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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Comedy group to raise funds for urban farmers, hosts show in LIC Friday
Smiling HogsHead Ranch

Smiling HogsHead Ranch

March 26, By Michael Florio

A western Queens comedy group is hosting an event to raise funds for an urban farming group that operates out of Long Island City.

Sunnyside Comedy, a local organization that hosts comedy shows in the neighborhood, is putting on the ‘All-Star Comedy Show’ at The Flux Factory, located at 39-31 29th Street, this Friday at 8 pm.

The proceeds will go to the Smiling Hogshead Ranch, a community farm located at 26 Davis Court in Long Island City. The urban farmers will use the funds for infrastructure improvements, insurance and to provide free programming.

Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, co-founders of Sunnyside Comedy, said they wanted to do a benefit for a local non-profit.

“The ranch is a really cool thing and they want to expand their program and Colin is a big fan of their work,” Goldwert said. “He believes in urban farming so we wanted to support it.”

Goldwert said that a lot of people living in western Queens may not know about urban farming. The event is a great way to inform people what it is.

“Smiling Hogshead Ranch helps cultivate community by gathering people around shared interests,” said Gil Lopez, co-founder of the Smiling Hogshead Ranch. “Many of these interests are outside of gardening and this comedy show is a perfect example.

The Flux Factory venue can seat about 70 people. Tickets to the event cost $20 online and $25 at the door.

Each ticket will be entered into a raffle, with the prizes provided by local businesses. There will also be beer specials, Goldwert said.

Many of the performing comics are based in Queens.

Joyelle Johnson, who has opened for Dave Chapelle and Maria Bamford, lives in Sunnyside. The show’s host, Liz Magee, lives in Astoria and often performs at Q.E.D. 

The show’s headlining act will be performed by Ted Alexandro, a western Queens resident who has appeared on “Conan” and “Late Night With David Letterman.”

“In everything we do we try to highlight Queens,” Goldwert said. “It is the best place to perform because the local businesses support small shows.”

Sunnyside Comedy has put on two shows a month at varying Sunnyside venues since last summer, with every show featuring new comedians.

Goldwert said the group is looking for a permanent space to host venues.

To purchase tickets online go to funnybynature.brownpapertickets.com

sunnyside comedy

Previous coverage: Guerilla farmers leggaly allowed to put down roots in LIC

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Man stabbed inside Queens Blvd specialty food store

Parrot

March 25, By Christian Murray

A 41-year-old man was stabbed today inside a Queens Blvd food store, according to police.

The police said that two men got into a dispute at about 1: 30 pm at Parrot Coffee, located at 45-15 Queens Blvd. The incident escalated and the victim was stabbed three times in the torso.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

A police spokesman did not know whether an arrest had been made. However, the following video indicates a man was taken into custody.
.

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Pizzeria to move to Skillman Ave, owner also plans to open gelato shop

unclejimmyskillman

March 25, By Christian Murray

The owner of a 49th Street pizzeria is moving his operation to Skillman Avenue and is separately opening a gelato/ice cream shop.

Uncle Jimmy’s Pizzeria, which is currently located at 41-10 49th Street, is moving in about three weeks to 50-12 Skillman Ave. The new space had been Rosario’s for many years and it operated as La Bella for about a year.

“I decided to move to the new place since there is more room for customers to sit down and enjoy their food,” said Jimmy Canarozzi, a life-long Sunnyside Gardens resident, who opened the 49th Street pizzeria in October 2013.

“People come in with their kids and there is nowhere for them to sit,” Canarozzi said. “I want people to feel comfortable.”

The new space is 850 square feet, as opposed to the existing location that is 500 square feet. Currently, the pizzeria has just six stools.

Canarozzi plans on naming his new space Uncle Jimmy’s on Skillman.

Meanwhile, Canarozzi plans to convert his existing 49th Street location into a gelato shop, which he plans to call Uncle Jimmy’s Sweet Spot.

He plans to offer Italian ices, ice cream, milk shakes and soda floats. He would like to open that establishment in about three weeks, although he said it will be tough since he has to buy equipment and is also juggling the pizzeria relocation.

Canarozzi said that owning to two businesses in the area is special. “I’m a neighborhood kind of a guy.”

Jimmy Canarozzi at 2013 opening

Jimmy Canarozzi at 2013 opening

Previous Coverage: New pizzeria to open on 49th Street

Pizzeria opens on Skillman Ave taking Rosario’s location

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Woodside babysitter faces 15 years for shaking baby to death

gavel3March 24, By Michael Florio

A Woodside babysitter is facing up to 15-years in prison after being found guilty of violently shaking a baby to death.

Yohani Moran, 42, was convicted of second-degree manslaughter on Monday, following a four-week trial in Queens Supreme Court, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

The nine-month-old baby, Dilan Criollo, was dropped off at Moran’s 35-47 64th Street apartment by his mother on March 10, 2010, Brown said.

“At that time, the little boy was vibrant and in good health,” according to Brown.

The babysitter fed Dilan and afterward he took a nap. Later in the day, when Dilan became irritable, Moran shook him violently and he immediately went limp and unresponsive.

Dilan was taken to hospital where doctors determined that he had suffered extensive subdural hematomas, severe brain swelling and bleeding in his eye as well as a bilateral retinal detachment. He was placed on a ventilator and later died, Brown said.

“Shaken Baby Syndrome is the leading cause of child abuse deaths each year,” Brown said. “The victims are innocent, helpless children and are too often harmed by those entrusted to care for and protect them.”

Moran, who herself is a mother, is due back in court for sentencing on April 14 and faces up to 15 years in prison.

Previous Coverage: Woodside woman faces murder charges

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Van Bramer wants Clock Tower landmarked, expects it to be done by June

Bank1-475x356March 24, By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer wants to save the Clock Tower and is confident that it will landmarked by the end of June.

Van Bramer said that he wrote a letter to the Landmarks Preservation Commission in November calling for it to be landmarked. He said that he met with the chairwoman of the LPC last week who said she supports preserving it.

“It is incredibly important that we preserve some of the history of Long Island City and Queens,” Van Bramer said. “Development is happening every day and it was definitely under threat of being torn down.”

Van Bramer said that the building’s landmark status will be a big victory for preservationists who started a grass roots campaign about a year ago to save it. An online petition was formed that has generated about 1,500 signatures.

The building, which has towered over Queens Plaza since 1927, is deemed by its advocates to be one of the most significant landmarks in Queens. The building, historically known as the Bank of Manhattan Building, was the tallest building in the borough until the construction of the Citigroup building in 1990.

The steps toward landmarking the building are viewed as mere formalities at this stage.

The LPC determined this morning that a public hearing should be held, which is the second stage of the landmarking process. The public are open to testify at that meeting. The LPC has not yet set a date as to when it will take place.

The LPC will then review the testimony and is expected to approve it at a later date. The City Planning Commission will provide an opinion on it and it will then go to the city council for a vote.

“When it comes to the council I will support it 1,000 percent,” Van Bramer said, who holds sway over the vote since the building is in his district.

“I am confident that it will be landmarked,” Van Bramer said, adding that the Landmarks Preservation Commissioner supports it too.

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Exclusive: Residents have 27 choices on how to spend $1 million, voting begins April 11
participatory budgeting meeting last fall

participatory budgeting meeting last fall

March 23, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City residents will get to vote next month on how $1 million in city funds should be spent.

Residents will be able to choose up to 3 projects from a list of 27 proposals that they believe are worth funding. The project that receives the most votes following the election will be funded—followed by other popular items- until the $1 million is exhausted.

The proposals (see sample ballot for full list below) include funding a bike lane network in Long Island City; adding trees between 49th and 69th Streets in Woodside; renovating playgrounds and parks; upgrading school equipment; beefing up library security; as well as funding a pedestrian safety project in Dutch Kills.

The vote, which is scheduled to take place between April 11 and 19, is part of what’s known as the participatory budgeting process. The program, introduced to the 26th City Council district for the first time this year, allows all residents 16 years and older to determine those projects they want funded.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he was not surprised by the items that are being put up for a vote, since they involve improving schools, parks, libraries and traffic safety.

“Good neighborhoods are ones that have good schools, well cared for parks, well funded libraries and good clean safe streets,” Van Bramer said. “That is what people care about the most and these are the items we see.”

Nine meetings were held throughout Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City last fall, and hundreds of attendees put forward an array of ideas. These ideas were whittled down by about 140 budget delegates to 27 in concert with Van Bramer and various city agencies.

“I think the process has been successful so far,” Van Bramer said, who is urging people to go out and vote.  There are 10 locations scattered throughout the district where residents will be able to cast their ballots (see list below).

“A lot of people have got more involved in the community in a meaningful way as a result of the process,” Van Bramer said. “It has encouraged people to come out and present their ideas.”

The 27 items will be presented to the community early next month, where residents will be able to take a closer look at what they involve.

A meeting is scheduled for April 6, from 7 pm to 9pm, at the Sunnyside Community Service Center [43-31 39th Street], where all the proposals will be discussed and debated on their merits.

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Final Ballot by sunnysidepost

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Landmarks Commission to evaluate whether to save Clock Tower; public meeting tomorrow

Bank1-475x356

March 23, By Christian Murray

The first formal step to landmark the Clock Tower will take place tomorrow when the Landmarks Preservation Commission will meet to evaluate whether a public hearing should be held as part of the process to landmark the famous building.

The public meeting tomorrow is significant since it indicates that the Chairperson of the Commission has already reviewed the application and has determined that it has merit and the formal process of whether to landmark it or not should begin.

The Clock Tower, located at 29-29 Queens Blvd., was built in 1927 and was the tallest building in Queens until the construction of the Citigroup building in Court Square. Advocates for the designation argue that it is one of the most significant architectural landmarks in the borough.

Tomorrow, the full commission—comprised of up to 11 Commissioners– will be briefed by LPC’s research group and will vote to determine whether a public hearing should take place—another significant step in the process.

If the majority of Commissioners agree, then a hearing will be scheduled.

At this point, if the owner of the property files a demolition permit with the Department of Buildings, LPC will be notified and it would most likely speed up the review/application process, according to a LPC spokeswoman.

Queens Plaza Park Development, the owner of the clock tower building, purchased it for $31 million in November. The same company owns the adjacent site at 29-37 41st Avenue, where it filed earlier this month to build a 70 story building at that site.

After a public hearing is held by LPC, a report will be produced and the commission will review it. They will then vote whether to landmark or not– or schedule another meeting. If they vote to landmark it, it will go to the City Planning Commission to provide feedback and the city council for a vote.

Click for landmark process

Public Hearing by sunnysidepost

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Big media takes a close look at Sunnyside: NYTimes, CBS 2
New York Times

New York Times

March 21, Staff Report

Sunnyside has been getting plenty of media attention by the big-city press in the past week.

On Wednesday, The New York Times released an article that looked into the neighborhood and referred to Sunnyside as the ‘Mayberry Near Midtown.’

Sunnyside, in western Queens, is a stark contrast to the gleaming glass residential towers rising in nearby Long Island City. Here is an old-fashioned New York neighborhood of squat prewar apartment buildings, rowhouses and shopping streets that still have mom-and-pop businesses.

“We call it Mayberry,” after the small town portrayed in the 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show,” said Amy FitzGerald, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside.

“People are very friendly,” said Ms. FitzGerald, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband 16 years ago from Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

(click here for the full NYTimes Story)

Now, CBS 2 is running a series on the neighborhood that “uncovers the hidden secrets of the city.” (Please Note: the ads before the clips are long)
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Independent pharmacy to open on Queens Boulevard; optical store to replace Pink Icing

Platinum Pharmacy Sunnyside

March 21, Staff Report

Despite the presence of several big-box drug stores, another independent pharmacy is about to open in Sunnyside.

Platinum Pharmacy, located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, is moving into the space that was previously occupied by Mediterraneo, a pizzeria that closed last year.

The new drug store is just one block away from another independent drug store—Bliss Drug Pharmacy—which opened in 2011.

