Firewater Inn revamp to be complete by Feb. 2013, owners say

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57 Responses to Firewater Inn revamp to be complete by Feb. 2013, owners say

  1. Pat

    Good luck boys.

    ....Like the idea of a beer garden. Remember them when I was a youngster on 48th Ave and Dad and our uncles would give Mom a break by taking us with him for a few hours. Loved the rare soda and treats ..

    .. Praying to the Mayan Gods to bypass you ....

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  2. Mike Novak

    The McGowan Bros are true heros.

    Every day they put their lives on the line to help and save others.

    God Bless them and their family and I wish them all the Best in their new venture.

    Hope the boys keep a dart board (or two) up in the new space. ;-)

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  3. you all make me laugh

    I'll be happy to spend my money at this local establishment!
    Great to see my neighbors putting their money back into our community!

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  4. Krissi

    I randomly walked past this place a few months ago and wondered what was going on there (I live on the opposite side of town).

    It really does look cute from the outside... lots of potential.

    I can't wait to try it out!

    Bonus points if there's pet-friendly outdoor seating :-)

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  5. SunnysideUP

    Exciting!! Looking forward to it! It would be great if the guys had some classic rock playing in there. No true classic rock music in the neighborhood.
    All the best to the owners.

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  6. Thomas

    How about some kosher appetizers! Looking forward to the opening! Mazel !

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  7. 86Mets

    Can't wait to hoist a pint or two there.

    Cheers gentlemen.

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  8. Local Hamburgler

    I've been hoping to hear some news about this! I keep walking by hoping for signs of life.

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  9. JuliaJ.

    Good luck!

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  10. Garry F.

    I can't wait for the new firewater to open. I haven't had a drink since they closed there doors and I'm gettin really thirsty.

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  11. Christy Boy

    Stand up bunch of guy's! I think renaming the place after their Dad is a fantastic Idea... Cheers Lads and Good Luck!

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  12. cynthia

    I'm looking forward to it! I hope they have outdoor seating again. Personally I wouldn't mind a pool table, but I am glad to see the frat vibe retired.

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  13. Rick Duro

    The McGowan Brothers are GREAT people! Congrats!

    Rick
    SUDS

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  14. JM

    Ah, the old Out Post.

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  15. Ruben

    Are Latinos welcomed?

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  16. TheBitchyWaiter

    Please have a cocktail menu and a happy hour.

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  17. Long time sunnysider

    Good luck to the new firewater

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  18. Charlie Rapa

    Truly some of the best guys who came out of Sunnyside. Can't wait to have a drink at Jack’s Sunnyside Ale House.

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  19. Ruben

    Censorship scores again on Sunnyside Post ! hurrah! a site where pretentious know it alls can slam a girls education and job endeavors but ask if a certain bar is cool with ethnic or urban customers and I get deleted. pure ridiculous slanted agenda ridden news feed!

    The reason I ASK...Sunnyside post....is because I know a few people who told me this certain place was less than welcoming for "their kind". If this reality is too much for your sensitivities then I suggest you turn this site into a blog for cupcakes cuz these are real world concerns.

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  20. Sunnyside Native

    @ Ruben - whoever told you the above doesn't know the McGowans and must never have frequented the Firewater before it closed for renovation. I grew up with Jimmy & Brian and probably a quarter of our neighborhood friends and classmates were hispanic. Now if Latinos CHOOSE not to frequent their establishment, that's a whole other story. This used to be a great neighborhood bar, before it got rowdy and had other issues going on there that made me not want to frequent it. The McGowan's are a great family and I am so glad they renovated the bar and are giving back to Sunnyside, the neighborhood we love, grew up in and some of us still even live here. :) I just had to school you a little on this first! Hope to see you there!

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  21. Thomas

    Ruben

    I will be the first to buy you a pint.....and I dont even drink! Extend your hand in friendship and peace!

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  22. Marty Concerned

    Ruben , You dont belong around here ! Hop it !

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  23. Jim McGowan

    I take great offense to Reuben's accusations that we are even close to racist and unwelcoming to any " specific kind". We welcome everyone and treat everyone as equals until they show disrespect whether it be for our patrons our neighborhood, or conveyed through their attitude and/or hoodlum attire regardless of their race- they could be white, black or Latino. It's not the race but the way you present yourself and treat others. We appreciate everyone's positive comments and for those comments like Reuben's anyone that truly knows our business or family can attest that race is never an issue. Happy holidays to everyone... See you in the new year!

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  24. chambers052

    great guys great place counting down the days

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  25. Stretch

    i cant wait until the doors are finally open. The bar should be quite amazing when its finally done. i cant even start to count how many people have been asking about the bar since closing. it is a true meaning of what a neighborhood bar should be, no matter what ethnicity you are.
    i have been hanging out there for years, and alot of our friends that want to know when they can finally return and have a drink with all of us again are of Latin descent. I guess Reuben was thinking of the wrong place. no problem. just dont want to see any bad press for something that isnt true.
    how about we just all see how great it is for ourselves when it opens. enough said...

    good luck fellas!!!!

    STRETCH

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  26. Just some guy

    I believe that there are different reasons that people say negative things, usually out of jealousy or being a "hater". If you know the McGowans, then you'd know that they extend their hand to everyone, and are the first to help those in need. This was learned from Jack, a man who was known and loved throughout Sunnyside.. and now the Ale house will bear a great man's name along with the great neighborhood that he along with his boys represent. Cheers, McGowans.. and kudos for honoring both a great man and a great neighborhood.

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  27. ALOHA

    ALOHA, I cant wait for Jacks to open! A place where working class people can enjoy a drink and leave their worries at the door, what more can a person ask for? Hats off to John, Jimmy,and Brian for following through and getting this place back open. Cant wait to see everyone on opening night MAHALO!

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  28. Tow Downes

    I think naming the bar after Mr. Jack McGowan is a wonderful idea. Jack McGowan is one of my favorite people of all time. It never mattered to him who or what you were, he treated everyone with the same respect. I truly loved that man. I can hear him in heaven saying " That Tow Downes was going woo woo woo." The McGowan family are wonderful people. Helene has given so much to Sunnyside including helping keep Queen of Angels school open when they tried to close it originally. She is a Sunnyside icon and I love her. John, Jimmy and Brian are all good friends of mine who have given back to the neighborhood immeasurably. I also love them very much. I am so glad to hear the bar is going to open again because it really is my home away from home, I can go in there and sing classics from Three Dog Night and the Ramones and not get judged by anybody. I truly feel like Norm from Cheers in that bar. Everybody knows my name and I feel loved. A shout out to the great bartenders like Timmy, Christine, Shannon, Mario, Mike and Sue Eddy and my boy Joe Myers. The Firewater is a wonderful establishment and renaming it after Jack is a wonderful idea. Looking forward to seeing my second family.
    Tow Downes
    "The Pride of Sunnyside"

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  29. Thomas

    Thats Sunnyside....thank you Mr. Downes

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  30. CHOOCH

    This re-opening is going to be a fantastic tribute to a great man and a greater friend, Jack McGowan! I spent countless thursday & friday afternoons sitting with Jack discussing food from all angles, types & ethnicities. From where the best push-carts & pickles, donuts & steaks, seafood & black beans & rice could be found at the cheapest prices. Jack & his boys always knew when to nicely send me on my way. For that, myself & scores of pedestrians, thank y'all. As for Ruben...you are so,so wrong. I can't wait to pull up a stool next to you and as we knock back several whiskies, help you to experiance the feeling of being truly welcome in this wonderful establishment.
    Wishing John, Jimmy & Brian the best of luck and the greatest success.
    God Bless yaz!

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  31. Ruben

    hey! I was only asking I wasn't accusing ! I will now forward this info to my sensitive latino brothers.

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  32. GB

    I look forward to a pint of Guinness in this new establishment. Just take your time pouring it and and don't leave too much foam at the top please.

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  33. Christine

    I have worked at firewater on and off for many years and can honestly say you will never meet a nicer and more honest and stand up family than the mcgowans. They truly bring have brought the neighborhood together since its opening in the 80's and will continue to do so following their renovations. The bar will be beautiful, will have the delicious appetizers, soups and signature meals that the patrons will savor and then yet, despite the many positive changes, will always hold the same feeling of friendship and belonging that jack and Helene instilled so deeply here so many years ago and that will forever live within the walls of this natural landmark... A place many feel "as home". We are looking forward to seeing everyone together once again in the new and improved Jacks Ale House.

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  34. Eddie C

    Cant waite for the grand opening. Great palce, great

    people and great times! Enough said!!!

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  35. Sunnyside Native

    Merry Christmas Helene, John, Jimmy, Brian and Family! Your Dad is smiling down on you from Heaven and I am sure is very happy with the new direction you are taking the bar, especially by renaming it after him! Good Luck!

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  36. a latin person

    I Cant believe we are even talking about race!COOL Place, Great guys.

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  37. Shannon

    If John, Jimmy and Brian only used an ounce of their creativity, drive, ambition, passion and wholeheartedness, “Jack’s Sunnyside Ale House” would still be a huge success. The McGowans thrive on creating an environment where everyone will enjoy themselves. As an employee for over seven years, these are the owners who really care about their patrons. You will always be welcomed with a smile and you will be sure to leave with a laugh. Unlike most bar owners, they understand their patrons needs and strive to fulfill them. Being born and bred Sunnyside, they really know how to make you feel “at home” whether you are from the neighborhood or not.

    Good luck, guys. I cannot wait to toast you in “Jack’s Sunnyside Ale House.” Your Dad would be proud.

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  38. Joe Myers

    Where's my Tow??? I want to pour a pint for him and watch WWF! and yell at Timmy ;)

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  39. Marilyn

    Once again, I have to back Ruben up and I don't even know the man. I am an African American female who frequented the Firewater more than once. When the female bartender was there I would turn around and leave. She was very unfriendly and her regulars didn't seem too happy to have me there. However when she wasn't there it was a great welcoming place where my friends ( of all races) could get a drink with the bartender from the Bronx, play music, dance and play pool. However, I stopped going after the last Halloween party. A woman showed up in black face. Hey, it is a free country and my white friend made her feelings known to this other white woman, but why would someone dressed in black face feel that it was okay to walk into the Firewater like that? No, I don't think the owners had anything to do with her choice of costume but she didn't go to Claret like that. She didn't go to any of the other bars I went to that night, I only saw her at Fire Water. Why wasn't she asked to leave? It made me sad and angry.

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  40. skillmanite

    Rough and tumble, salt of the earth, big hearted, neighborhood guys is the best words I can think of to describe the McGowan brothers. Great family, and I'm sure they're going to make a success out of the bar when it re-opens. I for one will be in there hoisting a few and I hope a few newbies to the hood will take the plunge and venture in. You'll get a great welcome, as I did when I first moved to the area.
    As for that bore Rueben, occasionally he's given me a slight chuckle but the more he posts the more I'm convinced he's some sad white guy trying to invent a Latino persona to stir up controversy.

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  41. Brian McGowan

    Having read these post has got me thinking about how great of a neighborhood sunnyside was and still is. Many great individuals and families have called sunnyside and woodside home, along with the many who call them home now. My family has had the fortune to have either met or form frienships with a good handful of them, for this we are greatful. Sunnyside the place I've called home for 35 years will always remain a great neighborhood to live and raise a family. As for FireWater "soon to be Jacks Ale House" which was my dads name, we cant wait til it's up and running. We look forward to seeing everyone and I mean everyone when we open. Have a safe and Happy holiday season and we'll see ya soon!

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  42. skillmanite

    In response to Marilyn, as someone who has frequented saloons for a fair few years I can tell you that barmaids treat women a lot differently than they do the male customer. They know how to play the man like a fiddle. A little flirtation here and there is always good for the tip cup. I know you'd like to make a race thing out of it, but usually it's the fact that another woman is on the scene and she can see right through the shenanigans of the barmaid. Hence the undercurrent of resentment. As for halloween, come on. Three years running I attended halloween parties in Crown Heights. 90% of attendees were of carribean descent. A fair number had white faces painted on, or had masks to look like certain white people. Was it bad taste? No. Did anyone get offended ? No. Marilyn relax, this is Sunnyside not Alabama.

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  43. Marilyn

    Dear Skillmanite:

    I understand your comment about the "barmaids" aka bartenders. However I think the fact that you think it is okay that the Carribean attendees showed up in white face is deplorable. It goes both ways. It was in bad taste and for many people probably offensive. Also I am sure that if it did in fact happen people were probably standing around saying " If I did that I would be called a racist!" BTW wearing a mask to look like a well known person who happens to be of a differnet ethnicity is different than what I am writing about. But hey, this is America and this is in fact Sunnyside not Alabama. The fact that what I witnessed happened in Sunnyside and not in the deep south makes it that much more concerning. Thank you for helping me make my point.

    Take care,
    Marilyn

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  44. MJA

    GREAT PLACE, GREAT FAMILY, Cant wait to get there.

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  45. Sunnyside Native

    Marilyn - I can only assume it was Halloween and it was a joke. Let's not make a Halloween party so damn politically correct. If you do not like Sunnyside or a certain bar, you should seek out another neighborhood with other bars - which is unfortunate, because you are letting one silly incident derail your feelings for Sunnyside and this particular bar. This neighborhood was defined as a hidden gem within the 5 boroughs. You should take advantage of all the fine qualities of the neighborhood, but please try not to be so sensitive.

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  46. Manson

    Marylin u and Reuben are two peas in a pod and prob nobody likes neither one of u. Reuben I have read your comments on previous stories in this newspaper and u sound thuggish ,yet u portray yourself as a Latino politician . Get a life. Marylyn u 2. These guys don't nd retards like u at their new bar and to be honest nobody does . U guys suck!

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  47. Manson

    Reuben who is jvb son. U sound like a hood rat especially when you were the 1st blog on comments to the man getting beat down on 43 rd ave and he was beat to death. Everyone read this clowns comment on the 1ststory on this site. Sad that you portray yourself as a concerned Latino but u really are just a thug. Stay away u clown

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  48. Water

    I was there the Halloween night to the woman came in with black face done in the classic horrible way.
    I don't believe this person was from around here, that isn't the issue.
    The issue isn't even that they weren't thrown out; legally they had a right to be as disrespectful and ridiculous as they want to be.
    It is the notion that no one even said anything to her and/or batted an eye. (I said something to her actually)
    This rotates back to what Marilyn & Ruben said. This leads to feeling uncomfortable and or unwelcome. Of course it isn't Alabama, it is more blatant and not as under the table.
    I was always treated well and received good service and normally had a good time while I was there.
    One incident on a busy night does not reflect the establishments persona as a whole, but cannot be negated either.
    Responding by attacking the people making rational sane comments reinforces the feeling of exclusion.

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  49. Thomas

    Black face...white Face Hate is hate.....Ruben and the others who use this forum to spread invective are engaging in deplorable conduct.

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  50. thomas

    Did anyone here know that a former prime minister of isreal was born in ireland? That Dublin has its own holocaust museum......that Ireland has always held a special place in its heart for the Jewish people? Again stop the name calling good luck and god speed to the McGowans

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  51. CHOOCH

    Hey "Water" why dont you use your name?

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  52. Sunnyside Native

    Halloween costume censorship! That's classic! What an effing joke! Most of us who grew up here in Sunnyside are not quite that politically correct. It's Halloween and it was a costume. I don't think any bar owner wants to be bullied into having their hand forced to tell their patrons what they can or cannot where to a Halloween party! Geez. What's next?!?!

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  53. thomas

    With the mentality and intolerance of those that post here......you ask! "Whats next?" if some people on this site had their way. ?......complete intolerance

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  54. 41 St

    Those of us who grew up in the neighborhood (I was born in '65, lived there till about '87) will tell you that it was always a pretty diverse neighborhood. We went to school locally - whether Q of A, or 150 - and we had a good mix of people there. And a person's ethnicity /race was never an issue.
    Hats off to the McGowan boys.

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  55. dunk

    good stuff

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  56. chris

    Im a latin american and i was always in firewater. no better place to get a reasonable drink watch sports and bullsh*t w/ your neighbors. always played pool there always had dart tournaments and always had softball teams. lets get this bar up and running so i can spend more fri an sat nights there like old times

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  57. Woodstock

    New bar looks amazing. Tons of tap beer, microbrews, the usual bottled and some nice wines. Can't wait for the kitchen to open. Brews and wings aaah..... New owner John McGowan runs another bar too, if that is any hint, I think Sunnyside just got another great bar.
    Change the sign, it looks old for such a new bar.

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Latest News

46th Street–by Sunnyside Arch– likely to be named after Luke Adams
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Nov. 21, By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 have started the process to name a street after Luke Adams, the long-time Sunnysider who passed away about two weeks ago.

Van Bramer said shortly after Adams’ death several people approached him and wanted a street named after him. Adams, who lived in Sunnyside for nearly 40 years, was known throughout the community for his work with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.

“It was no surprise that everyone wanted a street named after him,” Van Bramer said.

“Luke was so involved in the neighborhood—and on a consistent basis—for the better part of 30 years,” Van Bramer said.

The community board is still deciding what street should be named after him. It has narrowed it down to two streets: 46th Street (between Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Avenue) and 43rd Street/47th Avenue where he lived.

The street would be named “Luke Adams Way,” an apt named for someone who was known as having strong opinions.

“I think there is more support for 46th Street,” Van Bramer said, who has to get the city council to sign off on it. However, “I am going to defer that decision to the community and those people closest to him.”

Patricia Dorfman, who was a very close friend of Adams, said that she was initially an advocate for 43rd Street but now views 46th Street by the arch to be more appropriate.

“His business was located on 46th street,” Dorfman said. She said that he was very involved in maintaining the arch in its early years and his name should be more prominently placed.

Van Bramer said if a decision is made quickly he would be able to get it through the city council shortly. If that is the case, we could have an unveiling in spring.”

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 precinct
Captain John Trav

Captain John Travaglia

Nov. 20, By Christian Murray

A new commanding officer has been appointed to the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, who has spent most of his career in Queens, will be taking over the command following the departure of Capt. Brian Hennessy.

This will be Travaglia’s first time as a commanding officer. He was most recently the executive officer at the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Prior to that, he was an executive officer at the 104th Precinct that covers Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

Travaglia takes the top job at a time when Sunnyside has been experiencing an uptick in burglaries and other property-related crime.  However, Astoria too has seen a jump in burglaries recently.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he has scheduled a meeting with Travaglia and has heard good things about him. “We look forward to meeting him as we all work to keep the neighborhood safe.”

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Fire broke out on 51st Street last night, no serious injuries

fire51st Street

Nov. 20, By Michael Florio

A fire broke out in a Sunnyside apartment building last night.

The blaze took place on the fifth floor at 41-36 51st Street. The FDNY received a call just before 7 pm and the fire was brought under control by 7:30 pm, according to the FDNY.

The fire was contained to one apartment and one person, believed to be the tenant, was taken to a local hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The victim was believed to have been unconscious when he was removed from his apartment.

A neighboring tenant, who didn’t want to be named, showed up during the fire. She said the fire was first noticed by a passerby, who saw flames shooting out the window.

“This was traumatizing for everyone,” the neighboring tenant said. “Everyone here was freaked out.”

The apartment that caught fire is completely destroyed. The apartment above may have been damaged as well, and the apartment below suffered severe water damage.

The apartment that caught fire was rented by a younger man, according to a neighboring tenant, who moved into the building earlier this year. He was known for having parties.

“We [the occupants] were worried something like this would happen,” the neighbor said.

The FDNY is still investigating what caused the fire.

fire51st Street1

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Police release PHOTO of one of the suspects wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old
Suspect

Suspect

Nov. 19, By Christian Murray

The police have released another photo of one of the two men suspected of beating and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnysider at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Blvd last month.

The two men allegedly approached the victim inside the Chase bank ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday, October 26, before punching him in the face and removing $100 and his debit card from his pocket. The victim was William Eichhorn, who has lived in the Phipps Houses for the past 50 years.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477)

For previous coverage, click here

Previous photo of suspect

Previous photo of a suspect

 

Previous photo

Previous photo of a suspect

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UPDATE: 4 Squared Flavors to be closed for winter, to reopen March 1

Flavor

Nov. 18, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors has closed for winter and will reopen March 1, according to co-owner Khalil Nayl,

Nayl said that landlord is supportive of the store and is by providing discounted rent during the winter months.

Nayl’s announcement came less than an hour after he was asked why the store had been closed all month.

“We are exploring our options,” Nayl said at about 3:30 pm, when asked whether the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store had closed for good. “I will get back to you when we have made a final decision.”

Nayl had been asked the question several times during the month and provided the same response.

The store has had a tough go of it from the get-go. It was supposed to open in October 2013 but the owners had issues with the contractor and it opened in March.

Nevertheless, Nayl is hoping to get the support of Sunnysiders when he reopens. He still plans to open other 4 Squared Flavors in other locations.

The Sunnyside store is spacious—with a lounge area that has couches. There is also a special area where iPads are provided, so people can surf the web while they eat their yogurt.

Meanwhile, in other news, Mediterraneo, the popular pizzeria located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, closed at the end of last month. The owner closed for personal reasons, according to sources.

In other news, Safra Bistro, a Turkish restaurant located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street, is up for sale. The restaurant, which opened a year ago, is on the market for $139,000. The owner is seeking a quick sale.

