Sunnyside movie theater in danger of being demolished

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88 Responses to Sunnyside movie theater in danger of being demolished

  1. Sycamore

    And I bet the new people who move in, with tons of money to spend, will get all kinds of attention from local pols and call us unkind names if we wish they had never taken away our movie theater and our PJs. The new broom is sweeping away everything that made the neighborhood home. I guess I am next.

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  2. woodside guy

    i was going to work on the 7 the other day looking at all the 1 story buildings on Qb and wondering when the "development" would start. It loks like soon very soon....good bye old neighborhood Hello New Willyb

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  3. Pat

    Why can't they have it all. A new building of apartments, offices with the theater- that would be used by people renting the apartments and PJ Horgans and all of the other fine restaurants too ...

    I remember when the movie theater was a no no for us kids,oh so long ago, and now is a family movie house.

    Work together people for the people and you will be successful in the end.

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  4. SunnysidePostHatesMe

    WAHAHAHHAHA See what all this hipster loving Sunnyside does? Tearing down buildings to just shovel in MORE hipsters . You people are milking this neighborhood dry.

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  5. SunnysideSucks

    Goodbye Old Sunnyside, You were good once, families could afford living here, Stores offered affordable eats.

    Sunnyside is not moving forward, it's just getting busier and more expensive.

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  6. MAD AS HELL

    What the hell are these people doing to our neighborhood??? This is not Manhattan!! This is a TRAVESTY AND DISGUSTING!!! I for one have not received any notice from the Dime about my account being moved, but you can bet your sweet ass it will be moved tomorrow to a new bank(and not the Dime). I also blame the so-called Community Board (people who don't live here in Sunnyside) for making decisions without even notifying the residents!! of changing zone laws and such. Sunnyside is such a nice quaint neighborhood, that's going down the shit hole real fast if we do not stop this TRAVESTY!!!!!

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  7. Angie

    This is getting freaking ridiculous. I grew up in that neighborhood. I couldn't understand it when I was younger why the people in the neighborhood then. Didn't want new people there. Now I know why. Their ripping these wonderful family neighborhoods to pieces and for what. Business are closing down because of ridiculously high leases and all your left with is empty store fronts.

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  8. Mike Novak

    " The annual operating income from the property is $326,000, barely enough to cover the debt servicing on the property."

    So the new owner overpaid, and now has to run longtime tennants out onto the street just to make ends meet? Thats "progress"?

    Who is getting the kickbacks from this deal?

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  9. Melissa

    Not sad to see the Dime bank go, how many banks
    could one neighborhood need? But the movie theatre
    and the pub - businesses that have been here for decades...
    I am really sad about what us happening to our neighborhood.
    Soon, this will be Brooklyn. And then it will be time to leave.

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  10. Oppressed Masses

    We should decide now where we all are going to meet up in 10 years for the reunion.

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  11. Guttersnipe

    Sunnyside is going to hell in a handbasket. This working class neighborhood is now being overrun with hipsters and high rents. Soon the local residents whose families have been here for years will no longer afford to live here. Oh, one more thing. Do theae newbies with all their dogs know what it means to curb their pets? They just let their animals do their business in the middle of the street or near the front steps of buildings. It's disguisting! Maybe I should have said the neighborhood is going to the dogs!!

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  12. Local Hamburgler

    SAVE THE CLOCK TOWER!

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  13. Sycamore

    Thank God I am not the only one who feels absolutely heartbroken by what is happening around me. Usually I meet people who disagree with me, especially on this website. And by the way, this site never runs stories from our point of view, usually just press releases from developers. WORK HARDER SUNNYSIDE POST, GET BOTH SIDES OF THE STORY!

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  14. sm

    It is changing - I knew it would though. . . it is too close to Manhattan and too affordable relative to it. Everyone is so "anti-hipster" - but young professionals [with kids] cannot afford Manhattan - daycare is 2,700 K a month, rent for a 2-bedroom is 3K a month [and these folks are paying HIGH taxes and getting no subsidies/entitlements and usually are carrying student debt in the six figures].

    Nobody wants their entire income to go to housing and childcare only if they can avoid it - Sunnyside allows for expendable income. Hopefully, that income goes back into the neighborhood (I'm a big proponent of "shop local.")

    Brooklyn is only good if a person works downtown, Queens is better for midtown jobs.

    The average income (based only off real estate listings/gen'l info. for the neighborhood - so I have no idea how accurate) - is about 40K currently.

    Young professionals salaries are double (maybe triple??) that average - which will drive prices higher. While they may not be able to afford Manhattan, they can live very nicely in Sunnyside. Sellers know that and can adjust their prices based off of that.

    The saving grace may be subsidized housing in the neighborhood because it keeps?/draws? a percentage of the population with a lower income. But it needs to stay a high enough percentage so that shops and stores keeps prices low enough to cater and be affordable to those folks too (and not just the young professionals). [P.S. 199 - a significant majority of the kids qualify for the free breakfast program - that's not the case in the truly 'hipster' neighborhoods].

