Comment section undergoes revamp

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60 Responses to Comment section undergoes revamp

  1. Terry

    Good idea!

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  2. Me

    Like!

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  3. BOO

    BOO, so much for a community blog. what next our guns?

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  4. Fernando

    I am sad to hear this. Half the fun of this website was reading all of the comments. Especially from all of the Rubens.

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  5. Sue

    I support this- Sunnyside Post is an excellent source of micro-local news and, frequently, ideas are raised in the comments section that are helpful. Yet in its present format, reading the comments section is like running a gauntlet filled with masked people screaming abuse. Let's try for civility.

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  6. No Name

    I wish we would use Email address required since I have seen letters and someone using the name I have used and I dont want anyone to associate me with those letters!

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  7. Matt C

    Good for you.

    There's a couple options to look into for better commenting — might be worth looking into if you spend too much time raking thru the comments.

    http://disqus.com/

    http://branch.com/learn-more

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  8. local

    Good idea! The comments section used to be colorful and interesting, but lately it's turned into a cesspool of idiocy and hate. Glad changes are on the way!

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  9. you all make me laugh

    Well I guess I won't be visiting this site anymore. The comic banter of the comment section was the highlite by FAR.

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  10. Oppressed Masses

    So does this mean we will no longer read comments about a priest performing miracle cures on dogs?

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  11. Sunnysyde

    Some of you can just go to gothamist where there is only 1 serious comment out of 100, you may be welcomed with your "funny" comments over there. There is no thumbs up or + here, so most people don't care about your clever jokes or puns or near racist comments.

    Something happened the other day at the corner of greenpoint and 46th ave. There was a man lying on the sidewalk and fdny and nypd were both on the scene and there was a police tape in front of the dentist.
    I am very surprised that this blog misses to cover these kind of incidents. Also we rarely hear about the stuff happening until it happens and then we hear about how quiet or busy it was.. Instead of focusing on comments, we need more quality content. Require registration (not facebook) and allow subscription to the blog post we commented, there will be less and less multiple peopleposting with same name over and over.

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  12. TheRealRuben

    I TOLD YA, I called it, I told you that it was a slippery slope to start choosing which comments stay and which comments go. Now the moderator has changed the site into a DICTATORSHIP,

    you just cut your traffic in half

    For the rest of ya, Everytime you see Squirts the Change bum. THINK OF MEEEE!!! MUAHAHHAHAHAHA BYEEEEEEEE

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  13. Mike Novak

    Make everyone accountable for their words.

    Make everyone post with their real, verified names.

    Kick the cowards and racists to the curb!

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  14. TheRealRuben

    Mike is the kinda guy who supports Sopa and Pipa,

    I like my privacy Mike, I don't need some maniac looking me up and coming to my house to have a "word" with me because he disagrees with my right to freedom of speech.

    you want my social security and date of birth while you're at it Mike?

    buncha damn elitists up in Here

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  15. Krissi

    Oh Thank you. I love you for writing this blog and am so happy to listen to different viewpoints about the community, but lately reading this page has been more stressful than it should be with the misplaced anger, racism, and overall nastiness of the comments section.

    I'm not saying that it should all be sunshine and roses, but we should be expressing our viewpoints in a CONSTRUCTIVE way.

    Oh, and I use my real name on this.

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  16. 86Mets

    Free speech - as long as you agree with me and say what I want to hear!

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  17. Krissi

    86Mets

    There's a difference between differing opinions and abuse.

    He's not infringing on your rights of free speech. If you want an outlet for your opinions, you are more than welcome to start your own blog.

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  18. CircleK

    Require login or at least include a thumps up for people to click and sort comments by greatest thumbs up. That way people read a few good comments and once the reach the obnoxious ones they know to stop.

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  19. Sunnysider4Life

    sounds good.

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  20. 86Mets

    Comments criticizing JVB in any way, shape or form will not be tolerated!

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  21. TheRealRuben

    Krissi,

    censoring language...fine, Banning outright racism and hate speech, fine. I'm not talking about not liking the latinos from the north side, I'm talking blatant Nazi stuff, ok I understand

    but that's not whats been going on here in this site, the mod has chosen to be Judge Jury and Executioner. This is no longer a public news media where the mod is exercising his right to release the news to the public, he's controlling his environment.

    so this is no longer a public outlet for Sunnside, it's just some guy running a news site for sunnyside. Good luck with that in all its gloried 'professionalism"

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  22. Disgusted

    FINALLY!

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  23. Roy Doodiehead

    Comments are stupid and a waste of bandwidth. No insight has ever come from a comment nor has anyone ever changed there mind or become enlightened from one. They are just echo chambers where people with no other outlet go to rant and say useless, usually racist things. Just drop the comments section altogether. No news site needs them beyond trying to boost eyes on ads. There isn't any other purpose besides that.

    And yes, this applies to this comment I just made.

    Sincerely,
    R. Doodiehead III. Esq.

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  24. Deniz

    I am encouraged by the cleaning up of the comments section. As the primary source of information in and about the neighborhood, the "fun" bantering that goes on here really does hinder the flow of any sort of meaningful dialogue to take place between neighbors. I also thinking requiring email addresses a good idea - I've had people use my name for example - whether inadvertently or not. Anyway, best of luck to SunnysidePost.com! Thank you for all that you're doing - we'd be in trouble without you -

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  25. 86Mets

    "Kicking" people "to the curb" he doesn't agree with seems to be Mike Novak's idea of civil discourse.

    My comment pointing this out a few minutes ago has already been deleted but Novak's bellicose threat of physical harm remain on the thread.

    Seriously SP, are you really that interested in cleaning things up here or just getting rid of people you don't agree with?

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  26. JuliaJ.

    Censorship. Very nice. Welcome to the brave new world. There is difference between "hate speech" and opinions with which one disagrees. Healthy debate is essential.

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  27. 86Mets

    Moderator,

    Why do you leave up Mike Novak's comment in which he expresses a desire to physically harm other commenters?

    How is that not considered inappropriate under your new commenting policy?

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  28. 86Mets

    @O'Shea

    Sunnyside s'est déja transformé en ville cosmopolitain comme Paris. Comme Paris, il y a les crottes de chien partout sur le trottoir.

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    • Sunnyside Post

      All comments are to be in English.

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  29. Local Hamburgler

    "All comments are to be in English." -- Sunnyside Post

    Whoa, easy there... You're cruisin' for a bruising Christian.

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  30. Heidi

    Thank you!

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  31. 86Mets

    English only?

    Sunnyside is a multicultural community. Spanish is also widely spoken here. Why the hatred an discrimination against non-English speaking residents?

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  32. TheRealRuben

    And the elitist attitude continues, Now we can't even speak another language !

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  33. Nom de Plume

    So much for diversity.

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  34. JuliaJ.

    The French comments are about what the dogs do on the sidewalks. Comment dit-on en francais, "LOL?"

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  35. Nom de Plume

    Yes Julia. Between the outdoor cafe seating and the sidewalk dog poop, Sunnyside is giving the French capital a run for the money. All we need to do is re-name Queen of Angels to Notre Dame and we're on our way. And we already have at least one bitchy waiter.

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  36. Sunnyside Native

    Good idea, Christian! As you are a dog owner, feel free to delete Oppressed Masses crazy ramblings about dogs. :) He needs a dog to make some friends. :) All the people who posted as some form of Ruben pretty much 'hijacked' this forum/blog a couple weeks ago. Although it was entertaining to some extent, it was nonsense. And as a person who is bilnigual to both English and Spanish, thank you for declaring the blog comments to be in English.

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  37. Sunnyside

    Oh quit complaining people, this site is OWNED by SOMEONE, that means they can make whatever rules they see fit. The free speech argument is invalid. There is a clear line that I've seen way too many people cross here and I'm glad the Post put stricter rules in place. If you don't like it make your own Sunnyside website and go post your nonsensical and off-topic crap over there. Either that or get a life

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  38. Pretentious Hipster

    Peace out ladies.

    Enjoy the your censored microblog/Jimmy Longjams mouthpiece.

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  39. Oppressed Masses

    With tamer comments, what will posters like Sunnyside Native have to talk about with her friends at the bar?

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  40. Oppressed Masses

    One suggestion, if I may. Please ban the use of emoticons in the comment section. They really make the comments look childish.

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  41. Marty Concerned

    Thank you very much for providing an internet message board where we can voice our opinions in an educated manner ...Bye Bye Ruben & Good Riddance too ,I'm sure you ,and possibly a couple more clowns 9 Not many really ) are the reason for this.You will find another kids message board where you can join!

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  42. JuliaJ.

    I can't believe that Mr. Rispoli does not show up on any security cameras that evening.

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  43. JuliaJ.

    Wrong comments section! Oops - the excitement got to me!

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  44. EdgarC

    See, this is why we can't have nice things!

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  45. TheRealRuben

    Sunnyside Post has become Pretentious, to house the pretentious hipsters of Sunnyside.

    it has come full circle.

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  46. Pete

    Good work Christian. Btw I for one would be willing to pay a subscription fee for access to the Post.

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  47. Sunnyside Native

    Oppressed Masses needs to take his daily Viagra, get lucky with somebody (anybody) and learn to play nice! HE is emotionally and socially stunted. Where is the crying emoticon? Good for you Christian taking control of your own website! :) :) :) :) :)

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  48. Avery

    Hopefully this is goodbye to all the bigots who write in to this space.

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  49. birdmann

    *yawn* yeah i gotta tell ya. love the long paragraphs about basically nothng interteresting BRING IT ON!!!

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  50. Ministry of truth

    what if I am THINKING racist and hateful thoughts and thinking that I don't want to be part of the Sunnyside Post Party where all people must think alike, will you come up behind me and put a bullet in my head like the dude in 1984?

    Winston Smith lives!!!

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  51. Anonymous

    Good for you. There were some clearly mentally ill folks monopolizing the comments. Difference of opinion can be expressed in a constructive adult way. That was not what was going on here. If people think that means this site is a "dictatorship" then they should move elsewhere for their free speech. We all have the freedom to start our very own hate or love filled blogs devoted to Sunnyside news. No one is stopping us. Stop complaining, or maintain your own news blog.

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  52. 43rd@43rd

    "Mike Novak January 30, 2013 • 10:55 am
    Make everyone accountable for their words.
    Make everyone post with their real, verified names."

    So Mike, you want us to register for freedom of speech? Imposing restrictions onto the 1st Amendment just like the 2nd, and treating everyone a criminal under these restrictions and "patriot" acts. Name Verification? So come to where I live and demand my ID and maybe issue background checks before we are allowed to type or own a computer or to think? Treat us all as criminals because of the improper actions of the few and take away our freedoms because some misuse them.

    Sorry, I thought this was the country my great-great-etc... helped create and fought for. Guess I was wrong. My family came across in 1632 and I'm sad to say this country has truly gone far astray from its aspirations during my generation.

    There may be no better country in the world to live in terms of Freedom, but that doesn't mean we're as free as we should be by once "inalienable" rights.

    A foreign friend of mine said a couple of decades ago how great America was because we had the freedom to burn own our flags. Sadly a few years after that Congress attempted to pass the Flag Desecration Amendment (that failed by just one vote).

    The more freedoms we allow to be taken away due to fears or closed-mindedness the more enslaved our children and theirs will become.

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  53. Jemma

    Oh thank God! I hope this is the last batch of comments on this site and I just want to come here and read the happenings of the neighborhood. That's what this site should be about to begin with. If anyone feels otherwise than take the time and effort to build a site that is a message board and you people can insult each other all day long on it.

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  54. Slainte

    The blog owner is entitled to manage his comments section however he sees fit. It's true that we have free speech but nobody else is obliged to provide you with a platform for it.

    Having said that, the charm of news blogs like this is the rough and tumble and unpredictability of the comments section - (how many times do people click back to read the main stories again as opposed to checking in on the latest comments?)

    And the diversity of opinions expressed is exciting but it seems that diversity isn't always a good thing, even in a borough that prides itself on it.

    There are also those who only want to hear opinions that coincide with their own, those who only want their own views confirmed. There are those who denigrate people who don't agree with them, call them names and even imply physical threats - then with breathtaking hypocrisy, lament the lack of polite discourse.

    Some commenters like to act as palace guards for favorite local politicians and have a meltdown when someone dares to criticize them. They might even want to take your name down as McCarthyite intimidation tactic.

    Obviously, this site is right up their alley, or soon will be.

    Either way, as far as who gets to say what here, it is indeed the blog owner's call. That much I agree with many of you on. Best of luck.

    Slainte

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  55. Slainte

    P.S.

    I should also add that IMO the Sunnyside Post has been absolutely indispensable for anyone wanting to know what's happening in the Sunnyside/Woodside area.

    The site owner should be proud that it has attracted people of all backgrounds, educational levels and political persuasions; many of whom take the time to comment, even if those comments can sometimes be annoying, politically-incorrect or just plain silly. I'd say the SP fits the definition of "common ground" in that sense.

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  56. Lucky Lou

    I wholeheartedly support this move by Sunnyside Post. I am all for firey disagreement on the issues that arise from the stories posted here, but they should be discussions on topic and not grounded in cliches, stereotypes and conspiracy theories, all things that seem to run rampant among a handful of the commentors. I have never found Ruben's comments funny or englightening. I think this website is a real service and the more I learn about Sunnyside after having moved here over 7 years ago, the more proud I am of this community and the more I want to become involved in its betterment. There are plenty of people who comment who have valid, informative and interesting things to say. Those whose comments fall outside of those parameters are welcome to start their own news(less) site to house all of their vitrol, ignorance and stupidity. The rest of of us with brains, compassion and common sense will stay here. Good work, Christian!

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  57. sully

    ...thank you .....i was deterred by some comments, thinking them inappropriate and at times offensive.....i like the idea of this site being a forum for the community to share diverse ideas in an adult,diplomatic manner.....without the nonsense....thanks again!

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  58. Slainte

    Lucky Lou wrote: "There are plenty of people who comment who have valid, informative and interesting things to say."

    In other words, people who agree with him.

    Lucky Lou also wrote: "Those whose comments fall outside of those parameters are welcome to start their own news(less) site to house all of their vitrol, ignorance and stupidity. "

    In other words, anyone who doesn't agree with him.

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  59. Barbara

    know it's nitpicking (and not for publication) but it is Grand Central Terminal, not Grand Central (statin). Grand Central Station is the Post Office on Lexington and 45th.

    Glad to hear you're keeping a rein on some of the more outrageous comments. It's easy to complain, too much effort into making things better.

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Manhattan man robs 97-year-old Sunnyside woman in her home, sentenced to 11 years prison

prison

Dec. 18, By Christian Murray

A 59-year Manhattan man pleaded guilty today in connection with two home invasions—including one that involved a 97-year-old Sunnyside woman.

Salvador Morales, from 158th Street,  would follow older women home, gain access to their apartment and then rob them.

“One’s home is their castle and should be a place of refuge and safety, not a crime scene,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown. “In robbing his victims inside their homes, the defendant stole more than just money and personal property, he stole his victims’ security.”

Morales will be sentenced to 11-years prison, Brown said.

The 97-year old Sunnyside woman was targeted by Morales on April 19, 2014, when he followed her into her apartment building.

Morales, who was wearing a surgical mask, rode up the elevator with the woman and then a short time later knocked on her door claiming he had been sent by the landlord to check for leaks.

Morales then ran the water in her kitchen.

He then asked the victim for change for $100 and the 97-year-old produced an envelope containing cash.

Morales then splashed water on the woman’s hands and convinced her to remove her rings in order not to damage them.

He then fled the apartment with the woman’s rings and the envelope containing more than $700 in cash.

In Flushing, Morales followed two senior citizens home after they left a nearby bank on April 5. As the two women were entering their apartment, he pushed both of them to the floor. He then fled with one woman’s pocketbook contained more than $1000.

The other woman sustained a fractured leg as a result of the push and was taken to hospital.

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Residents produces video: ‘Christmas in Sunnyside’

Christmas in Sunnyside, Queens, NYC from George on Vimeo.

A Sunnyside resident has put together a video titled “Christmas in Sunnyside”.

George Burles, who provides frequent videos to this site, shot it in the past week.

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12 weekends of No. 7 train service cuts through May: Nine to impact Sunnyside

weekendoutages

Dec. 17, By Christian Murray

Get ready for the latest round of No. 7 train weekend service cuts.

The MTA released its schedule for the first five months of 2015 and the No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends. Five of those weekend will see cuts between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street.

In addition, there will be weekend service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street on three other weekends.

The first weekend of the Times Square/Queensboro Plaza cuts is scheduled to take place January 17-19, which will be the first of four weekends in a row that it will be down.

The MTA says that the cuts are in order for it to install a new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal system; replace elevated tracks; and for the reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tubes (which connects Queens to Manhattan).

The MTA, which is a state-run agency, claims that majority of this work has been scheduled over weekends when ridership is lower than normal.

Van Bramer said that it was unacceptable that the MTA would close service for several weekends in a row in January and February—during the coldest month of the year.

He said that residents might be a little more forgiving about the closures if they had seen improved service as promised. However, “the truth is that over the past few months No. 7 train regular service has been poor and there have been lots of delays.”

He said that on December 11 the delays were so bad that the overcrowded subway platforms put commuters at risk.

 

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Sunnyside farmers market to be open all year round

Sunnyside-market

Dec. 16, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket, which had been operating from May through December, has been approved to open all year round.

The coordinator of the program received word about 10 days ago–after putting in a request earlier this year to open every Saturday for the entire year.

Greenmarket representatives started a petition drive in August calling for a year-round market. More than 1,000 residents signed it. The community board then sent a letter of support.

The market operates every Saturday from 8 am through 3pm and is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

“I think the neighborhood is ready for it,” said Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, in September. “There are a lot of people in the area who like fresh, local food—and they don’t want to have to go too far to get it especially in winter.”

The market, which opened in June 2007, has proved to be a success. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling vegetables, meat, fish and bread.

Most of the vendors will continue to operate during the ice-cold winter months—with only the wine and fish vendors unlikely to participate.

The move to open a year-round is not unprecedented in Queens. Cagle said the market in Jackson Heights, which was once seasonal, now operates all year round.

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Center Cinemas likely to close Jan. 4, as owner rejects six-month lease extension

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

The owner of Sunnyside Center Cinemas has rejected the six-month lease extension that he was offered by the building owner last week —saying the extension is just too short.

