Van Bramer gets results, wants his constituents to know about them

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43 Responses to Van Bramer gets results, wants his constituents to know about them

  1. Mike Novak

    Thank you Jimmy, for representing ALL the people of your district.

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  2. Sunnysider4Life

    Proud to live in a community that is so well represented by its Councilman and that its Councilman is so available and visible in his district.

    Kudos to you Councilman and to your staff who work so hard to make this community such a desirous place to live.

    And 3860 constituent cases addressed in 2012? What politician does that??

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  3. Oppressed Masses

    Thank you Councilmember Van Bramer for your great work, especially in putting the emphasis on schools, and making this report available. Apologies accepted for burdening the neighborhood with that dog park. SOAP is going to help with the pigeon problem under the 7 train drawing the birds to the dog run and making that area a multi-purpose facility.

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  4. Sycamore

    When I called JVB's office with a problem his staff member Deborah listened patiently while I blew off a huge head of steam. Then she calmly told me how to go about filing a complaint. When I hadn't gotten back to her in a week, she called me! She called me to find out how I was doing with the issue. I think that qualifies as marvelous! Thank you Councilman. You set the standard for the rest of them.

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  5. Sycamore

    Deborah Tharrington. That is the name of JVB's staff member. I think she deserves a raise, a promotion and more vacation time. She has a good heart a great brain, patience, persistence and she deserves the highest compensation possible for restoring my faith in city government. And JVB deserves credit for hiring her.

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  6. Ryan

    Good job Mr. Councilman.
    Please update us on what is going on with the result of the closure of the Foodtown on Greenpoint. Many of us utilized that market, and with its closure are now having to travel further for groceries. Not a huge deal I know, but mainly am curious as to whether or not a new market will open in its place, or are we going to lose it to residential development as I have been hearing.

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  7. micky

    Met Jimmy in the city a few years back when he voted in favour of an issue that related to me,as i was thanking him i informed him that i had not voted for him in the city council election to which he replied,"Well maybe you will next time",I told him I certainly would and I will,been watching Jimmy in the community over the last few years and must say he has been a great asset to our neighborhood,Congratulations Jimmy and keep up the good work.

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  8. KathyG

    He and his staff are always responsive and accessible.

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  9. SunnysidePostHatesMe

    I don't agree. He's young looking with white hair. He's two steps away from being a Bond villain. I can't trust that.

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  10. Sunnyside Native

    Thank you Mr. Van Bramer for renovating Lou Lodati! Now our neighborhood kids can bike down there, play softball and basketball down there, they way I used to as a kid. Plus, the other added bonus is that fabulous soon to be dog run! Kudos to the S.U.D.S. organization for being an active member of the community, having a vision and making it come to fruition! FYI for Rick Duro: I had a conversation with an official from the Parks Department Department today, and not only is it illegal for anybody to feed the pigeons in or near the dog run, but there are very fines associated with that, if the person feeding the pigeons gets caught. So too bad for the pigeons, but their stomping grounds will have to remain under the EL and their daily meals will have to be donated by the sympathetic avian lovers in the neighborhood. Keep up the good work, Jimmy!

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  11. Bill Ryan

    Is Woodside and Sunnyside a better place since Jimmy Van Bremer took office?

    The answer is : YES !!!!

    We now live in the best neighborhood in NYC.

    Great job and thank you to Jimmy and his staff.

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  12. sm

    I agree - Sunnyside is a GREAT place to live. The councilman and his staff are active and engaged in the community.

    The new school facilities are a big step forward. Some of the test scores still need improvement (no fault of the councilman) but the neighborhood is fantastic and constantly improving to make the quality of life better.

    Though I'll be moving due to some overriding educational concerns in District 24 (it is on the right path and I totally applaud that, but as a personal matter, I just feel more comfortable in another district - sorry!), I plan to keep a residence in Sunnyside for summers because it is just such a special place!

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  13. P & B

    Thank you Jimmy! You are an unbelievable asset to our community. Thank you for listening, and making our community a better place to live. You are the voice we needed to get these jobs done. I'm especially grateful for the dog run. My dogs Barnum and Provo can't wait to have a place to run! They send their thanks! Keep up the good work.

