De Blasio joins parade-goers at Sunnyside/Woodside’s St. Pats for All

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65 Responses to De Blasio joins parade-goers at Sunnyside/Woodside’s St. Pats for All

  1. Stay Loose, Sunnyside

    The mayor also mentioned that he had heard the the place to go after the parade was Saints and Sinners for some restoratives to marching in the cold weather. Did anyone join him? We had another party to attend...

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  2. JaneGrissom

    So, Mayor Big Bird- the man who wishes to destroy good schools and reward the bad ones, showed up in Sunnyside. He boycotts the mainstream Fifth Avenue parade. And we are supposed to be flattered by his appearance? I noticed that he was surrounded by police - the police force whom he despises. What a phony!

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  3. Doge

    Gay this, gay that.

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  4. Sunnysideisblooming

    What a great day yesterday was for Sunnyside! Parade and music festival. Hey, do something good for the neighborhood. Check out my group sunnysideisblooming.com. We are trying to do planting projects around the neighborhood. Check us out and be positive about Sunnyside! You can make a positive difference in Sunnyside!!!! You'll be hearing more about us as the year goes on! Give us a look.

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  5. Krissi

    Beyond whether or not you agree with the parade or DeBlasio, its always so great to see the community come together for events like this. I'm sure the restaurants and bars did good business afterwards, as well as the smaller stores during the parade.

    I met quite a few new "neighbors" there and ran into a bunch of people from my building too. Such fun!

    Did anyone catch who was that great dancing marching band in blue at the end of the parade? I didn't notice a banner. They were fab!

    Also unless I missed them where were our Cental American coalition? Usually we have a Mexican troupe and a Peruvian troupe, no?

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  6. Celtic Bark

    Tolerance is a two way street.

    Apparently, some people cannot tolerate those who wish to act according to their religious faith and try to bully them into going against it.

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  7. Ari Fink

    There once was a time in America when the backseat of a convertible was reserved for war heroes or for someone who was to be admired for outstanding contributions to society. Yesterday that seat was reserved for a Transvestite with whom our mayor eagerly posed for pictures with..Yesterday's parade was not a homage to a saint or a celebration of Irish heritage but simply a gay pride media opportunity

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  8. JaneGrissom

    Definitely was a gay parade. Which is fine, except organizers are dishonest about it.

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  9. Celtic Bark

    @Ari Fink

    I agree, this parade has absolutely nothing to do with honoring a saint. They really should change the name and spare Saint Patrick the disrespect. Let's call things what they really are. This is the shamrock franchise of the Gay Pride parade and should be called as such.

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  10. Chris

    I was disappointed that Squirts didn't have his own float! How could you call this all inclusive without one of Sunnyside's biggest celebrities!

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  11. JOR

    Great pictures, particularly the still shots in the slide show at the top of the article. Really like the third picture of DeBlasio framed by press and watchers, captures the moment. The Sunnyside Post should submit it to the Pulitizer Committee.

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  12. Stay Loose, Sunnyside

    smh

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  13. The truth at Last

    Thank you Ari.....well written. Certainly a 'gay" parade with an agenda to exclude those who dont share their point of view. Would the organizers have allowed the "Right to Life Party" to march with a banner? Why don't the organizers form a branch of their own religion and nominate their own saints ? Maybe cannonize a few deceased transvestites? And then worship them? And spread the Gospel according to Ru Paul?

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  14. Eire

    As an American of Irish ancestry, I take great offense to this parade! The parade should reflect our cultural identity, all the great things the Irish have done in this country and revear the patron saint of Ireland (St. Patrick). What I have seen of the last few years seems like a mess-mash of organizations with some Irish music blaring from an ugly wagon this does not reflect our cultural indentity. Further, it was a travesty to see some colored children dressed in Irish garb dancing like they were having a temper tantrum a few years ago. You don't see gay organizations macking other nationalities or cultures as they do with this parade.

    It is my opinion that Daniel Drumm is using this parade to further his political career, push the Gay agenda and deepen his pockets. Beside having some people walk down the street wearing green does this parade heighten the understanding of what the Irish people went throught both here in America or abroad. When you go to any other St. Patrick's Parade you see the organization teach our heritage through music, word and wrote. Mr. Drumm could partner with the Irish cultural center which isn't that from the parade site but that would require more then a permit from the Office of Community Affairs and the Police Department. I do not see why Mr. Drumm needs to bring down the Irish into the fad of outted Gays.

