Tag Archives: Hunters Point

Hunters Point library site dedicated


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Hunters Point bookworms can soon curl up with a good read just inches from home.

Queens Library announced plans to construct a new branch at the corner of Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue in Hunters Point. The 21,500-square-foot facility, built on the banks of the East River, will feature a cyber-center, roof terrace and communal garden as well as separate reading spaces for adults, teens and children. According to Queens Library spokesperson Joanne King, the building will place an emphasis on environmental preservation, implementing ecologically-sound features to create an entirely carbon neutral structure.

Library officials expect to feature free cultural events and educational programs at the facility.

The building — priced at $28.6 million — was designed by world-famous architect Steven Holl, who specializes in environmentally efficient buildings.

The neighborhood lobbied strongly for the library, tired of trekking to their closest facility at the Court Square branch. King said residents felt they deserved a communal place to gather, share ideas and relax.

“They’re going to have a community hub,” said King. “It’s going to be an anchor of education and culture in the community — a community space where people can just relax and be. It will be recognizable from across the river and in the community so it’s going to give some status to the community itself by having this iconic building there as well as all the services a library provides.”

The waterfront site was dedicated at a ceremony on Friday, October 5 with the help of Borough President Helen Marshall and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. Students from P.S. 78 planted “trees of knowledge” during the Friday morning ceremony.

Dr. Don Dodelson, president of the group Friends of Hunters Point Library, was ecstatic that his outfit’s hard work had paid off.

“It feels wonderful that the library is actually going to be and dedicating the ground is a huge step forward,” said Dodelson.

Dodelson hopes the library will become an all-encompassing community center, housing performances and gallery showcases as well as ceremonies such as weddings and recitals.

Floating beer garden coming to Long Island City


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Soon you’ll be able to drink Beck’s on deck when a floating beer garden docks in Long Island City.

Local company Plaxall recently purchased the Prudence Ferry in hopes of converting the old boat into a neighborhood beer garden, furthering the rapid revitalization of the area’s formerly industrial waterfront. According to Matt Quigley, a representative from Plaxall, the boat was purchased for $70,000 just outside of Boston three months ago.

The boat, now located in Anable Basin between 45th Avenue and 46th Avenue in Hunters Point, formerly transported people around the Rhode Island area. According to Quigley, the 30×100-foot rig still runs.

According to Quigley, Plaxall got the idea to install a floating beer garden from the late John Krevey, who owned The Frying Pan, a vessel turned restaurant and bar on the Hudson River. Quigley believes the venue will add life to an area now laden with parking lots and warehouses, bringing people right to the waterfront.

“We’re excited about the fact that Long Island City is in the midst of transformation,” said Long Island City Partnership Executive Director Gayle Baron. “It’s almost like a domino effect. One new exciting amenity comes into place and you know something great is on the horizon.”

The ferry would share a neighborhood with the Anable Basin Café as well as the Water’s Edge Restaurant.

“This is a way to get onto the water and liven things up,” said Quigley. “It’s not intended to be a disco boat or a water taxi. It’s a lot more calm.”

The Plaxall spokesperson also said the company intends to keep the vessel looking like a ferry boat by keeping many of its original parts intact.

Quigley said the beer garden is expected to be open by next summer.

Queens priciest condo hits the market


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

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Queens’ priciest condo hit the market last week, delighting real estate experts and business buffs alike, as they anticipate an increase in luxury living spaces will bring notoriety to the already burgeoning neighborhood of Long Island City.

The costly condo, perched atop The View on Center Boulevard, is priced at $3.25 million – the steepest price of an apartment currently on the market in Queens.

Silvette Julian, the broker handling the sale for Nest Seekers, said the duplex in the sky boasts three bedrooms, four bathrooms, elevated ceilings, gorgeous fixtures and a view of the Manhattan skyline.

“It’s quite possibly the most stunning property in the building,” said Julian, who previously sold several of The View’s other units.

The condominium was built in 2009 by local developer TF Cornerstone. According to Julian, ritzy real estate in Long Island City is swiftly following in the footsteps of the Manhattan market.

“[This property going on the market] is very positive,” said Julian. “It will increase property value and give the neighborhood the recognition it deserves. Long Island City has been a well-kept secret but unfortunately it’s no longer a secret.”

According to Property Shark, a Hunters Point pad sold in 2008 for $3.05 million holds the record for the borough’s most expensive condo.

