Loveday 31 Astoria, Queens

Astoria is a popular residential neighborhood north of Long Island City in Queens, New York. Its a few train stops out of Manhattan on the N and Q train lines, but I rarely make it to that side of town because the retail landscape hasn’t drawn me in. Largely made up of auto-body repair shops, local distributors, business services and food establishments, I was surprised when a friend invited me vintage shopping there, and found the most special shop nestled between blocks around the 31st Street stop.

Here are some notable reports on the real estate front:

  • Does a 2 Bed Condo at $489K sound like a good price? Street Easy has a great neighborhood highlight on Astoria–see the neighborhood and residential availabilities here on Streeteasy
  • Want to see what developers are doing with small lots? See the specific project listing by clicking on this Yimby Link
  • And lastly, Hallet’s Point. It’s the largest development in Queens, at a $1.5 Billion cost, 2000 apartments and new retail. Its faced some setbacks from the phasing out of the 421-A program. See the drama here on Curbed.

To satisfy my fashion  craving that weekend, I focused on the accessories and found the most fun gold jewelry I could get myhands on; from studs with gold accents, necklaces with vintage pendants, as well as gold rings and bracelets. As an aside, my rule is one ring either on the ring or middle finger for most occasions; and three rings dispersed between hands (displayed above) when you really want to make a statement. I wouldn’t generally recommend any variations from that rule!

See a more detailed  post on the fashion end, from my friend at One Creates Oneself  here.

Reclaimed Land

Downtown Manhattan from the Hoboken waterfront. Vintage Skirt from Another Man's Treasure

Downtown Manhattan from the Hoboken waterfront. Vintage Skirt from Another Man’s Treasure

The Discovery Channel has this amazing series named Mega Structures, where they cover construction projects with the most extreme engineering challenges. I happened to catch the series on the Kansai International Airport in Japan, built entirely on a man-made island filled in with debris from a nearby mountain, in the middle of Osaka Bay. I was instantly fascinated and started looking for examples of these occurrences in my part of the world. The “Land Filling” process is a centuries old practice and is a great way to create land for human activity, where there otherwise would be a shortage.

Case in point, it turns out all of Battery Park City in New York was made entirely of land that was infilled to artificially expand the downtown Manhattan shoreline. While BPC is just a fraction of the size of lower manhattan (at .207 miles), it has allowed NYC to pick up another 13,000 residents (as per 2010 Census) and growing due to its proximity to the World Trade Center and surrounding financial and economic hub of lower Manhattan.

Battery Park- WTC West

Battery Park- WTC West

Link to the map showing the landfill of BPC is below:

Battery Park City Landfill

BPC started as a concept back in the 1960’s and was developed and funded over various Mayoral administrations for residential and commercial development. The LandFill itself was completed in the 1970’s, with the first residential developments going up in the late 1980’s as the first World Financial Center was being constructed.

Although Battery Park City has now developed every available plot of land, landlords in this neighborhood have to pay a land lease to the Battery Park City Authority, as the land fill that the buildings stand on are fully owned and managed by this agency.

As we think of the challenges that our planet and our species will face in coming generations with scarcity of land and overpopulation, it is somewhat relieving to know that we’ve successfully developed a method to create new land to meet our agricultural and housing needs.

We monitor and learn better methods of filling land by evaluating the effects of extreme weather–earthquakes, typhoons, hurricanes–like the effect of super storm Sandy on lower Manhattan, or the effects of earthquakes on the Kansai Airport. Leading to more efficient engineering on future reclaimed land projects, but most importantly more supply of fabulous shoreline real estate that we can invest in with more confidence!

Union Theatre

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Theatre for sale by Exit Realty

Union Theatre is at the center of Union township, NJ. At the border of Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues, this location is a major retail and business hub of the Union area. On a busy Saturday afternoon, you would normally see a crowd of people waiting to see an afternoon show, with plenty of nearby bakeries, restaurants, hair salons and stores to fill in the time as you wait. Unfortunately, the theatre was not profitable or in my opinion poorly managed, and so the owners have put the property up for sale. I  had to do a post on this property, its 14,000SF of prime space, seemingly an amazing development opportunity. I’m reaching out to the brokers for more info, and I’ll post an update on my thoughts on the highest and best use of the site.

It was also perfect timing having come across this theatre, as I happen to be wearing vintage from head to toe. Enjoy the pics!

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Union Theaters, 990 Stuyvesant Avenue Union NJ.