Tag Archives: Elizabeth Lusskin

LIC Industrial Business Zone receives more than $100K in funding


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The fight to maintain the balance between the residential boom and industrial sector in Long Island City got a helping hand from the City Council.

The Long Island City Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), which is one of many dedicated manufacturing sectors in a citywide initiative that focuses on preserving industry, received nearly 25 percent more funds from the city this year than 2014, a total of $100,946.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer allocated the funds and made the announcement on Monday among business owners, City Councilman Antonio Reynoso of Brooklyn and Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership, which oversees the LIC IBZ.

“This year we fought really hard, and I wanted to make sure that we were able to increase funding so that Liz Lusskin and her amazing team could help all of these businesses grow and we maintain these areas and not take them for other uses,” Van Bramer said.

Last year there was talk that the IBZ program could lose money. But Van Bramer said Reynoso lead a charge in the City Council to support the initiative.

In addition to the extra financial support, the LIC IBZ will return to assisting an area with just six ZIP codes, as opposed to the widespread 16 ZIP codes it was tasked to help last year — including many outside its district. This will allow administrators more flexibility to focus on the 2,095 businesses in its immediate area, instead of 4,535 companies.

“Instead of spending an hour sitting on a train to go to a business in Flushing, we can spend an hour walking the halls of the Falchi Building knocking on doors, seeing if we can provide help,” Lusskin said.

The money from the City Council is separate from the recent $100,000 grant the LIC Partnership received from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council to perform a comprehensive neighborhood study.

This new batch of money will provide resources for manufacturing businesses, such as help to apply for city tax credits, filing permits and even dealing with neighborhood issues. The IBZ will also help businesses network with each other.

The Long Island City Partnership hopes through servicing businesses, they can entice companies to stay and expand in Queens, and convince others to move into the area.

Officials cited jewelry maker Unique Settings of New York, which is now located at the Falchi Building in Long Island City, as an example of what they are trying to accomplish. Eight years ago, the company was leaving its 9,000-square-foot Manhattan space for a location in New Jersey.

But Unique Settings moved to Queens after the LIC IBZ helped get city tax credits and found the space they needed to expand.

The firm now has about 65,000 square feet on one floor of the Falchi Building and 200 employees.

“We talked to them, they guided us through the program and basically held our hands through the whole process,” said Matthew Ego, co-owner of Unique Settings. “One less thing you have to worry about is making sure that you’re going to be able to stay and grow.”

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LIC Partnership awarded $100K grant for comprehensive neighborhood study


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

As the housing and rental market continues to explode in Long Island City, the transformation of this former industrial-focused community to a mixed-use residential area has been a major topic in recent years.

To maintain the community’s industrial roots — which still supply many jobs for the city’s manufacturing workforce — while preparing for possible changes in other sectors, the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership is hoping to conduct a comprehensive study of the neighborhood and create a plan for the future.

The LIC Partnership study is close to realization as the advocacy group announced Monday it was awarded a $100,000 grant from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council to create a comprehensive plan of the future of the neighborhood. The group hopes to use this plan to guide LIC and maximize the benefits of its growth from all aspects, which on top of industrial and residential also includes the expansion of the commercial and tech markets as well.

“Currently experiencing a period of explosive transformation, much of it 30 years in the making, Long Island City, Queens, is now ready for its own, comprehensive look,” LIC Partnership President Elizabeth Lusskin said. “Funding for this study will allow us to work to set a vision and priorities consonant with the neighborhood’s goals.  We hope to guide city, state and federal action based upon an in-depth studied assessment of the facts and current conditions.”

The LIC Partnership applied for the grant with support from local community leaders and politicians. The state had to review about 2,600 projects that requested funding.

The study was selected among 71 projects in New York City, where a total of $61.2 million was awarded.

The plan, which was discussed at the partnership’s 27th annual trade show and luncheon in November, would for example help the community navigate through the wave of major residential developments planned for the area while learning how to improve the quality of life for current and future residents.