According to a mid-year report released by Modern Spaces, the average two-bedroom apartment in Long Island City sells for around $900,000, while spaces over 1,500- square-feet go for about $1.3 million. The study said of current inventory, 94 percent is sold and 6 percent is available – showing a divide between the high demand for LIC living spaces and properties available.

Gayle Baron, president of the Long Island City Partnership, said a listing such as this is indicative of current market trends in the neighborhood.

“It certainly is a very positive explanation for what’s happening in Long Island City right now,” said Baron. “When you have an expensive apartment of that nature, you attract other buyers.”

Baron claimed an increase in demand for luxury homes provides critical mass for local businesses, driving retail and restaurants that cater to high-end clientele.

“With these prospective buyers brings more businesses to the neighborhood as well, [businesses] who might not have considered the neighborhood before.”

Western Queens will soon be more bike friendly


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

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Residents will soon have a greener, healthier way to beat the traffic around western Queens.

The Department of Parks and Recreation is currently constructing the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway, a 10.6-mile, urban, multi-use trail intended to provide access to the borough’s shoreline and improve commuting options for people beyond motorized vehicles. The bike and pedestrian pathway will connect Long Island City, Hunters Point, Ravenswood and Astoria with Jackson Heights and East Elmhurst. It will also unite five parks on the East River shoreline – Astoria, Ralph DeMarco, Hallet’s, Queensbridge and Rainey parks.

“For us, it adds another location for people from anywhere in the borough to hop on a bicycle to this location and recreate in many neighborhood parks,” said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. “It makes a nice connection between your neighborhood and public parks. Street greenways and park greenways allow you to ride the city streets in a safe manner, but also to turn off into a public park and ride around the park as well.”

Lewandowski believes the western Queens neighborhoods have recently experienced a resurgence, and the greenway will only further enhance their renaissance.

Work is currently underway at Hallet’s Cove, Ralph DeMarco and Rainey parks, while the path at Queensbridge Park has already been completed. Construction is set to commence at Astoria Park by the middle of summer, and the greenway is expected to be completed late in the fall. When concluded, the project, which costs $3.46 million, will include new pavement, signage, benches and landscaped areas for pedestrians and cyclists to relax.

“It will be a nice, pleasant experience to recreate in the park, sit with your cycle, have a snack and enjoy the view of the Manhattan skyline, as well as all the watercrafts going up and down the East River,” Lewandowski said.

The trail will eventually connect to the bike path over the Pulaski Bridge, which links Brooklyn and Queens, and attach to another greenway which leads to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.

The greenway is part of a multiyear effort to implement an inclusive, citywide network of cycling lanes. The Parks Department is also interested in creating a similar path along the Laurelton Parkway in southeast Queens, but Lewandowski says funding is still required.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents portions of western Queens and is a cycling enthusiast, believes the pathway will make community residents more active and healthy, as well as bring business into the neighborhoods.

“I think this is a great initiative that will get people out of their homes and out onto the streets and into the parks,” Van Bramer said. “It will allow them to explore their own neighborhood and other neighborhoods in ways they hadn’t done so before. Walking and cycling are also both great ways to exercise. People can make a day of it and cycle or walk along the greenway, and there is going to be a time when folks are going to want to stop for lunch or water or a snack. This is what this is about – getting people to see the beautiful shoreline and to experience it in ways they haven’t before.”

The construction of the greenway comes at the same time the city has announced “Citi Bike,” the nation’s largest public bike share system set to launch in July of 2012. Citi has agreed to pay $41 million to be the title sponsor of the program, which will include 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations.

According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the bike share will be located in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. DOT spokesperson Nicholas Mosquera says the department is examining opportunities to expand the program into Queens.

DOE adding 6,000 seats in Queens


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

With school congestion having hit the ceiling, the Department of Education (DOE) recently took a step towards giving students supplemental space to let their minds grow.

The DOE recently announced that roughly 6,000 new school seats will be created in Queens, easing overcrowding throughout the borough.

“Over the next two years we plan to add an additional 6,000 seats in Queens, recognizing the growing needs of students and families in the borough,” said DOE spokesperson Matt Mittenthal.

Four new schools will be opened in September 2012 – P.S./I.S. 277 in Jamaica, with 665 seats; Eagle Academy in Jamaica, with an undetermined number of seats; H.S. 585 in Elmhurst, which will house Maspeth High School and contain 1,119 seats; and Middle College High School in Long Island City, with 820 seats. An addition will also be built on P.S. 29 in College Point, accounting for 232 new seats.

