A big piece of Sunnyside history to be recognized on Saturday

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36 Responses to A big piece of Sunnyside history to be recognized on Saturday

  1. Ich_bin_ein_Sunnysider

    I hear the Celtic Park co-op board is very upset about this.

    Ian McGowan has started a trend.

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  2. O'shea

    Some of the darkest days in sunnyside history should not be remembered.

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  3. Ruben

    I apologize for all my racist comments. I’m just trying to troll people because I have no life. I will be a good boy from now on

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  4. 86Mets

    "The arena was originally built as a private tennis club by railway magnet..."

    I had no idea magnets were that clever.

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  5. marilyn

    BTW, another small piece of Sunnyside history was the soda fountain-ice cream place called "Edebohls" on the triangular block around 49th and Queens Blvd. where QB runs into Roosevelt Avenue. A teenager hangout in the 1950s and early 60s!

    MarilynS.

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  6. Old Lady Sunnyside

    I loved that place Edebohls.

    They had jars of candy in the window and soda fountains where you could see the soda inside and it was pumped up so it washed down the sides. I thought I was in sweet, sweet heaven! After a shopping trip to Greenpoint Avenue my mom would stop there for a cup of coffee. My brother and I got sodas. The guy behind the counter--wearing a white paper hat--would fill a cone-shaped paper cup with crushed ice he dug up from below the counter. He'd put the cup in a metal stand, then pull the lever on that magical fountain and fill it with soda. Last thing, he'd stick a paper straw in it. We'd sit on the stools and spin around while he was doing that then carry the sodas to the booth my mother picked. There we would drive her crazy banging our feet against the wooden bottom of the booth. It was a joy. Thank you Mr. Edebohl!

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  7. GEB

    It's a pity that a place with such a colorful history couldn't be saved.

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  8. Rick Duro

    I've heard many great stories over the years about that venue. With it's rich history, it would seem to be overdue.

    RD

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  9. nobody

    @Old Lady Sunnyside & @Marilyn:

    Your history comments are amazing. Keep up the great work. A side of Sunnyside so many of us never saw...

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  10. dee

    the glory days of the neighborhood. too bad they are long gone.

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  11. tommy comerford

    when the roller derby was there on sat-nite for .50 cents you could skate on oval track it was a lot harder then they made it look man it was fun. lotts of burn's on the elbow and knee's

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  12. Rick Duro

    I agree with 'nobody', I truly enjoy hearing from the truly olde skool Sunnysiders!! Great stories!

    RD

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  13. Old Lady Sunnyside

    Thank you, Nobody and Rick Duro. I usually get comments telling me to get with the current program, get hip, be cool, and go buy some expensive coffee! I live here because I was born here, and it was a place for fairly new Americans to enter society. I'm happy for anyone who is living out the American dream, making money and enjoying the good things in life, but leave some room for the rest of us, please. We created the place you think is so cool through generations of care-taking, when politicians didn't have any money to redo things, when stores sold things you needed, not stuff they hope you wanted and when newcomers looked to old timers for hints on how to live best here.

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  14. Rick Duro

    Walking my dog has intro'd me to a bunch of folks that are Sunnyside lifers. They usually hang out on the benches outside Lodati. I truly enjoy listening to their stories of the 'old neighborhood' and my dog loves the attention she gets from them:)

    Cheers and keep on posting!

    Rick

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  15. Pat

    @Old Lady Sunnyaide

    Bet we know each other. Grew up on 46th St and 50th Av. from 1938 to 1954 ...

    Edebohls was on the corner of 47th St and QB, know that as I and my two girlfriends (about 16 to 18)went there for grilled cheese and cokes every Saturday, After we cleaned our rooms and helped with other chores in the house.
    Didn't have to be told either, just knew it had to be done, before you left the house. ..

    Oh yeah and there was wrestling at the Sunnyside arena. I remember my Mom and her friend getting all gussied up (that was Dad's words) and going to see Gorgeous George wrestle. He used to spray perfume in the ring before his match .. And wore big ermine capes ...

    Who remember the original White Castle when it had car hops serving
    the orders. Great time to grow up and Sunnyside/Woodside was the place to be.

    Oh and the PAL dances in the 43rd St park. They were the best.

    Sure others have good memories of the times. Love to hear of them.

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  16. Old Lady Sunnyside

    The car hops would bring the order on a tray that hung on the driver's window, I think it was red. I distinctly remember seeing the hamburgers piled up in their little bags. Sometimes we went to White Tower. Where was that?

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  17. Ich bin ein Sunnysider

    Re: the comments regarding Sunnyside in the old days:

    Sounds like an episode of Happy Days (before Fonzie jumped the shark that is).

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  18. XWoodsider

    @Old Lady Sunnyside
    White tower was between 47th & 48th Streets with entrances on Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Ave. It was a great place to stop for some good food.
    Thanks for the memories keep them coming.

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  19. Ich bin ein Sunnysider

    Just a suggestion: Perhaps those old timers with snapshots of Sunnyside in previous decades can scan some of them and submit them to this site if the the site owner is willing. It would be a fascinating look at the past.

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  20. Oppressed Masses

    Thanks for the nice memories of the neighborhood. I loved going to watch the roller derby matches at Sunnyside Gardens, especially the girl teams which provided exciting entertainment.

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  21. Rick Duro

    Ich bin ein Sunnysider's idea of pics is excellent. Do any of you have pics you can scan for us to see of that era? We'd love to see them!

    RD

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  22. Luke Adams

    The Good Old Days
    Help us save our past!

    Anyone interested in donating old pictures of the neighborhood please contact us.
    The Sunnyside Chamber has an ongoing project of saving pictures of our past! Including and originating and building with love and volunteer labor the sunnysidechamber.org, on which this revised site is based, thanks just a few of the many contributors:

    Thank you to Alice Havlina and Warren Boyen, two wonderful local historians who have passed on but who helped us with information regarding some of these photographs. John and Mike Leahy and their family have provided us with not only great pictures and information from 1915 that would have been lost without their family history. The next time you go through your old pictures and documents, remember our office. Don't let anyone throw out the pictures you so carefully preserved over the years!

    We are looking for pictures of John F. Kennedy at the Sunnyside Garden Arena (we have one but look for more), Mayor Jimmy J. Walker opening the Sunnyside Gardens Park on May 18, 1926, Gleason Centennial Hotel, Miller Hotel. We have some of the Sunnyside Pool, Sunnyside Theatre, 43 St. Theatre but looking for more that we know are out there! Still looking for Knickerbocker Laundry Building, Jay Guild Tennis Court at 45th St, and anything else you may have of interest. Sometimes even ordinary photographs of daily life are the most interesting of all! We do have pictures of the Original White Castle building and thanks to John Edebohls we have pictures of Edebohls Ice Cream Parlor.

    We recommend Main Branch of our Queens Public Library to anyone seeking more about our history. Their old newspaper records were invaluable. We look forward to your comments, suggestions, and hope you take time to visitthe Sunnyside Chambers pictures from "The Good Old Days!"

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  23. Steven B

    Looking at the photograph of JFK at the corner of 46th street and Queens Blvd. brings back memories of the fire that removed the 2nd story of the corner building, never to be replaced. the cigar store still occupies that corner but Angie's Pizza was one of the few pizzerias in the neighborhood which also had rotisserie chickens. Pizza was 15 cents a slice in the early sixties. Moving further west in the photograph is the Queen of the Sea Restaurant where we only ate on special occaisions but even as I youngster I appreciated those few occaisions as special. The last time my family ate there was following JHS 125 graduation in the Bliss Theater. The South Pole which occupies the site adjacent to Wendy's, former Sunnyside Gardens, was the Robert Hall clothing store into the early 1970's. That's the corner where my friends and I stood as candidate Kennedy drove passed.

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  24. Ich bin ein Sunnysider

    JFK was the last real president we had.

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  25. Dorothy Morehead

    There were also some not-so-nice venues in Sunnyside: The Merry-Go-Round topless bar on Queens Boulevard between 45th and 46th Streets, and Gallagher's, also on Queens Boulevard in the lower 40s (not sure which block). For about a decade everything was covered with graffiti and roll-down gates covered every business on Queens Boulevard. There was little pedestrian traffic. Things have improved tremendously over the last twenty years and hopefully will continue to do so, thanks both to the old-timers and the newcomers.

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  26. Steven B

    Very true Dorothy, looking back is generally done with fondness. I recall Gildeas Bar next to the white castle where there was always a weekend fight that would spill out into the WC parking lot. I remember the under aged drinkers that would come into the Bickfords on 46th street and create major disruptions. The Escape was a bar/disco where the OTB presently is and it had the worst of activities going on. The undeveloped area behind "Torsney" park know as rabbits island was the ideal place for mischief, under age drinking and more. It was not difficult to get into trouble with the various groups of teens who hung out on just about every corner or the park benches at night. I also rememberl hearing my parents saying the similar things to the neighbors that I am saying about the neighborhood and how it has changed since the glories of their youth.

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  27. susan

    Gallagher's BEFORE it was topless was a regular bar on QB btwn 39th Place & 40th Street....there was also a bowling alley on QB where Arriba Arriba & Burger King are then it was it became a disco, the 1st if I can remember correctly was Hunka-Monka

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  28. Steven B

    Susan, the Stadium Bar became the Inwood East and later Hunka-Munka. Downstairs with a direct entrance from the street was Stadium Lanes which may have been 10 lanes of bowling owned by the bar owner as well. There was also a boys club a few doors over and The Broiler where Burger King is now.

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  29. Old Lady Sunnyside

    All that has been said is true. During the seventies and eighties, when the city was broke, the neighborhood was in bad shape--as were many in the city. Rabbit Island was for teenagers, parks had broken glass everywhere, public facilities were nearly always broken. But this was true everywhere. I remember playing frisbee on the sheep meadow in Central Park--there was hardly a blade of grass.

    My childhood memories are from the 60s. Every few blocks there were very local services, food, cleaning, shoe repair, barber shops, beauty parlors. For household needs beyond that we went either to Greenpoint Avenue or Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside. Special purchases required a trip either to Jackson Heights, Steinway Street or Alexanders and Macy's in Rego Park. Sunnyside was for local shoppers. Everyone had their own Woolworths, Thom McCanns, coffee shops and movie theaters. No one needed ours. The side streets and avenues belonged to the people that lived there.

    Technology has changed all that, both for good and bad. There are more people now. They have cars. They shop in giant stores for long-term supplies. Everything is different. I guess wistfulness for a sweetened past is a function of living long enough to see how much things change.

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  30. Joanne

    I love the old stories about Sunnyside, it was a wonderful place to grow up. It was so small town in a big city. Lots of trees and empty lots to play in when you could not go to the park.

    Born on 46th & 43rd Ave in 1947 and made the big move to 47th St and 43rd Ave on 1957.

    Every store you could possibly need, I remember doing my Christmas shopping on Greenpoint Avenue with the smell of snow in the air with all the decorations and Christmas carols playing.

    Ice cream parlors with real fountains with high stools or Bickford's with entrances on 46th and on Queens Blvd.

    Many great memories and many not so great but happy that it is coming back to it's beauty.

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  31. Cookie Bal

    Gosh, do I remember Sunnyside! I lived on 39th Place off of 50th Avenue and loved going to Clancys' candy store. The thing that had gotten me started with my memories was looking at my Skates Box, which was obtained from Sunnyside Gardens Skating Rink. I remember a News Reporter taking a picture of me in my cute little skating outfit. I used to have a clip, but lost it and can't find it. Anyhow! I miss the Ice Cream parlors with the true taste of cream. Anybody remember Gildeas next to White Castle? The Center Theatre, I can't believe is still there. I loved the Villa Capri Pizzeria on Greenpoint, the best Dam Pizza, I have ever had. I left Queens in 1974 to join the Navy which was during the Vietnam Era. HERE IS A SHOUT OUT TO MY SUNNYSIDERS, I MISS THE OLD TIMES ;-)

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  32. Cowboy

    I grew up on 48th Street between Queens Blvd and 43rd Ave -- Sunnyside/ Woodside was a terrific neighborhood --while I moved to Texas in 1990... I was there for 36 years ..my parents lived there for over 50 years until they passed a way a few years back..I still visit each year -- If you are interested in hearing more about the old days ..and seeing some great pics --there is a Sunnyside 60's-70's page on FB where a lot of us post pics and talk about the old days in Sunnyside...

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  33. Ellen McGowan

    My aunt Maddy use to roller skate in sunnyside gardens Madeline Donlin, I was very little, does anyone remember the teams for female roller Derbry names?

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  34. Betty Hofving

    My family lived at 43rd St. between Greenpoint Ave. and 48th Aves. from
    1935 to 1997...yes, 62 years! I remember Sunnyside Garden (wrestling and boxing), Edebohls (46th & Q.B.), the Asia (Chinese food) on Q.B.,
    White Castle, White Tower, Robert Hall's, Silver's (womens' clothing store on QB), Lindy's (another store) plus, my favorite womens' clothing
    store called Eunice on 46th St. Between Greenpt and QB.
    I left Sunnyside in the early 90's and still return to check out the
    "old neighborhood". Big loss to me was the Bliss Movie Theatre; we
    also had the Sunnyside Theatre and the 43rd Street theatre, plus the
    long-time Center Theatre...still there.

    Glad to see the new stores and that the area is clean and busy with
    families.

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  35. John kappen

    I just found this site. Seems like a lot of people who might remember the late '50s here. My father use to own a bar /restaurant across the street from the garden called "Venice". Anyone remember it?
    My father's name was Julie kappen. He disappeared/ left my family in 1959 and I understand he changed his name to james Carroll. If you remember or possibly know someone from that era, maybe they would remember. Please contact me. I always wanted to know why he did what he did to my mom and brothers. He had a partner named Jimmie o'neill. They didn't last long in business there. Appreciate it if you know something about him to contact me. Jfk71149@yahoo.com

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  36. Steve F.

    I knew a BobDi Maio whose family owned the Venice back in the 40s or early 50s. I also remember the Asia Chinese restauant a few doors down from the Venice and the Broiler at 41st and QB. Was a regular at both places.

    I grew up at 43rd Ave and 42nd St. Went to PS-150, JHS-125 and graduated from LIC in 1953. Moved away in '55. Settled in the Washington. DC area in 1960 and been here ever since.

    No question that the old 'hood has changed in the last 60 years. Probably for the better but memories of the the Sunnyside I knew are the fondest.

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Dec. 21, Staff Report

Faith-based organizations will out coming tomorrow (Monday) to pay tribute to the officers tragically murdered in Brooklyn Saturday.

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Sunnyside elementary school renamed ‘The Walter McCaffrey Campus’
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

weekendoutages

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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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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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