Tag Archives: closing

All remaining Barnes & Noble locations closing in Queens


| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It’s the final chapter for Barnes & Noble in Queens, as the bookstore is shuttering its remaining location in The Bay Terrace shopping center in Bayside.

A representative from Barnes & Noble declined to reveal the official closing date or who is expected to take over the property but did admit that the property owner declined to renew the company’s lease.

“With Bayside, when our lease came back up for renewal the property owner notified us that they chose a tenant who was willing to pay rents far in excess of what we were willing to pay,” said David Deason, vice president of Barnes & Noble development. “The Queens community is extremely important to us and as a result we are aggressively looking at new locations and expect to have a new store there in the future.”

According to Crain’s New York, a HomeGoods store will take over the property, making it the chain’s first location in Queens.

This news comes days after it was announced that a Target would take over the Forest Hills location of Barnes & Noble. Forest Hills residents tried desperately to keep it open, starting a petition to vocalize the importance of the community’s only bookstore.

A Barnes & Noble in Fresh Meadows, near St. John’s University, also closed at the beginning of this year after failing to negotiate a lease extension.

Queens residents can hop over to Manhattan or Brooklyn if they want their Barnes & Noble fix.

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Forest Hills expresses frustration, sadness over Barnes & Noble closing


| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Updated 9:54 p.m.

They’re not ready to say goodbye.

After a long fight to try to keep the 20-year-old bookstore open in Forest Hills, residents and Barnes & Noble patrons are fuming over the thought of the property being turned into a Target.

Forest Hills resident Virginia, who was perusing the store and declined to give her last name, signed a petition started by local author and preservationist Michael Perlman to express her support.

“What a disaster,” Virginia said. “One of the great things about living around here is having access to a place like this. It’s a shame. It seems to be a thing in this neighborhood like other neighborhoods, if you walk along Austin Street a lot of the businesses that have been here for years have closed so I guess it’s the rents.”

The bookstore’s lease will expire in January 2016 when the Target, the first flexible-format store in New York City, will open in the space, joining Starbucks, Men’s Warehouse and T.G.I. Friday’s. Muss Development LLC and Barnes & Noble were not able to negotiate a lease renewal, which allowed Target to make an offer.

Nadereh Saiediaa and her daughter Orel had just finished school shopping at the bookstore and were upset to find out that in a few months, they will have to do their shopping elsewhere.

“We need it,” Saiediaa said. “Barnes & Noble is very useful. We just bought a book for school and we’re happy to have Barnes &Noble here.”

Perlman, in an email, said the loss of the beloved bookstore is a “travesty.”

“We are losing more than a bookstore, but a soulful part of our community which benefits many people’s daily lives,” he wrote. “Books grant a universal language and interacting with neighbors in an appealing and vibrant space while holding books and smelling the print cannot compare to reading a book behind closed doors that was retrieved on Amazon. ”

Along with the closing of the Forest Hills site, the Barnes & Noble in Bayside will also be shuttering, leaving no more locations in Queens for the bookstore chain.

Comments expressing residents’ disdain flooded The Courier’s Facebook page following the news of the Forest Hills store’s closing Wednesday, and many people were concerned with the lack of parking in the already congested street.

“Has anyone done a parking assessment or is everyone walking to Target and carrying their bulky purchases through the crowded streets of Forest Hills and hopping on equally crowded mass transit?” Dawn Rodriguez-Insanalli commented. “Strange location since there are many Targets already available with ample parking. Sad to see another bookstore disappear.”

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LIC’s famous Waterfront Crab House closes following death of owner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The iconic Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City has closed its doors after several decades and just weeks after owner Anthony Mazzarella passed away.

Mazzarella, a former boxer, opened the eatery, located at 2-03 Borden Ave., about 40 years ago and it was known for both its seafood dishes and its walls decorated with boxing memorabilia.

The LIC restaurant closed its doors over Valentine’s Day weekend, according to a published report, following Mazzarella’s death on Jan. 24.

A sign has been left on the establishment’s front door for customers and residents in the neighborhood.