    I feel whatever is your lifestyle keep it to yourself why must you parade your life choices and draw attendtion to yourself. I'm left handed, I don't to raise hell because the rest of the world is right handed. What you do on your own time should be just that and besides the Gay people have a whole month in June. So I thank for the future besides using their media connections both Mr. Van Brammer and Drumm should either try to make their event more enriched about Irish-Americans or just change the name of the parade to their real thrust.

    Additionally, as a Catholic it hurts my heart that reverance is not shown during this event. People past by Queen of Angels church as if it is just another building. Any Irishman knows we have great respect for Mary Queens of the Angels, so why did I have to see lude behavior infront of the church?

    I feel that the community feel as I do should come together next yearto block this aweful event. Mocking all the things Irishman and woman worked for Peace, Values, kinship and love of family, faith and your fellow man. What values has this parade showed us- political might can throw a gay party.

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  15. Celtic Bark

    @Eire

    I share some of your sentiment but I totally disagree with your call to block this event next time. As I have pointed out before, tolerance should go both ways. If a few thousand people want to have a gay pride parade mocking Saint Patrick and Christian faith, they have that constitutional right, as you have the right to let everyone know just how you feel about it. It's easy to be "tolerant" when you only tolerate things you agree with, a lesson the gay community might wish to learn as well.

    As for your remark about "colored children dressed in Irish garb" I fail to see what their skin color has to do with anything. I find nothing offensive about that. I haven't heard the term "colored" as applying to people since I heard some older relatives use it in the mid 1970's.

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  16. Celtic Bark

    One question for the organizers:

    There's a Muslim Day Parade in the city as well. I'll take a wild guess here and say that openly gay groups are not welcome in it. Will you try to impose yourselves on that parade as much as as you have on the traditional Saint Patrick's Day parade?

    I didn't think so.

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  17. Margie

    Eire is spot on.

    The St. Patrick's day celebration is to pay homage to St. Patrick and the celebration of Irish heritage.

    As stated in the above article, "The parade took on a very political flavor this year". Hello -- This is not about politics -- it's a celebration of Irish heritage. So these phoney politicians should go home!! - because that's all they are and they are using this traditional celebration for their own personal gain.

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  18. Eire

    Tolerance and miss guidance are two different things . Mr. Drumm is making a great deal of money branding his ragga muffin Gay parade as dually a celebration of both Irish and Gay cultures. My point was his central theme of inclusion was a far amissed- leaning more about being Gay and less about Irish culture.

    When I use the term colored it was meant not as a way of disrespect but unclear of the children nationalities and why didnt he use a real dancing troop rather kids dressed up and doing the pee pee dance.

    I would like to see a parade which bears its namesake. Danny drumm holds his event here because of the number of Irish people in the area. Someone should ask Mr drumm how much he is many off this event and how much goes back to the sunnyside community?

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  19. ann

    Let's note that phony politicians are out in much greater numbers at the St. Patricks's Day parade on March 17! I don't hear any criticism of that.

    The point, as many of the speakers said, is that Irish culture is not owned by some but belongs to all. Including gay and lesbian people. The parade in Dublin recognizes not. It's just the parade in New York City that is 100 years behind. I suppose the Irish in Dublin don't really understand Irish culture or what it means to be Irish?

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  20. Luvu2

    This is a gay lefty parade period that has nothing to do with Ireland if people want a gay parade in March fine but don't call it st pats for all

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  21. Luvu2

    I dare dromm and jimmy van b to go to the Moslem day parade on a float

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  22. The truth at Last

    Is it ok to have a coven of witches march next year....with a banner? Or perhaps nambla ( north american Man Boy Love association) ? How bout a group of devil worshippers....if not? then why not? Are'nt they entitled to their beliefs?

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  23. future is now

    Krissi - the group was from Dobbs Ferry

    Eire - the parade route doesn't pass by Queen of Angels church anymore. There were no lewd acts either.

    It was a great parade, good energy. Proud to be a Sunnysider!

    This parade has been political over the years. Let's applaud the Mayor for sticking to his principles.

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  24. The truth at Last

    Should I allow my young daughter to share a restroom with this 'drag queen" Or maybe since the "drag queen" has the option perhaps share the mens room with a young boy? Then how would I be able to explain why their is a "mens" room and a "ladies " room in the first place.....would'nt just be logical to have niether designation?

