“Blue Bloods” production crew back into tree, sparking neighborhood anger

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43 Responses to “Blue Bloods” production crew back into tree, sparking neighborhood anger

  1. Chrisavelli

    get a life...I see a torn branch, not a down tree.

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  2. Evan

    The honorable thing for them to do would be to plant one or several replacements nearby in the neighborhood.

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  3. CelticWinnie

    Send a payment to the Park Department? Good grief....

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  4. There, Their, They're

    These production crews are blocking off the parking spots well over a full day day before the first truck or trailer even shows up and well before the time stated on the notices posted on the street. They are really taking advantage of us and have zero respect for the people who live here.

    Look at the size of that truck. It's not meant to be parked on a residential street.

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  5. CelticWarrior

    if the tree belonged to a union, then theyre really in trouble....

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  6. Celtic Bark

    Didn't the city recently just give the Kaufman Studio in Astoria an entire city street that is now gated off and closed to the public, so they could film outdoor scenes?

    How much, if anything, did they pay for that?

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  7. SuperWittySmitty

    These folks film around here often and they're generally unobtrusive and respectful. I've never seen anyone leave a mess, and if there's truly any anger, it from a very small segment of the population. My sister-in-law loves this show, and I'm glad they like Sunnyside!

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  8. pathetic sheep

    I dont believe the hype that these crews help the economies of the neighborhoods that they film in. They come with pre-loaded food trucks (bearing out of state plates) and everything else they need. Where is their $ being spent in Sunnyside? We dont need the 'advertising' the show provides us. We get nothing accept block after block of unusable parking spaces, many more than they could ever need.

    2 summers ago, a production crew took out 2 newly planted trees with their trucks on the west side of 43rd st btw Skillman and 43rd Ave. I called the production company, city, nothing was done.

    With regard to parking, here is a simple solution. These prod co's should pay the city X amount to cover the expenses of people having to park (and pay) under the 7 train, making it free. Seems like a fair trade.

    We are lucky we have the parking under the train, imagine other areas that dont have that conveniece, where the hell do they park?

    PS

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  9. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    They also have a nasty habit of blocking fire hydrants with their trucks, trailers and personal vehicles. They're not just inconveniencing us, they are putting our lives and property in danger. SuperWitty, that's not my idea of "generally unobtrusive."

    God forbid there is a fire or some other emergency, such as the tragic gas explosion in East Harlem the other day, and firefighters need immediate access to the hydrants.

    Those generator trucks with all the cables hooked up to it and those gigantic wardrobe and dressing room trailers take a lot of time to pack up and move. The parking permits the studios are granted does NOT include parking in front of fire hydrants.

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  10. Craic Dealer

    Just eat their food (Caterer's). I do it all the time. They're in OUR neighborhood.

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  11. Pete

    @pathetic sheep: the studios pay fees to film on private property in the neighborhood. They shot one scene in my building a couple of months ago. The shooting lasted a total of about 18 hours (counting set up, filming, and clean up), and we were paid a $7,000 fee. I'd say that's pretty generous.

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  12. David I

    A few weeks ago they were shooting The Good Wife on my street. Signs went up saying not to park after 12PM on Thursday or get towed. The day before on Wednesday morning, workers were already blocking parking spots with cones. I don't take shit from anybody, so I moved their cones out of the way and parked my car. What do you know, two thugs from the company came out and tried to intimidate me into moving my car. I pointed to the sign, then the dash cams in my car (one in front, one in back) and told them to f**k off.

    Long story short-- they will get away with as much as you let them. These people are scum, take your neighborhood back from them. There is no benefit to the residents at all of having these film shoots here. Furthermore, the city has implemented tax breaks for these companies to incentivize them to come here. They are not shopping here, and no tax dollars are left here so WHY THE HELL are we accommodating them?

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  13. Mobo

    Geez...people just complain about everything. How often do they film in this particular area? Every single day, every week, every month?
    I could see if it were a regular occurrence, but it isn't. I'm sure the production company will make good on the tree, and then maybe they can find a community that will get a kick out of having them film in their neighborhood.

