Pols unveil new mural in Astoria


Elected officials unveiled a new mural under the bridge overpass on 48th Street between 25th Avenue and 28th Avenue in Astoria. The art project was completed as a joint effort between Councilman Costa Constantinides, Congressman Joe Crowley and 501(See)(Streets), a non-profit organization.

“With the fast-paced life we’re so accustomed to in New York City, it’s very important to have murals and other artwork that brighten our neighborhood with their beauty,” said Constantinides in a release. “These types of artistic projects also provide a meaningful and lasting response to graffiti. This mural is a win-win for everyone in the community.”

The mural – titled “Astoria Motif” – consists of three different installations, depicting idyllic Astoria scenes: the Hells Gate Bridge with a large ship traveling on the East River underneath, the Jackson Hole Diner and scenes from Astoria’s past. The artist, Kenji Takabayashi, is from Queens.

“It was an honor to work on something so meaningful for the residents of the neighborhood who treated me as though I lived on their block for the days that I painted,” Takabayashi said. “As a Queens kid, doing something I love so much for my borough meant a lot to me.”

The project was part of Constantinides’ continued effort and investment into beautifying Astoria. The mural not only adds to the existing aesthetic, but will serve as a deterrent to prevent future illegal graffiti.  Constantinides allocated $21,000 this year for graffiti removal in his community.

“Street murals not only help prevent graffiti but they beautify our neighborhoods while giving our communities a sense of pride,” said Rep. Crowley,who partnered to support the project. “I thank Council Member Constantinides for working with 501(See)(Streets) to bring this new and unique mural to Astoria which showcases some of the iconic landmarks that make the neighborhood so special.”

501(See)(Streets) is a non-profit organization that looks to engage at-risk youth to express themselves through legal street art. They recently sponsored a mural that was created at the police precinct in Corona.

Grand opening of Mediterranean Foods tonight

Yelp/Barbara S.

Yelp/Barbara S.

Mediterranean Foods will have a grand opening at their new Astoria location tonight at 5 p.m.

The store, which already has a home at 23-18 31st St. in Astoria and at 30-12 34th St. in Long Island City, will cater to the Mediterranean community by opening up at 22-78 35th Street.

The store offers a variety of foods such as meats, preserves, Greek honey, biscuits, stuffed vine leaves, oils, specialty cheeses, spreads and cookies. There will be an olive bar and an impressive olive oil tasting station at the new location. Additionally, Mediterranean Foods will sell fresh to-go sandwiches.

Free screening of Mets World Series Game 3 in LIC

While the New York Mets suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Royals in Game One of the World Series, there’s still a great chance that our team can win it all. And since Game Three tickets at Citi Field are way too expensive for many of us, join other Mets fans at a *free* screening this Friday night to root for the home team.

As Noah Syndergaard takes the mound, Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens will host the 8 p.m. screening in Long Island City.

Matthew Troy, executive director of the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens, promised a good time for all.

“We have so many Met fans who are children at our club, we have to get them together with any of those people in the neighborhood who want to have some fun and see us in action,” he said. “We just have to do this! Let’s Go Mets!”

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer endorses Move NY plan


Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is the latest elected official to endorse the Move NY plan.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is the latest elected official to endorse the Move NY plan.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer announced this morning his support for the Move NY plan, a controversial transportation proposal which endeavors to solve the city’s ailing transportation system by implementing tolls along the four East River bridges and 60th Street corridor, as well as decreasing charges for tolls already in place.

“We’ve seen massive congestion problems both on the subway cars and platforms of the 7 Train themselves, and then in addition to that, in the run up to the Queensboro Bridge,” Councilman Van Bramer said in a statement. “That’s why I am saying now we need to focus on this investment into our mass transit. The MoveNY plan is the best and most responsible way to get us there. This is a responsible way to ensure that the MTA’s needs are fully funded on an ongoing basis without putting a financial burden on the backs of riders.”

Under the plan, rolled out early this year, tolls would be imposed on vehicles making trips into Manhattan’s Central Business District via the four East River bridges, while tolls on bridges like the Verrazano and RFK, which charge $8 with an EZPass, would be decreased by 39 to 48 percent, a shift from Bloomberg’s 2008 plan.

Drivers on the East River bridges and crossing 60th Street would be subject to a $5.54 EZPass toll, while tolls already in place on major MTA bridges would drop by $2.50 each way with an EZPass, and minor bridge tolls would drop by $1 each way.

While over three dozen state and city elected officials have thrown support behind the plan, including Council members Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso and State senator José Peralta, the proposal has garnered its share of detractors. Opponents often compare the proposal to Mayor Bloomberg’s ill-fated congestion pricing plan, which died after Assembly Democrats refused to put the bill up for a vote.

“I believe that city residents are savvy enough to understand that this is the fatally flawed congestion pricing proposal redone under a different name,” said Queens State Senator Joseph Addabo, Jr. in a statement on the plan earlier this year. “I didn’t support it back in 2008 as a City Councilman and I don’t support it now as a state senator.”

The de Blasio administration has said it will consider the plan, and Governor Cuomo has voiced skepticism that the proposal would garner enough votes to pass.

Move NY’s Campaign Director Alex Matthiessen said in a statement that Van Bramer’s endorsement was a major success for the proposal.

“Majority Leader Van Bramer’s endorsement gives the campaign to enact the Fair Plan a nice shot in the arm,” his statement read. “As the City Council’s majority leader and a widely respected member of the Queens delegation, his support is especially meaningful and significant. Majority Leader Van Bramer has done his homework and like a growing number of New Yorkers, has come to the conclusion that the Move NY Fair Plan is the best and only option for reducing traffic, improving transit, and securing a sustainable revenue stream to maintain and expand our transportation network.”

Luxury residential building coming to 35th St.

The empty lot where the new residential building will be erected. Courtesy of Google maps.

The empty lot where the new residential building will be erected. Courtesy of Google maps.

Real Estate Weekly is reporting developer Valyrian Capital has filed plans to build a luxury 65-unit residential rental apartment building on 35th St. between 34th and 35th Avenues, just adjacent to Kaufman Astoria Studios.

REW reports that Valyrian recently purchased the empty lot for $16 million.

The seven-story mixed use building will have 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground flood and 80,000 square feet of residential space, and 33 parking spaces.


Murder mystery dinner show emerges for Halloween

The theme for this year’s Halloween show will center around 'American Horror Story.’

The theme for this year’s Halloween show will center around ‘American Horror Story.’

Love a good murder mystery? Why not combine your taste for suspense with a delicious meal and participate in a spooky murder mystery dinner? You and your friends will witness a crime, and you must figure out who is the murderer through a series of performances and a four-course dinner.

Orchestrated by the Killing Kompany, the show is called Murder at the Halloween Ball, and it will take place at Riccardo’s By the Bridge, located at 21-01 24th Avenue in Astoria.The Killing Kompany has been performing shows at Riccardo’s since 1999.
Jon Avner, lead actor, creates a brand new show based on pop culture for each performance that the company does. For Murder at the Halloween Ball, he is hoping to do a parody of ‘American Horror Story.’

“They’re fun shows because each show is brand new and we only do it once,” Avner said. “People never see the same show twice.”
“There are new jokes, new plots, new actors and new musical pieces, so it’s really like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see the show,” he added.

The cast consists of Avner, an actor who appeared in a substantial number of productions and also does voiceover work for video games, as well as Crystin Gilmore, who was celebrated for her performance in ‘The Color Purple.’ Other actors include Rori Nogee, who appeared in the off-Broadway production of ‘Showgirls;’ Darin Chumbley, a Broadway dancer and John Nelson, an actor and professional rapper who has appeared in TV shows such as ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘Saturday Night Live.’ In the past, the killing kompany has had cat members such as Connie Britton, who now stars in ABC’s ‘Nashville.’

During Riccardo’s cocktail hour, the actors will be introduced to the guests. By the way, wearing a costume to the dinner is completely encouraged.

There is an unlimited selection of barbecue ribs, Italian sausages and peppers, fried calamari, chicken and Spanish rice, meatballs, baked ziti and more hors d’oeuvres. As the actors mingle with the guests, the idea of a plot starts to arise.
Later on, everyone sits at the table and the actors are able to begin act one. For safety reasons, the company distributes a message to all diners to alert them of any sounds they might hear, such as gunshots.

Within the first act, a murder takes place and the police finds evidence to track down back to suspects. It’s a time where audience participation kicks in. Audience members are selected to act out certain role.

Throughout the night, activity intensifies with periods of dancing while guests ponder who the murderer can be.

The dinner provided includes choices such as a fruit cocktail supreme, garden tossed salad, soup with the choice of minestrone, consomme or Greek lemon; prime ribs of Beef Au Jus, Chicken Francese, salmon filet, potato croquette, broccoli and ice cream.

During the second act, guests learn more about incriminating evidence while more crimes still get committed. The actors also perform musical numbers for their audience which relates to the overall plot of the night. By dessert, all the crimes have occurred and the guests must guess who the killer could be.

To round out the show, the fake police returns to make the arrest of the suspect, but not without a little bit of back-and-forth.
Those who guessed the correct suspect will be rewarded with a prize, most likely a pair of tickets to the off-Broadway show of Drunken Shakespeare.There will also be prizes for best costume and best actor for audience members.

If a murder mystery dinner tickles your fancy, the Killing Kompany also does an overnight show that runs throughout New Year’s Eve. For more information about the dinner at Riccardo’s or upcoming events, head to KillingKompany.com.
The show will take place on October 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 per person.