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  25. Kramden's Delicious Marshall

    Seriously, what on earth does a man dressed up as and pretending to be a woman have to do with Saint Patrick or Ireland? Is putting on make-up and women's clothes considered some sort of a praise-worthy accomplishment these days?

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  26. Eamon

    When the St. Patricks' Day Parade started, before the birth of this great nation, by the way, it was a way for the Irish here in New York to say to the "natives" that we are here, we're not going anywhere, and this is our home as much as it is yours.

    To have a St. Patricks Day Parade in America and not include everyone is hypocritical and, furthermore, shows that you don't understand who we, The New York Irish, are as a people.

    I go to the pride parade in June, and no one yells at me "You are straight, you are not allowed here." I went to the Indian Independence Parade on Lexington Avenue as a kid, because it was right up the street from my house, and no one said "You are white, you are not allowed here." Then why is it ok for us to say these things at our parade?

    It wasn't too long ago that there were signs in this country that said things like "Irish need not apply" or "No coloreds, no dogs, no Irish". Thankfully, we no longer live in those times. People fought to end those policies. Unfortunately, other people fought to continue those policies, and they, like you, Eire, are on the losing side of history.

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  27. Nat

    I can't believe that in 2014 there is so much hatred and ignorance in New York City. Move to Alabama if you can't handle the gay. We are here to stay. Being gay is not a choice, nor is it a lifestyle. Grow up and learn a little about your neighbors. I'm sorry I missed the parade but I will be sure to strut my gay stuff next year and embarrass all of you bigots.

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  28. Dawn O'Day

    While posters on both sides of the issue may go too far in their effort to express themselves and I can't agree with any extremity, it saddens me that the Irish Americans have been attacked by the gay community because a handful of organizers have their heads in the dark.

    Gay rights must be won, I agree. But you've made your point here. Can't you please move on to another ethnic group with extremely conservative members? Stop hammering on the Irish Americans. This boycott of one of America's favorite days makes everyone look ugly including gays.

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  29. Celtic Bark

    @Nat

    It would be really impressive if you decided to "strut your gay stuff" at the next Muslim Day Parade. That I would go to see.

    Anyway, I thought the parade was about Saint Patrick, not about you strutting your gay stuff, as you so eloquently put it.

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  30. Celtic Bark

    The organizers of the traditional Saint Patrick's Parade are conservative and Catholic-based and simply want their parade to reflect their faith and moral viewpoint. Why should they not be allowed to do so? Why would people opposed to those views insist on crashing the party? Right of free association, anyone?

    The organizers of the Sunnyside parade are also free to run their parade as they see fit so there shouldn't be any problem except that social agendas must be pushed and politicians need photo ops.

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  31. Nat

    Celtic Bark, you didn't take my advice. Crawl out from under that rock! Do you think sexuality is a "social agenda"? Or were you referring to something else?

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  32. emit

    When did become that if you wore green you became Irish
    Or the rainbow you became Queer.

    If the gays want to have a parade then should just title it something gay but not hide it as something else.

    I agree/diagree with some of the above posts & do think whoever ran the parade »it should some how relate to Irish culture & give back to the community whether its the ga¥, straight, disabled, left handed, dog lovers or whatever. I know the Manhattan parade uses their money for cultural programs.

    sunnysideisblooming.com

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  33. Frank

    Cheers Dawn O'Day

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  34. Greenman

    The saint pats for all parade is such a great community event. It was really great to see all the community groups participate. I'm glad we live in such welcoming community that encourages all aspects of irish-American culture to share in celebrating irish heritage.

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  35. Beenhere25years

    Colored children in Irish garb. Wow! That guy is scary.

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  36. Ari Fink

    @Greenman...I must have been wearing a blindfold because I
    tbe celebration of Irish " culture"...The only culture present was a gay culture and that was "OUT" in full force...I guess you could say the She-Male was a big success considering how eager the mayor was to meet him..although I am at a loss as to what a She-Male has to do with a so called St Patrick's parade

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  37. Get Off Your A** and Create Your Own FLoat

    Everyone likes to complain that the parade was all gays marching...same complainers aren't involved in ANYTHING regarding the parade. Get off your smelly couch, get yourself to a parade organization meeting, and promote your precious Saint Patrick (who was a Roman, by the way). The parade on Fifth Ave isn't about Irish culture either-- it's about cops, firemen, and getting loaded. If gay people are the ones with the energy and drive to march and organize, then they are the ones you will see, you bunch of hater crybabies. Welcome to the 21st century, you aren't in charge anymore. Get used to it.

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  38. Patricia Dorfman

    Better resolution of video on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UU2jfWThy9X2ImzqbIf3_70A&v=y-osH0Jfsdw#t=848

    At minute:second 12:48 PO Luis Diaz, our excellent 108 Community Affairs officer in blue windbreaker bops by
    At 13:39, I pass by
    At 15:00 Dorothy Morehead makes an appearance

    Thank christian, enjoyed article, pix and spot-your-pal video. tho, not sure about Pulizer, @JOR...Let's see if murray leaves this in: for another St. Pat's story and pix by me, pick up the "woodside herald" on Friday. that's right, a newspaper, news on pieces of paper :)

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  39. I'm so tired

    I want a parade for the Puerto Rican terrorist bombers that mellisa wants to let to free, these are the type people that are are in power now

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  40. I'm so tired

    Nat , I do have a question , bill di blasios wife was once a lesbian true !! But later must of changed her mind to be straight or is she living a lie or not having a choice or I don't know , please explain

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  41. I'm so tired

    Dear nat .. What I'm trying to say is I have nothing against gay people but it doesn't always have to be about you or your sexuality. Can't a parade just be about st pat ? Why bring sex into it. A basket ball star is coming out as gay , why I'm just here to watch basketball I don't care what you do at home same with the football player , it's kind of like you want the attention .

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  42. Pat

    What is really funny is that there are many 'gays' marching in the
    NY St Patrick's day parade, just not flaunting their sexual life style.
    ....They are marching to honor their heritage ....

    I would call them Intelligent, classy "gays" who have self respect.

    The parade is not about sex, it is about St Patrick and honoring
    our ancestors who came here and helped to build this country.

    Come on parade organizers, call it what it is, A Gay Pride parade ..

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  43. Disengaged Business Owner

    @erie "Colored children?" Wow, what a bigot! Maybe learn a little bit about these remarkable young people -- and their teacher, thoroughly WHITE and 100% IRISH. http://www.thekelticdreams.com/aboutus.html

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  44. Anonymous

    Celtic Bark, no one is asking anyone to go against their religion, just saying to STFU if you have an issue with equil rights for everyone. Your an Idiot if you really feel your opinion on religion entitles you to voice an opinion that could keep someone from being happy.

    P.S your Dad is gay and your mom wish's you were adopted.

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  45. Enuf

    Instead of just complaining here all the people who oppose the parade should voice there concern to the pd, van brammer or the community board!

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  46. JaneGrissom

    Another far left gay parade with politicians who will not go the big parade on Fifth Avenue. They think they are "brave" - they are not. BTW: having lived in the deep south, I saw less bigotry there than I do in NYC especially towards people of faith. Somebody hear wrote "go back to Alabama'. I would love it - they are thriving and I rarely heard the "n" word there. I hear it here ALL THE TIME. Also saw lots of interracial dating there.

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  47. J Thokai

    A truly sad news for normal people. Enough said.

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  48. The Grimster

    Colored OMG! wow haven't heard that term since Archie Bunker.

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  49. Craic Dealer

    Free to hate but not Free to Love.

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  50. Hoof Hearted

    Craic Dealer, thanks for the profound bumper sticker wisdom.

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  51. Anonymous

    Don't make a great parade in Sunnyside all about the new gang leading the city (somewhere, where is not clear).....

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  52. Greenman

    Ari,

    There are many different parts of irish and American culture. The st pats for all parade allows all people who wish to celebrate irish culture join in the parade either by marching or watching. The parade helps to unite the many different parts of our community. Many of the groups that participated are from Sunnyside and woodside and all wish to show their support for all members of our community.

    I'm sorry that you don't feel that it was an irish celebration. Maybe you should research who was honored.

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  53. Luvu2

    This is a gay green parade

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  54. Pumped U Up Putin

    This type of parade would never happen in my country RUSSIA!

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  55. Beenhere25years

    Any chance that you'll go back to your country. There are some job openings in the Ukraine.

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  56. Al Coholic

    Hey, relax. Have a drink. Drinks are good

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  57. A.Bundy

    In Russia, parade marches in you!

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  58. pathetic sheep

    There is no God. Wake up dummies. You belong to a cult people. Wise up.

