Tag Archives: Hunters Point

Why the city plans to build a second Long Island City ferry dock


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map and chart via the NYCEDC Citywide Ferry Study

The city plans to build a second ferry dock on the Long Island City waterfront to cope with the overwhelmed 7 train and a projected flood of new residents to the neighborhood in years to come.

The new stop will be a completely new dock separate from the existing Hunters Point terminal, which is part of the East River Ferry network, but will be necessary as thousands of new housing units are completed in the area.

The proposed citywide ferry system Mayor de Blasio unveiled earlier this year shows the new ferry stop, called Long Island City – North, which is already receiving cheers from residents and experts, although it won’t be operational until 2017.

“Expanding ferry service along the lengthy LIC waterfront is a must and in fact we need two more stops, not one, to maximize the benefits of our waterfront both culturally and economically,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership.

The new landing doesn’t have a definite site yet, according to a representative from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. But the city is “working closely with property owners to determine the exact location,” which will be a newly constructed landing paid for from a portion of the $55 million for the citywide ferry system capital investments.

That’s the official word today, but the EDC’s September 2013 Citywide Ferry Study indicates that the Long Island City – North dock would be somewhere near 47th Road and Center Boulevard. This is notable, because the nearest train station, Vernon Boulevard on the No. 7 line, is about a 10 minute walk away.

It will be beneficial for future residents, especially since the population will balloon in coming years.

More than 10,500 residential units will be built by 2018 around the proposed Long Island City – North ferry landing, according to the Citywide Ferry Study.

LIC north stats new

The study also forecasts that the Long Island City north dock to the Pier 11/ Wall Street stop would be the most popular for riders in the proposed new ferry routes, accommodating an estimated 1,542 daily patrons by 2018, because of “ambitious development projects.”

Despite the potential of the ferry service, residents don’t want the city to believe just implementing more ferry service will be the only thing they can do to improve transportation for the booming neighborhood.

“It’s critical that these transportation policies are part of a whole strategy, not just separate transportation pieces,” said Long Island City resident Jeff Foreman, who is a member of the Hunters Point Civic Association. “In our neighborhood each piece must be analyzed for its impact on a transportation infrastructure that is otherwise totally dependent on the 7 train, which simply has insufficient capacity for what is here and currently being built, much less the tens of thousands of units being planned along the 7 line.”

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LIC-based grocery delivery service aimed for mom and pop stores


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Pickup Later

One new delivery service is trying to level the playing field for local mom and pop shops battling the big, online food delivery companies by offering customers the option to have groceries delivered within hours of placing an order at neighborhood stores.

PickUpLater, a Long Island City-based online grocery service started at the end of 2014, allows customers to go on their website and order from a local store’s inventory.

As a resident of Long Island City for the past six years, owner Kodjo Hounnaké said the idea was born after he was ordering from GrubHub and he asked himself why such a service was not available for groceries from local stores. 

Although Hounnaké says he aims for the service to go nationwide, PickUpLater currently only offers customers groceries from Foodcellar & Co. Market, located at 4-85 47th Rd. The service is available for residents in Long Island City, Hunters Point, Astoria, Greenpoint, Sunnyside and Woodside. It has also started to deliver in Manhattan, below 59th Street. 

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

The delivery areas are expected to expand, once Foodcellar opens its second location in Court Square. 

Unlike giants like Fresh Direct, Hounnaké added that PickUpLater has groceries directly from the store, not from a warehouse. Also unlike grocery delivery service, Instacart, which delivers from large stores such as Whole Foods Market and Costco, the idea of PickUpLater is to stick to the local mom and pop shops. 

“We’re not [the grocery store’s] competitor; what we offer them is to remove that extra cost and that extra stress,” Hounnaké said. “We’ll come in and do everything for them. In a sense we are their ally not their competition.”

Once the customer places an order on www.pickuplater.com, a personal shopper then does the work of purchasing the items on the list. Keeping an emphasis on “real time interaction with customers,” the personal shopper will text or call customers with any updates or replacement options.

The groceries will then be delivered in two hours, or more, depending on the customer’s request. They also have the option to pick up the products from Foodcellar.

For orders over $35, pick up fees are $0.99. Deliveries scheduled for more than two hours, the fee is $3.99 and $5.99 for deliveries scheduled within two hours.

