Tag Archives: Queens Boulevard

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 

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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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Forest Hills restaurant expands menu to include Venezuelan food


| ejankiewicz@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Eric Jankiewicz

With a family history that spans three continents, Ysabel Chang and her family are expanding the menu of their restaurant in Forest Hills to reflect their roots.

“We don’t look Venezuelan but we are. I consider myself to be Oriental and also Spanish,” Chang said. “So it’s all about the arepas for us.”

TuArepa Pizza Cafe opened last year near Queens Boulevard with a menu limited to pizza. But as the business grew and the family saved money, they recently expanded their menu to include arepas, a South American dish of cooked dough filled with anything from chicken to cheese. The restaurant’s new menu also includes Venezuelan lasagna, pernil and pabellon criollo, a shredded beef dish. Chang, her sister Elena and Elena’s husband, Francisco Duran, own and run the business.

“When people call us on the phone, they hear my accent or speak to me in Spanish and then they come into the store, confused by my appearance,” said Chang, who is in her 40s.

Chang said her family is originally from China but her father fled to Venezuela when he was 12, around 1956 according to Chang, because of communism and the political unrest it created.

After marrying Chang’s mother in Hong Kong, her parents settled in Venezuela, where Ysabel and Elena were born. The sisters lived in Puerto La Cruz until they graduated high school.

“And then we started to notice things were changing in Venezuela,” Chang said. “My family knew by experience something was happening. We knew how this story would end.”

Chang moved to America in 1988 and the rest of her family soon followed after Chavez attempted an unsuccessful coup d’état in 1992.

“We just knew that we couldn’t go back to Venezuela,” she said. “There was a lot of kidnapping and crime in general was rising. What’s the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy the money?”

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Sunnyside launches borough’s first ‘Bike Friendly Business District’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's Office

The bicycle wheels are going round and round in Sunnyside.

On Saturday, the neighborhood became Queens’ first “Bike Friendly Business District.”

A Bike Friendly Business District is a system of businesses, cultural institutions, and community organizations dedicated to boosting safe bicycling, according to Transportation Alternatives.

The advocacy organization has established Bike Friendly Business Districts in the East Village, Lower East Side and along Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn.

“The launch of Sunnyside’s very own Bike Friendly Business District is an opportunity for our neighborhood to showcase its diversity as well as its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants and cafes,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who helped launch the district with Transportation Alternatives, local business owners, cyclists and pedestrians. “Cyclists should come out to Sunnyside and shop at the over 70 participating businesses. As ridership climbs in our city, and the cycling infrastructure grows here in western Queens, Sunnyside hopes to capitalize by highlighting all we have to offer.”

Over 70 local businesses who support safer conditions for both cyclist and pedestrians will offer special commercial discount to members of Transportation Alternatives.

The business owners are looking to transform Queens Boulevard to include safe spaces for pedestrians, protected lanes for cyclists and dedicate lanes for buses.

“Designating Sunnyside as a Bike Friendly Business District means that we’re committed to making the neighborhood safe, accessible and fun for everyone,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

For a map of the Bike Friendly Business District and participating local businesses, click here.

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More Slow Zones coming to Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

More areas of Queens are slowing down.

The city’s Department of Transportation announced Friday the second phase of Arterial Slow Zones, which reduce speed limits to 25 mph, in 14 new locations throughout the city. New signs will be put up indicating the change.

Among the 14 locations are two Queens corridors. The first will run 5.8 miles on Roosevelt Avenue from Queens Boulevard to 154th Street and the approximate start month is set for September.

In December, the DOT is expected to begin implementing a 5.6-mile slow zone on Metropolitan Avenue from Onderdonk Avenue to 132nd Street.

“Slow Zones are a critical and widely endorsed element of Vision Zero,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said. “We are glad to work closely with local communities in bringing these life saving measures to corridors across the city. These 14 additional zones meet another goal we set in February.”

In May the DOT announced that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard runs 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street.

DOT also implemented a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard stretching 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

 

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Families at Pan American homeless shelter reportedly bused to movies during third protest


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Residents of the controversial Pan American Hotel homeless shelter were kept away from protestors during another rally against the opening of the site, according to a published report.

About 550 residents gathered Tuesday to hold another protest in front of the hotel located on Queens Boulevard and prior to the rally, the Department of Homeless Services arranged to have 230 children and adults from the shelter bused to the movies, DNAinfo reported.

The residents were taken to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2” paid for by the agency at a theater in Jamaica in order to remove the children from any hatred that “potentially could be exhibited” during the July 22 rally, according to DNAinfo.

Last night’s rally is the third held by residents opposing the shelter which currently houses more than 180 families. The community has said that the hotel was turned into the shelter, by nonprofit Samaritan Village, without residents and elected officials being given prior notice.

The last protest, which coincided with Community Board 4’s meeting with the DHS and residents, was filled with hundreds of protestors shouting criticisms back and forth with shelter residents.

Two weeks ago, just a neighborhood away, DHS approved the conversion of the 121-room Westway Motor Inn in East Elmhurst into a permanent homeless shelter as well.

Community members and elected officials in that area also say they were not told or asked about the decision.

The hotel previously was used as an emergency overnight site for homeless families, but two years ago the DHS has said it would not turn the motel into a permanent homeless shelter.

An emergency town hall meeting and public protest against the East Elmhurst homeless shelter is scheduled for Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria.

 

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