“Obviously this is a step in the right direction,” said Nick Comaianni, president of Community Education Council (CEC) District 24, which covers mid-western Queens. “We need a lot of help in District 24. We are the most overcrowded district in the entire city of New York. We usually have 400 kindergartners that we don’t have seats for – who we try and find seats for all over the district and disperse them everywhere. Even with new seats allocated to us now we are still at the maximum, and as the class sizes are higher, it makes it harder for kids to learn.”

The DOE plans to add seats in the fall of 2013 as well, with four new schools opening – an elementary school in both Corona and East Elmhurst and an elementary school and joint intermediate and high school in Long Island City, accounting for a total of 2,448 seats – and two additions being constructed at Richmond Hill High School and P.S. 87 in Middle Village.

CEC 30 is scheduled to meet on March 15 to discuss the construction of I.S./H.S. 404 – slated to open in L.I.C. in 2013 with 1,071 seats.

“Any new schools that go up, we are excited,” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of CEC 30. “We need them desperately. We can’t get enough seats in District 30, District 24 and in the entire western Queens area.”

Carmignani says his district is the second most crowded in the city, and with housing booming in L.I.C., there is no way to measure how many additional seats schools will soon require.

“There are high rises and housing developments constantly going up in Hunters Point,” he said. “We are building so much that we never know if we are getting enough seats for students.”

Leonie Haimson, executive director of the education advocacy group Class Size Matters, believes the DOE has grossly underestimated the degree of overcrowding in Queens schools.

“This is still not enough. What is interesting is that the DOE has admitted in the capital plan that they have severely underfunded the need in terms of how many seats should be built for Queens to accommodate enrollment growth,” said Haimson, who believes overcrowding can lead to academic failure and disciplinary issues. “They are underestimating the number of seats necessary to deal with overcrowding, huge class sizes and trailers that have outlived their usefulness. Our sense is that this is getting worse and not better.”

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Woman dragged into Hunters Point parking lot and raped by group of men

Cops are hunting for a group of men they say raped a woman on a dark Queens street early Sunday. The 20-year-old woman was walking near Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in Hunters Point when two men grabbed her and dragged her into a parking lot at about 3:45 a.m., police said. As the two suspects held her down between two cars, a third man — who is in his late 20s and about 5-foot-10 with blond hair and blue eyes — raped her, cops said.  Read More: Daily News

Queens rape victim was falsely imprisoned for robberies; now she sues city cops for falling for her attacker’s story

A QUEENS rape victim who was locked up for robberies she didn’t commit is suing city and Long Island cops for falling for her attacker’s “preposterous hoax” of a revenge plot. In a federal lawsuit, Seemona Sumasar claims NYPD cops protected her attacker, Jerry Ramrattan, because he was secretly funneling them information about other crimes while working as an informant. Read More: Daily News

Parents and officials say Department of Education has turned back on Jamaica High School

Even though the Department of Education’s (DOE) decision to close Jamaica High School was finalized in February, current students are still hoping for a quality education. Currently in the process of being phased out, Jamaica High School no longer accepts new students and is expected to close its doors for good in 2014. Read More: Queens Courier

At Top Public Schools, the Arts Replace Recess

All of this concentrated learning — activities parents commonly think of as enrichment — was taking place not after school hours, but during recess, the once-unstructured midday break that for some elementary school students is slowly being squeezed out of the day. Jump rope, freeze tag and the jungle gym have some new competition. At some of the city’s highest-rated public elementary schools, recess is now being seen by parents and educators as a time to pack in extra learning. Read More: New York Times

Giants, Mets Trade: New York Trades Angel Pagan To San Francisco For Andres Torres, Ramon Ramirez

Walking across the hotel lobby, New York Mets manager Terry Collins smiled. “We rebuilt our bullpen in one day,” he said. In a rapid-fire series of moves at the winter meetings that took 1 1/2 days to put together and 1 1/2 hours to finalize, the Mets agreed to trade center fielder Angel Pagan to San Francisco for outfielder Andres Torres and pitcher Ramon Ramirez, and reached agreements with free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Read More: Huffington Post

Ex-corrections officer acquitted of attempted murder charges in Queens

A former correction officer who was facing up to 25 years in prison for shooting two men outside of a Queens bowling alley was acquitted of double attempted murder and assault charges. “His defense was one of self-defense,” said Michael Lavecchio’s trial attorney, Stephen Worth, after a jury cleared his client of all charges on Monday night. Lavecchio, 55, was working as a security guard at the AMF bowling alley on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights on February 6, 2010 when he asked Justin Donaghy and Gerard Hourigan to leave the building.  Read More: New York Post