PickUpLater opens at 7 a.m. and deliveries are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Pickup hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Construction set to start on Hunters Point Community Library


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of the Queens Library

The Long Island City community celebrated Thursday morning the beginning of construction of a new waterfront library set to have the best view in Queens.

Local elected officials, community leaders, students from P.S./I.S. 78 and residents of the western Queens neighborhood came together for the start of the construction phase for the Hunters Point Community Library, which will be located at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, right next to Gantry Plaza State Park.

“This is an amazing historic day for Hunters Point, Long Island City,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped secure $30 million to begin construction of the new branch. “For so many folks here who may have thought, ‘Is it really ever going to happen?’ today we are here to say it is, it’s happening, it’s real, this is a huge victory.”

The state-of-the-art library, set to break ground in the spring and be completed in 2017, was designed by architect Steven Holl.

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

“The great struggle of a neighborhood like this which has buildings going up by the day and thousands of people moving in, is making sure the infrastructure keeps up,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris, who provided $500,000 in state funding for the library. “To be able to say…we are going to have this landmark that people will look at from Manhattan and be jealous of is a testament to all the hard work that everyone has been doing.”

The 21,500-square-foot facility will feature a reading garden, rooftop terrace, reading rooms for all ages, a gallery, a performance space and a children’s area. It will overlook the Manhattan skyline across the East River.

“It will absolutely be the best view of any library in Queens. We are excited to see that start to rise and to know that we are providing a new library for this community that so desperately wants and needs it,” said Bridget Quinn-Carey, interim president and CEO of the Queens Library. “The library is in a great place for 2015 and beyond and projects like this really show how we can come together with our communities to provide what you need in a library.”

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Real estate roundup: Astoria Cove developer may increase number of affordable housing units ahead of City Council vote, new hotel for Ridgewood


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Studio V Architecture 

Astoria Cove site developer comes to labor union agreement for project’s construction 

“The Astoria Cove site developers, Alma Realty, have agreed to use union labor for construction, building maintenance and security on the mega-project, a source told The News. It’s also expected that the developers will agree to increase the number of units of affordable housing in the project.” Read more [The New York Daily News]

New hotels for Ridgewood?

“New Jersey A/E firm Jarmel Kizel posted on social media that they are designing a new mixed-use project for the site, with hotel, retail, and multifamily occupancy.” Read more [Wyckoff Heights]

Top 5 home sales in Brooklyn, Queens in October

“In Queens, a two-bedroom condo at the View at East Coast on the Hunter’s Point waterfront was the borough’s priciest residential sale recorded in October, PropertyShark data showed. The fifth-floor unit at 46-30 Center Boulevard sold for $2.5 million. It features two bathrooms and totals 1,443 square feet.” Read more [The Real Deal]

Station LIC on Track to open November 17

“The railroad-themed bar/restaurant that is coming to Hunters Point is on track to open next week. Station LIC, located at 10-37 Jackson Avenue, will be opening on Monday, Nov. 17, according to its owners.” Read more [LIC Post]

 

Real estate roundup: Hunter’s Point South affordable housing developers throwing a party


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Related Companies

Party at the Site Where $500-a-Month Apartments Are Rising in Hunters Point

Residents interested in applying for one of the hundreds of affordable apartments in the first phase of Hunters Point South can check out the neighborhood next week at a party being thrown by the developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

Near $4 million Douglaston mansion most expensive listing in Queens

A nine-bedroom mansion on 234th Street was the priciest Queens home put on the market last month. [The Real Deal]

Forest Hills residents think their beloved Bonelle Pastry Shop is worth fighting for  

“Queens cookie fans are crumbling at the news that a beloved borough bakery is closing at the end of the year — possibly due to an incoming Dunkin Donuts. Bonelle Pastry Shop in Forest Hills will lose its lease at the end of December after serving up its specialty cakes and almond croissants for more than 20 years, shop owner Rahita Ravel said.” Read more [The New York Daily News]

City Living: Rego park is as Queens as it gets

“The neighborhood is characterized by its main arteries of Queens Boulevard, Junction Boulevard, 63rd Drive and Woodhaven Boulevard – pulsing with retail and culinary activity — juxtaposed with quiet residential streets featuring picturesque Tudor homes.” Read more [amNewYork]

 

Report: LIC land prices nearly hit $300 per buildable square foot


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Chart courtesy of Modern Spaces

Soaring land prices in Long Island City are hitting record highs for the neighborhood, according to the Moderns Spaces 3Q report released Thursday.

