Tag Archives: LIC

Suspect arrested in string of LIC, Astoria restaurant break-ins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYPD

One man’s burglary spree has come to an end, as officers of the 114th and 108th precincts worked together to arrest him for allegedly breaking into businesses overnight in Long Island City and Astoria dating back to last June.

According to court records, each time 40-year-old Shameek Dunbar would break into the establishments through either a door or window, and once inside would take money, ranging from $20 to $1,000, from cash registers.

Dunbar was arrested on Feb. 25 at his home in Queensbridge when forensics evidence linked him to one of four burglaries in the confines of the 114th Precinct, a police source said.

Subsequent investigation linked him to seven more burglaries, these in the confines of the 108th Precinct.

“This was fantastic detective work,” said Capt. John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct. “It was good working together from both precincts.”

Criminal complaints detailed nine of the 11 incidents:

  • Between June 10, 2014, at 9 p.m. and June 11 at 9:30 a.m., Dunbar broke into Andres Pizza located at 25-19 40th Ave. through a glass door. He is observed through surveillance footage cutting wires on a cash register, worth about $450. The store owner alleges that $20 was taken from the register.
  • On Oct. 24, 2014, Dunbar broke into Tequila Sunrise located at 40-01 Northern Blvd. through a side window. The owner alleged $350 was taken from a cash register.
  • Between Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 3:12 a.m., the suspect entered Barista at 11-11 44th Rd. through a front glass door. Surveillance footage shows Dunbar throwing a rock at the door. He later took money.
  • On Jan. 2 between 3:04 and 4:18 a.m. Dunbar entered Hu Department Store located at 47-09 Northern Blvd. through the front door. Although the store owner alleged $1,000 was missing from the register, Dunbar said he tried to open the register but couldn’t and then left.
  • Between Jan. 18 at 11 p.m. and Jan. 19 at 4 a.m. Dunbar entered a business at 47-29 Vernon Blvd. through a window and surveillance shows him trying to pry open a register.
  • On Jan. 24 between 3:35 a.m. and 4:05 a.m. Dunbar broke into Pachanga Patterson located at 33-17 31st Ave. The store owner alleges $200 was missing from a cash register.
  • Between Jan. 31 at 10 p.m. and Feb. 1 at 3:17 a.m. the suspect broke into Petey’s Burger at 46-46 Vernon Blvd. through a side window. Surveillance footage shows him prying open a register and taking money.
  • Between Feb. 12 at 8:30 a.m. and Feb. 13 at 11:45 a.m., the suspect entered Breadbox Café at 47-11 11th St. through a door. He the used a screwdriver to pry open a register and took $300.
  • Between Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 22 at 3:45 a.m. the suspect entered Mix Nail Salon at 44-68 21st St. through the glass front door. Surveillance video shows the suspect entering the location, prying open a register and taking money.

Dunbar is facing charges of burglary, criminal mischief, possession of burglar tools, petit larceny, and for one of the incidents a charge of grand larceny.

He is due back in Queens Criminal Court on April 9. 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Small bites…big flavors


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

It’s Friday at the Falchi Building, and that means a bold new menu of ceviche from the team that opened their stand in the Food Box last month.

Mimi and Diego may have been running their lunch counter, Don Tapas, for just a month — and they may have even gotten engaged just two months ago — but their story goes back even further by nearly two and half years.

SerranoHam

The lovers met while they were line cooks at William Hallet in Astoria, where they worked the brunch shift together for one and a half years. Turns out poaching eggs is a surefire recipe for success.

Though the two have amicably parted ways with their former employer, they carry with them much of what they learned. In fact, Diego still cooks for Mario Batali at Casa Mono when he isn’t preparing his own dishes. And the owner of William Hallet was even consulted for a tasting of the new tapas dishes. When it comes to the kitchen, it’s an all around love affair.

Ceviche

“Everything we do is made with love,” explains Diego. It’s the kind of love that the customers can taste. Striped bass soaks in a traditional Peruvian salsa creola of cilantro, onions, mandarin and lime. Shrimp and calamari take on ginger, star anise, yuzu and sesame seeds topped with wonton strips in a Japanese-Peruvian fusion known as Nekki. The leftover leche de tigre is just as delicious as the ceviche, so customers are encouraged to shoot the juice when finished.

Next is a plate called pan con tamate — literally bread with tomatoes — the first in a series of what Diego refers to as montadito, or a tapas-sized roll topped with anything. The next baguette is sliced open and stuffed with homemade meatballs, imported manchego and peppers. My personal favorite is loaded with plump slices of mildly spicy chorizo sausage, caramelized onions and piquillo peppers.

ChorizoBaguette

The aim of Don Papas is to offer savory morsels, tapas-style, from around the world, and this couple has nailed it. Mimi is from Venezuela, while Diego moved here from Columbia in ’99. The two have gathered a refined collective palate along the way, as well as a respect for fresh, locally sourced goods.

“We use only the highest-quality ingredients, and we love to support local businesses,” explains Mimi. The bread is custom-baked from Rollo Mio in Maspeth, and the meats come from Despaña in Woodside. “We have a passion for bringing people together to try new and amazing things” — things like their tortilla Española, which is a delicate omelet with garlic, onions and potatoes topped with a smear of aioli dulce made from roasted garlic poached in sweet sherry wine.

Everything at Don Tapas is tiny, affordable, and tasty. Now that’s the kind of meal you will want to sink your teeth into.

Don Tapas
Food Box at The Falchi Building
31-00 47th Ave., Long Island City
347-850-2575

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Sunnyside comedy group to hold fundraiser for LIC community farm


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Sunnyside Comedy

A Sunnyside comedy organization is hoping laughter can help one Long Island City community farm grow.

Sunnyside Comedy, a group that brings stand-up comedy from throughout the city to Queens, is getting together with Long Island City urban community farm Smiling Hogshead Ranch, located at 26 Davis Ct.,  to put on a stand-up comedy fundraiser called “Funny by Nature” on March 27 at the Flux Factory located at 39-31 29th St. in LIC.

The event will serve as a benefit for Smiling Hogshead Ranch, as all proceeds from the show will go toward funding the farm’s infrastructure improvements, insurance and free programming in 2015.

“Smiling Hogshead Ranch helps cultivate community by gathering people around shared interests,” said Gil Lopez, co-founder of the Ranch. “Many of these interests are outside of gardening, and this comedy show is a perfect example. We hope to discover other common threads and encourage guests to explore the art on the gallery walls, our newly published zine ‘The Feed’ and talk to our members to learn more about what Smiling Hogshead Ranch is all about.”

The fundraiser, which starts at 8 p.m., will feature acts from a lineup of New York City comics, many of whom live in Queens and have appeared on late night shows such as “Conan,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and specials on Comedy Central.

The comedians taking part in the event are Ted Alexandro, Aparna Nancherla, Joyelle Johnson, Charles McBee, Harrison Greenbaum, Frank Liotti and Katherine Williams. The show will be hosted by Liz Magee.

The night will also feature themed raffles and prizes, and refreshments from city craft breweries.

“The whole point of Sunnyside Comedy is to bring laughs and promote all that’s wonderful in western Queens,” said Colin Anton Samuel, who co-founded Sunnyside Comedy with Lindsay Goldwert. “This fundraiser is the perfect embodiment of everything Lindsay and I want to do.”

Tickets for the show are $20 online at www.SunnysideComedy.nyc or funnybynature.brownpapertickets.com and $25 at the door, which opens at 7:30 p.m. on March 27.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC high school students look for win in regional robotics competition


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Queens Vocational and Technical High School

One Long Island City high school is looking to put their skills to the test and take their robot to the top, while also having fun.

The robotics team at Queens Vocational and Technical High School called the “Robo Tigers” is one of more than 160 teams taking part in this weekend’s NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan.

NYC FIRST is the city-based nonprofit affiliate of FIRST, the international nonprofit mentoring organization created to get young people excited about science and technology.

Winners from this weekend’s three-day event will move on to the FIRST World Championship Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.

