The priciest Queens neighborhood in 2020 is Malba

Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to a new report from PropertyShark, Malba emerged as the priciest neighborhood in Queens this year.

The “Most Expensive NYC Neighborhoods Report” found that New York City’s residential market activity was down 32 percent year over year.

Median sale prices, however, rose to $660,000, representing a one percent increase from last year.

Hudson Yards was the most expensive neighborhood in the Big Apple with a median sale price of $4.5 million. TriBeCa was the second most expensive, followed by Little Italy.

Malba came in 12th with a median sale price of $1.35 million. Queens overall made up 19 percent of the city’s priciest neighborhoods, with a median sale price of $520,000 and an eight percent increase year-over-year.

Neponsit was the 23rd most expensive neighborhood in New York City with a median sale price of $1.25 million.

Queens College gives President’s Medal to alumnus Ricardo L. Cortez

Ricardo Cortez headshotQueens College President Frank Wu has awarded his first Presidential Medal to distinguished alumnus Ricardo L. Cortez.

Cortez, a financier and asset management specialist, was honored at the college’s annual Academic Excellence Award Ceremony, where he gave the keynote address.

He graduated cum laude from Queens College in 1972 with a degree in mathematics. Cortez went on to be certified as an Investment Management Analyst at the Wharton School in 1993.

Cortez is now the co-chief executive officer of Broadmark Asset Management.

“I graduated from Bayside High School in 1967, and perhaps like some Queens College students, I was the first in my family to go to college,” he said.

He applied to three schools: Columbia, St. John’s and Queens College.

“I was accepted at all three, but my parents, who did not have a lot of money, thought Queens College was by far the best choice,” Cortez said. “They turned out to be right.”

School of Rock location to open along Francis Lewis Blvd

Screen shot via Google Maps.
Screen shot via Google Maps.

School of Rock is opening its Bayside location, located at 34-43 Francis Lewis Boulevard, this Saturday.

The grand opening will take place from noon to 6 p.m. The afternoon will feature a ribbon-cutting ceremony, live music and free trial lessons.

Of course, there will be precautions like social distancing and masks to keep everyone saef.

School of Rock provides students of all ages music lessons, including guitar, singing, drum and piano lessons. Students learn theory and techniques through songs from legends like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Frank Zappa.

Learn more about School of Rock and its Bayside location here.

Fresh Meadows, Auburndale libraries reopened with limited services

Fresh Meadows Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.
Fresh Meadows Library. Screen shot via Google Maps.

Queens Public Library reopened seven additional branches across the borough on Monday. Those branches are:

  • Arverne Library
  • Auburndale Library
  • Forest Hills Library
  • Fresh Meadows Library
  • Hillcrest Library
  • Langston Hughes Library
  • Sunnyside Library

The reopened branches offer limited “to-go” service six days a week.

With the seven reopenings, QPL now has 22 locations across Queens open to the public for pickups in a designated area of each building.

The branches will also accept returns at their exterior return machines.

The hours for each reopened branch are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday (closed between 1 to 2 p.m. for cleaning); 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday; 12 to 7 p.m. on Thursday (closed between 3 to 4 p.m. for cleaning).

All staff and visitors are required to wear a mask and practical physical distancing. Hand sanitizer is available at all open branches.

At this time, there is no on-site public programs, browsing, meeting room availability, seating, public computers or in-person reference service.

In addition, there will be no fines or fees on any library materials checked out this year until January 4, 2021 at the earliest.

Douglaston Plaza now has seating and dining

New York City is opening up some pedestrian plazas starting this week.

City officials announced that Douglaston Plaza will be opened to include exclusive seating, collective dining and open public seating.

The city’s Open Restaurants program now has more than 9,500 participants. They will be allowed to host outdoor dining through October.


“The expansion of the Open Restaurants program to include Douglaston Plaza in Northeast Queens is a great victory for our small businesses and our community,” said Councilman Paul Vallone, who chairs the Committee on Economic Development.

