Tag Archives: Roosevelt Island

LIC development proposed featuring pedestrian bridge to Roosevelt Island: report


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Plans have been revealed that would connect the Queens waterfront to the future home of the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island — all through a pedestrian and bicyclist bridge, according to a published report.

According to POLITICO New York, a group of investors have proposed a multimillion-square-foot development near the Long Island City waterfront that would be made up of a mixed-use project including a pedestrian bridge connecting the Queens neighborhood to Roosevelt Island.

The plans are from Bruce Teitelbaum, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s former chief of staff, and involve a “mostly residential tower comprising at least 1 million square feet” located on an empty lot north of 44th Drive, along the south side of the Queensboro Bridge, according to the online publication.

The proposed site for the development at 44-02 Vernon Blvd. currently is owned by Vernon Realty Holding LLC and is zoned for residential use, according to the report. One lot of the site takes up 128,332 square feet, while an adjoining lot is made up of 84,338 square feet.

The plans were presented to Alicia Glen, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who showed excitement for the project but said it was “a little out of scale,” according to POLITICO.

Construction on the $2 million Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, which will span 12 acres and house 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff, began in June. The first phase of the campus is expected to open in the summer of 2017.

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Long Island City ‘suffering from the side effects of its very success’


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

It has been on the minds of Long Island City leaders for a while, and during the second annual LIC Summit on Tuesday it was brought to light during the first panel entitled “City within the City.”

“It” refers to the struggle to maintain balance between building new residential and commercial structures while keeping older manufacturing spaces, which traditionally form the backbone of Long Island City.

The Long Island City Partnership, which co-hosted the LIC Summit with The Queens Courier and brokerage Modern Spaces, was even awarded a $100,000 grant in January to conduct a planning study of the neighborhood that would, in part, find an answer to maintaining the balance. The study is still in its preliminary stages, so a solution has not yet been found.

“Like with the city as a whole, in some ways Long Island City is suffering from the side effects of its very success,” said Seth Pinsky, vice president of RXR Realty, during the panel in front of more than 300 professionals and leaders in the Museum of Moving Image.

Pinsky pointed out that high demand to move to Long Island City causes land valuations to surge to levels where only residential projects would make financial sense, which stifles commercial development. In turn, developers convert industrial buildings into offices and retail, displacing old manufacturing jobs that many city residents without higher education have relied on for a long time.

But Pinsky’s point was challenged by Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, who urged against preserving spaces for older manufacturing and looking toward jobs for companies of the future, such as 3-D printing firm Shapeways and other technology businesses. These would require higher levels of education, which institutions such as the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island would provide.

“The emotional pull of manufacturing as we think of it in the past, the good blue-collar jobs for a population that didn’t have Ph.D.s, is not the future of manufacturing,” Wylde said. “Robots are going to replace people in most manufacturing. It’s not going to be the same kind of job provider that it has been in the past.”

Pinsky disagreed partly and countered that some old sections of manufacturing will still be important for the “foreseeable future,” such as construction, warehousing and distribution, because they will provide necessary services for businesses in the city. He added that there is a feeling that areas in LIC could easily become zoned residential and many workers would lose jobs as businesses close or move.

The problem of finding balance in Long Island City could be answered with a rezoning. Some of the first panelists agreed that the current proposal to rezone certain sections of Long Island City for more high-rise housing has to be examined more closely by the City Planning Department.

“I think that this is an opportunity for us to strike that right balance and find the density for the affordable housing that the administration is looking for,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said, “but also preserve some of the things that are worth preserving.”

Industry leaders also talked about the future of transportation, tourism, culture, zoning and LIC as a home for business in ensuing panels at the event.

And infrastructure problems in LIC, such as lack of green spaces and the need for more schools, were discussed as well. Van Bramer even promised that they are looking for spaces for new schools.

With various art and cultural institutions, restaurants, entertainment venues and a hotel sector— which is currently up to 26 buildings but has more than two dozen more in the pipeline — many recognized that LIC has become a destination with incredible growth.

