Tag Archives: Rego Park

London Lennie’s to host 18th annual Crabfest


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

When the blow-up crab goes up, it’s time to chow down.

London Lennie’s is getting ready to hoist a ginormous crab atop the restaurant to signify the start of its 18th annual Crabfest event and is shipping in the shellfish from all across the nation to please the patrons.

“We like to think of ourselves as an institution in Queens,” said Les Barnes, owner of the Rego Park restaurant. “We only put out the top quality crabs because it is our responsibility to keep the reputation we have gained throughout the years.”

Crabfest, which will run from Oct. 16 to Nov. 9, started at London Lennie’s in 1996. The event features a wide variety of the shellfish such as blue claw crab, Dungeness crab, red king crab, Jonah crab claws, snow crab claws and stone crab claws.

Each species of crab is flown in to the restaurant from a different place in the United States. Barnes and his chef first do a tasting and quality test of the fishermen’s products and then choose whichever one they feel is of the best quality.

All of the crab is fresh, never frozen, and both the red king crab and Dungeness crab are shipped to the restaurant live where they inhabit the fishing tanks until ordered.

Furthermore, customers can enjoy a variety of crab specials such as crab au gratin, three types of crab cakes and jumbo lump crab among others.

There will also be a large variety of crab appetizers along with specialty drinks that will complement each meal.

“We always look for the best of our product,” Barnes said. “It’s what keeps people coming back each year.”

Because the three-week-long event is so popular, it is best to make reservations due to how crowded the restaurant gets.

They can be made online at LondonLennies.com or on the phone at 718-894-8084.

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Plans released for possible QueensWay


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of thequeensway.org

It’s the Queens way.

A 3.5-mile stretch of recreational, walking and biking trails is planned for central and southern Queens as part of a multi-million dollar proposal that has coined the name, QueensWay.

“This will be a wonderful park for Queens,” said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land.

The QueensWay plans, proposed by W X Y architecture + urban design, will add a mix of new recreational and cultural opportunities and nature trails for the borough, said the Friends of the QueensWay.

The path, if built, will cross through the neighborhoods of Rego Park, Forest Hills, Glendale, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and Ozone Park, affecting over 322,000 people living within a mile of it.

In the plans, there are proposed areas for ecology and education, where planners are hoping to build an outdoor classroom for children to be able to learn the biodiversity in Queens.

Also, there will be two sets of trails for bicyclist and pedestrians to ensure the safety of everyone who uses the QueensWay.

Furthermore, there are plans for basketball courts, a skate park, habitat wetlands, arts-related programs and a gateway entrance from the QueensWay to Forest Park.

“Parks are too often neglected and QueensWay would offer more access to open space and parkland,” said state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. “Parks provide an economic benefit to local business, retail establishments and restaurants and people of all ages would be able to enjoy the recreational opportunities which this new green space would provide.”

The estimated cost for the QueensWay is $120 million and, if started, will take three to five years to build.

Although it has the backing of many elected officials and community leaders, some feel the narrow stretch of former rail line could be put to better use.

Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder is a staunch advocate for the restoration of the Rockaway Beach rail line, which once ran on the property being looked at for the QueensWay. He has formed a coalition to fight to get it back.

“The QueensWay and Trust for Public Land have wasted taxpayer dollars on expensive, out-of-state consultants and one-sided studies that don’t actually represent the interests or needs of Queens’ families,” Goldfeder said. “Our growing coalition, including the MTA, will continue the fight to expand transit in Queens while easing commutes, creating jobs, cleaning the environment and expanding our economic development.”

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Rego Park runner reverses diagnosis


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Luis Marcial

BY PAULINA TAM

Rego Park resident Luis Marcial began running after he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010, and the only time he stopped running was when he sustained a stress reaction to his femur seven weeks ago. The 34-year-old has since then restarted his running regimen in “hardcore” fashion, because he will be running in this year’s Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge at the TCS New York City Marathon in November as the Queens representative. He will be running the 26.2-mile marathon alongside challengers from the other four boroughs.

“I simply had two choices after I was diagnosed,” Marcial said. “One was swimming, but I can’t swim, and the other was running.”

Running daily has not only kept Marcial on a healthy track but has also surprised his doctor with his progress, a progress that the doctor calls a “reversal of his diagnosis.” He also has not been taking any medication for diabetes.

“For me, running the marathon is a job, but it’s all going to be smiles,” he said. “Yes, it is a challenge and yes, there’s the opportunity to win but first and foremost I am representing Queens. Competing is first and winning is second.”

The upcoming annual marathon is not the first grueling run he participated in, but it is one that holds great emotional significance because he said he will be running for his state, city and borough.

Marcial injured his iliotibial band, a ligament that extends from the side of the hip to just below the knee, during the 2013 Brooklyn Half Marathon but he had no option but to finish the race, he said.

“The iliotibial band was killing me and I can barely run after passing a certain mile, but there were 65-year-olds passing me so I had no excuse,” the Queens resident said. “I just kept pushing.”

The 34-year-old also had a car accident in 2012 due to sleep deprivation. He was doing rigorous physical training throughout the day and hit a car while driving back home at night. Two weeks later he was competing in the New York City Half Marathon with one thought running in his mind.

“I was here running,” he said. “I had absolutely nothing wrong with me after the accident, and I could have very well not have made it here.”

He writes about his experiences in running and Type 2 diabetes as well as other topics like nutrition and staying healthy on his blog, www.diabeater.wordpress.com. Ending each post are three words: Live, Love, Laugh — three things that Marcial said everybody needs in their life.
“Perspective plays a big role,” he added. “Standing from the outside everyone is going to say I can’t run a marathon because that’s insane, I have Type 2 diabetes and I should be taking medication. I think it’s more of having the will and knowing you can succeed anything if you just put your mind into it.”

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Report: Long Island City, Astoria rental prices fall, borough prices jump slightly


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

Prices are cooling off in the hot Long Island City rental market as values for studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments have dropped considerably since May, according to the September Queens Rental Market Report by MNS Real Estate.

Studio prices in the neighborhood have fallen for four consecutive months, from an average of $2,602 in May to $2,293 in September, the report found, while one-bedroom apartments dropped an average of $90 since May. Two-bedrooms in the neighborhood increased slightly in September, but still remain more than $235 less than May’s prices.

The decrease in prices in the neighborhood are due to “a result of a maturing luxury rental market,” according to the report, which also pointed out that Long Island City still accounts for the highest average rents in the borough in all categories.

Overall rent prices in Queens increased slightly at 0.63 percent to $2,047 in September from $2,034 in August, while apartment inventory also jumped seven percent to 631 units.

However, Astoria, much like its neighbor on the waterfront, saw overall rent prices drop despite trending up in recent months. The overall average rents decreased 5.35 percent in the neighborhood during the month, the biggest decrease in Queens.

Studios saw a notable drop in Astoria, falling 11.04 percent or $205 during the month from $1,860 in August to $1,655 in September.

ASTORIA

A surprising increase came to Rego Park, as studios in the neighborhood stopped months of falling and dramatically increased 17.67 percent to $1,559 in September. The increase, which was exclusive to studios in the neighborhood, is a result of new luxury developments, the study found.

“A notable growth spurt continues to take place in Rego Park,” the report said. “This is the result of newly available units in high-end new developments and conversions led by The Contour at 97-45 Queens Blvd. and, more recently, The Rego Modern at 99-39 66th Ave.”

STUDIO REPORT

The neighborhood with the largest decrease of the month is Flushing, where one-bedroom apartments saw a stark drop of 12.88 percent or more than $220 from $1,762 in August to $1,535 in September.

Click here to see the full report.

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Real estate roundup: New Rego Park building rendering revealed, controversial luxury building opening in Elmhurst


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of GF55 Partners

Revealed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

“The building, designed by GF55, will fit in perfectly with the other seven-story buildings that have been erected on the south side of Austin Street over the past decade or two. The structures have been filling in a formerly industrial low-rise strip, set up against the Long Island Rail Road’s Main Line, right beside what used to be the Rego Park station, shuttered in 1962.” Read more [New York YIMBY]

Controversial High-End Building Opening as Part of Elmhurst ‘Renaissance’

“A controversial apartment building that was the subject of recent litigation is getting a luxury makeover as part of a hoped-for neighborhood “renaissance,” according to developers.” Read more [DNAinfo]

New program aims to battle the growing graffiti menace in parts of south Queens

“The residents of Richmond Hill, Ozone Park and Woodhaven are about to find out as officials kick off a new anti-graffiti program on Wednesday. For the first time, the Queens Economic Development Corp. is heading the program funded by City Councilman Eric Ulrich.” Read more [New York Daily News]

Real estate roundup: Rockaway boardwalk project delayed, permits filed for Rego Park apartment building


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

Rockaway Boardwalk Renewal Delayed Again as Project is Redesigned

The rebuilding of the Rockaways’ boardwalk will likely be delayed another three months as the design is modified to address community concerns about access to the waterfront, according to an official. The delay, the latest of many since the city began the project after Hurricane Sandy, will impact the more than a mile-long stretch that will also include a giant “ROCKAWAY” sign implanted into the boardwalk. Read more [DNAinfo]

Downtown Flushing: Where Asian Cultures Thrive

People who live and work in downtown Flushing sometimes call it “the Chinese Manhattan.” Both downtown Flushing, in north-central Queens, and Manhattan are centers of commerce, transportation and finance, and both have shiny new buildings with expensive and sought-after condominiums. Read more [New York Times]

Permits Filed: 65-70 Austin Street, Rego Park

There, at 65-70 Austin Street, behind the Long Island Rail Road’s main line, a new building permit application has been filed for a seven-story residential building. The building would, according to the permit application, rise 70 feet and include 45 apartments spread over 34,550 square feet of net residential space, for an average unit size of less than 800 square feet (we’re guessing rentals). It will include 28 off-street parking spaces, which is only a few more than required by zoning. Read more [New York YIMBY]

Top vegan-friendly food places in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos via Rose Valley Cakes Facebook page / Courtesy of Johnny Solo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO 

PETA recently declared New York City as 2014’s “Most Vegan-Friendly City” for its numerous establishments that offer veggie lovers an array of options. We’ve compiled this list of food places in Queens that offer delicious cuisine along with vegan-friendly choices.

Co Co Lin Vegetarian House
64-19 Fresh Pond Rd., Ridgewood
718-416-1688
cocolins.com

This restaurant houses a wide array of vegetarian options that are made from a fuse of Chinese and Thai seasonings and flavors. Whether craving a smoothie or a simple vegan-friendly meal, Co Co Lin seems to have the right amount of options for both meat and veggie lovers alike.

Ginger Organic
37-01 30th Ave., Astoria
718-777-0626
facebook.com/GingerOrganicAstoria

Connected to Astoria’s Grand Café, this organic juice and smoothie shop just opened a few months ago. The establishment offers all-organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices bottled on site, salads, kale chips and much more, which is all 100 percent vegan. Ginger also serves up organic liquors, wines and champagnes. Juices come packaged in recycled cardboard six-pack beer containers.

Happy Buddha
135-37 37th Ave., Flushing
718-358-0079
happybuddha.com

This veggie-loving restaurant in downtown Flushing earned a place on SuperVegan’s list of “Top 5 Vegetarian Restaurants in Queens” with a nice list of reviews from customers who are pleased with the vegetarian option in the community. Happy Buddha aims to create a peaceful environment for guests, and create a fusion of “innovative vegetarian cuisine, Zen surroundings, and respect for all living things.”

Rose Valley Cakes
134-03 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718- 523-2253
rosevalleycakes.com

This bakery meets plenty of dietary needs with their unique focus on vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free baked goods. With impressive reviews and complex cake decorations, it has earned a 4-1/2 star rating on Yelp, and claims to be able to create “any confectionery creation you can think of.” Although it does offer specialty cakes of all sorts, it also sells bakery items that are available daily.

Simple Veggie Cuisine
95-26 Queens Blvd., Rego Park
718-830-0808
sveggie.com

Simple Veggie Cuisine keeps it simple with a wide array of options on their menu, and a promising amount of good reviews on Yelp. This restaurant offers Chinese food, with vegan options that are moderately priced and seemingly loved by the public.

Smile of the Beyond
8614 Parsons Blvd, Jamaica
718-739-7453
smileofthebeyond.com

This vegetarian diner located in Jamaica was established in 1972, making it the first vegetarian diner in New York City. The diner offers classic and unique breakfast and lunch items and vegan-friendly options, which include everything from a good hot cup of organic coffee to a tofu scramble and more.

The Oneness-Fountain Heart
157-19 72nd Ave., Flushing
718-591-3663
oneness-fountain-heart.com

This vegetarian restaurant has been in Flushing since 1998, and is committed to creating an environment where you can “enjoy food that nourishes the body, heart and soul.” With unique options on their menu, like Cashew Nut Paella, it has earned an impressive list of reviews on Yelp, and was mentioned in the Long Island Restaurant Review as well as The Restaurant Fairy and others.

Veggie Castle II
132-09 Liberty Ave., South Richmond Hill
718-641-8342

This hidden treasure in South Richmond Hill is a grab-and-go go-to for many veggie lovers because of its vegan-friendly options and juice bar that offers a well-reviewed green juice, as well as smoothies.

What do you think are the top vegan-friendly food places in Queens? Let us know by commenting below. 

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Man exposed himself to 5-year-old at Rego Park mall: cops


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who they say exposed himself to a young girl inside of Rego Park Center Monday night.

The suspect approached the 5-year-old victim inside of the Sears at the mall, located at 96-05 Queens Blvd., around 7 p.m., cops said. He then exposed himself to the child and fled.

Authorities have released video footage showing the suspect entering the store.


Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging ontothe Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Motorcyclist dies in Fresh Meadows collision


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

ambulance

A 24-year-old Rego Park man was killed Monday afternoon in a motorcycle crash near an exit of the Clearview Expressway, according to authorities.

The victim, identified by police as David Duran, was riding his bike westbound on 73rd Avenue in Fresh Meadows just after 4 p.m. when the accident happened, cops said.

A Mazda Miata was stopped on 73rd Avenue just west of the southbound exit of the Clearview Expressway and attempted to make a U-turn. At that time, Duran began to skid and his motorcycle turned onto its side before hitting the left side of the Mazda, according to police.

Duran was taken to New York Hospital Queens, where he was pronounced dead.

There have been no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, authorities said.

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Top 10 places to watch football in Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ECLEEN CARABALLO, ASHA MAHADEVAN AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA

If you grow tired of watching the football games from your couch this season, there are plenty of bars in Queens that offer bigger TVs, fellow fans and an array of drink and beer specials to accompany the touchdowns.

Austin’s Steak and Ale House
82-70 Austin St., Kew Gardens
718-849-3939
austinsteakandalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of Austin's Ale House

Photo courtesy of Austin’s Ale House

Austin’s Ale House will be screening all of the games this football season on their 50-odd TV screens. In one of the rooms, they have TVs at the table. There is a 30-cent wing special all day on Sundays. Customers can also enjoy a Sunday brunch for $16.95 while watching the games, as well as 20 beers on draft and 50 beers in bottles.

Bar43
43-06 43rd St., Sunnyside
718-361-3090
bar43.com

For one, it has a sports bar with 10 TVs. Bar43 shows the games on all the days, and is offering specials on a mango fuel cocktail ($5) and high-water melon beer ($4).

Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden
29-19 24th Ave., Astoria
718-274-4925
bohemianhall.com

Bohemian Hall 3

Photo courtesy of Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden

There is happy hour between 5 and 7 p.m. every day, during which there are $4 mugs of craft beer. You can watch football games on the TV sets installed all over the garden. Sounds perfect? Ah, there is a catch. Bohemian Hall won’t have every game on, just the ones that are on local channels or ESPN.

Break Bar and Billiards
32-04b Broadway, Astoria
718-777-5400
break-ny.com

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Photo courtesy of Break Bar and Billiards

Break Bar and Billiards is showing all the games on 16 big-screen TVs and one 105-inch projector. Specials during the games are wings for $4.50 and beer towers (100 oz.) for $20. Happy hour is seven days a week, even when there is no game on.

Buffalo Wild Wings
107-16 71st Ave., Forest Hills
718-544-9453
buffalowildwings.com

Manager George Criskos of the Buffalo Wild Wings in Forest Hills claims that it has the best chicken wings. But he says that’s only the beginning. With 95 televisions and two 14-foot projectors, you can watch the game from every angle and drink one of its 30 draft beers or 26 bottled beers while you’re at it.

Hooters of Fresh Meadows
61-09 190th St., Fresh Meadows
718-454-2800
facebook.com/hootersoffreshmeadows

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

As football season kicks off, the manager prepares by filling Hooters with jerseys that the restaurant will be giving away. The team at Hooters believes its locale is the best place to go during football season because it roots for every team, and gives back to those who come visit with prizes from jerseys to tickets to games.

Katch Astoria
31-19 Newtown Ave., Astoria
718-777-2230
katchastoria.com

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Photo courtesy of Katch Brewery & Grill

Tino Tsutras, general manager, describes Katch Astoria, as a “sports capable bar,” with its 63 TVs, 50 craft beers on tap and entirely handmade menu created from nothing frozen. During Sunday and Monday football there are 60-cent wing and $5 Brooklyn Brewery beer specials. Thursday is ladies’ night, with 50 percent off on sangria, house liquor, wine and Prosecco. Katch has every sporting event offered by satellite TV.

Miller’s Ale House at Rego Park
61-35 Junction Blvd., Rego Park
718-760-1090
millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Photo courtesy of millersalehouse.com

Miller’s Ale House has 70 TVs showing the games through 20 separate satellites. No blackouts, it says. You can watch every single game on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. It has bucket specials (5 for $10), bottle specials (a pint of Bud Light for $2.75 and pitchers of Corona Light for $7) and food specials.

O’Neill’s Maspeth
64-21 53rd Dr., Maspeth
718-672-9696
oneillsmaspeth.com

THE COURIER/File photo

THE COURIER/File photo

With more than 50 TVs and surround sound, O’Neill’s wants to make you feel like you are at the game. Every day during football season, it’s offering $3 pints and $12 pitchers of Coors Light, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon, $4 pints and $14 pitchers of Corona Light, and $3 sangria. On Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays there are Coors Light beer tubes with 10 wings of your choice for $25 as well as 5 for $15 Coors Light buckets and 5 for $20 Corona buckets. Thursday is ladies’ night with buy-one-get-one-free well drinks. On select weeks, Miller Lite, Coors Light and Corona reps come in and hold giveaways and raffles during the games. Grill rooms have personal TVs at each booth, and there are projectors in each of the catering rooms for private parties.

The Garden at Studio Square NYC
35-33 36th St., Astoria
718-383-1001
www.studiosquarebeergarden.com

File photo

File photo

The Garden is known for its 9-by-16-foot high definition video wall and its space, which fits more than 2,000 people in the garden. Chief Marketing Officer Pete Mason also proudly mentioned that it won “the ESPN ultimate sports bar challenge in NY for 2014,” and that “if you can’t be there at the stadium, this is the next best thing.”

What are your favorite places to watch football in Queens? Let us know by commenting below.

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Cops looking for Queens jewelry store thieves


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Video courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect who tried to rob a Glendale jewelry store last month before holding up a Rego Park jewelry store with two other men this month.

The first robbery happened on Aug. 16 at about 12:20 p.m. at a jewelry store on Myrtle Avenue near 69th Place, cops said. After displaying a gun, the suspect struck a 64 year-old man with the butt of the weapon before fleeing empty-handed. The victim was not taken to the hospital.

Cops believe the same man, along with two other suspects, robbed a jewelry store on Queens Boulevard near 64th Road at about 1:50 p.m. on Sept. 5, according to authorities.

One of the suspects displayed a gun and discharged one round into the floor. The suspects then took several pieces of jewelry and fled and in a gray BMW X3. None of the robbery victims were injured.

Authorities have released video footage from the latest robbery.

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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First Queens Art Intervention Day to offer interactive projects throughout borough


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by RPGA Studios

Communities throughout Queens are set for an artistic intervention, looking to inspire, educate and empower residents and feed the pulse of the borough.

The nonprofit studio Rego Park Green Alliance, which uses creative methods to address community issues, will host the first Queens Art Intervention Day on Sept. 27 throughout the borough from Long Island City to the Rockaways.

“We see something that we are not happy with and we try to think about how we can fix it in a creative way,” said Yvonne Shortt, who started the studio and is currently the executive director.

The day-long event, which has a rain date for Oct. 4, will feature a total of 30 projects including murals, art installations, performance pieces, hands-on programs, and many more creative activities taking place outdoors in Astoria, LIC, Kew Gardens, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Ozone Park, Ridgewood, Laurelton, Corona, Whitestone and the Rockaways.

QAIposter6

“We want our borough to be seen as a place that people want to come and do interesting things,” Shortt said. “We hope this will help Queens continue to grow and continue to thrive and not just have one spot thought of as artistic and creative.”

According to Shortt, along with being visually appealing, the pieces will also serve to bring about change and to get community members thinking about certain issues.

For example, posters for one project called “Stat Girl” depict a super hero displaying statistics on traffic accidents that have occurred on Queens Boulevard in the past two years. The posters will be put up all day down the thoroughfare.

stat girl photo by RPGA Studios

“We would love for people to stop and engage,” Shortt said. “It’s really about the communities themselves to find some inspiration and advocate for better communities.”

Shortt said that although there were over 160 submissions this year, funding, provided solely by Shortt, only allowed for 25 projects to be part of the event. In the future, she hopes to expand the event to more days and many more communities in the borough.

“There’s an active pulse throughout the borough of Queens and I’m very excited to help it move forward. I feel that if you have ideas and are willing to push it forward, that Queens is a very inviting borough.” Shortt said. “We’re showing the vitality of Queens.”

For more information and the full list of projects for Queens Art Intervention Day, click here.

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Q&A: Modern Spaces CEO explains real estate in LIC


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Donna Dotan Photography Inc.

Eric Benaim founded real estate firm Modern Spaces in Long Island City in 2008, and within a handful of years led the explosion of residential interest in the neighborhood. Over the years, he expanded the company from LIC to Astoria, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and recently, Modern Spaces announced the launching of its commercial and investment property division, tapping into another side of the market.

In a question-and-answer session with The Courier, Benaim explained the current status of real estate in Long Island City and the transformation of the neighborhood.

Courier: How did you get inspired to start working in Long Island City?

Benaim: I guess I was always a Queens boy, and I started focusing in LIC back in 2005. I was a broker focusing mostly in Manhattan and at the time there were pretty much no brokers in the neighborhood over here, so I figured I would try to make this my niche. Just walking around you see the views of Manhattan, you see there’s a lot of potential over here and I stuck with it, and obviously it paid off. The neighborhood has changed dramatically since 2005.

Courier: Did you really think it [the transformation of LIC] would happen so quickly?

Benaim: No. Literally, from my window I see cranes everywhere, and it’s just crazy to see my skyline changing every day.

Courier: What is the real estate market in LIC like now?

Benaim: There is a lot of development. There was not that many condos being developed over the last couple of years, but condos are about to come back strong. We are seeing a lot of condo projects that are going to be coming online probably by first and second quarter of next year. And in regards to rental projects, a lot developers are doing stuff now whereas before it was predominately TF Cornerstone and Rockrose. now you are seeing a lot of big developers coming into the neighborhood that were never here before.

Courier: Why do you think there is a switch from rentals to condos?

Benaim: Because land prices have gone up a lot and when land prices go up so much it just doesn’t make sense to do a rental because the return on your investment does not really pay out. So it just makes more sense financially to do a condo rather than a rental. Rental projects that are coming along, these are projects sites that were acquired probably a year or more ago when land prices were a little more affordable than they are now.

Courier: Is LIC already a successful live, work and play community?

Benaim: I think [live, work, and play] has been established here. I remember when I first started showing clients around the neighborhood, there really wasn’t anything here. Not even a supermarket. Now we have three supermarkets already, and a fourth is opening up at the LINC, the Rockrose project in Court Square. There are a whole lot of restaurants— you know, restaurants open up here every week and now we are seeing more and more boutiques and stores opening up. Pretty much everything you need is here now. And regarding play, so we do have the bars and the night life now and LIC is a huge cultural destination. We have the LIC Arts Open, the Taste of LIC, MoMA PS1, the Chocolate Factory Theater and the LIC Flea. So there’s really a lot to do as well.

Courier: What has spurred you to go into the commercial side?

Benaim: We’ve done a little commercial these past few years, mostly like retail leasing. But a lot of our clients, whether it’s landlords who we’re doing their rentals for in walk-ups or if it’s a developer who we’re marketing their building or working with them, they never really came to us in the past, because they knew us as being residential brokers. So it was kind of like business that we lost out on. And it just seemed like the right time. Queens as a whole is in the spotlight right now and there’s not really a commercial company that can offer commercial services but still insight in the residential market.

Courier: What is the next neighborhood that has potential?

Benaim: We do see a lot of potential in Astoria, and other areas like Woodside, Sunnyside, Flushing and areas like Rego Park, where we just opened up a building called The Rego Modern. We rented 10 in the first open house [at The Rego Modern] and for high prices also, which they weren’t used to seeing. So that just shows that there is a lot of interest in Queens. Being a Queens boy myself it’s just nice to see that Queens is getting the spotlight that Brooklyn had stolen from us.

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Report: Queens rental prices drop in August


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Charts courtesy of MNS Real Estate 

The fluctuating Queens rental market saw a decrease in prices in August, after increases in July, according to the “Queens Rental Market Report” by MNS Real Estate.

Average rents throughout the borough dropped 3.74 percent from $2,113 in July to $2,034 in August, the report stated.

The report focused on several neighborhoods, including Long Island City, Astoria, Ridgewood, Flushing, Rego Park, Forest Hills and Jackson Heights.

The biggest changes occurred in studio apartments in Ridgewood, where prices dropped 43.5 percent — about $848 — to $1,100, the least expensive rental price for any type of apartment in the borough. The average price of a studio in the borough is $1,550, according to the report.

Studios page

Also, two-bedroom units in Jackson Heights dipped 26.12 percent to $1,841 from $2,494 in July, a decrease of $653.

“Smaller neighborhoods in Queens are seeing slower progression, however more new developments are scheduled to open their doors in the coming months offering high-end amenities and exceptional convenience,” the report said. “As is evident from the overall decrease in prices this month Queens is expected to have up and down monthly fluctuations, but long-term projections have prices increasing steadily.”

Flushing had the largest decrease in overall average rents with 7.47 percent. Two-bedroom units in Flushing experienced a fall of 17.8 percent from $2,599 in July to $2,136 in August.

The biggest increase was in Ridgewood, where prices for one-bedroom apartments rose 15.3 percent or $260 to $1,960.

Prices in Astoria and Long Island City remained fairly stable, although dropped slightly, according to the report.

Click here to view the full report.

 

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Man wanted for punching R train rider in Rego Park


| slicata@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A straphanger punched a man without saying a word as an R train stopped at a station in Rego Park last month, police said.

The victim, a 20-year old man, was on a southbound R train at about 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 23 when he was assaulted, cops said. The suspect allegedly punched the victim in the mouth and nose as the subway doors opened at the 63rd Drive station before fleeing on foot.

There were no words exchanged by the two men prior to the attack, according to police.

The victim suffered a bloody nose and a cut on his upper lip, but was not hospitalized due to the assault.

Cops describe the suspect as a white or Hispanic man in his late 20s to 30s, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 170 pounds. He was last seen wearing a pink short sleeve polo shirt, and white, pink and gray stripped shorts with a white string.

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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