Amazon to come to Anable Basin

The Anable Basin was controversial even before Amazon said it would show up. Less than a year ago, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, other local pols and various LIC activists were there to protest a plan to turn the strip at 44th Drive at the waterfront into a development that would somehow involve residential and industrial uses altogether. Well — no one cares about that anymore, because Amazon is coming, which is apparently the biggest business story in a while and it’s down the street from my apartment. A memorandum of understanding shows where Amazon plans to set up shop for part of it’s HQ2, and it’s the same area, just south of Con Edison. JVB and Senator Michael Gianaris were initially down with Amazon coming to LIC, but held a protest at the site today saying this was a huge $3 billion giveaway that won’t involve any public review. The mayor says the 25,000 jobs or more promised over a decade is unprecedented and the governor says the return on investment would be nine to one.  Continue reading “Amazon to come to Anable Basin”

Landmarked Kaufman Astoria Studios decor was never approved by city

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Kaufman Astoria Studios plans to present this diagram to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Kaufman Astoria Studios is one of the showiest sites in lower Astoria, with its colorful lights ablaze at night, its British phone booths at its pillars, its orange-streaked iron gates and its fancy restaurant, George’s, serving as an anchor of the Kaufman Arts District. Turns out, much of the decor on the building was never approved by the city, which granted the near-century-old site landmark status in 1978.

The film and TV studio plans to ask the Landmarks Preservation Commission for permission to make a temporary outdoor portion of George’s permanent but will also address various other decor that’s been up in spite of the landmark status for, apparently, years. I don’t know if any of the added fixtures go against the letter of the landmarks preservation law, which you could read here. A representative for the studio went before a full Community Board 1 Thursday night asking for a letter of support, stirring up grievances about the iconic studio site.

“They’re like an outside entity in our neighborhood,” said Board Member Stella Nicolaou. “They just went ahead and did things,” she said, recalling also, how the studio several years ago closed a street off permanently for private use. “It’s like a dictatorship in our community.” Continue reading “Landmarked Kaufman Astoria Studios decor was never approved by city”

HomeMark 99¢ strip on 31st Street to become “Astoria Artisan Food Hall”

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The Commercial Observer reports that the low-key strip on 31st Street and 35th Avenue with HomeMark 99¢ on the corner is set to be torn down and replaced with an “Astoria Artisan Food Hall.” Developer Vass Stevens Group bought the strip at 34-39 31st Street last October and already got rid of the tenants and demolished the interiors, apparently. It plans to divide the building into eight storefronts and aims to include, says the Observer, “a coffee roaster, a microbrewery, a specialty dessert bakery and an Asian concept.” There was also mention of “ethnic Hispanic concepts… Fitness concepts, performance groups and creative tenants.”  Continue reading “HomeMark 99¢ strip on 31st Street to become “Astoria Artisan Food Hall””

Asian Halal now LIC Grill

The Asian Halal place by Queensbridge on 21st Street is being reinvented as LIC Grill. The “no frills,” as they say, joint, previously wore the banner, “Pakistan, India & Bangladesh Halal Food” and below that, “Asian Restaurant” on brown-red coloring. This has been replaced by a sleek wood-toned banner simply headed “LIC Grill,” subheaded, “Indian and American Cuisine.” Continue reading “Asian Halal now LIC Grill”

35th Ave and 12th Street building could look like this

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A rendering of the obscure Ravi Management’s planned eight story building for the southwest corner of 12th Street and 35th Avenue shows a light-toned jumbo cube. Maybe I couldn’t see the rendering if it was shown at the hearing over the item at CB1’s land-use committee’s rezoning hearing last month – but it was shown on a slide at a full Community Board 1 meeting last night, where the board approved of the rezoning plan with certain stipulations.

Continue reading “35th Ave and 12th Street building could look like this”

Astoria has 2 of the top 10 best NYC gay bars on Yelp?

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A Metro New York after-party guide published for the NYC Pride march and festival lists what it says are the top 10 gay bars in NYC according to Yelp. Well. Two of the 10 are in Astoria: Icon Bar and Albatross Bar. Brooklyn only got one.

To be fair, I don’t know what Yelp actually means. It sounds like there are some jumping Manhattan bars that are missing in place of piano and dive bars. And why are Jackson Heights bars not on the list? In annnyyy case, you can tell all your friends that Astoria has two of the top 10 NYC gay bars on Yelp and that’s more than Brooklyn.

Music venue in Kaufman Arts District liquor license approved by CB1

 

A music venue billed as a concert hall, recording studio and youth educational-programming space on 35th Street in the Kaufman Arts District survived Community Board 1’s approval process for its liquor license last night. The space is called ARC, and is associated with music blog, DMNDR (somehow, apparently). Some construction has been done on the space at 36-35 35th Street between 36th and 37th avenues (also 36-30 36th Street) apparently in place since 2014* but a liquor license should really turn on the show in this quiet northeast section of Long Island City.

Continue reading “Music venue in Kaufman Arts District liquor license approved by CB1”