Tag Archives: Bell Boulevard

Blizzard causes long gas lines, shortages reminiscent of Sandy


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Maggie Hayes

Though Friday’s blizzard won’t be as devastating as Sandy, at several area gas stations there have been long lines reminiscent of the fuel shortage following the superstorm.

On Thursday evening, a line at a gas station in Whitestone off of Clintonville Street stretched around the block, but that wasn’t the only location in the tri-state area with significant waits.

Other local media outlets have been reporting long lines at stations in Long Island, New Jersey and New England also.

In Queens, the gas guzzling is still going on as of this morning. At a 35th Avenue and Bell Boulevard gas stations, the drivers had to wait awhile to fill their tanks, and nearby, a Gulf station on Bell Boulevard and 23rd Avenue had even run out of fuel.

A Mobile station at 172-11 Northern Boulevard was also out of gas, but didn’t think believe the fuel shortage was because of the storm, saying it was more of a logistical thing.”

Other Queens gas stations without fuel as of Friday morning were a Mobile station at 181-08 Northern Boulevard and one at  69-02 Queens Boulevard that is expecting a delivery this afternoon.

On The Courier Facebook page some questioned why people would need to get gas since the storm will prevent drivers from hitting the road, but others worried about another situation similar to Sandy.

“The lines are getting longer all over, said Eleni Lenitsa. “Think we’ll have a shortage again?”

But at a 1 p.m. storm briefing today, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that there is no need to panic about gas shortages. “The gas supply is plentiful and deliveries won’t be disrupted,” he said.

 

With additional reporting by Maggie Hayes, Anthony O’Reilly and Toni Cimino 

 

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New benches let Bayside shoppers take a load off


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony O'Reilly

Relax and kick up your feet, Bayside.

Assisted by funding from former State Senator Frank Padavan and donations from the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Bayside Business Association installed 14 new benches along Bell Boulevard, the first phase of a multi-layer beautification initiative.

“It’s always been a dream and a vision of people shopping on Bell Boulevard to sit and talk to neighbors,” said Judith Limpert, president of the Bayside Business Association. “It’s a very communal feeling and benches are hopefully going to foster that feeling.”

The $1 million project, spanning Bell Boulevard from Northern Boulevard to 35th Avenue, will also include new street lamps and improved sidewalks.

Alex Cosentini, 21, of Bayside, believes the benches will add a wonderful aesthetic to the neighborhood.
“It’s the small little things sometimes,” said Cosentini. “You don’t always have to do big things. Anything to help improve the quality of life.”

-Additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly

 

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Bayside pizzeria Cascarino’s now only for catering and delivery


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Cascarino’s, a popular Bayside pizzeria, has closed its Bell Boulevard restaurant, and is now only catering and delivering, managers said.

Brick oven pizza lovers craving a slice can visit Cascarino’s other Whitestone store at 152-59 10th Avenue, which will remain the same, managers said.

Co-owner Jimmy Coady cited logistics for the change.

“The place was doing well, but it’s just beneficial for me to have everything at one location to save money on the overhead,” he said. “The food business is very tough. With this economy, it just makes sense.”

 

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‘The Americans’ are coming to Bayside


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Frank Ockenfels/FX

A new FX series, “The Americans,” will be shooting an upcoming episode in Bayside and will be setting up in the area this week for the  shoot, according to the Bayside Village BID.

The show, which premieres tonight at 10 p.m., is about the marriage of two KGB spies posing as Americans in suburban Washington D.C. shortly after Ronald Reagan is elected president, and stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

Scenes will take place at the LIRR Station, located off of Bell Boulevard, and inside a number of other area locations. Television crews will be setting up and parking equipment from 10 p.m. Wednesday, January 3o until late on Thursday, January 31. The following locations will have no parking during those times:

  • Bell Boulevard from 39th Ave to 42nd Avenue
  • 41st Ave from 212th Street to 214th Place
  • 40th Ave from 214th Place to 215th Place
  • 214th Place from 39th Ave to 40th Avenue
  • 215th Street from 39th Ave to 40th Avenue

All of those streets will be open to vehicular traffic. The municipal lot located on 41st and 214th Place will be open. If you have any further questions please contact the production company directly. Their contact information is located on the signage along the streets listed above.

 

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Brrrrrrrr! How Queens is dealing with the cold


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony O'Reilly

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

Baby it’s cold outside.