“These students have worked so hard to get to where they are, from researching real-world programs to designing new inventions through robotics and using the engineering skills they’ve acquired,” said Pat Daly, executive director of NYC FIRST. “Year after year, we see the positive impact our programs have had on the lives of these students, and it’s beyond rewarding to see their excitement and passion develop with each season.”

The “Robo Tigers” are made up of 32 students from the high school ranging from freshmen to seniors. These students will battle with others from the NYC area, as well as internationally from countries such as Brazil, Turkey and China.

The students will have to battle with their custom-built robots and try to come on top during specific challenges throughout the competition.

According to Brian Green, a mentor for the Queens Vocational and Technical High School’s robotics team and an alumni and former member of the team, the team allows students to work together and use what they have learned in their classrooms at the school.

Although the plan is to bring home another win – with the team becoming regional winners in 2009, 2012 and 2013 – Green said the trip to the competition is a great experience for the students.

“It’s a great networking experience. [The students] interact with engineers and industry professional that are actually out there,” Green said.

Guadalupe Juarez, a junior who has been part of the team since her freshman year, works on the “drive train,” which focuses on what helps the robot moves. She said she has had an interest in robotics since middle school and is excited to go to the competition for a third year in a row.

“I’m really excited because the environment is really entertaining and fun,” Juarez said. “The main goal is to have fun and enjoy the competition because winning isn’t everything.”

The NYC FIRST 15th Annual Robotics NYC Regional Competition & Expo will take place from March 13 to 15 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 655 West 34th St. The event is free and open to the public.

“Robotics is not just about coming in and building and competing, it’s a way of life,” Green said. “Robotic are not what I do, it’s who I am.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man arrested in shooting outside LIC club that left four injured


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via NYPD

Police have arrested one of two suspects wanted in a shooting outside a Long Island City club that left four bystanders injured last fall.

The NYPD announced Friday morning it collared 23-year-old Traevon Robinson of Jamaica, who was charged with four counts of felony assault and three counts of reckless endangerment.

Authorities said Robinson and an unidentified suspect were in front of Allure Club and Lounge, at 33-02 Queens Blvd., about 10:45 p.m. on Oct. 19 when they both pulled out guns and started firing at each other.

Four people were caught in the crossfire and taken to area hospitals for treatment. A 37-year-old man was struck once in the chest, and a 19-year-old woman, a 28-year-old man and a 23-year-old man were each hit once in the leg, authorities said.

Following the shooting, police released surveillance video of one of the suspects, who was later identified as Robinson.

Police are still looking for the second shooter but did not have a description of the suspect.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens World Film Festival to kick off fifth year


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Image courtesy Jamil Lahham

Along with recent celebrity sightings, including Oscar winner George Clooney, Astoria is ready to continue shining with this year’s Queens World Film Festival — bringing over a hundred unique local and international films to the booming borough.

The festival, celebrating its fifth year running, will take place from March 17 through March 22 and feature 117 films, with 19 works from Queens. The films include short and feature narrative, documentaries, animation and LGBT pieces.

“It will be a week of something for everyone,” said festival director Katha Cato, who arranges the event along with her husband Don and a group of volunteers. “I’m so excited about the caliber of what we are about to expose Queens to.”

This year the six-day festival, which officially received a nonprofit status this year, brought in over 400 submissions from across the nation and around the world.

“Five [years] just feels like I can breathe a little bit. We made it to year five and that’s important,” Cato said. “We are experiencing and feeling it.”

The festival begins on March 17 at 8 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image, located at 36-01 35th Ave. in Astoria. The evening will feature a block of six films, including two from Queens filmmakers.

“You can do any kind of shot and any type you want in Queens, to represent any nation or any demographic. You can find it somewhere, somehow in this borough,” Cato said. “You can create a lot of different worlds here and with these studios starting to understand that and with a film festival, this could be a huge industry here in this borough.”

The short narrative "Short Steps" by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

The short narrative “Short Steps” by Queens filmmaker Laura Aguinaga is one of 19 Queens films at the film festival.

Opening night will also recognize director Leon Ichaso, known for movies such as “El Cantante” starring Jennifer Lopez, as a “Spirit of Queens” honoree. The festival will also present Ichaso’s film “Bitter Sugar” on March 18 at the Museum of the Moving Image.

