Tag Archives: Northern Boulevard

420 North: Service, selection, sumptuous


| padler@queenscourier.com

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On busy Northern Boulevard, just a mile east of Little Neck, sits a new restaurant that is worth the short drive, 420 North. It’s easy to remember because it’s the address too.

With easy parking, I entered the handsome, newly-renovated space that features an ample, beautifully-designed bar and attractive, warmly-lit dining room.

The hostess took us to a beautifully-set table and introduced us to our waiter.

The Italian continental menu is unique in that the restaurant has a wood-fired hearth enabling the chef to create dishes that range from artisan pizza to a juicy seafood paella.

Our meal began with a selection from their multiple choices of appetizers. I particularly liked the lump crab cakes, pan seared and served on spring greens with a tasty dill mango Remoulade. One of my husband’s favorite dishes is baked clams, and the ones at 420 North are done just right. The whole clam is topped with garlic herb breadcrumbs. Our friends had the classic onion soup, with plentiful tender onions and topped with a rich Gruyère cheese melted to a crustiness. We also sampled the semolina-dusted crispy and tender fried calamari.

I liked their chopped house salad with Romaine hearts, amply topped with tomatoes, onions, roasted peppers and artichoke hearts, all tossed in a pungent, perfectly-balanced red wine vinaigrette. Of course there is also a classic Caesar salad topped with amply-shaved Parmesan cheese in a perfectly-blended dressing that didn’t overwhelm the salad.

I couldn’t resist trying one of the personal pizzas and I was glad I did. The fungi pizza of wild mushrooms, overflowing with fresh mozzarella cheese topped with white truffle oil, was delicious.

We shared a dish of pappardelle, topped with a porcini mushroom cream sauce and cooked al dente, just how I like it.

After ordering wine from their ample, well-priced menu we selected our main course. The paella, cooked in their wood-fired oven, was overflowing with shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, tilapia and chorizo sausage in a tasty sauce; it was accompanied by rice. It’s a must-try dish!

Another unique dish is their chicken 420. It’s a perfectly-cooked, moist, oven-roasted chicken with sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes and ample garlic served with a tasty Broccoli Rabe. It goes by many names, but this combination on the bone is hard to find.

Of course we had to sample some of their home-made desserts. They are both tasty to the palate and beautiful to behold.

At 420 North the service is attentive and professional, highlighted by the personal touch offered by one of the partners always in attendance to mingle with guests and make sure everything is to their liking. It certainly was for us, and I can happily say, try it — you’ll love it!

RKO Keith’s project has a partner


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Plans to revamp a historic and long-stagnant Flushing landmark are chugging full steam ahead, officials said, despite rumors that the latest owner of the RKO Keith’s Theatre will sell the site.

According to Michael Nussbaum, a spokesperson for Patrick Thompson — who bought the foreclosed Northern Boulevard property for $20 million in 2010 — the developer is still committed to the project and has no plans to put the property on the market.

In fact, Nussbaum said Thompson now has the additional support of an “interested party” working with him to make sure his $160 million vision sees the light of day.

“In this market place, it’s very difficult to do a project of this size and go at it alone,” Nussbaum said. “When there are partners that want to come into a project like this, if they meet the qualifications, they are more than welcomed.”

The spokesperson would not identify the new financial backer, but said Thompson has “always had relationships with a number of individuals who wished to be his partner on this project.”

Nussbaum said plans to redevelop the vacant movie house into apartments and shops are right on track. The developer is still looking to restore RKO Keith’s historic lobby while building a 17-story tower with stores, 357 rental apartments and a community center.

“Everything is still moving forward. This has been a project that has taken 25 years to come into fruition. We’re looking forward to finally putting a shovel in the ground,” he said.

While Thompson expects the project to be completed in early 2015, Nussbaum said there is no set time frame yet as to when work will begin.

“It will begin sooner than later,” he said.

Meanwhile, theatre preservationists said they’re out of the loop with the project’s plans and remain doubtful — yet hopeful — that constructive work will ensue.

“At this point, we just don’t know what to believe anymore, but I’m giving the developer the benefit of the doubt,” said Rick Gallo, cofounder of Friends of the RKO Keith’s. “I don’t think — in this market — that anybody is going to invest millions of dollars in that area. It just doesn’t make sense to put up another building, but I would love to see exactly what they have planned. I don’t know if they’re going to go through with it. If he does have a financial backer, I hope they go forward. As long as he keeps to his word, that will be fine.”

Koeppel, a full service dealership


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

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One of the most trusted names in the auto business has expanded to service an entirely new sector of clientele.

Koeppel Motors, founded in 1937 in the heart of Jackson Heights, has an established reputation for selling quality cars, both new and pre-owned, including Mazdas, Volkswagens, Subarus and of course, Nissans.

The extent of Koeppel Nissan’s expertise, however, is not limited to providing affordable and reliable automobiles to the individuals and families across Queens, but now extends to aiding businesses with their commercial needs as well.

“We are the only Nissan dealer in the five boroughs that has earned an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and our commercial department is an enhancement to the experience the neighborhood has received for the past 74 years with Koeppel,” said Ami Ferrara, marketing manager at Koeppel Nissan. “We are also proud to say that we are the number one volume NV commercial vehicle dealer on the east coast. We have expertise here, so it is not just a purchase and then the customer is on their own. We stand behind what we sell, and we offer a full spectrum of services. We want to introduce this to all businesses, whether they are a Fortune 500 company or small, family-run business.”

In January of 2011, Koeppel, located at 74-15 Northern Boulevard, began selling the Nissan NV, a commercial vehicle designed to help a wide variety of businesses with their transport and travel requirements. “Nissan has come out with a great product and Koeppel Nissan has the capacity to do this type of work,” said Gerry Spathis, department manager of commercial sales at Koeppel. “Commercial vehicles command special attention because business owners are too busy to get involved as they would with a normal car. In order to really help the commercial customer, there is a lot more that is necessary. A business owner doesn’t want to go from dealer to dealer to shop for a vehicle. He needs a vehicle when he needs it. This means I have to connect with him, put the sale together, make sure we build the right vehicle at the right price and deliver it straight to him without interrupting how he does his business.”

Koeppel currently offers three versions of the Nissan NV: the 1500, 2500 and 3500. The 1500 comes with a low roof only and offers the lightest weight capacity. The 2500 and 3500 are available with high or low roof, depending on the client’s needs, and have a gross vehicle weight rating of 9,100 and 9,900 pounds respectively.

According to Spathis, the most popular model is the NV 2500 with a high roof and V6 engine.

“Because of the high roof, you are no longer hunched down and unable to maneuver in the vehicle,” said Spathis. “The high roof lets you stand straight and do your work the way you have to. Also, from a fuel economy standpoint, the feedback has been extremely positive. It certainly has more than enough horsepower to beat our competitors. It is a strong product and quite impressive.”

Manufacturer suggested retail pricing for the NV begins at $25,500, which Spathis says makes the vehicle $10,000 more affordable, on average, than the Mercedes Benz Sprinter.

For customers who feel that financing is not the right choice, Koeppel features reasonable leasing options.

“There is a great opportunity for commercial businesses to lease these vehicles without having to worry about excess mileage or wear and tear fees,” Spathis said. “It is not your typical car lease, where you have to watch mileage and damage. It is called a terminal rental agreement clause (TRAC), which enables us to put the vehicle on the road using only a first down payment and whatever DMV fees there are associated. There is also a reasonable buyout. This makes the vehicle affordable for the client.”

Koeppel prides itself on being a full service dealership, catering to customers from their first visit to the arrival of their vehicle, and providing whatever additional modifications clients require to operate their businesses smoothly.

“What separates Koeppel Nissan is an attention to detail and an ability to operate at the customer’s place of business,” said Spathis, who has worked in commercial vehicle sales for two decades. “They will get a finished product delivered to their door, including any modification to that vehicle that makes their job easier. Most dealers don’t want to get involved with that kind of job. It is very expensive and very costly to do that, and unless you have key personnel who know how to get this kind of work complete and a dealer that supports the job, the customer will end up going down the road. Koeppel Nissan goes above and beyond and delivers well past the expectations of the commercial customer.”

Among the services Koeppel offers to their customers is installation of racks and bins for storage or a full refrigeration system for carrying meat, fish or ice cream.

Koeppel is also featuring a variety of exclusive deals to make the purchasing experience all the more enjoyable for their customers. The dealership is currently offering zero percent interest on 36-month contracts. When purchasing their commercial automobile, Customers also have the option of choosing between specially designed 3M graphics being applied onto their vehicle or a cargo management system, which consists of full partitions and shelving, being installed for no additional cost. If neither of the options is a necessity to the customer, Koeppel is offering a cash incentive in the form of a $700 rebate.

Koeppel is also expanding in other areas to fully cater to the needs of their clients. Along with forming a new rental car department, which features a full line of rentals, from the smallest Versa to the largest Armada, and transitioning into commercial vans for airport and hotel shuttles, Koeppel is also building a brand new service facility on 60th Street and 30th Avenue in Jackson Heights, directly adjacent to the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

“This new facility will be very convenient for our commercial customers,” said Spathis. “They can come across the RFK Bridge or ride down Northern Boulevard or Astoria Boulevard, which are all commercial routes, to get to the service facility, which is designed to handle these high-roof vehicles. Your average service facility doesn’t have the capability to handle these vans. We are capable of doing the work the way it is meant to be done.”

Due to the ingenuity and talent of the staff at Koeppel Nissan, Spathis assures that any commercial business owner can feel secure in purchasing from the dealership.

“We want the customer to know that they are going to be well taken care of if they are dealing with us here at Koeppel Nissan,” said Spathis. “We can service any customer, including electricians, plumbers, cargo delivery, meat delivery and even a fine arts dealer. We can service trades across the board. Anyone who used to use the typical cargo van welcomes the NV with open arms because of the added height and weight capacities. We have a better product than I have seen in many years in this segment, and because of our location, there is no doubt that this facet of our business will continue to grow.”

For more information on Koeppel Nissan, visit www.koeppelnissan.com, call them at 1-866-GO-NISSAN or stop by their showroom, located at 74-15 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights.