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  1. Moneyside

    I expect to see the most vocal person on this forum in attendance.

    Ruben, take all that negative energy you direct toward this site & channel it in a more positive direction by attending the meeting.

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  2. I'm all out of bubble gum.

    Dairz nuttin rong wit piblik edukayshun. Dey tawt me real good.

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  3. TheRealRealRuben

    I don't think my idea of locking Squirts the Change bum in a cage with a sign that says "Do not feed the animal" will pass. It's too risque .

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  4. Anonymous

    Virginia Joe is paying a visit, let's ask him where his family lives and how there schools compare to ours

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  5. TheRealRealRubin

    Come to think of it, when are they going to let me out of my cage?
    Hate.

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  6. Theman

    How about cleaning up the homeless mans junk under the 40 street stop! It's getting out of hand

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  7. JuliaJ.

    Cathy Nolan is a tool of the teachers' union. She could not care less about education in NYC and neither could Virginia Joe Crowley. People should attend to boo them. I will bet Joe's kids go to great schools in the town in VIRGINIA where they live (and so does he for that matater).

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  8. I'm all out of bubble gum.

    @JuliaJ

    The main purpose of the public school system is to churn out the next generation of democrat voters. So in that sense, the politicians do care about it.

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  9. sm

    You cannot send your child to a public school south of the Blvd., i.e. District 24, and expect a good education. It is unfortunate, but if being honest, is true.

    But, with a child's education, there is (for some) an economic choice. You know that the schools are bad, so that means you will have to enroll in private ones in the city or move (some families hop over to the North side of the Blvd. simply because the district is better, not perfect, but better).

    It is math - where and how can you maximize what you have $$ in the best interest of your child's education? Public schools in District 24 should be considered the last resort - not the first.

    Sunnyside, especially south of the Blvd. is cheap re: cost of living (compared to Wechester where property taxes alone in the great public school districts can run anywhere from 10K-20K a year). What you save on housing (700K home and an additional 20K a year in property taxes in Westchester), put towards private education in the city.

    Or move to the North side of the Blvd. (District 30).

    You should not expect any legislator to act in your child's best interest insofar as establishing schools that rival those in the city. They will act for the "greater good" on numerous (sometime competing fronts) as constrained by the resources to do so. With tax revenue decreasing and other fiscal concerns at play, a person ought to truly consider where they live and the educational opportunities that district has for school-aged children.

    I love Sunnyside, but . . . as far as education goes in District 24, its lacking. And I don't expect any governmental agency to "fix it" anytime soon. . .

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  10. Rick Duro

    The question is "why are the schools 'failing'"? I teach in a tough city just north of NYC, where I grew up. This school system was EXCELLENT when I was there (thru 1987), but has now fallen on hard times. Based on my 11 years in education, both in Middle School and now HS, here is why schools 'fail'. My colleagues in NYC schools mention to me that they have it even worse than I do. Here is the TRUE story behind the #'s that the Emperor Bloomberg Administration likes to put out there. Again, if it is this bad outside NYC, it's definitely worse IN NYC:

    -My AVERAGE student was absent 33 times last year. Good luck getting a student to pass a NYS mandated exam, like the Regents, when they are out over 1/6 of the time. That is a TREMENDOUS amount of work to miss.
    The teacher is to blame? Somehow, I still get 60% of my students to pass the exam. Had the rest even showed up more often, they'd @ least have a chance. Attendance cannot be used as an excuse for a child's failure on these new state evaluations. That is absolutely absurd. Who is to blame? Parents/guardians/children.

    -The Avg student does about 33% of the HW and does not study for exams. They routinely stay up until midnight (plus)....first period begins @ 745am. I am an excellent motivator of students, making class very interesting and fun. My goal is to show them how something like the Neolithic Revolution is relevant to their daily lives. I take what matters most to them (music, movies, TV, tech, etc etc) and infuse it into each and every lesson. On 'parent teacher' nights parents of about 20 out of 150 kids show up. So, who is to blame here for the 40% that fail? Not me. Parents/guardians/students.

    -Children routinely come to school w/o a notebook, or anything to write with. Strangely enough they have their $300 phone, ipod with them and sneakers that cost more than a 3rd row Rolling Stones ticket Hmmm....priorities? Again, who is to blame here? I think you see a pattern.

    -Students get wasted before school even begins, in a variety of ways, what happens by the middle of the day? They are wiped out, exhausted and, you guessed it FAIL. My fault? I think not. The valuable lesson of doing drugs/drinking booze should be broached @ home first.

    -A child doesn't show up for their state mandated exam, the family has recieved phone calls, emails, letters reminding them of the date and importance of the test, yet, many are still absent. Guess what? They count AGAINST the teacher/school's stats. This is the fault of the teacher? No, of course not. But, according to NYS Bd of Ed it is....

    -Kids come to school w/o having eaten breakfast, then avoid the lunch (which is gross, if you could only see what gets passed off as 'food'), so, their body starts to shut down and they nod off. That's my fault? No, of course not. Poverty is a HUGE issue. Some of the same people that have helped to create this cycle of poverty with their gov'tal policies are the same clowns that are making our teacher evals.

