Tag Archives: Long Island City

Tech nonprofit to host annual gala at MoMA PS1

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of C4Q

Long Island City‘s MoMA PS1 will host the third-annual gala for the Coalition for Queens (C4Q), a nonprofit which aims increase economic opportunity by fostering a technology ecosystem.

Attendees will be able to party with entrepreneurs in the borough’s growing tech community and enjoy food and drink from Queens-based businesses.

“The event is to celebrate the growth of our community, the entrepreneurs and companies here, and to thank our supporters, volunteers and participants in the program,” said C4Q founder, Jukay Hsu.

The honorees for this year’s bash are NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Bash, Blackstone Senior Managing Director Bill Murphy, Director of New York Engineering at Google Craig Nevill-Manning, along with C4Q volunteers Gregory Gundersen, a programmer at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Alex Samuel, an engineer and data scientist at Action IQ.

Tickets can be purchased online and are priced starting at $150.

C4Q is based in Long Island City and works to increase participation and opportunities in the tech industry for diverse and low-income communities.

The nonprofit offers classes and intensive programs in mobile app development along with events meant to foster collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange. Additionally, C4Q aims to provide platforms for Queens tech entrepreneurs and companies to showcase their innovations and create new products.

According to its website, C4Q has helped increase the average income of graduates from $26,000 to $73,000.

While it is only entering its fourth year of operation, the organization raised over $100,000 at its previous bash and a total of $1.6 million in funds in 2014.

“From winning hackathons to working at leading tech companies to being accepted into one of the most prestigious accelerators in the U.S., our students represent the immense potential and talent within our community,” states the “Year in Review” address from C4Q.

Hsu is a Harvard graduate who was raised in Flushing. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served for a year in Iraq, where he founded the first private provincial radio station with Iraqi reporters.


Enjoying fall at the LIC Flea & Food

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@LICFlea

Put on your coats and head to the LIC Flea & Food for a weekend filled with family activities and endless fun.

This weekend visitors will be able to once again enjoy Oktoberfest at the popular Long Island City market, located at Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

Fall beers will be offered from all seven breweries found at the All Queens Beer Garden.

Visitors will also be able to take home a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch courtesy of J&L Farms and enjoy music, great fall eats and shopping.

There will be live jazz music with Dandy Wellington and His Band on Sunday, all sponsored by car2go.

Also, just a neighborhood next door, the Astoria Flea & Food Night Market at Kaufman Astoria Studios will be celebrating its final night from 6 to 11 p.m.

Visitors will be able to enjoy live music, great food, shopping and the all Queens Beer Garden all in the backlot of the beloved Kaufman Astoria Studios.

For updates follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


Art imitates life for Flushing filmmaker Adrian Manzano

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Adrian Manzano

Flushing filmmaker Adrian Manzano knows a thing or two about love and heartbreak, or at least his latest film, “Sex, Love and Salsa,” would have you believe so.

Manzano premiered his film in September 2014 in New York City, and it has also been screened in Montreal, Switzerland and Germany.

The piece is semi-autobiographical, and Manzano served as both its director and its lead actor as Julian Suarez, a womanizer juggling relationships with three different women. He falls in love with an emotionally unavailable salsa dancer as he attends underground dance parties, ultimately suffering a karmic heartbreak following a spree of inflicting emotional damage on others.

“I wrote from a personal place describing characters and situations that happened to me,” Manzano said. “I also wanted to show the city as a character, each girl representing a different borough and time in a woman’s life.”

Along with Manzano’s ability to poke fun at and examine the consequences of male bravado, Queens is prominently showcased in the feature, both as the setting of the story and the birthplace of its main characters.

Iconic locations such as Long Island City and Flushing Meadow Corona Park are recognizable as scenic backdrops to the drama. The fictionalized Julian Suarez resides in his family’s home in Queens and so does his most persistent conquest, Genny, a young girl not yet wise to the ways of manipulative men.

Manzano says that growing up in the “World’s Borough” was a huge influence on his early life. His parent met at a Corona wedding in the 1970s, and he was raised in multicultural environment having lived in Flushing and attended school in Jamaica.

“I can say that Queens made me,” Manzano said. “It exposed me to a wide variety of cultures and people all living together in cramped apartment buildings.”

