Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Inside St. John’s Hospital’s transformation into Queens Pointe development


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

After about a year of construction, the former St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst is beginning to look more and more like the new Queens Pointe residential and retail destination it will become.

The hospital, which closed in 2009, was acquired by a group of Asian-based investors for more than $50 million late last year, according to property records and published reports. Since that time, construction has been taking place to transform the 90-08 Queens Blvd. site’s interior space.

The seven-story building will have about 150 luxury rental apartments and a penthouse level with six units on the top four floors, while the basement, first and second floors will be used for a mix of community facility space and retail.

Construction on most of the apartments is almost complete and appliances have already been brought into some of the units.

The penthouse level features apartments with nearly 16-foot ceilings and views of the Manhattan skyline, as well as the Queens Center and Queens Place malls, which are across Queens Boulevard.

Marketing for the residential side of the building will begin early next year, according to a representative of Winick Realty Group, which is handling sales in Queens Pointe.

Marketing for the first floor and basement level, which are about 64,000 square feet combined, started months ago and received interest from various companies, including a gym, a supermarket and a clothing retailer. But the first floor and basement still have much interior construction remaining.

Representatives are negotiating with a school and a senior center to occupy part of the second floor. Construction on the second floor is partially complete, with new flooring, paint, ceiling tiles and lighting.

The development also includes a 250-spot parking garage across the street at 87-28 58th Ave., which will be available to retail customers and residents. Currently the parking facility has fading paint and graffiti, but there are plans to renovate the garage as well.

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Suspect wanted for questioning in deadly shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Suspect photo courtesy of NYPD/ Club photo by Salvatore Licata

Police have released the photo of a suspect wanted in connection to a shooting outside an Elmhurst club last month that left one dead and two others injured.

The gunfire erupted about 4 a.m. on Oct. 31 near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, cops said.

After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police. The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled onto the street, reports said.

Tamar Sermons, 20, of Laurelton, who was hit in the neck and leg, was killed in the shooting.

A 21-year-old woman, who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man, who suffered a graze wound to the head, were injured.

Authorities are now looking a man to question in the murder of Sermons. He is described as a black man in his 20s who was last seen wearing a shirt with the number 99 on it.

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.

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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] 

One dead, two injured in shooting outside Elmhurst club


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Updated Saturday, Nov. 1, 4:03 p.m.

A shooting outside an Elmhurst club early Friday morning left one woman dead and two others injured, according to police.

The gunfire started at about 4 a.m. near Club Hive NYC, located on Queens Boulevard between Barnwell and Cornish avenues, authorities said.

The shooting was sparked by a dispute inside the club that spilled into the street, reports said. After a “disorderly crowd” dispersed into the street, an unknown gunman started firing and hit three people, according to police.

A 20-year-old woman, Tamar Sermons, of Laurelton, was shot in the neck and leg, authorities said. She was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

A 21-year-old woman who was shot in the buttocks and the leg, and a 31-year-old man who suffered a graze wound to the head are both listed in stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing.

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Second Sunnyside pedestrian plaza officially opens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Sunnyside residents will now have more room to get together and enjoy the outdoors.

The second of two new pedestrian plazas opened in the neighborhood Friday afternoon at the intersection of 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, under the elevated No. 7 train.

Transformed from an underutilized underpass, the plaza includes tables, chairs and decorative plants. It was named Lowery Plaza after 40th Street’s original name, Lowery Street.

“The opening of Lowery Plaza is great news for Sunnyside residents,” Department of Transportation Queens Borough Commissioner Dalila Hall said. “This new local destination will significantly improve the life of residents and the vitality of local businesses in Sunnyside and Queens.”

The plaza is part of the DOT’s NYC Plaza Program and will be managed by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

Local elected officials, leaders and business owners cut the ribbon opening Lowery Plaza.

“This is something that the community is starving for, more open space and more space to come together as a community,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “The opening of this plaza on 40th Street, just like Bliss Plaza on 46th Street, is a sign of Sunnyside’s continued growth as a destination neighborhood for New Yorkers.”

In July, Bliss Plaza opened at the intersection of 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. The site also includes tables, chairs and planters. This project included leveling out a street to create a one-level pedestrian area

“We have received such positive feedback from community members and business owners about the success of Bliss Plaza, and I’m delighted to replicate this success at Lowery Plaza,” said Rachel Thieme, Sunnyside Shines BID executive director. “The plazas are fantastic neighborhood amenities and true gathering places in Sunnyside.”

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Real estate roundup: Worst landlords in Queens, new 11-story Elmhurst building revealed


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Scott Bintner/ PropertyShark

Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’

“New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside. The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.” Read more [Sunnyside Post]

Revealed: 70-32 Queens Boulevard, Elmhurst

“The new 69-unit residential building at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, in Elmhurst, is being designed by Flushing-based architect Michael Kang. It will include about 55,000 square feet of residential space, with all apartments around 800 square feet in size. In most of the city this would mean rentals, but these will simply be small condos, as is common in New York’s Chinese neighborhoods.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Planned Parenthood Is Expanding to Queens

Planned Parenthood’s abortion services have made it the target of national activism and federal budget cuts. But in spite of vocal opposition elsewhere, the organization is about to expand in New York City, breaking ground Thursday on its only center in Queens.” Read more [New York Times] 

Community rallies to find driver in Queens Boulevard hit-and-run


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Angy Altamirano

The Woodside community is looking for the driver involved in a hit-and-run on Queens Boulevard that has left one man clinging to life.

According to officials, on Thursday at about 1:35 a.m., the victim, who is still unidentified, was struck on the westbound center lane of Queens Boulevard and 60th Street by a dark-colored Ford SUV as he attempted to cross the thoroughfare. The driver fled the scene.

Currently the victim, described as a Hispanic male in his 20s or 30s, is in critical but stable condition at Elmhurst Hospital, authorities said.

Members of the surrounding Woodside neighborhood gathered on Friday at the intersection to call on the public to help identify the driver involved in the incident.

“The person that struck the young man and left him to die on this street should turn themselves in right away and face the consequences of his/her actions, because what this person did was leave a young man to die,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “It’s one of the worst things that one human being can do to another.”

 

Van Bramer’s Justice for Hit-and-Run Victims Act, created after the councilman’s district faced three fatal hit-and-runs last year, was signed into law on Monday by Mayor Bill de Blasio. It allows the city to establish civil penalties of up to $10,000 to drivers who are found guilty of fleeing the scene of a hit-and-run. The bill will take effect starting Dec. 29.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

Students of the Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school cross Queens Boulevard where a man was critically injured in a hit-and-run early Thursday morning.

“Accidents are horrible and terribly unfortunate,” said Jerry LoMonte, resident of the Big Six Towers co-op apartment buildings, located across the street from the collision site. “[Leaving] the scene of the accident is horrible and criminal, and we need to protect ourselves against that.”

Also present at the Friday morning rally was Elizabeth O’Hara, director of Towers Play-N-Learn nursery school, which is also located across the street of where the hit-and-run occurred. She was joined by six students holding signs that read “Please Slow Down, I have small feet,” and “Please stop at the crosswalk.”

DSC_0833

O’Hara asked drivers to slow down while driving on Queens Boulevard and to stop at the crosswalk before getting to the red light.

“At various times Queens Boulevard has been referred to as the Boulevard of Death but the truth is Queens Boulevard is surrounded by life,” Van Bramer said. “We have got to come to a place where this boulevard is no longer viewed as the Boulevard of Death but instead the Boulevard of Life.”

The hit-and-run investigation is still ongoing.

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.

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Pedestrian struck in Woodside hit-and-run


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

AmbulanceInMotionHC0507_L_300_C_Y-624x416

A man was left critically injured following a hit-and-run in Woodside early Thursday morning, police said.

The victim, believed to be in his 20s or 30s, was crossing at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and 60th Street at about 1:35 a.m. when he was struck by a dark-colored SUV, authorities said. The vehicle then drove off westbound on Queens Boulevard.

The pedestrian was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Police are still looking for the driver.

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