Tag Archives: Roosevelt Avenue

New organization created to unify merchants around Corona Plaza


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Friends of Corona Plaza

A group of Corona merchants have come together to create a unified voice for a beloved pedestrian plaza.

Earlier this month commercial stakeholders around Corona Plaza, an open public plaza located on Roosevelt Avenue between National and 104th streets, came together to talk about ideas that could help business and improve quality of life for pedestrians and merchants alike.

The group then decided to create a new organization called Friends of Corona Plaza with the purpose of bringing together all the commercial tenants to create a brighter future for the space.

“The goal is to have all the merchants, [such] as myself, to be unified as one voice,” said Edgar Gutierrez, store manager at the Walgreens located at 103-14 Roosevelt Ave., who was elected as president of the organization. “We want to have all the merchants as one and have one voice for all of Corona Plaza. We want to make sure [the merchants] are aware of what is going on in the plaza.”

The group also elected Pastor Victor Tiburcio of Aliento de Vida Church, located at 103-12 Roosevelt Ave., as vice president and Diego Ratzlaff, a physician’s assistant at Procare Health & Wellness, located at 40-03 National St., as secretary.

“What we want to do is unify the commercial tenants,” Ratzlaff said. “We want to be here, we work here, we are here daily. We want to advocate for Corona Plaza so it could be a great experience for the people who work and live here. We want more people to come in, and the more people that come in, the more business.”

Members of the group have been reaching out to other merchants to let them know about Friends of Corona Plaza, according to Gutierrez.

During the organization’s meeting in July, Gutierrez said the group plans on discussing its support for the expansion of the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District and also the Department of Transportation’s planned renovation project for Corona Plaza slated to begin early 2015.

“We want to touch base on the construction of the plaza and how will it affect the merchants in the area,” Gutierrez said.

The date and location for the next meeting of Friends of Corona Plaza are still pending.

The DOT did not immediately respond to request for comment.

 

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82nd Street Partnership unveils restoration of historic Jackson Heights building


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

Together with the Jackson Heights Historic District, the 82nd Street Partnership has unveiled a restoration which marks the beginning of bringing a new look to the diverse area.

The 82nd Street Partnership gathered with representatives from the City’s Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC), community leaders, groups and merchants to unveil the restoration of a historic building at 82-01 Roosevelt Avenue.

The Tuesday unveiling was the beginning of the “Storefront Restoration Program” which will restore building façades and enhance the district’s sense of place by the end of the year.

The 82nd Street Partnership was one of the seven Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) which won SBS’ 2013 “Neighborhood Challenge” initiative with the goal to encourage innovation and creativity in local economic development programming.

Investing in the $50,000 award it received from the “challenge,” the BID set out to support property owners and merchants in Jackson Heights by assisting them with free design assistance and offering a matching construction grant as part of the new restoration program.

By the end of the year the program will have renovated seven ground floor and three upper floor storefronts at three properties on 82nd Street between 37th and Roosevelt Avenue enhancing the “look and feel” of the area by making the businesses more attractive and inviting to a larger group of customers.

Before

After

The overall restorations will help bring improvements to the area’s quality of life, help preserve retail diversity and improve business conditions, according to the 82nd Street Partnership.

Along with the restorations, the program will also remove 20 LPC violations from three properties.

 

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Famous Famiglia opens at Jackson Heights subway station


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

A new famiglia has come to Jackson Heights.

Famous Famiglia opened its doors on Monday at the subway station on 75th Street and Roosevelt Avenue together with local elected officials, family and friends.

The pizza chain beat out a total of 12 other proposals which vied to call the vacant 4,000-square-foot space home in 2010, after the MTA advertised a new request for proposals. Famous Famiglia won and signed a lease in 2011.

“We are very excited about becoming a part of the Jackson Heights community,” said Paul Kolaj, Famous Famiglia CEO and co-founder. “Even though Famous Famiglia is an internationally successful pizza brand, the Jackson Heights location is especially meaningful to us.”