MTA forgot about stranded blizzard train

The MTA’s subway boss admitted yesterday that transit officials got so overwhelmed during last year’s Christmas-time blizzard they “forgot” about an A train stuck on the tracks for nine agonizing hours with 500 passengers on board. Read More: New York Post

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/17/2011: Top fund-raiser for Comptroller Liu charged with funneling sham donations


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Activist Patricia Dolan killed crossing Hillside Avenue

Patricia Dolan, longtime Community Board 8 member, president of the Queens Civic Congress, Kew Gardens Hills Civic Association and the founder of the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park Conservancy, was struck and killed as she crossed Hillside Avenue on Tuesday, November 15. Police say Dolan, 72, was crossing the thoroughfare near 198th Street — on her way to a CB 8 Transportation Committee meeting — when she was struck by a 1998 Nissan sedan driven by an unidentified 57-year-old woman.  EMS responded to the scene and took Dolan to Jamaica Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Read More: Queens Courier

David Wright expects to stick around with NY Mets for 2012 MLB season

David Wright joined Ike Davis and Lucas Duda for a press conference to announce some of the Mets’ plans for their landmark season, which includes the return of Banner Day and, in April, a Tom Seaver bobblehead day. Davis and Duda both pronounced themselves fit from the injuries that affected them last season — Davis’ ankle is “full-go right now” and Duda is over his concussion. Read More: Daily News

Fairway supermarket opens in Douglaston

Foul weather did not dampen the excitement on the lines of eager customers awaiting the grand opening of the long-anticipated Fairway Market. “It’s been so long since we had a nice, big [food] store like this,” said Doris Mayne of Douglaston.  “It’s about time.” Customers lined up over an hour before the doors first opened, anxiously awaiting the store that has been over two years in the making. Read More: Queens Courier

Politicians Push For Expansion Of Good Samaritan Law At Queens Anti-Crime Rally

Elected officials in Queens are calling on residents to come together to stop crime. In the wake of an attack on a young girl and several robberies, local politicians attended an anti-crime rally Wednesday in Astoria. They spoke about legislation, including expanding a Good Samaritan law to businesses. Read More: NY1

Romanian duo sent to prison for thefts using doctored Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards

Two Romanians in the U.S. on journalism visas were tossed in prison for up to three years Wednesday for starring in a true-crime story of theft by way of doctored Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards. Daniel Gheorghe and Ionel Cristian Popa, both 33, were convicted of re-encoding the gift cards with stolen bank account information and then using them to withdraw almost $18,000 from a JPMorgan Chase bank in Queens. Read More: Daily News

Noise abatement equipment muffles ear-splitting MTA fan in Hunters Point 

Silence is golden for noise-addled residents of Hunters Point. Noise abatement equipment recently placed on a large fan that exhausts fumes from a nearby subway tunnel has muffled its ear-splitting racket, according to state Sen. Michael Gianaris. Read More: Queens Courier

Top fund-raiser for Comptroller Liu charged with funneling sham donations

A top fund-raiser for Comptroller John Liu was busted by the feds yesterday for allegedly providing the city’s chief fiscal officer with thousands of dollars in sham donations in order to evade campaign-finance laws. The charges against Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan yesterday delivered a devastating blow to Liu’s ambitions of running for mayor in 2013, and have raised questions about his role as the city’s top fiscal officer. Read More: New York Post

Drugs hidden in innocent flier’s luggage

A former Yankee Stadium security guard lost his job, went through a humiliating full-body strip search and faced the threat of spending the rest of his life in jail — all because someone planted two bricks of cocaine in his luggage. Roger Levans, 56, of South Ozone Park, Queens, said the cascade of horrors began Dec. 29, 2010, after he got off his Delta Air Lines flight from Guyana, where he’d been visiting family for Christmas — and didn’t end until March, when the US Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn finally dropped its bombshell drug charges. Read More: New York Post

 

 

New York City marathoners race through Long Island City


| smosco@queenscourier.com

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The streets of Long Island City were packed as runners steamed through the heart of Hunters Point in the 43rd ING New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6.

The community came out to cheer on the runners and to give them the extra boost they needed to get over the Queensborough Bridge on the balmy autumn day.