Tag Archives: Bell Boulevard

Little Bay Park body identified as Bayside woman


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

A badly decomposed body that was found in Little Bay Park last month was identified as a 41-year-old Bayside resident, police said.

Caroline Maquinghin went missing in early July from her Bayside apartment, according to neighbors.

Maquinghin lived on Bell Boulevard, close to where her body was found in the Whitestone park on Aug. 5, according to police.

Officials have yet to determine the cause of death but they have ruled out any criminal act causing her death.

Cops said that the body was badly decomposed when it was found by a park employee in a wooded area near 14th Road and Utopia Parkway.

Neighbors of Maquinghin said that she used to jog often and in early July missing posters were put up in the building. The posters said Maquinghin had a history of depression.

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Colombian restaurant Mr. Pollo coming to Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

After being vacant for five years, a storefront on Bell Boulevard will be home to Mr. Pollo. The Colombian restaurant opens at the end of September in Bayside once construction and inspections are complete, according to the building’s owner.

In 2011 , the building’s owner installed a top floor, according to city records, but the new Colombian restaurant will only be on the ground floor. The top floor has three apartment units.

The awning for “El Original Mr. Pollo #1″ is already up and construction workers inside are expanding the kitchen, according to city records.

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French bistro opening off Bell Boulevard


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A new French restaurant is set to open in two months in Bayside, according to a spokesman for one of the two owners .

The location was previously the home of Bentley’s off Bell, a bar and grill that closed earlier this year.

The French bistro started work in March, according to city records, and the awning for Bentley’s still hangs over the location on 39th Avenue. When it opens, it will be the only French restaurant in the neighborhood.

The owners didn’t want to discuss details of the restaurant, so whether or not the menu will include escargot remains to be seen.

 

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Cinco De Mayo moves down Bell Blvd., replaced by Peruvian restaurant


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Hasta luego, Cinco De Mayo; bienvenido, Piura.

Mexican restaurant Cinco De Mayo,  located at 39-32 Bell Blvd., is closing its current location on Bell Boulevard, which used to be home to Italian food store La Bottega, and a Peruvian restaurant called Piura will be moving in.

But fans of the Mexican restaurant will not have to travel far for their “comida.” The eatery is just moving down the Bayside commercial strip to another location at 42-29 Bell Blvd.

The owner of Cinco De Mayo is only doing minor construction to the new location, according to city records. A sign hangs on the new location announcing the move, while the old spot still has a sign for the Mexican restaurant and above it is a new sign for the Peruvian eatery.

Current Cinco De Mayo workers said they will continue to work in the new location and the menu will stay the same. The owners of both the Mexican and Peruvian restaurants could not be reached but several workers in the restaurant expect the move to take place this fall.

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Bayside’s ‘unofficial mayor’ to be memorialized in street renaming


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Bayside’s “unofficial mayor” Benjamin Fried will be memorialized next Monday during a street renaming ceremony, according to Councilman Paul Vallone.

For 68 years Fried was a part of Bell Boulevard and now he will be a permanent part of the strip.

Vallone’s spokesman said that Fried, who died at the age of 98 last year, contributed to the healthy mix of commercial and residential areas in the neighborhood.

The city is designating 43rd Avenue and Bell Boulevard — at the corner where Fried kept shop for 68 years until 2001 — as Benjamin Fried Boulevard on Aug. 25.

Fried’s civic life began in 1933 when he opened Benn’s Bargain Store — later renamed to Benn’s Hardware — on Bell Boulevard and he would eventually become active in many parts of Bayside. Along with his hardware store, Fried was also a local activist, according to Vallone’s spokesman. Fried led a succesful rally in the 1970s to reopen fire department engine company 306 on 214th Place.

“Benjamin Fried was affectionately known as the mayor of Bayside and for good reason. His life was spent advocating for Bayside, his community, family and friends,” Vallone said. “Now as we co-name 43rd Avenue as Benjamin Fried Boulevard, we will always keep his memory alive.”

Fried founded the Bell Boulevard Merchants Association and started the annual Children’s Holiday Parade. These all led to his unofficial mayor title, with his hardware business serving as the unofficial city hall.

“The Fried family made sure Bell Boulevard remained a huge commercial shopping destination,” a spokesman for the Bayside Business Improvement District said. “They’re able to perform this balancing act of making it a great commercial destination without overpowering the residential side [of the neighborhood].”

 

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Fiamma 41: Old-world cooking in great new spot


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

DSC_0093

CHRIS BUMBACA

Recipes from a generation ago that originated in southern Italy have crossed the Atlantic and are now being recreated in Fiamma 41, an Italian restaurant located on 41st Avenue just off of Bell Boulevard.

Owners Alex and John Bonavita have adopted their mother’s recipes, which she learned before moving to America, and use them to create a variety of delicious dishes. The recipes are also from the time she spent in Rome and Florence.

The brick exterior and interior gives off a classy and old-fashioned feel, while the modern bar serves as a potentially popular hangout spot, with several televisions in the joint. Portraits of famous actresses from back in the day, such as Marilyn Monroe, hang on the wall.

Fiamma 41’s staple dish is the Napolitano pizza. It is an artisan-style personal pizza, 12 inches in diameter, and a great dish to share with another person (or for one if you’re extra hungry like I was). The pizza is made in a Valoriani oven from Tuscany that can reach 1,000 degrees, and is made of terracotta. Fiamma is Italian for “fire” and the restaurant does not use gas to cook their pizza.

The salsiccia e broccoli rabe pizza was delicious. It is a white pizza served with spicy Italian sausage, fresh mozzarella and — the best part of the dish — the perfectly bitter broccoli rabe. The crust was even enjoyable, and you could tell the dough was fresh.

Not in the mood for pizza? No worries. The menu also features awesome pasta and seafood options. The linguine frutti di mare is an eclectic seafood dish that was delightful. The dish includes linguine pasta served with marinara sauce, along with mussels, clams and shrimp. The marinara sauce had the perfect touch of garlic, while the mussels and clams were well-cooked and scrumptious. The shrimp bits were bite-size and juicy.

If you still have room for dessert, the tiramisu is on point. The homemade recipe is complemented perfectly by a drizzling of chocolate and sugar.

Whether you are looking for a place to grab a few drinks with friends, go on a date or dip out of the office for an enjoyable lunch, Fiamma 41 is definitely the place to be.

Fiamma 41
214-26 41st Ave., Bayside
718-225-5700

Hours:
Monday: closed
Tuesday – Thursday: 12 – 10 p.m.
Friday: 12 – 11 p.m.
Saturday: 12 – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 12 – 10 p.m.

 

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New mixed-use residential structure to replace 80-year-old Bayside building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Longtime Bayside firm Pilling Real Estate closed a big saleits own building.

After more than 30 years in the same Bayside office at 42-18 Bell Blvd., the firm packed up everything Monday, July 28, in preparation to move after owner Betty Pilling sold the building for $1.15 million in May, according to city records.

The new owner, Bell Realty, plans to transform the building, which was built in 1931 according to the Department of City Planning, into a three-story mixed-use residential and commercial structure.

“There is a lot more that you could get out of that land than what we were doing with it,” Pilling said. “It was just time.”

Despite the sale, the owner and brokers of Pilling Real Estate are not leaving Bayside. The company plans to merge with another local firm, yet to be announced.

Frances Lee Pilling founded the realty firm in 1953. She moved the business in 1981 to the building on Bell Boulevard, which was a farmhouse converted to office space, according to the younger Pilling.

The building will expand from two stories to three and will have four residential units, according to the Department of Buildings filings. It will be similar to the relatively new building next door, a four-story mixed-use residential and commercial building, where a new fried chicken restaurant plans to open on the first floor.

“I feel bad, because it was kind of a standout building,” Pilling said. But she added, “[Bell Realty] has wonderful plans. They are an extremely established firm. They are not a fly-by-night builder.”

