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

Jimmy Van Bramer and Sunnyside criime

Jimmy Van Bramer and Capt. Donald Powers at town hall meeting

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside & Long Island City, released his annual report card last month that stated how he had increased the number of schools in the district, upgraded neighborhood parks and funded cleanup programs.

The councilman’s report card also provided details on the number of constituent cases his office handled in 2012 as well as his attendance record in city hall.

Van Bramer said his office tackled 3,860 constituent cases in 2012, up 33% from a year earlier. His report said that many of the cases dealt with quality-of-life and real estate issues. He said many of these concerns—from sanitation issues to crime—led to town hall meetings. In 2012, he hosted 14 such meetings.

The councilman’s report also states in large print: “95% attendance record [in city hall] in 2012.”

Van Bramer keeps a high profile—which is partly why so many constituents call his office. He attends most events in the district and posts his whereabouts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He is often seen on television and in local newspapers advocating on behalf of his constituents.

The councilman’s release of his own self-assessment/report card is unique.

“I don’t want people to say ‘Where is he? What does he do? What does a councilman do?’” Van Bramer said. “People should know what their councilman does.”

Furthermore, “I am proud of this [report]…and I’m not going to wait for a newspaper to publish it…so I decided to share it.”

Van Bramer said that his biggest achievement has been bringing schools to the area.

“Five new school buildings are going up in my district,” he said. “I don’t know of another council district where there are so many going up.”

Two schools are scheduled to open in Long Island City this September (IS/HS 404 and PS/IS 312). Meanwhile, an elementary school in Sunnyside — located on 43rd Street between Queens Blvd and 47th Ave. —  is scheduled to open September 2014. Furthermore, by September 2015, an elementary school in Woodside, located on 39th Avenue (between 57th and 58th streets), should open.

In the past few months, after a great deal of prodding by Van Bramer, the School Construction Authority announced that an annex, which will cater to 350 students, will be added to PS 11 (54-25 Skillman Ave.) in Woodside.

Three parks in Sunnyside and Woodside are in the midst of being revamped, following funding allocations from Van Bramer’s office.

There was a groundbreaking at Lou Lodati Park, located at 43rd Street and Skillman Ave., last fall where a new asphalt surface is going down and a dog run is being built. The $1.4 million revamp, which will include some new planting beds, should be completed by August.

Meanwhile, a groundbreaking is expected at Noonan Playground (43rd Street and Greenpoint Ave.) in summer, which will increase the size of the playground, upgrade the sprinkler system and add shrubs. Additionally, the park house and basketball courts will be upgraded. The entire job, at a cost of $1.3 million, will be completed over the course of a year. Previously, it was going to be done in phases.

Van Bramer has also allocated $250,000 for the revamping of the dog run at Doughboy Park in Woodside. The design has yet to be completed, he said.

Van Bramer said he has tackled quality-of-life issues.

He said a $250,000 pigeon mitigation system is going to be installed this spring at the 46th, 52nd and 61st Street subway stations.  The majority of those funds will be spent at the 52nd Street where the sidewalks are blanketed by pigeon droppings.

The MTA will put in place a mitigation system that includes spiking, sound-based deterrents as well as low-voltage wiring.

Clean up day in Sunnyside Queens and Woodside QueensMeanwhile, Van Bramer’s $30,000 graffiti cleanup program is continuing for a third year, where streets such as Broadway, Skillman Ave, 43rd Ave., Roosevelt Ave., Woodside Ave. and 65th Place are cleaned monthly.

Last year, a Woodside street cleaning program began where two workers have been spending three days per week cleaning Roosevelt (51st to 61st Streets) and Woodside Avenues.

The councilman said his office over the past three years has turned into “a one-stop-shop of sorts where all constituent cases are being brought in.” He said, “If you do a good job, then the word will get out and more people will come.”

“The staff I hire work hard and are committed to helping people,” Van Bramer said. “I have dealt with the staff of other elected officials who have been rude and arrogant— talking down to constituents—and I have tried to avoid that.”

The office has seven full time staffers and is operating at capacity. Most of them are under the age of 30, and work long hours.

“We all work hard every single day and we are not going to stop,” Van Bramer said. “I don’t want to take the foot off the gas.”

For the councilman’s report card, please click here.

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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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Latest News

Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off Monday
Salt & Fat

Salt & Fat

Oct. 19, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week kicks off Monday and 33 restaurants have signed up to participate.

The event, organized by Sunnyside Shines, aims to showcase Sunnyside as a destination for high-quality cuisine. Its goal is tempt residents to try new places and draw foodies from other parts of New York City.

Furthermore, there will also be artwork on display at five participating restaurant—with three of those pieces coming from Sunnyside artists.

On Monday, there will be a reception held at 7pm at Salt and Fat (41-16 Queens Boulevard) to mark restaurant week. The reception will include a guided tour of the five art installations as well as a movie screening at Dazies.

The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a Manhattan-based contemporary art organization. The work will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

However, for many, the main attraction won’t be the art—it will be the food.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25—from lunchtime Monday through Friday Oct. 24.

The participating restaurants span the globe. There will be Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Mexican, Peruvian, French, Colombian, Filipino, Paraguayan, Tibetan, Thai, and Seasonal American food on offer.

Restaurants from Skillman Avenue through 47th Avenue have signed up this year. Last November, when Sunnyside Restaurant Week was launched, 17 restaurants took part.

“Last year’s event was a big success for neighborhood restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director, of Sunnyside Shines. “I am proud that we have doubled the number.”

Participating restaurants will also include newcomers to the Sunnyside scene—such as Tibetan Dumpling Café and Blu Orchid. Venturo and Salt & Fat, which were recently recognized as Michelin “Bib Gourmands,” will be participating again this year.

Sunnyside Shines has listed the 33 restaurants on its website. Most have put together a special menu just for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

All this for $25.

Takesushi: All this for $25.

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Parking costs might rise in Sunnyside/Woodside, as DOT has preliminary plans to introduce ‘Park Smart’

meters

Oct. 17, By Christian Murray

Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.

The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.

The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.

For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.

However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.

Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.

The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.

Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.

Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.

The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.

However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.

For more information on Park Smart click here

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Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’
 43-15 46th Street

43-15 46th Street

Oct. 16, By Christian Murray

New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside.

The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.

The building, which is a 6-story 88-unit complex, has 271 outstanding violations, according to the report. While the building is a coop, it has several renters—although the exact number is not known.

The original landlord, who took the building coop about 25 years ago, rents several units, according to published reports.

The violations, which have been filed with HPD, deal with water leaks, missing smoke detectors, loose bathroom tiles, mold and defective faucets.

The managing agent of the building is Aras Properties, which is located in Cedarhurst. The head officer is Kevin Kane, who could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the landlord who runs a Woodside building has the fifth worst record in Queens, with 223 violations.

The building, located at 39-30 59th Street, is a 6-story 78 unit complex.

The violations include complaint about roaches, defective plastered surfaces, broken stoves, mold and missing smoke detectors.

The owner of the building is Harry Silverstein. Silverstein could not be reached for comment.

Click here for the Worst Landlord List

Click here to look up the violations in any building

 43-15 46th Street.

43-15 46th Street.

 

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South building

Oct. 15, By Christian Murray

The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development in Long Island City went live today.

The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect, which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Village Voice declares Salt & Fat Sunnyside’s best restaurant

saltfat-350x263

Oct 15, Staff Report

The Village Voice has just named Salt & Fat as the best restaurant in Sunnyside.

The write up starts as follows:

“Salt & Fat looks like it could be in Brooklyn — reclaimed wood for the storefront sign, artfully arranged small plates that feature New American decadence — but owner Daniel Yi is a local boy. Born in Seoul and raised in Sunnyside, Yi has crafted a nation-hopping menu that reflects the area’s diversity. A meal begins with a complimentary starter — popcorn cooked in bacon fat, as American as can be — and finishes with little bottles of Yakult, a tangy-sweet Japanese yogurt drink.”

For the rest of the Village Voice Article, please click here.

 

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Dumplings & Noodle eatery to open on 46th Street

Noodles

By Christian Murray

A dumplings and noodles eatery will be opening on 46th Street next door to Pio Pio Riko.

The restaurant, which will be located at 45-24 46th Street, is expected to open in late December, according to its owner, who was reluctant to provide too many details at this point.

The eatery will consist of about 30 seats and there will not be table service. The owner described it as “fast casual.”

The menu will consist of soup, baos (steamed buns filled with pork/beef/vegetables), and a wide selection of noodles and dumplings (both steamed and fried). The food will include a mix of Chinese and other Asian flavors. There are also plans to get a liquor license.

The owner has another restaurant—offering the same style of food—in Park Slope.

The business owner was attracted to Sunnyside due to its diverse population.  “I like the mixed neighborhood and there are few [restaurants] like this in the area.”

The restaurant is moving into a portion of the space that was once occupied by Grand 99 Cent Store, which left about 2 years ago. The other portion of the site was leased to  Signature Paint & Home Center, which opened this summer.

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time.

Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee.

Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website).

Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said.

“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”

“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”

Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions.

“When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.”

His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.”

He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?”

He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success.

He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes.”Lower taxes equal more jobs,” he said.

Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed.

“Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.

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Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets

Hennessy
Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community.

Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues.

While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program.

“I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.”

On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway.

Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti.

Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there.

The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm.

On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention.

Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing.

In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.

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Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run

Van BramerFATAL

Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible.

The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified.

“To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.”

“We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said.

A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident.

The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision.

“You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it’s a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don’t you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000–on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state.

Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said.

Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians.

Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement.

The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.

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More Headlines

Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets
Hennessy Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community. Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues. While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program. “I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.” On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway. Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti. Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there. The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm. On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention. Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing. In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.
Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run
Van BramerFATAL Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible. The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified. “To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.” “We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said. A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident. The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision. “You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it's a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don't you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said. Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000--on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state. Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said. Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians. Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement. The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.
Brooklyn man arrested in connection to Woodside murder
queenspalace Oct. 10, By Michael Florio A Brooklyn man was arrested Thursday for allegedly killing a man outside a Woodside party hall in July. Jorge Navarro, 20, was arrested in connection to the July 26th death of Eduardo Rojas, who was killed after being struck in the head. The incident occurred outside of Queens Palace, located at 37-27 57th Street, when a fight broke out. In the melee gun shots were also fired. The 108 precinct responded to a 911 call just after 1 am and discovered a 25-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left leg and back, as well Rojas, who was dead. Navarro is facing charges of murder, manslaughter and gang assault. He has not been charged for the shooting.
Another hit-and-run in Woodside leaves man in critical condition
ambulance Oct. 9, By Michael Florio Another pedestrian has fallen victim to a hit-and-run in Woodside. A 20-to-30 year old male was struck in the early hours today while crossing the intersection at Queens Blvd and 60th Street. A dark colored SUV was traveling westbound along Queens Blvd when it struck the victim at about 1:30 am, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The vehicle did not stop and continued westbound toward the Queensboro Bridge. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim to be unconscious. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. The investigation is ongoing.
Sunnyside Gardens planned community turns 90
SGbefore Oct. 9, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Gardens, the planned community designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be presenting “Sunnyside Gardens at 90,” which will feature a series of photographs of the gardens over the decades as well a presentation by local historian Jeffrey Kroessler and architect Laura Heim. The presentation, which will take place tonight at 7pm at 35-20 Broadway in Astoria, will discuss the origins and significance of the community, including its importance in urban planning, design, and history, and the contentious campaign to gain designation as a historic district. (Click for details) Sunnyside Gardens was initially constructed between 1924 and 1928, and consisted of a series of twelve “courts”. The designated area went on to include the Phipps Garden Apartment buildings, which were constructed in the early 1930s. To celebrate the anniversary, the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance will be holding an event marking the occasion on Saturday, Oct. 25, with the unveiling of three historic district signs followed by a reception. The event will kick off at 1 pm at Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. (Click for details) According to the Preservation Alliance's website, the City Housing Corporation organized a “grand opening” for the first group of houses that were developed in Oct 1924. Advocates for affordable housing and New York City officials joined in to applaud the start of a new kind of neighborhood at the time. The very first Sunnyside Gardens owners moved in at the beginning of September 1924, according to the website, with the first house sold located at 41-49 47th (Carolin) Street. House prices ranged from $8500 to $13,500. SGNow sgplay    
Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards
Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehOct. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks. Conley said at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting that the Sunnyside Yards could be used to build more affordable housing. “We should look at it with the possibility of creating a community…with affordable housing, market rate housing and retail,” Conley said. Conley called on the board to give him permission to send a letter to the Queens Borough President’s office requesting a study of the area. The board complied. The letter, however, alarmed several people who fear over development—with some claiming that the infrastructure is overstretched as it is. Van Bramer said the community is not calling for the development of the Sunnyside Yards. He said people are more concerned about school overcrowding, transportation issues and other problems that actually stem from development. “My office is in the business of receiving hundreds of letters and speaking to people about important issues all the time,” Van Bramer said. “Not one person has come to me and said ‘you should deck over the Sunnyside Yards and build housing.” Several Community Board 2 members said after last Thursday’s meeting that they were caught by surprise by Conley’s request. “I’m opposed to the concept of decking [building] over the Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said. “The idea gets floated whenever there is an economic boom…but I think it would be bad for the surrounding community.” Van Bramer, as councilman, has a big role to play in terms of land use decisions such as these. All significant zoning changes go through the city council and it is typically the elected official in a given district that makes the call. Van Bramer was unsure how the idea surfaced in the first place.
Van Bramer

