Tag Archives: MoMA PS1

Tech nonprofit to host annual gala at MoMA PS1

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of C4Q

Long Island City‘s MoMA PS1 will host the third-annual gala for the Coalition for Queens (C4Q), a nonprofit which aims to increase economic opportunity by fostering a technology ecosystem.

Attendees will be able to party with entrepreneurs in the borough’s growing tech community and enjoy food and drink from Queens-based businesses.

“The event is to celebrate the growth of our community, the entrepreneurs and companies here, and to thank our supporters, volunteers and participants in the program,” said C4Q founder, Jukay Hsu.

The honorees for this year’s bash are NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Alicia Bash, Blackstone Senior Managing Director Bill Murphy, Director of New York Engineering at Google Craig Nevill-Manning, along with C4Q volunteers Gregory Gundersen, a programmer at Mount Sinai Hospital, and Alex Samuel, an engineer and data scientist at Action IQ.

Tickets can be purchased online and are priced starting at $150.

C4Q is based in Long Island City and works to increase participation and opportunities in the tech industry for diverse and low-income communities.

The nonprofit offers classes and intensive programs in mobile app development along with events meant to foster collaboration, networking, and knowledge exchange. Additionally, C4Q aims to provide platforms for Queens tech entrepreneurs and companies to showcase their innovations and create new products.

According to its website, C4Q has helped increase the average income of graduates from $26,000 to $73,000.

While it is only entering its fourth year of operation, the organization raised over $100,000 at its previous bash and a total of $1.6 million in funds in 2014.

“From winning hackathons to working at leading tech companies to being accepted into one of the most prestigious accelerators in the U.S., our students represent the immense potential and talent within our community,” states the “Year in Review” address from C4Q.

Hsu is a Harvard graduate who was raised in Flushing. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served for a year in Iraq, where he founded the first private provincial radio station with Iraqi reporters.


Top five most expensive luxury listings in LIC

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Modern Spaces


Over the past decade, Long Island City has evolved into one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in the city. The influx of new bars, lounges, specialty shops, flea markets and restaurants was met with the demand for more condominiums with unique amenities.

Eric Benaim, founder of real estate brokerage Modern Spaces, shared his top five most expensive listings for luxury living in LIC.

The Corner
47-28 11th St., #3C

This newly built, seven-story luxury building features 22 modern, high-end apartments, each outfitted with the latest amenities, including professional-grade Bosch kitchen appliances, Grohe finishes and hardwood oak floors throughout.

Marvel at the Manhattan skyline while reclining on the rooftop deck, or take advantage of the on-site fitness center or residents lounge. Located minutes away from Long Island City’s hottest cafes, nightspots and cultural centers, such as MoMA PS1, The Corner offers both convenience and relaxation amid the vibrant streets and avenues.

A 5-minute ride on the 7 train will whisk residents to the heart of Midtown. Leisurely travelers can opt to take the East River Ferry and take in the stunning water views of the city.

The Powerhouse
2-17 51st Ave., #801

With its spacious three bedrooms and two full baths, the aptly named Powerhouse is a major star on the Long Island City real estate landscape. Built on the site of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Power Station, the condominium features soaring ceilings, an open-concept kitchen, floor-to-ceiling windows, hardwood floors and more than 1,000 square feet of outdoor space on the private terrace. Italian marble floors line the master bath while the second bath comes equipped with a deep soaking tub.

The building also features a fitness center, aqua grotto with full-service spa, common rooftop terrace, children’s playroom and a 24-hour concierge.

The View
46-30 Center Blvd, #205

This luxury unit offers unparalleled breathtaking views of the East River and Manhattan skyline from the comfort of a spacious, sun-drenched living room. The three-bedroom gem is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling double panel windows and features an open-concept living and kitchen area outfitted with the latest Viking appliances, Subzero refrigerator, a special wine cooler and hardwood flooring throughout.

All of the spacious, three full baths include deep soaking tubs set against a backdrop of the finest white marble.

The Foundry
2-40 51St Ave., #1E

This modern Hunters Point duplex is bathed in sunlight courtesy of its vast windows and 17-foot vaulted ceilings. The modern open-concept chef’s kitchen features a Viking range, KitchenAid French door refrigerator, Bosch dishwasher and dramatic black Caesarstone counter tops. This two-bedroom unit includes a luxury en-suite full bath in the upstairs master bedroom with both a soaking tub and standing shower.

The second bedroom also comes with its own bath and, like the master suite, access to a private terrace.

5-46 51st Ave.


