Nail salon to open at prime Skillman Ave. location

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37 Responses to Nail salon to open at prime Skillman Ave. location

  1. Thomas

    The rent was too expensive...something like $8000.00 per month....what local restaurant can afford such a sum?

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  2. Pat

    How can a nail salon afford it ......???????????????

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  3. Anonymous

    Seriously!! Another nail saloon?????

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  4. Annie D

    WHY????? Isn't there a nail salon right across the street on Skillman??? There are some up on the Boulevard too.

    LAME!

    Let's petition for tacos and margaritas (or a book store...more of a long shot).

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  5. Local Hamburgler

    WTF! NO. Boycott that place and shutter them in 6 months. If they stay alive I suggest them as a money laundering front. F THAT.

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  6. Fingers

    A sad implication in this article. To speak of the nail salon as negative is unfair the incoming business owners - it's obviously a product of the community's business needs. If the nail salon lacks clients, then it will close. If you ate more @ Romanian Garden - it would have been a thriving business that remained open. Think about that next time you have dinner.

    Nail salon equals money laundering? Wow that's ignorant. Hard working entrepreneurs who can save to open a business to fulfill the American Dream are money launderers? That's a disgusting comment - why don't you use your savings and open a restaurant and save Skillman Avenue?

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  7. Ruben

    I believe these places are just open as fronts for drug selling and money laundering. Just like that terrorist sleeper cell store that left and became a TD bank

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  8. Oppressed Masses

    Is there that much money laundering and drug sales taking place in Sunnyside?

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  9. 86Mets

    If you want to buy books, Rite-Aid, CVS and Duane Reade sell all the popular best-sellers. The charity shops sell used books and there's always the two local public libraries.

    A Barnes & Noble or Shakespeare and Co. type bookstore just wouldn't survive in Sunnyside.

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  10. Local Hamburgler

    @Fingers Romanian Garden seems to do substantial business from what I can tell. With a name like Fingers you seem connected which is sad as putting a nail salon on Skillman is a great injustice to the strip. A restaurant or boutique should be there. This neighborhood has been a family run district for a very long time and these properties need to remain as such. A nail salon, no matter who runs it or the quality of service it provides undermines the growth of the area. Even RUBEN will agree that a takeout restaurant is far more beneficial to the area than another nail salon.

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  11. Patriot

    This is Barry HUSSEIN Obama's economy lol

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  12. Logical

    Well, that's a letdown. It feels like a letdown because we already have plenty of nail salon options nearby and it's the perfect spot for something interesting.

    Sunnyside is ready for something more, something new. The neighborhood is slowly changing and I think there are a growing number of residents who are anxious for a quickened pace (myself included). I'm excited for the day that Skillman Avenue is home to a large, diverse collection of restaurants, bars, cafes, and shops of the caliber and atmosphere that make them compelling establishments. Which isn't to say that that type of development or collection of businesses isn't already present on Skillman Avenue (albeit in very small numbers). It is to say, the area is rife with opportunity, the would-be patrons are ready and waiting, and the demands of a changing neighborhood require that new businesses bring something interesting, not redundant, to the table.

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  13. Ruben

    Even I agree Local Hamburgler... Even I agree.

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  14. Sigmund II

    There seems to be something very wrong here. How can a salon survive here with the rent requested? What treachery lurks in our mist? Where is David Patreaus when we need him? A James Bond adventure in the making. Oops, I just lost part of my nail on the desk drawer. I will need to visit when opening day arrives. J. E. Hoover

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  15. Anonymous

    i agree with everyone else, there's way too many nail salons in sunnyside. i don't know what type of store should've opened there, but at least something different.

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  16. O'shea

    It is plausible for a salon to afford such a rent. It must average 80 jobs/ day. :)

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  17. nobody

    in other news: another store front will be shuttered on skillman avenue in 9-12 months.

    in the classifieds: nail salon equipment and supplies for sale; barely used!

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  18. Roxy

    Some nail salons, not necessarily in Sunnyside/Woodide, are rumored to have backrooms where sexual services are available.

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  19. king of Queens

    Oh who cares you prudes so a little sex in the backroom.... oh please anything better than that dump Romanian Garden with all those sleazy Eastern Europeans hanging out in front. You have all been besmirched.

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  20. Long time sunnysider

    @86 mets those "charity" stores that u mention are also a front. I walked into one of then one day and asked the owner what percentage of his profits go to charity and which charity he was affiliated with and he just gave me a blank look and had no answer. I guess charity begins at home.HIS HOME!!!

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  21. Nick Shadyside

    In other, less prurient news, O'Shea did the maths...
    We can only surmise that O'Shea is a mega-deviant...at least that's the case if we hold him to his own public standards.