During her opening speech, Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership, revealed renderings of LIC two years in the future after 10 new towers will be added to the growing skyline. The dramatic expansion shown through the image caused gasps from audience members.

“There is a lot on the way,” Lusskin said. “And we’re not talking 10 years, we’re talking two years.”

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Construction on Cornell Tech campus begins on Roosevelt Island


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre. Renderings courtesy Weiss/Manfredi

Construction kicked off Tuesday on the $2 billion Roosevelt Island Cornell Tech campus, which many predict will be a feeder of skilled entrepreneurs for the western Queens technology community.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, were both in attendance to support the building of the applied sciences campus, which will span 12 acres on Roosevelt Island and house 2,000 graduate students and hundreds of faculty and staff. The first phase of the campus is expected to open in the summer of 2017.

“Mr. Mayor, you remember a phrase from a great American movie, ‘if you build it, they will come’? I think this epitomizes it,” de Blasio said to his predecessor. “I think Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to create an environment for the tech sector had an extraordinary impact. This is one of the signature elements and we are proud to be building upon that tradition.”

Cornell Tech, which was selected by the city’s Economic Development Corporation over 17 other proposed schools in 2011, has been running out of Google’s Chelsea building since 2013.

In May, 73 master’s students in computer science and business and two Ph.D. students graduated from Cornell Tech. More than half of the graduates stayed in New York for jobs or to begin their own startups, which lends to the belief that the new school will energize the growing tech community in the city, which has spread to Long Island City.

Just south of the Queensboro Bridge, the 2-million-square-foot tech campus will have four buildings with innovative technology in the first phase of development.

Bloomberg, who pushed for the tech campus on Roosevelt Island during his tenure, donated $100 million through Bloomberg Philanthropies to help build the school. Cornell will rename the First Academic Building, which will now be called The Bloomberg Center.

The center, which is designed by Morphosis Architects, will have classrooms and private work spaces.

Another building on the campus called The Bridge at Cornell Tech, which was designed by architecture firm Weiss/Manfredi and built by Forest City Ratner Companies, will house startups and established companies.

The 26-story residential building on the campus, designed by Handel Architects, will be the tallest building on the campus and it will meet strict international energy consumption Passive House standards. Faculty members and students will live in the 350 apartments in the building.

The campus will also have the Verizon Executive Education Center, which will be used for conferences and meetups, and there will be 2.5 acres of open space for the school community.

 

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Real estate roundup: City and Astoria Cove developers at odds ahead of Council vote


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

Old Politics Hamper City’s New Approach on Affordable Housing

“The 2.2-million-square-foot project is at risk of being voted down by the City Council’s land-use committee, which must vote by Wednesday on it, according to City Council officials and the developer. The full council is expected to follow the committee’s lead.” Read more [The Wall Street Journal]

Residents told to repay aid funds given to them two years ago

“The disabled, elderly and mostly poor residents of an assisted-living center in Queens spent four miserable months in shelters after Hurricane Sandy, and now they’re getting hammered again — by the federal government.” Read more [The New York Post]

Quiet Island, With Change Coming

“When Yarin and Talia Katz first came to the United States from Israel, they spent a year sampling various parts of New York City and New Jersey with monthly rentals. In 2011, when they were ready to settle down, Mr. Katz said, ‘We pretty much knew we wanted to move to Roosevelt Island.’” Read more [The New York Times]

 

 

Real estate roundup: Residential support for Astoria Cove, Saving murals for Cornell’s Roosevelt Island tech campus


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Rendering courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture

NYCHA residents wants Astoria Cove

“There has been a lot of debate about this 1.7 million square-foot waterfront development. We’ve heard opinions coming from The Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan — but take it from neighbors who live down the street in the NYCHA Astoria Houses, one for the past 61 years and the other for 60 years: This project can help move our community in the right direction.” Read more [The New York Post]