    But if the demographics shift ONLY towards the young professionals with more $$ (and I have nothing against them-good for them, they worked hard in school and I'm sure now too and earned it) - then yes, it is most certainly going to become higher-priced and more residential neighborhood.

    I hope PJ's gets to stay. . . its a great place.

    Personally, the thing I care most about are good schools and good school options that lead to good high schools and college opportunities. (Not just "new buildings" - I mean good, solid scores.)

    On one hand, I don't want the neighborhood to change because it is affordable - on the other, I think the "hipster"/"young professional" set can be that driving force for the schools.

    I don't know where the magic balance lies.

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  15. BringBackRuben

    Ruben was one of the FIRST to make allllll these points, and you all MOCKED him.

    now you are seeing his prophecies come to light.

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  16. Edgar

    That $$$king sucks. I love that theater. I can't afford to go into Manhattan anymore, to see a movie. $40 as opposed to $10 for my girlfriend and I, out at the Queens Blvd. Cinema.
    And PJ's is such an old staple.
    There goes the neighborhood.
    Same thing that happened in the Lower East Side.
    Where are they pushing us all to now?

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  17. Sunnyside Baby

    I have lived in Sunnyside for a couple of years now and would probably be called a hipster because of my age but I love this neighborhood. I work in the city but only go there on the weekdays and I spend almost all of my money in Sunnyside, or LIC and Astoria if I'm feeling adventurous.

    How much money are you older people actually putting back into the community? As a young person with no kids, I have more disposable income that I use at the local shops/restaurants/bars. Often, these places are empty - way emptier than one would expect with all the old/middle-aged people complaining about places closing to make room for dollar stores.

    Interestingly, the McDonald's, Wendy's, and Starbucks are always plenty full.

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  18. Sycamore

    The change is this neighborhood is a deliberate act. City leaders saw the diminished tax bases from the changes in business trends around the world and decided the best way to get some money in their coffers was to make NY a real estate haven for money all over the world. The Times just ran a story about the Plaza being 90% empty all the time because unfathomable wealth from all over the world bought up the apartments. Actual New Yorkers can't afford to live there, nor can they afford to live in many, many of the condo towers in mid-town. So all those relatively wealthy people--who really want to live in Manhattan but can't--have pushed out the working class people here. It is as simple as that. Forty-thousand-a-year folks who have lived here since the neighborhood was built are just so much dust to be swept away.

    The first residents here were fleeing the tenements of Manhattan for a life in the newly developed countryside. Today's residents are fleeing middle class apartments that are going "luxury." Such is life.

    The relatively poor are always swept aside when richer people want what they have. And I dare say they have always disliked it and resented those who take their homes away. Sad.

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  19. Local Hamburgler

    @sm

    Great points. I become consistently enraged reading the blind hate for any youth moving into the area, regardless of their subculture. I do sympathize with the anxiety held by the veteran natives as rapid change is hard to accept. I always want to ask them though, what did you expect? The population who has lived here can't simply all die off and leave the buildings abandoned. You too were once the younger generation settling in!

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  20. Moneyside

    Movie theaters are notorious for not making money. It's called the free market.

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  21. 45th and Skillman

    Are you ready for a Walmart, a Target, a Kmart on that corner? Ground floor retail with that kind of square footage? Big Box.

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  22. SunnysidePostHatesMe

    The reason we hate hipsters is because they THINK they add something to a community but they really don't.

    They bring dogs, dogs shit all over the sidewalks and in front of buildings.

    They bring their money, money goes to merchants who raise their prices. Suddenly that 6 dollar lunch is 9 bucks, Thanks Hipster.

    Not to mention the level of pretentiousness that comes associated with Hipsters. The nose in the air attitude of "I'm paying for this" and the poor don't do anything for the community.

    And the Hipsters i've see. The ones that never say hello or goodmorning to their neighbors, the ones that never hold the door for people, they live in their own bubble.

    Sunnyside...the new park slope.

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  23. 86Mets

    I hate to see Sunnyside turn into the ugly, sterile area around Queensboro Plaza where it seems another glass and steel building sprouts up once a week.

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  24. Reality

    Okay, i guess i have to be the one to say it, since no one wants to break the 'if its old, it must be good' rule: that place is a craphole. It smells, its dirty, the screens are bad and the sound is bad. Its just bad.

    Do I want a bunch of high-rent apartments in its place? No. But surely the neighborhood can do better than that dump.

    @Sunnyside Baby has a very good point as well:

    It takes me 20 minutes to get a chicken sandwich at Wendy's at dinner time, and though I never go to Starbucks, I can't walk past it without seeing at least two people go inside.

    I can walk into any pub or small restaurant at any time of day and be served immediately. The movie theater? Always plenty of seats to be had.

    If you don't use it, the developers will come.

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  25. Guttersnipe

    You got it so right SunnysidePostHatesMe! Their pretentiousness and attitude is more apropos for Manhattan nabes.

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  26. empire ed

    Horgan's opened up 11/22/63 - Same day Kennedy was shot.

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  27. The Rope

    I'm a 3rd generation resident. A white Irish American guy. Because of my style of dress, I was called a hipster by an immigrant that has lived in the neighborhood for 4 years! He was implying that I was not "from" Sunnyide. Hipster doesnt always = transplant. Also, Sunnyside is being overrun by yuppies! Boring yuppies from middle America that work in office towers. Not hipsters. There is a big difference. they're not moving to Sunnyside. They are moving to ridgewood, buschwick, and even the Rockaways. And as you all know, they have overrun Greenpoint Willimasburg,etc. As someone who owns my apartment, I say bring on good development, while keeping the character of the neighborhood. I remember the all out brawls that would spill out onto queens blvd at the mexican disco that is now a spa. I'll take the spa over that dump ANYDAY!

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  28. Long time resident

    Wait, all the businesses that I frequent in the neighborhood are empty? What? The bars seem to do a nice business. Most of restaurants I go to have a decent turnover of tables. Could it be that @Sunnyside Baby just frequents businesses that are failing?

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  29. ferdia

    Finally i see all the looming socialism I've been hearing so much about.

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  30. I'd_Just_Like_to Say...

    It just seems that some people just like to complain about anything and everything. Change happens. Hopefully, being in a desirable neighborhood will bring change that can benefit us all. I'd love to have the new owner of the site speak with Sunnyside residents and include things that really add value and charm to the area. (A PJs 2.0 would be great).

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  31. Angray

    Why do the "oldtimers" complain about hipsters and yuppies? They drive up property value, which to me is a good thing.

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  32. SunnysideUP

    Why do you hate change? How come that everything new is bad? I am sure that many of these people (or their parents/grandparents) who hate newcomers, are immigrants who were once welcomed to this country and were given an equal opportunity, like myself. I am very happy for the change that is happening in Sunnyside. I bought my apt. 6 years ago and I am happy my investment is fruitful but most of all I am happy that Sunnyside is becoming a healthy and an exciting community to live. I have no problem with the newcomers and no problem with the people who have been living here forever. As far as the cinema concerns, maybe the owner will work out something with the new developers and they will create another cinema in the new building. Who knows?

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  33. sm

    Plus, there was a lot of concern over Foodtown and what it would become. In the end it is not a residential building (appeasing many) nor is it a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods (a "C-Town" - I'm not familiar with, but is probably not a hipster or yuppie store - thus presumably appeasing that concern too).

    Its ironic that people want the things that can come with a young professional and/or hipster like crowd that have a little more $$ to spend (Trader Joe's or Whole Food, etc.) but at the same time don't want their $$ because it drives prices up. Its tied together.

    I've lived in Sunnyside for over 10 years (so admittedly not a long-time veteran of Sunnyside), and I just don't see any problem with welcoming young professionals and/or "hipsters" and/or yuppies (I'm not entirely sure I even know where all the lines are drawn there). The more different sects, the more interesting it becomes - at least to me.

    I'm older, but I don't want the area to only have old people. I'm not choosing to live in a retirement community here, lol!

    I appreciate the concern that with them comes higher rents and costs of living . . . but that's everywhere in the city - not just Sunnyside and I don't think is a "fault" of the young professionals per se. I get it though, . . . but I don't want the solution to be to keep all higher earning young people out of the neighborhood.

    And I don't find "pretentiousness" in Sunnsyide. Far from it. I find most people of all ages and economics pretty nice - even the younger "newbies."

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  34. Edgar

    Death to Hipsters and Yuppies! Long live the new flesh!

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  35. ferdia

    Well said sm! With reference to foodtown, when it went the way you stated people complained about that too.

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  36. Roxy

    This was one of the few businesses in Sunnyside that drew many customers from other neighborhoods such as Greenpoint and Ridgewood,
    which lost their cinemas some years ago. And Sunnysiders will now have to go to Astoria or Jackson Heights for the nearest cinemas. And to think that Sunnyside once had FOUR cinemas to itself, including the enormous Sunnyside (long demolished) and Bliss (still with us as an evangelical church).

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  37. Rick Duro

    You folks act like this is some new phenomena. NYC is an ever changing work of art, constantly evolving/changing, sometimes for the better, other times, well..... Am I glad to see old establishments go? No, of course not. It's sad to lose the true character of a 'hood, the Lower East Side/Greenwich Village are shells of their former selves.

    People hate 'hipsters' because they have 2 things that many old skool residents may not: youth and lots of disposable income. Greedy landlords take advantage of this and jack up rents. It's called capitalism.

    There were the same amount of dogs, with the same 10% who refused to pick up, in our 'hood, 10 years ago. You'd be suprised who doesn't pick up. I tell you what, it's not the hipsters. In the last few weeks I have seen 4 people not pick up, ALL were 'older' Sunnyside residents, each with the ability to bend down and take care of their responsibility. I offered bags to each one. 3 had the fake 'Oh, I must have forgot a bag' excuse, took the bag and picked up. The other guy, living across from the park, ignored me and walked away. He routinely lets his dog into the handball court to poo and just walks back home.

    RD

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  38. Sycamore

    For those who say they don't understand why people feel uncomfortable when their neighborhood is taken over by strangers, you haven't been paying attention. We have enumerated the reasons over and over and over. It is not that the reasons have not been presented, it is that you fail to comprehend them. Nonetheless, the reasons are valid. As is your point of view. We who have been your age, done the things you are doing now, etc., etc., don't blame you for doing them, they are just boring to us. We've been there and done that. We are moving into phases of life you have no concept of, with benefits and graces you will enjoy when you get there. And when you get here, perhaps you will recall how you strutted your biological powers of multiplication, your financial prowess and your superior tastes in food and decor--and blush.

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  39. 123sunny

    The movie theater is . . . well, I went there once and that was enough. Dime will be fine - they have a second one on 46th anyway. Sometimes change is a good thing. Hopefully its a mix of residences and shops.

    As for PJ's - it is super cute with character - its almost like a historical landmark - maybe it should seek special zoning protection as such (although it may be too late)!

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  40. la

    I love the movie theater for its prices and kind employees. I like spending $5 on a film vs. $13 at most other theaters.
    P.J.'s is a great place with great staff.

    Just please keep them and build around them.

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  41. SunnysidePostHatesMe

    The point is....HIPSTERS..and pay attention.. Is that you people do nothing to add to the community, only YOUR community. you are a bunch of elitists and that is why nobody likes you.

    Why do you think we "the old timers" complained about a dog park when MILLIONS could have gone into things the community actually NEEDED. ps 150 is desperately struggling with its after school programs. Where are the summer camps for the struggling families? Where are the the day care centers that aren't Korean or religiously affiliated? Where's the affordable gyms? Where's the garages to help out with the overcrowded parking situation in Sunnyside?

    You Hipsters don't care. You are just a bunch of nomads...moving from neighborhood to neighborhood .

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  42. Helios

    Does anyone know what the structure on Skillman & 39th is? It's part of East Side Access but is it an entrance to the railroad or part of something else?

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  43. Bliss & Skillman

    I find it funny that some of you think that Sunnyside is being singled out as some special exclusive target. Get out of your bubbles and look around, it's happening everywhere and not just NY.

    Common sense should tell you that old structures, especially ones that have not had excellent building maintenance are not always able to be re-habbed and must be replaced for safety's sake. If things didn't change, your neighborhood would soon be filled with derelict buildings and eventually everyone would be elderly, without expendable income or the physical ability to go out and support the local businesses you seem to treasure.

    Get your heads out of your asses, change is inevitable and necessary!

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  44. SunnysidePostHatesMe

    Bliss and SKillmann - Wake up you are elitist.

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  45. Local Hamburgler

    @SunnysidePostHatesMe

    Learn to type. Regarding your hatred of your fellow neighbors, you seem to be more of the problem than the solution.

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  46. Nathan

    The neighborhood is slowly changing for the better. I am all for new development to come in and raise property values. I bought my place 3 years ago and wasn't cheap but I invested in the neighborhood. All you old timers complaining about hipsters have it all wrong. Yeah maybe some prices at the supermarket will go up but eventually the pawn shops, tons of nail salons and thai places will leave and we might actually get a bookstore and better restaurants. Owning my place was not easy but hopefully will pay off. Renters should not even have a voice on the future of the neighborhood. They haven't invested into the neighborhood the way owners have.

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  47. JulieJ.

    I like this theater and they have great prices. So, we would have to go to Astoria to see a film locally? I object!

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  48. sm

    There's also a theater on Lex (taking the Q32 bus for about a 15 minute ride). In many places a 15 minute ride to a theater wouldn't be considered a bad commute. But, it would be limited to weekends I suppose as during the week, with rush hour, its not that short a ride. Its a nice theater, but it does cost more.

    I've been to ours locally a couple times, but it was always semi-empty. I joked with a friend once it was almost like a private screening. Even before this article, I wondered how it stayed in business.

    And it was cheap and convenient, so price/location would not have been a reason "not to go" because who doesn't like a bargain? I shop at the dollar stores in our neighborhood for some things - I have friends that come out from Manhattan to do the same because we have some good bargains there.

    That leaves quality (see Reality above- they're right).

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  49. ferdia

    MOVE! That's the answer, move. There are loads of places all over the country cheaper than Sunnyside. And a lot if those have piss poor theaters! I hear they have bar restaurants too. And if you do your research first, you'll find plenty full of like minded people so once you get there you won't have to worry about it changing; the community is too involved to let it happen.

