Daniel Dromm’s view on “voting rights”

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11 Responses to Daniel Dromm’s view on “voting rights”

  1. get_to_the_point

    In other words, sneak in the country illegally and get to vote. Hey, can I hop the next plane to France or Mexico or just about any other country and get to choose their leaders too? I didn't think so. Some politicians will do anything to scrounge up an election victory, American sovereignty and citizenship be damned.

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  2. get_to_the_point

    Speaking of voting rights, how about the voting rights of NY State military personnel risking life and limb serving the country who were just disenfranchised out of their votes? Where's the outrage over that? What about the voting rights of people in Nevada whose votes are being cancelled out in what looks like deliberate voter fraud. What about the voting rights of the people intimidated outside the polling station in Philadelphia in '08 by baton wielding men?

    Let's get out priorities in order.

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  3. PatriotTours1

    Concilman Dromm, like many politicians today, is well meaning but does not fully understand the significance of "No taxation without representation".

    This slogan was used by colonial Americans, subjects of King George III, against the British Crown in response to a series of taxes passed by the British Parliament, in which the colonies were not directly represented. (The Crown argued that the House of Commons provided them virtual representation.) These British subjects were CITIZENS of Great Britain and if they met voting requirements were able to participate in their local elections for assemblies and councils. Citizenship alone did not guarantee voting rights and as a result many colonists paid taxes levied by their local assemblies, but did not have the right to vote in elections for those assemblies.

    This was not a cry for everyone who paid any kind of tax to have the right to vote. It was a demand that the colonies be represented in the Parliament through their current election procedures. The closest analogy today would be if American citizens were able to vote in state and local elections, but unable to elect their federal representatives, who then voted to tax them for the federal government's benefit.

    In the early 1800's many states clarified their voting requirements. In NY all men of age who met a property requirement and had sworn an allegiance to the state were allowed to vote. In 1804 a citizenship requirement was added, but at that time the definition of citizen was still evolving in our new country and largely meant a citizen of the state. As time went on, further clarifications were made that generally allowed more people to vote. If states did not restrict voting on the basis of citizenship it was because the definition of citizen had not been fully established. This came with the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution in 1868.

    There is an easy solution to the dilemma these residents of the city face. Become a citizen of the United States of America as the many millions of immigrants did who made our nation great.

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  4. Victor

    I would like to address some of the misinformation found in the comments of "get_to_the_point" and "PatriotTourist."

    "In other words, sneak in the country illegally and get to vote."

    Voting rights for LEGAL permanent residents and others here LEGALLY. Do you really think an undocumented residents are going to put their names on a roll of voters? Get real.

    "Hey, can I hop the next plane to France or Mexico or just about any other country and get to choose their leaders too? I didn’t think so."

    Umm, actually there are a host of countries that recognize voting rights for all residents, not just citizens, at some level of government.

    "Some politicians will do anything to scrounge up an election victory, American sovereignty and citizenship be damned."

    What are you talking about? How is American sovereignty and citizenship "damned"? You buying cheap goods from China is doing more to erode American sovereignty than is allowing local residents to have a say in running their city.

    "Speaking of voting rights, how about the voting rights of NY State military personnel ...."

    Again, what are you talking about? How do these issues affect allowing local residents to vote?

    PatriotTourist wrote: "These British subjects were CITIZENS of Great Britain and if they met voting requirements were able to participate in their local elections for assemblies and councils."

    You are trying to give a history lesson, but you contradict yourself. The colonists were subjects of the British Crown, not citizens. There was not even the modern concept of citizenship at that time, as you yourself point out. As for the rest of your accoount, it supports Council Member Dromm's use of the slogan "no taxation without representation." He does not appear to be saying that the current situation is exactly the same as the late 18th century. The point is "if you pay, you should have a say."

    "There is an easy solution to the dilemma these residents of the city face. Become a citizen of the United States of America as the many millions of immigrants did who made our nation great."

    That's what many are trying to do, but the process to become a citizen takes a LONG time. They should be able to vote in local matters in the meantime.

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  5. steven

    Becoming a citizen should be a priority for anyone who has a genuine interest for the country they are residing in. It is difficult to learn a new language but being able to work hard and achieve citizenship carries more weight when it was accomplished by over coming difficulties. Anything worth having is worth working for.

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  6. A Tarlow

    exactly, what is to point of becoming a citizen if legal aliens are granted all of the rights / privelidges of true citizenship. They should be applauded for going throught the rigirous process of becoming a US citizen & rewarded w/ voting rights once that (I'm sure quite long & tedious) process is complete. While they are awaiting citizenship legal aliens use public services (schools, roads, etc) like everyone else & should pay taxes.

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  7. Time Flies

    @ A Tarlow

    You are 100% right.

    The process of becoming a citizen is long and tedious. They play by the rules, pay the fees, wait patiently, deal with surly bureaucrats and respect immigration law. It is a slap in the face to these decent men and women every time some hack politician lets someone jump the queue in front of them or give away something they spent years honestly trying to earn.

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  8. PatriotTours1

    "The colonists were subjects of the British Crown, not citizens. There was not even the modern concept of citizenship at that time, as you yourself point out."

    Would you argue, then, that today's subjects of the British Crown are not citizens of the United Kingdom? We now use the terms interchangeably, even if they did not then, which was what I was doing in my post.

    "As for the rest of your accoount, it supports Council Member Dromm’s use of the slogan “no taxation without representation.” He does not appear to be saying that the current situation is exactly the same as the late 18th century. The point is “if you pay, you should have a say.”"

    You must not have read my post thoroughly. Most people in the colonies did not have the right to vote in local elections yet recognized that their colonial assemblies passed laws governing their behavior. In NY to vote one had to be a free man with either an estate valued at 40 pounds or more or a free man who practiced one of many recognized trades. Slaves, indentured servants, tenant farmers, women, and others did not vote yet did not object to the authority of their local assemblies. There is absolutely no historic precedent for people to vote in local elections without some type of restriction.

    In addition, those voting requirements encouraged newcomers to become landowners or tradesmen, which added to the prosperity of the colony.

    "That’s what many are trying to do, but the process to become a citizen takes a LONG time. They should be able to vote in local matters in the meantime."

    How would this be managed? A period of time that one can vote until becoming a citizen? And if one does not become a citizen, what then, are the votes cast during that time rescinded?

    Although I do not agree with it I have no objection to the phrase "if you pay you should have a say", only to equating it to early protests over taxation.

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  9. Thomas Quinn

    I have noticed that almost every post on this page is an undereducated gesture of some form or another. A company called Pearson Operating for the government out Lawrence, Kansas is Prime example of how hard they have made it to get citizenship in this country and those who meet the requirements are being neglected on waiting lists that stretch out for years to come.

    America's colonies and the Pioneers who started this country were formed by immigrants that befriended the Native people of WHAT IS ONLY OUR COUNTRY TODAY and then slaughtered them in a violent abuse of power.
    Had they not first been befriended the Indians, starting with the pilgrims they would have been thrown back to the shore and arrowed off, not even knowing what hit them.

    History proves nothing any of you can say with too much pride will hold any true value: get_to_the_point and Victor are prime examples, need I elborate? Remember there is a big difference between immigrants and illegal immigrants. So just Remember that. Many immigrants without citizenship come here to go to college and end up making babies and starting busnesses.

    I have a long list of books you should go read, none of which have any political meaning.

    This is off the subject but the corporate world has surpressed free energy devices so we keep having to pay to fill ther pockets. Perpetual motion home generators exist today and for every one part enery input five parts energy output is produced.

    What is water??? H2O: Hydrogen and oxygen, two very explosive forms of gas that when when burned together turn back into water.
    With electrolysis, hydrogen and oxygen can be separated and power a vehicle for up to 100 miles per gallon at 26 times more powerful than any petrolium we can produce. Stan Myer a very healthy and brilliant inventor/Genious was poisoned in 1998 by arab oil companies that offered him over a billion for his water powered car. He said no way this is for the people. What a shame that even Arabs have more power than we do in our own country.

    If we want to make a real change, those of us entitled to vote should put a stop to these corporations controling the energy in this country. That, I believe, is a great place to start making a difference cause I'm calling bullishit on the ethics of this country, especially in the medical world where a poor familily doesnt even have the option of getting their dying son on the waitlist for a transplant even if they find a perfect match.

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  10. Hopeonhorizon

    Councilman is a typical demagogue whose only goal is to stay on the City Council. For that he'll do and say anything, it seems. Without any regard to our laws. That's coming from a first generation immigrant, who came here legally, 20 years ago, and waited for his citizenship to get the right to vote.

