New gray block building shines blue in the night

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For months I watched men lay bricks at 12-02 37th Avenue, creating a gray block building in the middle of the Ravenswood industrial business zone. It is so gray and blocky it looked like they were building a castle or a fort. Now with the exterior done, the building is totally more flamboyant at night, its surface illuminated by blue lights, giving it a jazzy, almost night-club like appearance in the industrial area. Most of the buildings that have gone up in the zone lately are hotels. I’m not sure yet if this is a hotel. And guess what, this is also a hotel! Of course it is. It took me a minute to call the wrong architect to find I had the wrong address and wrong paperwork to find a proper link explaining. And that architect? Also building a hotel in the Ravenswood IBZ (at 11-02 37th Ave.) Of course. ***Another update: Google Maps has this place listed as Hotel Nirvana! Well, nevermind. I like the way New York YIMBY described the 12-02 37th Ave development plan 2.5 years ago:

“The development would rise 100 feet into the air on a vacant lot between 12th and 13th Streets, in a sleepy commercial no-man’s land near Ravenswood Generating Station and the Roosevelt Island Bridge… In fact, it seems like an odd place for a hotel. The surrounding blocks are dotted with low-slung warehouses, two-family homes, and the large Ravenwood Houses public housing project.”

But we know now that the Ravenswood IBZ, intended to preserve industrial business space, is a small forest of hotels surrounded by the tall grass of warehouses and small factories. So anyway, this hotel definitely has a stubby shape in comparison to the others. I’ll just say it again. It’s a gray block thing. But at night, that’s when it lets its freak flag fly.

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Pacific Rim

(This post was adjusted to conform to learned information.)

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Applications open for affordable housing at Halletts Point

Applications began at midnight for 81 affordable housing units at Halletts Point. The deadline is May 7. 

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10 Halletts Point, the first of seven buildings underway at the area by Durst Corporation, is set to begin leasing this summer. Altogether, the multi-development will have 2,000 apartments, 400 or 20 percent of which will be affordable. 

A few notes: 

Maloney’s challenger has issues (optics at least)

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has a Democratic midterm primary challenger who just got caught saying apparently suggestive comments on social media about McKayla Maroney, a champion Olympic gymnast who was underage at the time in 2012. I know, Maroney, Maloney? TBH, I read his Facebook post a few times and don’t get it. Is that Indiana humor? The timing is awkward I guess because Maroney has recently spoken out about being sexually abused as a teen. Politico reported a month ago that the challenger, Suraj Patel, a 34 year-old former Obama campaign staffer (or something, here’s his LinkedIn) who lives in the East Village, had a war chest comparable to Maloney’s. Politico notes, “Patel’s campaign strategists point out the district has been redrawn since 2010 to include the younger, hipper Brooklyn neighborhoods of Greenpoint and Williamsburg.” Some case for descriptive representation. The area was actually the 14th district until 2013 when it became the 12th. It stretched a bit to includes Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.33.14 AM

A few notes:

Corner of Astoria still exists!

It’s been one week since you looked at me I started this blog on my phone while eating a sandwich in a Subway restaurant on 7th Avenue. I have posted every day. (Sometimes after midnight though). Saturday, I covered the 44th Drive rezoning protest in Hunters Point. I see little other post-coverage of that other than on NY1. And this was not a bad alternative for getting that news (IMHO).

A few notes:

  • It’s hard to choose a seat at the new/reopened Love Cafe on Steinway Street. I tried popular Kinship Coffee but it was too crowded. Next door at Love, hardly anyone was there. But there are so many types of spots to sit it took a while to choose. Wait, is this a metaphor for the world?

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Quiet 44th Drive corner becomes rallying ground against EDC waterfront development plan

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The deep end of 44th Drive west of Vernon Boulevard in Hunters Point is usually a quiet stretch, all concrete and bricks with a great Midtown skyline view. But today several dozen people, including elected officials of the area, held a rally around some parked cars to say no to the city’s current rezoning and development plans for the strip. The current plan calls for rezoning two lots for housing, manufacturing, offices, park space and a school. The protesters say too much is being given away.

