Tag Archives: Bayside

South Korean coffee chain to open location in Bayside

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

South Korean coffee shop chain Caffe Bene is set to bring its signature coffee and desserts to Bayside when it opens on Bell Boulevard this Saturday.

“We’re always excited to enter into new communities and neighborhoods, so we’re really hoping that a lot of the locals will come by and enjoy the space, food and atmosphere we offer,” said Caffe Bene marketing associate Amy Park.

Caffe Bene’s menu includes extensive food and beverage selections, with savory lunch options and sweet desserts alongside smoothies and coffee drinks.

The new location, off of 39th Avenue, will be sure to serve two of Caffe Bene’s signature desserts, the Belgian waffle and patbingsu, a popular South Korean shaved ice treat. Each waffle is made fresh on the premises according to the customer’s order, and can be topped with fruit, cream cheese, yogurt or whipped cream.

Another signature item at the cafe sure to ignite intrigue among local consumers is their misu garu, a multigrain power shake served both hot and cold.

Caffe Bene opened its first location in South Korea in 2008. According to Park, Caffe Bene is well known for their rapid expansion, and the chain has now has 1,600 locations worldwide, with 37 operating in the United States.

The first Caffe Bene flagship built outside South Korea was installed in 2012 in Times Square and has two floors of space and a library area of books for patrons to read.


Bayside residents rail against high school proposal at CB 11 meeting

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

File photo

Bayside residents showed up in large numbers to Monday’s Community Board 11 (CB 11) meeting to contend with a proposed high school planned for the former Bayside Jewish Center.

Although many were interested in speaking on the issue of the proposed school, most of the attendees had not realized they needed to pre-register for the public participation segment of the evening and were not allowed to have the floor. The few who did get to speak out against the school received a raucous applause from the rest of the audience.

“Put simply, this project is not needed and is not wanted,” said Nancy Kupferberg, a Bayside resident who has had two of her children attend nearby Bayside High School. Kupferberg appeared on behalf of many others to present a total of 3,100 letters from community residents, students and staff members to express their concerns about the proposal.

“What my experience tells me is that we don’t want this,” added Ana Baires, a resident of the area around Bayside High School. She spoke of teenagers loitering around her house and causing trouble.

The residents were so eager to speak on the matter that many members of the frustrated crowd spilled out into the hallway. Chairwoman Christine Haider said a discussion will be held in the future when the community board has more information about the project.

A staffer from Councilman Paul Vallone’s office was on hand to talk to residents and explain the process that the School Construction Authority (SCA) must follow to build the school. Vallone was an early supporter of the school’s installation, citing overcrowding in District 26. His office has since said that while the councilman is cautiously optimistic about a new school, he has not taken a stance on where it should be located.

While the SCA has put in a bid to for the Bayside Jewish Center, the deal is not finalized and several studies must be done to prove the area’s suitability for a school. A traffic study will analyze the potential impact on parking and congestion patterns, and an impact assessment will measure potential effects on the environment.

After passing the relevant studies, the proposed school will then be discussed by community boards and the general public, and would later be voted on by the City Council. Public hearings with the SCA may be scheduled as soon as this summer, according to a representative from Vallone’s office.


Where to park and watch first Fort Totten Independence Day fireworks show

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via Jon Sullivan/ Wikimedia Commons. Maps via Office of Councilman Paul Vallone

No doubt about it, excitement for the first-ever Fort Totten Independence Day fireworks show is exploding.

The July 1 fireworks show, which is the brainchild of Councilman Paul Vallone and the Bayside Historical Society (BHS), is expected to draw thousands of residents from around northeast Queens and may ignite an annual tradition.

Vallone and BHS began blasting new details to the public on Monday about the event, such as where to watch the fireworks and where to park vehicles, hoping the information will help to launch the fireworks show without a hitch and provide family-friendly fun for the community.

“I can’t imagine a better way to kick-start the summer than with a fireworks show and concert in Fort Totten,” Vallone said. “For the first time, residents in northeast Queens won’t have to travel far for world-class fireworks.”

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with performances from the MichelleMarie RockBand Camp, and then the Phil Costa & Something Special Band. The pyrotechnics show by Long Island-based Fireworks by Grucci will begin at 9:15 and last 15 minutes.

