Sunnyside kicks off holiday season with lights

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9 Responses to Sunnyside kicks off holiday season with lights

  1. "Sunnysider"

    Sorry I missed this event this years but 250 people show alot for our town getting together ... this brings unity and love and caring for our town which is really fantastic and a very proud moment for us

    Ihope we all have a great holday season... Iknow we are a real melting pot of relegions here so Iwish all our relegious leaders a happy and safe holday season to all ofus..

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  2. Ruben

    Yesterday I saw an Asian man/employee of TD Bank Shoo away the Chaaaange Bum. A tear fell down my eye, tis was a Christmas miracle!

    As promised I will now open an account with TD Bank...a bank with BALLS!

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  3. Thomas

    Mazel Tov.......Happy Holidays! To All The Holiday lights look beautiful.....Thank You JVB

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  4. Sunnyside Native

    LOL @ Ruben! Well, the other homeless guy who holds the door for you at the Dunkin Donuts on Queens Blvd., between 45th & 46th Streets is now branching out to hold the door at other local establishments! Isn't that GREAT!

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  5. Ruben

    A regular entrepreneur that guy is.

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  6. Moneyside

    Where are the atheist lights?

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  7. Rick Duro

    I saw a stare down between Chaaaaaange guy and a bank employee, I predict a turf war soon.

    On another note, there is a sign on the bank that says 'no smoking w/i 25 feet of doors'. So the bank employees go and smoke in front of the laudromat on 41st instead....

    RD

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  8. PG

    Merry Christmas

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  9. tempus fugit

    @Moneyside

    Atheists refuse to see the light. That's why they don't get any.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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Latest News

No. 7 train service resumes– after commuters faced morning delays

7subway1

Riders on the No. 7 train faced rush-hour delays this morning that lasted about 90 minutes–following FDNY activity at the 5th Avenue station.

The MTA stopped train service between Times Square and Hunters Point Avenue (in both directions), and riders were advised to take the N,R, Q, F and E lines.

Many No. 7 trains were just sitting in stations as commuters tried to squeeze into trains. The MTA also told many commuters to take the bus.

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Sunnyside Shines reviews 2014, looks ahead at annual meeting

taste of sunnyside

March 4, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside Shines held its annual meeting Monday and focused heavily on its beautification projects as well as it events.

The BID provided an overview of its 2014 achievements—spotlighting the opening of the plazas at 46th and 40th Streets; its tree planting and tree-guards program ; the Taste of Sunnyside; Sunnyside Restaurant Week; as well the effectiveness of its sanitation and graffiti-cleanup programs.

The meeting did not cover items such as the Sunnyside Yards proposal or real estate development.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, put together a PowerPoint presentation and went through each item in front of about 60 attendees.

Bliss PlazaThieme said that the plazas have proven to be a big success–often bustling with people eating lunch or hanging out with friends.

“We felt that those areas [by the station] were being underutilized,” Thieme said. She said they needed to look more welcoming—and the addition of tables, chairs and planters have made a significant improvement.

Thieme said that plenty of people walk through the upgraded plazas each day. Citing MTA statistics, she said that the 46th Street turnstiles were swiped 4.64 million times in 2013–while the 40th Street turnstiles were swiped 3.39 million times.

Thieme said that the BID started a five-year plan last year to make certain that every block within the district has trees and tree guards.

“Some blocks have lots of trees… with plenty of greenery, while others have just one or none,” she said.

In 2014, the BID installed 27 new tree guards. This spring, the BID will be adding 27 new trees and tree guards, care of funding it received through Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

After the Katz expenditure, the BID will have 153 trees and 54 tree guards.

Thieme said that the BID cleaned 156 instances of graffiti from storefronts and gates in 2014. She urged landlords and business owners to reach out to her office and let her know what needed to be cleaned.

The BID reported that it collected more than 2,000 bags of trash each month and that it would soon be getting more trash cans.

Thieme said that about 600 people attended the Taste of Sunnyside last May, with more than 30 restaurants participating. She said that holding it under the 7 train proved a success, since it was such a visible location.