    -Kid comes to school and has nothing else in mind but dropping out @ 17 on their own, or, being signed out by their parent @ 16. Thus, they do NOTHING each and every day, refusing to do any work, regardless of how creative we are in trying to encourage them to work. That's the teachers fault? Um, no.

    -Child comes to your class from Yemen in April, or any number of other foreign countries where the educational system for the masses is a mess. What do you think is going to happen when they take their state exam? We are not miracle workers.

    -Many children are eligible for 'special ed' services, but the parent has to sign off on it first. Some do not because they see 'special ed' as being 'mentaly challenged'. 'My child is not spec ed!' (I have heard this many times), it's all about pride. So, you have kids that do not belong in a regular class acting out, disrupting the learning environment. Some kids are given meds to deal with their ADD, ADHD, yet refuse to take them, this causes many problems in the classroom. Add to this the lack of funding for Guidance Counselors (we have 2 for 1100 kids), social workers, truant officers, psych services, etc and you can see the mess that has been created. Yet, this is the teachers fault? Nope.

    -If a kid is absent 24 times or more they are not technically eligible for a credit for that class, YET they DO qualify against a teachers stats when they fail the Regents exam. Hypocrisy, you bet'cha!

    There are MANY more examples I can list....

    I have grown exhausted listening to the 'blame the teacher' game played by Emperor Bloomberg and King Cuomo. Neither has a clue as to what goes on in a school. Or, maybe they do, but fear blaming those that are really to blame: the parents/guardians and students themselves. The media has not helped the situation, only telling one side of the story. One absolute Ahole is the editor of the NY Daily News. The pieces he/she writes are simply anti-teacher, never telling the REAL story. What is the goal of this absurd new teacher evaluation? Is it REALLY to improve our kids scores? Of course not, the hidden agenda is to get rid of high priced, veteran teachers and hire *2* 'wet behind the ears' rookies in their place, then in 2 years replace them once again. Get more people out of the pension system. Kudos to NYC Teachers Union for not agreeing to the teacher evaluation. We are being held accountable for things that we have NO CONTROL of. We get them for 45min a day, and for extra help after school if they decide to show up. We can only do so much, but are the easiest target. I'd say 10-20% of teachers do not belong in the classroom, just like on most jobs, it's not the apocalypse the media makes it out to be. This evaluation should have been targeted @ them, instead it is being used as a way to get rid of veteran teachers. What is to stop an administrator from 'stacking the deck' against a teacher by giving him the absolute worst groups of students? NYC Principals have their own budgets, they'd LOVE to dump 'expensive' teachers to free up dough. Also, take the HS science teacher @ Bronx HS of Science with their 100% Regents exam pass rate and toss them into the 'worst' school in the city....guess what happens...You guessed it, their #'s drop dramatically. There is definitely not a fair and equitable distribution of students. The #'s they preach about DO NOT tell the real story.

    Same goes for the lie behind the 'success' of Charter and Private Schools. They cherry pick their students, do not have the same populations of Special Ed and English Language Learners and can boot kids out for behavior issues, etc. Guess where they end up? You guessed it, the local Public School! Last, but most important, if their parents fought that hard to get them into a Charter School, or are paying for them to go to a Private School, they are ON THEM like white on rice, making sure they do what they are supposed to do, parental involvement equates to success in a child's education. Simple as that.

    Enough blaming the teachers. Let's start to look @ what is going on @ HOME that is preventing children from succeeding. We are not miracle workers.

    Rick

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  11. Rick Duro

    I call that the 'TEACHER EVAL MANIFESTO'.

    Rick

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  12. TheRealRealRuben

    Gotta agree with Rick, now if only we can figure out why Teachers need a whole SUMMER off?

    Year long instruction is the answer. to ALL your problems.

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  13. 123sunny

    So what does a parent who is involved do? I believe Rick's statements. But what do you do???

    If I am going to end up paying private school tuition so that I don't put my child in an environment like that [and I will not put my child in an environment like that] - then I don't want to pay more in taxes to 'support the schools.' Yet, everyone wants to raise taxes "for the schools" and for what?? How is throwing money into the schools going to solve the fundamental/cultural/societal issues that Rick describes? Many of those problems run deeper than money and deeper than the "school" - it is the child's home environment.

    And I AM supporting 'the schools' and society by placing my child in a private or charter school with peers that have an equal appreciation (at home and through the parents) for education. They become value-added members of society, at least the vast majority based on statistics of who continues through to selective high schools (and then onto college). At a minimum, I have given them the opportunity to reach their full potential - my responsibility as a parent.

    But if my taxes become too much (and at the same time I have to scrape by to pay 35K a year for first grade), NYC is not the place to live for the middle class. Its suburbs are not the place to live for the middle class.

    And sadly many Catholic schools are closing. They represented what seemed a semi-solution - reasonable tuition (5-10K a year) with a fairly solid education (depending on the school).

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  14. Origami version of Ruben

    heres an online tip rick - no one reads long posts. you look like you have a miserable meaningless life with nothing else to do... shorten it, couple quick points and be done. People will actually listen to what you say MORE if you write and speak less

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  15. Rick Duro

    sorry for the typos. did it quick.