With temperatures expected to stay below freezing, and wind chill factors making it feel even colder over the next week, Queens residents are bundling up to protect themselves from the frigid temperatures.

Richard Schaffer, 51, of Bayside, volunteers to do yard work for the Lutheran Redeemer Church on Bell Boulevard. Schaffer says the only outdoor work he does during the winter months is to change the outside sign of the church, but even that is challenging with the cold.

“Unfortunately, you can’t change letters while wearing gloves,” he said.

Schaffer’s strategy for staying warm during the cold months, he says, is to avoid confronting it.

“I try to go outside as little as possible.”

Schaffer also said he had just come back from London, where there was snow and temperatures of about 30 degrees. He said that although there was snow in the UK, he’d prefer the weather from across the pond over the temperatures here.

“We didn’t know how good we had it over there.”

Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), said during cold stretches, the employees who are outside sweeping the streets are provided with “weather appropriate clothes.”

“We provide them with a full body suit that goes over their regular uniform,” he said. “That’s because we value their service.”

A BID worker sweeping the streets of Bell Boulevard also wore an insulated face mask to keep his face warm while working outside.

When asked if employees had ever complained about working during the colder days, he said he wasn’t aware of any such instances happening.

Forecasts predict a light accumulation of snow for Friday, Jan. 25 and a mix of snow and rain for Tuesday, Jan. 29.

Despite this, Sclair says that BID workers will still be outside working if necessary.

Dine while you shop in Bayside


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

The 230 businesses that line Bell Boulevard are 230 reasons alone to visit one of the busiest commercial corridors in the northeast portion of the borough, according to Bayside Village’s executive business director.

The popular strip is well-known for its long established eateries and beloved bars, but Bayside Village Business Improvement District’s (BID) executive director, Lyle Sclair, said there’s more to the boulevard, long deemed “restaurant row,” than a place to grab a bite.

A majority of businesses — 32 percent — along the tree-lined streets are made up of professional practices, ranging from medical doctors to lawyers, accountants, bankers and realtors, Sclair said. Eating and drinking establishments only represent 27 percent of businesses.

“People definitely know us for the bars and restaurants, but a lot of people don’t know that you can get all your wedding day needs on Bell Boulevard too,” Sclair said.

Brides and grooms planning their nuptials can find everything from their dresses and tuxedos to hair and makeup services along the strip, the business head said. They can also buy their wedding rings, book their honeymoons and even pick out lingerie for the big night.

Auburndale also boasts its hidden foodie gem, Durso’s Pasta & Ravioli Company, while Fresh Meadows is home to its own collection of cuisines along 188th Street and Union Turnpike.

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan

For a shopping mecca filled with an assortment of entertainment, shopping and dining options, without the bustle and congestion of the city, visit The Bay Terrace Shopping Center at 211-01 26th Avenue and Bell Boulevard. The center features one dozen restaurants, including Tony Roma’s and Outback Steakhouse, and more than 30 shops.

Business is backbone of Bayside community


| SKakar@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Sweetina Kakar
Though neighborhoods change, over the years these businesses have been the backbone of the community.

THE COURIER/Photos by Sweetina Kakar

VIPizza

43-02 Bell Boulevard

718-229-9311

This Bayside-based pizzeria has been located in the neighborhood on the same corner of 43rd Street and Bell Boulevard for over 50 years. Known for its upside down and buffalo slice, along with great customer service and spacious dining area, VIPizza seems to be famous not just in the Bayside area but as far as upstate New York. The dough is made daily on the premises and pies are prepared with ripe tomatoes and the finest cheese.

 

Dental & Facial Wellness

35-34 Bell Boulevard

718-229-3232

Dental & Facial Wellness is one of the few cosmetic dental practices in the Queens and Long Island area that provides choices of multiple treatment plans for an incredible cosmetic dental makeover. They specialize in a variety of different dental procedures such as laser dentistry, implants and bite adjustments with the best of proven technologies and materials.

 

THE COURIER/Photos by Sweetina Kakar

Durso’s Pasta & Ravioli Company

189-01 Crocheron Avenue

718-358-1311

This family-owned company has been located in the Bayside neighborhood for more than 40 years, serving great Italian food. Durso’s specializes in homemade pasta, ravioli, gourmet prepared foods, Italian specialties and fresh meats and sausages, ready to take home for a great meal. They also make sandwiches, panini and salads to order for lunch, along with off-base catering in all New York boroughs. This corner shop is an authentic Italian restaurant and grocery, all in one, in a convenient Queens location. The Queens store features more than 50 varieties of fresh pasta and ravioli products including stuffed shells, manicotti and over a dozen homemade sauces made in-store daily.

