Tag Archives: Jackson Heights

What to know about Queens rents in January


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate

Overall most Queens renters didn’t see much of a change in rates from December to January as prices increased just 0.21 percent to $2,103.96.

However, select areas experienced more significant changes, revealing important neighborhood trends, according to data from MNS Real Estate’s January Queens Rental Market Report.

It’s back over $4,000

The most expensive rents for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments can be found in Long Island City, as is the norm. But in January, the average rents of two-bedroom apartments in Long Island City climbed over the $4,000 mark for the first time since May of 2014 to an average of $4,044, according to the report. After hitting a low of $3,747 in June of 2014, prices fluctuated for a few months before slowly rising toward the end of the year.


A bargain in Jackson Heights  

Tenants paid about an average of $1,514 for rental studios in Forest Hills in January, which is 6.62 percent less than the previous month and the largest percent drop that month. It was a significant decline in rates, but renters looking for a bargain should focus on Jackson Heights studios, where prices are $114 less at an average of $1,400 per month. Of the neighborhoods analyzed in the borough in January, Jackson Heights has the lowest prices for studios.

Rocketing Rego Park

Rego Park is continuing its hot streak. Average prices in the neighborhood are continuing to burn through residents’ wallets as new luxury units recently entered the market. For the month of January, average prices for two-bedrooms in the neighborhood rose a whopping 17.1 percent during the month to $2,598. From November to December 2014, Rego Park rental studios saw an stark increase of 12 percent in average rents.

 

Click here to read the full report.

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Selling Point: Retail property in Jackson Heights fetches $16.4 million and more sales


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

A couple of buildings located on the Jackson Heights commercial strip and an apartment building with nearly 50 units in Flushing are some of this week’s big transactions in the borough, based on city records.

Address: 37-46/48 82nd St./37-50 82nd St.
Price: $16,425,000

A group of investors bought these adjoining commercial properties at 37-46 through 37-50 82nd St. for $16.7 million. Clark Stores Inc., a firm based in Manhattan, is the seller. Jackson Heights Retail LLC, one of the buyers, now has a majority stake in the buildings, according to property records filed on Thursday. The larger two-story building at 37-46 82nd St. was once home to a women’s apparel store called Clark’s and later a KB Toys before the company went out of business. Combined, the buildings, which have two floors each, have more than 12,400 square feet of space. The property is part of the Jackson Heights Historic District.

Address: 41-40 Parsons Blvd.
Price: $10,750,000

This corner property is a six-story multi-family rental apartment building in Flushing with 48 units. There is a mix of studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in the building. There is more than 44,000 square feet of living space in the structure, which is a few blocks from Main Street. Wai Realty Corp. bought the property for $10.7 million from Bronx-based Bright & Sunny Corp., according to city records filed on Friday.

Address: 48-05 Metropolitan Ave. 
Price: $7,000,000

WM Capital Partners XXV LLC bought this old manufacturing-zoned building in Ridgewood for $7 million, according to records filed on Feb. 17. The building has nearly 141,000 square feet of space.

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Suspect identified in deadly December stabbing of Jackson Heights man


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

60-15 115 PCT HOMICIDE WILLIAM AVILA

Police have identified a suspect in the fatal stabbing of a 25-year-old man who was killed just steps from his Jackson Heights apartment last year.

Steven Shimabuku was murdered close to his 90th Street home, near 35th Avenue, at about 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 19, police said. He was able to make it back to his basement apartment, where his girlfriend called 911, according to the Daily News.

Shimabuku had been stabbed in the torso after getting into an argument on the street, police said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Detectives have identified William Avila as a suspect in Shimabuku’s murder, just over a month after police released a video and photo of a suspect.

Avila is 22 years old, Hispanic, 5 feet 4 inches tall and 160 pounds.

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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Jackson Heights fire caused by food on stove: FDNY


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@nicky_andacatnamedmishu

A fire at a Jackson Heights apartment, which injured two people last week, was caused by food left on a stove, according to fire officials

The two-alarm blaze began at 11:33 p.m. on Feb. 12 on the top floor of 35-64 81st St. and was under control about an hour later, the FDNY said.