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  11. me

    I never heard a more inept, absurd and outrageous proposal in my entire life. I am European citizen, legally coming and residing in the US/ NYC. Over my lifetime I never heard any nation or party in a nation to make such proposal. In Europe one would end up in prison just for making such claim! I hope Americans will understand the insanity of the Democratic Party and will vote different in 2012 too! If no consider moving to Canada or EU for life in NYC is already bellow any standards because of illegals!

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Frozen yogurt store ‘4 Squared Flavors’ reopens after being closed for winter

4squared

March 3, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors reopened March 1st after being closed for winter.

Khalil Nayl, the co-owner of the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store, said its business as usual after being closed since November 1st.

Nayl said that the landlord was very supportive of the store during the winter months, providing a discounted rent.

4 Squared Flavors, which officially opened in March 2014, continues to offer 16 flavors, including: Irish mint, mango tango sorbet, red velvet cake, pistachio, very strawberry, cookies ‘n cream, New York cheesecake, and blueberry.

The store’s walls remain the same–painted pink and green.

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Crime rate tumbles year-to-date
Brooks, Calderoa and

Prof. Bruce Brooks, Corey Sarro, William Caldarera

March 2, By Michael Florio

The crime rate has taken a nosedive this year throughout the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the number of reported crimes for the year through Feb. 22 has dropped 25 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The decline has been driven by the fall in property-related crimes, with there being 22 reported burglaries so far this year compared to 37 for the same time period a year ago. Furthermore, there have been 60 grand larcenies reported this year, compared to 87 a year ago.

“Burglaries have historically been a problem in this precinct and we are down 40 percent on the year,” Travaglia said. “We are very happy to report those numbers.”

The number of robberies reported so far this year is down–from 22 to nine.

Travaglia, who was spoke at the Community Board Council meeting in Sunnyside last Tuesday, spent a significant portion of the hour-long meeting paying tribute to his officers—particular William Caldarera and Corey Sarro.

The two officers received an award for saving the life of Bruce Brooks, a 66-year-old LaGuardia College professor.

Brooks suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside the college at 29-10 Thomson Avenue. The officers, who were on routine patrol, saw the professor lying motionless on the sidewalk, without a pulse.

Sarro began performing chest compressions, while Caldarera retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts, the pair revived him and then EMS transported him to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Brooks, who was in attendance at the precinct meeting, presented the officers with a plaque that he had specially made.

“How can you thank someone for saving your life,” Brooks said.

“A doctor told me afterwards that less than two percent of people who collapse on the street actually survive without brain damage,” Brooks said. “I didn’t dodge a bullet, I dodged a bomb and it is all thanks to these guys.”

Brooks’ wife, Susan Gardner, was also in attendance to thank the officers.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful these officers were to me at a time when I was truly hysterical,” she said.

Gardner wanted to get the officers a gift, she said, until she was told it was against policy.

“But I realized there is no gift I could give them as great as the one that they gave me,” she said. “They have given me a chance to grow old with my husband. So, I thank them forever.”

The day of Brooks’ heart attack was the day he was retiring, according to Gardner.

Brooks spent 10 days at Elmhurst Hospital, before being transferred to NYU Hospital to undergo a triple bypass.

Now the doctors say Brooks, who is a lifelong handball player, will be playing again this summer, Gardner said.

Despite the decrease in crime, there was a murder reported on Vernon Blvd and 50th Street last month, the first murder reported this year. A man was struck and died when his head hit the ground.

The police arrested Kaheem Addison who now faces manslaughter charges.

“The [murder] investigation was spectacular and I couldn’t be happier with the detective squad,” he said. “I am very proud of them and the work they did in solving this homicide very quickly.”

For crime statistics, click here

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Snow, costumes and politics all on display at St. Pat’s for All Parade

Parade21

March 2, By Christian Murray

Kids from the Bronx, gay activists and even a horse, all turned out in the snow for The St Pat’s for All Parade in Sunnyside/Woodside on Sunday.

The parade, yet again, took on a very political flavor this year—with Mayor Bill de Blasio and several city council members all noting that they would boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue again this year unless it is more inclusive of gay groups.

There were more snowflakes than shamrocks this year and attendance was down from previous years. Nevertheless the message about equality and human rights came through loud and clear.

“This is what pride is all about,” de Blasio told the crowd at the beginning event. “Pride in the city, pride in everyone’s heritage and pride in being whatever you want to be.”