This rare, six-family brick brownstone blends old-world charm with contemporary elements to create a truly unique habitat in the heart of Hunters Point. Built in 1930, original design elements such as the bowed-front facade, woodwork and decorative plaster moldings mingle with updated, modern amenities. Each unit features its own electrical meter, as well as upgraded wiring throughout.

This three-story gem is convenient to local markets, subways, playgrounds and dog parks, and would make the perfect nest for young families.


Top five brunch spots in Astoria and LIC

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via The Queens Kickshaw Facebook page


With jaw-dropping city views and an impressive roster of fun weekend activities and outdoor events, Astoria and Long Island City have become premier summer destinations in the city.

Whether you’re enjoying a concert in Astoria Park, browsing the LIC Flea Market, exploring art at MoMA PS1 or sneaking a peek at some of the area’s amazing open houses, kick off your weekend by fueling up at one of the neighborhoods’ top brunch spots.

LIC Market
21-52 44th Dr., Long Island City
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

This cozy eatery is part American bistro, part rustic general store, with exposed white brick walls, chalkboard menu and wooden, farmhouse-style bar. The menu at LIC Market is frequently updated according to season and freshness, with much of their produce picked within a day of serving.

Photo courtesy of LIC Market

Photo courtesy of LIC Market

Brunch favorites include the slow roasted duck hash ($14), dirty rice frittata ($12) and buttermilk pancakes ($14) served with homemade berry jam, toasted pumpkin seed butter and maple syrup. For those seeking lighter fare, the ricotta and pignoli salad ($10) is a bounty of fresh arugula, golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, orange slices and roasted shallot vinaigrette. Sip on the traditional mimosa ($8) or a cup of freshly brewed, organic coffee sourced from direct trade micro-lots and roasted in Long Island ($2).

LIC Market is also a purveyor of homemade delights, such as strawberry and black pepper jam, and roasted cashew butter, for sale in little glass jars and cans on its quaint general store shelves.

12-14 31st Ave., Long Island City
Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Photo courtesy of Bear

This LIC restaurant and bar was founded back in 2011 by Executive Chef and Owner Natasha Pogrebinsky, who blends culinary traditions from the family’s native Kiev, along with Ukrainian and traditional French cuisine, to create flavorful, innovative dishes.

The dill poached potatoes ($5) and beet salad ($5) reflect Pogrebinsky’s Eastern European roots. A $15 prix-fixe brunch menu offers chicken kiev and waffles, as well as hearty borscht with a side of garlic and egg buns. Summer brunch favorites include the chilled tomato gazpacho ($9), farmer’s market mixed greens ($9) and tomato and onion sunflower salad ($7). All of Bear’s produce is locally sourced from farms in New York and New Jersey, as well as handpicked by Chef Pogrebinsky on weekly trips to the Union Square Farmers Market.

Unlike traditional brunch libations, the bloody mary at Bear is a feast for the eyes and palette, complete with a slice of candied bacon, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, jumbo celery stalk, pickles, and hard-boiled egg and olive skewer ($9).

The Queens Kickshaw
40-17 Broadway, Astoria
Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

Photo via The Queens Kickshaw Facebook page

Photo via The Queens Kickshaw Facebook page

This specialty coffee shop and cider bar serves up delicious, flavorful brunch fare on weekends and special holidays. The Kickshaw’s ranchers’ eggs ($14) is a zesty mix of jalapeño cornbread, guacamole, pico de gallo and sunny side up eggs. Hungry Astorians in the mood to indulge would love the mac ‘n’ cheese ($12.50), a hearty blend of Gruyère, smoked mozzarella, French beans and caramelized onions.

The kitchen sink salad ($12.50) combines a colorful mix of mesclun greens, roasted red and golden beets, and sunchokes topped with blue cheese dressing. The decadent Mast Bros. Mocha ($5) or hot chocolate ($4.50) provides a sweet finish to this brunch outing. Espresso soda ($3.25) and cold-brewed iced coffee ($3.50) are refreshing options for warm summer mornings.

Sugar Freak
36-18 30th Ave., Astoria
Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Midnight brunch: Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 a.m.

Photo via Sugar Freak Facebook page

Photo via Sugar Freak Facebook page

Astoria hot spot Sugar Freak specializes in festive, flavorful New Orleans fare served in a relaxed, homespun atmosphere.

Its brunch beignet sliders ($2 to $8) are a delightful mix of scrambled eggs with praline bacon and pimento cheese. The Sugar Freak breakfast ($14) is a generous platter of three eggs (any style) with homemade boudin sausage and grits in gravy with a biscuit. Waffle varieties range from sweet potato and cornbread to spicy Cajun-filled ($8) and are topped with your choice of specialty sauces, including bananas foster, chili honey, sweet and spicy condensed milk or raspberry (+ $3), oxtail grits ($15-18), chicken fried steak ($16) and the holy trinity ($16), a trifecta of fried oysters, shrimp and catfish, offer a unique spin on traditional brunch dishes. Pair them with the herb-infused green bloody mary ($10) or Creole lady marmalade, a potent gin martini with marmalade, orange liqueur and lemon.

Night owls who wish to indulge in brunch are in luck, as Sugar Freak offers a special midnight brunch to hungry late night crowds every Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 a.m.

34-55 32nd St., Astoria
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m  to 4 p.m.
Monday from noon to midnight

Photo via Snowdonia Facebook page

Photo via Snowdonia Facebook page

This cozy gastro pub is known for serving up Welsh-inspired dishes two short blocks away from the famous Kaufman Astoria Studios and Museum of the Moving Image.

Snowdonia’s small brunch plates, or “platiau bach ac oer,” include the laverbread and bacon ($6), a welsh bread made from fresh “laver” or seaweed, lemon zest and oatmeal with bacon. The traditional Welsh rarebit ($9) is a rich, melted three cheese blend served on toasted baguette. Brunch entrees include shepherd’s pie ($16), leek bacon and egg pie ($12), brisket and eggs ($15), and the half English breakfast ($15) featuring two eggs any style with vegetarian baked beans, welsh banger and chorizo sausages. The sticky toffee bread pudding ($7) and bourbon brownie ($7) are sweet compliments to the savory fare.

In addition to an extensive menu of craft beer and cider, Snowdonia also features specialty cocktails like the Welsh 75 ($11), a blend of New Amsterdam gin, muddled raspberry, ginger cordial, mint and champagne float. Snowdonia’s brunch dishes are also available all day on Mondays, providing a great start to any week.


Citi Bike rolling into LIC this August

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

The blue bikes will finally be making their way into the “World’s Borough.”

Motivate, the company that operates Citi Bike, and the Department of Transportation announced Friday that the Citi Bike expansion, which was announced last October, will begin in early August with new stations being installed in various neighborhoods, including Long Island City.

The first wave of stations is part of a larger expansion plan that is expected to double the size of the bike share network from 6,000 to 12,000 bikes throughout the city over the next two years.

“With over 19 million trips, it is clear that New Yorkers love Citi Bike and we are excited to see the network double in size, expanding to Queens, more of Brooklyn, and upper Manhattan,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

There will be 91 new stations installed during this first phase of the expansion throughout Long Island City, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Long Island City will get a total of 12 stations, including one by the Vernon Blvd-Jackson Av subway station, another in front of MoMa PS1, one next to the LIC Flea & Food and another right by Queensboro Plaza.

Map via citibikenyc.com

Map via citibikenyc.com

“The long-awaited arrival of Citi Bike in Long Island City is great news. Bike share will allow the people to enjoy our neighborhood in a healthy, fun way and facilitate easier travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase, which debuted in 2013, but was pushed back after equipment damage from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.

Astoria is another Queens neighborhood slated for docking stations; however, those bikes will arrive at a later time.

“For years I have fought to bring Citi Bike to Queens and I’m proud to say that the blue bikes will be here soon,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Cycling in western Queens has become extremely popular and the addition of 12 new Citi Bike docking stations add a much-needed alternative mode of transportation to an area of the borough that is growing and vibrant, and in need of more transportation options.”

Along with the expansion, Motivate has also replaced the software that powers Citi Bike, replaced software and hardware at all exiting stations and docking points, and added 1,000 new and upgraded bikes to its fleet. An additional 1,400 bikes will be added this summer to stock up the new stations.

The bikes, which were developed in partnership with Olympic bike designer Ben Serotta, have new features, including higher-quality parts and upgraded seats.

Motivate is also working to provide discounted Citi Bike memberships to residents of affordable housing developments, and free access for group rides to community-based organizations.

For more information on the Citi Bike expansion, visit www.citibikenyc.com/expansion.


Hilton Garden Inn opens in LIC’s booming hotel market

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy Hilton Garden Inn

The Long Island City Hilton Garden Inn opened on Friday, becoming the newest addition to the growing hotel scene in the burgeoning neighborhood.

The new Hilton branch has 183 guest rooms, which each come with a mini fridge, microwave oven and Keurig coffee maker. There are four meeting rooms in the hotel and a presidential suite with views of the Manhattan skyline.

“We’re excited to provide guests the option to stay in Long Island City, a rapidly growing community only minutes away from Manhattan,” said Adrian Kurre, global head of Hilton Garden Inn. “Our brand’s strategic expansion into this market is a major contribution to Hilton Garden Inn’s diversity in providing urban and suburban locations for guests.”

