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Local News September 15, 2011  RSS feed

A PARTY IN A PARKING LOT

CB 2: L.I.C.‘Resort’ Catches Area’s Ire
by Sam Goldman


Suyin So of the Central Queens Academy Charter School speaks to Board 2. 
(photo: Sam Goldman) Suyin So of the Central Queens Academy Charter School speaks to Board 2. (photo: Sam Goldman) An unruly Long Island City establishment and a proposed charter school in District 24 were among the topics tackled at Community Board 2’s Sept. 8 meeting at Sunnyside Community Services.

In his City Services Committee report, Patrick O’Brien noted that The Palms—an enclosed, fenced-in parking lot at 26-01 Jackson Ave. in Long Island City that was transformed by 3rd Ward in Bushwick into a party area in the style of a 1950s Florida resort—has reportedly been causing noise problems with neighbors.

He added that there have been reports of the establishment—which features the “Dumpster pools” made famous during the 2010 Summer Streets—serving hard liquor despite having only a temporary liquor license.

“NYPD was there last week. They issued noise violations,” he noted.

O’Brien also updated Board 2 on the ongoing quest by Gypsy Rose, a proposed adult establishment at 42+50 21st St., near Queens Plaza, to obtain a liquor license.

He noted that the State Liquor Authority has not scheduled a hearing yet but are expected to do so in the future, and added that Board 2 will attend and make their case.

New school for ELLs

Suyin So and Alex Fong of the Central Queens Academy Charter School unveiled their plans to open a charter intermediate school within School District 24, which encompasses portions of Community Boards 2, 4, 5 and 6.

The school, which would exist inside leased office space (So claimed Elmhurst was a target area) would accept district 24 students in the fifth to eighth grades, with a focus on literacy and a “special priority for English Language Learner (ELL) students.”

According to So, District 24 was chosen as a target area due to its overcrowding and its large ELL population. Students would be chosen via lottery; the first class would take 100 fifth-graders with 30 percent of the seats reserved for ELL students.

The school will hold classes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with an afterschool program to run until 6 p.m. each day. Busing would be available.

Classes will also have “a social and emotional learning component,” according to Fong, to “help the whole person” at an emotionally fraught age.

Preserving park space

A Sunnyside Gardens resident told Board 2 that she and several neighbors were attempting to purchase a spot of land at 39th Avenue and 50th Street formerly known as the Phipps Playground from its current owner, both to spruce it up as a community garden as well as to keep it from being developed by private interests.

Right now, the group is applying for “acquisition funds” from North Star Fund, a local community organization, and is talking to the owner to figure out what steps are needed to purchase the site.

Board 2 would later approve a resolution supporting the plan.

Seeking space for laughs

Steve Hofstetter, a Queens-born comedian and entrepreneur, told Board 2 that his company, Paragon Comedy Clubs, is looking for space in Long Island City to launch what he claimed would be the borough’s first such establishment in about 15 years.

Hofstetter, who has performed on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and other television shows, underscored that the proposed club would be closer to the comedy-only clubs found in Manhattan than local bars with occasional comedy nights (such as The Creek and the Cave in Long Island City).

“We think they’re wonderful; I don’t there there’s competition at all,” he noted, adding that the club would seek to attract top-tier comedy talent on a regular basis. “Our goal is not to be a bar. Our goal is to be an entertainment establishment.”

Street fair snafu

Joe Kenton, representing City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer, noted that there had been some complaints from residents regarding the recent Skillman Avenue Street Fair, held on Sept. 1.

Locals complained of noise and the presence of professional vendors as opposed to local companies.

District Manager Debra Markell- Kleinert noted that Board 2 Chairman Joseph Conley (away on vacation) would meet with vendors to attempt to solve these issues.

Reports

In his report, First Vice Chairperson Stephen Cooper (who chaired the meeting in Conley’s absence) noted that the city Health and Consumer Affairs departments have been ticketing food vendors located along the 7 train line.

Also doling out tickets, according to Cooper, is the Taxi and Limousine Commission, which is cracking down on livery cabs parked on local streets.

Finally, Cooper noted that the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)—which is supposed to notify Board 2 of any applications for work in a landmark district so that a local hearing can be held before they vote to approve a design—has skipped over the board over the summer, as Board 2 does not hold a full meeting.

Traditionally, Board 2 has held special hearings over the summer when necessary (such as the recent hearings on the proposed Queens Plaza adult establishment); Cooper also noted that an executive committee hearing could have been held.

“This is not the way its supposed to work,” he argued. “It’s not they way they agreed to make it work. But that’s what’s going on.”

InfraGard

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s James Capozzi educated Board 2 on the agency’s 15-year-old Infra- Gard program, which aims “to keep our critical national infrastructure safe from attack” by partnering with utility companies, local businesses and other private interests.

Local firms, civic groups or “any civic-minded person that wants to join this program” can sign up at www.infragard.net to receive updates, sign up for seminars or share information with the FBI on suspicious activity.

Other news

A Tobacco Marketing Walk in Astoria on Oct. 17 aims to draw attention to the amount of cigarette advertising aimed at young adults in local bodegas, according to Christina Choi of Korean Community Services, one of the community groups sponsoring the walk.

The walk will stretch along Broadway from 21st to 31st streets.

Nick Griffin and Kerem Halbrecht told Board 2 about their plans for 72 Hour Urban Action, which will include a planning workshop on Sept. 17 at P.S. 1 in Long Island City to prepare for the Sept. 17 competition (see last week’s story for more information).

Griffin invited members of Board 2, public officials and others to participate.

Board 2 will next meet on Thursday, Oct. 6 at Sunnyside Community Services, located at 43-31 39th St.