Tag Archives: Long Island City

Residential and retail complex planned for former LIC Paragon Paint Factory


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Scott Bintner/PropertyShark

The old four-story Paragon Paint Factory in Long Island City will get a new finish — and a massive redevelopment.

The rear section of the building will be demolished for a 28-story, 296-unit residential tower at 5-49 46th Ave., according to recently filed Buildings Department permits by SHoP Architects, which is designing the project.

The plans include about 236,230 square feet of residential space and more than 10,400 square feet for ground-floor retail space. There will also be a 24-car garage.

In addition, the development will also include a smaller 14-story residential tower with 48 residential units and more than 4,500 square feet of commercial space in a lot at 45-24 Vernon Blvd. near the paint factory. And developers will demolish a building at 45-28 Vernon Blvd. to build a park that will connect both buildings, according to a published report.

Simon Baron Development purchased the Paragon Paint Factory back in 2013 for about $14.7 million, according to city records. Brent Carrier of CRE Development told the LIC Post that the project will be a joint venture with Simon Baron Development.

The Paragon Paint Factory site is zoned for manufacturing and owners will need to get a variance to build the planned residential and commercial property on the site.

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Construction on Cornell Tech campus begins on Roosevelt Island


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre. Renderings courtesy Weiss/Manfredi

Construction kicked off Tuesday on the $2 billion Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech campus, which many predict will be a feeder of skilled entrepreneurs for the western Queens technology community.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, were both in attendance to support the building of the applied sciences campus, which will span 12 acres on Roosevelt Island and house 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff. The first phase of the campus is expected to open in the summer of 2017.

“Mr. Mayor, you remember a phrase from a great American movie, ‘if you build it, they will come’? I think this epitomizes it,” de Blasio said to his predecessor. “I think Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to create an environment for the tech sector had an extraordinary impact. This is one of the signature elements and we are proud to be building upon that tradition.”

Cornell Tech, which was selected by the city’s Economic Development Corporation over 17 other proposed schools in 2011, has been running out of Google’s Chelsea building since 2013.

In May, 73 master’s students in computer science and business and two Ph.D. students graduated from Cornell Tech. More than half of the graduates stayed in New York for jobs or to begin their own startups, which lends to the belief that the new school will energize the growing tech community in the city, which has spread to Long Island City.

Just south of the Queensboro Bridge, the 2-million-square-foot tech campus will have four buildings with innovative technology in the first phase of development.

Bloomberg, who pushed for the tech campus on Roosevelt Island during his tenure, donated $100 million through Bloomberg Philanthropies to help build the school. Cornell will rename the First Academic Building, which will now be called The Bloomberg Center.

The center, which is designed by Morphosis Architects, will have classrooms and private work spaces.

Another building on the campus called The Bridge at Cornell Tech, which was designed by architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi and built by Forest City Ratner Companies, will house startups and established companies.

The 26-story residential building on the campus, designed by Handel Architects, will be the tallest building on the campus and it will meet strict international energy consumption Passive House standards. Faculty members and students will live in the 350 apartments in the building.

The campus will also have the Verizon Executive Education Center, which will be used for conferences and meetups, and there will be 2.5 acres of open space for the school community.

 

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LIC commercial building up for sale, ripe for conversion or development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy CBRE

An old Long Island City manufacturing building that was transformed into office space has been listed for sale and could be converted yet again.

The 54,000-square-foot building at 47-01 Van Dam St., which was formerly used for printing, is being marketed by real estate firm CBRE, and the brokerage believes the property will be valuable to buyers looking to open a hotel or even redevelop the building for other uses to maximize profits. 

“Given the tremendous growth of LIC over the past few years, the property is ideal for acquisition by a number of investors looking for a value-add opportunity,” said CBRE’s Joshua Kleinberg, who with John Reinertsen is representing the seller. “The property is located in proximity to a number of transportation options as well as new high-end projects taking shape around the neighborhood. A creative buyer can find tremendous return with the proper use.”