Kolaj said Queens is important to him and his family, because they first immigrated to the United States through John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1970. The family went on to grow up in the South Bronx and in 1986 launched the business in Manhattan on the Upper West Side.

“The very fabric of America is no more apparent than the diverse cross section that is Queens,” said Kolaj. “We appreciate the partnership and support of the MTA and we look forward to creating dozens of jobs through a successful business in Jackson Heights, and for the opportunity to make our contribution to the local community.”

A month before taking office four years ago, Councilmember Daniel Dromm held his first press conference calling for the MTA to fill the vacant space at the subway station. Now that the pizzeria has finally opened its doors, the councilmember said it will be a significant economic driver to the community and also helps out other local businesses along Roosevelt Avenue.

“This is the hub of Jackson Heights,” said Dromm. “I’m thrilled to see Famous Famiglia finally able to open their doors.”

All sales made on the Monday grand opening will be donated to Elmhurst Hospital’s “Helping Kids Heal” fund, going towards the pediatric center at the hospital.

 

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Cops looking for E train rider who groped woman


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are searching for a suspect who they say groped a woman onboard a subway train near Roosevelt Avenue Tuesday.

The 33-year-old victim was on a southbound E train around 1 p.m. when the suspect approached the woman, then forcibly touched her, said cops.

No injuries were reported from the incident.

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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Jackson Heights-Corona BID shortens boundaries


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Maps courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

For the cost of a coffee and empanada, businesses and property owners along Roosevelt Avenue will be able to see a cleaner and safer community.

In March, the 82nd Street Partnership announced it would be extending its business improvement district (BID) through 114th Street to form the Jackson Heights-Corona BID. The new BID included the corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and National Street.

But after taking in community feedback and comments, and based on the Department of City Planning’s proposed plan to rezone 14 block fronts on Roosevelt Avenue as part of the East Elmhurst Rezoning, the BID has been revised to stretch from 82nd to 104th Street and down Junction Boulevard. The corridor will include a total of 440 lots and about 850 commercial tenants.

By shortening the corridor by 10 blocks, Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, said the BID’s new budget will be close to $860,000, which is less than the original over $1 million budget, making the BID “more affordable.”

According to Councilmember Julissa Ferreras the major issues – including lack of sanitation, graffiti, crime and poor lighting – are most commonly found along the revised boundaries.

“I remain confident that the proposed expansion will continue to address and remediate these quality of life issues in addition to enhancing the overall shopping and visiting experience in the area,” said Ferreras.

In response to recent criticisms saying the BID will push out the immigrant community with raising rents and taxes, Taylor said the investment property owners will have to make would only equal the price of a cup of coffee and empanada daily. Most property owners would contribute an average of $2.50 per day or $75 per month.

Some other things the BID hopes to bring to the community are more events in public spaces, which will be featured on its official website, and bring Wi-Fi to Roosevelt Avenue.

In order to keep the community informed and answer questions, the 82nd Street Partnership has been holding numerous public information meetings since the beginning of the year. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 17 at 4 p.m. at the Make the Road New York office located at 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue.

Ballots to vote for the BID will be sent out later this year to all members of the proposed corridors, including residents, property and business owners. For more information, visit JHCoronaBID.org.

 

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Jackson Heights man arrested for fatal Roosevelt Avenue shooting


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

A Jackson Heights man has been arrested and charged for the murder of another man on Roosevelt Avenue.

According to the NYPD, on Friday, September 20 at approximately 5:54 p.m., after responding to a report of a man shot at 80th Street and Roosevelt Avenue, police found Ivan Rodriguez, 33, of Corona in front of 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue with a gunshot wound to his neck and head. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police arrested Pedro Silva, 20, of Jackson Heights in connection to the incident. He has been charged with two counts of murder, three counts of criminal possession of a weapon and two counts of criminal use of a firearm. 

 

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Man dies after being shot in head, neck in Jackson Heights


| mchan@queenscourier.com

A 33-year-old man died Friday after he was shot in the head and neck in Jackson Heights, police said.

The name of the man was not yet released.

