Tag Archives: Bell Boulevard

Bayside’s Gold Star Diner shuts down


| brennison@queenscourier.com


A local diner that earned a “gold star” from the Bayside community over the years recently shut its doors, though customers craving another meal need only travel a short distance.

The Gold Star Diner, on the corner of Bell Boulevard and 42nd Avenue in Bayside, closed its doors for good just before the new year after serving the neighborhood for over a decade. Owner Chris Axamidis said that closing the eatery was strictly a business decision.

“I live in Bayside,” he said. “I pass by the store and it breaks my heart.”

Axamidis said the customers, who were also heartbroken to see their homey hash house go, came back in droves to say good-bye and enjoy a final meal.

“Being there for so long created a relationship with people that was friendly, it was not just business,” he said, adding he knew 95 percent of his customers by their first names.

The same warm, friendly atmosphere that Bayside denizens enjoyed for 11 years still exists a short drive away.

Axamidis has also owned and operated the Silver Moon Diner for nearly two years. The diner features 40 percent of the staff from Gold Star, and many of his former customers have stopped by for a meal at Silver Moon, located at 235-20 Hillside Avenue. He added that he would like to see all his old customers at the diner, which is less than a 10 minute drive from his old location.

“You need to have a good environment, good, friendly service and excellent food,” Axamidis said about creating the right welcoming atmosphere in a diner. “I love working with people.”

Axamidis is working to create that family atmosphere at the new location.

One Silver Moon customer made it a point before leaving to stop Axamidis and let him know he appreciates the great job he does tending to his customers.

The Bayside resident misses tending to his community’s residents, saying the decision to sell was not easy.

“I want to thank the community, my beloved customers,” he said. “Thank you for the support that you gave me all these years. I appreciate the moments I went through with a lot of them. I’m going to miss all those things.”

A feast just off Bell Boulevard


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo by Steve Mosco
There are plenty of places to eat, drink and be merry on Bell Boulevard – but for a comfortably elegant setting, turn your attention just off of Bayside’s main strip.

Bentley’s Off Bell (213-41 39th Avenue), a newly opened restaurant featuring delectable international fare, entices patrons the moment the doors swing open. The restaurant is spacious and classy, with a bar/lounge area up front and a gorgeously cozy dining room in the back. Even before the food comes out, Bentley’s gives itself up as an ideal destination for a date or a group of friends.

But Bentley’s is more than just dinner – a staircase leads up to a private catering space. It’s the perfect spot for just about any catered affair, including afternoon business meetings, as the restaurant will open for such occasions. If requested, Bentley’s will provide both floors to private functions.

On the eating occasion, the focus rests squarely on the food. Bentley’s boasts a tempting tapas menu for eaters who want a little bit of everything. Options include mussels in a white wine pepper sauce, crispy fried formaggio, hot spinach and artichoke dip, buffalo wings, portabello stuffed ravioli and sirloin sliders.

For entrees, be sure to try the braised beef short ribs. These mouthwatering gems are simmered in Burgandy wine for hours until succulently tender – flawlessly cooked, the meat easily cuts from the bone and is loaded with beefy sumptuousness. Another can’t-miss-dish is the almond crusted tilapia, coated with almonds and sautéed with lemon butter. The fish is moist and flakey. Both dishes are served with choice of potato and the vegetable of the day – I recommend the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a crisp vegetable medley.

Bentley’s also offers some great burgers too. Besides the standard burger, they also have a stuffed burger, which is both stuffed and topped with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon; and a béchamel cheese burger, a cheese lover’s dream smothered with béchamel cheddar cheese sauce.

And this elegant food is available for neighborhood prices. The owners believe that a touch of class shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg – the food is for everyone’s purse.

Specialty nights include Wine & Dine Wednesdays, where patrons can get half off their bottle of fine wine; Tequila Tuesdays, featuring $5 margaritas; Girls Night Out Thursdays, with $3 well drinks and $5 martinis; Taps and Tapas Mondays, featuring $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beers and half-price appetizers; as well as a Tavern Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, with half-price appetizers, $3 well drinks, $3 domestic beers, $4 micro-brews and imported beer and $5 house wine.

If you’re looking for a place to party for New Years Eve, Bentley’s will feature a special ala carte menu along with a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

 
”Bentley’s

Bayside kicks off holiday season


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Michael Pantelidis

Bayside residents and community leaders rang in the holiday season by lighting up the neighborhood.

The Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) and Bayside Business Association (BBA) hosted their annual Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony on November 29 at the BBA headquarters, located at 41-16 Bell Boulevard.

“This marks the start of the holiday season for Bayside,” said Judith Limpert, president of the BBA. “It is a beautiful village atmosphere here. I think today we are all way too dispersed and focused on things that aren’t relevant. Community and family are very important. We also hope to get people to understand that Bayside has a beautiful shopping strip. They should come here first, because they can probably get everything they need for their holiday shopping. The point of this event is to attract Baysiders to come out.”

Holiday lights were also recently installed by the Bayside BID above all the blocks of Bell Boulevard.

“This event only comes once a year, and it really is the beginning of the holiday season and the biggest season for businesses and restaurants here on Bell Boulevard,” said Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside BID. “Events like this and our street lights really improve business enormously and highlight Bayside.”

The neighborhood organizations were joined at the event by Councilmember Dan Halloran, Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, Father Brosnan from Sacred Heart Church, Father Byrnes from All Saints Episcopal Church and of course, Santa Claus.

“The celebration of light over darkness is what these holidays are all about,” said Halloran. “These lights symbolize that.”

During the ceremony, visitors were serenaded with Christmas carols, and children had the opportunity to tell Santa what gifts they wanted waiting for them under their tree this year. After the lighting, attendees were invited out of the cold and inside the BBA headquarters for hot chocolate and snacks.

“This is a wonderful event for [my goddaughter] to see the tree with all of this nice lighting,” said Rose Lynch, a Bayside resident for 45 years, who brought her goddaughter, Ashley, to the lighting ceremony. “It is a nice introduction to the holidays with spirit. I think this is a cute idea to come and meet Santa in a unique way, which is individual and small. It is delightful.”

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/23/2011: Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Hit-and-run on Bell Boulevard in Bayside

According to people on the scene, two pedestrians were hit by a car that then allegedly fled at 38th Avenue and Bell Boulevard around 5 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22. One of the victims allegedly worked in the area. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Two Queens students being probed in SAT cheating ring; three more LI students arraigned
Two Queens students were being probed Tuesday by Long Island investigators looking into an SAT/ACT cheating ring that involved more than a dozen students out on the island, sources said. Attorney Matin Emouna, who also represents one of the Nassau County numbskulls, said no money was exchanged between the city students, one of whom took the college board test while posing as the other. Read More: Daily News

 

No Lavin, no problem for SJU vs. St. Francis

Playing without Steve Lavin, who missed his second game of the season as he continues to recuperate from prostate cancer surgery, the Red Storm nevertheless had little trouble with St. Francis (NY), winning 63-48 to snap a two-game losing skid and improve to 4-2. Read More: ESPN

 

New York Senator Malcolm A. Smith launches own Occupy NBA movement to get lockout settled

With local businesses losing money and neither side in the NBA lockout willing to negotiate, one city official is planning to follow the philosophy of the downtown protesters and occupy the NBA. As a prelude to what state Sen. Malcolm A. Smith calls a “national movement,” the Queens Democrat will lead a group of restaurant owners, season-ticket holders and disgruntled basketball fans in demanding refunds and gathering signatures on a giant petition Wednesday in front of Madison Square Garden. Read More: Daily News

 

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Dan Hendrick To Wed

The Daily News reports that Hendrick, communications director for the New York League of Conservation Voters, recently popped the question over dinner. The nuptials, slated for next summer, are likely to make Van Bramer “the first openly gay elected official in Queens history to be married,” the site said, as well as one of the first in the state to wed since New York State legalized same-sex marriages. Read More: Daily News