Attracted by low land values and close proximity to Manhattan, more than 20 hotels have popped up in Long Island City since 2008, according to the LIC Partnership, an organization dedicated to fostering business in the neighborhood.

Currently, another 26 hotels are on the way to the neighborhood. There are now about 3,000 hotel rooms in LIC, according to Rob MacKay, director of public relations at the Queens Economic Development Corporation.

Complimentary Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and a 24-hour business center are featured amenities for guests in the new LIC Hilton.

For food, The Garden Grille and Bar offers freshly cooked meals, drinks and room service. Also, a convenience outlet called The Pavilion Pantry is open around the clock and has snacks, beverages and microwaveable items.

Besides the proximity to Manhattan, Long Island City itself has begun to create a buzz with unique art institutions, such as MoMA PS1 and the Sculpture Center, and restaurants.

The LIC Hilton Garden Inn is owned by CVR Hotel LLC, and managed by Crescent Hotels and Resorts LLC.


An overview: Multi-family buildings in Astoria and Long Island City

| sweiner@gmipny.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre


For a long time, Queens has had the reputation of being the go-to borough if you want to buy tires or surround yourself with the elderly.

That being said, this generalization is quickly becoming antiquated as neighborhoods in Queens are experiencing revitalization through the renovation of 1950s and pre-war era apartment buildings as well as the addition of new, modern buildings that have attracted the attention of young families.

Combine these new living spaces with sites like MoMA PS1, four restaurants that were just granted a Michelin star rating, and reasonable rates, and the stage is set for Queens to become a primary option for families looking to make an investment in themselves.

Though this trend is throughout the borough, the areas most impacted and evident of this change are Astoria and Long Island City. The New York Times reports that over 10,000 apartments are being planned over the next three years, ranging from “amenity-laden rentals to family-sized condos.” These condos are especially attractive to younger, up-and-coming families.

Last summer, I listed a 32-unit building in Long Island City. The asking price was just over $6 million, average rents for each unit were around $1,300 a month and 28 of the 32 units were one-bedrooms. This location was not more than a 90-second stroll from Queensboro Plaza.

Consider that the same station has stops for the N, Q and 7 trains, as well as the E, M and R a block away. That’s six trains with accessibility to almost every area in the city. For people looking for a chance to have the space and extra cash to expand their families, the location alone is reason enough to invest in properties like those 32 units. From its rooftop, a very large portion of visible real estate is in some kind of development, just further evidence of the opportunity provided in this part of town. It’s buildings like these that already have provoked the attention of potential investors and residents who have pushed along the progress of Astoria and LIC.

Families see a place where they can have their cake and eat it, too. The amenities offered in a luxury rental are not exclusive to the condos, as the Times reports these buildings will often have gyms, play areas for children, cafes and green roofs. All of these offerings, plus the space required to house a family, plus accessibility to other areas of New York City have bred a common mindset among this demographic.

The New York Times quotes one recent resident as saying that the amount of new people “asking directions and taking photographs” of what was once a very untouched area in the city feels very “cosmopolitan,” a word that would never have been used in reference to Queens until recently.

The question remains: where will the occupants come from? As Bloomberg reported, Cornell University has just been granted 12 acres on Roosevelt Island to build a graduate and applied sciences campus.

The people who populate that campus will populate Long Island City and Astoria. Not only is Roosevelt Island next door to these neighborhoods, but Queens is by far the most affordable of all the areas surrounding it. People feel that the low price they are paying is not reflective of some lack of character the neighborhood has; instead, they feel like they’re getting in at the ground floor of an exciting new investment.

The families that move in, like those that will attend the future Cornell Campus, will bring others similar, and what was once simply a reasonable place to live will remain reasonable with the added benefit of camaraderie and popularity. The new, “cosmopolitan” view of this area is now the generalized view.

What Williamsburg was to hipsters is what Astoria will become for young families, and the discrepancy between low prices and quality of the areas and residents absolutely screams investment opportunities. The allure of Astoria and LIC will only become greater, increasing the already high demand for renovated multi-family housing.

Astoria might still have some of the highest rent prices in the borough, though families moving in feel they are still getting a bargain. A New York Times piece on the area references a couple who recently moved to Astoria who pay $3,720 a month for a two-bed, two-bath with use of a “two-story gym, squash and basketball courts, a coffee lounge, three roof decks with barbecues and wet bars, and a children’s playroom.”

The family states that anywhere in Manhattan the same environment would cost more than $5,000 a month. This is the case with much of Astoria. Prices are comparatively higher than the rest of Queens, though lower than anywhere else in the city. But what the cost does not show is the value for these families’ purchases — the list just goes on and on for recreation and opportunities that these condos will provide to their families.

Last year, a developer in Astoria had a goal of selling 23 of 58 available condos in six months; every condo of the 58 was spoken for within four months. Another development group has followed suit and started 33-unit and 77-unit condos that will likely be taken in a similar amount of time. Though these are just two groups, they are not the only ones. These are the types of living spaces that will start popping up all over the neighborhood — condos tailored for families, complete with skyline views of Manhattan.

The growth of Astoria and LIC will be characterized by the addition of more than just the 10,000 apartments the New York Times mentioned. These additions will be tailored to suit the needs of families, spreading the popularity of multi-family housing by creating an environment where people raising children can have the best cost-benefit ratio offered anywhere in the city.

The 32-unit I listed last summer is far from the last time I dealt with a multi-family building in Astoria and LIC. In fact, I suspect that in the near future many more buildings cut from the same cloth will come out of the woodwork, primed for investment. Queens is in high demand, Queens is up-and-coming, and Queens is affordable. This new possibility of having enough room and means for families will continue to be a driving force in how these neighborhoods flourish.

Swain Weiner is president, partner and founder of Greiner Maltz Investment Properties, which specializes in all types of commercial investment sales throughout the five boroughs and Long Island. Before Greiner Maltz Investment Properties, Weiner sold more than $215,000,000 in aggregate sales with more than 1,300 residential units.

Swain Official Headshot

Swain Weiner


Artists gather at MoMA PS1 for Cultural Town Hall

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer's office

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer hosted a Cultural Town Hall meeting at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City on Wednesday, featuring Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) Tom Finkelpearl, regarding plans to increase the number of affordable housing for artists.

Van Bramer and Finkelpearl also discussed recently proposed legislation to develop a cultural plan in New York City and enhancing the city’s Percent for Art program to grow community engagement.

Being an artist and living in New York is no easy task. Many of the artists in attendance for the town hall meeting said they are finding it tougher and tougher to be able to afford the rising cost of rent to stay and work in New York City. The fear is that this is leading to artists packing up and moving out of New York, and if the trend is not stopped, the city will be left without any artists.

“This administration has recently unveiled an affordable housing plan that includes 1,500 units for artists, dedicated units for artists,” Van Bramer said. “We’re making sure that artists can continue to live and create and make some money here in New York City.”

“The mayor announced that in 10 years we’re going to build 1,500 units…of affordable housing for artists, and 500 units of affordable studio spaces, which is also very important,” Finkelpearl said.

A really good example of affordable housing for artists is P.S. 109 in East Harlem, which is an old school building that has been converted into 89 units of affordable live/work spaces for artists, Finkelpearl explained. “It’s the first, new, affordable workspace for artists in a generation in New York City,” he said.

Aside from making New York a better place for artists to live and work, Van Bramer said that New York City has no comprehensive cultural plan, but that may soon change.

“We are, I believe, very close, we could be just a month or two away from passing the first ever comprehensive cultural plan in the city of New York,” Van Bramer said.

The piece of legislation requires the city to look at their current cultural priorities, determine how communities are being served and how they propose to better those services. The plan will study the condition of artists and plan how to remain an artist-friendly city. The city will go to communities and find out what they want and need in a cultural plan and incorporate what they hear into the plan.

“I think we’re really ready to embrace this,” said Finkelpearl, a former director of the Queens Museum of Art.

Creating a public art plan for New York will bring more art to the communities, but the Percent for Art program will procure the funding for public art works. The Percent for Art program is a law that was established in 1982 and requires one percent of the budget for eligible city-funded construction projects be allocated to public artwork. Since its inception, the Percent for Art program, managed by the DCA, has commissioned hundreds of site-specific projects throughout New York City.

“I think the more public art that we have in the city of New York, the better,” Van Bramer said.

One way to increase community involvement is to get them involved in the Percent for Art program process.

“Do you see an opportunity for more community engagement?” Van Bramer asked Finkelpearl.

“In general the procedures and regulations that the law has spawned, I think, are quite effective, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get better,” Finkelpearl responded.

“I’m thrilled to have this conversation,” on pubic art and about its perception, Van Bramer said.


Water purifier design selected for MoMA PS1’s 2015 Warm Up music series

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Andrés Jaque/Office for Political Innovation

This summer, MoMA PS1 will glow with awareness during its annual music series.

The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 in Long Island City have selected architect Andrés Jaque and his firm, the Office for Political Innovation, as the winner of the 16th annual Young Architects Program (YAP).

In Jaque’s project, called COSMO, he addresses the United Nation’s statistic estimating that by 2025 two thirds of the global population will live in countries that have a shortage of water.

The winning design expected to open at MoMA PS1’s courtyard in late June, was chosen from five finalists to serve as the temporary urban landscape for the 2015 Warm Up summer music series. The project is mobile, moving with the partygoers, and is made out of customized irrigation mechanisms.

Every year the winners develop creative designs for a temporary outdoor installation at the museum located at 22-25 Jackson Ave. that would provide shade, seating and water to those who attend the series. The architects also have to address environmental issues, such as sustainability and recycling.

“Last year, ‘Hy-Fi,’ a nearly zero carbon footprint construction by The Living, raised awareness of ecological and climate change. This year COSMO continues to do so, addressing the issue of increasingly scarce water supplies worldwide in a successful and innovative way,” said Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA PS1 director and MoMA chief curator at large.

COSMO has been engineered to filter and purify 3,000 gallons of water, “eliminating suspended particles and nitrates, balancing the PH, and increasing the level of dissolved oxygen,” according to MoMA PS1. It takes a total of four days for the 3,000 gallons to be purified..

As part of Jacque’s biochemical design, the stretched-out plastic mesh at the core of COSMO will automatically glow whenever water is purified.

“Relying on off-the-shelf components from agro-industrial origin, exuberant mobile architecture celebrates water-purification processes and turns their intricate visualization into an unusual backdrop for the Warm Up sessions,” said Pedro Gadanho, curator in MoMA’s Department of Architecture and Design.


Former Queens resident selected to create official artwork for Grammys

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Laurence Gartel (c) The Recording Academy 2014 / Photos courtesy of Laurence Gartel

The top names in the music industry won’t be the only ones shining during the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. One former Queens resident has been given the honor to create the official artwork for “music’s biggest night.”

Laurence Gartel, who has been called the “father of digital art” and spent 19 years of his early life living at the North Shore Towers in Floral Park, has created a version of the iconic Grammy figurine that will be used on the ceremony’s program book, tickets, poster and other promotional materials.

The life-sized statuette is wrapped in “psychedelic” imagery known to be Gartel’s style using vinyl, glitter and prismatic materials.

“It’s pretty darn amazing,” Gartel said about how it felt to be chosen as the official artist for the award ceremony. “I’m always looking to top myself and this certainly tops it. It feels great.”

Gartel’s first interaction with digital art came in 1975 when he met Nam June Paik, considered to be the founder of video art, at Media Study/Buffalo in upstate New York.

Although his artistic career began when he was nine at the Pels School of Art, working side to side with Paik was what started Gartel’s electronic career.

“That was sort of the birth of it all,” he said. “Electronic images could take over a painting on the wall.”

Gartel began working on computers the size of rooms, before the invention of personal computers, and started a technique prior to any software being created for painting and photo manipulation.

“You just go up to a machine and just start manipulating things and get images you couldn’t get otherwise,” Gartel said. “When you’re creating things that no one has seen before, that’s amazing.”

Since then his colorful images and pioneering designs have been used in advertising campaigns such as one for Absolut Vodka in 1991, which ran for 10 years. He has also worked alongside musicians such as Sid Vicious and the Ramones, and created artwork for artists such as Justin Timberlake.

One of his collaborative pieces includes partnering with Glen Greenberg of Elmont Glass Atelier for “art on glass” works that premiered at Art Hamptons.

His other individual pieces have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA PS1, and in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

In the past few years, Gartel has also taken his artwork and created “art cars,” donning his colorful designs on vehicles such as a Mercedes and Rolls Royce. He was also featured in the 113th Annual New York International Auto Show in April.

With having finished the artwork for the Grammys, which is set to air Feb. 8, Gartel said he continues to move ahead with new ventures and creating unique pieces.

“I’m looking forward to the future,” Gartel said.

For more information, visit www.gartelart.com.


Q&A: Modern Spaces CEO explains real estate in LIC

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

Eric Benaim founded real estate firm Modern Spaces in Long Island City in 2008, and within a handful of years led the explosion of residential interest in the neighborhood. Over the years, he expanded the company from LIC to Astoria, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and recently, Modern Spaces announced the launching of its commercial and investment property division, tapping into another side of the market.

In a question-and-answer session with The Courier, Benaim explained the current status of real estate in Long Island City and the transformation of the neighborhood.

Courier: How did you get inspired to start working in Long Island City?

