Tag Archives: western Queens

Plans for proposed Sunnyside, Woodside slow zones revealed


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images courtesy of Department of Transportation

More streets in western Queens will soon be slower and safer.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) presented its plans for two proposed slow zones in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside and Sunnyside, south of Queens Boulevard, before Community Board 2 (CB 2) during a public hearing on Wednesday night.

The slow zones were designed through input from the community, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and CB 2.

As part of the city’s Vision Zero initiative, the neighborhoods that will be included in these two slow zones were selected based on the transportation agency’s evaluation on crash history, traffic fatalities, community support, and the closeness of schools and senior and day care centers.

THE COURIER/File Photo

THE COURIER/File Photo

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

The first proposed area, which would be called the Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone, would be bordered by 43rd Street, 38th Avenue, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street, Queens Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. There are three schools and three daycare/pre-K centers in the area.

SG-W SZ

According to the DOT, since 2007 there has been one death in the proposed zone and three severe pedestrian injuries.

The Sunnyside Gardens-Woodside Slow Zone would include 18 proposed speed bumps, added to the already existing 12 bumps, and 19 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

In the proposed Sunnyside Slow Zone, which has four schools in the area, the borders would be 36th Street, Queens Boulevard, 51st Street and part of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. The area is split diagonally by Greenpoint Avenue, which is not part of the slow zone, according to the DOT.

Since 2007 there have been four fatalities in the proposed zone and since 2008 three severe pedestrian injuries and five severe injuries involving vehicle occupants.

The Sunnyside Slow Zone would include 20 speed bumps, in addition to the current eight bumps, and 31 neighborhood slow zone gateways.

CB 2 will vote on the proposal during its next monthly meeting.

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MTA to begin weekend bus trial expanding service along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

DSC_11092

Starting this weekend, residents and visitors will have better access to the western Queens waterfront.

The Q103 bus line, which connects Astoria and Long Island City via Vernon Boulevard, will offer service to riders on weekends, starting Sunday and operate later on weekday evenings, according to the MTA.

In April, the transit agency said the schedule update would serve as a trial program, and it would 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. It has not been determined how long the trial program will run.

“This announcement is a milestone for all of us who fought for years to get proper bus service for the growing communities of Astoria and Long Island City,” said state Sen. Michael Gianaris, who has been calling for the extra service on the bus line since 2011. “I am thrilled the MTA is finally realizing western Queens’ need for increased mass transit is real and pressing.”

Gianaris is also urging the MTA to make the Q103 expansion changes permanent.

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, the MTA previously said.

“These enhancements were all a result of listening to our customers and keeping close watch on changing ridership trends,” said MTA NYC Transit President Carmen Bianco.

Local leaders and business owners see the need to expand the Q103’s service as crucial to the growing neighborhoods.

“It is a positive step in improving transportation options in our neighborhood,” Councilman Costa Constantinides said. “The Vernon Boulevard corridor has been one of the more under-served transit thoroughfares in western Queens. Increasing bus service would be a vital resource to commuters traveling to Manhattan and to residents connecting from Astoria to Long Island City.”

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 MTA has also announced that this Sunday the Q19 will extend its western last stop from Astoria Boulevard and 21st Street to the East River waterfront at 27th Avenue and 2nd Street.

The Q102 will then also remain on 30th Avenue between Crescent Street and 8th Street, according to the MTA, with the stops on Crescent Street, Newtown Avenue and Astoria Boulevard to be relocated to 30th Avenue. All bus stops along Astoria Boulevard will instead be served by the Q19.

For more information visit www.mta.info.

 

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Queens World Cup fans get pooped on by Triumph the Insult Dog


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Screenshoot via teamcoco.com


Instead of taking a trip to South America, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog paid a visit to western Queens last week to poop on World Cup fans.

The character puppet, voiced by Robert Smigel, aired the first of his World Cup segments on TBS’ “Conan” Tuesday night where he joined Colombian, Greek and Uruguayan fans in Astoria and Jackson Heights.

In the June 24 segment Triumph begins his “pooping” journey in Astoria in front of the bar and restaurant Basurero on Steinway Street celebrating with and insulting Colombian fans.

“As soon as the teams are done jogging and warming up they are going to start the game,” he said before moving away from the camera. “Oh wait I’ve just been informed that this is the game and I’ve actually been watching soccer for the past two hours.”

He then makes his way to another Astoria bar filled with Greek fans and pokes fun at the Greek economy and the idea that all Greeks work at diners.

Triumph ends his segment in Jackson Heights with Uruguayan fans at La Gran Uruguaya Restaurant and El Chivito D’Oro where he makes fun of the “Easter egg” colors of the country’s flag and even gets an insult shot at him by one die-hard fan.

