work with Con Edison to get the gas turned back on and then deal with any problems within agencies.

“We have to work together to fix this problem and there have been enough recriminations, enough of the blame game,” James said. “Fix the problem and fix it now. It’s as simple as that.”

Osman said that the issues with the heat and hot water should be resolved once the burners are replaced with the new ones.

“There’s always going to be some issues, you can please 90 percent of the people and the 10 percent you don’t is always the loudest,” Osman said. “As management we know we’re never going to please 100 percent but that 10 percent is always the loudest. There are sales here every single week, they’re selling for record prices right now, we have four closings coming up. This didn’t hurt any of it.”

However, according to residents, there are other problems that they have been dealing with management for the past years.

Shallena Jabid, who has been living in Acropolis Gardens since 2011 and has owned her apartment since 2007, said, “I hope somebody can do something.”

A source close to the situation told The Courier Wednesday that James is working to set up a meeting with all parties involved in the hope of resolving this matter.


Astoria man found fatally stabbed in his home

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Google Maps

Updated Monday, June 22, 3:23 p.m.

Detectives are looking for leads in the homicide of a 54-year-old man who was found repeatedly stabbed inside his Astoria apartment on Saturday morning.

Officers from the 114th Precinct found Enver Julevic with multiple stab wounds to his torso inside his residence on 12th Street near 31st Avenue at 6:17 a.m. Paramedics responded to the location and pronounced him dead.

According to authorities, a friend of the victim tried to contact Julevic previously and, after receiving no response, went to the apartment for a visit. Using a spare key, the friend entered the apartment and discovered Julevic lying on the dining room floor.

No arrests have been made as of yet, and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

Anyone with information regarding the murder is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS, visit their website or send a text message to 274637 (CRIMES), then enter TIP577. All calls and messages will be kept confidential.


Astoria Slow Zone to be implemented in the summer

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy Department of Transportation

Astoria is cracking down on speed demons.

Community Board 1 voted overwhelmingly to approve the creation of a slow zone in the neighborhood in a public meeting on Tuesday.

The streets inside the boundaries of Astoria Boulevard to the north, Steinway Street to the east, 30th Avenue to the south and 21st Street to the west will all be included in the slow zone, which will be implemented later this summer. Those boundary streets (Astoria Boulevard, etc.) will not be part of the zone itself, but just the local streets inside.

The current speed of the affected streets, which include a long section of Newtown Avenue, will be reduced from the current 25 mph to 20 mph, and 14 speed bumps and new signage will be added throughout to remind motorists to reduce their speeds.

Residents — and even Councilman Costa Constantinides — have frequently complained to officials about speeding on 33rd Street in particular, which feeds into the Grand Central Parkway.

“My office is around the corner from 33rd Street, and my staff and I have witnessed numerous instances where cars and trucks speed down the block to make the following light,” Constantinides said in a letter of support for the slow zone plan to the community board. “Not only is this loud and disruptive, but potentially dangerous. Families living along these streets deserve peace of mind.”


Long-time CB 1 leaders guide final full board meeting

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

It’s the end of an era for Community Board 1.

Vinicio Donato, who has been chairman of the board for nearly 40 years, and District Manager Lucille Hartmann, who has been on the board since 1978, oversaw their final public board meeting as leaders of the Astoria-based community group on Tuesday.

Awards and proclamation from various politicians poured in during the meeting, which was the final one before the summer break.

Donato, who has been on the community board since 1972, has served in leadership positions for various institutions and organizations in the borough, including the Museum of the Moving Image, the Astoria Historical Society and the Queens Museum. Hartmann has served as the community board’s district manager since 2008.

Councilmembers Costa Constantinides and Jimmy Van Bramer, and Borough President Melinda Katz made appearances at the meeting to deliver speeches to the long-time leaders and thank them for their work.

On June 29 there will be a special board meeting to vote and select the new district manager. However, Hartmann’s final day is officially July 17. There are currently three candidates running for the position.

George Stamatiades, the first vice chair of the board, will step in temporarily as chairman when the board reconvenes in September, and until members nominate and select a new chair.


Astoria tenants deal with patchwork repairs, possible eviction for complaints

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Some residents of one rent-stabilized Astoria apartment building say they are tired of having to fight for what should be their basic rights as tenants.

Sally Aponte has been living at 28-28 35th St. since 1995 and said she started having issues with the building’s landlord, Peter Hiotis of P & T Management CO LLC, when it came to getting repairs completed within her apartment.

At first, Aponte decided to verbally ask her landlord for help with regard to these repairs, such as fixing a kitchen stove or repairing broken bathroom tiles, but after receiving what she calls “patchwork repairs,” she decided to finally file a formal complaint to 311 in 2007.

“He tends to always blame the tenants whenever you ask for repairs and I think he uses that to discourage you to ask for repairs,” Aponte said.

During this time, an attorney for the landlord also sent Aponte a letter advising her that if she made any further complaints, Hiotis would have to pursue eviction because she was allegedly violating the “rent stabilization code.”

Aponte added that the stove was fixed because Hiotis was fined by the FDNY but the rest of the problems in her home remained ignored until an inspector from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) went to the home.

The inspector found nine violations within the home, such as exposed and sparking electrical wiring, defective and broken plastered surfaces on walls and ceilings, and a defective smoke detector.

And although some of the repairs have since been completed, albeit improperly, Aponte is facing eviction.

According to court documents, Aponte is facing eviction because she is being accused of withholding rent, harassing other tenants, and defacing vehicles of her landlord and other tenants. However, Aponte says she has evidence proving all those accusations as false and believes the eviction comes as a form of retaliation for reporting past and present neglected repairs.

“I didn’t do anything except stand up for my rights but here we have a landlord who is clearly abusing his tenant landlord rights and unfortunately I have to go through this process before I can claim my innocence and that’s unfair,” Aponte said.

Christie Agioutanti, who has been living at 28-28 35th St. for over 25 years, said her issues began in 2013 when she reached out to get her stove repaired. She says she had to go four months without a stove until she got a new one.

The following year she dealt with a broken refrigerator and after going through weeks of problems, Agioutanti became fed up and decided to take Hiotis to court with 28 outstanding repairs.

After an HPD inspector went to the home, they found 20 of those needed repairs to be violations, including a massive hole in her bathroom ceiling that had been covered by a drop ceiling.

Photo by Christie Agioutanti

Fixing this hole, pictured in 2014, was one of the repairs the court ruled Peter Hiotis had to complete in Christie Agioutanti’s home. (Photo by Christie Agioutanti)

Photos of the hole show deteriorating wooden beams and exposed water pipes. Agioutanti added that when the hole was fixed by an unlicensed contractor, it was patched up by layers of sheetrock and plaster and painted over.

A licensed carpenter, who asked to remain unnamed, was approached by The Courier with photos of the hole and the repair process. He said that although the sheetrock covers the issue, it does not solve it. He added that if the repairs are not completed from within the structure of the building, for example by repairing pipes or beams, then it would be just a matter of time before the damage would occur again.

Some of the violations that the HPD identified in Agioutanti’s apartment have yet to be repaired or have not been completed in a satisfactory manner, and she said that if she doesn’t not hear back from Hiotis’ lawyer, she will be forced to return to court.

Other issues throughout the building include a broken intercom system, and a super who asks to not be bothered past his work hours, according to the tenants.

Both Aponte and Agioutanti also add that other tenants are facing the same issues within the building but are afraid of speaking out because they fear facing eviction. They hope telling their stories will help other tenants come out of the shadows.

“He wants us tenants to live in the darkness,” Agioutanti said. “If you don’t know your rights, you can’t claim them.”

Hiotis declined to comment pending litigation.


Take a spooky look at Astoria’s past

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Marie Carter

Visitors and residents of Astoria will soon be able to dig into the spooky past of the now booming neighborhood.

Tour company Boroughs of the Dead, known for its “strange and dark tours” of New York City, is stretching its two-hour tours into the western Queens neighborhood during “Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria,” expected to begin later this month.

“We are so much more than a ‘ghost tour’ company. We are genuinely dedicated to unearthing the hidden, forgotten and overlooked histories of the city, including its folklore and ghost stories, and the level of research, commitment and authentic passion for local history that we bring to our tours makes them a unique tour experience,” said Andrea Janes, owner and founder of Boroughs of the Dead.

The Astoria tour, which is scheduled to kick off on June 27, was designed and will be led by Astoria resident and author Marie Carter, who went on her first ghost tour at age 10 when she was growing up in Scotland.

Astoria resident and author Marie Carter (Photo by Andrea Janes)

Astoria resident and author Marie Carter (Photo by Andrea Janes)

Her father, who became a tour guide, instilled in her a love of history, and as she grew up, the tours continued to be an activity she enjoyed.

After making the move to New York City, Carter first thought the Big Apple didn’t have a lot of history to learn about, but once she started work at the Woolworth Building she became interested in the story behind the city.

