Foodtown on Greenpoint Ave. to close by year end,

By Bill Parry

The Foodtown supermarket at 41-25 Greenpoint Ave. will close by the end of December.

Store manager Ashot Hyusyan said he and the staff were notified of the imminent closing the day before Thanksgiving. “It made for a miserable holiday around here,” he said. “Thirty-plus workers, our customers, our vendors…everyone’s feeling this.”

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer said he found out about the closing from emails from constituents. “Losing a job is awful anytime, but during the holidays makes it so much worse,” Van Bramer said. “We’ll do anything we can to help those Sunnysiders who are affected.”

A supervisor from PSK Supermarkets, the company that oversees 13-area Foodtown stores, said that all the employees will be situated at our other stores within the company. He blamed an uncooperative landlord for the situation.

Hyusyan said the store tried everything to keep the market open. “We even offered to buy the building and took him to court; he wouldn’t budge,” he said.

The landlord’s identity is unknown to Hyusyan and the Supervisor from PSK Supermarkets. Two high-profile real estate executives didn’t know who owned the property.

The Vassiliou Group has been linked to the property in listings but denied ownership this past summer.

Van Bramer said his office is investigating.

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

  1. PG

    Obamacare at its finest

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  2. Patriot

    PG knows whats up

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  3. A&P

    How is the related to Obamacare?

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  4. Roxy

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

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  5. Roxy

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

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  6. seymorelover

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

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  7. Oppressed Masses

    Excellent location for a nail salon.

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  8. Thomas

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

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  9. JuliaJ.

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

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  10. oICU12

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

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  11. GB

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

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  12. O'shea

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

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  13. LT

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

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  14. Randy

    Obamacare? Jesus people.

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  15. Gardener

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

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  16. Virginia

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

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

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

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  17. Thomas

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

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  18. Lisa

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

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  19. PG

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

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  20. Brendan

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

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  21. Long time sunnysider

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

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  22. Webley

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

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  23. Bliss & Skillman

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

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  24. LT

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

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  25. Local Hamburgler

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

    Pretty large space. I vote bowling alley.

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  26. It's all True

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

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  27. Ruben

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

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

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  28. Pete

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

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

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  29. you all make me laugh

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

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

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

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  30. Thomas

    Ruben

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

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  31. Local Hamburgler

    @Thomas

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

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

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

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

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  32. Ruben

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

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

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  33. Long time resident

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

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

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  34. Thomas

    Thank you Hamburgler....

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

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  35. Kathy G

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

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  36. Native NYer

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

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

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  37. Cathy

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

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  38. elmo didn't do nuthin!

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

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  39. choco-bot the chocolate robot

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

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  40. DJ

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

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  41. Celticparker

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

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  42. David

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

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  43. Anonymous

    i vote for hooters.

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  44. GB

    A bowling alley?

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

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  45. JuliaJ.

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

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  46. Roxy

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

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  47. Local Hamburgler

    @GB

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

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  48. Pete

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

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  49. 43rd Street Resident

    I vote for a Chippendales type of club.

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  50. Sunnyside Native

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

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  51. O'shea

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

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  52. Roxy

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

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  53. Ruben

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

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  54. 86Mets

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

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  55. choco-bot the chocolate robot

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

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  56. sylvia g plimploff

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

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  57. songbird

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

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

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

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

    They will be missed.....

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  58. 86Mets

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

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

    If you criticize her you get called a sexist.

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

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  59. O'shea

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

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  60. People Please!

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

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  61. the other side

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

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  62. the other side

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

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  63. thomas

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

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  64. thomas

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

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  65. thomas

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

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  66. the other side

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

    I meant eastern standard time.

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  67. Sunnyside Post

    To whom it may concern,

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

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

    Thanks.

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  68. tempus fugit

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

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  69. West Sunnysider

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

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  70. the other side

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

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  71. Pete

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

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

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  72. Ex-Foodtowner

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

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

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  73. Pete

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

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  74. Angray

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

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

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  75. woodside guy

    What is the landlord up too

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

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

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  76. woodside guy

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

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  77. O'shea

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

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  78. Angray

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

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

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  79. O'shea

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

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

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  80. Roxy

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

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  81. Thomas

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

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  82. Thomas

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

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  83. Angray

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

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  84. doc

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

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  85. O'shea

    @ thomas
    oh well.... never mind.

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  86. Roxy

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

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  87. Roxy

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

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  88. Pete

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

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  89. Anonymous

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

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

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

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  90. Roxy

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

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  91. the other side

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

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  92. Anonymous

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

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  93. Cherry D.

