Tag Archives: East River

Nineteen rescued from East River after dragon boat capsizes in College Point

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

The FDNY helped pull 19 people out of the East River near College Point on Sunday after a dragon boat overturned, according to reports.

The people in the boat were all taken to take to the College Point Yacht Club after the rescue at 1:43 p.m. There were no injuries.

According to multiple reports, the people on the boat were members of a team that races in Flushing‘s annual two-day Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival.

The rowers reportedly started practice that day by rowing out from the World’s Fair Marina near Citi Field. All were wearing life jackets which helped to keep them afloat after the accident. 

One of the team members reportedly proposed to his girlfriend during the outing, and she had just accepted his offer before the accident occurred.


Top five most expensive luxury listings in LIC

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Modern Spaces


Over the past decade, Long Island City has evolved into one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. The influx of new bars, lounges, specialty shops, flea markets and restaurants was met with the demand for more condominiums with unique amenities.

Eric Benaim, founder of real estate brokerage Modern Spaces, shared his top five most expensive listings for luxury living in LIC.

The Corner
47-28 11th St., #3C

This newly built, seven-story luxury building features 22 modern, high-end apartments, each outfitted with the latest amenities, including professional-grade Bosch kitchen appliances, Grohe finishes and hardwood oak floors throughout.

Marvel at the Manhattan skyline while reclining on the rooftop deck, or take advantage of the on-site fitness center or residents lounge. Located minutes away from Long Island City’s hottest cafes, nightspots and cultural centers, such as MoMA PS1, The Corner offers both convenience and relaxation amid the vibrant streets and avenues.

A 5-minute ride on the 7 train will whisk residents to the heart of Midtown. Leisurely travelers can opt to take the East River Ferry and take in the stunning water views of the city.

The Powerhouse
2-17 51st Ave., #801

With its spacious three bedrooms and two full baths, the aptly named Powerhouse is a major star on the Long Island City real estate landscape. Built on the site of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Power Station, the condominium features soaring ceilings, an open-concept kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors and more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor space on the private terrace. Italian marble floors line the master bath while the second bath comes equipped with a deep soaking tub.

The building also features a fitness center, aqua grotto with full-service spa, common rooftop terrace, children’s playroom and a 24-hour concierge.

The View
46-30 Center Blvd, #205

This luxury unit offers unparalleled breathtaking views of the East River and Manhattan skyline from the comfort of a spacious, sun-drenched living room. The three-bedroom gem is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling double panel windows and features an open-concept living and kitchen area outfitted with the latest Viking appliances, Subzero refrigerator, a special wine cooler and hardwood flooring throughout.

All of the spacious, three full baths include deep soaking tubs set against a backdrop of the finest white marble.

The Foundry
2-40 51St Ave., #1E

This modern Hunters Point duplex is bathed in sunlight courtesy of its vast windows and 17-foot vaulted ceilings. The modern open-concept chef’s kitchen features a Viking range, KitchenAid French door refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher and dramatic black Caesarstone counter tops. This two-bedroom unit includes a luxury en-suite full bath in the upstairs master bedroom with both a soaking tub and standing shower.

The second bedroom also comes with its own bath and, like the master suite, access to a private terrace.

5-46 51st Ave.


This rare, six-family brick brownstone blends old-world charm with contemporary elements to create a truly unique habitat in the heart of Hunters Point. Built in 1930, original design elements such as the bowed-front facade, woodwork and decorative plaster moldings mingle with updated, modern amenities. Each unit features its own electrical meter, as well as upgraded wiring throughout.

This three-story gem is convenient to local markets, subways, playgrounds and dog parks, and would make the perfect nest for young families.


VIDEO & PHOTOS: Thousands flocked to LIC waterfront for Fourth of July fireworks

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Rafael Gonzalez/Video courtesy Mike Graver, IG: @jacksonheightsny

The Long Island City waterfront exploded with life this past weekend as thousands of people from near and far traveled to the neighborhood to catch the 39th Annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks.

This year the fireworks — the nation’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display — were launched from two locations in the East River: in Midtown and within the South Street Seaport historic district.

As the light show made its return to Queens, Hunters Point South Park was used as Macy’s private viewing and NBC’s broadcast compound.

Although Hunters Point South Park was closed off to the public, spectators filled Gantry Plaza State Park to watch the fireworks light up the sky over the East River.

The big day also brought in big business for local establishments in Long Island City, as some venues — such as Penthouse 808, Riverview Restaurant/Lounge, Z NYC Hotel, and Vista Sky Lounge and Rooftop Bar — held events and specials to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The LIC Flea & Food also ran a Night Market, extending its house from 6 p.m. until 10:30 p.m., where visitors were able to hang out at the LIC Flea Beer Garden and purchase food from vendors.

“The Fourth of July is a day for family, friends and fireworks. It is also a day to celebrate the freedoms we have earned through our commitment to the Declaration of Independence that promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to every American,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Let us also rejoice in the special knowledge that in this nation each and every one of us is entitled to equal opportunity and equal protection under the law.


Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks returning to Queens waterfront

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

The Queens waterfront will once again explode with excitement this Fourth of July.

On Wednesday, Macy’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that this Independence Day, the 39th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will launch from two locations in the East River — in Midtown and within the South Street Seaport historic district, starting at about 9:20 p.m.

There will be four barges positioned between 23rd and 37th streets in Midtown and one double-barge positioned below the Brooklyn Bridge. The Midtown barges will be visible from the Long Island City waterfront.

After moving to the Hudson River in 2009, Macy’s and de Blasio announced last year that the department store’s annual 4th of July Fireworks show would return to the East River that summer. But the initial excitement and potential revenue that the festivities could bring to Long Island City was squashed when residents and business owners realized that the launch point, from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges positioned on the lower East River, would not be a prime viewing spot for Queens.

This year, however, will be different, and could bring back big bucks to the waterfront area.

“Once again the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks spectacular will light up the East River skyline,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement. “I have advocated tirelessly for years alongside Mayor de Blasio to bring the fireworks back to the borough of Queens. Today we are delivering on our promise and bringing borough residents an opportunity to enjoy one of our nation’s most spectacular events. Residents from Hunters Point in Long Island City and all of western Queens will rejoice welcoming thousands into their neighborhoods to celebrate. Staging the fireworks along the East River will give our local small businesses a boost and draw attention to all we have to offer here in Long Island City. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Macy’s for helping us keep this promise and making this day a reality.”

The country’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display, Macy’s are the only fireworks that borough residents can watch locally on the actual holiday. But for the first time this year, Fort Totten will be having a fireworks celebration to mark the nation’s birthday on July 1. The annual Astoria Park fireworks will take place on June 30.


Men rescued after jumping into East River in Long Island City  

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Three men ended up in the East River off of Long Island City Monday night after one of the men jumped into the water to try and save the other two, police said.

On a challenge the pair leaped into the East River, but one of the men apparently didn’t know how to swim and both struggled in the water, according to published reports,

A good Samaritan passing by the area near 48th Avenue at about 8 p.m., went in to rescue the 21-year-old and 22-year-old, cops said. All three were then pulled to safety by police.

The good Samaritan refused medical attention at the scene.

The two other men were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in stable condition.



City cuts ribbon on $6.65M Queensbridge Park project, seawall reconstruction

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

The Long Island City waterfront has just received a much needed facelift.

Officials cut the ribbon on Tuesday on the $6.65 million project in Queensbridge Park which included the restoration and improvement of the seawall, and the creation of a six-foot-wide waterfront promenade with benches and plants as well as a small pier at the north end.

“The completion of the Queensbridge Park Seawall restores access to the waterfront, access that has been denied for far too long,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “No longer do Queensbridge residents need to look at the seawall as it crumbles into the East River. Instead, residents will be able to enjoy a park and waterfront just as lovely as any in New York City.”

The seawall protects the park from high tides and covers some of the mechanisms and underwater cables that keep a number of subway lines in order. It was previously blocked off by a chain-link fence due to decades of deterioration.

This project, managed by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, included the reconstruction of the seawall using rip-rap revetment. Rip-rap, made up of large rocks, was used to protect the shoreline by absorbing and deflecting waves and also decreasing the effects of erosion.

“New York City’s 520 miles of shoreline is one of its greatest assets, and we are proud to continue reconnecting New Yorkers to their waterfront,” said Dmitri Konon, NYCEDC executive vice president for capital programs.



MTA to begin weekend bus trial expanding service along Vernon Boulevard

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


Starting this weekend, residents and visitors will have better access to the western Queens waterfront.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will offer service to riders on weekends, starting Sunday and operate later on weekday evenings, according to the MTA.

