Tag Archives: Long Island City

Pair robbed in LIC park


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops are looking for two suspects who robbed a man and a woman at gunpoint in a Long Island City park.

The victims, both 22, were at Murray Playground, located on 45th Avenue and 21st Street, at about 2:10 a.m. on Sept. 15 when the robbery occurred, authorities said.

The two male suspects approached the victims, pulled out a gun and demanded money from them, police said. They then took a Samsung Galaxy cell phone, a debit card and $5 in cash from the man, and an iPhone and debit card from the woman.

Police have released a photo of one of the suspects using the male victim’s debit card at a Bank of America ATM at 2680 Broadway in Manhattan.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Real estate roundup: 5Pointz demolition progress


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jeremiah's Vanishing New York

5Pointz Falling

“You can see the destruction as you roll past on the 7 Train, looking down into rubble. And get a closer look on the ground, through a grimy plastic window in the plywood demolition fence.” Read more [Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York]

5Pointz Demo

Queens’ ‘Forgotten River’ Looks Ahead to Cleanup and Change

“The 12th hole of the Pitch ‘N Putt Golf Course in Flushing Meadows Park might seem like an odd place to contemplate the future of New York City’s coastline. But if you stand there long enough, you might begin to see things.” Read more [Curbed]

New Ozone Park Public School Set to Open in Sept. 2017

“The city School Construction Authority indicated last week that the new public school designated to be built on an empty lot in Ozone Park is approximately 60 percent of the way through the design phase.” Read more [The Forum] 

Report: Long Island City, Astoria rental prices fall, borough prices jump slightly


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

Prices are cooling off in the hot Long Island City rental market as values for studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments have dropped considerably since May, according to the September Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Studio prices in the neighborhood have fallen for four consecutive months, from an average of $2,602 in May to $2,293 in September, the report found, while one-bedroom apartments dropped an average of $90 since May. Two-bedrooms in the neighborhood increased slightly in September, but still remain more than $235 less than May’s prices.

The decrease in prices in the neighborhood are due to “a result of a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, which also pointed out that Long Island City still accounts for the highest average rents in the borough in all categories.

Overall rent prices in Queens increased slightly at 0.63 percent to $2,047 in September from $2,034 in August, while apartment inventory also jumped seven percent to 631 units.

However, Astoria, much like its neighbor on the waterfront, saw overall rent prices drop despite trending up in recent months. The overall average rents decreased 5.35 percent in the neighborhood during the month, the biggest decrease in Queens.

Studios saw a notable drop in Astoria, falling 11.04 percent or $205 during the month from $1,860 in August to $1,655 in September.

ASTORIA

A surprising increase came to Rego Park, as studios in the neighborhood stopped months of falling and dramatically increased 17.67 percent to $1,559 in September. The increase, which was exclusive to studios in the neighborhood, is a result of new luxury developments, the study found.

“A notable growth spurt continues to take place in Rego Park,” the report said. “This is the result of newly available units in high-end new developments and conversions led by The Contour at 97-45 Queens Blvd. and, more recently, The Rego Modern at 99-39 66th Ave.”

STUDIO REPORT

The neighborhood with the largest decrease of the month is Flushing, where one-bedroom apartments saw a stark drop of 12.88 percent or more than $220 from $1,762 in August to $1,535 in September.

Click here to see the full report.

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Real estate roundup: Councilman Van Bramer against Sunnyside Yards development, converted factories prosper in LIC


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Map courtesy of Bing Maps

Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks.” Read more [LIC Post]

Transformed Factories Prosper in LIC’s Development Boom

“The renowned Scalamandre Silks company once dyed silks for the Kennedy White House and the Hearst Castle where Scott Kushner and his 10 employees now produce videos and reality shows. At the start of this year, after working out of Manhattan for 20 years, Mr. Kushner moved MediaPlace into a section of the bottom floor of the industrial warehouse developer Time Equities has fashioned into today’s Silks Building in Long Island City.” Read more [Commercial Observer]

Far Rockaway Job Fair Brings Sandy Rebuilding Work to Area

“A job fair will look to connect residents with Hurricane Sandy-related rebuilding and resiliency work. The Oct. 15 fair in Far Rockaway is organized by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Recovery Operations, Workforce1 and other city agencies to help get residents hired on rebuilding projects.” Read more [DNAinfo]

Serial Queens bank robber strikes again: cops


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect wanted in eight bank robberies and two attempted heists around Queens over the past two years.

The latest incident occurred on Saturday at approximately 2:50 p.m. at a Chase Bank on Grand Avenue in Maspeth, cops said. During the robbery, the suspect passed a demand note while displaying a firearm. The suspect left with $5,170.

