5 Pointz to face wrecking ball by Sept. 2013

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43 Responses to 5 Pointz to face wrecking ball by Sept. 2013

  1. Paul Maringelli

    The people in the surrounding neighborhoods have been trying to get rid of that eyesore for many years. It's a magnet for graffiti vandals who brought all sorts of trouble to Sunnyside and L.I.C.
    Thank God that it will soon be gone.

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  2. Krissi

    I adore 5 Pointz and disagree with Paul.

    Graffiti vandals don't target legal graffiti spaces. Besides the fact that the art on 5 Pointz can barely be called graffiti. If you walked through 5 Pointz you would notice that they do amazing work over there. It's hardly the awful "tagging" we get over here in Sunnyside.

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  3. TheBitchyWaiter

    I was always under the impression that the graffiti art was allowed and encouraged. It's hardly an eyesore. I do think it's cool that they will still have walls for graffiti as well as art studios.

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  4. Mike Novak

    "Wolkoff, however, has to apply for a special permit to build the project on this scale. The development would create 980,000 sqf. in space, well over 5 times the size of the lot that is permitted. Therefore, he is seeking a permit that would allow him to build 8 times the lot area."
    VOTE NO TO THIS OVERSIZE BEHEMOTH!!!

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  5. Sunnyside Dame

    I was just there yesterday and witnessed a wedding party being photographed. 5 Pointz is an icon in the neighborhood and is so inspiring in person. It is the only thing I enjoy about riding the 7 train. I do not want to see it demolished for more suburban sprawl.

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  6. Pat

    Has anyone thought about how two buildings 41 stories and 47 stories will affect the view of the New York skyline from Queens ????

    A little lower and everyone could be happy ...

    Great that they will include a space for continuing the grafitti artistry in that area ...

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  7. Roger_the_Shrubber

    More tall, ugly buildings that block out the sun, ruin the view and chill the soul.

    Wonderful.

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  8. El don

    Good riddence to bad rubbish! I could never stand the site of that building anyway! Graffiti is NOT art! It's just plain vandalism, & there is nothing attractive or inspiring about that crap painted all over public spaces! All it does is to dispoil the city!
    Just sayin'!

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  9. nobody

    bummer. 5 pointz is one of the only things in LIC i'm proud to pass by on the ride home everyday.

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  10. John

    5 pointz is a disgusting mess that I hate with a passion.
    If the owner needs some free labor to tear it down he can contact me.
    Are huge towers the best replacement? probably not. But better than the existing garbage.

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  11. king of Queens

    What a bunch old worn out prudes!!! reside here in sunnyside but don't fret
    we young folks are moving in and taking over adios to the OLD smelly guard.

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  12. Steven B

    this owner will be using the demolition of an "eyesore" to try to win favor for exceeding as of right zoning and setback requirements.

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  13. Brian R

    I would agree 5 Pointz has had its day, but what I find worrying is the oversized replacements. There are already too many ugly, non-descript residential towers that do LIC no favors! I would hope this development would be subject to some kind of aesthetic approval also.

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  14. Mary Caulfield

    @ king of Queens Your delusions presage your fate.

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  15. Chris

    I will miss 5 ptz. But I am really uncomfortable with 2 towers over 40 stories each. Rather jarring.

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  16. Ignorance_is_Bliss_Street

    Pretty soon a ride on the 7 train will be nothing but trip through some sterile, space age, glass and steel canyon. About as charming as a hypodermic needle.

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  17. Greg

    Two towers, one will be 47 stories and the other 41! That is just horrendous, the Citi tower is about 50. If this developer is allowed to build this that will give the green light to other developers to start developing big in the area. They should cut down the sizeof it.

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  18. Ignorance_is_Bliss_Street

    How about not building one more condo or high-rise until there's a new subway line to service the overflowing population?

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  19. Robert

    This is another sad day in NY. I am far from a hipster but there is absolutely no character left in NY. I miss the old New York, pre-Guiliani. This is not graffiti of throwee tags, it is encouraged work. I would def like to see some more established artists hit those walls. The Michael de Feo flower is so beautiful if anyone here even knows what I'm referring to. There are a million empty condos up in Queens plaza killing the view for us and hurting our real estate values whether you know it or not. Children, tourists and art lovers appreciate this for what it is, a form of expression. Those glass buildings all over Queens Plaza are hideous, don't get me started on the Citi building! How do sterile buildings look better than colourful walls, the Brits will always have us beat there, they embrace their street artists and culture while we are always trying to be politically correct. At the very least make the towers a LOT shorter!

