Residents unite following Sunnyside murder: many question police investigation

By Bill Parry and Christian Murray

More than 500 residents and friends of a Woodside man who was brutally murdered on a Sunnyside street last month gathered Saturday at the corner of 51st and 43rd Avenue calling for justice.

Holding candles and carrying white carnations, they participated to make a statement: this type of crime will not be tolerated in Sunnyside or Woodside. Furthermore, they wanted to put the perpetrators on notice that the community will find them.

Lou Rispoli, a long-time Woodside resident, was brutally attacked by three men at 41st Street and 43rd Avenue at 2:00 am October 20 and died five days later.

While the details of the incident are sketchy, the perpetrators were seen in a SUV or 2-door vehicle with Rispoli just prior to the attack. Then, they all got out of the vehicle and Rispoli was walking with two of the men before one of them struck him in the head with a blunt object.

Despite the warm community feeling on Saturday, beneath the surface many attendees expressed anger.  They questioned the quality of the police investigation—particularly what occurred shortly after the incident.

The police were quick to arrive on the scene after the attack, only to leave once Rispoli was placed in an ambulance and taken to Elmhurst hospital. The police didn’t come back to the scene with their crime scene evidence vehicle until late Sunday afternoon. It was only then that the block was cordoned off with the “crime scene” yellow tape, as they sought to gather evidence.

Mark Horn, who has acted as the family spokesman since the murder, had mixed emotions about Saturday’s event. “It’s gratifying to see so many people in the community come out for this,” he said. However, “it’s important for the police to see that people are grieving…that they are angry.”

“I say this to the Commissioner Ray Kelly,” Horn said. “The day after Lou Rispoli was attacked there were no police at the hospital, yet when a nanny killed two children on the Upper West Side of Manhattan there was Ray Kelly in front of the cameras.”

“It was only when the NYPD realized that Lou Rispoli had important friends in the neighborhood that he himself became important,” Horn added.

Rispoli was a friend of councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s.

Many others expressed similar views. “Lou’s close friends are organizing to make sure that there are answers,” said Annie Raven (PhD.). “Just three days ago detectives interviewed Danyal [Rispoli’s husband] and they asked the very same questions they asked the first time. It seems that the investigation is right back at the start.”

“We have a close circle of friends,” Raven said. “We’ll band together to put pressure on the investigation to deliver answers and we will not stop until we have answers.”

Despite the anger, there was a strong sense of neighborhood unity.

The event started at 4:00 pm with Van Bramer, the organizer, saying a few words.

“This is an important march and candle light vigil,” Van Bramer told the crowd gathered at 51st Street. “Lou lived on this street, was brutally killed on it, and this type of crime is not acceptable: never,” he said. “We want to tell the three people out there that he [Lou] was loved–that the neighborhood cared.”

“This is a safe community and anyone should be able walk here, at any time,” Van Bramer said, adding that he would have held the same event no matter who it was.

There is a $25,000 reward being offered for an arrest and conviction of Rispoli’s killers, including $10,000 from the mayor’s office and $2,000 from the victim’s friends, the councilman said.

The attendees left the 51st location, where Rispoli once lived, and marched down to 41st Street holding the white carnations, which were Rispoli’s favorite flowers.

At the location of Rispoli’s death, Van Bramer said: “This is our neighborhood…we have a resilient community…This is a wonderful show of peace, love and community.”

For the first time, Rispoli’s widower spoke publicly. Danyal Lawson, 60, who had married Rispoli a year ago, said “I have been robbed of an amazing man,” adding that “Lou loved the [his apartment] building, the shopkeepers the restaurant owners and was never afraid to walk the streets…”

Rispoli and Lawson had lived together for 32 years. Lawson said that the two essentially got married at a ceremony in Turkey in 1989, six years after meeting one another. The couple met on the subway in 1980.

Lawson said that he believed the murder was due to a “random act of violence.” He said that he hadn’t been paying that close attention to the investigation.  “I was so shocked by everything that I left Jimmy [Van Bramer] to keep on top of it.”

However, at the last community board meeting, Van Bramer had questions about the investigation.

“I think it is a fair question to ask why the evidence vehicle did not show up until Sunday [as opposed to Saturday morning]. I have some of the same questions you have, and we will find out what happened.”

Deputy Inspector Donald Powers, the head of the 108 Police precinct, has missed several community meetings in the past month—citing hurricane issues.

Several other officers have stepped in for Powers and have elected not to comment on the case. On Tuesday, at the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce meeting, Lt. Turner, in charge of Special Projects said, “We don’t want to hinder an active investigation. We will have a comment at the appropriate time.”

Carolina Tosi, a Community Board 2 member said: “The fact that Donald Powers was visibly absent at the last meeting, after such a horrible crime, proves that the 108th Precinct is out of touch with the community.”

candle light vigil (source: Rick Duro)

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50 Responses to Residents unite following Sunnyside murder: many question police investigation

  1. Webley

    Would you mind posting larger pictures, the pop up pictures is not even larger than the picture included in the article.