De Blasio said this parade “celebrates Irish heritage no matter who you are,” while the Fifth Avenue parade is not open to all. While one LGBT group, Out@NBCUniversal, has been approved to march in the Fifth Avenue parade, de Blasio said that it was not enough. He said he is hopeful that more gay groups will be included by the time the March 17 takes place.

Several other politicians echoed the mayor’s sentiments.

“We will continue to stand up and make sure that the bigger parade on Fifth Avenue is more inclusive,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the council speaker, who also said that she and the city council would not attend unless all groups could attend.

However, the parade did include members of the horse-drawn carriage industry who were there to protest de Blasio’s plan to put them out of business–based on animal rights. Signs were placed in store windows along Skillman Avenue in support of the industry—which has a deep link to the Irish community.

De Blasio, at the end of the event, acknowledged that the contentious horse-drawn carriage bill would be subject to a vigorous debate.

There were also some attendees who expressed displeasure about the Mayor’s proposal to build on Sunnyside Yards.

The mayor acknowledged he had heard attendees voice their concern about the Yards along the parade route, reported Capitol New York.

However, it “opens an opportunity for a huge amount of affordable housing so people can continue to live in Queens, many of whom are being forced out right now by rising prices,” de Blasio told Capitol New York.

Participants

Among this year’s participants were the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dancers, who performed classic Irish jigs.

The pipe bands and traditional Irish musicians added to the Irish authenticity of the event; so, too, did an Irish language school and all the Irish flags. Even the local Sunnyside dog group, SUDSMUTS, marched, with their dogs dressed in an assortment of green regalia.

At the same time, there were also several children’s groups marching under a multitude of banners, such as the Shannon Gaels and the Marching Cobras.

A plethora of gay groups were also out in force. Among them were the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Queens and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee.
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By George Burles
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Irish Music Festival takes place tomorrow–following parade

NEW Poster - Irish Music Festival 2015_JPEG

Feb. 28, By Christian Murray

The St Pat’s for All Parade takes place on Skillman Avenue tomorrow and upon its conclusion many marchers and spectators are likely to head over to Queens Blvd. to participate in the third annual Sunnyside Irish Music Festival.

The festival, which officially starts at 3:00pm, is likely to draw hundreds of party goers to 11 neighborhood bar/restaurants, all located on or near Queens Blvd between 40th and 48th Streets.

In a coordinated effort, each venue will have live Irish music.

Fiddlers, accordion players, pipers, Irish dancers and guitarists will be performing throughout the neighborhood. Some pubs will have four-piece bands and others will have solo acts.

Each bar will have drink specials. Some bars will also offer authentic Irish food.

For a full list of bars/venues see below:

Postcard_Back - Irish Music Festival 2015 JPEG

 

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Borough President Katz a big supporter of building over the Yards, despite western Queens leaders’ trepidation

SunnysideYardsmap

Feb. 27, By Christian Murray

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been a strong advocate for decking over the Sunnyside Yard for months—despite the cool reception it has received from western Queens leaders.

Katz began advocating for developing the yards in September, when she announced that they have the “potential for extraordinary development.”

Katz plays an important role in what ultimately happens to the Yards since the area would need to be rezoned before construction could begin. The community board and the borough president would get to weigh in on a rezoning—before it is shuffled along to the City Planning Commission for review and then the city council.

At the council level, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer would have the ultimate say.

Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

In September, Katz released a 138-page strategic policy statement where she said that the “partial or complete decking of the Sunnyside Rail Yards has the potential for extraordinary development.” She added that it is the largest parcel of ‘vacant’ land remaining in the city.

At the October community board meeting, Queens residents became more aware of Katz’ position when former CB2 chairman Joe Conley said that he had been in discussions with her about building over the Yards. He then called on the board to write a letter to Katz calling for a feasibility study.

While many members of the board were caught off guard by Conley’s request, they were eventually swayed by him and voted in favor of sending Katz the letter.

Conley was then subject to heavy criticism for requesting the letter.

These letters are often used by public officials and city planners to move ahead with studies—allowing them to claim they have the community’s support. For example, Conley’s letter last year calling for affordable housing in Queens Plaza was cited as a reason why city planners are studying the area for a potential up zoning.

Katz is well versed in city real estate matters. She had worked at the law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2009-2012, where she was a land use adviser for real estate companies. She took that position after being a city council member from 2002-2009, where she chaired the land use committee.

On Feb. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address that he wanted to build 11,250 units above Sunnyside Yards, which received a frosty reception from western Queens leaders.

