Foodtown on Greenpoint Ave. to close by year end,

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97 Responses to Foodtown on Greenpoint Ave. to close by year end,

  1. PG

    Obamacare at its finest

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  2. Patriot

    PG knows whats up

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  3. A&P

    How is the related to Obamacare?

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  4. Roxy

    According to NYC Property Search, the building is owned by Maysa Realty Group, which owes more than $50,000 in back taxes on the property.

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  5. Roxy

    And a Google search shows Maysa Realty headquartered at 86-20 Avon Street in Jamaica, Queens, with Jamal Hammad listed as the contact person.

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  6. seymorelover

    "Obamacare"? WTF does this store have ANYTHING to do with Obamacare?

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  7. Oppressed Masses

    Excellent location for a nail salon.

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  8. Thomas

    There 16 ways to spell "Hannukah" during this holiday season...lets focus on the positive! Thank you JVB for caring about the workers affected....may be many reasons for the store closing......lets stick together!

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  9. JuliaJ.

    Another 99 cent store! Whoopee! As for Obamacare, if you have 50 employees or more, you have to cover them - so be prepared to see more PART TIME help as opposed to full time. And full time is now defined as 30 hours per week, so people will be working for 29 hours. Way to go, voters. Maybe a nail salon?

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  10. oICU12

    The only reason I can think of for the landlord's behavior is that he wants to sell the plot to a developer who will build some ugly, glass and steel multi storey structure.

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  11. GB

    Is the name of the landlord Ebeneezer Scrooge by any chance?

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  12. O'shea

    @GB
    If the place is owned by jammal hammad do you think they give a two sh*+s about Christmas, thanksgiving, or the holidays ? store worker said eviction was served before thanksgiving.
    Even scrooge would have waited.

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  13. LT

    not only am i upset about the closing of my local store and the loss of jobs for the people i see on a weekly basis--i am upset by the fact that greenpoint ave will have yet another large empty store. we need to revitalize this area--it's being to look and feel depressed!

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  14. Randy

    Obamacare? Jesus people.

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  15. Gardener

    @oICU12 I'm not a fan of ugly glass and steel multi story structures, but I can't say I'm a fan of the way this current building looks either!

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  16. Virginia

    This is too bad. The Foodtown was the only place that sold passable produce and had a bearable floor plan, i.e., you could move.

    To those who want to blame Obama for this, you have serious problems. Work it out. Read.

    I too see a lot of employers cutting corners so they don't have to insure their staff. But this is the fault of very stingy employers who get even stingier by the day. If you can't see your way to paying a few extra dollars to make sure your fellow man, woman and child have medical insurance and whatever else they may need, you are America's real problem.

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  17. Thomas

    O'Shea
    What difference does his name make? Perhaps there are many reasons why this store is closing....maybe this fellow is experiencing financial difficulty and kept the tenant as long as he could? Maybe he is greedy but that is his right...its his property You need to stop the intolerance and embrace others as part of this human community. The Holidays are upon us....remember education is the elixer of ignorance!

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  18. Lisa

    Terrible news...this was the only decent grocery store in the area. I'm hoping it will be replaced with another soon (Trader Joe's perhaps??)

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  19. PG

    @Virginia, unfortunately it's not a few extra dollars. But with those "few extra dollars", i'd rather put those dollars in my employees pockets, so that they can choose whether or not they want insurance. I am americas solution i create jobs and create wealth for individuals.

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  20. Brendan

    @LT, I too am sad at this development as it is my go-to grocery store.
    It is interesting to note though that this block is always fraught with failing businesses. (But usually on the south side.)
    I wonder if the Sunnyside BID decided to include this block if it would help.
    (Note: the BID covers "Greenpoint Ave. (from 43rd to 48th Streets)".
    I think that's awful considering that Greenpoint Avenue's Sunnyside section starts a few blocks before that.)

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  21. Long time sunnysider

    Greedy landlords are to blame for all the empty stores on Greenpoint ave. check out the rents of those stores and ul understand how small businesses can not survive in this economy. That s why it s so important to shop local and try to keep the existing shops,bars and restaurants in business.we don't need any more stores closing on Greenpoint ave.

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  22. Webley

    Trader Joe's might be a good investment with the increasing hipster population in the area, but with parking already scarce as it is, it might be a problem. So I really cannot come up with anything other than a market for the area, Associates will increase the prices now, that's a problem.

