Tag Archives: Waterfront Crab House

Returning July Fourth fireworks could mean big biz for LIC waterfront


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Macy’s

It could be an explosive Independence Day for businesses around the Long Island City waterfront.

After moving to the Hudson River in 2009, Macy’s and Bill de Blasio announced Monday that the department store’s annual 4th of July Fireworks show is returning to the East River this summer.

The location change is expected to benefit restaurants, bars and other establishments along the river that previously saw increased traffic during the festivities.

“It was actually an emptiness that the East River had. It was basically a tradition we had lost for five years,” said Tony Raouf, owner of Riverview Restaurant & Lounge.

Located close to Gantry Plaza State Park, a popular fireworks viewing spot in years past, Riverview is planning on having a celebration with a band this year.

Waterfront Crab House, another Long Island City eatery near the East River, on Borden Avenue, used to close the street down during the holiday and hold a fundraiser for children’s cancer before the fireworks moved.

Parking changes and construction no longer make the closure possible, according to Barbara Heden, the restaurant’s manager.

“[This July Fourth] probably won’t be like it used to be, but will bring us business,” she said.

Heden expects business will quadruple compared to last year. She also said the newly-created Hunter’s Point South Park, which is located on Center Boulevard between 50th and 54th avenues and did not exist when the fireworks were formerly on the East River, will help bring in more crowds.

Z NYC Hotel, opened in 2011 at 43rd Avenue and 11th Street, is already developing special July Fourth events and programming for the holiday that it will be announcing soon, according to Lisa Gneo, director of sales and marketing.

“This will be a great opportunity for many businesses in Long Island City and another way to generate tremendous revenue for our hotel and the community,” she said.

The country’s largest pyrotechnic July Fourth display, the fireworks will be launched from the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time and from barges positioned on the lower East River.

Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s events, said at the announcement that the move to the East River is not permanent.

“I’m sure when there’s something else to celebrate — or a reason to move — we will look to do so,” she said.

But the mayor said he would do everything possible “to make [the East River location] as typical as possible — as frequent as possible.”

 

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Amendment to bring sidewalk cafes back to LIC


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the Department of Consumer Affairs

Once hampered by noise complaints and numerous tickets, Manducatis Rustica owner Gianna Cerbone-Teoli is looking forward to resurrecting her Vernon Boulevard establishment’s sidewalk café.

“I’m ecstatic about it,” said Cerbone-Teoli. “It’s really nice to see people sitting outside on the street and it brings more people to the area.”

Presented at a community meeting by a representative from the Department of City Planning (DCP), restrictions preventing sidewalk cafes in Long Island City and Sunnyside Gardens will be lifted, pending approval from both the local Community Board and City Council.

Main and upcoming retail zones, including Vernon Boulevard, Borden Avenue, Jackson Avenue, 21st Street, Crescent Street, 44th Drive, Court Square and 43rd Avenue, will receive permission to add unenclosed sidewalk cafes to their storefronts if the amendment passes. According to the representative, longstanding LIC restaurant Waterfront Crab House was “grandfathered” under the arrangement. Riverview restaurant, already equipped with a sidewalk café, is not included in the plan because of its location on Center Boulevard, outside the designated zone.

Community Board 1 voted to approve the motion as long as the amendment allowed enclosed sidewalk cafes for those with appropriate clearance in front of their business. Enclosed sidewalk cafes are currently not included under the revision.

According to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), the fee for an unenclosed two-year sidewalk café license is $510 in addition to a consent fee to use the public sidewalk and a security deposit. Businesses hoping to institute an enclosed café must also pay a city planning fee, varying depending on size, zone and the type of café.
Alcohol may be served in sidewalk cafes if the restaurant has obtained a license from the State Liquor Authority (SLA) and beverages are distributed only by a server.

According to Arthur Rosenfield, president of the Long Island City/Astoria Chamber of Commerce, nearby commercial strips in Astoria, such as Broadway, 30th Avenue and Ditmars Boulevard, have seen a boom in business since the installation of outdoor dining spaces.

“People like [sidewalk cafes] and the business and restaurants need to have that kind of additional presence for economic reasons,” said Rosenfield. “They need it for revenue and to be attractive – the European-style cafés are very attractive to people and they’re bringing people to the neighborhood. It’s very positive for the community.”

 

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