There are no ads matching your search criteria.

City finally starts on Willets Point redevelopment

City representatives and local officials gathered in a dirt lot outside Citi Field last week to break ground on the long-anticipated redevelopment of Willet’s point.
The initial phase will focus on environmental cleanup on what is now six acres of undeveloped land.
“We are going to bring in 1,100 units of affordable housing with zero market-rate units, and units that are going to be set aside for older New Yorkers and those transitioning out of the shelter system,” said Councilman Francisco Moya.
Officials touted the creation of a new school as the project’s crown jewel, which will alleviate overcrowding in the district.
“This represents an opportunity for 650 children in the district to not go into any more crowded schools,” Moya added.
Since Moya took office in 2018, he’s worked closely with Mayor Bill de Blasio to make the project, which got underway during the Bloomberg administration, a reality.
“We needed to be persistent to get this done, and we needed to make sure that it had the maximum impact for the community,” de Blasio said. “We’ve really gotten back to what matters, which is making sure that people can live in this community.”
The cleanup will last into 2022, when the project will shift its focus to creating infrastructure for the redevelopment. The city will begin construction on the housing, school and other amenities in 2024.
The project will include two acres of public open space and 680,000 square feet of retail space.
“Image right here where we’re standing, we’re going to see a thriving neighborhood with affordable homes and a public school and open space for families to enjoy,” said Rachel Loeb president and CEO of the Economic Development Corporation.
“It’s not often that we get the opportunity to start from scratch, but with this project we are going to build an entire community from the ground up,” said Councilman Peter Koo of Flushing. “I look forward to the day when Flushing, Willets point, and Corona will share a seamless, integrated community.”
The mayor said the project is part of the “rebirth” of New York and a future that will have impacts for generations.
“We talk about affordable, but sometimes we forget what it means on a very human level,” de Blasio said. “It means a family that will for decades know they will have a place to lay their head. This is the kind of thing that really makes a difference.”

It feels so good to fell normal again

A day like Monday was sorely needed. It was good to see old friends again, it was good to hear music, and it felt really good to hear laughter again.
Monday was the Make Music festival, which is held citywide each year on the Summer Solstice, but brought to our community for the first time by Raquel Olivares, executive director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District.
Forest Parkway was closed off for a few hours, chairs were placed in the street, and three different acts filled the streets of Woodhaven with wonderful music for three hours.
Across the street, a handful of local artists dubbed The Woodhaven Art Circle gave an exhibition of paintings, collages and quilts, a beautiful sight to see on such a beautiful sunny day.
For the first 30 minutes or so, the street was empty and I overheard someone wondering if people were still too nervous to come out. And I had to wonder myself. It’s been a long 15 months and everyone may have lost the habit of public gatherings.
But slowly, over time, people began to arrive. One by one, we started seeing more and more old friends and familiar faces.
Faces, for the most part, not masks. It was nice to see some smiling faces.
Initial greetings with people you haven’t seen in a while were a bit awkward. Do we fist bump? Do we bump elbows? There were still a few of those.
But I’m happy to report that there were lots of handshakes and hugs. And it felt so good.
At one point, I found myself in a small group of friends and we were making silly jokes and having a laugh. And it felt so good.
There was even some gossiping and intrigue and catching up on all the local controversies.
And it felt so, so good.
It felt good to hear live music and see people dancing in the middle of Forest Parkway. It felt good to see passersby stop and stare and wonder what was happening, and then joining the party.
I saw one old friend that I hadn’t seen much over the past 15 months, and after giving each other a warm greeting we sat down and caught up with each other’s lives. It turned out that all was good with both of us. We are the lucky ones.
For just below the surface was a layer of sadness for those who could not be there with us; those we lost to COVID or other reasons. We all went into the COVID storm together, but not everyone came out.
And it was wonderful to see all the lovely work by our talented artists. During the day, a few more artists came forward and will be joining us in the very near future. We’ll introduce you to them.
And there was lots of excitement about this Saturday’s Art Exhibit of Woodhaven Art Circle member Mahfuza Shammy Rahman (MSR).
MSR’s work will be on exhibit at Geordie’s Joint on the corner of 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue starting Saturday, June 26, at 3 p.m. There will be a brief ceremony at 4 p.m., and if you miss the opening, MSR’s work will be on display at Geordie’s Joint through July 3.
It feels good to be busy again, it feels good to have events to look forward to, and it feels so good to see so many happy faces on the streets of Woodhaven again. It’s been a long, long time, and a day like Monday was badly needed.
It was good to feel normal again. At last.