Van Bramer

Conley said that the Sunnyside Yards—which go through Long Island City and Sunnyside--are owned by government agencies. Therefore, this provides the community with an opportunity to negotiate with developers as to the number of affordable units that could be built. “Jackson Avenue and 21st Street would be our jumping off point,” Conley said, adding that the study would then look toward Thomson Avenue and Queens Plaza. Van Bramer said that he too is in favor of affordable housing. However, he said, “Density is appropriate in some places and not others. I, for one, believe Sunnyside and Astoria are great low-density neighborhoods that should remain so.” Conley told the Daily News Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards also divide the neighborhoods and indicated that the housing would draw them closer. “Right now you have this scar that runs down the community,” he told the News. Van Bramer disagreed with this view. “I wouldn’t characterize these neighborhoods as having a scar running through them…and I don’t believe the neighborhoods are unreachable.”    
Police seek help in locating serial bank robber, suspect allegedly hit Chase bank in Sunnyside in July
Oct. 8, By Christian Murray suspect Call him the 21st Century version of Willie Sutton or John Dillinger. The police are searching for a man who has robbed eight Queens banks—and attempted to rob two others—in the past 2 1/2 years. The banks have been scattered throughout the borough—covering Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, East Elmhurst and Sunnyside. In total, the suspect has taken in about $50,000. One of the robberies occurred at the Chase Bank branch at 47-11 Queens Blvd, where the suspect approached a teller and passed her a note—before fleeing with $5,900 in cash. That incident occurred on July 25, 2014 (see story). The suspect’s modus operandi has been to enter a bank, pass a note and—on four occasions—display a firmarm. He also tends to hold a mobile phone up against his ear. No injuries have resulted from his spree. The suspect (see photo) is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, approximately 6-feet-tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and a button-down short sleeve shirt. He also had a light beard connected to a goatee, tinted eye glasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist. The first incident occurred on July 17, 2012, when he allegedly entered into an Amalgamated Bank at 78-01 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and took off with $1,450.suspect1 The latest robbery occurred Saturday, when the suspected entered Chase Bank at 69-55 Grand Avenue, passed a note and left with $5,170. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Oktoberfest comes to Skillman Avenue this Saturday
claret1Oct. 7, By Christian Murray It’s time to get out the lederhosen and the Bavarian hats. The Skillman Project, a group of bars and restaurants located on Skillman Avenue, is hosting its 3rd annual Oktoberfest this Saturday. There are eight bars/restaurants participating in the event—and attendees will be offered $3 beers until late. The event will start at 3pm and go until close. Several of the bars/restaurants will be serving German-themed food—with items such as Bratwurst and pretzels on offer. The Skillman Project has also hired a brass band that will be playing polka music at all the participating venues. The band will start at 6:30 at Claret Wine Bar and will then perform at the other bars/restaurants. “Oktoberfest is typically the most popular event that the Skillman Project puts on each year,” said Justin Costello, the manager at Claret. “It tends to bring in the largest crowd.” The Skillman Project also puts on an annual Mardi Gras and a summer event. To partake in Saturday’s Oktoberfest, attendees are required to register at Claret (46-02 Skillman) between 3 pm and 5 pm, and buy a $5 wristband. The wristband is needed in order to get the $3 beers at all eight restaurants/bars. The $5 proceeds will be donated to the local food pantry. Participating bars are: Dog and the Duck, Claret Wine Bar, Flynn’s Garden Inn, Quaint Bistro, Murphy’s Lobster Grill, The Globe, Aubergine Cafe and The Copper Kettle. Skillman_OktoberFest2014_Final  
Famous singer/songwriter a frequent performer at Sunnyside venue
JD @ teapot 6-22-2013Oct. 6, By Kim Brown Jim Dawson has sold out shows at the Bitter End, been signed by RCA Records and written a song recorded by Sesame Street’s Elmo. This Thursday he’s playing at The Globe Tavern’s Open Mic night on Skillman Avenue. “It really ups the quality of the night,” said host and guitarist Trevor Bowen. “He’s a pro, it’s the most wonderful feeling of support.” Dawson, who has been compared to James Taylor and Harry Chapin, was also touted as the next Bob Dylan after “Songman” was released in 1971. He is still a regular at venues like the Cutting Room. Newer fans know him because Elmo sang his “Simple Song” and older fans remember when he played Constitution Hall in Washington with The Birds. But when he comes to The Globe about once a month he’s