    What an incredible waste of time. Religion was invented by MAN. It has been used as a tool of control, oppression, corruption and brainwashing for millennia. The Bible proudly tells stories of violence, slavery and the treatment of women as 2nd class individuals.

    Look up the history of Christianity and you will find centuries of oppression toward many groups: Jews, Gays,(both burned alive) Women (Imagine belonging to a religious sect that doesnt allow women to be priests-Catholocism, Judaism, Islam, the list goes on).

    This is your proud heritage? Congrats! No wonder the 'great' parade in Manhattan is really about getting wasted on booze...trying to forget the past maybe?

    "Many stories are told in connection with St. Patrick. The three-leaf clover was said to be used by the saintly bishop to explain the Trinity to the pagans, which is why it is such a common St. Patrick's Day symbol today. Another legend has Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland; snakes were a popular symbol among the Irish pagans. He is certainly one of the most revered saints in the Catholic Church."

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  59. Woody Woodpecker

    truer words were never spoken Pathetic Sheep. People actually believe that some dude or dudette is looking down on them and judging them.

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  60. Celtic Bark

    Woody woodpecker comment above....

    A case study in intolerance.

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  61. Luvu2

    Libs hate god but he loves them any way

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  62. Chilly Billy

    Your chosen name suits you well, "pathetic sheep."

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  63. rook

    that de blasio is such a phony one term mayor.

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  64. pathetic sheep

    chilly lil billy, you are just sad & scared because you know I am right. At least I have the guts to say it. You on the other hand keep drinking the 'holy' kool-aid.

    Have you seen the story of Muslim nations that are banning the film 'Noah' because of its portrayal of a 'Holy event'? Think about it...they are banning a fictitious movie about a ficticious event. Might be the funniest thing of 2014, thus far.

    PS

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  65. Tommy Dullaghan

    Although I enjoyed your article I need to advise you the Sunnyside parade was not created or had anything to do with LGBT at its inception. I grew up in Sunnyside and its because we are the second largest Irish population to Woodlawn in NYC and thought it ridiculous we didn't have a parade that it came to be. Beside Manhattan we always went to Rockaway for a parade. It was basically a street fair in the beginning just celebrating "everything Irish" but as we know it has turned into more than that now. Over the years it became what it is for LBGT and others who feel they are excluded from other parades most notably the 5th Ave parade.

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Latest News

Sunnyside farmers market to be open all year round

Sunnyside-market

Dec. 16, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo source: ‘It’s in Queens’

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 11, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

 

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

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For the write up on Queens, please click here.


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Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms

PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke

Dec. 9, By Christian Murray

Call it a preemptive strike.

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

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

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

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

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

But the petitioners say not so fast.

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

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

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

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

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

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Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600

Dec. 7, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater’s owner said Sunday.

Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building.

Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease.

“They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.”

“It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.”

Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years– $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said.

There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5.

Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.”

Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012.

Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s.

He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time.

Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens.

There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups.

pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves.

With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space.

The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights.

Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community.

When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants.

PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said.

The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business.

Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages– not Broadway Stages the entity.

Please Note:

Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site

 

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New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O’Brien (seated)

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray

The Chairman of Community Board 2 Joe Conley received a standing ovation at last night’s community board meeting after officially announcing that he was stepping down.

Conley said that after serving two decades as chairman that it was time to move on.

“It’s been a great honor to be the voice of the board,” he said. “I have had a good run…and made life-long friends with the people in this room,” he added, as he began to choke up.

Conley had notified board members two days prior to the meeting that he was resigning.

The timing of the announcement came as a great surprise to many and was the cause of much debate, since last night was the date for the board’s annual elections.

Several members said that they were caught off guard by Conley’s sudden announcement and wanted to delay the elections a month in order for all the board members to evaluate whether they wanted to run.

Lisa Deller, the secretary of the board, however, presented a slate of candidates to take the executive board positions. All but one was on the executive board last year.

The slate was Patrick O’Brien, chair; Stephen Cooper, first vice chairman; Denise Keehan-Smith, secretary; Lisa Deller, second vice chair; and Diane Ballek, treasurer.

Conley said that board members were notified in October that they could put their names on the ballet to run–but no one had expressed interest. Furthermore, he said, people were free to nominate themselves for those spots last night.

“We have looked for nominations and this is a very open process,” Conley said.

However, some members said that the departure of Conley completely changed the course of the election. Others were perplexed why Conley only gave the board two days notice prior to the election.