    RD

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  16. Rick Duro

    Origami,

    Actually, my life is quite rich with friends, family, art, a career in the classroom/on the baseball field, SUDS, exploring the world, etc.
    What people who don't know me think of me is irrelevant.

    I just needed to blow off some steam re: the absurd issues of 'failing' schools and teacher evals.

    Those who want the truth, from an educator, will read it. If it is too long for the rest of our A.D.D. nation, well, so be it.

    RD

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  17. O'shea

    @123sunny
    A parent who is involved first teaches their kids proper manners. They make sure that their kids are ready for class everyday. Their homework is done and they come to class prepared to learn. Involved parents attend pta meetings and have an open method of contacting instructors if needed.
    Rick is right, the parents and students are the real problem enabled by the current administration.

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  18. O'shea

    Yes there is something terribly wrong with the public school system. I attended one of the "worst" schools in NYC. I had some of the best math teachers in the world. My global studies teacher taught business, checkbook balancing, global markets and the Us stock market during lunch period. I learned how to grow crystals, use of viruses as transport mechanisms in diseases like cystic fibrosis from one teacher. Then there was the use of everyday life to calculate problems during physics. The english teacher always thought i could become a better writer.
    It is the students and parents. It is not the teachers.

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  19. Origami version of Ruben

    Rick you could have copied and pasted the declaratin of independance in the middle and no one would have known!
    just a tad long, but hey I guess youre passionate about it

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  20. Woodside Mom

    Dear 123Sunny:

    Please note that Rick said he works in a school in a city north of NYC (Yonkers?) so don't assume that your zoned public school is not good - check it out! Call the school and set up a tour with the Parent Coordinator. Research the school stats on schools.nyc.org or insideschools.org (remember that there are duplicate school numbers in other boroughs, so have an idea of the school's address).

    You can't take advice from people who post here that certain schools or districts are "bad" and don't say whether they know from first hand knowledge (e.g. had a kid in the school). Even then, in large schools, some kids/parents will have a bad experience and many will have a good experience.

    District 24 has a lot of good schools and programs, including several primary school Gifted&Talented programs (one that's near to southern Sunnyside is at PS 153 - and busing would be provided if your child qualifies) and two middle school G&T programs. The seven traditional middle schools in the district all have Regents prep classes and allow advanced students to take one or two Regents (and IS 125 in Sunnyside offers FOUR Regents exams). I'm not sure this happens in any other district in the city.

    Although D24 has no primary charter schools, there are two middle school charters.

    I recommend that all parents who care about public schools read the following article:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/03/tales-out-of-school/306645/

    P.S. Joe Crowley is my Congressman and I have no problem with the fact that his wife and kids live in Virigina. Congress is in session many, many weeks of the year and young children should not be separated from a parent if at all possible.

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  21. Rick Duro

    How did you miss my take on the Magna Carta in there? :)

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  22. 123sunny

    Dear Woodside mom - thanks. The G&T at 159 it is great (I know a few kids in the program and their parents speak highly of it), but unfortunately it is a 1-hour one-way bus ride from the Sunnyside pick-up, in the morning and in the afternoon, so two hours spent on a bus a day.

    The kids I know are older ages, putting a five year old (as they start G&T in kindergarten) on a one-way one-hour bus ride out to Maspeth seems a tough thing to do . . .

    I'm hoping the new school being built on 43rd incorporates a G&T program - the local leaders said it was entirely possible, but that the community needed to speak out and e-mail/call them (Nolan/Van Bramer) to let them know a local G&T is something the neighborhood wants.

    Unfortunately, given that in the most overcrowded district only about 30 parents showed up for the meeting last week . . . I am realizing more and more that I'm going to be shelling out 35K a year for a five year old to learn their ABCs.

    The local schools that you speak of have wonderful ELL (English Language Learner) programs - but that is not something my child needs. Thus, time spent on it for the majority of their classmates -- would not benefit my child nor be appropriate for them. Even then, P.S. 199 only has a 65% rate for grading a 3 or 4 (proficient) level in English in the third grade. That basically means only a little over half of the kids are proficient in English in third grade at a third grader's level.

    The school gets an "A" rating in progress reports - but progress reports are not the same as a 'quality' assessment reports - the school is making progress, but its qualitative numbers are still disheartening.

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Latest News

46th Street–by Sunnyside Arch– likely to be named after Luke Adams
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Nov. 21, By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 have started the process to name a street after Luke Adams, the long-time Sunnysider who passed away about two weeks ago.

Van Bramer said shortly after Adams’ death several people approached him and wanted a street named after him. Adams, who lived in Sunnyside for nearly 40 years, was known throughout the community for his work with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.

“It was no surprise that everyone wanted a street named after him,” Van Bramer said.

“Luke was so involved in the neighborhood—and on a consistent basis—for the better part of 30 years,” Van Bramer said.

The community board is still deciding what street should be named after him. It has narrowed it down to two streets: 46th Street (between Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Avenue) and 43rd Street/47th Avenue where he lived.

The street would be named “Luke Adams Way,” an apt named for someone who was known as having strong opinions.

“I think there is more support for 46th Street,” Van Bramer said, who has to get the city council to sign off on it. However, “I am going to defer that decision to the community and those people closest to him.”

