Tag Archives: Long Island City

Developing Queens: A wave of new retail coming

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

CBRE is a global real estate services company, which has offices in Queens and Long Island that service the borough. The firm focuses on commercial real estate. CBRE First Vice President Dean Rosenzweig and Associate Jeremy Scholder talked with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the changing landscape of the Queens retail market.

La Guerre: Queens has been having a big residential boom in certain markets over the past couple of years. Have you seen a pickup in retail with this boom?

Rosenzweig: The smaller businesses, the moms and pops, when we have a listing or when we are on the search for a client for a site—the smaller guys have definitely been seeking out those areas, like Long Island City. The nationals are starting to poke around. We are doing tours with our national clients in Long Island City, for example, but the nationals aren’t there yet. They’re coming and that will take retail in those areas to the next level.

La Guerre: So if you wanted to go shopping to big-box retailers you wouldn’t be able to in LIC yet, but very soon.

Rosenzweig: Or even smaller footprint national retailers, like you don’t see Starbucks there yet. Are they coming? Yeah. Are they looking around? Absolutely. Will they be there? Probably in a year or a year and a half from now. You don’t even see the national banks on Vernon [Boulevard] right? That’s all coming. The first stage was the developers taking advantage of the rezoning and building the huge amount of residential that’s already built and the huge amount of residential that are in the works. Those units are going to fill up, and people that they are going to bring are going to need services.

Scholder: They are still waiting for the area to hit critical mass. They are waiting for all these new buildings to come to fruition at the same time so they can really feel the impact.

Rosenzweig: You learn over time that retailers have a herd mentality. When one national retailer comes in and then a second one — it doesn’t even necessarily have to be all in the same category— but when a couple of nationals come in, that’s when the rest will take the plunge. And it hasn’t hit that point yet.

La Guerre: So you’re saying eventually the nationals will be popping up all over and together?

Rosenzweig: They are going to realize what the residential developers and the residents that have moved into their projects have — great proximity to Manhattan, incredible mass transit, and the people that are coming in have a lot of disposable income.

La Guerre: Is Queens a destination for trendy stores now, like Manhattan or Brooklyn?

Scholder: Obviously, there is a growing young demographic in some neighborhoods. That’s absolutely the case in Long Island City. Astoria has been another growing market. There is this tremendous basis of nightlife, restaurant scene, arts in Astoria, and some of these trendier places are starting to move in as well.

La Guerre: What are some areas that you expect retail to transform that haven’t been talked about as much? Where are your sleeper neighborhoods?

Rosenzweig: Archer Avenue in Jamaica. You’re going to see some opportunities get created for larger big-box retailers, so it’s not going to just be Sutphin [Boulevard] as it has been or Jamaica Avenue. I think Archer is going to evolve as well. Another area is Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood. The infrastructure has always been there — mass transit, buses, surrounding residential — but I think you are going to see as leases come up and expire a lot of the current tenants may not be quite right for the area anymore. I think it’s going to come on pretty strong, pretty soon.


Fire at Queensbridge Houses sends two to hospital

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

Updated 1:18 p.m.

A fire at a building at the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City Tuesday morning sent two people to the hospital, the FDNY said.

The blaze started about 10:40 a.m. in the fourth floor of the six-story residential building at 41-01 12th St. About 65 firefighters were at the scene, and by 11:25 a.m., the flames were under control, officials said.

Two people with minor injuries were taken to NYU Langone Medical Center, the FDNY said. Three other people refused medical treatment at the scene.


Queens Courier brings Santa Claus, gifts to kids at Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Santa came early this year, bringing holiday cheer and bags full of presents for children at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens in South Richmond Hill, thanks to The Queens Courier’s annual holiday gift drive.

With a joyful “ho ho ho,” Father Christmas greeted over 100 girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 10, who gasped and wore broad smiles when they saw that Santa Claus had come to town.

