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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No. 7 train service resumes– after commuters faced morning delays

7subway1

Riders on the No. 7 train faced rush-hour delays this morning that lasted about 90 minutes–following FDNY activity at the 5th Avenue station.

The MTA stopped train service between Times Square and Hunters Point Avenue (in both directions), and riders were advised to take the N,R, Q, F and E lines.

Many No. 7 trains were just sitting in stations as commuters tried to squeeze into trains. The MTA also told many commuters to take the bus.

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Sunnyside Shines reviews 2014, looks ahead at annual meeting

taste of sunnyside

March 4, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside Shines held its annual meeting Monday and focused heavily on its beautification projects as well as it events.

The BID provided an overview of its 2014 achievements—spotlighting the opening of the plazas at 46th and 40th Streets; its tree planting and tree-guards program ; the Taste of Sunnyside; Sunnyside Restaurant Week; as well the effectiveness of its sanitation and graffiti-cleanup programs.

The meeting did not cover items such as the Sunnyside Yards proposal or real estate development.

Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, put together a PowerPoint presentation and went through each item in front of about 60 attendees.

Bliss PlazaThieme said that the plazas have proven to be a big success–often bustling with people eating lunch or hanging out with friends.

“We felt that those areas [by the station] were being underutilized,” Thieme said. She said they needed to look more welcoming—and the addition of tables, chairs and planters have made a significant improvement.

Thieme said that plenty of people walk through the upgraded plazas each day. Citing MTA statistics, she said that the 46th Street turnstiles were swiped 4.64 million times in 2013–while the 40th Street turnstiles were swiped 3.39 million times.

Thieme said that the BID started a five-year plan last year to make certain that every block within the district has trees and tree guards.

“Some blocks have lots of trees… with plenty of greenery, while others have just one or none,” she said.

In 2014, the BID installed 27 new tree guards. This spring, the BID will be adding 27 new trees and tree guards, care of funding it received through Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

After the Katz expenditure, the BID will have 153 trees and 54 tree guards.

Thieme said that the BID cleaned 156 instances of graffiti from storefronts and gates in 2014. She urged landlords and business owners to reach out to her office and let her know what needed to be cleaned.

The BID reported that it collected more than 2,000 bags of trash each month and that it would soon be getting more trash cans.

Thieme said that about 600 people attended the Taste of Sunnyside last May, with more than 30 restaurants participating. She said that holding it under the 7 train proved a success, since it was such a visible location.

The event will be held under the 7 train again this year—with the date planned for May 19.

tree guard

tree guard

The BID also organized Sunnyside Restaurant Week in October, where 33 restaurants offered specials for a week; summer strolls—providing a jazz concert as well as arts & crafts; and contests such as the Sunnyside Holiday Window Contest, for the store most decked out for the season.

These events will all continue this year.

The BID held its annual election on Monday and the same board members and chairman John Vogt were reelected. The board, however, was expanded from 17 to 19 members—with the addition of Francine Israel (property owner) and Giuseppe Falco (a commercial tenant).

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Sunnyside Shines district

Sunnyside Shines district

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Frozen yogurt store ‘4 Squared Flavors’ reopens after being closed for winter

4squared

March 3, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors reopened March 1st after being closed for winter.

Khalil Nayl, the co-owner of the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store, said its business as usual after being closed since November 1st.

Nayl said that the landlord was very supportive of the store during the winter months, providing a discounted rent.

4 Squared Flavors, which officially opened in March 2014, continues to offer 16 flavors, including: Irish mint, mango tango sorbet, red velvet cake, pistachio, very strawberry, cookies ‘n cream, New York cheesecake, and blueberry.

The store’s walls remain the same–painted pink and green.

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Crime rate tumbles year-to-date
Brooks, Calderoa and

Prof. Bruce Brooks, Corey Sarro, William Caldarera

March 2, By Michael Florio

The crime rate has taken a nosedive this year throughout the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, the commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the number of reported crimes for the year through Feb. 22 has dropped 25 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

The decline has been driven by the fall in property-related crimes, with there being 22 reported burglaries so far this year compared to 37 for the same time period a year ago. Furthermore, there have been 60 grand larcenies reported this year, compared to 87 a year ago.

“Burglaries have historically been a problem in this precinct and we are down 40 percent on the year,” Travaglia said. “We are very happy to report those numbers.”

The number of robberies reported so far this year is down–from 22 to nine.

Travaglia, who was spoke at the Community Board Council meeting in Sunnyside last Tuesday, spent a significant portion of the hour-long meeting paying tribute to his officers—particular William Caldarera and Corey Sarro.

The two officers received an award for saving the life of Bruce Brooks, a 66-year-old LaGuardia College professor.

Brooks suffered a heart attack and collapsed outside the college at 29-10 Thomson Avenue. The officers, who were on routine patrol, saw the professor lying motionless on the sidewalk, without a pulse.

Sarro began performing chest compressions, while Caldarera retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts, the pair revived him and then EMS transported him to Elmhurst Hospital in stable condition.

Brooks, who was in attendance at the precinct meeting, presented the officers with a plaque that he had specially made.

“How can you thank someone for saving your life,” Brooks said.

“A doctor told me afterwards that less than two percent of people who collapse on the street actually survive without brain damage,” Brooks said. “I didn’t dodge a bullet, I dodged a bomb and it is all thanks to these guys.”

Brooks’ wife, Susan Gardner, was also in attendance to thank the officers.

“I can’t tell you how wonderful these officers were to me at a time when I was truly hysterical,” she said.

Gardner wanted to get the officers a gift, she said, until she was told it was against policy.

“But I realized there is no gift I could give them as great as the one that they gave me,” she said. “They have given me a chance to grow old with my husband. So, I thank them forever.”

The day of Brooks’ heart attack was the day he was retiring, according to Gardner.

Brooks spent 10 days at Elmhurst Hospital, before being transferred to NYU Hospital to undergo a triple bypass.

Now the doctors say Brooks, who is a lifelong handball player, will be playing again this summer, Gardner said.

Despite the decrease in crime, there was a murder reported on Vernon Blvd and 50th Street last month, the first murder reported this year. A man was struck and died when his head hit the ground.

The police arrested Kaheem Addison who now faces manslaughter charges.

“The [murder] investigation was spectacular and I couldn’t be happier with the detective squad,” he said. “I am very proud of them and the work they did in solving this homicide very quickly.”

For crime statistics, click here

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Snow, costumes and politics all on display at St. Pat’s for All Parade

Parade21

March 2, By Christian Murray

Kids from the Bronx, gay activists and even a horse, all turned out in the snow for The St Pat’s for All Parade in Sunnyside/Woodside on Sunday.

The parade, yet again, took on a very political flavor this year—with Mayor Bill de Blasio and several city council members all noting that they would boycott the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Fifth Avenue again this year unless it is more inclusive of gay groups.

There were more snowflakes than shamrocks this year and attendance was down from previous years. Nevertheless the message about equality and human rights came through loud and clear.

“This is what pride is all about,” de Blasio told the crowd at the beginning event. “Pride in the city, pride in everyone’s heritage and pride in being whatever you want to be.”

De Blasio said this parade “celebrates Irish heritage no matter who you are,” while the Fifth Avenue parade is not open to all. While one LGBT group, Out@NBCUniversal, has been approved to march in the Fifth Avenue parade, de Blasio said that it was not enough. He said he is hopeful that more gay groups will be included by the time the March 17 takes place.

Several other politicians echoed the mayor’s sentiments.

“We will continue to stand up and make sure that the bigger parade on Fifth Avenue is more inclusive,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the council speaker, who also said that she and the city council would not attend unless all groups could attend.

However, the parade did include members of the horse-drawn carriage industry who were there to protest de Blasio’s plan to put them out of business–based on animal rights. Signs were placed in store windows along Skillman Avenue in support of the industry—which has a deep link to the Irish community.

De Blasio, at the end of the event, acknowledged that the contentious horse-drawn carriage bill would be subject to a vigorous debate.

There were also some attendees who expressed displeasure about the Mayor’s proposal to build on Sunnyside Yards.

The mayor acknowledged he had heard attendees voice their concern about the Yards along the parade route, reported Capitol New York.

However, it “opens an opportunity for a huge amount of affordable housing so people can continue to live in Queens, many of whom are being forced out right now by rising prices,” de Blasio told Capitol New York.

Participants

Among this year’s participants were the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dancers, who performed classic Irish jigs.

The pipe bands and traditional Irish musicians added to the Irish authenticity of the event; so, too, did an Irish language school and all the Irish flags. Even the local Sunnyside dog group, SUDSMUTS, marched, with their dogs dressed in an assortment of green regalia.

At the same time, there were also several children’s groups marching under a multitude of banners, such as the Shannon Gaels and the Marching Cobras.

A plethora of gay groups were also out in force. Among them were the Lesbian and Gay Democrats of Queens and the Queens Lesbian & Gay Pride Committee.
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By George Burles
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Irish Music Festival takes place tomorrow–following parade

NEW Poster - Irish Music Festival 2015_JPEG

Feb. 28, By Christian Murray

The St Pat’s for All Parade takes place on Skillman Avenue tomorrow and upon its conclusion many marchers and spectators are likely to head over to Queens Blvd. to participate in the third annual Sunnyside Irish Music Festival.

The festival, which officially starts at 3:00pm, is likely to draw hundreds of party goers to 11 neighborhood bar/restaurants, all located on or near Queens Blvd between 40th and 48th Streets.

In a coordinated effort, each venue will have live Irish music.

Fiddlers, accordion players, pipers, Irish dancers and guitarists will be performing throughout the neighborhood. Some pubs will have four-piece bands and others will have solo acts.

Each bar will have drink specials. Some bars will also offer authentic Irish food.

For a full list of bars/venues see below:

Postcard_Back - Irish Music Festival 2015 JPEG

 

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Borough President Katz a big supporter of building over the Yards, despite western Queens leaders’ trepidation

SunnysideYardsmap

Feb. 27, By Christian Murray

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been a strong advocate for decking over the Sunnyside Yard for months—despite the cool reception it has received from western Queens leaders.

Katz began advocating for developing the yards in September, when she announced that they have the “potential for extraordinary development.”

Katz plays an important role in what ultimately happens to the Yards since the area would need to be rezoned before construction could begin. The community board and the borough president would get to weigh in on a rezoning—before it is shuffled along to the City Planning Commission for review and then the city council.

At the council level, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer would have the ultimate say.

Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

In September, Katz released a 138-page strategic policy statement where she said that the “partial or complete decking of the Sunnyside Rail Yards has the potential for extraordinary development.” She added that it is the largest parcel of ‘vacant’ land remaining in the city.

At the October community board meeting, Queens residents became more aware of Katz’ position when former CB2 chairman Joe Conley said that he had been in discussions with her about building over the Yards. He then called on the board to write a letter to Katz calling for a feasibility study.

While many members of the board were caught off guard by Conley’s request, they were eventually swayed by him and voted in favor of sending Katz the letter.

Conley was then subject to heavy criticism for requesting the letter.

These letters are often used by public officials and city planners to move ahead with studies—allowing them to claim they have the community’s support. For example, Conley’s letter last year calling for affordable housing in Queens Plaza was cited as a reason why city planners are studying the area for a potential up zoning.

Katz is well versed in city real estate matters. She had worked at the law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2009-2012, where she was a land use adviser for real estate companies. She took that position after being a city council member from 2002-2009, where she chaired the land use committee.

On Feb. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address that he wanted to build 11,250 units above Sunnyside Yards, which received a frosty reception from western Queens leaders.

Katz, meanwhile, was publicly advocating for it. At the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting Feb. 17, she said:

“We need to figure out how to utilize the property in a good way and I think housing is a great way,” reported the Queens Chronicle that covered the event. “Figuring out how to pay for it is the follow-up. … But it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done in tandem with the community.”

De Blasio then announced last week that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sought a consulting firm to undertake a one-year study to determine whether building over the Yards is feasible. The administration is seeking requests for proposal from firms that would essentially provide recommendations.

“This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it can contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said in a statement.

Katz’ spokeswoman, in an e-mail Tuesday wrote: “This feasibility study is a step in the right direction, and Borough President Katz looks forward to engaging community input.”

The e-mail also said: “Borough President Katz recognizes that potential development above the Sunnyside Rail Yards is attractive given the current growth and development throughout Long Island City and western Queens.”

