Tag Archives: Long Island City

City collecting proposals for Sunnyside Yards feasibility study


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYCEDC Sunnyside Yards Feasibility Study RFP

Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving full steam ahead with his plan to create 11,250 housing units over Sunnyside Yards, although Gov. Andrew Cuomo has voiced opposition to it.

The city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC)  announced Friday a request for proposals for a yearlong comprehensive feasibility study for building over the rail yards. The agency is collecting proposals until March 20.

The study will examine the prospect of decking the enormous rail yard, and building homes, schools, open spaces and community facilities for the neighborhood as well as improving public transportation and infrastructure, while not interfering with train operations in the yards.

“This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it could contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said. “This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver on our vision of a more affordable city and smart development that responds to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods.”

De Blasio first announced his plan for the yards during his second State of the City address in January, but hours later Cuomo disagreed with using the yards because of long-term plans for it.

But Cuomo is not the only politician to oppose developing Sunnyside Yards. When an idea to build a new Jacob Javits Center over the rail yards surfaced last year, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan didn’t immediately respond favorably to that plan.

Both shared concerns of major development in the area without first addressing issues current residents are facing, including lack of sufficient public services. State Sen. Michael Gianaris addressed Community Board 2 earlier this month about the proposal as well, and stated similar concerns.

“Any talk of thousands of new housing units at Sunnyside Yards should be secondary to meeting our significant existing infrastructure needs,” Senator Gianaris said. “Western Queens is already in need of many more schools, parks and open spaces, and vastly improved mass transit, particularly on the 7 line. As this process unfolds, I look forward to working with the community to ensure our voices are heard loud and clear when it comes to Sunnyside Yards.”

Building over the yards is a key part to de Blasio’s goal of building and preserving 200,000 affordable housing units — 80,000 of which will be new construction — in the next 10 years.

There are nearly 200 acres of land at the site, 113 acres that are owned by Amtrak, 66 by the MTA and the remainder by private owners, according to the EDC’s request for proposals.

The EDC is working with Amtrak, which is in favor of development over its section of the yards.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

New literary series in LIC to bring writing community together


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Catherine LaSota

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECOMMENDED STORIES

George Onorato, former Queens state senator, dies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Updated 5:00 p.m.

Lifelong Queens resident and former state Senator George Onorato, who served the 12th Senate District in western Queens for over two decades, died on Saturday. He was 86.

Onorato began serving the district, which encompasses Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside and parts of Woodside and Maspeth, in 1983 until he announced his retirement in 2010. He was succeeded by state Senator Michael Gianaris, who currently holds the position.

“George Onorato will always be part of the fabric of western Queens,” Gianaris said. “He dedicated his long and happy life to serving others and making the communities he represented better places to live. George Onorato served our country, our state and our neighborhoods in a way that made a positive difference in people’s lives. I will miss him. My thoughts are with his family at this difficult time. May his memory be eternal.”

Onorato graduated from Long Island City High School and served in the United States Army from 1950 to 1952.

Former state Senator Serphin Maltese, who served with Onorato in the state senate for many years, remembered him as a ” true man of the people.”

“He gave a special view on things,” Maltese said. “I’m sorry to lose him.”

Onorato was married to Athena Georgakakos and had three children, Joanne, George and Janice.

Visitation is scheduled at the Joseph Farenga & Sons Funeral Home at 38-08 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria on Tuesday and Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.

A funeral mass is scheduled to be held on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Francis of Assisi Church at 22-17 45th St., followed by burial at St. Michael’s Cemetery at 72-02 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst.

With additional reporting by Robert Pozarycki

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Beaudoin Realty Group opening new office in Long Island City


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Beaudoin Realty Group 

Jackson Heights-based Beaudoin Realty Group plans to open an office next month in Long Island City, expanding to the burgeoning neighborhood.

Michele Beaudoin, a Jackson Heights native who started the firm in 2001, wants to cater to the growing Long Island City community and surrounding Sunnyside and Astoria neighborhoods. The Long Island City office will offer commercial and residential brokering services from the new location at 21-52 44th Dr.

Beaudoin, who has also worked as an interior designer and holds a degree in fine arts from Pratt Institute, is personally attracted to Long Island City because she is interested in the trend of converting older manufacturing buildings in the area into other uses.