The price per buildable square in LIC jumped to an unheard of $250-$300 in this past quarter for some properties, the report said. The average land prices are above $200 in prime areas.

The price surge is mainly due to the demand for bigger projects aimed at larger family-size apartments, according to the report.

“The properties that are being acquired at those price points will most likely all be condos as they don’t make financial sense as a rental product with that high of a land base,” the report said. “But as condo prices rise in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, it’s naturally going to drive the buyer who is getting priced out of the areas to Long Island City or Queens as a whole.”

Meanwhile, for commercial and investment properties, the report found that in south Long Island City — areas near the waterfront, Hunter’s Point, Court Square, and Queens Plaza — land values eclipsed an average of more than $200 per buildable square foot and some properties have hit prices almost as high as $300.

But Modern Spaces predicts this trend will not continue.

“Despite demand being as strong as it has ever been, we predict the market will level in the $225 – $250 per buildable square foot range depending on exact location,” the report said.

Although land prices in Astoria have not hit an average of $200 per buildable square foot yet, not to be left too far behind, land prices in the neighborhood doubled in the past year with some properties eclipsing $200 per buildable square foot, according to the report.

 

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11-story condominium building planned for LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Fogarty Finger Architects

New condos are coming to the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City.

Local companies Charney Construction & Development and Ascent Development are working on an 11-story mixed-use residential and commercial building, which will have 56 apartments, according to New York YIMBY.

The building will be located on 11-51 47th Avenue, blocks from 5Pointzwhich is being torn down for massive apartment towers— and near MoMA PS1.

Designed by Fogarty Finger Architects, the proposed 125-foot structure will be comprised of 52,728 square feet of residential space and an additional 1,280 square feet of commercial space, according to filings with the Department of Buildings.

The building will also have 23 enclosed parking spots, and will also come complete with various amenities, including a kids room, a gym and a lounge. There is also a terrace that allows views of Manhattan.

An architect on the project said the condos, which will have lots of two and three-bedroom apartments, indicate a change in Long Island City of families moving into the neighborhood .

“Because you can’t buy anything in Manhattan, people are looking at these neighborhoods and realizing how great they are,” Chris Fogarty of Fogarty Finger said. “These are people looking to stay a while.”

 

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Street cleaning initiative expands to Dutch Kills


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

More streets of western Queens will continue to shine as The Doe Fund expands into Dutch Kills.

The move into the Long Island City neighborhood comes a month after it was announced the nonprofit organization’s reach would be expanding to other areas of Long Island City and Hunters Point, and would also be remaining in Woodside.

The Doe Fund, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program, will keep the sidewalks clean and clear corner trash cans on 36th Avenue from 27th to 36th streets.

Two workers will be on-site two days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We continue to tackle the issue of street cleanliness head-on,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who secured $33,000 to begin The Doe Fund program in Dutch Kills. “The maintenance of our commercial corridors and residential streets is a top priority for me.”

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Woman struck by Queens-bound No. 7 train at Grand Central


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Dschwen

A woman fell into the path of a No. 7 train at Grand Central Station Thursday night after she passed out, police said.

The 32-year-old was waiting for the subway about 9:30 p.m. when she was hit by a Queens-bound train, according to the NYPD.

She was taken to Bellevue Hospital in critical condition, police said.

No. 7 train service had to be suspended between Grand Central and Hunters Point Avenue because of the accident.

 

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LIC welcomes better bus service


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

The Astoria and Long Island City waterfront is getting better bus service.

Improvements to the Q103 bus line, which runs along Vernon Boulevard between Hunters Point and Astoria, began on Monday, September 9. Instead of 25 runs a day, the Q103 will now have 30. It will run every 15 minutes during the morning rush-hour. The line will also start earlier, at 5:40 a.m., instead of 6:10 a.m., and end later, at 7:50 p.m., instead of 7:18 p.m.

The bus service changes are in response to months of State Senator Michael Gianaris and community group Riders Alliance pushing the MTA for better waterfront bus service, along with other MTA improvements.

“As western Queens continues to include our city’s fastest growing neighborhoods, we need to make sure public transportation keeps up,” said Gianaris. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Riders Alliance and members of our community to improve mass transit in western Queens.”

