Despite the city and the Queens Development Group owning 95 percent of the property in Phase 1 for the Willets Point project, Community Board 7 expressed doubts that the development will run on schedule.
During a quarterly meeting, held on Oct. 8, where CBs 3 and 7 met with the QDG, Economic Development Corp. and borough president representatives, developers expressed optimistic enthusiasm for the eminent closing on outstanding parcels.
The Queens version of the High Line may actually happen after all.
The plan to turn the abandoned Rockaway Beach rail line into a linear park has a detailed proposal. A piece of it, in the northern end of the former Long Island Rail Road route, could even be built within the next year.
More than 100 people took advantage of the free samples being offered up by a handful of the participating eateries for the Queens Restaurant Week kickoff event at The Shops at Atlas Park mall
Queens Restaurant Week kicked off on Monday and residents and lawmakers were more than ready to take advantage.
The event was held on the center green of The Shops at Atlas Park, where restaurants, including O’Neil’s Bar and Grill, Shiro Japanese Restaurant and California Pizza Kitchen offered up samples of some of their most popular dishes.
The dedicated cluster of graffiti-fighters in Woodhaven and Richmond Hill are getting some professional reinforcements.
Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) announced Wednesday that he has allocated $25,000 to the Queens Economic Development Corp. to hire a professional graffiti-removal service that will regularly clean graffiti along six corridors in the 32nd District.
Last week baseball commissioner Bud Selig made his final visit to Citi Field before he retires early next year. While many Mets fans and naive media members were hoping that he would say something critical of Mets ownership, he instead praised the way that they have been operated. I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
Bud said that he had no problem that the Mets are in the lowest third of MLB teams in terms of payroll with 2014 salary expense estimated to be $84 million. Why should he be perturbed? As the owners’ chief executive he would be thrilled if all clubs significantly reduced payroll. Having a team situated in the nation’s largest media market acting parsimoniously makes other team owners take notice. Even the once free-spending New York Yankees are trying to keep things in budget (albeit with a dollar figure more than twice what their counterparts in Queens are spending).
As the leaves change color and the warm summer wind turns into a cool autumn breeze, restaurants around the borough are draping crisp white table cloths and lighting votive candles in preparation for restaurant season.
“During New York City Restaurant Week last year, there was only one Queens restaurant that participated and that was Water’s Edge,” Rob Mackay, spokesman for the Queens Economic Development Corp., said. “A lot of our restaurants can’t afford to participate in the citywide one, but for Queens Restaurant Week, it gives smaller restaurants the opportunity to showcase their food.”
The streets around the College Point Corporate Park are heavily used and, according to one elected official, have been neglected for years.
When the city announced it would not commit to continuing to fund the Rockaway Ferry service past October, commuters and officials from the peninsula were mad. The ferry, launched after Hurricane Sandy, is popular and the Rockaway community saw it as a good way to jump start the peninsula’s lagging economy and spur development.
But while the ferry — originally a temporary commuting solution while the A train was shut down due to damage to the track — was popular, the city says it’s not heavily used. That was one reason why the city’s Economic Development Corp.said the cost of the ferry was not sustainable.
Despite promises of reduced crime and a friendlier atmosphere, many Jackson Heights business owners and residents simply do not want the Jackson Heights-Corona Business Improvement District in their neighborhood.
In a town hall intended to create a line of communication between BID supporters and business owners, many people were not shy when it came to airing their issues last Thursday in Corona.
The Rockaway Ferry service is currently not financially sustainable and the city is looking for ways to continue it past October, according to a letter from the city’s Economic Development Corp. to a member of Community Board 14.
In the letter, sent last week to Danny Ruscillo, co-chairman of CB 14’s Transportation Committee, EDC President Kyle Kimball said that the ferry carries around 400 people per day between Rockaway and Manhattan, with a stop in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The fare is $3.50 per passenger, but EDC said the cost to subsidize the service is about $30 per passenger, more than six times the cost to the city per rider of the Staten Island Ferry, which is free for passengers, and more than twice the cost-per-rider of express bus service.
Despite the push to construct a linear park along the former Rockaway Beach rail line — and stiff opposition to anything being built there from some residents living alongside it — supporters of reactivating train service from Rego Park to Rockaway Beach still believe their idea is the best for Queens, and say it’s completely feasible.
It’s been 52 years since service stopped on the line between Rego Park and Ozone Park. South of there, the A train occupies the right of way into the Rockaways. Residents there say elimination of the service has left the peninsula stagnant for half a century.
At left, Greater Jamaica Development Corporation Director of Security James Vaccaro and GJDC Board President Peter Kulka greet NYPD Assistant Chief David Barrere, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Queens South. Right, Kyle Kimball, president of the New York City Economic Development Corp., delivers the keynote speech.
Although even the developers wondered at times if the project would ever get off the ground, the first shovels were activated Monday morning to signal the start of work on the $1 billion mixed-use Flushing Commons project.
Michael Meyer, president of TDC Development, which is working with the Rockefeller Group to develop the five-acre project on the site of Municipal Parking Lot 1, told an audience of elected officials and community leaders that “it’s been a long time coming.”
The Jamaica Center Business Improvement District recently held its 35th Annual Meeting at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, with myriad business and community leaders on hand.
Dalila Hall, the Queens Borough Commissioner for the New York City Department of Transportation, was honored with the organization’s annual Public Service Award. Kyle Kimball of the New York City Economic Development Corp. delivered the keynote speech..
In basketball terms, Queens Head Coach Melinda Katz deployed a full-court press on Tuesday in her effort to revitalize Jamaica in any way a government or quasi-government agency can help.
The borough president brought together an all-star team for a four-hour working breakfast at York College with leaders in government, planning, education, transportation, infrastructure and economic development.
The battle to maintain manufacturing and industrial space has raged on for years on the hyperlocal level in many Queens neighborhoods and areas citywide.
Now, the City Council is requesting Mayor de Blasio to take significant action to ensure the survival of the city’s 21 industrial business zones.
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy may no longer call it home but the Standard Motors Building — which was the headquarters for the Jim Henson Company — is still a highly sought piece of property.
RXR Realty recently purchased the building the “Rainbow Connection” singer once worked out of with his team of Muppeteers for $110 million.
The Willets Point project, undertaken by the Queens Development Group, has been controversial from the very beginning. Residents, elected officials, urban planning experts and others went back and forth on what the best thing for the underdeveloped area would be.
Even the plan approved by the City Council in November 2013 was hardly embraced by everyone — and remains the target of legal action seeking to block it.
Community Board 7 met with representatives of the Queens Development Group to discuss the latest news in the Willets Point project last Wednesday — they weren’t pleased.
The QDG, a joint venture between Related Companies and Sterling Equities, is required to meet with the community board quarterly to keep members updated and maintain transparency.
The Yankees’ brand has long been synonymous with victory, and the world’s most famous sports franchise has never been shy about spending money on the best baseball personnel available to keep it that way
Even their biggest detractors will concede that the Yankees beat you fair and square on the playing field. That is why no one was more upset with Michael Pineda using pine tar than Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was. He is well aware of the damage Pineda’s actions did to the Yankees image.
The wall is up, the people are angry, and, according to state Sen. Tony Avella, “a stop work is going into effect.”
At the center of the controversy is the construction of a new 35-foot-high building, which would sit atop a hill that is already approximately 10 feet above curb level, in the middle of a tree-lined residential neighborhood in Little Neck.
With the grandiose Unisphere and the hulking New York State Pavilion remaining as testaments to the fair, it’s hard not to imagine what it looked like when the area was covered with 150 pavilions, swarming with millions of visitors.
Robert Moses, president and creator of the fair, said that the Unisphere would remind future generations that “a pageant of surpassing interest and significance” once took place there. He was right, and to honor the memory of that massive undertaking, the city and other institutions are holding special events through October [when the fair closed for the season].
With the golden anniversary of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair fast approaching, activities to honor the New York State Pavilion’s place in Queens’ history are actively being planned.
In the shadow of the Unisphere within Flushing Meadows Corona Park on Friday, Borough President Melinda Katz and Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth), the co-chairwomen of the World’s Fair Anniversary Committee, will announce a number of events residents can partake in to celebrate the anniversary of the global gathering.
Though the contracts have been signed and the variance has been approved by the City Council, business owners in Willets Point are not giving up. They want action to be taken by the city, and they want it now.
A handful of owners told their stories while supporters sat with melancholy looks on their faces, somberly nodding when their peers pointed out the hardships they all face.