Patricia Dorfman, who was a very close friend of Adams, said that she was initially an advocate for 43rd Street but now views 46th Street by the arch to be more appropriate.

“His business was located on 46th street,” Dorfman said. She said that he was very involved in maintaining the arch in its early years and his name should be more prominently placed.

Van Bramer said if a decision is made quickly he would be able to get it through the city council shortly. If that is the case, we could have an unveiling in spring.”

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 precinct
Captain John Trav

Captain John Travaglia

Nov. 20, By Christian Murray

A new commanding officer has been appointed to the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, who has spent most of his career in Queens, will be taking over the command following the departure of Capt. Brian Hennessy.

This will be Travaglia’s first time as a commanding officer. He was most recently the executive officer at the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Prior to that, he was an executive officer at the 104th Precinct that covers Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

Travaglia takes the top job at a time when Sunnyside has been experiencing an uptick in burglaries and other property-related crime.  However, Astoria too has seen a jump in burglaries recently.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he has scheduled a meeting with Travaglia and has heard good things about him. “We look forward to meeting him as we all work to keep the neighborhood safe.”

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Fire broke out on 51st Street last night, no serious injuries

fire51st Street

Nov. 20, By Michael Florio

A fire broke out in a Sunnyside apartment building last night.

The blaze took place on the fifth floor at 41-36 51st Street. The FDNY received a call just before 7 pm and the fire was brought under control by 7:30 pm, according to the FDNY.

The fire was contained to one apartment and one person, believed to be the tenant, was taken to a local hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The victim was believed to have been unconscious when he was removed from his apartment.

A neighboring tenant, who didn’t want to be named, showed up during the fire. She said the fire was first noticed by a passerby, who saw flames shooting out the window.

“This was traumatizing for everyone,” the neighboring tenant said. “Everyone here was freaked out.”

The apartment that caught fire is completely destroyed. The apartment above may have been damaged as well, and the apartment below suffered severe water damage.

The apartment that caught fire was rented by a younger man, according to a neighboring tenant, who moved into the building earlier this year. He was known for having parties.

“We [the occupants] were worried something like this would happen,” the neighbor said.

The FDNY is still investigating what caused the fire.

fire51st Street1

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Police release PHOTO of one of the suspects wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old
Suspect

Suspect

Nov. 19, By Christian Murray

The police have released another photo of one of the two men suspected of beating and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnysider at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Blvd last month.

The two men allegedly approached the victim inside the Chase bank ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday, October 26, before punching him in the face and removing $100 and his debit card from his pocket. The victim was William Eichhorn, who has lived in the Phipps Houses for the past 50 years.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477)

For previous coverage, click here

Previous photo of suspect

Previous photo of a suspect

 

Previous photo

Previous photo of a suspect

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UPDATE: 4 Squared Flavors to be closed for winter, to reopen March 1

Flavor

Nov. 18, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors has closed for winter and will reopen March 1, according to co-owner Khalil Nayl,

Nayl said that landlord is supportive of the store and is by providing discounted rent during the winter months.

Nayl’s announcement came less than an hour after he was asked why the store had been closed all month.

“We are exploring our options,” Nayl said at about 3:30 pm, when asked whether the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store had closed for good. “I will get back to you when we have made a final decision.”

Nayl had been asked the question several times during the month and provided the same response.

The store has had a tough go of it from the get-go. It was supposed to open in October 2013 but the owners had issues with the contractor and it opened in March.

Nevertheless, Nayl is hoping to get the support of Sunnysiders when he reopens. He still plans to open other 4 Squared Flavors in other locations.

The Sunnyside store is spacious—with a lounge area that has couches. There is also a special area where iPads are provided, so people can surf the web while they eat their yogurt.

Meanwhile, in other news, Mediterraneo, the popular pizzeria located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, closed at the end of last month. The owner closed for personal reasons, according to sources.

In other news, Safra Bistro, a Turkish restaurant located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street, is up for sale. The restaurant, which opened a year ago, is on the market for $139,000. The owner is seeking a quick sale.

Med

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Two rescue dogs and one cat find homes at Sunnyside adoption event
James Abram with Hercules

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday.

The three animals were adopted by Sunnyside residents who attended an adoption event outside of Wespaw Pets—located at 44-05 Queens Blvd– on Sunday.

The Sean Casey Animal Rescue group in conjunction with the North Shore Animal League parked a large truck filled with dogs and cats that are currently in shelters outside the pet store.

The dogs were of all ages—puppies to seniors—with one particularly disfigured due to a cruel past owner. The dogs varied in breeds– with pit bulls, pit bull terrier mixes, poodles and even a pomeranian. The cats ranged in age too.

The first animal to be adopted was Hercules, a young pit bull, by James Abram. While the dogs had been vaccinated and checked over prior to the event, a volunteer veterinarian was on hand to help the new owners—and current dog owners—with questions.

“People continue to ask about adoption events,” said a Wespaw Pets representative. “While we have had them before this is the biggest one we have had so far.”

The next dog to find a home was Daffodil, an older dog who was adopted by a young couple.

Later in the day, a mother with her young daughter adopted a cat called Robin. Several of the cats were brought to the event by LIC Ferals & Friends.

