Tag Archives: Long Island City

Home run at the Flea


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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The LIC Flea & Food will hit a home run this weekend with a super sweet lineup.

First, the popular Long Island City market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will continue to celebrate the opening of the LIC Flea Beer Garden.
Beer will be available for $2 from 4:30 to 5 p.m. with an LIC Flea purchase. The beer garden, which offers selections from SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and Rockaway Brewing Company as well as wine, is set up along the basin in the back of the market with views of the Manhattan skyline and outdoor seating. Beer enthusiasts will also have the ability to meet the owners of the local breweries featured and learn about the beer-making process.

For sports lovers, former Mets player William Hayward “Mookie” Wilson will be at the flea market signing and promoting his book “Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets.”

HGTV will be making its return the LIC Flea to film another episode of its show “Flea Market Flip” with host Lara Spencer, co-anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Each week on the show, 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.

Finally, to end the weekend on a sweet note, the market will host a Sweets Festival with voting by judges and LIC Flea visitors to name the best sweets vendors. So far, participating vendors include A Spoonful of Brownies, Brookies Cookies, Bibingka-esk, Ice & Vice, Mom & Popsicles, Petalouda Bakery, Sweet Muse and Cassey’s Cookies & Cobblers.
LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will run through the end of the year.

For more information visit www.licflea.com or www.facebook.com/licflea.

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Silvercup Studios seeking permit approvals again for delayed expansion


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

The stalled Silvercup West development, a planned $1 billion expansion of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City just south of the Queensboro Bridge, is back in the spotlight — for special permit renewals.

The land use committee of Community Board 2 is reviewing the application and is expected to bring the matter to a full board vote in the next public meeting on Oct. 2.

The permits are for various design elements in the project, including a proposed 1,400-space parking garage, which was granted three years ago, but has expired since.

A representative for Silvercup at a recent community board committee meeting said they expect to get the approvals quickly without issues, because of past consents.

The Silvercup West plan first debuted about eight years ago with tons of media coverage. The project includes eight new soundstage studios as part of a larger 2.2 million-square-foot complex containing an office tower, high-rise apartment towers with 1,000 residences, retail space, a catering hall and cultural space.

The community board, the borough president, City Planning and the City Council all gave their blessings for the land use case of the project in 2006, and it was supposed to be completed by 2010, according to published reports.

However, the project is being held up by New York Power Authority (NYPA) generators on the site, which have to be decommissioned and removed. The generators, which have 150-foot smoke stacks on each one, are sitting on three acres of land.

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Silvercups’ plan to restore the near century-old landmarked terracotta building at 42-10 Vernon Blvd. have been proceeding well, according to a spokesman, and other plans are seeing movement as well, but the generators are stopping progression.

“We have worked with DEC on getting plans approved for remediation, and have gotten Army Corps approval to install a new bulkhead,” spokesman Russ Colchamiro said. “However, we cannot proceed with the project unitl the NYPA generators are removed.”

If the permits are renewed by the board, the application moves to City Planning for review.

View more renderings and information for the project here.

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LIC woman co-creates web series on living in New York City apartments


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of "Common Charges"

One new web series is opening the doors to what it is like to be a tenant in a New York City apartment building.

“Common Charges,” co-created by actors Alison Whitney from Long Island City and Jonathan Zipper of Manhattan, is a series that follows six couples living in a fictional building called The Breaston.

In approximately five-minute confessional-style episodes, the series shows the reactions each pair has to the building’s policies, rules, problems and neighbors.

“It was a unique story we needed to tell, with plenty of ‘only in New York’ experiences to draw from,” Whitney said.

The tenants include a gay couple, a man and his mail-order bride, newlyweds, “unlikely besties,” an on-again, off-again couple and the building’s superintendent, according to creators, who also star in the series.

Krista and Dan

“In New York City you have all sorts of people coming together and living together,” said Whitney, who has lived in a Long Island City condominium for eight years.

Both Whitney and Zipper said they used their own experiences of living in apartment buildings to create “Common Charges” and relate to viewers.

“New York City is so densely populated and everyone lies on top of one another,” said Zipper, who grew up living in apartments his whole life and believes it has been an integral part of who he has grown up to be. “Everyone’s bound to form an opinion on everyone and everything in the building.”

