Hilton Garden Inn opens in LIC

The Hilton Garden Inn held their grand opening on 41st Ave. in LIC today.

The 183 room hotel is the first full-service hotel in the neighborhood, featuring a full bar, room service, and restaurant.

Natalie Serese, Director of Sales and Marketing for the hotel, said the hotel had been fully booked and primarily drawn tourists from Asia and Europe since opening last month.

She also said the local community had been quick to embrace the hotel.

“It’s been amazing,,” she said. “Our bar downstairs has been doing really, really well because of a local following. The community is happy about it I guess, now there’s a place their family can stay, or they can to grab a drink on the corner.”

Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council, said the hotel’s popularity was indicative of the borough’s growing popularity as a tourism destination.

“People want to come to Queens, and stay in Queens,” he said.

The presidential suite at the hotel.

The presidential suite at the hotel.

Marty Markowitz, VP of borough promotion and engagement at NYC & Co., spoke at the opening.

Marty Markowitz, VP of borough promotion and engagement at NYC & Co., spoke at the opening.

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Councilman Constantinides to hold town hall on Astoria ferry project

Councilman Costa Constantinides will host a town hall on the Astoria ferry project, which will comprise a new ferry dock to be built at Hallets Cove in 2017 (click here for an overview of the revamp, as outlined in the Mayor’s state of the city early this year).

The meeting will take place at 7 pm on Thursday, June 4, at the First Reformed Church of Astoria (2726 12th St.), and will include a Q&A after the presentation.

Click here to RSVP on Facebook.

New Planned Parenthood Center in LIC

A crowd of over 50 supporters showed up Monday morning (5/18) to cut the ribbon on Planned Parenthood’s first Queens center.

The new center, located at 21-41 45th Road in L.I.C., is expected to open mid June. With the addition of this largernew Queens location, Planned Parenthood now has a center in all 5 boroughs.

The new facility will offer reproductive health services including abortions, gynecological care, cancer screenings, birth control and health insurance screening and enrollment.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who allocated $750,000 of city funds toward the new center, said, “the borough of Queens is better and safer today because Planned Parenthood is here,” the Sunnyside Post reported. “This is one of the most beautiful buildings in my district,” he added. “It is so full of light, and air, and color, and it’s really all about hope.”

The new center is estimated to serve about 17,500 patients per year.

26th district participatory budgeting winners announced

Locals gathered at LIC Bar on Wednesday night as Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer announced the winners of the 26th district’s participatory budgeting.

On the ballot were 27 projects, which Van Bramer said had been chosen after hundreds of ideas were submitted to receive a portion of the $1 million to be allocated. Nominated projects spanned the district and ran the gamut from public school facility fixes to making libraries handicap accessible. 26th District voters were able to cast three votes.

“We talked to literally thousands of your neighbors,” Van Bramer said. “We discussed several projects, we asked people—what would you like to see in your neighborhood? What do you need?”

At 7pm, Van Bramer announced the three winning projects as a new $500,000 bikeway in Long Island City, a $55,000 van for the Jacob Riis Settlement House for seniors and $500,000 worth of upgrades to the playgrounds at the Queensbridge Houses.

Council Member Van Bramer then surprised his constituents by announcing an additional 5 projects would be receiving funding, bringing the total amount to $1,530,000.

A rundown of the final winners:

1. Long Island City Bikeway – $500,000

2. Jacob Riis Settlement House Senior Van – $55,000

3. Five Playground Upgrades in the Queensbridge Houses – $500,000

Additional projects funded by Council Member Van Bramer:

· Accessibility Improvements for Sunnyside Library – $50,000

· Accessibility Improvements for Woodside Library – $50,000

· Woodside Reforestry – $200,000

· Real Time Passenger Bus Countdown Clocks (Districtwide) – $100,000

· Technology Upgrades for PS/IS 78 in Long Island City – $75,000


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CB1 Chair, District Manager to step down

CB1 Chair Vinicio Donato and District Manager Lucille Hartmann will be stepping down from their positions this summer. Donato is said to be stepping down in August, while Hartmann will be leaving in June.

“Together, Vinny and Lucille, cared deeply about the communities they served and worked hard every day to make Western Queens a better place,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement.