Tag Archives: Flushing

Underfunded parks to receive funding: de Blasio


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Eric Jankiewicz

Mayor Bill de Blasio visited a Flushing park on Tuesday to announce that the city will invest in revitalizing underfunded parks across Queens and New York City.

“It’s a place that needs a lot of support,” de Blasio said about Bowne Playground, where he made the announcement. “It’s been decades of disinvestment in our parks. There’s not much greenery here, as you can see.”

The administration identified 215 parks across the city that each received less than $250,000 in the last two decades.


According to de Blasio, this level of funding doesn’t allow the Parks Department to repair the “wear and tear” of parks such as Bowne Playground. In the first phase of the administration’s attempt to fix up these parks, they aim to invest more than $130 million to rebuild 35 small community parks.

While this initiative will be focusing on 35 parks, including Queens’ Bowne Playground, Astoria Heights PlaygroundCorona Mac ParkGrassmere Playground, Rockaway Community Park /Conch Playground and Van Alst Playground, the administration wants to eventually treat all of the 215 parks that are underfunded to some green. Queens alone has more than 50 parks that are underfunded.

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Bowne Playground will be one of the parks to receive funding for expanded recreational programming and increased maintenance. De Blasio also expressed a desire to have less concrete and more trees and grass.

“This park is an example of why we’re doing this,” de Blasio said, citing the neighborhood’s high population and few public spaces.

“Parks are so many things to us,” he said. “It’s truly a necessity in urban environments.”

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Flushing school to be part of city biking program


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of East-West School of International Studies

Teenaged bikers are coming to Flushing, with the backing of the city.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has accepted a Flushing school’s application to participate in a biking program that would develop bike routes for students to use in their commutes to school, according to the school’s spokeswoman, Polly Chea.

The three-year program started last year, and East-West School of International Studies, a sixth through 12th grade public school, will be the first Queens school to participate in the Department of Transportation project.

Schools are selected through an annual competitive application process. Throughout the program, schools work with the DOT and community partners to develop safe bike routes for kids to use to get to school. The school will also install bike racks and create a bike club, for the more hardcore bikers.

Chea said that the school will be holding a bike-a-thon on Oct. 18 to celebrate the new project. Students will be cycling around Flushing Meadows Corona Park’s Meadow Lake in the morning.

Schools selected to participate in the DOT project will receive a stipend of $500 to assist in implementing the program. The school also has to include a curriculum with in-classroom discussions of bike transportation as well as special community building and recreational events.

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See it: $2M Flushing penthouse condo deal closing soon


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre  / Gallery photos courtesy of F&T Group

How much is the view of Flushing and Citi Field worth? If it’s at the new One Fulton Square — up to $2 million.

F&T Group, which owns the 12-story building, will close Tuesday on its most expensive residential condo — a three-bedroom unit on the penthouse level of the development — for $2,053,000, according to Helen Lee, a representative for the firm.

The home has 2,033 square feet with a wraparound terrace of nearly 1,100 square feet.

Take a look at the gallery below of a model unit that is similar to the condo.

 

 

 

 

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MTA bus driver allegedly attacks Flushing gas station worker over lottery ticket


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

An off-duty MTA bus driver attacked a gas station worker during a dispute over a missing lottery ticket in Flushing, authorities said.

Louis Cintron, 44, allegedly punched the worker in the nose during the argument at the station at Horace Harding Expressway and Lawrence Street on Thursday morning.

According to DNAinfo, Cintron unknowingly dropped one of his lottery tickets and demanded a refund or replacement ticket from the worker.

But the worker refused and Cintron allegedly grabbed him and punched him.

Cintron was charged with assault and harassment, according to police.