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  22. 86Mets

    @Long Time...

    I wouldn't be surprised if the charity shop is some sort of front. The topic I was dealing with was where one can buy books.

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  23. Long time resident

    There was an independent bookstore in Astoria. It shut down last year. Queens for whatever reason doesn't seem to have the bookstore culture that Brooklyn has (I can think of at least three independent bookstores in Brooklyn). The only bookstores in Queens that I'm aware of are B&N in Forest Hills and the now closed Borders in Glendale (Atlas Park?)

    Where to get books in the neighborhood? 1.) the library. If your local branch doesn't have it, look online to see if the Queens Library system has it, and put in a request for it and it will be sent to your local branch. 2.) Both thrift shops on Greenpoint Ave have books in the back. The larger one closer to the Jehovah's Witness Hall has more. The thrift shop on Queens Blvd also has books in bins on the sidewalk. I've picked up any number of good reads at all three, and dropped off a lot of good books I just wasn't likely to revisit again at thrift shops.

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  24. O'shea

    Nick shady
    Congrats, you have won the redstripe bigwords award today.

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  25. JuliaJ.

    A clothing store/boutique would be great. There used to be a nifty one on 43rd Avenue, I believe with 43rd Street. We don't need another nail salon!!!! How many times can you get your nails done in one week? This is ridiculous!!!

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  26. Thomas

    I say Mazel-Tov.....if they can afford the rent and want to become vibrant members of the Sunnyside family....lets all wish them well. Please no more stereotypes about money launderers or people of Eastern European descent that is intolerant.

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  27. More of the Same

    How is this a "prime location" with Nail/Hair Studio Design right across the street at 46-27 Skillman? And they have seen their customers dwindle over time so what makes being directly across the Skillman such a desirable location? Generally the nail salons are Korean owned and they are good business people (they managed to take over Hunts Point Market) so I just don't get opening up directly across from the same type of business.

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  28. Krissi

    Isn't there a nail place right across the street?

    Also the old Romanian Garden was in a pretty big place. I can't imagine a nail salon in a big space like that.

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  29. Thomas

    More of the same

    Who are "they" "take over" my grandfather a holocaust survivor opened a business and was treated with the same intolerance.....only through sheer hard work and self determination did he make it in this country. "You" need to look at yourself and see where your bias comes from...I suggest reading books on the holocaust....and be so quick to judge others

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  30. JuliaJ.

    Let's not get so sensitive, Thomas! We do not need another nail salon or hair salon! We have tons of them, as is. We also have lots of bars and restaurants. I don't see how all these nail salons can stay in business.

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  31. More of the Same

    Thomas,

    I don't understand why you are suggesting reading books on the holocaust. My comment was complimentary to the Korean community who had made hard work a staple of their lives here and have thrived with nail salons and green grocers. My point was the overwhelming majority of these businesses are Korean owned and it is unusual to see someone take the financial risk of opening a nail salon directly across the street from another nail salon.

    That's not a bias and certainly has absolutely nothing to do with the holocaust.

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  32. Thomas

    More of the same

    "Generally the nail salons are Korean owned and they are good business people (they managed to take over Hunts Point Market)"

    "they" are good business people as opposed to "who"? You are perpetuating a sterotype. I refer to the Holocaust because it was the same stereotyping and bias which led to the eventual death of more than six million people. We are all human beings endowed by the creator with the same ability to excel. I would die for your right to voice your opinion but not a bias steeped in ignorance.
    This is a nail salon....why are you so upset about it? Why is it so hard for you to wish them well....because they open across the street from a similar business? Thats called "competition"....you should educate yourself on the free market system.

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  33. More of the Same

    Thomas,

    So me saying that the Korean community traditionally has been hard working business owners contributing to their neighborhoods is tantamount to stereotyping them and akin to the Holocaust? Sorry but you obviously have your own overriding thoughts on life........

    It's not a matter of wishing them well its simply a question posed as to why a nail salon would want to pay those high rents just to be across the street from another nail salon.

    As an aside, sorry but I don't go for that nonsense about the "creator" endowing everyone with the same ability to excel. There is a reason some people practice saying "do you want fries with that" while others own the franchise. We are not all the same with the same abilities and there is nothing wrong with that. The bigger problem lies with people believing that some "creator" controls their lives and thinking they can pray their way to a better existence but that is a topic for a different story.....

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  34. It's all True

    Another nail salon? This is a joke, right? I guess Skillman is no longer "prime real estate". And we do have lots of restaurants. We could use a clothing store or a shoe store.