 

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The Economic Development Corporation put out Requests for Proposals early in 2016 to redevelop 5-40 and 4-99 44th Drive where the Department of Transportation and the defunct Water’s Edge restaurant are. Last summer the EDC revealed its plan with TF Cornerstone as developer. The plan involves 1,000 rental units and 100,000 square feet of industrial space. Some 250 or 25% of the units are supposed to be affordable.

Long Island City Coalition and allies want a shot at influencing a different plan. Part of the issue is population density given the state of transit and what’s said to be overcrowded schools. “We’re being walled in,” a musician said to the crowd. Instead, opponents have floated ideas such as more park space, a community center or a big school. “A permanent solution for overcrowding is this beautiful building,” someone said of the DOT behemoth behind the rally. “This is a public space. We own this,” Brent O’Leary of the Hunters Point Civic Association said.

I asked Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer if he has a plan to bring an alternative plan to the EDC. “EDC has to come to the table,” he said, as in have forums where the community weighs in. I asked how long it will take to get an alternative plan through. “Whatever amount of time that would take, it’s worth taking.”

BdB on NYCHA freeze, Blissville shelter

Mayor Bill de Blasio commented on the NYCHA boiler issue (at Astoria Houses and elsewhere) and the Blissville 100-single men homeless shelter (just 12 hours after people railed about it at CB2) on the Brian Lehrer Show Friday. On the heat issue, BDB defended himself from Governor Andrew Cuomo for saying on the show Thursday that it’s a city management issue, not the state’s failure to supply enough funds. Cuomo insisted that as a former HUD secretary (before Ben Carson) he knew what he was talking about. “Fix it!” Cuomo had yelled, as though just annoyed with the de Blasio admin. BdB retorted, “Why doesn’t he stop talking and give us the $250 million that he already signed off on?” So, the mayor and the governor are my parents. 

On the Blissville shelter (you can listen at 7:34 – and, disclosure: I work for Brian Lehrer in some capacity but am not promoting his radio show) Rebecca called in to complain about the City View 100 men shelter and the Fairfield Inn shelter opening soon with 154 families. “Are there guidelines for density? Because at this point it will be one to one,” she said. BdB:

“We care obviously to make sure that wherever there is a shelter facility, that we take into account the needs of the surrounding community and we try and balance things, but we also have a shortage of available sites,” BdB said. “We need the sites to make sure that people are sheltered and we want them to be as fairly distributed as possible and we want to think about things obviously like the impact on the immediate community.” 

A few notes:

  • Activists will be rallying at noon today against waterfront developments on 44th Drive. I plan to stop by and observe. 
  • Estée Lauder is moving “dozens” of IT jobs from Long Island to LIC, Newsday reports. The company’s tech hub will open at 1 Queens Plaza North in July. With its proximity to the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island LIC seems to be where it’s at these days for tech.

    “Long Island City is a growing hub for startups, tech and digital companies,” Michael Smith, the chief information officer said, adding, “our team will greatly benefit from being at the center of this fast-paced and vibrant environment.” 

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1 Queens Plaza North, site of a future Estée Lauder tech hub.

Continue reading “BdB on NYCHA freeze, Blissville shelter”

Blissville just can’t with 100 single men shelter

Homeless shelter sitings seem to always be controversial. But the one set up last year at the City View Inn at 33-17 Greenpoint Ave in Blissville was recently converted from a family shelter to a shelter for… 100 single men. I think the discomfort level goes up a few notches in such cases, as I saw at the CB2 meeting Thursday night. You can see some highlights of the Blissville shelter discussion in this video.

A few notes:

  • There will be a rally about zoning and a TF Cornerstone development in LIC on Saturday at noon. I think I’ll be there to cover this.
  • Councilman Costas Constantinides says he wants to convert the Broadway Municipal Parking Field (lot) into senior citizen affordable housing.

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  • A new ferry route is opening this summer from LIC to LES.
  • There’s going to be a 4th annual open 1.2 mile run in Sunnyside on the route of the St. Pat’s Parade from 12:30 to 1 on Sunday before the parade begins.
  • A “Healthy Living Pharmacy” will open this month (or is opening) in Queens Plaza at the base of Luna, a building set to open at 42-15 Crescent Street.
  • If you happen to be in jail soon, you might catch some arts. The Public Theatre will present Henry V at the Queensborough Correctional Facility in LIC 4/4.

Continue reading “Blissville just can’t with 100 single men shelter”