Sunnyside Post

Sunnyside NY news

Irish Music Festival to hit Boulevard on Saturday, wounded veterans to benefit

Irish Music Festival

Irish Music Festival

Sept. 22, By Michael Florio

Eleven bars and restaurants—known as Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars–are teaming up to host an Irish music festival this Saturday.

The eleven establishments, which are located on or near Queens Blvd, are hosting the 2nd annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day music festival.

The event will kick off at 6 pm, Sept. 27, with live music and drink specials at every participating bar.

The drink specials are for party goers who purchase a $10 wristband. The specials, which are available at all 11 establishments, include $3 ciders, $4 well drinks and $5 craft beers. Each bar/restaurant may also offer its own additional specials.

There will be live music, dancing, bagpipers and DJs. There will also be authentic Irish meals, such as Bar 43’s Irish festival menu, which will consist of Irish beef stew, Irish style fish and chips and an all day Irish breakfast.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to wounded veterans who are currently being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Participating bars include, The Courtyard Ale House, Bar 43, McGuinness’s Saloon, PJ Horgan’s, Molly Blooms, Jack’s Fire Dept., Bliss Street Station, Arriba Arriba, The Gaslight, Sidetracks, and Maggie Mae’s.

The event will be the Boulevard of Bars’ sixth major event in the past two years. So far, it has raised more than $25,000 for charities and local organizations.

Music Lineup - Boulevard Bars-1


Sunnyside resident documents the rise and fall of Comic Book Heaven

Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

A well-known comic store called Comic Book Heaven closed last year after being in operation for about thirty years.

Joseph Liesner, 80, the owner of the comic store (which was located at 48-14 Skillman Avenue), said last year that he decided to shut down the business since there was little interest in comic books anymore. “The store’s not making any money and, besides, I’m as old as Methuselah,” Liesner said last year, with a wide grin.

Sunnyside resident E.J. McLeavey-Fisher released this video documentary on Liesner and his store.

Liesner claimed last June that the digital age is what has killed his business.

“The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.”

Comic Book Heaven moved to Skillman Avenue three decades ago, after doing a brisk business at a flea market at the corner of Queens Blvd and Jackson Avenue.


No. 7 train to be closed from Times Square to 74th Street this weekend

No. 7 train and Sunnyside QueensSept. 19, By Michael Florio

Getting around New York City is going to be a lot tougher for many residents of Sunnyside and Woodside this weekend.

No. 7 train service between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave will be suspended from 2 am Saturday through 4:30 am Monday, according to the MTA.

In lieu of the closures, the MTA will be providing two free shuttle services this weekend. One will run from Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to Queensboro Plaza, stopping at Hunters Point Ave, 45th Road/Court House Square, and Queens Plaza.

The other will run between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street/Broadway, stopping at 33rd Street, 40th Street, 46th Street, 52nd Street, 61st Street/Woodside, and 69th Street.

The service disruptions are due to ongoing construction taking place along the 7 line and are expected to continue until 2017.


New trees, tree guards and plantings coming to Sunnyside’s commercial district


Sept. 18, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s commercial district is on its way to looking a whole lot greener.

Sunnyside Shines is about to plant an additional 27 trees throughout the business improvement district to ensure that every street is covered.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, said that the district currently has 126 trees and after the planting there will be 153, which will line Queens Boulevard (38th to 50th Street), Greenpoint Avenue (42nd to Queens Boulevard) and nearby streets.

The 27 new trees are expected to be planted this fall, care of a grant the BID was able to secure from the Queens Borough President’s office  in June. These trees will also be fit with tree guards, as part of the BID’s quest to ensure that all 153 trees in the district eventually have guards.

“Street trees provide so many benefits to the district,” Thieme said. “They create a buffer between traffic and pedestrians, provide cleaner air and help create a more attractive neighborhood.”

Currently, 27 of the 126 trees have tree guards—following the recent installation of 19 tree guards on the north side of Queens Boulevard between 40th and 45th Street, which was in part funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office.

The first eight guards were installed in January—when White Castle and Pickman Realty covered the cost to put them in on the south side of Queens Boulevard (between 43rd and 44th Streets) and on 46th Street (between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue).

