Tag Archives: Long Island City

MTA will boost service on 7, L and M lines later this year


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

File photo

With overall subway ridership up 2.6 percent across the city, the MTA is set to meet the increased demand by boosting service on three local subway lines this December.

Most of the changes will take place during off-peak hours, as the MTA reported ridership between or after rush hour periods reached its highest rate in 65 years in 2014, with more than 1.75 billion riders systemwide.

The biggest boost will take place on the L line, with seven additional round trips added between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays. Ridership on the L line — which services Ridgewood and Bushwick — grew 4.7 percent last year, the largest increase of any line in the system.

According to the MTA, the seven additional trains will reduce wait times on the L line to five minutes between the morning and evening rush hours. Last fall, the MTA similarly enhanced L train service during weeknight and weekend periods.

The MTA will also introduce two additional round trips on the 7 line — which services the rapidly-growing neighborhoods of Long Island City, Sunnyside, Woodside and Flushing — between 8 and 10:20 p.m. on weeknights. The agency said this will reduce wait times to under 4 1/2 minutes.

This service increase is expected to ease commuting, in particular, out of the Vernon Boulevard-Jackson Avenue station in Long Island City, which experienced a 12 percent growth in weekday ridership in 2014; and at the Flushing-Main Street terminal, which averages about 60,000 riders each day.

Finally, the M line will get an extra round trip just after the morning rush hour, between 9 and 9:30 a.m., reducing wait times to an average of 7 1/2 minutes. Since the line was rerouted in 2010 through Midtown Manhattan and northwest Queens (replacing the defunct V line), M train ridership is up about 31 percent, with an average increase of 6.2 percent at stations between Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village and Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg.

“New York is a dynamic city and it continues to grow as new or better housing options become available and more people come here for jobs or school,” said MTA New York City Transit President Carmen Bianco. “By making these schedule changes, New York City Transit is making the most of its resources to deliver service that accurately reflects ridership in growing areas.”

The MTA plans to spend $1.6 million to implement the additional service.

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CB 1 chair, district manager to retire in the summer after almost four decades of service


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Map via CB1 Website

Astoria will soon say goodbye to two Community Board 1 leaders as they get ready to retire from their posts after nearly eight decades of combined service to the area.

Vinicio Donato, chair of CB 1, and Lucille Hartmann, district manager of the board, have announced they will both be retiring. Donato will stay on the board until August, while Hartmann will remain until July. 

Donato has been chair of the community board, which covers all of Astoria, and parts of Long Island City and Woodside, since 1979 and in January was re-elected to the position without any opposition. 

Hartmann has been on the board for about 38 years, during which she left for a brief period of time to work for the mayor’s office. 

However, the decision to announce their retirement at the same time was a coincidence and was made because it was just time for both of them to make the move, according to a community board representative. 

Lucille Hartmann (File Photo)

Lucille Hartmann (File photo)

Local elected officials thanked both Donato and Hartmann for their service and dedication to the community.

“Vinny and Lucille deserve our thanks for their long and dedicated service to our neighborhood,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “I have worked hand in hand with both of these community leaders throughout my career in public service and am proud to have stood side by side with them as we fought to make Astoria the wonderful place it is today. I wish both Vinny and Lucille the best in all that they do in the future.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer also thanked both of the community leaders for their commitment over the years.

“I thank Vinicio Donato for his four-plus decades of public service with Community Board 1 and acknowledge him for his commitment as an educator while at I.S. 10, where I attended as a kid,” Van Bramer said. “I commend Lucille Hartmann for her dedication to the communities of Community Board 1. Together, Vinny and Lucille cared deeply about the communities they served and worked hard every day to make western Queens a better place.”

Community Board 1 is expected to elect a new chairman at its September meeting after returning from the summer break.

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Zagat to set up voting booth at LIC Flea & Food


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

Visitors to the LIC Flea & Food this weekend will have their voices heard and be able to win some money.

Zagat, known for its ratings of restaurants and nightlife, will be setting up a booth at the popular Long Island City market where visitors will have the chance to review their favorite New York restaurants and vote for the top LIC Flea vendors.

Voters will be rewarded with money to spend the same day at the flea market, and LIC Flea vendors who win most votes will be awarded with the title of Zagat Voters’ Choice at LIC Flea. For more information visit www.zagat.com/reviewNYC.

LIC Flea & Food is located at an outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, and offers items for sale including food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

Along with over 80 vendors each day, the market also has a beer garden, exclusively serving beers brewed in Queens from local breweries including Rockaway Brewery, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and SingleCut Beersmiths. The LIC Flea is the only location to carry beer from all six breweries. The bar will also offer a great selection of wines.

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

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.

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Environmentally friendly LIC building breaks ground on Earth Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo by Liam La Guerre

Earth Day is a time for reflection on how to be more environmentally conscious. It was also the best day for Brause Realty and Gotham Organization to break ground on its 35-story rental building in Long Island City, which will be one of the most eco-friendly structures in the neighborhood.

The building at 44-28 Purves St. was designed by FXFowle Architects, the same group behind the massive green roof on the Jacob Javits Convention Center. It will have 272 market-rate rental apartments with a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments, and various green features, such as generating energy from wind turbines and solar panels.

“We are creating a lot of our own energy, which is going to power a lot of the common areas in the building,” said David Brause, president of Brause Realty, at the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. “There is a lot of green in this building.”

Additionally, a three-floor “amenities building” will be built in conjunction with the tower on the lot, and that smaller structure will have a green roof with grass and plants.

The project is designed with LEED Silver certification standards, which is the third-highest green level a building can obtain by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The amenities building will have space for a fitness center, yoga studio and a 2,000-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor, which Brause said could be home to a restaurant.

Between the amenities building and the 35-story tower will be a courtyard with seating, a pool with a 50-foot lap lane, a grilling and bar area, and a large weather-resistant movie screen.

In the main 35-floor tower, the ground level will contain the lobby and a mail room, laundry room and a space for a small coffee shop or convenience store. There will be additional common space on the second floor, including a kitchen, fireplace, social areas, a children’s playroom, and a private lounge and conference room with an attached outdoor patio.

Also, on the 35th floor there will be a residents’ lounge with a billiards room, wet bar and an outdoor terrace with views of the Manhattan skyline. There will be a 75-spot parking garage under the building.

Brause Realty acquired the land for 44-28 Purves St. in 2013. The site, which was home to manufacturing firms, is in the state Brownfield Cleanup Program because of contaminated soil. Currently, the toxic soil is being trucked from the site.

Brause said he plans to complete construction on the project in two years.

Developers and owners during the ceremonial shoveling for the groundbreaking.

Developers and owners during the ceremonial shoveling for the groundbreaking.

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Queens Beer Week to kick off second year with over 70 venues


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Image via Instagram/@queensbeerweek

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO AND ANGY ALTAMIRANO

Something is brewing in Queens, and in just two weeks you’ll be able to get a cold glass of what the borough has to offer.

The second annual Queens Beer Week will kick off its nine-day celebration of local breweries on May 8, with the final event on May 17.

According to organizer Daniel Bronson, a beer enthusiast and manager of Crescent and Vine in Astoria, this year’s event is expected to be bigger and better than the previous year, celebrating nine local breweries at over 70 borough-wide participating bars and restaurants.

The celebration will include brewery tours, home brewing demos, tap takeovers, food and beer pairings, pub crawls, and more.

“Queens has such a rich and diverse beer scene,” Bronson said. “We’re a borough home to some of the best neighborhood bars in the country. And although we have more breweries than any other borough, it was hard getting New Yorkers, even us here in Queens, to appreciate that.”

This year’s Queens Beer Week kicks off on May 8, with the official launch of Queens’ newest brewery, LIC Beer Project, at Crescent and Vine, located at 25-03 Ditmars Blvd. in Astoria.

On May 9, Rich Castagna of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery will host the Ridgewood Beer Bar Scavenger Hunt at various bars throughout Ridgewood. Players will search for clues and hidden items at local hot spots such as Julia’s Beer and Wine Bar, The Monk Ale House, Onderdonk & Sons, Bleachers Sports Bar and Queens Tavern.

The official Queens Beer Week Kick-Off Party, which is already sold out, will be held on May 10 at 4 p.m. at LIC Landing, located at 52-10 Vernon Blvd. in Long Island City. The event will feature samples and tastings from all of the Queens breweries, including Queens Beer Week IPA, a special collaboration beer made specifically for Queens Beer Week by SingleCut Beersmiths and Barrier Brewing Company.

On May 14, the film “Blood, Sweat and Beer,” a documentary by filmmaker Chip Hiden chronicling the evolution of two start-up breweries, will premiere at SingleCut Beersmiths, located at 19-33 37th St. in Astoria. In addition to pours of SingleCut beer, viewers will also be treated to beer-inspired popcorn from Ma and Pa Kettle Corn Co.

Long Island City-based breweries such as LIC Beer Project, Big Alice Brewing, Rockaway Brew Co. and Transmitter Brewing will offer tours and beer samples throughout the day on May 16.

Queens Beer Week 2015 wraps up on May 17, with the celebration of Finback Brewery’s one-year anniversary. Their new Barrel-Aged Plum and Proper, described as “a smoky sour dark ale brewed with fresh plums,” will be available in Finback’s taproom, located at 78-01 77th Ave. in Glendale.

For the latest information and Queens Beer Week schedule, visit www.queensbeerweek.com.

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Queens native John Leguizamo to perform at LIC’s The Creek and The Cave


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The Creek and The Cave

One comedian and Emmy Award-winning actor is coming back to the borough that saw him grow from a child to a young man.

John Leguizamo, known for films ranging from the thriller “Carlito’s Way” to the children’s movie “Ice Age,” will be taking the stage at The Creek and The Cave next month for a new series called “Week at The Creek.”

Leguizamo is scheduled to appear at the Long Island City venue, located at 10-93 Jackson Ave., on May 6, 7, 13 and 14 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be found here.

The 50-year-old comedian and actor was born in Colombia, yet at age 3 moved with his family to Jackson Heights. While in the western Queens neighborhood, Leguizamo moved around with his family but stayed in the area until he was around 19, according to the Daily News.

Recently Leguizamo completed production on films such as “The Nest,” featuring Tina Fey, “American Ultra” with Jesse Eisenberg and “The Man on Carrion Road” with Patrick Wilson and Jim Belushi.

Earlier this year the comedian also debuted his fifth HBO solo special with “Ghetto Klown,” an adaptation of his one-man stage show with the same name.

Other films the actor was involved in include “Kick Ass 2,” “Land of the Dead,” “William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet,” and many more.

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New LIC brewery to open taproom featuring experimental beers


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Jamie Lefkowitz Photography

A trio of beer lovers have come together to begin a project in Long Island City that will bring new flavors to Queens.

Daniel Acosta, Damon Oscarson and Gianni Cavicchi are the guys behind the LIC Beer Project, a new brewery expected to make its official launch during Queens Beer Week, which is set to kick off on May 10.

The idea of the brewery was born after Acosta took a backpacking trip through Europe in 2004 and fell in love with Belgian beer. He had already been interested in craft beer, but while overseas, he was able to visit well-known Belgian breweries. When he came back to the United States he tried some Belgian beer at a California brewery and from there started brewing at home.

At the time, Acosta was working in the construction industry and this got him interested in the process portion of making beer and how breweries are built.

“I had all of that behind me to help drive having the idea to start a brewery,” he said.

He later attended the Siebel Institute of Technology, an accredited brewing school, and received an education in brewing science. For the next eight years he studied and traveled around the world visiting breweries. 

With the idea of starting a brewery already in his head and wanting to create Belgian-inspired beers and American wild ales, he just wasn’t sure where he would call home. Then, three years ago, he met Oscarson, who had also been home-brewing beers, and Cavicchi, a wine and beer sommelier, and the idea of the brewery became a reality. 

The brewery is now located in Long Island City at 39-28 23rd St. and its site is slated to open in June, although LIC Beer Project will officially launch with three to four of its beers next month. 

“I felt there was really a need for these styles of beer here in the city so we all converged and wound up here in Long Island City and this is where it is beginning. We’re on a crazy journey here,” Acosta said. “We felt that [LIC] was a real up-and-coming area and we are very close to Manhattan, close to Brooklyn, so we felt that it was at the center of something big to happen.”

The idea of the brewery is to create different types of beers, using various techniques, and all shooting to be dry, allowing for people to enjoy more. The main set of beers will go through weeks of fermentation, a second style will be brewed with wild yeast called brettanomyces, naturally occurring on fruits, and another batch will go through what is known as the coolship method.

Through the coolship method these beers spend time in an open vessel, allowing what is naturally occurring in the air to ferment it, and then will be transferred to oak barrels. Through this method, which takes from six months to two years for beer to be ready, the brewers hope the beer will be exposed to the Queens air and have its own kind of “local touch” to it. 