The neighborhood has several other independent drug stores—such as Amazon Pharmacy, Rockway Pharmacy, Greenpoint Pharmacy, Family Pharmacy and Skillman Pharmacy.

pink-icing-outsideMeanwhile, Sunnyside has several big chain stores such as Rite Aide, Duane Read and CVS.

In other news, a new optical store is about to open at 44-13 Queens Blvd– where Pink Icing was previously located. The owner said the store will be called Sunnysight and is likely to open April 1.  No other details were provided.

Meanwhile, DJ’s Pawnshop at 4322 Queens Boulevard is closing. It is referring its customers to EZ Pawn on the corner of 46th and Queens Blvd.

There is no word as to what’s happening with the space.

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Landmarks Commission to evaluate whether to save Clock Tower; public meeting tomorrow
Bank1-475x356 March 23, By Christian Murray The first formal step to landmark the Clock Tower will take place tomorrow when the Landmarks Preservation Commission will meet to evaluate whether a public hearing should be held as part of the process to landmark the famous building. The public meeting tomorrow is significant since it indicates that the Chairperson of the Commission has already reviewed the application and has determined that it has merit and the formal process of whether to landmark it or not should begin. The Clock Tower, located at 29-29 Queens Blvd., was built in 1927 and was the tallest building in Queens until the construction of the Citigroup building in Court Square. Advocates for the designation argue that it is one of the most significant architectural landmarks in the borough. Tomorrow, the full commission—comprised of up to 11 Commissioners-- will be briefed by LPC’s research group and will vote to determine whether a public hearing should take place—another significant step in the process. If the majority of Commissioners agree, then a hearing will be scheduled. At this point, if the owner of the property files a demolition permit with the Department of Buildings, LPC will be notified and it would most likely speed up the review/application process, according to a LPC spokeswoman. Queens Plaza Park Development, the owner of the clock tower building, purchased it for $31 million in November. The same company owns the adjacent site at 29-37 41st Avenue, where it filed earlier this month to build a 70 story building at that site. After a public hearing is held by LPC, a report will be produced and the commission will review it. They will then vote whether to landmark or not-- or schedule another meeting. If they vote to landmark it, it will go to the City Planning Commission to provide feedback and the city council for a vote. Click for landmark process

Public Hearing by sunnysidepost

Big media takes a close look at Sunnyside: NYTimes, CBS 2
New York Times

New York Times

March 21, Staff Report Sunnyside has been getting plenty of media attention by the big-city press in the past week. On Wednesday, The New York Times released an article that looked into the neighborhood and referred to Sunnyside as the 'Mayberry Near Midtown.' Sunnyside, in western Queens, is a stark contrast to the gleaming glass residential towers rising in nearby Long Island City. Here is an old-fashioned New York neighborhood of squat prewar apartment buildings, rowhouses and shopping streets that still have mom-and-pop businesses.

“We call it Mayberry,” after the small town portrayed in the 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show,” said Amy FitzGerald, the owner of Welcome Home Real Estate on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside.

“People are very friendly,” said Ms. FitzGerald, who moved to the neighborhood with her husband 16 years ago from Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

(click here for the full NYTimes Story) Now, CBS 2 is running a series on the neighborhood that “uncovers the hidden secrets of the city." (Please Note: the ads before the clips are long) . . . .
Independent pharmacy to open on Queens Boulevard; optical store to replace Pink Icing
Platinum Pharmacy Sunnyside March 21, Staff Report Despite the presence of several big-box drug stores, another independent pharmacy is about to open in Sunnyside. Platinum Pharmacy, located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, is moving into the space that was previously occupied by Mediterraneo, a pizzeria that closed last year. The new drug store is just one block away from another independent drug store—Bliss Drug Pharmacy—which opened in 2011. The neighborhood has several other independent drug stores—such as Amazon Pharmacy, Rockway Pharmacy, Greenpoint Pharmacy, Family Pharmacy and Skillman Pharmacy. pink-icing-outsideMeanwhile, Sunnyside has several big chain stores such as Rite Aide, Duane Read and CVS. In other news, a new optical store is about to open at 44-13 Queens Blvd-- where Pink Icing was previously located. The owner said the store will be called Sunnysight and is likely to open April 1.  No other details were provided. Meanwhile, DJ’s Pawnshop at 4322 Queens Boulevard is closing. It is referring its customers to EZ Pawn on the corner of 46th and Queens Blvd. There is no word as to what’s happening with the space.
Owner of Queens Blvd site plans to develop it
38-15 Queens Blvd.