Sheila Lewandowski said that board members should be given time to decide whether they want to put them themselves on the slate. She, like many, advocated for postponing the vote.

“We have had 2 days and many [board members] are not here to consider this. I think it would be responsible to be thoughtful and wait…this is big.”

O’Brien said he was willing to put off the election a month if it made the board more comfortable. “I don’t want to walk into a situation …where there is a division among people,” he said.

There were, however, several strong advocates who wanted the vote to take place last night. “If you want to run put you name forward now,” said one board member.

The board put it to a vote to determine whether the election should be held last night. The majority won by an unofficial count of 19 for and 15 against.

The election was then held and a slim majority voted in the slate. O’Brien was announced the new chair.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said this morning that he looks forward to working with O’Brien. “He is a good person with strong experience. I worked with him when I was on the board.”

However, he said, he didn’t see the harm in waiting another month for people to think about the vote.

“I m not sure it would have changed the result but the process is important,” he said. “How you come to decision– especially if people are divided –is as important as the decision itself.”

“Normally you would have a unanimous vote for these positions,” Van Bramer said. However, I think the “people who voted no were voting against the process.”

 

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Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 9, By Christian Murray Call it a preemptive strike. A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards. A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week. The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures. Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.” Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. But the petitioners say not so fast. “Sunnyside and Long Island City's infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads. “The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don 't know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards - bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.” Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.” Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: "We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse." Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF
Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600 Dec. 7, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater's owner said Sunday. Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building. Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease. “They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.” “It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.” Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years-- $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said. There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5. Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.” Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012. Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s. He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time. Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens. There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups. pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves. With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space. The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights. Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community. When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants. PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said. The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business. Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages-- not Broadway Stages the entity. Please Note: Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site  
New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

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

Willliam Eichhorn

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

Joe Conley (third from left) at groundbreaking

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

2012 Santathon

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

Map

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

Willliam Eichhorn

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

The police are still searching for this suspect

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

Councilman Van Bramer

Furthermore, Doctoroff in his op-ed, said that the Yards represented a “nasty scar through the heart of Queens.” Van Bramer took exception to this viewpoint. “I have lived in these neighborhoods my entire life and it is not a scar. It’s a patronizing to say we have this awful thing and that they have to come here and make it better.”- However, Doctoroff is not alone in suggesting the Yards should be developed. In October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said it could turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. Representatives for the mayor said at the time that the site could be used to advance the mayor's affordable housing goals. Meanwhile, the Daily News reported that the Department of City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at a meeting Monday that the he and the Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen are studying the site. However, nothing is planned at this point, Van Bramer said. However,” I think we need to remain vigilant because it is in the minds of some wealthy and powerful people,” he said. “We need to watch out and be careful.” “What we really need are more schools, green space and better transportation—not a convention center,” Van Bramer said.
Sunnyside’s 104-year old remains active and engaged in neighborhood
Ethel Plimack (Photo: James Brown Reiner)

Ethel Plimack (Photo: James Brown Reiner)