Some of the other pets might still be adopted, according to a Wespaw representative, since a few couples are thinking it over.

Sam, the owner of Wespaw Pets, was encouraged by the day. “Sometimes you can have events like these and no dogs or cats get adopted,” he said.

adoption1

 

Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

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Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations–to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day.

The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm– and attendees came in waves.

The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church.

“At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists.

Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming.

This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week.

Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams.

Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments.

Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.

Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

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DOT likely to reduce speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph by year end

Van BramerFATAL

By Christian Murray

The Department of Transportation plans to reduce the speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph, down from 30 mph, by the end of the year.
The DOT tweeted that Commissioner Polly “Trottenberg anticipates reducing the speed limit to 25 mph by he end of the year.”

Queens Boulevard was not included as part of the 25 mph city wide speed limit that went into effect Nov. 7 since it was deemed a big street designed to accommodate faster speeds.

“Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement.

“ I am glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants, rather than traffic fatalities.”

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Man follows Sunnyside woman home, robs her at knifepoint
Suspect

Suspect

A 40-year old woman was followed into her Sunnyside apartment building last month before a man pulled out a knife and demanded her cell phone.

The perpetrator followed the woman into the lobby of her 42nd Street apartment building (near Skillman Ave.) just before midnight on Saturday Oct.25. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her phone. The victim complied. The man then fled.

The police released a photo and video footage of the suspect today.

The suspect is described as a male black, approximately 30 years of age, who had dreadlocks containing yellow beads on the night of the attack. He was also wearing a long black trench coat.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 

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More Headlines

Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations--to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day. The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm-- and attendees came in waves. The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church. “At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists. Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming. This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week. Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams. Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments. Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.
Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

DOT likely to reduce speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph by year end
Van BramerFATAL By Christian Murray The Department of Transportation plans to reduce the speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph, down from 30 mph, by the end of the year. The DOT tweeted that Commissioner Polly “Trottenberg anticipates reducing the speed limit to 25 mph by he end of the year.” Queens Boulevard was not included as part of the 25 mph city wide speed limit that went into effect Nov. 7 since it was deemed a big street designed to accommodate faster speeds. “Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement. “ I am glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants, rather than traffic fatalities."
Man follows Sunnyside woman home, robs her at knifepoint
Suspect

Suspect

A 40-year old woman was followed into her Sunnyside apartment building last month before a man pulled out a knife and demanded her cell phone. The perpetrator followed the woman into the lobby of her 42nd Street apartment building (near Skillman Ave.) just before midnight on Saturday Oct.25. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her phone. The victim complied. The man then fled. The police released a photo and video footage of the suspect today. The suspect is described as a male black, approximately 30 years of age, who had dreadlocks containing yellow beads on the night of the attack. He was also wearing a long black trench coat. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 
With 18 restaurants expected, ‘Taste of Woodside’ to take place Nov. 20
Taste-of-Woodside-475x3561 Nov. 13, By Michael Florio Get ready to sample the diverse food of Woodside. Woodside on the Move, a local non-profit, will be putting on its third annual “Taste of Woodside” on Nov. 20, with the goal of showcasing about 18 restaurants. The goal of the event is to provide attendees with the ability to sample each restaurant’s food so they are able to get an appreciation of the quality of Woodside’s cuisine. This year’s event will be taking place at the St. Sebastian’s School auditorium, located at 39-76 58th Street. The event will cost $25. “The restaurants will provide samples of the type of food they offer,” said Adriana Beltran with Woodside on the Move. The list of participating restaurants will be released shortly. This year’s event is expected to attract about 100 attendees, Beltran said. Last year, 80 people attended.   Beltran said a new feature this year will be a photo exhibit called The Woodsider. The exhibit will be hung around the auditorium and will feature Woodside businesses. Details: Date: Nov. 20 Time: 6 pm-9pm Location: St. Sebastian's School auditorium Admission price: $25
Sunnyside Artists to hold craft fair at Queen of Angels Church Sunday
craftsfair2013 Nov. 12, By Michael Florio The third annual Crafts & Arts Show takes place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 34 crafters offering items as varied as leather goods, handmade jewelry and pottery. The event, which is being held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center, opens at 10 am. Food will be sold throughout the day that includes meatball sliders, vodka penne and various desserts. “We hope everyone will stop by and perhaps buy their holiday gifts at good prices which supports our local artists,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists whose group organizes the annual event. Several participants from last year’s craft fair are back—including photographer Don Soules and Emily Dunne, an artist who does witty photo assemblages. There will also be some new faces this year that include Michael Gurrado, who works with wood, and Kris Czerniachowich who makes handmade Christmas ornaments. “Batman” is expected to appear in costume, accompanying comic strip artwork. Luke Adams, VP of Sunnyside Artists, will be absent for the first time. He passed away on Monday. There will be a moment of silence in his honor. DETAILS: Date/Time: Sunday, Nov. 16 (10 am- 5 pm) Location: Queen of Angels Church parish center (corner of 44th Street and Skillman Ave.) Admission is free
Luke Adams, long-time Sunnysider, died last night
Source: Pat Dorfman