The event will be held under the 7 train again this year—with the date planned for May 19.

tree guard

tree guard

The BID also organized Sunnyside Restaurant Week in October, where 33 restaurants offered specials for a week; summer strolls—providing a jazz concert as well as arts & crafts; and contests such as the Sunnyside Holiday Window Contest, for the store most decked out for the season.

These events will all continue this year.

The BID held its annual election on Monday and the same board members and chairman John Vogt were reelected. The board, however, was expanded from 17 to 19 members—with the addition of Francine Israel (property owner) and Giuseppe Falco (a commercial tenant).

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Sunnyside Shines district

Sunnyside Shines district

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Frozen yogurt store ‘4 Squared Flavors’ reopens after being closed for winter

4squared

March 3, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors reopened March 1st after being closed for winter.

Khalil Nayl, the co-owner of the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store, said its business as usual after being closed since November 1st.

Nayl said that the landlord was very supportive of the store during the winter months, providing a discounted rent.

4 Squared Flavors, which officially opened in March 2014, continues to offer 16 flavors, including: Irish mint, mango tango sorbet, red velvet cake, pistachio, very strawberry, cookies ‘n cream, New York cheesecake, and blueberry.

The store’s walls remain the same–painted pink and green.

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Crime rate tumbles year-to-date
Brooks, Calderoa and

Prof. Bruce Brooks, Corey Sarro, William Caldarera

March 2, By Michael Florio

The crime rate has taken a nosedive this year throughout the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the number of reported crimes for the year through Feb. 22 has dropped 25 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The decline has been driven by the fall in property-related crimes, with there being 22 reported burglaries so far this year compared to 37 for the same time period a year ago. Furthermore, there have been 60 grand larcenies reported this year, compared to 87 a year ago.

“Burglaries have historically been a problem in this precinct and we are down 40 percent on the year,” Travaglia said. “We are very happy to report those numbers.”

The number of robberies reported so far this year is down–from 22 to nine.

Travaglia, who was spoke at the Community Board Council meeting in Sunnyside last Tuesday, spent a significant portion of the hour-long meeting paying tribute to his officers—particular William Caldarera and Corey Sarro.

The two officers received an award for saving the life of Bruce Brooks, a 66-year-old LaGuardia College professor.

Brooks suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside the college at 29-10 Thomson Avenue. The officers, who were on routine patrol, saw the professor lying motionless on the sidewalk, without a pulse.

Sarro began performing chest compressions, while Caldarera retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts, the pair revived him and then EMS transported him to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Brooks, who was in attendance at the precinct meeting, presented the officers with a plaque that he had specially made.

“How can you thank someone for saving your life,” Brooks said.

“A doctor told me afterwards that less than two percent of people who collapse on the street actually survive without brain damage,” Brooks said. “I didn’t dodge a bullet, I dodged a bomb and it is all thanks to these guys.”

Brooks’ wife, Susan Gardner, was also in attendance to thank the officers.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful these officers were to me at a time when I was truly hysterical,” she said.

Gardner wanted to get the officers a gift, she said, until she was told it was against policy.

“But I realized there is no gift I could give them as great as the one that they gave me,” she said. “They have given me a chance to grow old with my husband. So, I thank them forever.”

The day of Brooks’ heart attack was the day he was retiring, according to Gardner.

Brooks spent 10 days at Elmhurst Hospital, before being transferred to NYU Hospital to undergo a triple bypass.

Now the doctors say Brooks, who is a lifelong handball player, will be playing again this summer, Gardner said.

Despite the decrease in crime, there was a murder reported on Vernon Blvd and 50th Street last month, the first murder reported this year. A man was struck and died when his head hit the ground.

The police arrested Kaheem Addison who now faces manslaughter charges.

“The [murder] investigation was spectacular and I couldn’t be happier with the detective squad,” he said. “I am very proud of them and the work they did in solving this homicide very quickly.”

For crime statistics, click here

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Snow, costumes and politics all on display at St. Pat’s for All Parade

Parade21

March 2, By Christian Murray

Kids from the Bronx, gay activists and even a horse, all turned out in the snow for The St Pat’s for All Parade in Sunnyside/Woodside on Sunday.

The parade, yet again, took on a very political flavor this year—with Mayor Bill de Blasio and several city council members all noting that they would boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue again this year unless it is more inclusive of gay groups.

There were more snowflakes than shamrocks this year and attendance was down from previous years. Nevertheless the message about equality and human rights came through loud and clear.

“This is what pride is all about,” de Blasio told the crowd at the beginning event. “Pride in the city, pride in everyone’s heritage and pride in being whatever you want to be.”

De Blasio said this parade “celebrates Irish heritage no matter who you are,” while the Fifth Avenue parade is not open to all. While one LGBT group, Out@NBCUniversal, has been approved to march in the Fifth Avenue parade, de Blasio said that it was not enough. He said he is hopeful that more gay groups will be included by the time the March 17 takes place.

Several other politicians echoed the mayor’s sentiments.

“We will continue to stand up and make sure that the bigger parade on Fifth Avenue is more inclusive,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the council speaker, who also said that she and the city council would not attend unless all groups could attend.

However, the parade did include members of the horse-drawn carriage industry who were there to protest de Blasio’s plan to put them out of business–based on animal rights. Signs were placed in store windows along Skillman Avenue in support of the industry—which has a deep link to the Irish community.

De Blasio, at the end of the event, acknowledged that the contentious horse-drawn carriage bill would be subject to a vigorous debate.

There were also some attendees who expressed displeasure about the Mayor’s proposal to build on Sunnyside Yards.

The mayor acknowledged he had heard attendees voice their concern about the Yards along the parade route, reported Capitol New York.

However, it “opens an opportunity for a huge amount of affordable housing so people can continue to live in Queens, many of whom are being forced out right now by rising prices,” de Blasio told Capitol New York.

Participants

Among this year’s participants were the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dancers, who performed classic Irish jigs.

The pipe bands and traditional Irish musicians added to the Irish authenticity of the event; so, too, did an Irish language school and all the Irish flags. Even the local Sunnyside dog group, SUDSMUTS, marched, with their dogs dressed in an assortment of green regalia.

At the same time, there were also several children’s groups marching under a multitude of banners, such as the Shannon Gaels and the Marching Cobras.

A plethora of gay groups were also out in force. Among them were the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Queens and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee.
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By George Burles
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Irish Music Festival takes place tomorrow–following parade

NEW Poster - Irish Music Festival 2015_JPEG

Feb. 28, By Christian Murray

The St Pat’s for All Parade takes place on Skillman Avenue tomorrow and upon its conclusion many marchers and spectators are likely to head over to Queens Blvd. to participate in the third annual Sunnyside Irish Music Festival.

The festival, which officially starts at 3:00pm, is likely to draw hundreds of party goers to 11 neighborhood bar/restaurants, all located on or near Queens Blvd between 40th and 48th Streets.

In a coordinated effort, each venue will have live Irish music.

Fiddlers, accordion players, pipers, Irish dancers and guitarists will be performing throughout the neighborhood. Some pubs will have four-piece bands and others will have solo acts.

Each bar will have drink specials. Some bars will also offer authentic Irish food.

For a full list of bars/venues see below:

Postcard_Back - Irish Music Festival 2015 JPEG

 

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

SunnysideYardsmap

Feb. 27, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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SkillmanMardiGras1

 

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

St.-Pats-for-All-475x356

Feb. 26, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details

Parade Date: Sunday, March 1

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

Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue

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More Headlines

Borough President Katz a big supporter of building over the Yards, despite western Queens leaders’ trepidation
SunnysideYardsmap Feb. 27, By Christian Murray Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been a strong advocate for decking over the Sunnyside Yard for months—despite the cool reception it has received from western Queens leaders. Katz began advocating for developing the yards in September, when she announced that they have the “potential for extraordinary development.” Katz plays an important role in what ultimately happens to the Yards since the area would need to be rezoned before construction could begin. The community board and the borough president would get to weigh in on a rezoning—before it is shuffled along to the City Planning Commission for review and then the city council. At the council level, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer would have the ultimate say.
Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