“The reason we call it LIC Beer Project is because we have several different types of beer we’re going to do here starting from more traditional Belgium-inspired beer with their own American twist on them and then they’ll go through an evolution,” Acosta said. “So as we go through the different beers they’ll get more complex, more difficulty in brewing process, more complex yeast characters.”

Coolship located at the site of the LIC Beer Project.

Coolship located at the site of the LIC Beer Project.

Along with being home to the LIC Beer Project, the 23rd Street location will also serve as a taproom expected to be open to the public Fridays through Sundays starting in June. 

The taproom will have 10 beers on tap, which will constantly rotate in order to try different experimental beers and get feedback from visitors.

The site will include seating and food, and tours of the brewery will also be given, in order to provide an educational portion. Visitors will also be able to walk around the 5,550-square-foot facility and get a firsthand look at the brewery’s production.

“We’re going to make it a pretty interesting place for people to come and try something new,” Oscarson said. “We wanted to give people an experience when they come here and enjoy the beer as well. We wanted to give them an experience when they are drinking the beer and take them to a different place, so we wanted to do same thing with the taproom and brewery itself.”

For now, the LIC Beer Project has three beers — Ardent Core, Evening’s Empire, and one yet to be named — ready to be released to the public, and after Queens Beer Week these selections will be available at various locations in Queens.

Acosta added that the ultimate goal for the brewery would be to become a nationally known boutique brewery, sold at various markets around the country, but for now they will let the beer take them forward.

“We’re going to keep evolving, keep working. We’re on like a beer odyssey. Sometimes things might work out and sometimes not,” Acosta said. “At the end of the day everything that we do is all about the beer.”

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Newtown Creek Alliance talks cleanup with Ridgewood group


| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo courtesy of Newtown Creek Alliance

BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO

The Newtown Creek Alliance (NCA) offered information about the polluted waterway’s ecology during an Earth Day meeting of the Ridgewood Democratic Club Thursday night.

NCA Program Manager Willis Elkins was joined by historian Mitch Waxman and Community Board 2 Environmental Committee Chair Dorothy Morehead to discuss the group’s ongoing improvement and preservation efforts at Newtown Creek.

The NCA was first established in 2002 with the central goal of refurbishing and protecting all 3.8 miles of the waterway, a federal Superfund site straddling the Brooklyn/Queens industrial border.

“We’re in support of maintaining its industrial use, we just want to make sure it’s maintaining a clean state,” Elkins said.

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Newtown Creek was a vibrant salt marsh ecosystem. By the 1950s, however, the creek was one of the busiest industrial waterways in the city. As a result, pollutants including chemicals, dyes, metals and petroleum were left behind.

In addition to industrial waste, one of the many challenges plaguing Newtown Creek is contamination from over 20 combined sewer overflow (CSO) pipes discharging sewage and stormwater into the creek. The nearly 450 citywide CSOs were originally designed to handle the surplus of rainwater entering the sewer system during storms.

According to Elkins, the East Branch CSO, located at Metropolitan Avenue, is one of the biggest pipes on the creek, discharging over 500 million gallons of sewage and untreated stormwater per year. The creek also contains many dead-end tributaries in which water tends to pool and stagnate, promoting bacterial growth.

The rise in bacteria levels from CSO output is responsible for low dissolved oxygen levels and poor water quality. In an attempt to raise oxygen levels, the city Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is in the process of constructing a complex aeration system designed to pump air into the creek.

The NCA has voiced staunch opposition to the $110 million dollar project, citing concerns over the possible health risks linked to aeration of the creek’s contaminated sediment.

“It’s only treating the symptom and not the actual cause of the bad water quality,” Elkins said. “It’s like putting a bubbler on your toilet and calling it clean water.”

The NCA partnered with a research group to conduct a series of air quality tests. According to Elkins, research showed higher levels of bacteria entering the air while the aeration system was in use. Despite these results, a consensus could not be reached between the NCA, DEP and other agencies regarding the impact on public health.

Elkins voiced support for natural solutions, including the use of cord grasses and “filter feeders” such as mussels and wild oysters to help improve dissolved oxygen levels in the creek. Green infrastructure improvements, such as the installation of bioswales slated for Maspeth, can also help absorb excess rainwater before it enters and the already overburdened sewer system.

