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.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  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.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  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

Borough President Katz a big supporter of building over the Yards, despite western Queens leaders’ trepidation

SunnysideYardsmap

Feb. 27, By Christian Murray

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been a strong advocate for decking over the Sunnyside Yard for months—despite the cool reception it has received from western Queens leaders.

Katz began advocating for developing the yards in September, when she announced that they have the “potential for extraordinary development.”

Katz plays an important role in what ultimately happens to the Yards since the area would need to be rezoned before construction could begin. The community board and the borough president would get to weigh in on a rezoning—before it is shuffled along to the City Planning Commission for review and then the city council.

At the council level, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer would have the ultimate say.

Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

In September, Katz released a 138-page strategic policy statement where she said that the “partial or complete decking of the Sunnyside Rail Yards has the potential for extraordinary development.” She added that it is the largest parcel of ‘vacant’ land remaining in the city.

At the October community board meeting, Queens residents became more aware of Katz’ position when former CB2 chairman Joe Conley said that he had been in discussions with her about building over the Yards. He then called on the board to write a letter to Katz calling for a feasibility study.

While many members of the board were caught off guard by Conley’s request, they were eventually swayed by him and voted in favor of sending Katz the letter.

Conley was then subject to heavy criticism for requesting the letter.

These letters are often used by public officials and city planners to move ahead with studies—allowing them to claim they have the community’s support. For example, Conley’s letter last year calling for affordable housing in Queens Plaza was cited as a reason why city planners are studying the area for a potential up zoning.

Katz is well versed in city real estate matters. She had worked at the law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2009-2012, where she was a land use adviser for real estate companies. She took that position after being a city council member from 2002-2009, where she chaired the land use committee.

On Feb. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address that he wanted to build 11,250 units above Sunnyside Yards, which received a frosty reception from western Queens leaders.

Katz, meanwhile, was publicly advocating for it. At the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting Feb. 17, she said:

“We need to figure out how to utilize the property in a good way and I think housing is a great way,” reported the Queens Chronicle that covered the event. “Figuring out how to pay for it is the follow-up. … But it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done in tandem with the community.”

De Blasio then announced last week that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sought a consulting firm to undertake a one-year study to determine whether building over the Yards is feasible. The administration is seeking requests for proposal from firms that would essentially provide recommendations.

“This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it can contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Katz’ spokeswoman, in an e-mail Tuesday wrote: “This feasibility study is a step in the right direction, and Borough President Katz looks forward to engaging community input.”

The e-mail also said: “Borough President Katz recognizes that potential development above the Sunnyside Rail Yards is attractive given the current growth and development throughout Long Island City and western Queens.”

However, western Queens leaders have been alarmed by the plan.

CatherineNolan-250x250Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was quick to announce that she had ‘grave concerns ’ about the plans. State Sen. Mike Gianaris was essentially against it—by saying only if it had community support, while Van Bramer continued to argue that the infrastructure would not be able to cope with it.

Nolan also said in a statement that such development would have “the potential to tremendously damage the middle class quality of life of our western Queens communities.”

Nolan then announced that she had hired local attorney Ira Greenberg on a part time basis to monitor de Blasio’s plan and to work with agencies, residents and other parties to make sure the community’s voice is heard.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris sent out a mailing to his constituents recently, which said that the building of new housing units should be secondary to meeting the community’s existing infrastructure needs.

Van Bramer, who has told the mayor that he supports the concept of affordable housing, has expressed doubts as to whether it should be in western Queens. He has consistently been saying that area is already in need of schools and parks—and continues to discuss the poor performing No. 7 train.

He said the Queensboro Plaza/Court Square area is likely to be rezoned that will bring affordable housing as well an influx of people.

“We have are a lot of challenges that we face today,” Van Bramer said at a recent civic association meeting, “let alone with a 100,000 more people.”

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Mardi Gras bar crawl planned for Skillman Avenue Saturday
Costumes from 2014 event

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio

Skillman Ave. will never be confused with Bourbon St. but this Saturday it will be alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Easy.

Nine Skillman Avenue establishments have organized the third annual Mardi Gras Bar & Restaurant Hop, which starts at 3:00 pm and goes late into the evening.

The event comes well after the official Feb. 17 Mardi Gras date. However, the bars will be sticking to the New Orleans traditions of beads, jazz and Cajun food.

Party goers are being asked to register at the Copper Kettle, located on the corner of Skillman Ave. and 51nd St., between 3:00 and 6pm. By registering, attendees will be able to get half-price beer specials.  The cost to register is $5, which will go to the local food pantries.

