Street likely to be named in honor of Irish-American Athletic Club

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27 Responses to Street likely to be named in honor of Irish-American Athletic Club

  1. Pat

    I rmember my Dad telling stories of how before the Celtic Garden apartments were built, the Irish used to come from all over the city to festivities held on the grounds.
    He said that the #7 line only came to the Rawson St station and that the people would walk up from there. He told of how Queens Boulevard would be filled with people all dressed up and of the ladies in their beautiful dresses and hats coming up the boulevard ..
    He came here in 1929 so his sightings would be in the early 1930's ..

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  2. Roger_the_Shrubber

    Good idea.

    Pity the co-op board was too politically correct and short-sighted to put up a simple commemorative plaque. It would have added some historical flair to the property.

    Their logic was completely backward. They claimed the plaque might offend residents of non-Irish descent. Anyway, the property is called CELTIC PARK. So, it's ok to name the property Celtic Park but informing people of Celtic Park's history with a modest plaque is offensive? Besides the prissy co-op board, who exactly is offended by this? Nobody I've spoken to.

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  3. Roger_the_Shrubber

    "...the board eventually denied his request arguing that the fist evoked racism."

    Good grief, what isn't called "racist" these days? That word gets thrown around like confetti. If anyone looks at that logo and sees racism, well, psychiatrists have a term for that, it's called "projection."

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  4. Sunnyside Dame

    I love this. I wish my street address would change, but my apt is the 42nd st side of Celtic Park. I also think the plaque discussions should resume again. I think honoring the past is very important.

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  5. Diane K

    As a Celtic Park resident, I support the plaque - but the board doesn't have the power to approve it because it would require a majority shareholder vote, and our neighbors in this complex do not come to the annual meeting to vote on anything, unfortunately. Not even their board representation!

    The street renaming is a great idea - and I bet more people will see the street sign that a plaque anyhow.

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  6. pogue_mahone

    @diane k

    The board has done plenty of things without a shareholder vote - the flag pole which I like and the tacky pepto bismal colored flower pots they bought a while back. They also seem to like butchering trees without asking anybody. I agree about the shareholder apathy though, it's sad.

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  7. AM

    so we're wasting time, effort, and money
    on dead/old people one guy wants to remember

    oh, okay.

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  8. Sunnyside of Life

    Celtic Park management always has a fresh cup of "no", ready to serve anyone walking in their door. The plaque could only increase the cache of the neighborhood in general and the coop specifically. As long as the shareholders remain apathetic to everything, nothing will change. The plaque would be OK, but if it involves any extra paperwork for the office, lots of luck. They are understaffed and swamped or just difficult and lazy. Either way, the results speak for themselves. I've lived there for a while now and I've never heard a kind word about the office, and I've spoken to dozens of shareholders in both buildings-every one has a story, and they're never happy when they recount it. But, back on point- good for Ian, I hope his long standing efforts are rewarded.

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  9. Patrick

    Will someone clarify: Is this an honorary street renaming or is 43rd St officially being renamed (I live on the street, so would my mail need to be addressed to 48-xx Winged Fist Way, Woodside, NY 11377)? Ha, that would be quite the unusual street name. I assume co-naming means it is honorary.

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  10. Mo

    Oh, that would be a nice touch to the neighborhood. Can 44th Street be renamed "Dog Poop Alley"?

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  11. John

    Great job Ian. I had know idea about any of this.

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  12. pogue_mahone

    Mo,

    That name's been taken by several streets in Paris I think.

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  13. Sunnyside Up

    Keep up the effort Ian! This is neighborhood history. The fist represents physical strength for an ATHLETIC club. How is that seen as racist?
    Zeeesh.

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  14. Sunnyside Up

    This was a club for athletes--REGARDLESS of race or religion.

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  15. AM

    "when the irish ruled ny sports" give me an effin break... that was 100 years ago.
    this is bull. are you serious? did anyone click any links relating to this?

    "...detailed, historical explanation of the ethnic and religious diversity within the I-AAC membership..."
    i like how the article didn't fail to mention african-americans were medalists... look at that picture! is that the ONE black guy? ONE? okay, so the picture isn't a good example of ALL the members of the IAAC? okay, well... if you read on further, they recruited their token african-american
    click the link. WAIT- and he was half white. WAIT- and he died really early on in life, does he count?
    it says there were other ethnic groups who belonged to the IAAC... but i dont see many ethnically diverse names on the plaque. You have to be kidding me! this is from a time in history where no one wanted to stirr the cultural pot and youre telling me that the IAAC was doing that and there is proof, no way. i highly doubt it, especially in the world of competitive sports.
    i feel like theyre trying to pass this off as something it's not, and i dont appreciate it.
    i agree with hankin's decision!
    i understand sunnyside is has a large Irish-American community, mostly residing in northern-sunnyside (since the terms north and south are becoming popular on here). so, even looking at it geographically... it doesnt make sense. Go throw a statue in doughboy or skillman park, its big enough and around the people who would appreciate it more.