“The tree guards are a big improvement to the Sunnyside streetscape,” Thieme said. “They protect the tree roots and plants, which will keep the district looking greener. “

The standard cost of a tree guard is about $1,000, after it is measured and custom-made for a given location. Some cost more if the tree bed has to be expanded.

Thieme said that BID plans add another 15 guards early next year—although it is still working out its budget.

In addition to the trees and guards, the BID plans to add plantings to all the tree beds throughout the district. The BID has started planting a type of Liriope, which is an ever-green with a purple summer bloom, to some of tree beds.

Some businesses have taken it upon themselves to add plantings to tree beds. For instance AAA hardware, located at 43-24 Queens Boulevard, and Takesushi, at 43-46 42nd Street, have flowers outside their establishments already in bloom.

AAA Hardware

AAA Hardware

Sunnyside resident sentenced to 2-to-6 years for possessing child porn

gavelSept. 16, By Christian Murray

A Sunnyside man who was found guilty of possessing thousands of child porn files on his home computer was sentenced yesterday to between two to six years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office.

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that Ernest Hernandez, 29, had plead guilty to the charge of “promoting a sexual performance of a child,” after police uncovered nearly 3,000 images and more than 600 videos of children of various ages engaged in sex acts on his computer.

“The videos and images on the defendant’s computer and portable hard drives were vile and extremely disturbing,” Brown said in a statement. “Let this be a warning to others, if they use the Internet for their own sexual gratification and engage in activity that involves children, they will be punished.”

This was Hernandez’ first offense, Brown said. However, the defendant told the court that he had been looking at child pornography since he was 17.

Police arrest Sunnysider who robbed Amazon Pharmacy Thursday


Sept. 15, By Christian Murray

The police have arrested a man who entered Amazon Pharmacy on Thursday with a knife and demanded prescription drugs.

Patrick McNamara, a 37-year-old Sunnyside resident, allegedly entered the 43-10 Queens Boulevard establishment at about 5:30 pm Thursday, displayed a knife and demanded drugs. The pharmacist complied with his wishes before McNamara fled.

The police were able to track McNamara down and he was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance.

No one was hurt in the incident.

Click for details

Click for details

Sunnyside’s business groups have neighborhood all ‘mapped’ out


Sept. 12, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside shoppers will no longer have to ask for directions—as there will be several maps out there telling them how to find local businesses.

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it is producing a comprehensive map that will pinpoint the location of every business in the neighborhood. The Chamber anticipates the map will be ready by June 2015 and plans to make it available online—and mobile friendly.

The announcement came at the chamber’s monthly meeting at Ariyoshi Japanese restaurant Wednesday–just weeks before Sunnyside Shines BID unveils its map that will also list many of the same businesses.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, was caught by surprise when she heard for the first time—at the meeting– that the chamber was going it alone and doing its own map. She thought that the chamber and the BID were partnering up on the map that is about to be unveiled—where 15,000 copies will be printed and distributed to hotels, real estate offices and other venues.

“This is news to me that the chamber is not partnering with us on the map,” Thieme said at the meeting, adding that she had spoken to Rigo Cardoso, the chamber president, who supported the project. “We need a resolution on this ASAP.”

Thieme said that both organizations logos were going to be on the map—just like last year’s–which was a joint project.

However, Luke Adams, marketing director at the Chamber of Commerce, said at the meeting that the chamber was not happy about the way the BID is soliciting ads that are being incorporated as part of the map.

The one-time ads, which range from $200 to $800, are deemed too expensive, and he didn’t think it was fair that small businesses—many of whom are chamber members– were being asked to pay such prices. Furthermore, he said, the chamber was not aware of the ad rates until some of its members received solicitations.

However, Thieme said that those businesses that are part of the chamber are listed on the map for free—like last year’s version. She said that the ads were just optional and would help cover the cost of printing and distributing the maps.

Nevertheless, the chamber believes that it can create a better map, one that will be digital and include every business in the neighborhood. The chamber has applied for a state grant to go ahead and produce its own.

Sunnyside Chamber of CommerceThe chamber’s decision sparked some controversy at the meeting.

Czarinna Andres, who is on the board of both the BID and the chamber, said that she had no idea that the chamber was coming out with its own map. She said that as a chamber board member she should have been made aware of the decision beforehand.

“I should know when these decisions are being made– that is why I am on the board,” Andres said. “That is how organizations are run,” she said, adding that some members who are not on the board are making too many decisions.

Meanwhile, Michael Fonte who is a board member for both organizations, said he too was not aware of the decision to go ahead with the map. He said that there were “too many decisions being made behind the scenes.”

However, Pat Dorfman, a member of the chamber who is actively involved in the creation of the new map, said “we want to support the BID, which is a fine organization.”

“We are not opposed to working with them,” Dorfman said, referring to the landlord-funded organization. However, “the chamber is all about small businesses.”

MTA worker arrested for exposing himself at 61st Street station

No. 7 train and Sunnyside QueensSept. 11, By Christian Murray

An MTA employee who was working in a Woodside subway booth was arrested yesterday for exposing himself to customers, police said.

Harold Sisselman, 51, was inside the 61st Street 7 train subway booth at around 12:30 am Wednesday when two customers saw him exposing himself and performing lewd acts.

One of the customers called 911 and he was arrested for public lewdness, police said.

The Queens District Attorney’s office issued him with a desk appearance ticket.

Woodside on the Move about to host a slew of events–starting with 9/11 vigil

Vigil 2012

Vigil 2012

Sept. 9, By Michael Florio

There are plenty of events coming Woodside’s way in the next few months.

Woodside on the Move, a grass roots organization that promotes Woodside as a place to live, work and do business, has set up several community events in coming weeks–including a 9/11 vigil, its annual Fall Street Fair, the Taste of Woodside and a Halloween pet parade.

The 9/11 vigil will be held this Thursday at Doughboy Park–located at 56th Street and 39th Drive– from 6:30 to 9:00 pm.

This year Woodside on the Move will be working with the Woodside Civic Association, Hunters Point Civic Association and the United War Veterans Council to host the vigil. The FDNY and NYPD have also been invited.

“We host this vigil every year to remember the friends and neighbors we lost,” said Adrian Bordoni, the executive director at Woodside on the Move.

There will be live music, including a special performance of the Star Spangled Banner—in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the song/lyrics that later became the national anthem.

Every year about 200 people attend the non-profit’s 9/11 ceremony—an event that has now become a tradition for Woodside on the Move.

In keeping with another long running tradition, Woodside on the Move will be hosting its Fall Street Fair this Saturday from 11 am until 5 pm. The non-profit has been hosting the street fair for more than 20 years.

The event will run along Woodside Ave. (bet. Roosevelt Ave. and 65th Place) and 61st Street (bet. Roosevelt and Woodside Avenues). The fair will consist of standard street fair attractions–from food and clothing vendors to games for children. There will also be a stage set up for live music.

“It’s a day of action-packed activities, which gives residents a chance to get together,” Bordoni said, who anticipates that hundreds of people will attend.

The organization will also be hosting its third annual Taste of Woodside at St. Sebastian’s School auditorium, located at 39-76 58th Road. A date has yet to be finalized but it is expected to take place in the next couple of months.

Bordoni said the organization is expecting 25 restaurants to participate in this year’s Taste of Woodside, including Donovan’s Pub and F. Ottomanelli Burgers. While he is still recruiting restaurants to participate, he expects a diverse selection of cuisine–including Thai, Mexican, Italian, Tibetan, and Filipino.

“The event provides everyone with an opportunity to sample each restaurant’s signature dishes,” he said.

Local artist will provide live music.

The organization will roll out, arguably, its biggest hit on October 25, with its Halloween dog parade. The parade will start at Skillman Pets, located at 49-16 Skillman Ave, at 11 am and finish at Windmuller Park.

After the parade there is a costume contest, including best costume, funniest costume, most original and the best matching owner and pet costume.

Last year more than 85 pets participated in the parade, which included dogs, cats and rabbits. The best costume was a dog dressed up as the No. 7 train.

“It’s a lot of fun and a good laugh,” Bordoni said. “And of course all the pets look adorable.”

Crew from Ottamanellis at the 2013 Taste of Woodside

Crew from F. Ottomanelli Burgers at the 2013 Taste of Woodside