Sunnyside movie theater in danger of being demolished

Sunnyside Center Cinemas

By Christian Murray

The commercial building that is presently occupied by Center Cinemas, PJ Horgan’s and Dime Savings Bank is likely to face the wrecking ball, following a recent sale of the property.

The property, located on the corner of Queens Blvd and 43rd street was sold by Dime Savings Bank for $6.675 million on Dec. 20 to “42-25 Queens Blvd. Corporation,” a newly established firm run out of Astoria.

Michael Christopher, a representative of 42-25 Queens Blvd Corp., said “We have no plans at this point for the property” and have “not decided what to do with it.”

However, local real estate agents expect the new owner to develop the site and build residential units. The annual operating income from the property is $326,000, barely enough to cover the debt servicing on the property.

Furthermore, given the size of the lot (16,300sqf) and the recent up-zoning, a developer can build a structure with a maximum floor area of 68,424sqf. The current building only has a floor area of 16,080 sqf.

The owner of Center Cinemas, Rudy Prashad, said he put a $5.2 million bid on the property. His goal was to keep the existing building so the future of the cinema would not be in jeopardy.

“It’s a neighborhood theater and I wanted to keep it,” Prashad said. “It’s a place where working families can take their kids to the movies and not spend too much.”

Prashad said he had recently spent $600,000 putting in new screens, a sound system and digital equipment.

landmarkPrashad said he was disappointed with Dime Bank since he was in lease negotiations with them for nearly two years prior to the sale. He said the negotiations went back and forth as there was a dispute over flooding and water damage that caused big problems in the theater’s downstairs bathrooms.

He said he then learned that Dime was selling the property through an article on the Sunnyside Post.

The Sunnyside Dime branch, which operates out of that building, is scheduled to close this summer. A letter was sent out to its customers last week saying that their accounts would automatically be transferred to its other branch at 45-14 46th Street.

The cinema’s lease ends December 2014. Meanwhile, PJ Horgan’s lease ends June 30, 2018. Horgan’s has been operating at this location for nearly forty years.

There is also a dentist’s office in the building. Its lease ends Oct. 31, 2014–although there is a provision to extend it.

Original listing:

42-25 Queens Blvd – Setup by Sunnyside Post

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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

Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off Monday
Salt & Fat

Salt & Fat

Oct. 19, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All this for $25.

Takesushi: All this for $25.

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

meters

Oct. 17, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information on Park Smart click here

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

43-15 46th Street

Oct. 16, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here for the Worst Landlord List

Click here to look up the violations in any building

 43-15 46th Street.

43-15 46th Street.

 

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South building

Oct. 15, By Christian Murray

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

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

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

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

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

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

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

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

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Village Voice declares Salt & Fat Sunnyside’s best restaurant

saltfat-350x263

Oct 15, Staff Report

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

The write up starts as follows:

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

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

 

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Dumplings & Noodle eatery to open on 46th Street

Noodles

By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets

Hennessy
Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van BramerFATAL

Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Van Bramer

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

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