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said it was not worth hiring new staff or unpacking his equipment for six extra months. His last day remains January 4.

“My bags are packed and are pretty much sitting at the front door,” he said.

Prashad said that he mulled over the offer over the weekend but decided it didn’t make sense. “I’ve been making preparations, dealing with staff and it just doesn’t work for me to go back for that short of time.”

Prashad said that he had been trying to reach the owner for the past year to work out where he stood with his lease. He said that if he had been offered the extension three months ago then it would have worked out.

However, at this point, he would be only be willing to stay if he was offered at least 12 months.

Prashad said that movie theaters like his tend to make their money in summer and scrape by in winter. A six month lease would end just before the summer peak seasib kicks in.

Several residents are hoping that the property owner John Ciafone will offer Prashad a longer lease.

Many want to know if Ciafone is able to build the apartments above the theater without completely demolishing it.

A rally is scheduled to take place between 12:30 and 1:30 pm in front of the theater this Sunday and is being organized by local residents Ty Sullivan and Jon Storck.

“We hope it might help open up a discussion between the landlord and the theater owner,” Sullivan said, who believes the rally will be worthwhile.

Sullivan said the loss of the theater would hurt low-income families the most– since many would be unable to afford going to the big multiplex cinemas in Astoria or elsewhere.

The rally, Sullivan said, also aims to show that Sunnyside is a community and that people care.

“This is a neighborhood that is made up of independently-owned and family-owned businesses,” he said. “It’s family-friendly and affordable and we don’t want to lose that. We want to tell buildings owners that is who we are and that’s how we would like to remain.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he supports those involved in the rally—such as Sullivan and Storck.

“I want them to know I am behind them and I will be amplifying their voices as their council member,” he said

Van Bramer encourages John Ciafone to come back to the negotiating table to see what can be done.

“I will be reaching out to John Ciafone and his family again,” he said.

save

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Two residents turning Sunnyside into a hub for comedy, with big show planned for Tuesday
Lindsay Goldwert

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio

Two Sunnyside comedians are turning the neighborhood into a go-to place for comedy.

Comedians Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, who have formed Sunnyside Comedy, have already produced two local shows and are about to put on their biggest event yet.

The two will be hosting “The X-mas Comedy Show” at Murphy’s, located at 48-20 Skillman Avenue, this Tuesday (Dec. 16) and are bringing nine comedians to the venue. Tickets will be  $10 and will be sold at the door. The show starts at 8:30 pm.

“We have put a lot of work into the Christmas show and are excited about the comedians who we have performing,” Goldwert said. (see line up below)

The two teamed up and began hosting comedy shows together this fall, after meeting at an open mic night in Manhattan over the summer.

“We both live in Sunnyside and Colin told me he was trying to put together comedy shows in the neighborhood,” Goldwert said. “It is a lot of work for one person and when he asked me to join, I did.”

Samuel hosted one show over the summer prior to teaming up with Goldwert. However, their first show as a duo, took place in October at The Dog and Duck on Skillman Ave.

The two have hosted two shows since– another at The Dog and Duck and one at Marlene Tavern.

Goldwert said that each venue provides attendees with a different experience. The Dog and Duck is a more casual venue, where people can enjoy a drink and the show, while Marlene Tavern has the classic comedy club feel to it.

Goldwert has been doing standup for a year, while Samuel has been in the business for some time.

They decided to host shows in Sunnyside to help promote local businesses, while also fill a void in the community.

“We love living here and wanted to bring comedy to the community,” she said. “There is a growth of comedy in LIC and Astoria and we wanted to add to that by bringing comedy shows to Sunnyside.”

“We like the idea of bringing something new to the neighborhood,” she added.

The pair aims to promote local businesses by having them sponsor shows. Each show will feature giveaways, with prizes provided by local bars and businesses.

Goldwert said Sunnyside Comedy plans to host three shows a month, with each show being free unless otherwise noted. Two shows a month will be at The Dog and Duck with one at Marlene Tavern.

For more information on Sunnyside Comedy, go to Twitter at @ComedySunnyside or Facebook: https://facebook.com/puttinonthebliss

Photo source: ‘It’s in Queens’

The event was originally planned to take place at Marlene’s Tavern but has been changed to Murphy’s at 48-20 Skillman Avenue.

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy's Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy’s Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

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Sunnysiders plan rally and start petition drive to save Center Cinemas– as landlord offers six-month extension

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 11, By Christian Murray

A petition has formed and a rally is being planned as local residents try to save Sunnyside Center Cinemas from the wrecking ball.

An online petition started Wednesday that has already garnered more than 240 signatures. Meanwhile, Ty Sullivan and Jon Stork, two local activists, are already planning to hold a rally outside the theater that is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 21 (details to come).

The petition—called “Save the Sunnyside Theater”– is addressed to the property owner/developer John Ciafone. It reads, in part, “Save the movie theater from demolition and have a new lease extended.”

Meanwhile, Sullivan is reaching out to the media and various community groups as he plans the rally. He is designing posters, fliers and launching a social-media campaign to generate community interest.

This activism comes at a time when Ciafone has just offered the owner of the theater Rudy Prashad a six month extension to his lease. After the six months, he would operate on a month-to month basis.

Prashad, however, seeks a longer lease claiming that he has organized movers and contractors to remove all the seats from the theater as required. Furthermore he has already told his staff about the upcoming closure.

“I don’t want to be in the same position in six months time where I am now,” Prashad said. “Then I’m operating on a month-to-month basis when I can be kicked out any time.”

“I need a 5 year lease–although I would take something in between,” Prashad said. However, he has not dismissed Ciafone’s offer at this point.

Prashad said that he has been surprised by the community’s desire to keep the theater going. “It shows people have a passion for the community and that they are looking out for their children and their neighbor’s children.”

Ciafone said that he decided to offer Prashad an extension since he still has a lot of work to do before he can start construction. Asked if he could do better than offer Prashad a 6 month extension—he said “that’s the best I can do.”

Ciafone plans on building a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being “affordable”. The building will also have ground floor retail and a community center on the second floor.

The building requires new foundations since it was not constructed with 5-7 stories in mind. Therefore, Ciafone said, the theater has to be demolished. Furthermore, there will be a need for underground parking.

“When I finished we could invite him [Prashad] back,” he said.

Ciafone was nonchalant about the “Save the theater” petition. “I could get a petition going with just as many signatures from people wanting affordable housing,” he said.

“The likely closure of the theater is a reflection of changing times,” said Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien. “You want to see small businesses prevail and they are the backbone of the economy but if they don’t have lease then there is not much you can do.”

O’Brien said it is a shame what’s happening since the cinema is one of the last vestiges of old-fashion entertainment in the area. He said there used to be several theaters in the neighborhood at one time and also the Sunnyside Gardens Arena.

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio

A massive two-alarm fire erupted inside a Woodside store yesterday morning, requiring more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, according to an FDNY spokeswoman.

The fire erupted at Don’s Professional Services, located at 38-05 69th Street, near Roosevelt Ave, just before 11 am on Wednesday morning. It then spread to three neighboring stores through a shared attic, according to the FDNY.

The fire was brought under control just before 11:45 am.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Lonely Planet names Queens as the best place to visit in US next year
Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report

The borough of Queens was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, a leading news outlet that covers the travel industry.

Queens drew praise for its eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway.

“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens. Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015.

“The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org). If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”

Warm-Up_photo1“Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk — this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and wine bars.”

Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).

“I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, after the announcement.

“It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.”

The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products.

For the write up on Queens, please click here.


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Sunnysiders plan rally and start petition drive to save Center Cinemas– as landlord offers six-month extension
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002 Dec. 11, By Christian Murray A petition has formed and a rally is being planned as local residents try to save Sunnyside Center Cinemas from the wrecking ball. An online petition started Wednesday that has already garnered more than 240 signatures. Meanwhile, Ty Sullivan and Jon Stork, two local activists, are already planning to hold a rally outside the theater that is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 21 (details to come). The petition—called “Save the Sunnyside Theater”-- is addressed to the property owner/developer John Ciafone. It reads, in part, “Save the movie theater from demolition and have a new lease extended.” Meanwhile, Sullivan is reaching out to the media and various community groups as he plans the rally. He is designing posters, fliers and launching a social-media campaign to generate community interest. This activism comes at a time when Ciafone has just offered the owner of the theater Rudy Prashad a six month extension to his lease. After the six months, he would operate on a month-to month basis. Prashad, however, seeks a longer lease claiming that he has organized movers and contractors to remove all the seats from the theater as required. Furthermore he has already told his staff about the upcoming closure. “I don’t want to be in the same position in six months time where I am now,” Prashad said. “Then I’m operating on a month-to-month basis when I can be kicked out any time.” “I need a 5 year lease--although I would take something in between,” Prashad said. However, he has not dismissed Ciafone's offer at this point. Prashad said that he has been surprised by the community’s desire to keep the theater going. “It shows people have a passion for the community and that they are looking out for their children and their neighbor’s children.” Ciafone said that he decided to offer Prashad an extension since he still has a lot of work to do before he can start construction. Asked if he could do better than offer Prashad a 6 month extension—he said “that’s the best I can do.” Ciafone plans on building a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being “affordable”. The building will also have ground floor retail and a community center on the second floor. The building requires new foundations since it was not constructed with 5-7 stories in mind. Therefore, Ciafone said, the theater has to be demolished. Furthermore, there will be a need for underground parking. “When I finished we could invite him [Prashad] back,” he said. Ciafone was nonchalant about the “Save the theater” petition. “I could get a petition going with just as many signatures from people wanting affordable housing,” he said. "The likely closure of the theater is a reflection of changing times," said Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien. “You want to see small businesses prevail and they are the backbone of the economy but if they don’t have lease then there is not much you can do.” O’Brien said it is a shame what’s happening since the cinema is one of the last vestiges of old-fashion entertainment in the area. He said there used to be several theaters in the neighborhood at one time and also the Sunnyside Gardens Arena.
Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio A massive two-alarm fire erupted inside a Woodside store yesterday morning, requiring more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, according to an FDNY spokeswoman. The fire erupted at Don’s Professional Services, located at 38-05 69th Street, near Roosevelt Ave, just before 11 am on Wednesday morning. It then spread to three neighboring stores through a shared attic, according to the FDNY. The fire was brought under control just before 11:45 am. There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.  
Lonely Planet names Queens as the best place to visit in US next year
Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report The borough of Queens was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, a leading news outlet that covers the travel industry. Queens drew praise for its eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway. “Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens. Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015. “The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org). If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.” Warm-Up_photo1“Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk — this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and wine bars.” Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA). “I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, after the announcement. “It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.” The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products. For the write up on Queens, please click here.
Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 9, By Christian Murray Call it a preemptive strike. A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards. A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week. The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures. Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.” Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. But the petitioners say not so fast. “Sunnyside and Long Island City's infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads. “The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don 't know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards - bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.” Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.” Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: "We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse." Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF
Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600 Dec. 7, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater's owner said Sunday. Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building. Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease. “They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.” “It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.” Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years-- $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said. There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5. Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.” Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012. Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s. He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time. Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens. There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups. pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves. With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space. The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights. Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community. When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants. PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said. The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business. Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages-- not Broadway Stages the entity. Please Note: Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site  
New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The Chairman of Community Board 2 Joe Conley received a standing ovation at last night’s community board meeting after officially announcing that he was stepping down. Conley said that after serving two decades as chairman that it was time to move on. “It’s been a great honor to be the voice of the board,” he said. “I have had a good run…and made life-long friends with the people in this room,” he added, as he began to choke up. Conley had notified board members two days prior to the meeting that he was resigning. The timing of the announcement came as a great surprise to many and was the cause of much debate, since last night was the date for the board’s annual elections. Several members said that they were caught off guard by Conley’s sudden announcement and wanted to delay the elections a month in order for all the board members to evaluate whether they wanted to run. Lisa Deller, the secretary of the board, however, presented a slate of candidates to take the executive board positions. All but one was on the executive board last year. The slate was Patrick O’Brien, chair; Stephen Cooper, first vice chairman; Denise Keehan-Smith, secretary; Lisa Deller, second vice chair; and Diane Ballek, treasurer. Conley said that board members were notified in October that they could put their names on the ballet to run--but no one had expressed interest. Furthermore, he said, people were free to nominate themselves for those spots last night. “We have looked for nominations and this is a very open process,” Conley said. However, some members said that the departure of Conley completely changed the course of the election. Others were perplexed why Conley only gave the board two days notice prior to the election. Sheila Lewandowski said that board members should be given time to decide whether they want to put them themselves on the slate. She, like many, advocated for postponing the vote. “We have had 2 days and many [board members] are not here to consider this. I think it would be responsible to be thoughtful and wait…this is big.” O’Brien said he was willing to put off the election a month if it made the board more comfortable. “I don’t want to walk into a situation …where there is a division among people,” he said. There were, however, several strong advocates who wanted the vote to take place last night. “If you want to run put you name forward now,” said one board member. The board put it to a vote to determine whether the election should be held last night. The majority won by an unofficial count of 19 for and 15 against. The election was then held and a slim majority voted in the slate. O'Brien was announced the new chair. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said this morning that he looks forward to working with O’Brien. “He is a good person with strong experience. I worked with him when I was on the board.” However, he said, he didn’t see the harm in waiting another month for people to think about the vote. “I m not sure it would have changed the result but the process is important,” he said. “How you come to decision-- especially if people are divided –is as important as the decision itself.” “Normally you would have a unanimous vote for these positions,” Van Bramer said. However, I think the “people who voted no were voting against the process.”  
Police arrest second man wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The second suspect wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Terrel Balanding, a 27-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 3 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The arrest comes just one day after Thomas Fullwood, 29, was arrested for the same crime. Balanding and Fullwood approached William Eichhorn, 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. The men punched him in the face and then stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground.
Joe Conley, Community Board 2 Chair, is stepping down
Joe Conley (third from left)

