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flushing neighborhoodFlushing NY is located in northcentral Queens. Flushing is commutable via the #7 subway line. Flushing has a population of about 215,000 which is comprised primarily of Chinese and Koreans, as well as European descendants, Indians, Latin Americans and African Americans.

Flushing is home to a number of Queens landmarks, some of which are located in the historic district and others in the Flushing Corona Park. Flushing's Main Street and side streets offer a colorful street market experience for both food and other items. And Northern Blvd is also home to a number of businesses.

Click to view the Flushing neighborhood

Real Estate Lending & Mortgages - CAREA In Queens | real estate lending in queens real estate mortgage rates queens real estate finance queens flushing Chinese American Real Estate Association CAREA Flushing real estate
Real Estate Lending & Mortgages - CAREA In Queens

Real Estate Lending & Mortgages

CAREA / Chinese American Real Estate Assn - Flushing

May 22, 2010 / Flushing / Queens Buzz. On Saturday in Flushing there was a Real Estate Expo event hosted by the Chinese American Real Estate Association [CAREA] in Flushing. This expo is an evolution of the Home Buyers Expo, which was an event they had hosted last year with a private sponsor. The Home Buyer Expo had focused on issues such as how to find a house, how to take the house into contract and how to close on the house. Last year there were ten vendors at the expo offering financial, real estate and legal services.

Real Estate Lending - Home Buying In Queens

We visited the expo in search of information about the state of mortgage lending in Queens. Given the Asians seem to be America's financiers, we thought this expo might be a good place to research this question.  The following story is focused providing some background about CAREA and its events, as well as on the current state of mortgage lending in Queens.

This year the CAREA event scope was expanded and it attracted about 40 - 50 vendors. The expo focus changed from buying a home, to buying and managing a home. Hence this year vendors included tax services, energy services, remodeling services as well as vendors offering financial, real estate and legal services.

Click here to read our full report about real estate finance and mortgage lending in Queens based on information gathered at the CAREA Real Estate Expo in Flushing.

Queens Real Estate | Queens real estate queens real estate queens ny astoria lic long island city sunnyside real estate woodside jackson heights queens ny real estate apartments for sale for rent condos co-ops coops houses realtors real estate queens ny
Queens Real Estate

Queens Real Estate

Market Analysis Of Real Estate In Queens

Queens NY / December 7, 2009. This is a report on the Queens real estate market.  The report covers the latter half of 2009. This analysis includes looking at apartment rental prices, as well as condo, co-op and home prices and availability.  This Queens real estate market analysis focuses on the Astoria, LIC / Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Sunnyside and Woodside neighborhoods. While we found these neighborhoods mirrored or trailed many of the national trends, we found some interesting differences, including differences from neighborhood to neighborhood. Click here for our second half 2009 market analysis of Queens Real Estate.

Home Improvement & Construction In Queensoutdoor activities jackson heights elmhurst parks

Banks & Loans In Flushing & Queensflushing corona parks & outdoor activities

Retail & Shopping In Flushingoutdoor activities jamaica parks

NY Fashion Week: Giorgio's Hair Salon Whitestone, Carina Boutique Wedding Dresses, Trattoria Neo Italian Restaurants Whitestone | ny fashion week queens giorgio's hair salons whitestone italian restaurants whitestone trattoria neo wedding dresses whitestone carina boutique
NY Fashion Week: Giorgio's Hair Salon Whitestone, Carina Boutique Wedding Dresses, Trattoria Neo Italian Restaurants Whitestone

Fashion Week In Queens

Miss Queens, Giorgio’s Hair Salon & Carina Boutique Showcase Queens Style

September 15, 2014 / Whitestone Neighborhood / Queens Fashion / Queens Buzz. In early September, as New York Fashion Week was walking down the runway, I spent a fun evening at Giorgio’s hair salon in Whitestone. The Whitestone neighborhood is easily accessible by car via the Whitestone and Cross Island expressways and by public transit via buses.

Jessenia Vargas, Miss Queens, headlined the Whitestone Queens fashion show. Jessenia is a Queens native who is scheduled be featured on a Women’s Entertainment [WE] TV show called America’s It Girl. The show is a 12 episode series that features enterprising young women competing to become the first America’s It Girl.

Click to view a photo slide show of the Whitestone Fashion Show and to learn more about Miss Queens Jessenia Vargas, WE TV’s show America’s It Girl, and the fashion show at Giorgio’s hair salon featuring Carina Boutique dresses & Trattoria Neo's Italian food in Whitestone Queens.


Wholesale & Manufacturing In Queensoutdoor activities & parks in lic long island city

Restaurants In Flushingqueens parks & outdoor activities

Flushing Restaurants - Korean, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Indonesian & Latin American Dumplings At Flushing Town Hall | flushing restaurants italian restaurants in flushing korean restaurants in flushing indonesian restaurants in flushing queens latin american restaurants in flushing
Flushing Restaurants - Korean, Chinese, Italian, Indian, Indonesian & Latin American Dumplings At Flushing Town Hall

Dumplings From Five Distant Cultures

Flushing Town Hall Hosts 'Round The World' Dumpling Tour

November 18, 2013 / Flushing / Ethnic Food In Queens / Flushing Restaurants / Queens Buzz. This past weekend I attended a workshop entitled Harvesting Our Diversity at Flushing Town Hall. They had invited five restaurateurs to come to discuss and present the dumplings indigenous to their homelands which they serve in their Flushing restaurants. The presenters would first talk a little about the history of the dumpling in their culture and then provide us with a sample dumpling made in their restaurants.

In the photo to your right the audience is being served samples of Indonesian, Korean and Chinese Korean dumplings at Flushing Town Hall.

The Harvesting Diversity event was designed to take us around the world on a dumpling tour, where we would sample dumplings made by the Italians, the Indians, the Indonesians, the Puerto Ricans / Latin Americans and the Koreans / Chinese. Click here to read the rest of our report on a world tour of dumplings at Flushing Town Hall - served by Flushing restaurants.


Government & Employment In Queensoutdoor activities sports forest hills

Queens Unemployment - Employment in Queens NYC & NYS | queens employment unemployment queens county nyc nys employment unemployment rates 2015
Queens Unemployment - Employment in Queens NYC & NYS

Queens Employment Rate Continues To Best NYC Metro

September 23, 2015 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Business / Queens Buzz.

Queens County continued its streak of besting three of the other four boroughs in New York City with respect to low unemployment. In the July period unemployment fell to 4.9%, which is slightly below what is generally considered a full employment unemployment rate of 5%.

Queens Employment Fueled By Building Boom

Queens is currently experiencing a building boom, with the epicenters in the neighborhoods of Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing and to a lesser extent Jamaica. In addition to the creation of temporary construction jobs which end when the building has been completed, some of the new commercial developments have targeted white collar office space, which has then been used to lure large commercial tenants from other boroughs, into Queens. Bloomingdales was one such recent company to announce a large move [a return] into Queens.

Click here to read the rest of our report on employment and unemployment in Queens, NYC and NYS.

Queens Library Lawsuit Controversy Reform Bill | queens library trustees fired queens library trustees sue borough president melinda katz nye senators pass queens library reform bill
Queens Library Lawsuit Controversy Reform Bill

Queens Library - Report Series

CEO Galante & Trustees Controversy

September 12, 2014 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Issues / Queens Buzz.  Given the ongoing importance and drama associated with the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy and Reform Bill, we decided to create a section dedicated to it so that readers interested in learning more about it, may find a public record of what is happening to the Queens Public Library system.

Click here to read our reports about the Queens Library lawsuit, controversy & Reform Bill.


Transportation In Flushing & Queensqueens parks & outdoor activities

Van Bramer & Peralta Support $8 Tolls on Queensboro Bridge | congestion traffic pricing plan move ny plan erect tolls on east river bridges tolls queensboro bridge brooklyn bridge tolls manhattan bridge tolls williamsburg bridge tolls
Van Bramer & Peralta Support $8 Tolls on Queensboro Bridge

Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan

Proposal To Toll Tax Away NYC Traffic Congestion Caused By A Century Of NYC Infrastructure Designed With Manhattan As The Hub

Van Bramer & Peralta Support 'Move NY' Plan Which Calls For The Installation Of $8 Tolls On Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Williamsburg Bridges

November 9, 2015 / Queens Neighborhoods / Queens Government & Politics / News Analysis & Opinion / Queens Buzz.

NYC Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer and 14 Democratic Progressives recently embraced the Move NY Congestion Traffic Price Plan, which among other things, calls for $8 tolls [or $5.54 with the use of an EZ Pass] on all East River Bridges, including Queensboro, Brooklyn, Manhattan & Williamsburg Bridges.

NYS Senator Jose Peralta of Jackson Heights / Corona has been an early advocate of the Move NY Congestion Traffic Price Plan.

Most of the rest of the Queens government officials do not support the plan. And hence we decided to take a closer look into the plan, to better understand what the issues are.

And we were more than a little bit surprised at what we found.

How Do The Plan Assumptions Stack With Known Realities?

In this report we’re going to describe the Move NY repackaged Congestion Traffic Price Plan. Specifically we will explore the assumptions upon which the plan is based, and then go behind the curtain to explore some of the relationships between the different groups pushing the plan, in order to better understand the economics of the politics.

Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan Organizers & Shadow Lobbyists

move ny congestion pricing traffic plan jose peralta photoAfter the meeting I started investigating the Move NY Fair Plan and stumbled across a website name that feeds into the Move NY organization's website. The current Move NY official website name is www.iheartmoveny.org - but you can also get there using www.move-ny.org - which will forward you to the same site.

The owners of the www.move-ny.org site are listed as Blue State Digital, which is a public relations firm. Their website says that they,

"... build and galvanize communities on behalf of some of the world’s leading nonprofits, advocacy groups, and brands."

They were written up in a New York Times OpEd piece by Thomas Edsell entitled Shadow Lobbyists, as a new class of public relations firms that galvanize public opinion in the same way that one galvanizes support for political candidates. It's still public relations, but the techniques are different. We'll probe the vested interested parties in more detail a bit further into the story.

In Move NY 'Fair' Plan There's More Than A Dozen(s) Of "Komanoff Assumptions or Estimates"

charles komanoff balanced traffic analyzer BATCharles Komanoff is a consultant for the Sam Schwartz Move NY 'Fair' Plan. The Move NY Plan appears to have relied very heavily [or entirely?] on Komanoff's BTA or Balance Transportation Analyzer. In a quick perusal at some of the underlying math, I found easily more than a dozen estimates and assumptions which were entitled 'Komanoff Estimate' or 'Komanoff Assumption'.

It's worth noting that in general, economic models such as the Balanced Transportation Analyzer or BTA, can be made to produce any conclusion one wants, if one is in control of the underlying assumptions.

Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan Assumptions & Pricing Elasticity

There are many underlying assumptions baked into the Move NY Plan that are worth questioning in far greater detail. But the biggest key assumption to congestion traffic pricinginvestigate is the pricing elasticities baked into the plan. Pricing elasticity predicts whether or not people will drive over a bridge or a road, if the price of the toll on the bridge / road increases or decreases.

Based on a number of studies done over the past decade, including two in the New York City area, some drivers will adjust the time of day they travel over a toll bridge or road slightly, in order to obtain a discounted rate, but few appear to decide whether or not to use a bridge or toll road because of a toll price increase.

Part of the implicit positioning of the plan is that it will reduce carbon emissions. Implicit because both Komanoff who provided the BTA [Balanced Transportation Analyzer] econometric model for the Move NY Plan, and Matthiessen who runs the public relations firm lobbying for the Move NY organization, are on the board of the Carbon Tax Center. More on this later.

Independent Studies Have Shown That Toll Price Increases Negligibly Impact WHETHER Or Not Drivers Will Use Bridges Or Roads Vs Public Transit, But Can Impact WHEN

congestion traffic pricingThe studies of the impact of toll price changes on roads and bridges, were done by independent institutions like established universities and governments. The goal was to determine if pricing can be used to alter traffic patterns. We will provide you with the results of some of these studies further into this report, so you can judge for yourself whether or not to rely on the assumptions embedded in the Make NY Plan by consultant Charles Komanoff.

For those of you who didn't get a chance (or weren't interested) in studying economics, price elasticity is:

"… is a measure of the responsiveness of demand or supply of a good or service to changes in price. The price elasticity of demand measures the ratio of the proportionate change in quantity demanded to the proportionate change of the price."

An elastic price means if the price goes up, the quantity goes down and vice versa. An inelastic price means that people won't change their behaviors much in response to price increases move ny congestion traffic pricing- oftentimes because they don't have what they consider to be reasonable alternatives.

Take electricity into your household prior to deregulation as an example. If the monopoly power company took a price increase, you didn't quit using the lights, stove, TV, furnace or washer / dryer because the options weren't that reasonable. Apparently the folks who use the toll bridges and toll roads don't feel they have good options either. So if the price of a toll bridge or toll road goes up, there's a negligible change in usage behavior - except with respect to shifting the time of use.

Of course in this case, the Move NY Plan is really advocating more than a toll price increase, as they are advocating the introduction of tolls where they had not been.

Toll prices appear to influence bridge / road usage times [eg. motorists plan their trips either immediately before or after peak periods] but do not appear to alter the means of transportation chosen [eg. take the car vs take the train]. The implication is that there may not be an ecological benefit to this plan.

