Sunnyside Shines starts streetscaping program– with focus on trees

The installation of tree guards earlier this month

The installation of tree guards earlier this month

tree guardsJan 30, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District has launched a street tree initiative to improve the streetscape in the Sunnyside commercial district.

The BID aims to place tree guards and bollards around all the trees in the BID district, with the support of local businesses. It also plans to plant new trees and expand tree pits where necessary.

The BID district covers all properties fronting Queens Boulevard from 38th Street to 50th Street, as well as Greenpoint Avenue from Queens Boulevard to mid-block between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

Sunnyside Shines kicked off its tree guard program earlier this month by showcasing two “model blocks,” which feature such improvements.

Local property owners White Castle and Pickman Realty are the program’s first sponsors, providing street tree improvements on two blocks: the south side of Queens Boulevard between 43rd Street and 44th Street, and the west side of 46th Street between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue.

These two blocks serve as a model of the improvements to come to the entire district, which will be funded by sponsorships from individuals and business owners as well as Sunnyside Shines.

The streetscape improvements aim to complement the tree care and bulb planting completed during a community clean-up day last fall, co-sponsored by Sunnyside Shines, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Partnerships for Parks, TreesNY and BIG!Compost.

“It is very important to maintain healthy street trees along Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District.

“Street trees provide so many benefits to the district – from creating a buffer between vehicular traffic and pedestrians on the sidewalk, cleaner air and helping create a more attractive neighborhood to shop and do business in,” Thieme said.

Opportunities are available to sponsor individual tree guards within the Sunnyside Shines district.

Thieme said sponsors will be recognized with a plaque on the sponsored tree pit.  She said individuals or businesses interested in sponsorship are invited to contact Sunnyside Shines office for more information.

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53 Responses to Sunnyside Shines starts streetscaping program– with focus on trees

  1. Rebecca

    Yay!

    More trash cans too please!

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  2. South

    A great idea. While there are clearly many things this neighborhood needs to focus on, it will be nice to see fewer tree pits operating as full-time dog-turd collection sites. Glad to see that local businesses are continuing to support Sunnyside Shines.

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  3. Dog Owner

    This is definitely a good idea, as is adding more trash cans. But South, don't blame all dog owners for the irresponsible actions of the lazy dog owners who don't pick up their dog's poop.

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  4. Dorothy Morehead

    Great project for the community.

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  5. JOR

    Great project that will hopefully give the newly planted trees a better chance of survival and protection against dog poop and urine.

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  6. 43 Resident

    Local property owners Pickman Realty ?? Who and where do they own property??

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  7. The Grimster

    That's right it's all the dogs fault geez what a bunch hateful CREEPS live in Sunnyside. Like I have said beofre there is more garbage and waste from humans than from Dogs.

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  8. GUTTERSNIPE

    What the hell is the matter with most Sunnyside dog owners! The Dog Sh*t and Dog urine stained streets ate disguisting. Dont these morons know that they are supposed to curb their dogs. It means control your dog
    and not to allow your 4-legged friend to befoul the sidewalk (pavement), but to convince him somehow that the road is a canine toilet. Maybe if we just relieved ourselves in front of their house doorsteps and apartment doors they'll get the message.

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  9. 5_foot_gremlin

    The dogshit on Sunnyside Streets is out of control!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  10. Margo

    Nice project. Skillman Ave. desperately needs trash cans. I don't see any and there are businesses. What is the problem? Sanitation Dept. ? I think people would use them if they are available. What is the problem?

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  11. when people learn how to park/drive

    I'll drag my dog into the street to poo/pee...

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  12. Anoymous

    I am all in favor of more neighborhood lush of plantings throughout the South side of Queen's Blvd. But, what about more planting on the North side of Queen's Blvd.? Is that going to be neglected? The area of Sunnyside/Woodside prides it's self on it's plantings which date back to the 1940's.

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  13. doglover

    Let's see if any of the dog owners step up and sponsor the tree shields and , more importantly, keep their pets out and clean up after them.

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  14. car 54

    Bollards are important on the Boulevard... so folks can tie up their boats...

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  15. Sunnysider

    Why does Sunnyside south have so few trees compared Sunnyside north?

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  16. Sunnysideisblooming

    Sunnyside Shines and the BID have done a great job. I am planning an effort to do similar work in other area of Sunnyside not covered by the BID. If you are interested go to my website and get involved.
    http://Sunnysideisblooming.com

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  17. Krissi

    Sunnysider

    The much of the northside was a planned project so, in essence, the trees were planned too. The most "tree" area of the southside is arguably Celtic Park, also a planned project.

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  18. Tequilla Mockingbird

    Great initiative.

    I would take it a step further in the beautification of Greenpoint avenue and suggest informing the store owners of what awnings and store fronts look like in other more vibrant and commercially successful neighborhoods.

    Working class and unpretentious doesn't mean have to mean tacky and dated looking.