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  14. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    @Mobo, I've lost count of how many film shoots there have been just in my immediate area alone in the last year or so. This past summer/fall I'd say it was every 2-3 weeks. There are 3 shows that film regularly in this area: Blue Bloods, Elementary and Person of Interest and one or two others a bit less often. A few years back, Rescue Me was here all the damn time it seemed. So yeah, it is a regular occurrence and the novelty of seeing the neighborhood on TV wore off for many of us a long time ago.

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  15. Craic Dealer

    @Mobo: ...are you seriously complaining about how people complain?

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  16. Kramden's Delicious Marshall

    In fairness to the show, Tom Selleck has always been gentlemanly and respectful towards local residents the times he filmed here.

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  17. SuperWittySmitty

    Hey Ignorance, yes, there was that story last year about one of their trucks blocking a hydrant. That was it. Show me that it's still happening. I know you'll find something to complain about. They were around here these past few days and everything went extremely smooth. No hydrants were blockede, and the city earned revenue.

    Too bad for the minority of Sunnyside residents who have a car; most of us DO NOT. Yet so much of our city is given over to the personal automobile. But it's not enough, apparently.

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  18. Mind your Bizness

    I've seen the craft food folks buying eggs and bagels and veggies at Met Food on an early morning. Just sayin. Some shopping gets done

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  19. Preschool Teacher

    I work by the Met Life/Jet Blue building in LIC. "The Good Wife" shoots there LITERALLY every week. I've watched the show. They don't even film outdoors. Can't they do this at Silvercup?!! Film sets/studios are completely self contained and self sufficient. They don't spend a nickel in these neighborhoods. I hope someone in the community is seeing some money for this.

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  20. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    @Super Witty

    I seem to recall the story had more than one hydrant blocked, and I have personally seen several others blocked since then.

    Are you seriously that star-struck you are willing to compromise people's safety?

    And guess what. Even non car-owners are at risk when the hydrants are blocked.

    Maybe Donnie Wahlberg will blow you a kiss and make it all worth it.

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  21. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    @Super Witty

    PS. You obviously have a grudge against people with personal automobiles. BUT you seem to have no problem with the film crews parking THEIR personal automobiles here.

    Why the double standard?

    You're against cars in the city, unless of course, the motorists are in show business apparently.

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  22. sunniestside

    Isn't 43rd St & 48th Ave in Sunnyside??

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  23. Doge

    They filmed on 42nd and 43rd ave a few months ago and took up 2 square blocks worth of parking. Where are all these cars supposed to park? What do residents get out of it? NOTHING!

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  24. More Champagne for Lulu

    Sunnyside residents are so warm and welcoming as demonstrated by those comments.

    No wonder film crews keep coming back to shoot here.

    The legendary laid-back and open attitude of Sunnysiders.

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  25. celticparker

    why don't the city cancel the streetcleaning rules when the show is being filmed

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  26. SuperWittySmitty

    It's true, I'm not a big fan of cars. They take up too much room, they're operated dangerously by too many drivers, some of these things are noisy and/or dirty. All the black soot on the snow that you've seen came from all the traffic that surrounds us. Most people around here do not even need a car but we have to sacrifice so much.

    If you are using the roads to be productive (like the workers and their equipment making this show,) that's good. For many, it's just a convenience at the expense of others.

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  27. ointment for grandma's goiter

    good for building and residents, brings lots o cash!
    blue booods has been good for sunnyside and my bldg

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  28. Lunar

    If they damaged something then they are responsible to pay for the replacement or repairs. In this case replanting a new tree if the damage to the tree is too severe for it to live and/or remain where it is without being a danger to those walking under it.

    They are obligated to do this under keeping a good reputation with the community for themselves the next time they want to film here. As well as any future production companies who want to film here.

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  29. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    @Super Witty

    I have respected your opinion in the past even when i was in in disagreement with it.

    But you have show your true colors.

    How dare you you accuse of people in the neighborhood who drive cars who aren't in the TV production business as being non productive.