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  35. Thomas

    More of the same

    Thats not what you said....you have "qualified" your remarks. You stereotyped a group of people...that is intolerance and ignorance. You imply that some people are made to "dish" out fries and others to sit and eat them. Our fore fathers thought the same some 200 years ago when they imported slaves....they too were elitists and religious. Some people are born into a circumstance upon which getting out is almost impossible...to judge someone based upon their "looks", "name" or economic status is immoral and unethical. I invoke the horror of the Holocaust because this is how intolerance begins....one group thinks itself superior to another....as you evidenced in your last post. And yes I do believe in God and I am entitled to my belief and my life is directed by the teachings of the Torah....that does'nt mean yours has too. Whatever motivates you is fine as long as you do not disparage others.

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  36. Thomas

    Its All True

    Great Idea....why don't you follow up and rent the store. If you felt it makes a better clothing store or shoe store venue....why not go for it? That would be much more constructive on your part than complaining about another person siezing the moment and thru sheer initiative takes a chance and opens a nail salon. You see...its easy for you to be an arm chair critic...you have nothing to lose. Lets wish this new business well ....lets support Sunnyside, fight intolerance and bias. Remember education is the elixor of ignorance.

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Latest News

Bostonian convicted of killing Berkeley Towers resident inside victim’s apartment
Berkeley Towners, 52-40 39th Drive

Berkeley Towners, 52-40 39th Drive

Jan. 29, By Christian Murray

A Boston man who murdered a Berkeley Towers resident inside the victim’s apartment was convicted yesterday of second degree murder, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Raymond Epps, 58, strangled and robbed Wayne Graves, 62, who was later found dead in his Woodside bathtub.

Graves fell victim to Epps in October 2011 after he allowed the Bostonian to stay with him in his 11th floor apartment, after meeting Epps at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

“The defendant repaid his benefactor’s generous act of kindness by strangling him in his own home and then stealing his credit cards,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown.”His actions warrant a lengthy prison sentence to punish him and protect society.”

Epps, who has been in custody since December 2011, faces up to 25 years to life in prison.

Gerard Torre, a friend of Graves, testified that he visited the apartment on October 16, 2011, and that Epps introduced himself and said that he needed a place to stay and was staying a few nights with Graves.

Torre repeatedly called Graves the next day, but there was no answer. Then on Oct. 19, 2011, Torre went to the apartment and when no one answered he had the building’s super to open the door.

Graves’ body was discovered in the bathtub and his death was ruled as the result of strangulation.

Epps used Graves’ credit cards to buy a bus fare back to Boston. He then used the credit cards to buy merchandise from various stores, which he then used to trade for crack cocaine, according to the district attorney’s office.

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Bar 43 completes expansion, reopens tonight

bar43

prior to expansion

prior to expansion

Jan. 29, By Christian Murray

The expansion of Bar 43 & Grill is almost complete and the neighborhood sports bar is reopening tonight.

The bar, located at 43-06 43rd Street, has expanded into the space beside it, which was previously occupied by the Sunnyside Meat Market.

The bar now has room for 100 seats—up from 60. The number of TVs has also increased—from 11 to 23.

Nick Murphy and Mickey McCreesh, who own the establishment, started the expansion last summer. They gutted the old butcher shop and revamped it while keeping the bar open.

However, 10 days ago, they closed the bar down to smash the interior wall that had previously separated the two establishments.

Murphy said that their aim was to reopen in advance of the Super Bowl. While he had hoped the expansion would have been completed earlier this week he said he was glad the process was nearly over.

“We will still have a nice start going into [Super Bowl] weekend,” Murphy said.

The owners have put in a sliding door that can be used to cordon off the new space for private parties. However, for the most part, the door will remain open.

Murphy said that they are still awaiting their new exterior sign, which he anticipates will go up in the next few days.

Murphy said the bar will continue to operate the way it did before—offering sports, trivia, restaurant food and outdoor seating (in summer).

While Bar 43 is best-known as a sports bar, Murphy said it will continue to be a venue where families can go out for a quality dinner.

Nick Murphy

Nick Murphy

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Nolan announces that she wants Assembly Speaker job
Cathy Nolan

Cathy Nolan

Jan. 28, By Christian Murray

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan announced today that she wants to be the next speaker of the New York State Assembly.

Nolan’s announcement came shortly after Sheldon Silver, the longtime leader of the assembly, agreed to give up the position he has held for 21 years as a result of federal corruption charges.

“I am formally announcing my candidacy for Speaker of the New York State Assembly,” Nolan wrote in a statement. “In my 30 year Assembly career I have conducted myself with honesty and integrity.”

