Variety Young Professionals Event Thursday, April 26th at the Strand Smokehouse

springlaunchEB‘Spring Launch’, hosted by the Young Professionals Council of the Variety Boys & girls Club, is taking place next Thursday, April 26th, from 6-9pm at the Strand Smokehouse (25-27 Broadway).

The entire Queens community is invited to eat, drink, network, and give back!

Reserve your ticket(s) here.

“The Mission of our Young Professionals Council is to connect dynamic people who are passionate about maximizing the positive impact of the Club in our community through events and community engagement,” said John Sanchez, Chair of the YPC at the Variety Boys & Girls Club, and Director of Marketing of the Queens Ledger Newspaper Group.

YPC members include representatives from Amazon, Skanska, CHIP, Microsoft, WeWork, The Queens Chamber of Commerce, Heroes Basketball League, United Print Group, The Queens Ledger Newspaper Group, TD Bank, Colliers International, Edward Jones, TheIO, St. John’s Prep, The Ophelia Theatre, Biobus, Zara Realty, and many more.

Click here to watch a video of one of the programs that the YPC is spearheading; a high school sponsorship program, which is helping 5 high school aged Club Members attend a private school, at which they are excelling in the classroom and on the basketball court. Two of the boys are currently being recruited by D1 & D2 basketball programs.

Click here to take a look at Variety’s various innovative programs, such as STEM, STEAM, Storytelling, NASA, and more…

At the mixer, the Council will have application forms for attendees who would like to become involved in volunteering at the Club.

“Our group is named the “Young Professionals Council,” but ‘young’ really means ‘young at heart’,” said Tom Sanchez, Co-Chair of the YPC. “Our members range from 21 – 41, but we encourage all ages to participate… as you are never too old to support the underprivileged youth in our community,” said Tom Sanchez, Marketing Director at United Print Group.

“We appreciate the financial support of our local community, and promise to continue fulfilling our Mission of providing children with everything they need in order to succeed now and in the future. We promise to maintain a stable environment, and provide a level of support which will guide children towards academic success, build good character and leadership, and assist with maintaining healthy lifestyles. Join the Boys and Girls Club Movement, and give Club Members the opportunity to become strong leaders for tomorrow!” said Variety Executive Director, Matt Trow.

Reserve your ticket here.

There is a suggested donation of $25, which includes food & 1 drink. All donations will be used to fund the awesome programs of the Club.

Organizers hinted that CHIP NYC will be bringing some treats from their outrageously popular cookie bakery.

Call John at 347-267-4990 or Denise at 718-728-0946 for more info! Check out their Facebook Group Page.

The Journey Church in Astoria will be giving away $1,000 this Sunday

This Sunday, April 22, The Journey Church in Astoria will be giving away $1,000 to help erase someone’s debt!

The Journey Church is a casual, contemporary, Christian Church, which will be holding service at 5pm at The Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria.


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“Experience authentic community, incredible worship, a relevant message to your life, and leave impacted by the good news that God loves and cares for you,” says Mike Cooper, lead Pastor of the Journey Church.

Free Childcare is provided via the Journey Kids program.

The Journey Church- Astoria
Service at 5pm
The Variety Boys and Girls Club
21-12 30th Rd, Astoria, NY 11102

Astoria Blvd. station to close for 9 months, install elevators

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Screen shot via Google Maps


The MTA has announced that it will close the Astoria Boulevard N/W station for nine months to add four elevators to the station.

The move to make the popular station, which is connected to the M60 bus to LaGuardia Airport, ADA accessible has been a long time coming.

Lawmakers such as State Senator Michael Gianaris were initially skeptical of the MTA’s plan. In February, he chided it as a broken promise that he’s heard about for well over a decade.

All indications say the MTA is finally following through. However, none of the other N/W stations in Astoria and Long Island City will have elevator access, even as most of them undergo long shutdowns and station rehab projects.

That’s another point elected officials have expressed their anger over.

In a statement, Councilman Costa Constantinides called the MTA’s announcement bittersweet. While elevators will finally provide accessibility to people with disabilities, parents with strollers and seniors, local businesses may suffer from the closure.

Just look at how the 30th Avenue businesses have collapsed since the station was closed for repairs.

Legislators are pledging to hold the MTA accountable for their project. Let’s hope they do.

Exclusive: Courtyard Marriott Closed – 288 Guest Rooms!

Uh oh…

The famed Marriott Courtyard Hotel at 90-10 Ditmars Blvd. has shuttered its doors. With 288 guest rooms and its rather close proximity to LaGuardia Airport, it will apparently be a big loss for travelers.

The LAGuardia Marriott Couryard Hotel was shuttered this morning without warning. The hotel is at 90-10 Ditmars Blvd.

The LaGuardia Marriott Courtyard hotel was shuttered this morning without warning. The hotel is at 90-10 Ditmars Blvd.

“This was a surprise to us,” said Tom Grech, the executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Grech was at a meeting at Vaughn College next door when he heard the news.

As of late this afternoon, the hotel website had no indication they were closed.

Of course when any hotel in Queens closes these days, there is speculation that the hotel owner ‘sold out’ to the idea of getting a guarantee of nearly double the room rate to use it as a homeless shelter.

Last year, Department of Homeless Services (DHS) denied that they were renting rooms for homeless men at this site.

More to come.

Participatory budgeting voting now live


Time to cast your ballot!

Astoria residents ages 11 and up can now vote for their favorite projects. The top vote-getters, up to $1 million, will be funded.

Projects including improvements to the children’s rooms at district libraries, a new hydroponic lab at Long island City HS, a new research library at PS 17, lighting upgrades at Astoria Houses Community Center and district-wide resurfacing.

To see the full ballot of projects and a list of voting sites, see here.

CityMD Urgent Care coming to 31st Street and Ditmars

IMG_2706A CityMD Urgent Care is coming to 31st Street between Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue in the next few weeks.

The spot used to be a Payless shoe store, but that closed down recently. It’s next to the McDonald’s, right off the Astoria-Ditmars Boulevard station.

CityMD Urgent Care is a walk-in medical clinic that provides services like pediatric care, physical exams, vaccinations, x-rays and rapid lab tests and screenings.

There’s another CityMD Urgent Care on Steinway Street in Astoria, and nearly a dozen in Queens.


CB1 to conduct survey of Ravenswood

Ravenswood 4-5


Community Board 1 is launching a survey of Ravenswood residents, business owners and stakeholders.

The survey will ask about how community members feel about growth, housing and new development. Given the changes in Astoria and Long Island City, many residents have felt left out of the decision-making process.

The survey will give residents a chance to voice their concerns.

The survey will be available online in English, Spanish and Bengali from April 4 through April 30 on CB1’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages. Stakeholders can visit to participate in the survey.

It can also be found using the mobile code shown on the flyer above.

For more information, contact Community Board 1 at 718-626-1021 or [email protected]