Taste of Sunnyside to take place this spring, underneath the No. 7 train trestle

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33 Responses to Taste of Sunnyside to take place this spring, underneath the No. 7 train trestle

  1. Annie D

    I love Taste of Sunnyside, but seriously with this location? It's already covered with pigeon crap over there.

    I like going outdoors, but I'd hope there could be a better spot (even one of the asphalt parks might work better).

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  2. George trebor

    Hey lady didn't you read the post it will be tent covered, duh , and it's a central location, no north south BS

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  3. Native NYer

    Seriously, serving food under the train trestle, even if tented, is a horrible location.

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  4. Anonymous

    All I see so far are a bunch of whiners. If you can't fathom why an event for the whole neighborhood would be located in the most central and accessible space then there's no hope for you.

    Don't like it? Don't go.

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  5. South

    On behalf of Sunnyside, I would like to preemptively thank all of the naysayers for their complaints that are almost always presented with a heartfelt and creative solution or alternative. This positive outlook is what makes Sunnyside so...Sunny.

    Otherwise we would just be stuck reading a bunch of people complain, with no hope for any progress.

    ---

    I'm very excited for this event, and I agree with @George Trebor that it avoids any of the perpetually mentioned North vs. South "drama" in the neighborhood.

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  6. More Champagne for Lulu

    Great initiative and smart use of the space under the train trestle.

    Whoever thinks it is a bad location should definitely not attend, maybe stay home with a slice of pizza or hunt down a movie truck stationed in Sunnyside and get upset about it.

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  7. BornNbredHere

    I used to buy fruit and produce under the trestle and halal (before it all strangely disappeared) and I'm still alive and kickin'... trust me, holding the pole on the train is probably more disgusting. But alas if there weren't complainers the world would be rather boring.

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  8. sunniestside

    This is a great idea! I've never been but this sounds like an event not to miss :) Nice to see the ambitious new idea!

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  9. Sunnysidehatesme14

    you can't host something under the train, Squirts the Change Bum has already marked his territory, you'll get mauled.

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  10. Ignorance is Bliss Street

    I would have tented off that stretch of 46th between the arch and Greenpoint. But this might very well work too.

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  11. Beenhere25years

    Spectacular event.

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  12. JaneGrissom

    Wouldn't a church or school yard have been better if they want to be outside?

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  13. Beenhere25years

    Under the tracks is a great place. It is in a high traffic area and will draw everyone. This will be an inclusive event that everyone will attend. Just hope no zeppole of sausage vendors from outside the neighborhood. This will be a great event for Sunnyside.

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  14. Patricia Dorfman

    spot intermittently too loud, with #7?

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  15. Marilyn

    I love this event, but will not be attending if it is held under the train. That is just plain nasty.

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  16. NativeNYer

    To Anonymous "All I see so far are a bunch of whiners. If you can’t fathom why an event for the whole neighborhood would be located in the most central and accessible space then there’s no hope for you."

    Just because a space is central and accessible does not make it a good choice to hold a food based event. It is filthy and extremely loud (very echoey) under the train. As some smart poster mentioned, tenting off 46th by the Sunnyside sign is a much better choice.

    It is neither snobby nor elitist to avoid a food event, regardless of the merits of the meals, hosted under a train trestle.

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  17. TheBitchyWaiter

    Haven't been to this website lately, but it's nice to see that people still like to complain for the sake of complaining. If you don't like the location there is a simple solution: don't go.

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  18. Anonymous

    You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time, but you can never please all of the people all of the time.

    Whiners.

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  19. John Doe

    Dear God, this is where Squirts the Change bum relieves himself & defecates!!! I've seen it with my own eyes!?!/ Who's in charge of putting this together?? A ridiculous location! why not have it held in Sunnyside Gardens Park, that's a nice location or how bout putting the vacant lot to good use on 50th Street and 39th avenue??! really people come on!!

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  20. JOR

    Hey Waiter, good to see you again on here. The last post by you that I read, you were bitching about losing the view out of your window because of the new building going up on 43rd Street. How is that working out? As for the event, I share Ms. Dorfman's concern about noise from the train but otherwise I appreciate the innovative thinking of Sunnyside Shines.

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  21. JaneGrissom

    7 train is a real downer.

