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Burrito BLVD to open Astoria location

Two years ago, Robert Matos opened up Burrito Blvd at 72-64 Metropolitan Ave. in Middle Village, having no prior experience in the food industry.
Matos, who worked in real estate at the time, wanted to try something new career-wise, and saw promise in the Mexican food industry by way of his longtime friend Joe Vetrano, who owns the Burrito Blvd location in Mineola.

“He told me it was the best thing he ever did, and so that stuck in my head,” Matos said.

“Joe was in the process of franchising Burrito Blvd, and we became business partners. Middle Village quickly took off,” he continued. “People in the community would tell me that this is exactly what was needed, and I get compliments on my staff all the time. So that early response made me feel good and reassured that I’m not crazy and that this was going to work.”

Because both Burrito Blvd locations have seen such success, Matos and Vetrano decided to open a third location at 36-20 30th Ave. in Astoria together.

The grand opening will take place on Sat., April 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and will offer $2 burrito, bowl and taco specials all day.

“Astoria is a great area because it’s so busy; everybody walks or takes public transportation. It’s a great corner spot on 30th Ave., which happens to be one of the busiest streets in Astoria. It was a great opportunity,” Matos said.

He added that the Astoria location will be quite different from the Middle Village one because it will be more of a grab-and-go style store, as opposed to a large indoor dining space.

Similar to the Middle Village store, the Astoria location will feature mural artwork by an artist who goes by the name Mike.A.

But the main thing Matos takes pride in when it comes to running his business is getting to engage with the community and provide them with quality food products.

“It feels good to have a place where I get kids that come from the park to hang out and bring their friends. It’s the best feeling to know people are satisfied with what you’re doing,” Matos said.

“It’s so great to serve my community and I’m so thankful for their support,” he continued. “I think opening day in Astoria will be a big success, just like it was for Middle Village.”

Library systems to begin opening branches

The city’s three library systems – The New York Public Library (NYPL), Brooklyn Public Library (BPL), and Queens Public Library (QPL) – will expand services to include browsing and computer use at select branches throughout the five boroughs beginning on May 10.
The three systems, which closed their physical locations in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, have been carefully and gradually reopening locations and reinstituting services to safely serve the New Yorkers who need them.
In addition to a robust suite of virtual programs and resources, including e-books, online storytimes, virtual book clubs, and remote homework help, resume assistance, and job search help, the libraries began offering grab-and-go book pickup and on-site library card sign-up in July.
Beginning on May 10 in select locations, patrons will be able to browse shelves for a set period of time and make appointments to use computers.
All patrons must follow safety protocols, including wearing masks, social distancing, and respecting time limits to ensure that as many patrons as possible can utilize services.
The systems are working towards opening additional locations this summer, and a full reopening as soon as possible in 2021.
The branches opening in Brooklyn are Brownsville, Canarsie, Central, Clinton Hill, Coney Island, Crown Heights, Flatbush, Fort Hamilton, Greenpoint, Kings Highway, Midwood, Mill Basin and Red Hook.
The branches opening in Queens include Arverne, Astoria, Auburndale, Bellerose, Cambria Heights, East Elmhurst, Elmhurst, Hillcrest, Long Island City, Peninsula, Queensboro Hill, Richmond Hill, Ridgewood and Rochdale Village,
The branches selected were based on a number of factors, including proximity to public transportation, size, building condition and location, with the goal of covering as much of the City as possible.
“Libraries are essential to building a strong, fair, and equitable city, especially in the face of a global health crisis,” said Queens Public Library president and CEO Dennis Walcott. “Given the current public health conditions, the growing need for our resources and the eagerness of our staff to provide more services to the public, now is the right time to take the next step.”

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