Burglars still targeting Sunnyside apartment buildings

Police in Sunnyside Queens

Jan. 29, By Christian Murray

The police have yet to apprehend any suspects following a rash of residential burglaries that have taken place in Sunnyside in the past two months.

The burglaries, which have all occurred between 40th Street and 52nd Street on the north side of Queens Blvd, have taken place inside apartment buildings, with the perpetrator(s) gaining access through fire escape windows. Most occurred between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the police reported 14 incidents.

The police deployed nearly 30 officers for nearly a week around Christmas in response to the burglaries and they ceased. However, in the past couple of weeks “2 or 3” have occurred between 48th and 52nd Street, said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 police precinct, at the community meeting Tuesday.

Despite the Sunnyside uptick, the number of residential burglaries across the 108 precinct—which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City– declined last year. However, crime across the major crime categories jumped more than 9% in 2013, compared to 2012..

Hennessy said that there were 1,327 crimes reported across the seven major crime categories in the precinct (murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, stolen autos) —up from 1,209 in 2012.

The increase was largely due to an uptick in property crimes.

The biggest jump was in the number of grand larcenies. This number of incidents—which is comprised of stolen cell-phones to items taken from cars— jumped from 470 to 570. Furthermore, there was a significant increase in the number of stolen vehicles.

The number of violent crimes that were reported in 2013, however, dropped. There were four murders and 15 rapes—the exact same number as in 2012. Meanwhile, the number of robberies and felony assaults fell.

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31 Responses to Burglars still targeting Sunnyside apartment buildings

  1. Alicia

    Police need to take care of this matter now!!!!

  2. A-bidge

    A friend of mine on the North side of the blvd was broken in to several months back, when the police arrived they said that they had a very good idea who it had been and said that they were responsible for a lot of local robberies lately. So I think it's total bollocks that the Police have still not apprehended any suspects. Think they need to get a move on and arrest some robbing bastards.

  3. Rich Klein

    Chief Hennessey needs to do a better job at alerting the public to details of crimes known so the community can help the police capture the criminals! There's a history of the 108th brass waiting weeks and months to announce that crimes happen here and all that does is give the thugs time to hide from the eyes and ears of the public. When potentially violent felons are on the loose and we don't know about it, all of us are put in harm's way.

  4. Dave

    I lived in Sunnyside from 2009 until just last year, and i've got to say that, during this time, I saw a really nice, quaint neighborhood turn into a grossly unlivable place.

    Looking past the obvious, unacceptable delays and suspensions of the 7 train, we have:

    A near-constant opening - and subsequent shuttering of - new and interesting restaurants and/or shops.

    An administration that employed truly bizarre initiatives like that 40th street art (or exercise equipment, depending on how you look at it) and recorded bird noises at the 52nd street station.

    An alarming rise in burglaries, along with a smattering of brazen, significantly more horrifying crimes like arson, torture (that poor man in the Skillman Ave. factory) and homicide.

    Am I missing anything here? Seriously, I'm not trying to be pejorative.

    Just attempting to re-state empirical evidence that forced me to move.

    Can anyone, please, tell me what is going on in the 11104 zip code?


  5. JaneGrissom

    And then there are our unsolved murders. I would be curious as to whether the police think that the burglars are locals or are coming from other neighborhoods. Also, where are they fencing their stolen goods?

  6. Sunnyside Hobo

    I think it's time for the Vigilante numbers to go up!! Protect the hood.

  7. anonymous

    i for one think we should deputize squirts the bum to patrol our beloved streets.

  8. Pirates vs Robots

    So, I'm pretty sure I thwarted an attempt to steal my cellphone about two months ago.

    I was outside my building on the north side, reading something on my phone, at probably about 10:30 or 11:00pm. A girl who looked to be about 20 came up and said she was supposed to meet a friend but her cellphone was dead and she needed to call and say she was downstairs. I was very skeptical, but didn't want to be rude in case she was telling the truth, so I asked her to tell me the number and I dialed it myself.

    She held her hand out expectantly, but I waited for someone to answer and held the phone up to her ear rather than handing it over. The girl got very nervous and looked up the block repeatedly while I was waiting for an answer, and when the person picked up and I held up the phone for her, she said "Hi, it's me.... *long pause* ...... No, um........ no, I............... *long pause*........ Uh, I'm downstairs....... no....... Bye."

    She then very nervously said "thanks" to me and walked off, turning the corner at the end of the block.