“Let’s all celebrate by grabbing some coffee and enjoying dinner at our wonderful Douglaston Plaza!”

Queens Botanical Garden has finally reopened


Starting on July 21, the Queens Botanical Garden is reopening with limited open hours.

QBG is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m to 4 p.m. Free hours are Wednesday from 3 to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 to 11 a.m.

All visitors must wear a mask and maintain six feet of distance from others to remain in the garden.

Hand sanitizer dispensers are available at multiple points throughout the harden. High-touch surfaces will be disinfected throughout the day.

For more information on admission pricing, open hours, and other facts about reopening, go to their website here.

Two local Catholic schools to permanently close

St. Mel's Catholic Academy. Screen shot via Google Maps.
St. Mel’s Catholic Academy. Screen shot via Google Maps.
The Diocese of Brooklyn has announced that six Catholic Schools will close permanently on August 31. Among them are Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone and St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Flushing. The diocese said the “devastating effects” of COVID-19 on enrollment and finances made it “impossible” for them to reopening this upcoming school year. All six schools already saw a decline in enrollment over the last five years, but the registration totals for this year were “significantly down,” the diocese said. Affected students and families will receive help to transfer to nearby Catholic academies. The Diocese of Brooklyn, through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust, will provide a one-time grant of $500 for each child from a closed school enrolling in a new Catholic academy in Brooklyn or Queens. “This is an incredibly sad day for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools. “The difficult decisions come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy.”

Major curb restorations coming to Bayside Hills

Assemblywoman Rozic speaks at a press conference in Bayside Hills in 2014.
Assemblywoman Rozic speaks at a press conference in Bayside Hills in 2014.

Major improvements to the curbs of Bayside Hills.

Last week, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced that the city has begun curb restoration and construction work.

The northeast Queens assemblywoman allocated $500,000 in state funding to the Department of Transportation for the project, which will bring the streets to a state of good repair.

“Our streets in Bayside Hills have gone far too long without infrastructure upgrades,” Rozic says. “With the announcement, our families in Bayside Hills will finally receive the street infrastructure that will raise home values, improve neighborhood safety and beautify its blocks.”

The curbs will be rebuilt along with new sidewalks. The renovation is expected to be completed soon.

Construction is taking place along:

  • 208th Street between 53rd Avenue and 56th Avenue
  • 210th Street between 50th Avenue and 53rd Avenue
  • 213th Street between 56th Avenue and Horace Harding Expressway

“Our neighborhood has been in critical need of these curb restorations,” said Michael Feiner, president of the Bayside Hills Civic Association, “and I look forward to the DDC’s completion.”

Add your input to the redesign of Bland Playground

Bland Playground Public Scope Meeting Invite

Bland Playground in Downtown Flushing will soon undergo a $6 million reconstruction project.

But before the design is made, the Parks Department wants Flushing residents and park users to chime in on what they’d like to see included as part of the transformation.

On Thursday, March 12 at 6 p.m., the Parks Department are teaming up with Councilman Peter Koo and the borough president’s office to host a scoping meeting for the project.

Attendees can tell parks officials what they want in the reconstructed playground.

“This scoping meeting is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for area residents to redesign their own backyard playground,” Koo said.

The councilman noted that despite its popularity, the playground has been plagued by a variety of problems, “from sanitation to vagrancy.”

“It’s far past time that we address these issues through a redesign and reconstruction that prioritizes the needs of the families and young people who cherish and use this rare urban recreational space,” Koo added.

The scoping meeting will take place at Bland Community Center, located at 133-36 Roosevelt Avenue.

Project Queens opens office in Downtown Flushing

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Project Queens, a commercial real estate firm, has opened a new office in the heart of Downtown Flushing.

The tech savvy company is led by real estate broker Michael Wang, who also co-chairs the Real Estate Committee for the Queens Chamber of Commerce.

Their new digs are located at 136-18 39th Avenue, Suite 704.

Project Queens is welcoming friends and colleagues to stop by their new office to see the new space and chat with the team.

For more information about Project Queens, visit their website here.