A wave of national retail and commercial investments is also expected to hit LIC in the future as well as a tech boom fueled by the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, and the partnership’s study will be necessary to examine these changes as well.

“The $100,000 grant from the Regional Economic Development Council is not only a recognition of the stellar work of this organization,”Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said, “but begins the real work of completing  a comprehensive study on how to get LIC to reach new and even greater heights.”

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Developer TF Cornerstone to be honored for role in transforming LIC  


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TF Cornerstone

TF Cornerstone has been one of the main faces in the real estate development boom currently occurring in Long Island City.

Recently, the real estate firm completed its 10-year, $1.4 billion Center Boulevard project, which includes six residential towers on the LIC waterfront with unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline that provide a high-quality living space for a community of more than 6,000 people.

TF Cornerstone was also selected to develop two residential towers for the second phase of the city’s Hunter’s Point South affordable housing project, further bringing more residential opportunity to the neighborhood. The buildings will have 1,193 apartments, 796 of which will be affordable. The towers will also feature a gym, rooftop gardens and decks, and an on-site senior recreational center.

Because of these investments in the neighborhood, the Long Island City Partnership, an organization that focuses on fostering economic growth in the community, will honor the founding brothers of TF Cornerstone, K. Thomas and Frederick Elghanayan, at its 27th annual luncheon on Nov 13.

“We’ve come to love this community as we’ve watched it grow and, for that reason, receiving this award is truly special,” the Elghanayan brothers said. “We’d like to thank the Long Island City Partnership for this honor, and we’re looking forward to many more years of partnerships with groups and individuals in LIC as we begin our next chapter of development in Hunter’s Point South.”

Aside from constructing towers, TF Cornerstone has played a major role in building the community aspects of LIC through supporting local events and institutions, such as the LIC Flea, LIC Arts Open and P.S. 78 and developing Gantry Plaza State Park.

“They’ve been part of that revolutionary vision of what LIC can be as a residential neighborhood,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership. “People who were attracted to the dollar value now want to stay here for the community value, and that is a testament to the Elghanayans and TF Cornerstone.”

Hundreds of attendees are expected to attend the luncheon, which will be held at Astoria World Manor.

Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development, will give the keynote speech and Community Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley will receive the William D. Modell Community Service Award.

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LIC Summit to highlight booming western Queens neighborhood


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo: Peter Aaron/Esto. Courtesy of Museum of Moving Image

The various traits that contribute to the boom of Long Island City will be the talk of a day-long conference dedicated to the western Queens neighborhood.

The Long Island City Partnership, along with co-hosts Modern Spaces and The Queens Courier, will showcase the first LIC Summit, called “LIC Now: Perspectives and Prospects.” The day-long event will take place on Tuesday, June 17, at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave., starting at 8 a.m. and will be followed by a cocktail reception and networking at 4:30 p.m. at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

“The summit is intended to really highlight the incredible authentic mixed-use community that is Long Island City and it is important not just locally but citywide and nationwide,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership. “It’s also an opportunity to dive into the issues that are continuing challenges for the community and a moment to take stock on how we should plan for the future.”

The LIC Summit will highlight Long Island City’s real estate market, infrastructure, arts, cultural, television and film community, industrial sector and expected future as a technology hub.

“Long Island City is experiencing an explosive change right now and is a huge economic driver for not only western Queens, but the city as a whole,” said Eric Benaim, CEO and president of Modern Spaces. “This summit was created to address the ongoing and emerging trends and needs of this transformative neighborhood.”

The keynote address will be delivered by the city’s Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, and other featured speakers include Borough President Melinda Katz, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and many more.

“This is really meant to be a dialogue between the panelists with the audience. Everybody who is there is part of the content of the conference,” said Lusskin, who hopes the LIC Summit will become an annual event. “We really hope that we will have a really diverse and high quality audience that is both local constituents and citywide leaders.”

