Police launch an internal investigation into its response to Rispoli assault/murder

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38 Responses to Police launch an internal investigation into its response to Rispoli assault/murder

  1. Ruben

    JVB getting shit DONE son!

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  2. 86Mets

    With all the pressure on the police to find the killers, let's hope they find the real killers and not just the first suspect they find so they can satisfy local opinion and outrage. That's my concern right now.

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  3. You all make me laugh

    And what happens if/when internal affairs finds wrong doing? My guess is a simple reprimand at best..

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  4. Sunnyside Native

    It's amazing all the disparaging details surrounding this investigation. A woman who lives at 41-00 43rd Avenue told me she saw a white van/SUV. How are people saying it was a car or sedan? Hopefully the professionals can get to the bottom of this horrific crime! :(

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  5. Heartbroken

    @Local Hamburgler This is the sort of testimony that should be reported to the police and not divulged in a community forum. Doing so can muddy up an investigation, and perhaps confuse a potential witness too freaked to share what they know.

    Please please folks, let's act responsibly, let's be sensitive to the situation at hand.

    If anyone has any info about this crime or any other please call CRIMESTOPPERS 1-800-577-TIPS.

    Thank you -

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  6. Local Hamburgler

    Sorry. Hopefully a mod will delete it.

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  7. Heartbroken

    @Local Hamburgler Your post has been deleted but you still must go forward to the authorities. My apologies if you have already -

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  8. thomas

    Let the truth come out ..........this was a terrible crime but totally avoidable........were drugs involved? Was it a crime of passion? Was is an illicit sexual encounter gone awray? Was it a bias attack? A robbery? Self defense? Lets not rush to judgement

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  9. Local Hamburgler

    @Heart, To clarify I meant this past Tuesday and I'm sure I was just projecting because I have been keeping an eye out. The tone was in response to 86's " and not just the first suspect they find."

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  10. Ruben

    Thomas, . first you say we shouldn't attack someone who has broken into our house, now you're saying not to rush into judgement against someone who has KILLED someone else? What kind of twisted backwards hippie beliefs do you follow? what world do you live in?

    How was it avoidable? That's like saying a woman who got attacked was asking for it because of what she was worrying,

    son, I can rush to judgement on one thing for sure, you are nuts.

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  11. 86Mets

    There are many unsolved murders in NYC.

    Are those victims less important?

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  12. Angray

    Anyone close to Lou know what the 31 years on his T shirt signifies? 31 years sober? If so, can we not talk about this being a "drug deal gone wrong".

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  13. Patrick

    By the way, this sort of (only sort of) has echoes of the murder of John (spelling?) Dalton -- before my time in the neighborhood, but wasn't sure if that crime was ever solved either -- and he was a gay man as well. They also killed his newly arrived roommate in a building I used to reside in on 47th Ave.

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  14. JuliaJ.

    Sometimes you think you know people but you don't. I sure hope the police find out where he was during the missing two hours.

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  15. JuliaJ.

    People who remember the murder at the New Post diner also want justice for that victim - and have been waiting for years!

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  16. Tempus_fugit

    If this man had not been gay and a personal friend of the local councilman, this murder would have already been forgotten about like many others.

    Let's be frank. It's who you know and what social group you belong to that decides how much your death matters.

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  17. Paul Maringelli

    Quit writing and saying "He was a gay man" HE WAS A MAN WHO HAPPENED TO BE GAY! You are perpetrating the myth that this somehow makes him less of a human being and therfore it's OK to beat him in the head because he wasn't a real man but only a gay man.

    A man was killed! He was taking a nightly walk in his (and our) neighborhood. Everyone should be safe to walk the streets of Sunnyside & Woodside!

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  18. Tempus_fugit

    I've followed the threads on this story and Mr Maringelli's assertion that some people have claimed that Lou Rispoli was "Less of a human being" because he was gay and that it's "ok to beat him him in the head" are utterly absurd.

    Nobody made any such outrageous remark.

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  19. Paul M.

    To Tempus_fugit... I've learned long ago, from friends of mine who were/are gay, that they were/are persecuted because of who they are. Mr. Rispoli may have been a victim of "gay bashing". There are some people in the world who think it is OK to "beat down a queer" - By writing that he was a "gay man" makes many people think he was less of a man. That is why I say, "HE WAS A MAN, WHO HAPPENED TO BE GAY" and he didn't deserve to be beat to death.

    Tho' I didn't know Mr. Rispoli, I've known other men who were beaten or killed just because of their sexual orientation. We should all be upset because a human being was killed. It shouldn't make a difference if he was gay or not.

    If I was killed on 43rd Ave., would people write, "A straight man was killed" - I think not!

    Mr. Rispoli was a man who was murdered, his sexual orientation shouldn't make a difference to us. But, I am guessing, his sexual orientation made a difference to his killers.

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  20. Heartbroken

    @Angray The 31 years on Lou's T-shirt signified the length of time he and his husband were together before they were allowed to be legally married.

    Lou Rispoli helped and cared for this community for decades. He actively mentored dozens of young people, encouraging them to be themselves. He also happened to be a close friend of Jimmy Van Bramer's. Anyone in a similar situation would take similar action.

    For those of you who are less than sympathetic despite these circumstances, we wish you the best, all the same.

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  21. tempus fugit

    Heartbroken,

    People aren't "less than sympathetic" as you say. They just wonder why other victims of violence don't seem to merit the same level of public outrage and grief as Mr. Rispoli. I think it's called equality.

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  22. tempus fugit

    @Paul M

    You are right, his sexuality shouldn't make a difference. He was a human being who was murdered and it was a terrible event.

    But, if you recall when the story became public, there were cries of "hate crime" which, of course, refers to his sexuality. If you want to blame anyone about making this about a "gay man" instead of simply a man and a fellow human being, then blame the people crying "hate crime." They are the ones focused on his lifestyle as opposed to his humanity.

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  23. Disgusted

    May God pity all of you who speak ill of Lou because of who he was friends with. You should be ashamed. Just be happy we finally have a council member who is taking a stand. There haven't been any other murders while he's been in office. When there are, hold him to the same standards. Lou was a wonderful man who didn't deserve this. NO ONE deserves this.

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  24. tempus fugit

    @Disgusted

    At no time did anyone suggest that Lou deserved what happened to him or that he wasn't a great guy. It's totally irresponsible and despicable of you to suggest such a thing just because some people have a different view on how this case has been handled. You aren't the only one who is disgusted.

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  25. O'shea

    @tempus
    Maybe you did not follow this story from the beginning. Paul m is right.
    Thomas on a previous story questioned why Mr rispoli was walking at night. He suggested that the victim was trolling for sex or he may have attacked his killers in the car. There has been a lot of ill comments directed at Mr rispoli's life.

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  26. tempus fugit

    @O'shea

    The circumstances of the case are at best vague. If somebody brought up the possible reason he was walking around late at night, it's relevant in that it might help lead to the killers. I would hope that the police investigation will look into all possibilities even if they are not flattering to the victim. Sounds harsh but do people want to know the truth about what happened or not?

    Having said that, regardless of why Mr. Rispoli was out that night, there is NO justification for any violence against him - and the killers, if and when they are caught and convicted, should be strapped to an electric chair and executed in my opinion.

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  27. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit In reference to your sarcastic comment, I think it's called equality - I'm confused. Exactly what kind of equality are you looking for? Would you have hoped that Lou would have been honored less, so as not to offend - who? Or are you implying that we who mourn Lou somehow feel that any other victim would not be worthy of the deepest kind of sympathy?

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  28. tempus fugit

    @heartbroken

    You clearly haven't comprehended my comments. I don't think Lou should have been honored less. His murder was a a terrible tragedy and I have stated so in no uncertain terms. I have called for the severest punishment for the perpetrators, probably a punishment more severe than you would advocate, if you are against the death penalty.

    And to answer you question, yes, I do think you feel that other victims of the same crime are less worthy of the same sympathy. There have been other murder victims and I have no evidence of the same outpouring of outrage and sympathy on your part.

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  29. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit So this is what you tell a person who is grieving? I will leave your comment as is, for all to see.

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  30. tempus fugit

    @Heartbroken

    The point I'm trying to make is that you are not the only one who has lost someone tragically. You don't have a monopoly on grief.

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  31. Disgusted

    @tempus it's obvious you've disgusted everyone on this forum enough. Maybe you should take a hint. I hope someone repeats the same words to you in your time of grief, so you can realize how ignorant you've been.

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  32. tempus fugit

    @Disgusted

    I've done nothing to insult or denigrate anyone's grief except to to suggest that people whose untimely death's that didn't make the news are just as tragic. What's wrong with that?

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  33. Heartbroken

    @tempus fugit No, you didn't just say that untimely deaths that don't make the news are just as tragic. You accused those who are mourning the loss of Lou Rispoli as hardly caring about anyone else's loss. And I quote: "And to answer you(r) question, yes, I do think you feel that other victims of the same crime are less worthy of the same sympathy. There have been other murder victims and I have no evidence of the same outpouring of outrage and sympathy on your part. That is quite a different statement and an inappropriate one considering the horrendous circumstances. I wouldn't wish what we are all going through to anyone.

    @Disgusted Thank you.

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  34. sandycat

    @tempus fugit "The point I’m trying to make is that you are not the only one who has lost someone tragically. You don’t have a monopoly on grief."

    Dear tempus whatever....If you made a similar comment to me when my brother died suddenly several years ago, I would have lost it and hit you over the head :( FYI, Heartbroken actually does deserve the full monopoly on grief right now - maybe not next week, or next year, but right now, yes he does...you need to know when to back off and show some compassion no matter what your personal views are...

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  35. Heartbroken

    @sandycat Thank you - and I'm so sorry for the loss of your brother.

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  36. Thomas

    Tempus Fugit is obviously a "baiter" do not fall into that trap.

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  37. Thomas

    This was a previous post ...directed at these three 'real men"

    Tempus Fugit, O’Shea, Ruben…..

    Such men…..may I ask? What if instead of a single intruder there were 3 or 4? Would your self professed physical prowess enable you to overcome such a multiple of attackers? Would it not be wise to asses a situation before reacting? Perhaps by assuming a proactive response you further endanger your family? Yes, I would try to subdue an attacker if I were physically capable…..would I kill him? Only if there was no other choice. And no I am not the toughest man in the world nor is my definition of what constitutes a “man” depend upon his physical attributes. Our intellect and reason seperates the “man” from beast. I submit to you ….stop the posturing and bluster…..no one knows how they would react in any life or death situation until faced with it……..educate yourselves!

    Needless to say they never replied

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  38. Thomas

    They are totally incapable of honest debate or even defending their positions.

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City council signs off on Luke Adams Way
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Jan. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation this week that included the co-naming of 46th Street in honor of the late Luke Adams.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer submitted Adams’ name Thursday and provided his council colleagues with a brief description of what Adams was like. “[Adams] was affectionately known as the Mayor of Sunnyside and a terrific man who led our Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and did so much. In fact he helped build the Sunnyside Arch.”

The strip on 46th Street between Greenpoint Ave. and Queens Blvd (by the Arch) will be co-named Luke Adams Way.

Adams, who was a 40 year resident and local business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest on Nov. 10 at the age of 76. Just days after his death several people called out for a street to be named after him.

Adams, who was at one time the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, was well known by the community for his work with the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.org. Furthermore, he was the first recipient of the Sunnysider of the Year award, an award that is now named after him.

The street naming ceremony is expected to take place in spring. However, Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the Adams’ family will be coordinating the details.

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Two cops receive award for saving LaGuardia professor’s life
Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month.

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Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.

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Sunnyside resident organizing fun run, aims to raise funds for the homeless

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Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots

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Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

Van Bramer

Jan. 22, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

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

anti-muslim

Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

.

muslim

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

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hours: 11 am – 11 pm seven days.

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

Pizza2

brick 005

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Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside

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

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

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

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

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

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

expose

Jan. 16, Staff Report

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

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

The suspect fled when a customer entered the store.

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

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

 

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More Headlines

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

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

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

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

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

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

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

Daniel Dromm

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

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

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

Greenpoint Avenue

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

OT Inside

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

43-19 Queens Blvd

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

Google map of corner lot

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

Icon 52

New development site, former location of VFW Post

New development site, former location of VFW Post

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

Property Shark

   

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