Skillman Avenue in Long Island City, between Pearson Place and 49th Avenue is a fairly desolate spot. The Sunnyside Yards “Yard A” dominates the northern side of the street. On the other side of the vast rail road complex is Jackson Avenue and the Court Square Subway station, the Arris Lofts, and the brand new Pearson Court Square building with its roof top windmills.

A block south, you’ll find the sewage choked waters of Newtown Creek’s Dutch Kills tributary, which provided a maritime link to the Degnon Terminal industrial park (which has been discussed in this post). Skillman Avenue forms one of the borders of the Degnon Terminal, and at the corner of Pearson Place and Skillman Avenue – the tracks of the LIRR’s Montauk Cutoff offered locomotive access to the Degnon Terminal railway tracks. This spur is in place to this very day, and there are rails sticking up out of the modern day asphalt which run up elevations to elevated tracks that connected Sunnyside Yard with the LIRR tracks which run along Newtown Creek, through Maspeth and then towards Fresh Pond. If curious about such things – go here.

That’s a short history of the site, and you won’t believe what’s going on here now.

More after the jump…


We’re excited to announce that Emily Nonko will be taking on the role of editor for Brownstoner Queens. Emily has been our reporter on the Brooklyn site for the past three years, where she has wowed us with her speed and scoops. She has written on design for Dwell and other publications. Emily studied journalism at New York University and began working for Brownstoner as an intern during her senior year.  You can reach her directly at emily@brownstoner.com.


Well, here we are, just a hop, skip and a jump across the Newtown Creek from where Brownstoner started over eight years ago. And it’s about time! As anyone driving down the FDR drive can see, Queens has been undergoing its own development boom in recent years, with a slew of glass towers on the Long Island City waterfront and more to come in the form a major affordable housing complex in Hunters Point South. Meanwhile, the Queens food scene, its panoply of ethnic offerings always a citywide destination, continues to thrive and demand more coverage than it’s getting. As does the borough’s fine arts scene. And then there are the neighborhoods. That’s what’s going to make this the most interesting part of the journey for us. Exploring and reporting on the nooks and crannies of such an incredibly diverse borough. We’ve got a lot to learn, but that’ll be the fun part. Helping us on that journey will be such local writers (and personalities!) as Forgotten NY’s Kevin Walsh and the Newtown Pentacle’s Mitch Waxman. Montrose Morris, who’s been writing about Brooklyn history and architecture for years on Brownstoner, will be doing her thing in Queens too. And the whole ship will be helmed by Roland Li, who’s been covering real estate for the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Observer for the past several years.

So whether you’re new to the borough, just starting to think about living here or a dyed-in-the-wool old-timer, we hope that Brownstoner Queens will have something to offer everyone. And we hope that readers can help us make the site as interesting and informative as possible by sending in tips, photos and suggestions to us at queens@brownstoner.com. Anytime you see a new storefront getting fixed up or a blue construction fence being installed, we want to know. Just snap a photo on your smartphone and send it in. We’ll do the rest. Thanks for reading!


Image Source: Entrepreneur Space

The Entrepreneur Space is running out of space! On April 11, the LIC-based food-and-business incubator received more than 20 boxes of cookware, silverware, bakeware, cutlery and just about everything else a kitchen could want, thanks to a donation from Princess House, a party-plan, direct-selling company that promotes female entrepreneurship. Located at 36-46 37th St., the E-Space is a 12,500-sq.-ft., NYC Economic Development Corporation-sponsored hub with a fully equipped commercial kitchen, offices and classrooms that entrepreneurs can rent at below-market rates as they build their businesses. Consultant Kathrine Gregory (at right in photo with Princess House President and CEO Connie Tang) noted that this donation — valued at over $12,000 — will be put to extremely good use as the E-Space currently has roughly 170 clients who make everything from gluten-free baked goods to Greek garlic dip to designer marshmallows.


Image Source: SculptureCenter

When it comes to expansions, this group breaks the mold. On April 2, the SculptureCenter announced a renovation of its LIC facility that aims to improve the quality of the exhibition spaces and the visitor flow. The undertaking will create a 2,000-sq-ft. addition to the existing Purves Street facility, and the renovated facility will comply with all current building codes, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

SculptureCenter will remain open during construction with some modification to its exhibition schedule and public hours. With an expected completion in fall 2014, the rehab includes the following:

  • 6,500 square feet of flexible interior exhibition space that will accommodate work of diverse
    forms and scale;
  • a 2,000 sq.-ft., one-story entrance lobby with bookshop, coatroom, seating area,
    and restrooms;
  • an elevator and stairway to the lower level galleries;
  • a 1,500-sq.-ft. enclosed courtyard for outdoor exhibitions and events;
  • upgrades to electrical and mechanical systems; and
  • office and storage space improvements.

Seen at the groundbreaking ceremony are (from left) Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, SC Executive Director and Chief Curator Mary Ceruti, SC Board Chair Sascha S. Bauer and NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin.