Public hearing collects testimony on gas plant
Real estate developer Grubb Properties recently filed permits to construct a 17-story mixed-use building at 41-34 27th Street in Long Island City, directly across the street from the Queensboro Plaza subway station.
The two-story building currently on the plot is connected to the subway platform via a pedestrian bridge, giving passerby easy access to the 7, N, and W trains.
The new building will rise 214 feet and offer 231,646 square feet of residential space and 8,966 of commercial space. Once completed, it will include 317 residences, 25 percent of which will be designated as affordable housing.
According to the developer’s website, the property is focused on bringing “essential housing” that will support New York’s growing millennial workforce.
Based in North Carolina, Grubb Properties is a newcomer to the New York real estate game. They acquired the property from Vasiliki Falidas, owner of Queens-based company Estia Realty. Demolition permits were filed in May 2021 for the two-story building on the property.
Handel Architects, however, is not new to Long Island City. The firm recently worked on Parcel G in Hunters Point South, a 34-story residential building along the East River. They are also currently working on the massive, multi-building Greenpoint Landing across Newtown Creek in North Brooklyn.
The new building will continue the trend of high-rise development in Long Island City. Buildings such as Queens Plaza South, 42-02 Orchard Street, and HERO LIC have all recently risen in the neighborhood, transforming the once quiet streets around Queensboro Plaza into a skyline rivaling that of the city’s other boroughs.
Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa met with this paper’s editorial board last week to discuss a handful of city issues and how he would navigate them if elected.
One of the most pressing issues he touched on is the treatment of homeless people and emotionally disturbed persons in the city.
Sliwa can be seen on social media interacting with homeless people who are living on the streets and in the subways, and often calls out officials like Mayor Bill de Blasio and his democratic opponent, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, for not doing the same.
Sliwa believes that homeless outreach efforts have taken a turn for the worse as a result of the police being defunded by $1 billion, which he says severely impacted the Homeless Outreach Unit.
“Cops would go into the shelters, they would go into the hotels,” he said. “They would deal with EDPs and homeless people, more so than at the precinct level.”
Sliwa would close the 28 MICA shelters, which deal with mentally-ill and substance-abusing people, in the city.
“Those have to be closed,” he said. “You can’t have emotionally disturbed persons in shelters, they need care. They need to be in a mental healthcare hospital getting their meds.”
He supports reopening Camp LaGuardia upstate, a facility for the mentally ill and substance abusers that was closed during the Bloomberg administration.
Sliwa argues the camp would allow these individuals to overcome their substance abuse problems, as well as offer job training that may assist them with employment opportunities in the future.
Last month, Sliwa led a rally to celebrate local efforts that prevented the city from housing homeless people at the Holiday Inn Express in Maspeth, but said the issue of using hotels to house the homeless is an issue for many neighborhoods.
Sliwa said Human Resources Administration Commissioner Steven Banks “shoved these shelters down people’s throats” with no transparency or discussion. The argument is that the hotels allow homeless people who need shelter to remain in their community where they have a support system
But Sliwa says he has had conversations with homeless individuals living in hotel shelters far from where they are originally from.
The mayoral hopeful says he requested a meeting with Governor Kathy Hochul to discuss his opposition to legislation that would allow the state to buy hotels currently housing the homeless to make them permanent shelters. Sliwa says he has not heard back.
“A man or a woman, single, able-bodied should be able to have their own apartment, not have to live in a shelter in a dormitory-style way in which it’s not healthy for them,” he said. “They’re constantly being preyed on, it’s Darwinian.
“I’ve been in enough of them in which the shelter guards, whether they’re private security or Department of Homeless Services, have a no-touch policy,” Sliwa added “How are you going to control some people who are going to use force to try to shake down and extort other homeless people?”
The West Side Tennis Club (WSTC) continues to celebrate and honor its legacy. The club was founded in Manhattan in 1892 and moved to its current home in Forest Hills in 1913.
Last year’s events were largely off-limits due to the pandemic, but on August 27 the fourth Heritage Day event took place. The first was held in 2017 to mark the club’s 125th anniversary.
“Each Heritage Day allows us to relive tennis history with the wonderful tennis legends who join us,” said club president Monika Jain. “As we move forward, we are delighted to welcome current tennis superstars to the club.”
Banners honoring Stan Smith, who won the U.S. Open Singles championship in 1971 and U.S. Open Doubles championships in 1968 and 1974, and Bud Collins, a journalist, commentator, and tennis historian joined banners honoring Maureen Connolly, Jack Kramer, Arthur Ashe, Virginia Wade, Rod Laver, Rene Lacoste, and the first U.S. Open.
“Today the club is honoring two men who have not only made tennis history, but have created legendary status in the tennis world,” said Jason Weir-Smith, WSTC’s director of Racquet Sports, who served as emcee for the event.
Collins’ widow, Anita Ruthling Klaussen, donated much of her late husband’s tennis memorabilia to the club, which will be housed in the library, which was renamed “The Bud Collins Tennis Library.”
“One of the incredible surprises is the people wearing some of Bud’s clothes,” said Klaussen, herself a well-respected photographer. “When they all came to gather the books, all 90 boxes, they brought a crew. At the end of the day I asked, ‘Would you all like to look at Bud’s walk-in closet?’ I said to pick whatever you want.
