Taiwan’s biggest bubble tea maker has chosen Flushing as an entry point into the Western market. This morning, La Kaffa Group signed a contract with F & T Group to open a flagship store at One Fulton Square, a mixed-used development at the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Prince Street that is currently under construction. Specializing in tea, coffee, desserts, and entrees, La Kaffa currently has more than 450 locations with distinct popularity in Asia and the Middle East. Meanwhile, One Fulton Square, which will have a floor area of approximately 330,000 square feet, will include retail space, 22 office units and 43 residential units. A rendition of the planned venue is below.
Top photo: It’s in Queens; bottom photo: One Fulton Square
Queens is the biggest borough, and has some of New York City’s longest streets. And like everything else, those streets are the result of evolution. Let’s take a look today at two of the borough’s longest routes and review their origins, while taking a look at their humble beginnings, or endings, depending on your point of view.
Seen here is Roosevelt Avenue’s eastern end, where it meets Northern Boulevard at 155th Street in Flushing. Here is a soon-to-be defunct McDonalds, an IHOP restaurant, a branch of the Queens Public Library, a shopping center, and flags aplenty. Roosevelt Avenue, named for President Theodore, is relatively new on the Queens map; it’s soon to celebrate its centennial. It is a product of the Flushing elevated train, since when the line was constructed between 1914 and 1928, it required a right of way. It was decided to cut a street through that followed the unofficial border of Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, and then through the heart of Corona, and build the el along that route. Roosevelt Avenue serves as a de facto eastern extension of Greenpoint Avenue beginning at Queens Boulevard.
Initially Roosevelt Avenue ran only as far as what is now Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, as the el was not extended east of Willets Point Boulevard until it was completed as a subway out to Main Street in 1928. That year began downtown Flushing’s transformation as a quiet seat of a sleepy Queens town into the crossroads of Queens it has become today. In 1928 a preexisting east-west street running through Flushing, Amity Street, was widened and then extended through to a junction with Northern Boulevard, giving rise to the Roosevelt Avenue known today.
From the point shown in the photograph, it’s possible to bike, walk or drive all the way west to the East River in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
This major east-west route from Williamsburg to the edge of Jamaica is seen from its eastern end at the junction of Jamaica Avenue and Kew Gardens Road, another ancient route in itself (it was called Newtown Road decades ago and ran to what became Kew Gardens in the east end of the former town of Newtown). Here you find the relatively new Kew Gardens subway stop serving the E train, open only since 1988.
Metropolitan Avenue was opened in 1815, give or take a couple of years, as the Williamsburgh and Jamaica Turnpike and was once a toll road with toll gates and a “pike” or a lengthy log that would be move aside when the toll was paid. It was mainly a farm to market road used by eastern farmers bringing their produce to New York City via East River shipping. In future decades Williamsburg would lose the “h” and the W&J would lose the toll, and was renamed Metropolitan Avenue. Oddly, this busy route has never gained extra lanes and the considerable widening comparable roads like Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard have, and remains a four-lane road throughout its length.
The neighborhood of Middle Village was named because it’s approximately halfway between Williamsburg and Jamaica, the two towns the road was built to service.
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.
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.”
His birth name is Nasir Bin Olu-Dara Jones, and he grew up a huge Mets fan in the rough-and-tumble Queensbridge Houses. Now, after selling more than 25 million albums and being nominated for 10 Grammy awards, the rapper Nas is coming home to give a concert at Citi Field after his beloved childhood baseball team plays the Philadelphia Phillies this Friday. Nas, whose 1994 breakout album Illmatic earned him acclaim as one of the borough’s finest lyricists, still visits the Long Island City housing project of his youth to keep in touch with his former life, but this will be his first performance at the Flushing stadium. As such, he’s ready to bring the house down with the multi-syllabic internal rhyme patterns and inner city narratives that made him famous.
Details: Mets Summer Postgame Concert Series with Nas, July 19, 7:10 pm (game time), Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing. Concert is free with purchase of game ticket.
Photo: Blogging Mets
The Long Island City/Astoria Journal reports that Queens native chef, Michael Giannakis is throwing his hat into the management ring. He is the newest partner of the Metro Kitchen Café-Restaurant in Woodside where Giannakis also prepares the meals.
According to the LIC / Astoria Journal:
Giannakis studied finance and marketing in college until he went to the Syosset Culinary Academy in Long Island. “I brought with me all this business knowledge about how to properly market menus, ideas and even market myself,” said Giannakis.
Metro Kitchen is located at 6112 Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside (GMAP). They open their doors at 6 a.m. everyday and close at midnight.
Image Source: Spartan Race/Facebook
Spartans push their mind and body to their limits. They master their emotions. They run through woods and get dirty, facing almost impossible challenges. Plus, they compete in Spartan Race at Citi Field on April 13. The global leader in Obstacle Racing since 2005, this friendly competition was designed by seven ultra athletes and a Royal Marine. It features such fun activities as Spartan Beast and Death Race. With free admission for spectators (click here for mandatory RSVP info), a sound system will pump warrior-like music while the big video boards show live shots of the competitors.
126-01 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing
Through Sunday, May 12
Times and Days Vary | $45 and up
Image Source: City-Data
Known for ethnic diversity and tolerance ever since its days as a Dutch colony in the 17th century, Flushing has become a center of Chinese immigration over the past few decades. More Taiwanese than Cantonese at its core, this bustling Queens hamlet is home to a wide array of authentically Chinese restaurants, businesses and cultural groups. Plus, rezoning, land availability and immigrant initiative have brought unique real estate developments, including office buildings, hotels, residential condos, specialty shops and the largest Asian-influenced mall in NYC. On March 3, Jack Eichenbaum, the official historian of Queens, will lead a walking tour of the neighborhood. Eichenbaum, who has a Ph.D. in urban geography from the University of Michigan, loves to discuss history, urban affairs and food. As such, he will organize a pre-walk dim sum group at a local Chinese restaurant, if there is interest.
136-20 Roosevelt Avenue, Flushing
Sunday, March 3