“You know they say that soccer is less exciting than football, American football, but that is really selling it short. Don’t you think?” he questions some fans watching the game. “It’s also less exciting than basketball and baseball and bowling and backgammon and miniature gold and yahtzee.”

The video ends with viewers being promised that the World Cup “pooping” will be continued.

 

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Woodside street renamed after former Councilman Walter McCaffrey


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano

Woodside came together Saturday to honor a man who officials call the “great son” of the western Queens neighborhood.

Local politicians, community leaders and residents celebrated the life of former Councilman Walter McCaffrey during a ceremony in which 61st Street on Woodside Avenue was renamed “Walter McCaffrey Place.”

“The late Walter McCaffrey will never be forgotten,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who introduced legislation into the City Council to rename the Woodside street, where McCaffrey once had his district office. “A Woodsider till the end, Walter never stopped advocating for his neighborhood and this district, setting a high bar for all elected officials who followed him in office.”

McCaffrey, who passed away last July at 64 years old, was born and raised in Woodside, and served as councilman of the 26th District from 1985 to 2001. Before being elected to the Council, McCaffrey served as chair of Community Board (CB) 2.

“Here we are to honor the life and legacy of [Walter], the person who did so much for our city, so much for our community,” said Joseph Conley, chair of CB 2, during the renaming dedication. “And as Walter taught me and many people here today, there was no greater exercise in life than to reach out your hand and help somebody.

While in the City Council McCaffrey also served as chair of the Zoning and Franchises subcommittee, and was on the Land Use, Finance, Public Safety and Transportation committee.

Friends, colleagues and others who were at the street renaming ceremony remembered the late councilman for his sense of humor and devotion to serving the residents of western Queens.

“The dedication of Walter McCaffrey Place is a fitting tribute to a selfless public servant who was synonymous with the Woodside community,” Congressman Joseph Crowley said. “Walter fought for the people of Queens with great passion, leaving behind a legacy of advocacy and accomplishment that improved the lives of middle class families across the city.”

 

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LIC scheduled for a weekend of fun


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

Long Island City is the place to be this weekend.

Three events will be taking over the western Queens neighborhood, bringing residents and visitors from near and far the best in food, drinks, activities, the arts and much more.

The first of these events is the ongoing LIC Flea & Food located at the outdoor lot on the corner of 5th Street and 46th Avenue. Items for sale include food and drinks, collectibles, antiques, arts and crafts, and fashion. For the remaining weekends in March, the LIC Flea will only be running on Saturdays.

During the weekend the 2014 LIC Arts Open, which began Wednesday, will also be taking over with local artists holding open studios on Saturday, and on Sunday hosting a closing party and silent auction.


             LIC ARTS OPEN POSTER © Luba Lukova

On Saturday, the first-ever free LIC Springs! block party, which is part of the city’s Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program, will shut down Vernon Boulevard to vehicular traffic from 50th to 46th avenues. From 1 to 6 p.m. the block party will feature performances, activities, and food and items sold by local business owners.

“Together these events show that there is something for everyone in Long Island City and should draw New Yorkers of all ages to LIC,” said Elizabeth Lusskin, president of the Long Island City Partnership. “Arts, culture, lively performances, activities and, of course, a cornucopia of culinary options — and all from local participants.”

Also for this weekend, the MTA has announced the No. 7 train would take a break from its weekend disruptions and will be running to help visitors get to and from Long Island City.

Just a neighborhood away, the Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios will be entering its third of eight Sundays of operation. After paying a visit to Long Island City, don’t miss out on the numerous vendors at the Astoria Flea.

 

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Weekend bus trial to expand service along Vernon Boulevard


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

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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Minibar app now available to western Queens residents


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Images Courtesy of Minibar

Western Queens residents can now have their favorite drink delivered to their door in under 60 minutes via a new app.

Minibar, which first debuted in Brooklyn and Manhattan in February, launched in Queens on Wednesday. The innovative app, available for free in the Apple store and servicing Astoria, Long Island City and Sunnyside, allows users to order wine and liquor with just the tap of a finger.

The app connects vendors with users based on zip code, and once a vendor is selected, a drop down menu, featuring available inventory at the local liquor store, shows up. The drinks are then placed in a cart and users can select an amount for delivery tips. Once the order , which requires a $25 minimum, is placed, an confirmation email is sent and the items are delivered in one hour or less.

“We are incredibly excited to launch Minibar in Queens, making home entertaining as seamless and easy as possible in these neighborhood within the borough,” Lara Crystal, Minibar co-founder and co-CEO, said. “With virtually everything available at your fingertips, it’s time to make alcohol just as easy to order to your home.”

