Tag Archives: Gianna Cerbone-Teoli

LIC business community: BID expansion ‘a necessity’ for neighborhood growth


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Members of the Long Island City business community say the proposed plan to expand the existing business improvement district is a necessity in helping the area become more inviting and attractive.

The LIC BID, which was created in 2005 and is managed by the LIC Partnership, announced its plan Tuesday to create a new sub-district expanding the services of the BID to the corridors of Vernon Boulevard, Jackson Avenue and 44th Drive.

The expansion would provide services – such as street sanitation and beautification – that look to better support local businesses and promote a higher quality of life for the LIC neighborhood.

“Maintenance, beautification, sanitation – these things don’t just spontaneously happen. There needs to be an agent, an entity that supervises and guides this through,” said Dr. Angelo Ippolito, co-chair of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee and owner of L.I.C. Chiropractic. “We here in Long Island City think we are right up there with all the progressive neighborhoods, therefore we need a BID.”

The BID currently covers the Queens Plaza/Court Square sub-district made up of Queens Plaza North and South between 21st Street and Jackson Avenue/Northern Boulevard, and along Jackson Avenue to 45th Avenue.

Creating the sub-district will allow services to be tailored specifically to the new area while also benefiting from administrative cost savings from joint activities like marketing, business services, increased sanitation, beautification and daily management.

“It’s ideal for the businesses and we look forward to it. This is a great solution for something that needed to be done long ago,” said Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, co-chair of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee and owner of Manducatis Rustica.

LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee Co-Chairs Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Dr. Angelo Ippolito and Paula Kirby.

LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee Co-Chairs Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, Dr. Angelo Ippolito and Paula Kirby.

According to local business owners, the expansion of the BID will also help increase foot traffic in areas that have not been seeing too much business and also bring in a variety of new businesses.

“I think having the BID here will help people realize that it is a place to come and do business,” said Donna Drimer, owner of Matted LIC. “Without it I’m not really sure how much small business can survive here. We’re caught. There’s a real disconnect between going to work in Manhattan, shopping in Manhattan, and coming home and not supporting the neighborhood.”

The BID expansion is expected to bring services such as street sanitation; retail attraction and real estate support; targeted community events; street beautification; advocacy for improved city services such as enhanced street and sidewalk lighting; and the creation and distribution of neighborhood marketing and promotional materials.

With being part of the BID, about 50 percent of the properties in the sub-district would be charged less than $660 annually and 75 percent will be charged less than $2,000 annually.

“I’m a huge supporter of the BID and big supporter of the expansion of the BID because this is going to give voice to so many small business owners. It’s going to empower more small business owners. It’s going to allow them to do so much more as a group of business owners,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

The members of the LIC BID Expansion Steering Committee say that local business owners and stakeholders have voiced support for the BID expansion and they plan to continue reaching out to the community through surveys and one-on-one discussions.

The LIC BID will be holding two public meetings on July 29 – one at Hunters Point Plaza, 47-40 21st St., at 9:30 a.m. and the other at 6:30 p.m. at the New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Avenue.

After collecting ballots of support, the expansion will then enter a process taking between nine to 12 months and must go through the City Planning Commission, Community Board 2, the Queens borough president, City Council, the mayor and the state comptroller.

“This is the most necessary thing we need at the moment. Everybody talks about beautification, everyone talks about so many other things but what we need right now is for this to happen for this neighborhood in order for it to continue to flourish in a positive way,” Cerbone-Teoli said.

For more information, visit licpartnership.org/bidexpansion.

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5Pointz artists share their ‘whitewash’ experience through work in LIC exhibit


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

A group of 5Pointz artists have put their emotions and experiences on canvas, reflecting the day they found their graffiti mecca hidden behind white paint.

The artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, have come together for an exhibition called “Whitewash” at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, located at 21-37 45th Rd., just one block away from where 5Pointz once existed.

The show, which begins Saturday, features eight 5Pointz artists, who had major pieces on the building before it was covered in white paint, and two photographers, for a total of 58 pieces.