Katz, meanwhile, was publicly advocating for it. At the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting Feb. 17, she said:

“We need to figure out how to utilize the property in a good way and I think housing is a great way,” reported the Queens Chronicle that covered the event. “Figuring out how to pay for it is the follow-up. … But it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done in tandem with the community.”

De Blasio then announced last week that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sought a consulting firm to undertake a one-year study to determine whether building over the Yards is feasible. The administration is seeking requests for proposal from firms that would essentially provide recommendations.

“This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it can contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Katz’ spokeswoman, in an e-mail Tuesday wrote: “This feasibility study is a step in the right direction, and Borough President Katz looks forward to engaging community input.”

The e-mail also said: “Borough President Katz recognizes that potential development above the Sunnyside Rail Yards is attractive given the current growth and development throughout Long Island City and western Queens.”

However, western Queens leaders have been alarmed by the plan.

CatherineNolan-250x250Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was quick to announce that she had ‘grave concerns ’ about the plans. State Sen. Mike Gianaris was essentially against it—by saying only if it had community support, while Van Bramer continued to argue that the infrastructure would not be able to cope with it.

Nolan also said in a statement that such development would have “the potential to tremendously damage the middle class quality of life of our western Queens communities.”

Nolan then announced that she had hired local attorney Ira Greenberg on a part time basis to monitor de Blasio’s plan and to work with agencies, residents and other parties to make sure the community’s voice is heard.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris sent out a mailing to his constituents recently, which said that the building of new housing units should be secondary to meeting the community’s existing infrastructure needs.

Van Bramer, who has told the mayor that he supports the concept of affordable housing, has expressed doubts as to whether it should be in western Queens. He has consistently been saying that area is already in need of schools and parks—and continues to discuss the poor performing No. 7 train.

He said the Queensboro Plaza/Court Square area is likely to be rezoned that will bring affordable housing as well an influx of people.

“We have are a lot of challenges that we face today,” Van Bramer said at a recent civic association meeting, “let alone with a 100,000 more people.”

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Mardi Gras bar crawl planned for Skillman Avenue Saturday
Costumes from 2014 event

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio

Skillman Ave. will never be confused with Bourbon St. but this Saturday it will be alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Easy.

Nine Skillman Avenue establishments have organized the third annual Mardi Gras Bar & Restaurant Hop, which starts at 3:00 pm and goes late into the evening.

The event comes well after the official Feb. 17 Mardi Gras date. However, the bars will be sticking to the New Orleans traditions of beads, jazz and Cajun food.

Party goers are being asked to register at the Copper Kettle, located on the corner of Skillman Ave. and 51nd St., between 3:00 and 6pm. By registering, attendees will be able to get half-price beer specials.  The cost to register is $5, which will go to the local food pantries.

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SkillmanMardiGras1

 

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No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade

St.-Pats-for-All-475x356

Feb. 26, By Michael Florio

Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the ‘St Pats for All’ parade.

The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule.

The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work.

“We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said.

Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event.

“There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.”

7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing.

Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.”

Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA.

“I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’”

“They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events–it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.”

However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match.

“The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said.

Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus.

Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses.

Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces.

Details

Parade Date: Sunday, March 1

Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm

Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue

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Maggie Mae’s reopens today after extensive upgrade

Maggie-Maes1Feb. 26, By Christian Murray

Maggie Mae’s, the well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, reopens at 5:00 pm today after being closed for renovations for nearly a month.

The bar closed for construction on Feb. 1, and its owners have rebuilt much of the interior with 1800s reclaimed wood.

New floors have been put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables.

“I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae’s who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing–there are a lot of new people coming to the area.”

The renovation is still not 100 percent complete but Moore said he is ready to reopen.

 

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New CB2 chair to roll out updated website, will provide access to public documents

Community-Board-21

Feb. 25, By Christian Murray

Community Board 2 is in the midst of overhauling its website, as it aims provide residents with greater access to public documents.

The updated website will be much more comprehensive and is expected to be ready by spring. The public will have access to documents that deal with land use matters among others.

Pat O’Brien, the newly elected Community Board chair, said that he intends to upload as many documents as possible so the public is better informed.

“Any document that is public, we aim to put it out there,” O’Brien said. “I want people to know the facts so we can have a more informed discussion.”

He said that he plans to upload older documents in order to build archives. However, he said that will take time and resources are limited.

The board plans to create a Facebook page later this year that will be used to inform people of public meetings and events.

O’Brien said that his first priority, however, is getting the site ready.

 

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No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade
St.-Pats-for-All-475x356 Feb. 26, By Michael Florio Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the 'St Pats for All' parade. The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule. The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work. “We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said. Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event. “There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.” 7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing. Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.” Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA. “I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’” “They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events--it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.” However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match. “The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said. Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus. Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses. Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces. Details Parade Date: Sunday, March 1 Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue
Maggie Mae’s reopens today after extensive upgrade
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 26, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, the well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, reopens at 5:00 pm today after being closed for renovations for nearly a month. The bar closed for construction on Feb. 1, and its owners have rebuilt much of the interior with 1800s reclaimed wood. New floors have been put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” The renovation is still not 100 percent complete but Moore said he is ready to reopen.  
New CB2 chair to roll out updated website, will provide access to public documents
Community-Board-21 Feb. 25, By Christian Murray Community Board 2 is in the midst of overhauling its website, as it aims provide residents with greater access to public documents. The updated website will be much more comprehensive and is expected to be ready by spring. The public will have access to documents that deal with land use matters among others. Pat O’Brien, the newly elected Community Board chair, said that he intends to upload as many documents as possible so the public is better informed. “Any document that is public, we aim to put it out there,” O’Brien said. “I want people to know the facts so we can have a more informed discussion.” He said that he plans to upload older documents in order to build archives. However, he said that will take time and resources are limited. The board plans to create a Facebook page later this year that will be used to inform people of public meetings and events. O’Brien said that his first priority, however, is getting the site ready.  
Precinct unites lost dog with owner through Twitter
doglost Feb. 24, By Michael Florio The 108 Precinct was introduced to Twitter late last year-- and today it was the tool that was used to unite a lost dog with its owner. This morning officers found a dog--named Snowy-- near Queens Boulevard and 46th Street and used twitter to track down the owner. "#lostdog found around QB & 46thst this morning around 7 am help us find the owner," the tweet said, along with the photo of the dog. Five hours later the 108 Precinct took to Twitter and noted that it had reunited Snowy with its owner thanks to its Twitter followers.
Poll: Residents may face hefty toll to use Queensboro Bridge, along with others
QueensboroFeb. 23, By Michael Florio A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges--was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner. MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA. Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week. The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers. There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY. The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone-- would be lowered $2.50 each way. However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said. For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge. “There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.” “There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge. “They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said. Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion. In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads. “I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said. State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.  
Sunnyside graffiti vandal blankets neighborhood with tag
43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

Feb. 23, By Christian Murray A graffiti vandal has been targeting the walls of Sunnyside spraying his tag SBR all over stores on 42nd Street, 43rd Street and 44th Street. The police are following up on it; Sunnyside Shines has been struggling to clean it; and Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has been brought into the loop. The likely perpetrator of these tags goes under fictitious Facebook handle Esayebeare Bereal, where he showcases some of his work. Despite his false name, he has many friends who follow his posts. The owner of an establishment on 43rd Street described the graffiti as "childish and ridiculous." “I don’t know what people get out of it? Some sort of high,” he said, without giving his name out of concern that his store might get tagged next. “I don’t know whether writing an article about him will encourage him, stop him or even help lead to his arrest,” the owner said. Esayebeare Bereal engaged in a Facebook chat with the Sunnyside Post last week (see full transcript below), where he admitted to doing it and said he does it to be famous. He said that he was raised in Sunnyside and admitted to tagging under the name SBR, which is not affiliated with a street gang or group. He was not prepared to be interviewed over the phone out of fear that he would get "locked up." He targets 42nd and 43rd Street, he said, since he knows people who live there. However, in the messages, he said that he is thinking about easing up on 43rd Street. "I'm done with 43rd street to many yuppies complaining about sunnyside. But they wasn"t here when it was a bad neighorhood." However, his work has annoyed many, including Sunnyside Shines. “It is frustrating that one individual is so intent on destroying small business property in our neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, the director of Sunnyside Shines. “We’re very much aware of the graffiti situation in Sunnyside right now, and are coordinating closely with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and the 108th Precinct, as well as our graffiti removal vendor to ensure graffiti is removed as soon as possible.” The freezing weather, however, has slowed down efforts to clean up the graffiti, Thieme said. Nevertheless, when Sunnyside Shines was able to clean off the graffiti outside Café Bene (42nd and Queens Blvd) recently, Esayebeare Bereal struck back again days later. Esayebeare Bereal argues that he is capable of doing quality artwork but is fearful of getting caught by the police and said that paint is expensive. Most don’t appreciate his graffiti in any form-- viewing it as nothing more than vandalism. .

Transcript of Facebook chat by sunnysidepost

. graffiti6

43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Former Dime Bank

. graffi3

43rd and Queens Blvd (former Dime Bank)

graffiti4

Sunnyside Shines cleaned his tag and then shortly after it reappeared (42nd Queens Blvd)

IMG_0094 . graffi5

42nd Street (near Queens Blvd)

. graffi1

43rd Street and 43rd Avenue

.
Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

. 44th Street

44th Street (by Queens Blvd)

Possible tagg

Possible tag

. 43rd and 43rd

43rd (near Skillman Ave.)

. EuropeanEatMeat

43rd Avenue (between 42nd and 43rd Street)

1234aaa

Facebook Page

  .
NYP: DeBlasio plows ahead with Sunnyside Yards plan
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHunekeFeb. 21, NY Post Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving ahead with the plan to develop the Sunnyside rail yards, according to the New York Post. On Friday — 17 days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the yards were off-limits — the city’s Economic Development Corporation issued a public notice seeking a yearlong feasibility study of the nearly 200-acre site. De Blasio proposed building 11,250 units of affordable apartments over the rail yards as a major initiative in his State of the City speech — only to be shot down within hours by Cuomo, who insisted the MTA needs the property for other uses. “It is not available for any other use in the near term,” Cuomo said in a statement immediately after de Blasio's State of the City Speech. But the mayor on Friday said it’s full speed ahead. “This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver on our vision of a more affordable city and smart development that responds to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods,” he said, calling the pending study only a “first step.” City Hall officials said the study will focus on the 113 acres owned by Amtrak — which is cooperating with the city — and another 44 acres where the land is owned by the MTA but the air rights belong to the city For the full story, please click here
Maggie Mae’s is undergoing a big makeover
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 20, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, a well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, is undergoing a major revamp. The interior is being rebuilt from top to bottom with 1800s reclaimed wood from Pennsylvania. New floors are being put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. The bar closed for construction the day after the Super Bowl (Feb. 1) and its owners are planning on reopening it on Feb. 28. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” One of the walls has been removed and now the red brick that was behind it is exposed. Meanwhile, the popcorn ceiling is gone, and the old timber beams show through. The pool table and the duke box are gone for good. The games of beer pong will be no longer. And there will be just three TVs. The owners are also putting in a kitchen, which will begin serving food this summer. The menu is not expected to be extensive but items such as burgers, fish and chips will be served. This summer, the outside and front-door entrance will change significantly. There will be floor to ceiling windows and a whole new exterior sign. In the interim, the sign will change and the outside will be painted a different color. Moore said that the bar will have 18 beer lines when it reopens, with several craft beer options. Maggie Mae’s is also upgrading its large downstairs area that is typically used for parties. That space too is being rebuilt with 1800s reclaimed wood.
James Moore and Sean xx