Throughout the festival, the independent films will be divided into different blocks based on subject and shown at venues such as The Secret Theatre in Long Island City, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights, and, for the first time, daily showings at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“It’s about pairing [the films] together to create the proper context so they all look, sound and feel the way the filmmaker wanted it,” Cato said. “And we are creating community within these filmmakers who are perhaps on the same journey and might perhaps work together [in the future].”

Closing night of the festival will feature a screening of the film “Dukhtar (Daughter)” by Afia Nathaniel and be followed by an award ceremony at the Museum of the Moving Image.

“I just hope everyone knows that a lot of love went into this festival and we’re going to fix any mistakes we encounter, but we want you to really experience the films,” Cato added. “Just experience them, don’t judge them. It’s a different medium, there aren’t studio films.”

Tickets for opening night and the rest of the festival are still available at www.queensworldfilmfestival.com.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC Flea & Food set to open for third season in April


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Bradley Hawks

Although winter might still be hanging on for a few more weeks, a sign of warmer times has finally shown up as the third season of the outdoor LIC Flea & Food is set to open in April.

The popular Long Island City flea market, located at outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will make its grand re-opening on Saturday, April 11.

Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, hand-crafted jewelry and fashion, and much more. Visitors will be able to enjoy a lineup of returning LIC Flea favorites and also bring brand-new faces coming to the market.

LIC Flea allows shoppers to find unique vintage finds and also have the opportunity to meet curators and crafters — which make the flea market a one-of-a-kind place to shop and find everything you need.

“We’re thrilled to be kicking off the third season of LIC Flea & Food,” said Joshua Schneps, LIC Flea & Food president. “We have an awesome lineup of vendors from past seasons and many exciting new vendors.”

Some new food vendors include Lumpia Merienda, Chuta Madre and CakeBox NYC. Other new vendors are Anna Harper Jewelry and Queens³.

Returning favorites are Butcher Bar, Tea & Milk, Vivian Jewelry and Paris Images.

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

Potential vendors whose dreams have been to sell their product at the LIC Flea still have time to apply to the market. Applications are being accepted for the new season by registering online at www.licflea.com.

Here are some new LIC Flea & Food vendors to check out during opening weekend.

Chuta Madre
chutamadre.com
facebook.com/chutamadreny
Instagram and Twitter: @chutamadrenyc
Chuta Madre is a traditional Ecuadorian sanducheria crafting authentic homemade pork and turkey sandwiches. Their sandwiches are marinated with a unique blend of spices that bring the mouth-watering taste of South America to Long Island City. The process of slowly cooking the meat gives the sandwiches the perfect tenderness. Starting this business has always been a passion for the owners, who are excited to bring to the public homemade street fare and other tasty menu items.

Anna Harper Jewelry
Etsy.com/AnnaHarper
jewelry@AnnaHarper.com
Instagram: @jewelrybyannaharper
Anna Harper Jewelry handcrafts heirloom quality designs in recycled metals. Copper, sterling silver, fine silver and 24-karat gold jewelry, designed in classic and modern styles. All stones are responsibly resourced. Each piece is designed with the environment in mind, using old world techniques instead of modern mass production. Custom orders gladly accepted.

CakeBox NYC
facebook.com/CakeBoxNYC
CakeBox NYC is a concept deliberately spurned out of the simple desire to fulfill your sweet tooth. Their diverse array of unique Tres Leches cakes embrace the melting pot of ethnic backgrounds that have been the staple of New York City. CakeBox NYC will leave you salivating for more. “Life Is Too Short, Eat Dessert First!”

Queens³
Queens³ specializes in one-of-a-kind hand-crafted sewn goods. Each product is lovingly designed and carefully constructed by its two owners, Jer and Brady. “We’re just two queens in Queens that love to sew,” said the owners. They offer unique pillows, tote bags and pet beds made from vintage and designer fabrics. Find them on social media and Etsy @queenscubed.