Dec. 1, By Kim Brown At 104, Sunnyside’s oldest resident said she doesn’t know the secret to living so long, but spending decades on Bliss Street certainly played a part. “Being in familiar territory day in and day out is very helpful,” said Ethel Plimack’s son, Henry Plimack. “When she sits on the porch everyone comes to say hello. This is what makes her day.” The day after her 104th birthday she sat on the first floor of her home with her son, knitting and watching NY 1 News. Paintings by her daughter, the artist Sylvia Plimack Mangold, hang on the walls. As usual, Ethel Plimack was impeccably dressed in an outfit that included a necklace, silk scarf, red eyeglasses and lipstick the same bright shade. For the past two years she has had a full-time aide, whose assistance has allowed her to remain at home. Before that, she preferred to cook and clean for herself. The connection to the community has kept her grounded. “I love the tree-lined streets. People are nice and you know your neighbors. You give when you can,” she said. Being active certainly has kept her going, as well. Plimack worked as an administrative assistant until she was 94, taking the subway to Marymount Manhattan College every day. She also swam at Equinox until she was 100. Plimack is part of a longevity study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine that revealed good genes, a wide social network and active lifestyle helped her to age so long and so well. “We can only marvel at her extraordinary memory and continuing good health,” her daughter, Janet Sherman, wrote in an email. “She is certainly a remarkable woman.” Although her husband, an optical supply wholesaler, died 40 years ago, it didn’t stop Plimack from doing things she loved. In fact, his death may have given her the freedom to take up folk dancing, which she did until she was 100. “Men don’t like to dance,” she said. The troupe she performed with, founded by Michael and Mary Ann Herman, was one of the most well known in the United States. Plimack helped spread the art of folk dance around the world by participating in tours to China, Turkey, France, Bulgaria, and many other countries. Now, her hearing and sight are not so good and her love of dance is confined to watching “Dancing with the Stars” on TV. But she has found other ways to spend her time. She knits constantly for charity sales, as well as an organization that donates caps to premature infants. She watches the news. “It’s terrible,” she said about current events. “I try to contribute towards stopping whatever is happening.” She signs petitions when canvassers come to her door. “I hope there are classes for younger people,” she added. “To know how to live in the world and what to correct.” Her three children, all over 70, grandchildren and great grandchildren also keep her going. “When we were kids she encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. To do what felt right,” said Henry Plimack, a retired audio engineer and current adviser to the French presidency with Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers. Ethel Plimack’s daughter, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, is a well-known artist, whose work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, and numerous other venues. Not long ago her mother attended an art opening and there was a special chair reserved for her. “Moments like that give her months of chatting with her friends,” her son, Henry Plimack said. James Mangold, Ethel Plimack’s grandson is a Hollywood director, screenwriter and producer, known for movies like The Wolverine, Walk the Line and Cop Land. Another grandchild is a musician in Vienna. “What inspires her is the success of her family,” Henry Plimack said. “It’s a good, strong family. They all call and write to her and she feasts on that.” Ethel Plimack grew up in the Bronx, where she attended Evander Childs High School. After attending Hebrew Tech in Manhattan, she became a bookkeeper and administrative assistant, working for a dress company in Queens, the New York City Department of Education, Bryant High School and P.S. 150. Plimack has lived in Sunnyside since 1941, when most everyone kept open doors. Although she doesn’t have a Facebook account, she does have her own iPad, which she uses to Skype with family. Until last year, colleagues at Marymount Manhattan College held an annual birthday party for her in the city. This year, they sent letters and messages by email. For the past two years, Sunnyside neighbors have held a flash mob on her birthday, singing to her outside the front door. This year approximately 120 people came at noon, although Plimack was standing by the entrance waiting 10 minutes early. “It was a lot of people and friends from the neighborhood. They all want to show the area is good,” she said. “It was wonderful when they all came.” When asked to reveal the secret for living a long and healthy life, she was modest. “I don’t know what the secret is. All I know is, I’m alive 104 years. That’s a long time.”
Vintage subway rides to leave Queens Plaza every Sunday
vintage-475x323 Dec. 1, By Michael Florio Residents will be able to catch a nostalgia train from Queens Plaza every Sunday this December. The trains are comprised of old subway cars that ran between the 1930s and early 1970s. This year the nostalgia trains will run along the Sixth Avenue M-line on Sundays (November 30th, December 7th, 14, 21, 28) between 10 am and 5 pm. Western Queens residents can catch the train at Queens Plaza. “Holiday shoppers, tourists and those who just remember a bygone era will have the opportunity to experience a ride on a subway train from yesteryear, “said MTA New York City President Carmen Bianco in a statement. Each car will be equipped with ceiling fans, padded seats and incandescent light bulbs. The MTA released information on each of the Nostalgia train cars: Car No. 100 --- Manufactured by American Car and Foundry, this 1932 R1-type car was the first car in the initial order of 300 cars placed in service for the opening of the IND subway. Car No. 484 --- Part of a 500-car order of R4 cars manufactured by American Car & Foundry. In 1946, this car received a retrofit of bulls-eye lighting and a public address system. Car No. 1575 – Originally manufactured as an R7, this car was involved in a wreck in 1946. Sent to the American Car & Foundry factory, the car, which is equipped with fluorescent lighting and smooth sides, was rebuilt as the prototype of the next generation R10 subway car. In addition to the subways, the MTA will be running a nostalgia bus. The crosstown route will run Monday through Friday from December 1st to the 19th. According to the MTA everything on the vintage bus will be original, except the fare. Many of the buses are pre-1959. “These buses are a living, breathing part of the city's history and each has a unique story to tell about the era in which it operated," says Darryl Irick, Senior VP of NYC Transit Department of Buses and President of MTA Bus and a former Bus Operator himself.

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