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The 82nd Street Partnership is overseeing a commercial renovation at 37-49 82nd Street, between Roosevelt and 37th avenues in Jackson Heights. According to them, the work will encompass a restoration of the facade, windows, sign, awning and lights. After a meeting yesterday with the Landmarks Preservation Commission the design is going back to the drawing board. According to Seth Taylor at the 82nd Street Partnership, “We have to make some revisions to our design to fully restore the facade.” Stay tuned for a rendering!

Photo via Twitter GMAP

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Yesterday the 82nd Street Partnership hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to unveil a historic building restoration at 82-01 Roosevelt Avenue, on the corner of 82nd Street in Jackson Heights. This is the result of the Storefront Restoration Program, in which the 82nd Street Partnership invested a $50,000 grant from the city to assist businesses in Jackson Heights by providing free design assistance, and offer a matching construction grant. By the end of this year, the Storefront Restoration Program will have restored a total of seven ground floor storefronts and three upper floor facades at three different properties on 82nd Street between 37th Avenue and Roosevelt Avenue. The program also removed approximately 20 existing LPC violations from the properties.

The goal, in the words of the 82nd Street Partnership, is “to improve Jackson Heights’ quality of life, preserve retail diversity, and improve business conditions by restoring building facades and enhancing the district’s sense of place.” Yesterday, local business owners, city officials and local pols joined the BID to celebrate the historic unveiling. To see before and after pictures of the retail stretch, click after the jump!

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There’s been a lot of back and forth, and a bit of controversy regarding the proposed Jackson Heights-Corona BID, but the 82nd Street Partnership just announced “overwhelming support” for the proposal. According to the Partnership, “Over 200 businesses and property owners and more than 1,000 residents have signed their support.” Businesses and residents cited a desire for a cleaner and safer neighborhood as their top reason for supporting the BID. The proposed BID, shortened from its original incarnation, would span from 82nd Street to 104th Street along Roosevelt Avenue. Many immigrant owners of small businesses spoke against the proposal with concerns that their businesses would be replaced with chain stores. BID proponents stress the need for safety measures, better lighting and general cleanliness along the avenue.

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After some local controversy, the 82nd Street Partnership has decided to shorten the Jackson Heights-Corona BID along Roosevelt Avenue by 10 blocks, changing the estimated budget from over $1,000,000 to around $860,000. Under the revision, the proposed BID would end at Roosevelt Avenue and 104th Street rather than 114th Street. The Partnership’s decision reflects the fact that many quality of life issues are focused between 82nd and 104th Streets. In addition, the city has proposed to rezone the eastern end of Roosevelt Avenue, including those blocks east of 104th Street. Many immigrant owners of small businesses rallied against the BID, worried it would replace their businesses with chain stores. Proponents of the BID say that safety issues, poor lighting and cleanliness are the reasons to create a BID, and that the cost for businesses will be minimal.

Jackson Heights-Corona Bid Proposal Shortened by 10 Blocks [DNAinfo]
Does Roosevelt Avenue Need a BID? [Q’Stoner]
Image by the 82nd Street Partnership

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Jeff Orlick isn’t living his dream, he’s eating it… and he wants to share. This Friday, the Jackson Heights-based culinary tour guide and the 82nd Street Partnership will host the outdoor food extravaganza Viva la Comida! A celebration of the borough’s culinary diversity, restaurants, bakeries and mobile vendors — including Tortas Neza (Mexican), Arepa Lady (Colombian), Chimi Express (inventors of the Dominican pizzatón), Morocho (Peruvian) and the debuting Tibetan momo truck Amdo — will sell their products along 82nd Street. However, food is only part of the fun. Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros and other local bands will perform with a break at 8 pm for an open dance competition with prizes. Plus, Hibridos Collective will organize an interactive art fair, and Design For You will host a pop-up market featuring treats from such local favorites as Bittersweet NYC and Tropisec.

Details: Viva la Comida! by the 82nd Street Partnership, 82nd Street between Roosevelt and Baxter avenues, Jackson Heights, September 20th, 4 pm to 10 pm, free to attend.

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A controversy is brewing on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights and Corona, where some residents want to expand the existing Business Improvement District while many business owners are against it. The NY Daily News reports that a proposed Jackson Heights Corona BID would span from 82nd to 114th Street on Roosevelt Avenue, taking in around 4,000 businesses. The current BID, the 82nd Street Partnership, currently encompasses eight blocks of the neighborhood and includes 125 businesses. The expanded BID is part of a “New Deal” initiative for Roosevelt Avenue, which addresses resident complains concerning safety issues, poor lighting and cleanliness. But business owners worry the BID will spur gentrification and push longtime tenants out. The owner of Terraza 7, a bar and jazz club, claims: “They want to clean Roosevelt Avenue of that diversity.” Business owners are also worried about already rising rents, and BIDs require businesses to pay an extra fee in exchange for sanitation, security, and other quality of life services. As a landlord told the News, “We have to find ways to preserve our local flavor… Not allow gentrification to happen.”

New Merchant Group in Jackson Heights and Corona Facing Resistance [NY Daily News]
82nd Street BID Expansion Reimagines Longer Stretch of Roosevelt Avenue [Q’Stoner]

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Whether they are from Spain or Long Island, tennis fans will know what’s going on in Queens from August 26th to September 9th. The USTA has donated a kiosk to serve as an information center for the borough during the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships. Organized by the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council, volunteer staffers will be on hand for the entire two-week tournament to provide information on the borough’s best restaurants, hotels, cultural organizations and parks. Seen in front of the kiosk are the following: Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council; Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Assemblymember Ron Kim; Assemblymember Marge Markey, who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development; City Council Member Julissa Ferreras; Nancy Conde, chief of staff for State Senator José Peralta’s Office; Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Zausner, COO of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; and Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

Details: QTC/QCC Kiosk, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, August 26th to September 9th, free with admission.

Photo by Megan Montalvo

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This is your turn to shine! On Friday, Leni Schwendinger, who creates illuminated environments all over the world, and the 82nd Street Partnership, will lead a light-and-shadow tour through Jackson Heights. The following day Schwendinger and the partnership will facilitate a community-visioning workshop to discuss ways to make the neighborhood better and brighter. Schwendinger is known for works that energize landscapes and the built environment with the goal of connecting people to each other and their surroundings. Recent projects include Chroma Streams; Tide and Traffic, an integrated installation exploring the relationship between the traffic flow and the tide at Kingston Bridge in Glasgow, Scotland; and the Coney Island Parachute Jump, whose illumination reflects calendar events and tidal patterns.

Details: Light Talk/Light Walk, Meet at Jackson Heights Cinema, 40-31 82nd St., July 26, 8 pm; Light Planning Workshop, 82nd Street Partnership, 37-44 82nd St., 2nd Fl., Jackson Heights, July 27, 1 pm. RSVP here or contact sofia@82ndStreet.org.

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Leli’s Bakery – you need to check this out

We are thrilled with the addition of Leli’s Bakery to the bakery scene in Astoria – and frankly, Queens in general. Everything we’ve tried has been delicious and we only hear raves from people who’ve eaten their baked goods. We are also very happy that pastizzi – a Maltese specialty (pastry filled with either meat and veg, or ricotta) has returned to Astoria. You used to be able to get them at JMJ Bakery in LIC but they closed… opening back up in the Bronx and then returning to Astoria as Leli’s! Anyway, they sell breakfast pastries, cookies, cakes, and other pastries, as well as serving some tasty coffee. Stop by and let us know what you think.

12 Days of Giveaways on We Heart Astoria

We Heart Astoria has started up their annual “12 Days of Giveaways” on the blog. They are into their second day and are giving away two gift certificates – $50 at SITE and $50 at Loveday 31. All you have to do is leave a comment and tell them why you love boutique shopping. They have some pretty awesome giveaways planned for the 12 days, so keep an eye out!

Congrats to the 82nd Street Partnership for your $50K grant to improve 82nd Street!

Back in June, local Business Improvement Districts were encouraged to apply for a grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) in a project called BID Challenge. This challenge was only applicable to those BIDs with a yearly operating budget of $1 million or less. Out of the 37 applications received, 7 BIDs won, and the 82nd Street Partnership is one of them! So congratulations, friends. They plan to use the money to refurbish the historic building that line this street, helping the owners and tenants restore facades. They’ll also help bring their signage to be in complant with the city’s rules pertaining to this aspect of conducting business in Jackson Heights.

Malu’s seasonal ice creams, oh my

Queens County Market posted this great shot of the seasonal ice creams Malu will be offering at the next Queens County Market, this Saturday, December 15, from 12-4pm at Quaint in Sunnyside (GMAP). The flavors are, left to right, Gingerbread, Candy Cane and Eggnog Chip Ice. Nom.

Image source: DNAinfo via Queens County Market

Sunnyside vs. Williamsburg? More bang for your buck here in Queens

Sunnyside has become a real destination for families looking for more value and a neighborhood feel. We know that the neighborhood has a lot to offer – tree lined streets, close to Manhattan, lots of mom and pop shops – but it’s gratifying to see its popularity grow. That also means rents are going up, which is the to delight of some and the dismay of others. For a 2 bedroom apartment in 2010 you’d pay between $1,200 and $1,600; nowadays you’ll pay $2,100. It’s still less than what you’d pay for a comparable apartment in Williamsburg, though. Local businesses are welcoming families, like the relatively new pub The Dog & the Duck. Kids shops are starting to sprout up, like Tiny You. There’s even a babysitting co-op in the neighborhood!

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Image source: 82nd Street Partnership – the state of the historic buildings on 82nd Street

The NY Daily News reports that the 82nd Street Partnership, a local business improvement district, has been granted $50,000 to improve the 82nd Street business strip that spans Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. The grant originated with the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and their BID Challenge. This challenge was started in June 2012 and was only applicable to those BIDs with an operating budget of $1 million or less. 37 proposals were received and 7 grants were given.