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31st Street alley gets makeover with retail

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A formerly grimy, deserted alleyway that acted as an unofficial garbage dump in Astoria has been transformed into a newly paved, white−washed row of kiosks following years as a community eyesore.

Astoria Walk, an alleyway connecting the neighborhood’s busy commercial strip on 31st Street to a Key Food parking lot, was recently given a $300,000 makeover by city−based Jenel Management. The company cleaned up the site and now rents space to six vendors, who sell sunglasses, flowers and other products at their kiosks, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D−Astoria) said.

The walk is located between an AT&T store and a Subway chain restaurant on 31st Street.

“It’s been an eyesore and a nose−sore for as long as I can remember,” Vallone said of the alleyway. “People used it as a bathroom. It was graffiti−strewn and people dumped garbage there.”

But Jenel Management white−washed the walls of the strip, added a newly paved brick road and provided space for the colorful kiosks which now reside there. The management company is currently seeking more vendors for the site, Vallone said.

The walk is protected by security gates, which are decorated with art deco letters and feature an automatic locking device, as well as four security cameras.

The kiosks open each morning and close at 9 p.m., Vallone said.

Jenel Chairman Jack Dushey said the walkway is dedicated to former Council Speaker Peter Vallone Sr., father of the neighborhood’s current councilman. A plaque honoring him is on display in the alley.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e−mail at nduke@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 156.

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