“It is with deep regret and heavy hearts that we inform you that due to the passing of Tony Mazzarella we must close the Waterfront Crab House,” the sign read. “It has been over two decades since Tony Mazzarella opened these doors in pursuit of his dream. Friends were made here and lives were changed. There are simply too many people to say thank you [to], and so many incredible experiences to recount.”

The sign continues with thanking patrons who supported the eatery and made it “the institution that it has become.”

“To our staff, customers, friends and supporters, you have enhanced our lives and we want to say thank you for the journey,” the sign said. 

The crab house, housed in a building dating back to the 1800s, made it through two disasters, each causing it to be closed for months. The first was a fire in 2009 and just two years ago the eatery was flooded by several feet of water after Hurricane Sandy hit the city.

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Last day of the year marks the end for Fresh Meadows Barnes & Noble


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

While the world was saying goodbye to 2014, dozens of Queens shoppers bid a sad farewell to the Barnes & Noble bookstore in Fresh Meadows on its final day of business Wednesday.

The bookstore was quiet on its last day, with many clearance shelves already emptied out by bargain hunters. Workers piled leftover books on dollies to be delivered to the chain’s Forest Hills location. Customers picked through boxes of books that were marked down 50 percent.

During its decade in Fresh Meadows, residents and local leaders say the book retailer had become more than just a store. For many, the bookshop had been a community center complete with a coffee shop and children’s reading groups. The last customers lamented its passing.

“This library is a staple of the neighborhood,” said Veronica Sorrell, a longtime customer who came to the store on its last day. “And I never thought this place would close.”

Sorrell said the shop had become a quiet refuge for her and her family over the years.

“I practically raised my kids here,” she said. “When they were children I brought them to the story time sessions. And as they get older they slowly graduated to the fiction section. Now that’s all gone.”

Nearby, Sister Winifred Doyle searched for a puzzle book.

“I knew it was the last day,” she said. “And I knew I had to come in here one last time.”

She continued, “You know, I love a good puzzle, especially word puzzles. It doesn’t matter how difficult they are. I beat them. But, for the life of me, I can’t solve the puzzle of why this store is closing.”

The store has been in the area since 2004, and Barnes & Noble’s management will not be renewing its lease. The book chain’s management couldn’t reach an agreement over a lease extension earlier this year. A T.J. Maxx is set to replace the book store in 2015.

“We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension, but were not able to come to an agreement,” said David Deason, the vice president of development for Barnes & Noble. “We enjoyed serving our St. John’s/Fresh Meadows-area customers for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing to serve them at the nearby Bayside location.”

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Barnes & Noble in Fresh Meadows to close


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

It’s the end of a chapter for Barnes & Noble.

The Queens Courier has learned that the bookstore on Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows will be closing at the end of this year.

The store has been in the area since 2004 and residents and local leaders considered the place to be a community center complete with a coffee shop and children’s reading groups. The lease for the store ends on January 31, 2015, and a lease agreement between the owner and the store was scrapped.

“We had discussions with the property owner to try to structure a lease extension, but were not able to come to an agreement,” said David Deason, the vice president of development for Barnes & Noble. “We enjoyed serving our St. John’s/Fresh Meadows-area customers for the last 10 years and look forward to continuing to serve them at the nearby Bayside location.”

The store first opened in June 2004. Residents in the community lamented the news of the location’s upcoming closing.

“I love that store,” said Joan Piconni, a Fresh Meadows resident. “I was so happy when it opened, I was doing a dance.”

She continued, “When I first heard that it was going to close, I said, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to go through withdrawals without my Barnes & Noble.’ We need a bookstore in this area. We have many schools in this area and the students all go there for research and homework.”

Mike Sidell, a member of Community Board 8, said that it was particularly troublesome that the store was closing, because it wasn’t due to a lack of business but because the property owner and the store couldn’t agree on a lease extension.

He noted that politicians and activists in the Bronx “saved the day” when the Barnes & Noble there, which served as the only full-service bookstore in the borough, was on the brink of closing. The community, he said, pulled together and saved the store from being closed. And he suggested that people in Queens should do the same.