Smorgasburg returning to waterfront this summer

After a year-long hiatus, the popular Smorgasburg food festival returns to Williamsburg on June 26. The event’s return is an inspiring sign of the city’s COVID-19 recovery, yet the news does not come without its fair share of controversy.
Since it launched in 2011, Smorgasburg has grown into the largest open-air food market in the entire country, attracting New Yorkers from across the five boroughs and tourists from throughout the U.S. and world.
The festival’s large crowds were a nonstarter last year during the pandemic, yet the Smorgasburg team is excited to be bringing back the event this year and possibly even attracting new patrons.
“Reopening Smorgasburg feels like a culmination of months of collective action, by us and our vendors, but also by all New Yorkers to get the city back to this point where we can feel comfortable holding an event with so many people,” said Smorgasburg co-founder Eric Demby. “It feels so good to be moving in a positive direction after all the loss and grief and anxiety and boredom.”
Demby said that many of the longtime vendors at Smorgasburg won’t be there for the reopening as COVID-19 forced them to close permanently.
“We encourage anyone who’s interested to apply through our website,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity to launch your business during a busy summer at the markets. We are especially seeking folks of color and from the LGBTQ+ community, but of course all are welcome.”
In addition to COVID-19, Smorgasburg has had to contend with the redesign of Marsha P. Johnson State Park, the waterfront site where the festival is held.
Throughout the pandemic, the state Parks Department has struggled to compromise with community activists on a design for the park that properly honors its namesake, a notable LGBTQ+ activist and 1969 Stonewall Uprising leader.
Some activists have suggested adding more greenspace to the park, a proposition that might affect the concrete slabs where Smorgasburg vendors set up. During a series of public hearings, multiple Smorgasburg vendors expressed their concerns about the proposition of changing the festival’s location.
“The size of platform B [one of the concrete slabs currently in the park] is very important to Smorgasburg,” argued Susan Povich, founder and owner of the Red Hook Lobster Pound, at a public hearing last month. “Especially in the post-COVID world, if we shrink the size of platform B we will have to shrink the number of vendors at Smorgasburg.”
Charles Carlotti, a wood-fire pizza vendor at Smorgasburg, expressed a similar sentiment.
“The way the market is set up, all the vendors have an equal opportunity to make money,” he explained. “The other spots where we do Smorgasburg don’t even come close to comparing to that spot.”
In addition to its famous Williamsburg festival, Smorgasburg organizes events in DUMBO, Chelsea, and the Lower East Side. In 2016, Smorgasburg also launched a weekly summer market in Los Angeles, much like the one in Williamsburg.

Photos courtesy of Smorgasburg.

Annex of historic Greenpoint Bank to become condos

The historic Greenpoint Savings Bank at 807 Manhattan Avenue opened in 1906 and was the work of the architecture team Helmle and Huberty, who also designed the Williamsburgh Savings Bank.
The neoclassical structure has long been a staple in the North Brooklyn neighborhood. It achieved landmark status in 1982.
However, the Capital One branch that resided inside the building closed during the pandemic, leaving the building’s future uncertain. Slate Property currently owns the bank building and an annex structure that is attached to it. The developer plans on restoring the annex and converting it into luxury condos.
Located at 1080 Lorimer Street, the annex will hold 29 units when it officially opens. Additionally, the developer is working in partnership with architecture firm PKSB to ensure that the renovations will preserve and respect the history of the building.
The completed annex will mimic the aesthetic style of the bank, with gray tiling echoing the iconic dome roof.
“Our goal for 1080 Lorimer was to preserve the history of the building while creating a one-of-a-kind residence that can’t be found anywhere else in the city,” said Slate Property Group founder Martin Nussbaum. “I’m confident we’ve done just that.”
The annex building will offer duplexes and three-bedroom condos. The property’s website currently lists prices that range between $995,000 and $3,500,000. Residents of the annex will have access to a rooftop lounge and courtyard that will offer unobstructed views of the bank building’s dome roof.
Despite the renovations coming to the annex, the future of the bank building proper on Manhattan Avenue is uncertain. Since the Capital One branch closed last year, the building has remained vacant and the property’s owners are yet to share details on any plans to fill the space.