38-15 Queens Blvd.

March 19, By Christian Murray The owners of a large Queens Blvd site are looking to develop the property. The site, located at 38-15 Queens Blvd, is currently being used as a car wash facility and is zoned for manufacturing. The owners, listed as 38-15 Queens Blvd., have reached out to Community Board 2 to discuss their development proposal. The board has not yet seen what they have in mind, and the owners could not be reached for comment. Pat O’Brien, chairman of Community Board 2, said that the owners would not be reaching out to the board if they planned to develop it according to its current zoning. He said that the proposal is likely to involve the construction of residential units. The site is located about one block outside the Sunnyside district that was rezoned in 2011. The rezoned area allows for substantial residential development. Therefore, the owners would have to undergo a lengthy public process, which would involve going before the community board, the borough president’s office, the city planning commission and a city council vote. O’Brien said that he was concerned about all the development that is currently taking place--in terms of what it means for schools, the subway system and area hospitals. development
Subway fares to rise Sunday despite limited No. 7 train service
7subway1-300x224 March 19, Staff Report Despite the No. 7 train skipping several Flushing-bound Sunnyside stops this Sunday, subway prices will still be going up that very same day. MTA fares are scheduled to rise this Sunday, March 22, after being approved in January. Single subway rides will be increasing to $2.75—from $2.50—the MTA said, while monthly passes will be raised to $116.50—from $112. Weekly passes will be $31, Meanwhile, this weekend there will be no service between Times Square and Hunters Point Avenue. Additionally, Flushing bound service will skip 33rd, 40th, 46th, 52nd and 69th Streets.  
Subway advocacy group takes aim at Cuomo over poor train service
subwayhorrorstoriesqns-2-e1426691030575 March 18, By Christian Murray A New York City subway advocacy group is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state legislature to provide the funding needed to fix the decaying No. 7, N and Q lines. The group, the Riders Alliance, is collecting subway riders' horror stories this week—and will present them to Cuomo and the state legislature who will be deciding whether to fund the MTA’s proposed $32 billion five-year-capital plan in upcoming months. “It’s easy to blame the MTA for all of these breakdowns and malfunctions, but the real culprits are Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature, who have not stepped up to provide the funds that would fix and upgrade our subways,” said John Raskin, Executive Director of the Riders Alliance, said. “If Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers don’t fund the next MTA capital program, riders are going to see a lot more of these signal malfunctions and train breakdowns in the future, he said. On Tuesday, members of the Riders Alliance were at Queensboro Plaza and asked N,Q and 7 riders to share their experiences. The move to collect riders’ “horror stories” has been prompted by a sharp increase in complaints about signal malfunctions, unexplained train delays and generally deteriorating service in recent weeks, according to the Riders Alliance. The group argues that the aging system can only be repaired if lawmakers decide to fund the next capital program. Carol Crump, a 7 train rider, shared here horror story Tuesday: "I rely on the 7 train to get me from Queens to work on the Upper West Side. But lately—weekend and late night service on the 7 train has been a joke! Sometimes I have to resort to taking the bus or car service and that’s not sustainable or affordable!" The Riders Alliance is collecting stories of similar experiences online at http://www.ridersny.org/2015/03/13/has-your-subway-gotten-worse/ through Friday, March 20th.
Lenny’s Pizza–located on Greenpoint Ave.–for sale
Lennys March 17, Staff Report Lenny’s Pizza, located at 44-08 Greenpoint Avenue, is for sale. The pizzeria, which opened in 2010, is on the market for between $450,000 and $700,000, according to the Multiple Listing Service. The listing comes shortly after the opening of Nonna Ginna, a new pizzeria located one block away. Lenny’s occupies a large space with room for about 40 seats. For the listing, please click here. Lennys1  
Tibetan restaurant opens on 47th Avenue
