Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

$100M transformation to turn Queens Boulevard into ‘Boulevard of Life’ begins


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

For Lizi Rahman and all other family members who have lost loved ones on Queens Boulevard, their dream of putting an end to the “Boulevard of Death” is finally starting to become reality.

Rahman — whose 22-year-old son Asif was fatally struck while riding his bicycle home in 2008 — joined Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Transportation (DOT) representatives and local elected officials and community leaders on Thursday morning in Woodside to announce the beginning of the $100 million redesign of the busy thoroughfare which has claimed 185 lives since 1990.

“I decided to do everything in my power to get a bike lane on Queens Boulevard so that bicyclists would feel safe and no mother would go through this pain of losing a child,” Rahman said. “There were times when I was discouraged. I almost gave up but then I saw light at the end of the tunnel when Mayor de Blasio was elected. Now my dream is not a dream anymore, it became a reality.”

The first phase of the redesign project, which was unanimously approved by Community Board 2 last month, will focus on the 1.3-mile section of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street, an area which saw six deaths, 36 severe injuries and 591 more hurt in traffic accidents between 2009 and 2013.

“Here is a lesson if ever there was one, on the fact that we had to change things here on Queens Boulevard. We were losing too many good people, and we could avoid those losses. And finally, the actions are being taken to save lives here on Queens Boulevard that should’ve happened long ago,” de Blasio said on Thursday.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

Lizi Rahman lost her son in 2008 after he was fatally struck by a truck on Queens Boulevard while riding his bicycle home.

The redesign of the thoroughfare is expected to decrease drivers from switching repeatedly between the main line and service road. The overall plan will be to get rid of the “highway-like design features” which encourage drivers to speed.

The improvements on the stretch, which will be installed through October, include safer crossings installed along the corridor; pedestrian islands and new mid-block crossings constructed to give pedestrians more time to cross; and high visibility crosswalks and new signals will be added.

“We have an obligation to make sure that not one more person loses their life on this boulevard,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “We will transform Queens Boulevard into that ‘Boulevard of Life,’ we will make it safer for everyone, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. All living in harmony and in safety.”

The DOT will also add protected bike lanes with buffers and new pedestrian space along the median next to the service lane in both directions. A raised, concrete bicycle path will be constructed under the overpass on the eastbound service road from 67th to 69th streets.

The project will also include pedestrian ramps being upgraded to be ADA-complaint improving accessibility to those with disabilities, and service roads will be reduced to one moving lane in each direction.

The DOT plans to soon begin the phase of the redesign of Queens Boulevard from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue, and after from Eliot Avenue to Jamaica Avenue.

“So for all the people who depend on this crucial road, life will change for the better. And we’re going to use every tool we have to continue that work — not just on Queens Boulevard, but all over the city,” de Blasio said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Themed popup bar serving craft cocktails coming to Sunnyside


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Matthew Callahan

Something refreshing is popping up at a Sunnyside restaurant looking to celebrate the long days of summer.

Behind The Wood, an Astoria-based beverage consulting company, is coming together with Venturo Osteria & Wine Bar, located at 44-07 Queens Blvd., to bring the Behind The Wood Popup Bar starting this Friday and Saturday.

The popup bar, which will be open from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. every weekend in the summer, will have a “summer solstice” theme featuring a summer-driven drink menu filled with craft cocktails all created fresh in house, homemade/refurbished décor, music, and different events such as a move night.

The drink menu will feature two parts. The top part will include four original drinks that are inspired by summer and the bottom half will be the “back to basics section” where guests will be able to also try variations of classic drinks.

The idea of the bar came after the owner of Venturo approached Behind The Wood co-owners Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin, who have more than 30 years combined in the hospitality industry, and said regulars to the restaurant were looking for a local place to get drinks.

Behind The Wood co-owners Mashia Baldwin and Scott Scaffidi.

Behind The Wood co-owners Mashia Baldwin and Scott Scaffidi

Behind The Wood — which for the past two years has offered establishments services such as cocktail menu development; staff and management training; juice, house-made syrups and ice; bar equipment and tools; spirits recommendations; and bar design — had worked with Venturo before when it just opened and decided to help create the popup bar.

The bar will remain opened after the summer with the theme changing in the fall and then changing every two months. There will be a holiday theme around November and December, and possibly a tiki bar theme in the winter.

According to Scaffidi, the popup bar will also serve as a way for him and Baldwin to test the waters with future plans of opening their own establishment in Queens.

