Articles by Vitali Ogorodnikov

Goethals Bridge Replacement: Twin Spans on Track to Become City’s First New Crossing in Half a Century

As far as skyline watchers like ourselves are concerned, we live in a glorious time. But with our gaze normally aimed upon the ever-rising skyscraper pinnacles, we sometimes forget that we live in the greatest bridge-building era in more than half a century. At least three major bridges in New York City and its vicinity are being replaced with new spans, with major reconstruction underway on several more. Of these, one of the easiest projects to miss might be the twin replacement spans of the Goethals Bridge, which will connect Staten Island’s Howland Hook and Elizabeth, New Jersey. Upon their 2018 completion, the cable-stayed spans will stretch across the Arthur Kill, replacing the cantilever span that has served the borough since 1928.

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11-Story 70-32 Queens Boulevard, at Border of Maspeth and Elmhurst, Now Stands as Area’s Tallest

Some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Queens are nestled along its eponymous central arterial roadway, 7.2-mile-long Queens Boulevard. However, around its midsection, between Grand Avenue/Broadway to the east and Greenpoint Avenue/Roosevelt Avenue to the west, the subway temporarily veers north of the 200-foot-wide the thoroughfare. This portion is much less developed than neighborhoods on either side. Apart from a dense residential cluster in central Woodside, almost all of this stretch is decidedly anti-pedestrian and thinly developed, replete with low-slung commercial properties, such as auto shops and parking lots. The 11-story, residential Elmhurst Building, on which construction is wrapping up at 70-32 Queens Boulevard, now stands as the tallest on a two-mile stretch of the boulevard between Rego Park and Woodside. Although modestly-sized by the standards of the city skyline, the solitary stack towers like a Saguaro cactus over a desert. However, change is in the air as a wave of development is sweeping the area. Enabled by a 2006 neighborhood upzoning and fueled by an acute housing shortage, the new projects will transform the barren district into the urban neighborhood that it ought to be.

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Excavation Underway for Seven-Story Apartment Building at 70-09 45th Avenue, Elmhurst

A string of mid-rise developments is transforming a long-neglected stretch of Queens Boulevard at the border of Elmhurst, Woodside, and Maspeth. One of the dozen-odd projects rising there is the apartment building at 70-09 45th Avenue, where excavation is currently underway. The seven-story structure will stand on a roughly 7,850-square-foot, mid-block lot, facing the irregular intersection where 45th Avenue meets Queens Boulevard at an acute angle. Permits place the height of the future building at 73 feet. Its 30 residences will be spread across 24,299 square feet, giving an average of 810 square feet per unit. The ground floor will feature 5,12 square feet of retail. The project is being developed by Choi Yui Chan, designed by Angelo Ng & Anthony Ng of Architects Studio PC, and built by First Class Management Contracting Corp.

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Completion Near for Eight-Story Residential Hotel at 65-15 Queens Boulevard, Woodside

Last November, YIMBY wrote about a dense residential enclave sprouting from a former no man’s land along Queens Boulevard, straddling the border of Woodside and Sunnyside. Today, a similar micro-hood is emerging amidst an equally neglected space on Queens Boulevard on the other end of Woodside. Here, three major pieces of infrastructure – Queens Boulevard, the Long Island Rail Road, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway – leave a star-shaped mark on the borough map as they cross over and under one another. The tripoint also joins Woodside with Elmhurst to the east and Maspeth to the south. When construction of the eight-story, 44-unit residential hotel at 65-15 Queens Boulevard is finished, it will be among the first of several similar projects set to redefine the busy junction.

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Long Island City’s Mixed-Use 29-11 Queens Plaza North, with Courtyard Marriott Hotel and Aurora LIC Residences, Opens Its Doors

The cores of dense cities work best when they mix a variety of functions, such as residential, commercial, or office. This mixing allows for a round-the-clock pedestrian presence, ensuring that the streets do not empty out at any point of the day. The concept is taken literally to the next level when two independent functions are stacked one on top of another within the same building, like roommates sharing a bunk bed. This effectively puts two buildings on the same plot without resorting to narrow towers with small floorplates. Although generally rare, mixed-use skyscrapers have made their mark upon Manhattan, starting with the famed Waldorf-Astoria, which combined hotel rooms at the bottom with apartments on top in 1931. Now, the city’s first major mixed-use tower has risen outside of Manhattan. The 31-story, glass-and-concrete slab at 29-11 Queens Plaza North in Long Island City, has seen construction virtually wrapped up at the time of this writing. Its lower 15 floors house the Marriott Courtyard Long Island City hotel, with the 135-unit residential complex called the Aurora sitting on the floors above.

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