Tag Archives: LIC

BP honored at LaGuardia Community College Asian Heritage Celebration

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of LaGuardia Community College

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz received an award Wednesday for her dedication and support of a Long Island City college.

Katz was awarded the “Dare to Do More Award” during LaGuardia Community College’s Asian Heritage Celebration.

The college’s president, Dr. Gail O. Mellow, bestowed the honor on Katz for her support of the college and for being a longtime advocate for higher education.

“We are delighted this year to share the event with our special honoree, Borough President Melinda Katz who is a great leader and tireless advocate for Community Colleges,” Mellow said.

Wednesday’s festivities – which included performers from China, Bangladesh and Japan – concluded LaGuardia’s month-long celebration honoring the wide range and richness of Asian cultures.


Food from different parts of the world and from local neighborhood restaurants were also served.

“Our annual Asian Heritage Celebration is a festive event that brings the campus together through food, cultural performances and student entertainment,” Mellow said. “We are proud to celebrate our diversity and share the many different cultures of our students.”

Entertainers for the Asian Heritage Celebration included Singer Maksud Ara and dancer Tahmina Islam, modern dance troupe HIPHOP STREET, and American-Chinese circus clown and Ukrainian-Russian belly dancer duo Rob Lok and Jane.

There was also a showcase featuring performances by LaGuardia students from the Bangladesh Student Association, the Chinese Club, the Philippine Club and the Japanese Club.


HGTV’s ‘Flea Market Flip’ filming at LIC Flea this weekend

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Cameras will be rolling at the LIC Flea & Food this weekend, as HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” makes its return to the market.

The show will be filming on both Saturday and Sunday at the popular Long Island City flea market, located at the waterfront lot at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

Each week on “Flea Market Flip,” contestants, who participate in teams, are given $500 to explore items at different flea markets. The participants search for objects they can buy, fix and then “flip” for a higher selling price. By the end of each show, the contestants display their transformations and battle it out to win all the profits earned.

Visitors are encouraged to come down to the LIC Flea for a chance to be on TV and pick up some rare finds for their homes.

LIC Flea also offers items from over 80 vendors each day. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

When visitors want to take a break from shopping, they can relax at the LIC Flea Beer Garden, which is the only venue serving all six Queens-brewed beers from local breweries including Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, and SingleCut Beersmiths.

LIC Flea & Food runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the end of October.

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


Queens-based Nepali soccer team raises over $4K for earthquake relief

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Nepalese Football Club

Soccer teams from near and far put on their cleats this weekend to raise money to help rebuild a school that was destroyed after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal last month, leaving more than 7,000 people dead.

Members of the New York Nepalese Football Club (NYNFC) held a “HELP NEPAL” soccer tournament at Queensbridge Park in Long Island City this Sunday where money was raised to continue the group’s efforts in the South Asian country.

After the earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, the crowd helped organize vigils in Jackson Heights and Times Square, and also collected thousands in funds.

“Wherever we go, everyone says we did a very good job and they appreciate our job,” said Pralay Rajbhandari, a player and member of the New York Nepalese Football Club. “Even in Nepal, everyone has come to know about our club.

A total of $4,023 was collected during the May 24 tournament, called the Nepal Relief Soccer Cup, which featured 10 soccer teams – with some from Connecticut and New Jersey – and over 250 audience members.

The funds will go toward rebuilding a school in Khale in the Sindupalchowk region of Nepal, and also providing stationary, bags and uniforms for almost 150 students.

“We thought with being a soccer club, if we do some kind of sporting event it will attract more youth to this cause which was very successful,” Rajbhandari said.

At the end of the tournament, NYNFC came out the winners and took home a trophy.

The group is still selling T-shirts for $15 and bands for $5 in order to continue raising funds for victims in Nepal. For more information, contact Rajbhandari at 347-891-9841.


Excitement abounds at Everything Kids Expo in LIC

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos by Corey Aguirre

Music, prizes and activities for all ages kept the crowd lively at the recent Everything Kids Expo at the Long Island City YMCA.

Now in its third year, the annual Everything Kids Expo – sponsored by The Queens Courier – has become a local tradition for the community, and this year marks the event’s second time at the YMCA. The festivities were planned to coincide with a nationwide initiative the volunteer organization hosts on April 25 to promote the well-being of children.

Ebony Young, executive director of the Long Island City YMCA, said that the event is a great way to put into practice the fundamental three pillars of the worldwide organization: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

“It’s an opportunity for kids and families to come out and understand the importance of their wellbeing, mind, body and spirit,” Young said.

Youngsters big and small had active fun, whether they were playing educational word games with Reading Town, taking part in a live karate demonstration by YMCA students, or dancing and singing to popular songs.

Some lucky kids were even able to experience a sample lesson from Long Island City music school Sage Music.

“My favorite part was when I got to play with the drums,” said LaQuwan Carter, age 11.

Although there was much for children to enjoy at the event, many of the booths provided parents with important information on how families can maintain robust lifestyles through athletic activity and healthy eating. Day camps and personal chefs spoke to the community alongside representatives from health care providers, who spread awareness about the importance of having adequate health insurance.

“You never know when you’re going to get sick, so it’s always good to have some type of healthcare,” said Giomar Reyes of Wellcare. “Medicine right now is very expensive, doctor’s appointments are very expensive.”


LIC public art looks to raise awareness about homelessness

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Fanny Allié

Residents and visitors in Long Island City looking for a place to sit will get more than just that when coming into contact with a new public art installation aiming to raise awareness about homelessness.

Brooklyn artist Fanny Allié has come together with the Parks Department to display her most recent artwork called “A Bench for the Night” at the NYC Parks Greenstreet on Jackson Avenue and 46th Avenue.

Allié’s piece, which will be on view through November, is a wooden bench shaped in the silhouette of a sleeping person, reminding those who see is that a public bench serves as a potential bed for some New Yorkers.

“A Bench for the Night,” Allié’s second artwork with that Parks Department’s Art in the Parks program, offers viewers a look into how individuals who live on the street can often become dehumanized.

This piece is a continuation of the artist’s focus on the issue of homelessness. She took part in the Engaging Artists Residency in 2014 organized by the Artist Volunteer Center and More Art, which largely focused on homelessness. During this residency, artists were encouraged to engage in volunteer opportunities – volunteering at least half a day per week at a local charity – and interactive workshops with professionals in the fields of fine art and activism.

Allié’s Long Island City art installation is also a continuation of her 2011 piece called “The Glowing Homeless,” created for Bring to Light NYC: Nuit Blanche in Brooklyn, and which featured a neon outline of a human form that rested of a park bench.

When preparing for the installation, Allié noticed the area where the piece would go lacked seating. Along with raising awareness for homelessness, she has also created a new social space in the plaza.

According to a description of “A Bench for the Night,” the piece looks to reflect a person’s desire to look for an isolated place to rest and be removed from the movement of the city.


Pols propose $682M education package to help alleviate overcrowding

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Elected officials in the state Senate have put forth a new plan that hopes to bring some relief to the overcrowded school districts throughout the city including western Queens.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris and Senate Democrats announced the proposal of a $682 million investment into an education infrastructure bank. The funds would go into helping schools deal with issues surrounding physical capacity and school construction, allowing them to rebuild and renew facilities to accommodate growing populations.

Gianaris, who represents Long Island City, Astoria and parts of Woodside, said this funding could help local western Queens schools in Districts 24 and 30, two of the most overcrowded in the city.

“School overcrowding is a crisis directly affecting the lives of teachers, students and parents in western Queens every day and it must be dealt with immediately,” Gianaris said. “Our neighborhoods are growing and more needs to be done to ensure infrastructure keeps pace.”

Gianaris added that such funding would help a school like P.S./I.S. 78 in Long Island City deal with its overcrowding issues, which have left some parents fearing for the truncation of the beloved middle school classes.

“I will never stop fighting to provide our kids with the resources they deserve, and I will work to make this education infrastructure bank a reality quickly enough to solve the problems plaguing P.S./I.S. 78 and so many other schools in western Queens,” he said.

The $682 million investment, which will be funded from the state’s projected surplus and settlement funds, is also expected to provide support for teachers, fund community schools that offer holistic social service, and also begin a study to analyze the cost-effectiveness of state testing.


Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at the LIC Flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

With a three-day weekend on its way, make sure to take a trip down to the LIC Flea & Food to celebrate the holiday.