The organization’s elementary school program introduces children to a range of topics such as robotics, astronomy, video game development, visual arts and sport activities. They emphasize STEM enrichment and provide homework assistance and tutoring for young people. Additionally, cultural understanding is highlighted as children are led to explore various cultures through food, music and dance.

Toys were donated to The Courier’s holiday gift drive by Courier readers and advertisers as well as visitors to the LIC Flea & Food Holiday Market in Long Island City. Donations also came in from Assemblyman Edward Braunstein and Flushing Bank, which helped collect toys at branches throughout the borough.

Noah Rodriguez, 6, who made sure he got more than one photo with Santa, received a Ninja Turtles board game and said he couldn’t wait to get home and play with it.

Kailey Ceboller, 6, said she was “surprised” to see Old Saint Nick and felt happy when he gave her a Barbie princess doll as a gift.

Another boy, 7-year-old Angel Sigaran, was all smiles when Santa took out a toy truck from his bag of presents.

“I feel excited and happy and want to go home and play with [the truck],” he said. “It feels so good to see Santa.”


Last weekend at the LIC Flea Holiday Market

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Christmas is just a week away and although the LIC Flea Holiday Market will be coming to an end this weekend, there is still enough time to get your shopping done and snap a photo with Father Christmas.

This Saturday and Sunday are the last two days of the popular Long Island City market, which made its move to the warehouse connected to the original outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue.

The market features two floors of a mix of 60 vendors offering a selection of unique, local, handcrafted and vintage items. There are also two special boutique spots in the inner building. Shoppers will be able to find something for everyone on their lists just in time for the holidays.

Along with being able to find last minute presents, Santa Claus will again be at the LIC Flea market both Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. on the second floor of the warehouse for free photos for children and those still young at heart.

The market will also be filled with live music, including a jazz performance by Dandy Wellington and His Band on Sunday.

Although the Long Island City holiday market is coming to an end, the outdoor season will begin again in April. Applications for vendors are wanted and to apply email info@licflea.com.

The LIC Flea Holiday Market is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

Here are some vendors to check out this weekend at the popular indoor Long Island City holiday flea market.

1. Mee Beauty, HoneyGramz
Queens resident, Ruth Harrigan, turned her passion for beekeeping and launched HoneyGramz, an “edible greeting” in a 2 oz. honey bear. Each HoneyGramz contains 100 percent raw honey, which means it’s chock full of goodness created by honeybees. During the off season, Ruth began to blend honey into homemade lip balms and then Mee Beauty was born. “Mee” is “honey” in Chinese. It is a key ingredient in her skincare line. Honey is known to have three essential properties that are beneficial for the skin: As a natural humectant, it retains moisture; antibacterial quality inhibits bacterial growth; and an antioxidant, the ability to clean up oxygen free radicals that may damage cells. How sweet!

2. Razorday Print Photography
These are New York-based artists with the aim to provide beautiful art from New York and America. Be it just an ordinary fire hydrant or an incredible vintage automobile from the 1960s, they strive to produce thought provoking photography taken from a wide range of subject matter across New York and the USA. From Brooklyn, Harlem, Queens and Manhattan to Miami, Arizona and California. “The balance of Americana, popular culture, decay and commercial appeal is poetic.”

3. La Rosa Jewelry
A jewelry designer orginally from Spain, this vendor has been living in Astoria for more than 20 years. Her inspiration comes from nature as she often takes walks and photographs birds, leaves, trees, seeds, etc. And those are the most present elements in La Rosa Jewelry. The style is varied, some pieces have a vintage flair while others are more glamorous.