Following legal age requirements for purchasing alcohol, Minibar users will have to confirm they are of legal drinking age before placing an order and upon delivery vendors are responsible for verifying IDs.

The app allows its users to indicate if the order is a gift. Upcoming features will also include personalized order suggestion based on previous purchases and recommendations on what foods to have with the drinks.

 

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Op-ed: The western Queens renaissance: A burgeoning community on the rise


| oped@queenscourier.com

ASSEMBLYMEMBER ARAVELLA SIMOTAS

At its core, western Queens is a community built by small businesses. From the time the Steinway brothers built their first factory in the U.S. in 1853 to the television and film production and high-tech enterprises we see flourishing today, this part of New York City is firmly grounded in innovation and civic leadership. As a lifelong resident of Astoria and a New York State elected representative, I have been dedicated to ensuring that this wonderful community continues to thrive.

As we continue to recover from the economic downturn, western Queens has been a powerhouse of new ventures and a center for job creation. As the most diverse county in the United States, our borough is uniquely positioned to cultivate a dynamic hub of economic and cultural activity. The area is growing fast, with an influx of new families and workers eager to contribute and establish themselves in the neighborhood.

As the home to three film production studios, western Queens is also a driving force behind the continued strength of the New York City film industry. These studios and the movies and television they produce contribute thousands of jobs and untold indirect revenue and economic activity that benefit community residents. Located adjacent to the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the new home of the Queens Council on the Arts,  this part of the borough has become a veritable epicenter of arts and culture.

In addition to the hundreds of restaurants, boutiques, hardware stores and every imaginable variety of mom-and-pop stores, western Queens is a model for responsible innovation. The hard work of so many ensures that growth benefits all members of our community. Recently, construction began on the $125 million expansion and modernization project at Mt. Sinai Hospital. This new state of the art facility will be much better equipped to serve the growing population of new residents who will now enjoy expanded first-rate medical care in the heart of Astoria.

Our local seniors have also benefited from the construction and opening of the brand-new HANAC/PCA Residence, a 90-unit facility which will make affordable housing more accessible, especially important in a city with scarce land resources and a high demand for real estate.

Together with other local leaders, I have worked to ensure that our community welcomes these new waves of growth. I have made it a priority to keep our streets free of trash and our centers of commerce clean and welcoming for consumers. Working with concerned residents, I have also striven to preserve the family-oriented character of local neighborhoods so that our children can always feel safe and our small businesses can thrive.

I will always pledge to work both in the community and through my role in Albany to encourage and promote an environment conducive to the continued growth of western Queens. Working together with businesses, residents, and local institutions, we can ensure that our world-class neighborhood remains a beacon of economic and cultural development for decades to come.

Aravella Simotas represents parts of western Queens, including Astoria and parts of Long Island City in the New York State Assembly.

 

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Slow zones coming to western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Johann Hamilton

Residents in western Queens will soon be able to cross their streets more safely.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will install slow zones in Sunnyside Gardens, Woodside, and Sunnyside south of Queens Boulevard, according to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The slow zones, set for 2015, will be designed through input from the community.

“By installing these two slow zones in western Queens, we will have tremendous impact on improving the safety of pedestrians who walk along heavily trafficked corridors in our neighborhoods,” said Van Bramer. “I believe it is vital to use every tool we have to protect the lives of residents on our city’s streets.”

The locations, which are part of 15 communities chosen to receive slow zones over the next three years, were selected based on the DOT’s evaluation on crash history, community support, the proximity of schools and seniors and day care centers, along with other data.

The Sunnyside slow zone would be bordered by 36th Avenue, Queens Boulevard, Greenpoint Avenue, 49th Street and parts of the Long Island and Brooklyn-Queens Expressways. The Sunnyside Gardens and Woodside Slow Zone would be surrounded by 43rd Street, Barnett Avenue, 58th Street and a part of Queens Boulevard.

The goal of the Neighborhood Slow Zone program is to lower the number of crashes and “to enhance quality of life by reducing cut through traffic and traffic noise in residential neighborhoods,” according to the fact sheet.

Slow zones are marked with high-visibility blue signs that warn drivers at all streets entering the zones. Each area has a speed limit of 20 mph and includes speed bumps and eight-foot-high letters on the road that read “20 MPH.”

“Speeding is the single greatest contributing factor in traffic fatalities in our city,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last month. “Slow zones have shown proven results in curbing dangerous driving and we want more neighborhoods to benefit from the program.”

According to the DOT, a slow zone has also been proposed for Jackson Heights in 2014.

 

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More bike lanes coming to western Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Mike DiBartolomeo

The wheels are turning in the right direction for one community’s push to get more bike lanes.

At a recent Community Board (CB5) Transportation Committee meeting, the Department of City Planning (DCP) revealed a list of streets that could have bike lanes in place by early 2014.

The DCP is looking to add six potential new routes to the area and streets that are under consideration are Eliot Avenue, Juniper Boulevard South, Central Avenue, Cooper Avenue, Woodward Avenue, Onderdonk Avenue, 80th Street and 69th Street.

Currently, there are a few lanes in the district, which encompasses Maspeth, Ridgewood, Middle Village and Glendale, but hardly any at all that connect the bike-friendly neighborhoods surrounding the district to the north in Sunnyside and Long Island City, and parts of northern Brooklyn.

Map courtesy of DOT

“If you look at the bike map right now there is a big hole where Community Board 5 is,” said Donald Passantino, a member of the CB 5 Transportation Committee and an avid bike rider. “Part of this is that these [lanes] are supposed to connect with other neighborhoods.”

The board requested new lanes throughout the community last year through the Department of Transportation (DOT). The request was then turned over to City Planning, which has been assessing streets that the community recommended for new bike lanes.

Now the DCP will review bike planning practices with the DOT and continue to analyze the most practical streets for lanes, and then in the coming weeks meet with the community again to get additional input, according to a DCP representative.

“The real advantage of bike lanes more than anything else is that they calm traffic,” Passantino said. “The [street] looks narrower, which forces cars to drive slower and cuts down on deaths.”

City Planning will meet with the community board members again this month to talk about potential lanes.

Community Board 5 Bike Lane Street Design Presentation

 

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Citi Bike share program headed to Astoria


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

Citi Bike is coming to Astoria.

Although the Department of Transportation (DOT) has yet to set a timetable as to when the Citi Bike share program will be coming into Queens, Senator Michael Gianaris has announced he has worked with the DOT to include Astoria in the future plans.

“Citi Bike will be a great addition to Astoria, which has a growing cycling community and is already one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the city,” said Gianaris.

Astoria now joins Long Island City and Sunnyside as future locations in the borough for the Citi Bike share program.

Long Island City was supposed to be part of the Citi Bike’s initial phase which debuted in May but was pushed back after equipment damages from Superstorm Sandy caused a delay.

The DOT previously told The Courier that although the expansion into Long Island City was delayed, it is working to bring the Citi Bike stations to the neighborhood as soon as possible. “Bike share will allow people to enjoy the neighborhood in a fun and healthy way and will help people more easily travel around western Queens, an area in dire need of better mass transit,” said Gianaris.

 

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Pols want to speed up bike share expansion in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Cristabelle Tumola

With the much-anticipated Citi Bike Share scheduled to begin by the end of the month, local politicians are calling on the Department of Transportation (DOT) to speed up expansion into western Queens.

On May 9, DOT set the Citi Bike Share’s start for the week of Memorial Day for annual members who sign up by May 17. The program is slated to open to daily and weekly members on June 2.

The program, which is operated by NYC Bike Share, will offer specially designed, durable bikes at docking stations around the city. Members can rent the bikes with special keys. They be available 24 hours a day year-round for 30 to 45 minutes at a go depending on the user’s membership plan.

The DOT plans to set up bike stations in Long Island City and Sunnyside within the year. Those are the only parts of the borough currently set to be covered by Citi Bike Share.

“Our community has worked for years to make western Queens more bike-friendly, and our efforts have been largely successful,” said Senator Michael Gianaris. “I am pleased to see that Long Island City is included in future plans, and I hope that the program will be quickly expanded to more western Queens neighborhoods.”

In recent years, western Queens has been the recipient of many bike-related amenities. Queensboro Bridge now features improved bike access. Also, developments like the Queens East River and North Shore Greenway have delivered transportation alternatives to and from Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Gianaris and Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer will continue to work with DOT, Citi Bike Share and local groups to speed up the process of bringing bike stations to Long Island City and the rest of western Queens.

“While we are initially placing the stations in the densest contiguous parts of the city that would generate the most use of the bikes, there will be a chance to expand in the future based on demand and resources,” said DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel.

You can find a map of stations included in the current plan at citibikenyc.com/stations.

 

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City breaks ground on Hunter’s Point South project


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of NYC Mayors Office's Flickr

The first shovelful of dirt was slung last week on what will be the city’s biggest new affordable housing complex since the 1970s.

On Monday, March 4, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, public officials and representatives from firms involved in building Hunter’s Point South broke ground on the first phase of construction that will bring the first two residential buildings of the project to the Queens waterfront, with 925 permanently affordable apartments and around 17,000-square-feet of retail space.

In addition to the buildings, this phase will include a new five-acre waterfront park and a new school seating 1,100 students, almost near completion.

“In just a few years, Hunter’s Point will have all the makings of a great community – affordable homes, new transportation links, beautiful parks with sweeping views and a brand-new school,” said Bloomberg.

The plan evolved in Community Board 2 and came to be after the members put forth the idea to the mayor. The city later acquired the land, said CB 2 chair Joseph Conley.

The residential buildings are expected to have a “well balanced” population of residents including low- to moderate-income families, senior citizens, city employees and people with disabilities, said Conley.

“This ground breaking represents another milestone in the ongoing transformation of Hunter’s Point,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. “These two towers will be affordable to many who live and want to remain residents in western Queens.”

After being hit hard by Sandy, the plans for the Hunter’s Point South waterfront include resiliency actions to safeguard the buildings from any future weather events.

For example, according to the mayor’s office, the buildings’ emergency generators will be on the roof and the mechanical systems on the second floor.

One building will be located at 1-50 50th Avenue and the other at 1-55 Borden Avenue. The buildings are being designed by SHoP Architects and Ismael Leyva Architects and are expected to begin to be occupied in 2014, with full construction finalized in 2015.

“Long Island City represents the future of New York City, and with projects like these, that future is a bright one,” said Van Bramer.

 

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Kaufman Astoria Studios to expand, add outdoor movie set


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Kaufman Astoria Studios

Looking to bring more of Hollywood into the borough, Kaufman Astoria Studios is expanding this summer beyond its doors and into the outdoors.

The expansion, which was part of a thought-out process since the 1980s, includes two new gates and an outdoor movie set, on 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues. It is the only one of its kind in the city.

“We want to put the physical aspect of what people think of when they expect to pull up to a studio,” said Hal Rosenbluth, president at Kaufman Astoria Studios.

The outdoor studio space is expected to bring in more movie and TV producers because it will allow them to leave up sets for extended periods of time.

“It will allow actors to be in a controlled environment without having to worry about being in a neighborhood in Manhattan,” Rosenbluth said.

Local officials expect Kaufman will sustain and expand upon the economic development it spurred when it first came into the neighborhood two decades ago.

“The expansion of Kaufman Astoria Studios is another sign of the great success of New York’s film tax credit, which has been the most successful economic development initiative in the last decade,” State Senator Mike Gianaris said.

The immediate area could also see the development of more stages, condominiums or rental apartments and a hotel.

“This project … will mean jobs and increased economic activity for Astoria and western Queens,” said Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer.

After its opening, the set’s primary purpose will be used by producers looking to film in Queens. But Rosenbluth hopes to work with different organizations in the neighborhood in order to involve the community as a whole.

“It will serve from a producer to the general public coming to watch a movie and getting something to eat,” Rosenbluth said.

 

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New schools to ease overcrowding in western Queens


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Renderings courtesy of SCA

Two new schools will help alleviate overcrowding in Jackson Heights and Corona in the next two years, according to the School Construction Authority (SCA).

The first school, P.S. 287, is scheduled to debut this September at 110-08 Northern Boulevard in Corona. Located in District 24, the four-story building will serve pre-K through fifth grade and have a 420 student capacity, said the SCA.

I.S. 297 will be completed by September 2014 at 33-55 74th Street in Jackson Heights as part of District 30. The school is expected to have four floors, serve sixth through eighth grade and have a 400 student capacity.

“These two new schools, together with the ground we broke on the addition to P.S. 70, will go a long way towards easing overcrowding in western Queens schools. But, there is still more work to be done,” said Councilmember Peter F. Vallone Jr.

District 30 has been in need of more schools to keep up with a growing population, school leaders said.

“The more crowded it is, the harder it is to get things done, even with parents picking their kids up,” said Isaac Carmignani, co-president of the District 30 Community Education Council. “Anytime we get seats, anytime we get schools, it’s good for us. We’re grateful for anything that we are given.”

Overcrowding has also been a problem in District 24 as school construction failed to keep up with the growing population of families, especially new immigrants looking to make the neighborhoods in the district their home, according to InsideSchools.org.

“I have been in constant contact with the Department of Education to ensure that a comprehensive plan is established to address the overcrowding in my district,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

Last March, the department announced it would add 6,000 new school seats over the next two years in order to ease overcrowding in the borough.

According to the SCA, along with the brand-new school buildings, P.S. 287 will have two playgrounds at the back of the school. I.S. 297’s playground will be located on land purchased by the city across the street from the school.

 

I.S. 297 rendering 

 

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