    Seriously man, go eff yourself.

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  30. 6ft Peanut Butter Elvis

    Trees belong to the man himself, GOD!
    Only GOD can judge the TV dude who can't drive
    All others, go back to complaining about hipsters and Squirtz

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  31. Sunnysidehatesme14

    I said before that Tree's don't belong in Cities. They always fall on people and property. Get rid of em all.

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  32. Anonymous

    I've worked in the industry for years. All of my coworkers are NYC residents. Many of them live in sunnyside. There's millions of dollars brought to this economy and tens of thousands of local people that now have jobs and health insurance.

    Despite what you may think about Hollywood and the studio system, i can tell you, other than the main actors and directors, everybody else that works on the shows and movies in nyc lives here, is from here, and they love NYC. Chances are one of your neighbors works in the industry. You going to prevent the man from working because you need a place to park? And just because you don't see the money in your pocket doesn't mean the productions aren't paying hefty fees to the city for the permits. We are. You should ask the city for your cut if you don't think it's fair, they're the bad guy here.

    And our trucks have out of state plates, cause they are rentals. Have you never rented a car before?

    To the point about the one block outdoor space at Kaufman. I shouldn't even say this but have you ever watched television? How boring would it be if ever show every outdoor scene took place on the same block. You'd have batman and Hannah Montana on the same street. That's just ignorant. The story dictates where we shoot. We're telling stories here people.

    Sorry about the branch. That's messed up.

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  33. CelticWinnie

    TO 'Anonymous' working in the industry.. Thank you for the intelligent comment. It seems most people feel everyone owes them something... . And without spending too much time on this, i bet they watch TV and enjoy it as much as anyone else. So lets not complain about the occasional inconvenience to create said tv shows. Really, people. Get a hobby.

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  34. pathetic sheep

    "And our trucks have out of state plates, cause they are rentals. Have you never rented a car before?"

    Yes, I have. IN NYC. Why are they not rented in the city?

    Vans rented from out of state, food from outside the city.

    These video shoots do nothing to help the communities they are in.
    I have seen trash left behind, fire hydrants blocked, trees damaged (this is not the first time), loud noises/fumes all night as they run their trucks overnight and no one going into any of the local stores.

    Do the right thing and pay for folks to park under the train when filming in our area. It's simple. Oh, I forgot Hollywood's mantra 'Greed is Good'.

    PS

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  35. pathetic sheep

    as a college kid I worked for Enterprise RAC. Not every car has out of state plates. Stop attempting to come up with excuses for these production companies.

    I keep reading how these same workers live in our area, w/i NYC. I doubt that is the case. I bet most are from outside the city, as they probably are not paid well enough to afford NYC rents. I'll believe it when I see it proof, stats.

    Simple solutions: 1. Be respectful of the neighborhoods you work in.
    2. cover the cost (w/ NYCDOT) for free parking under the 7 train during shoot.

    Not everyone can take mass transit to work for lots of different reasons, thus, a car is a necessity.

    I remember someone telling me I couldnt walk down my street because they were filming. I laughed, walked right through. We cant be prisoners in our own apts to some B TV show. Use CGI, green screens like everyone else.

    PS

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  36. Jack in Warwick

    To Sunniestside

    43St. &48 Ave is Woodside.

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  37. Dirty Harry

    Did anyone even stop to see the tree branch was rotten and maybe just maybe the nice truck driver did the residents a favor by removing the unseen threat. That branch could have landed on some poor persons head. PS did anyone see the truck knock down the branch or is everyone just assuming that because there parking was interrupted and they just need a reason to complain ?

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  38. CelticWinnie

    43rd st and 48 ave is woodside as a post office zoning technicality only.

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  39. Putin wouldn't wear mom jeans

    Can't they just replace it with a fake one? I'm sure they got a warehouse of em, and better looking too

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  40. Henry

    Anonymous is right. I know a few people who work in the film and TV business in NY and they are all hard working locals who have families to support. Some are production coordinators or assistants and others work in supporting industries like a small local food caterer.