“I feel [the Fresh Meadows Barnes & Noble] was good for the community because people from the surrounding Queens areas use it too,” Sidell said.

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College Point tattoo shop hopes to make an indelible mark in Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Benjamin Fang

A College Point tattoo shop is packing up, needles and ink in tow, and moving to Bayside to add a little color to Bell Boulevard.

Mean Street Tattoo first opened in 1999 and is owned by Tommy Murphy, who is also one of the store’s main tattoo artists.

But in recent years, “College Point is not what it used to be,” Murphy said. “We just wanted to go to a neighborhood that’s more upscale and local.”

Murphy, who is from Whitestone, cited the opening of corporate stores in recent years like the Target as a contributing factor to the decline in business for his tattoo shop.

“All the local stores are starting to feel the pressure,” he said.

Along with his partner and daughter, both of whom work as tattoo artists, Murphy plans on opening his new shop on Sept. 1, leaving behind their original location.

The new Bell Boulevard site used to belong to a gift shop, Top Drawer, before it closed down earlier this year, according to neighboring businesses and city records.

According to the Times Ledger, Top Drawer was in business for 35 years and owners Jeffrey and Karen Serin decided to close shop for good after their lease expired. Renovations have just started but Murphy is excited for the new business and being in Bayside.

“Bell Boulevard is an amazing thing and it has a really strong small business atmosphere and we’re looking forward to being part of that,” he said.

 

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Lefferts branch of Queens Library to temporarily close for roof installation


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BENJAMIN FANG

The books at the Lefferts library will soon have a new cover.

The branch, located at 103-84 Lefferts Blvd. in Richmond Hill, is temporarily closing, starting at the end of business on July 26, to install a new roof. The facility expects to reopen by the end of September.

Residents are advised to use the three closest Queens Library locations: 118-14 Hillside Ave. in Richmond Hill, 92-24 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park and 128-16 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.

During the closure, limited service will also be provided by a mobile library.

 

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Sunnyside library to temporarily close


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

The Sunnyside branch of the Queens Library will close at the end of business on Saturday, June 21 to install a new roof.

The library, located at 43-06 Greenpoint Ave., is expected to reopen in mid- August.

A mobile library will provide limited service every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the closure. Readers can also visit near-by branches at 25-01 Jackson Ave. in Court Square, 37-44 21 St. in Long Island City and 54-22 Skillman Ave. in Woodside.

 

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Howard Beach Staples to close at end of May


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Roger Gendron

The only Staples in Howard Beach is closing at the end of this month.

The store put signs up announcing the closure last week but there will be none of the usual sales fanfare, according to the workers at the Cross Bay Boulevard location. Residents have noticed workers starting to pack boxes as the store nears its closing date.

“Sad how everything seems to stay here short term,” Lisa Marie, a local, wrote on the Howard Beach Civic Association Facebook page.

Superstorm Sandy hit businesses hard on the boulevard and the office supply store didn’t open back up until mid-2013. With less than a year of operating after recovering, the store will be closing its doors for good.

A photo of the Staples Howard Beach location after it reopened, taken around the one-year anniversary of Sandy. (THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre)

“Whenever a large store like that closes, it sends bad vibes through the community,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said.

The fact that Staples was willing to reopen after Sandy, unlike the local Duane Reade, led him and other local politicians to think they were here to stay.

“We’re trying to bring back our local economy,” Assemblyman Phillip Goldfeder said. “Staples was always a good neighbor but I’m hopeful. This gives us an opportunity for new entities to come in.”

A Staples worker said that the increase in online retail has made it unnecessary to keep the location open.

“As customers shift online, we are taking aggressive action to right-size our retail footprint,” a spokesperson for Staples, Kaitlyn Reardon said. Staples is also “working to provide transfer options where possible” for the workers there.

Addabbo noted that many of these workers are locals. “It’s a loss of jobs,” he said. “So now the question is post-Staples, what happens?”

 

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LAST COURSE: Patrons say goodbye to Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Rosanne Aliperti celebrated one wedding and 23 birthdays at Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant.

And 84-year-old Nathan Boland sometimes made the trip twice a day, rain or shine, for a good chicken Parmesan.

Thousands of diners like them left with full stomachs and empty hearts Sunday on the beloved Italian restaurant’s last day in business.

“It was like one big family here. It’s a shame,” said Maspeth regular MaryAnn Papavero. “It’s very depressing to think this is their last day when it was such a great institution.”

The neighborhood fixture at 62-96 Woodhaven Blvd. in Rego Park served hungry diners from across the city and Long Island for nearly 70 years. It opened in 1948 under Joe Abbracciamento and was later taken over by his sons, John and Joe Jr.

But after working in the restaurant since they were teenagers, the brothers plan to retire.

“It’s an overwhelming feeling, seeing the thousands of people who showed up today,” John, 60, said. “It’s a tribute to my father and my family, and it will be an everlasting memory.”

The decision to close was heartbreaking until the last hour, said his wife, Marie, after embracing customers — some who had grown into close friends.

“It’s very emotional for us,” said Marie, holding back tears. “We really don’t want to say goodbye to anyone. It’s going to be very hard to leave the people.”

People like Aliperti, 45, who walked into the restaurant on her wedding day on April 7, 1990 and essentially never left.

“I’ve spent every special day here — my wedding, every birthday, bridal showers, every anniversary,” said Aliperti, while wiping away tears. “They’re a part of our lives. I’ve had every beautiful moment here.”

The last day was also bittersweet for 86-year-old Mary Schmalenberger, who associates decades of happy memories with the longstanding corner eatery.

The senior has trouble walking and had not left the house in months, but made the trip from Middle Village to say goodbye.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” she said. “There will never be another Abbracciamento.”

 

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Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant set to close after nearly 70 years


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A beloved Queens eatery that has fed generations for nearly 70 years will soon be serving up its last course.

Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant, a neighborhood fixture at 62-96 Woodhaven Boulevard, will close March 2, as longtime owners prepare for retirement.

“We just want to sit back for a little while, relax and breathe the fresh air,” said owner John Abbracciamento, 60 . “It’s bittersweet. But, basically, it’s time.”

The Italian eatery opened in 1948 under Abbracciamento’s father, Joe. Over time, it became a staple in the borough.

“We’ve taken care of people from the day they were born,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s a wonderful treat to be a part of their lives and some of the most important occasions that they would celebrate. We will sadly miss that part of it.”

Abbracciamento has known the restaurant life since he was 13.

It was not an easy decision to put it to rest after the baton was passed down to him from his late father, Abbracciamento said. But it was a necessary one.

“It was my father’s dream,” he said. “My brother and I kept it going. But I’ve just come to the point in my life where I just need some time to clear my head and move forward.”

“We had a nice, long run — a very successful run,” Abbracciamento said. “It’s just time to just relax a little bit.”

Longtime patrons said the loss of the local icon is a blow to the Queens dining scene and to the community.

“I’m sad. I’ve known them for 30 years,” said Leon Sorin. “They’ve been working hard for many years. Maybe it’s time.”

John Harrington, 73, has been coming for the “out of this world” lasagna for 38 years.

“I was shocked when I heard it was closing,” he said. “It’s a shame because you don’t have any good restaurants around.”

Ed Wendell, a lifelong Queens resident, called the restaurant “the go-to place” for Italian cuisine.

“It’s one of those places where a lot of people are going to look back now and say, ‘Man, I wish I had gone more,’” he said. “It will be missed.”

 

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Bud’s Ale House closes months after taking over Hooters location


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A rebranded restaurant in Fresh Meadows could not fill the cups of its predecessor.

Bud’s Ale House has closed its 61-09 190th Street location. The move came several months after Bud’s took over a Hooters there.

Officials said the food joint reopened under a new name last October after Hooters of America axed a franchise agreement with Strix Restaurant Group, which ran the Fresh Meadows restaurant.

Bud’s Ale House offered food options and drink specials similar to Hooters’ menu, but servers showed less skin, according to Strix spokesperson Ed McCabe. The new establishment also shot for an equal ratio of male and female employees.

A Hooters in Farmingdale that transformed into a Bud’s Ale House the same time as the eatery in Fresh Meadows has closed as well.

A Bud’s Ale House in Astoria is still open, but managers say they are not affiliated with Strix.

McCabe and Strix could not be reached for comment.

 

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Library expansion breaks ground in memory of Queens activist


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Their eyes looking to the skies in memory of a lost beloved leader, elected officials drove their golden shovels into the dirt to break ground on a long-anticipated library expansion project.

“It feels so good to be standing here today, knowing that construction is beginning,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante at the Friday, April 19 ceremony.

The $10 million renovation project at the Kew Gardens Hills Library was a longtime pet project of Pat Dolan, a Queens activist who was struck and killed by a car last November. She was 72.

“Her memory lives on,” Galante said. “The library she loved so much is now officially located on Pat Dolan Way, and this [expansion] will be her legacy to the community. We will always know she is looking on.”

There will be an extra 3,000 square feet of space when the branch at 72-33 Pat Dolan Way reopens in 2015, officials said.

The library will also have twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, an energy-saving roof and larger, separate spaces for adults, teens and children.

“This will be a fantastic library. It’s going to be a great place,” said Borough President Helen Marshall. “Libraries are important because they’re full of knowledge. Little children, teenagers, seniors—they’re good for everyone to absorb knowledge.”

The branch closed for construction on February 22. A temporary library is open at 71-34 Main Street, library officials said. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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branch

$7M in renovations for Queens Library branch


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering by Queens Library

The Kew Gardens Hills library will soon close to make way for a $7 million renovation.

An extra 3,000-square-feet of space will be added to the 72-33 Vleigh Place branch, library officials said. There will also be twice as many computers, a bigger meeting room, larger separate spaces for adult, teens and children and an energy-saving roof.

“Queens Library at Kew Gardens Hills serves so many people who have a diverse range of educational and informational needs,” said Queens Library President Thomas Galante. With a “dramatic façade and green roof, it will be like a new library for the community.”

David Kirschner, co-president of the Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association, said the expansion could not have been done without longtime community leader Pat Dolan, who was struck and killed in November 2011 while crossing the street.

“We’re thrilled primarily because this was one of [her] pet projects,” Kirschner said. “She really worked for years to obtain approval for an expansion of the library. She was finally able to get it but never able to finally see it happening.”

The branch will close on February 22 and reopen in 2015. A temporary library will be available mid-March at 71-34 Main Street during construction. Nearby branches are also located in Hillcrest, Briarwood and Pomonok.

 

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Bud’s Ale House replaces Hooters in Fresh Meadows


| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Fresh Meadows residents are saying ta-ta to their neighborhood rack shack after the establishment known for its busty wait staff bounced out of town last week.

Hooters emptied its 61-09 190th Street nest on Sunday, October 14, and reopened as a new brand, Bud’s Ale House. According to officials, failed year-long negotiations led corporate heads at Hooters of America to ax a franchise agreement with Strix Restaurant Group, which runs the Fresh Meadows corner eatery and three others on Long Island.

“Overall, the Hooters brand just wasn’t selling,” said Strix spokesperson Ed McCabe. “We think we have a better brand, and we didn’t find a willing cooperative partner in Hooters, who just wanted to take money and didn’t want to advertise.”

Bud’s Ale House boasts food options and drink specials similar to its predecessor, but the new food joint will feature less skin and more male staffers, said McCabe, who is hoping for a 50/50 women to men employee ratio.

“We’re not in the business of what Hooters is,” McCabe said, referring to the chain’s well-known majority female wait staff, uniformed in tight tops and skimpy shorts. “Eighty percent of people will not go into Hooters to begin with. It’s a stale brand.”

All Hooters employees were transferred over after the move and none were laid off, McCabe said. Management is currently accepting male applicants as food servers.

The Hooters in Farmingdale also transformed into Bud’s Ale House last week, while an Islandia location was rebranded to “58’s” and one in East Meadow was closed completely.

There is another Bud’s Ale House in Astoria, which opened this September, McCabe said.