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  19. The Grimster

    doglover you are an ASSWIPE!

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  20. J-Low

    @ Guttersnipe: the next time your Mama is taking a crap on the toilet bowl, pull her off the bowl mid-crap and tell me what her reaction is! When my dog catches a scent that encourages him to poop, I am not dragging him to a lew location closer to the curb to make some of you idiots happy. Screw that. I pick up his crap and dispense it at the nearest garbage can.

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  21. rikki

    Nobody should own a Dog in an apartment. The more apartment houses that ban dogs the better I like it.

    If you want to own a dog then buy or rent a house with its own backyard....keep the poop in your yard.

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  22. Local Realtor

    Sorry to disappoint you Rikki, but more & more apartment buildings are allowing dogs and most owners allow their sub-tenants to have a dog. It is filling the need of supply & demand and more & more people in Sunnyside want to own a dog. Like in the other boroughs.

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  23. South Side Johnny

    Maybe it's true that most of the dog owners do clean up (what they can) after their dogs, but it's also true that most of the really offensive stuff on our sidewalks comes from dogs. I really do not want to deal with dog waste and choose not to own a dog, but because of a minority segment of our population who refuse to cooperate, I am forced to encounter all kinds of dog mess on the sidewalk on a regular basis. Honestly, it's disgusting. Who are you people who do not seem to mind living like this??

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  24. J-Low

    My cousin is a sanitation worker right here in Sunnyside. He said dog feces on our sidewalks was a problem, but has gotten much better. He said the general garbage that people litter on the sidewalks is the bigger issue. He said in the past 4 months he has found 2 used condoms and 1 hypodermic needle on two different sidewalks in Sunnyside. THIS is what we should be concerned about; not dog crap. Dog crap is old news that has significantly improved. Talk about something else already. Some of you sound like a broken record.

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  25. Sunnysider

    How much to sponsor a tree guard? Really hope landlords are made to help out in this program. They take the rents from tenants but do nothing to improve the neigherhood

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  26. GUTTERSNIPE

    @ J-Low: How obvious it is that you are one of the culprits that stain our streets with your dogs’ feces and urine! It sounds like you have no control over your dog. Maybe you should own a hamster instead. I’ve owned a few dogs and it was never a problem training them to relieve themselves in the road. Your statement about “Mama” just shows what a LOW LIFE you really are!

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  27. 43rd & 43rd

    We definitely need more trash cans. Overflowing cans and scattered garbage are already an issue, and the MTA is now planning to REMOVE trash cans from stations all along the 7 train.

    http://new.mta.info/news/2014/01/27/trash-can-removal-pilot-expand

    I think this deserves an article of its own. We definitely need strategies to deal with this instead of just letting trash get all over our stations and streets.

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  28. 43rd & 43rd

    Apologies for that last comment--when I read the MTA's article earlier today, the affected stations would be along the 7 and the M. Currently the article says the J and the M.

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  29. Jodi

    Kudos to White Castle and Pickman. What about ING, Burger King, CVS, Capital One, Chase, McDonalds and Wendys?

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  30. Jodi

    People are definitely not responsible dog owners. If you want to be a pet owner in the city picking up messes is all a part of the package. Oh and we need more trash cans!

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  31. Jodi

    Sunnysideisblooming, Thank you! I'd like to help if possible. I'll sign up at your website.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  32. J-Low

    @ Guttersnipe: what was your Mama's reaction when you pulled her off the bowl? I perform my due diligence my picking up my dogs fecal matter and I am not stopping my dog from taking a crap to appease some of you tools. So just get over it already. It's a shame that some owners do not pick up their dogs crap. Yes, we do need more trash cans. Please contact JVB's office or the Dept. of Sanitation. Let me know how that goes.

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  33. The Grimster

    Maybe parents should pick up after there Demon Spawn!!!! who throw garbage everywhere.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  34. Sunnysider

    Sunnyside United Dog Society (SUDS)....what a crock...more like Sunnyside Under Dog Sh*t!!!
    Dog owners think it is a free pass when it snows!! I love dogs - but obviously the owners in Sunnyside are not up to it! Yes - it is not just a few owners giving you all a bad name, I would say there is probably one owner who picks up for every two who do not.
    I walked by up to 20 piles of dog sh*t on way to work this morning - and that is only a few blocks!! These people make me sick!! It is disgusting!!
    I feel bad for some of the poor dogs couped up all day in an apt, get to walk a few times if they are lucky. Bursting to go to bathroom and barely make it outside!! Every day there is a pool of dog p*ss outside my building, sometimes a trail of p*ss from elevator to the door, dogs p*ssing all over recently planted trees. It's too much!!

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  35. The Grimster

    SUNNYSIDE YOU ARE FULL OF CACA!!!!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  36. J-Low

    @ Sunnysider: go pop your Viagra, get busy with your lady and maybe you will be a lot happier once you get your rocks off.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  37. Newby

    I moved to Sunnyside 2 years ago. I love it here. My neighbor has a dog & I go with her to the dog run with her dog. It does appear that the poop situation is much better now. I have met a couple of SUDS members and they are great. I am hoping to get a dog myself very soon. Go SUDS!