However, western Queens leaders have been alarmed by the plan.

CatherineNolan-250x250Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was quick to announce that she had ‘grave concerns ’ about the plans. State Sen. Mike Gianaris was essentially against it—by saying only if it had community support, while Van Bramer continued to argue that the infrastructure would not be able to cope with it.

Nolan also said in a statement that such development would have “the potential to tremendously damage the middle class quality of life of our western Queens communities.”

Nolan then announced that she had hired local attorney Ira Greenberg on a part time basis to monitor de Blasio’s plan and to work with agencies, residents and other parties to make sure the community’s voice is heard.

State Sen. Mike Gianaris sent out a mailing to his constituents recently, which said that the building of new housing units should be secondary to meeting the community’s existing infrastructure needs.

Van Bramer, who has told the mayor that he supports the concept of affordable housing, has expressed doubts as to whether it should be in western Queens. He has consistently been saying that area is already in need of schools and parks—and continues to discuss the poor performing No. 7 train.

He said the Queensboro Plaza/Court Square area is likely to be rezoned that will bring affordable housing as well an influx of people.

“We have are a lot of challenges that we face today,” Van Bramer said at a recent civic association meeting, “let alone with a 100,000 more people.”

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Mardi Gras bar crawl planned for Skillman Avenue Saturday
Costumes from 2014 event

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio

Skillman Ave. will never be confused with Bourbon St. but this Saturday it will be alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Easy.

Nine Skillman Avenue establishments have organized the third annual Mardi Gras Bar & Restaurant Hop, which starts at 3:00 pm and goes late into the evening.

The event comes well after the official Feb. 17 Mardi Gras date. However, the bars will be sticking to the New Orleans traditions of beads, jazz and Cajun food.

Party goers are being asked to register at the Copper Kettle, located on the corner of Skillman Ave. and 51nd St., between 3:00 and 6pm. By registering, attendees will be able to get half-price beer specials.  The cost to register is $5, which will go to the local food pantries.

.

SkillmanMardiGras1

 

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No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade

St.-Pats-for-All-475x356

Feb. 26, By Michael Florio

Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the ‘St Pats for All’ parade.

The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule.

The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work.

“We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said.

Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event.

“There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.”

7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing.

Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.”

Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA.

“I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’”

“They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events–it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.”

However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match.

“The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said.

Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus.

Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses.

Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces.

Details

Parade Date: Sunday, March 1

Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm

Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue

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More Headlines

Borough President Katz a big supporter of building over the Yards, despite western Queens leaders’ trepidation
SunnysideYardsmap Feb. 27, By Christian Murray Queens Borough President Melinda Katz has been a strong advocate for decking over the Sunnyside Yard for months—despite the cool reception it has received from western Queens leaders. Katz began advocating for developing the yards in September, when she announced that they have the “potential for extraordinary development.” Katz plays an important role in what ultimately happens to the Yards since the area would need to be rezoned before construction could begin. The community board and the borough president would get to weigh in on a rezoning—before it is shuffled along to the City Planning Commission for review and then the city council. At the council level, Majority Leader Jimmy Van Bramer would have the ultimate say.
Borough President Melinda Katz

