Queens Crossing seeks proposals for Christmas Public Art Project

The Shops at Queens Crossing, situated at Main Street and 39th Avenue, is once again seeking proposal submissions for its 2014 Christmas Public Art Project to be placed at the shopping center during the holiday season.

Since 2009, the public art project has featured the submissions of local artists, with previous projects including Benjamin S. Jones’ Home for the Holidays, Lin Shih Pao’s Relight Your Recyclables, Isaac Aden’s Radiant Christmas: Pink Gothic, Jason Krugman’s Holiday Helpers and Mark Salinas’ X-Mas X-ing.

Anyone interested in submitting a proposal for consideration by the Shops should send an email with a couple of sentences outlining the general details of the project, their artistic CV and a budget to info@crossingart.com.




Mets-Willets Point LIRR Station to receive ADA accessibility upgrade

The MTA’s Mets-Willets Point Long Island Railroad station is set to receive a $9.7 million station renovation that will see it becoming fully accessible to the disabled by 2016.

The station overhaul includes plans for installation of an elevator as well as tactile warning strips at platform edges and new, fully compliant guard rails and hand rails on the staircases inside the station.

“The MTA and the Long Island Rail Road are committed to doing our part so LIRR customers with disabilities can attend the U.S. Open, Mets games and other special events that come to Flushing Meadows Park,” said MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas F. Prendergast in a press release announcing the station overhaul. “A design firm with expertise in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) is drawing up the plans right now and construction is scheduled to begin next year.”

The scope of the renovation also includes extension of the platform to accommodate 12-car trains, a new canopy to fully cover the extended platform, and modernized communications and lighting systems.

The Mets-Willets Point station was constructed in 1964 to accommodate the Worlds Fair, and continues to be classified as a special events station, since most of the traffic at the station occurs during Mets games and other special events in the park, including the U.S. Open.

Currently, 105 of the total 124 LIRR stations are fully ADA accessible, including the Woodside station, which also services Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Along with the Mets-Willets Point ADA upgrade, four other similar projects are in the design phase.

The MTA says that the station will remain open throughout the construction.

Koo hosts annual street cleanup in Downtown Flushing

Councilman Peter Koo joins young volunteers to clean the streets of Flushing one dustpan-full at a time.

To address the problem of litter in his district, Councilman Peter Koo hosted a volunteer cleanup day in Flushing last Friday.

A little more than a dozen teens gathered to take part in the clean up, using simple tools including straw brooms, dust pans and gardening gloves to clean Prince Street.

Wayne Lam, a 16-year-old volunteer with Koo’s office who lives in Ridgewood, said he volunteered for the project because “it’s really a good experience.”

“Flushing has a lot of garbage everywhere, and I want to keep [the neighborhood] clean,” Lam said.

Koo hoped that the effort would draw the attention of the thousands of commuters who use the streets of Flushing as a dumping ground.

“When you dump garbage out into the streets, you affect everybody,” he said. “It’s a public health issue.”

Beyond health concerns, Koo said that the trash problem is creating image issues for Flushing, and making it less desirable as a destination for business, shopping and nightlife.

While Manhattan receives the five-star treatment from the Department of Sanitation, Koo said he feels his district is getting the shaft.

“Actually, we pay more taxes than Manhattan in Flushing,” he said. “We provide the city with much more revenue than other places. Proportionately we need more resources.”

Koo said that while the effort made by his small team of volunteers was just a drop in the bucket compared to the cleanup needs of the neighborhood, he hopes it will set a good example and inspire others to do their part.

“Of course, we cannot in one day clean up Flushing,” Koo said. “Its cleanliness depends on everyone,” Koo said.

Read more:Queens Examiner – Koo hosts annual street cleanup in Downtown Flushing

CityParks Seniors Fitness Program returns to Flushing Meadows

Photo courtesy Justina Wong

Photo courtesy Justina Wong

The City Parks Foundation has announced that its six-week CityParks Seniors Fitness program will begin on Mon., September 22.

This year, Airbnb.com is a proud program sponsor.

“Every day, New York City parks provide a place for residents and visitors from all five boroughs and around the world to gather, be active, and experience all that this great city has to offer,” said Airbnb’s New York City Manager Wrede Petersmeyer. “The Airbnb community is committed to making New York a better place to live, work, and visit – and we are thrilled to support City Parks Foundation and all of the important resources they provide.”

The program is open to any and all seniors 60+ years old, and will offer free tennis lessons, yoga instruction and fitness walking, according to a recent announcement by the organization.

All program activities will take place once or twice per week at 14 parks around the city. As part of the citywide program, several parks in Queens will be hosting events.