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Real estate roundup: Rockaway boardwalk project delayed, permits filed for Rego Park apartment building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Rockaway Boardwalk Renewal Delayed Again as Project is Redesigned

The rebuilding of the Rockaways’ boardwalk will likely be delayed another three months as the design is modified to address community concerns about access to the waterfront, according to an official. The delay, the latest of many since the city began the project after Hurricane Sandy, will impact the more than a mile-long stretch that will also include a giant “ROCKAWAY” sign implanted into the boardwalk. Read more [DNAinfo]

Downtown Flushing: Where Asian Cultures Thrive

People who live and work in downtown Flushing sometimes call it “the Chinese Manhattan.” Both downtown Flushing, in north-central Queens, and Manhattan are centers of commerce, transportation and finance, and both have shiny new buildings with expensive and sought-after condominiums. Read more [New York Times]

Permits Filed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

There, at 65-70 Austin Street, behind the Long Island Rail Road’s main line, a new building permit application has been filed for a seven-story residential building. The building would, according to the permit application, rise 70 feet and include 45 apartments spread over 34,550 square feet of net residential space, for an average unit size of less than 800 square feet (we’re guessing rentals). It will include 28 off-street parking spaces, which is only a few more than required by zoning. Read more [New York YIMBY]

Flushing-Jamaica bus routes set to get upgrade in distant future


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The city is hoping to reduce bus travel times between Flushing and Jamaica — just not any time soon.

Preliminary plans that will spend a least a year being refined were floated by officials at a recent meeting with community members at York College.

Among the proposals is the implementation of Select Bus Service, where, among other things, passengers would pay the fare on sidewalk kiosks before the bus arrives to reduce boarding and debarking times.

“The bus trips are long and slow,” a spokesman for the Department of Transportation (DOT) said. “And with Select Bus Service we think there’s a solution to improve things.”

The DOT is considering two routes between the neighborhoods for SBS. The first would travel along Main Street where the Q44 and Q20A/B run. The second route under consideration is Parsons and Kissena boulevards, currently serviced by the Q25 and Q34.

Whichever street is chosen would undergo changes like the installation of bus-only lanes and sidewalk fare kiosks.

In the meantime, the city is considering installing a feature on some buses called traffic signal priority, according to a city spokeswoman.

The feature uses GPS to track a bus and can either prevent a light from turning red until a bus passes the intersection or shorten the length of a red signal to let a stopped bus start moving again.

But, the spokeswoman noted, if the community decides that it doesn’t like this idea, than the city won’t install the traffic signal feature. The DOT plans on working with the community for at least a year to find how SBS can be best suited to its needs.

“I think it’s clear that local community members want faster bus service,” said Jess Nizar, from the public transportation advocacy group Riders Alliance. “It’s really important to get community input in the planning process of these things.”

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Flushing, Bayside schools bag Blue Ribbon


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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The National Blue Ribbon Schools program, run by the U.S. Department of Education, has awarded the coveted Blue Ribbon school status to two schools in Queens — PS 205 Alexander Graham Bell School in Bayside and Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology in Flushing. Both of them are winners among public schools in the Exemplary High Performing Schools category.

Only 337 schools across the country were awarded a Blue Ribbon this year. This status is designated “based on the school’s overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups,” according to the Department of Education’s official website. Both the Queens schools won because of their academic excellence.

The winning schools are given a plaque and flag as recognition of their National Blue Ribbon School status. The recognition ceremony honoring 287 public schools and 50 private schools will take place on Nov. 10 and 11 in Washington D.C.

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Flushing’s SkyView Center nearing full tenancy, two new stores coming next year


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Shops at SkyView Center 

Increased appeal of The Shops at SkyView Center has attracted a wave of new tenants, bringing Onex Real Estate Partners closer to fully leasing the Flushing shopping mall, according to a representative.

The center recently welcomed five new stores, including Royal Beauty Spa, tween fashion and accessory store Justice & Brothers, Asian eatery Grandma’s Dim Sum, health shop GNC and national clothing retailer Nordstrom Rack, which is the chain’s first location in Queens.

Also, two more national fashion retailers, which have yet to be named, plan to be introduced by the mall next spring, reducing the vacancy in the 700,000-square-foot shopping center to about 10,000 square feet, said David Brickman, Onex’s director of leasing for the mall.

“I think it’s a national recognition of where Flushing is as a retail market and what SkyView has become as a center,” he said.

The five new additions this year joined a mix that already includes national chains and local and unique retailers in the mall, ranging from Target, Applebee’s, Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond, to Mongolian hot pot restaurant Little Lamb and Fay Da Bakery.

Brickman said this blend contributed to the attraction of SkyView for new tenants and consumers.

“You have national retailers that eyed SkyView as the place to be and at the same time you have this unique mix of local businesses that opened at SkyView,” he said. “What SkyView offers that others malls don’t is the unique mix of nationally recognized retailers and locals. It sort of makes SkyView a one-stop destination.”

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Flushing’s Assi Plaza supermarket sells for $55M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

Owners of Flushing Asian grocery Assi Plaza sold its building after two decades of operation in the neighborhood.

Asian food distributor Rhee Brothers, Inc, which owns the supermarket chain, sold the two-story property at 131-01 39th Ave. near College Point Boulevard for $54.6 million, according to city records filed Friday.

The nearly 100,000-square-foot Flushing supermarket, which opened in 1994, was the first of several scattered across the country.

Assi Plaza, which is located near the SkyView Center and blocks from recently developed One Fulton Square, was purchased by Outlet Plaza LLC, according to city records.

Repeated calls to Rhee Brothers were not returned.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this article stated King’s USA Group bought Assi Plaza based on incorrect information in a published report. Outlet Plaza LLC bought the supermarket, according to city property records. 

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Top vegan-friendly food places in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Rose Valley Cakes Facebook page / Courtesy of Johnny Solo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

PETA recently declared New York City as 2014’s “Most Vegan-Friendly City” for its numerous establishments that offer veggie lovers an array of options. We’ve compiled this list of food places in Queens that offer delicious cuisine along with vegan-friendly choices.

Co Co Lin Vegetarian House
64-19 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood
718-416-1688
cocolins.com

This restaurant houses a wide array of vegetarian options that are made from a fuse of Chinese and Thai seasonings and flavors. Whether craving a smoothie or a simple vegan-friendly meal, Co Co Lin seems to have the right amount of options for both meat and veggie lovers alike.

Ginger Organic
37-01 30th Ave., Astoria
718-777-0626
facebook.com/GingerOrganicAstoria

Connected to Astoria’s Grand Café, this organic juice and smoothie shop just opened a few months ago. The establishment offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more, which is all 100 percent vegan. Ginger also serves up organic liquors, wines and champagnes. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

Happy Buddha
135-37 37th Ave., Flushing
718-358-0079
happybuddha.com

This veggie-loving restaurant in downtown Flushing earned a place on SuperVegan’s list of “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens” with a nice list of reviews from customers who are pleased with the vegetarian option in the community. Happy Buddha aims to create a peaceful environment for guests, and create a fusion of “innovative vegetarian cuisine, Zen surroundings, and respect for all living things.”

Rose Valley Cakes
134-03 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718- 523-2253
rosevalleycakes.com

This bakery meets plenty of dietary needs with their unique focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free baked goods. With impressive reviews and complex cake decorations, it has earned a 4-1/2 star rating on Yelp, and claims to be able to create “any confectionery creation you can think of.” Although it does offer specialty cakes of all sorts, it also sells bakery items that are available daily.

Simple Veggie Cuisine
95-26 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-830-0808
sveggie.com

Simple Veggie Cuisine keeps it simple with a wide array of options on their menu, and a promising amount of good reviews on Yelp. This restaurant offers Chinese food, with vegan options that are moderately priced and seemingly loved by the public.