Nolan would be the first woman to get the top job and it would result in Sunnyside and Long Island City being represented by two high-ranking officials: Nolan as speaker and Jimmy Van Bramer as New York City majority leader.

Nolan is one of a handful of names in the running for the speaker race, which include Majority Leader Joseph Morelle from Rochester, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.

“Lost in the names that have been mentioned as potential candidates for Speaker is that of a woman,” Nolan wrote. “A woman has never served as Speaker of the Assembly.”

The letter indicated that Nolan would have little tolerance for legislators who sexually harassed their staffers.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he had talked to Nolan this morning. “She is a very serious contender and I can tell you she is very determined,” he said. She is not just floating her name out there, she is moving on this very decisively.”

Nolan has served on several committees during her tenure.

“I have extensive experience working with constituencies from all over our state, and have indeed ushered many proposals through both the budget process and the legislative process. Whether the issue is education, labor, mass transit or women’s issues, I have been at the forefront of the process,” Nolan wrote.

Nolan also wrote that she has never had a second job while working in the assembly.

“The people of New York State has been my only job – whether it be my own constituents, school children or working men and women in our state.”

Nolan is likely to get the support from Joseph Crowley, the head of Queens Democratic Party that would bring her the full 18-member assembly bloc of Queens.

“It is time for this institution to return to the high standards that the people of our state rightfully demand and expect. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to do just that for the people of the State of New York. They deserve nothing less,” Nolan wrote.

The new speaker is expected to be picked on Feb. 10.

statementfromassemblywomannolan-1 by sunnysidepost

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Sunnyside digs out after ‘historic’ storm

Jan. 27, Staff Report

The storm may not have lived up to the hype but Sunnyside was still left with plenty of snow.
Here is some of the aftermath.

sunnysidesnow7

sunnysidesnow5

sunnysidsnow5

sunnysidesnow4

sunnysidesnow3

sunnysidesnow2

sunnysidesnow1

sunnysidesnow

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Cathy Nolan is being discussed as the next Assembly Speaker

Registry

Jan. 26, Staff Report

The Queens Democratic machine is starting to flex its muscles and is calling for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to be next speaker should Sheldon Speaker be toppled, according to the New York Observer.

Top officials with the Queens Democratic Party are calling Assembly members in Queens, Manhattan and Nassau County to support Nolan, who has represented Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City since 1984.

“Queens is calling around, taking the temperature. They’re pushing Nolan,” an Albany Democratic source to the Observer. “They are floating her in case Shelly is no longer speaker so there’s a quick transfer of power and the body can move on.”

Sources say the Queens machine’s three top deputies–Michael Reich, Frank Bolz and Gerard Sweeney–are calling legislators to figure out what kind of support exists for a potential Nolan candidacy, the Observer reports.

Nolan is reportedly close to Silver and the teachers union, the Observer reports. Nolan has also forged an alliance with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who may look to exert his influence over the city’s Assembly delegation if Silver leaves his post.

Support from Joseph Crowley, the head of the Queens Democratic Party, could mean the full 18-member bloc of Queens lawmakers in the Assembly’s 150 member body would vote for her.

Nolan is regarded as one of the shrewder lawmakers in the body, the Observer reports, and would be the first woman ever elected speaker in New York, no small significance to female Assembly members.

Nolan could not be reached for this article.

Meanwhile, Silver, who is trying to hang onto the speaker role as he fights federal corruption charges, is expected to announce today that the assembly will be jointly run by five Assembly Democrats—one of whom is Nolan.

The other four are Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

Silver’s move will be deemed temporary, so he can focus on fighting the charges of kickbacks and corruption. However, there is still uncertainty as to whether Silver will be forced out.

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City council signs off on Luke Adams Way
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Jan. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation this week that included the co-naming of 46th Street in honor of the late Luke Adams.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer submitted Adams’ name Thursday and provided his council colleagues with a brief description of what Adams was like. “[Adams] was affectionately known as the Mayor of Sunnyside and a terrific man who led our Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and did so much. In fact he helped build the Sunnyside Arch.”

The strip on 46th Street between Greenpoint Ave. and Queens Blvd (by the Arch) will be co-named Luke Adams Way.

Adams, who was a 40 year resident and local business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest on Nov. 10 at the age of 76. Just days after his death several people called out for a street to be named after him.

Adams, who was at one time the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, was well known by the community for his work with the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.org. Furthermore, he was the first recipient of the Sunnysider of the Year award, an award that is now named after him.

The street naming ceremony is expected to take place in spring. However, Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the Adams’ family will be coordinating the details.

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Two cops receive award for saving LaGuardia professor’s life
Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month.

Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college.

The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat.

The two officers went into action.

Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.