The popular Long Island City market, located at the waterfront lot at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will be filled with fun events this weekend including music from DJ Johnny Seriuss and a cornhole tournament.

The LIC Flea also offers items from over 80 vendors each day. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

When visitors want to take a break from shopping, they can relax at the LIC Flea Beer Garden, which is the only venue serving all six Queens-brewed beers from local breweries including Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, and SingleCut Beersmiths.

LIC Flea & Food runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the end of October.

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks returning to Queens waterfront

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo by Diana Robinson/Mayoral Photography Office

The Queens waterfront will once again explode with excitement this Fourth of July.

On Wednesday, Macy’s and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that this Independence Day, the 39th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will launch from two locations in the East River — in Midtown and within the South Street Seaport historic district, starting at about 9:20 p.m.

There will be four barges positioned between 23rd and 37th streets in Midtown and one double-barge positioned below the Brooklyn Bridge. The Midtown barges will be visible from the Long Island City waterfront.

After moving to the Hudson River in 2009, Macy’s and de Blasio announced last year that the department store’s annual 4th of July Fireworks show would return to the East River that summer. But the initial excitement and potential revenue that the festivities could bring to Long Island City was squashed when residents and business owners realized that the launch point, from the Brooklyn Bridge and from barges positioned on the lower East River, would not be a prime viewing spot for Queens.

This year, however, will be different, and could bring back big bucks to the waterfront area.

“Once again the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks spectacular will light up the East River skyline,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said in a statement. “I have advocated tirelessly for years alongside Mayor de Blasio to bring the fireworks back to the borough of Queens. Today we are delivering on our promise and bringing borough residents an opportunity to enjoy one of our nation’s most spectacular events. Residents from Hunters Point in Long Island City and all of western Queens will rejoice welcoming thousands into their neighborhoods to celebrate. Staging the fireworks along the East River will give our local small businesses a boost and draw attention to all we have to offer here in Long Island City. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Macy’s for helping us keep this promise and making this day a reality.”

The country’s largest Independence Day pyrotechnic display, Macy’s are the only fireworks that borough residents can watch locally on the actual holiday. But for the first time this year, Fort Totten will be having a fireworks celebration to mark the nation’s birthday on July 1. The annual Astoria Park fireworks will take place on June 30.


Cops looking for butt-slapping bicyclist in LIC

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sketch courtesy of NYPD

Police have released the sketch of a bicyclist who they say slapped a woman’s behind as she walked down a Long Island City street last month.

The incident happened at about 4 p.m. on April 22 along Jackson Avenue near 46th Avenue, authorities said.

According to police, while on his bike, the suspect rode up behind the woman and slapped her on the buttocks before fleeing.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male who is about 35 years old and weighs 140 pounds. He was last seen wearing a red baseball cap, a red waist-length jacket and blue jeans.

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.


Planned Parenthood cuts ribbon on first Queens health center in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Ryan Brown for Planned Parenthood of New York City

Long Island City is now home to a new health center bringing affordable services to the growing population of Queens.

Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) celebrated on Monday the ribbon cutting of its first Queens health and education center located at 21-41 45th Rd.

The state-of-the-art Diane L. Max Health Center, which officially opens in June, will provide a full range of sexual and reproductive health services.

“We’re thrilled to be opening the doors of this beautiful new health center to the Queens community,” said Joan Malin, president and CEO of PPNYC. “Queens represents the future of this city, and we’re so excited to be a part of this remarkable borough. Come June, Queens residents will have increased access to the high-quality, confidential sexual and reproductive health care services they need, regardless of their income or immigration status.”

The 14,000-square-foot patient-centered facility will have services that include birth control, gynecological care, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and options counseling, and abortion services.


PPNYC anticipated the new Queens center, once fully operational, will serve 17,500 clients per year. The location will also offer on-site health insurance enrollment through Medicaid and the New York State of Health Marketplace.

“This new center is a very big step for us. It puts Planned Parenthood in every borough and keeps New York City at the forefront of reproductive health care,” said Diane L. Max, PPNYC board chair. “The Queens center helps ensure that all New Yorkers, no matter where they live, can access the reproductive health care they need.”

The health center will have a bilingual staff and interpretation services, as well as translated materials for non-English-speaking clients. In its education center, the location will offer education and training for youth, adults and professionals, and has a community space open to PPNYC’s partners for education, training and advocacy events.