 

THE COURIER/Photos by Sweetina Kakar

Keil Bros Garden Center & Nursery

210-11 48th Avenue

718-224-2020

Keil Bros Garden Center & Nursery has been serving the New York community for over 80 years, supplying affordable gardening supplies and nursery stocks for trees and shrubs. This Bayside-based company carries one of the largest selections of gardening supplies in Queens. The greenhouse stocks holiday and seasonal plants, along with the largest selection of pots, pottery, baskets, fertilizer and hand tools for every plant lover’s shopping list. They are experts in landscaping, not just for large companies but local homes as well.

 

Cohen’s Fashion Optical

211-51 26th Avenue

718-631-3699

This retail eyewear business was started over 80 years ago by Jack Cohen in New York City, who sold from a pushcart. He thought eyewear was more than just a necessity to see, but could also be fashionable. Eighty years later, Cohen’s Fashion Optical has grown to more than 100 locations nationwide with approximately 10 in Queens. They specialize in frames, sunglasses, lenses, contact lenses, accessories and professional eye exams. They hire professional and experienced optometrist for the best possible eye care and advice.

 

Central Veterinary Associates

36-43 Bell Boulevard

718-224-4451

This New York-based animal hospital specializes in a unique system of delivering veterinary care with seven animal clinics throughout Nassau and Queens Counties. Their Valley Stream Animal Hospital alliance allows for 24-hour, seven-day-a-week care for emergency and surgical facilities. Central Veterinary Associates is one of the oldest continuous veterinary practices in the region offering veterinary services, internal medicine, diagnostic and therapeutic services, laboratory, pharmacy, preventative medicine and wellbeing.

 

Yvette Lingerie & Corsetiere

40-13 Bell Boulevard

718-229-5724

For over 25 years, Yvette Lingerie & Corsetiere has specialized in the art of fitting women into fine lingerie and corsets. They are dedicated to helping women — young and old, petite to plus — discover exactly how to make them feel comfortable, sexy and confident. Yvette Lingerie & Corsetiere offers the finest lingerie in countless sizes and styles, and in popular brand names, and provides the most intricate, custom fittings.

 

Corbin Family Dental Arts

204-17 35th Avenue

347-338-1465

www.corbindental.com

The Corbin Family Dental Arts has been providing dental care to Bayside and Oyster Bay for over three generations.

In 1937, the year Dr. Samuel Corbin began his practice in Queens, the cost of a First Class Stamp was raised from 2 cents to 3 cents; Al Capone was sent to prison in Atlanta, Georgia; and the only option for lost or missing teeth was a small bridge or dentures. White fillings for cavities were not available and nitrous oxide — or laughing gas — and ether were the only anesthesia choices.

While family and cosmetic dentistry, and the world, have changed a great deal, doctors Richard and Bruce Corbin, who grew up in Bayside, say they are still committed to their neighbors and friends with the most up-to-date methods, high-tech equipment, pain-management and answers to any dental questions.

The Corbin Family Dental Arts offers Invisalign, cosmetic bonding and veneers to strengthen and beautify stained or discolored smiles, implants to restore missing or lost teeth permanently, and undetectable white fillings. The dentists are also licensed to administer Oral Conscious sedation that relieves anxiety and fatigue during dental procedures.

 

Barber shop to make way for Yogurtland


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

The last locks will soon fall at a popular barber shop after the three decade-long staple on Bell Boulevard shutters at the end of the month.

Pace’s Hair Design, located at 40-02 Bell Boulevard, will permanently close its doors on October 27, according to Donato Cataldo, owner of the family business and the building, who cited financial reasons as the shop’s downfall.

“I feel bad for my customers and my employees who have been here for over 20 years,” said Cataldo, 34. “It was a family decision to rent it to someone else. I’m sad, of course. It’s been a family business for over 35 years in the same spot. It was my dad’s for many years.”

Cataldo said he took over the store — the only one the family owns — after his father passed away 10 years ago.

“I tried to revive it, tried to get it to a different level,” he said. “It just didn’t work out.”