.

SkillmanMardiGras1

 

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No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade

St.-Pats-for-All-475x356

Feb. 26, By Michael Florio

Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the ‘St Pats for All’ parade.

The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule.

The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work.

“We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said.

Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event.

“There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.”

7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing.

Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.”

Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA.

“I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’”

“They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events–it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.”

However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match.

“The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said.

Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus.

Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses.

Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces.

Details

Parade Date: Sunday, March 1

Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm

Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue

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Maggie Mae’s reopens today after extensive upgrade

Maggie-Maes1Feb. 26, By Christian Murray

Maggie Mae’s, the well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, reopens at 5:00 pm today after being closed for renovations for nearly a month.

The bar closed for construction on Feb. 1, and its owners have rebuilt much of the interior with 1800s reclaimed wood.

New floors have been put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables.

“I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae’s who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing–there are a lot of new people coming to the area.”

The renovation is still not 100 percent complete but Moore said he is ready to reopen.

 

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New CB2 chair to roll out updated website, will provide access to public documents

Community-Board-21

Feb. 25, By Christian Murray

Community Board 2 is in the midst of overhauling its website, as it aims provide residents with greater access to public documents.

The updated website will be much more comprehensive and is expected to be ready by spring. The public will have access to documents that deal with land use matters among others.

Pat O’Brien, the newly elected Community Board chair, said that he intends to upload as many documents as possible so the public is better informed.

“Any document that is public, we aim to put it out there,” O’Brien said. “I want people to know the facts so we can have a more informed discussion.”

He said that he plans to upload older documents in order to build archives. However, he said that will take time and resources are limited.

The board plans to create a Facebook page later this year that will be used to inform people of public meetings and events.

O’Brien said that his first priority, however, is getting the site ready.

 

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Precinct unites lost dog with owner through Twitter

doglost

Feb. 24, By Michael Florio

The 108 Precinct was introduced to Twitter late last year– and today it was the tool that was used to unite a lost dog with its owner.

This morning officers found a dog–named Snowy– near Queens Boulevard and 46th Street and used twitter to track down the owner.
“#lostdog found around QB & 46thst this morning around 7 am help us find the owner,” the tweet said, along with the photo of the dog.

Five hours later the 108 Precinct took to Twitter and noted that it had reunited Snowy with its owner thanks to its Twitter followers.

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Poll: Residents may face hefty toll to use Queensboro Bridge, along with others

QueensboroFeb. 23, By Michael Florio

A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges–was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner.

MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA.

Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week.

The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges.

The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers.

There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY.

The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone– would be lowered $2.50 each way.

However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said.

For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge.

“There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.”

“There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge.

“They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said.

Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion.

In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads.

“I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said.

State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.

 

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Sunnyside graffiti vandal blankets neighborhood with tag
43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

Feb. 23, By Christian Murray

A graffiti vandal has been targeting the walls of Sunnyside spraying his tag SBR all over stores on 42nd Street, 43rd Street and 44th Street.

The police are following up on it; Sunnyside Shines has been struggling to clean it; and Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has been brought into the loop.

The likely perpetrator of these tags goes under fictitious Facebook handle Esayebeare Bereal, where he showcases some of his work. Despite his false name, he has many friends who follow his posts.

The owner of an establishment on 43rd Street described the graffiti as “childish and ridiculous.”

“I don’t know what people get out of it? Some sort of high,” he said, without giving his name out of concern that his store might get tagged next. “I don’t know whether writing an article about him will encourage him, stop him or even help lead to his arrest,” the owner said.

Esayebeare Bereal engaged in a Facebook chat with the Sunnyside Post last week (see full transcript below), where he admitted to doing it and said he does it to be famous. He said that he was raised in Sunnyside and admitted to tagging under the name SBR, which is not affiliated with a street gang or group. He was not prepared to be interviewed over the phone out of fear that he would get “locked up.”

He targets 42nd and 43rd Street, he said, since he knows people who live there.

However, in the messages, he said that he is thinking about easing up on 43rd Street.

“I’m done with 43rd street to many yuppies complaining about sunnyside. But they wasn”t here when it was a bad neighorhood.”

However, his work has annoyed many, including Sunnyside Shines.

“It is frustrating that one individual is so intent on destroying small business property in our neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, the director of Sunnyside Shines.

“We’re very much aware of the graffiti situation in Sunnyside right now, and are coordinating closely with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and the 108th Precinct, as well as our graffiti removal vendor to ensure graffiti is removed as soon as possible.”

