Tag Archives: western Queens

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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Cuomo budget has $21 billion for Sandy relief


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Sandy, education and economic development were top priorities in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget, but despite the unexpected costs from the storm, the proposed plan eliminates a $1.3 billion gap with no new taxes or fees.

“By making difficult decisions over the past two years we have brought stability, predictability, and common sense to the state’s budget process,” said Cuomo.

“Sandy caused widespread destruction and as we begin the daunting task of rebuilding in southern Queens and the Rockaways, the governor’s proposal focuses on our needs by including $21 billion for disaster-related recovery, rebuilding and mitigation,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.

But the budget doesn’t stop at Sandy.

It increases education aid by $889 million, or an average of more than $300 per student, raises the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $8.75, and reforms the Workers’ Compensation system, saving more than $900 million.

In addition to money set aside for Sandy relief, another part of the budget is also good news for the borough.

The plan extends a film tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2014, for five more years.

“New York’s film tax credit has made our film industry an economic success story during an otherwise difficult economy,” said State Senator Michael Gianaris. “As the home for some of New York’s largest film production studios, western Queens has earned its reputation as Hollywood East thanks to this incentive program. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his ongoing support of the film tax credit and look forward to seeing western Queens continue to benefit from this important job-creating tool.”

On Tuesday Cuomo also announced a new website, Openbudget.ny.gov, which gives the public access to the state’s budget.

“Open Budget is bringing the people back into government by taking budget data out of government file cabinets and making it available to the public for the first time in an easy-to-access, downloadable form. This will facilitate research, analysis and innovation,” said Cuomo.

Pair con 68-year-old out of $4,500


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Police are looking for two suspects that swindled $4,500 out of a 68-year-old woman in western Queens.

According to the NYPD, on December 12, the suspects, a man and a woman, came up to the victim and told her that they had found a large sum of money. They said that they could split the cash with her, but they would have to pay taxes on it.

They then drove the victim to the bank where she withdrew $4,500 and gave it to the male suspect. They drove to another location and when the victim got out of the vehicle, the suspects fled in in a black sedan with Connecticut plates.

The suspects are described as a black man and woman, both 35 to 40 years old. The male was wearing a brown suit and the female was wearing a dark hat, blue and white scarf, and dark blue jacket.

Anyone with information in regard to this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).  The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) then enter TIP577.

 

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Op-Ed: Western Queens business growth fuels our economy


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY SENATOR MIKE GIANARIS

Western Queens is home to a growing number of large and small businesses that have aided in our neighborhood’s economic recovery. I am proud to be an advocate for job creation in western Queens, whose diversity makes us one of the most welcoming neighborhoods in the country, as well as a hub for economic development.

Our community is an example of the kind of responsible development that allows large corporations and small businesses to thrive off each other. Partnering with local Business Improvement Districts, the Queens Chamber of Commerce and my fellow elected officials to draw more businesses and jobs to the neighborhood, in recent years we saw the arrival of major organizations like jetBlue, the New York City Department of Health and the CUNY Law School.

Coupled with the opening of the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and the renovated Museum of the Moving Image, these projects have increased the number of jobs available to western Queens residents, while causing more people to come to our neighborhood every day and frequent our local businesses. As the effort to create more jobs continues, I will make sure our additional infrastructure keeps pace with the overall growth of the neighborhood.

Thanks to the state’s film tax credit I championed, the film industry has been an economic success story in an otherwise difficult economy. Western Queens is home to three major film production companies, Silvercup Studios, Kaufman Astoria Studios and Broadway Stages, which produce the bulk of New York City’s film and television projects. In New York City alone, more than 100,000 New Yorkers are employed each year to work on an average of 200 films and more than 100 television shows.

Local businesses also benefit from the additional customers working on the many nearby film projects. Last year, the film industry generated $6.9 billion in economic activity across the state and brought 30,000 new jobs to New York City— a huge number for an industry that employs 130,000 people overall.

One of the most exciting new elements of our neighborhood is its growing tech culture. I have been deeply involved in developing that industry to ensure it improves our neighborhood, maintains our quality of life and responsibly adds to western Queens’ growing reputation as a hub for tech-based businesses and entrepreneurs. The construction of the Cornell-Technion Applied Sciences campus on Roosevelt Island, as well as the tech-based Coalition for Queens and the new Factory of the Future, owned by the world’s largest 3-D printing company, will enhance western Queens’ tech environment, bringing more industry experts, businesses and jobs to the neighborhood and establishing western Queens as the next Silicon Valley.

The boom in business development occurring in western Queens has helped us weather the recession and made our neighborhood a destination for residents and visitors alike. I believe western Queens is a model of the kind of community whose residents, small businesses and large corporations work together to fuel our economy while enhancing our quality of life.

Michael Gianaris represents the 12th Senate District, which includes Astoria, Woodside, Sunnyside, LIC and parts of Ridgewood and Maspeth.

Holiday gifts for the cool kid


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

QUEENS77KIDS

Check off everyone on your list with great gifts from shops around western Queens!


Robot Colored Pencils($16.50)

LIC Living

 

Baby Moccasins($48)
LIC Living

Kisses T-shirt($25-$30)
Queens77

More gifts:

Gifts for the fashion fiend

Gifts for the favorite foodie

Gifts for the homebody

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Tuesday: Overcast with a chance of rain, then rain in the afternoon. High of 73. Winds from the SE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%. Tuesday night: Overcast with rain, then a chance of rain after midnight. Fog overnight. Low of 64. Winds from the ESE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

EVENT of the DAY: An Evening with Don Francisco, Celebrating 50 Years of Sábado Gigante

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Don Francisco —a.k.a. Mario Kreutzberger. In a rare New York appearance, the variety show host will participate in an intimate discussion with a special guest moderator and show a selection of unforgettable clips from his Saturday night show’s 50-year history presented by Univisión. Sábado Gigante is the longest-running variety show in television history, and Don Francisco has been there from the beginning, hosting more than 2,600 episodes. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Girl struck by stray bullet while doing homework returns home for rally

A Queens community is saying enough is enough to gun violence after a teenager was shot while doing homework. Read more: CBS New  York

College student starts petition for Metro-North stop in Queens

A college student from Queens has launched a petition urging the MTA to open a Metro-North station in Queens. Quinnipiac University sophomore Ali Fadil, 18, of Whitestone, began collecting signatures about two weeks ago after he learned the Metropolitan Transportation Authority was looking at running trains on Metro-North’s New Haven line through western Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

Queens men get 6 1/2 years for role in fatal 2010 stabbing

Two Queens men were thrown in prison today for their role in the death of a good Samaritan who came to the aid of a transgender man the pair were bothering. Read more: New York Post

Second American Airlines flight returns to JFK after row of seats comes loose

Planes have been grounded and the feds are now investigating American Airlines. The Federal Aviation Administration is probing two separate instances of rows of airplane seats dislodging in mid-air. Read more: CBS New York

New Brooklyn arena serves as a test: Will fans accept smaller sodas?

At the amenity-laden Barclays Center in Brooklyn, hungry concertgoers can dine on fresh-from-Maine lobster rolls, gourmet barbecue brisket and slices of cheesecake from Junior’s on nearby Flatbush Avenue. Read more: New York Times

Candidates prep for debates; No. 2s campaign

The presidential candidates are leaving the heavy lifting of campaigning to their running mates Tuesday as they spend one more day preparing for their first debate, scheduled for Wednesday night. Read more: ABC New York/AP

 

Sex abuse suspect connected to three incidents in Elmhurst


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

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The NYPD is asking for help in identifying a man who exposed himself to a 13-year-old girl near Seabury Avenue in Elmhurst on Monday morning. The same man is suspected in two sex abuse incidents that occurred in the same area in November.

On the morning of November 7, near 54th Avenue, the suspect pulled up to a 12-year-old girl and asked for directions. He then showed her a piece of paper with numbers on it. The girl entered his vehicle where the suspect sexually abused her. The victim exited the car and the suspect fled.

On November 23 near 55th Avenue at 4 p.m., the suspect again pulled up to a 12-year-old, asked her for directions, and then sexually absued her.

The suspect is described as Indian, 6 feet tall and approximately 40 years old. His vehicle is a white sedan with a green, white and orange or red flag sticker on the driver’s door with an eagle in the middle.

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

Western Queens provides DOT bike lane input


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer

The Department of Transportation (DOT) and residents of western Queens recently “pedaled” closer to protecting bike riders.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer sponsored the first-ever Queens Bike Forum in Sunnyside on March 2, allowing members of the DOT’s Bike Program Staff to receive recommendations from residents regarding the best ways to develop safe and efficient bike lanes in western Queens. During the forum, which was held at Community Board (CB) 2, cycling enthusiasts from around the 26th District also shared suggestions for ideal bike route locations.

“The goal of this forum was to make sure that the community has input in the DOT’s bike lane implementation process,” said Van Bramer, who often cycles himself. “The roads of New York City are for everyone and we want to make sure that everyone stays safe. In my opinion, a well-planned and well-organized bike lane can do that. One of the best ways to achieve that is by bringing the community and the DOT together to decide which bike lanes are best and where they can be best installed in our neighborhoods.”

According to DOT spokesperson Scott Gastel, the department received a great deal of information from the community, and after reviewing the suggestions, officials will return to CB2 within the next few months to present a report of the findings. The DOT will also ask the community to aid in prioritizing the list of bike route locations, said Gastel.

Many residents are hopeful DOT improvements will allow them to feel safe cycling around their neighborhood.

“There are some bike lanes already, but the paths need to be better laid out. They don’t seem to flow well or be safe enough,” said Thomas Haggerty, a resident of Woodside. “I tend to take my kids bike riding in the park, but if they could make it safer on the streets I would certainly consider that.”