All seven episodes of the series, described as “an improvised comedy about big personalities living in small spaces,” were filmed in May at a hotel in Manhattan.

“For us, we really want people to connect with the concept and feel a little bit, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there,’” Zipper said.


The series will premiere at the 9th Annual Independent Television and Film Festival (ITVFest) in Vermont later this month and then be shown at the Miami Web Fest in October. It has also been selected for the ATL Web Fest in Atlanta.

The creators said they are currently working on a plan to have an official release of the episodes.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CommonChargesTV or follow @CommonCharges on Twitter.

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First Queens Art Intervention Day to offer interactive projects throughout borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by RPGA Studios

Communities throughout Queens are set for an artistic intervention, looking to inspire, educate and empower residents and feed the pulse of the borough.

The nonprofit studio Rego Park Green Alliance, which uses creative methods to address community issues, will host the first Queens Art Intervention Day on Sept. 27 throughout the borough from Long Island City to the Rockaways.

“We see something that we are not happy with and we try to think about how we can fix it in a creative way,” said Yvonne Shortt, who started the studio and is currently the executive director.

The day-long event, which has a rain date for Oct. 4, will feature a total of 30 projects including murals, art installations, performance pieces, hands-on programs, and many more creative activities taking place outdoors in Astoria, LIC, Kew Gardens, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Laurelton, Corona, Whitestone and the Rockaways.

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“We want our borough to be seen as a place that people want to come and do interesting things,” Shortt said. “We hope this will help Queens continue to grow and continue to thrive and not just have one spot thought of as artistic and creative.”

According to Shortt, along with being visually appealing, the pieces will also serve to bring about change and to get community members thinking about certain issues.

For example, posters for one project called “Stat Girl” depict a super hero displaying statistics on traffic accidents that have occurred on Queens Boulevard in the past two years. The posters will be put up all day down the thoroughfare.

stat girl photo by RPGA Studios

“We would love for people to stop and engage,” Shortt said. “It’s really about the communities themselves to find some inspiration and advocate for better communities.”

Shortt said that although there were over 160 submissions this year, funding, provided solely by Shortt, only allowed for 25 projects to be part of the event. In the future, she hopes to expand the event to more days and many more communities in the borough.

“There’s an active pulse throughout the borough of Queens and I’m very excited to help it move forward. I feel that if you have ideas and are willing to push it forward, that Queens is a very inviting borough.” Shortt said. “We’re showing the vitality of Queens.”

For more information and the full list of projects for Queens Art Intervention Day, click here.

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TF Cornerstone fully leases final LIC waterfront building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of TF Cornerstone

TF Cornerstone’s sixth and final building overlooking the waterfront along Center Boulevard in Long Island City is fully leased, just five months after it began welcoming residents.

The real estate firm announced Monday that the 26-story luxury tower 4610 Center Boulevard, known for curving around the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign, filled its 584 units, which range from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

More than 6,000 people now call the TF Cornerstone buildings on the LIC waterfront (comprising 2,615 rental units and 184 condominiums on Center Boulevard) home, according to the company.

“We’ve spent the last 12 years not only building and leasing buildings along the LIC waterfront, but also immersing ourselves in the community and growing to love the neighborhood just as much as our residents do,” said Sofia Estevez, executive vice president for TF Cornerstone. “The lease-up of this building is a true testament to the vibrancy of this area, and we look forward to our next chapter of development in LIC.”

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Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Pier 1 at Gantry Plaza State Park in Long Island CIty

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Q&A: Modern Spaces CEO explains real estate in LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

Eric Benaim founded real estate firm Modern Spaces in Long Island City in 2008, and within a handful of years led the explosion of residential interest in the neighborhood. Over the years, he expanded the company from LIC to Astoria, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and recently, Modern Spaces announced the launching of its commercial and investment property division, tapping into another side of the market.

In a question-and-answer session with The Courier, Benaim explained the current status of real estate in Long Island City and the transformation of the neighborhood.

Courier: How did you get inspired to start working in Long Island City?