Source: Pat Dorfman

lukesp-259x425Nov. 11, By Christian Murray Luke Adams, a long-serving volunteer and former Sunnyside business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest last night at 8 pm. He was 76. 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, which is named after him. “Luke Adams is a local treasure,” said Pat Dorfman, at a fundraiser in honor of him earlier this year. “He is the best promoter in Queens and loyal to a fault,” she said at the time. Adams had lived in Sunnyside for more than 40 years. He owned a travel agency on 43rd Street for many years. He also had a vast collection of photographs that showcased Sunnyside and its history. "We are all saddened by the news that Luke Adams has passed away, said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement. "Luke loved Sunnyside like no other person could." State Sen. Mike Gianaris echoed these sentiments. "Luke Adams was a Sunnyside icon who dedicated his life to making his neighborhood a better place, and he will be deeply missed," he said in a statement. There will be a wake at Lynch Funeral Home on Thursday and a funeral mass at St Raphaels on Friday at 11am. (click for details)
Sushi pioneer brings top-quality fish to neighborhood
Robin Kawada

Robin Kawada

Nov. 9, By Kim Brown Reiner Although Takesushi opened in Sunnyside a little more than two years ago, food experts claim its owner established the first sushi restaurant in New York City nearly three decades ago. Woodside resident, chef and owner Robin Kawada--who at one time owned Takesushi restaurants in Manhattan, Washington D.C., Toronto and on Long Island-- is quick to back up that claim. “I have been in the restaurant business for 40 years,” said Kawada, 66. “Takesushi was the first sushi restaurant in Manhattan in 1975.” Food expert and author of “The Secret Life of Sushi,” Trevor Corson, brought up that idea at a food panel in 2010. At the time it caused quite a stir, others claimed the distinction belonged to Hatsuhana or Nippon. Whatever the truth, Takesushi, which means bamboo, was one of the first sushi restaurants in New York City. The current iteration opened in Sunnyside “accidentally” according to Kawada. When the lease on his Woodmere, Long Island restaurant was up, Kawada looked for a place in Manhattan but couldn’t find the proper venue. At the time, Transylvania, at 43-46 42nd Street, had closed its doors so Kawada thought, “Why not Queens?” He soon found out what Queens was like. Business was slow, his restaurant has yet to be reviewed by a major publication and he has had to lower prices by 20%. Omakase, for example, a large variety of chef selected specialty sushi, like sea urchin, scallop and eel, costs $58 as opposed to $100 for a comparable dish in Manhattan. Most dishes are far less expensive. But for Kawada, everything is secondary to the quality of fish, even profit. “I’m open not to make money, but at least not to use up my savings,” he said. Reverence for fish is something he learned growing up in Japan. “In Japan each fish has a shrine,” he said. “Each fisherman prays for their fish. They live with that fish. They don’t want to waste it.” takesushifrontWhen he first moved to the United States in 1968, he worked in import/export and as a restaurant cashier, eventually running his own distribution business at the Fulton Fish Market until 9-11. For more than a decade afterwards, he had a business processing sea urchin in Maspeth and shipping it to Japan. The success of his first distribution venture allowed him to open the original Takesushi and import not only high-quality fish, but a well-established chef from Japan. Working alongside the chef, Kawada received his own training. “There is no school for fish. You cut it, you touch it, you taste it,” he said. Back then, as now, his fish was praised for its excellent quality, but also simplicity. “Each fish has a special taste. So many restaurants put something on the fish, like mayonnaise. It may taste good in your mouth, but it’s not good for this fish.” More than forty-five years after starting to work at the Fulton Fish Market, Kawada stills goes to the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx every day to buy and clean fresh fish, not farmed fish, for Takesushi. He also works at the restaurant seven days a week, and has not taken a day off in 500 days, he said. In addition, he owns a 15-seat restaurant in Japan. Decades in the restaurant and fish distribution business have made Kawada more comfortable rattling off details about seasonal fish and his restaurant than his own four children, at least with this reporter. Tuna is best at this time of year. In the summer, after a fish lays eggs, she is not as tasty. The November menu includes blowfish tempura, monkfish liver, and Miyazaki beef, delicacies rarely eaten outside of Japan. His passion for quality food has frustrated him with people who care more about low prices and appearances. “Anytime fish looks nice people think it’s good,” he said. And the desire for cheap prices has led to misunderstandings about the art of sushi. “Some people think they don’t like sea urchin because they have never had good sea urchin,” he said. Occasionally, customers will sit at the sushi bar and spend $300, but it’s rare. Moreover, Kawada is unimpressed with competitors who don’t take the same pride he does in buying, cleaning and storing quality fish. “Maybe they all wear gloves because they don’t know how to prepare fish,” he said. The single-minded drive to serve quality fish has earned him a name among foodies on websites like Urbanspoon and Chowhound, as well as loyal customers throughout Queens. A woman at the sushi bar on Tuesday night said she was a regular for a decade in Manhattan and has been at the new Takesushi every week since it opened in 2012. Another regular said it was important to mention Kawada’s fine character, in addition to his fine fish. But quality fish above all else may be what’s keeping Kawada from mainstream success. He does not care about the decorations in his restaurant--a fish net, some scarecrows, and witches in the window--or even the dishware. “I don’t spend money on decorations because that means less for fish. I use cheap plates. I don’t use extra flowers,” he said. “I’m 66. Maybe the service is no good, but the fish is OK.” The service is just fine. The Michelin Guide may have skipped over Takesushi, however, because it doesn’t offer fine dining service. While that omission is fine by Kawada, the lack of media interest is more confounding. “I know I make the best quality food, I know it,” he said. “But no one comes to review it.” Reviews usually mean more customers, which means more money to buy better quality fish, which is all that matters in the end. “I try to use the best fish to make the best quality sushi,” he said. “That is all.” sushi6
Please note: Takesushi is an advertiser with the SunnysidePost
Capt Brian Hennessy, commanding officer of the 108 police precinct, transferred to another precinct
Captain-Brian-Hennessy1 Nov. 6, By Christian Murray The commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct—which covers Sunnyside, Woodside & Long Island City—has been transferred to head up a larger more crime-ridden Queens precinct. Captain Brian Hennessy, who has spent just 18 months as the commanding officer of the 108, started today as the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and the north section of Corona. That precinct is larger and has more problems--such as gang activity, prostitution and drugs. The move represents a promotion, since gaining experience in a tougher precinct is often viewed as the way captains climb up the NYPD ladder. While the 108 has had some high-profile crimes recently—such as the robbery of an 81-year old at a Chase ATM and a wave of burglaries in Sunnyside—the precinct is still viewed as a low-crime area. The crime rate—based on the number of reports—is flat so far this year, compared to the same period in 2013. The number of murders and reported rapes are down—although the number of burglaries are up about 7 percent. Hennessy said he enjoyed his time at the 108 Precinct. “I love this community and its leaders,” Hennessy said. “There are so many people who care and want to get involved,” he said. “It was an honor to be there.” The NYPD has yet to appoint a new commanding officer. In the interim, Capt. Richard Hellman, the executive officer of the 108th Precinct, is in command. However, Hennessy’s short stint did disappoint many—since most commanding officers stay at a precinct for two-to-three years. “I am very upset that he is leaving us so soon,” said Diane Ballek, the president of the 108 Community Council. “He is the best captain we have had in a long time,” Ballek said. “If you needed to reach him he was always there,” she said. “He would talk to people [with quality-of-life issues] for an hour some times.” His predecessor Capt. Donald Powers was viewed by many as less responsive and not so much of a people-person, several people said. “I am disappointed [that Capt. Hennessy has been transferred] since I believe he was doing a good job,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I appreciated working with him and thought he was responsive and a straight shooter who cared about our neighborhood.” Van Bramer said he would be asking NYPD officials whether Hennessy’s short stint represents a new policy or whether what happened was an anomaly. Van Bramer also said he wants a new commanding officer to be named soon. “We cannot have a prolonged absence of leadership,” he said.