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Sunnyside resident organizing fun run, aims to raise funds for the homeless

POSTER

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

A Sunnyside resident is organizing a one mile fun run as part of her quest to raise funds for the Coalition for the Homeless.

Leonor White, who is originally from Spain, is planning to hold the event on May 31st and has already received the permits necessary from the NYPD to use the streets.

The event will start outside Lou Lodati Park on 43rd Street. Runners will then follow Barnett Avenue through to 52nd Street before finishing at Skillman Ave (44th Street). White aims to get 250 runners to participate.

“I think that this is a great way to bring the community together,” White said. “It is also a way to remind everyone of how many adults and children are homeless.”

White plans to make the event a competitive race as well as a fun run.

She said that there will be an adult race as well as one for children (below 16 years of age) .

Meanwhile for most, she said it will be a fun run or walk.

White said that there will be a nominal charge to participate—expecting it to be between $5 and $10.

Those funds will go toward the homeless. She is currently reaching out to local businesses to see whether they will help sponsor the event, which would generate additional funds to go toward the homeless.

She encourages others to get involved in helping put the race together. She can be contacted at leonorwhite@hotmail.com

Race map

Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots

IMG_0011(1)

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Signage that went up at the former Dime Bank location on Queens Blvd Wednesday indicated that a new bank tenant was moving in.

Exterior signs read: “Fisher Bank,” and inside there were posters advertising retirement accounts and current interest rates.

The bank, however, was fictional. It was decked out as part of a set for the TV show Person of Interest, a sci-fi crime drama series.

Bank Queens Blvd SunnysideThe bank has been used for many TV shoots. Scenes for the crime-series Blue Bloods staring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg were shot there last year when a robbery was staged there as part of its 100th anniversary episode.

John Ciafone, the owner of the building, said that he gets a lot of interest from TV and film crews looking to use the bank space.

Late last year a small independent movie company also used the bank for it film.

Ciaphone said the bank will be used for movie and TV sets up until the time the building is demolished to make way for apartments. The building is expected to be demolished in the second half of this year.

Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

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More Headlines

Two cops receive award for saving LaGuardia professor’s life
Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month. Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college. The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat. The two officers went into action. Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.
Sunnyside resident organizing fun run, aims to raise funds for the homeless
POSTER Jan. 23, By Christian Murray A Sunnyside resident is organizing a one mile fun run as part of her quest to raise funds for the Coalition for the Homeless. Leonor White, who is originally from Spain, is planning to hold the event on May 31st and has already received the permits necessary from the NYPD to use the streets. The event will start outside Lou Lodati Park on 43rd Street. Runners will then follow Barnett Avenue through to 52nd Street before finishing at Skillman Ave (44th Street). White aims to get 250 runners to participate. “I think that this is a great way to bring the community together,” White said. “It is also a way to remind everyone of how many adults and children are homeless.” White plans to make the event a competitive race as well as a fun run. She said that there will be an adult race as well as one for children (below 16 years of age) . Meanwhile for most, she said it will be a fun run or walk. White said that there will be a nominal charge to participate—expecting it to be between $5 and $10. Those funds will go toward the homeless. She is currently reaching out to local businesses to see whether they will help sponsor the event, which would generate additional funds to go toward the homeless. She encourages others to get involved in helping put the race together. She can be contacted at leonorwhite@hotmail.com Race map
Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots
IMG_0011(1) Jan. 23, By Christian Murray Signage that went up at the former Dime Bank location on Queens Blvd Wednesday indicated that a new bank tenant was moving in. Exterior signs read: “Fisher Bank,” and inside there were posters advertising retirement accounts and current interest rates. The bank, however, was fictional. It was decked out as part of a set for the TV show Person of Interest, a sci-fi crime drama series. Bank Queens Blvd SunnysideThe bank has been used for many TV shoots. Scenes for the crime-series Blue Bloods staring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg were shot there last year when a robbery was staged there as part of its 100th anniversary episode. John Ciafone, the owner of the building, said that he gets a lot of interest from TV and film crews looking to use the bank space. Late last year a small independent movie company also used the bank for it film. Ciaphone said the bank will be used for movie and TV sets up until the time the building is demolished to make way for apartments. The building is expected to be demolished in the second half of this year.
Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

