14 THE QUEENS COURIER • JANUARY 24, 2019 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Small biz in Long Island City see promises of Amazon’s arrival
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
10-year-old Courier report sparked Bayside deli rumor frenzy
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen in Bayside
is not closing despite recent social media
buzz that the business would be shutting
Earlier this month, a 10-year-old
Queens Courier story — now on QNS.
com, the borough’s most widely-read
news website — made the rounds on
Facebook saying that Ben’s at the Bay
Terrace Shopping Center was to close at
the end of January 2008 “now that nearly
two years of negotiations have failed
to produce an agreement between the
kosher deli and landlord, Cord Meyer
Th e story resurfaced over 10 years aft er
the story’s publication, fueling questions
and ignited rumors that the Bay Terrace
location was closing.k
But rumors were quickly shot down
on the deli’s offi cial Twitter account on
“Th is 10-year-old article from @QNS
(https://t.co/iZsvkKKaig) on the closing
of Ben’s of Bay Terrace has circulated
on social media recently, leading people
to believe that our Bayside location has
closed for good. Th at is NOT the case.
We are still OPEN and going nowhere!,”
the deli tweeted.
A day later on Jan. 17, Ronnie Dragoon,
the founder and owner of Ben’s issued a
statement to Th e Courier and QNS.com
to further dispel rumors about the eatery’s
“We have received numerous phone
calls and visits from concerned customers
who asked us if Ben’s Kosher Deli
is shutting down its location at the Bay
Terrace Shopping Center,” said Dragoon.
“A 10-year-old article, which erroneously
reported Ben’s of Bayside was closing,
recently made the rounds on social
media. We at Ben’s want to assure our
customers that our Bayside location continues,
and will continue, to remain open
and serve the fi nest Kosher menu items
and Eastern European comfort food in
Th e open-air mall in Bay Terrace has
housed Ben’s Deli since 1994. In 2017, the
store unveiled its fi nal phase of renovations
which included an upgraded kitchen,
bathrooms, furniture, fl ooring, carpets
and a fl oor-to-ceiling paint job.
According to the Public Relations and
Marketing Group (PRMG), the 2017 renovations
were the “second rehab” since
the store opened 25 years ago.
Amazon offi ces in Long Island City mean
business for a number of stores and restaurants
on one of the area’s main roadways,
“Change is good,” said owner of
Centro Pizza Bar & Italian Kitchen Steve
According to LoGiudice, business so far
for his restaurant, located at 47-23 Vernon
Blvd., has been good since it opened roughly
a year ago. Amazon’s trickling arrival in
the neighboring Anable Basin area will only
make things better.
“Th e increase in local foot traffi c will
help all business,” said LoGiudice.
Many of the businesses, especially
restaurants, on Vernon Boulevard share
LoGiudice’s sentiments, recognizing that
all of the 25,000 Amazon employees expected
to arrive over the next several years will
need to eat, drink, go the pharmacy, bring
their kids to the doctor and have their pets
Growth is inevitable and to some fi ghting
against is a battle that has already been lost.
“Change is happening by the hour,” said
Meir Newman of Sinks & Stones, a tile and
stone store. “Th is isn’t LIC anymore, its an
extension of Manhattan.”
Long Island City has been in the midst
of a residential real estate boom for the
last several years, with over 12,000 apartments
having been added to the neighborhood
between 2010 and 2016, according to
reporting from Curbed NY.
Th e neighborhood has even been called
the fastest growing neighborhood in the
United States. And with Amazon opening
a hub in the neighborhood, growth is going
to be expedited.
But development literally comes with a
price. Although a high number of businesses
on Vernon Boulevard stated that they
were excited by the prospects of Amazon
coming into the area, they recognize a
downside. Some say the rent will only get
“Of course the landlords will spike up
the rent,” said the general manager of
Woodbines Craft Beer and Kitchen Bob
Bryan Stack. “So would you if you had a
But Stack is confi dent that the revenue
made from the increased business brought
in by Amazon will help soft en the blow of
a rent spike.
According to an email that a representative
from Amazon sent QNS, Amazon’s
presence in Seattle has proved benefi cial.
“Amazon has invested over $4 billion in
Seattle since 2010 and created over 45,000
direct jobs. Th ese investments have created
an additional 53,000 indirect jobs in the
city and added an additional $38 billion
into the city’s economy,” the representative
said in the email.
But others doing in business in Long
Island City have some skepticism.
For Yung, a Korean immigrant and
co-owner of Glory Deli, the fear of being
priced out aft er 24 years of business is very
But only time will tell what Amazon’s
impact on businesses will be.
“I think it’s going to be pretty good for
lunchtime especially — well, that’s what
we hope,”said Dariza Jansen, a waitress at
Madera Cuban Grill, about the arriving
According to Jansen, Madera believes
that Amazon will help save the restaurant
from slow business on weekdays.
“Th ere is a lot of competition around
here so it really just depends on what they
like,” she said.
Photo: Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech/THE COURIER
Centro Pizza Bar & Italian Kitchen owner Steve LoGiudice sees optimism in Amazon’s LIC arrival.
Photo courtesy of The Public Relations and Marketing Group (PRMG)
The exterior of Ben’s Deli Kosher in Bayside, which is alive and well