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  14. Rick Duro

    Sunnyside is a better place and JVB is one major reason for that. I'm grateful for all that he has done to help improve our great 'hood. Good work on the schools, park improvements and the attention to detail that has made more people in Sunnyside feel like part of the equation.

    He is real and accessible. I am glad to have worked with him over the last 3+ years on the improvements to Lodati Park and the future home of the SUDS Dog Run. It will be a great multi-use facility, where everyone wins, getting their piece of the pie. Now, if OM could step up and get his ballplayers to use the bathroom up the ramp instead of exposing themselves in public in front of children and leaving lakes of urine everywhere, we could keep the park and it's new trees/plantings looking beautiful.

    As for OM's fixation on pigeons, they are groups that can help you, they net them and take them to the Poconos, sadly releasing them for target practice. While I am against this barbarism, it'd be great if OM could work with this group to humanely release them to the woods of the Keystone State.

    RD

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  15. 123sunny

    Wonderful neighborhood.

    Moving to Forest Hills for P.S. 196/101 for kids' schools (breaks my heart but P.S. 196 -- 98% of kids proficient in subject matters, P.S. 199 only 59%). Admittedly standardized tests are not everything, but still, they are one factor for a parent to consider.

    But have always spoken so highly of Sunnyside that family will be living in our apartment while we're away & we hope to come back for summers.

    Keep up the good work! But keep working. Get the numbers up to at least 75-80% so that parents with kids don't feel a pressure cooker to leave for education. . .

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  16. BringBackRuben

    There's a lotta ass kissing on this site.

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  17. 86Mets

    Hail Caesar!

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  18. 86Mets

    Can this site get its nose any further up JVB's butt?

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  19. Mr. Murphy

    Not only has Jimmy Van Bramer been a great Councilman, but he is truly a nice person. He has been way more effective than Eric Gioia. Keep up the good work, Mr. Van Bramer!

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  20. Oppressed Masses

    Native, I wonder if the supposed regulation on feeding pigeons is enforced in the same way as the regulation that says Lodati Park closes at sunset, yet people with their dogs are in the park until close to midnight keeping neighbors awake with the barking and howling.
    RD, I told you before that I have no involvement with the folks who play soccer or volley ball in the park except to know there's a lot of soccer and volley play happening in the park. I do have a concern about your repeated comments about these groups which give off a whiff of the stench of racism. You wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea about your group of old white guys. If you and SUDS are so concerned about the behavior of the soccer players, then why did you design the park to move the basketball courts, primarily used by younger teens, away from the Skillman Ave/playground side of the asphalt field over to back of the field where the soccer players congregate? Perhaps you and SUDS can address your concerns directly to those you worry about as these people come into the park down the ramp and pass in front of the entrance to the dog park.

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  21. Know_where_to_run

    Was this piece written by Van Bramer's office? It sure seems like it.

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  22. Krissi

    I contacted JVB's office a while back to lodge a complaint against a building in our area that consistently had garbage all over it that no one took care of. It took a while, but they sent a letter to the Sanitation Dept and got the landlords to clean it up!

    I was super impressed!

    Unfortunately that landlord is back at it with the garbage, but still!

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  23. JulieJ.

    I like Jimmy, but no, this area is not better! In fact, I think it is becoming worse. If you want a better neighborhood, try Forest Hills or Jamaica Estates or Fresh Meadows.

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  24. Sunnyside Native

    How can dog owners assemble in Lou Lodati Park with their dogs if the park is under renovation and completely closed off? I live a block away and I never hear any barking or howling. If any SUDS members do happen to assemble, it could be down by the handball courts at night, when nobody is playing handball anyway and the sound of the LIRR would be sure to drown out the noise emanating from dogs barking. The more complaints are made about people feeding pigeons, the more inspectors they assign to the area and people will eventually get caught and will receive a fine. Alas, the pigeon population has dwindled due to the Asian men who have now been spotted at Torsney, Noonan Park and various parks in Manhattan, jumping out of a van, netting the pigeons and then taking off with them. I guess because they are pigeons, not many people care when they see this. Once the dog run is open, nobody can really complain about a dog or two barking. It is after all, a dog run...Thanks again for that dog run, JVB!