NEW: Congestion Pricing Experience In London

London, Stockholm and Milan have implemented Congestion Traffic Pricing Plans in parts of their cities. One cannot underestimate the differences between New York City and its European counterparts including road widths [the plans targeted European Medieval town centers], the population density [Manhattan is many times more dense than of any of them], the geography [Manhattan is an island connected by 18 bridges and tunnels, while London, Milan & Stockholm are not] and so forth.

That said, London was the first city to implement congestion traffic pricing in 2003. We will take a brief look into some of the outcomes of that implementation later in this report, but the two key findings that stick with me are: 1) London never went forward with extending the Congestion Traffic Pricing zone and 2) it's been reported that the implementation infrastructure costs were very sizeable.

New York City Transit System Designed in 1900 & Built by 1961 When NYC Was A Different Place

gridlock sam schwartz llc consultingIn 1900 Manhattan represented 52% of the population of New York City and Brooklyn represented 33% - the remaining 15% was spread in the other three boroughs which were somewhat rural and low density population areas.

Around the turn into the 20th century city planning, by necessity, came into vogue. And it was also the time during which New York City mass transit began being built. By 1940 most of the build out was completed save the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (1950), the Verrazano Narrows Bridge (1961) and the Throgs Neck Bridge (1961).

Today Manhattan represents about 20% of the population, while Brooklyn is about 30%, Queens 27%, Bronx 17% and Staten Island 6%. If you look at the map below, you'll see how the bridges and tunnel transportation infrastructure converges on Manhattan because that's historically and still the New York City hub.

Can The City Toll Price Its Way Out Of A Century Of Infrastructure Design & Build?

gridlock sam schwartz llc consultingThe total bridge / tunnel crossings of the outer four boroughs is 28 and 15 of them are with Manhattan. Manhattan by itself has a total of 18 crossings, including the 15 just mentioned and another 3 major crossings coming in from New Jersey.

Decades of prior New York City Mayors and New York State Governors & the respective legislative bodies have failed to recognize and address perhaps the most basic reality and issue facing the New York City transportation system today - that the overall transportation infrastructure was designed and built 70 to 100 years ago to serving Manhattan as the hub.

While the population densities of the boroughs has changed significantly, Manhattan still remains the center of the city in terms of commercial and cultural activity and this is due in part to its accessibility.

How Fair Is The Move NY 'Fair' Plan?

Sam Schwartz's Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan appears to be a socially and economically regressive tax increase because if it succeeds, the brunt of the pain will be borne by the lower and middle income wage earners who will bear the costs if they can't leave their car - and if they do, who will put an even greater strain on the subway system which already appears to be running near full capacity. The subway system is a transit category upon which the Move NY Plan only marginally touched upon.

Geographically the burden targets the Bronx, Manhattan and other motorists who cross Manhattan at 60th Street and the motorists including from Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan who cross the East River. They are not, as the Move NY Plan states, crossing for free because they contribute plenty to the public coffers in high rents, property taxes and municipal taxes that support both New York City and New York State infrastructure. And many of whom likely need to use their cars to enter Manhattan because they probably don't have good choices, contrary to what Move NY Plan hypothecates.

The Move NY Plan will certainly raise needed funds for public transit, and might possibly reduce carbon emissions IF the motorists re-schedule their trips AND the new tolls REDUCE bottlenecks at the East River Bridges and along 60th Avenue in Manhattan - not make them worse. Currently neither the bridges nor the 60th Street cross line have tolls.

The research indicates that the plan will not likely reduce the number of motorist trips as toll pricing appears to be inelastic and thus not a deciding variable as to whether or not people use their cars. And if the London experience is any guide, expect a sizable chunk of new revenue to go toward creating and managing the implementation of the Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan in lieu of investments in other public transit.

Click here for the rest of our story about the Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan as we explore in greater detail a connected web of people, lobbyists and organizations behind Move NY Congestion Traffic Pricing Plan and their possible motivations. We critique the plan including a review of the assumptions, and a closer look at independent studies done with regard to motorists response to toll prices and changes.

MTA - Service Disruption #7 Subway Line in Queens | mta service disruptions in queens #7 subway line service disruption in queens
MTA - Service Disruption #7 Subway Line in Queens

MTA - #7 Subway Line in Queens

Service Disruptions On #7 Subway Line - October / November 2013

October 11, 2013 / Long Island City / Queens Business / Queens Buzz.  There will be service disruptions on the #7 subway line in Queens during October & November of 2013.

Click here to read our report about the #7 Subway line service disruptions in Queens October / November 2013.


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