Tag Archives: Long Island City

Stavisky, Markey, Sanders win primary


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

File photos

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

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

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

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

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

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

Photo via Twitter/@tobystavisky

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

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Beer garden coming to LIC Flea & Food


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

File Photo

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

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

rockaway

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

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

QUEENS BREWERY 3

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

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

SINGLECUT

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

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

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

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LIC Flea returns Saturdays and Sundays with Fashion Weekend


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bradley Hawks

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information visit www.licflea.com.

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


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Orestes Gonzalez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File Photo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Report: Queens rental prices increase


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate

Rental prices are continuing to rise in the borough, according to the Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Rents in Queens jumped about 1.76 percent from approximately $2,077 in June to $2,113 in July, according to the report, which targeted several Queens neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights and Rego Park.

The largest percentage increase in rent prices was seen in studios in Jackson Heights, which saw a 21 percent jump over a month. Studios in the neighborhood shot up from $1,238 in June to about $1,500 in July.

Two-bedrooms in Flushing also experienced a huge surge as prices soared more than 15 percent—an increase of $345 from $2,254 in June to $2,599 in July.

web Market report Jax Hts

The most expensive neighborhood was Long Island City. Although prices fell 0.65 percent for the month because of “a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, the average rent prices ranged from $2,410 for a studio to $3,908 for a two-bedroom apartment.

“The rental market throughout Queens is still following the patterns of recent months as the borough continues to see major growth, particularly in Long Island City and Astoria,” the report points out. “With new developments and conversions hitting the market recently, renters have flocked to these areas seeking more options and value for their money.”

Market report page 2 beds web

Studios in Forest Hills had the largest percentage decrease. Prices for a studio in the neighborhood dropped 27 percent ($501) from $1,851 in June to $1,350 in July.

To see the full report, click here.

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Children’s Room renovations coming to Queens Library’s Broadway branch


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Library

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Starting Monday, Sept. 8, the Children’s Room at the Queens Library’s Broadway branch in Long Island City will remain closed for four months as it undergoes renovations. An alternate children’s room will open on Sept. 15, but it will offer limited services.

The renovated Children’s Room will include more computers for children to use, brand new furniture, more space for librarians to attend to customers and a self-checkout station. The room will also feature a model train set that will circulate in the front of the room, suspended from overhead tracks.

While the Children’s Room remains closed, the rest of the Broadway library will stay open during the renovations.

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Flea in full swing


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Ping Pong Winners

Just days before the US Open kicked off, the competition was in full swing at the LIC Flea & Food.

The popular Long Island City flea market, located at the outdoor lot on the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue, held its 2nd Annual LIC Flea & Food Ping Pong Open Tournament on Aug. 23.

Many contestants competed throughout the day and the overall winner was Japanese high-ranking table tennis player Kazuyuki Yokoyama, who also goes by Kaz. The runner-up of the tournament was Wolfgang Busch, who co-founded the Pink Pong Foundation New York Chapter in 2002 in Brooklyn to promote table tennis, fitness and health in the LGBT community.

The winners were given Flea Bucks to use at the market and also took home bragging rights.

LIC Flea & Food is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be back on Sundays starting the following weekend and run through the end of October.This Sunday, Aug. 31, in Astoria, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios will be celebrating its final day of the summer at the outdoor backlot of Kaufman Astoria Studios at 36th Street and 35th Avenue.

Visitors to the Astoria Flea will enjoy a beach theme Sunday with kiddie pools and games spread throughout the market.

Since May, the flea market has offered the best in food, drinks, antiques, clothing, art, accessories and much more. Initially the Astoria Flea was expected to run for only eight consecutive Sundays.

The market will be open this Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.For more information visit www.licflea.com.

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11-story condominium building planned for LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Fogarty Finger Architects

New condos are coming to the Hunter’s Point section of Long Island City.

Local companies Charney Construction & Development and Ascent Development are working on an 11-story mixed-use residential and commercial building, which will have 56 apartments, according to New York YIMBY.

The building will be located on 11-51 47th Avenue, blocks from 5Pointzwhich is being torn down for massive apartment towers— and near MoMA PS1.

