From High Above LIC

    by
    23

    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…

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_002

    As mentioned, this was set up as a networking party, and there was somebody from every possible business sector present. I met telecommunications sales people, a fellow with a DJ firm, construction industry representatives, and even a very nice lady who was running a gourmet macaroni and cheese operation in LIC. There was a staffed bar offering drink specials, and libation helped to lubricate social interaction in the usual manner. Little groups of people began to introduce themselves and chat. Many exchanged business cards and or write things down on pads.

    My wife got in on the QEDC vibe, and started handing out her card to interested parties (she’s in advertising and marketing). Having run out of cards myself around a month ago, I decided to get busy with the camera again.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_003

    Opened in 2011, Z Hotel is found at 11-01 43rd Ave in Long Island City, rising prominently alongside the Queensboro Bridge. It’s a hundred room boutique hotel, I’m told, and it’s 11 stories tall and was designed by Andre Kikoski.

    Note: A personal policy is to never refer to this bridge using its modern nomenclature, meant to honor former Mayor Ed Koch. No offense is offered to the memory of Mr. Koch, but when they rename any of the ones going to Brooklyn I’ll start calling Queensboro whatever they tell me to. Ever notice that it’s the Queens ones that always are at the top of the list to get renamed? How’s about we start calling the Williamsburg Bridge “The Michael Rubens Bloomberg Williamsburg Bridge”? Sounds kind of bizarre, huh?

    It’s Queensboro, just Queensboro. Grrrr.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_004

    As stated, the views from the roof of Z Hotel are awe inspiring, especially for a fellow like myself who is possessed of a certain historical perspective. The claims of a 5,000 unit growth around Court Square is apparent in the shot above, which looks past the Citi building south east towards the Long Island Expressway, Newtown Creek, and the infinities of Brooklyn. Lost in my photographing, I sensed a certain buzz in the air when an elevator door opened.

    Suddenly, I regretted wearing shorts to this event.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_005

    Great Caesar’s Ghost!

    That’s Melinda Katz, the Borough President of Queens!

    I’ve been privileged to have interacted with many elected officials in Queens, but this is only the second time that I’ve photographed our new Borough President and the first time I actually got to interact with her. Never know who you’re going to meet at a QEDC mixer, as the old saying goes. Well, it’s not actually a saying, per se, but you get my meaning.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_005a

    The Borough President made a short speech to the group, extolling the virtues of Queens and its business community. She counted off a series of advantages enjoyed by her commercial and industrial constituents, and described Queens as a brilliant place for entrepreneurial activity of all scales and sizes.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_006

    At Melinda Katz’s side is Seth Bornstein, who has been with the QEDC since 1979 and serves as its Executive Director. First time that I met him as well. As you’d imagine, once the speech was over, an aspirant and admiring crowd descended on the two of them.

    A quick glance confirmed that my wife had actively reengaged with the small crowd of folks she was chatting with prior to the speech, and seemed happily occupied, so I decided to return to “photo duty.” The light was changing fast, and the sun was going to be setting pretty soon. There is no better time of day to photograph western Queens in this time of the year than the during late afternoon and early evening.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_007

    Looking north, over the Queensboro off ramps, the Queensbridge houses, a part of Dutch Kills, all of Ravenswood, and the East River side of Astoria. That’s the Big Allis power plant on the left, and on the horizon are the Triborough and Hell Gate Bridges. My wife found me and admonished that I should have a drink and be social in the spirit of the event. I was waiting for sunset anyway, so I had a gin and tonic, which is an ideal beverage for evenings in the late summer – in my opinion.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_008

    Virtually the same point of view that opened this post, but this was just after the street lights came on.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_009

    Looking south, down the East River.

    bsQ_090414_zhotel_010

    Finally, looking east, towards Queens Plaza with the Silvercup sign at center. The lights you see flaring on the left horizon are coming from LaGuardia Airport. Just to the right of it is the newish Tishman Building in Queens Plaza, Gotham Center.

    Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman lives in Astoria and blogs at Newtown Pentacle.

    What's Happening