In September, Katz released a 138-page strategic policy statement where she said that the “partial or complete decking of the Sunnyside Rail Yards has the potential for extraordinary development.” She added that it is the largest parcel of ‘vacant’ land remaining in the city. At the October community board meeting, Queens residents became more aware of Katz’ position when former CB2 chairman Joe Conley said that he had been in discussions with her about building over the Yards. He then called on the board to write a letter to Katz calling for a feasibility study. While many members of the board were caught off guard by Conley’s request, they were eventually swayed by him and voted in favor of sending Katz the letter. Conley was then subject to heavy criticism for requesting the letter. These letters are often used by public officials and city planners to move ahead with studies—allowing them to claim they have the community’s support. For example, Conley’s letter last year calling for affordable housing in Queens Plaza was cited as a reason why city planners are studying the area for a potential up zoning. Katz is well versed in city real estate matters. She had worked at the law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2009-2012, where she was a land use adviser for real estate companies. She took that position after being a city council member from 2002-2009, where she chaired the land use committee. On Feb. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address that he wanted to build 11,250 units above Sunnyside Yards, which received a frosty reception from western Queens leaders. Katz, meanwhile, was publicly advocating for it. At the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting Feb. 17, she said: “We need to figure out how to utilize the property in a good way and I think housing is a great way,” reported the Queens Chronicle that covered the event. “Figuring out how to pay for it is the follow-up. ... But it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done in tandem with the community.” De Blasio then announced last week that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sought a consulting firm to undertake a one-year study to determine whether building over the Yards is feasible. The administration is seeking requests for proposal from firms that would essentially provide recommendations. “This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it can contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said in a statement. Katz’ spokeswoman, in an e-mail Tuesday wrote: “This feasibility study is a step in the right direction, and Borough President Katz looks forward to engaging community input.” The e-mail also said: “Borough President Katz recognizes that potential development above the Sunnyside Rail Yards is attractive given the current growth and development throughout Long Island City and western Queens.” However, western Queens leaders have been alarmed by the plan. CatherineNolan-250x250Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was quick to announce that she had ‘grave concerns ’ about the plans. State Sen. Mike Gianaris was essentially against it—by saying only if it had community support, while Van Bramer continued to argue that the infrastructure would not be able to cope with it. Nolan also said in a statement that such development would have “the potential to tremendously damage the middle class quality of life of our western Queens communities.” Nolan then announced that she had hired local attorney Ira Greenberg on a part time basis to monitor de Blasio’s plan and to work with agencies, residents and other parties to make sure the community’s voice is heard. State Sen. Mike Gianaris sent out a mailing to his constituents recently, which said that the building of new housing units should be secondary to meeting the community’s existing infrastructure needs. Van Bramer, who has told the mayor that he supports the concept of affordable housing, has expressed doubts as to whether it should be in western Queens. He has consistently been saying that area is already in need of schools and parks—and continues to discuss the poor performing No. 7 train. He said the Queensboro Plaza/Court Square area is likely to be rezoned that will bring affordable housing as well an influx of people. “We have are a lot of challenges that we face today,” Van Bramer said at a recent civic association meeting, “let alone with a 100,000 more people.”
Mardi Gras bar crawl planned for Skillman Avenue Saturday
Costumes from 2014 event