Med

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Two rescue dogs and one cat find homes at Sunnyside adoption event
James Abram with Hercules

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday.

The three animals were adopted by Sunnyside residents who attended an adoption event outside of Wespaw Pets—located at 44-05 Queens Blvd– on Sunday.

The Sean Casey Animal Rescue group in conjunction with the North Shore Animal League parked a large truck filled with dogs and cats that are currently in shelters outside the pet store.

The dogs were of all ages—puppies to seniors—with one particularly disfigured due to a cruel past owner. The dogs varied in breeds– with pit bulls, pit bull terrier mixes, poodles and even a pomeranian. The cats ranged in age too.

The first animal to be adopted was Hercules, a young pit bull, by James Abram. While the dogs had been vaccinated and checked over prior to the event, a volunteer veterinarian was on hand to help the new owners—and current dog owners—with questions.

“People continue to ask about adoption events,” said a Wespaw Pets representative. “While we have had them before this is the biggest one we have had so far.”

The next dog to find a home was Daffodil, an older dog who was adopted by a young couple.

Later in the day, a mother with her young daughter adopted a cat called Robin. Several of the cats were brought to the event by LIC Ferals & Friends.

Some of the other pets might still be adopted, according to a Wespaw representative, since a few couples are thinking it over.

Sam, the owner of Wespaw Pets, was encouraged by the day. “Sometimes you can have events like these and no dogs or cats get adopted,” he said.

adoption1

 

Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

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Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations–to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day.

The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm– and attendees came in waves.

The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church.

“At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists.

Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming.

This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week.

Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams.

Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments.

Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.

Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

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DOT likely to reduce speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph by year end

Van BramerFATAL

By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation plans to reduce the speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph, down from 30 mph, by the end of the year.
The DOT tweeted that Commissioner Polly “Trottenberg anticipates reducing the speed limit to 25 mph by he end of the year.”

Queens Boulevard was not included as part of the 25 mph city wide speed limit that went into effect Nov. 7 since it was deemed a big street designed to accommodate faster speeds.

“Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement.

“ I am glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants, rather than traffic fatalities.”

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Man follows Sunnyside woman home, robs her at knifepoint
Suspect

Suspect

A 40-year old woman was followed into her Sunnyside apartment building last month before a man pulled out a knife and demanded her cell phone.

The perpetrator followed the woman into the lobby of her 42nd Street apartment building (near Skillman Ave.) just before midnight on Saturday Oct.25. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her phone. The victim complied. The man then fled.

The police released a photo and video footage of the suspect today.

The suspect is described as a male black, approximately 30 years of age, who had dreadlocks containing yellow beads on the night of the attack. He was also wearing a long black trench coat.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 

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Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations--to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day. The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm-- and attendees came in waves. The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church. “At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists. Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming. This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week. Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams. Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments. Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.
Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

DOT likely to reduce speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph by year end
Van BramerFATAL By Christian Murray The Department of Transportation plans to reduce the speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph, down from 30 mph, by the end of the year. The DOT tweeted that Commissioner Polly “Trottenberg anticipates reducing the speed limit to 25 mph by he end of the year.” Queens Boulevard was not included as part of the 25 mph city wide speed limit that went into effect Nov. 7 since it was deemed a big street designed to accommodate faster speeds. “Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement. “ I am glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants, rather than traffic fatalities."
Man follows Sunnyside woman home, robs her at knifepoint
Suspect

Suspect

A 40-year old woman was followed into her Sunnyside apartment building last month before a man pulled out a knife and demanded her cell phone. The perpetrator followed the woman into the lobby of her 42nd Street apartment building (near Skillman Ave.) just before midnight on Saturday Oct.25. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her phone. The victim complied. The man then fled. The police released a photo and video footage of the suspect today. The suspect is described as a male black, approximately 30 years of age, who had dreadlocks containing yellow beads on the night of the attack. He was also wearing a long black trench coat. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 
With 18 restaurants expected, ‘Taste of Woodside’ to take place Nov. 20
Taste-of-Woodside-475x3561 Nov. 13, By Michael Florio Get ready to sample the diverse food of Woodside. Woodside on the Move, a local non-profit, will be putting on its third annual “Taste of Woodside” on Nov. 20, with the goal of showcasing about 18 restaurants. The goal of the event is to provide attendees with the ability to sample each restaurant’s food so they are able to get an appreciation of the quality of Woodside’s cuisine. This year’s event will be taking place at the St. Sebastian’s School auditorium, located at 39-76 58th Street. The event will cost $25. “The restaurants will provide samples of the type of food they offer,” said Adriana Beltran with Woodside on the Move. The list of participating restaurants will be released shortly. This year’s event is expected to attract about 100 attendees, Beltran said. Last year, 80 people attended.   Beltran said a new feature this year will be a photo exhibit called The Woodsider. The exhibit will be hung around the auditorium and will feature Woodside businesses. Details: Date: Nov. 20 Time: 6 pm-9pm Location: St. Sebastian's School auditorium Admission price: $25
Sunnyside Artists to hold craft fair at Queen of Angels Church Sunday
craftsfair2013 Nov. 12, By Michael Florio The third annual Crafts & Arts Show takes place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 34 crafters offering items as varied as leather goods, handmade jewelry and pottery. The event, which is being held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center, opens at 10 am. Food will be sold throughout the day that includes meatball sliders, vodka penne and various desserts. “We hope everyone will stop by and perhaps buy their holiday gifts at good prices which supports our local artists,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists whose group organizes the annual event. Several participants from last year’s craft fair are back—including photographer Don Soules and Emily Dunne, an artist who does witty photo assemblages. There will also be some new faces this year that include Michael Gurrado, who works with wood, and Kris Czerniachowich who makes handmade Christmas ornaments. “Batman” is expected to appear in costume, accompanying comic strip artwork. Luke Adams, VP of Sunnyside Artists, will be absent for the first time. He passed away on Monday. There will be a moment of silence in his honor. DETAILS: Date/Time: Sunday, Nov. 16 (10 am- 5 pm) Location: Queen of Angels Church parish center (corner of 44th Street and Skillman Ave.) Admission is free
Luke Adams, long-time Sunnysider, died last night
Source: Pat Dorfman