Borough President Melinda Katz

In September, Katz released a 138-page strategic policy statement where she said that the “partial or complete decking of the Sunnyside Rail Yards has the potential for extraordinary development.” She added that it is the largest parcel of ‘vacant’ land remaining in the city. At the October community board meeting, Queens residents became more aware of Katz’ position when former CB2 chairman Joe Conley said that he had been in discussions with her about building over the Yards. He then called on the board to write a letter to Katz calling for a feasibility study. While many members of the board were caught off guard by Conley’s request, they were eventually swayed by him and voted in favor of sending Katz the letter. Conley was then subject to heavy criticism for requesting the letter. These letters are often used by public officials and city planners to move ahead with studies—allowing them to claim they have the community’s support. For example, Conley’s letter last year calling for affordable housing in Queens Plaza was cited as a reason why city planners are studying the area for a potential up zoning. Katz is well versed in city real estate matters. She had worked at the law firm Greenberg Traurig from 2009-2012, where she was a land use adviser for real estate companies. She took that position after being a city council member from 2002-2009, where she chaired the land use committee. On Feb. 10, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his State of the City address that he wanted to build 11,250 units above Sunnyside Yards, which received a frosty reception from western Queens leaders. Katz, meanwhile, was publicly advocating for it. At the Queens Chamber of Commerce annual breakfast meeting Feb. 17, she said: “We need to figure out how to utilize the property in a good way and I think housing is a great way,” reported the Queens Chronicle that covered the event. “Figuring out how to pay for it is the follow-up. ... But it needs to be done carefully and it needs to be done in tandem with the community.” De Blasio then announced last week that the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sought a consulting firm to undertake a one-year study to determine whether building over the Yards is feasible. The administration is seeking requests for proposal from firms that would essentially provide recommendations. “This is the first step in understanding whether development of the Sunnyside Yards is possible, and what it can contribute to the city and surrounding communities,” de Blasio said in a statement. Katz’ spokeswoman, in an e-mail Tuesday wrote: “This feasibility study is a step in the right direction, and Borough President Katz looks forward to engaging community input.” The e-mail also said: “Borough President Katz recognizes that potential development above the Sunnyside Rail Yards is attractive given the current growth and development throughout Long Island City and western Queens.” However, western Queens leaders have been alarmed by the plan. CatherineNolan-250x250Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan was quick to announce that she had ‘grave concerns ’ about the plans. State Sen. Mike Gianaris was essentially against it—by saying only if it had community support, while Van Bramer continued to argue that the infrastructure would not be able to cope with it. Nolan also said in a statement that such development would have “the potential to tremendously damage the middle class quality of life of our western Queens communities.” Nolan then announced that she had hired local attorney Ira Greenberg on a part time basis to monitor de Blasio’s plan and to work with agencies, residents and other parties to make sure the community’s voice is heard. State Sen. Mike Gianaris sent out a mailing to his constituents recently, which said that the building of new housing units should be secondary to meeting the community’s existing infrastructure needs. Van Bramer, who has told the mayor that he supports the concept of affordable housing, has expressed doubts as to whether it should be in western Queens. He has consistently been saying that area is already in need of schools and parks—and continues to discuss the poor performing No. 7 train. He said the Queensboro Plaza/Court Square area is likely to be rezoned that will bring affordable housing as well an influx of people. “We have are a lot of challenges that we face today,” Van Bramer said at a recent civic association meeting, “let alone with a 100,000 more people.”
Mardi Gras bar crawl planned for Skillman Avenue Saturday
Costumes from 2014 event