The two injured people were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

Fire officials also found no working smoke detectors in the home.

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Woodside fundraiser to help 4-year-old boy with leukemia


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Victoria Panos

Over a year ago, Lauren and Joseph Williams heard four words that changed their lives: “Your son has cancer.”

Now, as the parents struggle to remain strong for their 4-year-old son battling leukemia in a California hospital, they are getting much-needed support from friends back home in Queens.

Benjamin Williams, one of five children, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013 after visiting the doctor for a regular checkup. At the time, his mother, Lauren, was pregnant with her fifth son.

Although the Williams family moved out of New York before Ben was born, and are now residing in San Diego, California, as Ben receives treatment at Rady Children’s Hospital, they are still feeling the love from the Big Apple.

Benjamin Williams

Benjamin Williams

Victoria Panos, of Woodside, has been friends with Ben’s mother, a Jackson Heights native, since they were children, and she knew she had to do what she could to help out the family.

Panos is organizing a fundraiser for the family on Feb. 28 at the Big Six Towers shopping center, located at 60-10 Queens Blvd. in Woodside, to raise money to help with any medical expenses.

Along with supporting the Williams family, Panos said the fundraiser also aims to raise awareness to the topic of childhood cancer.

“No one really hears about [childhood cancer],” said Panos, who is also Ben’s godmother. “I want to bring it to light and I want to help out Ben and his family because it is really rough with having a child that is sick and had to go through all that treatment. Raising awareness is my main goal, other than helping out my friend.”

Panos added that many people are not aware the leukemia awareness ribbon is orange, and the ribbon for childhood cancer awareness is gold.

“You don’t really understand what it is until it hits close to home,” Panos said. “I just need people to know that it is real. It does happen. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.”

After a previous fundraiser was held for Ben, Panos said Lauren was in tears knowing that the family was receiving support from loved ones. The idea of this current fundraiser was kept a surprise to the family until recently because Panos did not want them to worry about any details or organizing it.

Benjamin Williams (far right), 4, with his brothers, parents and grandmother.

Benjamin Williams (far right), 4, with his brothers, parents and grandmother.

“It’s super humbling. I really don’t have any words,” Lauren said a day after finding out about the fundraiser. “When you’re in a situation like this, anything helps. It’s wonderful. I can’t be thankful enough.”

Even with facing the struggles of fighting leukemia, Panos said the family has stayed positive through it all, including Ben.

“His older brothers are always helping out, whatever Ben wants he gets,” Panos added.

The fundraiser, also being organized by the Towers Play N Learn Center at 60-10A 47th Ave., will feature a bake sale, raffles, face painting by local artist The Cheeky Chipmunk and Brooklyn-based artist Onalee Rivera, and other activities.

“Even though the benefit is going to be a fun time, I want people to realize that they are there for something that is so devastating,” Panos said. “’Your child has cancer.’ Those four words can change your life in three seconds.”

Ben’s fundraiser is on Feb. 28 from 3 to 7 p.m. Updates on Ben’s battle with leukemia are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamBen2010.

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Medical company moving to Jackson Heights Shopping Center


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Muss Development and Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

The newly renovated Jackson Heights Shopping Center is filling in another vacant slot.

Jackson Heights Cardiovascular Associates, a firm that offers cardiovascular imaging, ultrasound and medical billing, among other services, signed a 10-year lease for a 13,780-square-foot space in the recently revitalized shopping complex. Bill Bergman, of Muss Development, represented the company in the deal and Brian Jaffe, of DY Realty Services LLC, represented the new tenant.

The medical company is moving from its old location in the neighborhood to the shopping center because of its need to expand. Its new office will take up the entire second floor of the renovated section of the center and it is expected to open within the next couple of months.

“Jackson Heights Cardiovascular Associates’ new space will feature an open layout to accommodate their multifaceted business and fulfill their growing need for more office space,” Muss Development Principal Jason Muss said.

Night shot

Following the completion of renovations last year, pet store giant Petco moved into a 13,500-square-foot space in the 142,274-square-foot shopping center.

Jackson Heights Shopping Center has about two dozen retail and office tenants and is anchored by Rite Aid, Waldbaum’s and Santander Bank.