The fireworks will shoot up from the soccer fields, also known as the Parade Grounds, and about 2,000 residents should be able to fit in the lawn near the pool for prime viewing area. However, because the fireworks will be so high, many areas around Fort Totten will provide good views. Vallone said even Bronx residents will be able to see the show.

Take a look at the map of north Queens and the Bronx below for other visibility areas. The purple locations indicate viewing spots. 

Guests can park their vehicles at Little Bay Parking Lot, along Bell Boulevard, and beginning at 5 p.m. the Clearview Golf Course and the Bay Terrace Shopping Center parking lots. Shuttle bus service provided by Vallo Transportation will then take residents to Fort Totten from the golf course and shopping center. Vallo will have return buses to the lots from Fort Totten following the event.

Residents are asked to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic items to the event, however, alcohol is prohibited because Fort Totten is a park and security will check bags and storage devices, such as coolers.

Vending trucks will be on site with snacks and drinks, including roasted corn, lemonade, funnel cakes and corn dogs.

During the show, the BHS will announce the winner of its bee-naming silent auction.

BHS has two new beehives and two winning bidders will have the chance to have the queen bees named after themselves. The winners will also receive a Swarovski crystal tiara, a sash, a certificate, a gift basket with skin care products, a jar of local honey, and family membership to the BHS for one year. The starting bid is $250. To enter, email a bid to info@baysidehistorical.org.

Also, the BHS will extend hours to its castle so guests can view exhibitions, giving them a sense of the past of the community.

“We’ll be making history on July 1,” said Alison McKay, executive director of the BHS. “Hosting an Independence Day celebration right outside our front door is a great way for the community to link the past with the present.”


Growing Bayside sinkhole causes concern for drivers and residents

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Updated 9:00 p.m.

Residents in Bayside have a sinking feeling about the hole that suddenly emerged near the middle of 35th Avenue.

The sinkhole appeared between Corporal Stone Street and 214th Place about two days ago, but on Thursday was only about a foot in length, according to residents that live across from the depression.

Overnight it expanded to about 6 feet in length and nearly 3 feet wide. Someone placed an orange cone in front of the sinkhole, which was only in one lane of the road, to warn drivers, but some feared it could still damage someone’s car.

“It’s been horrible,” said Linda Manginaro, who lives on the block, “because I’m afraid someone’s going to get really hurt, especially at night.”

Residents made calls to 311 to get it fixed.

About a week ago, residents said, city workers sealed a smaller depression in the road, which is just few away from the new sinkhole.

The repaired hole runs near the middle of the street like the larger sinkhole, causing some residents to speculate the problem is connected below the ground level. However, the fix for the smaller depression may not last.

“It’s already sinking in,” Manginaro said. “This one, they did such a terrible job. I feel it’s a waste of tax dollars, they come and then a week later it’s [sinking again].”

The Courier reached out to representatives of the Department of Environmental Protection, which handles sinkholes, and although the media section of the agency did not respond to inquiries, workers were out Friday afternoon hours after the article was published fixing the large sinkhole.

Workers at the scene indicated they weren’t allowed to speak to reporters, and couldn’t say what the cause of the problem was.


Team Duce finishes Bayside Little League regular season with a perfect record

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Team Duce

Team Duce capped off a perfect 12-0 Bayside Little League regular season with a 16-5 victory over its interleague rival, E4.

The player of the game, starting pitcher Charlie Blair, earned the win and raised his record to 11-0. Blair also delivered at the plate, as he went 4-4 with three singles, a double, five RBIs and four runs scored.

Tino Famiglietti came in to relieve Blair and pitched solid in the third inning. Famiglietti added a hit in the bottom of the frame to drive in a run.

Costa Bournias later relieved Famiglietti and struck out five of the six batters he faced. He also had two line drive singles.

Tanner Jacob Fried, who leads the league in batting average, on base percentage, home runs, RBIs and saves, went 3-3 with a home run, triple and single, driving in five runs and scoring four times. Fried came in to close out the game in the fifth inning and pitched two innings of perfect baseball, earning his 11th save of the year.

Derek McCreesh had two liners to right field for singles. He also scored two runs. Team Duce’s catcher, Bobby Fretwell, not only had a big put-out at the plate, he also lined a double and a single driving in a run. John Archbold got three huge hits and drove in two runs, both of which came with two outs. George Diamantopoulos went 3-3 with a pair of doubles.