Costumes from 2014 event

Feb. 27, By Michael Florio Skillman Ave. will never be confused with Bourbon St. but this Saturday it will be alive with the sights, sounds and tastes of the Big Easy. Nine Skillman Avenue establishments have organized the third annual Mardi Gras Bar & Restaurant Hop, which starts at 3:00 pm and goes late into the evening. The event comes well after the official Feb. 17 Mardi Gras date. However, the bars will be sticking to the New Orleans traditions of beads, jazz and Cajun food. Party goers are being asked to register at the Copper Kettle, located on the corner of Skillman Ave. and 51nd St., between 3:00 and 6pm. By registering, attendees will be able to get half-price beer specials.  The cost to register is $5, which will go to the local food pantries. . SkillmanMardiGras1  
No. 7 train is down for St. Pats for All parade
St.-Pats-for-All-475x356 Feb. 26, By Michael Florio Two thousand participants—and countless spectators—are not enough to sway the MTA to keep the No. 7 train running this Sunday for the 'St Pats for All' parade. The MTA is doing track work this weekend and the No. 7 train will not be operating between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street, from 12:30 AM Saturday through 4:30 AM Mon. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and parade organizers have been calling on the MTA to postpone the work and to keep to its regular weekend schedule. The MTA, however, claims that the parade doesn’t draw enough riders for it to postpone its track work. “We looked at ridership during the parade from the past few years and it does not draw enough to warrant postponing the work,” Kevin Ortiz, an MTA spokesman, said. Brendan Fay and Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy, co-chairs of the parade, were very disappointed with the MTA’s decision since many participants rely on the 7-train to get to the event. “There are groups from all over the city now trying to figure out how to get to the parade,” Fay said. “People are very frustrated.” 7subway1The pair was hoping the MTA would reschedule service as it had done so for the Lunar New Year parade in Flushing. Walsh D’Arcy said that it might reduce the number of attendees. Nevertheless, “I think most people will find other ways to the parade,” she said. “But it will be an inconvenience and costly.” Van Bramer was clearly upset with the MTA. “I’ve asked the MTA to suspend their work this weekend and allow the thousands who want to participate in this very important event to do so,” Van Bramer told NY1 Wednesday. “And they’ve said ‘No.’” “They [the MTA] have made exceptions for other parades and culture events--it makes no sense. The MTA consistently fails the people of Western Queens.” However, Ortiz said the Lunar parade generates ridership that the St. Pat’s for All parade simply cannot match. “The Lunar parade brings ridership in the thousands and this parade is a couple of hundred,” he said. Ortiz said parade goers can use alternative routes such as the Q32 and Q60 bus to the start of the parade. They can also take the R-train to 46th Street and jump on the Q104 bus. Fay said that several participants have told him they plan on taking the LIRR to 61st Street, while others will take shuttle buses. Walsh D’Arcy said she thinks many people will now drive, taking up a lot of neighborhood parking spaces. Details Parade Date: Sunday, March 1 Time: Speeches at 1pm; parade starts at 2pm Starts: Corner of 43rd Street/Skillman Avenue
Maggie Mae’s reopens today after extensive upgrade
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 26, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, the well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, reopens at 5:00 pm today after being closed for renovations for nearly a month. The bar closed for construction on Feb. 1, and its owners have rebuilt much of the interior with 1800s reclaimed wood. New floors have been put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” The renovation is still not 100 percent complete but Moore said he is ready to reopen.  
New CB2 chair to roll out updated website, will provide access to public documents
Community-Board-21 Feb. 25, By Christian Murray Community Board 2 is in the midst of overhauling its website, as it aims provide residents with greater access to public documents. The updated website will be much more comprehensive and is expected to be ready by spring. The public will have access to documents that deal with land use matters among others. Pat O’Brien, the newly elected Community Board chair, said that he intends to upload as many documents as possible so the public is better informed. “Any document that is public, we aim to put it out there,” O’Brien said. “I want people to know the facts so we can have a more informed discussion.” He said that he plans to upload older documents in order to build archives. However, he said that will take time and resources are limited. The board plans to create a Facebook page later this year that will be used to inform people of public meetings and events. O’Brien said that his first priority, however, is getting the site ready.  
Precinct unites lost dog with owner through Twitter
doglost Feb. 24, By Michael Florio The 108 Precinct was introduced to Twitter late last year-- and today it was the tool that was used to unite a lost dog with its owner. This morning officers found a dog--named Snowy-- near Queens Boulevard and 46th Street and used twitter to track down the owner. "#lostdog found around QB & 46thst this morning around 7 am help us find the owner," the tweet said, along with the photo of the dog. Five hours later the 108 Precinct took to Twitter and noted that it had reunited Snowy with its owner thanks to its Twitter followers.
Poll: Residents may face hefty toll to use Queensboro Bridge, along with others
QueensboroFeb. 23, By Michael Florio A proposed plan that would charge commuters a toll for using the Queensboro bridge—and three other New York City bridges--was put forward last week by an advocacy group that includes the former NYC traffic commissioner. MoveNY, a group comprised of traffic experts, research planners and eco-friendly non-profit firms, claims the tolls would lower traffic congestion and raise funds for the MTA. Under the proposal, workers who commute to Manhattan via the Queensboro Bridge each day would have to pay about $60 a week. The tolls would also be placed on the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. The toll on these four bridges would cost $5.54 each way if paid by E-ZPass and $8 each way for other drivers. There wouldn’t be a toll booth. Instead there would be a sensor that would charge E-ZPass drivers as they go over the bridge. For those without E-ZPass, a camera would take a photo of people’s license plates and they would receive a bill in the mail, according to Bart Robbett, Communications Advisor with MoveNY. The tolls on other MTA bridges—such as the Triborough and Whitestone-- would be lowered $2.50 each way. However, there are benefits for having a toll on the Queensboro Bridge for western Queens residents, Robbett said. For one, there would be fewer vehicles exiting the Grand Central Parkway and driving through residential neighborhoods to get to the bridge. “There would be fewer people going out of their way to get on the free bridge,” Robbett said. “These people are causing problems for [Western Queens] neighborhoods, by adding to the traffic.” “There would be less traffic at places such as Queens Plaza,” he said, where people start jockeying for position to get over the bridge. “They will have to pay, but they will see benefits,” he said. Samuel Schwartz, a former New York City Traffic Commissioner, developed the proposal after his research found that the streets near the free bridges were congested. The bridges with tolls, he found, had far less congestion. In addition to easing traffic congestion, MoveNY claims the new plan would generate $1.5 billion in revenue per year, which would go toward maintaining, expanding and modernizing the transit system and improving city bridges and roads. “I know we can do better — better with traffic flow, reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, and being fairer to drivers [who use other MTA bridges], especially in the outer parts of the city,” Schwartz said. State legislators would have to pass the proposal, since the state oversees the MTA.  
Sunnyside graffiti vandal blankets neighborhood with tag
43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