Yogurtland, a franchise popular on the West Coast, will be taking Pace’s place in a few months. It will be the chain’s first store in the state.

“I want to thank everybody who has been coming here for a long time,” Cataldo said. “We’re just moving on.”

Erawan: Great Thai on Bell Boulevard


| editorial1@queenscourier.com

photow

With the ideal combination of spicy herbs, sweet pastes and fresh ingredients, Erawan of Bayside has succeeded in bringing authentic Thai cuisine to Bell Boulevard. Thai food is a “vacation” from the heavy Chinese takeout we’re all so accustomed to, as it combines aromatic sauces, tender noodles, fruits and vegetables with tender meats and fresh seafood.

The menu at Erawan brilliantly fuses many Southeast Asian cuisines, utilizing ingredients such as soy, curry, sweet chili, lemongrass, lime and cabbage. A surplus of fresh fruits and vegetables is used in creating these Thai delicacies, and most dishes are paired with thick, flavorful pastes and spicy sauces. Lightly prepared, yet potent with flavor – my taste buds entered a foreign “culinary kingdom” of fresh seafood, spicy curry and tantalizing herbs.

Appetizers are traditional and a great way to become familiar with Thai cuisine. Try the Moo Ping- strips of grilled marinated pork in honey herbs. Searching for something spicy? Order the Tom Yum, shrimp or chicken in a spicy herbal clear broth, light – with hints of lemongrass, lime leaves, and mushroom. The Tom Kha combines coconut milk, galangal, lime leaves and chili with herbs to provide an eye-opening explosion of flavor – unknown, yet delicious.

Entrees range from the typical Pad Thai to pineapple fried rice to crispy duck. Entrees are centered around noodles, shrimp, steak, chicken or tofu. The noodles come in a large assortment of shapes, sizes and flavors – each granting a specific texture to its designated dish. The entrees at Erawan exhibit a flawless focus on traditional Thai cuisine with a delightful infusion of Southeast Asian ingredients, spicy thick curries and sweet homemade pastes.

Pair your entrée with the sticky rice or order the pineapple fried rice and share. If you’re a meat eater order the Nuer Katah – sirloin steak cubes, cilantro roots, scallion garlic and vegetables. In the mood for seafood? The lobster Pad Thai is a gigantic plate of seafood heaven – a one-and-a-half pound lobster stuffed with shrimp. Thai food is a wondrous break from your grandma’s heavy Italian sauces and mom’s fried American staples- it combines sweet, spicy, and sour flavors with fresh meats, vegetables and colorful herbs. You’ll be presently surprised by the light, aromatic, textured cuisine served at this local haven.

“We come here because we know it’s consistent,” said Michelle. “I come hungry and leave satisfied- not full, it’s a great dinner option for people watching their weight.”

Erawan of Bayside offers something for everyone – through an aesthetic local atmosphere, delightful wait staff, and brilliant menu. Whether you’re interested in trying something new, watching your figure or call yourself a “Thai fanatic” – you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the food served up at Erawan.

Erawan

42-31 Bell Blvd

Bayside, NY 11361

718 428-2112

www.erawanthaibayside.com

Hours:

Monday – Thursday, noon – 10:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday, noon – 11:30 p.m.

Sunday, 3 – 10 p.m.

 

Bayside BID board battle settled


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A bellicose battle on Bell Boulevard is coming to an end with the close of the Bayside Village BID’s contentious election.

Mitchell Catanzano won a spot on the board as the sole residential member, beating out former executive director Gregg Sullivan. Catanzano earned his first seat on the board with two proxy votes, according to the BID’s executive director Lyle Sclair, while Sullivan only had one after voting for himself.

A mix up involving two proxy votes during the initial July 16 election caused controversy within the board and its candidates, when Sullivan criticized the poor communication between himself and Sclair. Sullivan thought he’d be running for a Class B spot, but instead found himself on the Class C resident’s ballot.

Sullivan sent out a mass community email condemning the BID and calling for a debate last week, but he changed his tune soon after and withdrew his candidacy for a spot on the board.

“This has been really rough on me. I didn’t like the politics and how it was getting ugly,” Sullivan said. “Mitch is my friend. I stepped aside to give him a chance on the board and I’d like to move on. Right now, the best thing for Bayside is exactly what is taking place.”