Manzano is currently on an extended trip showing the “Sex, Love and Salsa” in cinema clubs in Colombia—the country of his family’s origin—and working on his next piece, “La Graduada,” or “The Graduate.”

His next movie also has autobiographical elements and focuses on the experience of a second-generation Latina moving back home after college. Manzano will not be playing the lead in the absurd dark comedy, which deals with the clash of an individualist American culture against the expectations of an immigrant family with conservative values.


MoMA PS1 to offer free admission for NYC residents for one year

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Elk Studios

The beloved art institution in Long Island City dedicated to exposing people to contemporary art will offer New York City residents free entry to all of its exhibitions beginning Oct. 11.

MoMA PS1 is able to provide free admission through a grant by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Keller Foundation, which provided the grant in honor of New York City artists, the museum said.

Residents living in any of the five boroughs can present proof of residency such as a driver’s license, state-issued identification card or a utility bill. The deal excludes concerts, performances, fundraisers and ticketed events held at MoMA PS1. Though the admission is relatively cheap — a suggested $10 donation — the grant was donated to expand the institution’s audience, according to Marina Kellen French, vice president of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Keller Foundation.

“It is important to give back to New York City, a city with so many artists. MoMA PS1 in Queens has many exhibitions that should be seen by everybody from all five boroughs,” French said. “I hope the gift will help [MoMA PS1’s] efforts to lower the barriers to enter the museum and reach out to an even wider audience.”

MoMA PS1 was opened in 1976 by Alanna Heiss, who has founded several nonprofit art organizations, as a welcoming space for New York City artists. Previously an abandoned public school, Heiss invited many artists to experiment with different forms of art including video, installation and performance art.

The organization has been affiliated with  MoMA since 2000 and is known for exhibits like the Young Architects Program, a competition that gives emerging architects a chance to build projects to be housed at the space, and the Warm Up Series, an outdoor music festival showcasing experimental live music and local and international DJs.

“MoMA PS1 sees itself as a citizen of all five boroughs with a proud base in Queens,” said Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and MoMA chief curator at large. “This gift is made in honor of all New York City artists as it also marks the occasion of MoMA PS1’s 40th anniversary in 2016.”

Art lovers looking to attend the museum on the first day of this promotion will experience the opening day of the Greater New York exhibition, which will showcase work from 157 artists and collectives living and working in New York City.


Women’s homeless shelter to open at site of LIC hotel

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angela Matua

Updated 11:42 p.m.

The second homeless shelter in New York City erected during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tenure will open its doors as soon as Oct. 9 in Long Island City.

The Verve will be located at 40-03 29th St.,  the site of the Verve Hotel, and will serve 200 single women. The shelter is opening in response to a 9 percent increase in single adult women coming into the system, according to the mayor’s office. Community Board 1, which includes parts of Long Island City, is home to one other shelter, Westway in East Elmhurst.

The shelter will provide several onsite support services including clinical services for mental health treatment, health and home coordination, supportive housing and employment services. Programs will include money management and independent living skills.

De Blasio’s office held a meeting on Friday, Oct. 2 to notify community members about the opening. Florence Koulouris, district manager for Community Board 1,  attended the meeting after her office got a call late Thursday informing her that a homeless shelter was being placed in CB 1’s jurisdiction. Koulouris was told that the shelter could open as soon as Oct. 9 or on Friday, Oct. 16. The services and staff will be provided by the Acacia Network and the average stay for each woman will be 11 months.

The shelter, located near Growing Up Green charter school, is also 2.5 miles away from Westway. Koulouris said the location of the shelter is “a little troublesome” since it’s in a residential area.

“We want these woman to be comfortable. We want them to have a new start,” Koulouris said. “Is this really the right location?”

The facility will be supervised around the clock and will have security staff stationed on all six floors, including the courtyard. The front entrance to the shelter is equipped with an X-ray scanner, hand wand scanner and three security personnel. All floors and public spaces are monitored with cameras, and staff at the operations reception desk will oversee two large video monitors from inside the front lobby.

The De Blasio administration has invested more than $1 billion over the next four years to address homelessness. There are currently 57,237 individuals in the city’s shelter system, including 12,316 single adults

“We’re seeing more single adult women entering our shelter system and we want to ensure we can provide shelter and services – including employment services and clinical services – to these women as they rebuild their lives,” said Ishanee Parikh, city hall deputy press secretary.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, The Courier noticed that guests were still entering and exiting the Verve Hotel.