Between 47th and 48th avenues, the building is situated not far from the five-story Falchi and the 10-floor Factory, which are old industrial buildings that were converted into mixed-use office and retail structures.

Although the three-story building on Van Dam Street is much smaller than those larger properties, the structure still has popular industrial qualities that are attractive to buyers. There are 15-foot ceilings and passenger and freight elevators, and natural light soaks each floor of the building with windows on all sides.

The building is also located just a few blocks from the 33rd Street 7 train subway station.

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Queens native Fran Drescher visits LIC mobile mammography clinic


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Queens welcomed back one of its natives in Long Island City Monday afternoon during an event aimed at keeping the local community healthy.

Actress and Kew Gardens native Fran Drescher, known for her quirky roles in television shows such as “The Nanny” in the ’90s, made a stop at the nonprofit Project Renewal’s mobile mammography clinic called the ScanVan located at the Community Healthcare Network’s LIC center.

Drescher, who is a uterine cancer survivor, founded the organization the Cancer Schmancer Movement, which aims to shift the nation’s priority from searching for a cure for cancer toward prevention and early detection of cancer.

“We’re all about prevention and early detection, which is why the ScanVan is something that we as a movement, the Cancer Schmancer Movement, supports and feels like anything that we can do to help women that are a little more underinsured or uninsured and a little more marginalized or out of touch or reach to get the capability to detect early. It’s key for survival,” Drescher said.

The organization will also host a cruise around Manhattan on Father’s Day to celebrate family health and kick off pride week, and with all proceeds going toward Cancer Schmancer.

With her organization’s mission in mind, Drescher greeted local community members and toured the mobile clinic. She also added that although she is now based out of California, Queens will always be in her heart.

“All my characters are from Queens. Queens is always very near and dear to my heart. I always write Queens as if I’m still living there and that’s what keeps it close to me and I love Queens and the people in it and it always remains very close to me,” she said.

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According to Mary Solomon, director of Project Renewal’s ScanVan, Drescher stopping by allowed community members to see that cancer could affect anyone, no matter who they are, and also emphasizes the importance of detecting cancer at an early stage.

“Cancer is non-discriminatory: it attracts every race, every gender, really every age group. You can be rich, you can be poor, you can be well-known or you can be obscure. Cancer is an insidious disease that will attack just about anyone,” Solomon said. “Her celebrity lends a little credibility to what we’re doing. We’re a little odd ball, we’re doing something you generally find at a hospital center or a breast center or in a radiology office so it’s a little on the edge but we know that if we don’t reach out to women we may not get their compliance.”

The 40-foot ScanVan, which each year stops at over 200 locations throughout the five boroughs and serves thousands of residents, provides free testing to women who are homeless, low-income, uninsured, underinsured, or are faced with other sorts of healthcare barriers.

Solomon added that with partnering with local community organizations, such as Community Healthcare Network, which provides health care to a diverse population, they will be able to reach women of all demographics.

“We strive to take away all those issues so there’s really no excuse,” Solomon said.

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5Pointz artists suing over whitewashing: report


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photos

A group of 5Pointz artists who saw their work disappear when it was whitewashed is now suing the property’s owner over the loss, according to a published report.

Nine of the artists who displayed their aerosol work at the former Long Island City graffiti mecca on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court Friday, claiming that the property’s owner, Jerry Wolkoff, committed an illegal act by painting over their work without giving them enough warning to take it down and save it, the Daily News reported.

According to the publication, the artists are seeking significant monetary damages.

“This case is not only brought on behalf of plaintiffs, but it sends a message to everyone that the unlawful destruction of artwork will not be tolerated. If anyone violates federal law under the Visual Rights Act, they must be held accountable,” their attorney Eric Baum of Eisenberg & Baum told the Daily News.

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In November 2013, Wolkoff ordered to have the building and all the aerosol work that covered it painted white overnight only a few days after artists and supporters held rallies looking to save the graffiti mecca and requesting the site be landmarked.

The same year, the 5Pointz artists attempted to sue to stop the developer from tearing down the buildings but lost an important ruling shortly before the whitewashing. But a judge also reportedly said that their works had “recognized stature” and some could qualify under the Visual Artists Rights Act.

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 on the former 5Pointz site. Last August, Wolkoff also released a rendering of a reserved space for graffiti that will be on the new building’s exterior near a rear courtyard, and will be open to the public.

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LIC residents call on DOT to return hundreds of public parking spaces


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Residents in Long Island City want the Department of Transportation to know that its decision to take away hundreds of public parking spaces at one parking garage is not in their favor and the agency needs to return what belongs to the community.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with angry residents Friday morning to call on the transportation agency to restore 330 public parking permits that were taken away by DOT at the Court Square Municipal Parking Garage, located at 45-40 Court Square.

“The DOT a few months ago without consultation decided they were going to change the rules, they were going to make it more difficult for the people in this community to park their cars, make it more difficult for them to get to work on time, take their kids to school, do all the things they need to do,” Van Bramer said. “These seem like small matters, but the truth is it’s the small things that make a big difference in the quality of life.”

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Along with removing over 50 parking spaces last December in order to make room for DOT vehicles, the policy of the garage was changed two months ago making 210 parking spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis.

“It’s a wrong decision. It’s a foolish decision. It requires to be reversed not tomorrow but today,” resident Rama Rao said. “We are a community here. We contributed through Arris Lofts and other buildings around here to build Long Island City what it is today.”

According to residents, for the past two months they have had to wait hours in line during days designated by the DOT in order for them to pay their existing monthly parking and also ensure they get the spots for the following month.

“This is ‘The Hunger Games’ of monthly permit parking,” said P.C. Cheng, an LIC resident who has been parking at the garage since 2008.

Lines of hundreds of people fill the parking garage during those days and people have to wait in the middle of active driveways, some bringing in chairs to wait, according to residents. They say parking spaces have also been taken away to make room for a DOT storage facility surrounded by a fence.

Photo courtesy of P.C. Cheng

Hundreds of people waited hours to make sure they got a space at the Court Square Municipal Park for the month of June. (Photo courtesy of P.C. Cheng)

Cindy Vitari, who has been living in the neighborhood since 2007, said last month her husband had to wait four hours and was late to work.

“The sudden change is undemocratic. It’s not right for the residents of Long Island City,” Vitari said. “We have had to fight for space in our schools and anything to do with our public transportation, with our parking being taking away now, too.”

Van Bramer said that his office was never contacted in regard to the change and he is calling on the DOT to give the spaces back to the people that live and work in Long Island City.

“I am calling on them to rescind both of these policies which are not helping anyone here in Long Island City; they’re only making life more difficult for these folks who have invested in Court Square, invested in Long Island City,” Van Bramer said.

According to a DOT spokesperson, the DOT seeks a fair and efficient balance between daily and monthly permits and after hearing concerns from local stakeholders, the agency decided to implement the policy change in order to allow motorists to apply for 210 monthly spaces on a first-come, first-served basis.

The remaining 120 spaces, which used to be monthly spaces, are now being using for short-term parking and according to the DOT no spaces are being lost with the change of policy.

“This not only allows for all motorists to have a fair chance to apply for a monthly permit, but also allows for more short-term parking in the area, which is home to several courts, a museum and a law school,” a DOT spokesperson said.

In regard to the spaces being taken by DOT vehicles, the spokesperson said the agency’s operational fleet, which carry speed camera equipment, is kept there to be in close proximity to the unit they serve and are dispatched from. DOT also added that the spaces taken are not part of the 330 spaces made available to the public.

DOT also plans to implement an electronic permit reservation system this summer that will allow for a faster process.

The agency plans to review data obtained in the next several months and then make any necessary changes, if needed.

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Driver arrested for drug stash following LIC traffic stop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A simple traffic violation led to serious charges for a driver who was pulled over in Long Island City and caught with an assortment of drugs in his car, police said.

Two plainclothes officers from the 108th Precinct in an unmarked vehicle spotted a Jeep Grand Cherokee blow a stop sign on 38th Street before heading east on 43rd Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, authorities said.

The cops then stopped the driver and as they approached the car smelled a strong odor of marijuana allegedly coming from the vehicle. When they looked inside the car, the officers saw marijuana residue on the floor.

They also discovered that the driver, identified as 29-year-old Omar Carbajal of Woodside, was driving with a suspended license.

According to authorities, Carbajal was arrested and taken to the 108th Precinct stationhouse in Long Island City for processing while police searched his car.

During the search, they uncovered 2 ounces of PCP in the trunk and later discovered a trap in the center console that contained over 5 ounces of cocaine, over 8 ounces of marijuana and 60 amphetamine pills.

Carbajal was charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, including with the intent to sell, criminal possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operator, failure to stop at a stop sign and excessive tint, police said.

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LIC performance space presents Unchained Theatre Festival for third year


| rmackay@queensny.org

Photo courtesy of Variations Theatre Group

The Chain Theatre was established in 2012 with the mission to create a supportive community where artists could hone their craft, present new works and revive classics from the American tradition. Since then, the 75-seat venue has helped develop up-and-coming pieces such as “Dragula” and “Einstein,” while also hosting such time-honored masterpieces as “Talk Radio” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

On June 12, the Long Island City performance space will kick off the Unchained Theatre Festival, which will run until June 28. This third annual extravaganza will present 15 pieces — eight shorts and seven full-length plays — chosen through a blind selection process. Each will run three times in different blocks.

One play, Patrick Cann’s “Alice!,” is a modern day imagining of “Alice in Wonderland” with puppets, dancing and references to Shakespeare and Nietzsche.

¡Oso Fabuloso & The Bear Backs!,” a campy musical by J. Julian Christopher, tells the story of a gay, singing bear who goes on tour to forget about a painful breakup.

The Door to Home” by Eugene Grygo, whose comedy about therapy sessions wowed last year’s festival, is a family drama about an aging mother’s strained relationship with her 30-year-old son.

The audiences and a few judges will vote on the best play, best director, best leading actor and audience favorite. The winning work will be performed once more during the finale on June 28.

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Handouts inform dog owners of LIC waterfront rules


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of DOG LIC

Two Long Island City groups have come together to help spread the word to dog owners visiting the waterfront parks on how they can help keep the neighborhood as a safe and responsible dog-friendly community.

The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and DOG LIC, made up of local dog owners, have started to hand out postcards in the western Queens neighborhood informing people of “The Rules of the Road for Dog Owners.”

“Hunters Point Parks Conservancy was very pleased to partner with DOG LIC to help educate and promote proper dog ownership,” said Rob Basch, president of the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy. “As stewards of both Hunters Point Park and Gantry Park, we recognize the need to clarify where dogs are allowed.”

In these postcards, which the groups have printed out over 5,000 copies, dog owners are advised where their furry friends are welcome along the waterfront and where they are not permitted.

For example, dogs are allowed at Hunters Point South Park, Gantry Plaza State Park, Gantry Plaza State Park Pier #1, Gantry Plaza State Park Garden, and the Anabel Basin Inlet along North Basin Road. However, they are not permitted at Gantry Plaza State Park north of Pier #1, the turf field and sandbox in Hunters Point South Park, Gantry Plaza State Park Piers #2, 3, and 4, or on the Community Sports Park Turf Field on Center Boulevard and 47th Avenue.

“We’re really trying to be responsible and help get the message out to the community,” said Jessica Masters, DOG LIC co-founder. “We thought if we could organize and get together this flier that we could start spreading the news of responsible dog ownership to keep the waterfront beautiful and a nice place for everyone to enjoy.”