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  50. Sycamore

    @Nathan I'm sorry, but you are so self-involved and myopic its pitiful. Absolutely pitiful. Please, keep your half-sane, half-baked, half-developed and self-centered ideas to yourself. You know not of what you speak.

    If renters should not be able to vote on the future of the neighborhood, you belong in prehistory where tyrannies were the most highly developed political structure. Good God, I hope you aren't a driver, you probably think the biggest cars have a right to run anything else off the road--and to run over pedestrians who dare step foot on the tarmac.

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  51. Nevaeh

    Y u all not stop doing bc we all hav to be hear! My baby an husbands are most happy in Sunnyside! U can too! If we not because u can't be we wont be and every1 sad. Good places with park for dogs and kids. Poop

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  52. TBoneNYC

    And heres what happens when a bunch of greedy landlords get together and make the neighborhood a Business Improvement District. Thanks Jimmy Van Bremmer for watching the money's back and not the residents of the neighborhood. Disgraceful.

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  53. JulieJ.

    Texas is looking good!

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  54. Nevaeh

    JULIE! TEXAS????? Have you ever even been so far as decided to use even go want to do look more like? NO! San Antonio SPIT! Arkansas!

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  55. 86Mets

    Nevaeh, what's your native language? If it's English, you have a solid malpractice suit against the schools you attended.

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  56. Original Sunnysider

    Seriously? Who cares? This movie theater was good in the early 90's but now it sucks. The original one had 3 theaters. Then they renovated it and made more theaters which are really small. Its pretty much always been kind of dirty. The food was always stale. And most of the neighborhood worked there and didn't even care about the place. Bye bye Center! No one even goes to the movies anymore. You can download any movie for free. And besides that everyone goes to Steinway. Kaufman sh*ts on this place. lol

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  57. Karen Warnock

    @ NATHAN "Renters should not even have a voice on the future of the neighborhood. They haven’t invested into the neighborhood the way owners have."
    REALLY???? So i guess 69% of the population in NYC should never have a say in what happens in their neighborhoods. That would have also excluded former Mayor Ed Koch as well..he was a life-long renter.

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  58. Nevaeh

    METS FAN

    Stop your attitude! I work and you too so we can enjoy! Look down on me for education is a big wheel. SHAME. Your not perfect!

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  59. Sycamore

    @Nevaeh Glad you said that. No one of good faith should be dismissed from this forum. But people of bad faith might consider holding back their comments until they recover.

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  60. JulieJ.

    Nevaeh, Laguardia Community College give a good English as a second language class.

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  61. SuperWittySmitty

    I hear you, Sunnyside Baby. You can get hand-made bagels and freshly roasted coffee beans right on Queens Boulevard, but I'll bet the majority of Sunnysiders buy their bagels and coffee at the supermarket. When these stores close down,
    people complain. The best solution is to patronize them.

    Unfortunately, the movie theater got run down and there are better options. If if was a quality experience, I would go.

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  62. 86Mets

    @Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backward, how clever)

    Please point out to me where I claimed to be perfect.

    And, what's wrong with a decent education, one that allows people to express themselves in proper and grammatically correct English, as opposed to some sub-standard patois?

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  63. Anonymous

    The theater should not be demolished, but should be remodeled and cleaned, along with retraining employees. If demolished, then finding another theater like this would be hard and far from here. This theater has been the only theater us Sunnysiders can rely on and should never go away. Would you rather enjoy a box-office movie at a cheap price that is here in the neighborhood or would you rather pay more and be far from home.

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  64. 86Mets

    @Neveah

    I've lived in other countries and took the time and effort to learn the language. I considered it paying respect to the welcoming countries and also to my own intellectual growth.

    I have no patience for people who come to this country and can not be bothered to put a noun and a verb together properly. I have no regard for their opinions. They are mentally lazy and disrespectful of this country.

    Take an basic English course, it's not like asking you to recite Hamlet verbatim or split the atom.

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  65. Rick Duro

    Ruben, aka Sunnysideposthatesme, the 'hipsters' aren't going anywhere, get over it already. Neighborhoods change. Everyone hates these 'hipsters'? I'd disagree.

    Many of SUDS founders have been here for decades, and we've been a group since Fall 2001, getting unanimous approval for the dog run from guess what, people as far away from being 'hipsters' as you can get. What is the cut off date for moving here and/or age range for a Sunnyside hipster anyway? I want to see if I qualify. A better park is being built and everyone will benefit. Our 'hood needed a revitalized space & we advocated for one for 10 yrs and succeeded. You people act like hipsters invented the dog. There are just as many here now as there were my first time in the 'hood.