    As for this event, I wish we knew about it, there could have been at least 5 more people there. This sucks that police dept is not getting their act straight.. I think someone has to tell police dept that he/she thinks the attackers were radical islamic terrorists and that lou knew something about an attack to an American landmark.. Maybe then they will care. Since they care more about spying on people in NJ where NYPD has no jurisdiction instead of investigating local events where taxpayers actually live.

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  2. GB

    Let's hope they catch the killers soon.

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  3. Oppressed Masses

    Our job as a community is to make sure the police do not forget this murder until the killers are arrested, tried and convicted.

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  4. Patriot

    Now JVB can get back to protecting everyone except real americans

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  5. D Timmerman

    How is it that there is no comment from the NYPD as part of this story. There is not even any information about how you tried to reach Mr. Powers or any other police spokesman for comment. Did you? If Mr. Van Bramer is aware of any police misfeasance in this matter, wouldn't he take the issue to the police or the City Council? If Van Bramer told you how and when he would meet with police to consider this matter, shouldn't that information be a part of this article?

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  6. Local Hamburgler

    I feel guilty for not going. Thankfully the turnout was decent.

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  7. Sunnyside Post

    D Timmerman,

    Thank you for your analysis. Every point you made was valid.
    a) The police have been contacted and that information has been included in the story. (Although that information was included after the initial story was posted)
    b) As far as Councilman Van Bramer is concerned...he has said that he wants to focus on finding the perpetrators. Then he wants to look more closely at the investigation.

    Thanks.

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  8. O'shea

    Probability of the suspects being caught is very low. There is no equilibria between the 108s raging nonchalance/ homophobia and the financial incentive to rat out these suspects. Ratting people out is a business. The payout ratio for this crime is way too low.

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  9. Rick Duro

    I think that the odds the killers are caught might not be that low. People cant keep their mouths shut, someone will brag about it to a friend, who will get arrested for X crime and then give the cops a 'bigger fish'.

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  10. CM

    While my heart goes out to the Rispoli family and I respect the sentiment surrounding the vigil, I do question Van Bramers motives. While he said he would have held this march regardless of the victim, I find this hard to believe. I know Van Bramer had a very personal connection to this loss, but he needs to address all of the acts of violence in our neighborhood.
    I have lived in Sunnyside for over a decade and there have been a number of unresolved murders. Never in all of my time here have I seen these murders addressed. Several years ago two people were murdered in an apartment building on 47th Ave. No one was ever arrested for these murders, and there was never a march against violence for these victims. Our police precinct needs to be held accountable for all of these unresolved murders, not just the ones that get the most recognition by politicians.

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  11. Get a Life

    WAs a vigil held after the man was killed at the New Post diner or was tha man's life unimportant? I do not not think that homophotobia had anything to do with the investgation being "bungled" - and if arrests are made, we will say a "job well done". It sounds like Lou was trying to get away from these hoodlums and asked to get out on 41st Street rather than 51st Street where he lived. The lesson: don't go into a car with people you don't know, and ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CELL PHONE. Also, if you are wandering around at night, text your loved one and let him know where you are. I think one of the criminals will shoot off his mouth but the police need to keep this story in the news.

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  12. Rick Duro

    What are the unsolved murders since JVB has gained office?

    Post Diner-during Gioia's term
    2 on 47th Ave that were mentioned above-I can't find any info online abt this. What year?

    Agreed, the 108th needs to do a better job, this case has been fumbled since the beginning.

    RD

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  13. Lucky Lu

    Do we know if the police have found out anything new since the crime? I now see posters up on that block but no new info.

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  14. voiceofreason

    What exactly would some of you folks like the NYPD to make public? What details would satisfy you arm- chair investigators? And what makes you believe that you are ENTITLED to such information?

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  15. Nick Shadyside

    Webley: Keep checking the sunnysidepost.com. This is the only news outlet that has given this tragic crime the coverage it warrants--including information about this march.
    Same is true of other major crimes and incidents in the neighborhood of late. Nice job, sunnysidepost!

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  16. Nick Shadyside

    And as for the criticism against JVB, instead of blaming him for things that didn't happen in the past, why not hold him to his own standards in the future? Anytime there's a major crime in the neighborhood, there should be a public response--I'm sure that Councilman Van Bramer could meet that challenge.

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  17. Oppressed Masses

    I don't understand the negative comments directed to Mr. Van Bramer and his role in organizing and leading yesterday's demonstration. Mr. Van Bramer has made clear that he was acting as a private citizen and not as an elected representative and that Mr. Rispoli and his family are personal friends. Mr. Rispoli was a person well known by many in our community. How does the yesterday's public demonstration against the murder which occurred a few weeks ago (and support for the Rispoli family) in any manner reflect on the significance of murders that occurred several years ago?

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  18. SC

    The murders that occured on 47th Ave were in 2005. Rose Gilbert and John Dalton were found stabbed to death.

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  19. voiceofreason

    Webley: A once fine weapon whose time has passed.