In April, the transit agency said the schedule update would serve as a trial program, and it would receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not. It has not been determined how long the trial program will run.

“This announcement is a milestone for all of us who fought for years to get proper bus service for the growing communities of Astoria and Long Island City,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “I am thrilled the MTA is finally realizing western Queens’ need for increased mass transit is real and pressing.”

Gianaris is also urging the MTA to make the Q103 expansion changes permanent.

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, the MTA previously said.

“These enhancements were all a result of listening to our customers and keeping close watch on changing ridership trends,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods.

“It is a positive step in improving transportation options in our neighborhood,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “The Vernon Boulevard corridor has been one of the more under-served transit thoroughfares in western Queens. Increasing bus service would be a vital resource to commuters traveling to Manhattan and to residents connecting from Astoria to Long Island City.”

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

The MTA has also announced that this Sunday the Q19 will extend its western last stop from Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street to the East River waterfront at 27th Avenue and 2nd Street.

The Q102 will then also remain on 30th Avenue between Crescent Street and 8th Street, according to the MTA, with the stops on Crescent Street, Newtown Avenue and Astoria Boulevard to be relocated to 30th Avenue. All bus stops along Astoria Boulevard will instead be served by the Q19.

For more information visit www.mta.info.



TF Cornerstone celebrates sixth building opening on LIC waterfront

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Marino Organization


TF Cornerstone kicked off the opening of its final project in the six-building Center Boulevard complex on the Long Island City waterfront last week.

The real estate company celebrated on June 12 the opening of the luxury apartment tower 4610 Center Boulevard, a 26-story building which curves around the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign by the East River.

Designed by architecture firm Arquitectonica, 4610 Center Boulevard is made up of 584 units including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.

The final project also marks a decade of the company helping pioneer the western Queens waterfront.

TF Cornerstone’s six-buildings encompass 2.6 million square feet and include 2,800 rental units, 184 condominiums, 35,000 square feet of retail space, and acres of parkland and open space.

“When TF Cornerstone purchased this property in Long Island City, more than 10 years ago, our vision for the neighborhood went beyond just developing beautiful buildings,” said Jon McMillan, director of planning for TF Cornerstone. “We sought to create an entire new waterfront community for our residents.”

The Center Boulevard development is a four-minute subway ride away from Midtown Manhattan on the 7 train, and accessible by the G, E and M trains.



Avonte Oquendo’s mom files suit against city: reports

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


The mother of Avonte Oquendo has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city, charging various agencies and individuals with negligence leading to the death of the 14-year-old autistic teen, according to published reports.

Vanessa Fontaine reportedly filed the suit last week in Queens Supreme Court blaming the Department of Education, NYPD and members of Avonte’s Long Island City school for her son’s death.

Among the Center Boulevard School individuals are school safety agent Bernadette Perez and principal Susan McNulty, reports said.

The 14-year-old was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River last October. Surveillance footage caught the teen running through the halls unsupervised before leaving the building. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

The lawsuit does not have a dollar amount, according to reports, however family attorney David Perecman previously said the family would be seeking $25 million.



Waterfront tower that hugs LIC Pepsi sign begins leasing

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of The Marino Organization

The Long Island City waterfront is welcoming new residents.

The luxury apartment tower 4610 Center Boulevard, a 26-story building which curves around the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign by the East River, has begun leasing apartments. This project is real estate company TF Cornerstone Inc.’s sixth and final building on the waterfront.

“Following on the heels of 4545 Center Boulevard, which leased up in record time, 4610 Center Boulevard will accommodate the continued influx of new residents to the vibrant and bustling neighborhood,” said Sofia Estevez, executive vice president for TF Cornerstone. “The opening of this building is a significant milestone in the history of the New York City waterfront and is a true sign of the area’s immense residential transformation since its day as an industrial hub.”

Designed by architecture firm Arquitectonica, 4610 Center Boulevard is made up of 584 units including studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The residences feature stainless steel appliances, custom closets, wood strip floors and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Residents will be able to enjoy amenities, designed by design firm Yabu Pushelberg, such as a spacious lobby with a Wi-Fi lounge, private garden, modern fitness center and a resident club which opens to a landscaped terrace.