Masters added that these postcards might help incoming residents who are new to the neighborhood and might be used to more dog-friendly rules found in other parts of the city.

The postcards, which were passed out during an event called “LIChenge” in May and can be found at local businesses, also remind dog owners that their pets must remain on a leash at all times and they must clean up after their dogs.

Pet owners are also advised of the locations of local dog runs where they can take their four-legged friends such as the Hunters Point South Dog Run, Vernon Boulevard Dog Run, Murray Playground Dog Run and New Dog Run.

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Rents in two Queens nabes rose faster than city average: report


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre. Charts courtesy Community Service Society

Maybe “the rent is too damn high” in New York City.

Rents throughout the five boroughs rose 32 percent between 2002 and 2014, according to a report released Monday by the Community Service Society, an organization that tackles the issue of poverty in New York.

The study is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and was created to “shed light on the important housing issues facing the New York State Legislature this year,” the report said.

Namely those issues are the expiring laws for rent regulation and the 421-a tax abatement, which currently fosters some affordable housing by giving developers tax breaks for 20 percent of low-income units in their projects. The state has a deadline until June 15 to renew the laws and make reforms.

The analysis of the past dozen years shows that two Queens neighborhoods surpassed the citywide average. Rents jumped 36 percent in Astoria and 35 percent in Jamaica in 12 years, the study said.


Surprisingly, Long Island City and Ridgewood weren’t over the citywide average although rent rates have changed dramatically in those areas as well.

The rental information for different neighborhoods was collected from tenants who have recently moved.

“In order to sensitively assess the changing state of the housing market in different neighborhoods, CSS focused on the rents being paid by tenants who have recently moved,” the report said. “This eliminates the tendency of lower rents paid by longtime tenants to smooth out market changes and mask the changes that affect tenants who are looking for a place to live.”

During the 12-year period, rents in Central Harlem rose 90 percent and those in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn rose 63 percent, making them the neighborhoods where rent rose the most citywide, according to the report.

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Husband and wife duo brings ‘anti-tourist’ tours to LIC


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of BQE Tours

One couple with roots in Queens is looking to provide visitors to Long Island City with a one-of-a-kind experience through the booming neighborhood.

John and Elissa Garay are the husband-and-wife team behind BQE Tours: The Brooklyn Queens Experience, a group providing walking tours in both Brooklyn and Queens that cater to what the duo calls “anti-tourists.”

Going away from taking visitors to “obvious” attractions and “spewing facts and figures,” BQE Tours introduce people to local artists, businesses and artisans and show “anti-tourists” how real New Yorkers go about their days.

BQE Tours officially launched in April and started with tours offered in DUMBO and Williamsburg in Brooklyn, but recently also started offering tours through Long Island City.

“All [the neighborhoods] have the same history. Before, [in] old New York, the waterfront wasn’t the place to go,” Elissa said. “These neighborhoods have completely reinvented themselves.”

Although they currently live in Brooklyn, both John and Elissa were born and raised in Queens, and since they have South American and Greek backgrounds they knew they had to give their native and culture-enriched borough a place on the tour list.

“We wanted to give a little love to [Queens],“ Elissa said. “I feel that this year is Queens’ year to shine. I just feel that Queens is starting to come in its own. It’s more of an authentic experience that isn’t overrun with travelers.”

During the LIC tours, which last three hours and span about 2 and a half miles, participants stop at an artist’s studio to get an understanding of what it is to be an artist in LIC before making their way to a gallery and heading to a local microbrewery. As part of the “food and drinks component” of the tour, participants then stop at the LIC Flea & Food where they interact with vendors who “speak to the experience of what Queens is so famous for.” Afterward the group ventures out to local restaurants before ending the tour on the rooftop at the Z Hotel.

Z NYC Rooftop Lounge_LIC Tour (c) BQE Tours

“That has been a great grand finale. You can’t beat the perspective from up there,” Elissa said about ending the tours at the hotel rooftop.