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  23. Bliss & Skillman

    Build us a REAL supermarket like Publix or Meijer's .. shiny, clean, organized, well stocked, great gourmet selections as well as better than just decent store brands! When I travel and go into one of those stores, I feel like I am on another planet. They are fabulous!

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  24. LT

    i would love to shop at the mom & pop stores--i prefer it--landlords on gpt ave should realize that it prob makes sense to lower rents to get tenants in rather than keep these large space empty for many years. we could use a nice coffee shop and a cafe like aubergine on skillman--those biz are thriving why does everything fail on our side of the blvd? and the orchard market just closed--another empty space--it's really disappointing. but dollar stores and cheap clothing stores succeed!!

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  25. Local Hamburgler

    What's wrong with the Associated a block up? Last time I was in there they had hanger steak. Hanger ffs!

    Pretty large space. I vote bowling alley.

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  26. It's all True

    Greenpoint Avenue is becoming more and more awful. This should be a thriving shopping area but it is not. Sad. And people cannot afford Obamacare. It is more than a few dollars - much more.

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  27. Ruben

    so this landlord owns the stores across the street as well? Does that include that awful Indian restaurant that I never see anybody in. I kinda wonder how a restaurant like that stays in business while a great place like FoodTown gets their nuts squeezed for more money.

    Indian food...just like a baby's dirty diaper with some curry. Same texture, 10x the price.

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  28. Pete

    @It's all true: is it much more than the $50k the landlord won't give the city in back taxes?

    This isn't about Obamacare. It's about greed and tax evasion. Hoarded capital doesn't trickle down.

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  29. you all make me laugh

    What we need is a large chain bar/resturant with strong finacial backing to open on greenpoint ave to help revitalize the area. I vote HOOTERS!

    Empty Retail Space = Tax Write Off for whichever multi-million dollar real estate investment corporation owns the building / land.

    On a side note, I find it very hard to believe that two unnamed "high profile real estate" executives don't know that they can find property records online using the ACRIS system.

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  30. Thomas

    Ruben

    My goodness such invective directed at anyone and everyone that has absolutley nothing to do with this store closing...Obama care? Indian Restaurant? Again stop jumping to conclusions....if the landlord can't pay his real estate taxes ...how does having an empty building serve him better? most people posting here seem to be venting their biases and anger at anything other than looking into their own souls. Stop the madness! Hannukah, Kwanzaa all the Holidays are approaching lets stay on track!

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  31. Local Hamburgler

    @Thomas

    Hi! You seem to be new here. Ruben is a troll, see below for clarification.

    1a. Noun
    One who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument.

    1b. Noun
    A person who, on a message forum of some type, attacks and flames other members of the forum for any of a number of reasons such as rank, previous disagreements, sex, status, ect.
    A troll usually flames threads without staying on topic, unlike a "Flamer" who flames a thread because he/she disagrees with the content of the thread.

    1c. Noun
    A member of an internet forum who continually harangues and harasses others. Someone with nothing worthwhile to add to a certain conversation, but rather continually threadjacks or changes the subject, as well as thinks every member of the forum is talking about them and only them. Trolls often go by multiple names to circumvent getting banned.

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  32. Ruben

    Thomas I never said anything about Obamacare, that falls to all the political hot heads above, I merely stated a fact. If he owns that indian restaurant which gets NO business then this landlord had an agenda.

    I always like to believe a place that makes no business and remains open is just a front. I've seen the Wire.

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  33. Long time resident

    Does that include that awful Indian restaurant that I never see anybody in. I kinda wonder how a restaurant like that stays in business
    You mean Curry Point, yes? It's mostly take-out.

    With everyone going on and on about Obamacare, you'd think it was already up and running. Businesses have been preparing for it, but it doesn't go in to effect until 2014 I believe. (Is that right?)

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  34. Thomas

    Thank you Hamburgler....

    I hope "Ruben" is simply not baiting. My point is that there may be any number of reasons why the store is closing. Perhaps its bad mangement encompassing all stores? Maybe the rent is too high? Maybe the landlord is being unreasonable? who really knows. What I take exception to is when people take this as an excuse to personify it against an individual or group. That is not constructive. Get the facts...then comment

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  35. Kathy G

    We here at Thalia Spanish Theatre will miss Foodtown and its employees. They were good neighbors to us. Thankfully, our landlord, who owns the rest of the building on the north side of Greenpoint between 41st and 42nd, isn't greedy, which is why you see virtually no turnover on this little commercial strip.