    I'd like to give her the benefit of the doubt and not assume she was trying to take my phone, but the fact that a guy answered the phone when she had referred to her friend as a girl, coupled with the generally sketchy conversation (why wouldn't you just say "Hi, I'm downstairs!"??) and the fact that she turned the corner and thus clearly wasn't visiting someone on the block at all certainly makes me lean toward the conclusion that, yep, I very nearly got robbed.

    TL;DR: Don't hand a stranger your phone!

  9. Angray

    P vs R - You should report that. If a bunch of the cellphone robberies have the same MO, then you have a description of a suspect and the number for an associate.

  10. Crane

    We need to start installing more cameras of our own, this is the first step.
    I see almost all large apartment buildings have cameras, walk on 44th from blvd to skillman, they all have cameras, how come non of these cameras catch anything, or why don't cops request the tapes to go through them?

    Also lighting is very important, why don't most houses on gardens add a small light fixture outside their houses? How much will that cost them $2/mo in electricity? They don't give a damn but I am surprised they don't feel unsafe. Go walk at night, fraction of them have lights, considering the street lights on blocks like 44 to 47 are blocked by trees and some of them not working I would expect all house owners to have their lights working, if they are that cheap just add motion sensing lights, at least you will know if someone has just walked by etc..

  11. Anonymous

    Noticed some new thugs roaming the neighborhood

  12. Florence Lawrence

    I noticed some Caucasian males in suits with suitcases looking to open a realtor office.

  13. Anonymous

    Crane, you do not know what your talking about. Did you just move here. Us people who live in the Gardens do feel safe. The thief is targeting the apartment buildings not houses so you don't you tell people to lock their fire escape windows. That might be the best place to start.

  14. squirts the bum

    I'll clean up the neighborhood for a channnnnnnnnge!

  15. Tequilla Mockingbird

    @ Anonymous.
    Where "you people" feeling safe in "the Gardens" this past summer when there was a string of burglaries happening there (including Van Bramer's house) ?

    Get off your high horse, will ya? Show some sympathy.

    Sunnyside is one neighborhood, it could happen anywhere, no need for this ridiculous, classist way of looking at things.

  16. Sunnysider for life!

    Lived here all my life and it was the worst in the 80s. People getting robbed constantly. They learned to get gates on their windows.

  17. I'm so tired

    @dave What interesting restaurants and stores opening and closing are you referring to, I can't think of any

  18. rikki

    Is there any listing of the cars stolen? I dont think anyone would steal my 16 year old ford station wagon with the original cassette player in it.....right?

  19. luke outtavindow

    more hipsters + more hipster cash = more robberies

    makes sense to me? If I was a robber I'd go where the ca$h is

  20. sweeny bammer

    The 108 recent is a joke ...

  21. sweeny bammer

    The 108 precent is a joke all there good for is to harass ppl

  22. 43rd@43rd

    How do you know their fire-escape windows weren't already locked? How do we know this is not some inside job which a person unlocks your door; removes your items and purposely opens the fire-escape window to throw off the keystone cops? If I was a smart, evil-aligned super; that's what I'd do...

    There's no videos of this happening; not on entry/exit of the buildings, nobody is reporting seeing anyone on the fire escapes or rooftops...

    Who leaves their fire-escape windows open in December or January when it's freezing outside. These apartments aren't exactly known for an abundance of heat. So, if the windows are closed, we supposedly have someone climbing up/down a fire escape and checking for locked windows?!? Nobody is seeing this?

    I think it's an inside job here. Give us real details about how this is happening. Question the people this is happening to and find out some facts so we can protect ourselves (since it's obvious we're not being protected by the 'authorities'.

  23. sunnysideSux

    The only people saying Sunnyside is amazing are people looking to boost up their property values before selling it and leaving the neighborhood.

    Sunnyside SUCKS

  24. South Side Johnny

    @I'm so tired: please, let Dave alone. With the thesaurus he got for Christmas, and his usual hyperbolic nature, he'll come back at you with both barrels. My advice: let him be. He's obviously got a place in mind and you will get no where.

  25. SuperWittySmitty

    I saw a hipster- two of them, at that new retro-grocery store, and you could see that they were flush with hipster cash. They were buying something like granola- it had nuts and fruit, and also artisanal cheese. I gave them a real "Sunnyside" look, don't worry! They could tell they were on thin ice.

    I think if we all keep our eyes open for anyone who looks new or different, then we give them attitude! Let them know who we are. This way we can save Sunnyside and keep it as it's always been! I mean, as it's been since I got here. Let's not get carried away. How about 1990? Or do we have to go way back to the Golden Years of the 30s - 60s? I guess I can be flexible.

  26. Worried in Woodside

    @43rd@43rd: Not sure about other people in the area but my Woodside apartment (no too far from where these burglaries are occurring...) gets uncomfortably hot during the winter. I regularly leave my bedroom windows wide open (with a fan sometimes!) during the night because it's so hot. Troubling.

  27. JaneGrissom

    Can this precinct catch any criminals?

  28. I forgot

    SuperWittySmitty, I don't know who you are or how old you are but it sounds like you need to leave people alone, instead of giving them stinkeye just smile or better yet just ignore them. You have no right to look down on anyone, no matter how they look. Enough with "hipster" term applying to every type of person that you guys personally hate.

  29. ada

    I forgot have yiu forvot your mind too?

  30. Plain Spoken

    Hmm...I buy granola. I like cheese. Well whaddaya know? I'm a hipster. Better keep my eyes open for the "Sunnyside" look. Gonna start wearing Depends just in case. I'm shaking in my Doc Martins.

  31. SuperWittySmitty

    Actullay, I'm so hip I make my own granola. I was just kidding, trying to mock the xenophobic attitudes around here.


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Hundreds turn out in quest for Hunters Point affordable housing, as residents learn about rental prices and income limits

Affordable housing 004

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

More than 400-people attended an affordable housing meeting in Sunnyside last night to see whether they would be eligible for a piece of the Hunters Point South dream.

The goal for most was to find out how whether they qualified for one of the 925 affordable units on offer—which comes with building amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor terrace, internet café and meeting rooms.

The complex, which contains two buildings, will be comprised of studios, 1 brms, 2 brms and 3 bedroom units.

The application period is expected to begin October 15 and there will be 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall under 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, many attendees wanted to find out about 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.

affordablerentsThe rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1965-2509 for a one bedroom, $2366-$3300 for a 2 bedroom and $2729-$4346 for a three bedroom.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” said Frank Monterisis, the senior vice president of Related Companies. He said that the waterfront complex is a luxury building that comes with all the modern fixtures and amenities.

However, some residents said after the meeting that they thought the “moderate income” apartments were too expensive and complained that they made too much money to qualify for the “low income” units.

One man said during the meeting that he was paying less rent now than what the affordable [moderate income] units would be.

However, while some people grumbled, the rents are still significantly less than what is available on the open market. In a recent report released by Modern Spaces (an advertiser with the Sunnysidepost), the average studio apartment in a luxury Long Island City building is currently renting for more than $2,500, while one bedrooms are going for about $3,200.

The Hunters Point South apartments, unlike the other luxury Hunters Point buildings, will be “permanently” affordable. Therefore, the rent renewals are determined by a New York City formula– based on the Rent Guidelines Board.

Furthermore, once a lease is signed, tenants are not subject to any income restrictions from that point on.

However, the key is getting an apartment in the first place—and tens of thousands of people are expected to apply.

Attendees were told that they would have 60 days to submit their application after the application period begins. Monterisi said that there would be a vigorous marketing campaign once the 60-day period opens. Residents can also register at HuntersPointSouthLiving.com to be notified of the date.

Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units.

The application can be submitted online at New York Housing Connect (nyc.gov/housingconnect). Applicants will be required to create a personal profile that provides details as to their income, assets and the number of people who are likely to live in a given unit.

There is no actual limit on assets when applying for a “moderate” apartment. The main focus is on the applicant’s earnings and whether those assets will affect that figure.

Successful applicants will be notified during the first quarter of 2015, with the goal for it to be fully leased by spring 2015.

affordablehousingmoderate income



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Sunnyside resident jumps in front of LIRR train at Woodside station, critically injured

Woodside subway

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

A 39-year-old Sunnyside man was struck and seriously injured this morning when he jumped in front of an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train at the Woodside Station, according to the MTA.

The man, whose identify has not been disclosed, jumped from the station platform into the path of a Ronkonkoma-bound train at approximately 10:30 AM, according to the transit agency.

The man was removed from under the train with severe head and leg injuries and was unconscious when he was rushed by ambulance to Queens Hospital Center in Elmhurst, the police said.

The LIRR was forced to suspend eastbound service from Penn Station, except for the Port Washington Branch, for about an hour.


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‘The Good Wife’ to film in Sunnyside Tuesday

GoodwifeSept. 29, By Christian Murray

Several Sunnyside streets will be taken over Tuesday to make way for “The Good Wife.”