4. Frittering Away
Frittering Away is a small batch, specialty lemonade company based out of LIC. They produce all natural, seasonal beverages with no high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavorings or preservatives. Their lemonades are delicious on their own but make delicious cocktails also, perfect for the coming holiday season. Strawberry Basil Lemonade is Frittering Away’s signature drink. It is offered year round as there were near riots when it was taken off the menu. The combination of sweet/tart strawberries and slightly anise-y basil is addictive! Ginger Lemonade is made from fresh ginger and lots of it, steeped in lemon juice and sweetened with brown sugar to give it richness. Served hot it is spicy and comforting! Chai Pear Cider is winter in a glass! Warming sweet winter spices paired with earl grey tea serve as the base we then balance it with pear and apple cider and lemon juice. Delicious hot spiked with whisky! Mulled Pomegranate is a play on hot spiced wine or port so popular at holiday markets in Europe. They take the flavors of wine and port: pomegranate, cranberry and grape, to this they add roasted oranges, star anise, cinnamon and cloves. Robust and complex and completely satisfying.

5. Hanami Jewelry
“Designed by nature! We only help a little…”
Hanami Real Flower Jewelry is made of real, natural flowers. Each flower is carefully selected for originality, color and shape. It is then dried, preserved and covered with several coats of resin, to achieve a hard and durable finish. This process can take as much as one week for each flower. With proper care, their creations will last forever. It is nature that makes each piece of jewelry absolutely unique.There are never two alike.

6. Lady V Second Time Around Vintage Fashion Shop
Visitors to Lady V Second Time Around Vintage Fashion Shop can participate in their holiday give-back program. For every $25 spent, Lady V will donate a professional jacket suitable for work and job interviews to a Queens-based charity helping women create financial stability.


More 7 train suspensions coming next year

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Updated Dec. 22, 11:57 a.m. 

It’s déjà vu for No. 7 train riders.

The MTA recently announced its latest round of service suspensions on the subway line, slated to start right after the new year and continue through the spring.

The work is part of three capital improvement projects on the No. 7 train to install a new signal system, replace elevated track, perform infrastructure work, and reconstruct and fortify the Steinway tubes, according to the transit agency.

Most of the work is scheduled for the weekend and will disrupt service between Manhattan and Queens during the majority of the suspensions.

From Jan. 2-5 and Jan. 9-12, there will be no service between Mets-Willets Point and Flushing Main Street. From Jan. 9-12, Jan. 17-19, Jan. 24-26, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, and Feb. 6-9, there will be no trains between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. From Feb. 27-Mar. 2 and Mar. 6-9, service is suspended between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street-Broadway. From Mar. 14-16, Mar. 21-23 and Mar. 28-30, there are no trains between Times Square-42nd Street and Hunters Point Avenue. From May 22-25, there will be no service between the Mets-Willets Point and Flushing Main Street.

During the suspensions, riders can use the E, F, G, N, Q and R lines as alternative service. There will also be free shuttle buses between Queensboro Plaza and Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue.

The service disruptions are continuing despite pleas from western Queens residents and business owners who are fed up with years of constant disruptions on the line.

The service disruptions hit Long Island City and its local businesses hard. Though the MTA agreed to a campaign to promote Long Island City during the shut downs, the agency refused community and politicians’ requests for a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city to make up for some of the lost subway service.

This year’s suspensions began in late winter and continued through the fall. When they started in early March, Long Island residents and businesses struggled the first weekend.

“It hurts us, there’s no doubt about it,” said Jeff Blath, owner of Alobar. “[The MTA] did not come to us and say, ‘What works the best for you guys?’ It’s just a multitude of problems and no communication.”

Now this time around, residents are feeling neglected by the transit agency and say they have to start thinking of ways to get around without depending on the No. 7 line.

“I’d like to say I’m surprised, but we all knew the MTA would do this to us again,” said 27-year-old Stefanie Torres, a LIC resident. “They forget about Long Island City. I guess now I have to figure out some other ways to get home.”

Stacey Higgins, 56, who uses the train to get to work and around the borough, is also upset the suspensions will happen again.

“Here we go again, that’s all I have to say,” Higgins added. “This is one of the only ways we as a community can get around, but they don’t care. Forget LIC. That’s their mentality.”


Police officers save man’s life in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

For two police officers, a routine patrol in Long Island City on Tuesday turned into a moment of heroism.