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  36. Native NYer

    "Greedy" landlords? Owners try to maximize profits, it is called capitalism.

    @Brendan: To your point about businesses failing on the south side, well the south side is less affluent than the north side.

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  37. Cathy

    I am sorry to hear this but I really feel for the employees coming into the holiday season. The staff were very friendly. What the he'll has Obama to do with a store closing on Greenpoint.. Really ppl wake up.

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  38. elmo didn't do nuthin!

    i wouldn't mind a stripper club, the closest we got is Gallaghers and its a bit of a hike. Its big enough, I vote for SCORES!

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  39. choco-bot the chocolate robot

    girlie club, nice... we need one on the south side

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  40. DJ

    So much negativity and anger on these message boards. And people wonder why cancer rates are so high.

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  41. Celticparker

    Roxy- nice work, the 108th could really use you. Hamburgler- I like your post.

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  42. David

    Yes, Hamburgler! A bowling alley! Perfect. Southside as a destination. Get on this. (Btw: Glad that Thalia is doing well. The Columbian chicken joint across the street, La Pollera Colorado, is one of the best rotisserie chickens north- or south of Queens Boulevard.)

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  43. Anonymous

    i vote for hooters.

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  44. GB

    A bowling alley?

    Bowling alleys are dinosaurs. There used to be loads of them around here when I was a kid. Maybe one or two are left. They require a lot of space and in a city where space is so costly, they can't make money.

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  45. JuliaJ.

    Hooters has good fries! But seriously, another empty space? Not good.

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  46. Roxy

    One of the Foodtown staffers told me that Jamal Hammad is a Palestinian who owns Maysa Realty Group and resides in posh Jamaica Estates. He reportedly also owns all the vacant properties in the block of Greenpoint Avenue across from Foodtown.

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  47. Local Hamburgler

    @GB

    Any sort of activity based entertainment. There isn't anything like that around here. Sometimes I don't feel like drinking, dropping a chunk of money on eating out or sitting silently in a theater. Things like bowling alleys and game parks, shuffleboard and the like, have little month to month expense. Large volume of staff isn't needed and you're not selling any product that you have to put money into each term. You pay for a space and an initial investment on furnishings and then just cleaning products. Hell, don't even sell alcohol or food. Allow people to get takeout delivered. No booze will allow for a far more diverse demographic. We all know how popular the Loudati soccer matches are each weekend.

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  48. Pete

    @Roxy: Interesting. Several businesses on the block are "going under," presumably due to high rents and yet this guy is $50k in the red with the city and will possible declare "bankruptcy" (i.e., get bailed out by the taxpayers). Then he can sell off the entire block at sheer profit. Smells like a shake down. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the coming months and years.

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  49. 43rd Street Resident

    I vote for a Chippendales type of club.

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  50. Sunnyside Native

    A roller skating rink in the area would be fun for the kids and teenagers, but needs more space than the Foodtown floor plan can provide.

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  51. O'shea

    I love sunnysiders. A bunch of idealists building airy castles on someone's property:)

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  52. Roxy

    There may be an uglier side to this dispute than we realize if reports are true that the property owner is a Palestinian and that the proprietors of Foodtown are Jewish. The New York Times or some other daily newspaper should investigate that possibility. I don't think that any of the Queens weeklies are up to it.

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  53. Ruben

    Roxy- I KNEW IT! I knew there was something uglier behind this! I believe it!

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  54. 86Mets

    Maybe that stretch of Greenpoint Ave should be renamed the Gaza Strip Mall.

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  55. choco-bot the chocolate robot

    wow, palestinian landlord vs jewish store owner! I smell a reality show!!! either that or decades of conflict in Sunnyside

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  56. sylvia g plimploff

    @ roxy But if the foodtown owners are jewish wouldn't they be saying that the prophet Abraham claimed that god said it was land meant for them.Such is the case with the west bank and gaza.

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  57. songbird

    It's a terrible shame that this "mystery landlord' has been allowed to hold this section of the Sunnyside business community hostage for decades now. How
    ironic that the Foodtown property and the "triangle" across the street from it are outside of the local BID district - so nothing has been done about this sad section of empty storefronts and multiple businesses that have tried and failed because the rents are exorbitant.