Avonte Oquendo’s family to hold March for Safety in Long Island City

| amatua@queenscourier.com

File photo

To mark the second anniversary of the death of Avonte Oquendo, an autistic teenager who disappeared from The Riverview School in Long Island City, family members and friends will hold a March for Safety in his honor.

The march will be held on Oct. 10 at Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City from 1 to 3 p.m.

Oquendo,14, managed to run through a side door of the Center Boulevard school on Oct. 4, 2013. After an extensive three-month search, his remains were found washed up in College Point. The teen’s disappearance spurred elected officials to pass several bills including Avonte’s Law, which requires the city’s Department of Education to evaluate if schools should install alarms on their doors. More than 21,000 alarms are expected to be installed in schools across the city.

State Sen. Charles Schumer introduced a separate bill last January also called Avonte’s Law, which will create and fund a program providing voluntary tracking devices and increase support services for families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or any other developmental conditions in which bolting is common. The program would only include children whose parents choose to use the devices.

Oquendo’s family attorney David Perecman said the march will be held to remember the “needless loss of a young life” and to remind the city to “stay the course” and finish installing alarms in each school that needs one. Perecman also said he hopes that the city and Department of Education hold up another requirement of the bill, which mandates that school safety plans and preventative measures are evaluated by the DOE to make sure an incident like this never happens again.

Perecman also said the march will “lend support to what is currently Senator Schumer’s effort to get Avonte’s Law passed on a federal level.”

Vanessa Fontaine, Oquendo’s mother has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, claiming the city, Department of Education and NYPD were neglectful when they allowed the teenager to leave the school unsupervised.


Volunteers set to beautify bike lane in Long Island City

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Transportation

A bike lane in Long Island City is about to get beautified as part of the Department of Transportation’s Barrier Beautification program.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 6, 50 volunteers will head out to a new protected bike lane on Vernon Boulevard between 31st and 40th avenues to paint unique, colorful designs by Parsons School of Design graduate student Jessie Contour.

The volunteers will transform 1,080 feet of concrete barrier from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday, Oct. 9. Employees from the Midtown Community Court Justice system have been assisting with priming the space for the past several days.

Contour has a background in graphic design and illustration and currently works in game design. Her design for the barrier, titled “Jazz Lights,” “aims to relive the energy and fun of the ‘90s through a bold color palette and dynamic repeated pattern,” according to the DOT.

This is the 11th iteration of the program, where 25 sets of barriers spanning 7 miles or 35,110 linear feet have been beautified throughout the five boroughs.


Museum of Stones exhibit rolls into LIC’s Noguchi on Wednesday

| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of the Noguchi Museum

Isamu Noguchi was fascinated by the relationship between rocks and water. The Japanese-American artist, who had a studio in Long Island City until his death in 1988, considered the natural process that shapes stone to be an allegory to the evolution of human civilization.

He’s not alone, as many scientists argue that natural rock formations influenced the birth of modern science, architecture and mathematics.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, the Noguchi Museum, located at 9-01 33rd Rd., will launch Museum of Stones, an exhibition that explores how various artists around the globe delve into the rock-human relationship.

The display will feature roughly 50 sculptures by 30 artists, including Noguchi, MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Janine Antoni, former Guggenheim Fellow Mel Bochner and National Endowment for the Arts grantee Dove Bradshaw.

Bradshaw creates chemical paintings that change with the atmosphere, stone sculptures that weather and crystals that receive telescope signals from Jupiter.

The exposition will also feature 15 Chinese rock-related objects on loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

On display through Jan. 10, 2016, Museum of Stones is the first exhibition in the museum’s history to show pieces by contemporary artists along with original Noguchi works.


Oktoberfest at the LIC Flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@LICFlea

October is here and there is a lot to do over at the LIC Flea & Food.

This weekend kicks off Oktoberfest at the popular Long Island City market, which is located at Fifth Street and 46th Avenue and runs every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through the end of October.

Guests can come and enjoy a pumpkin patch from J&L Farms, sip fall brews from all the Queens breweries offered at the LIC Flea Beer Garden, and enjoy some tunes while chowing down on food from vendors and shopping for unique items.

Breweries offering their selections include Big Alice brewing, Finback Brewery, SingleCut Beer Smiths, Rockaway Beer Company, Queens Brewery, Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, and LIC Beer Project.

