Thank you!

Dear Neighbors,

Thank you!

As you may have heard, on November 22nd, the New York City Council voted 46-1 to approve Innovation QNS. This final approval came nearly five years after we began talking to folks like you about an opportunity to expand the Kaufman Arts District and to extend the vibrancy and diversity that makes Astoria so special into its southernmost end.

We could not have done it without you. It was your input that first shaped this plan, and your advocacy - thousands of calls and letters to Council Members, testimony at public hearings, op-eds in local newspapers, attendance at rallies, and posts on social media - that got it over the finish line. The result? The largest private affordable housing initiative in the HISTORY of Queens.

This is your victory. Because of your efforts, this $2 billion investment will create 1,400 new affordable homes, thousands of family-sustaining jobs, acres of new public green space, expanded community services, and hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue to support investments in infrastructure, education, and public safety.

Please stay tuned for updates. There is still a lot to be done, and we look forward to getting to work to make this vision a reality.

Thank you once again, and we hope you and your loved ones enjoy a wonderful holiday season!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Expanding Affordability

Dear Neighbors,

We wanted to share an important update on Innovation QNS.

Over the last four years, we’ve spoken with thousands of Astoria residents, small business owners, workers, non-profit organizations, faith and civic leaders, and public officials. These conversations shaped the initial Innovation QNS plan that we first shared in July of 2020 and have informed substantial changes since then – from major reductions in the heights of buildings to the addition of active recreation space.

Today, we’re proud to tell you about another change we’re making in response to your feedback: a significant expansion of the breadth and depth of the project’s affordability.

The Innovation QNS team is committing to setting aside 40% of the project as affordable. That is more than 1,100 new affordable homes in Astoria. Notably, more than 500 of these homes will be available at the city’s most deeply affordable “extremely low-income band” (30% AMI).

We’re proud that if approved, Innovation QNS will be the largest privately developed influx of affordable housing in the history of Queens, and will more than triple the affordable housing inventory created in Astoria in recent years – from fewer than 500 units to over 1,600 units. 

In addition to expanding the project’s affordability, we’re also committing to hiring at least 30% of the workers from within the local community, and to awarding at least 30% of contracts to minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBE).

For more, please read the Queens Eagle's reporting on these commitments.

We thank you for your continued support and look forward to hearing from you in the weeks ahead.

-The Innovation QNS Team

Innovation QNS Virtual Community Workshop

Dear Neighbors,

To give as many of our neighbors as possible an opportunity to make their voices heard, The Innovation QNS project team will hold a virtual Community Workshop on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This virtual Community Workshop is in addition to the in-person Community Workshop that will take place on June 11 at the Melrose Ballroom (3608 33rd Street, Queens, NY 11106).

The virtual Community Workshop will include an option to dial in to the event by phone for those who cannot join via an internet connection.

To register to join via internet or phone, please click here.

Thank you for your continued feedback!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Innovation QNS Community Workshop

Dear Neighbors,

The Innovation QNS project team will hold a Community Workshop on Saturday, June 11, 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Melrose Ballroom (3608 33rd Street, Queens, NY 11106). The Community Workshop will be open to the public and all ages are welcome.

Please join us at this event, where you can learn and ask questions about the project, and provide input on specific topics.

Live translation will be available upon request for speakers of Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, Bengali and ASL.

To accommodate our neighbors who cannot attend this Community Workshop in person, an additional Community Workshop will be held virtually at a date to be determined and will include an option to dial in to the event by phone.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

-The Innovation QNS Team

Innovation QNS Town Hall

Dear Neighbors,

The Innovation QNS project team will hold a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Museum of the Moving Image (36-01 35th Ave, Queens, NY 11106). The Town Hall will be open to the public.

Please join us at this event, where you can learn and ask questions about the project, planning efforts to date, and ways you can continue to provide input over the coming months. The event will include two consecutive 90-minute sessions to accommodate schedules and venue capacity.

All ages are welcome. Live translation will be available upon request for speakers of Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, Bengali and ASL. Those interested in attending can pre-register here. Registration is not required.

This first Town Hall will be followed by two additional Community Workshops in the months of May and June.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

-The Innovation QNS Team

"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 (

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 ( 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 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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