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Bayside BID to study DOT lot expansion to solve community parking woes


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Building up may be the best way to build up Bayside businesses, and Councilman Paul Vallone allocated $20,000 for a study to solve the parking problem near Bell Boulevard, which many residents and business owners say is the No. 1 issue in the community.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), which supports hundreds of businesses along Bell Boulevard between Northern Boulevard and 35th Avenue with sanitation, event planning and marketing services, requested the funding to conduct a feasibility study to build a multilevel parking lot. The parking structure would expand the current Department of Transportation (DOT) municipal lot on 214th Place and 41st Avenue.

“It is no secret that the popularity of this commercial hub makes parking difficult for those commuting via the Long Island Railroad and customers frequenting stores,” Vallone said. “Potentially expanding the municipal parking lot on 41st Avenue could greatly alleviate parking concerns and ensure continued success for the businesses that call Bell Boulevard home. This study is a step in that direction.”

A representative of the BID said the feasibility study will identify and estimate costs to expand the lot, examine financial impacts on the neighborhood, analyze the supply and demand for spaces, and determine possible mixed-use options for the new structure. The lot may expand up, but representatives aren’t sure how many levels at this moment.

Currently, the parking lot has dozens of spaces, but residents and business owners say it’s usually filled.

“You can’t find a [parking spot] there on nights and on weekends,” said John Bonavita, co-owner of Fiamma 41, a restaurant that opened eight months ago on 41st Avenue between Bell Boulevard and 214th Place. Bonavita said that the restaurant added valet parking on weekends specifically to counter complaints about the lack of parking.

“The fact that they would add parking would be a plus for the boulevard,” he said. “I lose a lot of business because people say they can’t find parking.”

 

 

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Queens locals open hookah bars in Bayside


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


Bayside is getting hooked-up with hookah.

Hookah enthusiasts opened two lounges on the Bell Boulevard commercial strip within the past three weeks, hoping to spread the smoking sensation away from crowded, known hookah areas such as Astoria.

“Anybody that’s into hookah or that’s serious about hookah would have to go to Astoria, but Astoria is saturated [with lounges],” said Sandy Diaz, co-owner of Galyan Hookah Bar, which is between 38th and 39th Avenues. “The reason we brought this concept here is because there is a void that needs to be filled.”

Diaz, a Flushing resident who grew up in Glen Oaks, opened the lounge as a restaurant and bar that serves a fusion of Middle Eastern and American food, meaning that patrons can expect everything from burgers and fries to lamb.

But Galyan primarily targets hookah–lovers or customers interested in trying the Middle Eastern delight. There are dozens of flavors for the hookah, ranging from Skittles to mango and each costs $15-$20.

Not to be out done, Pyramids, which opened few blocks south near 41st Avenue, offers a wide variety of flavors as well, such as vanilla and blueberry pancake, for a similar price range. They also have a custom mix-and-match option.

Pyramids owners, long-time friends Amarjit Singh of Ozone Park, Maneet Dhillon of Briarwood and Dave Verma of Bellrose, brought the lounge to Bell Boulevard after sensing a lack of hookah establishments. A DJ system is set up prominently in the lounge and modern party music is spun nightly.

“We want people to relax, have a good time and enjoy the surroundings,” Singh said. “We want people to be comfortable when they come here.”

Although the two lounges opened around the same time, they have no affiliation and owners said they don’t see each other as a business threat.

“No beef, we’re all family,” Dhillon said.

 

 

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N’Awlins in Bayside


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

ShortRib

CHRIS BUMBACA

While Bell Boulevard does not resemble downtown New Orleans, the eatery Bourbon Street, located at 40-12 Bell Blvd. in Bayside, provides the opportunity to indulge in delicious Cajun cuisine in the heart of Queens.

Stepping into the restaurant is like being teleported from the concrete jungle of New York to Bourbon Street itself. The color scheme of the interior, with purples and greens, reminded me of Mardi Gras. A spacious bar area with several televisions provides a pleasurable atmosphere to take in a game.

For the appetizer, the lobster sliders were fantastic. Bits of chopped lobster were covered with a creamy sauce, highlighted with tomato, that enhanced the flavor between two grilled buns. Two of these sliders were served along with a helping of homemade potato chips. The chips had tremendous taste with a minimal amount of salt, making them truly delicious and light.

The second course featured fried scallops served over traditional rice and red beans. The rice had a zesty kick and was the perfect complement to the scallops. The scallops were light yet substantial, and were topped off with a peperonata sauce. The peperonata sausage was delightful, adding a different component to the dish. The sauce contained green and red peppers, adding a spice to the scallops. The sauce also added flavor because of the hints of white wine, cilantro and basil in the sauce.

The seafood paella sushi is the quintessential item on the menu for sushi lovers. Even if you are not into sushi, I’d still recommend the dish because it is a mixture of crab meat, chicken and roasted red peppers. The sushi is flash fried, crisping the exterior of the sushi, making it easy to eat and providing a change in texture from the softer interior filled with white rice. A saffron aioli was served on the bottom, and the sushi was topped off with a zesty, orange chipotle sauce. An ample portion of six pieces was served, definitely filling me up.

Dessert was traditional and delectable, and consisted of a trio of cakes and pies. The freshest piece of chocolate cake I’ve ever had was served with whipped cream, strawberries and blueberries. The key lime pie was tangy and pleased the taste buds. The carrot cake was fluffy with a sweet filling and frosting.

The drink menu is seasonal, and daily specials vary.

Overall, Bourbon Street provides a delightful experience featuring mouthwatering Cajun cuisine, so bring your appetite!

Bourbon Street
40-12 Bell Blvd., Bayside
718-224-2200
Lunch: 12pm-4pm Monday-Friday
Dinner: 4pm-11pm Sunday-Thursday
4pm-12am Friday & Saturday
Saturday & Sunday Brunch: 12pm-3pm

 

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Women arrested after using child in Bayside store thefts: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated Tuesday, May 20 10:05 a.m.

Police have arrested two women in a series of Bayside store thefts where they allegedly used a four-year-old girl to steal cash and credit cards.

Shannie Eastman, 39, of Queens, and Tisha Strong, 41, of Brooklyn, have each been charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, and failure to exercise control of a minor, cops said.

Two of the thefts occurred within less than two hours of each other on May 7. That afternoon, the suspects had the child, who is Eastman’s daughter, take a wallet containing $200 from a salesperson at Karma Boutique at 38-27 Bell Blvd., according to police and the store’s owner.

Around 2 p.m. while the store was busy and the salesperson was distracted, one woman told the young girl to take the wallet, which was behind the cash register.

The child then allegedly gave the wallet, which also contained personal identification and a debit card, to one of the women who placed it in her pants and fled the clothing store.

The women are accused of committing a similar theft at a nearby thrift shop called The Worthy Pause, on Corporal Kennedy Street, about 3:30 p.m. the same day, according to police.

They entered the store with a young child and took two purses, which contained approximately $170 and several credit cards before fleeing, officials said. The stolen goods belonged to two store volunteers, according to another volunteer who works at The Worthy Pause.

Police said the same women are also connected to an April 10 theft at the Empress Travel Agency, located at 39-22 Bell Blvd.

Two women came into the business with a young child around 3 p.m., then stole $900 from a cash box, which was located in a back room near a bathroom that the suspects asked to use, cops said.

 

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Women used child to snatch wallet at Bayside store, suspected in similar theft: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Updated 4:55 p.m.

 

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND LIAM LA GUERRE 

 

Police are looking for two women who allegedly convinced a young child to steal a wallet at a Bayside clothing boutique last week and are suspected of committing a similar crime the same day.

The suspects had the child take the wallet containing $200 from a salesperson at Karma Boutique at 38-27 Bell Blvd., on May 7, according to police and the owner.

Around 2 p.m. while the store was busy and the salesperson was distracted, one woman told the girl to take the wallet, which was behind the cash register, according to the store’s owner and police.

The child then gave the wallet, which also contained personal identification and a debit card, to one of the women who placed it in her pants and fled the clothing store. About 15 minutes later, the salesperson noticed her wallet was missing when she was going to pay for her delivered lunch.