Each artwork dives deep into the emotions and experiences each individual faced on November 19, when the owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the building to be painted white overnight.

Gallery owner and 10 year Long Island City resident Jeffrey Leder said that although many people question why he decided to showcase an exhibit featuring aerosol art, he said he wanted the artists to be recognized and to show visitors that their works are considered art.

“It was a sad end to an era here in Long Island City and I think the story needed to be told and the best way to tell the story is to create artwork,” Leder said.

Along with Cohen, the other artists included are Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Just One, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad and photographers Orestes Gonzalez and Hans Van Rittern.

Marie-Cecile Flageul, curator of the exhibit and 5Pointz spokeswoman, said they had wanted to do a “whitewash” show and keeping it Long Island City was important.

“I think it is extremely impacting for people exiting or coming to the gallery to…see a building that is still standing after four months, so you’re putting it in context,” Flageul said.

The show served as a method of healing and letting go of pain and looking ahead to the future, she said.

Cohen, who dealt with the loss of 5Pointz and his mother all within one month from each other, said although some of his pieces express the anger and frustration he felt when he woke up November 19, the process of creating the pieces for the show was also therapeutic.

“The exhibit to me was a good closure and way to vent, so I found it helped me to relate my feelings to the people that knew of 5Pointz and are devastated by its whitewash,” Cohen said.

He took his signature light bulbs, which normally are yellow and known to be funny, and made them white for the show to depict the “ghoulish” tone of the whitewash.

One of the last pieces he finished for the exhibit was a colorful collaboration between him and artist Shiro, which shows one of the female artist’s iconic characters blowing light bulb bubbles expressing hope and a happy look into the future.

“This is how we communicate best. This is what brings us all together and it did again,” he said. “Over there the walls were what helped tie us together and here are the canvases that are tying us together.”

Each piece in the show is on sale, including wine bottles, donated by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli of Manducatis Rustica, featuring labels designed by Cohen. “Whitewash” will run through June 8.

 

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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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Amendment to bring sidewalk cafes back to LIC


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Consumer Affairs

Once hampered by noise complaints and numerous tickets, Manducatis Rustica owner Gianna Cerbone-Teoli is looking forward to resurrecting her Vernon Boulevard establishment’s sidewalk café.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Cerbone-Teoli. “It’s really nice to see people sitting outside on the street and it brings more people to the area.”

Presented at a community meeting by a representative from the Department of City Planning (DCP), restrictions preventing sidewalk cafes in Long Island City and Sunnyside Gardens will be lifted, pending approval from both the local Community Board and City Council.

Main and upcoming retail zones, including Vernon Boulevard, Borden Avenue, Jackson Avenue, 21st Street, Crescent Street, 44th Drive, Court Square and 43rd Avenue, will receive permission to add unenclosed sidewalk cafes to their storefronts if the amendment passes. According to the representative, longstanding LIC restaurant Waterfront Crab House was “grandfathered” under the arrangement. Riverview restaurant, already equipped with a sidewalk café, is not included in the plan because of its location on Center Boulevard, outside the designated zone.

Community Board 1 voted to approve the motion as long as the amendment allowed enclosed sidewalk cafes for those with appropriate clearance in front of their business. Enclosed sidewalk cafes are currently not included under the revision.

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the fee for an unenclosed two-year sidewalk café license is $510 in addition to a consent fee to use the public sidewalk and a security deposit. Businesses hoping to institute an enclosed café must also pay a city planning fee, varying depending on size, zone and the type of café.
Alcohol may be served in sidewalk cafes if the restaurant has obtained a license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and beverages are distributed only by a server.

According to Arthur Rosenfield, president of the Long Island City/Astoria Chamber of Commerce, nearby commercial strips in Astoria, such as Broadway, 30th Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard, have seen a boom in business since the installation of outdoor dining spaces.

“People like [sidewalk cafes] and the business and restaurants need to have that kind of additional presence for economic reasons,” said Rosenfield. “They need it for revenue and to be attractive – the European-style cafés are very attractive to people and they’re bringing people to the neighborhood. It’s very positive for the community.”

 

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