Sullivan said he felt relieved in distancing himself from the BID, which he said would give him time to focus on his new business venture, BaysideLiveTV.com.

“Mitch is going to do great. I’m going to continue to serve Bayside. I couldn’t be any more pleased,” he said. “The whole town is awake and aware. They’ll be watching over the BID. It’s a great weight off my shoulders.”

Sclair said he didn’t think there was controversy in regards to the election and said the board was upfront, providing enough notification for people to sign up for nominations.

The executive director said over 40 percent of board members are serving for the first time, and he said he looks forward to a future of fresh faces.

“I think that’s a very good turnover rate. They’re already coming in with new recommendations, new suggestions,” Sclair said.

Bayside BID holds election, 1 position still undecided


| Phertling@queenscourier.com

Lyle Sclair, new executive director of the Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID), will look to bring variety to Bell Boulevard over the next several months.

The BID held a meeting on Monday to discuss Sclair’s future plans of “branding” the already popular area.

“It’s a place to conduct business,” Sclair said.

Sclair along with Chair James Riso and Councilmember Dan Halloran addressed board members, business owners and residents about upgrading the BID’s strip.

“We have a variety of shopping here on Bell,” Sclair said. “We need to bring out what your customers are looking for in a shopping environment.”

The annual board member elections were also held at the meeting, which resulted in four new uncontested members. Mark Boccia and John DeFina were elected to represent Class A property owners while David Lilienthal and Edward Teran were chosen to represent Class B commercial tenants.

Former executive director Gregg Sullivan stirred up some controversy by criticizing the poor communication between him and Sclair. Sullivan thought he’d be running for a Class B spot, but instead found himself on the Class C resident’s ballot.

Halloran quickly put an end to the controversy by proving that Sullivan did not meet the credentials for a Class B position. Due to a mix up involving the proxy votes of the election, the sole Class C position is still undetermined. Either Sullivan or Mitchell Catanzano will be elected to the final spot.

In addition, a few other individuals were unhappy with the lack of communication from Sclair and Riso, who will be stepping down from his position to join the board.

“The more the merrier,” Riso said to those who were unaware they could run for the board, encouraging them to run for a spot at next year’s election.

Sclair spoke about how an increase in communication between the board and the businesses could improve the strip. A weekly newsletter has been created under his power and improvements to the BID website are in the near future. He believes a team effort will lead them to success.

“It’s everybody together moving forward,” Sclair said.

City Comptroller John Liu also stopped by the meeting to speak about the current state of the city’s economy.

“We have to have policies that start reducing this wealth gap and start filling the middle class up,” Liu said.

Liu added that he was a critic of the city’s economic development policies but was pleased with what he saw on Bell Boulevard.

“Every time you come here, you see more businesses opening. I think that’s a good sign that the economy is going to pick up,” Liu said.

 

Family tradition continued at Cascarino’s


| editorial1@queenscourier.com

Photo by Joanna Adduci

I’m not sure if it was the savory scarpariello sauce, the homemade cheesecake cannoli or the quaint, authentic atmosphere, but I’m now certain that Cascarino’s Brick Over Pizzeria & Ristorante is much more than a neighborhood pizzeria.

At Cascarino’s, “every day is Sunday.” Nestled in Bayside on Bell Boulevard, this “pizzeria” offers an abundance of entrees, flavorful appetizers and innovative desserts.

Chatting with owner Jimmy, I was informed of the detail and legacy within the selections on his menu. His grandmother was the inspiration behind many of the dishes, and Italian influences stressing the importance of simplicity and good, quality food were critical in creating many of the appetizers, entrees and desserts.

Chipotle mussels, eggplant caponata, buffalo calamari – this establishment aims to reinvent common Italian classics with southwestern influences and family-inspired traditions. Instead of breading the calamari heavily, Cascarino’s lightly fries the squid and serves it with made-to-order marinara sauce, prepared fresh each and every time.

The pasta dishes at Cascarino’s remind me of Sunday dinner at my grandfather’s home. Bolognese sauce- sweet, meaty, simply delicious; rigatoni with eggplant and tomato sauce – an assortment of textures, vivid colors and elegant presentation. The highlight of my pasta tasting was the lobster ravioli alla vodka, a creative pairing of flavorful lobster-filled ravioli bathed in a sea of rosy, velvety vodka sauce — very tasty.

