Tag Archives: atlas park

East Coast Car Association keeps ‘cruising’


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Mike Bilski

For 12 years, the East Coast Car Association (ECCA) hosted an annual Cruise Night that showcased antique cars and raised funds for St. Mary’s Hospital for Children, all in a Forest Hills McDonald’s parking lot.

But this year, Mike Bilski of the ECCA was told McDonald’s could not host the Cruise Night because of corporate policies. With that, he and other members went looking around for a new venue.

“There we were, we had no Cruise Night,” he said. “We were trying all of the churches [but] nobody wanted us.”

Enter State Senator Joseph Addabbo. One night, Bilski was driving back from a friend’s house when he passed Resorts World Casino.

“I thought to myself, ‘[that lot] is empty,’ he said.

Bilski and the ECCA crew were referred to Addabbo, who met with Resorts World and worked out a deal. Now, the casino holds the Cruise Night every Tuesday from 5 to 9 p.m. in its VIP parking lot.

“For years, that association and its members have not only displayed some of the most beautiful cars of past generations, but they have also made substantial contributions to the community, especially the younger residents,” Addabbo said.

Bilski said the casino also donates to St. Mary’s, which was happy to see the ECCA’s nonprofit endeavors continue.

Since the VIP lot is larger than the ECCA’s previous home in Forest Hills, the Cruise Night can now accommodate more vehicles. The events have featured as many as 100 custom and antique cars and 50 motorcycles along with pick-up trucks and antique bicycles.

“We’re able to raise more money, and we’re getting a very diverse crowd and a very diverse range of cars,” Bilski said. “It’s not just antique cars anymore. We’re getting a lot of imports, low-riders and tuner cars.”

Attendees must contribute a $3 donation to each Cruise Night. The event will go on every Tuesday through November at Resorts World.

On Sunday, August 4 they will host an additional Cruise Night at Maspeth Federal and another the following day at Atlas Park.

 

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Returning soldiers seek employment at veteran job fair


| RubenMuniz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Ruben Muniz

Veterans recently suited up, got their game face on and sprung into action.

A job fair for military veterans was held at The Shops at Atlas Park in Glendale on Friday, June 8. Over 90 companies and organizations were in attendance as well as State Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblymember Mike Miller.

“Veterans have a lot of hurdles to jump over once they return,” Addabbo said.

The job fair comes at a time where many veterans are struggling to find employment. The unemployment rate for all veterans is 7.8 percent, below the national average of 8.2 percent, but nearly 13 percent of returning soldiers find themselves without a job,

“The transition from military to civilian life is challenging,” said Chris Bliss, a U.S. Army veteran who served overseas in Bosnia and Iraq.

Bliss was recruiting at the fair for NYC Business Solutions, a city government initiative offering free services for new small business owners.

“Life goes on after the service. You have to find a job,” said Bliss.

Ellis Gomez, a U.S. Navy veteran originally from Puerto Rico who has several years experience in the Navy as an electrical technician as well as degree in electrical engineering, said it has not been easy to land a job in this economy.

“[The job market] has a lot of ups and downs,” Gomez said, who was one of more than 100 vets at the fair.

U.S. Army vet and Queens resident Louis Goagioa felt that the discipline and humility of veterans gives them an edge in the job market.

“Veterans are much more coachable. They are ready to learn at all times,” said Goagioa. “It’s been more than difficult for veterans [to find a job]. It’s disheartening.” Addabbo stressed the importance of taking initiative to help veterans.

“We do a lot for our veterans, but we can still do more.”

Changes coming to Atlas Park?


| brennison@queenscourier.com


A name change, among other modifications, may be in store for the struggling Shops at Atlas Park.

Macerich, Atlas’ owner, is still in the process of reviewing the mall and considering alterations, which may include a renaming.

“Whenever we redevelop, there is a whole list of possibilities, and a name change is one of them,” said Tim Steffan, senior vice president of property management at Macerich. “This is part of the normal process.  It takes time to get arms around the entire project and property.”

The shops were originally named after the former occupants of the property, Atlas Terminal. There is no definitive timetable for a decision on whether the mall will undergo a name change.

Macerich purchased the 21-acre open-air shopping and entertainment center for approximately $54 million at a January 2011 foreclosure auction after its former owners defaulted on a $128 million loan to two French banks in 2009.

The Santa Monica headquartered company also owns and operates Queens Center Mall in Elmhurst which sits just two miles away from Atlas Park.

Steffan said that though the mall is just down the road, in an incredibly dense market, Queens Center has no effect on Atlas.

Glendale’s Atlas Park was unveiled in 2006 as an outdoor “lifestyle center,” but its mix of restaurants and boutiques slumped through recent years. Shoppers have complained about a lack of “anchor” stores.

“It’s lovely, but it is usually a second thought when I think about shopping,” said Middle Village resident Cathy Rose.

Steffan said that any mall needs an anchor or destination as a draw. The company will also look into expanding entertainment in the center.

“There is no one store attraction that shoppers come for,” said Michelle Herrera, who said she frequents the restaurants in the mall. “Most people seem to come to eat or watch a movie.”

The mall currently features California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, Manor Oktoberfest, Shiro of Japan, Simply Fondue and Venezia Ristorante.

“Nothing is off the table right now.  We are looking at everything from a 360-degree perspective — parking, access, merchandise,” Steffan said of a potential reinvention of the site.  “Simply put, we are a patient group.  We acquired [Atlas Park] because we believe in the community. We want to make it better, something of value to the community.”

Tree lighting at Atlas Park


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy The Shops at Atlas Park

Black Friday — which traditionally kicks off the shopping season — also marked the beginning of the holiday season at The Shops at Atlas Park.

Atlas Park in Glendale held its tree lighting ceremony on Friday, November 25 on its main lawn. Local residents who attended were also treated to a musical performance by the students of Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74.