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
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
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
- 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.
-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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