Tag Archives: Myrtle Avenue BID

Ridgewood real estate conference brings together community and commerce

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

Real estate moguls, business owners and residents filled the Ridgewood Ale House on Friday morning to hear a panel of experts discuss the future of Myrtle Avenue during the Ridgewood Real Estate Networking Breakfast Conference.

Sponsored by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), the conference focused on how to better bridge the needs of the community and the types of retailers that come into the BID to help Myrtle Avenue grow and make the area even better for Ridgewood residents in the future.

“A lot of times what happens is, a store comes in just to come in and it’s really not what the neighborhood needs or wants because we already have an oversaturation,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue BID. “But the property owner is interested because he wants to fill the space, the broker wants to make his commission, which is fine, but we want to build a better dialogue that we can all be happy together and everybody wins.”

One example of retail brokers working with the community is the case with the former Ridgewood Theater, a landmark fixture in the neighborhood that has been vacant for the last several years. Now, the theater will be converted to 55 units of housing with a mixed-use facility on the ground floor.

Renz hopes to see a collaboration with the owner and the BID to bring in a viable use for that floor through community engagement.

The need to remember what has worked in the past and to evolve for the needs of the future was highlighted throughout the conference by the panel of experts.

“We need a combination of being stuck where it’s good, but also evolve into something better,” said Linda Monte, panel expert and president of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. “How are we evolving? Are we letting it happen or are we actually having a sense of we can make it happen? So I think that that’s the challenge that we all need in terms of the Ridgewood community.”

When it comes to building larger retail developments, it is important for the developers to realize the identity of the community in which they are working.

“Particularly in retail, when we look to a market, especially the types of large-scale retail projects that we build, can that type of project make sense in the community? A lot of it has to do with what is the community’s identity and does the community actually want that,” said Scott Auster, panel expert and managing director for Grid Properties. There are certain communities that embrace that type of development and economic activity, and there are others that don’t necessarily want it.”

By bringing the community and retailers together, Myrtle Avenue can continue to be a viable hub for the residents of Ridgewood.


Celebrate festival season in Ridgewood this September

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com


Get ready to party in the streets of Ridgewood this September as the community gears up for two annual street fairs, the Fresh Pond Road Street Festival and the Myrtle Avenue Fall Street Festival.

The four-day Fresh Pond Road Street Festival, sponsored by the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens, will take place from Sept. 3 to 6 along a five-block stretch of Fresh Pond Road, between Menahan and Woodbine streets.

One of the newest attractions for this year’s Fresh Pond Road Street Festival is the first poetry and art contest, hosted by the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens. This contest allows schoolchildren who are enrolled in a New York City public or private grammar, intermediate or high school to submit their art on the topic, “Growing up ______ American in Queens,” (i.e. Growing up Italian-American in Queens), with an alternate topic of “What community means to you.”

Prizes adding up to $1,200 will be divided among the winners of the contest.

“This contest is going to add a new dimension to the festival and the people who visit Ridgewood,” said Michael Conigliaro, managing director-adviser of the festival for the Federazione Italo-Americana di Brooklyn and Queens.

The Myrtle Avenue Fall Street Festival, sponsored by the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) in conjunction with Clearview Festival Productions, will host more than 200 merchant and vendor displays along Myrtle Avenue from Wyckoff Avenue to Fresh Pond Road on Sept. 13 from noon to 6 p.m.

The street festival is designed to showcase the community and attract more than 20,000 shoppers to Myrtle Avenue with children’s rides, game booths, health providers, local nonprofit and civic organizations and local artists.

Antique and custom cars will be on display from East Coast Car Association and Riviera Owners Association. Joe Fuoco’s Music Center and Ridgewood Dance Studio will provide entertainment at the 71st Avenue Plaza from noon to 5 p.m.

Representatives from the Department of Transportation’s Go Smart NYC Program will be on hand to register people for the program and inform them on how to get rewards at participating local businesses.


New urgent care center opens in Ridgewood

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

RIDGEWOOD TIMES/Photos by Anthony Giudice

A new urgent care facility has arrived in Ridgewood.

North Shore LIJ, partnering with GoHealth Urgent Care, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday to announce the grand opening of its new Ridgewood location. This facility, located at 55-05 Myrtle Ave., is the 13th GoHealth location to open since 2014, and the second in Queens.