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  25. Rick Duro

    Oh, OM, you are so silly. I am probably the least racist person you could ever meet.

    Any adult that urinates/defecates in plain view of the public (especially w/ children running around), illegally sells/consumes alcohol in public, does drugs, vandalizes public property, leaves trash/broken bottles strewn about, get wasted and passes out on the ground, fights, gambles, etc etc is doing the wrong thing. It doesn't matter if they are white, black, green, purple or from the dark side of the moon. If a bunch of old Italian Bocce ball players were doing the above, I'd voice just as much concern. I think you know where you can put that race card of yours.

    As for SUDS being a 'group of old white guys', again, you show your cluelessness. SUDS has members that are White, Spanish, Black, Asian, Arabic, you name it, with age ranges that run the gamut from teens, young kids with their parents, 20somethings, all the way up to our resident Orchestra Conductor, a young and spry 80!

    Way back when the idea of the redesign of the park was brought up you voiced your concern that it was taking away space from the majority of users, the soccer players, which, of course was wrong (again). Anyone see a pattern here? Volleyball was played much more often and took up much more space than soccer. Do you know why they took up all that room?Many locals didn't want to bring their kids, or use the park themselves, because of the disgusting behavior that was going on. I, too, refused to take my niece and nephew in that park. Also, volleyball (and sometimes soccer) players would set up their nets early in the morning, to 'claim space' and then not use it until 3pm+. So, you would walk into the park to play some ball and guess what? No room. As you felt so concerned for their plight, regardless of what they were doing to destroy the park each night, you must a champion of theirs.

    The goal isn't to encourage people to keep urinating/dumping in the park, the ball players need to be held accountable for these kinds of actions. It's irrelevant where the hoops courts will be. People need to do the right thing. (just as people w/ dogs should be picking up, encouraging their pets to go closer to the curb, etc) They will no longer be able to hide behind the trees and do their deeds, as the trees will be fenced off. Maybe, now, they will walk up the ramp and do their biz in the bathroom. People walking by a fenced in dog run, surrounded by trees, is not a problem.

    SUDS has a stellar record. If we were the menace in the park, with groups of hounds a-bayin', @ midnight, as you claim, we would have been told about it and would have not been unanimously approved for the run. But, you are the propaganda king, so anything you say is taken with a mountain of salt by many. Isn't Bloomberg trying to get us all to cut back on the salt?

    RD

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  26. Rick Duro

    SUDS has used that park @ night from Fall 2001-Summer 2012. We have a '2 bark rule': Once your dog barks twice you have to go get'em and shut'em up. Simple. Thus, the lack of complaints against us. In fact, most people never knew we were even in there to begin with, as we were so quiet and in the dark.

    Yet, in the dark, we still cleaned up the disaster area that was left behind on a daily basis from the folks that used it all day.

    RD

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  27. micky

    rick, a'2 bark rule'does it work with wives?

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  28. Oppressed Masses

    There you go Native, Asian men and Hispanic soccer players; anybody else you folks at SUDS want to keep out of Lodati Park?

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  29. a local

    He really has been very good. A pro. He'll have my vote again.

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  30. Mr. Murphy

    I always refer to this Oppressed Masses person as a tool, but he is more of a clown. Totally getting off the subject of this article. Didn't you read the new rules from the Sunnyside Post?

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  31. Rick Duro

    Well put, Mr. Murphy.

    We have never wanted to keep anyone out of the park. I love the fact that people, regardless of race, gender, creed, political affiliation, or 'toolness' are getting exercise, socializing and networking w/i the confines of the park. The park is for everyone in the 'hood to use and enjoy. Just do the right thing and take care of it. Why is that a racial issue? Like I said, I'd ask the same of Italian Octogenarian Bocce ball players. I think if more people spoke up to people like public urinators, dog poo violators, garbage dumpers, irresponsible parents and their kids we'd all have a better neighborhood. When I see actions like these I say something.