Sunnyside: Van Bramer issues report card, focuses on schools, parks and traffic safety
Van Bramer Jan. 22, By Christian Murray Sunnyside, NY: When he’s asked the tough questions, he typically doesn’t duck for cover. What are your thoughts on 5Pointz? Private property, he responds. What do you think of building on the Sunnyside Yards? Absolutely not. Do you believe in term limits for community board members? Yes. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who darts from event-to-event, isn’t known for hedging his bets. Instead he is direct, fast on his feet, and very self assured. It’s this self confidence that leads him to release an annual self assessment—or report card—every January. It is a rare concept, as most council members don’t do it. “I like people to know what I’ve been doing,” Van Bramer often says, adding that people should know what their council person does. “I don’t want anyone asking: ‘Who is he? What does he do?” The 15-page report states in large font: “16,554 and counting” referring to the number of constituent cases Van Bramer and his staff have handled over the past five years. Furthermore, it said that in 2014, he served on six committees—including as chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries-and had a “95.3% attendance record.” Van Bramer said that he has laid the groundwork for a number of Sunnyside/Woodside projects that will come to fruition this year. The $1. 3 million revamp of Thomas P. Noonan Park—located at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street-- is expected to be completed by summer; a new elementary school in Woodside will be opening in September; and further traffic safety measures are about to go into effect. The ribbon cutting at Thomas P. Noonan Park will come at a time when several other park developments are in the works. The Parks Department is currently drafting preliminary plans for a $2.2 million upgrade to Big Bush Park (behind the Big Six Towers) as well as the $500,000 revamp of Hart Playground on 37th Ave. in Woodside. Furthermore, a $500,000 upgrade to Windmuller park is coming that will cover the cost of building a new skateboard area, as well as fixing the band shell area that has been damaged by skateboarders performing their stunts. However, Van Bramer said that there has been one park project that has been delayed; the dog run at Doughboy Park, which is adjacent to PS 11. Van Bramer, who allocated $250,000 for the dog run in 2012, said that it is behind schedule due to the construction of a school annex at PS 11, which is located at 54-24 Skillman Avenue. He said that the contractor may need that the space where the dog run will go while construction takes place. Van Bramer takes pride in his quest to bring more classroom space—such as the the PS 11 annex-- to the area. “We have the first new school in 60 years coming to Woodside,” Van Bramer said, referring to PS 339 (located at 39-01 57th Street), which is scheduled to open in September with the capacity to serve 470 students. Meanwhile in Sunnyside, PS 343 (The Walter McCaffrey Campus) opened at 45-45 42nd St in September, which can cater to 434 students. In addition, construction of a 600-seat building at IS 125 (46-02 47 Ave.) is in the works, which is likely to lead to the removal of the trailers that are currently spread across the school grounds. “I will continue to build schools…and invest in parks,” Van Bramer said. Van Bramer secured $4.5 million in funding last year for the renovation and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue. The funds will double the theater’s seating capacity from 75 to 150. That section of Greenpoint Avenue in the past few years has been an area filled with vacancies. However, with the upgrade of the supermarket on the strip, the arrival of other businesses and the impending revamp of Thalia that section of Greenpoint Ave. is showing signs of improvement. Van Bramer said that the Sunnyside business district is on the upsurge in general. “There are very few vacant stores,” he said. He said that the acquisition—and likely development—of several parcels of property on Queens Blvd is largely the result of a booming real estate market coupled with Sunnyside being viewed as a vibrant and safe neighborhood. Meanwhile, a Woodside street cleaning program that involves two workers cleaning Roosevelt (51st to 61st Streets) and Woodside Avenues will continue. In addition, the graffiti cleanup program—where streets such as Broadway, Skillman Ave, 43rd Ave., Roosevelt Ave. and Woodside Ave. are cleaned monthly--has also been funded for this year. Slow zonesVan Bramer said that he has been working on many transportation issues since he has been in office—with the greatest number of constituent cases he and his staff have had to deal with being transportation concerns. While many of these issues have dealt with the No. 7 train and the MTA (which are overseen by the state), he hears from constituents about stop signs and dangerous driving. He said that he advocated for the 25 mph speed limit and slow zones within Sunnyside and Woodside. The slow zone in Sunnyside (south of Queens Blvd) is complete—with the Woodside (which includes northern Sunnyside) expected to be completed within the first half of this year. “People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families,” Van Bramer said, who put in an application with the Department of Transportation for the two slow zones. Van Bramer takes great pride in his strong support of Vision Zero—including his push for launching arterial slow zones on Northern and Queens Blvd. Furthermore, he received citywide attention for his “Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,” which recently went into effect that imposes a hefty civil penalty on drivers who flee the scene of an accident. Van Bramer, who was named Majority Leader at the beginning of last year, also said that the position allows him to be a better advocate for the district. For instance, he said, he was in a better position to be able to reach out to the administration to let it be known that the Pepsi sign in Long Island City should not lose its place on the “Landmarks Preservation calendar.” Van Bramer is politically ambitious and does not hide it. He said that he will definitely run for city council again in 2017. He would not comment if he has speakership goals in mind—or whether a city-wide office would come after that. “The council speakership was determined over a period of a few weeks [in December 2013] so it is way too far away to start thinking about that,” Van Bramer said. “And then another four years after that…anything could happen by then.” For Van Bramer's report card, please click here: .
LIC: A strange caricature of a religious Muslim draws plenty of hate
anti-muslim Jan. 21, By Christian Murray A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square train station. The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups. The sign has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it...such as "Islam stones women to death..." and "Muslims kill homo-sexuals." The messages are likely to have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster. . muslim .
Two northern Italians open ‘Brick-Oven Pizzeria’ on Greenpoint Avenue
olivilla and samone