The MTA will also fix the schedule of the Q102 bus in order for the posted times to be closer to when the bus actually arrives at the stops.

“Knowing that my bus will come more often and according to schedule is a welcome change,” said Bobby Preti, Riders Alliance member. “It’s clear that our petitioning worked, the MTA heard us, and we thank them.”

 

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LIC, Hunters Point get $65G to clean up streets


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

The streets of Long Island City and Hunters Point are getting cleaner.

On July 31, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer announced $65,000 to expand The Doe Fund’s street cleaning initiative to Hunters Point and Long Island City. The streets involved in the program are along Vernon Boulevard from 50th to 45th Avenue, and 11th Street from 50th to 45th Avenue.

“The cleanliness of the streets is one of the biggest concerns, one of the most frequent issues that we hear about here in the neighborhood,” said Van Bramer. “We want the streets of Hunters Point and Long Island City to be cleaner, we want them to be as clean as possible.”

Under this initiative, Doe Fund workers will be on the streets for three days a week, six hours each day. The workers will sweep the sidewalks from the property lines to the curb and gutters, remove and replace trash bags, clean out cigarette butts and other garbage from the cracks in the sidewalk, remove posters and graffiti from fire hydrants, lights poles and mailboxes, and also straighten newspaper distribution boxes at intersections.

“This is just the beginning, we are opened to expanding the program as we did with Woodside this year,” said Van Bramer. “First we want to see if it works and how well it works.”

Last year, Van Bramer allocated $31,000 to The Doe Fund for a street cleaning program in Woodside that placed a maintenance team on streets along Roosevelt Avenue from 51st to 61st Street, 61st Street from Roosevelt to 39th Avenue, and Woodside Avenue from 58th to 60th Street.

The program will now expand the Woodside initiative along Roosevelt Avenue up to 64th Street.

“I’m fully confident that, as we have in numerous neighborhoods across the city and now in Woodside, we’ll be able to bring these really wonderful and beautiful streets into the Long Island City and Hunters Point area,” said Ray Damm, director of The Doe Fund’s community improvement project.

According to Sheila Lewandowki, executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater and member of Community Board 2, many residents have voiced their concerns of dirt and dust from construction. She said The Doe Fund will help residents feel safer and cleaner.

“The community board will hear fewer complaints because of the great work of The Doe Fund,” said Lewandowski.

 

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Board votes down outdoor seating at Alobar


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

Alobar customers will now have to spend the summer indoors after a final vote from Community Board 2 (CB2) denied the restaurant the use of its backyard space.

The popular restaurant at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point must adhere to a stipulation of its liquor license prohibiting outdoor seating.

Owner Jeff Blath met with CB2’s City Service and Public Safety Committee on June 12 to discuss opening his backyard space to customers. He said the board told him it could not make an exception for his restaurant without setting a precedent for other establishments.

“They were really clear that Alobar is an excellent addition to the neighborhood,” said Blath. “The reason was that if they say yes to Alobar, they have to say yes to everyone.”

Blath said he finds the decision “disappointing.” He previously noted the effect on his business, saying he loses dozens of customers who ask for the outdoor seating.

“It’s thousands of dollars a month and it’s enough to put people out of business,” said Bath. “It’s enough to make people lose their jobs.”

CB 2 Chair Joseph Conley previously told The Courier the board has had to deal with establishments whose backyard seating caused disturbances to neighbors and the community. He added that residents in the area have voiced their opposition to the plan.

However, Blath said he gathered nearly 500 signatures for a petition and has spoken with his neighbors that say otherwise.

Before the meeting, Blath built 11-foot-high walls to block out noise and had a sound engineer suggest other changes to make the seating area quieter. He was also trying to work with the board to cut back hours at the backyard from 10 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“I was willing to bend over backwards to make this happen,” said Blath. “When you see another place just a block away from you go out of business, it scares you. My heart is in this business. I can’t help but think what’s going to happen.”

Blath is looking to appeal the board’s decision with the State Liquor Authority.

CB2 did not respond to calls as of press time.

 

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Long Island City, Astoria bike lanes to get makeover


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano / Graphics courtesy of DOT

Vernon Boulevard’s bike lanes are set to get a makeover this summer to provide extra safety for riders and more space for drivers.