    SUDS tried, over the last decade, working with the ballplayers to figure out a solution to the disaster area they would leave. Things would get better for a few days and then revert back to 'normal'. The excessive drinking of booze doesn't help.

    We have SUDS members from Myanmar, does that count, OM? Any responsible dog owner is welcome w/i SUDS. We then try and school the irresponsible.

    If you see something, SPEAK UP.

    Mickey, I'm not touching that '2 bark rule' on wives, especially on Valentines Day!

    RD

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  32. Sunnyside Native

    Sunnyside Post should really start deleting Oppressed Masses comments because they are ridiculous and they are not pertaining to the story line. I admit that I feel sorry for OM, as I am sure he spent Valentine's Day alone, with not even man's best friend by his side. I can only imagine how lonely he is, until the time when he has out of town family members come to visit him, so he can drag them onto our lovely 7 train. A few years ago, our older Irish neighbor got a picture, albeit blurry, of the Asian men right after they did a quick scoop up at Noonan Park. It was a white van and there was no back license plate. There is nothing racist in saying that these men were spotted and their ethnicity is in fact Asian. Our other neighbor John saw this happen this past summer 2012 in Manhattan. I would be willing to bet that they will be back to Noonan or Torsney Park at some point, so everybody should be aware. Maybe we can work with JVB on this as well. He cares about so many different issues within his community. Agree with Mr. Murphy, Jimmy Van Bramer has done more for our community than Eric Gioia ever did.

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  33. Oppressed Masses

    Native, you and RD have tried mightly to surpress any negative comment about the wisdom of spending a large sum of public monies on a dog park when there are so many pressing human needs in our neighborhood. You and Rick routinely resort to ad hominen attacks on me and others who raise contrary points regarding the dog park, when not making up national origin based horror stories about users of the park and fish tales about a priest miraculously healing a dog. By the way, the purported diversity of SUDS has been hardly evident in the small group of old white guys that march under the SUDS banner in the St Patrick's Parade For All. So if you can't take the dirt, stop dishing it. Since you asked, I enjoyed a wonderful Valentine's Day with the lady of my dreams which I think is more satisfying than your evening of laying with a dog by your side staring at blurry pictures of Asian men scooping up pigeons near a white van with no back license plate.

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  34. Rick Duro

    No, we shouldn't be deleting OM's 'stuff'. It's important that he gets to air it out. It's what makes our society great.

    Dog parks are just as much about people as they are about the dogs that frolic in them. People much wiser than you approved us unanimously and not a single person showed up to any of the cmmty bd meetings we attended to speak out against us. Neighborhoods all over the city have them and they are better for it. Now it's our turn. Not only did we get the dog run, but our much larger goal of fixing up the whole park for all to enjoy.

    Not everyone marches in the parade. We have had as many as 60+ people and as few as 15, depends on the weather, etc. What would you like me to do? How about I personally send you some of the 1000+ photos I have from the past 10 years of SUDS people/pooches? You will see an 80 year young Queens College Prof, an Asian American NYPD officer, the Eastern European family of Ruby (Mom, Dad, 3 kids), Jake the HS kid, the owners of Lucky and Milo from Myanmar, the African American owner of a basset hound puppy, Yuki's Asian owners (and my neighbors), the African American owner of the neopolitan mastiff, the latino owners of Hazel (who also does grooming locally), the chinese couple who own Lucky the Shiba Inu, the Colombian owner of Emma, Hoover's Asian owners, Spring Moon's Venezuelan owner, Truman's Latino owner (and our Webmaster), the list goes on and on. You display your ignorance very well.

    Making up stories about what was going on @ the park?! Again, you are out of touch and clueless as to what is going on right outside your own window. We took photos of the carnage and brought it to the community board/parks dept years ago. Where were you? Nowhere to be found.

    I'm glad that you have someone special OM, it makes me feel better that someone is willing to take care of you.

    I, too spent the evening, and early morning hours, with my lady friend...and our mutts:)

    OM, please join us, w/ bird, on 3.3 for the St Pat's parade, so that we can have an oppressed person and a bird to add to your melting pot.

    Cheers,

    Rick

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  35. Sunnyside Native

    Aww! Oppressed Masses spent Valentine's Day with the lady of his dreams! So...how is your Mom doing?? Does she know what a nut you are? I presume she is the reason for your anti-dog attitude. Probably never let you owned one, or you got bit & she wasn't around to protect you OR she owned one and favored the dog over you. Yep. That's got to be it. Mommy issues...

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  36. Oppressed Masses

    Native, sounds like you have been lapping up too much Old Grand Dad from that bowl on the floor or your rabies vaccinations are out of date. You need to go chase a stick and clear your mind.

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  37. Sunnyside Native

    My Father worked as a therapist at one of the most well known mental health hospitals (I will withhold the name) in the tri-state area and I just firmly believe (as do many others on here) that you are mentally unstable. Plain and simple. Like I said...Mommy issues. That lady of your dreams, if she is smart which I doubt already, should start packing her bags & head for the hills.

    To stick with the topic at hand & to stay in compliance with the Sunnyside Post's requests, thanks for the dog run, Jimmy and keep up the good work! Now our neighborhood kids will have a great new park to play in!

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  38. Doglover

    So how much has Jimmy "allocated" towards dogs in the district? Lodati Park, then another quarter of a million in Windmuller? Any indication that SUDS will take some serious measures towards insuring that all the dogs are licensed or that owners will make a serious effort to clean up after their "small number" of fellow dog owners who don't, curb their dogs(remember that?) keep their dogs out of the Windmuller basketball courts and kiddy playgrounds (read the signs). Would it be too much to ask a dog owner to try to move his dog a few feet from the front door before it pees, to wait on the next elevator when there's already one dog on it, and to see that some tickets are written for non-compliant dog owners? Also, why allocate our money to fix up the health code violations of the MTA who are operating a nuisance? It would be better to spend the quarter of a million on a nice lawsuit and also arrest the mentally ill pigeon feeders who follow a clockwork schedule of lawbreaking. I'll gladly point them out to the authorities. San Francisco has a low cost dog waste methane generating plant in Golden Gate Park that works quite nicely. It could be paid for out of licensing fees and not allocations. It really hasn't gotten any easier to walk around the neighborhood without stepping in dog feces or breaking your stride because two dogs on long leashes won't let you pass. What do you say, Mr. Van Bremer?

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  39. Oppressed Masses

    Native, have you spoken with Daddy about your fantasy where a priest makes the sign of the cross on a dying dog when suddenly the dog's tail wags furiously and the dog is miraculously cured? How about your desire to take your dog on a date to Claret Wine Bar and
    sit in the outdoor seating area. Do you think Daddy can cure you of your habit of taking your dog at night to the handball courts at Lodati Park and letting the dog run around and crap all over the handball courts? Thank you Councilmember Van Bramer for helping to fund the City's mental health program so that Native can get the help he needs and his Daddy gets to keep his job.

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  40. Sunnyside Native

    HAHA! I, along with many dog owners, enjoy sitting at either of the sidewalk tables at both Bar 43 and Claret...spending money in OUR neighborhood and enjoying the beautiful weather. I don't drag my family on the 7 train to head into another neighborhood and spend my money elsewhere, like you. Until our SUDS dog run is open, we take our dogs up to Sherry Park on 65th Place & Queens Blvd., where it is completely enclosed. The handball courts at Lou Lodati Park is not closed off and we deem it unsafe for our pets. Just because you are so concerned, Daddy just recently retired and is enjoying travelling and just got back from a vaca where he was golfing at Pebble Beach. Although he can still practice, he is not up to taking on any patients right now, so you will have to go elsewhere for your desperately needed psychotherapy. Although you would be a case that that he would love to examine, he is living the life and doesn't have time for your obvious Mommy issues right now. Even though the majority of us believe that you are mentally unstable, I personally think a full blown lobotomy will better suit you. I am sure the lady of your dreams (key word: dreams) would appreciate the gesture. Thank you Jimmy Van Bramer and Helen Marshall for helping us finally secure the funds for our dog run! Only a few more months to go now!