Joe Conley (third from left) at groundbreaking

Dec. 4, Christian Murray Joe Conley, the long-serving Community Board 2 chair, is stepping down. Multiple sources said that Conley, who has been chair for over 25 years, will be making the announcement tonight when Community Board 2 has its full monthly meeting. Conley’s departure from the community board will result in the biggest shake up the board has seen in nearly 30 years. For the past decade, the same leadership structure has been in place: Conley as chairman; Steve Cooper, first vice chairman; Patrick O'Brien, second vice chairman; Lisa Deller, secretary, and Diane Ballek, treasurer Tonight the board will be holding an election for all of these positions and at the very least there will be a new chairperson. At this point, the field is wide open, according to sources. Board members were only alerted to Conley’s departure yesterday. “It will be an interesting transition,” said Lisa Deller, who is the head of the land use committee. “Joe has contributed a lot. He has given his heart and soul to the board, and whether people are for or against what he has done…it should not be forgotten that he has gone above and beyond.” Joe-Conley-250x2501Conley could not be reached for comment. Conley, who has always been the recipient of great praise from his fellow board colleagues, was instrumental in turning the prostitute-ridden Long Island City into the thriving neighborhood it is today. He was also was the chair during the Sunnyside-Woodside rezoning. The chairperson has significant control of the board. He/she decides which members sit on what committees and who chairs them. The chair is also the one who runs the monthly meetings and is the public face of the board. While the community board is deemed advisory, it does have significant influence-- particularly on land use, liquor license and transportation issues. The new chair will take the helm at a time when there are many ongoing issues. There is the ongoing debate about backyard seating in Long Island City, the construction of affordable housing, continued development and the possible construction over the Sunnyside Yards.
Put on your santa suit, Sunnyside Boulevard Bars to host Santathon Bar Crawl
2012 Sanathon

2012 Santathon

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray Hundreds of Santas are going to be lining the streets of Sunnyside this Saturday as they participate in the neighborhood’s third annual Santathon/pub-crawl. Eleven bars along—or near—Queens Blvd are putting on the festive event, where attendees will go from bar-to-bar and will be able to buy $4 beers. Participants will be required to pay $10 for a wristband and wear a Santa costume (or at least a Santa hat) to get the $4 beers. The $10 wrist bands can be bought at any of the bars—from now until the time of event. The proceeds will be donated to children’s charities to buy toys for needy kids this holiday season. The bars are also accepting toys and monetary donations from now until Christmas. The pub crawl will begin at 3:00 pm and go until late.  Participants are able to begin their journey at any of the bars but must then follow the order of Santa’s route (see map). The participating bars are: Arriba Arriba, Bar 43, Maggie Mae's, Bliss Street Station, The Courtyard Ale House, McGuinness's Saloon, Molly Blooms, Sidetracks, Jack's Fire Dept., The Gaslight and PJ Horgan's. Last year’s Santathon raised more than $10,000 in monetary and new toy donations. “We really want this to be a big event, ” said Nick Murphy, the co-owner of Bar 43 & Grill. “We are all coming together to put on a great community event that will help raise money for charity.” The eleven bars are part of what’s known as Sunnyside Boulevard Bars, a group that was formed in 2012 and has held several events, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Music Festival. The organization has raised more than $25,000 for charity since its inception. The beneficiaries have included Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club and the 51st Street Fire Station (Engine 325/Ladder 163). Details Saturday, Dec. 6 Time: 3 pm
Map

Map

Police arrest man for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider, cops closing in on second suspect
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray One of the two men wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Thomas Fullwood, a 29-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 2 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The police are still searching for the other suspect. Fullwood and his accomplice approached William Eichhorn. 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. One of the men punched him in the face and then they both stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground. According to sources, Fullwood has provided information to the police identifying the second individual involved in the attack.
The police are still searching for this suspect

The police are still searching for this suspect

Demolition permits filed as section of Greenpoint Ave. to be bulldozed
closing1 Dec. 2, By Christian Murray Demolition permits have been filed with the Building Dept. to demolish three Greenpoint Avenue stores and the accompanying upstairs dwelling units. The permits, which were filed and approved Nov. 18, provide the developer with the go-ahead to knock down the buildings that were occupied by King Boulevard, SSS Video and Azteca Restaurant. The filings do not state what the developer has in mind for the site. This strip of real estate (47-16 to 47-24 Greenpoint Ave.) was sold by Greisman Property in October to AB Capstone Development, a development company, for  $4.35 million. Mike Perez, who owned King Boulevard for 31 years, closed down his store at the end of October. closing

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