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  20. Ted

    It's disgusting they would put HOUSING near that extremely noisy, rickety 7 Train track - no doubt no sane wealthy person would buy an apartment there and it will end up as public housing filled with the less fortunate and the developer will use it as a big, fat tax write-off.

    That space should remain commercial - it was good as a factory and good too as artist lofts which is what I guess it was when they emptied the building out.

    I enjoy looking at the graffiti but really, that is secondary to my feeling it should not be housing.

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  21. DKB

    Ah yes, I too long for the Pre-Giuliani days. I look back with fondness on the crack-fueled crime waves, homelessness and soaring AIDS infection rates pre-Guiliani. Who didn't enjoy the "wilding" when groups of thugs would run through subway cars and stores looting, rioting, and terrorizing? It's just so boring today in comparison. Who needs the extra revenue from the throngs of tourists who now come to NYC but feared for their lives and wouldn't come here pre-Giuliani? I think each mayor's motto on crime says it best: Giuliani's was: "Zero tolerance". Dinkins' was "Don't Dis Your Sis".

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  22. marie5pointz

    If you care about the well being of LIC and preserving its charm , maybe building a huge overpriced condo is not the way to go ..
    You may or may not like graffiti , but we are recognized worlwide as a landmark. We made the 10 best outdoor free exhibit in skymiles magazine, we are mentionned as a must see in over 130 travels guides worlwide.
    We host free events for the community everyweek end , and welcome families from strollers to walkers .
    We are bringing a huge amount of foot traffic , and clients for local businesses , ask courtsquare dinner , Sage, Bella via etc ....
    We were selected as a location by director Louis Leterrier for his new movie Now you see me coming out January 18th , with stars like morgan freeman , etc .. which provided a very good income to the Wolkoff s as all major shoots do since they own the building.
    If 5 Pointz leaves Lic, all local business will feel it , the landscape will be horrible , the living condition for neighbors atrocious , years of construction, dust , ...
    I live 2 blocks from there in Arris loft, and back appartment hear the 7 train , and the train yeard ... who will want to move in ???
    Seriously

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  23. brokeMC

    5PTZ is a haven for Hip Hop culture and the beautiful community it represents. I've been to countless events there on the roof and in the courtyard featuring artists young and old, from all ethnicities, countries far and wide collaborating and building together. While children climb on the linoleum to imitate their b-boy and b-girl parents, artists paint walls with bright splashes of color, and musicians, MCs, DJs, Beatboxers all create positive music.

    Stop by some time and say hi. We'd love to have you. There is a little something for everybody.

    And it's proximity to PS1 is to both institutions' credit.

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  24. Robert

    To DBK,
    Please stick to the topic. This thread is not discussing AIDS, rioting or homelessness. We are discussing vandalism versus street art and the eminent takeover by oversized towers unless you think those towers will be affordable housing, yea right!

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  25. Greg

    Does anybody know when is the next meeting between David Wolkoff and the community board,and our elected officials?. I would like to attend and put my two cents in.

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  26. Roger_the_Shrubber

    Any geologists out there can tell me if there is any bedrock in LIC that can support all these tall structures?

    I remember in high school the teacher telling us that Long Island is made up of unconsolidated sediment and only small buildings could be built there.

    One good earthquake and all these glass towers will get flattened. We don't normally get big earthquakes here, but nature does like to throw us humans a curve ball occasionally.

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  27. Anonymous

    @marie5pointz hats off to marie, honestly hit the nail nail on the head with that.

    It's really a shame to see the amount of misinformed and extremely judgmental assertions that have been spewed by those blinded by their fears and prejudices . 5ptz is undoubtedly an iconic location and one of the few places in the city that actually cultivates a space which encourages the emergence of creativity and innovation. Aren't these qualities vital to the long term growth and development of the city as a cultural and economic capital? People need to confront the ideological walls that prevent them from seeing the inherent beauty and value that a space like 5ptz posses. Aside from the economic and aesthetics lenses that always seem to dominate these debates, people need to break it down and look at the social relations and interactions spaces like 5ptz promote as well. Its one of the few places in the city that attracts the diversity that NYC apparently prides itself on. 5ptz is a nexus that spontaneously brings together so many individuals be they a tourist, local, woman, man, old, young whatever. These are the interactions that create the urban spectacle that so many of us desire and entices us to live and visit cities like NY. The passing of 5ptz will be another worrying sign of the sterile and homogenous times to come in NYC history unless politicians, and probably even more importantly, the general nyc constituency, change its ideological gears.

