Hotels

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The Long Island City hotel boom just echoed again. Today, the Hilton Garden Inn New York Long Island City/Manhattan View opened for business.

Located just north of Queens Plaza at 29-21 41st Avenue, this new property boasts 183 guest rooms, four meeting rooms with about 1,410 square feet of space, and a presidential suite with views of the Midtown Manhattan skyline. According to statistics provided by LIC Partnership, this is the area’s 25th operating hotel and it brings the guest room count to more than 2,500.

Plus, another 25 hotels are planned for the neighborhood.

Photo: Hilton Garden Inn New York Long Island City/Manhattan View

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Time hasn’t been kind to the tiny building once known as Shaw’s Hotel on 64th Street north of Woodside Avenue, hard by the Long Island Rail Road main branch. A couple of years ago, a huge condominium was constructed just inches away from it on the corner of the two cross streets. In recent months, though, the owner has made several upgrades, the most notable being a large picture window on the 3rd floor that looks out onto the LIRR/Roosevelt Avenue El transit complex.

The building has seen much, including a Forgotten New York tour in Woodside in June of 2010.

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What would become Woodside, a bustling community centered at Roosevelt Avenue and 61st Street where the #7 Flushing Line and the Long Island Rail Road come together, was originally a part of a larger colonial village, Newtown. It was largely a woodsy swamp until the mid-1860s, when developer Benjamin Hitchcock purchased the John Kelly farm and divided it into building lots located along today’s Woodside Avenue. Kelly, an early settler, was part owner of a Brooklyn newspaper and sent it dispatches from his home in the ‘sticks’ called “Letters from Woodside;” Hitchcock perpetuated the name. Woodside took off when the Queensboro Bridge opened in 1909 and the el arrived in 1917. Woodside’s strange street pattern, with some streets angling for seemingly no reason, has to do with its old railroads: the Flushing and Woodside and Flushing and Northside Railroads, as well as the Long Island Rail Road, all ran through Woodside. By the late 19th century, the railroads had either failed or had been absorbed by the LIRR. The surviving roads, absorbed into the LIRR, were elevated by 1917.

Today in Woodside you are just as likely to exit an Irish bar and enter an Indian restaurant as you are to walk out of a bodega and then past a remnant of the colonial era. Woodside has succeeded in hiding in plain sight some of its more prominent relics from the old days, too.

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Recently, I received an invite to attend a Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) mixer and cocktail event at the Z Hotel in Long Island City. Normally, this sort of business card exchange leaves me flat, but I’ve been eager to check out the view from the Z Hotel’s roof top lounge since it opened, so I gathered up my camera and convinced my wife to meet me in Queens Plaza after she got out of work in the city.

The views certainly did not disappoint either of us, and since my ulterior motive in attending the thing was to gather some shots, I left her chatting with a few other attendees and got down to business. Pictured above is mighty Queensboro on the right with a still quite industrial LIC acting as a frame for the East River, Roosevelt Island and Midtown Manhattan.

It’s hard not to take notice of the 1,396 foot 432 Park Avenue rising between 56th and 57th Streets over in the Shining City of Manhattan, by the way.

LOTS more after the jump, including special guest stars…

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The quiet neighborhood of Glendale contains a number of anachronisms, including the passage of the Long Island Rail Road Montauk spur from west to east. This sleepy line now carries freight only, but it’s only been a year or two since at least one daily passenger train plied the tracks here. And, until March 1998 Glendale had its very own LIRR station, which in its final years consisted of a bare spot in the weeds alongside the tracks, on the right side in the above photo.

The Montauk spur, which was apparently named because it once served trains bound for Montauk, splits from the main branch in Jamaica west of the large Jamaica station complex and runs west to Long Island City on elevated, at-grade, and open cut portions. It once contained station stops in Richmond Hill, Glendale, Fresh Pond, Haberman (in western Maspeth, named for a local firm), Penny Bridge (named for the span the Kosciuszko Bridge replaced) and LIC. By the mid-1990s, patronage on the line had dropped to less than a dozen daily riders and, since new double-decked cars were being phased in that required high level platforms, the decision was made to close the stations rather than rebuild them.

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I was slowly and steadily making my way down 29th Street in Long Island City recently from 38th Avenue to Queens Plaza. As with a previous post on 37th Street, I was fascinated by Astoria’s varied and eclectic housing stock. Nowhere else in the borough, and certainly not west of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, have buildings of every era and every architectural design been thrown together as if in a blender and tossed as if at random onto a streetscape, and nowhere else is hand-drawn signage of the early 20th century counterbalanced against ultramodern Babylonian towers thrown against the sky. 29th Street has all of these and more.

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With sushi, specialty drinks and an energetic, positive atmosphere, Hyatt Place Flushing/LaGuardia Airport held its grand opening last night, June 26th. Located directly across from Flushing Mall at 133-42 39th Avenue, the 168-room property is the first Hyatt-branded hotel in Queens. It features a rooftop outdoor garden area (above) with spectacular panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and an indoor swimming pool, as well as about 1,000 square feet of flexible, high-tech meeting/function space. Believed to be the borough’s one hundredth hotel, Hyatt Place is part of One Fulton Square (rendition at bottom), F & T Group‘s latest Flushing development comprising of 330,000 square feet of retail, hotel, office, and luxury residential condominiums on three-glass levels.

Photos: It’s In Queens; Rendition: Hyatt Place

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The sun, or as Mitch refers to it, the “burning thermonuclear eye of God,” was beating down mercilessly, or as merciless as 80 degrees can get. Unlike Rockaway peninsula residents, I’m not a beach devotee; like Nixon, I keep my shirt and shoes on when walking in the sand, though I skip the jacket and tie, unlike Tricky Dick. We had made our way across the Gil Hodges-Marine Parkway Bridge and along the Riis Park beachfront, and thence along Rockaway Beach Boulevard, as described in Part One, Part Two and Part Three. Before kicking it in the head for the day, we made our way steadily toward the transit hub at Rockaway Park.

Saint Francis De Sales Church, at Rockaway Beach Boulevard and Beach 129th Street, has been in existence since the early 20th Century and has seen the effects from the destruction of the World Trade Center, viewed clearly from the Rockaways; the crash of American Airlines Flight 587 on November 12th, 2001; and Hurricane Sandy, October 29-30, 2012, which devastated the peninsula. The church has played a major role in the succor and encouragement of the victims of these tragedies as well as a focal point of community gatherings and relief operations.

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The sale of the lot at 41-32 27th Street, between Queens Plaza North and 41st Avenue, just hit public records. The sellers, T Hotel Property Management LLC, originally planned to build a 14-story, 65-unit hotel here. They announced their plans late last year after purchasing the parcel in October. Turns out they could make a pretty hefty profit on the land just by sitting on it. They bought the 4,278-square-foot lot for $3,500,000, then sold it for $5,000,000 less than a year later.

No word on what’s to come for the site under new ownership. The Department of Buildings disapproved plans for the hotel this April.

Yet Another Hotel Planned for LIC [Q’Stoner] GMAP

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New York City is getting is second TRYP by Wyndham Hotel, and it’ll be in Long Island City. The location in question is 38-55 11th Street, right off 40th Avenue and a few blocks from the waterfront. Hospitality Net shares that the new-construction building will hold 104 rooms. The hotel will offer a rooftop café and bar, a fitness room, and what’s known as “the Samsung Experience room,” which will have multimedia equipment. The ETA is slated for the spring of 2016.

New York’s first (and only) TRYP by Wyndham is located on West 35th Street, near Times Square. GMAP

Photo via Google Maps