There was a groundbreaking ceremony at the Flushing Commons site that is replacing Parking Lot 1 last week. Many think this new behemoth project is good for Flushing, others are skeptical or against it altogether. Mayor Bloomberg and developers pushed hard for it with building renditions of grandeur and talked about how good this was for Flushing. Downtown Flushing needs parking desperately. The developers “cured” that problem by putting a large underground parking lot under the Commons site to hold about 1,600 vehicles. What nobody talked about is the fact that shoppers don’t like to park in big underground lots. Shoppers who drive won’t go there anymore.
The Commons underground parking lot is a nail in the coffin for drivable Flushing. No longer does it make sense to drive to downtown Flushing to shop. Some European cities have fabulous underground automated parking lots that are popular and well-used. Not here. People, I for one, don’t like to park in large underground parking lots with low ceilings, cramped spaces, with a gate at the entrance and exit. Not to mention feeling safe in them. And, I certainly don’t like paying a minimum three bucks for a stay that will only last a few minutes.
The best use of the site would have been for a city-owned five-story parking lot similar to the one in downtown New Rochelle. There you drive in, no gates, park in a numbered spot, put your spot number in the parking machine at the mall entrance, and you pay for the amount of time you expect to use, be that 25 cents for 15 minutes, or two to three hours at $1 per hour to go to the Imax Theatre. When you leave you just drive out. There are no lines. Gated lots are nightmares. If you’ve ever gotten stuck behind somebody who can’t figure our how to use the ticket machine at the Queens Center mall, you would appreciate this kind of easy-access lot.
The loss of above-ground parking is sealing off Flushing to those who live there and nearby. I would rather drive to Macy’s in Manhasset to shop because I can park right outside the doors. Goodbye, drivable Downtown Flushing. It was good to know you.
The city Department of Transportation’s plans to build dedicated bus lanes along Woodhaven and Cross Bay boulevards — and perhaps bring select bus service along the route in the future — was met with some concern and even hard-line opposition last week.
Some residents from Woodhaven and other communities who attended a forum on the plan at PS 306 last Wednesday were not so keen on the proposal.
Residents of Bay Terrace may soon have a convenient new coffee and snack destination.
At the June meeting of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance at the Chabad Center of Northeast Queens last Thursday, representatives from Cord Meyer Development Corp. were there for the first time in over a year to report negotiations with Dunkin’ Donuts to occupy a space on the upper level of the Bay Terrace Shopping Center.
A self-guided tour around his old Rego Park neighborhood draws Bruce Levy first to the place he called home until he was 27 years old.
As he approaches the intersection of Saunders Street and 63rd Drive on a recent overcast day, he pauses, points to a fifth floor window — the one that now has a flower box in it — in the corner building, and says, “That was my room,” quickly adding, “I’m not an emotional person. It’s part of history, part of my life.”
The Q88 bus, which runs between the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst and the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue in Queens Village, will be rerouted, starting in September.
Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol told the board that the MTA had provided him with two preliminary plans and the best option will be chosen when CB 4 meetings resume in September.
Before Community Board 6’s May 14 meeting ended, Sara Demartino of Rego Park stood up and described a problem she said is plaguing her community: the constant cacophony of barking dogs in Yellowstone Park, across the street from her Forest Hills home.
“It’s a quality-of-life issue that me and my neighbors are experiencing on a daily basis,” Demartino said. “It’s impossible to have a conversation, there’s so much noise.”
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.
To celebrate Earth Week last week, the Queens Center mall announced it will be installing solar panels on its roof and the adjacent parking garage over the next few months.
To kick off the initiative, a group of area children were educated about sustainable living and its positive impacts on everyday life during a kid-friendly Earth Day discussion last Thursday at the mall.
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].
In response to BCA President Schwartz’ testimonial, “Pure Briarwood,” (Letters, March 27), I would like to point out that the sign posted states that the “mall” was sponsored by the Briarwood Community Association. This euphemistic “Queens Boulevard Promenade” runs from 84th Drive to 87th Avenue down the center of Queens Boulevard and consists of 8 park benches without backs and about 75 big concrete balls of neither practical nor aesthetic functionality. The Briarwood Mall, which is an authentic mall of 120 stores (shopping outlets, restaurants, hotel) is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, not in Briarwood, NY (a postal finance station of Jamaica).
Further, renaming the E/F subway station “Briarwood,” with deletion of Van Wyck Blvd., would serve no accurate geographic purpose for subway riders, since it would indicate no streets. An inspection of the MTA map shows that every other station along this line is either a hyphenated street/community (Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue, 63rd Drive-Rego Park, Forest Hills-71st Avenue, Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike, Jamaica-179th Street) or a street alone.
This stop is located across from Maple Grove Cemetery and is not the center of Briarwood. I propose the name be renamed Briarwood-Main Street, since this places it accurately at the intersection of Main Street and Queens Blvd., or Briarwood-Maple Grove Cemetery (the only historic site here).
But when you disembark the F train, don’t expect much “searching the promenades, seeking a clue” (Ellington/Strayhorn, Something To Live For), but the Briarwood mall of balls, paid for by city grants. Schwartz’ “vibrant ... community?” I have yet to see Duke Ellington’s jazz band on this “Promenade,” or the Atlantic City, USA Beauty Pageant contestants walking this dull strip.
A rally to take back the parkland at Flushing Meadows will be held Saturday at noon, rain or shine, starting at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and 114th Street in Corona.
Organized by the nonprofit watchdog group NYC Park Advocates and state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), the rally will march to a nearby location on Roosevelt Avenue overlooking the proposed site for a mega-mall in the Citi Field parking lot.
Another parcel of land in Elmhurst went up for sale this week, adding to the likelihood that another residential building will be erected in the area.
The site comprises most of the parking lot of the Georgia Diner on Queens Boulevard, just west of the Queens Place mall. It is being offered for $24 million, according to an announcement made by Massey Knakal Realty Services, the broker handling it.
There were plenty of hot deals at the Queens Center and Rego Center malls earlier this week, just not in the way you would think.
Dereck Sumair, 23, of 160th Street in Jamaica, is facing a total of 41 charges after he was arrested for allegedly setting multiple small fires at both shopping centers within minutes of each other on Monday afternoon.
A 23-year-old man is in custody after small fires broke out at both the Queens Center and Rego Center malls within minutes of each other on Monday afternoon, police said.
The snow keeps falling on the city and slushy corners on local streets continue to be a thorn in the side of Community Board 6, which discussed that and other issues at its monthly meeting on Feb. 12.
“One of my major concerns is the bus stops,” said CB 6 Chair Joseph Hennessy, also noting that snow removal was “not happening” due to the extreme cold.
The ongoing slew of snowstorms has prompted the New York Blood Center to announce an urgent need for blood donations following the cancellation of more than 100 blood drives in the last few weeks.
“While we’re confident in our ability to supply our partner hospitals, we’re still struggling with the effects of the snow and ice this week, and worried about an even bigger hit this weekend,” Vice President Rob Purvis of the NYBC said last week in a press release. “It is critical that we all pitch in by donating blood to ensure that supplies aren’t further diminished in the days ahead.”
In another attempt to put a wrench in the behemoth development plan for Willets Point, state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) and others filed a lawsuit on Monday claiming the shopping mall portion proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law.
The plan, submitted by the Queens Development Group — a partnership between Sterling Equities and The Related Companies — was given approval by the City Council last October.
Two major construction projects were the focal points of Monday night’s occasionally contentious Queens Borough Board meeting at Borough Hall.
Under discussion at the meeting — the second under Borough President Melinda Katz — was the Mattone Group Development Project, which involves the construction of three restaurants on land between the Queens Center Mall and the Long Island Expressway.
A lawsuit claiming that the shopping mall proposed for the Citi Field parking lot in Flushing Meadows Corona Park is illegal under state law was filed today.
The suit charges that the mall, approved by the City Council near the end of former Mayor Mike Bloomberg's last term, cannot be built without the approval of the state Legislature because the location is parkland.
Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Ave., Astoria. 25 Years of Madden NFL video game exhibition. Five versions of the groudbreaking game on view and available to play now thru Sunday, Feb. 23. Indie Essentials: 25 Must-Play Video Games, Exhibition of 25 playable, independently produced games, through March 2. Museum hours: Wednesdays-Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fridays, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturdays-Sundays, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. $12 adults, $9 seniors over 65 and students with ID, $6 children 3-12, under 3 free.
The former St. John’s Hospital on Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst and a parking garage across the street on 58th Avenue have been sold to a new developer for $47 million, the real estate firm that handled the deal announced Monday.
The city has approved converting the old hospital into a mixed-use building that will have stores on the first floor and lower level, medical facilities on the second floor and housing on the remaining floors, according to the real estate company, Massey Knakal.
In Western Queens, 2013 was the year of development and affordable housing. Willets Point, Hallets Point, Hunters Point and 5Pointz became names commonly thrown around by politicians, community boards and civic groups throughout the area. There wasn’t a month that didn’t go by when residents, electeds and developers went head to head on major development projects, illegal apartments, a massive soccer stadium plan or even the possible closing of their neighborhood movie theater.
If it has wheels, it made headlines.
Issues involving bicycles, illegal motor scooters, out-of-control SUVs, striking school bus drivers and pungent trash trains all made their way onto the Chronicle’s pages in 2013.
From the perspective of many north and northeast Queens residents, 2013 was a good year for developers and not so great for the average citizen, who had to put up with increased airplane noise, overcrowded schools and more from College Point to Little Neck.
Like any year, 2013 brought many changes, but the overriding story here is Flushing Meadows Park, which has been bombarded on all fronts with some unpopular projects as the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair continues to suffer from neglect.