“The idea is that down the line we would like to open our own brick-and-mortar bar,” said Scott Scaffidi. “We are using this as a test kitchen to see how people respond and in that way it can be exciting for guests.”

For more information visit www.behindthewood.nyc.

Photo courtesy of Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin.

Photo courtesy of Scott Scaffidi and Mashia Baldwin

RECOMMENDED STORIES

City Comptroller says no to Pan Am homeless shelter proposal once again


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Updated 3:38 p.m.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer stood his ground on Thursday and sent the resubmitted proposal to convert the former Pan American Hotel into a permanent homeless shelter back to the Department of Homeless Services (DHS).

Stringer’s response comes after DHS resubmitted their application on June 12. The initial proposal was originally rejected by Stringer’s office in May due to health and safety concerns such as fire code violations, rodent infestation and lack of kitchen facilities in the units.

The city comptroller had until the following week to accept or reject the proposal, and he decided to continue to urge the agency to make the changes he first asked to be made before they could be considered for approval.

“The Department of Homeless Services has not yet provided sufficient documentation to show that the Pan American Hotel facility is safe, and that all outstanding violations and complaints have been corrected. As a result I have sent the contract back to allow the agency additional time to address the outstanding issues we identified,” Stringer said.

Stringer’s decision comes two days after local elected officials stood with residents and community activists calling on the rejection of the resubmitted proposal.

The emergency homeless shelter at the former hotel on Queens Boulevard was supposed to close last December, yet even after facing large opposition from community members, an application was submitted to convert it into a permanent shelter under a five-year, $42 million contract with DHS.

State Senators Tony Avella and Jeff Klein, who held the rally Tuesday, praised Stringer for his decision.

“Today, the voices of homeless families and the community as a whole have been heard. While I thank the comptroller for his leadership on this issue, our work is not yet done. We must continue to work to fix this broken system,” Avella said. “I urge the Assembly to pass companion legislation to Senator Klein’s bill to protect our neighborhoods going forward. We must ensure that our communities have a stage on which to raise their voices against future Pan Am sites.”

Klein’s bill, which would require the city’s Planning Commission to hold a public community forum before the approval, modification or rejection of a homeless shelter site, recently passed in the state Senate.

State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, who has voiced her opposition to the shelter before, joined numerous other elected officials who applauded Stringer’s decision. Stavisky suggested that the DHS use this time to “search for other sites around the city as well as more permanent housing for families.”

“I want to thank New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for carefully considering the troubling conditions at the Pan American Hotel and reaching the same conclusion that I have — that the Pan Am facility is not safely serving the families being housed at that shelter,” Stavisky said. “Rejecting this contract is in the best interest of everyone. The Pan Am is far too cramped and lacks basic amenities, such as kitchens, which all families, especially those with babies and young children, desperately need and that are required by the city’s administrative code.”

Local grassroots organization Elmhurst United, which has been against the proposed homeless shelter since day one, also thanked Stringer for his decision and ask DHS to stop resubmitting their proposal.

“Samaritan Village and DHS should cease resubmitting this contract as the Pan Am shelter is too costly to upgrade in order to comply with state and local laws, in particular, providing a cooking facility in each living unit and a childcare facility at this site,” said Jennifer Chu, president of Elmhurst United.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Base of Civic Virtue statue to be restored, dedicated to women


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre. Documents via Department of Design and Construction.

Plans are set to begin soon to spruce up the former base of the controversial Triumph of Civic Virtue statue near Queens Borough Hall as a planted fountain.

The base, which has sat neglected for nearly three years after the statue atop was moved, will be restored and new plants, shrubs, trees, benches and lighting will be added to the site, according to plans by the Department of Design and Construction.

The city agency collected bids from construction companies until May 18 and is still reviewing the proposals.

A bronze plaque will also be added that will read, “This fountain plaza is dedicated to the women of Queens,” long after politicians, including disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, and women’s rights activists condemned the statue as sexist.

The artwork by renowned sculptor Frederick William MacMonnies featured a naked Hercules — representing virtue — standing firm as mythical Sirens, which symbolized corruption, curled around his legs. The sculpture was intended to reflect virtue as a young man avoiding temptations of females, represented by the Sirens, so naturally feminists took issue with it.

In 2012, the statue was shipped to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood cemetery. It cost the city about $100,000 to renovate and move it, according to published reports.

It wasn’t the first time it was moved. The statue was originally at City Hall when it was completed in 1922, but in 1941, then-Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia moved it adjacent to Queens Borough Hall and mounted it on an existing classical fountain.

The statue did have many supporters though, including former Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. and Community Board 9. Some supporters wanted it returned to Queens.

However, restoring the fountain and dedicating it to women — without the return of the statue — has the support of Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The site will soon host a visible, meaningful tribute to the women of Queens and become a public space utilized and enjoyed by all,” a spokesperson for Katz said. “Once the winning bid is announced, we hope the vendor will begin expeditiously.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

CB 2 unanimously approves Queens Boulevard safety improvements


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

Queens Boulevard is now one step closer to going from the “Boulevard of Death” to the “Boulevard of Life.”

Community Board 2 (CB 2) unanimously voted Thursday night to approve the Department of Transportation’s proposed safety improvements and redesign of a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The DOT said it decided to focus on this section first because, according to statistics, there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

“Community Board 2’s unanimous vote tonight is a big step toward turning Queens Boulevard into the Boulevard of Life,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg in a statement after the meeting. “This investment made by the de Blasio Administration will make the boulevard safer, greener and better for all users. I would like to thank the community for its support and local leaders, such as Councilman [Jimmy] Van Bramer, for their leadership.”

A preliminary plan for the strip was released in March. The proposal presented by DOT representatives during the June 4 meeting was based on community input gathered during safety workshops earlier this year and also a meeting held with CB 2’s Transportation Committee two days prior to last night’s vote.

DSC_1479

Some of the features of the first redesign segment, expected to be implemented in August, include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Goals for the redesign include keeping the main line moving, reducing constant lane change, completing crosswalks and connecting neighborhoods, and eliminating highway-like design features.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings.

As part of their decision, CB 2 members asked the DOT to keep an ongoing dialogue with the community and address issues such as the loss of parking spaces and some of the turn lanes off the center median of the thoroughfare.

DSC_1469

(THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano)

Residents at the meeting voiced their support for the proposal and praised DOT for the proposed safety improvements.

“What I’m really excited about the proposal today is that it kind of paints a future and gives an idea of what it would be like to have a road safe enough to bicycle on and it makes me excited to get my bicycle out and actually ride it,” said Patrick Rhea, a resident who walks and drives on Queens Boulevard.

The DOT plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Rapper Chinx murdered in Briarwood drive-by shooting


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo via Instagram/@chinxmusic

Updated Monday, May 18, 9:55 a.m.

An up-and-coming rapper from Ozone Park was killed in a drive-by shooting at a Briarwood intersection early Sunday morning, police reported.

Officers from the 107th Precinct, in responding to a 911 call about the shooting, found two victims at the corner of Queens Boulevard and 84th Drive at about 4:04 a.m.

Authorities said 31-year-old Lionel Pickens was shot multiple times about his body. Pickens — a rapper better known by his stage name Chinx — was pronounced dead upon arrival at Jamaica Hospital.

The second victim, a 27-year-old man, was brought to Jamaica Hospital in critical condition after sustaining a gunshot wound to the back.

According to police, Pickens and the other victim were riding in a vehicle at the intersection when an unknown vehicle pulled up. An unidentified shooter in the other vehicle then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the victims before speeding away from the scene.

An investigation is ongoing.

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Photo via Instagram/@we_r_legion

Pickens grew up in Far Rockaway and was “paving his musical path since an early age,” according to the biography on his website. He got his start in hip-hop with the late rapper Stack Bundles as The Riot Squad.

In 2005, Pickens began a prison sentence after being convicted on robbery and drug possession charges. He was released in 2008, then relaunched his rap career with French Montana.

As Chinx, Pickens gained a following among hip-hop fans with his 2012 release of “I’m a Coke Boy.” He also created a mixtape trilogy, “Cocaine Riot,” featuring many top rap stars.

Reportedly, Pickens was slated to release his latest album, “Welcome to JFK,” later this year.

“Chinx was one of the most talented, professional and determined rappers this industry had to offer,” Chanel Rae, his publicist, said in a statement posted on The Legions Group Instagram account. “Furthermore, he was a friend.”

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

See it: Fully renovated English Tudor in Forest Hills Gardens for nearly $2.8M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty

Tucked away a few blocks from the 75th Avenue Queens Boulevard subway station, and within walking distance of the bustling Austin Street commercial strip in Forest Hills, homebuyers will find a fully renovated English Tudor.

Although the residence, located at 44 Seasongood Rd. in Forest Hills Gardens, is close to a variety of retailers, restaurants and transportation, the house provides a quiet and private atmosphere similar to the suburbs. This best-of-both-worlds home is priced at $2.79 million and listed with Terrace Sotheby’s International Realty.

Completely renovated with all new windows, hardwood floors, cabinetry and fixtures, the residence reflects a modern charm although it was built in 1925.

It features a large kitchen and spacious living room, and there are five bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. There is also a private rear garden for parties and family gatherings.

There will be an open house for the Tudor home on Sunday, May 17, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.


RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Taste of Sunnyside to feature 28 local restaurants, music and performances


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines

Foodies will once again be able to have some delicious fun under the 7 train next week in Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District is presenting its 2015 Taste of Sunnyside, a one-of-a-kind culinary event highlighting 28 local restaurants, on May 19 under the elevated 7 line at 46th Street and Queens Boulevard.

After receiving an “overwhelmingly positive response” last year, the event, which will go from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., will once again be held in a block-long tent.

“Bringing all the flavors of Sunnyside into one visible food festival is an amazing opportunity for local residents and visitors alike to discover their new favorite restaurant, and a great way to help promote Sunnyside as a restaurant destination,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “Last year’s event exceeded our wildest expectations and we’re excited to be back under the 7 train again this year to sample all this delicious food.”

The food festival will feature sample treats from 28 restaurants including Salt and Fat and Venturo Osteria, which were both recognized by Michelin as a Bib Gourmand pick for 2015.

Many of Sunnyside’s newest restaurants are participating this year, including the neighborhood’s two new Tibetan restaurants, Tibetan Dumpling Café and Punda Tibetan Restaurant, as well as Dumplings & Things, Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria, Blu Orchid and the yet-to-open Italian restaurant Soleluna.

All of the participating restaurants will allow diners to travel the world without leaving the comfort of Queens. The full list of eateries includes Tibetan Dumpling Cafe (Tibetan), Los Verdes (Colombian), Blu Orchid (Thai), Claret Wine Bar (Wine Bar), PJ Horgans (Irish Pub), Tito Rad’s Grill (Filipino), Dog and Duck (Irish Gastropub) De Mole (Mexican), Bliss Street Station (Irish Pub), Dumplings & Things (Chinese), I Love Paraguay (Paraguayan), Aubergine Cafe (American), Arriba Arriba (Mexican), Los Pollos Restaurant (Peruvian), Bliss 46 Bistro (French), Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizza (Italian), Punda Tibetan Restaurant (Tibetan), Copper Kettle (Irish Pub), Sidetracks (Irish American Pub), Tealicious Express (Bubble Tea and Juice Bar), Soleluna (Italian), 43 Bar and Grill (Irish American Pub), Murphy’s Lobster Grill (seafood), Salt and Fat (New American), Venturo Osteria (Seasonal Italian), White Castle (American), Dazies and Jack’s Fire Dept.

Bites and beverages will also be provided by event sponsors Associated Marketplace, Fresh n Save Marketplace, Lowery Wines and Liquors, Queens Brewery and SingleCut Brewery.

Further promoting the diversity in the neighborhood, the Taste of Sunnyside will include a full lineup of performers, including a presentation from the Thalia Spanish Theatre with Danza España and flamenco dancers. Also performing will be local subway brass band Sunnyside Social Club, and the Underground Horns.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is also offering a “shop local” promotion where customers who download a Taste of Sunnyside Local Discount Card, available to download at www.tasteofsunnyside.com, will receive deals with participating business through May 31.

Tickets for the Taste of Sunnyside are on sale at www.tasteofsunnyside.com.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

First phase of $100M Queens Boulevard redesign to be implemented by August


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of the Department of Transportation

The voices of a concerned community have been heard, and by August, the first segment of the redesign of what is known as the “Boulevard of Death” is expected to be implemented to make it safer.

The city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it would be releasing a detailed preliminary plan to redesign a 1.3-mile portion of Queens Boulevard. The plan is based on community input gathered during a safety workshop held on Jan. 22 in Woodside.

This project, which will be reviewed by Community Board 2 and is expected to be implemented in August, launches the start of the DOT’s $100 million Green Streets initiative, which will cover all seven miles of Queens Boulevard.

The agency plans to hold more public workshops during the fall and winter for the future phases of the initiative, from 73rd Street to Eliot Avenue and from Eliot Avenue to Union Turnpike.

“After decades of crashes, many of them fatal, this corridor has been reimagined and will be redesigned to become a safer, greener and more attractive corridor for residents and businesses, suitable to traverse through the World’s Borough,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of the redesign, which includes the installation of a protected bike lane, covers the 1.3-mile stretch of the thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency previously said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics showed there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area.

Some of the features of the first redesign segment include safer crossings, increased pedestrian space and improved intersections. The preliminary plan also looks to calm the traffic on service roads and try to reduce the number of times drivers move between the main line and service roads.

Unique redesigns include a protected bike lane integrated into a widened service road median, with new pedestrian space and median-to-median crossings that “allow for a linear park-like experience,” according to the DOT.

“This work represented a major advancement in the efforts to achieve Vision Zero throughout our city,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “Thanks to the work of the DOT, we are seeing significant improvements in traffic safety in western Queens, and we look forward to seeing Queens Boulevard safety improvements thanks to this $100 million capital investment.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Fire truck and car collision in Briarwood leaves five injured


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Graphic Image

A collision between a fire truck and car in Briarwood on Thursday night left five people, including two firefighters, hurt, the FDNY said.

The two vehicles crashed into each other at Hillside Avenue and Queens Boulevard about 6:30 p.m.

Three people were taken to Jamaica Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, fire officials said.

Two firefighters, who suffered minor injuries, were transported to Queens Hospital Center.

The cause of the crash is reportedly under investigation.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

First safety workshop held for Queens Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

Community officials, residents, family members of traffic accident victims and survivors got the chance Wednesday night to give their input on putting an end to fatal crashes on the “Boulevard of Death.”

The Department of Transportation held the first Queens Boulevard Safety Workshop at P.S. 11 in Woodside to discuss the future of a stretch of the busy thoroughfare between Roosevelt Avenue and 73rd Street.

The agency said it decided to focus on this section first because statistics show there have been six fatalities since 2009 in that particular area. Last year, the speed limit on Queens Boulevard was lowered to 25 mph as part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative.

“The Mayor made it clear that improving Queens Boulevard is a priority and so Wednesday night NYCDOT will host a safety workshop to hear the community’s concerns and ideas,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “That workshop is only the first step in a more comprehensive process to reimagine and redesign the boulevard as a safer, greener, more attractive corridor for residents and businesses.”

During the workshop, over 100 members of the public were able to sit down with DOT facilitators in groups at several tables in the school’s cafeteria. The agency’s representatives then went over the options for improvements that can be done on the thoroughfare and asked that each person draw on a map of Queens Boulevard, provided at each table, any suggestions they have.

Among those present were members of Families for Safe Streets, made up of a group of family members of victims of traffic accidents and survivors.

“We’re really asking for them to take a really bold stand and do a complete redesign of Queens Boulevard,” said Ellen Foote, a member of Families for Safe Streets whose 27-year-old son was killed while riding his bicycle home. “We want to turn the ‘Boulevard of Death’ to the ‘Boulevard of Life.’”

Foote added that with the popularity of Queens increasing, she sees Queens Boulevard as the place to start making changes. She urged the DOT to take the community’s input and statistics and come up with a plan.

“We should make it a model not just for New York City, but the world,” Foote said.

Among the suggestions voiced by the public were creating protected bike lanes and dedicated bus lanes, making street medians longer and wider, adding street regulations to reduce speeding, and increasing the amount of time to cross Queens Boulevard.

Ralph Munoz, a Kew Gardens resident who lost both his mother and brother to traffic accidents, in separate incidents, sees the workshops as positive moves to making the streets safer. He added that he sees many cars speeding near where he lives.

“The [speed limit] law is new. People need to learn. It takes time. But if people want to do it, they can be a very responsible driver. People just need to be more responsible with their car,” Munoz said. “It’s a discipline and it’s a change to keep people safe.”

Munoz is a new member of Families for Safe Streets and says he plans to attend future workshops for Queens Boulevard, especially for the stretch of the strip near where he lives.

“It’s good to be involved and helping with this type of thing because you don’t want other families to go through this,” Munoz said.

The DOT will now take the input from the workshop and use it to come up with recommendations for Queens Boulevard. There are also plans for future workshops for the road.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

North Shore Towers is city’s most popular building complex in 2014


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

There is plenty to celebrate at the North Shore Towers.

Not only will the Floral Park building complex be marking its 40th birthday in 2015, but the towers were New York City’s most popular buildings in terms of sales by a wide margin last year, according to a published report based on data from real estate website PropertyShark.

That’s right, the three-building co-op at 272-40 Grand Central Pkwy. sold 115 units last year, which is 35 more units than the runner-up.

With everything from tennis courts, a pool, a fitness center, a movie theater, a golf course and annual events, the towers attract homeowners of all ages, and that could be the reason for the high number of sales.

To be fair, the median price of an apartment in the complex is about $495,000, which is quite a bit lower than the runner-up, a Manhattan building named The Jefferson, which had a median price of $1.72 million.

Honorable mentions

Some other Queens buildings made the most popular top 10, including Woodside Terrace Condo in Maspeth, which finished in fourth place with 76 units. The buildings, located at 63-14 Queens Blvd., has just 96 total apartments. Nearly 80 percent of its capacity was filled last year.

Coming in at number six is The Vista at 44-15 Purves St, which sold 48 units last year. The buildings are among Queens’ newest luxury residential developments.

And The Bay Club in Bayside took ninth place after selling 44 units last year. But the article points out the condominium has more than 1,000 units, so selling under 4 percent isn’t that much of an accomplishment.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Sunnyside movie theater closing for residential development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Modern Spaces

And that’s a wrap for Sunnyside Center Cinemas.

The longtime neighborhood movie theater at 45-25 Queens Blvd. will be closing on Jan. 4, according to a published report, after its lease was not renewed because the owner wants to make way for a residential development.

The property was bought in 2012 for $6.65 million from Dime Savings Bank by John Ciafone, husband of Gina Argento, who is the president of film production firm Broadway Stages.

The new owner hopes to lease the ground floor, which has 52,000 square feet of air rights, for $750,000 a year to a developer looking to build a residential structure above, Sunnyside Post first reported.

“I’d like to bring much-needed affordable housing to the Sunnyside community, and I’m currently in the process of looking for a development partner with extensive affordable housing experience,” Ciafone said.

The property is currently being marketed by real estate firm Modern Spaces. The bar next door, PJ Horgan’s, which is also a tenant on the property, will remain open. And although the cinema is closing, Ciafone said that there might be a chance for it to return.

“Once the project is complete, I’d be more than happy to sit down with the owner of Center Cinemas to discuss lease opportunities,” Ciafone said.

RECOMMENDED STORIES  

Identify this place in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

WHERE

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”: Queens Boulevard in Sunnyside 

image2-624x467

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Sunnyside BID encourages residents to ‘shop local’ for holidays


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

On this year’s Small Business Saturday, one business improvement district is making sure residents keep it local.

The Sunnyside Shines BID is celebrating Small Business Saturday on Nov. 29 with a kickoff event in Bliss Plaza, one of two new pedestrian plazas under the elevated No. 7 train, and with the release of Sunnyside’s first-ever Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide.

“We really want people to reengage with the local businesses here in Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the BID. “There are just so many opportunities and we do have a good variety of retail [in Sunnyside] and we really wanted to highlight that in this guide and showcase that there are so many different types of ideas here.”

The guide, which was created in partnership with students at LaGuardia Community College, is a full-color, printed brochure that features holiday gift ideas from 22 local shops. Residents that live in the area the BID covers will receive the guides in the mail next week.

Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark, located at 45-15 Greenpoint Ave., said she is delighted the holiday gift guide will help promote local businesses like her own.

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

Photos courtesy of Sunnyside Shines BID

“Every bit of publicity helps local businesses. Launching the gift guide on Small Business Saturday is a perfect way to make the community more aware of the importance of shopping locally,” Andres said.

Seda Bagdasarya, owner of the jewelry shop That’s Incredible at 45-21 Greenpoint Ave., also hopes this guide will help improve business and bring more customers.

“It’s going to be very good,” Bagdasarya said. “It could be very helpful for business and I hope it continues every year.”

The Small Business Saturday kickoff event will take place from noon to 1 p.m. at Bliss Plaza, located on Queens Boulevard and 46th Street. It will feature free giveaways including the guide and Small Business Saturday-branded tote bags, while supplies last. There will also be live music from the Sunnyside Social Club.

“Resources like the Sunnyside Shines Shop Local Holiday Gift are creative, important tools to help promote local businesses and engage residents as they start shopping for the holiday season,” said Maria Torres-Springer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Small Business Services, who encourages New Yorkers to shop locally this Small Business Saturday and beyond.

For more information, visit www.sunnysideshines.org.

RECOMMENDED STORIES