For more information and to register click here.

 

Below are the categories for the LIC Summit panels, which will each be moderated by experts and leaders in their industries.

Keynote Panel – LIC: Big City, Big Picture 9:15–10 a.m.

Services & Amenities: Current Successes, New Opportunities – 10:15-11 a.m.

Television & Film – 10:15-11 a.m.

Commercial & Industrial Real Estate
11:20 a.m.-noon

Keynote Speaker: Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen
1-1:45 p.m.

LIC as a Tech District – 2-2:45 p.m.

Residential Real Estate – 2-2:45 p.m.

Arts & Culture – 3-3:45 p.m.

 

 

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LIC scheduled for a weekend of fun


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Long Island City is the place to be this weekend.

Three events will be taking over the western Queens neighborhood, bringing residents and visitors from near and far the best in food, drinks, activities, the arts and much more.

The first of these events is the ongoing LIC Flea & Food located at the outdoor lot on the corner of 5th Street and 46th Avenue. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, and fashion. For the remaining weekends in March, the LIC Flea will only be running on Saturdays.

During the weekend the 2014 LIC Arts Open, which began Wednesday, will also be taking over with local artists holding open studios on Saturday, and on Sunday hosting a closing party and silent auction.


             LIC ARTS OPEN POSTER © Luba Lukova

On Saturday, the first-ever free LIC Springs! block party, which is part of the city’s Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program, will shut down Vernon Boulevard to vehicular traffic from 50th to 46th avenues. From 1 to 6 p.m. the block party will feature performances, activities, and food and items sold by local business owners.

“Together these events show that there is something for everyone in Long Island City and should draw New Yorkers of all ages to LIC,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “Arts, culture, lively performances, activities and, of course, a cornucopia of culinary options — and all from local participants.”

Also for this weekend, the MTA has announced the No. 7 train would take a break from its weekend disruptions and will be running to help visitors get to and from Long Island City.

Just a neighborhood away, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios will be entering its third of eight Sundays of operation. After paying a visit to Long Island City, don’t miss out on the numerous vendors at the Astoria Flea.

 

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LIC real estate still has room for more growth: experts


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Long Island City community is sizzling, and it is only the beginning.

The LIC Partnership hosted its annual Real Estate Breakfast on Wednesday, where a group of panelists discussed the recent developments and market trends taking place in the western Queens neighborhood’s increasing real estate market.

This year’s breakfast, held at The Learning Center at Con Edison, was moderated by David Brause, president of Brause Realty Inc.

Panelists included Arvind K. Bajaj, managing director of Madison Marquette; Erhan Bahceci, owner of Food Cellar & Co. Market; Cathy Dove, vice president for Cornell NYC Tech; Amanda Fung, senior news producer for Crain’s New York Business; and Rachel Loeb, director of development for World-Wide Group.

Subjects during the breakfast included developments in residential and commercial real estate, as panelists discussed up and coming projects, such as the multiple apartment buildings going up and the Cornell NYC Tech campus moving to Roosevelt Island.

Business owner Bahceci said Food Cellar & Co. Market, which opened up in Long Island City in 2009 with a focus on all-natural and organic products, has seen nothing but success. Business has been so good that Bahceci plans on opening a home goods store in the upcoming months.

“It’s an amazing experience being in Long Island City, the reason being not just having a store, [but] the community itself is growing,” Bahceci said. “It’s not just you’re a store owner, you become more like a friend to the community.”

Even with the real estate market already booming, Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the LIC Partnership believes this success is only the beginning and the community needs to work together to guide the growth without hindering it.

“We’ve just sort of opened the gates,” Lusskin said. “It is all still on the edge of the horizon and there is so much more that’s going to happen. LIC has grown very organically and there’s still room for good surprises.”

 

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7 train suspension lifted for LIC weekend of events


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File Photo

There is a little light at the end of the tunnel for No. 7 train users.