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

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Latest News

Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off Monday
Salt & Fat

Salt & Fat

Oct. 19, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week kicks off Monday and 33 restaurants have signed up to participate.

The event, organized by Sunnyside Shines, aims to showcase Sunnyside as a destination for high-quality cuisine. Its goal is tempt residents to try new places and draw foodies from other parts of New York City.

Furthermore, there will also be artwork on display at five participating restaurant—with three of those pieces coming from Sunnyside artists.

On Monday, there will be a reception held at 7pm at Salt and Fat (41-16 Queens Boulevard) to mark restaurant week. The reception will include a guided tour of the five art installations as well as a movie screening at Dazies.

The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a Manhattan-based contemporary art organization. The work will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

However, for many, the main attraction won’t be the art—it will be the food.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25—from lunchtime Monday through Friday Oct. 24.

The participating restaurants span the globe. There will be Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Mexican, Peruvian, French, Colombian, Filipino, Paraguayan, Tibetan, Thai, and Seasonal American food on offer.

Restaurants from Skillman Avenue through 47th Avenue have signed up this year. Last November, when Sunnyside Restaurant Week was launched, 17 restaurants took part.

“Last year’s event was a big success for neighborhood restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director, of Sunnyside Shines. “I am proud that we have doubled the number.”

Participating restaurants will also include newcomers to the Sunnyside scene—such as Tibetan Dumpling Café and Blu Orchid. Venturo and Salt & Fat, which were recently recognized as Michelin “Bib Gourmands,” will be participating again this year.

Sunnyside Shines has listed the 33 restaurants on its website. Most have put together a special menu just for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

All this for $25.

Takesushi: All this for $25.

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Parking costs might rise in Sunnyside/Woodside, as DOT has preliminary plans to introduce ‘Park Smart’

meters

Oct. 17, By Christian Murray

Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.

The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.

The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.

For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.

However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.

Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.

The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.

Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.

Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.

The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.

However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.

For more information on Park Smart click here

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Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’
 43-15 46th Street

43-15 46th Street

Oct. 16, By Christian Murray

New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside.

The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.

The building, which is a 6-story 88-unit complex, has 271 outstanding violations, according to the report. While the building is a coop, it has several renters—although the exact number is not known.

The original landlord, who took the building coop about 25 years ago, rents several units, according to published reports.

The violations, which have been filed with HPD, deal with water leaks, missing smoke detectors, loose bathroom tiles, mold and defective faucets.

The managing agent of the building is Aras Properties, which is located in Cedarhurst. The head officer is Kevin Kane, who could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the landlord who runs a Woodside building has the fifth worst record in Queens, with 223 violations.

The building, located at 39-30 59th Street, is a 6-story 78 unit complex.

The violations include complaint about roaches, defective plastered surfaces, broken stoves, mold and missing smoke detectors.

The owner of the building is Harry Silverstein. Silverstein could not be reached for comment.

Click here for the Worst Landlord List

Click here to look up the violations in any building

 43-15 46th Street.

43-15 46th Street.

 

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South building

Oct. 15, By Christian Murray

The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development in Long Island City went live today.

The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect, which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Village Voice declares Salt & Fat Sunnyside’s best restaurant

saltfat-350x263

Oct 15, Staff Report

The Village Voice has just named Salt & Fat as the best restaurant in Sunnyside.

The write up starts as follows:

“Salt & Fat looks like it could be in Brooklyn — reclaimed wood for the storefront sign, artfully arranged small plates that feature New American decadence — but owner Daniel Yi is a local boy. Born in Seoul and raised in Sunnyside, Yi has crafted a nation-hopping menu that reflects the area’s diversity. A meal begins with a complimentary starter — popcorn cooked in bacon fat, as American as can be — and finishes with little bottles of Yakult, a tangy-sweet Japanese yogurt drink.”

For the rest of the Village Voice Article, please click here.

 

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Dumplings & Noodle eatery to open on 46th Street

Noodles

By Christian Murray

A dumplings and noodles eatery will be opening on 46th Street next door to Pio Pio Riko.

The restaurant, which will be located at 45-24 46th Street, is expected to open in late December, according to its owner, who was reluctant to provide too many details at this point.

The eatery will consist of about 30 seats and there will not be table service. The owner described it as “fast casual.”

The menu will consist of soup, baos (steamed buns filled with pork/beef/vegetables), and a wide selection of noodles and dumplings (both steamed and fried). The food will include a mix of Chinese and other Asian flavors. There are also plans to get a liquor license.

The owner has another restaurant—offering the same style of food—in Park Slope.

