Tag Archives: opening

Community service-oriented martial arts studio opens in Flushing

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of KOREA Taekwondo

KOREA Taekwondo invited families and young martial arts masters to the grand opening of its first martial arts studio on Saturday in Flushing.

Taekwondo students, their parents and community leaders participated in the celebration by setting personal goals, after which they broke boards symbolizing their promise to break bad habits. The studio, located at 130-30 31st Ave., offers classes for adults, children as young as 3½ years old and joint family learning sessions.

Regina Im, executive director of KOREA Taekwondo, said that families will have happy memories of the demonstration and that martial arts are a beneficial skill for children to learn.

“We teach taekwondo in New York City public schools and at our dojang [studio]. We do this because we want to inspire, guide and educate our children,” Im said. “Our goal is to help improve our students’ physical, mental and spiritual being through self-discovery, so that they will develop the peaceful mind required for a happy life.”

John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, and Christine Colligan, co-president of Korean American Parents Association, were available at the event to speak with parents on the commitment to civic engagement that KOREA Taekwondo students learn in conjunction with their martial arts training.

In addition to physical education and martial arts training, the company also offers a range of Korean cultural classes and participates in service projects to clean up local streets and parks, beautify the neighborhood and reach out to local seniors.

Choe—a recently registered student at the studio—said that teaching children the discipline involved in martial arts is an effective way to instill positive values and focus in them. He believed that KOREA Taekwondo was the best studio in the city because of the community service ethic taught in its programs.

“It’s part of their DNA to serve the community,” Choe said.

Although this is its first storefront studio, KOREA has been teaching students in programs within the New York City public school system and other educational outlets since 2008. A total of 15,000 children have attended physical education classes with KOREA Taekwondo, including Flushing elementary schools P.S. 242, P.S. 163, P.S. 154 and P.S. 201.


New outdoor bar making its debut in Ridgewood

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos by Anthony Giudice

A new outdoor bar in Ridgewood called Nowadays is providing residents with a different way to hang out.

Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin, the DJs behind the popular dance parties known as Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday, own Nowadays with Mark Connell, who owns the Botanica Bar. Located at 56-06 Cooper Ave., Nowadays is a nearly 16,000-square-foot “outdoor hangout with food and drink,” according to Carter.

“We kind of see it as a place for people in the community to come hang out,” Carter said. “If you call something a bar it will conjure up a specific image, if you call something a beer garden it brings up a specific image. We don’t really like to try to define what it is because we want people to not categorize us before they come in.”

The owners wanted to bring into their establishment a “backyard feeling” they got while performing as DJs. They achieved that goal by enclosing Nowadays with corrugated fences and filling the area with honey locust and birch trees, native grasses and sodded hills for customers to throw a towel down to lie on.

Patrons are invited to bring their friends, children and even their dogs to Nowadays.

“It’s totally a dog-friendly space as long as people bring a dog on a leash,” Carter said. “We want it to feel more like a friend’s backyard.”

Nowadays makes sure customers are treated to a variety of entertainment and games. There is a bocce ball set, chess, checkers and backgammon sets with the playing boards painted directly onto the picnic tables. There is also a ping-pong table for customers to use.

The bar offers customers a selection of local beers, sangrias and wines, as well as sodas from local soda manufacturer Brooklyn Soda Works. There will also be a wide selection of food for sale for all types of customers, including vegetarian and vegan hot dogs, grass-fed beef burgers, a beet burger and an avocado salad.

“We care about organic and local stuff but we’re not trying to force that down anyone’s throats,” Carter explained. “What we are trying for here is to have a level of quality that is high but not force anything on anyone. We aren’t a vegan place or vegetarian place but we cater to all of those people. We like to have multiple options for all these different categories of eaters.”

In addition to all of that, Nowadays donates 10 percent of their net profits for the poverty-fighting organization Robin Hood.

“We really like Robin Hood because Robin Hood is an organization that is based here in New York and they specifically target poverty in New York City where poverty is a real big issue,” Carter said. “We are very fortunate to be in a place in our lives and society where we have the ability to make a living off of people’s luxury time. The fact that we can do that in the shadow of extreme homelessness and poverty, it really hit us.”

Nowadays, which held a soft opening on June 11, will officially open starting on June 18 and operate through October, with hours on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to midnight, Fridays from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m., Saturdays from noon to 2 a.m., and Sundays from noon to midnight.


The Parc Hotel in Flushing set for March opening

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo rendering courtesy of Real Hospitality Group

A chic hotel nearing completion in Flushing is slated to open next month, officials announced last week.

The Parc Hotel, operated by Real Hospitality Group, is in its final construction stage and will open in March at 39-16 College Point Blvd., the Maryland-based company said.

The luxury hotel will have 96 guest rooms and suites, a private rooftop lounge that is 13 stories above street level, and even a dog spa.

Located near Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue, it is one of the many hotels currently being built in booming downtown Flushing.

An 18-story Westin Element hotel at 42-31 Union Street is almost complete.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is looking to build a dual-hotel complex Flushing at 35th Avenue and 114th Street by September 2015.



Nordstrom Rack to open first store in Queens

| mchan@queenscourier.com

File photo

Nordstrom Rack will be moving into the SkyView Center in Flushing, the Seattle-based apparel company announced Tuesday.

Style-savvy shoppers can expect the discounted retail division of Nordstrom, Inc. to open its first Queens location this fall at 40-24 College Point Blvd.

The two-level store will be 39,000 square feet, officials said. Nordstrom Rack is also opening two stores in Brooklyn this year.

“We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of a dynamic retail center within a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Queens and right off the Long Island Rail Road,” Nordstrom Rack President Geevy Thomas said.

“We look forward to opening next fall and bringing our customers the very best of our brands at great prices,” Thomas said.

The new storefront joins an expanding roster of national tenants, including Target, Old Navy and Bed Bath & Beyond and Best Buy.

SkyView owner Michael Dana said the addition takes Queens one step further to being a major retail destination.

“We are committed to providing shoppers great fashion at affordable price points and Nordstrom Rack is the perfect addition to our growing mix of retailers,” Dana said.



New modern library opens in Glen Oaks this May

| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Queens Public Library

Glen Oaks is getting a sleek new library that opens in the third week of May, officials said.

The $17 million facility at 256-04 Union Turnpike is 18,000 square feet­­—nearly double the size of the neighborhood’s temporary library at 255-01 Union Turnpike. The new, three-story building will have more customer service features including computer workstations, an outdoor reading space and separate areas for adults, teens and children.

The library will also have a sweeping interior staircase, a sky-lit reading lounge and a partial glass exterior.

As construction wraps up, the temporary branch will close on May 3, officials said.

Bookworms can visit nearby libraries in Bellerose or Windsor Park until the grand opening. Materials can be renewed online at www.queenslibrary.org or by phone at 718-990-8508.



Class in session: City to get 54 new schools, two in Queens

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Spring may signify new beginnings, but schools will be “bloom”ing this fall.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott on April 17 to announce the opening of 54 new schools across the city for the 2012-2013 school year. The new schools – 30 of which will be run by the district, along with 24 charters – will serve more than 7,000 students from kindergarten through high school next year, and over 21,000 kids when they grow to full size.

Of the 54 schools, two will be in Queens – Wave Preparatory School, an elementary school in District 27, will replace P.S. 215 Lucretia Mott, located at 535 Briar Place in Far Rockaway, and Central Queens Academy Charter School will open in District 24.

Including those slated to open this fall, 589 new schools have now been created in the five boroughs since 2002.

“Our children deserve great schools, our parents deserve great options, and our administration is committed to delivering them to families in every neighborhood in the five boroughs,” Bloomberg said. “The 54 new schools that will open next year reflect our commitment to children and parents, and they will build on the successful records established by the hundreds of new small schools we have already created. These new schools, including our new Academy for Software Engineering, which will train students not just in the language of computers but also in the language of innovation, will help prepare our students to succeed in the new global economy.”

According to the mayor’s office, evidence has indicated that new schools rank higher on parent satisfaction surveys than other schools across the city and perform better on state math and reading exams and graduate students at considerably higher rates than schools they replace. New schools also serve similar percentages of black and Latino students, English language learners and students with disabilities compared to the schools they replace.

Many of the new schools opened during the Bloomberg administration have followed the model of smaller schools – a strategy MDRC, a nonpartisan education and social policy research group, says “markedly improves graduation rates for a large population of low-income, disadvantaged students of color.”

“As we’ve seen over the past decade, new schools have changed thousands of lives in New York City for the better, helping more students graduate and prepare for college and careers,” Walcott said. “I want to thank all 54 new school principals, who have taken the bold step of building a new school community and offering families high quality options. Every child and every neighborhood deserve a great school, and we are proud to continue a strategy that has delivered just that for the past 10 years.”

Resorts World Opens

| smosco@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Steve Mosco

South Ozone Park’s Aqueduct Racino, reborn as Resorts World Casino New York City, officially opened its doors to an eager throng of thousands of gamers on Friday, October 28.

Casino representatives and elected officials were on hand at the former Aqueduct Racino for the ribbon cutting, and to welcome those who came to play on opening day – a line which wrapped around the building, leaving visitors with at least a two hour wait.

“I can’t wait to get in,” said Yaneet Chandra, a South Ozone Park resident who arrived at the casino at around 10 a.m. to get to the head of the line. “Queens really needed a place like this.”

And not just for gaming reasons. The casino arrives amid promises of jobs for the immediate community – and according to officials, Resorts World delivered on that promise. State Senator Joseph Addabbo said that the new facility will deal the community, and Queens at large, a much needed economic boost.

Click here for a photo gallery of the grand opening.

“To see this underused land become an economic engine is just incredible,” he said. “This is a new era for the community and a win for all.”

Michael Speller, president of Resorts World New York, said that the casino will provide thousands of full time jobs to people who needed work the most.

“We are thrilled to welcome the public to this extraordinary new entertainment venue, which will permanently employ 1,350 New Yorkers, of which 89 percent are either minority or women,” Speller said at the grand opening, which occurred exactly one year to the day of the initial groundbreaking ceremony. “With 41,000 applicants for these 1,350 jobs, Resorts World New York City will work hard with the state and leadership to find more ways to create even more jobs – as many as tens of thousands – on our site as soon as possible. Today’s grand opening was the chance for our employees to share with the first of many guests the truly unique experience of Resorts World.”

First arrivals entered the racetrack casino under the “Light of Nations” sculpture – featuring 193 individual hand-blown glass bulbs representing each of the United Nations member countries around the globe and highlighting international essence of Queens itself.

The first casino in the facility to open – dubbed Times Square Casino – features 2,485 Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG). The casino floor also features Bar 360 Lounge at the heart of the gaming floor and myriad culinary offerings reflecting the diversity of the borough.

Phase two of construction, to be completed by the end of the year, will unveil 5th Avenue Casino and Crockfords Casino on the second floor with 2,515 additional VLT and ETG. Also on the second floor will be the Central Park Events Center – the largest event space in Queens.

As the doors swung open and the first guests began to pour in, their reactions were all the same – eyes wide as saucers, mouths agape. Some were even already pulling money out of their wallets as they stepped onto the escalator.

“We just really want to have fun,” said Reggie Haughton. “Times are tough, yes, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come out and enjoy ourselves. We deserve it.”

For more information on Resorts World, visit www.rwnewyork.com.