“I’ve always loved industrial buildings, because I am an interior designer. I like seeing the transformation of an industrial building,” Beaudoin said. “Long Island City has the best views of Manhattan in town. And it has a nice artist community.”

Although the firm has its only full office in Jackson Heights, Beaudoin has sold properties throughout Queens, and promises to teach future residents and tenants about the entire borough, unlike firms that focus only on the trendier neighborhoods.

There will be a grand opening ceremony on March 5 for the new Long Island City office.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Man turns himself in following deadly Long Island City beating


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/Property Shark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He has since been charged with manslaughter.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Man beaten to death in Long Island City


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

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

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

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

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

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

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

There have been no arrests.

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

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Full Glass Awning Dark (1)

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

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

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

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

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

Current structure picture

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

RECOMMENDED STORIES

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


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Why the city plans to build a second Long Island City ferry dock


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Map and chart via the NYCEDC Citywide Ferry Study

The city plans to build a second ferry dock on the Long Island City waterfront to cope with the overwhelmed 7 train and a projected flood of new residents to the neighborhood in years to come.

The new stop will be a completely new dock separate from the existing Hunters Point terminal, which is part of the East River Ferry network, but will be necessary as thousands of new housing units are completed in the area.

The proposed citywide ferry system Mayor de Blasio unveiled earlier this year shows the new ferry stop, called Long Island City – North, which is already receiving cheers from residents and experts, although it won’t be operational until 2017.

“Expanding ferry service along the lengthy LIC waterfront is a must and in fact we need two more stops, not one, to maximize the benefits of our waterfront both culturally and economically,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership.

The new landing doesn’t have a definite site yet, according to a representative from the city’s Economic Development Corporation. But the city is “working closely with property owners to determine the exact location,” which will be a newly constructed landing paid for from a portion of the $55 million for the citywide ferry system capital investments.

That’s the official word today, but the EDC’s September 2013 Citywide Ferry Study indicates that the Long Island City – North dock would be somewhere near 47th Road and Center Boulevard. This is notable, because the nearest train station, Vernon Boulevard on the No. 7 line, is about a 10 minute walk away.

It will be beneficial for future residents, especially since the population will balloon in coming years.

More than 10,500 residential units will be built by 2018 around the proposed Long Island City – North ferry landing, according to the Citywide Ferry Study.

LIC north stats new

The study also forecasts that the Long Island City north dock to the Pier 11/ Wall Street stop would be the most popular for riders in the proposed new ferry routes, accommodating an estimated 1,542 daily patrons by 2018, because of “ambitious development projects.”

Despite the potential of the ferry service, residents don’t want the city to believe just implementing more ferry service will be the only thing they can do to improve transportation for the booming neighborhood.

“It’s critical that these transportation policies are part of a whole strategy, not just separate transportation pieces,” said Long Island City resident Jeff Foreman, who is a member of the Hunters Point Civic Association. “In our neighborhood each piece must be analyzed for its impact on a transportation infrastructure that is otherwise totally dependent on the 7 train, which simply has insufficient capacity for what is here and currently being built, much less the tens of thousands of units being planned along the 7 line.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Developing Queens: How investors are looking at the borough


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Berko & Associates is a 9-year-old New York City-based investment real estate brokerage firm that specializes in investment sales, structured finance and advisory. The firm focuses on the five boroughs and the surrounding Tri-State area, and closed with more than $340 million in financing and sales in 2014. Queens native Alan Simonowitz, a director in the firm and a 26-year industry veteran, spoke with real estate editor Liam La Guerre about the firm’s recent actions in the borough and how they look at the area.  

La Guerre: Looking back at the investment your firm made in financing the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City, what do you think of what it has become?

Simonowitz: Well, it’s been a great investment. We like the hotel that we see. We arranged the financing for it but the hotel has been very successful. We financed it twice. Once, we did a bridge loan, which functioned as a construction loan for the hotel developer, and once he completed the renovation and opened up, we got him permanent financing. And the hotel is doing very well. The debt on the permanent financing is being paid every month—it’s a success story.

La Guerre: It kind of reflects the ability of what can be done in Queens now that the market is hot, right?