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  20. voiceofreason

    I withdraw the esoteric comment.

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  21. Rick Duro

    well said, OM.

    RD

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  22. huh?

    The 47th Ave murders in a building across from the park involved a woman who had recently moved to NYC from Texas or somewhere out west to be an actress. Her male roommate apparently had various 'dates' and one of them murdered the roommate and the actress.
    I tried to find the story online but no luck yet. I remember the stories were focused on her moving to NYC to fulfill her dreams. She was in her late 30s I think. I never heard of any arrests in that case.

    There was also a stabbing death in that park that was said to be drug-related.

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  23. huh?

    http://projects.nytimes.com/crime/homicides/map - go to 2005 and look at the dots for Sunnyside area (there are a few). You'll see June 21, 2005. It was a triple murder. I forgot the woman had a friend there who was also killed. Sorry can't find the story.
    But the map may provide more unsolved murders in the neighborhood.

    That said, the 108th needs to be held accountable. What did they think had happened to the victim that night that they didn't bother investigating? Did they assume he was just drunk and fell?
    They told a friend who'd been assaulted that the perpetrator probably just thought she was cute.
    Protecting and serving

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  24. Long time sunnysider

    How long s JVB in office??? Stop the negativity against him and focus on the crime that happened in our neigherhood.i can only guess that the people who love to knock him don't even know him. Also I am figuring that none of ye were at the vigil on Sat evening. Ye were probaly too busy sitting on your couches thinking about what comment u can leave on this site to create more negativity about Mr Van Bramer. U people are pathetic. Get out there and b seen and heard at local community meetings instead of venting on this site. All I hope s that the people who committed this horrific crime are caught and made pay for their brutality.god bless Christian Murray and Sunnyside post for keeping us informed on what's happening in our community. Only for Sunnyside post we would not know a lot of the stuff that s happening in the neigherhood.

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  25. Ruben

    as I stated before, Mr. Rispoli got treated like so many minorities do. It is a shame you all have to see for yourselves how the police lack any interest unless there's cameras or being pushed by people in power.

    I commend JVB for putting pressure on these people for showing their true hand in matters. Bitch about the dog park all you want, the guys out there getting shit done.

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  26. Long time sunnysider

    Btw does anyone know if the vigil was on any news channel sat nite or Sunday?channel 7 and 11 were there but I haven't seen any tv in the last 2 days.

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  27. a few facts

    Jimmy Van Bramer was not the City Council rep in 2005. So stop blaming him for stuff that happened or didn't happen at that time.

    NYPD may have had leads on unsolved crimes that they just didn't happen to share with the general public. That happens sometimes. It may appear a case is going unsolved but you can never be certain unless they say "We have no leads," which appears to be the case with Mr. Rispoli.

    As someone else said, hold Jimmy accountable to his own standard, not to something that happened in the past and far beyond his control. Let's hope there won't be a "next time" when it comes to murder in this neighborhood for us to find out.

    Finally, I notice there are a few signs at the intersection of 51st Street and 43rd Avenue, but I think it would be better if there were signs in shops and restaurants throughout the neighborhood. Just 2 blocks away there is no information posted.

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  28. JuliaJ.

    There were three perpetrators - I would hope that one of them shoots his mouth off or goes to the police to make a deal. There is no statute of limitations on murder. I would love to see the New Post diner killer arrested as well as the murderer of the couple in the 47th Avenue apartment (facing Mario's restaurant). If the 108th does not have homicide detective who are up to this, let them bring in some real pros. These murders should be SOLVED.

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  29. Ridiculous

    well said voice of reason

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  30. JuliaJ.

    There was also a murder committed at the Queensboro train station upstairs where the N connects to the 7. Also, to the best of my knowledge, no arrests. And this one was committed with a gun.

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  31. Sunnyside Native

    @ Long time Sunnysider: This segment aired on the 7:00 PM edition of the news on Channel 7 on Saturday evening. I know because I DVR'd the news segment. Channel 7 did not replay this segment on their 11:30 PM news edition. May Lou Rispoli R.I.P. and I hope his murderers are caught and brought to justice!

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  32. JuliaJ.

    If the 108th can't do its job, let them bring in detectives who can. One unsolved murder is 10 too many.

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  33. sandycat

    I happened upon the vigil just about the time the group reached 41st Street and without a thought I knew exactly what was going on because I had read about it, saw the posters, etc etc. I remained standing in the street while the speeches were made. While standing there I was approached by at least 3 ppl asking, 'what's going on", etc etc. By the 3rd time I simply pointed to the poster letting the uniformed simply update him or herself on what has been happening in their neighborhood...then they simply walked away without interest. In the shop a block away I heard a woman asking the shop keeper what's going on with "all of those ppl and the candles". He tells her. All she wanted to know was the nationality of the victim, which the shopkeeper did not know, and off she went with kids trailing behind her, not interested. RIP sir.