Officers William Caldarera and Corey Sarro of the 108th Precinct saw a crowd of people gathering around a man lying motionless on the sidewalk in front of LaGuardia Community College, located at 29-10 Thomson Ave., cops said. Caldarera approached the 66-year-old man and discovered he did not have a heartbeat and was not breathing.

Sarro then began to conduct chest compressions, while an ambulance had been requested. Using a defibrillator provided by a public safety officer, Caldarera and Sarro attached the machine to the man’s chest, according to police. After a second shock, the man’s heartbeat returned and he resumed breathing.

Emergency personnel arrived at the scene and the man was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Although both Caldarera and Sarro had experience with CPR while off duty, this incident was their first time having to use a defibrillator.

Both officers said it felt great once they were able to revive the man and get him to breathe again.

“There is really no feeling to describe it,” Sarro said. “It was a relief to be able to save him.”


Western Queens gets greener: park officials

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Valerie Medoff

Western Queens has gotten greener these past four years with a project that has planted more than 1,000 new trees — and the program will just keep growing.

Partnerships for Parks, a joint program between the nonprofit City Parks Foundation and the city’s Parks Department, celebrated on Dec. 12 the planting of trees and tree care events in Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside over the past few years.

Key project representatives, elected officials and local organizations, such as New York Restoration Project (NYRP), Trees New York, City Parks Foundation and NYC Parks/Forestry, gathered at the celebration ceremony where the “torch was passed” to community volunteers, who will now lead the program and continue to green the neighborhoods.

Since 2011, the Greening Western Queens (GWQ) Urban Forestry and Community Stewardship Program has brought more than 1,100 new trees and over 100 community-enriching tree care projects to the western Queens neighborhoods.

The four-year, grant-funded project was part of a $7.9 million initiative of The North Star Fund to invest in energy efficiency and environmental projects in the community, which was affected by a 2006 electric power outage.

The GWQ program was created in the summer of 2011, when honey locusts and Japanese pagodas were planted. Since then, the project has planted 1,127 trees, including 598 new street trees on sidewalks, 528 trees in publicly accessible private spaces, such as schools, churches and public housing sites, and a storm water mitigation bioswale on the site of the Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria.

Other works include training over 400 people in tree care best practices with Trees New York and supporting more than 1,600 people at over 128 volunteer tree care and greening events.

An existing tree inventory was also conducted, and 455 blocks were digitally mapped in the project area in collaboration with TreeKIT and 54 local volunteers during 27 citizen mapping events.

The program also installed 400 custom-designed, GWQ-branded tree guards in order to protect the young street trees and planted more than 1,800 native perennials in 117 tree beds.


Cooking school aimed for beginners opens in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of CookSingleNYC

Dan Dolgin has opened the doors to his home kitchen in Long Island City to help people find the confidence and skills they need to prepare a home-cooked meal on their own.

The LIC resident is the founder and instructor for CookSingleNYC, a new cooking school that started in September and has since had 250 people sign up for classes.

Dolgin has spent 30 years as an avid home cook, and everything he teaches his students is self-taught from either cooking shows on television or through his travel abroad. However, cooking was not always the career path for Dolgin. He was actually in the women’s apparel business prior to starting his cooking school.

After being married for 25 years, Dolgin faced a divorce, and for the past seven years he has been single. This for him was the start of a new life, and he began to get more involved in social events. He would attend dining groups and he met new people at parties when he came up with the idea of sharing his love of cooking  with others.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking and found that cooking was an important aspect of my life in all levels,” Dolgin said. “More and more it came to my attention that people were not learning how to cook as they were growing up.”

Dan Dolgin, founder and instructor at CookSingleNYC

Dan Dolgin, founder and instructor at CookSingleNYC

According to Dolgin, people he met would say that they found it really intimidating to go to cooking classes because there would be students who already had experience in the kitchen. He realized that there was a need for less intimidating cooking classes, and since he had a love of cooking, Dolgin began to work on the concept of his school. After months of preparation, he held some test classes. He finally began teaching in September from his home at 41-17 Crescent St.