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray A new pizzeria opened on Greenpoint Avenue Thursday that offers thin-crust stone oven pizzas. The restaurant, called Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 43-24 Greenpoint Avenue, and is owned and operated by two northern Italian natives, who learned to make pizza in their home country. Salvatore Olivella, who is the chef, makes the pizza Naples style, in accordance with his grandmother Gina’s recipe. The pizzas come in a variety of different toppings. Olivella, who has worked in Little Italy and other Manhattan locations, makes 18 inch elongated pizzas (called Metro) as well as smaller round personal pies. The pizzeria is owned by Simone Apollonio, who is from Brescia. He has operated pizzerias from Britain to Australia. The restaurant also offers a variety of pasta dishes as well as salads. Hours: 11 am - 11 pm seven days. Phone number: 718-361-5503 (deliveries to start in next week or two) Pizza2 brick 005
Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside A man robbed the Woodside Chase branch Saturday and fled with cash, police said. The suspect walked into Chase Bank, located at 59-26 Woodside Avenue, approached the teller and demanded money at around 11:30 am on Jan. 17, according to police. The teller handed over an undetermined amount of money and then the robber fled. There were no reported injuries. The suspect is a white male, 6'2" tall weighing 200 pounds, according to police. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
Police: Man exposed himself to worker at 61st Street station
expose Jan. 16, Staff Report A man exposed himself to a 22-year-old woman who was working at a store inside a Woodside subway station, police said. The employee was working in the mezzanine area of the 61st Street and Woodside Avenue station at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 3 when the suspect entered the business. He then exposed himself to the woman, police said. The suspect fled when a customer entered the store. Police have released video footage of the suspect. They describe him as black, 25 to 30 years old and 6 feet tall with a thin build. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).  
Updated Sunnyside map released, to be distributed to hotels, real estate offices and businesses
Sunnyside shines map Jan. 16, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s 2015 neighborhood map has been updated and is about to be released. The Sunnyside map, produced by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, features a full-color illustrated map of the neighborhood and an updated business directory. Fifteen thousand maps have been printed and will be distributed at hotels in western Queens, local real estate offices and businesses, and community events in an effort to draw newcomers and orient new residents to the neighborhood.  The map is updated each year with a new business directory, including businesses that are either members of the Sunnyside Shines BID or the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. The Sunnyside map was originally designed in 2013, and was the product of a design competition among students from LaGuardia Community College. The original and updated map features the winning artwork from former LaGuardia student Carmen Zhu. Students in the art and humanities department were tasked with creating artwork for a map that highlighted neighborhood landmarks and amenities. The map artwork was combined with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses, which funded the design and printing costs. “The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year.” Linda Santini-Tripodis, owner of local business Merit Group Realty, said that she provides a copy of the map to all new residents looking to move into the neighborhood. “They love the map because it puts all of Sunnyside’s vendors at your fingertips!” Santini-Tripodis said.