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  22. A. Hart

    Have it wherever you like. Just hope no one gets hit on Queens Blvd. during the event...... Then the topic traffic safety will be front and center on this site again.....

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  23. Beenhere25years

    Oh man, now that Marilyn is not going neither am I.

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  24. Tawn Shornton

    They might want to power wash and steam clean the area first.

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  25. tent city

    Have y'all ever been to events at Union Square where they tent it all off and serve fancy food and beverages? It may still be loud but they will have a floor to ceiling tent so you don't have to worry about germs.

    Sounds like fun! Hope they work out various logistics for the food folks but this seems like the beginning of a new era.

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  26. Dixie

    Please be respectful of others and of the fact that even a child can see the south side is superior to the north and has more attractive people.

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  27. Krissi

    Love this! I've attended all of the Taste of Sunnyside events and have high expectations as usual!

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  28. Mikem

    Wonderful idea,get everyone in sunnyside to enjoy the fine food in the neighborhood.

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  29. Sue

    Looking forward to it! I like creative uses of outdoor space and, unless you plan to eat food after you've accidentally dropped it on the ground, there really aren't any concerns about the safety of food served under a concrete awning... and a tent... seriously, it will be fine.

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  30. TheBitchyWaiter

    JOR, my view is swell, thanks for asking. The building didn't build to the back of the lot so my view remained virtually unchanged. I am totally looking forward to the Taste of Sunnyside.

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  31. A.Bundy

    i guess the location is ok, but wouldn't it be better around a park where people have room to gather?

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  32. Chris

    Funny how this is sanitary and ok to have under the train but a man selling bagels and coffee out of his cart is a big deal.
    Or the guy selling fruit by the 46th street train station where they specifically stated had to much pigeon poop already is the same place they holding this food tasting event. Double standards

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  33. Dan

    If it doesn't work out under the el this year, then they move it next year. Under the el would be great if it should happen to rain! It'll be great!

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Latest News

Cathy Nolan is being discussed as the next Assembly Speaker

Registry

Jan. 26, Staff Report

The Queens Democratic machine is starting to flex its muscles and is calling for Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan to be next speaker should Sheldon Speaker be toppled, according to the New York Observer.

Top officials with the Queens Democratic Party are calling Assembly members in Queens, Manhattan and Nassau County to support Nolan, who has represented Ridgewood, Sunnyside and Long Island City since 1984.

“Queens is calling around, taking the temperature. They’re pushing Nolan,” an Albany Democratic source to the Observer. “They are floating her in case Shelly is no longer speaker so there’s a quick transfer of power and the body can move on.”

Sources say the Queens machine’s three top deputies–Michael Reich, Frank Bolz and Gerard Sweeney–are calling legislators to figure out what kind of support exists for a potential Nolan candidacy, the Observer reports.

Nolan is reportedly close to Silver and the teachers union, the Observer reports. Nolan has also forged an alliance with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who may look to exert his influence over the city’s Assembly delegation if Silver leaves his post.

Support from Joseph Crowley, the head of the Queens Democratic Party, could mean the full 18-member bloc of Queens lawmakers in the Assembly’s 150 member body would vote for her.

Nolan is regarded as one of the shrewder lawmakers in the body, the Observer reports, and would be the first woman ever elected speaker in New York, no small significance to female Assembly members.

Nolan could not be reached for this article.

Meanwhile, Silver, who is trying to hang onto the speaker role as he fights federal corruption charges, is expected to announce today that the assembly will be jointly run by five Assembly Democrats—one of whom is Nolan.

The other four are Majority Leader Joseph Morelle (D-Rochester), Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), Joseph Lentol (D-Brooklyn) and Carl Heastie (D-Bronx).

Silver’s move will be deemed temporary, so he can focus on fighting the charges of kickbacks and corruption. However, there is still uncertainty as to whether Silver will be forced out.

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City council signs off on Luke Adams Way
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Jan. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation this week that included the co-naming of 46th Street in honor of the late Luke Adams.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer submitted Adams’ name Thursday and provided his council colleagues with a brief description of what Adams was like. “[Adams] was affectionately known as the Mayor of Sunnyside and a terrific man who led our Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and did so much. In fact he helped build the Sunnyside Arch.”

The strip on 46th Street between Greenpoint Ave. and Queens Blvd (by the Arch) will be co-named Luke Adams Way.

