Tag Archives: York College

Large downtown Jamaica development site listing for $24M


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of CPEX   

A huge development site a block away from the downtown Jamaica transportation hub is selling for $24 million.

The 35,000-square-foot site, which comprises a few lots from 147-07 to 147-37 on 94th Avenue, allows up to 420,000 buildable square feet, according to real estate firm CPEX, which is marketing the site.

World Wide Food Products, a longtime seafood company, has been at the property since 1975, according to DNAinfo.

Downtown Jamaica has been the talk of much major development recently. Last year, officials announced construction of a 210-room, 24-story hotel nearby the LIRR and AirTrain station at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd.

Earlier this year, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit that has been working to transform the neighborhood, announced the development of a $225 mixed-use, 29-story residential and commercial tower on the site it owns at 93-01 Sutphin Blvd.

In October, a 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. traded hands for $22 million. It has 719,736 square feet of buildable space.

Also, nearby York College, which is located across from the building and parking garage, hopes to help usher in development and new businesses as a START-UP NY site, and is offering new businesses about 3.5 acres of land on-campus.

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York College renames performing arts center after former school president


| slicata@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Salvatore Licata

The York College community came together to honor a man who was vital to the process of creating the campus in southeast Queens.

Milton G. Bassin, who was president of the college for 20 years, began his legacy at the institution in 1971. He was a staunch advocate for creating a school campus for those students of humble beginnings and wanted to have it in a “neglected part of NYC,” according to Carlisle Towery, president of the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.

For his dedication to the college, Bassin, who passed away in 2012, was honored on Wednesday as school officials renamed the performing arts center in the college, “The Milton G. Bassin Performing Arts Center.”

“This school would never have survived without his leadership,” said Marcia Keiz, current president of the college. “With this dedication, his legacy continues.”

The performing arts center, built in 1990 and located at 95-45 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., is home to a 1,437-seat main stage theater and a 152-seat small theater. It has also hosted performers such as Bill Cosby.

meeks

Bassin, who was a Russian immigrant and moved to Brooklyn in 1923, was credited by local elected officials for molding York College as a top-flight institution in the city.

“He had the boldness to spearhead the campaign to build a state-of-the-art campus here in downtown Jamaica,” U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks said. “His dream and commitment made it happen. It is only appropriate that the performing arts center is being named after him.”

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Massive downtown Jamaica development site sells for $22 million


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bride/ PropertyShark 

Downtown Jamaica’s development boom is expected by many sometime in the future, but one recent sale suggests developers may be springing into action already.

The nearly 90,000-square-foot building and parking garage site at 163-05 and 163-25 Archer Ave. in the heart of the downtown area traded hands for $22 million, according to property records filed Tuesday.

Gertz Plaza sold the site to Jamaica Tower, which has yet to file any building or demolition plans on the site, but it has tons of development potential, according to Massey Knakal Realty Services.

“This sale signifies the return of the residential development market in downtown Jamaica,” said Massey Knakal’s Brian Sarath, who handled the transaction. “It is the largest site to trade since the downturn and will be a catalyst for the Jamaica development market moving forward.”

The site currently has a one-story building with an accompanying seven-story parking garage. The building, which has 10 units, currently only uses 32,471 square feet of the site and some units are vacant, while the garage is 280,000 square feet.

It is a developer’s dream with 719,736 square feet of buildable space near a gigantic transportation hub of subways, LIRR, the AirTrain and dozens of buses.

“We received numerous bids in a short period of time from developers that were priced out of other areas in the city and see tremendous value in the downtown Jamaica market,” Sarath said.

Photo courtesy Massey Knakal

Photo courtesy of Massey Knakal

Advocates and public officials have been trying to lure developers and business to Jamaica in recent years with incentives such as a 368-block rezoning of the downtown area and using York College as a tax-free haven for moving companies and start-ups.

York College, which is located across from the site, also hopes to help usher in development and new businesses as a START-UP NY site, and is offering new businesses about 3.5 acres of land on-campus.

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3.5 acres of on-campus land at York College will be home to new companies


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo and map courtesy of York College

Parts of Jamaica may look forlorn with many properties vacant or in need of repair, but its shopping district and its richness in transportation options could turn it into the next big thing for development.

Businesses from around the state and outside New York are vying to enter the neighborhood through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s START-UP NY tax-free program at York College, which school officials are touting as a potential catalyst for a development explosion in downtown Jamaica.

York representatives told The Courier that they are in negotiations with many businesses looking to partner with the school in exchange for no corporate, sales or property taxes for 10 years, and move to a property near the school or build on a portion of 3.5 acres of vacant, government-owned land on campus.

The vacant property, called Site 9, was identified in a plan that school administrators submitted to the governor’s office in July. The site is bounded by Guy Brewer Boulevard, Liberty Avenue, 165th Street and South Road. A parking lot and green space at the Brewer Boulevard side of the block are not part of the development site.

That plan was submitted by CUNY to the state Commissioner for Economic Development and was recently approved.

The plan details the types of businesses York is hoping to attract, based on the school’s academic and research programs.

Although school representatives said they weren’t allowed to discuss the specific businesses that they are considering, those fields include pharmaceutical, medical device research and manufacturing, water resource management and purification, logistics, aviation, wireless technology, solar power companies and food science research and manufacturing.


School administrators said the partnering businesses will benefit not only students but also the neighborhood, which should see increased employment as a diversifying local business landscape becomes a magnet to attract other firms to the area.

“[The program] is moving in the right direction and we are quite excited,” said Earl Simons, director of government and community relations at York. “It provides potential opportunities for our students in terms of internships as well as important opportunities for the surrounding community.”

S- York Map 2

Near York College, the downtown Jamaica area hosts a comprehensive transportation hub. The AirTrain transports passengers to John F. Kennedy Airport in about 10 minutes, while the LIRR takes thousands of people to Manhattan daily in about 20 minutes. There are about 49 bus lines running through and around the area, and the E, J, Z and F subway lines are nearby.

There have been several recent moves to leverage this resource.

A 368-block rezoning was completed in downtown Jamaica in 2007 to allow more developments with commercial and residential uses.

And earlier this year, the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation, a nonprofit that has been working to transform the neighborhood, announced the development of a $225 mixed-use, 29-story residential and commercial tower at the building it owns on 93-01 Sutphin Blvd. at Archer Avenue, just north of the LIRR/AirTrain complex.

Rendering courtesy Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

93-43 Sutphin Blvd. rendering courtesy of Greater Jamaica Development Corporation

That followed the 2013 announcement of a 210-room, 24-story hotel on the south side of the LIRR complex at 93-43 Sutphin Blvd., a plot of land that is partly owned by the nonprofit.

The Development Corp is collaborating with York to help bring businesses to downtown Jamaica through the tax-free zone program, school officials said.

Businesses looking to set up shop in the tax-free zone need to appeal to several selection committees as well as school and state officials. While no immediate announcement of incoming companies is expected, York is confident in the program’s ability to be the push downtown Jamaica needs.

“It’s another tool to really spur development and economic opportunities and job creation,” Simons said. “It can only enhance all of the efforts that are taking place here.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST 

Monday: A good deal of sunshine. High near 35. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Monday night: A few passing clouds, otherwise generally clear. Low 28. Winds NE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: York College Celebrates 75 Years of Blue Note Records

On Monday at 6 p.m., the York College Cultural Diversity Center and the Male Initiative Program will host “The Blue Note Sound: Celebrating 75 Years of Blue Note Records.” The celebration will pay tribute to Blue Note Records’ contribution to jazz. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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Two men and a woman were shot in a Queens housing project Sunday. Read more: New York Daily News

De Blasio on charter school students: ‘we need them to succeed’

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Giuliani: de Blasio taking city ‘in the wrong direction’

Rudy Giuliani sounded off on Mayor de Blasio Sunday, saying his successor is moving the city “in the wrong direction.” Read more: New York Post

Small business advocates push for new Queens development center


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Queens needs another small business development center, but one with flexible hours staffed with “culturally competent” workers, advocates and lawmakers said Tuesday. 

The borough currently has two heavily-used centers, one in Long Island City’s LaGuardia Community College and another in Jamaica’s York College.

Advisers give free consultations and offer low-cost training at the centers, which are partially funded by federal Small Business Administration (SBA) funds.

But minority and immigrant owners struggle too much with language barriers at the existing sites to benefit from the services, small business owners and advocates said. And conflicting work hours are a huge deterrent.

“These centers run regular hours. But when you’re a business, you work 80 hours a week,” said Bill Imada, co-founder of the Asian Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce.

Imada and a panel of small business advocates urged the SBA to fix its outreach to minority owners during a Congressional Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce hearing held at Queens College.

Local shop owners and Congressmember Grace Meng, who held the rare field hearing, said underserved areas like Flushing need help from staff members who speak mostly Chinese, Korean and Spanish.

“The other locations are very inconvenient for us in Flushing,” said Zhejiang Chamber of Commerce President Howard Dai. “It would give small business owners easier access, and information would spread word of mouth.”

Businesses can shut down when its owners, seeking aid, are turned away due to bad translations, said Joyce Moy, the executive director of the Asian and Asian-American Research Institute at CUNY.

“A third center in Queens, particularly with Asian and Hispanic language capacities, is urgently needed,” Moy said. “Without competence in culture, language and technical support, all of this outreach is nothing but false promises.”

The SBA’s acting chief of staff, Michele Chang, said the administration would implement more training and urged business owners to get virtual help using the SBA’s online learning center.

“We understand that being a small business owner is a hard job,” Chang said. “You work all hours of the day. It’s your lifeblood.”

 

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Newly formed JetBlue Foundation gives $25K grants to two Queens schools


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways has given aviation students an extra push to fly above and beyond.

JetBlue, with a mission to inspire humanity beyond air travel, announced the launch of the JetBlue Foundation Tuesday. This company-sponsored foundation was created to encourage and advance aviation-related education by sparking interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

“The sky is literally the limit for aviation students,” said Joanna Geraghty, JetBlue Foundation board of directors president. “Through the JetBlue Foundation, we will continue our efforts to put aviation on the map as a career choice for students of all ages and backgrounds. As a leader in the aviation space, we believe it is our responsibility to give back by making an investment in the future of this industry.”

The announcement took place at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s JetBlue state-of-the-art T5 terminal, where students got a behind the scenes tour of the terminal.

The newly formed foundation will give three $25,000 grants this year to schools and educational alliance, two in Queens and one in Florida, with a focus on STEM and aviation-related programs aimed towards underserved groups and communities.

“Inspiration starts here. Encouraging education in Science Technology Engineering Mathematics and advocating for the future of aviation is how we will make a difference for our industry,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue Foundation executive director. “These are the areas where we need more passion and focus to carry our industry forward.”

The two 2013 JetBlue Foundation grant receivers from Queens are Aviation High School in Long Island City and CUNY Aviation Institute at York College in Jamaica.

Aviation High School, the country’s largest public aeronautical high school with over 2,300 students primarily from underrepresented groups, will use the money to introduce an Aviation Welding Improvement Plan. This plan will guarantee students have resources to earn a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification as an aircraft maintenance technician. The school would purchase advanced technologies and materials needed to prepare students.

CUNY Aviation Institute at York College will use the grant to develop a course to create an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher Certification program, making the college the first New York public education institution to offer this program.

In order to continue building lasting relationships with the schools, the JetBlue Foundation will also provide aviation-focused educational programs with in-kind support, internships and mentoring from crew members.

“Since JetBlue’s beginnings, the airline set its sights on inspiring humanity beyond air travel, not only for our customers and crewmembers but the various communities we serve,” said Geraghty. “One way we have done this is by showing support for STEM programs. We recognize our responsibility to the world below our wingers – to make it better and inspire others to do the same.”

 

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Queens helps with de Blasio transition


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy the Long Island City Partnership

Queens is taking part in Transition NYC.

Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment of 60 leaders and experts to his transition committee on Wednesday, November 20.

“My charge to the transition team is to identify women and men from every part of our city and walk of life that share a commitment to progressive and competent city government,” said de Blasio. “They will be advising me based on their wealth of experience and knowledge of specific issue areas and government agencies.”

The Transition NYC team members, who will be volunteering their time during the transition, include several leaders from Queens organizations and institutions.

They are Hoong Yee Lee Krakauer, executive director, Queens Council on the Arts; Udai Tambar, executive director, South Asian Youth Action; Elsie Saint Louis, executive director, Haitian-Americans United for Progress, Inc.; Dr. Marcia Keizs, president, York College, The City University of New York; and Jukay Hsu, founder, Coalition for Queens.

“I am honored to be contributing to the creation of a new administration, a team New Yorkers can be proud of,” said Krakauer in a post on the Queens Council on the Arts website. “And to do that I will look to you, the creative citizens of this amazing borough, for your ideas and thoughts to bring back to the big table.”

Queens also took part in the new administration’s transition through two panel discussions that were held at the de Blasio Talking Transition Tent in downtown Manhattan on Friday, November 22.

“Thrive in Queens,” hosted by The Noguchi Museum, the Queens Economic Development Corporation and Long Island City Partnership, focused on the creative sector of the borough.

According to The Noguchi Museum Director Jenny Dixon, who moderated the first panel, they also spoke about “the need for greater marketing dollars and better public transportation,” and requested that the de Blasio administration “affirm the borough of Queens through an inclusive agenda weighted equally for all of the five boroughs.”

“A great gathering of Queens folks were in the audience and similarly a great group of Queens’ economic drivers were represented on the panel,” said Dixon.

“We hope what we have to say will be heard.”

 

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York Women’s Volleyball falls to CCNY


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of York College Athletics

The proverbial gray cloud continued to hang over the York College Women’s Volleyball team after a close loss yesterday to conference rivals City College of New York (CCNY), which ended with violations.

Trailing 11-10 to City College in the deciding fifth set, the Cardinals were going to serve when they were called for an illegal substitution, which was worth a point. The score eventually became 14-12, and a service error cost York the match.

The Cardinals were outlasted by CCNY (25-15, 18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 15-12), dropping the season record to 1-7, and 1-3 in the CUNY Athletic Conference.

As tough as the loss was, York showed some fight throughout the game. The Cardinals took an early 2-1 set advantage by eating up the second and third sets after losing the first.

York was led by Carlean McCrimmon, who had 18 kills with three aces, eight digs and five blocks. Libero Allison Li had 12 digs to steer the defense and Stayce Kay Muirhead finished with 12 kills. Setter Evelyn Florentino also finished with 35 assists.

The Cardinals will host the College of St. Elizabeth in their next match on Tuesday night.

 

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York College men’s soccer team wins home opener


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Verity Rollins

What a home coming.

The York College men’s soccer team scored eight goals to win a dominating game against St. Joseph’s College, 8-0, in its home opener on Tuesday.

The goals were the most scored in a game by the Cardinals since September 4, 2008, when the team routed Yeshiva University, 14-3. York is now 2-3 on the season.

Cardinals’ offense had a field day with St. Joseph (0-1). Brian Broadbelt, Andre Adelson and Rohan Burrell notched two goals apiece to led York to victory.

Burrell, who was named CUNY Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week, started the scoring early in the eighth minute when he received a pass on the sidelines from Remi Molake and fired a shot that beat the goalkeeper. He then chipped in another goal in the 26th minute as well.

Adelson, who didn’t enter the contest until late in the first half, wasted little time, scoring his first goal in the 31st minute off an assist from McLaney Moise and then another in the 49th minute from Michael Delgado.

The game wasn’t all about offense though. Cardinals’ goalkeeper Leszek Stankiewicz had three saves to earn the shutout.

York will begin CUNY Athletic Conference matches when they face Brooklyn College on Saturday.

 

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York men’s soccer dominates in season opener


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Verity Rollins

Junior Rachidi Amadou led York College with two goals as the Cardinals shutout Sarah Lawrence College to win their season opener, 4-0, on Thursday.

York (1-0) completely dominated possession and out shot Sarah Lawrence, 41-1.  As the final score reflected, the Cardinals scored early and often, ending with Brandon Yotagri’s unassisted goal in the final minute of play.

Amadou started the blazing offense when he scored in the 15th minute and just over a minute later Rohan Burrell added another goal for the Cardinals. In the second half York picked up where they left off when Amadou notched his second goal in the 67th minute.

With a positive start to the season the Cardinals are looking forward to their next match against United States Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday.

 

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York women’s soccer defeats Sarah Lawrence for first win


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Verity Rollins

One young Cardinal proved that she can fly.

Freshman Daisy Narvaez scored two goals for York College, leading the Cardinals to a, 3-2, victory over Sarah Lawrence College on Thursday, giving the team its first win of the season.

Already leading 2-1 going into the 53rd minute, Narvaez scored her second goal off a loose ball inside the box to give the Cardinals (1-1 CUNY Athletic Conference) a commanding lead.

Sarah Lawrence (0-2) responded with a goal in the final minute of the game, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback.

York dominated the game throughout. Narvaez scored the first goal in the sixth minute, after receiving teammate Jessica Cornejo’s corner kick and the Cardinals jumped to a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute, when Cornejo connected with Anna Lales after a free kick.

Now with their first victory behind them the Cardinals will set their sights on their next opponents, Rutgers-Newark on Saturday.

 

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Harlem Magic Masters perform for kids at York College


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Charles Osborn

CHARLES OSBORN

As Jay Bryant, the brains behind the Harlem Magic Masters basketball and the emcee of its events, called out the name of each member of his team, a gymnasium filled with 300 campers from a half dozen organizations at York College on July 24 went ballistic.

The children visited the school to see athletic acts by the Magic Masters, a basketball entertainment group. And they were rewarded with a dizzying display of dunks, alley-oops, Harlem Globetrotters-inspired hijinks and a positive message against bullying.

“Bullying is not cool, keep it out of our school!” Bryant shouted, before asking his enraptured audience to repeat it. A chorus of hundreds of elementary-aged children echoed Bryant, and explained the importance of inclusion and respect for your peers.

Anyone familiar with the history and shtick of the Globetrotters can picture what a Magic Masters show might look like, however Jay Bryant and his father Jack, who founded the organization in 2008, have incorporated a message to their core youth audience that resonates with adult community leaders.

“The message is extremely important to us,” Bryant explained. “When we started this organization, it was to help schools to raise money. Now we are trying to help spread positive messages to our youth. The main message here is sportsmanship and respect. There is no place for bullying.”

Although none of the names Bryant shouts, such as “’The Punisher, Roderick Burnett” or “Cliff ‘Jetblue’ Malone,” carry particular fame, each member of the Magic Masters is a certifiable basketball veteran, and all of them know how to put on a show.

Bryant has been traveling with the Magic Masters up and down the Eastern seaboard to put on shows and reach out to impressionable youth groups and to lend positive support. They have traveled to elementary, middle and high schools in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Maine.

“What I hope the kids get out of it is adhering to the message, to try to make friends instead of bullying or alienating peers,” Bryant said. “Everyone has an individual talent; we encourage students to find it and to use it to make friends.”

Although not everyone’s talent is high flying basketball, it acts as an entertaining and positive medium with which to garner attention, particularly when the Magic Masters pit themselves against the camp counselors who attempt to wrangle campers on a daily basis.

One of those counselors, Shaniqua Edwards with the University Settlement Camp from Brooklyn, appreciated the message Bryant and his organization have been working to spread.

“I think it’s a great message, especially the rhyming quote. I’m going to take that back to my kids and apply it,” Edwards said. “It’s especially good that they’re teaching this while playing basketball, because now I’ll have the kids talk about anti-bullying before they play basketball.”

 

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Senior Umbrella Network awards scholarships to York College students


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

The Senior Umbrella Network honored two York College students’ passion for gerontology with scholarships to fuel their futures in the field.

The Senior Umbrella Network is a group of healthcare professionals geared toward senior advocacy. It gave $750 grants to Clari Ocasio of the Bronx and Thamar Valcin of Brooklyn.

Ocasio, 31, a junior at York College and a single mother of two, has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her major. She chose to study gerontology because, at the time, she was caring for her ailing mother and “wanted to know what was going on.”

Ever since her first class on the subject, Ocascio began to understand more. Ultimately, her mother died, but Ocascio continued her studies to help others.

“We bonded more ever since,” she said. “Although my mom is not with me anymore, I know she’s watching.”

Ocasio is currently a Medicaid service coordinator. But her long-term goal is to become a licensed social worker and advocate for seniors.

Valcin, 27, aspires to be in a geriatric care managing position. She is currently a senior at York College. While going to school full-time, she is working as a licensed nurse. She dove head first into geriatrics because she was raised living with her grandparents and helped take care of them as they got older. Now she wants to share her talents with the public and turn it into a career.

Valcin unsuccessfully applied for the scholarship in her freshman year. However, she persevered and was rewarded this time around. She maintains a 3.7 GPA at York and will apply to nursing schools next fall. She joined Eta Sigma Gamma and the National Society of Leadership and Success, two honor societies, in May.

 

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