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Video: Queens residents share how to say ‘I love you’ in seven languages


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

The first video of a series, looking to bringing awareness to public plazas throughout the city, gives a taste of the different ways Queens residents say “I love you,” just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a nonprofit organization of The Horticultural Society of New York, released the YouTube video “How to Plaza like a New Yorker Tip #1: Say ‘I Love You,’” two days before the Feb. 14 holiday.

In the video, which takes place at Diversity Plaza, officially called 37th Road Plaza, in Jackson Heights and was filmed by P2Films, people are asked how they say “I love you” in languages other than English.

The clip features people speaking in seven out of the 138 languages spoken in Queens. The languages featured are Farsi, Bangla, Hungarian, Italian, Urdu, Basaa and Tibetan.

Almost all the people in the video were just walking by the plaza during the filming and were asked if they would participate in the project.

“Everybody was just on their way, coming and going, and we just tried to stop people and asked if they spoke another language other than English and if they wanted to teach others how to say ‘I love you,’” said Micaela Birmingham of P2Films. “It was just fascinating to stand on one block and have all these voices pass by.”


Although seven languages are featured in the video, filmmakers encountered more than a dozen languages during the two to three hours at the site.

“These days you always have people on the street asking you to do something,” Birmingham added. “I was just so happy that people were generous enough to take a few minutes.”

This “how to” video is the first of a series by the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, which will highlight activities that might already be happening at plazas throughout the five boroughs and showcase the neighborhoods surrounding them.

“I love this video,” Councilman Daniel Dromm said. “Queens and especially Jackson Heights is a mix of languages and cultures. This video is a sweet way to showcase our diversity and Diversity Plaza. Hats off to Neighborhood Plaza Partnership.”

The idea of the video series came after the organization noticed that although bigger plazas, such as the one in Times Square, receive a lot of attention, there were smaller plazas in neighborhoods in the outer boroughs that people need to know exist.

“These videos are about getting more people to know about the plazas and understand all the great social capital that exists in and around them,” said Laura Hansen, managing director of the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. “There are a lot of people that know about these plazas, but we really want people beyond that to recognize the vibrancy and importance of the plazas.”

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Two injured in Jackson Heights fire


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@nicky_andacatnamedmishu

A fire that erupted in a Jackson Heights apartment Thursday night has left two injured, according to the FDNY.

The two-alarm fire began at 11:33 p.m. on the top floor at 35-64 81st St. and was under control by 12:39 a.m., the FDNY said.

Photo via Instagram/@xd0minikaa

Photo via Instagram/@xd0minikaa

The two injured people were taken to Elmhurst Hospital with serious, non-life-threatening injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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Elmhurst corner strip sells for $5.8M, residential development possible


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark 

A Manhattan-based firm recently spent $5.8 million to scoop up two lots on an Elmhurst corner that have the potential to be the location for a much larger residential building.

The parcels, located near the Jackson Heights border at 75-08 and 75-24 Broadway, comprise two buildings with 12 retail and office units combined.

Sunnyside firm Terra Property Group sold the buildings to 75-08 Broadway LLC, according to records filed with the city last week.

The property could be attractive to possible future residential tenants because a subway entrance to the five-line Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue/74th Street-Broadway transit complex is on the corner, making transportation convenient.

No permits have been filed with the Buildings Department for the properties.

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Woodside man beautifies neighborhood one fire alarm box at a time


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Call him the anti-graffiti artist.

Woodside resident John S. Colgan has turned outdoor walls, fire boxes, lampposts and hydrants into his canvas — not in an illegal effort at self-expression but to battle the defacing of his beloved neighborhood by graffiti.

Colgan got tired of waiting around for someone to clean up his community from the work of graffiti vandals, so instead he picked up a paintbrush and took matters into his own hands.

For the past three and a half years, Colgan, who goes by “Fire Alarm Guy” on Twitter, has been going around the western Queens neighborhood he calls home and fighting the problem of graffiti, along with bringing fire alarm boxes back to life.

“I wanted to do something nice for the neighborhood,” he said. “When I was a kid in the ’80s everything was pristine. People took care of things themselves back then. If you want to get rid of graffiti in the neighborhood, you have to do it yourself.”

After deciding to give back to community after attending church one morning, the 39-year-old security guard began to repaint lampposts, fire hydrants and fire alarm boxes in Woodside.

He has also taken the time to paint murals underneath bridges in the neighborhood, including a large American Flag, paid for by American Legion Post #1836, located on 32nd Avenue between 56th and 58th street. He plans to update the mural and add more detail to it during the summer. 

“That’s how it all started: I decided to give back, and now I’m addicted to it,” he said. 

Colgan said before he worked in the shadows, because he thought he would get into trouble for painting, but now he goes around talking to people about the issues, in hopes of getting more people involved. 

Taking things further, for the past two years, Colgan has teamed up with the Woodside Neighborhood Association and also begun going around covering up graffiti during a nightly patrol, which at first was just out of habit. Every night he drives around the neighborhood and finds fresh graffiti tags on walls and covers them up with paint he keeps at the ready in his car. He uses whatever color he has on hand. 

Members of the Woodside Neighborhood Association then come back to the site and paint over with a “battleship gray” color so that the new paint looks uniform with the rest. 

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

Photo courtesy of John S. Colgan

“The point is if you cover [the graffiti] within 24 hours, the taggers talk to each other and tell each other not to tag there,” he said. “The bottom line is people have to do it themselves. If they don’t fix it then they just get used to seeing it.”

Mostly all the paint used for the projects is purchased from a local shop called Gleason Paint, located at 65-01 Roosevelt Ave. Colgan said that at times the store donates paints and helps with any questions he might have. 

In the past couple of weeks, Colgan said he had noticed less graffiti in his neighborhood and has been able to move his cleanup project to Long Island City and parts of Jackson Heights. He also helps paint hydrants, lampposts and fire alarm boxes found in the perimeter of local police precincts such as the 114th and 108th precincts. 

As the weather gets warmer, Colgan plans to move further into the borough and help cover up graffiti in other areas such as Astoria and Corona. 

“The original goal was just to make it look nice and when I was painting people were stopping,” Colgan said. “The neighborhood is behind me now. They’re taking pride in the neighborhood.”

To see Colgan’s works and get updated information follow @firealarmguy75 on Twitter or @thewoodsideavenger on Instagram.

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Rego Park studio rents soaring: report


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

ContourLR1

Fueled by hot luxury listings, studio apartment rents in Rego Park are going through the roof after another huge monthly increase in December.

Rego Park renters were likely to pay $184, or about 12 percent, more on average for a studio apartment in December than November, according to MNS Real Estate’s monthly Queens Rental Market Report, which was released Thursday.

The change in rates was quite drastic over a relatively short period of time. Studio renters in Rego Park were likely to pay an average of just $1,325 per month in August, instead of the current $1,717, according to MNS.

The real estate firm highlighted the neighborhood in the report and called its monthly increase “surprising.” That’s probably how future renters will feel when they realize the popular neighborhood of Astoria currently has an average asking rent of about $127 less per studio.

But the top rates in Rego Park were caused by the change in inventory, according to the report.

“Rego Park saw a decrease in studio inventory with various lower price rentals coming off the market, leaving a small number of higher priced units, namely at The Contour on 97-45 Queens Boulevard,” the report said.

In Jackson Heights there was a similar trend in two-bedroom rates over the month, which rose $230 to an average price of $2,317 per month. Jackson Heights, which has an inventory problem, has the lowest availability of two-bedroom apartments in the borough with just six, the report said. The neighborhood also has the highest demand for two-bedroom apartments as units have an average of 19 days on the market.

Long Island City led the pack again with the highest rental prices for studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments in December, according to the report.

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NYPD releases video, photo of suspect in stabbing death of Jackson Heights man


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video and photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are trying to identify a suspect in the stabbing death of a 25-year-old Jackson Heights man who was killed outside his apartment last month.

The victim, Steven Shimabuku, was murdered just steps from his 90th Street home, near 35th Avenue, about 9:15 p.m. on Dec. 19, police said. He was able to make it back to his basement apartment, where his girlfriend called 911, according to the Daily News.