Rendering courtesy of Slate Property Group, PKSB, Quinn PR

Mother Cabrini statue comes to Carroll Gardens

On Friday, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and other officials from the Brooklyn Diocese unveiled a new statue of Mother Cabrini at St. Stephen Roman Catholic Church on Hicks Street in Carroll Gardens.
The monument comes off the heels of a years-long effort to construct a statue in honor of Cabrini, an Italian-American nun and activist who was the first U.S. citizen canonized as a Catholic saint.
“It’s a real replica of her presence here so that people can remember what she did in her life,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “She reached out to the people on the margins of society, and that’s our job today. Her courage was great because her faith was great, and even when Mother Cabrini was met with rejection, she never returned anything but love.”
Bishop DiMarzio performed a blessing on the new statue, which depicts Mother Cabrini helping two young children.
Born in Italy in 1850, Cabrini immigrated to New York in 1899 and set to work founding a great number of hospitals, schools, and orphanages throughout the city. She is credited with helping many Italian-Americans find their footing, and her work lives on through the continued humanitarian efforts of the church in New York City.
The idea for a new statue of Cabrini first arose in 2019, when the saint received the most votes in New York City’s “She Built NYC” public art campaign. However, the de Blasio administration did not go through with constructing a statue built in her likeness, prompting harsh backlash from Catholics and Italian-Americans.
Governor Andrew Cuomo reacted to the controversy by dedicating a statue to her in Battery Park on Columbus Day, yet church officials still felt that more action was required. The Diocese of Brooklyn launched a fundraising campaign of its own and raised over $40,000 to build the statue of Mother Cabrini in Carroll Gardens.
“Despite the slowdown caused by the Coronavirus, we are so proud Mother Cabrini’s statue now stands on Summit Street, an area where she once served those in need,” said Diocese of Brooklyn deputy press secretary John Quaglione.

Photos courtesy of the Brooklyn Diocese.

Amazon increasing its presence in Brooklyn

Ground recently broke on a new Amazon fulfillment center in Red Hook. The facility will add to the tech giant’s ever-increasing presence in Brooklyn and New York City as a whole.
The center will be located on a pier at 280 Richards Street at the former location of the old Revere Sugar Factory, which was torn down in 2009.
Thor Equities oversees the property and formerly planned on constructing a waterfront office at the site, but those plans were abandoned in 2019.
Amazon swooped in and filed permits for a 310,967-square-foot fulfillment center. The new structure will be a one-story manufacturing facility with parking for trucks and vans on the roof. Additional parking will also be available on the ground level.
The fulfillment center will be within eye-shot of the large IKEA store and near the now-shuttered Fairway along the Red Hook waterfront. The Erie Basin Waterfront Park and the Pier 44 Waterfront Garden will also be within walking distance.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Amazon recently signed a lease for another facility at 12555 Flatlands Avenue in East New York. The site will function as both a fulfillment center and as a central office hub for the company’s operations throughout the borough. Another East New York location is also coming to 2300 Linden Boulevard.
An Amazon press release about the East New York location states that the facility will aid the company with its “last mile” distribution efforts throughout New York City. Additionally, the release details the company’s efforts to hire local.
The new facilities are continuing a long and tense relationship between New York City and Amazon. Most famously, local and national politicians successfully ended Amazon’s plans to build a new headquarters at Long Island City in Queens.
Additionally, Attorney General Letitia Jame filed a lawsuit against the company this past February on the grounds of inadequate health and safety conditions in a Staten Island fulfillment center.
Locals throughout the city, including in Red Hook, have also complained about the traffic and environmental setbacks that come with an increase in Amazon’s New York truck fleet.