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio Skillman Ave. will never be confused with Bourbon St. but this Saturday it will be alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Easy. Nine Skillman Avenue establishments have organized the third annual Mardi Gras Bar & Restaurant Hop, which starts at 3:00 pm and goes late into the evening. The event comes well after the official Feb. 17 Mardi Gras date. However, the bars will be sticking to the New Orleans traditions of beads, jazz and Cajun food. Party goers are being asked to register at the Copper Kettle, located on the corner of Skillman Ave. and 51nd St., between 3:00 and 6pm. By registering, attendees will be able to get half-price beer specials.  The cost to register is $5, which will go to the local food pantries. . SkillmanMardiGras1  
No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade
St.-Pats-for-All-475x356 Feb. 26, By Michael Florio Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the 'St Pats for All' parade. The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule. The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work. “We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said. Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event. “There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.” 7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing. Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.” Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA. “I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’” “They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events--it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.” However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match. “The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said. Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus. Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses. Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces. Details Parade Date: Sunday, March 1 Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue
Maggie Mae’s reopens today after extensive upgrade
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 26, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, the well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, reopens at 5:00 pm today after being closed for renovations for nearly a month. The bar closed for construction on Feb. 1, and its owners have rebuilt much of the interior with 1800s reclaimed wood. New floors have been put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” The renovation is still not 100 percent complete but Moore said he is ready to reopen.  
New CB2 chair to roll out updated website, will provide access to public documents
Community-Board-21 Feb. 25, By Christian Murray Community Board 2 is in the midst of overhauling its website, as it aims provide residents with greater access to public documents. The updated website will be much more comprehensive and is expected to be ready by spring. The public will have access to documents that deal with land use matters among others. Pat O’Brien, the newly elected Community Board chair, said that he intends to upload as many documents as possible so the public is better informed. “Any document that is public, we aim to put it out there,” O’Brien said. “I want people to know the facts so we can have a more informed discussion.” He said that he plans to upload older documents in order to build archives. However, he said that will take time and resources are limited. The board plans to create a Facebook page later this year that will be used to inform people of public meetings and events. O’Brien said that his first priority, however, is getting the site ready.  
Precinct unites lost dog with owner through Twitter
doglost Feb. 24, By Michael Florio The 108 Precinct was introduced to Twitter late last year-- and today it was the tool that was used to unite a lost dog with its owner. This morning officers found a dog--named Snowy-- near Queens Boulevard and 46th Street and used twitter to track down the owner. "#lostdog found around QB & 46thst this morning around 7 am help us find the owner," the tweet said, along with the photo of the dog. Five hours later the 108 Precinct took to Twitter and noted that it had reunited Snowy with its owner thanks to its Twitter followers.
Poll: Residents may face hefty toll to use Queensboro Bridge, along with others
QueensboroFeb. 23, By Michael Florio A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges--was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner. MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA. Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week. The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers. There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY. The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone-- would be lowered $2.50 each way. However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said. For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge. “There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.” “There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge. “They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said. Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion. In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads. “I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said. State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.  
Sunnyside graffiti vandal blankets neighborhood with tag
43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

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

Transcript of Facebook chat by sunnysidepost

. graffiti6

43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Former Dime Bank

. graffi3

43rd and Queens Blvd (former Dime Bank)

graffiti4

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

IMG_0094 . graffi5

42nd Street (near Queens Blvd)

. graffi1

43rd Street and 43rd Avenue

.
Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

. 44th Street

44th Street (by Queens Blvd)

Possible tagg

Possible tag

. 43rd and 43rd

43rd (near Skillman Ave.)

. EuropeanEatMeat

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

1234aaa

Facebook Page

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

James Moore and Sean Sorohan

. Maggie Mae's inside
Aluminaire House is wanted: Mayor of Palm Springs plans to bring it there
Aluminaire-HouseFeb. 19, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s trash is about to become another city’s treasure. The 1931 Aluminaire House, which was going to be erected on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is being transported to Palm Springs. The mayor of Palm Springs is a big supporter of relocating it there and has started a fundraising drive in order to do so, according to The Desert Sun. The structure appeared headed to Sunnyside Gardens, where architects in 2013 planned to build eight residential units behind the aluminum house on the former Phipps playground. The house was designed in 1931 and is deemed to be of architectural significance. It was designed to explore how materials like aluminum could be used to build low-cost housing. However, Sunnyside residents rejected the plan—and the house--and believed that the showpiece was out of character with the existing red-brick homes in the landmarked neighborhood. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the landmarks hearing that decided whether it could go up in the neighborhood, said that more than 350 people had contacted his office in opposition to the proposal, with only five voicing their support. State Sen. Mike Gianaris, at the same meeting, said: “I’ve been in public service for 13 years and I have seen community boards discuss all sort of things…but I have not seen such uniform opposition as with this project.” The Landmarks Commission rejected the plan in January 2014. However, the aluminum structure is very much wanted in Palm Springs. The Mayor of Palm Springs has raised $200,000 of the $600,000 needed to bring it there in just one month. The funds are needed to be transported the home, which is in a crate, and reassemble it. At a recent $250 per-person fundraiser to bring the structure to Palm Springs, the mayor of that city reportedly said: “If you have a product, that is an incredible product, people want to be a part of it. Hopefully, a year from now, we'll be having one heck of a party in downtown Palm Springs."  

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