Benaim: I guess I was always a Queens boy, and I started focusing in LIC back in 2005. I was a broker focusing mostly in Manhattan and at the time there were pretty much no brokers in the neighborhood over here, so I figured I would try to make this my niche. Just walking around you see the views of Manhattan, you see there’s a lot of potential over here and I stuck with it, and obviously it paid off. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since 2005.

Courier: Did you really think it [the transformation of LIC] would happen so quickly?

Benaim: No. Literally, from my window I see cranes everywhere, and it’s just crazy to see my skyline changing every day.

Courier: What is the real estate market in LIC like now?

Benaim: There is a lot of development. There was not that many condos being developed over the last couple of years, but condos are about to come back strong. We are seeing a lot of condo projects that are going to be coming online probably by first and second quarter of next year. And in regards to rental projects, a lot developers are doing stuff now whereas before it was predominately TF Cornerstone and Rockrose. now you are seeing a lot of big developers coming into the neighborhood that were never here before.

Courier: Why do you think there is a switch from rentals to condos?

Benaim: Because land prices have gone up a lot and when land prices go up so much it just doesn’t make sense to do a rental because the return on your investment does not really pay out. So it just makes more sense financially to do a condo rather than a rental. Rental projects that are coming along, these are projects sites that were acquired probably a year or more ago when land prices were a little more affordable than they are now.

Courier: Is LIC already a successful live, work and play community?

Benaim: I think [live, work, and play] has been established here. I remember when I first started showing clients around the neighborhood, there really wasn’t anything here. Not even a supermarket. Now we have three supermarkets already, and a fourth is opening up at the LINC, the Rockrose project in Court Square. There are a whole lot of restaurants— you know, restaurants open up here every week and now we are seeing more and more boutiques and stores opening up. Pretty much everything you need is here now. And regarding play, so we do have the bars and the night life now and LIC is a huge cultural destination. We have the LIC Arts Open, the Taste of LIC, MoMA PS1, the Chocolate Factory Theater and the LIC Flea. So there’s really a lot to do as well.

Courier: What has spurred you to go into the commercial side?

Benaim: We’ve done a little commercial these past few years, mostly like retail leasing. But a lot of our clients, whether it’s landlords who we’re doing their rentals for in walk-ups or if it’s a developer who we’re marketing their building or working with them, they never really came to us in the past, because they knew us as being residential brokers. So it was kind of like business that we lost out on. And it just seemed like the right time. Queens as a whole is in the spotlight right now and there’s not really a commercial company that can offer commercial services but still insight in the residential market.

Courier: What is the next neighborhood that has potential?

Benaim: We do see a lot of potential in Astoria, and other areas like Woodside, Sunnyside, Flushing and areas like Rego Park, where we just opened up a building called The Rego Modern. We rented 10 in the first open house [at The Rego Modern] and for high prices also, which they weren’t used to seeing. So that just shows that there is a lot of interest in Queens. Being a Queens boy myself it’s just nice to see that Queens is getting the spotlight that Brooklyn had stolen from us.


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.”



Free weekend art bus comes to LIC

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

The wheels on a brand-new free shuttle bus service are taking visitors ‘round and ‘round Long Island City’s art scene on the weekends.

Socrates Sculpture Park, The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1 have partnered up to bring local residents and tourists the LIC Art Bus, which will debut on Saturday. This free weekend bus service will be dedicated to promoting the neighborhood’s arts and culture scene taking visitors between the four institutions.

“Long Island City is already home to a rich cultural corridor, and the LIC Art Bus – free to all – will make it easier for visitors to experience the art offerings the neighborhood is known for,” said John Hatfield, executive director of Socrates Sculpture Park.

The bus will run on Saturday and Sunday, on a first-come, first-served basis, for 19 consecutive weekends until Sept. 14. The first shuttle departs from Socrates Sculpture Park at noon and takes riders door-to-door to The Noguchi Museum, SculptureCenter and MoMA PS1, and then makes its return to Socrates.

Departure times are scheduled for noon, 12:45, 1:30, 2:30, 3:15, 4 and 5 p.m.

“The arts are booming here in western Queens,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “With the addition of the LIC Art Bus, countless New Yorkers will have an easier time getting to some of our borough’s premiere cultural organizations and institutions – all for free.”

The LIC Art Bus’s full schedule will be available at each stop and updated at socratessculpturepark.org/bus.



Woman to give free manicures at Socrates Sculpture Park

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Mikel Durlam

Breanne Trammell is taking her revamped 1968 compact trailer back out on the road to help polish the lives of local western Queens moms in need of a well-deserved pampering.

Last year, Trammell, a Wassaic, N.Y. resident, professional manicurist and core member of the nonprofit The Wassaic Project, embarked on a cross-country road trip she called Nails Across America.

