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Midwood Investment and Development Corp. is touting two huge retail spaces available for lease at 800 Union Street that could lure big-box retailers to the heart of Park Slope, but the Department of Buildings disapproved conversion plans for the building, a parking garage, in November 2013 and little progress appears to have been made on the project since. The ground floor space would have 7,248 square feet and the lower level would have 3,903 square feet, according to the developer’s online brochure.

Renderings for the altered structure, which we published last year, show an attractive loft-style cast iron and brick building with ground floor retail space and apartments and penthouses with big windows and balconies above. Click through to see more drawings of the proposed alteration.

The developer filed plans to convert the parking garage to a mixed-use building in October 2013 but the city disapproved the plans the following month. In July of this year, the developer filed to alter the front and back facades, but the job was “administratively closed due to inactivity” in September, according to the DOB file.

Our only question is: Where would people park?

800 Union Street Listing [Midwood Investment and Development Corp.] GMAP
Marketing, But No Work, for Slope Conversion 800 Union [Brownstoner]

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Those of us who suffer from Parallel Parking Stress Disorder (PPSD) know it’s no laughing matter. After driving around for blocks, looking for a place to park, you find a spot that your car just might fit into — but is it even physically possible to edge your way into it? Are you going to set off a car alarm? Are those people on the stoop laughing at you? If only all the cars behind you would stop honking….

Fortunately, with car2go, fitting into a parking space is rarely a problem. The innovative car sharing service, now available in Brooklyn, allows members to use a mobile app to find a car parked near by, drive it to where they want to go, and park almost anywhere. At almost half the length of a regular car, a car2go will fit in those tiny spaces no one else will be able to use. That makes it easy for car2go members to park near their destinations.

Sign up today and see for yourself how painless parking can be. For a limited time, registration is free, plus you get 30 free minutes of drive time (just use the promo code “BKLYN”). Obviously, Brooklyn’s alternate side parking rules offer their own challenges, so check out car2go’s website for FAQs on signing up, driving, and parking and watch car2go’s video on parking in Brooklyn.

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A tipster living in Downtown Brooklyn noticed that work is under way at 75 Schermerhorn Street, the large parking lot that sold in a foreclosure auction for $11 million last summer. So what’s to come? If DOB permits are any indication, it’s just going to be another parking lot! The DOB approved this building application earlier this month for “general construction to an existing parking lot. New accessory attendant’s booth. Install car lifts as per plans filed herewith.” Edison Properties, which owns the lot, develops residential, office and storage space, and it seems bizarre that they’d spend all that money to keep a parking lot. Perhaps they’re biding their time until development plans come through. In other news about this lot, Community Board Two’s land-use committee just approved an application for the parking company here to grow English ivy on the chain link fence on the perimeter of the lot. According to CB2, the planted area will encroach 18 inches on the sidewalk.
75 Schermerhorn Lot Sells for $11 Million [Brownstoner]
Huge DoBro Lot Under Foreclosure Pressure [Brownstoner] GMAP P*Shark

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Image source: Rockwell Group/Archtagon – the new gate planned for Kaufman Astoria studios

The NYDN reported on proposed developments happening on the Kaufman Astoria property that will be blocked off once the gates are installed on either end of 36th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues. We knew about the backlot that will be built (“where car chases can soon be filmed without film crews occupying entire city blocks”), but what we were unaware of until now is the other plans – to build a luxury hotel with a restaurant on an empty parking lot on 36th Street. Condos or rental apartments might be built nearby, too.

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Image source: NYDN

The Queens Chronicle went out and talked to some local Queens folks regarding their feelings on the Muni Meters – the new street parking system implemented by the city that eliminates the needs for individual parking meters. Some of the Queens neighborhoods in which they’ve been installed are Astoria, St Albans, Rosedale, Hollis, Auburndale, and Sunnyside. In 2013 they’ll be installed in the neighborhoods of Ozone Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Woodside and Corona.