Lumpia Merienda
lumpiamerienda.com
facebook.com/lumpiamerienda
Instagram and Twitter: @LumpiaMerienda
Lumpia Merienda started with a mother’s Filipino eggrolls, or “lumpias,” and the voracious appetites that gathered around the poker table every Friday night. Four friends are now bringing these addictive and crispy snacks to the masses for the first time at LIC Flea & Food, where they will fry up savory, sweet and vegetarian versions.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC shop plans to serve bike community with coffee, beer and great service


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Peter Dressel

Cyclists will soon have a spot in Long Island City where they can grab a coffee or drink a cold beer with fellow lovers of the sport.

Jane Kenyon and Damon Strub are the founders of Nomad Cycle, a bicycle shop that emphasizes providing services to the cyclist community, which opened its doors on Jan. 29 in LIC.

Nomad Cycle is currently located at Strub’s former seventh-floor architecture studio located at 51-02 21st St., but the founders plan to move the shop to a storefront location by the summer.

After making the move and applying for a beer license, Nomad Cycle plans to be a bicycle shop, café and taproom, the first in Queens.

“Manhattan and Brooklyn are very dense with bike shops and coffee shops. It seems to me that Queens, certainly this area in Queens, is growing and needs shops like these,” said Kenyon, a professional cyclist who has competed in international races. “We’re more interested in being part of the community and building relationships with our clients.”

For now, the business offers bike services and repairs, professional bicycle fittings, DIY repair work stations available for rent, and a master mechanic on hand to provide assistance.

There are also hands-on classes and other bike-related events taking place at the shop. Restored and vintage bicycles are available for sale, and they have access to a distributor of Italian bicycles.

“We’re really going to focus on quality, not necessarily expensive. We’re not going to carry stuff that is going to break down,” Kenyon said. “If you come in and tell us what you want, we’ll work with you to source with you and build up what you’re looking for.”

Kenyon and Strub are currently looking for the new location for Nomad Cycle and would like to be closer to the route most cyclists use.

When they make the move, they will first open as a bike shop and café and then apply for a beer license. The plan is to become a community space where people can hang out and socialize.

Photo by Damon Strub

Photo by Damon Strub

“When we do move to a storefront, we would like to be part and parcel a community space for cyclists and non-cyclists and a place that attracts people to hang out,” Kenyon said. “If you are into cycling, you know you’ll always find other cyclists to talk to.”

Although the shop plans to combine the love for cycling and beer, Kenyon added that they emphasize that their customers should stay safe on the roads. The shop even hopes to have a car service available for any cyclists who might have had a beer too many.

“What we would say is please drink responsibly,” Kenyon said.

Nomad Cycle is open Tuesday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit nomadcycle.com.

Photo by Damon Strub

Photo by Damon Strub

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New literary series in LIC to bring writing community together


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Catherine LaSota

One Long Island City writer is setting the stage for fellow lovers of the art to share their work and a cold drink.

Catherine LaSota, who moved into the western Queens neighborhood a year ago, has started a new monthly series called the LIC Reading Series. Set to premiere on April 14 at 8 p.m., the series will take place in the carriage house located behind LIC Bar at 45-58 Vernon Blvd.

On the second Tuesday of every month, the series will host three writers reading their pieces. LaSota, who will be the host during each event, said that the plan is for at least one of the writers to live in or write about Queens or have some other relationship to the borough.

“There is such great writing happening in Queens and I wanted to add to the thriving community that is already here,” LaSota said. “There is a big community of awesome writers here in Queens.”

For the first two months, every writer who will take the stage is either originally from Queens and now lives somewhere else, or currently resides in the borough. 

The premiere night in April will feature readings by Audrey Dimola (author of “TRAVERSALS”), Bill Cheng (author of ” Southern Cross the Dog”) and Joseph Salvatore ( author of “To Assume a Pleasing Shape”). 

The goal of the series is to showcase works from poets, fiction writers and, in the future, some memoir and non-fiction writers. 

LaSota has also partnered with the Astoria Bookshop, located at 31-29 31st St., to have books for sale at the events, including those of the readers for each night. 

“I’ve found that the community of writers and people who are interested in writing is one of the most supportive communities I’ve come across,” LaSota added. “I hope to foster a supportive community for readers in all stages of their careers.”