43rd Avenue, 43rd Street

Feb. 23, By Christian Murray A graffiti vandal has been targeting the walls of Sunnyside spraying his tag SBR all over stores on 42nd Street, 43rd Street and 44th Street. The police are following up on it; Sunnyside Shines has been struggling to clean it; and Jimmy Van Bramer’s office has been brought into the loop. The likely perpetrator of these tags goes under fictitious Facebook handle Esayebeare Bereal, where he showcases some of his work. Despite his false name, he has many friends who follow his posts. The owner of an establishment on 43rd Street described the graffiti as "childish and ridiculous." “I don’t know what people get out of it? Some sort of high,” he said, without giving his name out of concern that his store might get tagged next. “I don’t know whether writing an article about him will encourage him, stop him or even help lead to his arrest,” the owner said. Esayebeare Bereal engaged in a Facebook chat with the Sunnyside Post last week (see full transcript below), where he admitted to doing it and said he does it to be famous. He said that he was raised in Sunnyside and admitted to tagging under the name SBR, which is not affiliated with a street gang or group. He was not prepared to be interviewed over the phone out of fear that he would get "locked up." He targets 42nd and 43rd Street, he said, since he knows people who live there. However, in the messages, he said that he is thinking about easing up on 43rd Street. "I'm done with 43rd street to many yuppies complaining about sunnyside. But they wasn"t here when it was a bad neighorhood." However, his work has annoyed many, including Sunnyside Shines. “It is frustrating that one individual is so intent on destroying small business property in our neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, the director of Sunnyside Shines. “We’re very much aware of the graffiti situation in Sunnyside right now, and are coordinating closely with Council Member Van Bramer’s office and the 108th Precinct, as well as our graffiti removal vendor to ensure graffiti is removed as soon as possible.” The freezing weather, however, has slowed down efforts to clean up the graffiti, Thieme said. Nevertheless, when Sunnyside Shines was able to clean off the graffiti outside Café Bene (42nd and Queens Blvd) recently, Esayebeare Bereal struck back again days later. Esayebeare Bereal argues that he is capable of doing quality artwork but is fearful of getting caught by the police and said that paint is expensive. Most don’t appreciate his graffiti in any form-- viewing it as nothing more than vandalism. .

Transcript of Facebook chat by sunnysidepost

. graffiti6

43rd Street and Queens Boulevard. Former Dime Bank

. graffi3

43rd and Queens Blvd (former Dime Bank)

graffiti4

Sunnyside Shines cleaned his tag and then shortly after it reappeared (42nd Queens Blvd)

IMG_0094 . graffi5

42nd Street (near Queens Blvd)

. graffi1

43rd Street and 43rd Avenue

.
Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

Barnett Ave., 43rd Street

. 44th Street

44th Street (by Queens Blvd)

Possible tagg

Possible tag

. 43rd and 43rd

43rd (near Skillman Ave.)