Rafael Rufrano went 3-3 at the plate. Aris Catehis got on base all three times was he went to bat, driving in a run in the fourth inning. David Castracane got on base both times he was at bat, one of which was a shot up the middle in the second inning and scored two runs in the game.

Team Duce is now preparing for the playoffs, which begin on June 13 at Valle West in Crocheron Park in Bayside.


Whitestone’s defunct little league program gets new life

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Mets Sandlot Baseball League

The Mets Sandlot Baseball League, founded in the 1960s, was once an outlet for kids and young adults to continue playing past the summer months — but for almost two decades, it’s been inactive. Now, two coaches are helping to resurrect the league with a new generation of players.

In 2012, John Guarneri and Arthur Lagrega wanted to extend the Bayside Little League summer season into the fall. At that time there were no fall programs in Bayside and the fall programs from other local leagues were canceled. In response, they introduced the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing (WBF) Baseball Program “where the players will not only play games, but also learn about the game and the proper way to play it,” Guarneri said.

By 2014, the WBF league had reached 133 registered players, enough for nine teams. The speedy growth of the program led the coaches to bring back the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

After a successful 2014 campaign, the board members decided to start a new travel league, called New York City Elite (NYCE). Now, both the WBF Baseball Program and NYCE are incorporated under the Mets Sandlot Baseball League.

As the program keeps developing, its leaders look back to the league’s history. At its height, elite little league teams such as the Bayside Yankees, Flushing Tigers, Youth Service Bonnies, Whitestone Knights, Astoria Youth, Elmjack and Long Island Mets used to participate, and divisions ranged from 10 and up to 21 and up.

“Our vision is to improve the overall baseball talent in the Whitestone, Bayside, Flushing and surrounding areas,” Guarneri said. “We also look to give the players a positive experience that they will remember the rest of their lives and also learn many different life lessons that they will use throughout their life.”



Eagles tribute band to perform at Bayside Historical Society concert

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Desert Highway Band

The Bayside Historical Society is hosting their annual outdoor concert this weekend on the sledding hill at Crocheron Park.

The Desert Highway Band, a sextet whose music is largely a tribute to the classic rock group the Eagles, will be the event’s featured entertainment. The band regularly plays outdoor events and festivals attended by up to 6,000 people, and is set to travel this summer to perform in venues in West Virginia, Ohio and upstate New York.

A testimonial on the Desert Highway Band’s official website said they have “a fabulous sound and true tribute to the Eagles, with superb on stage presence and energy.”

Carl Bova, bass player and singer in the Desert Highway Band, said that he anticipates a lively event with the Bayside Historical Society and that summer events allow the band to truly connect with their audience.

“You enjoy watching the people enjoy the music,” Bova said. “You feed off the people, let the people feed of you. The energy constantly builds, especially if it’s a beautiful night.”

The concert is free and will run from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. Attendees and their families are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnics to the event, which is co-sponsored by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

The Bayside Historical Society was founded in 1964 to collect and preserve information concerning the history of Bayside and its neighboring communities. Since 1984, the historical preservation group has been located at the Castle in Fort Totten, a NYC designated landmark which dates back to 1887 and was originally used by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


111th Precinct honors the year’s top cops in Bayside

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel

The 111th Precinct and the precinct’s Community Council honored its hardest working officers during their annual award ceremony Tuesday night at the Best Western of Northern Boulevard in Bayside.

“I think we have one of the highest calibers of officers in the City of New York, with one of the lowest crime precincts,” said Jack Fried, president of the 111th Precinct Council, who added that cops in the area go far beyond the basic requirements of their job. “Every officer here puts himself out there.”

Sgt. Kenneth Ho was named as the 2015 Supervisor of the Year, Det. Erika Madden was recognized as Detective of the Year, and P.O. Mario Cappuccia was honored as Police Officer of the Year.

After receiving recognition for the high caliber of his work as a police supervisor, Sgt. Ho reflected on his personal growth during his decade-long career, saying that the emotional weight of being a police officer has taught him to be more careful with his own decisions.

“Being a police officer, I think, is a great responsibility,” said Ho. “For the people that we serve every day and also but for the people that we work with.”

Cappuccia said he still loves his work after three years on the job.

“We try to make a difference in the community, making sure nobody gets hurt, nobody gets killed, people aren’t hurting themselves as well,” said Cappuccia, a first-generation police officer who works the midnight shift.

Awards were given to civilian participants in the 111th Precinct as well. Diana Merchan was honored as Civilian of the Year, along with Explorer of the Year Peter Kim and Auxiliary Officer of the Year Leon Pallas.

As the only honoree still attending classes in high school, Explorer of the Year Peter Kim looked ahead to a future in public safety as a state trooper. The Bayside High School sophomore said that helping people makes him feel great and is why he knew law enforcement was the perfect career for him.

“One of the main reasons is to protect the entire community,” Kim said. “Even though that does sound corny, that is what I’m going forward to do.”

Pallas said that he was motivated to be a part of the 111th Precinct after seeing Hurricane Sandy have a devastating effect on some in the community in 2012. The NYPD Explorer program gives youths an opportunity to volunteer and learn more about pursuing a law enforcement career.

“I was lucky,” Pallas said. “I didn’t have any damage, I didn’t have anything [wrong], so I thought that since I have capabilities, I want to be able to help people.”


Real-life ‘escape room’ to open on Bell Boulevard in Bayside

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Christopher Bride

Now you can be the main character in your very own adventurous escape.

Bayside will be getting its very first real-life, themed “escape room” with the arrival of Challenge Escape Rooms on June 19.

New York City schoolteacher Chris Purcell and his wife, Janice Galizia, a psychologist with experience being involved in live theater, decided to open Challenge Escape Rooms on 40-18 Bell Blvd. after experiencing one for the first time only two months ago.

Galizia’s sister, Lauren, is one of the owners of their unique enterprise, and all three design the fantasy challenge themselves. A place in one of the rooms can be booked at www.challengeescaperooms.com or by calling 516-888-0202, and for a limited time customers can use promo code “CHALLENGE” when booking online for 25 percent off the admittance fee.

Escape rooms were popularized in Europe and Asia, with one company from Japan claiming to have been the first to open one in 2007. While the United States has only recently seen escape rooms gain popularity on its shores, they have quickly proliferated to become a trendy weekend activity for couples and groups of friends.

Purcell said that being trapped together in an impossible situation can be a great team-building exercise for different groups of people, even strangers.

“You come out of it bonded by what you went through,” said Purcell. “Whether you win or lose, no matter what the result is, it focuses on collaborating with your friends, family, strangers, to figure out this challenge.”


Star of Queens: Debbie McCrorie, volunteer for St. Robert Bellarmine and Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


BACKGROUND: Debbie McCrorie is a Bayside resident and volunteer at St. Robert Bellarmine and Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy since 2000. She runs fundraising events like the Msgr. John B. Lavin Golf & Tennis Outing and the annual Sweetheart Dance. She recently was awarded a lifetime achievement award for her dedication to the school.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: McCrorie assists the board of directors of Divine Wisdom in running fundraising events. She helps to raise money to drive down the cost of tuition for families. Her roles have included office assistant, class mom, president of the Home School Association, and former coordinator for the St. Bellarmine Parish Youth Group.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Having my son go through Catholic education and watching the children receive the education that they are with the Catholic background. [With] Catholic education, the children get such a great set of morals and they are like a family. In the school, the kids, they look out for each other and my son, my school, St. Roberts and it’s just a whole different set of morals that I think is very important and I help with that.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “I volunteer a lot and I think my biggest challenge is continuing to do what I do and keeping my health in check. My [other] biggest challenge is to meet our financial goals every year and I help the board of directors with their fundraising and my biggest challenge is meeting that number at the end of every year.”

INSPIRATION: “Other than my son, [someone else who inspires me is] Pastor Geraghty. He is a wonderful pastor and he is such a wonderful man. He takes care of his school community, his church community and I have to say that he is a wonderful inspiration to everyone, the children, the parishioners, everyone.”


Op-Ed: Not all nail salons are equal

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


It’s been a long time in coming, but finally, the city and state are working to enforce codes for the nail salon industry.

As the owner of an award-winning luxury salon in business for 44 years in Bayside, I welcome these changes because many others involved in the industry have exploited cheap labor and bent the rules to make a profit.

Our salon employs qualified manicurists (now referred to as nail technicians) to service our clients. New York State requires a license to perform nail and waxing services.