 

Public Bus Service Comes To Arverne By The Sea

The MTA is adding additional bus service to and from Arverne By The Sea in the Rockaways section of Queens, so that the neighborhood’s growing population can have access to the borough’s major shopping areas. Read More: NY1

Sting Shows 34 Queens Stores Allegedly Sold Alcohol To Minors

An undercover investigation joint investigation by the State Liquor Authority and NYPD last week found 34 grocery and liquor stores sold alcohol to underage decoys. For a full list of offending stores in the borough, visit sla.ny.gov. Read More: NY1

Jackson Heights Plaza A Hard Sell For Some Business Owners

A pedestrian plaza that was recently constructed in Jackson Heights has some business owners up in arms, despite it having the support of local elected officials and the community board. Read More: NY1

 

Store vacancies in Queens hurt other businesses


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

Some stores along Queens’ prominent shopping streets have been abandoned, sitting vacant for months. Several landlords have posted hopeful “for rent” signs. Others remain completely empty.

Officials from Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Chambers of Commerce across Queens blame the nation’s foundering economy for the string of vacancies. Others insist that skyrocketing rents are causing businesses to pack up and leave.

Gregg Sullivan, executive director of the Bayside Village BID, alleges that the recent upswing of store vacancies is due to both the struggling economy and raised rents.

“There’s a need for an adjustment between landlords and rents to accommodate the downturn in the economy,” said Sullivan, adding that Bayside’s Bell Boulevard has six vacant storefronts.

On Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven, 25 stores sit empty. Maria A. Thomson, executive director of the Woodhaven Development Corporation, alleges that store vacancies are from the weak economy’s impact on business.

“With the economy being so sluggish, the patronage isn’t there to pay the bills, so that’s part of it,” said Thomson. “Part of it is the fact that they just can’t make it. They just can’t sustain the paying of the bills.”

Jim O’Kane is the head of O’Kane Realty, a company that manages several commercial properties along Maspeth’s Grand Avenue. The strip currently has nine vacancies.

“The cost of being in business is so high these days,” said O’Kane. “Rent and other expenses will eat you up unless you have a large reserve. It’s why a lot of ‘mom and pop’ stores are going out of business.”

Empty stores have begun to negatively affect Maspeth’s popular strip, according to O’Kane. “If the stores are vacant, it brings fewer people to the avenue, which compounds the situation for other store owners,” he said.

Michael Terry, president of the Maspeth Chamber of Commerce, believes that the vacancies are caused by the normal ebb and flow of the business cycle. Nevertheless, according to Terry, they are bad for business.

“It never looks good,” said Terry. “The more vacancies there are, the more people wonder how businesses are doing. The more businesses there are, the more people will come to the street.”

Terry speculated that the removal of Off-Track Betting locations in late 2010 has something to do with vacancies, as many former OTB locations have ongoing leases.

Muni Meters hurt Bayside biz


| editorial@queenscourier.com


EDITOR’S NOTE:
Below is a copy of a letter sent by a constituent to City Councilmember Mark Weprin.

 I am writing to you out of frustration and anger at the recent installation of “Muni Meters” along Bell Boulevard in Bayside. Apparently, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has seen fit to wrest every last dime from our pockets, not having been satisfied with the increase in local property taxes during his tenure or the increase in additional fees and charges. We are now faced with the inconvenience of having to find a receipt dispensing machine, which sometimes is more that 100 feet away, obtain a receipt and come back to the car in order to place the receipt in the driver side window just to make a quick stop in a local store. I understand that in addition to raising the parking fee from 20 minutes to 15 minutes for 25 cents, we can no longer use the remaining time of a previous parker. In addition, these machines often do not work properly, and last week, I lost a quarter in one forcing me to walk/run an additional 100 feet to find one that works.

I have lived in this neighborhood for over 40 years, ever since my late wife and I bought our home. On an almost daily basis, I have patronized the small businesses in the community area of Bell Boulevard between 48th and 47th Avenues. These “Muni Meters” have caused considerable inconvenience and danger to the shoppers of that area, in that we have to find a working machine, put our money in, all the while keeping an eye out for an army of ticket writers looking to further fleece the citizens of New York. A friend of mine narrowly missed being struck by a vehicle running across the street in order to place the receipt in his window as a ticket writer descended on his car.

As I am friendly with most of the proprietors of the local businesses, I have asked them if there has been any impact from the installation of this system. Every one of them has indicated a drop in business. If you don’t believe me, I urge you to take a stroll in the area I have indicated and see for yourself.

When the mayor ran the first time, he promised to run the city as a business. If he was to run his business as he has been running our city, I suspect he would be out of business in a very short while.

 

Yours truly,

 

Edward L. Fox

 

Occupy Wall Street reaches Bayside


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Bob Doda Occupy Bayside protesters outside the Bayside LIRR station called for an end to corporate greed.

Now in their fourth week in Manhattan, the Occupy Wall Street movement that has gained national attention made its way to Bell Boulevard on Thursday morning, October 13. Standing outside the Bayside LIRR Station, almost a dozen protesters held signs calling for taxes on corporations; more specifically, the Tiny Speculator Tax. Those in attendance at the rally – organized by the Northeast Queens MoveOn Council – handed out literature explaining that a tax on financial speculation would make “dangerous, market crashing derivatives” less profitable and “encourage Wall Street to make real investments that create jobs and real (not paper) economic activity.”

“Forty-two years ago, I was fighting for democracy in Vietnam,” said Thomas Hagan of Bayside. “I might have been wrong about that one. This time I’m fighting against a corporate takeover and I know I’m on the right side.”

The rally was not well attended on a rainy Thursday morning with the police presence out numbering protesters but according to Rita Krich of Bay Terrace, it’s important to get their message across.

“This is a very bad time for young people,” said Krich. “I want them to have jobs and support the world they live in.”

Another protester had a different way of getting the message across. Using his would-be mid-day break, a man who identified himself as David Yale – a banker from Chase Manhattan – came to the Bayside LIRR in a suit and tie holding a sign that said “Your Friendly Trusted Banker” while handing fake money “back” to commuters and passers-by.

“I was feeling really guilty about all this money that was given to me by the government from the people so to make my good name better I’m going to give it back to the people it belongs to,” said Yale.

Those in attendance plan to move the rally up Northern Boulevard to Congressmember Gary Ackerman’s office in an effort to obtain his support for Tiny Speculator Tax.

Busy October for Bayside BID


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy Gregg Sullivan The Arts and Crafts Fair on Bell Boulevard was a hit with community

The first annual outdoor music festival on Bell Boulevard recently had community members dancing in the streets, according to Gregg Sullivan, Bayside Village Business Improvement District (BID) executive director. But the fall events have just begun.

On Sunday, October 9 from noon until 6 p.m. the BID, in association with the Bayside Historical Society and Alley Pond Environmental Center, will temporarily close 41st Avenue on both sides of Bell Boulevard for the first annual Bayside Village Retail Expo. The event is specifically designed to introduce and reacquaint the local community with the local retail businesses along Bell Boulevard and to show shoppers what local retailers have to offer. The event will also feature live music at the newly-restored Bayside LIRR station park.

The following Sunday, October 16, Bell Boulevard will be host to the second annual Bayside Village Arts and Crafts Fair as well as the kick-off of the Bayside LIRR beautification. While there will be goods for sale along the boulevard, the emphasis of this year’s fair will focus more on the visual and performing arts with live performances from local musical and dance groups.

During last weekend in October, the BID is sponsoring a contest for storeowners along the boulevard for the most creative Halloween window display with the winner to be announced online on Tuesday, November 1.

For more details regarding these upcoming events, visitwww.baysidebid.com or call 718-423-2434.