During the trip she visited 20 different states as part of her experimental art project known as “Nails in the Key of Life,” where she uses manicures as the way to exchange ideas, start conversations and collect people’s stories. During her road trip, she would give women, men and children free manicures inside a 1968 Shasta compact trailer she transformed into a mobile nail salon.

                                   Photo by Mikel Durlam

Each person who sported one of Trammell’s manicures would receive a signed and numbered letter-pressed certificate to celebrate his or her involvement in the project.

“The idea is to reach out to as many kinds of people, from all walks of life, and use it as a way to honor them and their experiences, and share their experiences and stories,” Trammell said. “Manicures are usually expensive. It’s been my intention from the very beginning, this is totally accessible for anyone.”

Now, months after returning from her trip, Trammell will take the trailer back out and make a trip to Long Island City’s Socrates Sculpture Park for its spring/summer season opening on Mother’s Day on May 11.

During the event, which will feature the opening of three brand new exhibitions, Trammell will be giving free manicures by the park’s new 50-foot-long, 18-foot-high “Queen Mother of Reality” sculpture by Polish artist Pawel Althamer.

Although the manicures will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, most of the appointments will be filled by mothers from the nearby NYCHA housing development Astoria Houses.

                        Photo by Chuka Chukuma

“We are making sure the people that deserve it are getting it,” said Elissa Goldstone, exhibition program manager at Socrates Sculpture Park. “We are giving women a moment to be praised and to be focused on.”

While the mothers get pampered by Trammell, their children will also be able to take part in workshops conducted by the grass-roots nonprofit Minor Miracles Foundation.

Goldstone said Trammell’s trailer and free manicures pair nicely with the sculpture that was dedicated to Queen Mother Dr. Delois Blakely, who has served as Community Mayor of Harlem since being sworn in by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in 1995.

Visitors will be allowed to enter the sculpture and get a view of the Manhattan skyline, and, later, get a tour of Trammell’s trailer.

“Breanne’s trailer has similar reclaimed, handmade, but also sacred and secured interior in this larger setting,” Goldstone said. “It’s that privateness that brings out these intimate moments.”

During that weekend, Socrates Sculpture Park will also debut the LIC Art Bus which will offer free weekend door-to-door service from noon to 6 p.m. between Socrates, SculptureCenter, The Noguchi Museum and MoMA PS1.



Weekend bus trial to expand service along Vernon Boulevard

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The western Queens waterfront will soon get a taste of extended bus service.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will begin offering service to riders on weekends starting in June, according to the MTA.

The weekend schedule will serve as a trial program for the transit agency to receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not, the MTA said. It was not determined how long the trial program would run.

“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks and cultural institutions.”

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, according to the MTA.

“The expansion of service will not only benefit the increasing amount of riders but it will also give our growing cultural institutions that ability to generate more traffic to their venues,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods, with the increase of new residential towers coming into the areas bringing more people.

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

“The Q103 service is a vital link for the cultural organizations of western Queens,” said Jenny Dixon, director of The Noguchi Museum. “It enables visitors to go from The Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park in the north to SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, Dorsky Gallery and the Chocolate Factory to the south.”



Spring is springing: 6 things to do this Sunday in Long Island City

| michael@warrenlewis.com

LIC things to do

Warren Lewis Sotheby’s International Realty is pleased to offer the following tips for explorers considering living in Long Island City.

Come to our Rental Open House at The Fusion
42-51 Hunter St.
2:45 to 3:45 pm

Loft-like living with deluxe finishing touches is yours at the Fusion. This 1,240-square-foot 2BR/2Bath is within eye-shot and minutes of mid-town Manhattan –N,Q,R,E,M,F,G and 7 trains get you everywhere!

And then you can…

Have brunch at LIC Market
21-52 44th Dr.
(Just west of 23rd Street)
Brunch: 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Hit the LIC Flea

5-25 46th Ave.
(Outdoor lot by the waterfront at the corner of Fifth Street and 46th Avenue)
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
(Photo by  Dominick Totino Photography) 

Visit MoMA PS1

 22-25 Jackson Ave.
(At the intersection of 46th Ave.)
King Britt presents MOONDANCE, A Night in the AfroFuture
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Walk along the East River at Gantry Plaza State Park

4-09 47th Rd.
8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Take in the Whitewash 5Pointz exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery

21-37 45th Rd.
12 to 6 p.m.

Want to know more about living in LIC?  Ask a local.  Email Michael@warrenlewis.com

The Sotheby’s International Realty network currently has more than 14,000 sales associates located in approximately 650 offices in 45 countries and territories worldwide.