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  16. Frank_Drebbin

    AM

    Do you do anything else besides nit-pick, whine and throw mud? Has your diaper been changed recently?

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  17. Sunnyside of Life

    Well, "Celtic Park " would be a better name than Winged Fist Way, that sounds like a kung -fu movie. But since CP administration has been so difficult, why should Ian further exalt those who would deny him? Either "way", it's a plaque and a street sign for heaven's sake. Hundreds of these go up and down, and I can't imagine they all require this much handwringing.

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  18. J

    Ugh, I live in CP and really, who cares about this plaque. Put it up, don't put it up. Everything in this building is a huge debate - even the petty small things. However, I am also a renter so my opinion doesn't matter - which is why I don't go to their annual meeting or vote on whatever it is they are voting on. To me, it's just an apartment complex. Sure there is some history to it, much like a lot of other buildings in NYC, but come on! The residents like to think it's some sort of palace - get real.

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  19. Cindi Schofield

    Mel Sheppard (my grandfather), ran for the IAAC, Winged fist track club. He won 4 gold medals & 1 silver medal @ the 1908 & 1912 Olympics. He was proud to be a member of that organization, and was also very proud to be on the 1908 Oympic, relay Gold Medal winning team with the first black American to ever win a Gold Medal.
    Their club brought a lot of glory & honor back the U.S. after the games were over.
    By naming a street after the club would be the right & honorable thing to do. The timing is great, if possible, since the 2012 Olympics are back in London where it all began in 1908.

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  20. Yank_Robbins

    Wow, people are so cynical,some of the comments are so negative for no good reason really.

    53 Olympic medals from a single organization that happened to bring cross-cultural identity to its members. Uniting New York City at a time when Irish and African Americans and Jews were highly discriminated against. Not even being allowed to enter some establishments for their races.

    In a time before the presidency's of John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan when Irish Americans would become recognized as a tremendous force in American politics, would the stature and reputation of these hard working immigrants be recognized.

    I think its a huge
    Story that should be recognized not only for the cultural aspect but mainly for the shear athletic accomplishment alone. Least of which being my Great Grandfather was one of the Olympians on the team.

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  21. Daithí Mac Lochlainn

    Although an integral part of the City of New York for over 100 years, our Borough, arguably the most cultural diverse one hundred square miles in the United States, and perhaps, the world, gets short shrift in the annals of history.

    Yet, Ian McGowan has done a tremendous job in reminding us of this most intriguing chapter.

    The history of the IAAC, a group founded primarily by one set of immigrants to these shores, yet open and welcoming to willing participants of all backgrounds, is so reflective of New York at her best.

    Although the Club is gone along with its stadium, we need its ethos of brotherhood, community and sportsmanship so much at this time.

    Renaming a section of 43rd Street would do much to keep our local history ever before us.

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  22. T. McConnell

    New York is a great city because people respect its history and hold its neighborhoods to a high standard. Without a sense of those who went before there's no incentive to respect what they built. I wish good luck to all who support this street naming honor for Queens. Why should Manhattan and Brooklyn get all the credit for New York's character. Claim this for Sunnyside before someone else grabs it. And if you don't do it out of respect for the past do it for those who will occupy these streets in the future. Be a good steward of your neighborhood. That's what keeps our city the greatest in the world.

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  23. Wayne Baker

    I've had the pleasure of taking Johnny Hayes' gold medal to several places around the globe. He won the race that would set the standard distance of the marathon. Among his teammates was John B. Taylor, the first African-American Olympic gold medalist. On their return from Europe after the 1908 Olympics, they had a visit with President Teddy Roosevelt at Sagamore Hill, his Oyster Bay, LI home. Simply put, they were the greatest athletic stars of their era. A few years later, Celtic Park hosted Jim Thorpe, still considered by many to be the greatest athlete who ever lived. I'm pleased that there's finally a chance to recognize the important events that happened at Celtic Park.

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  24. dj

    Is AM a troll?

    I trust he has never known anyone who died. Apparently, those people aren't worth remembering. I guess there's no reason to maintain Memorial Day, either.

    As for his comments regarding John Baxter Taylor: Yes, Taylor was the only black member of the club. Being a racially integrated club was extremely unusual at that time, which is what makes the "tokenism" important.