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Today the city council is set to look at whether or not developers of Downtown residential buildings need to include parking with their new buildings, as currently required by zoning laws, The New York Times reported. Some city officials, developers and public transportation advocates say Downtown already has too much parking! (Is there any such thing?) Council Member Letitia James said she was not convinced it’s a good idea to scrap parking already built, since developers will likely just transform it into more luxury housing rather than, say, community space or affordable housing. Borough President Marty Markowitz’s call for increased bike parking, already covered by this blog, will not be addressed today. What do you think? Is this a giveaway to developers, or would Downtown be better off with less parking in new residential developments?
City Takes up Zoning to Erase Downtown’s Glut of Parking Spaces [NY Times]
Photo by Benzadrine

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Image source: Queens Chronicle – “A rendering of the United States Tennis Association’s planned expansion at Flushing Meadows Corona Park includes a new Grandstand, bottom left, a renovated Louis Armstrong Stadium, top right, and additional courts.”

We’ve heard a lot about the Major League Soccer stadium that is most likely coming to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, but another major sports venue also has expansion plans – the US Tennis Association. The Queens Chronicle reports that the expansion requires .68 acres of parkland along the Tennis Center’s eastern edge. They are calling it an upgrade and a “Strategic Vision.”

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Motorcycles and Muni Meter receipts aren’t friendly with one another, so let’s just have free parking

Apparently motorcyclists have a hard time with Muni Meter receipts. Muni Meters are those kiosks where you purchase parking and leave the receipt in your vehicle to prove you’ve paid for your spot. All over the city you see them cropping up and slowly parking meters are going the way of the dodo (we are curious how this will affect bike parking, too, since parking meter poles are a prime spot for people to lock their bikes to), and the only way to prove you’ve paid for street parking is to have that little receipt showing, usually displayed on the dash.

Of course, with motorcycles, there is no interior, so motorcyclists are perplexed as to what to do with the receipts. Attached to the motorcycle, they are at the whim of wind and weather, as well as people that simply like to steal the receipts off the bike. DOT says motorcyclists should affix a clear plastic sleeve to hold the tickets. But motorcyclist and City Councilman Peter Vallone has another solution – free parking for all motorcycles in NYC!

Now that it’s cooling down, dig into potatoes and bacon

Since the weather has really turned Fall-like, it’s time to look to heartier foods, and we have a good one for you – Koliba’s potato spaetzle (dumplings). Koliba is a fantastic Czech/Slovak restaurant on 23rd Ave in Astoria (GMAP), and serves up delicious hearty Eastern European fare. The spaetzle, about an inch in length, are served with either a tangy sheep’s milk cheese and bacon or sauerkraut and bacon; we usually opt for the sheep’s milk cheese. The bacon is thick cut and the whole thing is fatty, carby goodness. It goes great with a Staropramen, too.

Greenpoint Landing in Brooklyn will have a fancy footbridge connected it to Queens

Greenpointers wrote about a massive development called Greenpoint Landing, that is coming to the northern tip of Greenpoint. The plans include a footbridge to LIC (over Newtown Creek) to be designed by Santiago Calatrava. He designed the WTC transit hub in Manhattan. Looks like Greenpoint and LIC will be kissing cousins in the waterfront highrise department.

LIC Vernon Blvd dog run fans and users – there’s a Facebook group for you

The LIC dog run on 48th Avenue and Vernon Blvd is a popular spot for pups and their parents. To join in conversation and community with others that use this dog run, there’s a Facebook group for you – Long Island City Vernon Blvd Dog Run.

Most photogenic spots in Queens? Parks are a popular choice

This morning we asked, what are some of the most photogenic parts of Queens? We got some great answers, and here they are, both from our comments section and twitter:

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Image source: NYDN

Last week the NY Times reported that Astoria City Councilman – and motorcyclist – Peter Vallone supports the idea of free parking for motorcycles in NYC, and is pushing for legislation to make it so. The reason? Muni Meters seemingly muck it all up:

“Currently, the vehicles are subject to Muni-Meter rates, as any car would be. But motorcyclists say enforcement is inconsistent, and contend that there is no suitable place on their vehicles to display the receipts. Some riders said receipts were often stolen, blown away, or damaged by rain.”