Full-service salons had difficulty finding qualified nail technicians and also found itself competing with smaller nail salons that sprang up across Queens offering cheaper prices for all kinds of nail services. These salons employ unskilled and unlicensed workers.

The beauty industry faced the difficulty of language barriers in finding employees. We have hired a manager fluent in Korean who has helped us attract and train nail technicians for our business.

The nail salon industry today is a billion-dollar business, but questions abound as to who is working at these salons. Who trains them? Are they licensed? Where do the salons hire them? How are they paid?

Recent reports have revealed that many of these small nail salons with workers being paid in cash and kept off the books are denied any kind of benefits and forced to work long hours. Our business abides by the rules; we pay our taxes, as do our employees, and give our employees wages well above the minimum as well as paid vacations, training, health care and retirement benefits, and are provided sterilized tools – all of which I believe these workers are entitled to and deserve.

I do not believe employees should be forced to work more than a 40-hour week. In my opinion, that is an unfair business practice.

Before getting any service, my advice to customers is to ask to see all of a salon’s licenses and sterilized equipment. If a customer goes to a salon offering a $15 mani/pedi, they should probably assume they are receiving services from underpaid, exploited workers.

There are many salons in Queens offering very high-end, excellent services. Regardless of the culture of salon operators and employees, all businesses must operate under the same laws to make salons safe for clients and competitive. We must all pay our taxes and follow state regulations.

Christie is the president and hair color director of Christie & Co. Salon in Bayside.


Bayside brothers look to ‘bee’ a spelling dynasty

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alina Suriel / File photo

Being a spelling master seems to be hereditary for Srinath Mahankali of Bayside.

Mahankali, a sixth-grader at Bayside’s Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74, is one of 285 spellers set to compete in the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Although this is his first year qualifying for the bee, the 11-year-old Mahankali has already seen what it takes to be a winner. His older brother, Arvind, gained national attention after winning the championship in his third time competing in 2013, and Srinath was part of the process by helping him study.

In person, the younger Mahankali radiates a maturity far beyond his age. He thanks the principal, assistant principal and students at his school for supporting him throughout the regional spelling bee process and the newfound attention he has been getting from the outside world, which he tries not to let get to his head.

“I just want to feel normal,” Srinath said. “I’m not feeling shy, but I am proud of winning the regional spelling bee.”

And he doesn’t compare himself to his brother Arvind, now a 10th-grader at Stuyvesant High School. “I’m not looking at this as a competitive thing,” Srinath said. “He did inspire me to do this.”

The parents of the boys are both employed in professions involving science and technology —mother Bhavani Mahankali is a physician and father Srinivas Mahankali is in the software industry. Srinivas said that his sons are self-motivated to pursue academic prestige even outside of high-profile competitions.

“Both the children made us really proud but the spelling bee is not an end in itself,” Srinivas Mahankali said. “It’s a lifelong thing. It’s a part of the biggest picture.”

Photo courtesy of the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Photo courtesy of the Scripps National Spelling Bee

Srinath Mahankali is not the only Queens student gearing up to take part in the bee. Sai Chandrasekhar, a Flushing teenager and an eighth-grader at Hunter College High School in Manhattan, will also be competing for the second time. She said that even though this is her last chance to take home the trophy, she is much more calm this year and feels proud of how much she has already accomplished at the young age of 13.

“It is my last chance but I’m not really that nervous,” Chandrasekhar said. “I’ve done a lot over the past few years, and I’m just going to do my best, and give it my best shot.”

In describing her pre-competition process, Chandrasekhar said that she does not try to cram more words into her head, but instead focuses on relaxing activities to stay stress-free.

The Championship Finals of the Scripps Spelling Bee will air on on May 28 at 8 p.m. on ESPN.


Mixed-use Bayside buildings sell for record value due to rising demand

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Cushman & Wakefield  

Filled with bars, shops and a wide variety of restaurants, Bell Boulevard is the main commercial strip in Bayside.

The thoroughfare is serviced by buses and the Bayside LIRR station on the boulevard, which brings high foot traffic to the area.

For these reasons, and partly because of a spillover from nearby Flushing due to lack of inventory, rising demand for real estate on the Bayside commercial strip is leading to sale prices well above past averages.