She also added that the goal is to keep each group at a maximum of 12 people in order to allow participants to really enjoy the experience of each tour.

“We definitely want to keep the tours intimate. We want participants to engage with locals that they typically wouldn’t,” Elissa said.

For now the tours, which take place on Sundays, are centered in Long Island City, but as time goes by the duo would like to expand tours to Astoria and Flushing. They would also like to provide more tours in LIC.

“I think Queens right now has a lot of food tours but they don’t have the cultural component we offer,” she said.

For more information or to schedule a tour, visit bqetours.com.

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Come play the piano on the LIC waterfront


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Rob Basch

Visitors to the Long Island City waterfront this month will be able to bring some music to neighborhood.

The community group Hunters Point Parks Conservancy and LIC Landing by COFFEED have come together with Sing for Hope to get a piano to Hunters Point South Park as part of the nonprofit’s public art installation which brings colored pianos to parks and public spaces throughout the five boroughs.

For two weeks, the pianos, which this year totaled up to 50 and are created by different artists or designers, are placed at the sites and the public is invited to play the instruments.

The piano at Hunters Point South Park was designed by artist Christopher Beckman and is located at LIC Landing by COFFEED, a 2,000-square-foot outdoor event space and outdoor café, from sunrise to around 10 p.m. through June 21.

After the two weeks, the pianos will then be donated to a local community organization.

Along with Hunters Point South Park, Sing for Hope brought six other pianos to Queens this year including at Flushing Town Hall, the Jackson Heights Post Office, Kaufman Arts District, Rockaway Park: Boardwalk 86th, Roy Wilkins Recreation Center and the Unisphere at Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

For more information, visit singforhope.org.

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Astoria couple starts nonprofit to bring together international LGBTQ human rights activists


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Hugo Fernandes

One Astoria-based nonprofit is looking to unite and provide support for LGBTQ human rights activists from around the world.

Husband and husband duo Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes founded the organization the Global Partnership for Emerging Leaders (GPEL) earlier this year with the goal of helping empower emerging leaders within the LGBTQ global community.

The idea of the group was born after Davidoff, who has a background in nonprofit/fundraising and LGBTQ rights, attended numerous conferences which brought the LGBTQ community together and he wondered what happened to the connections made after the events were over.

“It’s this amazing thing, you have these three to four days where everyone is charged and all together but then after it’s like what’s next?” Davidoff said.

Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes

Evan Davidoff and Hugo Fernandes

The Astoria resident always had the idea of forming the group as a passion project on the side but then decided to make it a reality after sitting down and speaking with his husband.

GPEL is based out of Astoria, which the couple has called home since 2008, and the couple plans to use the neighborhood as the location where LGTBQ activists from around the world will come together for the group’s first conference in July 2016.

Although the location of the conference is still being determined, the group would like participants to stay at hotels in either Astoria or Long Island City.

“I think there’s something nice to staying in the community and having the organization exist from here because from my viewpoint Astoria and Long Island City is right for startup culture,” Davidoff said. “Just for us in the eight years we’ve been here, Astoria and LIC have really changed and transformed and I think Astoria has always had this international fare. It’s something that stood out to me and I think that’s something that’s really novel of Astoria particularly and to me it would be interesting to be based here.”

Those who participate in the conference will be able to use the tools provided by GPEL and other LGBTQ activists to “use in the fight” back in their home countries. The group also plans to be a network where members can communicate and share experiences even after the conference is over.

To help with starting out, GPEL also began an Indiegogo online campaign with the goal of raising $2,000 which will go toward activities for the LGBTQ human rights activists and also help provide funds for participants making the trip to the city for next year’s conference.

An official launch party for GPEL, which has already created a leadership team in New York and is forming a team with members throughout the world, is expected to take place in September.

To donate to the campaign, click here. For more information on GPEL visit gpel.org or facebook.com/TheGPEL.