just Jim, competing against baseball games and loud conversations like any other musician. There is no cover charge and he buys his own beer. “One of the reasons I love it is Trevor says ‘Here’s Jim’,” said Dawson, who lives in Manhattan and is Bowen’s vocal coach. “It doesn’t matter if I sold 200,000 records or zero. We’re all the same. We all got into this in the first place because it’s fun.” Dawson came to New York City in the late 1960s, after a stint in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Because he was signed by a record company pretty quickly, playing the open mic circuit was not something he had done very often. Despite distractions the last time he played The Globe--like an overturned tray of garlic knots and Derek Jeter’s last home at bat on TV—-he somehow managed to quiet a pretty raucous room. “When I’m doing it and I’m getting it right those are the most alive situations. I feel like I’m 18 or 19 years old again,” he said. Dawson, who lives on the Upper West Side, has released 15 CDs and albums. He is also known for writing the opening theme for a popular German soap opera. Money from that song allowed him to set up a home recording studio. The 1999 CD of his own live sessions in his apartment, “Therapy in Session: The Studio Concerts,” gained attention as an innovative way for musicians to release their work independently. Dawson’s website still attracts about 2,000 visitors a month from all over the world. Maybe he is able to arrest a noisy bar so well because he has been playing for nearly 50 years. Or maybe it’s because he tends to write Americana songs with lyrics that seem to have sprung from our own hopes and worries or that the gift to connect with the audience is just that, a gift. Whatever the reason, the audience quiets and connects with Dawson when he is behind the mic. “I want people to hear the words and I want them to hear what I have to say,” Dawson said. “But it is a bar for crissake.” Yet The Globe’s open mic is not all about Dawson, or even all about music. Poets, magicians, comedians and actors are welcome as well. “Pretty much anyone can show up, grab a beer and sign up,” said co-owner Rena Hershberger, who sings and performs at open mic night herself. “Everyone gets their 10 minutes.” Yet Bowen admits his ultimate goal is beyond that. He’d like the bar and the neighborhood to become a destination for original, quality music and he already sees that happening. “There have been really surprising musicians who have come and blown the socks off people,” he said. Ben Hope, who played the lead in the Broadway musical Once, and renowned Jazz guitarist Tosh Sheridan are both Globe regulars. Dawson is only adding to that momentum. “If people think ‘this guy Jim is going to show up’ and that will bring in two more people,” Dawson said, “that’s what I think is important. I’m just trying to be one of the guys on the team.” Open Mic Night at The Globe Tavern, located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, will be held this Thursday and every other week.
Police swarm Sunnyside with plain clothes cops prior to arresting armed robber
Amazon-pharmacy-800x600 Oct. 5, By Christian Murray The police sent in more than a dozen plain clothes cops into the Sunnyside commercial district following two armed robberies at local drug stores early last month. The strategy led to an arrest of a Sunnyside man when the third Sunnyside pharmacy was targeted. The first robbery took place at Greenpoint Pharmacy, located at 40-26 Greenpoint Avenue, on Sept 2, when a masked man displayed a gun, and demanded Vicodin, before fleeing with Oxycodone. The second incident occurred on Sept 5 at Family Pharmacy, 45-60 43rd Street, when the masked perpetrator showed a gun and took off with prescription drugs. “We sent in about a dozen plain clothes [officers] to the area,” said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer at the 108 precinct, after the second incident. The officers were there to monitor the pharmacies in the neighborhood. “With two [robberies] taking place so close to each other, we knew there was a good chance he would hit the area again,” Hennessy said. Therefore, when a perpetrator went into Amazon Pharmacy, located at 43-10 Queens Blvd, on Sept 11 with a knife and demanded prescription drugs the police were in the area. The police received a 911 call with a description of the suspect and several officers were in the neighborhood to search for him. The perpetrator, Patrick McNamara, ran across Queens Boulevard and was arrested by Police Officer John Miszuk, a plain-clothes officer, who tracked him down just two blocks from the drug store. McNamara, 37, a Sunnyside resident was then identified by a witness. The police, however, have not been able to make an arrest on the first two robberies since the suspect was wearing a mask and was hard to identify. However, Hennessy noted, that there have been no drug store robberies since. McNamara was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. Greenpoint Pharmacy-475x355 FamilyPharmacy

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