Source: Pat Dorfman

lukesp-259x425Nov. 11, By Christian Murray Luke Adams, a long-serving volunteer and former Sunnyside business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest last night at 8 pm. He was 76. 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, which is named after him. “Luke Adams is a local treasure,” said Pat Dorfman, at a fundraiser in honor of him earlier this year. “He is the best promoter in Queens and loyal to a fault,” she said at the time. Adams had lived in Sunnyside for more than 40 years. He owned a travel agency on 43rd Street for many years. He also had a vast collection of photographs that showcased Sunnyside and its history. "We are all saddened by the news that Luke Adams has passed away, said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement. "Luke loved Sunnyside like no other person could." State Sen. Mike Gianaris echoed these sentiments. "Luke Adams was a Sunnyside icon who dedicated his life to making his neighborhood a better place, and he will be deeply missed," he said in a statement. There will be a wake at Lynch Funeral Home on Thursday and a funeral mass at St Raphaels on Friday at 11am. (click for details)
Sushi pioneer brings top-quality fish to neighborhood
Robin Kawada

Robin Kawada

Nov. 9, By Kim Brown Reiner Although Takesushi opened in Sunnyside a little more than two years ago, food experts claim its owner established the first sushi restaurant in New York City nearly three decades ago. Woodside resident, chef and owner Robin Kawada--who at one time owned Takesushi restaurants in Manhattan, Washington D.C., Toronto and on Long Island-- is quick to back up that claim. “I have been in the restaurant business for 40 years,” said Kawada, 66. “Takesushi was the first sushi restaurant in Manhattan in 1975.” Food expert and author of “The Secret Life of Sushi,” Trevor Corson, brought up that idea at a food panel in 2010. At the time it caused quite a stir, others claimed the distinction belonged to Hatsuhana or Nippon. Whatever the truth, Takesushi, which means bamboo, was one of the first sushi restaurants in New York City. The current iteration opened in Sunnyside “accidentally” according to Kawada. When the lease on his Woodmere, Long Island restaurant was up, Kawada looked for a place in Manhattan but couldn’t find the proper venue. At the time, Transylvania, at 43-46 42nd Street, had closed its doors so Kawada thought, “Why not Queens?” He soon found out what Queens was like. Business was slow, his restaurant has yet to be reviewed by a major publication and he has had to lower prices by 20%. Omakase, for example, a large variety of chef selected specialty sushi, like sea urchin, scallop and eel, costs $58 as opposed to $100 for a comparable dish in Manhattan. Most dishes are far less expensive. But for Kawada, everything is secondary to the quality of fish, even profit. “I’m open not to make money, but at least not to use up my savings,” he said. Reverence for fish is something he learned growing up in Japan. “In Japan each fish has a shrine,” he said. “Each fisherman prays for their fish. They live with that fish. They don’t want to waste it.” takesushifrontWhen he first moved to the United States in 1968, he worked in import/export and as a restaurant cashier, eventually running his own distribution business at the Fulton Fish Market until 9-11. For more than a decade afterwards, he had a business processing sea urchin in Maspeth and shipping it to Japan. The success of his first distribution venture allowed him to open the original Takesushi and import not only high-quality fish, but a well-established chef from Japan. Working alongside the chef, Kawada received his own training. “There is no school for fish. You cut it, you touch it, you taste it,” he said. Back then, as now, his fish was praised for its excellent quality, but also simplicity. “Each fish has a special taste. So many restaurants put something on the fish, like mayonnaise. It may taste good in your mouth, but it’s not good for this fish.” More than forty-five years after starting to work at the Fulton Fish Market, Kawada stills goes to the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx every day to buy and clean fresh fish, not farmed fish, for Takesushi. He also works at the restaurant seven days a week, and has not taken a day off in 500 days, he said. In addition, he owns a 15-seat restaurant in Japan. Decades in the restaurant and fish distribution business have made Kawada more comfortable rattling off details about seasonal fish and his restaurant than his own four children, at least with this reporter. Tuna is best at this time of year. In the summer, after a fish lays eggs, she is not as tasty. The November menu includes blowfish tempura, monkfish liver, and Miyazaki beef, delicacies rarely eaten outside of Japan. His passion for quality food has frustrated him with people who care more about low prices and appearances. “Anytime fish looks nice people think it’s good,” he said. And the desire for cheap prices has led to misunderstandings about the art of sushi. “Some people think they don’t like sea urchin because they have never had good sea urchin,” he said. Occasionally, customers will sit at the sushi bar and spend $300, but it’s rare. Moreover, Kawada is unimpressed with competitors who don’t take the same pride he does in buying, cleaning and storing quality fish. “Maybe they all wear gloves because they don’t know how to prepare fish,” he said. The single-minded drive to serve quality fish has earned him a name among foodies on websites like Urbanspoon and Chowhound, as well as loyal customers throughout Queens. A woman at the sushi bar on Tuesday night said she was a regular for a decade in Manhattan and has been at the new Takesushi every week since it opened in 2012. Another regular said it was important to mention Kawada’s fine character, in addition to his fine fish. But quality fish above all else may be what’s keeping Kawada from mainstream success. He does not care about the decorations in his restaurant--a fish net, some scarecrows, and witches in the window--or even the dishware. “I don’t spend money on decorations because that means less for fish. I use cheap plates. I don’t use extra flowers,” he said. “I’m 66. Maybe the service is no good, but the fish is OK.” The service is just fine. The Michelin Guide may have skipped over Takesushi, however, because it doesn’t offer fine dining service. While that omission is fine by Kawada, the lack of media interest is more confounding. “I know I make the best quality food, I know it,” he said. “But no one comes to review it.” Reviews usually mean more customers, which means more money to buy better quality fish, which is all that matters in the end. “I try to use the best fish to make the best quality sushi,” he said. “That is all.” sushi6
Please note: Takesushi is an advertiser with the SunnysidePost
Capt Brian Hennessy, commanding officer of the 108 police precinct, transferred to another precinct
Captain-Brian-Hennessy1 Nov. 6, By Christian Murray The commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct—which covers Sunnyside, Woodside & Long Island City—has been transferred to head up a larger more crime-ridden Queens precinct. Captain Brian Hennessy, who has spent just 18 months as the commanding officer of the 108, started today as the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and the north section of Corona. That precinct is larger and has more problems--such as gang activity, prostitution and drugs. The move represents a promotion, since gaining experience in a tougher precinct is often viewed as the way captains climb up the NYPD ladder. While the 108 has had some high-profile crimes recently—such as the robbery of an 81-year old at a Chase ATM and a wave of burglaries in Sunnyside—the precinct is still viewed as a low-crime area. The crime rate—based on the number of reports—is flat so far this year, compared to the same period in 2013. The number of murders and reported rapes are down—although the number of burglaries are up about 7 percent. Hennessy said he enjoyed his time at the 108 Precinct. “I love this community and its leaders,” Hennessy said. “There are so many people who care and want to get involved,” he said. “It was an honor to be there.” The NYPD has yet to appoint a new commanding officer. In the interim, Capt. Richard Hellman, the executive officer of the 108th Precinct, is in command. However, Hennessy’s short stint did disappoint many—since most commanding officers stay at a precinct for two-to-three years. “I am very upset that he is leaving us so soon,” said Diane Ballek, the president of the 108 Community Council. “He is the best captain we have had in a long time,” Ballek said. “If you needed to reach him he was always there,” she said. “He would talk to people [with quality-of-life issues] for an hour some times.” His predecessor Capt. Donald Powers was viewed by many as less responsive and not so much of a people-person, several people said. “I am disappointed [that Capt. Hennessy has been transferred] since I believe he was doing a good job,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I appreciated working with him and thought he was responsive and a straight shooter who cared about our neighborhood.” Van Bramer said he would be asking NYPD officials whether Hennessy’s short stint represents a new policy or whether what happened was an anomaly. Van Bramer also said he wants a new commanding officer to be named soon. “We cannot have a prolonged absence of leadership,” he said.