    Does AM remember, or known about, 1947? Probably not, it's the past and ought to be buried, along with any memories of that year. But it was also the year when, for an entire season, Jackie Robinson was the "token" black on the Brooklyn Dodgers. What is a token to some is the start of a legacy to others.

    And what does AM know about Taylor's parents that is unknown to historians? Taylor was half-white? Where does he come up with such an idea?

    Am spouts preposterous nonsense that ought to be dispelled immediately.

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  25. Richard O Connor

    Ian,just came from Community Board 2 monthly meeting where a motion was made for the co-naming of 43rd. st. from 48ave. to 50ave. to Winged Fist Way. A motion normally goes by a rollcall vote of members of C.B.2 , but after your Dad and I spoke on your behalf and because of the support of congressman Crowley ,Christine Quinn , Jimmy Van Bremmer , District Leader Deirdre Feerick ,Cathy Nolan , and our local civic group The United 40"s Assoc. Etc Etc ,. So it went to a vote by a show of hands , it was unamamous .Congrts Ian , all your hard work payed off. Rich O Connor

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  26. Eric Erickson

    I am very surprised at all the controversy. First, I must say that my great grandfather, Egon Erickson, was recruited by the Irish American club. Before that he was with another group (Mott Haven). My Great Grandfather was a swede. That opportunity that was given to him by the Irish American Club enabled him to attend the 1912 Olympic games. It also enabled many other americans that were not Irish to compete. I am very surprised that we have forgotten our heritage. It doesn't matter whether you are Irish, Swedish, Italian, etc.... We all got along back then. We formed great friendships. When I was a kid living in the Bronx. There were all ethnicities on that block. We all looked after each other. There was very little crime on our street because we all knew each other. Ian is only trying to bring a little of that back. Ian, you did a great thing. I hope one day when I return to New York I can see that street sign.

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  27. Tracy Schofield Miller

    I just want to say thank you to Ian McGowan and all those who have supported his efforts. I am the great granddaughter of Mel Sheppard. It was because of my great grandfather's Olympic successes that I was so inspired as a cross country and track athlete. Because of the legacy he left behind, my Mom's cousin passed down to me personally the gold medal awarded to Mel from the Amateur Athletic Association (in England) for the record time set as he ran on to complete the 880 yard finish immediately after he finished the 800 meter Olympic Gold Winning Race in London, England on July 22, 1908. I'm proud of my great grandfather and all of the athletes who competed for the United States in Track and Field thanks to the Irish American Athletic Club.

    I am not the only one who was directly or indirectly inspired by the rich heritage of the members of the IAAC. The renaming of the street to Winged Fist Way is a wonderful way to recognize these Olympians who are a part of our nation's heritage.

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Sunnyside elementary school renamed ‘The Walter McCaffrey Campus’
PS 343

Walter McCaffrey Campus (PS 343)

Dec. 19, By Michael Florio

The new elementary school on 42nd Street in Sunnyside has been renamed The Walter McCaffrey Campus.

McCaffrey, who was born and raised in Woodside, represented the 26th Council district—that Jimmy Van Bramer represents today–between 1985 and 2001.

McCaffrey died July 10, 2013, at the age of 64 as a result of ongoing health issues made worse by a car accident two months prior to his death.

This morning former Community Board 2 chair Joe Conley and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer went to PS 343 (45-46 42nd Street) to formally change the name of the new school and unveil a plaque in the late councilman’s honor.

waltermccaffreycampus“We have lost a champion and a good friend,” said Conley, shortly after McCaffrey’s death last year. “His wit, humor and intelligence were unmatched,” he said, adding that “he was still very involved in the community right up to the end.”

Meanwhile, Van Bramer referred to McCaffrey as a “political giant.”

Prior to being elected in 1985, McCaffrey served as chairman of Community Board 2.

In May, the corner of 61st and Woodside Avenue in Queens, New York, was renamed “Walter McCaffrey Place” in his honor.

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Manhattan man robs 97-year-old Sunnyside woman in her home, sentenced to 11 years prison

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Dec. 18, By Christian Murray

A 59-year Manhattan man pleaded guilty today in connection with two home invasions—including one that involved a 97-year-old Sunnyside woman.

Salvador Morales, from 158th Street,  would follow older women home, gain access to their apartment and then rob them.

“One’s home is their castle and should be a place of refuge and safety, not a crime scene,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown. “In robbing his victims inside their homes, the defendant stole more than just money and personal property, he stole his victims’ security.”

Morales will be sentenced to 11-years prison, Brown said.

The 97-year old Sunnyside woman was targeted by Morales on April 19, 2014, when he followed her into her apartment building.