Tibet March 16, By Michael Florio The owner of a popular Tibetan restaurant in Jackson Heights has opened a second location—this one in Sunnyside. Tenzing Tsering, who has owned GangJong Restaurant for the past three years, opened Punda Tibetan Restaurant, located at 39-35 47th Ave, this weekend. The restaurant offers modern Tibetan food, along with Asian and Indian cuisine. Tsering came to the United States in 2011 and soon afterward opened his Jackson Heights restaurant. That establishment is small, with room for 12 customers and a small kitchen. The Sunnyside location is significantly bigger, with room for about 32 people. Furthermore, it has a big kitchen, which allows Tsering to make more elaborate dishes. Tsering, who lives in Jackson Heights, was born in Tibet and grew up in India, where he began working as a chef. He had worked in Russia, France, Poland before coming to Queens. He said he will be operating out of the Sunnyside restaurant full time, as he has trained a chef for his Jackson Heights location. Tsering said he wants to offer Sunnyside residents healthy food. “I want to make the neighborhood happy and healthy,” he said. “We will still serve meat, but in limited portions,” he said, adding that he often uses mushrooms and beans in place of meat. “The food is steamed, boiled or stir fried.” The menu will include Tibetan beef and chicken entrees, such as phing-sha (a slow-cooked Tibetan beef stew with potato, rice and noodles) and jhasha hatsa (which is sliced chicken sautéed with freshly roasted dried chillies). He is also offering momos, the popular dumplings made with dough and stuffed with chicken, beef or vegetables. There will be Indian entrees such as beef curry, chicken curry and shrimp curry, as well as several vegetarian options.
Queens World Film Festival kicks off Tuesday, includes Sunnyside film
comicbookheaven March 16, By Michael Florio The Queens World Film Festival (QWFF), which will screen more than 100 independent films, kicks off tomorrow night at the Museum of Moving Image. The festival, which runs from March 17 through 22nd, will feature 117 films from 30 nations. The films will be screened at three venues—The Secret Theater in LIC, P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights and MoMI. The event begins with the screening of six films at MoMI tomorrow night, starting at 8:00pm. The opening-night screening will then be followed by a party at Studio Square that begins at 10 pm. The festival will include about 50 films from the United States, with the remainder coming from countries such as England, Greece, Switzerland, Ukraine, Dominican Republic and China, according to festival director Katha Cato. “These filmmakers around the world are attracted to this festival since it brings an American audience to see their film,” Cato said. The year’s festival will also include 19 films that were made by Queens residents. Their work will be screened at P.S. 69—the largest of the three venues with 400 seats. It will provide them with the greatest exposure, Kato said. One film was made in Sunnyside. E.J. McLeavey-Fisher created a short documentary film about the cantankerous 81-year-old Joe Leisner, who was the owner of Comic Book Heaven in Sunnyside for many years before it closed down in 2013. It will be playing at PS 69 at 8:15 pm this Friday. This year’s festival will include a special screening of ‘Bitter Sugar,’ by Cuban-American Leon Ichaso. It will be screened at MoMI at 7:30pm Wednesday. Ichaso, who is an internationally recognized filmmaker, will be honored at the festival for his work, which captures the human struggle of immigrating to the US. “We are honoring his integrity, humanity and dedication to do good work and continue to create independent films,” Cato said. “His work endures the test of time.” For the full listing of movies, please click here. . Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.
Mexican restaurant focusing on cemitas to open on 48th Avenue
IMG_2148 March 13, By Christian Murray A restaurant is opening on 48th Avenue that will focus on selling Central Mexican sandwiches—known as cemitas. The establishment, to be aptly named Cemita’s, will be located at 45-14 48th Ave. taking over the space that was proviously occupied by a Esmeralda. The company will dedicate about 700 sqf. of its 2,000 sqf. space to the restaurant. The other 1,300 square feet will be used as a large kitchen area-- used to cater corporate events and supply concession stands. The owner of the restaurant and catering business went before Community Board 2 Tuesday to get a wine and beer license for Cemita’s. Despite there being problems with some establishments in that section of Woodside, the board permitted the operator to keep his doors open until 2 am every night of the week.
Cemita