“I had an epiphany that I wasn’t really happy in what I was doing,” Dolgin said. “I decided it was a great opportunity to chase something I was passionate about.”

The three-hour classes, which include six students, are aimed to help them learn how to cook and enable them to start cooking on a more regular basis. The name of the school, CookSingleNYC, does not really mean that the course is only for those who are single, said Dolgin. Instead, the concept of the classes are to help people cook on their own.

Students prepare two full meals, and although Dolgin is there to demonstrate, supervise and instruct, he says it’s important for the students to be involved hands-on and prepare everything as if they were at home cooking.

During the classes, he presents cooking techniques, such as roasting or stir-frying in a wok, and after each meal is completed, the students sit down and enjoy their creations. Dolgin also gives quick safety tips while working in the kitchen.

After each class, Dolgin emails his students a custom 25-page booklet with more in-depth information on recipes and what was done in class.

Dolgin wants his students to complete the class with a new desire to cook regularly with confidence and a sense of fearlessness in the kitchen that will motivate them to try new things.

“It is very important to me that people are not intimidated,” he said. “My goal is to continue to alter people’s ways to do things on a beginner level so they can continue to grow.”

To sign up for a class or for more information, visit www.cooksinglenyc.com or www.facebook.com/cooksinglenyc.


Astoria rental prices drop in November: report

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Chart courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

Astoria residents have at least one more thing to smile about — lower rents.

While the overall average rates of rents in Queens increased for a second consecutive month, prices in Astoria saw a decline in November for various sizes of apartments, according to MNS Real Estate’s monthly Queens Rental Market Report.

Residents were likely to pay $1,719 for a studio, $2,017 for a one-bedroom and about $2,468 for a two-bedroom apartment in November, which results in an overall average rent decline of 4.45 percent, the report said.

The decrease in price for two-bedroom apartments was eclipsed by Forest Hills, which recorded average rents of two-bedroom apartments for $2,599 in November.

Astoria, a burgeoning neighborhood that has begun to see an influx in major developments such as Astoria Cove, also had a bump in inventory, and the report praised the neighborhood’s growth.

“An increase in Astoria inventory and an average of 13.6 days in market imply a steady rate of growth and popularity in rental market,” the report said.

While Astoria saw declining rents, studios in nearby Long Island City had the highest percent increases throughout the borough. Renters were likely to pay $2,406, which is a 6.16 percent jump from the previous month.


RoGallery: A leader in art auctions

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of RoGallery


Most people think of art as beautiful paintings, sculpture and photography. There is a second art in the visual arts, and that is money. Occasionally the price of a classic painting at Christie’s or Sotheby’s is $30 million or more. The art world has a new extension to desirable art with photography and sculpture that are sold for increasingly staggering prices.

In Long Island City, RoGallery, an auction house founded more than 30 years ago by Robert Rogal, now the director of business and operations, occupies a 10,000-square-foot building that holds the gallery’s collection of modern and contemporary art including paintings, print, photographs and sculpture.

Rogal is a native New Yorker and has found that Long Island City is an ideal place for his business, highly attractive to its clients on the East Side and Manhattan itself. Rogal has always been involved with the world of art. Before opening the gallery, he was involved in a number of businesses backed by his expertise in corporate financial activity. Art was always an area of interest for him. Before opening the gallery he was very active in the world of franchising, with major clients including Alice’s Restaurants.

“I first became interested in art at college,” Rogal said. “I learned much about it and enjoyed what I learned. I’d become interested in adding my own business experience to the buying and selling of art and created the Ro Gallery.”

He established the gallery as a highly successful business that is greatly admired by clients and other members of the art community.

New items are brought into the gallery every day, and Robert attends estate sales and private and corporate collections. This is enormously important in order to attract the best possible work for sale privately, corporately and as prints.

Some of the names included in the gallery include Braque, Dali, Koons, Lichtenstein, Matisse, Newman, Picasso, Rivers and Wendell.

