bqx

De Blasio Gives BQX a Green Light

BQXRendering_Greenpointers_Cadkin

Yesterday, the Mayor put the long-stalled BQX waterfront streetcar project back on the table. The light rail trolley slated to run between Brooklyn and Queens was left out of the fiscal budget in April of this year, after missing its 4th feasibility study deadline. Now the project has returned with a shorter route, a higher budget, and the Mayor’s support.

When the project was first proposed in 2016, the advocacy group Friends of the BQX, headed by Jessica Schumer, daughter of Chuck Schumer, envisioned a 16-mile route from Astoria to Sunset Park. The current project stretches 11 miles, from Astoria to Red Hook, stopping in between at  Long Island City, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, the Brooklyn Navy Yard and Downtown Brooklyn.  Continue reading

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NYU is in the Pencil Factory, The BQX isn’t in the Budget, and NYC blames Airbnb for Rising Rent — the Hook-up (5/11)

BQXRendering_Greenpointers_Cadkin
Not Today, BQX

Happy Friday, Greenpoint! Say hello to our newest neighbor: NYU School of Medicine. NYU has signed a 15-year lease for nearly 17,000sqft of space at 74 Kent Street, and will open a physical therapy and imaging center.

While we will be getting NYU, we won’t be getting BQX. Mayor de Blasio did not include the project in his budget for the next fiscal year, and the city’s Economic Development Corporation also declined allocate funds for the Gentrification Express.

Speaking of big budget items, the former Greenpoint Mechanics and Traders Bank at 144 Franklin Street is on the market for $6.5 Million.

If that sounds steep, the city hopes you’ll blame Airbnb. A study from the city Comptroller finds that airbnb listings have driven rents in Greenpoint up about $100/month. The Comptroller also blames the company for rent increases and homelessness across the city, a very steep charge to level against New Yorkers who share their homes on the platform because rent is so high in the first place.  Continue reading

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After Missing 4th Feasibility Study Deadline, BQX Wants Money From the Feds

BQXRendering_Greenpointers_Cadkin
Rendering of the BQX

When Mayor de Blasio unveiled his plan for the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX) in February 2016, he projected that the 16-mile streetcar route would pay for itself through increased property tax revenue garnered from neighborhoods along the route, leading opponents to dub the project “the Gentrification Express.” Now, it seems the BQX will need federal funds to meet its $2.5 Billion budget.

Without the funds, the BQX may not go forward. This is not the first setback for the project. As of January, it has missed its fourth deadline to produce a feasibility study. Right now, there is no stated date for when the city might see that study.

While this might lead casual observers to call the BQX simply unfeasible, the mayor is optimistic about the project, telling WNYC that he feels Chuck Schumer will be able to use his clout in the senate to get money earmarked for the BQX.  Continue reading

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Pinball Wizards and Streetcar Woes — The Hook-up (1/19)

The Pinball Wizards of Williamsburg
The Pinball Wizards of Williamsburg. Via Brooklyn Daily

In the contentious world of elite New York pinball, there can be only one champion. This year, it was a North Brooklyn contest: Greenpoint’s Paragons of Pinball duked it out in the final round against Williamsburg’s Terrorwrists at Sunshine Laundromat (860 Manhattan Avenue). The Terrorwrists took the title.

Pinball is a fast-paced, high stakes enterprise. New York’s urban planning and infrastructural changes are much slower beasts. And so: the Brooklyn-Queens Connector (BQX), also known as the gentrification express. This is The Streetcar Not Everyone Desires. With more and more funding necessary, but less and less actual money secured for the project, the BQX is stalled behind schedule, and seems, for now, to be more of a pipe-dream than a real possibility.

Speaking of transportation going off the rails, an unoccupied car was found partially submerged in Newtown Creek this morning. As of yet, there is no information on the condition, whereabouts or identity of the driver.

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Stopping Java Jerks and Making Transit Work — The Hook-up (12/1)

Newtown Creek Prints
Newtown Creek Prints! Via Huffington Post

Happy December, Everybody! Despite the glorious lights on Manhattan Avenue, it seems not everybody  is in the holiday spirit. In fact, there has been some gross nonsense going on around here: on November 21st, a man began masturbating outside The Lot Radio coffee shop (17 Nassau Avenue) while staring at a 20-year-old female employee. Then, he entered the shop and attempted to raid the cash register. This whole episode went down before noon, proving that it’s never to early to be a creep.

Unfortunately, the crime wave continued this week. On Tuesday, a Greenpoint woman was the victim of a violent robbery. The 63-year-old woman was punched in the face in the lobby her building; the assailant made off with her purse and cellphone. The NYPD asks the public’s help in identifying the perpetrators in both these crimes. If you have information about either case, call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS or for Spanish 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers Website at WWW.NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM or texting their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

If the news seems a bit bleak right now, here’s something brightening: Greenpoint Artist Sto Len makes beautiful prints out of the polluted waters of Newtown Creek.   Continue reading

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Subway Rats Join the Brunch Craze, Firefox Gives out Free Coffee and the BQX Unveils a Prototype — the Hook-up (11/17)

Subway rats are on trend this week.
Subway rats are on trend this week.

Move over, Pizza Rat, there’s a new celebrity rodent in town. This week, a subway rat went full “Brooklyn” and jumped on the avocado craze. While waiting for the G at Greenpoint Avenue on Tuesday, filmmaker Jessica Edwards captured a video of a rat hauling a slice of avocado along the tracks.

That’s not the only food-based transit story in the news this week. Mozilla launched a Firefox browser update this week, and claims its internet service is now faster than Google Chrome. To celebrate, Firefox operated a free “Firefox Fast Ferry” between Greenpoint and Manhattan from Tuesday-Thursday. The rides included complimentary donuts, coffee and live music.

Speaking of riding in style, the first prototype of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, or BQX, was unveiled on Monday. Also known as the Gentrification Express, the proposed streetcar would run along the waterfront from Astoria to Sunset Park.

The advocacy coalition “Friends of BQX” is pushing Mayor de Blasio to make the streetcar a priority during his second term, at the same time as glass high-rise developments begin to engulf Greenpoint’s waterfront.

But, there may be some environmental justice for Greenpoint courtesy of the Long Island Sound. Much of the Nitrogen that contributes to “dead zones” in the Long Island Sound comes from waste treatment plants in New York City. Pressure from advocacy groups like Save Our Sound could lead to technological upgrades at Newtown Creek.

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Future of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector Streetcar BQX is Uncertain

Image credit: Friends of the Brooklyn-Queens Connector

After a recently leaked city hall memo suggested that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposed streetcar connecting Brooklyn and Queens may be both “unaffordable” and “unfeasible,” the future of the project is unclear.

Originally announced in February 2016, the Brooklyn-Queens Connector, known as the BQX, would run along a 14-mile route, connecting Astoria, Queens to Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Before hiring the former chairman of the Toronto Transit Commission, Adam Giambrone, to head the project, the city estimated the cost of the streetcar would be $2.5 billion, generating an estimated economic impact of $25 billion over the next 30 years. Utilizing existing rails from 20th century trolley cars, the trip from end-to-end would last about 30 minutes and cost you a swipe of your MetroCard. The route has yet to be finalized, but the city proposes the streetcar travel through Greenpoint via Franklin Street, Manhattan Avenue, or McGuiness Boulevard, necessitating the redesign of the Pulaski Bridge or the construction of an alternate path over the Newtown Creek. Continue reading

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Learn about the BQX Streetcar, Plus Free Drinks Thursday!

BQX Event Dec 8 2016Get to The Woods (48 S. 4th Street) on Thursday, December 8th from 6-8pm for an evening of socializing and learning about the proposed BQX streetcar system. It’s planned to run 16 miles along the Queens/Brooklyn waterfront and to be emissions-free, without overhead wires or underground power sources. If all goes as planned, groundbreaking would start in 2019-2020, and if it’s going to look anything like their fancy Photoshopped renderings, it could be pretty cool. Continue reading

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