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica
718-739-7453
smileofthebeyond.com

This vegetarian diner located in Jamaica was established in 1972, making it the first vegetarian diner in New York City. The diner offers classic and unique breakfast and lunch items and vegan-friendly options, which include everything from a good hot cup of organic coffee to a tofu scramble and more.

The Oneness-Fountain Heart
157-19 72nd Ave., Flushing
718-591-3663
oneness-fountain-heart.com

This vegetarian restaurant has been in Flushing since 1998, and is committed to creating an environment where you can “enjoy food that nourishes the body, heart and soul.” With unique options on their menu, like Cashew Nut Paella, it has earned an impressive list of reviews on Yelp, and was mentioned in the Long Island Restaurant Review as well as The Restaurant Fairy and others.

Veggie Castle II
132-09 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718-641-8342

This hidden treasure in South Richmond Hill is a grab-and-go go-to for many veggie lovers because of its vegan-friendly options and juice bar that offers a well-reviewed green juice, as well as smoothies.

What do you think are the top vegan-friendly food places in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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Three hurt after car crashes into Flushing kosher supermarket


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Seasons employee

BY CRISTABELLE TUMOLA AND ERIC JANKIEWICZ

Three people were injured when a car smashed into a kosher supermarket in Flushing Tuesday afternoon, authorities and witnesses said.

The driver, who was reportedly an elderly man, was pulling out of a parking spot at Seasons on Main Street near 68th Avenue when he accidentally went into reverse and his car ended up going into the front of the market, a store employee who witnessed the accident said.

Three people were taken to New York Hospital Queens with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries at about 1 p.m., according to the FDNY.

According to the store employee, one of the injured included a fellow worker, a 70-year-old man, who broke both legs when he was struck by the car.

“I heard a big boom and then I came out of my store and saw this car inside the [market],” a witness who works at a nearby business said.

The store, which was busy ahead of Rosh Hashanah, reopened by 2 p.m.

 -With additional reporting by Salvatore Licata 

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Selfhelp unveils new Flushing senior housing development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Selfhelp Community Services

Selfhelp Community Services hosted a grand opening Tuesday of Selfhelp Associates, a new development in Flushing, which looks to ease the need for more affordable housing for seniors.

The new 14-story development, located at 137-39 45th Ave. in Flushing, can accommodate more than 100 seniors in 92 units, according to Selfhelp.

Selfhelp ribbon cutting photo 1

Apartments for the building were filled through a housing lottery system, with a requirement that one member of the household be age 62 or older. Selfhelp said 80 percent of the building was filled with seniors earning less than 60 percent of the Area Median Income or no more than $23,240 per year for an individual or $26,560 for two people. The final 20 percent of units were reserved for seniors who earn no more than $34,860 annually or $39,840 for two people.

“This new Selfhelp development is built to serve the needs of our growing population of seniors, a key goal of the mayor’s housing New York plan,” said City Housing Development Corporation President Gary Rodney. “Advanced age and limited income should not constrain the quality of life. Selfhelp understands this and they have put a lot of thought and care into the design and function of this building. 

The building features computers, roll-in showers, video chat-enabled computer work stations, elegant rooms, cognitive strengthening units, exercise equipment and health screening kiosks.

Residents at Selfhelp Associates will also have access to the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center, a 9,000-square-foot facility being built in conjunction with Selfhelp Associates, which is scheduled to open next year.

Selfhelp photo 2 (1)

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Flushing woman shares story in new immigration documentary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of No Le Digas A Nadie Film

Since she was a young child, Angy Rivera has been told to keep quiet about many things in her life. But now she is sharing her story, hoping others can step out of the shadows.

Rivera is a 23-year-old college student from Flushing who was formerly an undocumented immigrant for 19 years and whose experiences for the past two years are the subject behind a new documentary called “No Le Digas A Nadie,” translated to “Don’t Tell Anyone.”

The film’s director, Mikaela Shwer, said she first read about the Colombian native, who in 2010 started the first national undocumented online youth advice column called “Ask Angy,”  in New York Magazine.

Interested in her story, Shwer met with Rivera and began building a relationship that led to Shwer filming the 23-year-old’s story in her debut as an independent film director.

“I know what the story is about and the ending, but it’s different watching it,” Rivera said about being in the film. “It was a healing process for me, opening up about things, exploring feelings that I have hidden away. It’s a different form of therapy.”

The film follows Rivera, the oldest of four children, through her everyday life hanging out with friends and her family. It focuses on the relationship she has with her mother, who immigrated to the United States with her.

The cameras also follow Rivera through her life as an undocumented immigrant and activist, as she applies for deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) and obtains a visa.

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“The strength they all have as a community makes you reevaluate all the privileges that we have,” said Shwer about having shared time with Rivera and others in the immigrant community. “It makes you really appreciate things and also be frustrated. People really need to be frustrated in order for things to change.”

Although Rivera has opened up through her advice column and the activist work she has done as a core member of the nonprofit New York State Youth Leadership Council, the first volunteer undocumented youth and membership led organization, she is nervous about how some people will react to her story.

“[The film] is way different and a lot more personal,” Rivera said. “That’s always good but it’s also bad because it opens to judgment.”

Along with the issue of being an undocumented immigrant, the film also surrounds Rivera’s opening up of being a victim of sexual assault. The title of the film comes from a poem Rivera wrote called “Rusty Chains”  in which she describes how since she was a young girl, she has been told not to tell anyone about what was going on in her life.

“It’s the same thing like our immigration status, for a long time many of us felt alone, similarly when you’re assaulted you feel alone. It’s a life of silence,” Rivera said. “I hope this film will start a new conversation.”

Both Shwer and Rivera hope the documentary will help others who are in the same situations to step out and share their stories. They also hope the film will continue to bring up a lot more questions, bring community members together and inspire others to get involved.

“I hope people can see that we are a family, they are everything to me,” Rivera said. “Remove immigration status – it’s a real family. Maybe this will put a human face to this issue.”

“No Le Digas A Nadie” is in the post-production phase and is expected to be finished by the end of this year. It is also in the process of finding a medium in which to be shown, with hopes of being featured in a spring or summer film festival in 2015.

For more information visit www.nodigasfilm.com.

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Flushing burglars drive off with $48K in aircraft aluminum: police


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Cops are searching for two suspects who they say stole $48,000 worth of aircraft aluminum from a Flushing business on Saturday.

The pair apparently drove a van into the lot of S & L Aerospace Metals, at 120th Street near 28th Avenue around 7:40 a.m before taking off with the aluminum, authorities said.

According to its website, S & L Aerospace has been a “key supplier” to the aircraft industry since 1967.

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Police have released photos of the van the suspects were driving.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Flushing 7-Eleven robbery ends in flames after police chase


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Three men suspected of robbing a Flushing 7-Eleven at gunpoint early Tuesday morning crashed into a deli after police chased the trio through the streets of Queens, authorities said.

Three men in their 20s were in the process of robbing the 7-Eleven on Northern Boulevard near 171st Street at about 2 a.m. when cops arrived, police said. The three men then took off in a Nissan Altima.

During the chase, the three suspects threw a wallet and money out of their window. Police later discovered that it belonged to the 7-Eleven workers they robbed, cops said.

The hour-long chase led police and the thieves along Northern Boulevard and then the Long Island Expressway before ending when the robbers crashed into a Flushing deli on 164th Street and Pidgeon Meadow Road, according to authorities. Fire and smoke rose out of the car’s engine following the crash.

Police recovered a shotgun from the car but couldn’t say if it was the weapon used in the robbery.

The deli was empty at the time of the crash, but the incident left one of the suspects, 21, with a broken hip, and a 22-year-old suspect with a broken hand, cops said. Both were taken to Flushing Hospital. The driver, a 29-year old, was not injured.

Charges against the three suspects are pending.

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