Although it is not unknown for Robert to sell paintings for six figures, a look at recent auction catalogues shows a wide spectrum of choice and price. Recent pieces include a print by Robert Rauschenberg, a Warhol for $4,500 and two David Hockney prints using a ‘60s-style photocopying technique for $60-80,000.

“Taking the position in the art auction world does mean constantly searching sources of the finest work that could be available for our clients,” he said.

The gallery has been in the forefront when it comes to e-commerce on its RoGallery.com website.

“The continued expansion of this kind of buying is something we have embraced and developed from the very beginning,” Rogal said. “It is a growing attraction to buyers because they can look in detail at reproductions of the work that they are interested in, purchase as soon as they have decided and hopefully not be beaten by another buyer.”

“I believe that this is about the future, and we will expand further and further,” Rogal said. “The thing that excites me most is the hunt.”

The diversity of the art auction market is enormous. The gallery’s publishing of lithographs, posters and prints increase the range of sales opportunities and the gallery’s revenue base.

“The art market has become more competitive each year, clients have become more knowledgeable, forgeries of original works have continued and the value of artwork [is] increasing,” he said.

Whatever changes there are in buying, auctions and collection sales, Long Island City’s major addition to the world of art will continue to develop and provide the finest work that Rogal’s research will find.


New 108th Precinct commanding officer wants to ‘harden’ community against crimes

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The new top cop at the 108th Precinct wants to enlist the public in the battle against crime as he steps into a new job he said he feels lucky to have landed.

Captain John Travaglia was named commanding officer of the precinct, covering Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Maspeth, on Nov. 17, replacing Captain Brian Hennessy, who was assigned commanding officer of the 115th Precinct.

“We don’t choose where we work in the NYPD, they tell us where we work and my lottery numbers came out. I hit the lottery to be in Long Island City,” Travaglia said. “[Hennessy] left me running with a well-oiled machine.”

Just a few weeks into his new assignment, Travaglia was able to present good news during the Dec. 4 Community Board 2 monthly meeting, when he reported that crime in the precinct had dropped significantly over the previous 28 days.

Robberies were down 8 percent, felony assaults down 9 percent, burglaries down 6 percent, grand larceny down 15 percent, and reports of stolen cars were down 50 percent, according to Travaglia.

In his new position, the 22-year NYPD veteran plans to continue what Hennessy accomplished at the precinct, such as Community Friday, which involves taking time to focus especially hard on quality-of-life issues in the precinct.

Using his experience from a previous assignment at NYPD Highway Patrol, Travaglia also said he wants to do more traffic enforcement, since an important issue in the precinct includes high-volume thoroughfares that carry thousands of commuters to and from work. He plans to emphasize enforcement of Vison Zero — a program championed by Mayor de Blasio to reduce traffic deaths — and also create a enhanced effort to crack down on drunken driving.

“There is nothing more important than getting a drunk driver off the road. I can equate it to taking a loaded illegal firearm off the street,” Travaglia said. “If we can somehow prevent a person from being injured, if not killed, that’s just as good as saving someone from a violent demise due to a crime.”

In regards to crime in the neighborhoods, Travaglia said he sees the same types of crimes that he did in his previous posts at the 114th and 104th precincts, such as property-based burglaries, car theft, and grand larceny.

In order to keep the number of such crimes down, Travaglia said he would like to educate residents on how they can help “harden the target” and lessen their chances of becoming crime victims. For example, residents making sure their windows and doors are tightly locked, making sure valuables aren’t left in cars and being more vigilant of their personal property and information.

“It’s not at all to make people feel like the police aren’t here to prevent this. We are here, [but] we cannot be everywhere. I wish we could stop all the bad people from doing this, but we cannot be everywhere,” Travaglia said. “It really is the community being the eyes and ears for the police department. We need people to call. If something looks out of place, we need to know about it.”

Travaglia said he wants to hear from the community, and that includes concerns about problems.

