Ozone Park

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Describing it as “vandalism,” “a blight,” and “a crime,” civic and political leaders from the Richmond Hill/Woodhaven area helped launch an anti-graffiti initiative with a press conference (below) and demonstration (above) on Wednesday. City Council Member Eric A. Ulrich, who represents these neighborhoods, announced that he had allotted $25,000 to eliminate graffiti at six major corridors — Woodhaven Boulevard; Jamaica Avenue; Atlantic Avenue; 101st Avenue; Liberty Avenue; and Rockaway Boulevard. The borough’s only Republican council member directed the funds to the Queens Economic Development Corporation‘s Neighborhood Development Division, which promotes economic growth by supporting community businesses. QEDC will sub-contract with Ridgewood-based Magic Touch Cleaning to carry out the initiative.

Saying this was a priority for him, Council Member Ulrich stated that he planned to seek more funding for this program in the future. QEDC Deputy Director Ricardi Calixte opined that graffiti is bad for business. He stated, “This type of vandalism has a domino effect, discouraging shoppers, encouraging lawlessness, and deterring investment.”

See a photo from the press conference after the jump.

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Would you like to see how the Bowne House Restoration is proceeding? Or how about checking out the Sri Maha Vallabha Ganapati Devasthanam, which is also known as the Hindu Temple Society of North America or the Bowne Street Temple? What about the TWA Flight Center, Smiling HogsHead Ranch, LIC Community BoathouseLouis Armstrong House Museum, Noguchi, and the newly renovated SculptureCenter?

The 12th annual Open House New York Weekend will take place this Saturday and Sunday, and there are 36 listed nook and crannies to explore in Queens (although tours are starting to sell out…so hurry!)

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On 101st south of Rockaway Boulevard, the silent Martian tripod war machine surveyed the small town just before blasting it with a Heat-Ray. (It’s actually a water tower associated with the building shown just below, now festooned with cell phone relayers.)

This was once the Nemo “Medicanical Science” Building, on Rockaway Boulevard between 100th and 101st Streets.

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Assemblymember Phillip Goldfeder has introduced new legislation that would take $30,000,000 generated by the Resorts World Casino to upgrade the neighboring Aqueduct Racetrack. As he told Queens Courier, “It’s unacceptable that this once national treasure has become an eyesore and serious danger to our families and neighbors in southern Queens.” Just this month a woman was sexually abused at the racetrack and several electronic items were stolen from the site. He wants the Resorts World Casino funds to go toward upgrades in security, employee training to combat crime, and facility improvements.

The $30,000,000 from Resorts World Casino is 4 percent of its yearly revenue. Right now, it’s allocated toward maintenance and upgrades at the Saratoga and Belmont New York Racing Association sites. In the past year, the casino invested $5,000,000 in upgrades at the Aqueduct.

Pol: Racino Money Should go to Aqueduct [Queens Courier]

Photo via Wikipedia

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Capital New York just ran an in-depth piece regarding rezoning under the Bloomberg administration, and in particular looks at the second-largest rezoning of his tenure in Ozone Park. Under the zoning changes, most of the 530 blocks of the neighborhood were downsized, limiting development on neighborhood side streets. “Moderate density development” is permitted on main streets like 101st and Liberty Avenues.

The downzoning came into effect to preserve neighborhood character, echoing a similar downzoning that happened nearby in Richmond Hill in 2012. As Capital says: “The Bloomberg administration’s 120 rezonings did as much to change the city’s shape in places where it limited growth as where it let developers build tall, and, as the city expands, those limits could become a problem.” Throughout Bloomberg’s 12 years, downzoning more or less kept pace with upzoning. A study by the Furman Center found that upzoned areas tended to be less white and less wealthy, with fewer homeowners. Downzoned areas tended to be more white, with higher incomes and higher rates of homeownership than upzoned areas. And areas with contextual rezoning were even whiter and richer, with very high rates of homeownership. As for the long-term effects of these rezonings, no one knows for sure. It’s a matter of watching these neighborhoods grow and conform to the buildable space now allowed by the city.

The Quiet, Massive Rezoning of New York [Capital New York]

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La Bella Vita, a popular catering hall at 106-09 Rockaway Boulveard in Ozone Park, closed last month without warning. Queens Chronicle could not get any information from the owners, who opened the spot in 1985. La Bella Vita was used by the community for a variety of events; it operated as a restaurant as well. It’s also the birthplace of the “Pizza Dance” — a dance in which the person pretends to make a pizza — which the owner performed on a float in the Columbus Day Parade for many years. A representative from Community Board 10 stated that La Bella Vita recently reapplied for a new liquor license, so it’s possible the shutter has something to do with the State Liquor Authority, although nothing is confirmed yet.

La Bella Vita Is No Longer in Business [Queens Chronicle]

Photo via Yelp

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A rep from the Taxi and Limousine Commission is scheduled to visit Community Board Ten this week, which covers Howard Beach, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Richmond Hill and South Ozone Park. According to Queens Courier, the board will hear about the new outer-borough taxi procedures, rules, and its potential presence in the area. The so-called “Boro Taxis” take flat-fare calls and also make metered, hailed pick-ups.

To bring the green Boro Taxis into a neighborhood, a licensed livery company must apply through the Taxi and Limousine Commission to affiliate the green cabs. The Commission already approved two sites in South Ozone Park. Another application is pending for a location at the cross section of Woodhaven Boulevard and Rockaway Boulevard.

Green Cabs Could be Coming to South Queens [Queens Courier]

Photo by nabeeloo