2015-06-03 / Front Page

LIC BID Holds 10th Annual Meeting

By Thomas Cogan

As he opened the annual meeting of the Long Island City Business Improvement District last week at Uovo, 41-54 22nd St., LICP Chairman David Brause noted that it was the tenth annual meeting, or the tenth since LIC BID came into existence in 2005.  He was followed by Steve Novenstein, president of Uovo, who described the art storage house, opened this past December on Queens Plaza North, as “dedicated to the preservation of art.”  LICP Treasurer Alan Suna came to the front of the room to deliver the financial report and Gary Kesner, chairman of the nominating committee, came up to announce the vacancies on the board that had been filled.  Executive Director Elizabeth Lusskin related some LICP activities of the past year and issued some awards. Among the awardees were the soon-to-retire and recently retired chairmen of Community Boards 1 and 2.

Novenstein, who founded Storage Deluxe in 1995 and is president of Storage Deluxe Realty, said that Uovo has been in Long Island City since 2004.  The Queens Plaza North building is large, and in addition to space for storing artworks it has an auction house and a museum.  There’s room for much more in the building Novenstein  called his “flagship facility,” and he promised the business would be growing.  He was followed by Alan Suna, LICP treasurer, who declined the offer of a microphone, saying “This stuff is boring anyway.”  The BID assessment is now at $450,000, he said.  Capital expenses include two kiosks, on Queens Plaza and at Rafferty Triangle, and a couple of pre-owned trash cans for the Plaza, purchased to replace the flimsy-looking Department of Sanitation baskets and match the ones previously placed on Jackson Avenue. Gary Kesner announced that vacancies on the board of directors were filled by several unchallenged nominees.  Of the Class A property owners, five were unanimously elected or re-elected to two year terms:  Matthew Baron of Simon Baron Development; David Brause of Brause Realty; Sarah Cohen of Gotham Realty; Patricia Dunphy of Rockrose Development Corp.; and Marcello Porcelli of Larga Vista Companies.  Denise Arbesu of Citibank was the lone person elected from Class B commercial tenants.  Kesner said a residential tenant would be chosen from a rental building’s tenant board.  No condominium residents are eligible, since they are owners.

Elizabeth Lusskin said a change in the New York state Nonprofit Revitalization Act necessitated a change of the BID bylaws.  Also, a whistleblower policy was adopted in late 2014.  But change is to be expected; in the decade since the BID was formed, much has been “radically changed,” she said.  Attracting visitors, starting safety programs and marketing and putting those two kiosks in place are recent moves.  Street-level graffiti is removed about as soon as it is spotted, she said.  A committee to get more retail businesses into the neighborhoods has been formed and work on a three-dimensional map is proceeding.

Lusskin handed out awards too, beginning with the new commercial development award.  That went to Uovo, whose grand example of commercial development surrounded the visitors.  Steve Novenstein accepted the award.  Next, the district enhancement and impact award went to Jet Blue for the festive lights the airline mounted in the plaza during the December holidays.  Lusskin said Jet Blue employs 1,200 persons, one-third of whom live somewhere within the business improvement district.  The new business in Queens Plaza award went to Lucky Pizzeria & Café and was accepted by Victor Nair, owner.  Finally, special recognition was made to three community board leaders who have stepped down from long-held positions.  Plaques were awarded to Vinicio Donato, chairman of Community Board 1 since 1974, who is retiring in June; Joseph Conley, who retired as Community Board 2 chairman after 23 years, though he remains an active board member; and Lucille Hartmann, Community Board 1’s district manager, also retiring in June.

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