Karma Boutique owner Margaret Papacosta stands near where a wallet was stolen from her store last week. (THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz)

After 11 years in Bayside, Karma has not experienced a crime such as this one, owner Margaret Papacosta said. 

“On Bell Boulevard for something like this to happen, it’s unheard of,” she said.  “I was shocked.”

Papacosta, a mother of three, added what was really surprising was that the suspects used a young girl for the crime.

“She was forced to commit a crime,” Papacosta said. “What does her future look like?”

The suspects also committed a similar theft at a Bayside thrift shop called The Worthy Pause, on Corporal Kennedy Street, the same afternoon, according to police and Rose Meehan, a volunteer who works at the store.

Meeha said two women fitting the suspects’ description and the young girl stole from two volunteers at the shop. They took a wallet containing $80 and a credit card, and a fanny pack with a driver’s license and credit cards inside of it.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

With additional reporting by Angy Altamirano 

 

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Bayside ‘Weekend Walk’ draws crowds


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Rachel Landau

A multi-block party that closed off parts of Bell Boulevard this weekend drew in nearly 2,000 people, local officials said.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) held its first ever “Weekend Walk” on Sunday.

The event took place from noon to 5 p.m. along two blocks of the main commercial corridor from 39th Avenue to 41st Avenue.

It featured free fitness classes, dance performances, music acts and specials offered by businesses, in conjunction with the BID’s second annual “Sidewalk Sale.”

The two events were meant to increase foot traffic on Bell Boulevard and promote the wide variety of businesses on the popular strip, officials said.

“Hopefully, we are going to get exposure,” said Barbara of Empress Travel, one of the many vendors.

“Our neighbors are going to see we are here.”

This was the first time in 20 years Bell Boulevard has been closed off for a community festival, BID officials said.

“It was wonderful. We were really glad to see a lot of families,” said Bayside BID Executive Director Lyle Sclair. “We hope they’ll be coming back throughout the year, and we hope it’ll be an annual thing.”

There are more than 400 businesses and property owners from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, officials said, including long established eateries, beloved bars and a host of stores and professional practices.

“You really get to know what’s available,” said Rosa Denny of Whitestone. “There are so many great things — different services, resources, restaurants. There’s just so much.”

 

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Bell Boulevard to partially close this Sunday for “Weekend Walk”


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Parts of Bell Boulevard will be closed off to traffic this Sunday for a multi-block party, city and local officials said.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) will hold its first ever “Weekend Walk” on September 29 from noon to 5 p.m.

There will be free fitness classes, dance performances, music acts and specials offered by businesses.

The event will be held on two blocks of the main commercial corridor from 39th Avenue to 41st Avenue.

Cars will not be allowed to park or enter from those avenues until 6 p.m.

Bell Boulevard has not been closed off for a community festival in more than 20 years, BID officials said.

A second event, the BID’s second annual “Sidewalk Sale,” will take place from Friday, September 27 to Sunday, September 29.

Officials said the two events are meant to increase foot traffic on Bell Boulevard and promote the wide variety of businesses on the popular strip.

There are more than 400 businesses and property owners from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, officials said, including long established eateries, beloved bars and a host of stores and professional practices.

 

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‘Girls’ shoots on Bayside’s Bell Boulevard


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Rosa Kim

The hit HBO series “Girls” filmed on Bell Boulevard on Tuesday, July 2.

Cast members, including Lena Dunham, were on hand at Bayside’s CJ Sullivan’s.

“I took off work to see her and I’ve been waiting since 10 a.m. just to see her come out and take a picture with her [Dunham],” said “Girls” fan Kelly Goff. “She’s awesome. I feel like I totally relate to the show–post grad, everybody’s trying to get a job, going out partying the same way.”

“It’s really cool; we don’t really have a lot actual big shows being filmed here, it’s usually small ones that you never really hear of, so to have a show that I actually watch here is really awesome,” echoed Jessie Naftaly.

Photo courtesy of Gregg Sullivan

 

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