GPEL's Leadership Team

GPEL’s Leadership Team

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CB 2 unanimously approves Queens Boulevard safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

Queens Boulevard is now one step closer to going from the “Boulevard of Death” to the “Boulevard of Life.”

Community Board 2 (CB 2) unanimously voted Thursday night to approve the Department of Transportation’s proposed safety improvements and redesign of a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The DOT said it decided to focus on this section first because, according to statistics, there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

“Community Board 2’s unanimous vote tonight is a big step toward turning Queens Boulevard into the Boulevard of Life,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement after the meeting. “This investment made by the de Blasio Administration will make the boulevard safer, greener and better for all users. I would like to thank the community for its support and local leaders, such as Councilman [Jimmy] Van Bramer, for their leadership.”

A preliminary plan for the strip was released in March. The proposal presented by DOT representatives during the June 4 meeting was based on community input gathered during safety workshops earlier this year and also a meeting held with CB 2’s Transportation Committee two days prior to last night’s vote.

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Some of the features of the first redesign segment, expected to be implemented in August, include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Goals for the redesign include keeping the main line moving, reducing constant lane change, completing crosswalks and connecting neighborhoods, and eliminating highway-like design features.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings.

As part of their decision, CB 2 members asked the DOT to keep an ongoing dialogue with the community and address issues such as the loss of parking spaces and some of the turn lanes off the center median of the thoroughfare.

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(THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano)

Residents at the meeting voiced their support for the proposal and praised DOT for the proposed safety improvements.

“What I’m really excited about the proposal today is that it kind of paints a future and gives an idea of what it would be like to have a road safe enough to bicycle on and it makes me excited to get my bicycle out and actually ride it,” said Patrick Rhea, a resident who walks and drives on Queens Boulevard.

The DOT plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

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National Donut Day is Friday: Here’s where to get freebies


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Doughnut Plant

What better way to end the work week than with a complimentary breakfast treat?

National Donut Day, traditionally marked on the first Friday of June, was established in 1938 by the Salvation Army and honors the “donut lassies” who served the baked goods to soldiers during World War I. According to the organization, it was also started as a way to raise funds and bring awareness to the Salvation Army’s social service programs.

On June 5, places made famous for selling the confections are offering giveaways to celebrate. Here are some places around the borough and beyond where you can score a free doughnut and possibly more.

Doughnut Plant

The Manhattan-based Doughnut Plant opened its first Queens location in Long Island City this March inside the Falchi Building at 31-00 47th Ave. To mark National Donut Day, the eatery will be offering complimentary carnival sprinkles mini cake doughnuts with every purchase, while supplies last.

Dunkin’ Donuts

The popular chain is once again participating in the annual festivities by giving customers who purchase any beverage a free doughnut. The offer is good all day on June 5 at participating Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants nationwide while supplies last. To find the closest Dunkin’ Donuts  near you, click here.

Krispy Kreme

A Krispy Kreme location may not exist in Queens or in any part of the city with the exception of Penn Station (on the Amtrak level), but for those who work in the area or commute through the Midtown station, be sure to stop by for your free doughnut on Friday. Anyone who comes into a Krispy Kreme can get a free doughnut of any variety  “whether it’s powdered, filled or a hot original glazed.” No purchase is necessary but there is one limit per customer.

Entenmann’s

For the fifth straight year, Entenmann’s Bakery is partnering with the Salvation Army to celebrate National Donut Day, and will be at Madison Square Park with 40,000 free donuts and coffee. The giveaway will be from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., while supplies last, at the southwest corner of the park at 23rd Street between Broadway and Madison Avenue. Entenmann’s is also commemorating the day with a new rich frosted sprinkled patriotic donut eight pack, and a National Donut Day Free Donuts for a Year Facebook sweepstakes. The sweepstakes, which is open through July 3, is offering 100 winners a free year-supply of Entenmann’s doughnuts.

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