Students graduate from Green-Wood masonry program

On June 16, 14 young New Yorkers graduated from a unique masonry and historic preservation program at Green-Wood Cemetery.
Throughout the ten-week curriculum, the students helped to renovate and restore a century-old monument in the heart of the cemetery, an achievement that was also celebrated at Wednesday’s event.
“It’s great that we get this work done, but the most important thing is that we are creating a future for some of these people,” explained Green-Wood Cemetery president Richard Moylan. “Not everyone needs to go to college, and there are some people who don’t know what they want to do yet, but they know they like working with their hands.”
The program, officially called Bridge to Crafts Careers, was organized by the Green-Wood Historic Fund and three community partners: Brooklyn-based workforce development organization Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, the International Masonry Institute, and the World Monuments Fund.
Bridge to Crafts Careers began in 2018, but Green-Wood was forced to suspend the program last year due to the pandemic. However, students who had been accepted into the 2020 class were allowed to complete the program this year.
Graduates from the program earn their OSHA certification and go on to a diverse set of careers, including jobs in tile setting, carpentry, and positions at Brooklyn’s Local 1 of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers.
“The level of interest every single year that we’ve done this is amazing,” explained Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow CEO Liliana Polo-McKenna. “Hundreds of people are interested in doing this because of the opportunities they see. Even if it isn’t specifically masonry, there are a number of paths they can take.
“And the fact that this partnership is really local makes the program even more special,” she added. “Our office is literally a few blocks away.”
Throughout the program, the students worked to restore the ornate mausoleum of shipping magnate, reformer, and San Francisco mayor Cornelius Kingsland Garrison (1809-1888).
The mausoleum was selected because of the significant deterioration it has experienced since its constructruction over 140 years ago. Students were tasked with replacing old mortar with new historically accurate mortar and performing additional stone repair and cleaning.
“We have all put in so much into this historic structure and we are so happy to share it with you today,” said Neela Wickremesinghe, director of Restoration and Preservation at Green-Wood Cemetery. “It looks just as good as it did when it was created in the 19th century.
“The graduates’ story is now linked with Garrison’s, and I for one think that it is more compelling,” Wickremesinghe added. “You learned a new trade, saved a priceless monument, and gained skills that will help you with the next phase of your life.”
Elimarie Garcia-Cosme from the World Monuments Fund agreed, saying “preservation is near and dear to my heart, and it is critical that we have talented young people entering the field.”
After the ceremony, the Star caught up with some of the graduates to hear their thoughts on the experience.
“Paper and pencil has been my best friend since I was a kid,” said Francis Rosario. “I wanted to do something a little more impactful. I love the hard work that comes with masonry and I am proud to look at the finished product.”
“About ten years ago I was in a woodshop class in school and I was not into it,” explained Aniyah Carr. “I thought, ‘I am a girl, they have a cosmetology class, put me in that instead.’ There were no more seats though, so I stayed in the woodshop class and I fell in love with it. I loved working with my hands and I knew a sit-down job would never work for me.”
Carr currently has plans to work as a tile setter. She attributes the Green-Wood program for giving her the skills to make that dream a reality.
“I live in a brick house, so I’m going to tell my landlord to let me fix up some bricks,” Carr said. “The program taught me to have a new respect for history and the work that goes into preserving it.”

Photos courtesy of Green-Wood Cemetery

Charlotte C. Cestaro

Charlotte C. Cestaro passed away on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at the age of 92. Founder of Twin County Pools, Farmingdale, NY. Beloved Wife of the late Leonard Cestaro. Loving Mother of Bradley (Dolores) Ott and Randy (Judi) Cestaro. Cherished Grandmother and Great-Grandmother. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Funeral Services held at McCourt & Trudden Funeral Home (Farmingdale, NY) on Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Entombment followed at Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, NY under the direction of Papavero Funeral Home, 72-27 Grand Avenue, Maspeth, NY 11378.

Fill the Form for Events, Advertisement or Business Listing