Benaim: I guess I was always a Queens boy, and I started focusing in LIC back in 2005. I was a broker focusing mostly in Manhattan and at the time there were pretty much no brokers in the neighborhood over here, so I figured I would try to make this my niche. Just walking around you see the views of Manhattan, you see there’s a lot of potential over here and I stuck with it, and obviously it paid off. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since 2005.

Courier: Did you really think it [the transformation of LIC] would happen so quickly?

Benaim: No. Literally, from my window I see cranes everywhere, and it’s just crazy to see my skyline changing every day.

Courier: What is the real estate market in LIC like now?

Benaim: There is a lot of development. There was not that many condos being developed over the last couple of years, but condos are about to come back strong. We are seeing a lot of condo projects that are going to be coming online probably by first and second quarter of next year. And in regards to rental projects, a lot developers are doing stuff now whereas before it was predominately TF Cornerstone and Rockrose. now you are seeing a lot of big developers coming into the neighborhood that were never here before.

Courier: Why do you think there is a switch from rentals to condos?

Benaim: Because land prices have gone up a lot and when land prices go up so much it just doesn’t make sense to do a rental because the return on your investment does not really pay out. So it just makes more sense financially to do a condo rather than a rental. Rental projects that are coming along, these are projects sites that were acquired probably a year or more ago when land prices were a little more affordable than they are now.

Courier: Is LIC already a successful live, work and play community?

Benaim: I think [live, work, and play] has been established here. I remember when I first started showing clients around the neighborhood, there really wasn’t anything here. Not even a supermarket. Now we have three supermarkets already, and a fourth is opening up at the LINC, the Rockrose project in Court Square. There are a whole lot of restaurants— you know, restaurants open up here every week and now we are seeing more and more boutiques and stores opening up. Pretty much everything you need is here now. And regarding play, so we do have the bars and the night life now and LIC is a huge cultural destination. We have the LIC Arts Open, the Taste of LIC, MoMA PS1, the Chocolate Factory Theater and the LIC Flea. So there’s really a lot to do as well.

Courier: What has spurred you to go into the commercial side?

Benaim: We’ve done a little commercial these past few years, mostly like retail leasing. But a lot of our clients, whether it’s landlords who we’re doing their rentals for in walk-ups or if it’s a developer who we’re marketing their building or working with them, they never really came to us in the past, because they knew us as being residential brokers. So it was kind of like business that we lost out on. And it just seemed like the right time. Queens as a whole is in the spotlight right now and there’s not really a commercial company that can offer commercial services but still insight in the residential market.

Courier: What is the next neighborhood that has potential?

Benaim: We do see a lot of potential in Astoria, and other areas like Woodside, Sunnyside, Flushing and areas like Rego Park, where we just opened up a building called The Rego Modern. We rented 10 in the first open house [at The Rego Modern] and for high prices also, which they weren’t used to seeing. So that just shows that there is a lot of interest in Queens. Being a Queens boy myself it’s just nice to see that Queens is getting the spotlight that Brooklyn had stolen from us.

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Report: Queens rental prices drop in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

The fluctuating Queens rental market saw a decrease in prices in August, after increases in July, according to the “Queens Rental Market Report” by MNS Real Estate.

Average rents throughout the borough dropped 3.74 percent from $2,113 in July to $2,034 in August, the report stated.

The report focused on several neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

The biggest changes occurred in studio apartments in Ridgewood, where prices dropped 43.5 percent — about $848 — to $1,100, the least expensive rental price for any type of apartment in the borough. The average price of a studio in the borough is $1,550, according to the report.

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Also, two-bedroom units in Jackson Heights dipped 26.12 percent to $1,841 from $2,494 in July, a decrease of $653.

“Smaller neighborhoods in Queens are seeing slower progression, however more new developments are scheduled to open their doors in the coming months offering high-end amenities and exceptional convenience,” the report said. “As is evident from the overall decrease in prices this month Queens is expected to have up and down monthly fluctuations, but long-term projections have prices increasing steadily.”

Flushing had the largest decrease in overall average rents with 7.47 percent. Two-bedroom units in Flushing experienced a fall of 17.8 percent from $2,599 in July to $2,136 in August.

The biggest increase was in Ridgewood, where prices for one-bedroom apartments rose 15.3 percent or $260 to $1,960.

Prices in Astoria and Long Island City remained fairly stable, although dropped slightly, according to the report.