While looking for ghost tours, she came upon Boroughs of the Dead and after making the move from Brooklyn to Astoria and researching extensively about the Queens neighborhood, she went from a customer to a guide.

“I love that they’re not just about the spooky story, they are about giving historical context and the tours are really researched,” Carter said.

Carter approached Janes about doing a tour in Astoria and Janes jumped on the idea because she had been waiting for the opportunity to expand into Queens.

“I know that having a local neighborhood expert running the tour will make it an incredibly rich experience,” Janes said. “I am extremely excited to be working with Marie and to have her as part of the BotD team. She started out as a customer, became a guide, and is now helping bring us into a whole new phase of our company.”


During the Astoria tour participants will be able to take a stroll, stretching about 1.5 miles, through some of the lesser-known historical sites and learn about some of the “unsettling tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past.”

Some of the facts participants will learn about include tragic Hollywood film starts, voodoo, grisly murders, poltergeists and hidden treasure.

“I hope they get a sense of the history of the neighborhood and I hope they get to discover how amazing the neighborhood is,” Carter said. “I come across the most amazing incredible buildings while living in Astoria and I wouldn’t have known they were there if I didn’t get lost on my bike rides. And I hope people will get an appreciation of just how amazing their neighborhood is.”

“Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria” is the company’s first move into Queens, although according to Janes, who was living in Astoria in 2007, the borough was the inspiration for both the company and book with the same name.

“With each passing year we hope to expand until we have tours throughout the whole city, but we will always have a special place in our hearts for Queens: the original borough of the dead,” Janes said.

There are two time slots for the Astoria tour on June 27, 3 and 8 p.m., and tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The tour will then be offered again on Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. and plans are to offer the tour throughout October as well.

For more information visit, boroughsofthedead.com.


Man struck and killed by N train at Astoria station

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jimmy De Los Angeles

A man was fatally hit by a train at the 36th Avenue stop in Astoria Monday morning, disrupting service for more than an hour, according to the MTA.

The man, whom the MTA did not identify, jumped in front of an Astoria-bound N train just before 10 a.m. at the station near 31st Street.

There were suspensions on the N line between Lexington-59th Street and Ditmars Boulevard, and on the Q between Queensboro Plaza and Ditmars following the incident. Service resumed about 11:15 a.m. with residual delays.


Astoria church celebrates Flag Day by honoring Tuskegee Airmen

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The Immaculate Conception Knights of Columbus Council hosted its annual Flag Day ceremony Friday with a special event that taught students about the country’s banner and celebrated Tuskegee Airmen.

Three members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American military aviation unit in U.S. history that battled against the Nazis during World War II, were honored during the ceremony in Astoria’s Immaculate Conception Church along with other military members in front of a crowd of students from the church’s school.

The event was seen as a more effective way to teach youngsters about major points in United States history.

“It brought history to life,” said Eileen Harnischfeger, principal of the school. “It’s so far removed from them. My father was in World War II so it was very real to me. This brings history to life for them. It’s a wonderful way to learn history.”

The ceremony began with a flag raising tribute in the courtyard of The Holy Union Convent, and then moved to the lower level of Immaculate Conception Church for the award presentations and speeches.

First-graders from the school made custom U.S. flags keeping in tune with the holiday, which falls on Sunday, and sixth-grade students researched the Tuskegee Airmen.

Organizers hoped the lessons from the event would help the students better understand what it means to be American.

“We’re a predominately Caucasian school,” Harnischfeger said. “The children come from many different backgrounds but we don’t have many African-Americans. I think it’s important to know about discrimination and what we fought for in this country.”


Pair of Astoria residential buildings sells for $72M

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy StreetEasy

The heated real estate market in Astoria has caused an increase in development and rental rates, which have jumped faster than the city’s average over the past dozen years.

Demand is high throughout the neighborhood, and buyers just can’t stay away from two recently constructed residential buildings.

The pair, Astoria at Hallet’s Cove at 11-15 Broadway and the Montenegro of Astoria at 30-50 21st St., has been sold for a combined $72.3 million, giving the buildings three owners in three years, according to a published report.

Real Estate firm E&M Associates recently bought the buildings from Related Companies, which purchased them from Criterion Group in 2013 for $60 million, according to The Real Deal. Criterion Group developed the residential towers three years ago.

Despite being blocks apart, the towers have been sold as a package twice. Astoria at Hallet’s Cove, an eight-story building, has 79 apartments within 76,100 square feet, while the Montenegro is an eight-story tower with 65 apartments in 59,240 square feet.