Crime Numbers 2014

Quality of Chase Bank’s video footage following robbery of 81-year old called into question by relatives and Van Bramer
Poster of Suspects in robbery

Poster of Suspects in robbery

Nov. 4, By Christian Murray This morning Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and his staff were handing out posters at the 46th Street station in Sunnyside calling on the public for information concerning the robbery of an 81-year-old man at the Chase Bank ATM at 46-10 Queens Blvd. The photos of the two suspects released by the police were grainy and some residents who reviewed the posters could barely make out their faces. “You really don’t see anything; maybe I can see this guy,” said one woman, who is a former member of the Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club. Kate Flanagan, whose grandfather William Eichhorn was the victim, said: “I am so upset and horrified by the quality of the images.” “This is an enormous bank—with billions of dollars--and that is the quality of their cameras,” Flanagan said. “We have blurry images of these cowards… now they may get away with it and attack someone else. It’s disgusting.” d26vanbramer1The attack occurred inside the ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday Oct. 26. The suspects punched Eichhorn in the face and fled with $100 and his debit card. The footage released by the police—who obtained it from Chase-- just shows photos of the suspects’ backs. There are no photos of the suspects as they came in or out of the bank, which led to questions whether the bank has exterior cameras at all.  Meanwhile, there are just two cameras inside the ATM area. Van Bramer, who told attendees at a press conference this morning how Sunnyside and Woodside are close-knit safe neighborhoods, said afterward that he is looking into legislation that would require banks to regularly review the quality of their cameras to make sure that they are transmitting top-notch images. “I would like to see clearer images and I would expect a bank of this size to regularly monitor the quality of their footage,” Van Bramer said. “We don’t know when their cameras were installed--it could have been 10 years ago for all we know.” Van Bramer said that people are particularly at risk when they are taking out money from the ATM. “When someone follows you in [to the ATM area] with the intent to cause harm, you are extremely vulnerable,” he said. However, at the same time, “there is also this presumption of safety in a bank that there are cameras.” Van Bramer said that his office got funding for the NYPD to put a security camera outside Duane Reade on the corner of Queens Blvd and 48th Street. He said that the footage from that camera is first rate. Therefore, he believes that there must be better technology available to banks. The branch manager at the Chase branch would not comment as to the age of the cameras surrounding the ATMs and how often they are checked. A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase’s Consumer Banking division was not immediately available for comment.
Katie, Mary Ann,William