Cemita

 
Woman who threw man in front of train at 40th Street station takes manslaughter plea
The night of incident

The night of incident

March 13, By Christian Murray The woman who pushed a man to his death at the 40th Street subway station in December 2012 has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is expected to be sentenced to between 22 and 25 years in prison, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office. Erika Menendez, a 33-year-old Rego Park woman, pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for shoving Sunnando Sen, 46, into a Queens-bound No. 7 train at about 8 pm, Dec. 27, 2012. Menendez, who was talking to herself on the platform prior to the incident, approached Sen from behind and pushed him onto the tracks as a train was pulling into the station. Sen was struck by the train and died of multiple blunt force trauma. Linda Santini-Tripodis, the owner of Merit Group & Associates who was by the station at the time, said: “I heard the train screech as it was stopping and then heard this loud scream. I’m never going to forget that scream for as long as I live.” Menendez was caught by the police in Brooklyn two days after the incident. “The defendant has admitted committing what is every subway commuter’s worst nightmare – being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown. “The victim was shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself. The defendant now faces at least 22 years in prison when sentenced next month.”
Rustic bar/restaurant to open at corner of 43rd Street/43rd Ave.
Design concept

Design concept

micrositeimage_photo3March 12, By Christian Murray A new bar/restaurant is expected to open on the corner of 43rd Street and 43rd Avenue this summer. The bar, to be called The Lowery Bar & Kitchen, will be taking over the space that was previously occupied by Sofra, a Middle Eastern restaurant that closed two months ago. The new bar/restaurant will be owned John Keogh, an Irishman who owns a bar—called GMT Tavern-- in Greenwich Village. Keogh, who went before Community Board 2 last night as part of the process to get a liquor license, said his goal is to create a family restaurant that has “great food, great cocktails and local craft beer.” He said that the new venue would not be a sports bar nor would it offer live music. The bar/restaurant will have a rustic look with reclaimed wood, Keogh said. He plans to offer outdoor seating on both 43rd Street and 43rd Avenue with a retractable awning. “I fell in love with this corner,” he said, adding that the shape of the site is similar to his Greenwich Village location. He said he wants to add windows so the restaurant is completely visible from the outside. Construction would take about 3 months, he said. The plan would be to open by summer if all went well. The bar/restaurant would have between 12 to 16 bar stools—as well as tables and booths. The location can cater up to nearly 70 people. The menu will include items such as grilled Bratwurst sausage, grass-fed burgers, steamed mussels, fish tacos and spicy roasted pumpkin. The establishment will also offer an extensive brunch menu—featuring lamb sandwiches, oak smoked salmon and common egg dishes. Pat O’Brien, the chairman of the liquor license committee, informed board members that the location was near apartment buildings and that there had been noise complaints concerning other establishments in that vicinity. However, the board agreed that Keogh had a long history in the business and decided to give him the green light to open until 4 am, like similar establishments nearby such as Bar 43. IMG_0140 (2) .
Design concept

Design concept

Van Bramer lambasts MTA over 7 train weekday service, MTA pushes back
Tara Turtell

Tara Turtell

March 11, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer took off the gloves this morning and threw a volley of punches at the MTA concerning its No. 7 train weekday service. Van Bramer, who was joined by several disgruntled 7 train riders, held a rally at the 40th Street station this morning and said that weekday service had fallen to a new low. He said that rush-hour commuters have had to contend with trains breaking down, signal malfunctions and overcrowded platforms that have put people’s lives at risk. “Queens riders are fed up with poor 7 train service,” he said. “Riders are paying for a service that is poor, inconsistent and just plain late.” He said that the level of service was “outrageous, potentially dangerous and disgraceful.” He said that the MTA, a state-run agency, was not being held accountable and that its standard excuse that ‘it will get better one day’ was inadequate to commuters who have to get to work on time. He called on the MTA to publicly release detailed information about every disruption (during rush hour) over the last year and to respond to angry riders at a town hall meeting. But the MTA pushed back. “We will be more than happy to look at the data but what does that accomplish?” wrote Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA, in an e-mail. “To confirm what we already know?” “We are already working hard to make the 7 line more reliable by installing a new signal system, thousands of feet of track panels and making Sandy-related repairs—all vital work to improve service on the line.” “We understand that these service disruptions are inconvenient to our customers who depend on the No. 7 line and we appreciate their patience.” But Tara Turtell, one of several angry riders, wasn’t so patient with the MTA recently when she waited in the freezing cold on the 40th Street platform for over 45 minutes. She said that 10 trains came through the station, which were too packed for anyone to board. Turtell said she got to work an hour late and that she was so cold that she was unable to E-mail her boss as to her delay. "Unfortunately that was just one of many times the 7 train has made me excessively late to work. When I complain to the MTA all I hear are halfhearted apologies and absolutely no desire to improve, which makes the situation that much more frustrating,” she said. Van Bramer said that the MTA’s response to the community has been inadequate. He said that he sent the MTA a letter on Dec. 12 following another period when his constituents were complaining about weekday service. Van Bramer said he received a response two months later and the MTA wrote that over the course of the past 12 months "there were periods where delays and incidents have spiked.” Furthermore, Van Bramer said, the MTA stated in that letter that the No. 7 train outperformed the entire subway system as a whole with fewer delays on average. Van Bramer said that the MTA had promised the community that it would receive improved weekday service—in return for the hardship caused by the weekend outages. “My question to the MTA: why then has it sunk to new lows over the last four months?’” But the MTA struck back claiming that Van Bramer was getting in the way of progress by trying to postpone No. 7 train weekend work for events such as the St. Pat’s for All parade. “It is disingenuous of the councilman to request on several occasions that we postpone work on the 7 line then hold a rally to complain about service,” Ortiz wrote. Despite the MTAs claims, Pat O’Brien, the chairman of Community Board 2, said the level of service has been unacceptable. “The MTA may call it the 7 line but for all of us it is our life line—to get to work, school and doctor’s appointments.”  
Sunnyside’s Wespaw Pets to open pet pharmacy in Astoria
Wespaw Pets Pharmacy March 10, By Christian Murray Wespaw Pets, the Sunnyside pet store that opened on Queens Blvd in 2013, is expanding into the prescription drug business by opening an animal pharmacy in Astoria. The pharmacy, which will be located at 37-15 23rd Avenue, will cater to all pets—from dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, reptiles and even fish. The new location will be called Wespaw Pets Pharmacy and will open on Monday, March 23. Sam Abdrabouh, the owner of Wespaw Pets and Wespaw Pets Pharmacy, said his goal is to bring pet owners “high-quality customized prescriptions at affordable prices.” He will be opening the new pharmacy with plenty of experience as well as the support of many Sunnyside residents. “I am a registered pharmacist who has worked with animals and veterinarians for years,” Sam said. “I’m hoping that all the people who have been kind enough to support me at Wespaw Pets will think about me for their [pet's] prescription needs.” He said that there will be a pharmacist on site who will be able to answer pet owner’s questions and will be able to provide specialized advice. He said that this one-on-one service is a key factor that differentiates his service from others. Sam said he selected Astoria as the place to open the pharmacy since “it is in the heart of western Queens and is very accessible to Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.” He said that he will provide same-day-service for medications that are in stock and will deliver them within hours. However, in rare cases, where a complex prescription needs to filled—or a medication is not readily available-- it might take up to three business days, he said. He said that some medications, depending on the pet, may have to be administered as a flavored liquid, or a flavored treat or even a transdermal cream based on the willingness of a pet to take its medication. The method is often determined by the veterinarian in consultation with the pharmacist. The drugs are made on site specifically for each pet, he said. Each prescription has to be written by a veterinarian. He said that residents who are looking to use his service should E-mail him to find out how they can transfer their existing account-- or open a new one. He said he can be reached at [email protected]
Sam (far left) at Lou Lodati Park dog run shortly after it opened

Sam (far left) at Lou Lodati Park dog run shortly after it opened

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