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  41. Oppressed Masses

    Actually Native I took my family to the Turkish Grill that snowy winter night two years ago before heading off to Manhattan to see a Broadway show. We were the only customers in the restaurant that evening and the staff was very happy to see us. I always eat dinner at one of Sunnyside's fine restaurants before heading off to Manhattan for a night of entertainment. By the way, I understand that it's a health code violation to bring a dog into a restaurant unless it is a service dog. But then again many dog owners are obnoxious and don't think laws like curbing your dog or picking up the dog's poop apply to them. So the next time Native you and the other girls decide to for drinks and to talk about the posters on this web site, leave Fido at home.

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  42. LC

    I too believe JVB is doing a fine job. I would like to know however if any thought was ever given to creating a park in the area with REAL grass, and REAL space for such things as having a family picnic, reading a book/iPad/Kindle etc, snoozing etc. Have lived here for just over a year it only really struck me after moving that there is no such public green space within walking distance. Does this community not deserve such an amenity? Having a new dog run is great - especially if it will reduce the amount of dog-poop and urine that us non-dog owning parents have to sidestep every morning and evening while bringing our kids to and from school. I also have noticed the evening use of the kids playground for dogs which is a complete disgrace, as yet again, the owners of these animals don't know how to pick up the poop their animal has dropped but the child that uses the playground most certainly does. Its a disgrace and I hope JVB starts a much needed campaign to shame such people. If we as parents can train our kids to relieve themselves in the 'proper' places then Sunnyside dog owners should be subject to that same standard. Respect your neighborhood and fellow neighbors.

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  43. Sunnyside Native

    Hmm...I believe I said we were at the sidewalk tables at Bar 43 or Claret. We were not sitting at a table indoors. Go google NYC outdoor cafes and see how many people sit outside at these restaurants with their dogs. Tell me if you find any occurrences online where a dog owner was issued a citation for sitting at an outdoor cafe. Dog owners & their dogs dining at outdoor sidewalk cafes is quite a common occurrence in the Spring, Summer and Fall here in the five boroughs of NYC and I have yet to hear about any owner being issued a ticket for violating the NYC health code while sitting outside. There are a TON of restaurants with outdoor cafes that allow dogs. I would just be interested for you to produce such evidence. I am intrigued. We sit at Bar 43 quite often with the pooches and we are friends with Mick and Nick, two of the owners of Bar 43. We would gladly respect their wishes if they didn’t want the dogs there.

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Bar 43 completes expansion, reopens tonight

bar43

prior to expansion

prior to expansion

Jan. 29, By Christian Murray

The expansion of Bar 43 & Grill is almost complete and the neighborhood sports bar is reopening tonight.

The bar, located at 43-06 43rd Street, has expanded into the space beside it, which was previously occupied by the Sunnyside Meat Market.

The bar now has room for 100 seats—up from 60. The number of TVs has also increased—from 11 to 23.

Nick Murphy and Mickey McCreesh, who own the establishment, started the expansion last summer. They gutted the old butcher shop and revamped it while keeping the bar open.

However, 10 days ago, they closed the bar down to smash the interior wall that had previously separated the two establishments.

Murphy said that their aim was to reopen in advance of the Super Bowl. While he had hoped the expansion would have been completed earlier this week he said he was glad the process was nearly over.

“We will still have a nice start going into [Super Bowl] weekend,” Murphy said.

The owners have put in a sliding door that can be used to cordon off the new space for private parties. However, for the most part, the door will remain open.

Murphy said that they are still awaiting their new exterior sign, which he anticipates will go up in the next few days.

Murphy said the bar will continue to operate the way it did before—offering sports, trivia, restaurant food and outdoor seating (in summer).

While Bar 43 is best-known as a sports bar, Murphy said it will continue to be a venue where families can go out for a quality dinner.

Nick Murphy

Nick Murphy

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Nolan announces that she wants Assembly Speaker job
Cathy Nolan

Cathy Nolan

Jan. 28, By Christian Murray

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan announced today that she wants to be the next speaker of the New York State Assembly.