The freezing weather, however, has slowed down efforts to clean up the graffiti, Thieme said.

Nevertheless, when Sunnyside Shines was able to clean off the graffiti outside Café Bene (42nd and Queens Blvd) recently, Esayebeare Bereal struck back again days later.

Esayebeare Bereal argues that he is capable of doing quality artwork but is fearful of getting caught by the police and said that paint is expensive.

Most don’t appreciate his graffiti in any form– viewing it as nothing more than vandalism.

.

Transcript of Facebook chat by sunnysidepost


.

graffiti6

43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Former Dime Bank

.

graffi3

43rd and Queens Blvd (former Dime Bank)

graffiti4

Sunnyside Shines cleaned his tag and then shortly after it reappeared (42nd Queens Blvd)

IMG_0094

.

graffi5

42nd Street (near Queens Blvd)

.

graffi1

43rd Street and 43rd Avenue

.

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

.

44th Street

44th Street (by Queens Blvd)

Possible tagg

Possible tag

.

43rd and 43rd

43rd (near Skillman Ave.)

.

EuropeanEatMeat

43rd Avenue (between 42nd and 43rd Street)

1234aaa

Facebook Page

 

.

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NYP: DeBlasio plows ahead with Sunnyside Yards plan

PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHunekeFeb. 21, NY Post

Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving ahead with the plan to develop the Sunnyside rail yards, according to the New York Post.

On Friday — 17 days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the yards were off-limits — the city’s Economic Development Corporation issued a public notice seeking a yearlong feasibility study of the nearly 200-acre site.

De Blasio proposed building 11,250 units of affordable apartments over the rail yards as a major initiative in his State of the City speech — only to be shot down within hours by Cuomo, who insisted the MTA needs the property for other uses.

“It is not available for any other use in the near term,” Cuomo said in a statement immediately after de Blasio’s State of the City Speech.

But the mayor on Friday said it’s full speed ahead.

“This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver on our vision of a more affordable city and smart development that responds to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods,” he said, calling the pending study only a “first step.”

City Hall officials said the study will focus on the 113 acres owned by Amtrak — which is cooperating with the city — and another 44 acres where the land is owned by the MTA but the air rights belong to the city

For the full story, please click here

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More Headlines

Poll: Residents may face hefty toll to use Queensboro Bridge, along with others
QueensboroFeb. 23, By Michael Florio A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges--was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner. MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA. Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week. The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers. There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY. The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone-- would be lowered $2.50 each way. However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said. For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge. “There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.” “There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge. “They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said. Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion. In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads. “I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said. State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.  
Sunnyside graffiti vandal blankets neighborhood with tag
43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

Feb. 23, By Christian Murray A graffiti vandal has been targeting the walls of Sunnyside spraying his tag SBR all over stores on 42nd Street, 43rd Street and 44th Street. The police are following up on it; Sunnyside Shines has been struggling to clean it; and Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has been brought into the loop. The likely perpetrator of these tags goes under fictitious Facebook handle Esayebeare Bereal, where he showcases some of his work. Despite his false name, he has many friends who follow his posts. The owner of an establishment on 43rd Street described the graffiti as "childish and ridiculous." “I don’t know what people get out of it? Some sort of high,” he said, without giving his name out of concern that his store might get tagged next. “I don’t know whether writing an article about him will encourage him, stop him or even help lead to his arrest,” the owner said. Esayebeare Bereal engaged in a Facebook chat with the Sunnyside Post last week (see full transcript below), where he admitted to doing it and said he does it to be famous. He said that he was raised in Sunnyside and admitted to tagging under the name SBR, which is not affiliated with a street gang or group. He was not prepared to be interviewed over the phone out of fear that he would get "locked up." He targets 42nd and 43rd Street, he said, since he knows people who live there. However, in the messages, he said that he is thinking about easing up on 43rd Street. "I'm done with 43rd street to many yuppies complaining about sunnyside. But they wasn"t here when it was a bad neighorhood." However, his work has annoyed many, including Sunnyside Shines. “It is frustrating that one individual is so intent on destroying small business property in our neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, the director of Sunnyside Shines. “We’re very much aware of the graffiti situation in Sunnyside right now, and are coordinating closely with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and the 108th Precinct, as well as our graffiti removal vendor to ensure graffiti is removed as soon as possible.” The freezing weather, however, has slowed down efforts to clean up the graffiti, Thieme said. Nevertheless, when Sunnyside Shines was able to clean off the graffiti outside Café Bene (42nd and Queens Blvd) recently, Esayebeare Bereal struck back again days later. Esayebeare Bereal argues that he is capable of doing quality artwork but is fearful of getting caught by the police and said that paint is expensive. Most don’t appreciate his graffiti in any form-- viewing it as nothing more than vandalism. .