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43rd Avenue (between 42nd and 43rd Street)

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NYP: DeBlasio plows ahead with Sunnyside Yards plan
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHunekeFeb. 21, NY Post Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving ahead with the plan to develop the Sunnyside rail yards, according to the New York Post. On Friday — 17 days after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the yards were off-limits — the city’s Economic Development Corporation issued a public notice seeking a yearlong feasibility study of the nearly 200-acre site. De Blasio proposed building 11,250 units of affordable apartments over the rail yards as a major initiative in his State of the City speech — only to be shot down within hours by Cuomo, who insisted the MTA needs the property for other uses. “It is not available for any other use in the near term,” Cuomo said in a statement immediately after de Blasio's State of the City Speech. But the mayor on Friday said it’s full speed ahead. “This is a tremendous opportunity to deliver on our vision of a more affordable city and smart development that responds to the needs of surrounding neighborhoods,” he said, calling the pending study only a “first step.” City Hall officials said the study will focus on the 113 acres owned by Amtrak — which is cooperating with the city — and another 44 acres where the land is owned by the MTA but the air rights belong to the city For the full story, please click here
Maggie Mae’s is undergoing a big makeover
Maggie-Maes1Feb. 20, By Christian Murray Maggie Mae’s, a well known bar located at 41-15 Queens Blvd, is undergoing a major revamp. The interior is being rebuilt from top to bottom with 1800s reclaimed wood from Pennsylvania. New floors are being put down. A new bar has been built, alongside new timber seats and tables. The bar closed for construction the day after the Super Bowl (Feb. 1) and its owners are planning on reopening it on Feb. 28. “I just came in as an owner /partner last month and felt it was time for a revamp and I like the rustic look,” said James Moore, the former manager at Maggie Mae's who now co-owns it with Sean Sorohan. “The neighborhood is also changing--there are a lot of new people coming to the area.” One of the walls has been removed and now the red brick that was behind it is exposed. Meanwhile, the popcorn ceiling is gone, and the old timber beams show through. The pool table and the duke box are gone for good. The games of beer pong will be no longer. And there will be just three TVs. The owners are also putting in a kitchen, which will begin serving food this summer. The menu is not expected to be extensive but items such as burgers, fish and chips will be served. This summer, the outside and front-door entrance will change significantly. There will be floor to ceiling windows and a whole new exterior sign. In the interim, the sign will change and the outside will be painted a different color. Moore said that the bar will have 18 beer lines when it reopens, with several craft beer options. Maggie Mae’s is also upgrading its large downstairs area that is typically used for parties. That space too is being rebuilt with 1800s reclaimed wood.
James Moore and Sean xx

James Moore and Sean Sorohan

. Maggie Mae's inside
Aluminaire House is wanted: Mayor of Palm Springs plans to bring it there
Aluminaire-HouseFeb. 19, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s trash is about to become another city’s treasure. The 1931 Aluminaire House, which was going to be erected on the corner of 39th Avenue and 50th Street, is being transported to Palm Springs. The mayor of Palm Springs is a big supporter of relocating it there and has started a fundraising drive in order to do so, according to The Desert Sun. The structure appeared headed to Sunnyside Gardens, where architects in 2013 planned to build eight residential units behind the aluminum house on the former Phipps playground. The house was designed in 1931 and is deemed to be of architectural significance. It was designed to explore how materials like aluminum could be used to build low-cost housing. However, Sunnyside residents rejected the plan—and the house--and believed that the showpiece was out of character with the existing red-brick homes in the landmarked neighborhood. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, at the landmarks hearing that decided whether it could go up in the neighborhood, said that more than 350 people had contacted his office in opposition to the proposal, with only five voicing their support. State Sen. Mike Gianaris, at the same meeting, said: “I’ve been in public service for 13 years and I have seen community boards discuss all sort of things…but I have not seen such uniform opposition as with this project.” The Landmarks Commission rejected the plan in January 2014. However, the aluminum structure is very much wanted in Palm Springs. The Mayor of Palm Springs has raised $200,000 of the $600,000 needed to bring it there in just one month. The funds are needed to be transported the home, which is in a crate, and reassemble it. At a recent $250 per-person fundraiser to bring the structure to Palm Springs, the mayor of that city reportedly said: “If you have a product, that is an incredible product, people want to be a part of it. Hopefully, a year from now, we'll be having one heck of a party in downtown Palm Springs."  

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