“I believe Bud would be very, very pleased to know that his cherished tennis books are now housed here,” she added. “He loved the West Side Tennis Club.”
Collins was one of the first writers to make the jump to television.
“I just want you to know, I love hearing you talk,” Klaussen recalls an electrician telling her late husband. “I don’t care about tennis one bit, but I never miss your broadcast, since you’re so interesting.”
Collins also loved to play tennis and carried a racket on all of his travels. One of his favorite partners was opera star Luciano Pavarotti.
Ramsey Smith, head coach of the Duke University men’s tennis team, was making his first visit to WSTC and handled the introduction of his father.
“First and foremost, he’s my father, but he’s also my mentor, coach, and role model,” he said. “Someone I always looked up to and admired.”
“Tennis has been a great sport,” the elder Smith told the crowd. “All four of our kids played in college, it has always been an important part of our lives.”
Smith is the namesake of the popular style of Adidas tennis shoes, and even wrote a book titled “Stan smith: Some People Think I’m a Shoe.”
“People always ask about the shoe,” he said. “Back in 1965, the shoe was created as the first leather tennis shoe ever made. Before that, we wore canvas shoes.”
“Seeing him impressed me to see the personal side of the man,” said attendee David Gale of Smith. “Fit, articulate, and appreciative of not only what he accomplished, but also appreciative of the fact that he didn’t do it himself. It is always inspiring to see people who achieved success relatively early in their lives and be very happy and at peace with where they are now.”
“Stan Smith, Anita Ruthling Klaussen, and Bud Collins inspire me through their impact on those around them,” said Michael Perkins. “The ambiance of Heritage Day is characterized by the excitement created by the coming together of loving friends and family to honor their historical and cultural impact.”
Visit Astoria to discuss negative impacts on NYC residents
THE WENDELL BEAT
Curbside composting is returning this October.
Any resident can sign up for curbside composting regardless of whether or not they were in a zone before the pandemic derailed the service. Signing up will help the Department of Sanitation (DSNY) understand where the demand for curbside composting is high.
“Outreach and education around this initiative is important to get residents to sign up and then to those where service will be offered, to participate,” said Amy Marpman, chair of Queens Solid Waste Advisory Board (QSWAB).
Mary Arnold, co-founder of CURES, a group in central Queens that works to mitigate the impact of freight trains, said composting has the potential to remove more than 30 percent of the waste that is sent to landfills.
“Composting has the potential to reduce waste-by-rail diesel pollution from locomotives that are used to haul the waste and reduce noise in the middle of the night, especially from moving giant rail cars about to old locomotive engines,” she said.
The Queens Chamber of Commerce partnered with Councilman Peter Koo for a walkabout, visiting a number of businesses in Flushing and informing them of resources available through the organization.
Among the resources discussed was the Queens Chamber’s new “Open+Online” program, which helps businesses build a new website and assists in SEO (search engine optimization) free of charge.
“The pandemic changed shopping patterns for small business in many ways,” said Koo. “There was a major shift toward online shopping, so we want to make sure our businesses know about the chamber’s capacity to help build websites for our community free of charge. Customers are coming back, and we want to make sure our businesses have every available resource at their disposal so they too can come back and thrive in this post-pandemic economy.”
Beginning at Bland Playground on the corner of Prince Street and 40th Road, the tour made its way up 40th Road to Flushing’s bustling Main Street and Roosevelt Avenue.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of neighborhoods like Flushing, but they’ve had an incredibly challenging year-and-a-half due to the pandemic,” said Thomas Grech, president and CEO of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “Our Open+Online program can help businesses get back on their feet and thrive in the post-pandemic economy.”
“Online presence is important for small businesses to thrive,” added Dian Song Yu, executive director of Flushing BID. “Especially during this pandemic era, a website can serve as a key communication channel between merchants and consumers, allowing businesses to operate more efficiently and broaden their customer base.”
The New York Mets lose again, this time to the fans
The Louis Armstrong Legacy Monthly Jazz Jam will return to Flushing Town Hall for in-person events after being virtual for 17 months. The first jam will take place on September 8 at 7 p.m. and will kick off a lineup of fall programs.
“Let me say how utterly thrilled we are to see everyone return for a live, in-person jam,” said Gabrielle Hamilton, town hall’s director of Education & Public Programs,. “Over the last 17 months as musicians joined us online, we heard some amazing jazz from across the globe, including six of the seven continents, but now it is time to jam again in person.”
For those unable to attend in person, virtual audiences can watch a livestream for free on Flushing Town Hall’s Facebook page.
“I want to thank everyone who went on this virtual, musical journey with us this past year and a half,” said Carol Sudhalter, the band leader for the monthly jam. “The pandemic keeps testing the resolve of the arts community, but we have proven ourselves resilient and inventive.”
Additional concerts this fall include another performance in The Lioness Women in Jazz series featuring baritone saxophonist Lauren Sevian, followed by concerts with Dayramir González & Habana enTRANCé Cuban Jazz, then Yui Kitamura & The Mark Wade Trio.
Flushing Town Hall will also present the first art exhibition, “Communicating Beyond Words,” ins its gallery since the pandemic first closed its facility in March of 2020.
Flushing Town Hall will require all visitors, performers, and staff to show proof of vaccination, and masks must be worn at all times. For more information visit flushingtownhall.org.