James Moore and Sean Sorohan

. Maggie Mae's inside
Aluminaire House is wanted: Mayor of Palm Springs plans to bring it there
Aluminaire-HouseFeb. 19, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s trash is about to become another city’s treasure. The 1931 Aluminaire House, which was going to be erected on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is being transported to Palm Springs. The mayor of Palm Springs is a big supporter of relocating it there and has started a fundraising drive in order to do so, according to The Desert Sun. The structure appeared headed to Sunnyside Gardens, where architects in 2013 planned to build eight residential units behind the aluminum house on the former Phipps playground. The house was designed in 1931 and is deemed to be of architectural significance. It was designed to explore how materials like aluminum could be used to build low-cost housing. However, Sunnyside residents rejected the plan—and the house--and believed that the showpiece was out of character with the existing red-brick homes in the landmarked neighborhood. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the landmarks hearing that decided whether it could go up in the neighborhood, said that more than 350 people had contacted his office in opposition to the proposal, with only five voicing their support. State Sen. Mike Gianaris, at the same meeting, said: “I’ve been in public service for 13 years and I have seen community boards discuss all sort of things…but I have not seen such uniform opposition as with this project.” The Landmarks Commission rejected the plan in January 2014. However, the aluminum structure is very much wanted in Palm Springs. The Mayor of Palm Springs has raised $200,000 of the $600,000 needed to bring it there in just one month. The funds are needed to be transported the home, which is in a crate, and reassemble it. At a recent $250 per-person fundraiser to bring the structure to Palm Springs, the mayor of that city reportedly said: “If you have a product, that is an incredible product, people want to be a part of it. Hopefully, a year from now, we'll be having one heck of a party in downtown Palm Springs."  
Sunnyside gears up to celebrate ‘St Pat’s for All’
St Pats Feb. 18, By Christian Murray The 16th annual Sunnyside/Woodside 'St. Pat’s for All' parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 1—and will feature puppets, stilt walkers and plenty of Irish music. The St. Pat’s For All parade is arguably this neighborhood’s most popular event. When it began 16 years ago, it was largely a gay-pride parade – organized by a number of Irish men and women who were not allowed to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Ave under a gay banner. Today, the Sunnyside/Woodside parade draws plenty of seniors, children, minorities, to even the local dog group--Sunnyside United Dog Society. “We are the opening act for all the parades around the city that celebrate the fun and festivities of Ireland,” said Brendan Fay, a gay Irishman and co-chair of the event. The event, he said, always takes place on the first Sunday in March. Fay said he is expecting more than 2,000 people to participate this year. However, there could be more. He said that there is still time for community groups to sign up and that those interested just need to go to the St Pat’s for All website and register. The event this year will begin at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street and will end at 56th and Skillman. Music and speeches will begin at 1 pm, with the parade kicking off at 2pm. The parade will feature many of the same groups that have been coming for years—such as the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Football Club, the girl scouts, Swim Strong, The Red Cross, and Sunnyside Community Services. This year, five marching bands have already signed up as well as several Irish musicians. Several well-known gay groups, such as Dignity NY, Lavender and Green Alliance (an Irish LGBT group), Stonewall Democrats of NYC and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee are expected to march. This year’s parade comes at a time when the Fifth Avenue parade is allowing one gay group to march-- under the banner of the gay NBCUniversal employees. However, none of the Irish gay groups are permitted to march and gay activists will be protesting the event again this year. Fay, however, said that the Sunnyside-Woodside event would carry on even if gay groups were allowed to participate in the Fifth Avenue parade. “When it was announced that one gay group was allowed, I was asked what would happen to the our parade if it [the Fifth Avenue parade] were open to all gay groups,” Fay said. He said the Sunnyside/Woodside event would continue. Fay said that the parade is no longer a gay event but a community event, where all sorts of groups participate. “This parade is special,” Fay said. “Sunnyside and Woodside have increasingly embraced the parade as their own– and different groups continue to want to participate.” He said local businesses—such as bars and restaurants--have got behind the event. Ten bars and restaurants known as Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars are hosting a joint Irish music festival, where Irish bands will play at their respective pubs after the parade. Meanwhile, several bars/restaurants on Skillman Avenue are expected to be offering specials. For Kathleen Walsh D'Arcy, the other co-chair of the event, the parade is also about embracing immigrant groups and other cultures. There will be groups representing Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Romania—and several Jackson-Heights-based Muslim centers, D'Arcy said. This year’s two grand marshals are Kerry Kennedy, who is the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Brian F. O’Byrne, a well-known Broadway and movie actor. Fay said that the St. Pat’s For All parade has become a model for parades around the country—where various ethnic groups are celebrated and where there is inclusion of LGBT groups. However, the No. 7 train will not be running between Times Square and 74th Street on the weekend of the event. Fay said that they have reached out to the MTA to see whether its construction schedule can change on the day of the event. They have not heard back from the MTA. Details: Date: Sunday, March 1 Time: speeches at 1pm, parade kicks off at 2 pm Begins: Corner of Skillman Ave. and 43rd Street St-Pats    
Car crash on Queens Blvd leaves 9 people injured, 7 seriously
@agraneri (Instagram)

@agraneri (Instagram)

Feb.14, By Christian Murray Nine people were injured following a multiple vehicle crash on the corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street this morning, according to the FDNY. The crash took place at 4:03 am and seven people were taken to area hospitals in serious but stable condition. Two others were take to hospital after sustaining minor injuries, according to the FDNY. Details as to what caused the accident were not available. There were no reports that alcohol played a part in the accident.  The NYPD press office had not been notified about the crash by 10:15 am.
agraneri (Instagram)

agraneri (Instagram)

 
agraneri (Instagram)

agraneri (Instagram)

 

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