"Welcome to Astoria" Gets Interactive

Dear Neighbors,

If you've already seen the "Welcome to Astoria" mural on Steinway Street, you're going to want to check it out again. And if you haven't had a chance yet, there's an exciting new reason to see it for the first time.

The spectacular mural by Zeehan Wazed, Queens’ own painter, graffiti artist and performer, now features an innovative augmented reality (AR) tool that transforms the way that people can interact and connect with artwork.

To immerse yourself in AR, simply search for and download the Artivive app (it’s free and no registration is required) using either the App Store or Google Play Store. Once the app is downloaded and opened, your phone camera will be activated. All you need to do is point your camera at this area of the mural and watch it magically come alive.

We're so excited to partner with Zeehan on this incredible work of art. Please stop by the east side of P.C. Richard and Son and experience “Welcome to Astoria” brought to life!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Get Your Compost!

Dear Neighbors,

Earlier this month, we launched a collaboration with our long-time friends at the Queens County Farm Museum to give away more than 12 tons of free compost and seed packets.

Check out this story in QNS in case you missed it.

Photo via Getty Images

Composting is an easy way we can all contribute to a more sustainable future in our everyday lives and we hope this giveaway is a fun way to bring attention to that goal.

We've already given away thousands of pounds of free compost, and there's more where that came from. This Sunday, we'll be giving away more of this magical substance at Halloween on the Farm. But that's not the only treat - there will be spooky hayrides, a haunted farmhouse, a DJ dance party and more. Costumes are encouraged! Get your tickets here and come say hi.

-The Innovation QNS Team

Work Begins on "Welcome to Astoria"!

Dear Neighbors,

If you've walked down Steinway Street south of 35th Avenue over the last few days, you may have noticed things have gotten a bit more colorful.

We're excited to share that Zeehan Wazed, an incredibly talented Bangladeshi-American painter, graffiti artist and performer raised right here in Queens, has begun work on a 175-foot mural titled "Welcome to Astoria."

We commissioned this work of art, which will take approximately two months to complete, as a celebration of Astoria.

You can see the mural-in-progress on the east side of the PC Richard & Son. Please stop by when you have a chance and check it out in person. In the meantime, you can read more about this initiative in the Astoria Post.

We hope you enjoy!

-The Innovation QNS Team

We Love Hearing from You

Dear Neighbors,

We hope you're having a great summer. We've enjoyed being able to get out and start seeing you again in the community and look forward to seeing even more of you in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, we want to offer more opportunities to provide input.

Please keep an eye out on the Feedback section of this website, where we'll be adding questions more frequently. You can already find a couple of new ones right now, including one about your preferences for staying up-to-date on the plan for Innovation QNS as we get closer to the public review process.

Thanks, as always, for helping us to shape this plan!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Public Scoping Meeting

Dear Neighbors,

On Monday, June 14 at 2:00 PM, the Department of City Planning will hold a virtual public hearing on the environmental studies to be performed as part of the public review of the plan for Innovation QNS.

This is an opportunity for you and other members of the community to weigh in on the scope of the studies that will be conducted in the months ahead.

Those interested in attending or participating can do so via livestream, video conference or phone. Dial-in info is available on the Department of City Planning website here, and links to watch the livestream or join the hearing by videoconference will be posted on that page at least one hour before the start of the meeting.

We value your input and thank you for continuing to help us shape this plan!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Get $5 off your next order @ Astoria Eats!

Dear Neighbors,

With Spring bringing us beautiful weather, we encourage you all to go out and support our neighborhood restaurants by dining in-person. But on those days you just want your food delivered, the next best way you can help these small businesses is by ordering online at Astoria Eats (www.astoriaeats.menu).

And to help you help our restaurants, we're giving you $5 off your first order of $25+ with promo code EATLOCAL when you create an account. You save money and local restaurants keep more money vs. the big delivery platforms. Win-win!

Finally, we're excited to welcome Sac's Place to Astoria Eats, offering some of the best pizza and pasta in Queens.


-The Innovation QNS Team

Let's Support Astoria Restaurants!

