Tag Archives: Senator Michael Gianaris

9th Annual Taste of LIC offers items from over 50 local restaurants


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Photos by Dominick Totino Photography

Foodies made their way to the Long Island City waterfront to a get a taste of what the popular western Queens neighborhood has to offer.

The Chocolate Factory Theater presented the Ninth Annual Taste of LIC, a community-wide festival highlighting Long Island City’s culinary and cultural accomplishments, Tuesday at Gantry Plaza State Park.

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This year’s celebration featured food and beverage tastings from 50 restaurants and auction and raffle prizes courtesy of 100 local Long Island City businesses. The event also featured a special performance by over 30 Sunnyside/Woodside Girl Scouts choreographed by Madeline Best.


Executive Director of The Chocolate Factory Theater Sheila Lewandowski and Borough President Melinda Katz

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer served as Master of Ceremonies and “chocolate lover honored guests” included Borough President Melinda Katz, state Senator Michael Gianaris, Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan.

All of the event’s proceeds go toward The Chocolate Factory’s 2014-2015 season of dance, theater, music and multimedia performances.

 

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DOT to implement Slow Zones on Northern and Queens boulevards


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THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Vision Zero traffic safety plan will be implemented at two highly trafficked Queens thoroughfares where collisions have claimed more than 20 lives in the last six years, officials said.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Thursday that Northern and Queens boulevards would become part of 25 planned Arterial Slow Zones implemented throughout the five boroughs.

“I am pleased to bring the Arterial Slow Zone program to Northern Boulevard where long crosswalks and high speeds have been an unnecessary reality for too many Queens residents,” DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said.

The first phase of a Slow Zone for Northern Boulevard will run 4.2 miles long from 40th Road to 114th Street. Starting later this month, the speed limit will be lowered to 25 mph and traffic signals will be retimed.

Since 2008, there have been five fatalities on Northern Boulevard, according to the DOT. One of the recent accidents involved 8-year-old Noshat Nahian, who was fatally struck by a truck on his way to school on Northern Boulevard and 61st Street.

Last month the DOT announced it would install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Bringing an arterial slow zone to Northern Boulevard is a huge victory for our entire community,” Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras said.

In July, the DOT will implement a Slow Zone on Queens Boulevard, which has seen 23 deaths in the past six years. The Slow Zone will stretch 7.4 miles from Jackson Avenue to Hillside Avenue.

“I am thrilled to be here on Northern Boulevard with Commissioner Trottenberg announcing safety improvements, rather than with a grieving family begging the city to take actions,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “Too many lives have been lost on Northern and Queens Boulevard, and many other dangerous roads throughout our city.”

The city agency also announced Slow Zones would go up on Jamaica Avenue later this month, and Rockaway Boulevard in August.

For more information on the Slow Zones, visit www.nyc.gov/dot or www.nyc.gov/visionzero.

 

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Weekend bus trial to expand service along Vernon Boulevard


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THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The western Queens waterfront will soon get a taste of extended bus service.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will begin offering service to riders on weekends starting in June, according to the MTA.

The weekend schedule will serve as a trial program for the transit agency to receive comments from the community at an MTA public hearing to be scheduled at a later date. After the public hearing, a decision will be made to keep the service or not, the MTA said. It was not determined how long the trial program would run.

“At long last, weekend service on the Q103 bus line is in sight,” said State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “The need for more public transportation in our area will only continue to grow, especially on weekends, as more people flock to our waterfront to visit our restaurants, parks and cultural institutions.”

The weekend service will run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and, in addition, the Q103 will also extend its weekday service hours until 9 p.m., instead of 7:30 p.m. The travel path and bus stops will not be affected, according to the MTA.

“The expansion of service will not only benefit the increasing amount of riders but it will also give our growing cultural institutions that ability to generate more traffic to their venues,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods, with the increase of new residential towers coming into the areas bringing more people.

According to officials, the Q103 ridership has been increasing in the past years, rising from 558 riders per day in 2011 to about 790 in 2014.

“The Q103 service is a vital link for the cultural organizations of western Queens,” said Jenny Dixon, director of The Noguchi Museum. “It enables visitors to go from The Noguchi Museum and Socrates Sculpture Park in the north to SculptureCenter, MoMA PS1, Dorsky Gallery and the Chocolate Factory to the south.”

 

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Mother of Astoria creek crash victim to sue city, driver: report


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Photo via Facebook

The mother of one of the four East Elmhurst friends who died when their car plunged into an Astoria creek two weeks ago is planning on filing a negligence suit against the city and surviving driver, according to a published report.

Velma Elliot, the mother of 21-year-old Darius Fletcher, also plans to meet with the Queens district attorney’s office which is investigating if the driver, 20-year-old Andrew Gramm should receive criminal charges, the NY Daily News reports.

Elliot additionally wants changes to be made to the dead end where the car crashed, the publication said.

On April 4, after coming home from a birthday celebration, the car carrying Gramm, Fletcher, Jada Monique Butts, 19, Crystal Gravely, 19, and Jaleel Feurtado, 20, was traveling on 19th Avenue near 37th Street when it hit the curb and rolled over into Steinway Creek.

Gramm managed to escape the vehicle and call for help, but Fletcher, Butts, Gravely and Feurtado were later removed by FDNY divers and pronounced dead.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris called on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a review of safety measures on the various roads, which lead to the water.

A DOT spokesman said the agency had installed an “END” sign where 19th Avenue terminates and two highly visible “Dead End” signs at the intersection last October and which were in place at the time of the accident.

The spokesman said the agency will be looking into the report of a section of the guiderail missing, even though a preliminary review does not point to any recent reports on the missing section. The DOT will also review conditions at streets ending near water.

 

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Sunnyside to get two new public plazas


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Photo by Artie Weiner

Sunnyside will soon have two new public spaces that residents can enjoy during the summer.

Last year, the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID) applied for the Department of Transportation’s NYC Plaza Program and early this month were notified that the applications were accepted.

“Through this innovative program, we will expand the amount of public space that is available to everyone in the community,” Councilman JimmyVan Bramer said. “I look forward to working with Sunnyside Shines BID, members of the community, and local arts groups to bring the space to life through a diverse array of public events, programming and cultural performances.”

The plazas will be located under the elevated No. 7 train line at 40th Street and Queens Boulevard, and 46th Street and Queens Boulevard. Both locations currently are closed to vehicles.

The Sunnyside Shines BID will work as the nonprofit partner to maintain the plazas and program yearly community events and activities in it.

“As more and more New Yorkers come to know Sunnyside as a great place to live, work and play, I’m sure exciting announcements like the forthcoming public plazas will keep on coming,” Senator Michael Gianaris said.

These two public plazas will receive improvements such as planters, benches and movable tables and chairs, in order to create public gathering places for the neighborhood.

“The NYC Plaza Program has done a tremendous job creating new usable, public spaces throughout the city, and we are thrilled to bring this innovative program to Sunnyside,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. “We look forward to making these spaces more vibrant public places in the neighborhood.”

A community outreach meeting to go over design and programming options is scheduled for Wednesday, April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-13 39th St.

 

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7 train suspension lifted for LIC weekend of events


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File Photo

There is a little light at the end of the tunnel for No. 7 train users.

Three weeks after coming face to face with the Long Island City community and listening to their concerns about the No. 7 train weekend suspensions, the MTA will keep the line running on May 17 and 18.

During the March 27 town hall meeting, community members and business owners asked the transit agency to alter its initial plan because of events such as the LIC Arts Open, LIC Flea & Food and LIC Springs!, a block party along Vernon Boulevard.

“Finally the MTA has not only listened to our community on this issue, but taken action,” State Sen. Michael Gianaris said. “LIC Springs! and other events like the LIC Flea and the LIC Arts Open are wonderful displays of how much our neighborhood has to offer, so I appreciate the MTA making it easier to get people here for this one weekend.”

The MTA said that the work previously scheduled for the weekend of May 17 and 18 will have to be rescheduled, however won’t increase the number of closures for 2014. Some of the closures will be rescheduled for 2015.

“The community spoke and the [MTA New York City Transit] listened. The No. 7 Line shutdown for needed repairs has caused ongoing hardship for the businesses, residents, cultural organizations and institutions in Long Island City,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “That weekend is expected to draw significant numbers of visitors from across Queens – and New York City – to our neighborhood for arts, culture, food and fun.”

Although the MTA has agreed to keep the No. 7 line working for the one May weekend, Gianaris wants to continue working with the agency to put an end to all weekend disruptions.

“Of course, when everyone wants to come back and enjoy the weekend in Long Island City for the rest of the summer, we’ll run into the same old problem, so I will keep fighting until the 7 train actually running on weekends is no longer news,” Gianaris said.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

The MTA has also released the following additional changes for the No. 7 train suspensions:

  • May 3-4 will now be a shutdown between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street.
  • May 31-June 1 will now be shut down between 74 Street-Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Sept. 20-21 will now be shut down between 74 Street -Broadway to Times Square-42 Street.
  • Nov 15-16 will now be a limited service to Queensboro Plaza with no service between Queensboro Plaza and Times Square-42 Street weekend.

 

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Probe continues into fatal Astoria crash as loved ones mourn victims


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Photos via Facebook

Police are continuing the investigation into an accident that killed four friends after their car plunged into an Astoria creek as one politician calls for a review of safety measures on roads leading to the water.

A Honda Accord carrying four passengers and a driver was traveling on 19th Avenue near 37th Street about 10:40 p.m. Friday when it hit the curb and rolled over into Steinway Creek, police said.

The driver, identified in reports as 20-year-old Andrew Gramm, was traveling at 60 mph when he decided to make a u-turn on the wet road, according to reports. Once the vehicle went into the water, reportedly 8-feet deep, Gramm managed to escape the vehicle and call for help, cops said, but four people were still inside the car when authorities arrived.

FDNY divers then extracted the passengers, Darius Fletcher, 21, Jada Monique Butts, 19, Crystal Gravely, 19, and Jaleel Feurtado, 20, all from East Elmhurst, according to police.

The women and one of the men were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center where they were pronounced dead, officials said. The second man was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital where he was also pronounced deceased.

Gravely would have celebrated her 20th birthday on Saturday, reports said.

Gramm was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, police said. He was given a preliminary breath test where results showed he was sober during the time of the accident, according to police.

The NYPD’s Highway Collision Investigation Squad is still looking into the accident.

On Facebook, family and friends are mourning the loss of the four young lives through posts and photos.

“Speechless…The only reason I can cope with this is trusting and knowing if God took these kids from us it’s because God has plans for them. Just a tough pill to swallow,” wrote Kay Roberts on Saturday together with a photo of the four friends.

Vernon Feurtado, who according to Facebook posts is one of the victim’s fathers, remembered his son, Jaleel, through photos of the two together.

Senator Michael Gianaris is now calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a review of safety measures on the various roads, including 19th Avenue, which lead to the water. According to the senator, reports of the crash have created questions about the chain-link fence that is supposed to serve as a barricade between the street and the creek. There is also not sufficient signage specifying that the street becomes a dead end.

“As our community deals with this tragic accident, we must work together to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future,” Gianaris said. “DOT must make our streets safer by reviewing all roads leading to waterways as there may be similar dangers in other neighborhoods throughout our city. This accident was avoidable, and something must be done to keep people safe as they drive, walk or cycle on our roadways.”

A DOT spokesman said  the agency had installed an “END” sign where 19th Avenue terminates and two highly visible “Dead End” signs at the intersection last October and which were in place at the time of the accident.


Photo Courtesy of the Department of Transportation

Early Saturday afternoon the DOT also secured the area with jersey barriers and barrels, and also replaced the “END” sign. The spokesman said the agency will be looking into the report of a section of the guiderail missing, even though a preliminary review does not point to any recent reports on the missing section. The DOT will also review condition at streets ending near water.

 

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DOT to install traffic safety features at fatal Woodside intersection


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THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The city’s Department of Transportation will make a series of traffic changes on Northern Boulevard in Woodside, where an 8-year-old was killed last year, officials said.

Noshat Nahian was on his way to school, when he was fatally struck by a truck while crossing the busy thoroughfare at 61st Street in December, police said.

In response to the tragedy, the city will install two pedestrian safety islands at the intersection, and remove the westbound left turn bay and signal on Northern Boulevard to eliminate possible vehicle and pedestrian collisions.

“Safety is the agency’s first priority, and following earlier enhancements including parking restrictions to increase the visibility of pedestrians on the northeast corner of the intersection, DOT will proceed with a comprehensive redesign of the area,” a DOT spokeswoman said.

The agency will also adjust signal timing to maximize crossing time for pedestrians, and install school crosswalks at every crossing to increasing the visibility of pedestrians.

Work on the project is expected to be conducted in the following weeks using in-house resources, according to the DOT.

“I am glad to see the city stepping up safety measures at this deadly intersection, though I only wish these plans had been completed before the life of Noshat Nahian was so tragically lost,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who has worked to ensure that Northern Boulevard, and other western Queens roads, receive attention in the Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero initiative.

“This is an encouraging step in that direction but we have far more to do to remove the dangers posed by our streets,” Gianaris said.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has also worked with school leaders, parents and the community to get the safety measures approved in the area.