The luxury waterfront tower is accessible by the 7, E, G and M trains, the East River Ferry and is just minutes away from Manhattan.

For more information on 4610 Center Boulevard call 718-606-9440 or email 4610leasing@tfc.com.



Fourth of July fireworks returning to East River

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo: Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio

Updated 2:35 p.m.

A boom is coming back to the Queens waterfront this Independence Day.

After moving to the Hudson River in 2009, the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show is returning to the East River this summer, the department store and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

The country’s largest pyrotechnic July Fourth display, the fireworks will be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges positioned on the lower East River.

“What this means, the fact that fireworks come back to the East River, means that countless more New Yorkers will now be able to enjoy what is really the greatest annual fireworks show in the country,”  de Blasio said. “From Brooklyn to western Queens to the East Side of Manhattan, many more New Yorkers will be able to take part in this celebration, in their neighborhoods, on their rooftops, along the shoreline.”

The 2009 move not only left Queens residents without a place in the borough to watch fireworks on the holiday, but hurt businesses along the East River that saw increased traffic during the festivities.

“For too long, residents of our neighborhoods have been left out of what is not only a citywide, but a national event,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said in a statement. “Once again, the Queens waterfront will be a participant in the grandest Independence Day celebration in the United States.”




New footage shows Avonte Oquendo tried to escape day before disappearance: reports

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Newly released video surveillance footage shows teen Avonte Oquendo tried to run away from his class just a day before he dashed out of his school never to be seen again, according to published reports.

The 14-year-old autistic teen had tried to escape October 3 when he was being brought down from the fifth floor to the second floor of the Riverview School in Long Island City with group of students. Avonte broke away from the group and ran to the first floor, revealed NYPD documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reports said.

The Riverview School shares space in the building known as the Hunters Point Campus across the street from the East River.

The day of his disappearance, Avonte was heading back from the cafeteria with a group of students and three school employees when he slipped away. He was last seen through surveillance footage running out of the school. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

A report previously released by the Special Commissioner of Investigation for the New York City School District investigation says Vanessa Fontaine, Avonte’s mother, expressed her concerns to her son’s teacher about him being a “runner.” The teacher never shared the information with school administrators, the report said.

The investigation also found Avonte ran out of the building through a door left opened by an unidentified man.



Vehicle goes into East River blocks from deadly Astoria accident

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Updated 4:15 p.m.

A car crashed into the East River just blocks away from a fatal accident where four people lost their lives Friday night, police said.

The vehicle was traveling on 20th Avenue and Shore Boulevard in Astoria about 4 a.m. Saturday when it went through a fence and entered the water, according to the NYPD.

When cops arrived, the vehicle’s four passengers were out of the river and told police  that the driver fled the scene. They were then taken to Mount Sinai Queens where they were treated and released, officials said.



Avonte Oquendo’s brother shares family’s experience, thanks volunteers in blog post

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

One of Avonte Oquendo’s older brothers is sharing what his family went through in the four months during the 14-year-old’s disappearance.

“Every minute we spent in the dark about the whereabouts felt like years of torture,” wrote Daniel Oquendo Jr. in a March 21 blog post for the advocacy organization Autism Speaks.

He recounted the fear and pain his family felt as they tried to find Avonte, who was autistic and could not verbally communicate. He described how during the first few days the family did not sleep, barely ate and felt as if they had nowhere to turn.

The teen was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City across the street from the East River last October. Almost four months later his remains were found washed up in College Point.

According to Oquendo, Avonte entered a frightened and panic state after running out of his school and possibly jumped into the East River and drowned. The medical examiner has ruled the cause and manner of Avonte’s death as undetermined.

Oquendo wrote that as his family was “overcome with grief and hopelessness,” they turned to the people of New York City to work together and gather volunteers to search for Avonte. As word began to spread, they encountered help through New Yorkers and out of state volunteers, who he thanked for all their dedication and prayers.

“It turns out that before it was all said and done Avonte did indeed become the beloved son of the city,” Oquendo wrote.



Dead woman pulled out of Long Island City waters

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Fire officials pulled the body of a 51-year-old Long Island City woman out of the East River Saturday morning, police said.

She was fully clothed, and there were no visible signs of trauma on her body, according to cops.

The woman, Judy Soo Hoo, was found floating near 47th Rd. and Center Blvd. about 10 a.m., police said.

The investigation is ongoing.