Adams, who was a 40 year resident and local business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest on Nov. 10 at the age of 76. Just days after his death several people called out for a street to be named after him.

Adams, who was at one time the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, was well known by the community for his work with the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.org. Furthermore, he was the first recipient of the Sunnysider of the Year award, an award that is now named after him.

The street naming ceremony is expected to take place in spring. However, Van Bramer, Community Board 2 and the Adams’ family will be coordinating the details.

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Two cops receive award for saving LaGuardia professor’s life
Officer Sarro and Officer Caldarera

Officer William Caldarera and Officer Corey Sarro

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Two officers from the 108th received an award this week after being deemed heroes for saving the life of a LaGuardia professor last month.

Police Officers Corey Sarro and William Calderera were on routine patrol on Tuesday, Dec. 23, when they discovered a professor on the pavement outside the college.

The elderly professor had suffered from a heart attack and was not breathing when the officers arrived. He was lying motionless and he did not have a heartbeat.

The two officers went into action.

Officer Sarro began performing chest compressions while Officer Calderea retrieved a defibrillator. After two attempts to resuscitate the professor, they were able to revive him. EMS then transported the professor to Elmhurst General Hospital in stable condition.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Mayor Bill de Blasio awarded the officers with a Proclamation on behalf of the city council for saving the professor’s life.

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Sunnyside resident organizing fun run, aims to raise funds for the homeless

POSTER

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

A Sunnyside resident is organizing a one mile fun run as part of her quest to raise funds for the Coalition for the Homeless.

Leonor White, who is originally from Spain, is planning to hold the event on May 31st and has already received the permits necessary from the NYPD to use the streets.

The event will start outside Lou Lodati Park on 43rd Street. Runners will then follow Barnett Avenue through to 52nd Street before finishing at Skillman Ave (44th Street). White aims to get 250 runners to participate.

“I think that this is a great way to bring the community together,” White said. “It is also a way to remind everyone of how many adults and children are homeless.”

White plans to make the event a competitive race as well as a fun run.

She said that there will be an adult race as well as one for children (below 16 years of age) .

Meanwhile for most, she said it will be a fun run or walk.

White said that there will be a nominal charge to participate—expecting it to be between $5 and $10.

Those funds will go toward the homeless. She is currently reaching out to local businesses to see whether they will help sponsor the event, which would generate additional funds to go toward the homeless.

She encourages others to get involved in helping put the race together. She can be contacted at leonorwhite@hotmail.com

Race map

Leonor White (second from left

Leonor White (second from left)

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Former Dime Bank often used for TV/Movie shoots

IMG_0011(1)

Jan. 23, By Christian Murray

Signage that went up at the former Dime Bank location on Queens Blvd Wednesday indicated that a new bank tenant was moving in.

Exterior signs read: “Fisher Bank,” and inside there were posters advertising retirement accounts and current interest rates.

The bank, however, was fictional. It was decked out as part of a set for the TV show Person of Interest, a sci-fi crime drama series.

Bank Queens Blvd SunnysideThe bank has been used for many TV shoots. Scenes for the crime-series Blue Bloods staring Tom Selleck and Donnie Wahlberg were shot there last year when a robbery was staged there as part of its 100th anniversary episode.

John Ciafone, the owner of the building, said that he gets a lot of interest from TV and film crews looking to use the bank space.

Late last year a small independent movie company also used the bank for it film.

Ciaphone said the bank will be used for movie and TV sets up until the time the building is demolished to make way for apartments. The building is expected to be demolished in the second half of this year.

Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

Tom Selleck in Sunnyside last year (Photo: George Burles)

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Sunnyside: Van Bramer issues report card, focuses on schools, parks and traffic safety

Van Bramer

Jan. 22, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside, NY: When he’s asked the tough questions, he typically doesn’t duck for cover.

What are your thoughts on 5Pointz? Private property, he responds.

What do you think of building on the Sunnyside Yards? Absolutely not.

Do you believe in term limits for community board members? Yes.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who darts from event-to-event, isn’t known for hedging his bets. Instead he is direct, fast on his feet, and very self assured.

It’s this self confidence that leads him to release an annual self assessment—or report card—every January. It is a rare concept, as most council members don’t do it.

“I like people to know what I’ve been doing,” Van Bramer often says, adding that people should know what their council person does. “I don’t want anyone asking: ‘Who is he? What does he do?”