The CBS show, which has received widespread acclaim, will be shooting on Skillman Avenue (between 48th and 49th Streets), as well as on 48th Street (btw. 43rd and Barnett Avenues) and 49th Street (between Skillman and Barnett). Vehicles parked on these streets Tuesday are likely to be towed.

The show focuses on the fictional character Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), whose husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), a former State Attorney, has been jailed following a notorious political corruption and sex scandal.

The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal, as well as by other prominent political sex scandals, particularly those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton.

The show, which premiered in 2009, has won five Emmys.

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

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Town hall meetings scheduled this week, with advice provided on snagging an affordable unit on LIC waterfront


Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside and Woodside residents will get their chance to learn how to apply for an affordable rental unit on the Long Island City waterfront this week.

The application period to snag an apartment in the Hunters Point South complex is expected to begin shortly and Community Board 2 leaders—along with the development company– will be holding two meetings this week telling residents how to apply,

The applicants will be aiming to get one of the 925 affordable apartments that are expected to be completed early next year.

The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 29, at the Sunnyside Community Services Center at 7pm. A second meeting will be held at the Big Six Towers on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm.

Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units.

The income requirements are broad and tailored more toward middle income earners. For example, units have been set aside for individuals/families who make very little to those who make up to $190,000, based on numbers released last year by the Bloomberg administration.

For details on the meetings, see below:

HPS Town Halls Flyer 091714-1

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Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off October 20, more than 30 restaurants participating
Blu Orchid on Queens Blvd

Recently-opened Blu Orchid part of Sunnyside Restaurant Week

Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week is scheduled to take place next month and 32 restaurants have already 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.

The event begins on Oct. 20 and concludes on Friday, Oct. 24.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25 with many offering additional lunch specials.

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 32 restaurants on its website. The list also includes those restaurants that have put a special menu together for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

Restaurant week will also feature contemporary art, which will be placed at five participating restaurants. The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a contemporary art organization, and will include work from three Sunnyside artists.

The artwork will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

“We are really looking forward to Sunnyside Restaurant Week this year,” Thieme said. However, she said: “there’s a huge problem – figuring out how to eat in all these amazing restaurants in just one week!”



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Venturo, Salt & Fat win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award

Venturo sunnyside

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Salt & Fat and Venturo were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Sunnyside restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

The popular Thai restaurant Ayada, located at 77-08 Woodside Avenue, also received the award.

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Sunnyside farmers market will be open all-year round, if organizers get community support

Sunnyside Farmers Market1

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket might be open all-year round if the organizers get enough support from the community.

The market, which is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, is currently open on Saturdays from May through December.

However, Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, said that the farmers are willing to come to Sunnyside all-year round. She said that she has been circulating a petition calling for market to remain open every Saturday–including during the cold winter months. So far she has 800 signatures.

The petition has recently gone online and can be found by clicking on this link:  http://conta.cc/1nxfS6H

“I think the neighborhood is ready for it,” Cagle said. “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 been a success, Cagle said. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling items such as bread, vegetables, meat and fish.

This year the market opened a month earlier than in previous years and plenty of residents came out and bought items, Cagle said. “We were very busy, it was great,” she said.

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

Cagle said that not all of the vegetable providers will be able to come out in winter due to the seasonal nature of their produce. However, she expects about 10 vendors will participate during the cold winter months.

“I think if we get enough support, there is a strong possibility that we will be open this winter,” she said.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, xxx , Melissa Mark Viverto (Source:  Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Kumar Ragunath, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Martha Puruncajas, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

arenaSept. 23, By Christian Murray

City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out.

The Sunnyside Garden Arena, a 2,000-seat venue that was once located where Wendy’s now stands at 44-11 Queens Blvd, hosted boxing events from 1945 to 1977 during the golden years of NYC boxing. Many famous fighters from that era got their start at the arena, and it was a stepping stone to the brighter lights of Madison Square Garden.

Members of the Ring 8 Boxing Association, a group for retired boxers, unveiled the new street sign along with Dave Diamante, the official announcer at the Barclays Center, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Two years ago, many of the same boxing enthusiasts came out when a memorial was placed on the front lawn of Wendy’s that also marked the location.

John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away from the arena, said when the memorial was unveiled:“This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ].”

The arena was where Gerry Cooney launched his professional career, Edebolhs said. Cooney would go on to fight Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title. Cooney lost.

Luke Adams, a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said when the monument was unveiled that the arena was not just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”

Sunnyside Gardens Arena

Sunnyside Garden Arena

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