    What are you doing to improv Sunnyside for everyone? Your comments here are often amusing and do indeed make me laugh, thanks for that. But, c'mon already. You talk about how hipsters are ruining everything. I'd disagree. I see lots of good things coming from people you would deem 'hipsters': Stray, Farmers Market, St Pat's Parade, local bars helping the needy, new park, SUDS rescuing/fostering dogs/raising $ for medical bills people can't afford, etc etc. Everyone has a special interest group they belong to, be it through Church, Little League sports, politics, education, ethnic groups, animals, athletes, etc. Anyone from one of those groups who actively works to make Sunnyside a better place is doing good work. Is everyone always going to agree on what is best for the 'hood? Of course not.

    What are you, Mr. Olde Skooler, doing to improve the quality of life here? Step up SPHM, more action, less words.

    RD

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  66. la

    I've been to sold out movies at the theater many times.

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  67. Sycamore

    @Rick Duro et. al. There are two sides to the situation and both sides have valid points. They have been enumerated many times on this website. The problem is one of respect. The new people don't have espouse any respect for all the things that people did to make this neighborhood the nice, affordable one it has been for three generations, or if they do, they do not show it properly. Saying, "renters should not have a voice," "drinking under your window until the wee hours is my right," and "if you don't like it, move," tend to inflame the passions rather than create an atmosphere of cooperation. People who have lived here for many years have welcomed newcomers for nine decades. Scan the archives of any newspaper and you will not find any stories about people being ejected from the neighborhood because they were new. It is the sudden, huge influx that is destabilizing.

    And it just now occurs to me that our community leaders who engineered this change have done a poor job of easing the tensions it created. I wish they would make an effort to ease the tension. It is really destructive as it is.

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  68. SunnysideUP

    @86Mets: love reading at your posts. Your comments are witty and sharp. Keep them coming.

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  69. mickangelo

    I have no problem with new and younger people move in. But use the neighborhood. The number of new people who live here but hang out in Manhattan is ridiculous. They spend no money here...how do I know? Because I met them all during Sandy. Theyd never been to any place in the neighborhood but now they couldn't leave. Now you see this "middle class neighborhood " asking for 2k a month for a 1 bedroom . Fir a bunch of people who spend their money in Chelsea or the UWS.

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  70. Sunnysideposthatesme2

    Sycamore is right, the NEW hipsters are the ones that are big stinky D-bags.

    I'm ok with the old hipsters, even though their sandals with socks annoy me.

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  71. 123sunny

    And I don't think the interests of the new folks are as misaligned from others. Specifically, I'm younger but what drew me to Sunnyside is the affordability coupled with the commute to work/the city - I love going to PJs and supporting local businesses!!

    I live South of the Blvd. I send my kids to private schools in the city (although due to that cost increase - 35K a year PER KID is beyond my means, moving to Forest Hills w/ P.S. 196), but in any event, in order to send them there, we make the sacrifice of living a very modest life - Sunnyside allows for that life. In fact, it allows for an amazing quality of life with a modest (leftover) income.

    But I have always appreciated Sunnyside and what others have made it because it allowed for us to have access to the city's top schools and a wonderful, wonderful neighborhood with livable costs [I know how lucky we are for that!] - and I'm genuinely grateful for those who came before who have contributed to the neighborhood and kept cost down.

    I don't have a dog, but dog parks are free to use and I think its great that we have one. I have kids and no time for pub crawls, lol, but I think its great that they're organized!

    Sunnyside is truly special.

    [And I have nothing against public schools as a general matter (hence P.S. 196), but I'm zoned for P.S. 199 - and 86Mets has a point tied to the above - I've said 100 times ultimately the only thing I care about is education. And there is no way a teacher can address the needs of Netaeh's kids and mine equally and appropriately if they are in the same class - and they would be because there is no G&T class at P.S. 199 [both mine qualified for G&T].

    P.S. 199 assists a significant population of ESLL students. I'm not apologizing for sending my kids private - I know that's a "hipster" thing to do and will inflame many on this site - but it is what it is. I pay my taxes, if after that I choose something other than the public school, that's my choice.]

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  72. Sycamore

    @123sunny I have not met any individual person whom I find offensive because they are a hipster. My grief over the loss of comfort here is not against any individual. We have all been pawns in Bloomberg's redevelopment plan. It is his overpowering influence I blame.

    And thank you for appreciating those who came before. Hardly anyone says anything nice to us. And believe it or not many of us dreamed of the improvements, we just thought we would be part of it, not pushed aside by those who eventually came to implement them.

    Its an old story, you raise a passel of kids with love and self sacrifice, and they thank you by pushing you aside and tearing down all you worked to build so they can build the world they envision.

    Its one aspect of aging I find particularly insulting. Many other aspects are deeply rewarding, but not that one.

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  73. Frank

    What really bums me out is the loss of Pj Horgan's. They will probably re-locate, but the atmosphere cannot be duplicated.