The business owner was attracted to Sunnyside due to its diverse population.  “I like the mixed neighborhood and there are few [restaurants] like this in the area.”

The restaurant is moving into a portion of the space that was once occupied by Grand 99 Cent Store, which left about 2 years ago. The other portion of the site was leased to  Signature Paint & Home Center, which opened this summer.

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time.

Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee.

Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website).

Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said.

“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”

“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”

Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions.

“When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.”

His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.”

He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?”

He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success.

He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes.”Lower taxes equal more jobs,” he said.

Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed.

“Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.

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Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets

Hennessy
Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community.

Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues.

While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program.

“I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.”

On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway.

Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti.

Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there.

The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm.

On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention.

Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing.

In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.

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Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run

Van BramerFATAL

Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible.

The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified.

“To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.”

“We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said.

A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident.

The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision.

“You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it’s a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don’t you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000–on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state.

Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said.

Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians.

Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement.

The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.

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More Headlines

Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets
Hennessy Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community. Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues. While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program. “I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.” On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway. Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti. Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there. The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm. On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention. Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing. In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.
Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run
Van BramerFATAL Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible. The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified. “To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.” “We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said. A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident. The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision. “You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it's a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don't you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said. Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000--on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state. Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said. Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians. Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement. The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.
Brooklyn man arrested in connection to Woodside murder
queenspalace Oct. 10, By Michael Florio A Brooklyn man was arrested Thursday for allegedly killing a man outside a Woodside party hall in July. Jorge Navarro, 20, was arrested in connection to the July 26th death of Eduardo Rojas, who was killed after being struck in the head. The incident occurred outside of Queens Palace, located at 37-27 57th Street, when a fight broke out. In the melee gun shots were also fired. The 108 precinct responded to a 911 call just after 1 am and discovered a 25-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left leg and back, as well Rojas, who was dead. Navarro is facing charges of murder, manslaughter and gang assault. He has not been charged for the shooting.
Another hit-and-run in Woodside leaves man in critical condition
ambulance Oct. 9, By Michael Florio Another pedestrian has fallen victim to a hit-and-run in Woodside. A 20-to-30 year old male was struck in the early hours today while crossing the intersection at Queens Blvd and 60th Street. A dark colored SUV was traveling westbound along Queens Blvd when it struck the victim at about 1:30 am, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The vehicle did not stop and continued westbound toward the Queensboro Bridge. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim to be unconscious. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. The investigation is ongoing.
Sunnyside Gardens planned community turns 90
SGbefore Oct. 9, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Gardens, the planned community designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be presenting “Sunnyside Gardens at 90,” which will feature a series of photographs of the gardens over the decades as well a presentation by local historian Jeffrey Kroessler and architect Laura Heim. The presentation, which will take place tonight at 7pm at 35-20 Broadway in Astoria, will discuss the origins and significance of the community, including its importance in urban planning, design, and history, and the contentious campaign to gain designation as a historic district. (Click for details) Sunnyside Gardens was initially constructed between 1924 and 1928, and consisted of a series of twelve “courts”. The designated area went on to include the Phipps Garden Apartment buildings, which were constructed in the early 1930s. To celebrate the anniversary, the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance will be holding an event marking the occasion on Saturday, Oct. 25, with the unveiling of three historic district signs followed by a reception. The event will kick off at 1 pm at Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. (Click for details) According to the Preservation Alliance's website, the City Housing Corporation organized a “grand opening” for the first group of houses that were developed in Oct 1924. Advocates for affordable housing and New York City officials joined in to applaud the start of a new kind of neighborhood at the time. The very first Sunnyside Gardens owners moved in at the beginning of September 1924, according to the website, with the first house sold located at 41-49 47th (Carolin) Street. House prices ranged from $8500 to $13,500. SGNow sgplay    
Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards
Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehOct. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks. Conley said at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting that the Sunnyside Yards could be used to build more affordable housing. “We should look at it with the possibility of creating a community…with affordable housing, market rate housing and retail,” Conley said. Conley called on the board to give him permission to send a letter to the Queens Borough President’s office requesting a study of the area. The board complied. The letter, however, alarmed several people who fear over development—with some claiming that the infrastructure is overstretched as it is. Van Bramer said the community is not calling for the development of the Sunnyside Yards. He said people are more concerned about school overcrowding, transportation issues and other problems that actually stem from development. “My office is in the business of receiving hundreds of letters and speaking to people about important issues all the time,” Van Bramer said. “Not one person has come to me and said ‘you should deck over the Sunnyside Yards and build housing.” Several Community Board 2 members said after last Thursday’s meeting that they were caught by surprise by Conley’s request. “I’m opposed to the concept of decking [building] over the Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said. “The idea gets floated whenever there is an economic boom…but I think it would be bad for the surrounding community.” Van Bramer, as councilman, has a big role to play in terms of land use decisions such as these. All significant zoning changes go through the city council and it is typically the elected official in a given district that makes the call. Van Bramer was unsure how the idea surfaced in the first place.
Van Bramer

Van Bramer

Conley said that the Sunnyside Yards—which go through Long Island City and Sunnyside--are owned by government agencies. Therefore, this provides the community with an opportunity to negotiate with developers as to the number of affordable units that could be built. “Jackson Avenue and 21st Street would be our jumping off point,” Conley said, adding that the study would then look toward Thomson Avenue and Queens Plaza. Van Bramer said that he too is in favor of affordable housing. However, he said, “Density is appropriate in some places and not others. I, for one, believe Sunnyside and Astoria are great low-density neighborhoods that should remain so.” Conley told the Daily News Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards also divide the neighborhoods and indicated that the housing would draw them closer. “Right now you have this scar that runs down the community,” he told the News. Van Bramer disagreed with this view. “I wouldn’t characterize these neighborhoods as having a scar running through them…and I don’t believe the neighborhoods are unreachable.”    
Police seek help in locating serial bank robber, suspect allegedly hit Chase bank in Sunnyside in July
Oct. 8, By Christian Murray suspect Call him the 21st Century version of Willie Sutton or John Dillinger. The police are searching for a man who has robbed eight Queens banks—and attempted to rob two others—in the past 2 1/2 years. The banks have been scattered throughout the borough—covering Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, East Elmhurst and Sunnyside. In total, the suspect has taken in about $50,000. One of the robberies occurred at the Chase Bank branch at 47-11 Queens Blvd, where the suspect approached a teller and passed her a note—before fleeing with $5,900 in cash. That incident occurred on July 25, 2014 (see story). The suspect’s modus operandi has been to enter a bank, pass a note and—on four occasions—display a firmarm. He also tends to hold a mobile phone up against his ear. No injuries have resulted from his spree. The suspect (see photo) is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, approximately 6-feet-tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and a button-down short sleeve shirt. He also had a light beard connected to a goatee, tinted eye glasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist. The first incident occurred on July 17, 2012, when he allegedly entered into an Amalgamated Bank at 78-01 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and took off with $1,450.suspect1 The latest robbery occurred Saturday, when the suspected entered Chase Bank at 69-55 Grand Avenue, passed a note and left with $5,170. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Oktoberfest comes to Skillman Avenue this Saturday
claret1Oct. 7, By Christian Murray It’s time to get out the lederhosen and the Bavarian hats. The Skillman Project, a group of bars and restaurants located on Skillman Avenue, is hosting its 3rd annual Oktoberfest this Saturday. There are eight bars/restaurants participating in the event—and attendees will be offered $3 beers until late. The event will start at 3pm and go until close. Several of the bars/restaurants will be serving German-themed food—with items such as Bratwurst and pretzels on offer. The Skillman Project has also hired a brass band that will be playing polka music at all the participating venues. The band will start at 6:30 at Claret Wine Bar and will then perform at the other bars/restaurants. “Oktoberfest is typically the most popular event that the Skillman Project puts on each year,” said Justin Costello, the manager at Claret. “It tends to bring in the largest crowd.” The Skillman Project also puts on an annual Mardi Gras and a summer event. To partake in Saturday’s Oktoberfest, attendees are required to register at Claret (46-02 Skillman) between 3 pm and 5 pm, and buy a $5 wristband. The wristband is needed in order to get the $3 beers at all eight restaurants/bars. The $5 proceeds will be donated to the local food pantry. Participating bars are: Dog and the Duck, Claret Wine Bar, Flynn’s Garden Inn, Quaint Bistro, Murphy’s Lobster Grill, The Globe, Aubergine Cafe and The Copper Kettle. Skillman_OktoberFest2014_Final  
Famous singer/songwriter a frequent performer at Sunnyside venue
JD @ teapot 6-22-2013Oct. 6, By Kim Brown Jim Dawson has sold out shows at the Bitter End, been signed by RCA Records and written a song recorded by Sesame Street’s Elmo. This Thursday he’s playing at The Globe Tavern’s Open Mic night on Skillman Avenue. “It really ups the quality of the night,” said host and guitarist Trevor Bowen. “He’s a pro, it’s the most wonderful feeling of support.” Dawson, who has been compared to James Taylor and Harry Chapin, was also touted as the next Bob Dylan after “Songman” was released in 1971. He is still a regular at venues like the Cutting Room. Newer fans know him because Elmo sang his “Simple Song” and older fans remember when he played Constitution Hall in Washington with The Birds. But when he comes to The Globe about once a month he’s just Jim, competing against baseball games and loud conversations like any other musician. There is no cover charge and he buys his own beer. “One of the reasons I love it is Trevor says ‘Here’s Jim’,” said Dawson, who lives in Manhattan and is Bowen’s vocal coach. “It doesn’t matter if I sold 200,000 records or zero. We’re all the same. We all got into this in the first place because it’s fun.” Dawson came to New York City in the late 1960s, after a stint in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Because he was signed by a record company pretty quickly, playing the open mic circuit was not something he had done very often. Despite distractions the last time he played The Globe--like an overturned tray of garlic knots and Derek Jeter’s last home at bat on TV—-he somehow managed to quiet a pretty raucous room. “When I’m doing it and I’m getting it right those are the most alive situations. I feel like I’m 18 or 19 years old again,” he said. Dawson, who lives on the Upper West Side, has released 15 CDs and albums. He is also known for writing the opening theme for a popular German soap opera. Money from that song allowed him to set up a home recording studio. The 1999 CD of his own live sessions in his apartment, “Therapy in Session: The Studio Concerts,” gained attention as an innovative way for musicians to release their work independently. Dawson’s website still attracts about 2,000 visitors a month from all over the world. Maybe he is able to arrest a noisy bar so well because he has been playing for nearly 50 years. Or maybe it’s because he tends to write Americana songs with lyrics that seem to have sprung from our own hopes and worries or that the gift to connect with the audience is just that, a gift. Whatever the reason, the audience quiets and connects with Dawson when he is behind the mic. “I want people to hear the words and I want them to hear what I have to say,” Dawson said. “But it is a bar for crissake.” Yet The Globe’s open mic is not all about Dawson, or even all about music. Poets, magicians, comedians and actors are welcome as well. “Pretty much anyone can show up, grab a beer and sign up,” said co-owner Rena Hershberger, who sings and performs at open mic night herself. “Everyone gets their 10 minutes.” Yet Bowen admits his ultimate goal is beyond that. He’d like the bar and the neighborhood to become a destination for original, quality music and he already sees that happening. “There have been really surprising musicians who have come and blown the socks off people,” he said. Ben Hope, who played the lead in the Broadway musical Once, and renowned Jazz guitarist Tosh Sheridan are both Globe regulars. Dawson is only adding to that momentum. “If people think ‘this guy Jim is going to show up’ and that will bring in two more people,” Dawson said, “that’s what I think is important. I’m just trying to be one of the guys on the team.” Open Mic Night at The Globe Tavern, located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, will be held this Thursday and every other week.
Police swarm Sunnyside with plain clothes cops prior to arresting armed robber
Amazon-pharmacy-800x600 Oct. 5, By Christian Murray The police sent in more than a dozen plain clothes cops into the Sunnyside commercial district following two armed robberies at local drug stores early last month. The strategy led to an arrest of a Sunnyside man when the third Sunnyside pharmacy was targeted. The first robbery took place at Greenpoint Pharmacy, located at 40-26 Greenpoint Avenue, on Sept 2, when a masked man displayed a gun, and demanded Vicodin, before fleeing with Oxycodone. The second incident occurred on Sept 5 at Family Pharmacy, 45-60 43rd Street, when the masked perpetrator showed a gun and took off with prescription drugs. “We sent in about a dozen plain clothes [officers] to the area,” said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer at the 108 precinct, after the second incident. The officers were there to monitor the pharmacies in the neighborhood. “With two [robberies] taking place so close to each other, we knew there was a good chance he would hit the area again,” Hennessy said. Therefore, when a perpetrator went into Amazon Pharmacy, located at 43-10 Queens Blvd, on Sept 11 with a knife and demanded prescription drugs the police were in the area. The police received a 911 call with a description of the suspect and several officers were in the neighborhood to search for him. The perpetrator, Patrick McNamara, ran across Queens Boulevard and was arrested by Police Officer John Miszuk, a plain-clothes officer, who tracked him down just two blocks from the drug store. McNamara, 37, a Sunnyside resident was then identified by a witness. The police, however, have not been able to make an arrest on the first two robberies since the suspect was wearing a mask and was hard to identify. However, Hennessy noted, that there have been no drug store robberies since. McNamara was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. Greenpoint Pharmacy-475x355 FamilyPharmacy

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