“For over five years, I have worked to help bolster quality affordable health care options in western Queens. Planned Parenthood’s new facility introduces a trusted health care provider into a growing community that needs affordable health care providers,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I welcome Planned Parenthood to the community and look forward to working together to improve the quality of life for all Queens residents.”


Parents, students call for support to save LIC middle school

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Parents and students in Long Island City are asking for their community to speak up to keep a beloved middle school in a neighborhood growing every day.

During Saturday’s groundbreaking of the Queens Library at Hunters Point, parents and students of P.S./I.S. 78 handed out flyers asking local residents to help speak out about the school crisis the neighborhood is going through.

According to parents, the Department of Education is considering truncating the sixth through eighth grades at the school in order to accommodate the incoming elementary aged students, after a decision was made to add two kindergarten classes to the school.

“We’re trying to get all the parents out to push it and get it in front of other people’s faces so that we can make a difference because I think, just like for the library, if we really get together and make our presence known [we can] show everyone that without schools this is really not a community,” said Nancy Mendez-Shiu, who has a daughter and son at P.S./I.S. 78. “If we don’t have enough space for children, then people are going to move away from our community.”

On the flyers, “LIC neighbors” are asked to write, call or visit any or all of their city and state elected officials and leaders such as Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, District 30 leaders and local Community Board 2.

Mendez-Shiu also added that for about 10 years, parents fought for the middle school to be brought into community and in 2013 a new state-of-the-art facility at 46-08 Fifth St. was erected and became the home of P.S./I.S. 78’s third- through eighth-graders.

The school’s pre-K through second-grade classes remained at the original building located only a few blocks away at 48-09 Center Blvd.

In a meeting two weeks ago, parents were told that if all the seats are filled in the new two additional kindergarten classes then there is a possibility that grades six through eight would be truncated started in the fall of 2016.

The school would then only serve kindergarten through fifth grade, leaving older students to find another alternative.

“Our children deserve a space in our community here. They deserve to be able to go to school here,” Mendez-Shiu said. “We should make room for everyone. This is a community.”

Fellow parent Sabina Omerhodzic also said that the area is being overdeveloped with more buildings being constructed, yet there are no schools to meet the growing population of young children.

“More buildings bring more families, more children. We need to build more schools, not less. Don’t truncate, build more. That’s it. It’s very easy,” Omerhodzic said. “It’s basic math. One plus one is two. One plus one is not zero.”

The parents said the idea of middle school potentially being truncated has left students “depressed” and also wanting to protest to have their voices being heard.

Fourth graders at P.S./I.S. 78 created this Lego model to show the idea of a new building (in red) being constructed to alleviate overcrowding.

Fourth-graders at P.S./I.S. 78 created this Lego model to show the idea of a new building (in red) being constructed to alleviate overcrowding.

In one instance, a group of fourth-graders constructed a Lego model of the school and added a new building that could be constructed to help alleviate the overcrowding and also accommodate middle-schoolers. The model also included an organic garden on the rooftop of the new building.

“I feel bad because we love P.S./I.S. 78, that’s why we are protesting and helping it, and just making us move to another school isn’t fair for us,” said fifth-grader Monica Malas, who after spending two days being sad over the news got together with classmates to protest. “I hope we can actually succeed and let the small ones go to the sixth through eighth grade.”

The DOE did not immediately respond to request for comment.


LIC community celebrates groundbreaking of Hunters Point library

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

After 15 years, the wait is finally over for the Long Island City community, which worked hard to bring a new waterfront library to the neighborhood.

On Saturday, local elected officials, community leaders and residents gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Queens Library at Hunters Point, which will be located at Center Boulevard and 48th Avenue, right next to Gantry Plaza State Park.

“Hunters Point is a rapidly growing community of young families and has a demonstrated need for a library community hub,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said. “The Hunters Point Library will be a modern and green facility that will serve as a center of learning, literacy and culture for residents of all ages.”

The state-of-the-art library, expected to be completed by the fall of 2017, was designed by architect Steven Holl. Its main interior circulation route will be cut into the west façade, opening up views to the East River and Manhattan skyline.

The 22,000-square-foot facility will feature a reading garden, a rooftop terrace, reading rooms for all ages, a gallery, a performance space and a children’s area.

Rendering courtesy of Queens Library

Rendering courtesy of Queens Library

“There’s a famous saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In this case, it took a village to raise a library,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been working on the project since 1999 and allocated $4 million for the library. “We are here because no one gave up on the project. I was never ever going to let this fail. It was too important. This community deserves a state-of-the-art community library that will be the envy of the entire city and now you have it, you’re going to get it.”

Mark Christie, president of the group Friends of the Hunters Point Library, has been working on the idea of the library since 1998 and during the groundbreaking quoted former President John F. Kennedy.

“This will be a building that brings our community together,” Christie said. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country — and you will see what a big difference just coming together will make in each and every one of our lives.”

Along with the construction of the library, the project will also include the construction of the permanent 1,260-square-foot ranger station at Gantry Plaza State Park. The building will include a reception area, a park manager’s office and bathrooms for the public.

Saturday’s groundbreaking celebration also featured a street fair where members of the community enjoyed carnival games, entertainment, family-friendly activities and food.

Until the Hunters Point library is constructed, a mobile library will be parked each Saturday at Gantry State Park from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to offer books and other material for all ages. The Friends of Hunters Point Library are also supporting a “pop-up” library on Saturdays offering reading and activities starting at 11 a.m.


LIC Flea & Food to participate in Queens Beer Week

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@LICFlea

When making it down to the LIC Flea & Food this weekend, make sure to grab a cold glass of what Queens has to offer.

The popular Long Island City market, located at the waterfront lot at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will be taking part in the second annual Queens Beer Week this Saturday.

Queens Beer Week, which kicked off on May 8, celebrates nine local breweries at over 70 borough-wide participating bars and restaurants. The nine-day celebration includes brewery tours, home brewing demos, tap takeovers, food and beer pairings, pub crawls, and more.

LIC Flea will join LIC-based breweries such as the LIC Beer Project, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company and Transmitter Brewing on May 16 in offering tours and beer samples.

The LIC Flea Beer Garden is the only venue where visitors can taste all six Queens brewed beers from local breweries including Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brewing Company, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, and SingleCut Beersmiths.

Queens Beer Week wraps up on May 17, with the celebration of Finback Brewery’s one-year anniversary.

Along with this one-of-a-kind experience, the LIC Flea also offers items from over 80 vendors each day. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

LIC Flea & Food runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through the end of October.

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


NYU Langone Medical Center to open facility in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

A new medical facility is making its way to Long Island City to meet the needs of the neighborhood’s growing population.

The company, Norvin Healthcare Properties, has announced it has acquired a 45,000-square-foot property at 21-21 44th Dr. It will be run by NYU Langone Medical Center, which entered into a 31-year lease with the group.

Plans for the property, which was valued at $66 million, are to redevelop the two-story building to be used as a multi-specialty ambulatory care facility.

“Consumer demand for convenient, high-quality, cost-effective healthcare has created an urgent need for providers to bring full-service, multi-specialty outpatient centers to their communities,” said Norman Livingston, president of Norvin Healthcare Properties. “This new NYU Langone facility in Long Island City will satisfy that need in terms of both location and the comprehensive range of healthcare services that will be offered under one roof.”

Livingston added that he believes NYU Langone’s new outpatient center will provide “exceptional healthcare in a strategically located section of one of New York City’s fastest growing neighborhoods.”

The facility is located within a two-block radius of four subway lines.


Enjoy free snacks as you bike to work in LIC Wednesday morning

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

If you are commuting to work and find yourself near the Queensboro Bridge Wednesday morning, make sure to stop and get some free snacks.

In honor of Bike to Work month, for the next two Wednesdays advocacy group Transportation Alternatives will be hosting Biker Commuter Stations at locations throughout the city.

For this week, one of the five stations is in Long Island City at Crescent Street and Queens Plaza North.

From 7 to 10 a.m. bicyclists will be able to enjoy free coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company, free breakfast, including KIND snacks, and free gifts just for stopping by.

Members of Transportation Alternatives will also be able to receive a free water bottle from REI if they show their membership card. The bottle includes different items including a Bike Home From Work Party wristband for the May 29 party in Dumbo, Brooklyn.