Three weeks after coming face to face with the Long Island City community and listening to their concerns about the No. 7 train weekend suspensions, the MTA will keep the line running on May 17 and 18.

During the March 27 town hall meeting, community members and business owners asked the transit agency to alter its initial plan because of events such as the LIC Arts Open, LIC Flea & Food and LIC Springs!, a block party along Vernon Boulevard.

“Finally the MTA has not only listened to our community on this issue, but taken action,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “LIC Springs! and other events like the LIC Flea and the LIC Arts Open are wonderful displays of how much our neighborhood has to offer, so I appreciate the MTA making it easier to get people here for this one weekend.”

The MTA said that the work previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17 and 18 will have to be rescheduled, however won’t increase the number of closures for 2014. Some of the closures will be rescheduled for 2015.

“The community spoke and the [MTA New York City Transit] listened. The No. 7 Line shutdown for needed repairs has caused ongoing hardship for the businesses, residents, cultural organizations and institutions in Long Island City,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “That weekend is expected to draw significant numbers of visitors from across Queens – and New York City – to our neighborhood for arts, culture, food and fun.”

Although the MTA has agreed to keep the No. 7 line working for the one May weekend, Gianaris wants to continue working with the agency to put an end to all weekend disruptions.

“Of course, when everyone wants to come back and enjoy the weekend in Long Island City for the rest of the summer, we’ll run into the same old problem, so I will keep fighting until the 7 train actually running on weekends is no longer news,” Gianaris said.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

The MTA has also released the following additional changes for the No. 7 train suspensions:

  • May 3-4 will now be a shutdown between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street.
  • May 31-June 1 will now be shut down between 74 Street-Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Sept. 20-21 will now be shut down between 74 Street -Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Nov 15-16 will now be a limited service to Queensboro Plaza with no service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street weekend.

 

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BP Katz talks branding Queens at LIC Partnership breakfast


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Long Island City welcomed Borough President Melinda Katz with open arms—and coffee.

The Long Island City Partnership held a breakfast at the CUNY School of Law for Katz on Feb.27 to welcome her to the thriving western Queens community.

“She is no stranger to any of us in this room, nor to this community. She has been and really is Queens,” Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said as he introduced Katz. “For the next eight years, Borough President Katz is going to make sure there is a vision and the know-how to get that vision accomplished.”

During the breakfast, the borough president spoke about future plans for Long Island City and the overall borough — highlighting the importance of branding the area, cultural institutions, marketing and tourism.

“We’re nothing like the other boroughs, we are our own borough,” Katz said. “We may want to make the rest of the borough like Long Island City, maybe, but we’re not going to make it the new Brooklyn, we stand on our own.”

Katz said she is working with Van Bramer to come up with an overall plan for Long Island City, including bringing small start-up tech industries and improving the transportation system.

“Cultural institutions will brand this borough, not only the restaurants and the shopping,” she said. “Folks need to know that if they come to the City of New York and they have not visited the borough of Queens, they have not seen New York City.”

In her plan she also hopes to work with hotels in Manhattan in order for visitors to be given a script of different events happening in Queens. The borough president also plans on creating a cultural guide to give out during the 1964 World’s Fair 50-year commemoration.

“I am excited about the future here,” she said.

 

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Long Island City lights up for the holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

The Long Island City community came together to welcome the holidays and make the season bright.

Over 100 residents young and old gathered with local elected officials and community leaders on Tuesday night to celebrate the holidays by lighting festive snowflakes along Vernon Boulevard.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer worked together with JetBlue to a secure a $5,000 grant to bring the holiday lights to the thriving neighborhood.

The holiday celebration included Christmas carols sung by students from P.S. 78, led by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, owner of Manducatis Rustica located at 46-33 Vernon Boulevard.

The night also included readings of special Christmas stories by the fireplace of LIC BAR, located at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard, and a performance by local jazz group, The Charlie Brown Christmas Trio.

 

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