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  74. Rick Duro

    Ruben,

    Sandals w/ sox should be against the law. Tho, my olde world Italian Uncles would do something even worse, shorts, white sox w/ black shoes.

    RD

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  75. Rick Duro

    Sycamore,

    I absolutely agree with you on respecting the 'hood, 100%! There are many people that don't respect the area and they come from both sides, older residents and newer arrivals. From the rocket scientist with the car alarm that has been going off for 4 hours today, to the dummy that doesn't pick up after their dog, to the restaurant delivery guy doing 20mph on the sidewalk w/ an e bike, or a drunk urinating outside between parked cars just off of Qns Blvd.

    Patronizing local establishments is vital to the life of a 'hood: restaurants, supermarkets, pet food stores, etc etc. It's what people should do. But, again, it's folks from both sides. I know plenty of residents who have been here for a long time and that shop outside the 'hood, cars make it easier, so they are just as guilty as the hipster that goes to Manhattan.

    Sadly, the no smoking policy in bars has really had a terrible effect on areas like ours. While the idea is great, it forces drunks outside to smoke, be loud, sometimes fight, etc.

    We need to make sure that people who have spent their lives here do not fall victim to landlords looking to make a quick buck, the question is, how?

    Cheers,

    Rick

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  76. Anonymous

    I love the movie theater,but my son has never gone to the movie theater.He really wants to go to the movie theater.This is why I never took him to the moviee theater.Trust me,Its happend before.I also don't want to take him to the movie theater is because he watches plenty of movies at his grandmothers house.We used to have a TV,but when I found out that all he do's at his grandma's house is wath TV,I-I just took the TV and hid it in the basment.But now I'm going to the basment and I'm geting that TV!I don't know why I was so scared!WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!Sorry mom.

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  77. Marie

    Y is this happening?????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  78. RubentheProphet

    I have all your answers. The problem with Sunnyside is that there is no REAL community. I have a solution for all your needs, including yuppies and hipsters (old and new) and it falls on the new park .

    Let's be real, you all fear that the latinos will be back and overtake that nice new expensive park as soon as it opens. Being a latino myself I can assure you they WILL be back. like roaches on an old pastrami sandwich. So here's what should be done.

    Community leaders should promote community events for every Saturday. Get some parents to volunteer to get the kids together for the occasional baseball pick up game this way the kids actually have something to do in the park. Parents get to know each other in the process.

    Then, let's get some Food cars to pass by and sell some real hipster food. I am sick and tired of that fake farmers market that sets up shop , I want a chocolate kimchi smoothie to wash down my cucumber taco. with this you have two things hipsters love, dogs and food trucks.

    It won't take much to get this done. Do this and you'll have a community, you'll have your voices and most importantly, kids will see that there's unity in their neighborhood not just people living their own separate lives.

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  79. SuperWittySmitty

    The no-smoking policy forces drunks outside, where they get loud...fight...?

    It's probably lead to more folks trying to quit, and the patrons inside of the establishment feeling healthier and happier. In the past, I would avoid smoking bars and restaurants; nowadays, I go out to eat on a regular basis. Hard to believe we actually tolerated folks burning tobacco and creating thick plumes of noxious smoke inside a room crowded with people eating their dinner!

    But now, smokers (they're not all drunks, are they? And not all drunks are smokers, so it's the combination of these two bad habits? ) go outside and smoke, and then they get rowdy? But if we let them stay inside and smoke, though, they would remain calm? This is quite a theory.

    I love the fact that I was able to quite in 2000. Starting to smoke was the stupidest thing I ever did. The only issue here that is really sad is that there are still people smoking, while the rest of us sweep up their butts and try too ignore the nasty odor.

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  80. ice-nine

    what happened to the editing of the hatred on this site?
    Everythings fine now that Crowley wished us all a happy Presidents day.
    I am complete now, and at peace.

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  81. Rick Duro

    I'm all for SMOKE FREE bars, restaurants, etc. It's a horrible habit. I am glad less people are smoking for many reasons. The people standing outside, on a freezing night, in front of a bar are smoking, otherwise they'd be inside.

    One unfortunate circumstance of forcing people to go outside to smoke, is they make lots of noise in the early am hours, the smoke wafts up into people's windows and, yes, fights do sometimes happen outside. Inside as well, it's what the effects of booze sometimes causes: beer muscles. We have had whole articles on this page dedicated to bar fights/injuries.

    People in bars tend to drink and some, yes, do get drunk. Everyone, no, but many yes.

    RD

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  82. Rick Duro

    Great idea Ruben. Put it together!

    RD

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  83. JulieJ.

    SAVE THE THEATER. SAVE PJ HORGAN'S!!!

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  84. Newcomer

    @Rick Duro; Speaking about how to prevent "people who have spent their lives here" from falling "victim to landlords looking to make a quick buck," I think that tenants' associations are a good place to start, at least in rent stabilized buildings. Buildings with active tenants' associations can help people get to know each other, (yup, long-time residents and new folks alike,) and can keep an eye on trends that can push out residents. Anyone know if there are any tenants organizations around?

