LIC Building Sells for Ridiculous Price

RXR Realty, the real estate investment firm that has become one of the largest office landlords in Manhattan, is now also one of the busiest buyers in the outer boroughs, where it has just cut a deal to acquire the Standard Motors Building in Long Island City, Queens, for $110 million.

The six-story property at 37-18 Northern Blvd., may be best known as the headquarters for the Jim Henson Co., the famed puppet-making shop and children’s programming production outfit. Other tenants in the 95-year-old, 315,000-square-foot property include the one that gave the building its name—Standard Motor Products Inc., a manufacturer of automobile engine parts and systems, which continues to base its operations there.

RXR Realty is buying the property for nearly three times the $40 million that seller Acumen Capital paid for it six years ago in a bad market. Among other things, the big run up in the price is a reflection of how much values have risen in gentrifying markets like Long Island City that have become more attractive among office users. In another sign of a changing market, three of the city’s biggest property brokers—CBRE’s Darcy Stacom , Bill Shanahan and Paul Gillen—handled the sale for Acumen Capital.Standard-Motors-Building


Dance Entropy presents new piece of interpretive dance

It was a night of self reflection and a deep look within at the Valerie Green Dance Entropy production of “Begin. Again,” held at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center in Long Island City last weekend.

Abrupt screams of anguish and frustration reverberated through the interpretive performance in part one of Green’s three-part recital entitled “Skimming the Surface: Fragments of Collective Unconscious,” a dark look into the inner turmoil of trauma and emotional wounds.

Dancers in the performance laced the stage with tightly choreographed sequences and played to the room of nearly 200 at each of their two shows over the weekend.

Read more: LIC/Astoria Journal – Dance Entropy presents new piece of interpretive dance


SHOP Act aims to protect consumers at check-out

Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is launching a new initiative to make it easier for consumers who are overcharged for items.

“For too long stores have enjoyed the rewards of their overcharges and seen paying city fines as just the cost of doing business,” said DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “This year doubling the number of inspections and thus doubling that ‘cost of doing business’ still was not enough to get the city’s supermarkets to get it right at their check-out counters.”

The act comes with two components. First is a tripling of city fines for any supermarket that overcharges at the register. Second, every time a consumer is overcharged, they will receive ten times the amount of the overcharge and that item for free.
Read more:LIC/Astoria Journal – DCA SHOP Act aims to protect consumers at the check out


State passes ethics reforms

A new ethics law was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, August 15th.

It will provide increased transparency in the state government and stronger financial disclosure requirements for its employees.

The Public Integrity Reform Act of 2011 establishes an independent Joint Commission on Public Ethics to replace the existing Commission on Public Ethics. In addition to its oversight of the financial dealings of elected officials, their employees and lobbyists, the new commission will have the power to investigate signs of wrongdoing.

Read more:LIC/Astoria Journal – State passes new ethics reforms


City helps grow small businesses

Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited a business incubator in Long Island City on Thursday, August 18. He was there to speak about how the city supports its entrepreneurs.

Incubators provide affordable workspace, conference rooms and fully licensed kitchens to small businesses that are trying to get their footing in the city’s marketplace.

“We developed new ways to help small businesses weather the storm and to help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground,” Bloomberg said. “Let them start here and hopefully they grow and hire other people and move on.”

Click here for more information.



Immigration bill sparks controversy

Council members are speaking out against a bill introduced by their colleague Daniel Dromm, which would protect illegal immigrants from deportation proceedings after they are proved innocent and released from city jails.

Dromm, who represents Jackson Heights, said when immigrants are proven innocent of a crime and released, jails such as Riker’s Island will hold them for 48 hours so ICE can come evaluate their immigration status.

“Why should anybody have to have their name run through a system like that when they haven’t been found guilty of anything at all,” Dromm said. “They’re still innocent in this country until proven guilty.”

To read more about this click here: LIC/Astoria Journal – Immigration bill incites controversy


Astorians against violence

Over the past year, the amount of groping attacks on women have increased. Men ride bicycles around neighborhoods and attack women. Attacks have occurred throughout Queens and the upper east side of Manhattan.

On Thursday, July 18th, victims of the attacks held a rally in Athens Park. It was held by the fledgling organization Astoria Against Violence. The organizers were victims Kate Salute and Michelle Gutman.

Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., State Senator Michael Gianaris, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney and members of the 114th Precinct’s Civilian Operation Patrol attended the rally, along with more than 30 Queens residents.

Read more here.


Festival of flowers

On August 19th the Festival of Flowers begins in Queens. It combines exquisite flora with Columbian cultural activities.

The event kicks off today at the Queens Museum of Art with the unveiling og a 7,500-square-foot tapestry of flowers – the largest of its kind – comprising over two million roses, carnations, sunflowers, and lilies, which will earn its place in the Guinness World Records and United Record Data Base.

Co-sponsored by LaGuardia Community College and Queens Museum of Art, events will be held throughout Queens.

To learn more, click here.


Elmhurst senior center volunteers honored

On Thursday, August 11, Councilman Daniel Dromm honored a few volunteers who have made positive contributions to help families in their communities.

“We are here today to recognize people that are not in the spotlight as the volunteers,” Dromm said in a speech at the annual award ceremony at the Elmhurst Senior Center. “I want to say ‘thanks’ for their wonderful work for the community,”

Click here to learn more about the volunteers.

Councilman Daniel Dromm, center, honors volunteers at the Elmhurst Senior Center.