Morales, who was wearing a surgical mask, rode up the elevator with the woman and then a short time later knocked on her door claiming he had been sent by the landlord to check for leaks.

Morales then ran the water in her kitchen.

He then asked the victim for change for $100 and the 97-year-old produced an envelope containing cash.

Morales then splashed water on the woman’s hands and convinced her to remove her rings in order not to damage them.

He then fled the apartment with the woman’s rings and the envelope containing more than $700 in cash.

In Flushing, Morales followed two senior citizens home after they left a nearby bank on April 5. As the two women were entering their apartment, he pushed both of them to the floor. He then fled with one woman’s pocketbook contained more than $1000.

The other woman sustained a fractured leg as a result of the push and was taken to hospital.

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Residents produces video: ‘Christmas in Sunnyside’

Christmas in Sunnyside, Queens, NYC from George on Vimeo.

A Sunnyside resident has put together a video titled “Christmas in Sunnyside”.

George Burles, who provides frequent videos to this site, shot it in the past week.

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12 weekends of No. 7 train service cuts through May: Nine to impact Sunnyside

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Dec. 17, By Christian Murray

Get ready for the latest round of No. 7 train weekend service cuts.

The MTA released its schedule for the first five months of 2015 and the No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends. Five of those weekend will see cuts between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street.

In addition, there will be weekend service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street on three other weekends.

The first weekend of the Times Square/Queensboro Plaza cuts is scheduled to take place January 17-19, which will be the first of four weekends in a row that it will be down.

The MTA says that the cuts are in order for it to install a new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal system; replace elevated tracks; and for the reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tubes (which connects Queens to Manhattan).

The MTA, which is a state-run agency, claims that majority of this work has been scheduled over weekends when ridership is lower than normal.

Van Bramer said that it was unacceptable that the MTA would close service for several weekends in a row in January and February—during the coldest month of the year.

He said that residents might be a little more forgiving about the closures if they had seen improved service as promised. However, “the truth is that over the past few months No. 7 train regular service has been poor and there have been lots of delays.”

He said that on December 11 the delays were so bad that the overcrowded subway platforms put commuters at risk.

 

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Sunnyside farmers market to be open all year round

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Dec. 16, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket, which had been operating from May through December, has been approved to open all year round.

The coordinator of the program received word about 10 days ago–after putting in a request earlier this year to open every Saturday for the entire year.

Greenmarket representatives started a petition drive in August calling for a year-round market. More than 1,000 residents signed it. The community board then sent a letter of support.

The market operates every Saturday from 8 am through 3pm and is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

“I think the neighborhood is ready for it,” said Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, in September. “There are a lot of people in the area who like fresh, local food—and they don’t want to have to go too far to get it especially in winter.”

The market, which opened in June 2007, has proved to be a success. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling vegetables, meat, fish and bread.

Most of the vendors will continue to operate during the ice-cold winter months—with only the wine and fish vendors unlikely to participate.

The move to open a year-round is not unprecedented in Queens. Cagle said the market in Jackson Heights, which was once seasonal, now operates all year round.

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Center Cinemas likely to close Jan. 4, as owner rejects six-month lease extension

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Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

The owner of Sunnyside Center Cinemas has rejected the six-month lease extension that he was offered by the building owner last week —saying the extension is just too short.

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said it was not worth hiring new staff or unpacking his equipment for six extra months. His last day remains January 4.

“My bags are packed and are pretty much sitting at the front door,” he said.

Prashad said that he mulled over the offer over the weekend but decided it didn’t make sense. “I’ve been making preparations, dealing with staff and it just doesn’t work for me to go back for that short of time.”

Prashad said that he had been trying to reach the owner for the past year to work out where he stood with his lease. He said that if he had been offered the extension three months ago then it would have worked out.

However, at this point, he would be only be willing to stay if he was offered at least 12 months.

Prashad said that movie theaters like his tend to make their money in summer and scrape by in winter. A six month lease would end just before the summer peak seasib kicks in.

Several residents are hoping that the property owner John Ciafone will offer Prashad a longer lease.

Many want to know if Ciafone is able to build the apartments above the theater without completely demolishing it.

A rally is scheduled to take place between 12:30 and 1:30 pm in front of the theater this Sunday and is being organized by local residents Ty Sullivan and Jon Storck.

“We hope it might help open up a discussion between the landlord and the theater owner,” Sullivan said, who believes the rally will be worthwhile.

Sullivan said the loss of the theater would hurt low-income families the most– since many would be unable to afford going to the big multiplex cinemas in Astoria or elsewhere.

The rally, Sullivan said, also aims to show that Sunnyside is a community and that people care.