The LIC Reading Series is free to the public, although LaSota said she encourages those who attend to support the LIC Bar, which was chosen because of its accessibility and being known as a location where writers like to go during the summer to read and enjoy a beer.

“I’m really excited because everyone I’ve approached about this is really excited and saying ‘Yes, I’d love to read,’” LaSota said. “I think there is a real interest in this and I think we’re going to have a good crowd.”

For more up-to-date information visit, www.facebook.com/LICReadingSeries.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man turns himself in following deadly Long Island City beating


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/Property Shark

A man is in police custody after turning himself in for a fatal beating in Long Island City on Friday, authorities said.

Kaheem Addison, 29, of Huntington Station, Long Island, allegedly got into a dispute with Jose Antonio Cocuyo-Malaga, 32, about 2:30 a.m. at 50th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard, which turned violent.

Police found Cocuyo-Malaga unconscious and unresponsive with head trauma upon their arrival. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police would not confirm what caused the fight, but according to the New York Post, Cocuyo-Malaga, a married father and chef from Astoria, was attacked after he tried to catch a ride from what he thought was a livery cab.

Addison got out of the car and “rushed” Cocuyo-Malaga, the Post said, and, as they struggled, his head was slammed into the sidewalk. Addison then fled.

Witnesses then alerted police at the 108th Precinct, which is just around the corner on 50th Avenue, reports said.

Addison turned himself into the same precinct station house with his lawyer by his side on Saturday, according to police.

He has since been charged with manslaughter.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Man beaten to death in Long Island City


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

Updated Saturday, Feb. 21, 11:21 p.m.

Police are investigating the murder of a 32-year-old man who was beaten to death just feet from the 108th Precinct in Long Island City early Friday morning.

Cops found the man, Jose Antonio Cocuyo-Malaga, on the corner of 50th Avenue and Vernon Boulevard at about 2:30 a.m., authorities said. He was unconscious and unresponsive, and had head trauma.

EMS took Cocuyo-Malaga to Bellevue Hospital, where he died.

According to published reports, Cocuyo-Malaga, a married father and chef from Astoria, was attacked during an argument after he tried to catch a ride from what he thought was a livery cab. Two men got out of the car and assaulted the victim before fleeing.

Witnesses then reportedly alerted police at the 108th Precinct, just down the street.

There have been no arrests.

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.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Old LIC zipper factory sells for $13.5M, will become office and retail mix


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Full Glass Awning Dark (1)

Emmes Asset Management recently bought an old Long Island City zipper factory for $13.5 million, and will begin renovating it to lease as a mixed-use office and ground-floor retail building.

The renovation of the four-story former factory at 47-16 Austell Pl. is expected to be completed by the fall of this year.

Building renovations include a new façade, lighting, flooring, and development of a rooftop space with views of the Manhattan skyline.

The former zipper factory is the latest Queens building Emmes has purchased to convert to office space.

Last year, the Manhattan-based firm paid about $30 million to buy Astoria events hall Studio Square from S Hospitality Group and converted it to Offices at the Square, a mixed-use office and commercial space.

Current structure picture

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark/Rendering courtesy of Emmes

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC’s famous Waterfront Crab House closes following death of owner


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The iconic Waterfront Crab House in Long Island City has closed its doors after several decades and just weeks after owner Anthony Mazzarella passed away.

Mazzarella, a former boxer, opened the eatery, located at 2-03 Borden Ave., about 40 years ago and it was known for both its seafood dishes and its walls decorated with boxing memorabilia.

The LIC restaurant closed its doors over Valentine’s Day weekend, according to a published report, following Mazzarella’s death on Jan. 24.

A sign has been left on the establishment’s front door for customers and residents in the neighborhood.


“It is with deep regret and heavy hearts that we inform you that due to the passing of Tony Mazzarella we must close the Waterfront Crab House,” the sign read. “It has been over two decades since Tony Mazzarella opened these doors in pursuit of his dream. Friends were made here and lives were changed. There are simply too many people to say thank you [to], and so many incredible experiences to recount.”

The sign continues with thanking patrons who supported the eatery and made it “the institution that it has become.”

“To our staff, customers, friends and supporters, you have enhanced our lives and we want to say thank you for the journey,” the sign said. 

The crab house, housed in a building dating back to the 1800s, made it through two disasters, each causing it to be closed for months. The first was a fire in 2009 and just two years ago the eatery was flooded by several feet of water after Hurricane Sandy hit the city.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Crescent Grill: A master class in hospitality


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

The walls of the restaurant beyond the white gallery are covered in reclaimed wood with headlights dangling from the ceiling above the bar that is lined with candy apple red vintage bucket stools. Dangling from distressed wooden beams adorning the walls, paintings from a local artist are carefully displayed throughout the room. After all, the restaurant has its own curator. I stifle a chuckle at the timing of the song playing overhead. It’s Belinda Carlisle crooning, “Heaven is a Place on Earth.”

“Welcome to Crescent Grill,” greets the hostess with a sincere, warm smile. Her uncles — brothers Dan and Shaun Dougherty — share ownership of the restaurant, and they both greet me soon thereafter. As a couple enters just behind me, Dan greets them by name. Shocked, the young woman replies with an enthusiastic, “Now that is impressive.”

“We want everybody to enjoy the food, and just because it is fresh and organic doesn’t mean it needs to be over-the-moon expensive,” says Shaun of his menu. “And we don’t buy from anyone unless I have visited their farm and witnessed their practices firsthand.” As he finishes the last sentence, his iPhone buzzes with a text message from one of the farms. “It’s just a text from John at Cascuns about my order this week,” he explains. He also grinds his own meat and sources his own cheese.

IMG_5709

Dan was the first brother to make the move to New York City from Pennsylvania in 1982, fresh from college. Shaun, too, fell in love with New York, and eventually moved out to join his brother. “I have always thought that this city is exactly what this country is meant to be — so many ethnicities and religions living — for the most part — in peace.”

The journey for the brothers has not been without its challenges, but they now have a liquor license and an executive chef besides Shaun. “It was hard to step back and let someone else take over,” admits Shaun, “but our chef does a killer job.”

Milton Enriquez grew up by Kaufman Astoria Studios. “I love cooking New American cuisine,” explains the chef, “because it allows the use of global ingredients and loads of creativity.”

IMG_5670

His asparagus appetizer features a log cabin of green spears over pickled maitake mushrooms, with a creamy egg that has been poached over low heat, that gently breaks over crunchy Serrano ham. A risotto of crisp English peas is studded with tender shreds of duck confit, bound together with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Entrees include butter-poached lobster, coconut curried diver sea scallops, and a phenomenal $29 prix fixe that includes options like a rustic strozzapreti pasta with summer squash and fresh mozzarella. One of the most exceptional bites I tasted is the sublime Magret duck resting on a bed of spring garlic, baby turnips, fiddlehead ferns, and an addictive strawberry paint smeared in a teardrop across the plate. “We can still offer fiddleheads, even though their season just ended,” explains the chef. “I always pickle my seasonal vegetables near the end, so we can make them last a little longer — and everyone will be calling me soon to borrow some.”

IMG_5164

“Simplicity makes good things,” smiles the chef as I am presented with dessert. A pistachio wafer has been placed atop a silicon mold filled with pistachio mousse. Once the mousse has set, it is flipped onto a plate, and the dome is coated with dark chocolate and crushed Sicilian pistachios, then adorned with a candied vanilla bean, miniature cubes of amaretto gelee, and a quenelle of pistachio ice cream. The mousse is more velvety than any I have tasted, and I literally go nuts over the dessert. The desserts are courtesy of the pastry chef, Blanca Castro, and I will definitely return for more.

As if the evening had not already surpassed all expectations, I was met at the door by a car waiting to take me home. Crescent Grill actually offers its own complimentary shuttle service if you live within their pickup zone. From door to door and back again, it is one of the most enjoyable evenings I have spent in Astoria. Crescent Grill is now near the top of places I would highly recommend.

Crescent Grill
38-40 Crescent St.
718-729-4040
www.CrescentGrill.com

RECOMMENDED STORIES