The urgent care center is set up to treat non-life-threatening conditions, including early treatment for colds, flu and fever; sports-related injuries; allergies and asthma; and skin lacerations and other skin trauma. The doctors can also perform X-rays for joint and bone injuries as well as provide lab services for blood tests.

“This particular location, this corner, the adjacency to the train station is fantastic,” said Gary Weatherford, chief operating officer for the North Shore LIJ/GoHealth Urgent Care joint venture. “When we talk about improving access to healthcare, we’re very much community-oriented and in that sense what’s constant with that is our desire to provide the best patient experience possible.”

The facility itself is designed to be open and inviting, with an open-air feel to the waiting room and 50 percent larger patient rooms. The Ridgewood location is outfitted with four private exam rooms, large ADA-accessible bathrooms, a lab room, storage and stock rooms, and a friendly staff of physicians, physician assistants and radiology technicians.

Being partnered with North Shore LIJ gives GoHealth seamless integration with the hospital’s electronic medical records system. This allows GoHealth doctors to access patients’ medical records and utilize this information to better diagnose and treat patients on the spot.

“GoHealth is like the GPS for your healthcare,” said Dr. Robert Korn, medical director for GoHealth. “So essentially you come to us and we take care of your acute problem, but because we have this huge partner that’s on the other side of the table — the North Shore health system with 3,000 physicians, 15 acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, out-patient centers, rehab centers — we can now direct you, like a GPS, to the care you need.”

Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID), welcomed GoHealth Urgent Care center to Ridgewood.

“On behalf of the Myrtle Avenue BID, we welcome GoHealth to Myrtle Avenue and the BID. We look forward to assisting them in any way,” Renz said. “This store has been vacant for some time and it is great to see a service facility that will bring people to our community on a daily basis.”

Dorie Figliola, community liaison for Assemblyman Mike Miller, was on hand and welcomed the urgent care facility to the neighborhood.

“This is a wonderful facility. I went for a little tour already, and on behalf of the assemblyman, I would like to welcome you into his district,” Figliola said.

The Ridgewood location is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.

GoHealth will continue its expansion with a total of 50 sites slated to open over the next three years in the New York metropolitan area. The next Queens location will be coming to LeFrak City later this month.


Ridgewood march against proposed MTA bus rerouting plan

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo courtesy the MTA

Members of the United We Stand Neighborhood Association, a newly formed civic group on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border, will be holding a march and rally in Ridgewood this Saturday to oppose the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) proposed plan to reroute the B26 and Q58 buses.

The MTA’s proposal would take these two buses off of Wyckoff Avenue and instead reroute them onto Ridgewood Place. The MTA cites dangerous turning conditions at the three-way intersection at Palmetto Street and Myrtle and Wyckoff avenues as well as heavy vehicle and pedestrian traffic as reasons for the proposed changes.

This location has been the scene of many traffic-related injuries, several involving MTA buses, including the fatal accidents that killed Ella Kottick Bandes in 2013 and Edwin Torres in 2014.

“The whole idea of rerouting buses in the area of Myrtle and Wyckoff was due to the need to make traffic conditions safer for pedestrians,” said Gary Giordano, district manager of Community Board 5. “Unfortunately, two people were killed in vehicular accidents at that intersection. The decision on which blocks to reroute the buses to was studied by the MTA. This was done to save lives. The whole reasoning was for pedestrian safety.”

The United We Stand Neighborhood Association was formed in April of this year to combat this rerouting.

“We are a newly formed group,” said Flor Ramos, member of United We Stand Neighborhood Association, in a phone interview with the Ridgewood Times. “We got together mainly because of the situation with the bus rerouting. Nobody wants those buses around there.”

Protesters will assemble at the intersection of Putnam and Wyckoff avenues at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They will begin their protest at noon and march along Putnam Avenue to Ridgewood Place, ending on Palmetto Street, which is the proposed new route for the buses.

“Now it’s totally going to affect our quality of life,” Ramos said. “There is the noise issue and the fumes. Now you will have double the noise from screeching breaks and compressed air making that horrible bus noise echoing through the streets. We won’t be able to leave our windows open. These are all residential house along this new route. Wyckoff Avenue is all commercial.”

Currently, the Q58 travels down Putnam Avenue, turns right onto Wyckoff Avenue and right again on Palmetto Street, where the Ridgewood Terminal is located. The B26 travels straight down Wyckoff Avenue to Palmetto Street to the Ridgewood Terminal.

