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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Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

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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

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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.

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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.

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Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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muslim

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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

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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.

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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).

 

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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

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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.  
OT to reopen this week, with focus on Mediterranean food and sports
otlounge-250x250 Jan. 12, By Christian Murray This Sunnyside bar/restaurant got off to a tough start. Over Time, located at 39-31 Queens Blvd, opened in August and promised that it would offer live music, DJs and dancing. The owner, however, quickly received word from officials that these activities were not sanctioned in accordance to its liquor license and it was forced to close. Today, nearly five months later, the establishment is about to open and will operate as a Mediterranean restaurant and a sports bar. "We used the time to focus on our restaurant and our menu," said Sean Verderber, the assistant manager, who claimed the time was not wasted. The venue is expected to open this Thursday, with its hours from 11 am to 1 am seven days per week. The bar is going to be offering a range of exotic drinks—such as strawberry mojitos, water melon martinis and cucumber gin. Beer will be sold by the bottle. The menu will include a wide range of Greek items from Souvlaki to lamb Shish Kabob. It will include fried calamari to a number of seafood dishes—as well as steak, lamb chops, burgers to Greek-rice pudding. “The food is upscale but at a reasonable price,” Verderber said. “Many people will be impressed.” Verderber said that there will be a comment box inside the restaurant allowing diners to make suggestions or provide their opinion. The establishment will also be making sure that sports fans are well served. There will be a bar menu that includes wings and mozzarella sticks. “We will be showing all the games – whether it be football, hockey or soccer,” he said. “I want this to be a place where everyone feels comfortable.”
OT Inside

OT Inside

Car flips over after crash at 43rd Street/43rd Avenue Friday night
accident1 Jan. 10, Staff Report Two cars collided at the corner of 43rd Street and 43rd Avenue Friday night, with one vehicle flipping over, according to witnesses. The incident reportedly took place about 11:45 pm. The NYPD and FDNY's press office had no information on the incident. It is not known the extent of any injuries. accident
Another Queens Blvd property hits the market
43-19 Queens Blvd

43-19 Queens Blvd

Jan. 10, By Christian Murray Another slice of Queens Blvd real estate has just hit the market. The owner of 43-19 Queens Blvd has just listed the property for $4.5 million. The building is currently occupied by Subway, Lucky’s Salon and Realty Depot. There are also four 2-bedroom apartments and 2 parking spaces in the rear of the lot. The 3-story structure—built in the 1930s-- is currently utilizing 5,865 square feet of building space. Zoning permits a building of up to 9,200 square feet (4 x the lot size). To view the Sunnyside listing, click here:
Google map of site

Google map of corner lot

Seven story building to go up on Queens Blvd., next to Boston Market
developmentQB Jan. 7, By Christian Murray Another big building is coming to Sunnyside/Woodside. A 7-story building is likely to go up on 50th Street and Queens Blvd—next to Boston Market, according to Department of Building records. The owner of the property, Ronald Ji, has filed plans with the Building Department to erect a seven story 31 unit building. The property had been occupied by N.E.M. Electronics. The development represents further change to that stretch of Queens Blvd. A 7-story 29-unit buildings is being developed at 51-27 Queens Blvd, where the VFM Post 2813 was located until January 2014. Furthermore, in February 2014, a 66-unit building located at 52-05 Queens Boulevard was completed. Apartments at that building-- called Icon 52-- start at $1,500 per month. The units range in size from 403 square feet to 806 square feet.
Icon 52

Icon 52

New development site, former location of VFW Post

New development site, former location of VFW Post

Queens Blvd building in contract to be sold for $7.75 million
property shark Jan. 6, By Christian Murray A large piece of Queens Blvd property is likely to be changing hands for a whopping $7.8 million, according to the real estate data provider Property Shark. The 43-24 Queens Blvd property—which incorporates stores such as Dave's Bagels to Amazon Pharmacy—is 9,500 square feet and represents about half the block on the south side of the boulevard between 43rd and 44th Streets. The property also goes deep into 44th Street incorporating stores on that block. The owner of the building Geoffrey Henderson is currently in contract to sell it for $7,750,000. The likely buyer has not been listed. This transaction would most likely close before the Center Cinemas and King Boulevard properties (both sold for redevelopment purposes) face the wrecking ball. With zoning, a developer could construct a building with 38,000 square feet of floor space. Currently, the building is one story, utilizing 8,500 square feet of floor space. The property generated about $370,000 in rental income in 2013, according to Property Shark. property
Property Shark

Property Shark

   
Sunnyside Center Cinemas closes, as it makes way for development
CenterCinemas Jan. 5, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinema played its final film last night representing an end of an era. The theater was in operation since the late 1940s at a time when there were at least three other movie theaters in the neighborhood as well as the Sunnyside Garden Arena, which was once a popular boxing and wrestling venue. In the 1960s, there was the Bliss Theater on Greenpoint Avenue, which is where the Jehovah’s Witness Hall is located today. Furthermore there was the Sunnyside Theatre, which was located on Roosevelt Avenue and 51st Street (the building has been demolished) and there was also the 43rd Street Theatre, located across the street from the Sunnyside library.
(Source: Forgotten NY)

(Source: Forgotten NY, former Bliss Theater)

The closure of Cinema Cinemas represents a new period for Sunnyside as several older buildings are likely to come down to make way for larger residential buildings. Just two months ago, AB Capstone Development sought permits from the Building Department to demolish the former King Boulevard store—and adjacent stores-- on Greenpoint Avenue as it plans to develop the site. The rezoning of Sunnyside/Woodside in 2011 provided developers with the ability to construct larger buildings on Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Blvd. The rezoning made it economically advantageous for property owners and developers to put up new structures.
Source: Forgotten NY

Source: Forgotten NY (former 43 Street Theater)

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said last night that he was sad to close the theater but he had no choice but to leave. He said he hopes that John Ciafone, who is developing the site, will stick to his word and discuss reopening the theater when the project is complete. Prashad said he has until January 10 to move out—from getting his projectors out to taking out all the seats. While Prashad has three other independent theaters—one in Islip, Baldwin and Kew Gardens—he said the issue is not about how many theaters he has. “It’s not about whether I have three, four or 10,” Prashad said. “It is about Sunnyside and I love it here.” cinemabloom 013

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