On Saturday, HGTV will come by the market once again to film an episode of  “Flea Market Flip.” Visitors can meet Lara Spencer, shop one-of-a-kind furniture and have a chance to be on television.

Later that night in a neighborhood right next door, the Astoria Flea & Food Night Market at Kaufman Astoria Studios will hosts its final night offering the best in food, shopping and all-Queens beer garden. The Astoria market runs from 6 to 11 p.m.

For updates follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.


Stolle café chain hosts grand opening for first US location in LIC

| amatua@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Stolle, which first opened as a restaurant in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2002, is hoping that Americans fall in love with their Eastern European version of pie.

Located in the Falchi Building in Long Island City, the bakery signed a 10-year lease in March to set up in a 2,175-square-foot space that also includes a production room. According to Irina Belska, co-owner of the company bringing the Stolle brand to America, each pie is handmade and the bakery never sells pies made the day before.

“It’s totally different from the pies America knows,” Belska said. “We use all fresh ingredients, no preservatives.”

Patrons will have a wide variety of savory pie fillings to choose from, including cabbage, scallion, potato with mushroom, salmon, chicken and rabbit. Sweet pie fillings include strawberry, raspberry, plum and apricot. Stolle bakery sells both whole pies and pies by the slice.

Belska said her company, Bakery Group LLC, chose this location primarily because they had a good relationship with Jamestown LP, the owner of the Falchi building. The company offered a fair price in a good location, she said.

“When we entered into the new market, it’s very important to have a good working relationship with the landlord because it’s a long relationship,” Belska said.

Belska likened the pies to “grandma’s home cooking” and said people looking to watch their figure should not worry about consuming these pies as they are made with fresh, natural ingredients. The pie connoisseur said she eats a pie every day and people would be “shocked” to see how slim she is.

Though the bakery had a soft opening on Aug. 17, they celebrated the grand opening Wednesday afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and sampling of their offerings. Belska said she is eager for people to try these pies and marvel at their beauty.

“We bake with love each day, fresh and no preservatives and all natural,” Belska said. “All this beauty is done by hand and when you will see it in real life, it’s like in a picture.”


Celebrate National Vodka Day at these LIC cocktail bars

| amatua@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Bear

Vodka lovers will have an excuse to consume their favorite distilled beverage on Oct. 4 as part of National Vodka Day.

The concoction accounts for 20 to 25 percent of spirits sold in North America and passed bourbon as America’s favorite spirit in the 1970s.

Long Island City residents looking to quench their thirst on the holiday have several options:

Bear, a Ukranian restaurant located at 12-14 31st Ave., offers several daily specials and a complimentary Bloody Mary with every entrée. Sasha Pogrebinsky, head mixologist and beverage director, creates handcrafted vodka infusions and cocktails with fresh, local ingredients. The St. Dill and the Classic Pogrebinsky were created at the LIC restaurant and can be found in bars around the world.

The St. Dill mixes mustard seeds, dill sprigs and a snappy kosher dill set in vodka to create a twist on the classic dirty martini. The Classic Pogrebinsky is the only cocktail in the United States that uses birch sap, according to Pogrebinsky.

“Growing up as a kid in Kiev Natasha and I used to run through birch forests and play games, we used to drink fresh birch sap – which tastes like lightly sweet water, freshly tapped,” Pogrebinsky said. “And we’d chew on the inside of the birch tree, which was sweet, and edible.   This cocktail is classic, it is refined, and I named it after my family name, because it is unique.”

Dutch Kills, located at 27-24 Jackson Ave., offers a vodka gimlet with vodka, fresh lime juice and simple syrup, the Vodka Fix, which substitutes the lime juice with lemon juice, and a Moscow Mule with lime juice, house-made ginger syrup and soda water.

The Standing Room, a cocktail bar and comedy club where comedians like “The Daily Show” correspondent Ricky Velez are set to perform, offers signature libations that incorporate natural elements, such as flowers, cucumbers, bell peppers, beets, smoke and fire. It is located at 47-38 Vernon Blvd.

Visit the National Vodka Day website for more information about the holiday and for a history lesson on the spirit.


Suspect wanted in gunpoint robbery of cab driver in LIC

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a suspect wanted for the robbery of a cab driver in Long Island City last month.

The suspect got into the yellow cab on Aug. 30 in Manhattan at 46th Street and Fifth Avenue at noon, according to authorities.

He then requested to go to 45th Road and 23th Street, and upon the taxi’s arrival, he threatened the 33-year-old driver with a gun and demanded money, police said. The victim complied, and the suspect was able to flee with an undetermined amount of money.

Officers from the 108th Precinct responded. There were no reported injuries, and the suspect’s photo was captured from a dashboard camera in the cab.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls and messages are kept confidential.


LIC property across from former 5Pointz site hits the market for $34M

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo via PropertyShark by Scott Binter

A development site across the street from what was once home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz in Long Island City is up for sale.

The property, located at 45-57 Davis St., is going for $34 million and is located within M1-5, R7-3, and Long Island City zoning districts, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the real estate firm in charge of selling the site.

The location holds approximately 108,000 square feet of buildable space on a 216-foot-by-100-foot lot.

A two-story building currently stands at the site, containing approximately 19,912 square feet on the three tax lots. The site is conveniently located near several subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

“This site is situated directly across the street from 5Pointz and many of the major new developments in the neighborhood,” said Stephen R. Preuss of Cushman & Wakefield, who is exclusively marketing this property with David Chkheidze.

“This pocket of Long Island City gives a developer the opportunity to be situated near many of the developments that will drastically change the landscape of the area,” Chkheidze added.


LIC warehouse, office building next to Long Island Expressway up for sale

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Property Shark/Scott Bintner

Offers are being accepted for a warehouse and office building in Long Island City that’s valuable for more than just its real estate.

The two-story structure at 34-10 Borden Ave., offered by Cushman & Wakefield, sits on an irregular, 8,977-square-foot lot adjacent to the Long Island Expressway (LIE) between the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and Van Dam Street exit. It is currently home to a scrap metal business.

With hundreds of thousands of drivers passing by it daily, the location is prime for advertising. It already has a fully functioning and permitted 12-foot-by-16-foot LED sign and two 20-foot-by-48-foot billboards, though the billboards currently lack proper permits.

“The advertising available on this building provides tremendous value for a user to have their brand displayed to a strong daily audience on Borden Avenue and the Long Island Expressway,” said David Chkheidze of Cushman & Wakefield. “The LED sign alone has drawn serious interest.”

Any and all reasonable offers are being considered; the city’s 2015-16 assessed value for the location is $459,769, with a tax liability of $49,122.

The site is located in a M1-1 manufacturing zone, which permits the site’s use for light industrial purposes including woodworking shops, repair shops and storage facilities; offices, hotels and retail space are also permitted as-of-right.


Corona man arrested for drunk driving on LIRR tracks in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of MTA PD

This guy took joy riding to a whole new level.

Ronny Mora, 25, of Corona was arrested Sunday night for allegedly driving his car while intoxicated on LIRR tracks in Long Island City and only coming to a stop after his car burst into flames upon striking a third rail, authorities said.

According to a criminal complaint, police were informed by a LIRR employee that on Sept. 20 between 10:45 and 11:43 p.m. he saw a 2011 Nissan Juke enter the train yard at the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. The employee added that he then saw the car drive eastbound on the track for about 3.25 miles.

The employee then saw the vehicle stop, and a man – later identified as Mora – exited the car and walked westbound on the track, authorities said.

Police then responded to a call of a vehicle stalled on the track and upon arrival saw the vehicle on fire.

A supervisor of transportation for the LIRR informed police that the train yard is enclosed by a fence to prevent intruders.

Cops later saw Mora sitting on the side of the tracks inside the train yard near the intersection of Borden Avenue and 11th Street. An officer noticed that Mora had bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, according to the criminal complaint.

The 25-year-old then allegedly admitted, “I had one beer, I drove my car onto the track, I’m sorry. I saw it sparking so I left.”

Mora was taken to the 112th Precinct stationhouse in Forest Hills, where he was administered an Intoxilyzer exam that indicated he had a blood alcohol level of 0.164 percent, well above the legal 0.08 limit.

According to the MTA, the fire forced the LIRR to suspend service between Penn Station and Jamaica for almost three hours while the FDNY extinguished the flames and LIRR personnel repaired the third rail – which suffered damages exceeding $1,500 and create a risk for serious injury to passengers on trains.

Mora faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and leaving the scene of an incident without reporting property damage.