“That intersection is the beginning of our commercial district,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, who supports the bus route changes. “Since day one, we have been working with the city for the mayor’s Vision Zero plan and have advocated for improvements in that area.”

The proposed changes would have the Q58 turn right onto Ridgewood Place, then right again on Palmetto Street, while the B26 would turn left onto Putnam Avenue, right onto Ridgewood Place and right onto Palmetto Street.

“Overall, the buses will be making five new turns with this new route,” Ramos explained. “The B26 will add three more turns and the Q58 will add two more turns. They will be taking the accidents from there and bring them to the new location. That is going to cause a lot more problems.”

Members of United We Stand Neighborhood Association believe that moving the bus routes to Ridgewood Place would put more children and elderly at risk since the streets of the proposed reroute are very narrow, which would make it difficult for a bus to turn.

“Sending out a bus through there, all they’re doing is bringing that problem to our streets,” Ramos said. “There is nothing they can do about making the streets wider.”

“You have wider streets on Wyckoff and Palmetto,” Ramos continued. “There is about a 5-foot difference in width. The sidewalks on Wyckoff are much wider, giving bus drivers a better view of pedestrians passing through there.”


Myrtle Avenue BID pushes for dedicated trash pickup service

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

File photo

Full and overflowing public wastebaskets are a common sight on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood, and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) is looking to do something about it.

In the fiscal year 2016 expense budget, the Myrtle Avenue BID has requested the restoration of six-day dedicated basket pickup service from the Department of Sanitation (DSNY).

Currently, this service is only being provided three days a week within the Myrtle Avenue BID. The present service consists of a dedicated basket run on only Mondays and Wednesdays on the midnight to 8 a.m. tour. On Thursdays, the garbage baskets in the Myrtle Avenue BID often go uncollected because household refuse takes priority.

“Overflowing corner baskets are the first thing shoppers and potential new store owners see along our shopping districts,” said Ted Renz of the Myrtle Avenue BID in a statement to the Ridgewood Times. “They are an eyesore and create an unpleasant shopping environment.”

Comparable business improvement districts, such as the Greenpoint Avenue/Queens Boulevard Sunnyside Shines BID and the Steinway Street BID, have at the minimum five- to six-day corner basket pickup service between the dedicated basket truck and regular household pickup.

The Myrtle Avenue BID, along with the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC), is looking for similar service for not only the BID’s area, but for all major commercial retail business corridors within Community Board 5. Those areas include Myrtle Avenue between Fresh Pond Road and Cooper Avenue, Fresh Pond Road between Myrtle Avenue and Eliot Avenue, Metropolitan Avenue between 73rd Place and 80th Street, and Grand Avenue between Flushing Avenue and 74th Street.

Throughout the fiscal year 2016 budget process, the Myrtle Avenue BID and RLDC have testified regarding this need during different capital and expense budget hearings. They have also met with Councilman Antonio Reynoso and Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley on the issue.

“Recently we did receive some good news that Myrtle Avenue will receive extra service on Tuesday and Saturday and that corner baskets would be given special attention because on those days there is a dedicated half mobile litter patrol,” Renz said. “Therefore, while we are grateful for this response, we will need to push for dedicated basket routes.”


Candlelight vigil held in Ridgewood for Nepal earthquake victims

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

Many of the Nepalese residents in Ridgewood joined together Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to show their support for the victims of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit their home country last weekend.

Candles were placed on the ground at Clemens Triangle at the intersection of Myrtle and Cypress avenues, while residents held up signs reading, “Pray for Nepal” and showed the strength of their community.

Assemblyman Mike Miller was in attendance, as well as Vincent Arcuri and Ted Renz of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District, which helped organize the vigil along with Bikash Kharel of the Nepalese American Youth Association and the Ridgewood Nepalese Society.





Ridgewood Local Development Corporation requests funding to improve neighborhoods

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photo by Angela Matua

The Ridgewood Local Development Corporation (RLDC) has many plans for the 2016 fiscal year, including performing a feasibility study of creating a new business improvement district along Myrtle Avenue in Glendale between Fresh Pond Road and 71st Place, which includes approximately 302 properties.

The nonprofit RLDC serves the economic interests of the commercial and industrial sectors of the Ridgewood/Glendale areas by providing ongoing management of the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District’s (BID) programs and services, holiday lighting, beautification projects, streetscape improvements and supplemental sanitation services, among other projects and services.

In its fiscal year 2016 budget, the RLDC is requesting capacity support of $65,000. This funding will go toward general operating, administrative and operating costs for its Neighborhood Economic Development and Community Improvement Programs.

The creation of a new BID would provide the Myrtle Avenue Retail/Commercial District in Glendale the flexibility to finance a wide array of programs, projects and improvements and reliability due to multi-year revenue streams.

In order to fund this study, the RLDC is requesting $25,000 to $30,000.

The RLDC also requested program support to assist manufacturing firms in the “South of Myrtle Avenue Industrial Area,” which was recently designated an Industrial Business Zone (IBZ), and other “M zoned” areas in Glendale and a portion of Middle Village along and adjacent to the Montauk Branch of New York & Atlantic Railroad, as well as other manufacturing uses in Ridgewood and Glendale.

This request requires $75,000 of funding, which would allow the RLDC to use the services of a consultant, graduate student or part-time employee to aid existing staff members with outreach and follow up with regard to providing comprehensive program services to businesses within the newly formed and designated IBZ for the South of Myrtle Avenue Industrial area.

The RLDC would work with Business Outreach Center, which already manages the Maspeth IBZ.

The RLDC feels that working with local manufacturers is important because they provide good, paying jobs for local residents. They also hope to strengthen the industrial and residential communities, seek opportunities for industrial growth and expansion and resolve conflicts between industrial and residential uses.

“A diversified manufacturing base is a sound economic policy,” Renz said in the budget report. “These local jobs produce both primary and secondary benefits from taxes and locally spent incomes.”

The RLDC would also like to see the restoration of seven-day garbage basket pickup from the DSNY within the Myrtle Avenue BID. This service has been cut down to only three days a week and the RLDC’s executive director, Ted Renz, feels “this is totally inadequate.”

“The first thing shoppers and potential store owners see are Myrtle Avenue’s overflowing garbage baskets,” he said in the RLDC’s expense budget report for fiscal year 2016. “It makes no sense to have a BID augment city services if the city keeps on reducing basic services like sanitation corner basket pickup.”

Requests for funds to improve Venditti Square were included in the RLDC budget report. The improvements include upgrading the Venditti Square Clock by installing a Carillon system that would play Westminster chimes and adding LED lighting. The RLDC also seeks to install 3-foot wrought iron fences around planting beds in the square for $25,000.

The RLDC is also looking for $20,000 in funding to repair or replace two historic marker signs, one at Carl Clemens Triangle and one at the Myrtle-Wyckoff Avenues transit hub that would add important improvements to the plaza.

The planting of new trees is also included in the RLDC’s budget plans. They plan on planting 60 new street trees along Fresh Pond Road Commercial/Retail District between Metropolitan and Myrtle Avenues for $60,000, 65 new street trees within the boundaries of the Myrtle Avenue BID for $65,000 and 250 new street trees in the Myrtle Avenue Commercial/Retail District between Fresh Pond Road and 72nd Street in Glendale for $250,000.


Plaza a place to relax in Ridgewood

| brennison@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Billy Rennison

A quarter century after the idea originated, the plan for a Ridgewood pedestrian plaza finally came to fruition.

The plaza, situated on 71st Avenue between Myrtle Avenue and Stephen Street, was closed to traffic during the first week of October. Chairs and tables were expected to be delivered to the street as The Courier Sun was going to press.

Granite blocks and planters line the plaza in the center of the Myrtle Avenue retail corridor. A pedestrian triangle with benches already existed as a barrier between Myrtle and 71st avenues.

When Venditti Square and Ridgewood Memorial Triangle were built 25 years ago, the 71st Avenue Triangle was to be constructed as well, but city cutbacks caused the plan to be scrapped.

The design was reset in motion when a proposal was submitted in 2011 to the city’s plaza program.

“After 25 years, we’re finally coming full circle and creating what was supposed to have been built back in the 80s,” said Ted Renz, executive director of the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District.

After the plan was approved, the DOT offered to construct the temporary plaza instead of the community waiting a couple of years for the permanent space to be designed. The temporary plaza allows the space to be utilized while a permanent one is planned. Renz said workshops will be held in the coming months regarding the permanent plaza.

“I like the idea, I’m interested in how it will be used,” said Ridgewood resident Debra Fairs.

The triangle will be home to local events — such as pictures with Santa — as well as a spot people can congregate to sit and relax, Renz said.

The space will be maintained by the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation and the Myrtle Avenue BID.