    Foodtown's demise should be the last straw. For those of you who live a couple of blocks from Associated, this is no big deal- but this supermarket has been serving the community from the LIE and BQE service road toward 43 Street and doing it well. The staff and management have been long time supporters of our Community - almost like family.

    I've spoken with many neighbors who are angry at the landlord and heartbroken about losing Foodtown.

    It may be a "done deal" but I know a lot of folks who want to do some kind of demonstration to find out who this landlord is and most of all to thank the staff at Foodtown for having been an important part of our Sunnyside Community.

    They will be missed.....

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  58. 86Mets

    If Sunnyside Shines BID can't do anything about Foodtown or that stretch of Greenpoint Ave, then really what is it good for?

    They hire a pretty, young, female face while a hundred yards away from their office, businesses go down the dumper.

    If you criticize her you get called a sexist.

    Let's see her keep Foodtown afloat and then I'll apologize for being such a sexist cad.

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  59. O'shea

    Not a fan of the BID. However, this has nothing to do with the BID or the newly hired intelligent cutie. This is between the landlord and the katz family. The current premise is that the landlord is to blame. What about the katz family? The landlord is palestinian? And they have been doing business together for more than 15 years? Foodtown was the last of the big three supermarkets in the area. They ran the most expensive supermarket is sunnyside and must have faced stiff rivalry from associated and keyfood. maybe the current generation cannot run the business like their father.

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  60. People Please!

    The Acris System information seems not to transfer so just use block # 00196 and Lot # 0042 and you'll see the property record.

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  61. the other side

    I just found out today that Foodtown is closing. Makes me sad. Sure, we have Associated and Key Food, but I like Foodtown for certain things and many items that I buy are actually cheaper there. A store employee told me they're theorizing that the landlord wants them out so he can develop housing over there--they say he also owns the empty businesses across the street. Sounds like the dispute Foodtown was having with the landlord could have been resolved if he really wanted to. Why else have all those empty businesses over there? I for one am going to miss it.

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  62. the other side

    BTW, Sunnyside Post: You need to change your site clock to daylight saving time.

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  63. thomas

    I am dismayed by the anti semetic rhetoric...........why would anyone make joke of the conflict between the arab and jew? Jewish people have suffered from bias for over 4000 years........my grand father was a holocaust survivor..........i doubt te demise of foodtown is of racial nature......it is economic. Stop the hate

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  64. thomas

    By the way mr o shea........the term cutie in the context you used it can be construed as sexist........would you have used that remark if refering to your daughter?

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  65. thomas

    O'shea
    would you use the word "cutie" in such a disparaging manner if refering to your wife or daughter? You read as a nice man but sexism is now thankfully a thing of the past. Woman are now afforded the same rights to opportunity as men. Keep that in mind

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  66. the other side

    BTW, Sunnyside Post: You need to change your site clock to daylight saving time.

    I meant eastern standard time.

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  67. Sunnyside Post

    To whom it may concern,

    This site aims to keep local issues, "local". Therefore, global and religious conflicts, and the foreign policies of governments do not belong here.

    There are plenty of other news sites that cater to those topics.

    Thanks.

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  68. tempus fugit

    With all respect to the site moderator, if there is a conflict between Palestinians and Jews in Sunnyside, is it not a local issue? Both groups are physically here and part of the community so how is it not of local interest? That's like saying the Saint Patrick's Day parade on Skillman Avenue is of no local interest because it pertains to Ireland.

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  69. West Sunnysider

    So the store is closing in two weeks. There are no new shipments coming in, all the meat and vegetables are gone. I live on 39th Street and Greenpoint, so along with everybody west of the store that uses Foodtown since it's the closest supermarket, our lives just got more difficult. Associated is now the closest market and since their renovation they've upped their prices, including charging for plastic bags. I am not happy with the situation. Apparently the same landlord owns the five vacant storefronts across the street as well that have sat empty for years. Not sure what the plan is. Is it possible that they want the whole strip vacant for some large development project? I hope whatever it is they are planning, they already have the financing and we won't have empty storefronts for years and years. Isn't there some kind of law that says you can't have storefronts empty for any long period of time? What's the city council's stand on all of this??

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  70. the other side

    West Sunnysider: I agree with your concerns. I live EAST of the Associated market and still shopped at Foodtown, as well as the other supermarkets. With one less supermarket in the neighborhood, the two remaining markets (there's a Key Food on 46th and Queens Blvd.--which is even further away from you) don't have as much competition, so they can raise their prices. The closing of Foodtown really does not bode well for the consumer ... although I'll bet the other supermarkets are thrilled. And the businesses surrounding Foodtown will likely suffer too.

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  71. Pete

    I just went to Foodtown to say goodbye to the employees. One of them told me that in addition to this Hammad character being in arrears to the city for $50K, Foodtown offered him $5 million for the building, an offer he refused. They then offered to pay him $40K in rent per year, up from the $27K they're paying now PLUS a $1.4 million fee to offset any potential looses Hammad might incur by not selling the building. He refused that as well. I was also told that a business across the street offered him $4 million for the build they're in and he refused them.

    If this is true, there is something very fishing going on here. What does this man want? How much money is enough? Speaking as a property owner who lives only one block away, I'm really starting to get concerned for this neighborhood. What is he planning to do?

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  72. Ex-Foodtowner

    As a former employee of Foodtown, PSK Supermarkets, I knew this day was coming. (Mind you, it has been many years since I quit) We all knew, all of the past and current employees knew the day would come that Foodtown will close. For everyone saying "Foodtown closed because of rent, landlord, racial reasoning, etc.", that is not the case. Foodtown has been suffering financially for years, not just in Sunnyside but in many other areas. Also, if you local Foodtown shoppers, have not noticed, in the past 5 years there have been about 4 different managers, managing the store, now if a red flag does not pop in your head something is wrong, then I do not know what to tell you. Also, after the renovation they did around 07/08 , that caused them a lot of headache and financial lost, because they believed that outcome will be results in sales and revenue, which it did not. Plus, Associated renovated and everyone started to shop there, then within the last year Food Dynasty aka Key Food, renovated (and must I say it has been doing EXCELLENT.)

    Don't know what else say, hope you guys get the picture.

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  73. Pete

    ...sorry I think that rental figure ought to be per month.

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  74. Angray

    Ex-Foodtowner - Are you saying they just weren't generating enough income?

    I have no inside source, but a comment above stated they were willing to pay $40k/month plus $1.4 mil. Sounds like they are doing quite well and willing to pay a lot extra to keep things running.

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  75. woodside guy

    What is the landlord up too

    1 will not lease
    2 rejected offers to buy
    3 area was recently rezoned
    4 Sunnyside has been labeled a up and coming neighborhood in the press
    5 owns the block acros the street also mostlyempty
    6 He sees what is happeninh in wburg and other parts of brooklyn that have been gentrified
    7 does not live in the 'hood

    Could be he is holding out for the best offer from large developer who wants an easy knockdown to build a large condo project

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  76. woodside guy

    Note I am not defending the landlord but nothing he is doing other than owing back taxs is illegal.
    he doesn't care about the community that is not a crime

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  77. O'shea

    @ woodside guy.
    You are right. That lot has been rezoned R5. This allows the owner to put up a four story multi apartment building. The lot is about 11000sft, theoretically this allows for the creation of 8-10 apartments/ floor. The landlord would face a payoff of $68,000-$76,000/month.
    This is much sweeter Shmoolah than whatever foodtown may have offered.

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  78. Angray

    @O'shea - Let's say at 10 apartments/floor with 4 floors. Avg rental 2000/month gives him 80,000/month. Only if he is thinking long term will this make sense because you have to account for construction cost. Or he is going to develop the property himself, then he can sell the apartments. If we say avg apt goes for 300k that is 12 mil. (not sure how much it'll cost to build such a condo). Another option he'll sell the land to a developer and probably get 5 mil. minus the headache of construction.

    Option 3 - Selling to developer is most likely. If he already owes backtaxes, I doubt he has millions to develop the property. Probably just waiting for all leases to finish up and sell to a developer.

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  79. O'shea

    @angray
    I do not see the selling option@ 5 million. 12-13 mill would be a great asking price. That land is pure gold; if you project average yearly rent increase into the calculation. $3340 average rent at sunnyside over the next 7- 10 years is normal.

    REAL reason the foodstore is closings.
    1. Based on sales/square feet, this store averages 112-152K/ week. It Would have to average 396k in sales/ week to meet all its new cost obligations. Not happening:/
    2. You would have to re- rezone the spot?
    3. Any negotiation between landlord and tenant may not have happen in good faith. Tenant must have know property had been rezoned.
    4. Associated and fresh n' save are better options.

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  80. Roxy

    The property owner did owe around $50,000 in back taxes, but he wiped the debt out with tax credits that were due him from other of his properties that were and still are standing empty.

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  81. Thomas

    O'shea ....
    I had a feeling you just might be capable of an original thought. Kudos to you. That is a plausible scenario you have outlined. I do take exception to the term "shmoolah" In what context are you applying it?

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  82. Thomas

    O'Shea.....
    Given the vitrol of the debate and your previous posts ....the word has negative connotations attached ......

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  83. Angray

    A bit optimistic on 12-13 mil ask. The large church/Salt & Fat/Dunkin Donuts on QB was listed at 6.8 mil in 2009. Not sure what the difference is in lot size.

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  84. doc

    O'shea nobody has said the landlord's actions are illegal. However that does not make him any less of a scumbag. Because something is legal does not mean it is right.

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  85. O'shea

    @ thomas
    oh well.... never mind.

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  86. Roxy

    There is another supermarket in south Sunnyside, on a corner of 47th Avenue and 46th Street. It was recently renovated and has a new name which escapes me at the moment.

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  87. Roxy

    In the year 2000, the Jamaica Estates resident was reported as Chief Financial Officer of the Key Foods syndicate. Could he still be connected with it? If so, Key Food runs the recently renovated supermarket on Queens Boulevard at 46th Street. Part of that renovation included a new building above the store with offices and rental apartments. The plot thickens!

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  88. Pete

    @Roxy: the person listed on the Newsmeat contribution list is Nedal Hammad, who is this guy's brother. I at first incorrectly thought it was the same person. My bad. However, yes, I also noticed that Nedal is the CFO for Key Food as well as an immediate family relation to Jamal Hammad. Interesting coincidence. Now Key Food has one less major competitor on the south side.

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  89. Anonymous

    I am outraged regarding the news that this store is closing. Personally, it inconveniences me as now my closest supermarket is much farther away from my apartment. Carrying groceries that far is going to be a bitch. I'm not happy about that.

    In regards to the community as a whole, that entire section of Greenpoint Avenue is an eyesore. Many businesses have come and gone. Nothing seems to prosper there. I won't even honor the political/ethnic argument that others are posing on this comment thread as out of 2 blocks of store fronts only a few businesses have survived the past years. I'm thinking there is some issue with the policies of the landlord and not his ethnic background.

    Someone should do an investigation. There has to be more than meets the eye. I'm tired of my block failing.

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  90. Roxy

    Someone above mentioned that the Associated supermarket in Sunnyside charges for plastic bags. Could that be true? I shop there several times a week and have never been charged for plastic bags. In fact, I don't think that paper bags are an option. The cashiers automatically put my purchases in plastic bags.

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  91. the other side

    Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer is apparently holding a rally to save Foodtown on Thursday night, Dec. 6: http://jimmyvanbramer.com/.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  92. Anonymous

    For goodness' sake, Roxy, stop with all of the plastic bags! Smart people around the world have stopped using them years ago.Besides the fact that they're manufactured with such poor quality that two are automatically used for almost every purchase, they are environmentally hurtful. There is a white plastic bag stuck in the tree branches outside of my window- it's been there over a year. Every time I see it I wonder how we could allow so much garbage to be introduced into our environment on a regular basis. Do folks not think about our future? Whether or not you see the charge for the bag, it's there. Get a reusable bag and use it; you'll feel better and our neighborhood will benefit from your actions.

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  93. Cherry D.

    It's very sad news that Foodtown is going to be closed. The only options left is a Key Food on 46 St, Mets Supermarket on 43 Ave, and Superior Market on QB and 40th St. Associated is not an option at all, despite all the renovations they manage to sell rotten products and refuse to refund for expired groceries an hour after the purchase. So I guess we'll have to walk a little more to do our food shopping.

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Latest News

This year’s ‘Taste of Woodside’ draws plenty of restaurants and good crowd

Taste of woodside

Nov. 25, By Michael Florio

The third annual “Taste of Woodside” was its biggest one yet.

The event, which was hosted by Woodside on the Move, featured 14 restaurants and a crowd  of about 120 attendees.

The goal of the event, which took place last Thursday, was to provide attendees with the ability to sample each restaurant’s food so they would be able to get an appreciation of the quality of Woodside’s cuisine.

“We had people from Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and all over,” said Woodside on the Move Executive Director Adrian Bordoni, who held the event at at St. Sebastian’s School auditorium.

Bordoni said the oysters and clams from Murphy’s Lobster Grill (48-20 Skillman Ave) were once again popular items. A new Woodside restaurant, Casa Del Chef (39-06 64th St), offered pumpkin soup with Parmesan whip cream on top , which Bordoni said was loved by all.

Meanwhile, Takesushi (43-46 42nd Street) chef Robin Kawada was on site making sushi for those in attendance.

“That was a big, big hit,” Bordoni said referring to Takesushi. “People were really impressed [watching him make it] and it was delicious.”

Red Ribbon Bakeshop (65-02 Roosevelt Ave) and Engeline’s Restaurant & Bakeshop (58-28 Roosevelt Ave) were two Filipino bakeries that helped bring variety to the event.

“We were happy to have Filipino businesses well represented,” Bordoni said.

Bordoni said there were also Irish, Italian, Bolivian, American and Japanese restaurants on site.

“People were definitely happy with the diverse selection,” he said.

Woodside on the Move introduced a new feature this year, a photo exhibit by Rachel Mintz, called The Woodsider. The exhibit was hung around the auditorium and featured photos of a variety of Woodside businesses.

“The exhibit celebrates the hard work and services that businesses supply to the community,” Bordoni said.

The Taste of Woodside continues to grow. Last year about 80 people attended and about 11 restaurants participated. However, that event was held in a much smaller venue at the Big Six Towers.

“The location helped because it was a much bigger space,” he said.

Robin Kawada

Robin Kawada

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Two years prison for hit-and-run driver who struck 5 people sitting in bus shelter

gavel2

Nov. 24, By Christian Murray

A Jackson Height’s man who drove into five people while they were sitting in a bus shelter on Northern Boulevard (by 48th Street) in February was sentenced last week to two years in prison on charges related to leaving the scene of the accident, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Luis Andrade, 32, was sentenced to two years after taking a plea deal in October when he admitted his guilt to assault in the first degree. However, in taking the plea other charges such as “leaving the scene of an incident without reporting serious physical injury” were dropped.

Andrade, who was an unlicensed driver according to the criminal complaint, struck five people—including an 8-year-old girl—at around 7:30 pm on Saturday, February 1. He destroyed the bus shelter and left the 8-year-old girl with a fractured skull and a woman with a broken femur and tibia. The others were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Andrade then fled the scene and ditched his white 2003 Mazda outside 37-59 61st Street. The police found the vehicle with a shattered windshield and partially torn-off bumper..

Andrade was also sentenced to a year and a half of post-release supervision, according to the district attorney’s office.

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Sunnyside Shines to launch holiday gift guide, plans event for Small Business Saturday

BIDfrontcover

Nov. 23, By Christian Murray

Expect a holiday gift guide – promoting Sunnyside’s small businesses – to arrive in the mail any day now.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, with the help of LaGuardia Community College students, has produced a 10-page brochure that showcases what 22 local stores have to offer as well as the importance of shopping locally. The promotion also ties into Small Business Saturday, a day when shoppers are expected to buy from smaller stores following the big-box binge on black Friday.

The BID has printed 30,000 guides and will be mailing 18,000 of them to the zip code 11104 and certain sections of Woodside. The remaining guides will be distributed this Saturday when a special event is held at Bliss Plaza (underneath the 46th train station) to kickoff Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.

The event, which will take place on Nov. 29 between 12:00 pm and 1 pm, will feature free giveaways and live music from the Sunnyside Social Club, a local jazz group.

“I am delighted that the BID has produced a holiday gift guide,” said Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark. “Every bit of publicity helps local businesses.”

Andres is offering a coupon in the guide that offers shoppers a discount. Stores such as Avalon Florist and Red Wing Shoes are also providing discounts.

Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, was in Sunnyside last week and spoke about the importance of residents shopping locally during the holiday season.

Springer said that 20-30 percent of sales for small businesses take place during this period. She said that it is important to have promotions like these to help them compete with the large online retailers and bigger stores. She added that the marketing campaigns conducted by the 70 BIDs across the city are helping smaller businesses– including in this neighborhood.

“Sunnysiders understand the importance of shopping locally, but we wanted to make it even easier by publishing the gift guide and promoting local businesses on Small Business Saturday,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines.

Details:

Event: Small Business Saturday kickoff

Date: Nov. 29

Time: 12 pm – 1pm

Czarrina Andres

Czarrinna Andres

Wespaw Pets

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

Luke Adams (middle)

Nov. 21, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 precinct
Captain John Trav

Captain John Travaglia

Nov. 20, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

fire51st Street

Nov. 20, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The FDNY is still investigating what caused the fire.

fire51st Street1

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

Suspect

Nov. 19, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

For previous coverage, click here

Previous photo of suspect

Previous photo of a suspect

 

Previous photo

Previous photo of a suspect

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

Flavor

Nov. 18, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Med

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

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

adoption1

 

Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

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More Headlines

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

Suspect

Nov. 19, By Christian Murray The police have released another photo of one of the two men suspected of beating and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnysider at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Blvd last month. The two men allegedly approached the victim inside the Chase bank ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday, October 26, before punching him in the face and removing $100 and his debit card from his pocket. The victim was William Eichhorn, who has lived in the Phipps Houses for the past 50 years. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) For previous coverage, click here
Previous photo of suspect

Previous photo of a suspect

 
Previous photo

Previous photo of a suspect

UPDATE: 4 Squared Flavors to be closed for winter, to reopen March 1
Flavor Nov. 18, By Christian Murray The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors has closed for winter and will reopen March 1, according to co-owner Khalil Nayl, Nayl said that landlord is supportive of the store and is by providing discounted rent during the winter months. Nayl's announcement came less than an hour after he was asked why the store had been closed all month. “We are exploring our options,” Nayl said at about 3:30 pm, when asked whether the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store had closed for good. "I will get back to you when we have made a final decision.” Nayl had been asked the question several times during the month and provided the same response. The store has had a tough go of it from the get-go. It was supposed to open in October 2013 but the owners had issues with the contractor and it opened in March. Nevertheless, Nayl is hoping to get the support of Sunnysiders when he reopens. He still plans to open other 4 Squared Flavors in other locations. The Sunnyside store is spacious—with a lounge area that has couches. There is also a special area where iPads are provided, so people can surf the web while they eat their yogurt. Meanwhile, in other news, Mediterraneo, the popular pizzeria located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, closed at the end of last month. The owner closed for personal reasons, according to sources. In other news, Safra Bistro, a Turkish restaurant located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street, is up for sale. The restaurant, which opened a year ago, is on the market for $139,000. The owner is seeking a quick sale. Med
Two rescue dogs and one cat find homes at Sunnyside adoption event
James Abram with Hercules

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday. The three animals were adopted by Sunnyside residents who attended an adoption event outside of Wespaw Pets—located at 44-05 Queens Blvd-- on Sunday. The Sean Casey Animal Rescue group in conjunction with the North Shore Animal League parked a large truck filled with dogs and cats that are currently in shelters outside the pet store. The dogs were of all ages—puppies to seniors—with one particularly disfigured due to a cruel past owner. The dogs varied in breeds-- with pit bulls, pit bull terrier mixes, poodles and even a pomeranian. The cats ranged in age too. The first animal to be adopted was Hercules, a young pit bull, by James Abram. While the dogs had been vaccinated and checked over prior to the event, a volunteer veterinarian was on hand to help the new owners—and current dog owners—with questions. “People continue to ask about adoption events,” said a Wespaw Pets representative. “While we have had them before this is the biggest one we have had so far.” The next dog to find a home was Daffodil, an older dog who was adopted by a young couple. Later in the day, a mother with her young daughter adopted a cat called Robin. Several of the cats were brought to the event by LIC Ferals & Friends. Some of the other pets might still be adopted, according to a Wespaw representative, since a few couples are thinking it over. Sam, the owner of Wespaw Pets, was encouraged by the day. “Sometimes you can have events like these and no dogs or cats get adopted,” he said. adoption1  
Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

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

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

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

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

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

Suspect

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

Source: Pat Dorfman

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

Robin Kawada

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

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