Police said the incident occurred September 20 shortly before 6 p.m. at 89-09 Roosevelt Avenue.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

There were no arrests and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

 

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Suspects wanted in attempted robbery at Jackson Heights deli


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the NYPD

Police are looking for a man and woman in connection to an attempted robbery at a Jackson Heights deli.

The two suspects entered Flor’s Deli, located at 94-01 Roosevelt Avenue at approximately 1:14 a.m., the female suspect distracted the store clerk while the male suspect went behind the counter, according the NYPD.  The male suspect then displayed a knife while demanding for money.

The victim fought back and the suspects fled the deli empty handed.

Police have released photos of the two suspects.

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

 

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82nd Street Partnership unveils new look for Roosevelt Avenue


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of 82nd Street Partnership

Take a look at what the 82nd Street Partnership has in store for Roosevelt Avenue.

On Wednesday, June 19, the group revealed streetscape renderings for public spaces within the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District (BID) expansion area.

In March, the 82nd Street Partnership announced plans to expand its BID to include corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and National Street. This expansion will become a community-driven effort including property owners, businesses, residents, public officials and other stakeholders. The goal is to improve the strip’s sense of place.

In the past four months, the 82nd Street Partnership has met with businesses and collected more than 300 surveys from residents as well as property and business owners. The undertaking received support from community and economic development groups including the Queens Chamber of Commerce, Queens Economic Development Corporation, Corona Community Action Network (Corona CAN), Make the Road NY and Immigrant Movement International.

After gathering the information, the partnership created conceptual renderings depicting the vision of the community for the Jackson Heights-Corona commercial district once the BID gets underway in 2014.

In the renderings, Roosevelt Avenue is shown with improvements including new planted trees, street tables and chairs, flowers, outdoor café seating, lighting, banners, benches, bicycle racks, brighter lights and renovated storefronts with new awnings and swings.

“The business community envisions sidewalks and public spaces along the commercial corridor to be inviting, enjoyable places where people of all ages and backgrounds can relax and feel comfortable – as is depicted in the rendering,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership. “The community envisions a commercial corridor where people can comfortably and safely stroll all hours of the day and night.”

The BID hopes to improve the quality of life and support the local economic activity in the neighborhood by making the area cleaner, safer, brighter and more enjoyable.

“The Jackson Heights – Corona BID looks forward to helping the community realize its exciting vision for the future,” said Taylor.

For more information, visit www.JHCoronaBID.org.

 

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Community boards OK rezoning for East Elmhurst, Corona


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

locator_map

Proposed rezoning of parts of East Elmhurst and Corona seems to be on track, with approvals from both Community Boards (CB) 3 and 4.

The Department of City Planning received the go-ahead from the boards — a first step since Commissioner Amanda Burden’s June 3 announcement of the beginning of the official public review process of a 127-block rezoning of East Elmhurst and 14 block fronts along Roosevelt Avenue in Corona.

The objective of the rezoning is to protect the current character of East Elmhurst’s residential blocks, which are made up of one- and two-family detached, semi-detached and attached homes.

“This rezoning, which was developed in close consultation with the community and local elected officials, will protect the cherished one- and two-family composition of this neighborhood,” said Burden.

The proposal also looks to update commercial overlays in order to reinforce the main commercial corridors, better reflect current land use trends and constrain commercial incursions onto residential streets. The rezoning will aim to strengthen the character of Astoria Boulevard and help it stand out from residential streets.

The 14 block fronts along Roosevelt Avenue that are included in the rezoning proposal will also help increase development in the area. For example it will allow the 82nd Street Partnership’s Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District to provide services for the merchants and community on the busy strip.

“Though currently zoned for residential use, we’re seeing increased commercial activity along the stretch of Roosevelt Avenue from Elmhurst Avenue to 114th Street,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

“The rezoning pairs nicely with the proposed Jackson Heights- Corona BID, which would promote local economic growth and be a positive force for the entire commercial corridor.”

The rezoning proposal will now be reviewed by the Borough Board, Borough President, the City Planning Commission and then the City Council.

 

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57 NYPD surveillance cameras to be installed around Queens


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Media Group

Smile, criminals. You’re on camera.

Borough President Helen Marshall has allocated $2 million to install NYPD surveillance cameras in 57 locations throughout Queens to help fight crime.

“These new cameras will give police more eyes on the street,” Marshall said. “They will be a fantastic deterrent to crime and greatly help our police to solve crimes and apprehend offenders. After all, the camera doesn’t lie!”

In announcing the initiative, Marshall noted the role of cameras in finding suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings. She said she hopes the extra surveillance will help reduce gun violence in the borough.

The Argus cameras, funded through the Fiscal Year 2013 Capital Budget, are expected to be installed within the next 12 months.

NYPD officials selected the future camera locations. The placements are based not only on crime data, but also on other factors such as the best spot for viewing and counterterrorism risk assessment, according to a borough president spokesperson. When factoring in crime data, violent offenses were given top consideration.

The cameras will be installed in 11 of Queens’ 16 precincts, including eight along Roosevelt Avenue.

Locals had mixed opinions about Argus.

“I’ve been living here for several years now and I think crime is getting worse, so I think the cameras are a good idea,” said Maevis Trenton. “It’s not safe to walk around late at night anymore, and if people knew they were being watched maybe they would think twice before doing something stupid.”

“Compared to other parts of the city, I think it’s pretty safe here,” said Jordan Brown. “I don’t think the cameras are necessary in this neighborhood, but [...] I don’t have anything against the idea either.”

Maqueda Tate was wary of the extra surveillance.

“I don’t think it’s right for the police to be watching us all the time,” she said. “I understand that it’s for our own safety, but I don’t think there needs to be so many cameras getting installed.”

-With additional reporting by Johann Hamilton

 

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Jackson Heights, Corona get ‘taste’ of better living thru business improvement district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Councilmember Julissa Ferreras

Businesses, property owners and residents along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard are getting a taste of how being a business improvement district (BID) can improve their quality of life.

Councilmember Julissa Ferreras announced sanitation and graffiti removal services for the areas. They come as part of her New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue, which promised a “taste” of services to be offered by the Jackson Heights-Corona BID.

The “Taste of the BID” is a partnership between Ferreras, the Department of Small Business Services, the 82nd Street Partnership and local property owners. The Jackson Heights-Corona BID itself, which is still being formed, will cover the major commercial corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street.

“By bringing new sanitation crews to our heavily-trafficked business corridors like Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard, we are not only increasing safety and cleanliness,” Ferreras said. “We are also helping to drive new customers to our local businesses.”

Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership, touted further pluses.

“Merchants and property owners along Roosevelt Avenue and Junction Boulevard will begin to see how cleaner sidewalks can make the neighborhood a better place to shop and stroll,” he said Seth Taylor. “We are delighted that the community is getting a small taste of what the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID will do to improve quality of life, and we are encouraged by the growing support for the BID.”

The “Taste of the BID” is expected to run until the end of the year, with cleaning ambassadors in the area every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The services will cover Roosevelt Avenue from 82nd Street to 114th Street and Junction Boulevard and 103rd Street off Roosevelt Avenue.

“New sanitation crews have already begun to make a difference along Roosevelt Avenue through cleaner and brighter streets,” said Rob Walsh, commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By providing this neighborhood with a taste of what a BID can offer, this commercial corridor will only continue to get stronger.”

 

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Police looking for two suspects in three gas station robberies


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of NYPD

The NYPD is trying to find two suspects for three robberies of two gas stations in Jamaica and one in Flushing.

According to police, in each incident the suspects drove to the gas station in a dark colored minivan, then the driver exited the vehicle, watched the locations and returned to the minivan. Afterwards, the second suspect exited the vehicle, entered the location and either displayed a black handgun or simulated having a gun under his shirt and demanded money from the register and cigarettes.

On Saturday, March 16 at 5:40 a.m. one of the suspects simulated a firearm under his shirt as he robbed the Gulf Gas Station located at 241-15 Hillside Avenue in Jamaica.

On Tuesday, March 19 at 4 a.m. one suspect displayed a black firearm while robbing the Exxon Gas Station located at 137-21 Liberty Avenue in Jamaica.

On Wednesday, March 20 at 6:22 a.m. one of the suspects displayed a black handgun as he robbed the Mobil Gas Station located at 133-11 Roosevelt Avenue in Flushing.

Both suspects are described as Hispanic males, one suspect is 5’10″ to 6′ tall, large build and with a  moustache and the second suspect is  5’7″ to 5’9″ tall, medium build, with facial hair and wearing a black hooded jacket

Authorities have released photos for both suspects and a surveillance video of one of the suspects.

Anyone with information in regards to these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

 

 

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82nd Street Partnership expands business improvement district


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Logo Courtesy of the 82nd Street Partnership

The 82nd Street Partnership will now extend all the way through 114th Street as part of the New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue announced by Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

“The 82nd Street Partnership is thrilled to announce this endeavor of expanding our business improvement district to include the major commercial corridors of Roosevelt Avenue, Junction Boulevard, 103rd Street and National Street,” said Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

In this expansion, the 82nd Street Partnership will form the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District (BID). This will become a community-driven effort including property owners, businesses, residents, public officials and other stakeholders that will improve the strip’s “sense of place.”

“The future BID will work to improve quality of life and support local economic activity in the neighborhood by creating a cleaner, safer, brighter, and overall more enjoyable place for everyone,” said Taylor.

Under the leadership of Ferreras and the BID’s steering committee, it will work with community boards and city government agencies, like the Department of Sanitation, to certify all the city services and resources will be delivered to the neighborhood.

According to Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, Roosevelt Avenue will continue to flourish once the change, which was brought to the stretch on 82nd Street years ago by the 82nd Street Partnership, is replicated throughout the community.

In addition to the expansion, $350,000 in funding, from Mayor Bloomberg’s office in union with Small Business Services, was secured for a “Taste of the BID.” This “taste” will introduce local business owners and community residents the benefits of the expanded partnership.

In the following months, the 82nd Street Partnership will work with its partners to develop the BID plan and help form the neighborhood’s future headed for a “collectively shared vision,” said Taylor.

An introductory seminar to the expansion for residents, property and business owners will be held on Tuesday, March 26 at 5:30 p.m. at 103-24 Roosevelt Avenue. To get more information on the BID, the community can visit www.jhcoronabid.org.

 

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‘New Deal’ to improve Roosevelt Avenue


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

In order to revitalize one of the busiest strips in New York City, Councilmember Julissa Ferreras has announced a seven-point plan known as the “New Deal for Roosevelt Avenue.”

“My community thought that anything nice didn’t belong to them, anything clean must not be for them and that is what this ‘New Deal’ is about, that our community deserves better and they’re getting better,” said Ferreras.

Ferreras gathered with elected officials, representatives from various city agencies and members of the community to give details on her “New Deal” on Tuesday, March 19. The seven points of the plan focus on improvements involving increased sanitation services, new lighting and painting, a better business environment, community-focused public safety, updated zoning, a car-free Corona Plaza and instituting a Roosevelt Avenue Task Force.

“Brighter, cleaner, safer will be the foundation for Roosevelt Avenue,” said Robert Walsh, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services.

Ferreras announced that as part of the New Deal, she has allocated $500,000 to the DOT to increase lighting on Roosevelt Avenue and to the NYPD for the installation of cameras this year starting from 82nd Street through 114th Street.

“For a safer community we need to have a well-lit space to deter criminals and cameras to keep a watchful eye on crime, should it occur,” said Ferreras.

To address the other issues including prostitution and illegal vending, Ferreras announced the Roosevelt Avenue Task Force. Comprising agencies from consumer affairs to the Health Department, the task force will tackle the community’s issues with help from residents.

“This is a very vibrant community. Roosevelt Avenue is not just about the things that go wrong here, but if we are able to improve the quality of life, I think that’s how we’ll be able to squeeze out the crime,” said Ferreras.

 

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