According to a plan the Department of Transportation (DOT) presented to Community Board 2 on June 6, the two one-way bike paths on each side of Vernon Boulevard would become a two-way protected lane. The lane would have a five-foot buffer running alongside the west side of the street. The lanes would also be painted green to provide easier visibility.

“This project is intended to knit together existing sections of the greenway by providing a continuous, protected bike lane serving neighborhoods along the East River waterfront,” said DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera.

The existing bike lanes were set up as part of the Queens East River Greenway in 2008, which connects the waterfront from Hallet’s Cove in Astoria to 45th Road in Hunters Point.

After hearing community concerns over the lack of parking, DOT also plans to create a protected bike path through Rainey Park in Astoria. That would free up 35 parking spaces between 34th Avenue and 33rd Road.

According to the plan, the two-way bike lane will help beginning riders feel more comfortable on the streets and bring more bicyclists to the path. The wider path would allow joggers to benefit from the space, too.

“The project, which DOT has proposed for implementation this summer, has the support of Community Board 1 and the agency continues to work with Community Board 2 on this initiative,” said Mosquera.

 

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Outdoor seating still in question at LIC’s Alobar


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

It seems Alobar still has to overcome a few more hurdles before getting the chance to use its backyard space this summer.

The popular restaurant, located at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point, has not been allowed to offer customers outdoor seating as a stipulation of its liquor license.

Alobar’s owner Jeff Blath met with Community Board 2’s City Service and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday, May 8 to discuss opening the backyard space to customers.

Blath previously told The Courier his business loses thousands of dollars when the weather is nice. He said turning down customers who request an outdoor table pushes them to other establishments.

Committee Chair Patrick O’Brien said it was a good meeting since Blath listened to recommendations and was open to working with the community board.

“He understands the concerns, and we are sensitive to any business,” said O’Brien. “We want to hear both sides of it.”

O’Brien noted that residents have strongly voiced their opposition to opening up Alobar’s backyard seating area because of the noise it would cause.

The committee neither approved nor denied the proposal, but suggested Blath work with sound engineers to see if there is something that could muffle sounds from his backyard. The committee also asked Blath to consider offering only brunch or lunch in the backyard if it ultimately gets approval.

The committee would also have to make sure Alobar can legally use the space for the intended reasons, O’Brien said. The body is scheduled to continue discussions on Alobar’s backyard at a June 12 meeting.

Blath did not respond to multiple phone calls as of press time.

 

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LIC’s Alobar petitions for outdoor seating


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photo

With summer just around the corner, Alobar in Hunters Point is seeking permission to serve patrons outdoors.

The popular restaurant at 46-42 Vernon Boulevard is not allowed to offer its customers backyard seating as a stipulation of its liquor license.

Alobar’s owner Jeff Blath said when customers see his outdoor seating area, they often request a table there, but he has to turn them down. According to him, the business loses thousands of dollars when the weather is nice.

“I have to tell them no, and customers will usually respond with, ‘We’ll go somewhere else’,” he said.

Community Board 2 granted Alobar its liquor license. CB 2 Chair Joseph Conley said the board has previously had to deal with establishments whose backyard seating caused disturbances to neighbors and the community.

He cited Lounge 47 as an example. After years of neighbors’ complaints about excessive noise during late hours, the establishmen closed. It was located at 47-10 Vernon Boulevard.

“By and large, from past experience, people do not want them because they are a negative impact to the way of life,” said Conley. “It is very clear the community has spoken about this. Residents that live there are opposed to it.”

However, Blath maintains Alobar has been a good neighbor and will stay that way. His petition has gained 438 signatures from neighbors and customers.

“Now that I’ve been around, I’ve proven myself to be a good neighbor. I welcome speaking to neighbors and hearing from them,” Blath said. “I want to be able to go to the community board with a good number of people to show it’s what people want.”

Blath plans to make the case that Alobar is a quiet restaurant. There will be no speakers to play music, he has built 11-foot-high walls and set up an awning to muffle noise.

If CB 2 approves use of Alobar’s backyard space, the restaurant will stay open until 10:30 p.m. Blath considers that a reasonable time compared to some other establishments, which stay open past midnight.

“I’m asking for less than everyone else,” he said.

The next board meeting is on May 2. Conley said he welcomes Blath to come and bring his proposal.

“Based on the facts, there could be something unique,” Conley said. “Each case is looked at individually.”

 

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