Going forward, Elkins and the NCA hope to focus on the creek’s ecology by creating habitats for the many birds, fish, plants and mollusks that have returned in recent years. The NCA recently received a small grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund to construct a living dock to monitor wildlife. The 180-square-foot structure will feature milk crates filled with substrate that will act as a habitat for fish and invertebrates.

The NCA also partnered with LaGuardia Community College to install cord grass planters along industrial docks and bulkheads.

“It shows you can incorporate life into lifeless structures,” Elkins said.

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Schools Chancellor discusses District 30 issues, ‘renewal schools’ plan


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Parents and educators made their voices heard during a town hall meeting for District 30 where topics such as school overcrowding, testing and the start of a renewal program for schools were discussed.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña joined parents and members of the Community District Education Council 30 on Thursday night in Long Island City for a town hall meeting discussing issues and concerns arising in District 30.

Among the topics brought up by audience members — who were asked to write out questions on postcards that CEC 30 members read — included recent school testing, more parent engagement, overcrowding at local schools and the need for mandatory recess.

When answering questions on concerns over recent testing, which has been under criticism for being used mostly to evaluate teachers, Fariña said that the DOE is working to run things more smoothly. She believes that the tests should make up only 30 percent of the teachers’ evaluation, and the rest of the evaluation should be left to the school principals.

However, Fariña added that she does not believe opting out of the state tests is the answer.

“I want to be clear that I do believe in testing. I believe our kids are challenged every day of their lives in different ways,” she said. “As long as I have been with testing, no matter what you call the test, there’s always some stress, there’s always some fear.”

Fariña also brought up the idea of creating diagnostic tests, where students would take one test at the start of the school year and then another at the end of the year in order to evaluate progression.

In regards to parent engagement, Fariña said she wants to increase involvement of parents and guardians. She said she would like more days for parent-teacher conferences, workshops for parents, and even recommended parents start book clubs to not only create relationships but also get an idea of what books their children are assigned to read.

She also added that one of the priorities is to create more programs aimed to parents and children whose first language is not English.

“We’re working on many different levels and we’re trying to make it better for all parents to access all our schools,” Fariña said.

Among other topics discussed during the meeting was the plan to create what the chancellor called “renewal schools.”

Through this model, schools that are struggling, such as Long Island City’s P.S. 111, would become “renewed.” This means that the school day would be extended to at least 5 p.m., the school would offer extra programs with after-school programs also open to parents, health services, academic support, and some form of enrichment activities such as an arts program or physical education.

“Our job is to help struggling schools. Our job is not to close them. Our job is not assume that they have to struggle forever or be failing schools forever, and we’ve gone into the renewal school model with that fully in place,” the schools chancellor said.

At these schools there will also be renewal directors, who will work with principals to provide more support and guidance. The directors will also observe and evaluate teachers at these specific schools to make sure they are a right fit for the site.

“We need to do a wraparound service around these schools so that all the needs are met,” Fariña said. “You can say a school is only about education, but the reality is that it’s a lot more than that. They need to be community hubs. They need to be places where, to the most degree possible, we do everything we can and bar no efforts to get this done.”

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Bandits wanted for towing away air pumps from Queens gas stations


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for the airheads who stole self-serve air pump machines from 17 gas stations in Queens and Brooklyn since December.

In each caper the suspects used a hook and chain attached to a vehicle to yank the coin-operated devices from their pedestals, authorities said. Each of the air pumps contained hundreds of dollars in quarters and police believe the crooks got away with more than $40,000 in change combined.

A dozen of the thefts occurred in Queens, and security cameras captured one of the incidents which occurred at 6:35 p.m. on March 21 at the Sunoco gas station located at 128-24 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.


Two men, described as white or Hispanic, were spotted in the video. Police said one of them, who was wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, was observed operating a blue Honda Accord.

The other Queens air pump thefts are as follows:

  • At 4 p.m. on Dec. 29, the crooks removed an air pump containing $800 in change from the Citgo gas station located at 91-02 South Conduit Ave. in Ozone Park. They returned to the location on March 1 at 3 p.m. and stole the replacement air pump, valued at $1,000.
  • On Dec. 30, at about 10 p.m., the bandits stole an air pump containing $200 from the Getty gas station at 70-21 73rd Pl. in Glendale.
  • At 8 p.m. on Jan. 12, the suspects removed an air compressor valued at $2,500 from the BP gas station at 130-11 North Conduit Ave. in South Ozone Park. They returned twice more to this location — at 9 p.m. on Jan. 28 and again at 10 p.m. on April 1 — and removed the replacement air compressors.
  • On Jan. 13, at about 6:59 p.m., the crooks removed an air pump valued at $2,000 from the Sunoco gas station at 162-35 North Conduit Ave. in Springfield Gardens.
  • At 12:20 a.m. on March 8, the bandits removed the air pump from the Global gas station at 49-25 Van Dam St. in Long Island City.
  • That same morning, at 2 a.m., the crooks yanked away the air pump machine from the Exxon gas station at 59-51 Long Island Expwy. in Long Island City.
  • At 8:26 p.m. on March 16, the suspects removed the air pump machine from the BP gas station located at 100-07 Rockaway Blvd. in Ozone Park.
  • At 9:26 p.m. on March 20, the perpetrators removed an unknown amount of change from the vacuum air machine at the Eagle service center located at 49-05 Astoria Blvd. in Astoria.

Among the five Brooklyn locations in the pattern was the Exxon GPN Boulevard gas station at 1193 Myrtle Ave. in Bushwick. The crooks removed the station’s air pump machine, valued at $700, at 9:08 a.m. on the morning of Feb. 2.

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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LIC Flea & Food beer garden offers drinks from six Queens breweries


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File photo

As the weather is expected to hit the 70s this weekend, what better way to cool down than with a cold drink from the LIC Flea Beer Garden?

The popular Long Island City flea market celebrated its opening weekend last week, filled with sunshine and visitors from near and far.

LIC Flea & Food is located at an outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, and offers items for sale including food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, handcrafted jewelry and fashion, and much more.

Along with over 80 vendors each day, the market also has a beer garden, exclusively serving beers brewed in Queens from local breweries including Rockaway Brewery, Queens Brewery, Finback Brewery and SingleCut Beersmiths. The LIC Flea is the only location to carry beer from all six breweries. The bar will also offer a great selection of wines.

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

For updates on the LIC Flea & Food market, follow on Facebook.com/LICFlea, Instagram.com/LICFlea and @LICFlea on Twitter.

Applications from potential vendors for the new season are still being accepted by registering online at www.licflea.com.

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Queens rental inventory and prices steadily rising: report


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MNS Real Estate

While it’s nowhere near the levels of Manhattan or Brooklyn, the amount of available rental apartments in Queens is steadily rising, and prices are trending upwards as well.

From February to March the rental inventory rose 6.59 percent to 889 apartments available throughout the borough, according to the MNS Real Estate’s March Queens Rental Market Report.

This marks the second consecutive monthly increase. Additionally, since MNS has been tracking the Queens rental market in August 2014, the borough’s inventory climbed from just 592 apartments.

The borough’s real estate boom is driven by popular neighborhoods, such as Long Island City and Astoria, and MNS CEO Andrew Barrocas said the inventory will continue to increase because demand is high in Queens and developers are bringing more projects here.

When inventory rises, normally prices fall, but that may not be the case long term in the Queens rental market because of the high demand, Barrocas said.

“Traditionally it does [fall],” Barrocas said, “but I think certain markets flourish when more inventory comes.”

Barrocas pointed to Long Island City, where the demand to move into the area has caused increased creation of new amenities, such as dinning and retail options, further pushing up values in the neighborhood.

The most expensive rents in the borough are, of course, in Long Island City. March rents in LIC averaged $2,385, $2,932 and $4,091 per month for studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms respectively, according to the report.

But only studios in the neighborhood saw a monthly increase in March.

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New LIC condo building to begin sales in May


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Modern Spaces 

Although the Long Island City real estate market is scorching hot with thousands of apartments planned, last year there were no new condo units available, said Eric Benaim, CEO of brokerage Modern Spaces.

Meanwhile, the demand for condos in the burgeoning area is climbing as more people desire to settle down in LIC after renting there for a while.

To meet demand, some planned LIC condos will come to the market this year, including a building called The Corner at 47-28 11th St., which Modern Spaces recently announced will begin selling next month.

“We are excited because we know there is a lot of demand for condos,” Benaim said. “What tends to happen is people get introduced to the area through the rentals then they live here for a while, and then they are ready to buy.”

The Corner has 23 units, which are a mix of one- and two-bedrooms. The homes feature chef kitchens and oak flooring, and some units have private outdoor space. The building also offers designer-style bathrooms with Kohler tubs, Grohe fixtures and ceramic titles.

Additionally, there are numerous amenities through The Corner, such as a fitness center, sundeck and residents’ lounge.

The condominium is being built through a joint venture partnership between Kora Developers LLC and BK Developers.

Prices for the condos have yet to be announced, and the building isn’t planned to be completed until later this year, so new homebuyers won’t be able to move in until at least the end of the year.

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LIC community garden vies for votes to win Seeds of Change grant


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the Dutch Kills Community Garden

A community garden in Long Island City is looking to win a grant that will allow them to add more programs and reach more people.

The Dutch Kills Community Garden, which was started in 2013, could win a grant from the Seeds of Change Grant Program if it gets enough votes to move on to the final judging phase of the program.

The community garden was started by former LIC resident Jennifer DuJat, who grew up with her family of gardeners in Long Island and later gardened on her apartment’s fire escape in the western Queens neighborhood.

After being put on waiting lists in other community gardens, DuJat reached out to real estate broker Steffan Olausson Partridge, who helped her get the LIC apartment, and asked if he knew of anyone with an empty lot willing to offer it for the garden.

Partridge mentioned he had a house on 28th Street between 38th and 39th avenues, which he rents out as a short-term vacation spot, with a back lot.

The lot then became the home of the Dutch Kills Community Garden, which this past weekend celebrated the opening of its third season and is completely open to the public.

“We are making the point that even though we have chosen to live in the city we can still live green and do things for the community,” DuJat said.

The garden’s season goes from around April until the end of September, or the first frost, and there are 13 beds of vegetables which are owned by different members of the garden.

Members take turns completing chores to keep the garden’s common space clean, and each bed is the responsibility of the member who owns it. There are some rules that members must follow while keeping a bed, such as making sure they don’t block anyone else’s bed, keeping it clean and using organic materials.

The Dutch Kills Community Garden previously won the Citizen’s Committee for New York City Neighborhood Grant in 2013 and 2014.

This year, if they receive a Seeds of Change grant, the founders plan to use the funds to expand programs, such as wine tastings, and reach more people. The money will also go toward making the garden more sustainable regarding water by creating a rain harvesting system with rain barrels.

“By supporting these kinds of things in the neighborhood it get the word out and shows people that they can be environmentally friendly,” DuJat said. “It shows that even if you are in the city you can support a community garden.”

The voting for the Seeds of Change Grant Program ends on April 27 and people can vote once a day.

To vote for the Dutch Kills Community Garden, click here.

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LIC’s SculptureCenter to get excellence in preservation award for renovation, expansion


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Michael Moran

One Long Island City nonprofit is being recognized for its excellence in preserving a century-old building, home to a former trolley repair shop, and converting it into a large art institution with its recent renovation and expansion.

The SculptureCenter, located at 44-19 Purves St., has been chosen as one of nine winners of the 25th Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards, which will hold a ceremony on April 30 in Brooklyn.

These awards, also called the “Preservation Oscars,” are known as the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors of excellence in preservation.

The Long Island City institution was chosen for its renovation of the original 1908 brick building, which it moved into in 2002, and a 2,000-square-foot expansion which complements the site. The project was designed by Andrew Berman Architect, who has also designed projects for The New York Public Library and MoMA PS1. 

“The Moses Awards celebrate terrific preservation projects. Several of this year’s award winners demonstrate how historic buildings can be adapted to meet contemporary needs and add economic vitality in neighborhoods across the city,” said Peg Breen, president of The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The SculptureCenter’s addition, which maintains the steel and brick structure of the existing building, gives the location a street presence while also increasing gallery and programming space. The one-story building houses an entrance lobby providing guests with ticketing, orientation and services such as restroom facilities, a bookshop and various gallery spaces.

A new 1,500-square-foot enclosed courtyard was also created to be used for outdoor exhibitions and events. Some upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems and improvements in office and storage space were also made as part of the renovations.

“SculptureCenter is honored to receive this year’s Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award. Andrew Berman’s sensitive and thoughtful expansion and renovation honors the dramatic steel and brick structure of the existing building while creating a stronger street presence as well as generously proportioned new spaces for the production and display of sculpture,” said Mary Ceruti, executive director and chief curator at SculptureCenter. “As the neighborhood becomes populated with more glass and steel, we felt it was important to preserve some of its industrial history.”

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