The menu at Cascarino’s is hefty, to say the least. The owners offer most Italian classics including parmigiana dishes and your classic spaghetti and meatballs. For my entrée, I tasted the chicken scarpariello, tender roasted potatoes, sausage and bits of chicken all doused in a thick, savory sauce. My guest tried the cavatelli mascarpone, served with Prosciutto di Parma, bits of onion and mascarpone cheese in a plum tomato sauce. Created by owner Jimmy, this entree uses thick, rich cheese and sweet plum tomatoes to present an inventive customer favorite.

As a customary end to an Italian dinner, we finished the meal with espresso and dessert. Homemade cheesecake cannoli came about when owner Jimmy ran out of cannoli cream before a catering customer arrived and needed to think fast- little did he know this dessert would become a restaurant staple.

Cascarino’s is the essence of traditional Italian cuisine served in a quaint, comfortable atmosphere. Make sure to visit Jimmy and hear of his grandmother’s legacy, continued to this day, through the cuisine served at this cozy establishment.

Bareburger comes to Bell Boulevard


| sarahyu@queenscourier.com

DSC_0095w

Get ready to eat your burger “bare.”

Employees and staff of Bareburger cut the ribbon for the grand opening of the chain’s newest location, at 42-38 Bell Boulevard in Bayside, on June 4.

Bareburger is different from other burger joints because they use organic and all-natural meats, natural cheeses and organic vegetables in all of their entrees, whether it may be a burger or a salad. In addition to organic ingredients in their dishes, their beverages are all-natural and organic too.

Online ordering is available at www.bareburger.com and for additional information and menus, call the restaurant at 718-279-2273 or visit their web site.

Briarwood Organization: 100 years of solid foundation


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

COURIER PHOTO/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

An antique picture of Luigi Riso sits in his grandson Raymond’s office in Bayside. The mustached Riso is well-dressed in the fading photo. Riso, an Italian immigrant who came to New York by way of Argentina, was working as a carpenter when he started L. Riso & Sons Co. Inc. in 1912.

His sons, Vincent and Dominic, took over the company in the late 1920s and built a housing development in Jackson Heights which still stands today.

A 1927 photo of the building, with Vincent and Dominic standing in front, hangs in the conference room at the Briarwood Organization’s office – the company that grew from L. Riso & Sons – among pictures and drawings of the buildings that have come since.

The Briarwood Organization is celebrating 100 years in business that includes a storied past and still has the family dynamic it did when Luigi Riso started the company in the early 1900s.

Today the company is run by four partners: Luigi’s grandsons and Vincent’s sons, Vincent L. and Raymond Riso; Raymond’s son James; and Howard Goodman, who is regarded as a brother by the Riso brothers. The company not only does general contracting, but consults, manages, develops and does joint ventures.

 

The walls of the office, located in Bayside at 36-35 Bell Boulevard, can tell a story of the company alone. There are plaques for various awards and photos of buildings that the partners have tried to make affordable to residents of communities throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and most of all, Queens.

Like many other companies, the organization bloomed in the 1920s, including the housing development in Jackson Heights. “They did quite well,” said Vincent L. Riso.

And like countless others, the company took a hit during the Great Depression, but bounced back after World War II.

When the current generation took over in the late 1960s, buildings began to spring up like the company had never seen before – many of which are now fixtures on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, where Vincent L. and Raymond Riso grew up.

These buildings include The Atrium at 38-46, which was constructed in the late 1960s – a second floor added a few years later – and is now home to Tiger Schulman karate and several other businesses.

In total, according to the company’s web site, the Briarwood Organization has received 16 awards from the Queens Chamber of Commerce — the most recent in 2001.

The mortar that keeps the bricks of the company together is more than just cement and a good work ethic — it’s family.

The Riso brothers said they’ve known and worked with Goodman for close to 45 years and he currently works as a designer and planner for the company. His buildings, they said, are not only aesthetically appealing, but are managed well for space.

“We’ve worked together so long, he’s like family,” Vincent L. Riso said.

The legacy of the company is not, however, just laid out in the foundation of its buildings across most of New York City. The partners are actively involved in many community organizations, including St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, where Vincent L. Riso sits on the Board of Directors.

Raymond Riso said his son started out volunteering in the kitchen at St. Mary’s while he was a student at Holy Cross High School. He said his son became so popular with the children there that, “Everytime he came in they would crowd around him,” said the father of four and grandfather of nine.