Transcript of Facebook chat by sunnysidepost

. graffiti6

43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Former Dime Bank

. graffi3

43rd and Queens Blvd (former Dime Bank)

graffiti4

Sunnyside Shines cleaned his tag and then shortly after it reappeared (42nd Queens Blvd)

IMG_0094 . graffi5

42nd Street (near Queens Blvd)

. graffi1

43rd Street and 43rd Avenue

.
Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

. 44th Street

44th Street (by Queens Blvd)

Possible tagg

Possible tag

. 43rd and 43rd

43rd (near Skillman Ave.)

. EuropeanEatMeat

43rd Avenue (between 42nd and 43rd Street)

1234aaa

Facebook Page

  .
NYP: DeBlasio plows ahead with Sunnyside Yards plan
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHunekeFeb. 21, NY Post Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving ahead with the plan to develop the Sunnyside rail yards, according to the New York Post. On Friday — 17 days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the yards were off-limits — the city’s Economic Development Corporation issued a public notice seeking a yearlong feasibility study of the nearly 200-acre site. De Blasio proposed building 11,250 units of affordable apartments over the rail yards as a major initiative in his State of the City speech — only to be shot down within hours by Cuomo, who insisted the MTA needs the property for other uses. “It is not available for any other use in the near term,” Cuomo said in a statement immediately after de Blasio's State of the City Speech. But the mayor on Friday said it’s full speed ahead. “This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver on our vision of a more affordable city and smart development that responds to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods,” he said, calling the pending study only a “first step.” City Hall officials said the study will focus on the 113 acres owned by Amtrak — which is cooperating with the city — and another 44 acres where the land is owned by the MTA but the air rights belong to the city For the full story, please click here
Maggie Mae’s is undergoing a big makeover
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 20, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, a well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, is undergoing a major revamp. The interior is being rebuilt from top to bottom with 1800s reclaimed wood from Pennsylvania. New floors are being put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. The bar closed for construction the day after the Super Bowl (Feb. 1) and its owners are planning on reopening it on Feb. 28. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” One of the walls has been removed and now the red brick that was behind it is exposed. Meanwhile, the popcorn ceiling is gone, and the old timber beams show through. The pool table and the duke box are gone for good. The games of beer pong will be no longer. And there will be just three TVs. The owners are also putting in a kitchen, which will begin serving food this summer. The menu is not expected to be extensive but items such as burgers, fish and chips will be served. This summer, the outside and front-door entrance will change significantly. There will be floor to ceiling windows and a whole new exterior sign. In the interim, the sign will change and the outside will be painted a different color. Moore said that the bar will have 18 beer lines when it reopens, with several craft beer options. Maggie Mae’s is also upgrading its large downstairs area that is typically used for parties. That space too is being rebuilt with 1800s reclaimed wood.
James Moore and Sean xx

James Moore and Sean Sorohan

. Maggie Mae's inside
Aluminaire House is wanted: Mayor of Palm Springs plans to bring it there
Aluminaire-HouseFeb. 19, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s trash is about to become another city’s treasure. The 1931 Aluminaire House, which was going to be erected on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is being transported to Palm Springs. The mayor of Palm Springs is a big supporter of relocating it there and has started a fundraising drive in order to do so, according to The Desert Sun. The structure appeared headed to Sunnyside Gardens, where architects in 2013 planned to build eight residential units behind the aluminum house on the former Phipps playground. The house was designed in 1931 and is deemed to be of architectural significance. It was designed to explore how materials like aluminum could be used to build low-cost housing. However, Sunnyside residents rejected the plan—and the house--and believed that the showpiece was out of character with the existing red-brick homes in the landmarked neighborhood. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the landmarks hearing that decided whether it could go up in the neighborhood, said that more than 350 people had contacted his office in opposition to the proposal, with only five voicing their support. State Sen. Mike Gianaris, at the same meeting, said: “I’ve been in public service for 13 years and I have seen community boards discuss all sort of things…but I have not seen such uniform opposition as with this project.” The Landmarks Commission rejected the plan in January 2014. However, the aluminum structure is very much wanted in Palm Springs. The Mayor of Palm Springs has raised $200,000 of the $600,000 needed to bring it there in just one month. The funds are needed to be transported the home, which is in a crate, and reassemble it. At a recent $250 per-person fundraiser to bring the structure to Palm Springs, the mayor of that city reportedly said: “If you have a product, that is an incredible product, people want to be a part of it. Hopefully, a year from now, we'll be having one heck of a party in downtown Palm Springs."  
Sunnyside gears up to celebrate ‘St Pat’s for All’
St Pats Feb. 18, By Christian Murray The 16th annual Sunnyside/Woodside 'St. Pat’s for All' parade is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 1—and will feature puppets, stilt walkers and plenty of Irish music. The St. Pat’s For All parade is arguably this neighborhood’s most popular event. When it began 16 years ago, it was largely a gay-pride parade – organized by a number of Irish men and women who were not allowed to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Ave under a gay banner. Today, the Sunnyside/Woodside parade draws plenty of seniors, children, minorities, to even the local dog group--Sunnyside United Dog Society. “We are the opening act for all the parades around the city that celebrate the fun and festivities of Ireland,” said Brendan Fay, a gay Irishman and co-chair of the event. The event, he said, always takes place on the first Sunday in March. Fay said he is expecting more than 2,000 people to participate this year. However, there could be more. He said that there is still time for community groups to sign up and that those interested just need to go to the St Pat’s for All website and register. The event this year will begin at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street and will end at 56th and Skillman. Music and speeches will begin at 1 pm, with the parade kicking off at 2pm. The parade will feature many of the same groups that have been coming for years—such as the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, the Shannon Gaels Gaelic Football Club, the girl scouts, Swim Strong, The Red Cross, and Sunnyside Community Services. This year, five marching bands have already signed up as well as several Irish musicians. Several well-known gay groups, such as Dignity NY, Lavender and Green Alliance (an Irish LGBT group), Stonewall Democrats of NYC and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee are expected to march. This year’s parade comes at a time when the Fifth Avenue parade is allowing one gay group to march-- under the banner of the gay NBCUniversal employees. However, none of the Irish gay groups are permitted to march and gay activists will be protesting the event again this year. Fay, however, said that the Sunnyside-Woodside event would carry on even if gay groups were allowed to participate in the Fifth Avenue parade. “When it was announced that one gay group was allowed, I was asked what would happen to the our parade if it [the Fifth Avenue parade] were open to all gay groups,” Fay said. He said the Sunnyside/Woodside event would continue. Fay said that the parade is no longer a gay event but a community event, where all sorts of groups participate. “This parade is special,” Fay said. “Sunnyside and Woodside have increasingly embraced the parade as their own– and different groups continue to want to participate.” He said local businesses—such as bars and restaurants--have got behind the event. Ten bars and restaurants known as Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars are hosting a joint Irish music festival, where Irish bands will play at their respective pubs after the parade. Meanwhile, several bars/restaurants on Skillman Avenue are expected to be offering specials. For Kathleen Walsh D'Arcy, the other co-chair of the event, the parade is also about embracing immigrant groups and other cultures. There will be groups representing Turkey, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Romania—and several Jackson-Heights-based Muslim centers, D'Arcy said. This year’s two grand marshals are Kerry Kennedy, who is the president of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, and Brian F. O’Byrne, a well-known Broadway and movie actor. Fay said that the St. Pat’s For All parade has become a model for parades around the country—where various ethnic groups are celebrated and where there is inclusion of LGBT groups. However, the No. 7 train will not be running between Times Square and 74th Street on the weekend of the event. Fay said that they have reached out to the MTA to see whether its construction schedule can change on the day of the event. They have not heard back from the MTA. Details: Date: Sunday, March 1 Time: speeches at 1pm, parade kicks off at 2 pm Begins: Corner of Skillman Ave. and 43rd Street St-Pats    
Car crash on Queens Blvd leaves 9 people injured, 7 seriously
@agraneri (Instagram)

@agraneri (Instagram)

Feb.14, By Christian Murray Nine people were injured following a multiple vehicle crash on the corner of Queens Boulevard and 43rd Street this morning, according to the FDNY. The crash took place at 4:03 am and seven people were taken to area hospitals in serious but stable condition. Two others were take to hospital after sustaining minor injuries, according to the FDNY. Details as to what caused the accident were not available. There were no reports that alcohol played a part in the accident.  The NYPD press office had not been notified about the crash by 10:15 am.
agraneri (Instagram)

agraneri (Instagram)

 
agraneri (Instagram)

agraneri (Instagram)