Designed by Fogarty Finger Architects, the proposed 125-foot structure will be comprised of 52,728 square feet of residential space and an additional 1,280 square feet of commercial space, according to filings with the Department of Buildings.

The building will also have 23 enclosed parking spots, and will also come complete with various amenities, including a kids room, a gym and a lounge. There is also a terrace that allows views of Manhattan.

An architect on the project said the condos, which will have lots of two and three-bedroom apartments, indicate a change in Long Island City of families moving into the neighborhood .

“Because you can’t buy anything in Manhattan, people are looking at these neighborhoods and realizing how great they are,” Chris Fogarty of Fogarty Finger said. “These are people looking to stay a while.”

 

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Street cleaning initiative expands to Dutch Kills


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office

More streets of western Queens will continue to shine as The Doe Fund expands into Dutch Kills.

The move into the Long Island City neighborhood comes a month after it was announced the nonprofit organization’s reach would be expanding to other areas of Long Island City and Hunters Point, and would also be remaining in Woodside.

The Doe Fund, which employs recently homeless or formerly incarcerated people as part of its Ready, Willing and Able transitional work program, will keep the sidewalks clean and clear corner trash cans on 36th Avenue from 27th to 36th streets.

Two workers will be on-site two days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We continue to tackle the issue of street cleanliness head-on,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who secured $33,000 to begin The Doe Fund program in Dutch Kills. “The maintenance of our commercial corridors and residential streets is a top priority for me.”

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LIC’s Secret Theatre turns to fundraising campaign to survive


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Orestes Gonzalez

One Long Island City theatre is looking to raise enough money to help keep its doors open.

Richard Mazda, founder of the Secret Theatre, located at 44-02 23rd St., has started an Indiegogo fundraising campaign after having to deal with financial difficulties starting in late 2012.

The difficulties came after the Department of Buildings found the landlord’s certificate of occupancy was out of date, which meant that Mazda had to pay DOB fines, hire architects to get correct permits in place and also move the site’s Little Theatre to an alternative spot in the 23rd Street building.

“We were under the threat of closing one space and just having the big theatre, or closing both spaces and literally calling it a day,” Mazda said. “No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t dig our way out just from our normal thin profit margin.”

Mazda continued to explain that the Secret Theatre breaks even with the money coming in from ticket sales, but to pay for the “unexpected costs” they now had to turn to the community to help cover some debts and also continue offering programs to the community.

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

“I am comfortable that we will raise a good amount of money,” Mazda said. “I am very moved by the support we are receiving so far and I look forward to being able to thank more people.”

Along with raising the money to pay for expenses, Mazda also said he hopes to bring change to the Secret Theatre and turn it into a nonprofit organization.

The Indiegogo campaign has a goal of $10,000 and will run until Sept. 4.

“At this point in time I don’t think we will close. We are still in trouble, but the reaction from people has been incredible,” Mazda said.

For more information visit secrettheatre.com. To donate to the Secret Theatre’s fundraising campaign, click here.

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New owner buys Queens’ tallest building


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The tallest building in Queens— and New York State outside of Manhattan— has a new owner.

Savanna, a real estate investment firm, announced on Monday that together with a partnering company it acquired a controlling interest in One Court Square, the 51-story building in Long Island City occupied by Citibank.

“We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of this terrific asset in Long Island City,” said Nicholas Bienstock, managing partner of Savanna. “One Court Square not only features attractive building amenities and convenient transportation access, but is also located in the heart of Long Island City, which has transformed over the past 10 years into one of the most attractive up-and-coming residential and office markets in the city.”

The group of investors led by David Werner, who previously owned the 1.5 million-square-foot building, will remain a smaller partner of the building.

Savanna did not release the price it paid for the tower, but Crain’s reported that the purchase would have been a much greater value than the nearly $500 million that Werner paid for it in 2011.

One Court Square was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and built by Turner Construction in 1989.

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New Dutch Kills coffee shop looks to become community spot


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

One new shop owner hopes to bring the Dutch Kills community together over a cup of joe.