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

Pols. introduce community board term limits bill, aim to bring on new members as neighborhoods change
QNCB1 Jan. 14, By Christian Murray and Michael Florio The Chairman of Astoria’s Community Board 1 Vinicio Donato has held the top job since 1979. Meanwhile, all the leading figures on the Community Board 1 have been there since the 1980s—including those in charge of zoning and overseeing liquor licenses. The first vice chair George Stamatiades was appointed in 1982; second vice chair Norma Nieves-Blas was put on the board in 1987; the head of the Zoning & Variance Committee John Carusone joined in 1988; and the head of the public safety committee Antonio Meloni has been a member since 1988. This scenario of long-serving board members holding key posts is very common throughout the city-- and some legislators are looking to change that. Councilman Daniel Dromm (Jackson Heights) introduced legislation in December that would limit the amount of time a board member could serve to six two-year terms (12 years). The legislation would only apply to board members appointed after April 1, 2016. Existing board members would not be affected by the bill and would be able to stay as long as they desire—as long as their attendance records are in order. “I applaud those board members who have served for 30 or 40 years but I think we need to start thinking about changing things up a bit,” Dromm said. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside/LIC as well as a section of Astoria, is one of seven other legislators who has co-sponsored the bill. Councilman Costa Constantinides is not a co-sponsor and declined to comment on the legislation for this article. Dromm said that New York has undergone a great deal of change in the past 30 years and that should be reflected in terms of who sits on the community board. He said that when people sit on boards for three and four decades it creates a “huge power structure” that doesn’t always benefit a changing community. The same people stay in charge, he said, since the new members don’t want to challenge the long-serving chair person or executive board members. "While new members do get appointed to the [50 person] boards each year, they rarely get into powerful positions or on the executive board,” Dromm said. “These [chair] people wield a lot of power,” Dromm told the Sunnyside Post last year, since they decide who heads the committees and who is on them (see bylaws below). “They have a significant amount of power over the direction of the community.” Van Bramer, a former Community Board 2 member, said that the “changing of the guard is healthy and it represents good-government and democracy.” He said that council members are term limited and so too is the president of the United States. Therefore he believes that they should apply to community board members too. Van Bramer said that he supports the bill since it isn’t aimed at removing existing board members or punishing them. “We all value their volunteerism and what they have done.” However, Van Bramer said that more people should have an opportunity to serve on the board.
Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm

He noted that there are about 30 people looking to get on Community Board 2 yet only a few spots open up each year. Community Board members are appointed by the borough president, with half the nominees coming from the council member from a given district. Each board member has a two year term and then has to be reappointed by the borough president. The members are almost universally reappointed unless they have poor attendance records. The amount of work a member does on the board is not measured, nor is their attendance at committee meetings. Therefore, a member could go to most of the monthly meetings, say or doing little and still be reappointed. However, those opposed to Dromm’s bill argue that the long-serving members have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge that helps the board tackle complex topics. “I am opposed to term limits because there is value in experience and the history of many issues that come before the board,” said Community Board 1 Chair Vinicio Donato in a statement. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who served on Community Board 7, told the Gotham Gazette in December that developers often present boards with complicated land-use proposals and that it often takes experienced board members to grasp it all. Furthermore, Brewer said that seasoned board members are better able to negotiate with developers when it comes to affordable housing and other public amenities. "Without that kind of expertise, the developers will have a field day," Brewer told the Gazette. She does not support of the bill. Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also opposes Dromm’s bill and does not believe in the concept of term limits for board members, according to her spokesman. Lisa Deller, who is the land use committee head at Community Board 2, told the SunnysidePost last year that it took her a long time to get up to speed with how the city planning process works as well as other city issues. She said that unless someone is a land-use attorney, it takes years to work out all the nuances. “I think [term limits] would diminish the power of the community board,” Deller said. She said it would increase participation but members would be term limited once they developed a level of expertise.” However, Dromm said that the community board managers have the institutional knowledge and contacts-- and that the board members should be able to confer with them. Furthermore, the senior members can help mentor the new members. Patrick O’Brien, who was recently voted in as the chairman of Community Board 2, said “like anything there are always two sides to every equation.” “Turnover and involvement of new people is always a good thing, whether it is due to term limits or other reasons, but the loss of quality people who have developed relationships over the years with agencies…would be missed.” He said that 12 years is "too long" for those board members who do little. However, “someone who has done a great deal and continues to do so in a really great way, well then 12 years is a hard limit—despite people thinking it is a good thing.” “In some scenarios term limits are a good. In others it would be a real loss to the community and the community board,” O’Brien said. .

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

Public art goes up in Sunnyside, on vacant Greenpoint Ave. billboard
Keep Calm Sunnyside

Greenpoint Avenue

Jan. 13, By Christian Murray A piece of public art went up today on a large billboard on Greenpoint Avenue—between 45th and 46th Streets. The artwork has been installed by “14X48,” a non-profit organization that takes vacant billboards and then brightens them up through public art. The Greenpoint Avenue billboard is now covered with a collage of 80-plus posters that all start with the slogan “Keep Calm.” Each poster has a separate message, such as: “Keep Calm and Kiss Me,” or “Keep Calm and play basketball.” The slogan originated in Britain during WWII, with “Keep Calm and Carry On.” While the British did not use it, the slogan has since been used for marketing purposes. The artist, Margeaux Walter of Brooklyn, said that that she chose the slogan since it addressed the “overlap between individuality and commerce as well as the various guises of advertising and propaganda.” The artwork will be up for at least four weeks. The artist also invites people to tweet messages using the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. These tweets will be made into postcards and distributed along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave. Coffee House. For more information, please click here.  

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