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Ditmars Boulevard Open Street Program to Return Saturday, Revived by Local Business Owners

The Ditmars Boulevard open street will return Saturday (Photo DOT)

July 22, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Two local business owners are spearheading the revival of a popular open street program on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria.

The open street — which sees a section of Ditmars Boulevard closed off to vehicular traffic — will return Saturday and stretch four blocks from 33rd Street to 37th Street.

The car-free street will run from noon to 10 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through to the end of December, organizers say. Eateries will be able to expand seating onto the street while there will be music and other family-friendly activities in front of Queen’s Room, a cafe-restaurant located on the corner of Ditmars and 36th Street.

The Ditmars Boulevard open street was held in 2020 and 2021 but the DOT could not find any local organizers to host the program for this year. The DOT typically partners with local business owners or volunteers to organize the program.

The open street was not included in the DOT’s full list of 156 open streets announced in April — and it looked doomed to be canceled this year.

However, business owners Nicole Panettieri and Antonia Joannides have stepped in and secured a permit to host the program for the rest of the year. Panettieri owns The Brass Owl boutique and The Tiny Owl baby store while Joannides owns the Queen’s Room. All three establishments are situated within the Ditmars Boulevard open street.

Panettieri said they decided to help revive the open street because it boosts the local economy and brings the neighborhood together. She said it was very successful over the last two years.

“This community is important to me and doing things that help support the community and bring attention to our neighborhood in general, is important to me,” Panettieri said.

She said the open street will mostly benefit the area’s restaurants as owners will be able to expand seating on the street.

However, Panettieri said that all stores along the street will gain from the extra foot traffic.

This year’s open street will also be larger than in previous years — running one extra block up to 37th Street.

Panettieri said workers for Dave’s Lesbian Bar, a local pop-up bar, will set up an area outside Queen’s Room

Panettieri said workers for Dave’s Lesbian Bar, a local pop-up bar, will set up an area outside Queen’s Room at 2 p.m. Saturday where performers will play live music, tattoo artists will showcase their work, and family-friendly activities will take place. The bar’s workers will also be taking donations to support local mutual aid causes.

“It will be very community-oriented,” said Panettieri, who said she is excited to get the program up and running again.

Panettieri is also appealing to other local businesses, groups and vendors to contact her about hosting events along the open street over the coming months.

Those interested can email [email protected].

She also asked that residents follow the open street’s official Instagram page for updates and to share information about the program.

 

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14 Comments

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Shyla

It’s disgusting out. I will stay in the AC. Thank you very much. Those shanty town looking street enclosures feel like an oven.

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Mitch

It’d be interesting if there was some monitoring of any sort to see which of these are actually well-used and how they’re used. A more technocratic leadership would probably be able to figure out what implementations and where makes sense. I moved away from that area of Ditmars because we have two young children and could not deal with the noise and rats.

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Abby

I can attest to that. I live in that area and I can’t open my windows to even let a cool breeze in due to all the street noise I get. Cant wait to move!

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Maria

Some of Avenue is closed but all the side streets are open to traffic. And the blocks are very short.

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Patricia

I rode my bike around Astoria/LIC yesterday evening and passed all sites where there were open streets. Didn’t see a single person congregating in any of the locations.

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Evan

Side streets are open to traffic on the Avenue. So there are cars and bikes on every side street trying to get by. People use the sidewalks. Open streets does nothing for foot traffic in that area.

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Martha

Better for the community? How can closing a large portion of a main ave be a good thing? Just creates a traffic and pedestrian nightmare for the community. With dozens of cars and trucks looking for parking. Making it more difficult for fire fighters ambulances and police to arrive to an emergency faster. Walking and biking to cross the street becomes even more dangerous on that ave and surrounding Aves and streets. There are so many elderly in the ditmars area. So many immigrant residents from all over that many of the restaurants in that area do not cater to. Those restaurants are for visitors wanting to experience euro american trash. Other years hardly anyone used the open streets. They used the sidewalk and made life difficult for the residential area. People need to have 311 on speed dial and complain about the rats homeless and trash open streets creates when dining is involved.

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It’s not about you

Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it bad for the community. It just makes it great for everyone else. Let people enjoy their community streets. Open streets truly are streets for all of the community. If you don’t agree, don’t make use of it but get off your high horse already!

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Stephen "I'm not eating out for hundreds of dollars' Kandinsky

I second this. Additionally, let’s have you fight for parking spaces and then charge you $150-$200 for a meal (those prices are pre-inflation, people) that you can make at home for a fraction of the cost.

Looking at you Greek restaurants….

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Chloe

Astorian here. I use ear plugs and a white noise machine at night. Its fine and sometimes helps.

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Rita S.

Hi Enzo B. , haha
I had a feeling it was you ..
Not sure if ok to have open street

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Vincenzo

I guess I should clarify: I support open streets. Sorry, car lovers. Gotta change our ways.

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