“This is a neighborhood that is made up of independently-owned and family-owned businesses,” he said. “It’s family-friendly and affordable and we don’t want to lose that. We want to tell buildings owners that is who we are and that’s how we would like to remain.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he supports those involved in the rally—such as Sullivan and Storck.

“I want them to know I am behind them and I will be amplifying their voices as their council member,” he said

Van Bramer encourages John Ciafone to come back to the negotiating table to see what can be done.

“I will be reaching out to John Ciafone and his family again,” he said.

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Two residents turning Sunnyside into a hub for comedy, with big show planned for Tuesday
Lindsay Goldwert

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio

Two Sunnyside comedians are turning the neighborhood into a go-to place for comedy.

Comedians Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, who have formed Sunnyside Comedy, have already produced two local shows and are about to put on their biggest event yet.

The two will be hosting “The X-mas Comedy Show” at Murphy’s, located at 48-20 Skillman Avenue, this Tuesday (Dec. 16) and are bringing nine comedians to the venue. Tickets will be  $10 and will be sold at the door. The show starts at 8:30 pm.

“We have put a lot of work into the Christmas show and are excited about the comedians who we have performing,” Goldwert said. (see line up below)

The two teamed up and began hosting comedy shows together this fall, after meeting at an open mic night in Manhattan over the summer.

“We both live in Sunnyside and Colin told me he was trying to put together comedy shows in the neighborhood,” Goldwert said. “It is a lot of work for one person and when he asked me to join, I did.”

Samuel hosted one show over the summer prior to teaming up with Goldwert. However, their first show as a duo, took place in October at The Dog and Duck on Skillman Ave.

The two have hosted two shows since– another at The Dog and Duck and one at Marlene Tavern.

Goldwert said that each venue provides attendees with a different experience. The Dog and Duck is a more casual venue, where people can enjoy a drink and the show, while Marlene Tavern has the classic comedy club feel to it.

Goldwert has been doing standup for a year, while Samuel has been in the business for some time.

They decided to host shows in Sunnyside to help promote local businesses, while also fill a void in the community.

“We love living here and wanted to bring comedy to the community,” she said. “There is a growth of comedy in LIC and Astoria and we wanted to add to that by bringing comedy shows to Sunnyside.”

“We like the idea of bringing something new to the neighborhood,” she added.

The pair aims to promote local businesses by having them sponsor shows. Each show will feature giveaways, with prizes provided by local bars and businesses.

Goldwert said Sunnyside Comedy plans to host three shows a month, with each show being free unless otherwise noted. Two shows a month will be at The Dog and Duck with one at Marlene Tavern.

For more information on Sunnyside Comedy, go to Twitter at @ComedySunnyside or Facebook: https://facebook.com/puttinonthebliss

Photo source: ‘It’s in Queens’

The event was originally planned to take place at Marlene’s Tavern but has been changed to Murphy’s at 48-20 Skillman Avenue.

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy's Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy’s Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

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Sunnysiders plan rally and start petition drive to save Center Cinemas– as landlord offers six-month extension

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 11, By Christian Murray

A petition has formed and a rally is being planned as local residents try to save Sunnyside Center Cinemas from the wrecking ball.

An online petition started Wednesday that has already garnered more than 240 signatures. Meanwhile, Ty Sullivan and Jon Stork, two local activists, are already planning to hold a rally outside the theater that is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 21 (details to come).

The petition—called “Save the Sunnyside Theater”– is addressed to the property owner/developer John Ciafone. It reads, in part, “Save the movie theater from demolition and have a new lease extended.”

Meanwhile, Sullivan is reaching out to the media and various community groups as he plans the rally. He is designing posters, fliers and launching a social-media campaign to generate community interest.

This activism comes at a time when Ciafone has just offered the owner of the theater Rudy Prashad a six month extension to his lease. After the six months, he would operate on a month-to month basis.

Prashad, however, seeks a longer lease claiming that he has organized movers and contractors to remove all the seats from the theater as required. Furthermore he has already told his staff about the upcoming closure.

“I don’t want to be in the same position in six months time where I am now,” Prashad said. “Then I’m operating on a month-to-month basis when I can be kicked out any time.”

“I need a 5 year lease–although I would take something in between,” Prashad said. However, he has not dismissed Ciafone’s offer at this point.

Prashad said that he has been surprised by the community’s desire to keep the theater going. “It shows people have a passion for the community and that they are looking out for their children and their neighbor’s children.”

Ciafone said that he decided to offer Prashad an extension since he still has a lot of work to do before he can start construction. Asked if he could do better than offer Prashad a 6 month extension—he said “that’s the best I can do.”

Ciafone plans on building a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being “affordable”. The building will also have ground floor retail and a community center on the second floor.