Click here to view the full report.

 

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Former Community Board 2 district manager Dolores Rizzotto passes away


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rizzotto family

Dolores Rizzotto, former district manager of Community Board 2 for more than 15 years, died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to CB2 chair Joseph Conley.

Rizzotto, who chaired CB2 for more than 15 years, was 70.

“Dolores served the City of New York in many capacities but none so important as her role in our community as district manager,” Conley said. “Dolores worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for so many. Dolores will be sorely missed for her wisdom, compassion, sense of humor and leadership. Dolores was a true friend to all and an expert in helping so many.”

Rizzotto, a lifelong Corona resident who recently moved to Florida, retired in 2006 from CB2, which serves Long Island City, Woodside and Sunnyside. Rizzotto would travel back and forth between Queens and Florida visiting family and friends.

She is survived by her two sons, Michael and Robert, and two grandchildren, Anthony and Thomas.

A wake will be held at Edward Guida Funeral Home, located at 47-20 104th St. in Corona. Visitations hours will be Sept. 18 from 7 to 9 p.m., and Sept. 19 from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral mass will be on Sept. 20 at 10:45 a.m. at St. Leo’s Roman Catholic Church, located at 104-05 49th Ave. Rizzotto will be buried at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.

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Mixed-use manufacturing and residential building planned for LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

Plans for a new five-story, mixed-use residential and manufacturing building were filed for 40-05 Crescent St. in Long Island City.

The structure will house 32 apartments in 25,018 square feet of residential space, according to records with the Department of Buildings.

The building will also include 11,415 square feet of manufacturing space.

Crescent Owners LLC, which owns the one-story manufacturing building currently on the lot, also filed for 48 enclosed parking spaces.

T.F. Cusanelli and Filletti Architects are designing the building.

 

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Stavisky, Markey, Sanders win primary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

Three incumbent Queens elected officials have easily taken the win in the Democratic primary.

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky, who was first elected to the state Senate in 1999 and is the only female member of the state Senate from Queens, won the race with 4,981 votes, holding onto 57.3 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

The Forest Hills resident ran against S.J. Jung, a Flushing resident, activist and president of the MinKwon Center for Community Action.

Assemblywoman Margaret Markey also won the primary with 1,880 votes and 75.2 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results. She has represented the 30th Assembly District, comprised of Maspeth, Woodside and parts of Long Island City, Middle Village, Astoria and Sunnyside, since 1998.

In the race for the 10th District, state Sen. James Sanders Jr., who was elected in 2012, took the win with 5,898 votes and 74.5 percent of the votes, according to unofficial results.

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

In other statewide elections, incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily defeated his two competitors at 61.7 percent with 93.2 percent of the precincts reporting, according to unofficial results. His running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Kathy Hochul, also took the win with 59.7 percent of the votes. 

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Beer garden coming to LIC Flea & Food


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

Visitors will now be able to raise a glass at the LIC Flea & Food.

This Saturday, the popular Long Island City market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will debut the LIC Flea Beer Garden with outdoor seating set up along the basin in the back of the market with views of the Manhattan skyline.

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Only artisanal beer made by Queens breweries will be served, along with wine. The breweries include SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and Rockaway Brewing Company, which is located just across the street from the LIC Flea.

FINBACK_logo_A2“We are really excited to showcase all that Queens has to offer from amazing vendors to now breweries that are making top-quality beer right here in the borough,” said Joshua Schneps, LIC Flea & Food president. “This fits in with our mission to attract people to Long Island City and Queens.”

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The LIC Flea Beer Garden will be opened every Saturday and Sunday during the hours of the flea market. Astoria Flea & Food has moved to Long Island City through the end of the year.

For beer enthusiasts, owners of the local breweries featured will be on hand to talk about the beer-making process. 

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This weekend, Sept. 13 and 14, beer will be $2 from 4:30 to 5 p.m., while supplies last. 

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will run through the end of the year.

For more information visit www.licflea.com or www.facebook.com/licflea.

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LIC Flea returns Saturdays and Sundays with Fashion Weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

The LIC Flea & Food is celebrating in style this weekend.

In the spirit of New York Fashion Week, the popular Long Island City flea market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will be hosting the LIC Flea Fashion Weekend.