Dear Neighbors,

In Astoria, our restaurants are a source of pride and a reflection of the diversity that makes our neighborhood the best in New York City. But in Astoria and across the country, restaurants have been especially hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s why we are excited to team up with Joe DiStefano, the food writer and tour guide widely known as the Culinary King of Queens, to launch Astoria Eats (www.astoriaeats.menu): a new virtual food hall that will give you a chance to enjoy our neighborhood’s best restaurants from one convenient platform while supporting small businesses that are the backbone of this community.

How does it work? Third-party delivery platforms charge restaurants high fees and commissions, taking 20% or more of the money from each order out of their pockets. Astoria Eats Powered by Innovation QNS gives you a convenient way to order from a curated selection of amazing local restaurants while letting those restaurants keep more of the profits. No commission, no hidden fees.

Want to show your support to Astoria restaurants at this critical time? Dine in (safely) or order at www.astoriaeats.menu. More restaurants will be added in the weeks ahead, so visit often!

Stay safe, eat local and bon appétit!

 -The Innovation QNS Team

Open space!

Dear neighbors,

One thing we’ve heard consistently since we shared the plan for Innovation QNS in July is your concern with the lack of accessible open space in the neighborhood. Here is some of what you’ve said about open space:

  • “Super important to be able to easily reconnect with nature and the outdoors in a clean and safe setting.”
  • “We need open space, and places to sit, to rest and enjoy the fresh air. Our kids need playgrounds for recreational use and exercise. It is very important that they be included in new developments.” 
  • “Not only do we need open space but we need gardens and nature.”
  • “We need more greenery in Astoria. We need more trees on our streets. All of our playgrounds are paved.”
  • “Currently the only place an adult without a child can sit in this whole area are the bus stops."
  • “[We need] just open green space with trees that provide shade where people of all ages can come and just relax.”
  • “Seating in the green space would need to be plentiful and designed for enjoying, not just 'keep off the grass' or those uncomfortable 'low metal benches' that are near subway grates on Steinway St.; related, our closest park is over a mile away from where we live; this should 'feel' like an oasis in the neighborhood, not a place where you can't stop, read, snack, etc.”

We agree, and that’s why more than 25% of Innovation QNS will be publicly accessible green space

The plan includes seven distinct public open spaces (from a large civic square to more intimate gardens and courtyards), all programmed differently based on your input to cater to a wide range of interests, activities and needs.

The open spaces will be open to all and located on every one of the five blocks within the district, with the large civic square set in the heart of the district right at the intersection of 35th Avenue and Steinway Street where it will welcome all our neighbors to Innovation QNS. 

We appreciate your input and encourage you to continue sharing your ideas!

 – The Innovation QNS Team

We hear you!

Dear neighbors,

In the month since we shared the working plan for Innovation QNS, we’ve received lots of really great feedback. While we’re still very early in the process, we want to tell you what we’re hearing and keep the dialogue going.

The topic you’ve commented on most so far is the retail component. One thing we’ve heard over and over is the importance of emphasizing minority-, woman- and locally owned businesses. We want you to know that will absolutely be our focus, and we’ll be sharing information throughout this process about how we plan to maximize those opportunities.

You’ve also shared some specific ideas for shopping, dining and entertainment. Here’s a sample:

  • Pop-up space to showcase a rotating selection of small businesses
  • Space for live music and performing arts
  • Ethnic and specialty food stores
  • A market with fresh produce, crafts and second-hand goods
  • Supermarket
  • Clothing stores, especially for women and children
  • Doggy daycare
  • Book store
  • Bicycle shop
  • Bowling alley

This kind of feedback is extremely helpful as we continue to refine the plan for Innovation QNS. In the months ahead, we’ll be expanding these discussions to community workshops and other meetings. These will take place virtually at first, but we look forward to speaking in-person once it’s safe to do so. Please keep an eye out for more information and continue sending us your thoughts and suggestions in the meantime. 

Thank you!

-The Innovation QNS Team


Thanks for your interest in Innovation QNS. Check here for updates on the project as we continue working with our neighbors to develop the plan.

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