The building requires new foundations since it was not constructed with 5-7 stories in mind. Therefore, Ciafone said, the theater has to be demolished. Furthermore, there will be a need for underground parking.

“When I finished we could invite him [Prashad] back,” he said.

Ciafone was nonchalant about the “Save the theater” petition. “I could get a petition going with just as many signatures from people wanting affordable housing,” he said.

“The likely closure of the theater is a reflection of changing times,” said Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien. “You want to see small businesses prevail and they are the backbone of the economy but if they don’t have lease then there is not much you can do.”

O’Brien said it is a shame what’s happening since the cinema is one of the last vestiges of old-fashion entertainment in the area. He said there used to be several theaters in the neighborhood at one time and also the Sunnyside Gardens Arena.

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio

A massive two-alarm fire erupted inside a Woodside store yesterday morning, requiring more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, according to an FDNY spokeswoman.

The fire erupted at Don’s Professional Services, located at 38-05 69th Street, near Roosevelt Ave, just before 11 am on Wednesday morning. It then spread to three neighboring stores through a shared attic, according to the FDNY.

The fire was brought under control just before 11:45 am.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Two residents turning Sunnyside into a hub for comedy, with big show planned for Tuesday
Lindsay Goldwert

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio Two Sunnyside comedians are turning the neighborhood into a go-to place for comedy. Comedians Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, who have formed Sunnyside Comedy, have already produced two local shows and are about to put on their biggest event yet. The two will be hosting “The X-mas Comedy Show” at Murphy's, located at 48-20 Skillman Avenue, this Tuesday (Dec. 16) and are bringing nine comedians to the venue. Tickets will be  $10 and will be sold at the door. The show starts at 8:30 pm. “We have put a lot of work into the Christmas show and are excited about the comedians who we have performing,” Goldwert said. (see line up below) The two teamed up and began hosting comedy shows together this fall, after meeting at an open mic night in Manhattan over the summer. “We both live in Sunnyside and Colin told me he was trying to put together comedy shows in the neighborhood,” Goldwert said. “It is a lot of work for one person and when he asked me to join, I did.” Samuel hosted one show over the summer prior to teaming up with Goldwert. However, their first show as a duo, took place in October at The Dog and Duck on Skillman Ave. The two have hosted two shows since-- another at The Dog and Duck and one at Marlene Tavern. Goldwert said that each venue provides attendees with a different experience. The Dog and Duck is a more casual venue, where people can enjoy a drink and the show, while Marlene Tavern has the classic comedy club feel to it. Goldwert has been doing standup for a year, while Samuel has been in the business for some time. They decided to host shows in Sunnyside to help promote local businesses, while also fill a void in the community. “We love living here and wanted to bring comedy to the community,” she said. “There is a growth of comedy in LIC and Astoria and we wanted to add to that by bringing comedy shows to Sunnyside.” “We like the idea of bringing something new to the neighborhood,” she added. The pair aims to promote local businesses by having them sponsor shows. Each show will feature giveaways, with prizes provided by local bars and businesses. Goldwert said Sunnyside Comedy plans to host three shows a month, with each show being free unless otherwise noted. Two shows a month will be at The Dog and Duck with one at Marlene Tavern. For more information on Sunnyside Comedy, go to Twitter at @ComedySunnyside or Facebook: https://facebook.com/puttinonthebliss Photo source: 'It's in Queens' The event was originally planned to take place at Marlene's Tavern but has been changed to Murphy's at 48-20 Skillman Avenue.
NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy's Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy's Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