Jeff Frerichs, president and CEO of St. Mary’s, complimented the company’s service to the community and particularly the hospital.

“With a business philosophy that fosters community-minded development and involvement, The Briarwood Organization and its principals, Vincent, Raymond and James Riso, [and Howard Goodman] are long-time supporters of St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children and are strong advocates for children with special needs,” he said. “St. Mary’s is privileged to have the Riso family as part of our family.”

Other times, Briarwood members have mixed their dedication to the public with its construction of more than 3,500 housing units. Many housing units they have constructed, the Riso brothers said, were designed to be affordable housing for people to continue to live in New York City.

These efforts, they said, have tried to raise more depressed areas back up and recreate once-thriving communities.

Vincent L. Riso said giving back to the community was one of the most rewarding things about being in business. “If feels good to give something back,” he said. “You get back 10 times what you give. Just the satisfaction alone is most of it.”

Today Briarwood is still building up areas, and has a keen eye on the future.

They are currently working on Briarwood Plaza II at 36-29 Bell Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2013, Vincent L. Riso said, and will house businesses and medical offices.

James Riso is working on two projects in Brooklyn — one will be for the Brooklyn Diocese.

Overall, they said they would like to continue to grow and develop homes that people can afford, and are great places to live.

“I hope to see us expand our operations and go into the future with more and more rental properties, especially for lower-income people,” Vincent L. Riso said.

The key to staying strong, the partners believe, is staying positive no matter how hard or trying the economic times.

“In order to be a developer, you have to be an optimist,” said Vincent L. Riso. “We are optimists.”

Press 195: The Talk of Bayside


| editorial@queenscourier.com

Finding a gourmet meal for a reasonable price is often a difficult task, and many times, restaurant-goers are faced with the dilemma of sacrificing quality for cost.

On a recent weekend endeavor, I came across Press 195. Press has become the “talk of the town” amongst publications throughout Manhattan. There is truly something for everyone at this cozy eatery, nestled in Bayside.

The menu at Press 195 is broken down into seven key components: cold press, hot press, Belgian fries, starters, salads, burgers and knishes.

Their extensive sandwich menu is comprised of over 40 different sandwiches and paninis. The best part? All of their sandwiches are $10 or less and can be paired with soups and salads during their lunch hour.

What makes these sandwiches so great is the fact that their menu is extremely diverse, presenting everything from an Italian classic Panini (salami, provolone, and peppers) to the “#35” which combines Prosciutto di Parma, sliced pears, Fontina cheese, arugula and aged olive oil.

Cold press sandwiches are presented on lightly-toasted Italian bread and include classics such as “The

American,” made of roast beef, turkey breast, Vermont cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and a roasted garlic spread.

The establishment is most frequently known for their hot press items, which include exotic, often imported ingredients sandwiched inside crusty bread, smothered in either olive oil or the homemade chimichurri sauce. The “#17” combines thinly-sliced ham, granny smith apples, brie and Dijon mustard to create a culinary delight, to say the least.

The Belgian fries at Press 195 are amazing. Upon first glance, they seem typical. Crispy, oily but not greasy, served with loads of ketchup- they seemed like regular French fries. Boy, was I wrong. Light, crispy, salty – I finally understood the sensation surrounding this often neglected, typically mundane side dish. Chef Bryan Karp found the recipe for success through his recreation of the French fry, which has its own place on the menu.

Not only is Press 195 known for the sandwiches and famous fries, but for their knishes as well. Press 195 created a sensation throughout the city by bringing back the knish, with a slight twist. Sandwiched inside a knish, customers can choose from steak, turkey, pastrami, and even meatloaf. Combined with other elements such as Canadian bacon, Vermont cheddar cheese and gravy, this restaurant has taken a traditional cultural staple and recreated it in an eccentric, innovative manner that all New Yorkers can enjoy.

Although the initial menu is nothing less than hearty, one cannot leave without trying the “dessert presses,” which range from Nutella with fresh banana and ice cream to a “Banana Bread Press” with fresh banana and strawberry slices, New York State pure maple syrup, ice cream and candied walnuts.

Press 195 takes common, everyday meal options and transforms them into alluring, enticing menu choices. You can visit Press 195 at one of their three locations in Brooklyn, Bayside, or Rockville Center, and put your culinary skills to the test.