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  28. Sara Vallejo

    I might be the onlyone who didn't liked that building , and it's happy about it ... Although graffitie is art , in my opinion it is a place for Egocentrisim rather than art expression, placing your name in a wall is just not artistic at allergy releases of your techniques.

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  29. Brooke CANADA

    I would like to first point out 5 POINTZ is what first brought me to NYC about 3 years ago. I am from Toronto and I wanted to see this legendary landmark.

    I went there not known what to expect... and what I discovered was more than my hope or dreams could begin to imagine!!!!!

    Not only was I confronted with the sheer beauty of the art and blown away by the scale of such a building, but it deepened. What I gained at 5 pointz was a new FAMILY!!!!! I was welcomed and shown around... there was no judgment or ego. There was just a group of artist getting together to collaborate and create their wonderful works of art.

    Broke MC got it right... this is an environment that thrives in excelling children and people young and old into a life style of urban culture that allows freedom of expression through Voice, dance and art!!!!

    For all of those who have called this an "Eye sore" or "heaven for vandals" I CHALLANGE YOU!!!!!!!!!

    Go over to the pointz on ANY weekend and Ask for MERES or MARIE and take the tour.. learn the history and I BET you can't help but change your mind....

    Vandalism occurs in the middle of the night in the dark and is ILLEGAL!!!! What happens here at 5 pointz is legal and permissioned... There are artist that travel from Germany, Paris, Ireland and Canada JUST TO PAINT AT THE LEGENDARY 5 POINTZ!!!!! Do you think they will make the ride out to LIC to look at the Condos????

    There are business in that area that make their revenue on the weekends do to the sheer amount of foot traffic that the pointz brings in ... Tour buses stop by daily.... 130 Travel GUIDES that is no small feat....

    Embrace the art, the Beauty, Learn and see the Vision that 5 pointz has and is trying to become with the help of a VERY dedicated staff.... ALL VOLENTEERS they see they vision.....
    Now I challenge you to

    SAVE 5 POINTZ... I'd drive up from Toronto to attend that meeting with David and say my piece!

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  30. Sunnysider

    Allergy releases of technique? That's a new one

    Personally I think 5 pointz is pretty cool. I'm not going to cry if it comes down, but some of the artwork there is exceptional. It's something different that you won't find anywhere else in NY. Those skyscrapers will just be more of the same. LIC is becoming a cesspool of homogeneity

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  31. JuliaJ.

    But is it art?

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  32. Roger_the_Shrubber

    I don't particularly like this type of art but at least at 5 Points, they are doing it on their own building. It's when they use their spray paint cans and magic markers on other people's property that they become vandals and a menace to the quality of life in the neighborhood.

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  33. CARLOS "SEE TF" GAME

    SAVING 5 POINTZ CAN ONLY BENEFIT THE LONG ISLAND CITY COMMUNITY......THINK ABOUT IT,IF ARTIST FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD COME TO NYC AND THERE IS NO 5 POINTZ...WHERE WOULD THEY PAINT...MAYBE ON YOU STOREFRONT,YOUR GARAGE,YOU BUILDING OR MAYBE EVEN YOUR HOME..THATS AN EYE SORE,I BET YOU PREFER THAT PAUL MANRINGELLI....EL DON SAID,"GRAFFITTI IS NOT ART!"..LOL....ITS NOT CONSIDERED ART TO YOU BECAUSE IT WAS PAINTED WITH A SPRAYCAN.....IGNORANCE IS A COMMOM COMMODITY.....SO TELL ME EL DON..IF I PAINTED THE VIRGIN MARY WITH SPRAYPAINT ON A 5 POINTZ WALL ITS CONSIDERED GRAFFITTI, VANDALISM.RIGHT?..BUT IF I PAINTING HER WITH ELEPHANT DUNG AND HUNG IT INSIDE A CITY MUSEUM ITS CALLED ART,ART THAT YOU WOULD GLADLY PAY TO GO SEE...AND AT 5 POITZ IS FREE......GET EDUCATED AND OPEN YOUR MIND.SARAH VALLEJO SAID,"PLACING YOUR NAME IN A WALL IS NOT ARTISTIC."....IN MY OPINION..LOL....HAVE YOU SEND THE SAME MESSAGE TO COCA COLA,PEPSI AND TO THE LABELS YOU WEAR?BECAUSE WHEN YOU DRIVE ON THE BQE THATS ALL YOU SEE..NAMES ON BILLBOARDS..THAT YOU PAYED FOR BY PURCHASING THOSE JEANS..YOUR FEEDING THE SAME ANIMAL YOUR TRYING TO KILL..

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  34. Susan

    Goodbye NYC in all its glory......welcome all you selfish all about me hipsters -- you all won't be happy until our city with all it's wonderful faults becomes sterilized like the citys you fled from.....this is a one and only NYC treasure...make room for more sterilized hipster "because I can afford it" barren looking high-rises!

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  35. SDO

    I went to high school with David Wolkoff.

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  36. Mrs. IZ TMB-327

    I agree with what TED said....

    It’s disgusting they would put HOUSING near that extremely noisy, rickety 7 Train track – no doubt no sane wealthy person would buy an apartment there and it will end up as public housing filled with the less fortunate and the developer will use it as a big, fat tax write-off.

    I have spent enough hours with 5 Points to say confidently that MERES & MARIE have worked very hard in accomplishing their goal to present 5 Pointz as a New York City's Art-world Landmark.

    Demolishing the 5 Points location will NOT abolish the art of graffiti from NYC. Giving these artists a safe haven to paint was a blessing to NYC and the NYC Transit System. If you take away this sanctuary......there iz a chance that graffiti will return to the NYC Transit System. Then it will become a problem to NYC again. Peace out.

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  37. min drh

    We need 5 points,NYC needs 5 points, the kids need it, everyone needs it, this place is a place for everyone,old, young, new,old school, from everyone that has painted there, to the ppl that still want to paint there, this 5points brings bussiness to NYC, and lic, ppl from around the world come to 5 points just to be a part of this NYC wonder....I love 5 points, and befor that it was phun phactory, so thank you Meres, and everyone tjat works and helps out at 5 points and thanks to pat, and thanks to izthewiz for there mission is what made all this possable... Rip to everyone we lost, Go...d bless the dead... 5points 4 ever...

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  38. Chris Strelnick

    We as NEW YORKERS have to stop letting these money hungry industry giants take over our adored landmarks. 5 points is part on NYC history and we can't keep letting go of the history we have in NY just to build a sky rise that only the extremely wealthy can afford. I say if 5 points goes we have to BOMB THE SYSTEM like back in the day. Damn hipster trying to ruin the NEW YORK I grew up in and love. WE NEED TO TAKE NEW YORK BACK FROM THE TRANSPLANTS

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  39. Wendy

    Is this still happening? are they really tearing this down? I am an art teacher and i just finished a lesson on graffiti ART inspired by 5pointz. Students were to create a tag name and create a graffiti piece of art after watching a youtube video tour at 5pointz. When i fuond out there were talks of it being demolished it really upset me. How do you not categorize graffiti as art???? isnt that was basquiat challenged the fine art community in the 80s?? of course it is.

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  40. Daniel Bentley

    I'm a recent transplant to Queens and 5 Pointz is one of my favorite things in the borough. I truly hope these plans aren't approved.

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  41. You Monsters Are People

    I agree. 5Pointz and PS1 are both big draws for locals and out-of-towners alike. I get that LIC has been growing for a while but I'm not quite so convinced it will need the density of housing it's trying to push. Honestly the level of new apartments that have popped up in Queens in the last couple of years seems silly. Even people who recently moved here are saying "This makes me just want to go back to Manhattan."

    Wealthy business people: Stop trying to make a buck now and build a sustainable and endearing community and culture. That's a real legacy you can be proud of.

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  42. SirPreiss

    I'm from Germany and visited NY in September 2013. Witnessing 5Pointz was awesome to me and one of the greatest moments ever.

    Here in Germany graffiti is apprechiated as art. In New York - the cradle of graffiti art - I soon got the feeling this appreciation is gone everywhere. But at 5Pointz the spirit was still alive.

    For those who understand German here's an article I wrote about it:
    http://sirpreiss.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/special-5-pointz-in-queens-ny

    I hope 5Pointz will live on in any other form. The former idea of a graffiti museum should still be an option.

    Regards,
    SirPreiss

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  43. Saph's Dad

    I can see bothsides of the argument having lived through years of graffiti related behaviour. My son's friends were a mix of wankers and dedicated artists. The dedicated artists' continue to work to the benefit of most (on walls but also in mainstream graphic arts and art itself). 5Pointz is a Mecca to so many. Street art is confronting to a lot of people and is ephemeral but the changes from week to week and the increases in sophistication are amazing.
    Keep the building standing!!!

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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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Center Cinemas likely to close Jan. 4, as owner rejects six-month lease extension
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002 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. save
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
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