Simonowitz: Absolutely. Long Island City is one of the strong markets in Queens, but all of Queens right now is heating up.

It’s only been very recently that everybody is opening their eyes to Queens. Longtime residents like myself know this, but it’s actually a very convenient place to live. It’s a great jumping off point to go out east to Long Island, to go north to upstate, and there is easy access with public transportation into Manhattan.

La Guerre: And as people make this discovery, it attracts more investors to the borough, much like the case of the rental building called The Roosevelt in Jackson Heights, which your firm was able sell for about $20 million. Before that it was supposed to be condos, but that wasn’t working out right. So what happened?

Simonowitz: We got to the property just when the original developer had it about 98 percent built. He didn’t know what he wanted to do with it, whether he wanted to go condo or he wanted to have a rental building, but he had a 421a (tax abatement incentive) on the building. We had a very intelligent buyer come in and [see] the opportunity, especially the fact that it was by the No. 7 train. He finished the building, and took over and got $43-per-square-foot rents on average for that building, which is a record for the area.

La Guerre: In terms of the approach to Queens, how has that changed within the nine years that your firm has been investing? Is there a realization now that there are some good deals that can be made here?

Simonowitz: Absolutely. We actually brought in someone who is concentrating in Queens right now. As a broker you go where you think the inflow is and where you think the buyers are going. We are a function of what the market place is. And we clearly realized that Queens has heated up. Everyone now knows about Astoria and Long Island City, but the whole corridor through Forest Hills to Rego Park is heating up.

La Guerre: You’re marketing a building right now in Ridgewood, an area that’s seeing some change as well in the market. How do you view that neighborhood?

Simonowitz: There is a lot of demand for development opportunities, which is a little bit more difficult because Ridgewood is a little bit older area in Queens. It’s denser than some of the other areas. So whenever we are finding opportunities in Ridgewood there is very strong interest, because of its proximity to Manhattan, it’s an established neighborhood, and people like the shopping on Myrtle Avenue.

La Guerre: Is there is an area in Queens that you wouldn’t seek to invest in?

Simonowitz: There is no area that we wouldn’t look at all. All areas make sense at a given level.

A simonowitz

Photo courtesy of Alan Simonowitz

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Crescent Grill: A master class in hospitality


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

BY BRADLEY HAWKS

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

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

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

IMG_5709

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

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

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

IMG_5670

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

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

IMG_5164

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

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

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

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Hybrid batteries stolen from 12 cars in 108th Precinct


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/Shoreline

In the past few months, car thieves have been walking away with more than just personal items when breaking into the trunks of some hybrid vehicles in western Queens.

According to the 108th Precinct, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside, since November expensive hybrid batteries have been stolen out of the trunks of 12 hybrid Toyota Camrys in the area. The majority have been taken from Long Island City.

All of the vehicles, which can run on electrical power as well as a gasoline engine, have been taxis and include 10 yellow cabs and two livery vehicles.

The batteries cost from $2,000 to $3,000. They also have no serial numbers, making them untraceable, according to Debra Markell Kleinert, district manager of Community Board 2.

“The 108th is being proactive and working with the community to try to resolve this issue,” Markell Kleinert said.

The incidents are currently under investigation by the Grand Larceny Squad and 108th Precinct’s Detective Squad.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

R train rider busted for committing lewd act


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A smiling straphanger caught on camera after allegedly fondling himself on a Queens R train last month has been arrested, cops said.

The man was on the train, which was near the Queens Plaza station in Long Island City, about 5:40 p.m. on Jan. 23, when he committed the lewd act.

While sitting on the train, he put his hands in his pants and started to fondle himself in front of a 47-year-old woman, cops said. The man then got off the subway at the next stop.

Before exiting the train, he was caught on camera, with one shot capturing him “saying cheese.”

The man allegedly shown in the photos that were released by police — 33-year-old Wilmer Busto —  was charged with public lewdness, police said Wednesday.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

LIC-based grocery delivery service aimed for mom and pop stores


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Pickup Later

One new delivery service is trying to level the playing field for local mom and pop shops battling the big, online food delivery companies by offering customers the option to have groceries delivered within hours of placing an order at neighborhood stores.

PickUpLater, a Long Island City-based online grocery service started at the end of 2014, allows customers to go on their website and order from a local store’s inventory.