Shimabuku had been stabbed in the torso after getting into an argument on the street, police said.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

RMA#60-15 115 Pct Homicide (2)Police released a video and photo of the suspect on Wednesday. He was wearing a camouflage jacket with an American flag decal on the back, dark pants and white sneakers.

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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Star of Queens: Rodney Dutton, volunteer, South Asian Center of Urban Nations Outreach


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rodney Dutton

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

BACKGROUND: Rodney Dutton, 50, was born in Oklahoma, but he moved to Queens in the ’90s. He moved away again as he set about visiting and working in other countries around the world. He traveled to 26 countries before coming back and volunteering at the South Asian Center of Urban Nations Outreach in Jackson Heights three months ago. He likes that Queens is such a diverse borough and he gets to learn about different cultures.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: The South Asian Center offers free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, citizenship test classes and computer classes for adult immigrants, mostly Bengalis, Indians, Pakistanis and Hispanics. Dutton helps out where needed but he is mainly involved with the ESL classes. The students are recent immigrants who are unable to get jobs or even visit a doctor because they cannot communicate in English, he said. They have to depend on their children to translate for them. Learning English boosts their self-esteem, he said. Dutton also helps tutor children on their homework, teaches a Bible study program for those interested, and is one of the organizers of the various events the center hosts, such as a fall festival for children and Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts. These events help the students understand American culture, he said.

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: “Teaching people English so they can interact with society is a big thing, but I don’t know it is my greatest accomplishment,” he said. “Teaching someone the language brings down the barriers that prevent them from moving forward. They were doctors and lawyers back home but they are standing outside society here and cannot be a part of it. To understand the culture, they have to master the language. It’s a big adjustment.”

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: “Getting volunteers is a big challenge. In New York, people are busy, they commute 30-60 minutes to work, work long hours. People want to help but they don’t have the time. Once they start volunteering, they continue, but getting them is a big challenge.”

INSPIRATION: “Jesus Christ is my inspiration. He taught truth, he helped people, he stood up against injustice. Through Him, we can know God. He lived a sacrificial life, helped people and wanted them to have a better life. He is my greatest example and my hero.”

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Police looking for suspect in assault of 68-year-old at Roosevelt Avenue subway station


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A 68-year-old man was assaulted after a dispute at a Jackson Heights subway station, police said.

The assault happened about 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the Roosevelt Avenue stop, cops said. Following the argument, the suspect struck the victim in the face and then fled.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Police describe the suspect as a man in his mid-thirties and about 6 feet tall. He was wearing a waist-length jacket and sunglasses.

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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Candlelight vigils held around Queens for slain officers


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Communities around Queens came together, holding emotional candlelight vigils to show their respect for the two NYPD officers who were murdered last week and to express sympathy for their families.

From Ridgewood to Long island City and Jackson Heights, among other neighborhoods, residents and the men and women in blue held a moment of silence for Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who were both shot dead by a deranged man who traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn with the intention of killing police officers.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in the city of New York,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who attended the 104th Precinct’s vigil in Ridgewood. “Our prayers go out to Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.”

In Long Island City, officers at the 108th Precinct, located at 5-47 50th Ave., gathered Monday night with residents, local leaders and elected officials during a vigil for Liu and Ramos.

“We in this community are a model, a beacon of light in the darkness,” said Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct.

People filled the street in front of the precinct holding candles and joined in prayer for the fallen officers.

“Our community responds with love, remembrance and gratitude for Officers Liu and Ramos and the NYPD,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Over in Jackson Heights, instead of the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Diversity Plaza, located on 37th Road and 74th Street, a vigil was organized to honor the two police officers and also “condemn violence in any form.”

Another vigil was held in Whitestone last night as well, with local residents and officers from the 109th Precinct.

On Sunday, Dec. 21, there was a candlelight vigil in front of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights as well.

The family of Ramos, who lived in Brooklyn, has made arrangements for his viewing ceremony on Dec. 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The funeral will be on Dec. 27 at the same location at 10 a.m.

Arrangements for Liu were still pending yesterday.

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