The 15-page report states in large font: “16,554 and counting” referring to the number of constituent cases Van Bramer and his staff have handled over the past five years. Furthermore, it said that in 2014, he served on six committees—including as chair of Cultural Affairs and Libraries-and had a “95.3% attendance record.”

Van Bramer said that he has laid the groundwork for a number of Sunnyside/Woodside projects that will come to fruition this year.

The $1. 3 million revamp of Thomas P. Noonan Park—located at the intersection of Greenpoint Avenue and 43rd Street– is expected to be completed by summer; a new elementary school in Woodside will be opening in September; and further traffic safety measures are about to go into effect.

The ribbon cutting at Thomas P. Noonan Park will come at a time when several other park developments are in the works. The Parks Department is currently drafting preliminary plans for a $2.2 million upgrade to Big Bush Park (behind the Big Six Towers) as well as the $500,000 revamp of Hart Playground on 37th Ave. in Woodside.

Furthermore, a $500,000 upgrade to Windmuller park is coming that will cover the cost of building a new skateboard area, as well as fixing the band shell area that has been damaged by skateboarders performing their stunts.

However, Van Bramer said that there has been one park project that has been delayed; the dog run at Doughboy Park, which is adjacent to PS 11.

Van Bramer, who allocated $250,000 for the dog run in 2012, said that it is behind schedule due to the construction of a school annex at PS 11, which is located at 54-24 Skillman Avenue. He said that the contractor may need that the space where the dog run will go while construction takes place.

Van Bramer takes pride in his quest to bring more classroom space—such as the the PS 11 annex– to the area.

“We have the first new school in 60 years coming to Woodside,” Van Bramer said, referring to PS 339 (located at 39-01 57th Street), which is scheduled to open in September with the capacity to serve 470 students.

Meanwhile in Sunnyside, PS 343 (The Walter McCaffrey Campus) opened at 45-45 42nd St in September, which can cater to 434 students. In addition, construction of a 600-seat building at IS 125 (46-02 47 Ave.) is in the works, which is likely to lead to the removal of the trailers that are currently spread across the school grounds.

“I will continue to build schools…and invest in parks,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer secured $4.5 million in funding last year for the renovation and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue. The funds will double the theater’s seating capacity from 75 to 150.

That section of Greenpoint Avenue in the past few years has been an area filled with vacancies. However, with the upgrade of the supermarket on the strip, the arrival of other businesses and the impending revamp of Thalia that section of Greenpoint Ave. is showing signs of improvement.

Van Bramer said that the Sunnyside business district is on the upsurge in general. “There are very few vacant stores,” he said. He said that the acquisition—and likely development—of several parcels of property on Queens Blvd is largely the result of a booming real estate market coupled with Sunnyside being viewed as a vibrant and safe neighborhood.

Meanwhile, a Woodside street cleaning program that involves two workers cleaning Roosevelt (51st to 61st Streets) and Woodside Avenues will continue.

In addition, the graffiti cleanup program—where streets such as Broadway, Skillman Ave, 43rd Ave., Roosevelt Ave. and Woodside Ave. are cleaned monthly–has also been funded for this year.

Slow zonesVan Bramer said that he has been working on many transportation issues since he has been in office—with the greatest number of constituent cases he and his staff have had to deal with being transportation concerns.

While many of these issues have dealt with the No. 7 train and the MTA (which are overseen by the state), he hears from constituents about stop signs and dangerous driving.

He said that he advocated for the 25 mph speed limit and slow zones within Sunnyside and Woodside. The slow zone in Sunnyside (south of Queens Blvd) is complete—with the Woodside (which includes northern Sunnyside) expected to be completed within the first half of this year.

“People are concerned about the safety of their kids and families,” Van Bramer said, who put in an application with the Department of Transportation for the two slow zones.

Van Bramer takes great pride in his strong support of Vision Zero—including his push for launching arterial slow zones on Northern and Queens Blvd. Furthermore, he received citywide attention for his “Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,” which recently went into effect that imposes a hefty civil penalty on drivers who flee the scene of an accident.

Van Bramer, who was named Majority Leader at the beginning of last year, also said that the position allows him to be a better advocate for the district. For instance, he said, he was in a better position to be able to reach out to the administration to let it be known that the Pepsi sign in Long Island City should not lose its place on the “Landmarks Preservation calendar.”