“We must do everything possible to make sure that no child is ever harmed trying to cross the street to get to PS 152. We continue to mourn Noshat Nahian and we are as committed as ever to making Vision Zero a reality in Woodside, and New York City,” Van Bramer said.

 

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MTA to continue 7 train suspensions despite LIC’s pleas


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THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

After listening to numerous complaints recent No. 7 train suspensions have caused, the MTA told Long Island City – we’re sorry but the work must go on.

The western Queens community came together during a town hall meeting with MTA officials on Thursday to discuss the line’s suspensions, which are expected to continue for 13 more weekends throughout the year.

Officials from the agency explained the purpose behind the suspensions and listened to feedback from residents, elected officials and business owners.

MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco expressed his apologies for the inconveniences but told those present that the disruptions will continue as planned.

“This is not something that is unique to just our 7 line riders, because of the nature of our system we have to do this all over the city,” Bianco said. “Let me apologize to you with the inconvenience we’re causing because I know it’s there and I do apologize. We’ve looked hard for alternate ways to do this and I think we found the best solution.”

One of the ongoing projects that are causing the No. 7 line to shut down on weekends is the implementation of a Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC), which by 2017 is expected to provide real-time arrival information at stations and “improve system safety, reliability, capacity and flexibility,” according to the agency’s presentation.

The other two projects include Steinway Tube reconstruction and rehabilitation, and track panel replacement.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 2 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

One of the biggest topics brought up by residents and business owners during the night was the installment of a shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city.

Even though the entire room agreed it would be the best alternative during the suspensions, Bianco said that according to data from the MTA, a shuttle bus would only benefit a limited amount of people and would not save much travel time.

However, elected officials said they have yet to see any data regarding the shuttle service.

“We asked for it a while ago and I haven’t seen it,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “We’re still waiting for it. We keep hearing about it.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer agreed on the need to see the data as he asked the audience whether they believed the shuttle would work best for them.

“If the New York City transit believes that that plan is a bad plan for all of you, despite the fact that all of you think it’s a very good plan, then we need to see why this is being done the way it is being done,” Van Bramer said.

Although the work is expected to continue until 2017, this year is expected to be the worst and after mid-2015 the majority of the work disruptions will shift east from Long Island City, MTA officials said.

 

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Kaufman Arts District is first of its kind in Queens


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THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Astoria is ready for the world to know it’s the place to be for the arts.

The western Queens neighborhood gathered Friday to celebrate the announcement of the designation of the Kaufman Arts District, the first of its kind in the borough.

The district was created in partnership with Kaufman Astoria Studios, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Queens Council on the Arts.

During the announcement, the partners of the arts district received a proclamation from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer on behalf of the City Council.

The mission of the arts district will be “to advance and promote the area as a world class vibrant cultural destination and home for creative industries,” officials said.

“This corner of Queens has quickly become a vibrant community of cultural venues and arts organizations that have attracted some of our generation’s greatest artists,” Van Bramer said.

The Kaufman Arts District will span from 31st Street to the west, 34th Avenue to the north, Steinway Street to the east, and 37th Avenue to the south.

“Over the years, Kaufman Astoria and western Queens have blossomed side by side into a citywide landmark and a neighborhood that doubles as a world-class destination for the arts,” Senator Michael Gianaris said.

Within the boundaries of the Kaufman Arts District are the Museums of the Moving Image, The Astor Room, Studio Square NYC, the Queens Council on the Arts, the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, UA Kaufman Astoria Cinemas, the Astoria Performing Arts Center, and the Theater Development Fund’s Costume Collection.

“The creation of this arts district opens the community to more opportunities to experience the extensive creative activity in our midst,” said Carl Goodman, executive director of Museum of the Moving Image. “We’re going to really work together to bring this neighborhood to the next level.”

For more information on the arts district, visit here.

 

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MTA town hall to address 7 train shutdowns


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THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

The Long Island City community plans to express its rage at the MTA for the lack of local subway service.

A town hall meeting for locals to decry the last three weekends of No. 7 train suspensions is scheduled for Thursday to go over the details of the service disruption, expected to last for 19 more weekends.

Local elected officials, who asked the MTA to set the meeting up, and MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco are expected to hear feedback from community members.

“I really thought the community should have the same access and same right to get the briefing and be able to ask their own questions,” Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said. “I want the folks to be able to share with the MTA how they feel about this and why it is so harmful to their business and everyday lives.”

Senator Michael Gianaris said the MTA does not realize Long Island City has become a destination. The community has attempted to be more reasonable with the agency, but without success.

“It’s nice to have a dialogue, but a dialogue without action is not that helpful,” Gianaris said. “I hope this time is different. We’re going to keep their feet to the fire.”

Through July 21, there will be 13 weekend suspensions. Those dates are finalized, the MTA said, but there are also nine tentative weekend shutdowns scheduled for August through November.

The suspensions are expected to be in effect from 11:45 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday between Times Square-42nd Street and Queensboro Plaza. On some weekends, there will also be reduced or express-only service between 74th Street-Broadway and Queensboro Plaza.

Ideas for transportation alternatives during the weekend disruptions, such as the shuttle bus from Vernon Boulevard through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into the city, will also be brought up.

Sheila Lewandowski, Long Island City resident and owner of The Chocolate Factory Theater, believes such a meeting should be done before the disruptions began. However, she hopes the MTA will take what is said at the meeting and put it to good use.

“I think it’s important that the MTA remembers that it’s a public service and that they need to hear from their customers. I don’t feel like we get much opportunities for that to happen,” Lewandowski said. “What I want is for them to be more accessible to the very people that use the system because I feel like that’s what’s going to drive better service and change.”

The town hall meeting is open to the public and will begin at 6:30 p.m. at P.S./I.S. 78 at 46-08 Fifth St.

 

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LIC demands better communication over G train suspensions


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THE COURIER/ File Photo

The Long Island City community is concerned a new string of subway shutdowns will bring more problems to residents and business owners.

The MTA announced the G subway line, which connects Brooklyn and Queens, will be shut down for five weeks, including weekdays and weekends, starting July 28, though full details of the closure are still being finalized.

Service will also be suspended between Nassau Avenue and Court Square.

Although the transit agency said there will be no scheduled suspensions on the No. 7 and L subway lines during the five weeks, Long Island City residents and business owners are concerned about the inconveniences the shutdowns will bring.

“It’s one thing after another. We just have to throw up our hands and ask what’s next from the MTA,” Senator Michael Gianaris said. “They make these decisions without asking the community for its input.”

The closures are due to Sandy-related repairs, which involve track, structural, signal and electrical component repairs and replacement work, the MTA said. The work was scheduled during this period because it is when the G train has the lowest ridership.

Sheila Lewandowski, co-founder and executive director of The Chocolate Factory Theater in Long Island City, said more commuters are using the line and she hopes the MTA will take the time to listen to their ideas for alternatives before July.

“There’s more and more people traveling within the other boroughs,” Lewandowski said. “It should not just be a talk down decision. There has to be communication. They need to be listening to their communities more.”

 

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Astoria pol calls for potholes to be filled within 5 days or less


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THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

One Astoria politician is looking to make the headache of potholes go away faster.

Councilmember Costa Constantinides recently announced he had introduced a bill into the City Council that would require potholes to be filled within five days or less.

“It will give peace of mind to those that call 3-1-1 that potholes will be repaired within a five day time frame demonstrating our responsiveness to their all,” Constantinides said. “Department of Transportation (DOT) data shows that we have been able to fill potholes effectively despite the harsh winter. [The bill] would codify good practice and set our expectations high for years to come.”

Constantinides’ legislation was introduced after Mayor Bill de Blasio and the DOT announced that they have made pothole repairs a top priority this year. De Blasio’s plan includes pothole blitzes, targeted repaving, road-surface material enhancements, and enhanced routing and tracking operations.

“Potholes aren’t just a nuisance, they can cause thousands of dollars of damage that New Yorkers just can’t afford on a regular basis,” Senator Michael Gianaris said.

“Potholes and road maintenance are one of the top issues that I keep hearing from my fellow community members,” Robert Piazza, chair of Community Board 1 Transportation Committee, said. “It’s clear that we need to set a guideline and make sure that all potholes are filled quickly. The recent snow storms and freezing temperatures are surely creating more potholes than usual.”

The DOT did not respond for request for comment as of press time.

 

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DOE withdraws co-location plans


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THE COURIER/ File Photo

From the 49 co-location proposals released last year for schools all around the city, the Department of Education (DOE) has announced it will be withdrawing nine and revising one.

Two plans that have now been withdrawn included opening a K-4 Success Academy charter school in August Martin High School in Jamaica and bringing a new Career and Technical Education (CTE) high school to Long Island City High School. The rest of the plans involve schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

“The previous administration handed over these proposals – and we have had to review all of them under inflexible deadlines. While the circumstances for each proposal are unique, we identified clear criteria and we followed it,” Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña said. “We were deliberate in our decisions and, under the circumstance we inherited, believe is the best approach.”

In reviewing the proposals, the DOE identified four “core values” that will be used to evaluate co-locations: new elementary schools should not be opened on high school campuses; the new schools must have the resources needed to provide services the students deserve; depending on capital work to make space for the co-location; and seats must not be reduced in District 75, serving special needs students.

The agency also took into consideration deadlines and the impact some of the proposals would have on thousands of families.

“If there is one thing school communities should know, it’s this: we’re going to do things differently,” Fariña said. “Today, we are turning the page on the approach of the past. We are going to listen and be responsive like never before, and that will be reflected in everything we do.”

The Career and Technical Education high school proposed for LIC High School is now planned to be moved to Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan.

“This is a win for all of us in the community, but most of all for the students who only want the resources they deserve to receive a proper education,” State Senator Michael Gianaris said about LIC High School.

The DOE plans to host a meeting for each school community of the proposals that will be implemented. The meeting will help discuss next steps and also allow the DOE to engage with parents and school officials.

Councilmember Mark Weprin said that he is disappointed to learn that the DOE still plans on pursuing its plan to co-locate another school at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. However, he said he has heard that the DOE will work with the local community to make sure the programs at the school meet the community’s needs.


THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan 

“We want to make Martin Van Buren a destination high school once again,” Weprin said.

 

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Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios coming in May


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THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Astoria, get ready!

LIC Flea & Food and Kaufman Astoria Studios have announced they will be partnering up to bring the city’s first-ever backlot market called Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios. The new market, launching Sunday, May 4, will bring the community the best in food vendors, antiques, collectibles, art, crafts, fashion and much more.

“After a phenomenal first season in Long Island City we are thrilled to expand to Astoria,” said Joshua Schneps, Astoria Flea & Food president. “Kaufman Astoria Studios offers the perfect location and we look forward to creating a fun and vibrant destination for the community.”

Located in the studio’s outdoor lot, the first of its kind in New York City which opened in December on 36th Street between 34th and 35th avenues, Astoria Flea & Food will operate every Sunday for eight consecutive weekends.

“The Kaufman Astoria Studios neighborhood has grown into a wonderfully vibrant center for art, food and culture,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president at Kaufman Astoria. “Astoria Flea is a terrific addition to our community. We look forward to making our new backlot home to eight great Sundays filled with food, art and fashion.”

Visitors will also be able to pass through a brand new 40-foot high steel gated entrance, designed by David Rockwell and the Rockwell Group, located at 35th Avenue.

This market will act as an incubator to help promote and foster businesses, as well as be a fun and vibrant weekend spot for the entire family.

“This is extremely exciting news and another example that the borough is a fantastic place to live and do business,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “Kaufman Astoria Studios is a nationally recognized landmark that has hosted such classic TV shows as ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘The Cosby Show.’ It will provide the perfect scene for a flea market.”

Astoria Flea will work as a great setting for business owners to grow their businesses and gain prominence, even if they might not be ready to afford a storefront. The market will be within walking distance from the M, R, N and Q train lines.

“Astoria Flea & Food will offer a world-class shopping and culinary experience on the grounds of what has become a world-class film and television studios,” said Borough President Melinda Katz. “Its unique setting and easily accessible location will be attractive to tourists and Queens residents alike.”

In addition, Astoria Flea will allow visitors to have an experience within one of the city’s most historic film and television studios, first built in 1920, which is currently home to shows such as “Orange is the New Black,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Alpha House” and “Sesame Street.”

“With this neighborhood growth comes a greater need for fostering artistic culture and strengthening our small business community,” said Councilmember Costa Constantinides. “The market will be a vibrant place for Astoria’s artists and chefs to showcase their work, and will also be a place for entrepreneurs throughout the city to gain visibility for their small businesses.”

Astoria Flea has partnered with The Queens Courier to promote every vendor of the market in the newspaper and online. In addition, BORO Magazine and the LIC Courier will also feature a monthly vendor guide focused on painters, sculptors, photographers and food.

“LIC Flea is a very successful part of the Long Island City community and its expansion to Kaufman Astoria Studios is a welcome addition to our neighborhood,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “Astoria Flea & Food will bring together the great food and artistic flair that put Astoria on the map and made it a destination for people all over the world.”

Vendors, from the small to the big, can apply to sell at the market at www.LICFlea.com. Updates will be available through the Facebook and Twitter accounts at Facebook.com/AstoriaFlea and @AstoriaFlea.

 

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