At Future Cornell Campus, the First Step in Restoring Murals Is Finding Them

“Cornell University and its conservators faced a lot of challenges rescuing three rare 7-by-50-foot murals from the Goldwater Memorial Hospital on Roosevelt Island. The first challenge was finding two of them.” Read more [New York Times]

Douglas Durst Talks Queens, Midtown and WTC

“While the Durst Organization was known for developing Manhattan commercial spaces — Seymour Durst once said he “would never buy anything he couldn’t walk to” from his Manhattan office — Mr. Durst has become a residential developer of late, with two Manhattan rental projects nearing completion and negotiations underway to build a massive mixed-use project in Hallets Point, Queens.” Read more [Commercial Observer]

Radiology Center Opens in Long-Vacant Northern Boulevard Building

“Main Street Radiology at 72-06 Northern Blvd. opened with limited services on Oct. 6, but has since expanded its offerings — modern ultrasounds, mammograms and stress tests, according to assistant director Todd DiLeonardo.” Read more [DNAinfo]

Parents peeved after Forest Hills fender bender leaves special ed kids stranded


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

A Forest Hills fender bender left seven special education students stranded on a bus for up to two hours while they waited for police, parents said.

“These are emotionally fragile children. They get scared easily,” said parent Rita Kimmel. “They have anxieties and phobias and would be more or less freaked out to be in any kind of car accident, much less stuck on the side of the road not knowing when police or their parents were going to come.”

The bus was carrying children and teens with disabilities home from The Child School and Legacy High School in Roosevelt Island on June 21, when another driver slowly pulling out of a parking space struck the side of the bus on 71st Drive and Metropolitan Avenue, parents said.

Police said there were no reported injuries, but declined to comment further.

Kimmel, who has a 12-year-old son, said she was disturbed to learn it took nearly five hours for cops to arrive to fill out an accident report.

Her son, Lucas, who suffers from anxiety and ADHD, was kept on the bus for nearly two hours

Parents were called to pick their children up at the site of the accident, but Kimmel said she and her husband could not get out of work at the time of the 3:30 p.m. crash.

“He didn’t completely fall apart, but there could have been other children on that bus that could have,” said Kimmel of Bayside. “He was very worried, very scared. There was a panic to him.”

Another parent, Lily Ng, who lives minutes away, was able to grab her child immediately.

“I’m not surprised at all for how long it took the police to come,” she said. “Not that it makes it right, but we were told it may take a very long time. It was recommended the children get picked up if possible. If I wasn’t able to get to him, I certainly would be more upset.”

According to Kimmel, both drivers called 9-1-1 around 3:30 p.m. to report the accident. They called again at 5:23 p.m. and 6:16 p.m. when no help came.

The distraught mom said cops arrived after 8 p.m.

“I was told he was safe, that it was a minor fender bender,” she said. “I was under the assumption police would be there in 10 minutes and they would be on their way. That was not the case.”

The bus company, Hoyt Transportation, and school did not return calls for comment.

 

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Schumer pushes for expanded ferry service to Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NY Waterway

Senator Charles Schumer has asked the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) and the Department of Transportation (DOT) to prioritize funding to bring the East River Ferry to Astoria, the Upper East Side and Brooklyn Bridge Park.

“The East River Ferry expansion project can become a ‘Nerd Boat’ that connects our rapidly-expanding tech hubs like Dumbo and the Brooklyn Navy Yard with the new Cornell-NYC’s applied science campus,” said Schumer. “It will also maximize ferry use throughout the city and better connect these waterfront neighborhoods to public transportation, benefitting the local economy.”

The East River Ferry expansion is one of five New York City projects that Schumer is singling out for a chunk of $1 billion in transit funds allocated to New York in this year’s Federal Transportation Bill. The FHA and DOT have final say on which projects will receive the funding.

If they pick the East River Ferry expansion, additional services will reach Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hallets Point in Astoria and the Upper East Side. The expansion also entails a new ferry to Roosevelt Island to accommodate students at Cornell’s applied science campus.

Schumer said private developers are planning to build nearly 4,000 housing units on Hallets Point’s waterfront in 2015. He added that expanding the ferry service would benefit the new residents.

The East River Ferry pilot program began in June 2011 and has since served over 1.7 million commuters. The ferry currently transports almost 150 passengers per trip connecting Manhattan with Long Island City, Brooklyn and Governors Island.

Recently, there had been a push to move the service from Hunters Point in Long island City to Gantry Plaza State Park.

Schumer is also pushing to get funding for projects including the Lower East Side/Brooklyn Greenway expansion, construction on the Cross Bronx Service Roads, HOV extensions on the Long Island Expressway and expansion of underground rail tunnels to Grand Central Terminal.

 

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Cornell Tech releases plans of eco-friendly Roosevelt Island campus


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Kilograph

Cornell’s New York City tech university — slated to open in 2017 — released plans of an innovative, energy efficient campus with views of both Manhattan and Queens.

“Just as Cornell Tech will be pioneering new approaches to graduate research and education, our campus won’t look like any other university campus that exists today,” said Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell Tech. “We are determined to innovate in every aspect of the development, from the way that students, faculty, researchers, industry and the community are intermingled, to the sustainability of our buildings and their iconic architecture.”

As the campus’ seven-month land use review process commences, the university released renderings of its Roosevelt Island campus that will soon be home to thousands of graduate students focused on technology and entrepreneurship.

The first academic building — designed Thom Mayne and Morphosis Architects — is planned to be a net-zero energy building, meaning it will create as much energy as it consumes, and will one of the largest energy-neutral buildings in the country, the university said.

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP designed the plan for the campus that will connect with the city and Roosevelt Island via a pedestrian walkway, feature public open spaces and buildings that connect outdoor and indoor spaces. Construction is planned to begin in 2014 with phase one expected to be completed in 2017. Aside from the academic building, the first phase will include a corporate co-location building, an executive education center with hotel facilities, a residential building for students, faculty, and staff, as well as more than one acre of public open space. The campus will continue to take shape over the next 25 years and is scheduled to be finished by 2037.

With construction ongoing, the university will operate in a temporary space donated by Google in Chelsea.

Courier hosts Power Breakfast on future of LIC’s tech boom


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence Cullen

Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), made clear that as business sectors based in the city move forward, technology will become more crucial.

“As we like to say at EDC: whereas in the past the technology industry was a sector; increasingly, today, the economy itself is the tech sector.”

Pinsky was a featured panelist for the “The Future of LIC: How the tech boom will affect you & your business!” — a power breakfast host by The Queens Courier in part with TD Bank — on Thursday, October 11, which gave a glimpse of what will become of the growing technology growth in Long Island City.

The breakfast played host to panelists: Carol Conslato, president of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and public affairs director for Con Edison; Andrew Kirby, president of Plaxall; Greg Pass, entrepreneurial officer for CornellNYC Tech; Jukay Hsu, founder of Coalition for Queens; Elias Roman, CEO and co-founder of Songza media; Elliot Park of Shine Electronics; and Gayle Baron, president of LIC Partnership. Featured elected officials who spoke included Congressmember Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

Van Bramer kicked the morning off by noting that what was core to Long Island City were the arts and culture that had found a home in the region.

“Who in here believes that culture and the arts drives Long Island City,” Van Bramer asked the hundreds present and was answered with hundreds of applause.

Pinsky, head of the EDC since 2008, said it was important that the city take the lead in the ever-changing tech world. Some of the ways New York has begun to do that, he said, included the Cornell Tech Campus that will have a home on Roosevelt Island and incubators in Long Island City to boost start-ups and small businesses.

“First, the sector itself is a critical and growing sector,” Pinsky said. “We’re increasing employment, we’re seeing more economic activity, but I think that’s only half an answer. And that’s because the real reason why we’re so focused on the tech sector is that in the 21st century the tech sector will also be critical to the success of almost every other sector in our city’s economy. If our city doesn’t take a leadership in technology we’ll find it increasingly difficult to maintain our leadership position in anything else that we do.”

See photos from the event

As Cornell Tech, along with other satellite campuses across the city, begin to produce ambitious minded tech experts, they will most likely find a home in Long Island City because of its location and comparatively cheaper rent prices than Manhattan, several speakers said.

Plaxall over the last 20 years has fostered the art community that gradually grew in Long Island City, and now that community will be mixed with a technology community, said Kirby, who runs the real estate company with his cousin. The end result would be something Kirby said would be “amazing.”

“We already have the creative artists, now we can bring the creative technological people to Long Island City and to do that we need to do things that will make this an attractive area for them,” Kirby said. “I think Long Island City has the potential to be a location where we merge technology and art to create some amazing things.”

To attract the expected influx of techies, Plaxall is laying out plans for a community that could foster a merger between the arts and technology, Kirby said.

This community would be on 12 acres on the East River around what is known as the Anabel Basin. This community would include a mixed-use area of residential towers and buildings for technology companies, Kirby said. The vision for this area is to create “really a sustainable community where people can live, work and play that will attract the best and the brightest.”

Roman, the youngest speaker on the panel, said afterward that technology and culture had already become one in another and could open the doors for more and more potential.

“There’s an interesting intersection between technology and culture, where the technology becomes invisible and it’s all about the culture,” he said. “I think that’s a really exciting intersection to be at.”

Cornell Tech campus now accepting applications


| brennison@queenscourier.com

File photo

Applications are now being accepted to be among the first class at Cornell University’s tech campus in New York City.

The highly selective “beta” Cornell NYC Tech class will begin school in Januay; applications for the Masters of Engineering program are due by October 1.

“We’re calling this the ‘beta’ class because these students will help shape the future of this new educational institution,” said Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of the tech campus. “Candidates for the beta class must be future tech leaders, with not only the highest academic credentials but also strong entrepreneurial interests, leadership skills and a passion for community engagement.”

The campus will temporarily be housed in Chelsea, in space donated by Googe, before moving to its permanent Roosevelt Island home in 2017.

“If you are an engineer who wants to live in the best city of the world, the new capital of engineering talent, and the rising star of the technology industry, Cornell NYC Tech offers an exciting new opportunity,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “There’s simply no better place to further your education and launch your career than New York City. Getting in won’t be easy, but if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”

The intensive program in computer science — with a tuition of $43,185 — is a one-year, two-semester, professional degree program designed to enhance practical skills in computer science.

Students will be mentored by both a faculty advisor and an industry coach, and their projects will be connected with New York City companies, nonprofit organizations, or relevant industry-oriented activities, according to the Cornell Tech website.

Additional one-year programs are planned in electrical and computer engineering, information science, and operations research and information engineering.

 

Schumer asks MTA to create “Nerd Bus” route connecting Queens to Cornell Tech campus


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Today Senator Chuck Schumer sent a letter to the MTA asking them to create a “Nerd Bus” route that connects the future Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island with tech hubs in Queens and Brooklyn.

Last month the transit agency proposed two Brooklyn Tech Triangle routes that connects DUMBO with Downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard, and services the Williamsburg waterfront. Schumer wants the MTA to extend the Tech Triangle to L.I.C. and the Cornell campus.

“New York is seeing a major tech boom, with Brooklyn and Long Island City leading the way, and now the new Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is going to be a game changer that further cements New York’s position as a leader in tech,” said Schumer. “You don’t need a PhD to know that connecting these neighborhoods through a ‘Nerd Bus’ is a no-brainer. The only thing separating these neighborhoods in New York City is a lack of transit connections. We need a high-speed rapid transit connection between Roosevelt Island and the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, with stops at new hubs like Long Island City and the Navy Yard, and residential areas in Greenpoint and Williamsburg.”

But the F train, which stops in Roosevelt Island Downtown Brooklyn and Long Island City, has already been named the tech route of New York City. Earlier this week, a Crain’s New York Business article dubbed the line the “Silicon Subway,” and in speeches Cornell University President David Skorton often calls the line “the F-train tech corridor.” It stops

As of late Wednesday afternoon, the MTA had not received Schumer’s letter, said an MTA spokesperson. “We appreciate his interest. We constantly study ridership and growth to better serve our customers, as evidenced by the $29.5 million in service investments we announced last month.”

Queens Tech Meetup 2: Educate and innovate


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Attention Queens innovators: think outside the box.

At the second Queens Tech Meetup, local inventors learned that while Queens can potentially surface as one of the nation’s leading technology regions, creators must be fully engaged to energize the movement.

The advice was given to nearly 200 techies and digital startup hopefuls by venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell.

“You have a responsibility to be the best employees, the best entrepreneurs,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell, founder of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, commended the group of gadget-lovers for taking an interest in technology in the borough, but challenged them to become more innovative.

He instructed them to think of devices and software that differ from current trends and work to fix real needs. O’Donnell also told the audience to think about exceeding individual barriers, to try to design their own meetups and to spur continued growth in the field.

O’Donnell noted features of the borough that will attract more tech-focused inventors and aficionados that could drive the Queens tech era.

“A couple of years from now you’re going to be able to walk across the [Roosevelt Island] bridge and go to one of the premium engineering and applied sciences schools and the only place that you can walk from is Queens,” O’Donnell said, referring to the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, which will be built on Roosevelt Island.

O’Donnell added that Queens has a wide range of people with everyday problems like finding a baby sitter, which could be used to generate new ideas for applications and devices.

Queens Tech Meetup 2 was organized by the Coalition for Queens, a group dedicated to fostering the technology sector in the borough.

Coalition for Queens recently received $65,000 from the City Council for creating classes to teach aspiring techies.

The first batch of classes will start in September and focus on areas such as web programming, team building and Adobe Illustrator.

“We want people to learn about skills like how to use social media, how to program a website or if you’re more advanced and want to build an app,” said JuKay Hsu, founder of the coalition. “We want to give everyone the opportunity to get really, really well paying jobs here in New York.”

Hsu believes the Queens innovators will be able to meet O’Donnell’s challenge because of the borough’s wealth in diversity.

“We have all these different people from different backgrounds and experiences,” said Hsu. “They’re going to think outside the box.”

The Next Startup Destination: Queens


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY COUNCILMEMBER MARK WEPRIN

With the new technology campus coming to Roosevelt Island, Queens is poised to become a destination for startups. Startups are newly created companies, often technology oriented, with the potential to be the next big Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare.

Why will Queens be the new place for startups? Queens sits adjacent to Roosevelt Island and has plenty of affordable space (in contrast to neighboring Manhattan). When Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced in December that Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology had won the bid for a partnership with the city to develop a brand-new applied sciences campus, I knew that the economic impact would be tremendous, not only on Roosevelt Island, but also in nearby Long Island City and in other parts of Queens.

As a member of the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committees, I recognize that the tech campus will create tens of thousands of new jobs. It is estimated that about 600 companies will be derived from the tech campus, creating as many as 30,000 additional jobs in startups. Over time, those numbers can escalate.

If we capitalize on the investments that the city and the universities are making, we can render Queens the new tech capital of the world. Though Roosevelt Island will be home to the new science campus, the potential for economic growth extends far beyond the island’s borders. While there will surely be new jobs, housing, and businesses on Roosevelt Island, the spillover effect will bring benefits right into our own backyard. Tech campus graduates, professors, and researchers are likely to set up shop in Queens. They are among today’s most brilliant minds, and they are the kind of people who come up with the transformative ideas that yield business success.

Think of Jet Blue Airways, based in Queens, which started in the late 1990s and quickly brought big changes to the air travel industry. Or take Long Island City’s Silvercup Studios, New York City’s largest full-service film and television production facility, which is contributing to the booming local film industry. When the entrepreneurs are ready to bring their ideas to market, they will set up offices in the downtowns of Long Island City, Flushing, and Jamaica. Long Island City is already home to film and television studios, industrial space, museums, and nightlife; LaGuardia’s two planned dormitories will bring hundreds of young people to the vibrant neighborhood. Downtown Jamaica has a college, cultural institutions, and unrivaled access to public transportation; it is well positioned to accommodate new businesses.