“I welcome complaints, I welcome compliments. I want people to attend community meetings,” he said. “We need to know what the problems are. If someone sees a problem, we need it to be reported. We cannot work a solution if we don’t know what the problem is.”

The next 108th Community Council Meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2015, at Sunnyside Community Services.


Countdown to Christmas at the flea

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

SHB_p032.pdf - Adobe Acrobat

Christmas is just around the corner, but there is still enough time to head down to the LIC Flea & Food and get a gift for everyone on your list.

Through Dec. 21, the popular Long Island City flea market, which made its move to the warehouse connected to the original outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, has two floors of a mix of 60 vendors offering a selection of unique, local, handcrafted and vintage items. There are also two special boutique spots in the inner building.

Along with finding gift ideas, Father Christmas will be at the LIC Flea Holiday Market for the remainder of the season. Every Saturday and Sunday, visitors can take free photos with Santa Claus on the second floor of the warehouse from 12 to 4 p.m.

The market will also be filled with live music every weekend, including jazz performances by Dandy Wellington and His Band.

This weekend, the LIC Flea will be partnering up with The Queens Courier to hold a toy drive. They will be collecting unwrapped toys for boys and girls, ages 5 to 10. If you want to help a good cause — and put a smile on a child’s face — bring a toy to the second floor of the holiday flea.

The LIC Flea Holiday Market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

Here are some vendors to check out the next time you visit the popular indoor Long Island City holiday flea market

1. Jewel Dripped
Jewel Dripped offers an eclectic selection of handcrafted jewelry dripping with gemstones, pearls, vintage beads, sterling silver, rose gold, titanium and more. Astoria designer Kathy Baer aims for an aesthetic that is streamlined and edgy, but she often slips down the rabbit hole and whimsical designs emerge. Stop by to find something that resonates with your multifaceted personality.

JOY + NOELLE is a New York-based animation and design studio founded by Joy Buran and Noelle Melody, living and working in Astoria and Kingston, NY, respectively. They’re illustrators, animators and also twins. Their glass trays make lovely jewelry dishes, spoon rests, a place for your keys, glasses or tiny trinkets.

3. Black Dahlia
Black Dahlia Design is an event decor company specializing in weddings and special events. Whimsical, vintage and organic — yet elegant and sophisticated describes their style. Their pop-up shop at the LIC Flea Holiday Market is filled with succulents, terrariums and oddities.

4. chikittibag
chikittibag designs and sews bags using 100 percent U.S.-made materials — highest quality sourcing, fabric, dye and build. Bags are water resistant inside and out and sewn to be reliable and durable. The color will never rub off or bleed. The products are renewable, sustainable and vegan with value in every facet of build and as local as it gets.

5. Fiza Fashion
Deepti Chhatwal was born and brought up in India and has been working and designing since she was 17. Fiza Fashion deals in jewelry, scarves and bags with custom orders more than welcome, and everything is made in India. Everything is made by Indian women, helping their education and making them financially independent. “It was great to be part of LIC Flea the past season and [I’m] hoping to present new designs and patterns this season as well,” said Chhatwal.


Community expresses mixed feelings on city-commissioned sculpture in LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But for one community in Long Island City, a bright pink statue that would stand more than 8 feet tall just might not fit their vision of beauty.

At the recent Community Board 2 meeting, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs presented the newest project for the Percent for Art program that is being commissioned for Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue.

Since 1982, the city’s Percent for Art law has required that one percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be spent on public artwork.

For this commission, a panel convened by the agency selected Brooklyn-artist Ohad Meromi and at the Dec. 4 board meeting, the community got a preview of what is being proposed for the Long Island City site.

Meromi’s proposed sculpture is an 8.5-foot-tall, bright pink piece called “The Sunbather” which is shaped as a human figure. About $515,000 of city tax dollars will go toward the construction of the piece, made of bronze.

Although Meromi said he is “excited for the opportunity” to sculpt the piece, community board members and residents at the meeting brought up issues such as the community at large not having had the opportunity to give their input on the sculpture earlier and also the color just being a little too much.

“I personally do like the art,” said Moitri Chowdhury Savard, a community board member. “But I think the bright pink color and the size of it has been brought up by many residents of the community as too much for the area. I think it might be a little too much for a lot of the residents there.”

Resident Christian Amez, also a member of the organization Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, said he also wished the community could have been more well-represented earlier in the process. They also would have liked it if a local artist could have been chosen.

According to Sarah Reisman, director for Percent for Art, the agency presented a rough draft of a rendering to the community board’s land use committee first, and members of the board were invited.

Reisman also added that about 40 artists, including local Long Island City artists, were presented to a panel that later picked finalists. After finalists presented proposals, Meromi, who has presented pieces at the SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1, was chosen.

The sculpture’s size and color are still not finalized, but a permanent piece by Meromi is expected to be located at the site.

“I really thought the site could use color,” Meromi said about the color selection of the sculpture. “I think pink is bold and the site could use something bold.”

Now the agency will take the comments from residents and the community board comments and go back to the renderings of the sculpture. Then, the agency will present a conceptual design to the public design commission at City Hall.

“We want to know what you think, take it to consideration and take it to the design commission,” Reisman said. “We’re here to listen.”


Partially developed controversial Dutch Kills hotel for sale

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Massey Knakal

The owner of a controversial, partially constructed hotel in Dutch Kills is selling the structure.

Residents protested and even sued to stop construction of the nine-story boutique hotel on 39-35 27th St. in the Long Island City neighborhood in 2010, according to published reports.

But now, with more than 20 new hotels opened over the last five years, the area has become a hot hotel market, and owner Steven Baharestani of Dutch Kills Partners LLC is hoping to sell the yet-to-be completed hotel to the highest bidder.

“The offering presents a unique opportunity to acquire a full or partial interest in a hotel in the construction phase, in one of the most rapidly developing hotel markets in the New York metro area,” said Andrew Posil, director of sales at Massey Knakalwhich is marketing the building.

Construction on the hotel is one-third complete, according to the real estate firm. It will be 38,000 square feet and have 79 rooms when finished.

Baharestani is looking for the best possible offer for the hotel, and there isn’t an asking price for the building, a Massey Knakal representative said.

The Buildings Department originally approved plans for the hotel back in 2007.


Less than a week remaining to apply for Hunter’s Point South

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Related Companies 

Soon thousands of people will learn if they missed out on one of the city’s top housing opportunities.

But for those who haven’t signed up yet, there is less than one week remaining to apply for the lottery for affordable housing at the Hunter’s Point South buildings.

The 60-day period for accepting applications will end on Monday, Dec. 15, for the two new buildings on the Long Island City waterfront — 32-story Hunter’s Point South Crossing and 37-story Hunter’s Point South Commons.

Just two weeks after the lottery application process kicked off in October about 25,000 hopeful residents had signed up to obtain the 925 units, according to published reports.

Those still looking to apply should do so through the city’s Housing Connect website or by submitting a paper application. After the application process closes, the lottery will begin and selected applicants will be notified early next year.

The buildings will reserve 50 percent of the apartments for people living within Community Board 2, 7 percent for those with mobility or hearing disabilities or those who are visually impaired, and 5 percent for city employees.

There are 186 units, or about 20 percent, for low-income individuals and families, and 738 apartments are available for moderate- and middle-income tenants.

Studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments will be available for all income levels. Low-income rental prices start from $494 for a studio and max out at $959 per month for a three-bedroom, while eligible incomes range from about $19,000 to approximately $49,000 annually. Rents for middle and moderate-income units range from $1,561 to $4,346 per month for household incomes of $55,200 to $224,020 annually.

The buildings feature many amenities, including an urban farm, outdoor terraces, fitness facilities, tech centers, bike storage, party rooms, laundry rooms and a parking garage. Both buildings will have 24-hour lobby attendants.