On both Saturday and Sunday, the market will be showcasing fashion, jewelry and accessories including vintage, hand-crafted, curated items and fashion trucks. The items come from vendors such as Zachary Alexander, Jewel Dripped, The Nomad Truck, Baazar à GoGo, Crimson Boudoir Burlesque Boutique, Dr3am3r, Gypsy a GoGo, Queens 88, Vivian Jewelry, Destin 2 Wear, Imran Jewels, Vallnez Mozelli, Green Pink LTD and Paradox Thrift.

Awards will be given to winners chosen by a panel of judges and visitors.

Even though the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios came to an end last Sunday, some of the great vendors from the market will be making the move to Long Island City to continue offering their products.

LIC Flea & Food, which has only been open Saturdays after the Astoria Flea opened in May, will now be open every Saturday and Sunday once again from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will run through the end of October.

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

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LIC’s Secret Theatre to stay open after surpassing fundraising goal


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Orestes Gonzalez

The show will go on at one Long Island City theatre thanks to a successful online fundraising campaign.

Last month Richard Mazda, founder of the Secret Theatre, located at 44-02 23rd St., started an Indiegogo campaign looking to raise enough money to help keep the doors of the theatre open.

The fundraising site came after Mazda said the theatre had to deal with financial difficulties starting in late 2012 after the Department of Buildings (DOB) found the landlord’s certificate of occupancy was out of date.

The goal of the Indiegogo campaign, which ends Sept. 4 at 11:59 p.m., was set at $10,000, and as of Thursday afternoon $10,860 had been raised.

“I feel really good about it,” Mazda said about seeing the overwhelming amount of support. “Coming out and saying we’re in trouble was not easy. I feel very luck that so many people did rush to help.”

The Secret Theatre opened in 2007 and has since produced weekly children’s theatre shows, held classes for students, provided coaching services, produced in-house shows and co-produced productions.

Along with raising the money to pay for expenses, Mazda also said the funds will go toward renovations such as putting a restroom inside the Little Theatre, which had to be moved to an alternative spot in the 23rd Street building after violations were found by the DOB.

He also hopes to turn the theatre into a nonprofit organization.

Mazda said he plans to start the Queens Theatre Fund, a small organization which brings together the Queens theatre community to create funding for “exceptional and emergency circumstances,” such as the one in which the Secret Theatre found itself.

“I tried to be very transparent and sincere and a lot of people have said to me that what I was saying to them hit home. They understood from the way that I communicated the message,” Mazda said about the overall fundraising experience. “I think they realized the Secret Theatre is a resource for the community.”

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Riders happy but cautious as G train service returns between LIC and Brooklyn


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Commuters breathed sighs of relief as the G train began rolling into Long Island City once again.

For five consecutive weeks this summer, the subway line was not running between the Court Square station in Long Island City and the Nassau Avenue stop in Brooklyn due to repairs being made to damaged tubes flooded during Hurricane Sandy, according to the MTA.

“The dedication of transit personnel in rebuilding the Greenpoint Tubes and ensuring safe, reliable G train service for our customers is part of our continuing efforts to reinforce the system’s infrastructure and safeguard the most vulnerable areas of our subway system for decades to come,” said NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco.

Regular weekday service on the G train resumed between the stops on Tuesday, making many train riders happy to use the line once again.

Jackson Heights resident Elizabeth Gutierrez was excited to be able to once again ride the G train, which she uses to get to her job in Brooklyn. However, she says she is slightly worried the line will be suspended once again in the future.

“It’s really nice to have something back that I depend on for work so much, but I just hope this whole thing was for something,” Gutierrez said. “I’m just afraid in a few months it’ll happen again.”

Sam Lancet, a Long Island City resident, said he was happy the line was back and running but is also concerned about other subway lines being suspended.
“I’m really happy that now I can just hop back on the G, but you never know what other train will go out of service next,” Lancet said.

During the G train suspensions, which began on July 25, the MTA provided shuttle buses for riders between Long Island City and Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

“To be honest I enjoyed the buses more; they were on time mostly,” said Long Island City resident Gerry Hughes. “But I am still happy the G is back, finally. That summer was too long.”

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