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  34. Heartbroken

    @sandycat Thank you. By contrast to your report, there were people who showed a great deal of compassion at this event, including a Muslim woman with two children in tow who went up to the victim's husband and asked if there was anything she could possibly do to abate his pain. That sort of kindness goes a long way, and it will never be forgotten.

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  35. Astoria Native

    Sandycat,

    Of course there are people that weren't aware of the vigil or why it was called. You attempt to portray them as cold and selfish. That's unfair.

    Not everybody is as emotionally attached to this tragedy as you and some others are.

    Did it occur to you that those people you judged "not interested" might have their own family tragedies and serious issues they are currently dealing with?

    They could easily ask, why aren't YOU aware of their THEIR personal losses and sharing their grief? The Rispoli murder was a horrific event and should be addressed but - believe it or not - there are other people and families dealing with heartache and loss at any given moment, not just you.

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  36. Rajeet

    There is an illegal youth hostel operating out of 47-09 43 Ave....the hostel attracts an unsavory and transient element , along with a group of teenagers unsupervised that continously taunt both woman and gays with foul language and menacing behavior. Google "hostel" Sunnyside....want to stop violence? start there!

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  37. JuliaJ.

    I think the victim was trying to get away from the three criminals and asked to let out far from his home. I sure hope the police are showing his photo in other neighborhoods. He returned in a car - he must have gone more than a block from his home. I always disliked 47th Street and 43rd Avenue - now I know why!

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  38. sully

    ....thank you sunnyside post for keeping this community informed ...i have lived in this neighborhood for 23years and while i know many of the shop keepers and neighbors from other streets etc.....i was not otherwise aware of the amount of crime that has plagued our comminity....I think JVB is doing a good job of setting out what he intended to do....and that is to work for the betterment of his community.

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  39. Sioban

    My heart goes out to Mr. Rispoli and his family. I too avoid 43 ave between 47 street and 48 street. The people in and out of that house 47-09 are ruining the block. It makes sense after reading the previous post "hostel" This seems to be more of a shelter of some sort. JVB needs to look into this. No person should be afraid to walk anywhere in Sunnyside.

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  40. Sioban

    Found the website:
    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/231933

    Read the "review" of the woman sleeping on a mattress near the front door!

    "You get what you pay for. I slept in the living room right by the front door. Lots of people coming and going on a Friday night, very late at night. Had to pass through another bedroom to get to the bathroom. Friendly host "
    Tiffany.

    "When we booked the apartment, we agreed with Louis to be accomodated in another apartment (47-09 43rd Avenue, Sunnyside, NY 11104) because this one was fully booked, so this review concerns the Sunnyside flat. The apartment was simple but perfect for the three days we stayed there. The reception was very warm and the hosts were at our disposal for anything we needed. "

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  41. Thomas

    Many question the police investigation? I feel deeply saddened when anyone regardless of who they are is a victim of a violent act......but lets put this particular crime in perspective. Mr. Rispoli lived in Woodside on 51 street. He was attacked on 41 street in Sunnyside. The attack took place in the early morning hours. Mr. Rispoli met his attackers two blocks away which would put him on or about 39 place since 43 ave is a one way street. Lets ask a simple question What was a "married" man doing walking in an industrial area at that time of night? He then chose to accept a ride with complete strangers? Is it possible that this was some sort of a sexual encounter gone "bad"? If so he put himself in danger the moment he decided to act upon those impulses and get into that car. Maybe Mr. Rispoli assaulted someone in the car, hit them,stole something out of the vehicle , if they were going to assualt him ...why not do it in the car? Were drugs invovled? Why let him out and then accost him two blocks away? Yes it was a brutal act but one that could have been avoided had Mr. Rispoli not put himself in harms way.....it was his decision. So lets not jump to conclusions there may be extenuating circumstances invovled.

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  42. Disgusted

    Thomas you need not speak ill of the dead lest you want them to come after you. Mind your own business. There is NO excuse for murder.

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  43. Thomas

    Disgusted.....please re-read what I wrote. I was not casting aspersions toward Mr. Rispoli nor speaking ill of him. I believe this to be a heinous act. That said, people have to be aware that the decisions they make may not only impact themselves but others. One should refrain from drawing conclusions about anything regarding the circumstances until someone is arrested and charged. As far as "minding my own business" it is my right to express my opinion especially when given a forum to do so. You need to practice a little "tolerance" and not be so quick to rush to judgement.

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  44. Marilyn

    I am confused. What does the house on 43rd street have to do with Lou's murder? Am I missing something? By the way I live on 48th off of 43rd and I think I know the house everyone is referring to. I am going to walk my dog and check and see if it is the same house. If it is, I am not sure if it is a hostel but I definetely think that there is a lot of shady stuff happening there.

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  45. Marilyn

    Okay, the house I am concerned about is not 47-09 it is 47-15.

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  46. Heartbroken

    @Thomas Lou Rispoli was a legally married man in the eyes of the law in the state of New York, so your quotes around the term are not appropriate.

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  47. JuliaJ.

    I also wonder why the victim did not carry his cell phone with him late at night. Cell phones save lives and of course, have GPS tracking devices. It sounds like Mr. Rispoli wanted to get away from these characters. For the record, if my sons were missing for two hours, I would go out myself looking for them and I would INSIST they carry their phones and tell me where they are. Something in this story does not add up. I would check the local bars, go into Jackson Heights also and go into the parks. I would think that the same characters hang out there at night and may have seen something.

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  48. Thomas

    Dear ..Disgusted....heartbroken...

    Again, let me say that what happened to Mr. Rispoli is an affront to every human being. A crime..... a heinous crime was committed. First, I as an American, a jew, and the grandson of holocaust survivors am appalled when any one group be it white supremicists, gays, conservatives, etc.....deny others the "right" to thier opinion or an objective look at the "facts". This is a public forum...you may want to rush to judgement and convict several people of a crime they may or may not have committed. Maybe? Mr. Rispoli exited the car and was accosted by a different person or group....the people in the car intervened and left when they could'nt assist or maybe they did perpetrate this crime because of Mr. Rispoli"s orientation....or the color of his jacket...who knows? ..we won't know til their caught. I put "married" in quotation marks because being Hetrosexual or homosexual ...the person is assumed to be in a monogamous realtionship. Many hetrosexual married men also frequent prostitutes or solicit sex. That is wrong! By doing that they put themselves in harms way along with thier family.
    Marriage is a union between two monogamous persons. Sorry if you disagree....you have that right but I think your reasoning is flawed. Grow up...accept resonsibility for your decisions.....

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  49. JuliaJ.

    The "people in the car intervened" - if they killed him, I would say so! I have read three different versions of the events. Could somebody please set the record straight?

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  50. It's all True

    I hope the police are carefully questioning his husband about where Mr. Rispoli went at night. If the people closest to you don't know you . . .

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Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off Monday
Salt & Fat

Salt & Fat

Oct. 19, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week kicks off Monday and 33 restaurants have signed up to participate.

The event, organized by Sunnyside Shines, aims to showcase Sunnyside as a destination for high-quality cuisine. Its goal is tempt residents to try new places and draw foodies from other parts of New York City.

Furthermore, there will also be artwork on display at five participating restaurant—with three of those pieces coming from Sunnyside artists.

On Monday, there will be a reception held at 7pm at Salt and Fat (41-16 Queens Boulevard) to mark restaurant week. The reception will include a guided tour of the five art installations as well as a movie screening at Dazies.

The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a Manhattan-based contemporary art organization. The work will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

However, for many, the main attraction won’t be the art—it will be the food.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25—from lunchtime Monday through Friday Oct. 24.

The participating restaurants span the globe. There will be Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Mexican, Peruvian, French, Colombian, Filipino, Paraguayan, Tibetan, Thai, and Seasonal American food on offer.

Restaurants from Skillman Avenue through 47th Avenue have signed up this year. Last November, when Sunnyside Restaurant Week was launched, 17 restaurants took part.

“Last year’s event was a big success for neighborhood restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director, of Sunnyside Shines. “I am proud that we have doubled the number.”

Participating restaurants will also include newcomers to the Sunnyside scene—such as Tibetan Dumpling Café and Blu Orchid. Venturo and Salt & Fat, which were recently recognized as Michelin “Bib Gourmands,” will be participating again this year.

Sunnyside Shines has listed the 33 restaurants on its website. Most have put together a special menu just for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

All this for $25.

Takesushi: All this for $25.

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Parking costs might rise in Sunnyside/Woodside, as DOT has preliminary plans to introduce ‘Park Smart’

meters

Oct. 17, By Christian Murray

Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.

The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.

The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.

For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.

However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.

Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.

The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.

Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.

Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.

The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.

However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.

For more information on Park Smart click here

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Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’
 43-15 46th Street

43-15 46th Street

Oct. 16, By Christian Murray

New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside.

The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.

The building, which is a 6-story 88-unit complex, has 271 outstanding violations, according to the report. While the building is a coop, it has several renters—although the exact number is not known.

The original landlord, who took the building coop about 25 years ago, rents several units, according to published reports.

The violations, which have been filed with HPD, deal with water leaks, missing smoke detectors, loose bathroom tiles, mold and defective faucets.

The managing agent of the building is Aras Properties, which is located in Cedarhurst. The head officer is Kevin Kane, who could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the landlord who runs a Woodside building has the fifth worst record in Queens, with 223 violations.

The building, located at 39-30 59th Street, is a 6-story 78 unit complex.

The violations include complaint about roaches, defective plastered surfaces, broken stoves, mold and missing smoke detectors.

The owner of the building is Harry Silverstein. Silverstein could not be reached for comment.

Click here for the Worst Landlord List

Click here to look up the violations in any building

 43-15 46th Street.

43-15 46th Street.

 

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South building

Oct. 15, By Christian Murray

The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development in Long Island City went live today.

The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect, which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Village Voice declares Salt & Fat Sunnyside’s best restaurant

saltfat-350x263

Oct 15, Staff Report

The Village Voice has just named Salt & Fat as the best restaurant in Sunnyside.