Sunnysiders plan rally and start petition drive to save Center Cinemas– as landlord offers six-month extension
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002 Dec. 11, By Christian Murray A petition has formed and a rally is being planned as local residents try to save Sunnyside Center Cinemas from the wrecking ball. An online petition started Wednesday that has already garnered more than 240 signatures. Meanwhile, Ty Sullivan and Jon Stork, two local activists, are already planning to hold a rally outside the theater that is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 21 (details to come). The petition—called “Save the Sunnyside Theater”-- is addressed to the property owner/developer John Ciafone. It reads, in part, “Save the movie theater from demolition and have a new lease extended.” Meanwhile, Sullivan is reaching out to the media and various community groups as he plans the rally. He is designing posters, fliers and launching a social-media campaign to generate community interest. This activism comes at a time when Ciafone has just offered the owner of the theater Rudy Prashad a six month extension to his lease. After the six months, he would operate on a month-to month basis. Prashad, however, seeks a longer lease claiming that he has organized movers and contractors to remove all the seats from the theater as required. Furthermore he has already told his staff about the upcoming closure. “I don’t want to be in the same position in six months time where I am now,” Prashad said. “Then I’m operating on a month-to-month basis when I can be kicked out any time.” “I need a 5 year lease--although I would take something in between,” Prashad said. However, he has not dismissed Ciafone's offer at this point. Prashad said that he has been surprised by the community’s desire to keep the theater going. “It shows people have a passion for the community and that they are looking out for their children and their neighbor’s children.” Ciafone said that he decided to offer Prashad an extension since he still has a lot of work to do before he can start construction. Asked if he could do better than offer Prashad a 6 month extension—he said “that’s the best I can do.” Ciafone plans on building a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being “affordable”. The building will also have ground floor retail and a community center on the second floor. The building requires new foundations since it was not constructed with 5-7 stories in mind. Therefore, Ciafone said, the theater has to be demolished. Furthermore, there will be a need for underground parking. “When I finished we could invite him [Prashad] back,” he said. Ciafone was nonchalant about the “Save the theater” petition. “I could get a petition going with just as many signatures from people wanting affordable housing,” he said. "The likely closure of the theater is a reflection of changing times," said Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien. “You want to see small businesses prevail and they are the backbone of the economy but if they don’t have lease then there is not much you can do.” O’Brien said it is a shame what’s happening since the cinema is one of the last vestiges of old-fashion entertainment in the area. He said there used to be several theaters in the neighborhood at one time and also the Sunnyside Gardens Arena.
Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio A massive two-alarm fire erupted inside a Woodside store yesterday morning, requiring more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, according to an FDNY spokeswoman. The fire erupted at Don’s Professional Services, located at 38-05 69th Street, near Roosevelt Ave, just before 11 am on Wednesday morning. It then spread to three neighboring stores through a shared attic, according to the FDNY. The fire was brought under control just before 11:45 am. There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.  
Lonely Planet names Queens as the best place to visit in US next year
Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report The borough of Queens was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, a leading news outlet that covers the travel industry. Queens drew praise for its eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway. “Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens. Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org). If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.” Warm-Up_photo1“Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk — this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and wine bars.” Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA). “I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, after the announcement. “It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.” The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products. For the write up on Queens, please click here.
Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 9, By Christian Murray Call it a preemptive strike. A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards. A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week. The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures. Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.” Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. But the petitioners say not so fast. “Sunnyside and Long Island City's infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads. “The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don 't know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards - bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.” Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.” Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: "We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse." Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF
Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600 Dec. 7, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater's owner said Sunday. Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building. Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease. “They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.” “It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.” Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years-- $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said. There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5. Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.” Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012. Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s. He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time. Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens. There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups. pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves. With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space. The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights. Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community. When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants. PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said. The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business. Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages-- not Broadway Stages the entity. Please Note: Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site  
New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The Chairman of Community Board 2 Joe Conley received a standing ovation at last night’s community board meeting after officially announcing that he was stepping down. Conley said that after serving two decades as chairman that it was time to move on. “It’s been a great honor to be the voice of the board,” he said. “I have had a good run…and made life-long friends with the people in this room,” he added, as he began to choke up. Conley had notified board members two days prior to the meeting that he was resigning. The timing of the announcement came as a great surprise to many and was the cause of much debate, since last night was the date for the board’s annual elections. Several members said that they were caught off guard by Conley’s sudden announcement and wanted to delay the elections a month in order for all the board members to evaluate whether they wanted to run. Lisa Deller, the secretary of the board, however, presented a slate of candidates to take the executive board positions. All but one was on the executive board last year. The slate was Patrick O’Brien, chair; Stephen Cooper, first vice chairman; Denise Keehan-Smith, secretary; Lisa Deller, second vice chair; and Diane Ballek, treasurer. Conley said that board members were notified in October that they could put their names on the ballet to run--but no one had expressed interest. Furthermore, he said, people were free to nominate themselves for those spots last night. “We have looked for nominations and this is a very open process,” Conley said. However, some members said that the departure of Conley completely changed the course of the election. Others were perplexed why Conley only gave the board two days notice prior to the election. Sheila Lewandowski said that board members should be given time to decide whether they want to put them themselves on the slate. She, like many, advocated for postponing the vote. “We have had 2 days and many [board members] are not here to consider this. I think it would be responsible to be thoughtful and wait…this is big.” O’Brien said he was willing to put off the election a month if it made the board more comfortable. “I don’t want to walk into a situation …where there is a division among people,” he said. There were, however, several strong advocates who wanted the vote to take place last night. “If you want to run put you name forward now,” said one board member. The board put it to a vote to determine whether the election should be held last night. The majority won by an unofficial count of 19 for and 15 against. The election was then held and a slim majority voted in the slate. O'Brien was announced the new chair. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said this morning that he looks forward to working with O’Brien. “He is a good person with strong experience. I worked with him when I was on the board.” However, he said, he didn’t see the harm in waiting another month for people to think about the vote. “I m not sure it would have changed the result but the process is important,” he said. “How you come to decision-- especially if people are divided –is as important as the decision itself.” “Normally you would have a unanimous vote for these positions,” Van Bramer said. However, I think the “people who voted no were voting against the process.”  
Police arrest second man wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The second suspect wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Terrel Balanding, a 27-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 3 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The arrest comes just one day after Thomas Fullwood, 29, was arrested for the same crime. Balanding and Fullwood approached William Eichhorn, 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. The men punched him in the face and then stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground.
Joe Conley, Community Board 2 Chair, is stepping down
Joe Conley (third from left)