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  85. Nathan

    I'm sorry

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  86. b

    They have clearly made a push in the last year to improve and renovate the theater, and it has been a great option for cheap movies ($5 every day before 5PM) against the $14 tickets in Astoria. It'll be a shame to lose it.

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  87. :d

    Am going to miss the theater

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Latest News

Residents produces video: ‘Christmas in Sunnyside’

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

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

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

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

weekendoutages

Dec. 17, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Sunnyside farmers market to be open all year round

Sunnyside-market

Dec. 16, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

save

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

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo source: ‘It’s in Queens’

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 11, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

 

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

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the write up on Queens, please click here.


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Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms

PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke

Dec. 9, By Christian Murray

Call it a preemptive strike.

A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards.

A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week.

The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures.

Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.”

Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use.

But the petitioners say not so fast.

“Sunnyside and Long Island City’s infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads.

“The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don ‘t know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards – bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.”

Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.”

Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: “We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse.”

Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

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

Long Island City waterfront

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

Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

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

Willliam Eichhorn

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

Joe Conley (third from left) at groundbreaking

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

2012 Santathon

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

Map

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

Willliam Eichhorn

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

The police are still searching for this suspect

Demolition permits filed as section of Greenpoint Ave. to be bulldozed
closing1 Dec. 2, By Christian Murray Demolition permits have been filed with the Building Dept. to demolish three Greenpoint Avenue stores and the accompanying upstairs dwelling units. The permits, which were filed and approved Nov. 18, provide the developer with the go-ahead to knock down the buildings that were occupied by King Boulevard, SSS Video and Azteca Restaurant. The filings do not state what the developer has in mind for the site. This strip of real estate (47-16 to 47-24 Greenpoint Ave.) was sold by Greisman Property in October to AB Capstone Development, a development company, for  $4.35 million. Mike Perez, who owned King Boulevard for 31 years, closed down his store at the end of October. closing
Doctoroff, who calls for developing Sunnyside Yards, doesn’t understand Western Queens, Van Bramer and residents say
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 2, By Christian Murray The drum beat to develop the Sunnyside Yards continues with the latest call to build on it coming from the former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff. Doctoroff, in a New York Times op-ed piece that ran Sunday, said that the city needs to build a 3.1 million square foot convention center and that Sunnyside Yards would be the ideal place for it. The center could also be accompanied, he wrote, by nearly 14,000 residential units of which 50 percent would be affordable. The op-ed stated that Long Island City is a great location for this development since it is “one of the most convenient, transit-friendly areas in the city, served by eight subway lines.” The idea is that the new convention center would replace the Javits Center, which he deemed too small. However, residents and local officials argue that the concept just doesn’t make sense and that the neighborhood’s infrastructure in terms of schools, parks and subways are already stretched. Many are unsure how the neighborhood will absorb all the new residents coming to the area, with 5,000-10,000 units coming online in the next few years. “I found some of [Doctoroff’s op-ed] patronizing,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who opposes decking over the yards. “It revealed to me somewhat of a Manhattan elitist view of Queens.” Van Bramer said that Doctoroff might find the neighborhood transit friendly when he looks at the area on a map. However, he said, people who live here know that the No. 7 train is not reliable and there are a lot of delays. During morning rush hour, people often struggle to get on at the Jackson Ave/Vernon Blvd. Station, he said. At the October Community Board 2 meeting, when the idea of studying the yards was raised, several board members wanted to know how the area will cope with all the Court Square/Queens Plaza development coming online—let alone the yards. Meanwhile, a petition has just been formed, calling on the city not to allow the site to be developed. Van Bramer viewed Doctoroff’s push for avoidable housing to be disingenuous—arguing that this an argument used to buttress his case to “plop a mega convention in our neighborhood.” “I am incredibly supportive of affordable housing,” Van Bramer said, but using affordable housing as a tool is “offensive.”
Councilman Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

Furthermore, Doctoroff in his op-ed, said that the Yards represented a “nasty scar through the heart of Queens.” Van Bramer took exception to this viewpoint. “I have lived in these neighborhoods my entire life and it is not a scar. It’s a patronizing to say we have this awful thing and that they have to come here and make it better.”- However, Doctoroff is not alone in suggesting the Yards should be developed. In October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said it could turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. Representatives for the mayor said at the time that the site could be used to advance the mayor's affordable housing goals. Meanwhile, the Daily News reported that the Department of City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at a meeting Monday that the he and the Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen are studying the site. However, nothing is planned at this point, Van Bramer said. However,” I think we need to remain vigilant because it is in the minds of some wealthy and powerful people,” he said. “We need to watch out and be careful.” “What we really need are more schools, green space and better transportation—not a convention center,” Van Bramer said.

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