Here is the schedule:

Astoria Park
Tennis – Mondays/Wednesdays at 10AM – 12 PM Tennis Courts 21st St & Hoyt Ave S

Cunningham Park
Tennis – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9AM – Tennis Courts Union Turnpike & 193rd St
Yoga – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10AM – Tennis Courts Union Turnpike & 193rd St

Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Tennis – Mondays/Wednesdays at 10 AM – 12 PM – Tennis Courts Meridian Rd

Roy Wilkins Park
Tennis- Tuesdays/Thursdays at 10AM – Tennis Courts Baisley Blvd & 177th St
Yoga – Tuesdays/Thursdays at 9AM – Tennis Courts Baisley Blvd & 177th St

New web series loves and hates Flushing

Swallow Tail Studios debuted its new web series, Murray Hill, late last week on the company’s YouTube Channel, and in just four days the first episode has garnered over 2,000 views.

The series was inspired by Swallow Tail Creative Director Julian Kim’s love-hate relationship with Flushing, which is readily apparent from the dialogue in the premiere episode.

In the opening scene, we follow a young male as he runs through the streets of Flushing to catch the LIRR, only to arrive just as his train is leaving the station. As he stands there overlooking the platform, a girl runs past him to the edge of the platform and, seeing him there, begins to chat him up. Over the course of the short episode, the two realize that they’re familiar with each other, but it’s obvious that the male character was too shy to approach the girl previously.

While the episode is less than seven and a half minutes long, it spans the hour that elapses as the pair waits for the next train together. Without giving away the farm, we can tell you that the two begin to develop a connection that leaves the viewer ready to watch a second episode. This blog, for one, is looking forward to seeing what happens next.

Subscribe to the Swallow Tail YouTube Channel to follow the series for yourself.

Do you like American music?

The Five Boroughs Music Festival is coming to Flushing Town Hall, and this year it will celebrate 200 years of American music on Fri., September 5 at 8 p.m.

With cooperation from the Casement Fund Song Series, the Town Hall will celebrate the 200th birthday of the Star Spangled Banner with a concert that tracks the progression of the American song over the past two centuries. Pianist Spencer Myer will lead acclaimed vocalists Caitlin Lynch, Leah Wool, Michael Slattery and Sidney Outlaw in the performance.

Cost of entry is $25, or $20 for Members and Queens residents and $10 for students.

Mitchell-Linden residents confront sink holes, prostitution and outer urban blight

Pot holes and trash are a common concern among patrons of the Mitchell-Linden Pathmark.

After roughly a decade of complaints from residents and patrons, the parking lot of the Mitchell-Linden Pathmark at 31-06 Farrington St. continues to be a hazardous eyesore according to State Senator Tony Avella, who hosted a press conference about the issue last Friday.

“The owners of the Plaza make a lot of money from the many businesses that are here, but they have yet to put some of that money back into improving the infrastructure,” Avella said. “The potholes, street collapses, uneven patchwork, litter and grease stains must be addressed.

“I am calling on all of the owners to come together with members of the community to finally resolve this situation,” he added. “It’s hazardous, unsafe and unsanitary.”

About a decade ago, Mitchell-Linden Civic Association President Arlene Fleishman was severely injured when she stepped into what she thought was a minor puddle, but turned out to be a deep pot hole in the parking lot. For the past six years, she has been fighting vigorously for improvements.

“I thought I stepped into a puddle but it was a hole,” Fleishman said. “I had to wear a brace on one foot and a shoe on the other for six weeks.”

After her injury, Fleishman successfully sued Pathmark and began her campaign to see through improvements to the lot.

One construction boss who uses the parking lot as a mobile command center for his workers in the area said he was happy to see someone photographing the detritus in the lot. He pointed to a pile of trash next to his truck and said that while he makes sure his workers don’t dump, he’s seen local police officers, who also use the lot as a stopover, adding to the piles on their lunch breaks.

Several other Pathmark patrons commented on the pothole problem following Avella’s press conference.

Avella said that he inherited the Pathmark Plaza in a 2012 redistricting, and it has been an uphill battle since that time to try and get in touch with the five owners of the property, only one of which has to date agreed to sit down and talk about issues with the parking lot.

Beyond trash and potholes, a major concern is the volume of truck traffic using the parking lot as a layover, and as a result, says Fleishman, “You can’t see where you’re going when you’re backing up or coming out of your spot.”

“I have suggested numerous times that they designated one area for truckers,” she said. “They haven’t done it.”

She also reported having to call the police on multiple occasions to confront prostitutes who walk the lot.

Rufus Owens, who has been living in the neighborhood for 46 years, while supportive of the Pathmark’s role in the community, was critical of the conditions.

“We need this store in the area and they do a good job, but they need to help build a better road [surface],” Owens said. “You walk out here and you might get killed. I’ve seen so many accidents.”

Read more:Queens Examiner – Mitchell Linden residents confront urban blight