    Like many of us freelancers these days if they don't have a production or show to work on they don't earn income. When they have a project they earn a living, feed their families, get health insurance, and spend their money in and around NY and pay NY taxes.

    While you may not see the money in your pockets, by supporting the local production shoots we are supporting the local economy by "buying local". It's ok to be angry or annoyed about the inconveniences but we should be sure to separate our opinions from economic facts. "The motion picture and television industry is responsible for 91,608 direct jobs and $8.2 billion in wages in New York, including both production and distribution-related jobs. Nearly 49,000 of the jobs are production-related. "*

    The vast majority of the crew are local New Yorkers and if locals are working and earning it's better for the local economy. That's simple economics. Today there is more and more production going on in other states like North Carolina, and other countries like Canada.

    *source: http://www.mpaa.org/policy/state-by-state.

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  41. Elizabeth

    As a Sunnyside resident and television production accountant working in Greenpoint I have to 100% agree with Henry's comment above.

    There are many hard working families in Sunnyside, including my own, that depend upon production able to shoot on location in New York. Without outdoor location shooting most of these shows would move to other states or Canada and we would be out of jobs.

    I realize it is incredibly inconvenient to lose parking and damage to occur, but it is my experience that any damage is quickly fixed by the production and the benefit the city and the borough receives is far more precious than the sporadic inconvenience we might experience.

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  42. Filmbuff

    I have lived in Sunnyside all my life and I welcome the film crews. It makes parking hard, but that's NY. Also, I have a number of friends who make their living from this industry and I did too, for a while but I couldn't take the hours. Most of the people who do this for a living work incredibly hard. I know that all the rentals/equipment and employees absolutely contribute to our economy. Usually, the companies affiliated with shows are really honorable and take care of their damages. It wouldn't surprise me to know that Blue Bloods has already paid the community to replace these trees. It sucks to lose parking and no one wants to wake up to a film crew at their doorstep first thing in the morning but, frankly, construction companies are worse.

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  43. eneg09

    I've lived in Sunnyside all of my life (65 years), and it makes me feel proud to think that the film and TV industry find it suitable to shoot programs in my neighborhood. They did Spiderman on my rooftop and not too long ago they did that show Unforgettable in front of my building. Say what you may but I personally love the whole idea and I would give anything to catch a glimpse of Tom Selleck in person. I have been a huge fan for over 40 years. Keep the shows coming!!!

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Residents produces video: ‘Christmas in Sunnyside’

Christmas in Sunnyside, Queens, NYC from George on Vimeo.

A Sunnyside resident has put together a video titled “Christmas in Sunnyside”.

George Burles, who provides frequent videos to this site, shot it in the past week.

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12 weekends of No. 7 train service cuts through May: Nine to impact Sunnyside

weekendoutages

Dec. 17, By Christian Murray

Get ready for the latest round of No. 7 train weekend service cuts.

The MTA released its schedule for the first five months of 2015 and the No. 7 train will be out of service between Times Square and Queensboro Plaza for nine weekends. Five of those weekend will see cuts between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street.

In addition, there will be weekend service cuts between Willets Point and Flushing-Main Street on three other weekends.

The first weekend of the Times Square/Queensboro Plaza cuts is scheduled to take place January 17-19, which will be the first of four weekends in a row that it will be down.

The MTA says that the cuts are in order for it to install a new Communications-Based Train Control (CBTC) signal system; replace elevated tracks; and for the reconstruction and fortification of the Steinway Tubes (which connects Queens to Manhattan).

The MTA, which is a state-run agency, claims that majority of this work has been scheduled over weekends when ridership is lower than normal.

Van Bramer said that it was unacceptable that the MTA would close service for several weekends in a row in January and February—during the coldest month of the year.

He said that residents might be a little more forgiving about the closures if they had seen improved service as promised. However, “the truth is that over the past few months No. 7 train regular service has been poor and there have been lots of delays.”

He said that on December 11 the delays were so bad that the overcrowded subway platforms put commuters at risk.

 

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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.

save

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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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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.  
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.
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.

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