As a resident of Long Island City for the past six years, owner Kodjo Hounnaké said the idea was born after he was ordering from GrubHub and he asked himself why such a service was not available for groceries from local stores. 

Although Hounnaké says he aims for the service to go nationwide, PickUpLater currently only offers customers groceries from Foodcellar & Co. Market, located at 4-85 47th Rd. The service is available for residents in Long Island City, Hunters Point, Astoria, Greenpoint, Sunnyside and Woodside. It has also started to deliver in Manhattan, below 59th Street. 

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

PickUpLater owner Kodjo Hounnaké

The delivery areas are expected to expand, once Foodcellar opens its second location in Court Square. 

Unlike giants like Fresh Direct, Hounnaké added that PickUpLater has groceries directly from the store, not from a warehouse. Also unlike grocery delivery service, Instacart, which delivers from large stores such as Whole Foods Market and Costco, the idea of PickUpLater is to stick to the local mom and pop shops. 

“We’re not [the grocery store’s] competitor; what we offer them is to remove that extra cost and that extra stress,” Hounnaké said. “We’ll come in and do everything for them. In a sense we are their ally not their competition.”

Once the customer places an order on www.pickuplater.com, a personal shopper then does the work of purchasing the items on the list. Keeping an emphasis on “real time interaction with customers,” the personal shopper will text or call customers with any updates or replacement options.

The groceries will then be delivered in two hours, or more, depending on the customer’s request. They also have the option to pick up the products from Foodcellar.

For orders over $35, pick up fees are $0.99. Deliveries scheduled for more than two hours, the fee is $3.99 and $5.99 for deliveries scheduled within two hours.

PickUpLater opens at 7 a.m. and deliveries are scheduled between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Pickup hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC Industrial Business Zone receives more than $100K in funding


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

The fight to maintain the balance between the residential boom and industrial sector in Long Island City got a helping hand from the City Council.

The Long Island City Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), which is one of many dedicated manufacturing sectors in a citywide initiative that focuses on preserving industry, received nearly 25 percent more funds from the city this year than 2014, a total of $100,946.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer allocated the funds and made the announcement on Monday among business owners, City Councilman Antonio Reynoso of Brooklyn and Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the nonprofit Long Island City Partnership, which oversees the LIC IBZ.

“This year we fought really hard, and I wanted to make sure that we were able to increase funding so that Liz Lusskin and her amazing team could help all of these businesses grow and we maintain these areas and not take them for other uses,” Van Bramer said.

Last year there was talk that the IBZ program could lose money. But Van Bramer said Reynoso lead a charge in the City Council to support the initiative.

In addition to the extra financial support, the LIC IBZ will return to assisting an area with just six ZIP codes, as opposed to the widespread 16 ZIP codes it was tasked to help last year — including many outside its district. This will allow administrators more flexibility to focus on the 2,095 businesses in its immediate area, instead of 4,535 companies.

“Instead of spending an hour sitting on a train to go to a business in Flushing, we can spend an hour walking the halls of the Falchi Building knocking on doors, seeing if we can provide help,” Lusskin said.

The money from the City Council is separate from the recent $100,000 grant the LIC Partnership received from the New York City Regional Economic Development Council to perform a comprehensive neighborhood study.

This new batch of money will provide resources for manufacturing businesses, such as help to apply for city tax credits, filing permits and even dealing with neighborhood issues. The IBZ will also help businesses network with each other.

The Long Island City Partnership hopes through servicing businesses, they can entice companies to stay and expand in Queens, and convince others to move into the area.

Officials cited jewelry maker Unique Settings of New York, which is now located at the Falchi Building in Long Island City, as an example of what they are trying to accomplish. Eight years ago, the company was leaving its 9,000-square-foot Manhattan space for a location in New Jersey.

But Unique Settings moved to Queens after the LIC IBZ helped get city tax credits and found the space they needed to expand.

The firm now has about 65,000 square feet on one floor of the Falchi Building and 200 employees.

“We talked to them, they guided us through the program and basically held our hands through the whole process,” said Matthew Ego, co-owner of Unique Settings. “One less thing you have to worry about is making sure that you’re going to be able to stay and grow.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES