Tag Archives: Ridgewood

Suspect wanted in Middle Village, Ridgewood bank robberies

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for a man who they say robbed three Queens banks, including two on the same block.

The first robbery occurred inside a Capital One Bank at 74-11 Metropolitan Ave., near 75th Street in Middle Village, just after 3 p.m. on Nov. 24, cops said. After entering the bank, the suspect passed a demand note and fled on foot with about $750.

On Dec. 9, at about 11:30 a.m., the same man robbed another Capital One Bank, at 70-01 Forest Ave., near 70th Avenue, in Ridgewood, police said. The suspect fled the bank on foot with $2,617.

The same man returned to Middle Village on Dec. 30 to rob a bank just down the street from the site of the Nov. 24 robbery. According to police, the man entered the Astoria Bank at 75-25 Metropolitan Ave. at about 11:30 a.m., passed a demand note and fled on foot with about $7,400.

Police described the suspect as black, 30 to 35 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a green hooded sweatshirt and a black knit hat.

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.



Candlelight vigils held around Queens for slain officers

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Salvatore Licata

Communities around Queens came together, holding emotional candlelight vigils to show their respect for the two NYPD officers who were murdered last week and to express sympathy for their families.

From Ridgewood to Long island City and Jackson Heights, among other neighborhoods, residents and the men and women in blue held a moment of silence for Police Officer Rafael Ramos and Police Officer Wenjian Liu, who were both shot dead by a deranged man who traveled from Baltimore to Brooklyn with the intention of killing police officers.

“This is a difficult time for everyone in the city of New York,” said Borough President Melinda Katz, who attended the 104th Precinct’s vigil in Ridgewood. “Our prayers go out to Officer Ramos and Officer Liu.”

In Long Island City, officers at the 108th Precinct, located at 5-47 50th Ave., gathered Monday night with residents, local leaders and elected officials during a vigil for Liu and Ramos.

“We in this community are a model, a beacon of light in the darkness,” said Captain John Travaglia, commanding officer of the 108th Precinct.

People filled the street in front of the precinct holding candles and joined in prayer for the fallen officers.

“Our community responds with love, remembrance and gratitude for Officers Liu and Ramos and the NYPD,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said.

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Photo via Twitter/@NYPD108Pct

Over in Jackson Heights, instead of the holiday tree lighting ceremony at Diversity Plaza, located on 37th Road and 74th Street, a vigil was organized to honor the two police officers and also “condemn violence in any form.”

Another vigil was held in Whitestone last night as well, with local residents and officers from the 109th Precinct.

On Sunday, Dec. 21, there was a candlelight vigil in front of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights as well.

The family of Ramos, who lived in Brooklyn, has made arrangements for his viewing ceremony on Dec. 26 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Christ Tabernacle Church, located at 64-34 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The funeral will be on Dec. 27 at the same location at 10 a.m.

Arrangements for Liu were still pending yesterday.


Developing Queens: A wave of new retail coming

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre 

CBRE is a global real estate services company, which has offices in Queens and Long Island that service the borough. The firm focuses on commercial real estate. CBRE First Vice President Dean Rosenzweig and Associate Jeremy Scholder talked with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the changing landscape of the Queens retail market.

La Guerre: Queens has been having a big residential boom in certain markets over the past couple of years. Have you seen a pickup in retail with this boom?

Rosenzweig: The smaller businesses, the moms and pops, when we have a listing or when we are on the search for a client for a site—the smaller guys have definitely been seeking out those areas, like Long Island City. The nationals are starting to poke around. We are doing tours with our national clients in Long Island City, for example, but the nationals aren’t there yet. They’re coming and that will take retail in those areas to the next level.

La Guerre: So if you wanted to go shopping to big-box retailers you wouldn’t be able to in LIC yet, but very soon.

Rosenzweig: Or even smaller footprint national retailers, like you don’t see Starbucks there yet. Are they coming? Yeah. Are they looking around? Absolutely. Will they be there? Probably in a year or a year and a half from now. You don’t even see the national banks on Vernon [Boulevard] right? That’s all coming. The first stage was the developers taking advantage of the rezoning and building the huge amount of residential that’s already built and the huge amount of residential that are in the works. Those units are going to fill up, and people that they are going to bring are going to need services.

Scholder: They are still waiting for the area to hit critical mass. They are waiting for all these new buildings to come to fruition at the same time so they can really feel the impact.

Rosenzweig: You learn over time that retailers have a herd mentality. When one national retailer comes in and then a second one — it doesn’t even necessarily have to be all in the same category— but when a couple of nationals come in, that’s when the rest will take the plunge. And it hasn’t hit that point yet.

La Guerre: So you’re saying eventually the nationals will be popping up all over and together?

Rosenzweig: They are going to realize what the residential developers and the residents that have moved into their projects have — great proximity to Manhattan, incredible mass transit, and the people that are coming in have a lot of disposable income.

La Guerre: Is Queens a destination for trendy stores now, like Manhattan or Brooklyn?

Scholder: Obviously, there is a growing young demographic in some neighborhoods. That’s absolutely the case in Long Island City. Astoria has been another growing market. There is this tremendous basis of nightlife, restaurant scene, arts in Astoria, and some of these trendier places are starting to move in as well.

La Guerre: What are some areas that you expect retail to transform that haven’t been talked about as much? Where are your sleeper neighborhoods?

Rosenzweig: Archer Avenue in Jamaica. You’re going to see some opportunities get created for larger big-box retailers, so it’s not going to just be Sutphin [Boulevard] as it has been or Jamaica Avenue. I think Archer is going to evolve as well. Another area is Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood. The infrastructure has always been there — mass transit, buses, surrounding residential — but I think you are going to see as leases come up and expire a lot of the current tenants may not be quite right for the area anymore. I think it’s going to come on pretty strong, pretty soon.


Five humongous Queens homes listing under $1M

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Multiple Listing Service and PropertyShark

While new apartments in Queens are getting smaller so developers can maximize profits, the borough still has a treasure trove of spacious gems in older homes that offer prospective owners the best bang for their buck.

For many, size does matter, so here are five single-family homes with enough space for parents, the kids, grandma and maybe even a crazy uncle or two, and each are under $1 million.

59-35 Menahan St., Ridgewood

This property has seven bedrooms and three bathrooms and was originally built in 1920, according to its listing. It sits on a lot of 5,137 square feet, which has a two-car garage and a private driveway. There is a finished basement and a laundry room as well. The broker is Peter Caruso of Caruso & Boughton Realty, and the asking price is $945,000.


105-42 133rd St., Richmond Hill

If you thought that last price was low, this Richmond Hill seven-bedroom home is listed for $649,999. This three-story detached colonial home has three bathrooms and a recreational room in the basement, according to the listing. The residence uses about half of its 5,084-square-foot lot space. Raias Khan of Century 21 is the broker of record.


168-04 35th Ave., Flushing

Just in case seven bedrooms wasn’t enough, this three-story colonial-style single-family Flushing home offers eight bedrooms and three full bathrooms, according to the listing. Blocks away from the Auburndale LIRR station, the house is located on a corner property and has 3,087 square feet of space. The residence features a finished basement, which includes a laundry room. It also has a one-car garage. The asking price is $958,000. En Ja Chung of Promise Realty is the broker.


88-52 195th Pl., Hollis

Those looking for style with a bargain price may have found it with this large single-family home. The three-story Hollis residence features a formal dining room and living room with French pocket doors, according to its listing. It has seven bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in 3,400 square feet of space. There is a two-car garage on the property as well. Emmanuel Babayev of Charles Rutenberg Realty is the broker.


11-43 Beach 9th St., Far Rockaway

Access to transportation, a huge house, spacious lot and a bargain price — this home may have it all. This three-story residence sits on a nearly 8,000-square-foot lot and has about 3,500 square feet of living space, according to its listing. The asking price is $879,000. It has seven bedrooms, two bathrooms and a private driveway. The broker is Ann Bienstock of Five Towns Miller Realty.

Rockaway property


Onderdonk & Sons, the corner bar in Ridgewood with a few meanings

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

At first glance, a bar named Onderdonk & Sons is fitting for an establishment that opened up on Onderdonk Avenue in Ridgewood. But the bar’s name doesn’t just refer to its location.

Brian Taylor opened the bar, located at 566 Onderdonk Ave., the weekend after Thanksgiving. Before finding his corner, Taylor was working full time searching through Ridgewood for the perfect location. What he found was more than a location on an oddly named street. He stumbled onto a lost story that seemed even more fitting for a tavern’s name.

In his research, Taylor came across a Bishop Onderdonk who was an evangelical minister in the 19th century. Taylor found out that Onderdonk was the subject of a scandal involving relationships with several women and was suspended from his duties as a bishop. Taylor found the story fascinating and went ahead to name his new bar after Onderdonk — the man, not the street. He also admitted that the name does have a cool sound to it, which made him like it even more.

“I always liked history, and the word Onderdonk and its historical nature just made it an easy pick,” said Taylor.

The new spot is described by Taylor as just a regular neighborhood bar. Before he opened, Taylor was expecting to have a full spirits license to serve a wide variety of drinks and liquor. But that request was denied in favor of a license limited to beer and wine.

The bar also does not have a sign outside indicating the name of the establishment. Taylor said he wants to keep it that way to kind of stay off the radar, which he later jokingly admitted is a view that would lead a business to its own demise.

But that did not stop him from a hot start once he opened. Taylor said the crowds have been larger than expected for only recently opening his doors. He didn’t even throw a grand opening party. He offers a wide variety of beers and wine and will soon be adding burgers and a brunch menu.


Taylor, being a man who likes history, has filled the bar with touches of the past. The floor throughout the bar is largely the original wood that he discovered after ripping up five layers of old flooring. He has a juke box playing mostly country music and the blues, a refrigerator behind the bar dates to the 1930s, there’s a vintage telephone booth in a corner, and an old mirror is set up above the bar.

He and his wife and business partner Louise Favier live in Manhattan, but they felt a calling about opening a bar in Ridgewood. He described Ridgewood as a “solid neighborhood” and wanted to provide its residents with a place to go 365 days a year.

He admires the tight-knit nature of the community. But he gets a laugh out of so many people who come into the bar and say they lived around the corner — if they all actually did, there would be a massive high rise there instead of historical attached houses.

“We’re just a bar,” said Taylor. “I’ve been thrilled with the start and hope we will continue to grow organically.”


New Ridgewood bar entices customers with Belgian beer selection

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Ridgewood just got a little more Belgian.

The Monk bar, located at 68-67 Fresh Pond Rd., opened on Dec. 6, and owner Joe Figliolia is looking to expand the tastes of customers who may not be familiar with the uncommon names and styles of beers and ales they serve.

“Ever since I tried my first Belgian beer, I fell in love,” said Figliolia. “They aren’t the types you chug. It’s more like a fine wine you sip and enjoy.”

The bar had eight varieties on tap and over 25 types of bottled beers. Figliolia and co-owner Dan Berkery handpicked each beer themselves based on which brand they think tastes best for whichever style it is representing.

Moreover, The Monk has designated each of their eight taps to a different style of beer. Berkery said the names on the taps will change from time to time but that he wants his patrons to have a chance to always have their favorite style of beer on draft.

“Sometimes you walk into a regular bar and they have three of four of the same style of beer on tap,” said Berkery. “We wanted to make sure we had a mix here so everyone can enjoy their beer freshly tapped.”

Figliolia and Berkery chose to go with strictly Belgian types of beer because they feel it is the best type out there. They said the Trappist monks were known for making the best beer and that each is made with natural yeast, not cultivated, and Belgium-grown hops.

They’ve only been open for about two weeks now, but are already impressed with the knowledge of beers many of their customers have.

“A lot of people really know what they’re talking about over here,” said Figliolia. “I tell customers about beers and some of them teach me a thing or two.”

Figliolia lived in Ridgewood in the 1980s, and he and Berkery were childhood friends. He reminisced on the solid neighborhood Ridgewood was when he was growing up there and said it has only gotten better since. He talked about how the new, younger crowd coming in, mixed with the older generation, makes the neighborhood diverse and welcoming.

He wants his bar to have the same feel. There is no TV, just background music so that people who come in can have conversations and get to know one another.

the monk1

the monk2

“I want this bar to be a welcoming place for all who come in,” Figliolia said. “People can try new beers and have some fun while doing so.”


Two Queens Chase banks robbed within six hours: cops

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of NYPD

A pair of Chase Bank branches in neighboring Ridgewood and Middle Village were robbed on the same day, police said.

The first Chase branch, at 70-01 Forest Ave. in Ridgewood, was hit at about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, cops said. After entering the bank, the suspect passed a note demanding money, and he took $2,617 in cash before fleeing.

Another Chase location, at 74-07 Eliot Ave. in Middle Village, was robbed just before 5 p.m. the same day, according to police. The suspect, armed with a gun, entered the bank and passed a note demanding cash from the teller. The teller then handed $8,825 in cash over to the suspect.

Authorities describe the suspect in the Ridgewood robbery as a black man, 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium complexion and medium build. He was wearing a black bubble coat and a gray hoodie.

The suspect in the Middle Village robbery is described as a black man, 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 9 inches to 6 feet tall, with a medium complexion and medium build. He was wearing a gray ski cap, dark sunglasses, a gray coat and a multicolored scarf.

Police are still investigating whether the two robberies are connected.

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.



The new Ridgewood: Q&A with Sal Crifasi

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Sal Crifasi

Salvatore Crifasi, who started Crifasi Real Estate 35 years ago, has been a licensed New York real estate broker since 1974. Crifasi specializes in commercial and residential real estate and has worked for decades in Ridgewood. He is a member of numerous local organizations, including being president of the Middle Village Property Owners Association, president of the Middle Village Chamber of Commerce and a board member of the Queens Council of the Arts and the Forest Park Trust.

Crifasi recently talked with Real Estate Editor Liam La Guerre about the buzz in Ridgewood.

La Guerre: There is a lot of excitement about Ridgewood from a lot of people right? Why is that?

Crifasi: It has accessibility to public transportation, and the structures themselves were built in the ’20s and ’30s so they offer solid construction and there are reasonable prices considering the rest of the city. Prices are going up, obviously, but it’s still more affordable than other parts of the city.

La Guerre: What’s causing people to come to the neighborhood?

Crifasi: Restaurants are opening up now and honestly what I think they are seeing is a good neighborhood, a solid neighborhood, and the infrastructure is there. And looking around there are not too many communities that are left that can give you affordability in such a great neighborhood. You’ve got Myrtle Avenue shopping, you’ve got Fresh Pond Road shopping, you’ve got the M train, and you’ve got the L train. There are a lot of advantages.

La Guerre: What is holding up the big development in Ridgewood, like Long Island City or Williamsburg?

Crifasi: Years ago, probably back in the early’ 80s, they were trying to make Ridgewood a historical district and technically if you look at the neighborhood we have more historical homes and buildings in Ridgewood than many parts of the city. There are not that many vacant properties remaining, so there is not a lot of land left in Ridgewood, and the zoning does not allow for a high-rise to be built. It wouldn’t make sense to knock down a two-story building to build a three-story building.

La Guerre: Do you think there could be an upzoning sometime in the future?

Crifasi: No, I think they downzoned it because they wanted to keep the character of the neighborhood. And we have a pretty dense housing stock already there. Everything is built, unless you convert factory-style buildings.

La Guerre: What do you think about the young people moving into the area?

Crifasi: Again, it goes back to affordability. They can buy a one-family with a yard for up to $750,000, where you can’t buy a one-family—you can’t even buy a two-bedroom condo or even a one-bedroom condo in Williamsburg for that price.

La Guerre: But because of this migration, people have been calling Ridgewood the “new Brooklyn.” Is it the new Brooklyn?

Crifasi: It’s good publicity. I think Ridgewood is Ridgewood. Ridgewood has always been Ridgewood to me. Originally there were a lot of immigrants. It was Italian, it was German, now there is a lot of Polish moving in, and it’s also being discovered by young professionals that have families now. They don’t want to live in Williamsburg and Greenpoint anymore or even Manhattan, and they don’t want to move to the suburbs. That’s why Ridgewood has become so demanding right now.

La Guerre: Where do you see Ridgewood in about five years or so?

Crifasi: I see Ridgewood as the new Brooklyn. (Laughs) You’re going to see more restaurants. A lot of people that used to live in Ridgewood are moving back.



City designates Central Ridgewood Historic District

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

Ridgewood is getting one more historic district.

The New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission announced on Tuesday that it has designated a 990-building district as the Central Ridgewood Historic District. This district mostly consists of brick rowhouses that were constructed between 1906 and World War I by German immigrants and German-Americans. They showcase Renaissance Revival Style but also include elements from Romanesque Revival and neo-Greco.

About half the buildings in the district were constructed by Paul Stier, who built over 2,000 houses in the Ridgewood-Bushwick area.

Central Ridgewood

These buildings are interesting historically as they “served as a model for affordable housing at a time when New York City’s population was growing rapidly,” Meenakshi Srinivasan, chair of the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said in a statement. What’s also remarkable is that many of the buildings remain unchanged and their detailing such as original brownstone stoops, cut-glass and wood doors, iron fences and the pressed-metal cornices, are still intact.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she was “thrilled” by the decision of the Landmarks Preservation Commission as the district is “unique for its harmonious 19th-century brick homes — some with bow fronts, some with porches, others with steep stoops along tree lined streets.” She added, “Preserving historically significant neighborhoods is important for today’s New Yorkers, and for future generations, to understand their cultural heritage.”

Central Ridgewood

Ridgewood consisted of open farmland and amusement parks in the 19th century. That changed with the introduction of the electric trolley and the elevated train around the turn of the century. A growing New York City expanded eastward into Ridgewood and urbanized it.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had previously designated two other historic districts in Ridgewood — the Ridgewood South and Ridgewood North Historic Districts.



Ridgewood man gets 16-year prison sentence for pizza delivery robbery

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


A Ridgewood man was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating a pizza deliveryman with a baseball bat and stealing his cash and scooter in Jackson Heights, District Attorney Richard Brown said.

Anardo Batista, 26, of 30-04 92nd St., pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery on Sept. 3, before Queens Supreme Court Justice Gregory Lasak, who handed down the sentence that also includes five years of supervision after his release from prison.

“The defendant has plead guilty and has now been sentenced to a significant amount of time behind bars. The public can rest assured that the defendant is no longer a danger to society,” Brown said.

Batista and co-defendant Jorge Paret attacked Victor Mehia, who was delivering a pizza to a 31st Avenue address in Jackson Heights in 2010. The victim was struck with a baseball bat and had both cash and his scooter taken by the pair.

Paret was sentenced on Sept. 13 to 14 years in prison and five years’ post-release supervision, after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.



Ridgewood icon Peter Cardella dies at 97

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Peter Cardella, the founder of a senior center on Fresh Pond Road named in his honor and a mainstay of many other local organizations in and around Ridgewood, died last week. He was 97.

Funeral services were held at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Forest Hills.
In her eulogy, Cardella’s granddaughter, ToniAnn Grande, remembered her “Poppy” as a giant of a man even though he stood barely over 5 feet tall.

“My grandfather was a dynamo: an energetic visionary of a man who devoted his 97 years on this earth to the service of others — his country, his community, his family. He was the fifth of six children born in Brooklyn of immigrant parents,” Grande recalled during her eulogy.

“Poppy had a huge heart and a can-do spirit. When he saw a need, he worked to fill it, asking nothing for himself in return. He knew how to get things done. Projects that would seem insurmountable to most of us were all in a day’s work for my grandfather,” Grande said.

“The Italian Cultural Center at St. John’s University? He created it. The Santa Maria del Soccorso annual street fair on Fresh Pond Road? He organized it and kept it going for 18 years. The excavation of ancient Greek ruins in Sicily? He spearheaded the project. Raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to assist victims of the South Asian tsunami, to rebuild a kindergarten following an earthquake in Sicily, and to support the families of uniformed officers following September 11? All in a day’s work.”

Cardella was a successful businessman, having started a clothing manufacturing company that employed more than 200 workers in Bushwick at its height in the 1960s. He retired in the 1980s, but kept up his whirlwind of community activities for another three decades.

Cardella’s love for his community was often expressed in his willingness to start and nurture civic and social organizations. Among his many efforts were the Italian American Professional Businessmen’s Association and the Italian Cultural Center at St. John’s University, which awarded him an honorary doctorate. Former Queens Borough President Helen Marshall honored Cardella with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Even into his mid-90s, Cardella continued to remain actively involved in running the Peter Cardella Senior Center that he founded in 1974. The center served roughly 60,000 senior citizens each year.

“My grandfather was actively involved in the day-to-day operation of the center right up to his death, working there at least three days a week for as long as he was physically able, without ever taking a penny for his efforts. At the age of 94, he planned and oversaw a million dollar renovation of the facility,” Grande said.

In closing, Grande said her grandfather’s legacy would go on. “For those of us left here on earth, we owe it to Poppy to carry on his legacy of doing good works for others — to think big and to make the world a better place. And while we are doing that, we will always remember the small giant of a man wearing his bow tie and beret.”


Future Ridgewood brewery site begins transformation

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

A few days after announcing the leasing of a Ridgewood warehouse for the new home of Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, the owner has begun moving into his new digs.

Queens native Rich Castagna, who founded a 150-square-foot Maspeth microbrewery a few years ago, has already moved some vats, many kegs and tons of other equipment into the 2,300-square-foot site of the brewery’s future home near the intersection of Decatur Street and Wyckoff Avenue.

The father of three, who has a day job with a shipping company, is working on the brewery with a little help, but is aiming to set up and begin brewing from the new site within six months.

“The priority is to get beer flowing out of the doors, because I have to offset the rent,” Castagna said.

There is still much to be done with the new space though.

Castagna is hoping to soon bring a boiler, two fermenters and two stem jacketed kettles into the brewing section, which will be located at the back of the building.

The front part will become home to the bar and the tasting room. He already has long wooden beams in the site that he plans to fashion into tables.

Following the expansion, he hopes to bring beer to new outlets that he couldn’t serve before because of the limited brewing capacity at the former site.

“If I can get this thing up and running, there are a lot of other accounts that are frankly waiting in line for me to add them,” Castagna said. “In the nano system it’s kind of like I’m busting my pants. I’ve outgrown my school uniform.”

Take a look at the gallery below to see the future brewery in progress.




Bridge and Tunnel microbrewery expanding to Ridgewood

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rich Castagna

A Queens microbrewery is planning a big move.

Bridge and Tunnel Brewery, a “nano-scale” brewery in Maspeth, signed a lease for a warehouse space in Ridgewood, the brewery announced.

Currently, the brewery has been operating through a tiny 150-square-foot space, but the new 2,300-square-foot building will “allow for more production” and be home to a brewery that patrons can visit, owner Rich Castagna said.

Castagna founded Bridge and Tunnel and received a license to operate in 2012. It has been a one-man operation and distribution system since the brewery’s inception, but Castagna is now planning to hire some employees to help with the expanded brewery.

The new location will be around the intersection of Decatur Street and Wyckoff Avenue, near eatery Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, which already carries some Bridge and Tunnel beers. There could be collaborations with the restaurant in the future.

“We have a pretty good working relationship,” Castagna said. “We’re kind of both excited about things we can do together.”

Castagna is happy Ridgewood has become a more desirable neighborhood recently, but wants the brewery to be a place where people who have known the area for a long time can enjoy the history of the neighborhood.

Ridgewood is where he had his first beer, attended grammar school and high school and played little league, among other firsts.

“It’s where my roots are,” Castagna said. “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Castagna didn’t give a specific time for when the new brewery location will open up, but said he will begin moving into the space shorty.


Ridgewood gran sews her way to some happiness

| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

Sewing was a favorite hobby for one Ridgewood resident, but when tragedy struck her family it became more than just a pastime.

Erna, 80, who asked not to have her last name published, had four children, but in 2011 her youngest daughter, Kristina, died from breast cancer at age 46. About a year later, her eldest child and only son, John, died from heart failure at age 59. Living alone with the burden of losing two children, Erna needed something to help ease her loss.

“I needed something to take the pain off of my mind,” she said. “That’s why I started to sew again. I concentrate on it and not the sadness, and it helps to calm me down.”

Erna sews all types of objects, like pillows, detergent covers, aprons, bunnies, geese, dolls, snowman and carousel horses among other things. She learned back in 1985 when one of her friends introduced her to the craft.

She was still working during that time, but promised herself she would save up enough material to continue when she retired. She did, but her daughter got sick and her son had his heart attack— and she had to deal with the issues that come with being a matriarch of a large family. She lost interest in the hobby.


“Losing your children is one of the hardest things you can go through in life,” she said. “But the ambition came back for sewing and it’s been my therapy.”

Erna has her work on display at Norma’s bakery, located on Catalpa Avenue. She went with a holiday theme, with Christmas pillows, detergent covers, teddy bears and snowmen. She said it brings a different meaning to her life knowing that her work makes others happy.


“At this point, I’m just charging so I can pay for the material I use,” Erna said. “I love doing this and am so happy that others appreciate what I do.”

To check out her work, you can visit Norma’s on Catalpa Avenue or go to her Etsy page.



Real estate roundup: Astoria Cove developer may increase number of affordable housing units ahead of City Council vote, new hotel for Ridgewood

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of Studio V Architecture 

Astoria Cove site developer comes to labor union agreement for project’s construction 

“The Astoria Cove site developers, Alma Realty, have agreed to use union labor for construction, building maintenance and security on the mega-project, a source told The News. It’s also expected that the developers will agree to increase the number of units of affordable housing in the project.” Read more [The New York Daily News]

New hotels for Ridgewood?

“New Jersey A/E firm Jarmel Kizel posted on social media that they are designing a new mixed-use project for the site, with hotel, retail, and multifamily occupancy.” Read more [Wyckoff Heights]

Top 5 home sales in Brooklyn, Queens in October

“In Queens, a two-bedroom condo at the View at East Coast on the Hunter’s Point waterfront was the borough’s priciest residential sale recorded in October, PropertyShark data showed. The fifth-floor unit at 46-30 Center Boulevard sold for $2.5 million. It features two bathrooms and totals 1,443 square feet.” Read more [The Real Deal]

Station LIC on Track to open November 17

“The railroad-themed bar/restaurant that is coming to Hunters Point is on track to open next week. Station LIC, located at 10-37 Jackson Avenue, will be opening on Monday, Nov. 17, according to its owners.” Read more [LIC Post]