Kate Flanagan (Eichhorn's granddaughter), Mary Ann Gasparro (daughter),William Eichhorn (victim)

Prior coverage: http://sunnysidepost.com/2014/10/27/81-year-old-sunnysider-beaten-and-robbed-at-chase-bank/
Construction starts on Sunnyside/Woodside slow zones
Queens DOT Commission Dalia Hall

Queens DOT Commissioner Dalila Hall

Nov. 3, By Christian Murray The construction of two “new slow zones” that incorporates about 150 residential streets in Sunnyside and Woodside has begun. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer held a press conference outside PS 199 to mark the occasion and said that the two slow zones will reduce the speed limit to 20 mph and will, ultimately, save lives. “We have to make sure that not one young person loses their life on the streets of New York and this is further progress toward that point,” Van Bramer said. The two slow zones cover two designated sections of the neighborhood. One zone covers about 100 blocks south of Queens Blvd, while the other covers 50 blocks on the northern side of Queens Blvd—including Sunnyside Gardens. The slow zones are marked by large blue signs that state the 20 mph speed limit. Within a zone, speed bumps and 20 mph markings are on some of the streets. slowzonesThe two zones were selected by the Department of Transportation after Van Bramer’s office put in a request for them. Van Bramer’s office provided the DOT with details such as the number of crashes in the area—as well as schools and daycare centers. The zone that covers the south side of Queens Blvd—called the “Sunnyside Slow Zone” --is bound by 36th Street to the west; 51st Street to the east; Queens Blvd to the north; and Laurel Hill Blvd to the south. Construction started on that zone a few weeks ago and the DOT is adding 20 speed bumps to the existing eight speed bumps. There will be 32 entry points that will be marked by blue 20 mph gateway signs. The DOT aims to complete the “Sunnyside Slow Zone” before winter sets in. There have been four deaths in the “Sunnyside” zone since 2007, with many serious injuries, according to the DOT. There are also four schools in the zone. Meanwhile, construction on the zone that covers the northern section of Sunnyside/Woodside—called the “Sunnyside Garden-Woodside Slow Zone—will not begin until spring. This zone, which incorporates about 50 blocks, is bound by 43rd Street to the west; Queens Blvd and Roosevelt Avenue to the south; 38th Avenue and Barnett Ave to the north; and 58th Street to the east. The “Sunnyside Garden-Woodside Slow Zone” will include 17 speed bumps in addition to the 13 that are already there. There will also be 19 entrances to the slow zone that would be marked by the blue 20 mph gateway sign. Since 2007, there has been one death in that zone, with many people severely injured. Furthermore, there are six schools/daycare centers in the area. The Department of Transportation claims that the speed zones help reduce injuries and deaths. Its studies indicate that a pedestrian hit at 40 mph only has a 30% chance of surviving, while one hit at 20 mph has a 95% chance of surviving. Community Board 2 unanimously approved the two speed zones at its September month meeting—although two attendees at the meeting said that the slow zones were not needed and that the blue signs were unattractive—particularly in Sunnyside Gardens. However, Van Bramer said, the "Best way to keep everyone safe is to slow traffic,” adding that “Nothing is more important than making our streets safer for children, seniors and residents." The two Sunnyside/Woodside slow zones are the sixth and seventh zones in Queens. Meanwhile, starting this Friday Nov. 7, the speed limit on all New York City streets will become 25 mph, unless posted otherwise.  

2014 09 02 Slow Zone Sunnyside and Sundside Gardens Woodside(1)

30-year old wins ‘Sunnysider of the Year’ award
Oguzhan Turan

Oguzhan Turan

Nov. 2, By Christian Murray A 30-year-old Turkish immigrant will be receiving the 2015 Sunnysider of the Year award at the Tangra ballroom (39-23 Queens Blvd) Monday evening. Oguzhan Turan, who is the executive director of the Sunnyside-based Turkish Cultural Center Queens, will be receiving the joint award from the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and SunnysideArtists.org. The award is handed out to someone who lives or works in Sunnyside who has contributed to the greater good without regard to faith, fundraising or politics. Turan was nominated by a committee representing both organizations—as well as past winners-- and was voted for the award unanimously, according to Patricia Dorfman, founder of Sunnysideartists.org and former Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce member. The award, officially called the Luke Adams’ Sunnysider of the Year award, was first bestowed on Luke Adams in 2011. The Turkish Cultural Center Queens is best known in this neighborhood for its Ramadan celebration when it feeds hundreds of people under a tent it sets up in Sunnyside for a number of evenings each year. The group also gained attention after Superstorm Sandy when it handed out 5,000 cups of soup and made a $50,000 donation to help repair a damaged Queens Library branch. Turan, as an individual, is known for his personal service to others, wrote Dorfman for the Woodside Herald. “Turan can always be counted on to show up before anyone else, do physical work if required, and make the charitable activities of others come to fruition. He is there in a crisis, including personal,” Dorfman wrote. “He does car runs for the needy, sets up and builds tents for street fair booths, and gives of his own money and time on a daily basis.” Turan will be the fifth winner of the award. It has gone to Luke Adams, Queen of Angles priest Brian Dowd, Francis Schmidt (a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club) and Donald McCallian (who runs the community organization the United 40s Civic Association.  

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