In February, while visiting Israel with several of my Council colleagues, I saw firsthand what has come to be known as the startup nation. It is no secret that Israel is moving forward with an economy that is the place for startups, with the largest number in the world, surpassing even Japan and China. When ambitious individuals start new companies, they provide a boost for the local economy as well as for their own futures. Queens can follow the same path that Israel took to startup stardom.

Innovation once led the United States to the forefront of the world economy, and it can take us there again, with Queens leading the way.

Weprin is a member of the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committees

 

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Alleged cop killer gets into Rikers Island brawl with guards

Alleged cop killer Lamont Pride got into a fight with two jail guards after the ex-con refused to undergo a routine search, authorities said today. Pride, 27, has been charged in the murder of Officer Peter Figoski after he allegedly shot the cop in the face last week during a robbery attempt in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Authorities told The Post that Pride, who has been at Rikers Island since his arrest on Dec. 12, was undergoing a medical exam Monday when he refused to cooperate with a routine search. Read More: New York Post

 

Mystery Donor Named In Cornell Tech Campus Bid

The person who made an anonymous $350 million donation to Cornell University for an applied sciences campus in the city has been identified. Billionaire philanthropist and Cornell alumnus Charles Feeney granted the money to the upstate university. Feeney made his fortune by building duty free airport shops before anybody had even heard of duty free shops. Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday announced that Cornell and Israel’s Technion Institute won the city’s competition to build the campus on Roosevelt Island. The mayor says the plan was chosen because of the its scale and the schools’ reputations for science breakthroughs and entrepreneurship. Read More: NY1

 

Five Suspects To Be Arraigned In Shooting Death Of NYPD Officer

One day after a city police officer shot and killed in the line of duty was laid to rest, the five men charged in his death are due in court. Lamont Pride, Kevin Santos, Ariel Tejada, Nelson Moralez, and Michael Velez are all expected to be arraigned on their indictments later today. They appeared in court Friday but did not enter any pleas. All five are charged with murder in the death of Officer Peter Figoski, 47. Speaking to reporters today, law enforcement officials said no mercy will be shown towards the accused men and that there is no chance of a plea bargain. Read More: NY1

 

Raising the stakes: Resorts World unveils VIP casino

High-rollers now have a space of their own at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. Following a grand opening that drew more than 65,000 visitors, the casino at Aqueduct Racino unveiled the remaining two floors of its new facility on December 16 – showing off high-priced amenities and big payoff games. The new features include 2,514 additional Video Lottery Terminals (VLT) and Electronic Table Games (ETG) at the Fifth Avenue Casino, bringing the grand total to 5,000 machines. The casino also gave visitors a sneak peak at two new 250-seat fine dining restaurants with private dining rooms and balconies featuring panoramic views of the racetrack. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Small plane crashes near Rt. 287 in NJ, 3 feared dead: report

Multiple fatalities were feared Tuesday after a small plane crashed on a New Jersey highway. Local television footage showed what appeared to be the charred remnants of the aircraft alongside Route 287 near Harding, N.J. The heavily-traveled roadway was closed in both directions. Harding Township police chief Kevin Gaffney told FOX News Channel that there were multiple fatalities. It was not immediately known how many people were on board the plane. State Police Trooper Christopher Kay says there is a report of three possible deaths. Read More: New York Post

 

Paroled American Berenson arrives in US

Paroled American Lori Berenson, who stirred international controversy when she was convicted of aiding Peruvian guerrillas, arrived in the United States Tuesday morning for her first visit home since Peruvian authorities arrested her in 1995. Lori Berenson’s plane touched down at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey around 7:35 a.m. The 42-year-old, dressed in black and a black-and-gray sweater vest, was surrounded by Port Authority officers. Her mother Rhoda Berenson, who was waiting in the general arrivals area, sprinted over to her daughter after police escorted Berenson through an area of customs where airport officials check suspicious bags. Read More: New York Post

