While Sunnyside thrift shop closes this week, owner/operator still has plans to stick around

thrift

Feb. 5, By Christian Murray

The owner of a Queens Blvd thrift shop that is closing this week said he has not given up on Sunnyside.

Alaa El Mihdawy, who has run “One of a Kind Thrift Shop” at 45-05 Queens Blvd for the past 20 years, said that he is searching for new space in Sunnyside while he also opens a new store in Astoria this month.

El Mihdawy said the main reason he is closing his Queens Blvd store is that the rent is too high. “It was $7,000, including real estate taxes,” he said, adding that the rent kept creeping up 5% each year.

“That’s a big nut to carry,” he said.

El Mihdawy, however, is reluctant to leave Sunnyside and has plans to open another store in the neighborhood.

Alaa El M

Alaa El Mihdawy

“I have built a lot of close friends over the years,” he said. “It’s like I have family here.”

The Queens Blvd store was best known for its selection of books that were placed out front, which often featured subjects such as cooking and philosophy. Inside, shoppers often sought leather jackets and vintage clothing.

El Mihdawy said he is looking for space on 43rd Avenue and other sections of Queens Blvd—since there are already two thrift shops on Greenpoint Ave.

He said he looked at the space where the Meat Boutique was located but was disappointed to find that the rent was similar to what he is paying now.

El Mihdawy, meanwhile, is expected to open a 5,000 sqf. space on Ditmars Blvd/31st Street in two weeks. He did not disclose what his new rent is.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly

15 Responses to While Sunnyside thrift shop closes this week, owner/operator still has plans to stick around

  1. KeenEye

    Thanks for staying! Roosevelt could use a good thrift store.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  2. Packard Streeter

    They might want to try paring down the merch to make walking room. I love thrifts but in this place it's impossible to move down the aisles and shop.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  3. Celtic Bark

    These money-lusting landlords can go shove it. They won't be happy till the whole blvd is nothing but banks, Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  4. Anonymous

    seems like all of the spaces vacated because the rent was raised 'too damn high' stay that way.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  5. Krissi

    I don't understand this neighborhood's landlords. Who do they think will be moving in to take his place?

    Anyhoos, great news that he is staying. Maybe 47th Ave would work? Much cheaper rents, obviously.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  6. TBoneNYC

    See all my previous posts on why naming the neighborhood a Business Improvement District did nothing for the people who live and work here and everything to do with the dirtbag landlords.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  7. Anoymous

    It's really unfortunate to the Sunnyside neighborhood. Rents are far too high to keep well- established local businesses alive, and to keep Sunnyside a desirable place to live.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  8. JaneGrissom

    Another nail salon?

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  9. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    I've browsed some of the books outside the store but refuse to dig my way through the claustrophobia-inducing piles of clutter inside. I'm sure it's a fire hazard as well. Wherever this guy winds up, he'll do much better if he tidies the place up a bit, I mean a lot.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  10. rook

    He's such a nice guy; Sunnyside is lucky to have him.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  11. Simon Donikian

    I knew Alla for a long time and it's valuable asset for the area

    Simon Donikian

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  12. Sandycat

    I am so bummed about this store closing, I cannot count how many books I have bought from him over the past 10+ years, but yeah, the inside of the store was a nightmare of clutter and no room to move. Sorry to see it go though..I will miss it! On another note, the thrift store over on Greenpoint, the newer one, is like heaven to walk through, and the book selection there is very good.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  13. John

    His store was disgusting. Complete fire hazard. I'm sure the landlord had a real good reason to get rid of him. Like the fact he wasn't paying his rent. There's a marshals notice of eviction on the window, in New York City to evict someone is extremly hard and the courts always side with the tenant. So for the landlord to evict he most of owned a lot of money. I hope he pays his new landlord.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  14. Diane

    It is my suggestion that any new landlord should call the previous landlord for a reference. I a sure you it will not be a good one. I see the landlord has been trying to clean the place up!

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  15. Rose

    Does anyone know the address of the new shop he opened? I couldn't find it on Ditmars and 31st Street, as it was too cold to be especially thorough.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Latest News

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

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly

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

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
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.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
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.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
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.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
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

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
Irish Music Festival to hit Boulevard on Saturday, wounded veterans to benefit
Irish Music Festival

Irish Music Festival

Sept. 22, By Michael Florio

Eleven bars and restaurants—known as Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars–are teaming up to host an Irish music festival this Saturday.

The eleven establishments, which are located on or near Queens Blvd, are hosting the 2nd annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day music festival.

The event will kick off at 6 pm, Sept. 27, with live music and drink specials at every participating bar.

The drink specials are for party goers who purchase a $10 wristband. The specials, which are available at all 11 establishments, include $3 ciders, $4 well drinks and $5 craft beers. Each bar/restaurant may also offer its own additional specials.

There will be live music, dancing, bagpipers and DJs. There will also be authentic Irish meals, such as Bar 43’s Irish festival menu, which will consist of Irish beef stew, Irish style fish and chips and an all day Irish breakfast.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to wounded veterans who are currently being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Participating bars include, The Courtyard Ale House, Bar 43, McGuinness’s Saloon, PJ Horgan’s, Molly Blooms, Jack’s Fire Dept., Bliss Street Station, Arriba Arriba, The Gaslight, Sidetracks, and Maggie Mae’s.

The event will be the Boulevard of Bars’ sixth major event in the past two years. So far, it has raised more than $25,000 for charities and local organizations.

Music Lineup - Boulevard Bars-1

 

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
Sunnyside resident documents the rise and fall of Comic Book Heaven

Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo.

Sept. 22, By Christian Murray

A well-known comic store called Comic Book Heaven closed last year after being in operation for about thirty years.

Joseph Liesner, 80, the owner of the comic store (which was located at 48-14 Skillman Avenue), said last year that he decided to shut down the business since there was little interest in comic books anymore. “The store’s not making any money and, besides, I’m as old as Methuselah,” Liesner said last year, with a wide grin.

Sunnyside resident E.J. McLeavey-Fisher released this video documentary on Liesner and his store.

Liesner claimed last June that the digital age is what has killed his business.

“The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.”

Comic Book Heaven moved to Skillman Avenue three decades ago, after doing a brisk business at a flea market at the corner of Queens Blvd and Jackson Avenue.

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly
Rosh Hashana Beginners Experience
Click for details

Click for details

Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
Print Friendly

Restaurants

  • Random Posts