Tag Archives: Northern Boulevard

Flushing community criticizes modern look of planned building


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of Raymond Architecture

Flushing’s Great Wall is being torn down.

Great Wall Supermarket, on Northern Boulevard and Leavitt Street, will be replaced next year by a glass-clad, 11-story building after the supermarket’s owners decided to not renew the lease, according to city records. The proposed building’s modern, sleek look will tower next to the Civil War-era Flushing Town Hall, causing many in the community to criticize the new building for not conforming to the appearance of its historic neighbor.

“This thing looks like it’s something out of Miami Vice,” Flushing resident Vincent Amato said. “You can kiss goodbye any sense of history this neighborhood still had.”

Despite community resistance, Community Board 7 passed a request to change the area’s zoning, allowing the building’s developer, George Chu, to move another step closer toward his goal of developing a mixed-use building with a hotel, store fronts, community space and apartment units.

Flushing Town Hall wrote a letter expressing their support of the new development, and the planned community space will be used often by Town Hall events. During the community board meeting, the board members defended their decision to allow the building to be constructed.
“We’re not granting something that’s significantly different then what could be there,” Chuck Apelian said. “None of us are negligent of the history.”

FLUSHING_2

Flushing Town Hall was once the center of civic life, serving as the seat of local government until the mid-19th century before Flushing and other towns in Queens were absorbed into Greater New York City.

But now it is a lone reminder of the past in the center of a new Flushing that is undergoing a building boom. Nearby, a similar plan for a mixed-use building, including community space and a hotel, has been approved and is set to be built.

The hotel in the new building at the Great Wall site will occupy floors three to eight, with the top three floors divided into 43 apartment units. There will be 10,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor for restaurants and coffee shops, according to Eric Palatnik, the developers’ spokesman.

“We’re going to liven up the street with a sidewalk plaza area,” he said.

As the meeting ended, Apelian said, “This is a tragedy not just for Flushing, but the whole nation. Hundreds of years of American history will be overshadowed by this new building.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

 

 

Off-duty NYPD officer charged with DWI, leaving accident scene in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

PoliceCarLightsHC0708_L_300_C_Y-624x414

Updated Monday, Dec. 1, 4:47 p.m.

An off-duty NYPD officer was charged with driving while intoxicated after leaving the scene of an accident in Woodside on Friday night, authorities said.

The officer, identified by police as Aaron Sanchez, 28, got into a fender bender at the intersection of Northern Boulevard and 50th Street about 10:45 p.m. before driving off in his Ford, the complaint said.

The other driver reported the accident, according to media reports, after Sanchez struck the rear passenger side of the vehicle.

A cop then spotted Sanchez’s car and proceeded to pull him over, court records said. He refused to take a Breathalyzer test after the officer noticed he had alcohol on his breath, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet.

Sanchez was arraigned on Saturday on charges of DWI and leaving the scene of an accident, according to court records, and released on his own recognizance.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

City to begin studying western part of Flushing for residential development


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city is looking into rezoning the western part of Flushing for redevelopment and affordable housing, according to a city council hearing on Monday.

The Department of City Planning will launch a study from the westernmost part of Flushing to Prince Street and Northern Boulevard to Roosevelt Avenue. The area is largely industrial and most of it hugs Flushing Creek’s bank. Developers have been interested in the area for many years, including The Flushing Willets Point Corona Local Development Corporation, which received a $1.5 million state grant to clean up the polluted waters of Flushing Creek.

The plan is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pledge to construct or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments. And Flushing was selected, along with other areas in New York City, as a possible candidate for housing development that would include mandatory affordable housing.

“The plan is to create a comprehensively planned community,” said Alexa Rosa, a consultant for the organization that received the state grant.

The city planning department will begin reaching out to the many stakeholders in the area for the possible rezoning, according to a spokesman for Councilman Peter Koo. The process could take years to complete.

“We definitely need more affordable housing,” the spokesman said. “And that would be welcomed, if that’s what’s actually going to happening.”

“We’re cautiously optimistic about it,” he added. “Because we are excited about it, but we don’t want to fully support something when the details aren’t there.”

He continued, “Everybody has to be treated fairly.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Real estate roundup: 1,789-unit, three-tower project planned for LIC, Astoria Cove developers to hire union labor


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner

1,789-Unit, Three-Tower Tishman Speyer Project in Long Island City

“Now, permits have been filed for the mega-development, and it’s gotten a bit bigger: 1,789 apartments will now be included across the complex, which takes up two blocks bounded by Jackson Avenue, Orchard Street, Sunnyside Yards, and Queens Boulevard.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Astoria Cove developers agree to hire union labor

The City Council and the developers of Astoria Cove have reached a tentative agreement to hire union workers for the construction phase of the Queens waterfront residential and commercial redevelopment project.” Read more [Capital]

Progress stalled at 27-05 41st Avenue

“When we stopped by last week, we noticed that little to nothing had changed since QBS’ last visit. ETA on the “six-story, 44-unit mixed-use building with 30,041 square feet of residential space and 6,970 square feet of commercial space” was originally at the end of this year, but obviously the developers won’t reach that goal.” Read more [The Court Square Blog]

George Xu aims to bring another hotel to Flushing

“The owners of the Century Development Group Corporation applied for permits to construct a 214,000-square-foot mixed use building at 137-45 Northern Boulevard, the location of a Great Wall Supermarket.” Read more [The Real Deal] 

Real estate roundup: Residential support for Astoria Cove, Saving murals for Cornell’s Roosevelt Island tech campus


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

NYCHA residents wants Astoria Cove

“There has been a lot of debate about this 1.7 million square-foot waterfront development. We’ve heard opinions coming from The Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan — but take it from neighbors who live down the street in the NYCHA Astoria Houses, one for the past 61 years and the other for 60 years: This project can help move our community in the right direction.” Read more [The New York Post]

At Future Cornell Campus, the First Step in Restoring Murals Is Finding Them

“Cornell University and its conservators faced a lot of challenges rescuing three rare 7-by-50-foot murals from the Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island. The first challenge was finding two of them.” Read more [New York Times]

Douglas Durst Talks Queens, Midtown and WTC

“While the Durst Organization was known for developing Manhattan commercial spaces — Seymour Durst once said he “would never buy anything he couldn’t walk to” from his Manhattan office — Mr. Durst has become a residential developer of late, with two Manhattan rental projects nearing completion and negotiations underway to build a massive mixed-use project in Hallets Point, Queens.” Read more [Commercial Observer]

Radiology Center Opens in Long-Vacant Northern Boulevard Building

“Main Street Radiology at 72-06 Northern Blvd. opened with limited services on Oct. 6, but has since expanded its offerings — modern ultrasounds, mammograms and stress tests, according to assistant director Todd DiLeonardo.” Read more [DNAinfo]

60-year-old man fatally hit by Q13 bus


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A 60-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed by an MTA bus as he was crossing a Flushing intersection Wednesday night, police said.

The man was within the crosswalk at Union Street at Northern Boulevard around 10:30 p.m. when he was hit by a Q13 bus as it was making a right turn onto Northern, authorities said.

The victim, who has yet to be identified by police, was taken to New York Hospital Queens, where he was later pronounced dead.

Police said the driver remained on the scene and they were investigating the accident.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cops looking for suspect in Long Island City department store groping


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

untitled

A man groped a 55-year-old woman inside a Marshalls at a Long Island City shopping center on Saturday, according to authorities.

The suspect was inside the store on Northern Boulevard near 48th Street around 6:40 p.m. when he approached the victim, police said. He then touched her chest with both hands before fleeing the store.

Authorities describe the suspect as black, in his 20s, about 5 feet 8 inches tall and 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing red pants, a black T-shirt and tan boots, and was carrying a black book bag.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

IDENTIFY

Do you know where in Queens this photo was taken? Guess by commenting below! The answer will be revealed next week.

Last week’s answer to “Identify this Place”: Northern Boulevard at Bell Boulevard in Bayside 

IDENTIFY-624x511

Influx of new commercial centers arriving in Bayside


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Three new commercial buildings are coming to a section of Northern Boulevard in Bayside, bringing an influx of retail space to the neighborhood strip.

Jeewha Kim, president of 211 St. LLC, filed permits with the Buildings Department on Friday for a new three-story commercial center at 211-02 Northern Blvd.

The new building will have 19,993 square feet of space with 66 parking spaces when completed, according to city filings.

About a block away from that development site, permits were issued last year for a two-story commercial plaza at 212-14 Northern Blvd., and renderings have been posted on the construction site. However, a partial stop work order exists on the property.

This building, designed by Victor K. Han Architect, will have 12,030 square feet of space and 40 parking spaces, including some underground.

On-site poster

On-site poster

Also, 209 Northern Property LLC has almost completed its two-story commercial building at 209-35 Northern Blvd.

That development will have 24,865 square feet and 84 spaces for parking, according to city records.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Whitestone resident petitions again for Metro-North stops in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority/Patrick Cashin

The wheels are turning once again for one Queens resident who hopes to bring more transportation options to the borough.

Ali Fadil, a Whitestone resident who previously lived in Astoria and Jackson Heights, has started an online petition calling on the MTA to bring Metro-North Railroad access into western Queens as part of its plan to expand the line to Penn Station.

In the MTA’s 2015-2019 $32 billion Capital Program, the agency plans a project that would take the Metro-North’s New Haven line directly to Penn Station, adding four new stations in the Bronx. As part of expansion, the line would use existing track, owned by Amtrak, to go directly into Manhattan.

In doing this, the line would go into Queens but without making any stops in the borough.

“Metro-North wants to run trains through Queens but has no interest in serving Queens, especially since western Queens has seen a lot of growth in the past years,” Fadil said.

This is Fadil’s second petition regarding the expanding of Metro-North stops into the borough. In 2012, when he was only 18, Fadil began his initial petition which gathered 263 signatures. He said the support he got the first time around helped him make his plan more specific on what needs to be done.

“I am here to make sure that our communities get what we deserve and Queens shouldn’t be left out in the cold,” said Fadil, who is a senior studying political science and sociology at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. “When it comes to public transportation, it’s Queens that’s the forgotten borough, not Staten Island.”

The 20-year-old’s petition, which started on Monday and as of Tuesday has 44 signatures, calls on the transportation agency to bring the New Haven line to western Queens and also study two locations along the Amtrak line to be considered for stations. The locations are Astoria Boulevard between 41st and 44th streets, and Northern Boulevard at Broadway, which is close to the M and R trains and two local buses.

The petition also calls on Amtrak to make “necessary structural repairs” to the tracks which go over the Hell Gate Bridge in Astoria and would be used during the expansion of the Metro-North New Haven line.

According to Fadil, the existing Amtrak line is “falling apart” and in need of repair.

In the capital program, the MTA said the Metro-North expansion would include upgrades to power and signal systems, installing of new track and realigning existing tracks, and replacing railroad bridges to accommodate more trains.

According to an MTA spokesperson, there are no plans to construct a Metro-North station in Queens because it is too costly to build an elevated station for a low ridership.

“If I see something that isn’t being done right, I want to see it done right for people,” Fadil said. “That’s why I do what I do.”

Fadil said he now hopes to get support from local elected officials and leaders to help make his ideas a reality.

To check out the petition, click here.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

BP Katz holds hearing on Bayside car dealership


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Updated Friday, Sept. 19

Members of the Bayside community urged Borough President Melinda Katz to uphold Community Board 11’s decision to remove a Star Toyota and Scion dealership from the area during a hearing Thursday morning.

“For 40 years, this business has been a bad neighbor,” a community board 11 member said. “There’s excess noise in the night and in the day. Unlicensed cars constantly speed through the neighborhood, blowing every stop sign.”

Katz didn’t make a decision during the meeting but she remained skeptical that the dealership was sincere about responding to the community’s complaints about broken sidewalks, trash and fixing the fence.

The dealership’s manager, Michael Koufakis, didn’t attend the meeting but his lawyer, Todd Dale, said that all of the issues that the community raised were addressed.

“When presented with these problems, we took care of it,” he said, referring to the broken sidewalks and fence and all of the trash in the area.

“I find that, as borough president, people clean up right before these meetings and then they go back to their bad habits afterwards,” Katz said.

According to Katz’s spokesman, the borough president will make a decision to either allow the variance to be renewed or echo Community Board 11′s decision. She plans on making her decision before the case goes to the Board of Appeals (BSA), the last stop before a final decision is made. The variance allows the business to operate in a residential zone as long as it cooperates with the community board.

Neighbors of the dealership hope that the BSA and Katz will reject the variance application.

Rennie Xosa lives behind the dealership’s parking lot. He, as well as community board members, said that the lot is used by the dealership to showcase cars to customers, an act that would be illegal under the business’ zoning rules.

“I have this beautiful backyard but I often can’t use it because there are people over there checking the car alarm system, honking the horn, testing how loud the radio goes and all of these other things that shouldn’t be going on there,” Xosa said. “I won’t let these people kick me out of my own neighborhood. I’m staying here and fighting them.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Bayside residents tell car dealership to hit the road


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Updated Wednesday, Sept. 17, 4:38 p.m.

Community Board 11 unanimously refused to renew a zoning variance that allowed a Bayside Toyota dealership to operate in a residential area after neighbors complained.

Star Toyota and Scion has been operating on Northern Boulevard for 40 years with the variance, but locals want the dealership gone for being, according to one board member, a “bad neighbor.”

“The community wants them removed because they don’t respect us,” said board member Steven Behar. “It’s as simple as that.”

Residents complained that the dealership parked their cars on residential streets and illegally dumped garbage in the neighborhood.

As a requirement of the variance, the dealership must meet with the community board every 10 years so their business can be reviewed.

After reviewing the business this time, the board decided to act on the complaints and vote down the renewal.

There are two more steps in the process: Borough President Melinda Katz is expected to announce a decision on Sept. 18 and, if she supports the community board’s decision, the Board of Standards and Appeals will make a final decision.

“We’re hoping that with the new [mayoral] administration and a real show of community support, we can have the BSA do what’s right for the community,” Behar said. “We’ve tried to solve this with them but they wouldn’t work with us so now it’s come to this.”

But Michael Koufakis, the dealership’s manager, said he’s open to the community’s complaints.

“I’m here every day. If anyone has any concerns, they can call me and I’ll make a reasonable effort to resolve it,” he said. “We will be addressing some of the issues that came to our attention through the community board.”

Further west on Northern Boulevard, a Flushing real estate business attempted to remove a condition in a similar variance.

Paul Luciano, owner of Utopia Real Estate, asked Community Board 7 to remove a restriction contained in the variance that prevents the building’s owner from making any alterations without the board’s permission.

But the board voted to maintain its power over the business, which has been in Flushing since 1957, by keeping the conditions of the variance in place.

“They [the community board] just want to hold the power over us for no reason,” Luciano said.
But locals said they feared changes would alter the nature of the neighborhood.

“If we’re not careful, our area will start to look like Main Street,” resident Terri Pouymari said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Students study local street to make Jackson Heights safer


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Noah Beadle

Groups of “kid engineers” came together over the weekend to try to understand how to make Queens safer, one street at a time.

The advocacy organization, Make Queens Safer, hosted a Safer, Greener Streets Fair and Bike Bonanza on Saturday at Travers Park in Jackson Heights to raise awareness and allow visitors to learn more about street safety while also getting the chance to participate in activities.

One of the interactive events, called the Kid Engineers Traffic Study, allowed students from I.S. 230, P.S. 69, P.S. 212, P.S. 280, the Academy for Careers in Television and Film, the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, McClancy High School and Voice Charter School to assist in documenting traffic conditions down 34th Avenue between 74th and 80th streets.

The study was chosen for that particular stretch in Jackson Heights, which has a speed limit of 30 mph, because it is parallel to Northern Boulevard, is a major bike route and is near three schools and several parks, according to organizers.

“Providing the tools and knowledge on how to safely navigate the streets of our neighborhoods can help reduce accidents and improve the quality of life for all members of our community,” said Councilman Daniel Dromm, who joined the students as they conducted the study.

TS-3

The students measured traffic speeds using radar guns westbound on 34th Avenue at 75th Street and eastbound on the avenue at 79th Street.

According to the students’ data, with more than 100 measurements taken, about 17 percent of the vehicles traveled 31 mph or faster at 75th Street, while 7 percent exceeded the limit at 79th Street.

Traffic was light compared to weekday traffic, according to organizers. Other notes taken at the sites included vehicles running red lights.

The final field study involved intersection safety observations.

The “kid engineers” examined driver, pedestrian and cyclist behaviors at 76th, 77th, and 80th streets along 34th Avenue.

Students collected data on vehicles stopping in crosswalks while ignoring painted stop lines, drivers using hand-held cellphones, and pedestrians talking on cellphones as they crossed the intersections. During this time the students also talked about ways pedestrians should stay safe while crossing the streets.

Other information collected involved two near collisions, vehicles turning without signals, cyclists running red lights and pedestrians walking out into the street before checking for traffic.

For the full data collected by the Kid Engineers Traffic Study, click here.

Throughout the day other events of the a Safer, Greener Streets Fair and Bike Bonanza included a Learn to Ride Class hosted by Bike New York, a helmet giveaway from the Department of Transportation and free youth bike repair by Recycle a Bicycle and Bike Yard.

“Our family spent the entire day talking about safety – bike safety and street safety,” said Veronica Marino, whose 11-year-old daughter participated in the events. “So many times it takes a tragedy to get people talking about these things.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Police looking for suspect who groped teen in Jackson Heights elevator


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A man groped a 15-year-old girl after he followed the teen into her apartment building’s elevator in Jackson Heights last month, cops said.

The incident happened at about 9:20 p.m. on Aug. 13 in a building near 70th Street and Northern Boulevard, authorities said. Once inside the elevator, the suspect grabbed the girl’s buttocks and breast before fleeing.

Police describe the suspect as an Asian man in his late teens to early 20s and about 135 pounds. He was wearing a gray shirt and blue shorts.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Movie starring Jesse Eisenberg, Gabriel Byrne begins film preparations in Bayside


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

A new movie, “Louder Than Bombs,”  starring Jesse Eisenberg, Isabelle Huppert and Gabriel Bryne  is expected to begin filming in September in Bayside.

Crew members started moving equipment into the area on Thursday.  A Ryder truck was spotted in front of Anchor Inn on Northern Boulevard where the crew prepared the motel for shooting.

The director of the film is Joachim Trier and according to reports, the movie is set to be  completed and released in 2015.

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

Eisenberg is known for his bigger roles in the movies “Social Network” and “Zombieland.” Bryne, the oldest of the trio, starred in many movies including “The Usual Suspects” and “In Treatment.” The French actress Huppert has played in many European movies but was also in “I Heart Huckabees.”

“Louder Than Bombs” is still in the very early stages but according to reports, the plot is about a late war photographer, played by Huppert, whose husband and two sons discover a secret about her past. The secret ends up unravelling the lives of the men into chaos. The movie is being labeled a drama.

The plot of “Louder Than Bombs” doesn’t take place in Queens but the crew plan on using two locations in the area, according to a spokeswoman for the crew. The first is in the inn on Northern Boulevard and the second is at a residential corner on 215th Place and 38th Avenue.

RECOMMENDED STORIES