In fact, the two attached mixed-use buildings at 39-32 and 39-34 Bell Blvd. recently sold for $3.8 million, which equates to about $731 per square foot and is a record for a residential and commercial mixed-use building sold in Bayside, according to broker Cushman & Wakefield.

“The package provides great upside for the investor in an area that is continuing to see an abundance of attention in the real estate world,” said Cushman & Wakefield’s Stephen Preuss, who handled the transaction for the seller.

In 2012, commercial real estate was selling for an average of $550 per square foot on Bell Boulevard and as much as $600 for top properties. Last year, the average rose to $615 per square foot, according to Preuss.

The two buildings at 39-32 and 39-34 Bell Blvd. have 5,200 square feet of space, in which there are four residential units and two ground-floor retail spaces.

As a side note, one of the retail tenants, Il Vesuvio Pizzeria, is moving a few doors down to the location of the former Okinawa restaurant and expanding to include a bar, restaurant and pizzeria.

Il Vesuvio is also changing its name to Il Borgo and is expected to open in the coming weeks.


Forest Hills residents fighting to keep local Barnes & Noble open

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Support to save the Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills is growing.

Local preservationist Michael Perlman started a petition to save the bookstore on Change.org on May 15, the same day the news broke that the Barnes & Noble may not renew its lease at 70-00 Austin St., which expires in January.

The petition has already attracted more than 2,850 signatures as of the writing of this article. It hopes to attract 5,000 signatures, which will be sent to elected officials, Barnes & Noble and Muss Development, the landlord of the building.

The troubled bookstore has already closed its Fresh Meadows branch near St. John’s University, and if the Forest Hills location is shuttered, the only Barnes & Noble in Queens will be the one in Bayside. Perlman emphasized the need to keep the Forest Hills branch open to the community in the petition.

“At the request of the community, [Barnes & Noble’s] lease needs to be renewed to the benefit of current and future generations,” Perlman said in the petition description. “This is a store where multi-generational patrons have the opportunity to explore various genres under one roof, feel as if they are traveling around the world and through time, and interact with the physical nature of books in a welcoming and friendly environment.”

Currently Muss Development and Barnes & Noble are still negotiating the lease renewal for the 22,000-square-foot space, where the bookstore has been for more than 20 years.

The problem began after the bookseller declined to extend its lease five more years. Barnes & Noble wants to remain at the location but “at rates very close to what we are currently paying,” said David Deason, vice president of development at the bookseller.

Muss Development agrees that they are hoping to find a solution, but COO Jeff Kay said he has not heard an alternate pitch from the bookstore after they declined the five-year extension, and they have been collecting interest for the space.

“We would like to retain Barnes & Noble as a long-term tenant. If they are interested, we will work with them to come up with a reasonable solution,” Kay said. “Every major national retailer in the U.S. is attending the ICSC meeting in Las Vegas right now. We are there, meeting with several of them who are interested in leasing the space.”

To sign the petition, click here.


Forest Hills Barnes & Noble may close, leaving just one branch in Queens

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated 3:10 p.m.

Bookseller Barnes & Noble could shutter one of its two remaining locations in Queens if it doesn’t renew its lease.

The 22,000-square-foot location at 70-00 Austin St. in Forest Hills, which has been there for more than 20 years, may close when its lease expires in January. The bookstore declined to extend its lease five more years at the location, according to representatives of landlord Muss Development.

If it does close, the once-prominent bookstore chain will have just one location in Queens, which is in the Bay Terrace Shopping Center in Bayside. Last year, the company closed its Fresh Meadows branch near to St. John’s University.

Representatives for the firm said they are hoping to keep the Forest Hills location open.

“We’re having current discussions with the property owner regarding an extension of lease at Forest Hills,” said David Deason, vice president of development at Barnes & Noble. “We have clearly and consistently communicated to the property owner that we would extend long term, but at rents very close to what we are currently paying. We have been in business there for over 20 years, and hope that we can come to terms that are acceptable to both parties.”

However, an executive from Muss Development, which is prepared to put the space on the market, confirmed to The Courier that they have not received word from Barnes & Noble representatives that they want to sign a new long-term lease or even a one-year extension.

“I would love to keep Barnes & Noble if they have an interest in a long-term deal,” said Jeff Kay, COO of Muss Development. “We got no indication from them that they want to stay long term.”