Joe Conley (third from left) at groundbreaking

Dec. 4, Christian Murray Joe Conley, the long-serving Community Board 2 chair, is stepping down. Multiple sources said that Conley, who has been chair for over 25 years, will be making the announcement tonight when Community Board 2 has its full monthly meeting. Conley’s departure from the community board will result in the biggest shake up the board has seen in nearly 30 years. For the past decade, the same leadership structure has been in place: Conley as chairman; Steve Cooper, first vice chairman; Patrick O'Brien, second vice chairman; Lisa Deller, secretary, and Diane Ballek, treasurer Tonight the board will be holding an election for all of these positions and at the very least there will be a new chairperson. At this point, the field is wide open, according to sources. Board members were only alerted to Conley’s departure yesterday. “It will be an interesting transition,” said Lisa Deller, who is the head of the land use committee. “Joe has contributed a lot. He has given his heart and soul to the board, and whether people are for or against what he has done…it should not be forgotten that he has gone above and beyond.” Joe-Conley-250x2501Conley could not be reached for comment. Conley, who has always been the recipient of great praise from his fellow board colleagues, was instrumental in turning the prostitute-ridden Long Island City into the thriving neighborhood it is today. He was also was the chair during the Sunnyside-Woodside rezoning. The chairperson has significant control of the board. He/she decides which members sit on what committees and who chairs them. The chair is also the one who runs the monthly meetings and is the public face of the board. While the community board is deemed advisory, it does have significant influence-- particularly on land use, liquor license and transportation issues. The new chair will take the helm at a time when there are many ongoing issues. There is the ongoing debate about backyard seating in Long Island City, the construction of affordable housing, continued development and the possible construction over the Sunnyside Yards.
Put on your santa suit, Sunnyside Boulevard Bars to host Santathon Bar Crawl
2012 Sanathon

2012 Santathon

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray Hundreds of Santas are going to be lining the streets of Sunnyside this Saturday as they participate in the neighborhood’s third annual Santathon/pub-crawl. Eleven bars along—or near—Queens Blvd are putting on the festive event, where attendees will go from bar-to-bar and will be able to buy $4 beers. Participants will be required to pay $10 for a wristband and wear a Santa costume (or at least a Santa hat) to get the $4 beers. The $10 wrist bands can be bought at any of the bars—from now until the time of event. The proceeds will be donated to children’s charities to buy toys for needy kids this holiday season. The bars are also accepting toys and monetary donations from now until Christmas. The pub crawl will begin at 3:00 pm and go until late.  Participants are able to begin their journey at any of the bars but must then follow the order of Santa’s route (see map). The participating bars are: Arriba Arriba, Bar 43, Maggie Mae's, Bliss Street Station, The Courtyard Ale House, McGuinness's Saloon, Molly Blooms, Sidetracks, Jack's Fire Dept., The Gaslight and PJ Horgan's. Last year’s Santathon raised more than $10,000 in monetary and new toy donations. “We really want this to be a big event, ” said Nick Murphy, the co-owner of Bar 43 & Grill. “We are all coming together to put on a great community event that will help raise money for charity.” The eleven bars are part of what’s known as Sunnyside Boulevard Bars, a group that was formed in 2012 and has held several events, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Music Festival. The organization has raised more than $25,000 for charity since its inception. The beneficiaries have included Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club and the 51st Street Fire Station (Engine 325/Ladder 163). Details Saturday, Dec. 6 Time: 3 pm
Map

Map

Police arrest man for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider, cops closing in on second suspect
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray One of the two men wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Thomas Fullwood, a 29-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 2 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The police are still searching for the other suspect. Fullwood and his accomplice approached William Eichhorn. 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. One of the men punched him in the face and then they both stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground. According to sources, Fullwood has provided information to the police identifying the second individual involved in the attack.
The police are still searching for this suspect

The police are still searching for this suspect

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