Nolan’s announcement came shortly after Sheldon Silver, the longtime leader of the assembly, agreed to give up the position he has held for 21 years as a result of federal corruption charges.

“I am formally announcing my candidacy for Speaker of the New York State Assembly,” Nolan wrote in a statement. “In my 30 year Assembly career I have conducted myself with honesty and integrity.”

Nolan would be the first woman to get the top job and it would result in Sunnyside and Long Island City being represented by two high-ranking officials: Nolan as speaker and Jimmy Van Bramer as New York City majority leader.

Nolan is one of a handful of names in the running for the speaker race, which include Majority Leader Joseph Morelle from Rochester, Bronx Assemblyman Carl Heastie, and Manhattan Assemblyman Keith Wright.

“Lost in the names that have been mentioned as potential candidates for Speaker is that of a woman,” Nolan wrote. “A woman has never served as Speaker of the Assembly.”

The letter indicated that Nolan would have little tolerance for legislators who sexually harassed their staffers.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he had talked to Nolan this morning. “She is a very serious contender and I can tell you she is very determined,” he said. She is not just floating her name out there, she is moving on this very decisively.”

Nolan has served on several committees during her tenure.

“I have extensive experience working with constituencies from all over our state, and have indeed ushered many proposals through both the budget process and the legislative process. Whether the issue is education, labor, mass transit or women’s issues, I have been at the forefront of the process,” Nolan wrote.

Nolan also wrote that she has never had a second job while working in the assembly.

“The people of New York State has been my only job – whether it be my own constituents, school children or working men and women in our state.”

Nolan is likely to get the support from Joseph Crowley, the head of Queens Democratic Party that would bring her the full 18-member assembly bloc of Queens.

“It is time for this institution to return to the high standards that the people of our state rightfully demand and expect. I stand ready to work with my colleagues to do just that for the people of the State of New York. They deserve nothing less,” Nolan wrote.

The new speaker is expected to be picked on Feb. 10.

statementfromassemblywomannolan-1 by sunnysidepost

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Sunnyside digs out after ‘historic’ storm

Jan. 27, Staff Report

The storm may not have lived up to the hype but Sunnyside was still left with plenty of snow.
Here is some of the aftermath.

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Cathy Nolan is being discussed as the next Assembly Speaker

Registry

Jan. 26, Staff Report

The Queens Democratic machine is starting to flex its muscles and is calling for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to be next speaker should Sheldon Speaker be toppled, according to the New York Observer.

Top officials with the Queens Democratic Party are calling Assembly members in Queens, Manhattan and Nassau County to support Nolan, who has represented Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City since 1984.

“Queens is calling around, taking the temperature. They’re pushing Nolan,” an Albany Democratic source to the Observer. “They are floating her in case Shelly is no longer speaker so there’s a quick transfer of power and the body can move on.”

Sources say the Queens machine’s three top deputies–Michael Reich, Frank Bolz and Gerard Sweeney–are calling legislators to figure out what kind of support exists for a potential Nolan candidacy, the Observer reports.

Nolan is reportedly close to Silver and the teachers union, the Observer reports. Nolan has also forged an alliance with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who may look to exert his influence over the city’s Assembly delegation if Silver leaves his post.

Support from Joseph Crowley, the head of the Queens Democratic Party, could mean the full 18-member bloc of Queens lawmakers in the Assembly’s 150 member body would vote for her.

Nolan is regarded as one of the shrewder lawmakers in the body, the Observer reports, and would be the first woman ever elected speaker in New York, no small significance to female Assembly members.

Nolan could not be reached for this article.

Meanwhile, Silver, who is trying to hang onto the speaker role as he fights federal corruption charges, is expected to announce today that the assembly will be jointly run by five Assembly Democrats—one of whom is Nolan.

The other four are Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

Silver’s move will be deemed temporary, so he can focus on fighting the charges of kickbacks and corruption. However, there is still uncertainty as to whether Silver will be forced out.

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

Luke Adams (middle)

Jan. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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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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)

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)

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

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

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

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

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

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

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

Daniel Dromm

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

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

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

Greenpoint Avenue

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

OT Inside

Restaurants

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