A previous incident happened on Aug. 30 at 12:40 p.m. when the suspect entered The Dimes Savings Bank, located at 77-23 27th Ave. in Flushing, while similarly passing a demand note to a bank teller and displaying a firearm. He walked away with $1,300.

The other robberies, which date back to July 2012, took place in the Kew GardensLong Island CityAstoriaEast Elmhurst and Middle Village areas of the borough, officials said. In the suspect’s most successful theft, on Dec. 12, 2012 at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave., he fled with $12,400, cops said.

Police describe the suspect as Hispanic, 30 to 35 years old, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds.

Authorities have released a photo of the suspect from the July 22 attempted robbery and a June 7 robbery at a Chase Bank at 77-01 31st Ave.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Another luxury Long Island City building 100 percent leased


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of MNS Real Estate

One more residential building in Long Island City has sold out.

MNS Real Estate announced Tuesday that in just five months the property on 46-09 11 St. has been fully leased.

The six-story Ekstein Development building has 59 luxury apartments designed by GF55 Partners. Prices start at $1,823 per month for a studio, $2,515 for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,646 for a two-bedroom.

The building features panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline, a common courtyard for residents, on-site parking, a fitness center and rooftop terrace.

About three weeks ago, TF Cornerstone announced it had completed leasing for 46-10 Center Boulevard, the firm’s sixth and final waterfront building, which also took about five months to fill up.

And MNS also completed 50 percent leasing for 26-14 Jackson Ave. about a week ago.

Take a look at more pictures of 46-09 11 St. in the gallery below.

 

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Q&A: Modern Spaces VP explains Long Island City commercial market


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Evan Daniel

Evan Daniel joined Modern Spaces in August as the executive vice president of the firm’s new commercial property division. Before landing at the Long Island City-based real estate company, Daniel worked with Massey Knakal since 2006, covering Long Island City and Astoria. Daniel, who has been married for almost a decade and has two children, also enjoys coaching basketball to seventh- and eighth-grade children at Yeshiva of Central Queens.

In a question-and-answer session with The Courier, Daniel explained the current status of the commercial market in Long Island City and the problems it faces. 

Courier: What is the status of the commercial market in Long Island City?

Daniel: “White-hot and crazy. It doesn’t make sense. We are seeing land values that have literally tripled in a year. We shot passed $200 [per buildable square foot] earlier this year and in the best parts of Long Island City you’re seeing $225, $230, $250, and quite frankly people look at it as a bargain. Some people just look at Long Island City as a comparison to Williamsburg and they say ‘Well, in Williamsburg we’re paying $300 or $400 a buildable square foot.’ In Manhattan it’s over a $1,000. So in Long Island City, it looks cheap.”

Courier: Who is investing into the market?

Daniel: “The money coming into Long Island City is mostly foreign capital right now. I’m on the phone almost every night with investors from Shanghai, and they’re 12 hours ahead so you know what, they start their day 8:30 a.m. in the morning, that’s when I’m finishing my day, 8:30 p.m.”

Courier: How are these foreign investments affecting the market?

Daniel: “It keeps prices arbitrarily high. I can tell you the numbers today are much higher than what they should be and there is a lot of product coming on the market and I think right now a lot of speculation. I think there is going to be some sort of correction in the market where these numbers will come back to Earth a little. They probably already would have, if not for the influx of foreign capital.”

Courier: What would you tell someone that owns property in Long Island City now?

Daniel: “I don’t think we are going to $300 a buildable foot. My advice to sellers or owners if you have a development site is to build up when you have financing available, find a partner to build with you or sell it to somebody who is going to build.”

Courier: Now that more people are living in Long Island City, do you see more office and retail developments coming?

Daniel: “If you moved into this market with the first wave of developments six or seven years ago, it was dead at night and weekends. You’re starting to see more influx of retail. We need to see more big-box retail. Retail definitely will come and it should be able to come, because now you have so many people here and you have tremendous amount of jobs, and employees are here during the day, so now you can sustain retail.

“Office is difficult to say. Because it’s needed and it should happen and we are going to get a tremendous amount of demand we hope in the next couple of years as Roosevelt Island continues to build the Cornell Tech campus and that is going to create a lot of tech jobs and more creative jobs instead of more intensive labor jobs. The question is where are they going to go? Because there is no new construction of new office space and there is no incentive for developers to build new office space, because new office space is not as valuable as residential. So if I have a residential zoned area and I am a developer and I now have to pay $200 a buildable square foot, I can’t justify doing an office building. I will make less money on my office building than I would on my rental building.”

Courier: What must happen to get developers building more office space?

Daniel: “The city needs to figure out some sort of incentive to developers, whatever it may be, for somebody to build new offices. If [Long Island City] had these offices it will keep people here and it’ll give people incentive to stay here or come here, which will help the overall market. You will have your office market, you will have your retail market, and you will have your residential market, and they’ll all be in one mini-city in LIC.”

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New Yorkers brave rain for LIC Instagram meetup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via @jnsilva/Instagram

Even through the downpour, Instagrammers flocked to Long Island City for an early morning celebration this weekend.

Just two days before Instagram’s four-year anniversary, members of the photo-sharing app met up in different cities around the world on Saturday to snap mobile photos and share stories for the 10th Worldwide Instameet using the hashtag #WWIM10.

According to organizers, about 70 Instagrammers from the tri-state area put on their rain boots, got out their umbrellas and met up bright and early Saturday at the Pepsi Sign in Gantry Plaza State Park.

Photographers David Krugman and Jose Silva captured the moment on their separate Instagram profiles. Both accounts also feature short videos of the day.

“Torrential rain couldn’t hold us down,” wrote Silva in one photo showing the group of Instagrammers standing in the rain at Hunter’s Point South Park, right next to Gantry Plaza.

For more photos check out Krugman and Silva on Instagram.

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Downtown Jamaica commercial portfolio near trains selling for $6.2M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

A mostly vacant row of buildings in the heart of downtown Jamaica with lots of room to build up has been listed for $6.2 million, according to Modern Spaces, which is marketing the properties.

The listing includes four lots with two-story attached buildings beginning at 97-01 to 97-09 Sutphin Blvd., and is the first listing in Jamaica for the new commercial division of Modern Spaces, which is based in Long Island City. Currently, a church occasionally uses part of the building for service and a deli is another tenant.

The properties have about 10,000 square feet combined, but nearly 50,000 square feet of buildable space, according to Evan Daniel, executive vice president of Modern Spaces’ commercial division.

The building has a C4-5X zoning, and could be demolished, Daniel said.

He added that it is a likely possibility that developers could buy with the intention to build up since the buildings are placed in an attractive location.

The E and J subway lines and the Jamaica LIRR station are just three blocks away, meaning it’s just a short train ride to Manhattan. The AirTrain to John F. Kennedy Airport is also just a few blocks away as well, and downtown Jamaica has lots of foot traffic because of the huge amount of retail in the area.

The property is owned by 901 Honeywell LLC, which could make a substantial profit after purchasing the buildings back in 2007 for $3.4 million, city records show.

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LIC poet set to release second book


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mike Geffner

One Long Island City resident has turned her heartache into poetry and will soon be releasing her second book.

Audrey Dimola, who has been living in the western Queens neighborhood all her life, is set to release her book “Traversals,” a collection of poetry and prose, on Nov. 3.

Unlike her first book called “Decisions We Make While We Dream,” a collection spanning 12 years of poetry and prose released in 2012, her new book reflects on specific events in her life that took place between the fall of 2011 and present day.

“That’s why I ended up calling it ‘Traversals’ because it ends up being about the journey, survival and going through heartbreak, going through loss and losing yourself and then finding yourself,” Dimola said. “My motto after that became to turn your ache into art.”

In the 176-page self-published book, Dimola uses poetry and prose to reflect on the hardships she faced in losing a loved one, ending a long-term relationship and then growing from the obstacles.

“It makes me pull back and realize that everything has a purpose and everything happens for a reason. And I wouldn’t be in this wonderful place that I am in right now if all those things wouldn’t have happened,” Dimola said. “I hope to be able to help other people.”

BOOK - promo shot

The poet also said putting the book together was an emotional experience, as she looked back on the events in her life. However, she sees the book as a way to honor the events and people that were a part of them.

“[The book] is the beginning of becoming the person that I am, breaking out of the shell and breaking out of myself,” Dimola said. “It’s just a wonderful milestone.”

Strongly involved in the Queens literary community, Dimola recently took part in open mic nights as part of the series The Inspired Word at COFFEED in Long Island City. She said she sees the art community growing and thinks it is important for artists not to be afraid of putting their work out there.

“I just want to stress to artists to not be afraid. In this day and age it is a lot easier to get your work out,” she said. “It is important to support each other, keeping the [art] community up and being brave.”

A formal release party of “Traversals” is scheduled for Nov. 13 at Q.E.D., located at 27-16 23rd. Ave. in Astoria, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The launch party will also feature poetic, musical and dance performances by other artists.

For more information visit www.audreydimola.com.

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Oktoberfest at the Flea


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

QNE_p038.pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Fall has arrived and is making its comeback at the LIC Flea & Food.

This weekend the popular Long Island City flea market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, will begin its Oktoberfest celebrations.

To start the festivities, the LIC Flea will have a pumpkin patch with pumpkins straight from the farm.

Oktoberfest beers will be available from the local breweries at the LIC Flea Beer Garden, which is set up along the basin in the back of the market with views of the Manhattan skyline and outdoor seating. Beer selections come from SingleCut Beersmiths, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and Rockaway Brewing Company.