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  38. Guttersnipe

    @J-LOW LIFE: It seems you're the only tool posting here, and obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed! If you were performing your due diligence we wouldn't see your dog sh*t & pee stains all over our streets. Dogs can be trained to do their business in the road not on the street. It seem you lack the intelligence to do so. Garbage cans from the Dept. of Sanitation are not needed here. Just the removal of the trashy unconcerned dog owners like yourself!

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  39. Sunnyside Native

    @ Sunnysider - your comments are so ridiculous. The piles of poop that you speak of is a lie. Which block are you referring to? The majority of dogs in our neighborhood have a dog walker. We have around 10 dog walkers in the area now. Then consider the fact in the new world that we live in that many dog owners work from home, so the dogs get to go out more often. So most dogs are NOT couped up in an apartment. But thanks for being so concerned about our neighborhood dogs . Sunnyside has some of the most pampered pooches in the city. More & more buildings are going dog friendly, so get used to it!

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  40. Woody Woodpecker

    Amen - Sunnyside Native.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  41. Sunnysid-ster

    I’m still..I'm still J-Low from the block…used to live in a neighborhood with a little not a lot (of poop)…I’m still..I’m still J-Low from the block!!

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  42. Sunnyside Native

    @ Guttersnipe - more garbage cans are definitely needed here. Get your head out of your ass & look around. It doesn't take a friggin rocket scientist to see that. I have seen so many store owners and/or tenants that live above the stores on Skillman Avenue, between 45th & 46th Street, throw their garbage out in the corner trash can receptacles. This, I believe, is part of why these corner trash cans get filled up so quickly. Everybody wants us dog owners to clean up after our dogs and most of us do. More trash cans would help in that endeavor.

    By the way - I pick up after my dogs & others if I see poop laying on the sidewalk. However, I agree with Jlow in that I am not dragging my dogs to the curb like cattle, interrupting him when he is mid-pee or mid-poop to appease any of you either. Deal with it!

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  43. GUTTERSNIPE

    @ Sunnyside Native - You And J LOW LIFE must walk your dogs together. People like yourselves shouldn't have dogs. You have no idea how to train or control your dogs. It's a real pity we all have to suffer for your uncaring attitude!

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  44. Sunnyside Native

    @ Guttersnipe - I will repeat myself because you seem to lack intelligence. I pick up my dogs poop, plus other dogs poop. Also, SUDS holds an annual scoop the poop day where we canvas the neighborhood from 40th Street to 48th Street, from Queens Blvd. down to Barnett Avenue, to pick up poop that did not come from my dogs. What am I am NOT doing is stopping my dog from doing a very natural act, by dragging or pulling him into the gutter, when he has already started doing his business. So move on! I am not risking myself or my dogs getting hit by a passing car, or deal with cars that are parking, to curtail my dog in the street to appease you - somebody who sounds like an A-hole. Get a grip and good night!

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  45. GUTTERSNIPE

    @ Sunnyside Native - It seems the only one that lacks intellengence here is yourself. It seems I have to repeat myself. Our streets are here for pedestrians to walk on and children to play on, NOT YOUR DOG TO SH*T AND PEE ON !! Oh by the way, when YOU feel a natural act comming on do you just do it anywhere you want or do relieve yourself in a Proper Place? If you are a "Native" your a pretty poor excuse for one. So get a grip on your dog and get over it!

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  46. Sunnyside Native

    @ Guttersnipe - Great comeback. You seem to have repeated the words that I said to you in the last post. I guess you are not very articulate. You could very well be the biggest tool in Sunnyside. The sidewalks are not for our neighborhood children to play on. That is what we have parks and playgrounds for, in which case we have five (5) parks in the vicinity for parents to take their children to and I will list them for you because you appear to be especially clueless: Lou Lodati Park / Torsney Park, Noonan Park, Sunnyside Gardens Park (go with a member if you are not one), Lawrence Virgilio Park and Doughboy Park. The sidewalk is an artery for live beings with two legs and four legs to walk, in order to get from one point to another. All solid canine fecal matter should be picked up and disposed of properly. Dog owners walk our dogs so they can do their business and relieve themselves. I am not stopping my dog from doing his business. I keep them off of lawns. So you are wasting your breath. You keep running your mouth, but it isn't going to get you anywhere. The next time you see a puddle that you perceive as dog urine, put on your big boy / big girl pants and walk around it. Or look at it as a little gift that my dog left for you...Good Night!

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  47. Jodi

    aiy yai yai

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  48. Jiminy Cricket

    Agree with S. Native. My dog takes a dump and I pick it up. I am not stopping her from going when she starts.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
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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

completion-465x348

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!”

Takesushi

Takesushi

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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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