 
New restaurant ‘Dumplings & Things’ opens Sunday
dumplings1 Feb. 13, By Christian Murray A new restaurant offering Chinese dumplings is opening on 46th Street this Sunday. Dumplings & Things, located near the Sunnyside Arch at 45-26 46th Street, will be offering five types of Chinese dumplings as well as a variety of noodles, soups, baos and rice platters (see menu). The restaurant is owned by siblings Lorraine Li and Sam Li, who have many years of experience. The family has a restaurant in Park Slope and this is their second venture. “We chose Sunnyside for its diversity and we think we can offer something new and different to the neighborhood,” said co-owner Lorraine Li. Dumplings & Things will be open seven days a week: Sundays – Thursdays from 11:30am – 10pm and Fridays – Saturdays from 11:30am – 11pm.

Dumplings Things Sunnyside Menu by sunnysidepost

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Church on Skillman Avenue sells for $4 million
Source: MLS

Source: MLS

Feb. 12, 2014 A Sunnyside Church located at 40-05 Skillman Avenue has sold for $4 million, according to public records. Moak Yang Presbyterian Church, which moved to the location in 1992, sold the property to Elmhurst-based Eunhasu Corp. on Jan. 29 for $4 million. The property is zoned M1, which is for light industry—although offices, hotels and retail uses are permitted. Eunhasu Corp. has been very active in the real estate market in the past six months. The company bought a four story residential building in Hunters Point for $12 million in January. In October, the company sold a warehouse in Long Island City for $37 million.
De Blasio’s Sunnyside Yards plan might result in 70,000 units being built on top of tracks
sunnysideyard1 Feb. 12, By Christian Murray Seventy thousand units might need to be constructed over Sunnyside Yards if the Mayor’s plan to build 11,250 affordable units over the tracks is to be realized. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told members of the Hunters Point Civic Association on Tuesday that 70,000 to 80,000 units might need to be built in order to attract developers to construct the affordable units. “To get to the 11,200-odd…the number of units could be as high as 70,000 to 80,000 on Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said, since developers typically require market rate apartments to offset the cost of constructing affordable units. This would result in “a massive, massive development on the scale we have never seen before in western Queens that will affect Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside and Woodside,” he said. However, he said no plan should move forward that doesn’t address the needs of the existing residents. “We can’t fit people on the 7 train today, we don’t have enough school seats for our children today, we don’t have enough green space in western Queens today [excluding Astoria Park and the waterfront in Hunters Point],” he said. “Adding 100,000 more people to our community is staggering,” he said.”The No. 7 train will not be able to house them all,” he added. “That is crazy.” In addition to the proposed Sunnyside Yards development, the city is also proposing a rezoning of the Queens Plaza, Jackson Avenue and Northern Blvd corridor. The potential up zoning would result in a significant increase in population-- as the zoning change would most likely make way for bigger buildings since the city will be mandating affordable units. Van Bramer, who represents 160,000 constituents, told the group: “I won’t go along with any plan that hurts our community. You know me I was born and raised here. I have your back and nothing is going to happen without involving everyone in this room.” Brent O’Leary, the president of the Hunters Point Civic Association who is also legal compliance counsel at Bloomberg LP, said after the meeting that he was not surprised by Van Bramer’s 70,000-unit projection for Sunnyside Yards. “The city will get a developer to build them and manage them [the affordable units]—and in return the developer will want to build as many market rate units as possible.” He said his group is opposed building on the Yards, calling for more green space. “We don’t have the infrastructure we need as it is.”
Winners of Hunters Point South lottery are starting to be notified
Hunters Point South building Feb. 11, By Christian Murray Some of the winners of the Hunters Point South affordable housing lottery have been notified and have been called in for an interview, according to the New York Housing Preservation & Development. HPD said that the tenant selection process is well on its way and that interview letters will be distributed in rounds until all the units are filled. More than 92,000 people applied for the 924 affordable affordable apartments on offer. The units are in two buildings--one at 1-50 50th Ave.; and the other at 1-55 Borden Ave. The building located at 1-50 50th Avenue will be a 37-story complex comprised of 619 permanently affordable units, 13,750 square feet of retail space, and a parking garage with approximately 220 spaces. The 1-55 Borden Ave. building will be 32-stories high comprised of 306 permanently affordable units and approximately 3,000 square feet of retail space. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer told members of the Hunters Point Civic Association last night that some of the Hunters Point South lottery winners had been notified. He said that he had received a call from a lottery winner earlier this week who said that she had been called in for an interview. The notification period is expected to last for a number of months.

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