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This Saturday and Sunday, volunteers visited Rockaway Beach to help plant beach grass on top of the dunes to help better protect the shoreline. According to the Parks Department, the roots of the beach grass strengthens the dunes by holding sand in place. The blades also trap windblown sand, increasing dune size. Parks has planted beach grass from native crops in Rockaway and Staten Island since Hurricane Sandy, and they even created a beach grass “farm” at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.

These plants went on dunes that the Army Corps of Engineers is currently constructing. You can see more pictures of the event this weekend after the jump.

Photos by NYC Parks Department

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Happening tomorrow — Saturday, April 26th from 10 am to 2pm — Friends of the QueensWay will lead its second annual community clean-up day along the abandoned rail tracks. The QueesWay proposal, of course, is to transform a 3.5 mile stretch of long-abandoned LIRR tracks into a greenway. During last year’s clean-up event, volunteers cleared a half a mile of overgrown weeds, trash and debris. If you are interesting in lending a hand this year, meet at Forest Park Drive, about 1/8 mile east of Woodhaven Boulevard, at 10 am. Volunteers should wear sturdy footwear and clothing appropriate for light duty trash removal. Gloves, materials and water will be provided.

All QueensWay coverage [Q’Stoner]

Photo by Jeff Liao via Friends of the QueensWay

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Vanishing New York published a collection of photos taken by Tim Schreier of the dead zone that now occupies Willets Point. As he told VNY, “What I saw was a few businesses hanging on but, for the most part, it was like a ghost town.” Many of the small auto businesses decided to move to the Bronx. For those that decided to stay, it’s likely the city will use eminent domain to clear the 62 aces of land. And of course, this once diverse, dense collection of auto body shops will be replaced by a mega mall.

Willets Vanishing [Vanishing New York]

Photo by Tim Schreier

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Calling all Queens residents who care about street safety and public transportation! There are two very interesting meetings regarding such on the calendar tonight. The first is a Vision Zero Town Hall, scheduled tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Avenue. The public is invited to share their concerns, ideas and feedback on the city’s Vision Zero goal of ending traffic deaths, particularly in Queens. (Thoughts on how to improve the Boulevard of Death? Bring those to the meeting.)

Secondly, the MTA and the DOT are holding a community workshop on how to improve bus service in the borough. NY1 reports that the MTA is particularly looking at improvements for Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards, which serve more than 31,000 riders daily on local routes and nearly 3,000 riders on express lines. The city is seriously considering Select Bus Service for Woodhaven Boulevard from Roosevelt Avenue to the Rockaways, the first SBS route for Queens. If you’re interested in attending, the meeting begins at 6 pm tonight at JHS 210, the Elizabeth Blackwell School, in Jamaica.

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The American Littoral Society and the Broad Channel middle school P.S. 47 are holding a fundraiser to help restore New York City’s milkweed habitat for the monarch butterfly. According to the Society, “Once numbering in the tens of millions, the monarch’s numbers have been severely reduced due to habitat loss in North America. Their life cycle depends on one family of plants – the milkweeds.” The milkweed will be planted in open fields and vacant lots throughout New York and New Jersey. The fundraiser, with a goal of $1,500, is to purchase the milkweed plants in time for the first planting at the end of April at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. The American Littoral Society and P.S. 47 already met their funding goal, but the groups are still accepting donations. And for just today, the National Parks Conservation Association will match every individual donation up to $50 until 11:59 pm. If you are interested in donating, go here.

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Check out the MTA’s new marketing campaign to promote Long Island City while the 7 train is down on weekends. According to LIC Post, “The MTA is about to put the public service announcements up at every No. 7 train station and on each No. 7 train… It will also be putting the posters up at a number of other stations and on a variety of different train lines.” The posters have not gone up yet but the advertisement is now on the MTA website. The MTA also agreed to keep the 7 train running during the week of May 17th and 18th, due to all these awesome events. The weekend train shutdown will last until July 21st.

MTA Unveils Long Island City Marketing Material [LIC Post]

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Next week Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, local pols and Department of Transportation officials are hosting a Vision Zero Queens Town Hall. It’ll be a forum for the public to discuss traffic safety in Queens, particularly related to Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero street safety initiative. Guests are also invited to share ideas on improving traffic safety and identify problem locations in their neighborhood. The Town Hall meeting will be held Wednesday, April 23rd, from 6 to 8 pm at LaGuardia Community College, 31-10 Thomson Avenue.

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Socrates Sculpture Park is preparing for its spring exhibition, which will open on May 11th. Last week they broke ground on the largest installation in the park’s 28-year history — according to Socrates, it’s “a 250-foot-long, thirteen-foot-high kinetic pathway composed of 200 stainless steel, mirrored poles connecting energetic slopes of silver Mylar ribbon overhead.” The work, titled Scarecrow, is by the LIC-based, Lithuanian-born artist Zilvinas Kempinas. This is the artist’s first outdoor installation in the United States. You can read more details about the sculpture here, and also see photos of the installation process happening now at the park at the Socrates Facebook page. Also beginning in May, the park will provide a free weekend shuttle service to and from nearby cultural attractions.

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The MTA announced that during its 12-weekend shutdown of the 7 train, it will not shut down 7 Line service to Queens the weekend of May 17th and 18th. The MTA listened to concerns from Long Island City residents and business owners, who are struggling with the shutdown, and decided to keep the train running for one important weekend in LIC.

Here’s what’s happening: on Saturday, May 17th, the LIC Partnership is holding LIC Springs!, a free, community block festival on Vernon Boulevard in partnership with the city’s Weekend Walks program. And the LIC Arts Open – a nine-day festival – will stretch through that weekend. There’s also the LIC Flea & Food, the new Astoria Flea & Food at Kaufman Astoria Studios, and the World’s Fair Anniversary Festival in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Overall, a ton of events happening with public transportation to access them. After the weekend, the shutdown will last until July 21st.

Photo by vanshnookenraggen

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That’s the title of a post today on New York Magazine’s Daily Intelligencer blog. The article refers to the first quarter market report released this morning, which shows growing prices and decreased inventory in both Queens and Brooklyn. Jonathan Miller, the man who crunched the numbers, said this: “Queens is benefiting directly from Brooklyn’s success… You’re seeing spillover across the lines and adjacent areas are likely to benefit moving forward. If you think Brooklyn is here to stay in terms of the success and the changes it has undergone in terms of the public’s perception of the borough then Queens is right there, too.”

Miller and Douglas Elliman’s director of sales Yuval Greenblatt recommend that buyers check out Ridgewood, Maspeth, Long Island City and Woodside. The above image is of Icon 52, the new “affordable luxury” rental development that started leasing in Woodside early this year.

Gentrification Is Coming for Queens [NY Mag]
Queens Sales off to Strong Start in First Quarter [Q’Stoner]