The write up starts as follows:

“Salt & Fat looks like it could be in Brooklyn — reclaimed wood for the storefront sign, artfully arranged small plates that feature New American decadence — but owner Daniel Yi is a local boy. Born in Seoul and raised in Sunnyside, Yi has crafted a nation-hopping menu that reflects the area’s diversity. A meal begins with a complimentary starter — popcorn cooked in bacon fat, as American as can be — and finishes with little bottles of Yakult, a tangy-sweet Japanese yogurt drink.”

For the rest of the Village Voice Article, please click here.

 

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Dumplings & Noodle eatery to open on 46th Street

Noodles

By Christian Murray

A dumplings and noodles eatery will be opening on 46th Street next door to Pio Pio Riko.

The restaurant, which will be located at 45-24 46th Street, is expected to open in late December, according to its owner, who was reluctant to provide too many details at this point.

The eatery will consist of about 30 seats and there will not be table service. The owner described it as “fast casual.”

The menu will consist of soup, baos (steamed buns filled with pork/beef/vegetables), and a wide selection of noodles and dumplings (both steamed and fried). The food will include a mix of Chinese and other Asian flavors. There are also plans to get a liquor license.

The owner has another restaurant—offering the same style of food—in Park Slope.

The business owner was attracted to Sunnyside due to its diverse population.  “I like the mixed neighborhood and there are few [restaurants] like this in the area.”

The restaurant is moving into a portion of the space that was once occupied by Grand 99 Cent Store, which left about 2 years ago. The other portion of the site was leased to  Signature Paint & Home Center, which opened this summer.

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time.

Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee.

Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website).

Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said.

“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”

“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”

Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions.

“When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.”

His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.”

He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?”

He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success.

He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes.”Lower taxes equal more jobs,” he said.

Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed.

“Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.

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Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets

Hennessy
Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community.

Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues.

While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program.

“I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.”

On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway.

Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti.

Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there.

The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm.

On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention.

Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing.

In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.

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Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run

Van BramerFATAL

Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible.

The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified.

“To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.”

“We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said.

A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident.

The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision.

“You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it’s a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don’t you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000–on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state.

Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said.

Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians.

Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement.

The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets
Hennessy Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community. Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues. While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program. “I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.” On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway. Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti. Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there. The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm. On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention. Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing. In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.
Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run
Van BramerFATAL Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible. The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified. “To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.” “We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said. A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident. The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision. “You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it's a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don't you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said. Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000--on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state. Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said. Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians. Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement. The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.
Brooklyn man arrested in connection to Woodside murder
queenspalace Oct. 10, By Michael Florio A Brooklyn man was arrested Thursday for allegedly killing a man outside a Woodside party hall in July. Jorge Navarro, 20, was arrested in connection to the July 26th death of Eduardo Rojas, who was killed after being struck in the head. The incident occurred outside of Queens Palace, located at 37-27 57th Street, when a fight broke out. In the melee gun shots were also fired. The 108 precinct responded to a 911 call just after 1 am and discovered a 25-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left leg and back, as well Rojas, who was dead. Navarro is facing charges of murder, manslaughter and gang assault. He has not been charged for the shooting.
Another hit-and-run in Woodside leaves man in critical condition
ambulance Oct. 9, By Michael Florio Another pedestrian has fallen victim to a hit-and-run in Woodside. A 20-to-30 year old male was struck in the early hours today while crossing the intersection at Queens Blvd and 60th Street. A dark colored SUV was traveling westbound along Queens Blvd when it struck the victim at about 1:30 am, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The vehicle did not stop and continued westbound toward the Queensboro Bridge. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim to be unconscious. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. The investigation is ongoing.
Sunnyside Gardens planned community turns 90
SGbefore Oct. 9, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Gardens, the planned community designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be presenting “Sunnyside Gardens at 90,” which will feature a series of photographs of the gardens over the decades as well a presentation by local historian Jeffrey Kroessler and architect Laura Heim. The presentation, which will take place tonight at 7pm at 35-20 Broadway in Astoria, will discuss the origins and significance of the community, including its importance in urban planning, design, and history, and the contentious campaign to gain designation as a historic district. (Click for details) Sunnyside Gardens was initially constructed between 1924 and 1928, and consisted of a series of twelve “courts”. The designated area went on to include the Phipps Garden Apartment buildings, which were constructed in the early 1930s. To celebrate the anniversary, the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance will be holding an event marking the occasion on Saturday, Oct. 25, with the unveiling of three historic district signs followed by a reception. The event will kick off at 1 pm at Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. (Click for details) According to the Preservation Alliance's website, the City Housing Corporation organized a “grand opening” for the first group of houses that were developed in Oct 1924. Advocates for affordable housing and New York City officials joined in to applaud the start of a new kind of neighborhood at the time. The very first Sunnyside Gardens owners moved in at the beginning of September 1924, according to the website, with the first house sold located at 41-49 47th (Carolin) Street. House prices ranged from $8500 to $13,500. SGNow sgplay    
Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards
Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehOct. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks. Conley said at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting that the Sunnyside Yards could be used to build more affordable housing. “We should look at it with the possibility of creating a community…with affordable housing, market rate housing and retail,” Conley said. Conley called on the board to give him permission to send a letter to the Queens Borough President’s office requesting a study of the area. The board complied. The letter, however, alarmed several people who fear over development—with some claiming that the infrastructure is overstretched as it is. Van Bramer said the community is not calling for the development of the Sunnyside Yards. He said people are more concerned about school overcrowding, transportation issues and other problems that actually stem from development. “My office is in the business of receiving hundreds of letters and speaking to people about important issues all the time,” Van Bramer said. “Not one person has come to me and said ‘you should deck over the Sunnyside Yards and build housing.” Several Community Board 2 members said after last Thursday’s meeting that they were caught by surprise by Conley’s request. “I’m opposed to the concept of decking [building] over the Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said. “The idea gets floated whenever there is an economic boom…but I think it would be bad for the surrounding community.” Van Bramer, as councilman, has a big role to play in terms of land use decisions such as these. All significant zoning changes go through the city council and it is typically the elected official in a given district that makes the call. Van Bramer was unsure how the idea surfaced in the first place.
Van Bramer

Van Bramer

Conley said that the Sunnyside Yards—which go through Long Island City and Sunnyside--are owned by government agencies. Therefore, this provides the community with an opportunity to negotiate with developers as to the number of affordable units that could be built. “Jackson Avenue and 21st Street would be our jumping off point,” Conley said, adding that the study would then look toward Thomson Avenue and Queens Plaza. Van Bramer said that he too is in favor of affordable housing. However, he said, “Density is appropriate in some places and not others. I, for one, believe Sunnyside and Astoria are great low-density neighborhoods that should remain so.” Conley told the Daily News Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards also divide the neighborhoods and indicated that the housing would draw them closer. “Right now you have this scar that runs down the community,” he told the News. Van Bramer disagreed with this view. “I wouldn’t characterize these neighborhoods as having a scar running through them…and I don’t believe the neighborhoods are unreachable.”    
Police seek help in locating serial bank robber, suspect allegedly hit Chase bank in Sunnyside in July
Oct. 8, By Christian Murray suspect Call him the 21st Century version of Willie Sutton or John Dillinger. The police are searching for a man who has robbed eight Queens banks—and attempted to rob two others—in the past 2 1/2 years. The banks have been scattered throughout the borough—covering Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, East Elmhurst and Sunnyside. In total, the suspect has taken in about $50,000. One of the robberies occurred at the Chase Bank branch at 47-11 Queens Blvd, where the suspect approached a teller and passed her a note—before fleeing with $5,900 in cash. That incident occurred on July 25, 2014 (see story). The suspect’s modus operandi has been to enter a bank, pass a note and—on four occasions—display a firmarm. He also tends to hold a mobile phone up against his ear. No injuries have resulted from his spree. The suspect (see photo) is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, approximately 6-feet-tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and a button-down short sleeve shirt. He also had a light beard connected to a goatee, tinted eye glasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist. The first incident occurred on July 17, 2012, when he allegedly entered into an Amalgamated Bank at 78-01 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and took off with $1,450.suspect1 The latest robbery occurred Saturday, when the suspected entered Chase Bank at 69-55 Grand Avenue, passed a note and left with $5,170. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Oktoberfest comes to Skillman Avenue this Saturday
claret1Oct. 7, By Christian Murray It’s time to get out the lederhosen and the Bavarian hats. The Skillman Project, a group of bars and restaurants located on Skillman Avenue, is hosting its 3rd annual Oktoberfest this Saturday. There are eight bars/restaurants participating in the event—and attendees will be offered $3 beers until late. The event will start at 3pm and go until close. Several of the bars/restaurants will be serving German-themed food—with items such as Bratwurst and pretzels on offer. The Skillman Project has also hired a brass band that will be playing polka music at all the participating venues. The band will start at 6:30 at Claret Wine Bar and will then perform at the other bars/restaurants. “Oktoberfest is typically the most popular event that the Skillman Project puts on each year,” said Justin Costello, the manager at Claret. “It tends to bring in the largest crowd.” The Skillman Project also puts on an annual Mardi Gras and a summer event. To partake in Saturday’s Oktoberfest, attendees are required to register at Claret (46-02 Skillman) between 3 pm and 5 pm, and buy a $5 wristband. The wristband is needed in order to get the $3 beers at all eight restaurants/bars. The $5 proceeds will be donated to the local food pantry. Participating bars are: Dog and the Duck, Claret Wine Bar, Flynn’s Garden Inn, Quaint Bistro, Murphy’s Lobster Grill, The Globe, Aubergine Cafe and The Copper Kettle. Skillman_OktoberFest2014_Final  
Famous singer/songwriter a frequent performer at Sunnyside venue
JD @ teapot 6-22-2013Oct. 6, By Kim Brown Jim Dawson has sold out shows at the Bitter End, been signed by RCA Records and written a song recorded by Sesame Street’s Elmo. This Thursday he’s playing at The Globe Tavern’s Open Mic night on Skillman Avenue. “It really ups the quality of the night,” said host and guitarist Trevor Bowen. “He’s a pro, it’s the most wonderful feeling of support.” Dawson, who has been compared to James Taylor and Harry Chapin, was also touted as the next Bob Dylan after “Songman” was released in 1971. He is still a regular at venues like the Cutting Room. Newer fans know him because Elmo sang his “Simple Song” and older fans remember when he played Constitution Hall in Washington with The Birds. But when he comes to The Globe about once a month he’s just Jim, competing against baseball games and loud conversations like any other musician. There is no cover charge and he buys his own beer. “One of the reasons I love it is Trevor says ‘Here’s Jim’,” said Dawson, who lives in Manhattan and is Bowen’s vocal coach. “It doesn’t matter if I sold 200,000 records or zero. We’re all the same. We all got into this in the first place because it’s fun.” Dawson came to New York City in the late 1960s, after a stint in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Because he was signed by a record company pretty quickly, playing the open mic circuit was not something he had done very often. Despite distractions the last time he played The Globe--like an overturned tray of garlic knots and Derek Jeter’s last home at bat on TV—-he somehow managed to quiet a pretty raucous room. “When I’m doing it and I’m getting it right those are the most alive situations. I feel like I’m 18 or 19 years old again,” he said. Dawson, who lives on the Upper West Side, has released 15 CDs and albums. He is also known for writing the opening theme for a popular German soap opera. Money from that song allowed him to set up a home recording studio. The 1999 CD of his own live sessions in his apartment, “Therapy in Session: The Studio Concerts,” gained attention as an innovative way for musicians to release their work independently. Dawson’s website still attracts about 2,000 visitors a month from all over the world. Maybe he is able to arrest a noisy bar so well because he has been playing for nearly 50 years. Or maybe it’s because he tends to write Americana songs with lyrics that seem to have sprung from our own hopes and worries or that the gift to connect with the audience is just that, a gift. Whatever the reason, the audience quiets and connects with Dawson when he is behind the mic. “I want people to hear the words and I want them to hear what I have to say,” Dawson said. “But it is a bar for crissake.” Yet The Globe’s open mic is not all about Dawson, or even all about music. Poets, magicians, comedians and actors are welcome as well. “Pretty much anyone can show up, grab a beer and sign up,” said co-owner Rena Hershberger, who sings and performs at open mic night herself. “Everyone gets their 10 minutes.” Yet Bowen admits his ultimate goal is beyond that. He’d like the bar and the neighborhood to become a destination for original, quality music and he already sees that happening. “There have been really surprising musicians who have come and blown the socks off people,” he said. Ben Hope, who played the lead in the Broadway musical Once, and renowned Jazz guitarist Tosh Sheridan are both Globe regulars. Dawson is only adding to that momentum. “If people think ‘this guy Jim is going to show up’ and that will bring in two more people,” Dawson said, “that’s what I think is important. I’m just trying to be one of the guys on the team.” Open Mic Night at The Globe Tavern, located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, will be held this Thursday and every other week.
Police swarm Sunnyside with plain clothes cops prior to arresting armed robber
Amazon-pharmacy-800x600 Oct. 5, By Christian Murray The police sent in more than a dozen plain clothes cops into the Sunnyside commercial district following two armed robberies at local drug stores early last month. The strategy led to an arrest of a Sunnyside man when the third Sunnyside pharmacy was targeted. The first robbery took place at Greenpoint Pharmacy, located at 40-26 Greenpoint Avenue, on Sept 2, when a masked man displayed a gun, and demanded Vicodin, before fleeing with Oxycodone. The second incident occurred on Sept 5 at Family Pharmacy, 45-60 43rd Street, when the masked perpetrator showed a gun and took off with prescription drugs. “We sent in about a dozen plain clothes [officers] to the area,” said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer at the 108 precinct, after the second incident. The officers were there to monitor the pharmacies in the neighborhood. “With two [robberies] taking place so close to each other, we knew there was a good chance he would hit the area again,” Hennessy said. Therefore, when a perpetrator went into Amazon Pharmacy, located at 43-10 Queens Blvd, on Sept 11 with a knife and demanded prescription drugs the police were in the area. The police received a 911 call with a description of the suspect and several officers were in the neighborhood to search for him. The perpetrator, Patrick McNamara, ran across Queens Boulevard and was arrested by Police Officer John Miszuk, a plain-clothes officer, who tracked him down just two blocks from the drug store. McNamara, 37, a Sunnyside resident was then identified by a witness. The police, however, have not been able to make an arrest on the first two robberies since the suspect was wearing a mask and was hard to identify. However, Hennessy noted, that there have been no drug store robberies since. McNamara was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. Greenpoint Pharmacy-475x355 FamilyPharmacy

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