Some LIC Flea vendors will also be featuring special menu items just in time for the celebrations.

Vendor Oconomi will be offering Japanese Berkshire pork kurobuta sausage with Karashi (Japanese mustard). The Chia Jar will have a harvest pumpkin spice chia jar and carrot cake chia jar.

Frittering Away will be offering a non-alcoholic gluhwein (mulled pomegranate) and Petalouda Bakery will have a coconut farina cake “revani.”

Another special menu item will be an “Oktoberbratbeercheesefest” hand pie from Love.Grit.Cook. It is a stuffed pie with locally made bratwurst from Ridgewood’s Morscher’s Pork Store, Gruyere, cheddar and beer cheese sauce, caramelized onions and a crunchy pretzel crust. It will be served with a schmear of beer mustard.

Finally, vendor Sweet Muse will offer special edition brownies such as stout fudge brownie, beer and pretzel brownie, and pumpkin swirl fudge brownie.

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. The LIC Flea Beer Garden is open during the hours of operation of the flea market.

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

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Community board approves Silvercup Studios expansion permits


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

The delayed Silvercup Studios expansion made the cut at the community board level, and is moving to an audition with the Department of City Planning.

Community Board 2 voted almost unanimously to grant approval of special permits for Silvercup West, the planned $1 billion expansion of the Long Island City film studio and mixed-use development just south of the Queensboro Bridge, although it made some recommendations.

The permits, which include one for a 1,400-space off-street parking garage and another for a Silvercup sign on the waterfront, were approved in 2006, and renewed in 2011.

When the plan first debuted about eight years ago, developers agreed to set aside 10 percent of the proposed 1,000 residential units for affordable housing, but the board now recommends at least 20 percent. It is also urging developers to use original and not modern materials when constructing the Silvercup sign to preserve the historic nature.

The project also includes eight new soundstage studios as a part of a larger 2.2 million-square-foot complex containing an office tower, 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 sitting on three acres of land on the site, which have to be decommissioned and removed.

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Instagrammers to celebrate 4th anniversary at LIC meetup


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via Instagram

Instagrammers from all over the world will be capturing a special moment this weekend as they come together for the 10th Worldwide Instameet — and you can be a part of it.

Days before Instagram’s four-year-anniversary on Oct. 6, members of the photo sharing app will meet up in different cities around the world to snap mobile photos of surrounding communities and share stories via the app using the hashtag #WWIM10.

This year, Instagrammers from New York City will be meeting up in Long Island City on Saturday with mobile photographer David Krugman for sunrise at 6:30 a.m. The meeting point, rain or shine, is the Pepsi Sign in Gantry Plaza State Park.

Anyone interested in attending can email Krugman at davekrugman@gmail.com or direct message him with any questions on Instagram at @dave.krugman or @jnsilva.

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Real estate roundup: Alternate Silvercup expansion renderings, city approves shaming landlords, Court Square permits filed


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of LEESER Architecture

Imagine LIC’s Skyline with this Whimsical Silvercup Addition

The expansion of Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios to include Silvercup West, a mixed-use extension of the famed production studio, hasn’t been a dormant project after all; in fact, LEESER Architecture has been busy creating a plan as an alternate to the originally-proposed Richard Rogers design. Read more [Curbed]

Permits filed for two towers in Court Square

The first permits are up for yet another Court Square tower, this one coming to 27-19 44th Drive. Coincidentally, permits were filed for a 26-story tower right next door yesterday, and the buildings will actually be the same height, with both standing 282 feet tall. Read more [New York YIMBY]

NYC’s Queens to get 2,404 Apartments in Durst Project

Rendering courtesy of Durst Organization

Rendering courtesy of Durst Organization

A partnership including Durst Organization plans to build 2,404 apartments on the East River waterfront in the Astoria section of Queens, New York. Douglas Durst’s company said it will invest $1.5 billion in a 2.5 million square-foot (232,000-square-meter) residential and retail development on Hallets Point, a peninsula just southwest of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, according to an e-mailed statement. Read more [Bloomberg]

City to publicly shame harassing landlords

New York City officials will publicly post the names of landlords found to have harassed tenants, hoping the public shaming will be a deterrent. The mayor signed a bill on Tuesday that will require the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development to post on its website the names of landlords found in housing court to have harassed tenants. Read more [New York Times] 

Community Board 2 to vote on Silvercup Studios expansion Thursday night


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LLP

Silvercup Studios will be the star of the evening for Thursday’s Community Board 2 monthly meeting.

The board will vote on renewing the film studio’s special permits for its proposed Silvercup West development, a planned $1 billion expansion of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City.

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 that time.

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 need to be decommissioned and removed. The generators, which have 150-foot smoke stacks on each one, are sitting on three acres of land.

If the permits are renewed by CB 2, the application moves to City Planning for review.

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