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

  2. Patriot

    PG knows whats up

  3. A&P

    How is the related to Obamacare?

  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.

  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.

  6. seymorelover

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

  7. Oppressed Masses

    Excellent location for a nail salon.

  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!

  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?

  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.

  11. GB

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

  12. O'shea

    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.

  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!

  14. Randy

    Obamacare? Jesus people.

  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!

  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.

  17. Thomas

    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!

  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??)

  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.

  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.)

  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.

  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.

  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!

  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!!

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  30. Thomas


    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 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!

  31. Local Hamburgler


    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.

  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.

  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?)

  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

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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!

  39. choco-bot the chocolate robot

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

  40. DJ

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

  41. Celticparker

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

  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.)

  43. Anonymous

    i vote for hooters.

  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.

  45. JuliaJ.

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

  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.

  47. Local Hamburgler


    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.

  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.

  49. 43rd Street Resident

    I vote for a Chippendales type of club.

  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.

  51. O'shea

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

  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.

  53. Ruben

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

  54. 86Mets

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

  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

  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.

  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.....

  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.

  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.

  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.

  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.

  62. the other side

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

  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 grand father was a holocaust survivor..........i doubt te demise of foodtown is of racial is economic. Stop the hate

  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?

  65. thomas

    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

  66. the other side

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

    I meant eastern standard time.

  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.


  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.

  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??

  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.

  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?

  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.

  73. Pete

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

  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.

  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

  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

  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.

  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.

  79. O'shea

    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.

  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.

  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?

  82. Thomas

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

  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.

  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.

  85. O'shea

    @ thomas
    oh well.... never mind.

  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.

  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!

  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.

  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.

  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.

  91. the other side

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

  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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race map

Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots


Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunnyside: Van Bramer issues report card, focuses on schools, parks and traffic safety

Van Bramer

Jan. 22, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside, NY: When he’s asked the tough questions, he typically doesn’t duck for cover.

What are your thoughts on 5Pointz? Private property, he responds.

What do you think of building on the Sunnyside Yards? Absolutely not.

Do you believe in term limits for community board members? Yes.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who darts from event-to-event, isn’t known for hedging his bets. Instead he is direct, fast on his feet, and very self assured.

It’s this self confidence that leads him to release an annual self assessment—or report card—every January. It is a rare concept, as most council members don’t do it.

“I like people to know what I’ve been doing,” Van Bramer often says, adding that people should know what their council person does. “I don’t want anyone asking: ‘Who is he? What does he do?”

The 15-page report states in large font: “16,554 and counting” referring to the number of constituent cases Van Bramer and his staff have handled over the past five years. Furthermore, it said that in 2014, he served on six committees—including as chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries-and had a “95.3% attendance record.”

Van Bramer said that he has laid the groundwork for a number of Sunnyside/Woodside projects that will come to fruition this year.

The $1. 3 million revamp of Thomas P. Noonan Park—located at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street– is expected to be completed by summer; a new elementary school in Woodside will be opening in September; and further traffic safety measures are about to go into effect.

The ribbon cutting at Thomas P. Noonan Park will come at a time when several other park developments are in the works. The Parks Department is currently drafting preliminary plans for a $2.2 million upgrade to Big Bush Park (behind the Big Six Towers) as well as the $500,000 revamp of Hart Playground on 37th Ave. in Woodside.

Furthermore, a $500,000 upgrade to Windmuller park is coming that will cover the cost of building a new skateboard area, as well as fixing the band shell area that has been damaged by skateboarders performing their stunts.

However, Van Bramer said that there has been one park project that has been delayed; the dog run at Doughboy Park, which is adjacent to PS 11.

Van Bramer, who allocated $250,000 for the dog run in 2012, said that it is behind schedule due to the construction of a school annex at PS 11, which is located at 54-24 Skillman Avenue. He said that the contractor may need that the space where the dog run will go while construction takes place.

Van Bramer takes pride in his quest to bring more classroom space—such as the the PS 11 annex– to the area.

“We have the first new school in 60 years coming to Woodside,” Van Bramer said, referring to PS 339 (located at 39-01 57th Street), which is scheduled to open in September with the capacity to serve 470 students.

Meanwhile in Sunnyside, PS 343 (The Walter McCaffrey Campus) opened at 45-45 42nd St in September, which can cater to 434 students. In addition, construction of a 600-seat building at IS 125 (46-02 47 Ave.) is in the works, which is likely to lead to the removal of the trailers that are currently spread across the school grounds.

“I will continue to build schools…and invest in parks,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer secured $4.5 million in funding last year for the renovation and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue. The funds will double the theater’s seating capacity from 75 to 150.

That section of Greenpoint Avenue in the past few years has been an area filled with vacancies. However, with the upgrade of the supermarket on the strip, the arrival of other businesses and the impending revamp of Thalia that section of Greenpoint Ave. is showing signs of improvement.

Van Bramer said that the Sunnyside business district is on the upsurge in general. “There are very few vacant stores,” he said. He said that the acquisition—and likely development—of several parcels of property on Queens Blvd is largely the result of a booming real estate market coupled with Sunnyside being viewed as a vibrant and safe neighborhood.

Meanwhile, a Woodside street cleaning program that involves two workers cleaning Roosevelt (51st to 61st Streets) and Woodside Avenues will continue.

In addition, the graffiti cleanup program—where streets such as Broadway, Skillman Ave, 43rd Ave., Roosevelt Ave. and Woodside Ave. are cleaned monthly–has also been funded for this year.

Slow zonesVan Bramer said that he has been working on many transportation issues since he has been in office—with the greatest number of constituent cases he and his staff have had to deal with being transportation concerns.

While many of these issues have dealt with the No. 7 train and the MTA (which are overseen by the state), he hears from constituents about stop signs and dangerous driving.

He said that he advocated for the 25 mph speed limit and slow zones within Sunnyside and Woodside. The slow zone in Sunnyside (south of Queens Blvd) is complete—with the Woodside (which includes northern Sunnyside) expected to be completed within the first half of this year.

“People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families,” Van Bramer said, who put in an application with the Department of Transportation for the two slow zones.

Van Bramer takes great pride in his strong support of Vision Zero—including his push for launching arterial slow zones on Northern and Queens Blvd. Furthermore, he received citywide attention for his “Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,” which recently went into effect that imposes a hefty civil penalty on drivers who flee the scene of an accident.

Van Bramer, who was named Majority Leader at the beginning of last year, also said that the position allows him to be a better advocate for the district. For instance, he said, he was in a better position to be able to reach out to the administration to let it be known that the Pepsi sign in Long Island City should not lose its place on the “Landmarks Preservation calendar.”

Van Bramer is politically ambitious and does not hide it. He said that he will definitely run for city council again in 2017.

He would not comment if he has speakership goals in mind—or whether a city-wide office would come after that.

“The council speakership was determined over a period of a few weeks [in December 2013] so it is way too far away to start thinking about that,” Van Bramer said. “And then another four years after that…anything could happen by then.”

For Van Bramer’s report card, please click here:


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LIC: A strange caricature of a religious Muslim draws plenty of hate


Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square train station.

The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups.

The sign has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it…such as “Islam stones women to death…” and “Muslims kill homo-sexuals.”

The messages are likely to have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster.




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Two northern Italians open ‘Brick-Oven Pizzeria’ on Greenpoint Avenue
olivilla and samone

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray

A new pizzeria opened on Greenpoint Avenue Thursday that offers thin-crust stone oven pizzas.

The restaurant, called Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 43-24 Greenpoint Avenue, and is owned and operated by two northern Italian natives, who learned to make pizza in their home country.

Salvatore Olivella, who is the chef, makes the pizza Naples style, in accordance with his grandmother Gina’s recipe. The pizzas come in a variety of different toppings.

Olivella, who has worked in Little Italy and other Manhattan locations, makes 18 inch elongated pizzas (called Metro) as well as smaller round personal pies.

The pizzeria is owned by Simone Apollonio, who is from Brescia. He has operated pizzerias from Britain to Australia.

The restaurant also offers a variety of pasta dishes as well as salads.

Hours: 11 am – 11 pm seven days.

Phone number: 718-361-5503 (deliveries to start in next week or two)


brick 005

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Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside

A man robbed the Woodside Chase branch Saturday and fled with cash, police said.

The suspect walked into Chase Bank, located at 59-26 Woodside Avenue, approached the teller and demanded money at around 11:30 am on Jan. 17, according to police.

The teller handed over an undetermined amount of money and then the robber fled. There were no reported injuries.

The suspect is a white male, 6’2″ tall weighing 200 pounds, according to police.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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Police: Man exposed himself to worker at 61st Street station


Jan. 16, Staff Report

A man exposed himself to a 22-year-old woman who was working at a store inside a Woodside subway station, police said.

The employee was working in the mezzanine area of the 61st Street and Woodside Avenue station at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 3 when the suspect entered the business. He then exposed himself to the woman, police said.

The suspect fled when a customer entered the store.

Police have released video footage of the suspect. They describe him as black, 25 to 30 years old and 6 feet tall with a thin build.

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


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More Headlines

Two northern Italians open ‘Brick-Oven Pizzeria’ on Greenpoint Avenue
olivilla and samone

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

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

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

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

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

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

Daniel Dromm

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

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

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

Greenpoint Avenue

Jan. 13, By Christian Murray A piece of public art went up today on a large billboard on Greenpoint Avenue—between 45th and 46th Streets. The artwork has been installed by “14X48,” a non-profit organization that takes vacant billboards and then brightens them up through public art. The Greenpoint Avenue billboard is now covered with a collage of 80-plus posters that all start with the slogan “Keep Calm.” Each poster has a separate message, such as: “Keep Calm and Kiss Me,” or “Keep Calm and play basketball.” The slogan originated in Britain during WWII, with “Keep Calm and Carry On.” While the British did not use it, the slogan has since been used for marketing purposes. The artist, Margeaux Walter of Brooklyn, said that that she chose the slogan since it addressed the “overlap between individuality and commerce as well as the various guises of advertising and propaganda.” The artwork will be up for at least four weeks. The artist also invites people to tweet messages using the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. These tweets will be made into postcards and distributed along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave. Coffee House. For more information, please click here.  
OT to reopen this week, with focus on Mediterranean food and sports
otlounge-250x250 Jan. 12, By Christian Murray This Sunnyside bar/restaurant got off to a tough start. Over Time, located at 39-31 Queens Blvd, opened in August and promised that it would offer live music, DJs and dancing. The owner, however, quickly received word from officials that these activities were not sanctioned in accordance to its liquor license and it was forced to close. Today, nearly five months later, the establishment is about to open and will operate as a Mediterranean restaurant and a sports bar. "We used the time to focus on our restaurant and our menu," said Sean Verderber, the assistant manager, who claimed the time was not wasted. The venue is expected to open this Thursday, with its hours from 11 am to 1 am seven days per week. The bar is going to be offering a range of exotic drinks—such as strawberry mojitos, water melon martinis and cucumber gin. Beer will be sold by the bottle. The menu will include a wide range of Greek items from Souvlaki to lamb Shish Kabob. It will include fried calamari to a number of seafood dishes—as well as steak, lamb chops, burgers to Greek-rice pudding. “The food is upscale but at a reasonable price,” Verderber said. “Many people will be impressed.” Verderber said that there will be a comment box inside the restaurant allowing diners to make suggestions or provide their opinion. The establishment will also be making sure that sports fans are well served. There will be a bar menu that includes wings and mozzarella sticks. “We will be showing all the games – whether it be football, hockey or soccer,” he said. “I want this to be a place where everyone feels comfortable.”
OT Inside

OT Inside

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

43-19 Queens Blvd

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

Google map of corner lot

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

Icon 52

New development site, former location of VFW Post

New development site, former location of VFW Post

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

Property Shark



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