Beatrix Czagany will soon open Our Coffee Shop in the Long Island City neighborhood at 38-08 29th St. with plans to sell a variety of pastries, including Hungarian delicacies, coffees and teas.

The name of the spot comes from Czagany’s hope to become a coffee shop for the neighborhood.

“Personally owned coffee shops have more character than the coffee chains,” Czagany said. “I want to bring the people together again, like a community. I really want people to sit down, drink a coffee and have a normal conversation.”

The Astoria resident, who has been in the fitness and health business for 15 years, said she found the spot for her shop after passing by the vacant storefront while helping a friend move late last year.

Although she has no prior experience in owning a business, Czagany said her decision to open the coffee shop came from working at a friend’s pizza restaurant and realizing she enjoyed the interaction with customers better than at her current job.

She said she has also gone to numerous coffee shops throughout the city to get a taste of coffee types and an idea of site set-ups.

“I never ever thought I would be in the restaurant business. Many years ago I was thinking I would have my little own gym. And this is the opposite of that,” said Czagany, who immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 2002. “If someone told me, ‘You’re going to come to America and sell Hungarian stuff,” I would say, ‘Are you crazy?’”

Met with bills from having to fix up the site by herself and buying all equipment and items needed, Czagany has turned to Kickstarter to raise funds with hopes to open the shop by the end of September.

“I really just need a little backup,” she said. The goal of the campaign, which ends on Sept. 16, is set at $1,800.

For the time being, Our Coffee Shop will be selling pastries from Astoria bakeries as Czagany searches for local commercial kitchens where Hungarian delicacies could be handmade. She hopes to begin serving the Hungarian treats by December.

“I hope [customers] will get to know each other. It’s more like a little family spot. They are going to bring their own ideas here,” said Czagany, who hopes to hold community events at the shop. “It’s going to be shaped every month and every season there will be something new.”

Czagany plans to open Our Coffee Shop seven days a week starting at 6 a.m.

To donate to the Our Coffee Shop Kickstarter campaign, click here.

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Men rescued after jumping into East River in Long Island City  


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Three men ended up in the East River off of Long Island City Monday night after one of the men jumped into the water to try and save the other two, police said.

On a challenge the pair leaped into the East River, but one of the men apparently didn’t know how to swim and both struggled in the water, according to published reports,

A good Samaritan passing by the area near 48th Avenue at about 8 p.m., went in to rescue the 21-year-old and 22-year-old, cops said. All three were then pulled to safety by police.

The good Samaritan refused medical attention at the scene.

The two other men were taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital in stable condition.

 

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Demolition begins at 5Pointz


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

The walls have started to come down at the Long Island City site which was once home to the graffiti mecca known as 5Pointz.

Demolition began Friday at the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street as crews teared down the back wall with bulldozers.

Last month, Jerry Wolkoff, owner of the property, said he hoped to begin demolishing the buidlings in August after initially looking to tear down the site months ago. The demolition is expected to take up to three months to finish.

Wolkoff and his company, G&M Realty, plan to build two apartment towers—one 47 stories and the other 41 stories tall – with close to 1,000 rental apartments, 32,000 square feet of outdoor public space and 50,000 square feet of retail space between them.

Jackson Ave 5

In October, the City Council approved the developer’s proposal to build apartment towers to larger dimensions than allowed by current zoning rules.

Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight last November, only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requested the site be landmarked.

Then earlier this month, Wolkoff released a rendering of a reserved space for graffiti which will be on the new building’s exterior near a rear courtyard, and will be open to the public. However, some artists and 5Pointz supporters are skeptical of the reserved space.

“Who knows what kind of artists it’s going to attract, what’s it’s going to be like and how are they going to manage that,” said Carolina Penafiel of Local Project, a non-profit arts organization which used to be housed in 5Pointz.

Jackson Ave 8

Penafiel stopped by the former graffiti mecca to watch the early demolition and reflect on it.

“It’s sad to see that nobody was able to do anything,” she said. “It wasn’t just a building. It was 5Pointz, you know? I don’t think you could build something like this again.”

 

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