 

Force of 20,000 in final salute to hero cop Figoski

He had been a cop for 22 years, but it was only after his death that Peter Figoski’s four daughters realized what that truly meant. “We now feel connected to a side of our dad we rarely saw at home — he put us aside from his duties as a police officer and always put us first,’’ the grief-stricken girls said in a heartbreaking statement read at their father’s funeral yesterday. “When a hero falls, an angel rises. Rest in peace, Daddy.’’ Read More: New York Post

 

Kim Jong Il body displayed, North Korea media hail son

The body of North Korea’s long-time ruler Kim Jong Il was laid out in a memorial palace Tuesday as weeping mourners filled public plazas and state media fed a budding personality cult around his third son, hailing him as “born of heaven.” Indicating that the leadership transition in the communist dynasty is on track, Kim Jong Un — Kim’s youngest known son and successor — visited the body with top military and Workers’ Party officials and held what state media called a “solemn ceremony” in the capital, Pyongyang, as the country mourned. Read More: New York Post

 

Firefighter hurt in booze-fueled 2003 brawl at Staten Island firehouse not entitled to line-of-duty payouts 

 The state’s highest court Tuesday rejected a former firefighter’s bid for full disability benefits for injuries sustained in an infamous 2003 firehouse brawl. Robert Walsh, who was injured in the booze-fueled melee on Staten Island, was not entitled to more lucrative line-of-duty benefits because his injuries were not related to his job, the Court of Appeals ruled, upholding lower court decisions. Read More: Daily News


Smart Move: Cornell University coming to Roosevelt Island


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office

Just days after the upstate Ivy League school received a $350 million gift from an anonymous donor, Cornell University was selected as the winning bid to bring an applied science school to the city.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Cornell University President David Skorton and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie announced a partnership on Monday, December 19 to build a two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus on Roosevelt Island as part of the Applied Sciences NYC initiative.

Cornell will join with Technicon to build NYCTech Campus – pairing together two of the world’s top institutions in the fields of science, engineering, technology and research.

“Thanks to this outstanding partnership and groundbreaking proposal from Cornell and the Technion, New York City’s goal of becoming the global leader in technological innovation is now within sight,” said Bloomberg. “By adding a new state-of-the-art institution to our landscape, we will educate tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and create the jobs of the future. This partnership has so much promise because we share the same goal: to make New York City home to the world’s most talented workforce.”

The new campus will cost more than $2 billion and will be comprised of classrooms, labs, conference centers, housing and more for 2,000 graduate students. The university intends to build quickly, and start classes by next September.

“Cornell University and our extraordinary partner, The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, are deeply gratified to have the opportunity to realize Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for New York City: to prepare tomorrow’s expanding talent pool of tech leaders and entrepreneurs to work with the city’s key industries in growing tomorrow’s innovation ecosystem,” said Cornell president Skorton. “Starting today, we are going to put our plan to work, tapping into our extensive connections throughout the city and build a truly 21st Century campus to fuel the creation of new businesses and new industries throughout the city for decades to come.”

Prior to commencement of construction on Roosevelt Island, Cornell/Technion plans to open in an off-site location in 2012, with the first phase of their permanent Roosevelt Island home expected to open by no later than 2017. By 2027, the campus will have expanded to over 1.3 million square feet. Cornell/Technion has agreed to a 99-year lease for the Roosevelt Island site, with an option to purchase the land at the end of the term for $1. Cornell will develop and own the campus itself, and will assume financial responsibility for its establishment and operations.

According to the New York Economic Development Corporation (EDC), the campus alone will help create up to 20,000 construction jobs and up to 8,000 permanent jobs. More importantly, the campus is expected to generate nearly 600 spin-off companies over the projection period – expected to create up to an additional 30,000 permanent jobs.