Crime Numbers 2014

Quality of Chase Bank’s video footage following robbery of 81-year old called into question by relatives and Van Bramer
Poster of Suspects in robbery

Poster of Suspects in robbery

Nov. 4, By Christian Murray This morning Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and his staff were handing out posters at the 46th Street station in Sunnyside calling on the public for information concerning the robbery of an 81-year-old man at the Chase Bank ATM at 46-10 Queens Blvd. The photos of the two suspects released by the police were grainy and some residents who reviewed the posters could barely make out their faces. “You really don’t see anything; maybe I can see this guy,” said one woman, who is a former member of the Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club. Kate Flanagan, whose grandfather William Eichhorn was the victim, said: “I am so upset and horrified by the quality of the images.” “This is an enormous bank—with billions of dollars--and that is the quality of their cameras,” Flanagan said. “We have blurry images of these cowards… now they may get away with it and attack someone else. It’s disgusting.” d26vanbramer1The attack occurred inside the ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday Oct. 26. The suspects punched Eichhorn in the face and fled with $100 and his debit card. The footage released by the police—who obtained it from Chase-- just shows photos of the suspects’ backs. There are no photos of the suspects as they came in or out of the bank, which led to questions whether the bank has exterior cameras at all.  Meanwhile, there are just two cameras inside the ATM area. Van Bramer, who told attendees at a press conference this morning how Sunnyside and Woodside are close-knit safe neighborhoods, said afterward that he is looking into legislation that would require banks to regularly review the quality of their cameras to make sure that they are transmitting top-notch images. “I would like to see clearer images and I would expect a bank of this size to regularly monitor the quality of their footage,” Van Bramer said. “We don’t know when their cameras were installed--it could have been 10 years ago for all we know.” Van Bramer said that people are particularly at risk when they are taking out money from the ATM. “When someone follows you in [to the ATM area] with the intent to cause harm, you are extremely vulnerable,” he said. However, at the same time, “there is also this presumption of safety in a bank that there are cameras.” Van Bramer said that his office got funding for the NYPD to put a security camera outside Duane Reade on the corner of Queens Blvd and 48th Street. He said that the footage from that camera is first rate. Therefore, he believes that there must be better technology available to banks. The branch manager at the Chase branch would not comment as to the age of the cameras surrounding the ATMs and how often they are checked. A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase’s Consumer Banking division was not immediately available for comment.
Katie, Mary Ann,William

Kate Flanagan (Eichhorn's granddaughter), Mary Ann Gasparro (daughter),William Eichhorn (victim)

Prior coverage: http://sunnysidepost.com/2014/10/27/81-year-old-sunnysider-beaten-and-robbed-at-chase-bank/
Construction starts on Sunnyside/Woodside slow zones
Queens DOT Commission Dalia Hall

Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall

Nov. 3, By Christian Murray The construction of two “new slow zones” that incorporates about 150 residential streets in Sunnyside and Woodside has begun. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer held a press conference outside PS 199 to mark the occasion and said that the two slow zones will reduce the speed limit to 20 mph and will, ultimately, save lives. “We have to make sure that not one young person loses their life on the streets of New York and this is further progress toward that point,” Van Bramer said. The two slow zones cover two designated sections of the neighborhood. One zone covers about 100 blocks south of Queens Blvd, while the other covers 50 blocks on the northern side of Queens Blvd—including Sunnyside Gardens. The slow zones are marked by large blue signs that state the 20 mph speed limit. Within a zone, speed bumps and 20 mph markings are on some of the streets. slowzonesThe two zones were selected by the Department of Transportation after Van Bramer’s office put in a request for them. Van Bramer’s office provided the DOT with details such as the number of crashes in the area—as well as schools and daycare centers. The zone that covers the south side of Queens Blvd—called the “Sunnyside Slow Zone” --is bound by 36th Street to the west; 51st Street to the east; Queens Blvd to the north; and Laurel Hill Blvd to the south. Construction started on that zone a few weeks ago and the DOT is adding 20 speed bumps to the existing eight speed bumps. There will be 32 entry points that will be marked by blue 20 mph gateway signs. The DOT aims to complete the “Sunnyside Slow Zone” before winter sets in. There have been four deaths in the “Sunnyside” zone since 2007, with many serious injuries, according to the DOT. There are also four schools in the zone. Meanwhile, construction on the zone that covers the northern section of Sunnyside/Woodside—called the “Sunnyside Garden-Woodside Slow Zone—will not begin until spring. This zone, which incorporates about 50 blocks, is bound by 43rd Street to the west; Queens Blvd and Roosevelt Avenue to the south; 38th Avenue and Barnett Ave to the north; and 58th Street to the east. The “Sunnyside Garden-Woodside Slow Zone” will include 17 speed bumps in addition to the 13 that are already there. There will also be 19 entrances to the slow zone that would be marked by the blue 20 mph gateway sign. Since 2007, there has been one death in that zone, with many people severely injured. Furthermore, there are six schools/daycare centers in the area. The Department of Transportation claims that the speed zones help reduce injuries and deaths. Its studies indicate that a pedestrian hit at 40 mph only has a 30% chance of surviving, while one hit at 20 mph has a 95% chance of surviving. Community Board 2 unanimously approved the two speed zones at its September month meeting—although two attendees at the meeting said that the slow zones were not needed and that the blue signs were unattractive—particularly in Sunnyside Gardens. However, Van Bramer said, the "Best way to keep everyone safe is to slow traffic,” adding that “Nothing is more important than making our streets safer for children, seniors and residents." The two Sunnyside/Woodside slow zones are the sixth and seventh zones in Queens. Meanwhile, starting this Friday Nov. 7, the speed limit on all New York City streets will become 25 mph, unless posted otherwise.  

2014 09 02 Slow Zone Sunnyside and Sundside Gardens Woodside(1)

30-year old wins ‘Sunnysider of the Year’ award
Oguzhan Turan

Oguzhan Turan

Nov. 2, By Christian Murray A 30-year-old Turkish immigrant will be receiving the 2015 Sunnysider of the Year award at the Tangra ballroom (39-23 Queens Blvd) Monday evening. Oguzhan Turan, who is the executive director of the Sunnyside-based Turkish Cultural Center Queens, will be receiving the joint award from the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and SunnysideArtists.org. The award is handed out to someone who lives or works in Sunnyside who has contributed to the greater good without regard to faith, fundraising or politics. Turan was nominated by a committee representing both organizations—as well as past winners-- and was voted for the award unanimously, according to Patricia Dorfman, founder of Sunnysideartists.org and former Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce member. The award, officially called the Luke Adams’ Sunnysider of the Year award, was first bestowed on Luke Adams in 2011. The Turkish Cultural Center Queens is best known in this neighborhood for its Ramadan celebration when it feeds hundreds of people under a tent it sets up in Sunnyside for a number of evenings each year. The group also gained attention after Superstorm Sandy when it handed out 5,000 cups of soup and made a $50,000 donation to help repair a damaged Queens Library branch. Turan, as an individual, is known for his personal service to others, wrote Dorfman for the Woodside Herald. “Turan can always be counted on to show up before anyone else, do physical work if required, and make the charitable activities of others come to fruition. He is there in a crisis, including personal,” Dorfman wrote. “He does car runs for the needy, sets up and builds tents for street fair booths, and gives of his own money and time on a daily basis.” Turan will be the fifth winner of the award. It has gone to Luke Adams, Queen of Angles priest Brian Dowd, Francis Schmidt (a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club) and Donald McCallian (who runs the community organization the United 40s Civic Association.  

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