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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

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

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college.

The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat.

The two officers went into action.

Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition.

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

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

POSTER

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

“I think that this is a great way to bring the community together,” White said. “It is also a way to remind everyone of how many adults and children are homeless.”

White plans to make the event a competitive race as well as a fun run.

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

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

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

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

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

Race map

Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots

IMG_0011(1)

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

The bank, however, was fictional. It was decked out as part of a set for the TV show Person of Interest, a sci-fi crime drama series.

Bank Queens Blvd SunnysideThe bank has been used for many TV shoots. Scenes for the crime-series Blue Bloods staring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg were shot there last year when a robbery was staged there as part of its 100th anniversary episode.

John Ciafone, the owner of the building, said that he gets a lot of interest from TV and film crews looking to use the bank space.

Late last year a small independent movie company also used the bank for it film.

Ciaphone said the bank will be used for movie and TV sets up until the time the building is demolished to make way for apartments. The building is expected to be demolished in the second half of this year.

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

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

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

Van Bramer

Jan. 22, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slow zonesVan Bramer said that he has been working on many transportation issues since he has been in office—with the greatest number of constituent cases he and his staff have had to deal with being transportation concerns.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

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

anti-muslim

Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

.

muslim

.

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

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hours: 11 am – 11 pm seven days.

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

Pizza2

brick 005

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Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside

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

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

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

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

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

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

expose

Jan. 16, Staff Report

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

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

The suspect fled when a customer entered the store.

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

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

 

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Updated Sunnyside map released, to be distributed to hotels, real estate offices and businesses

Sunnyside shines map

Jan. 16, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s 2015 neighborhood map has been updated and is about to be released.

The Sunnyside map, produced by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, features a full-color illustrated map of the neighborhood and an updated business directory.

Fifteen thousand maps have been printed and will be distributed at hotels in western Queens, local real estate offices and businesses, and community events in an effort to draw newcomers and orient new residents to the neighborhood.  The map is updated each year with a new business directory, including businesses that are either members of the Sunnyside Shines BID or the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

The Sunnyside map was originally designed in 2013, and was the product of a design competition among students from LaGuardia Community College.

The original and updated map features the winning artwork from former LaGuardia student Carmen Zhu. Students in the art and humanities department were tasked with creating artwork for a map that highlighted neighborhood landmarks and amenities.

The map artwork was combined with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses, which funded the design and printing costs.

“The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year.”

Linda Santini-Tripodis, owner of local business Merit Group Realty, said that she provides a copy of the map to all new residents looking to move into the neighborhood.

“They love the map because it puts all of Sunnyside’s vendors at your fingertips!” Santini-Tripodis said.

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

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Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

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

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

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

Daniel Dromm

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

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

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

Greenpoint Avenue

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

OT Inside

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

43-19 Queens Blvd

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

Google map of corner lot

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

Icon 52

New development site, former location of VFW Post

New development site, former location of VFW Post

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

Property Shark

   
Sunnyside Center Cinemas closes, as it makes way for development
CenterCinemas Jan. 5, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinema played its final film last night representing an end of an era. The theater was in operation since the late 1940s at a time when there were at least three other movie theaters in the neighborhood as well as the Sunnyside Garden Arena, which was once a popular boxing and wrestling venue. In the 1960s, there was the Bliss Theater on Greenpoint Avenue, which is where the Jehovah’s Witness Hall is located today. Furthermore there was the Sunnyside Theatre, which was located on Roosevelt Avenue and 51st Street (the building has been demolished) and there was also the 43rd Street Theatre, located across the street from the Sunnyside library.
(Source: Forgotten NY)

(Source: Forgotten NY, former Bliss Theater)

The closure of Cinema Cinemas represents a new period for Sunnyside as several older buildings are likely to come down to make way for larger residential buildings. Just two months ago, AB Capstone Development sought permits from the Building Department to demolish the former King Boulevard store—and adjacent stores-- on Greenpoint Avenue as it plans to develop the site. The rezoning of Sunnyside/Woodside in 2011 provided developers with the ability to construct larger buildings on Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Blvd. The rezoning made it economically advantageous for property owners and developers to put up new structures.
Source: Forgotten NY

Source: Forgotten NY (former 43 Street Theater)

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said last night that he was sad to close the theater but he had no choice but to leave. He said he hopes that John Ciafone, who is developing the site, will stick to his word and discuss reopening the theater when the project is complete. Prashad said he has until January 10 to move out—from getting his projectors out to taking out all the seats. While Prashad has three other independent theaters—one in Islip, Baldwin and Kew Gardens—he said the issue is not about how many theaters he has. “It’s not about whether I have three, four or 10,” Prashad said. “It is about Sunnyside and I love it here.” cinemabloom 013

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