Van Bramer is politically ambitious and does not hide it. He said that he will definitely run for city council again in 2017.

He would not comment if he has speakership goals in mind—or whether a city-wide office would come after that.

“The council speakership was determined over a period of a few weeks [in December 2013] so it is way too far away to start thinking about that,” Van Bramer said. “And then another four years after that…anything could happen by then.”

For Van Bramer’s report card, please click here:

.

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LIC: A strange caricature of a religious Muslim draws plenty of hate

anti-muslim

Jan. 21, By Christian Murray

A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square train station.

The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups.

The sign has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it…such as “Islam stones women to death…” and “Muslims kill homo-sexuals.”

The messages are likely to have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster.

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muslim

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Two northern Italians open ‘Brick-Oven Pizzeria’ on Greenpoint Avenue
olivilla and samone

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray

A new pizzeria opened on Greenpoint Avenue Thursday that offers thin-crust stone oven pizzas.

The restaurant, called Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 43-24 Greenpoint Avenue, and is owned and operated by two northern Italian natives, who learned to make pizza in their home country.

Salvatore Olivella, who is the chef, makes the pizza Naples style, in accordance with his grandmother Gina’s recipe. The pizzas come in a variety of different toppings.

Olivella, who has worked in Little Italy and other Manhattan locations, makes 18 inch elongated pizzas (called Metro) as well as smaller round personal pies.

The pizzeria is owned by Simone Apollonio, who is from Brescia. He has operated pizzerias from Britain to Australia.

The restaurant also offers a variety of pasta dishes as well as salads.

Hours: 11 am – 11 pm seven days.

Phone number: 718-361-5503 (deliveries to start in next week or two)

Pizza2

brick 005

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Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside

A man robbed the Woodside Chase branch Saturday and fled with cash, police said.

The suspect walked into Chase Bank, located at 59-26 Woodside Avenue, approached the teller and demanded money at around 11:30 am on Jan. 17, according to police.

The teller handed over an undetermined amount of money and then the robber fled. There were no reported injuries.

The suspect is a white male, 6’2″ tall weighing 200 pounds, according to police.

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.

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More Headlines

LIC: A strange caricature of a religious Muslim draws plenty of hate
anti-muslim Jan. 21, By Christian Murray A strange caricature of a religious Muslim accompanied by the words Je Ne suis Pas Charlie—has been placed on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square train station. The slogan Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie (I am Not Charlie) is a term adopted by some people following the massacre of 12 people at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. These people viewed Charlie Hedbo as a distasteful publication in the way it portrayed Muslims and other groups. The sign has several anti Muslim messages scribbled on it...such as "Islam stones women to death..." and "Muslims kill homo-sexuals." The messages are likely to have been written by a passerby who took exception to the poster. . muslim .
Two northern Italians open ‘Brick-Oven Pizzeria’ on Greenpoint Avenue
olivilla and samone

Salvatore Olivella and Simone Apollonio

Jan. 18, By Christian Murray A new pizzeria opened on Greenpoint Avenue Thursday that offers thin-crust stone oven pizzas. The restaurant, called Nonna Gina Brick Oven Pizzeria is located at 43-24 Greenpoint Avenue, and is owned and operated by two northern Italian natives, who learned to make pizza in their home country. Salvatore Olivella, who is the chef, makes the pizza Naples style, in accordance with his grandmother Gina’s recipe. The pizzas come in a variety of different toppings. Olivella, who has worked in Little Italy and other Manhattan locations, makes 18 inch elongated pizzas (called Metro) as well as smaller round personal pies. The pizzeria is owned by Simone Apollonio, who is from Brescia. He has operated pizzerias from Britain to Australia. The restaurant also offers a variety of pasta dishes as well as salads. Hours: 11 am - 11 pm seven days. Phone number: 718-361-5503 (deliveries to start in next week or two) Pizza2 brick 005
Robber hits Chase bank in Woodside Saturday
suspect

Suspect from surveillance camera (NYPD)

Jan. 18, Staff Report Chase Bank Woodside A man robbed the Woodside Chase branch Saturday and fled with cash, police said. The suspect walked into Chase Bank, located at 59-26 Woodside Avenue, approached the teller and demanded money at around 11:30 am on Jan. 17, according to police. The teller handed over an undetermined amount of money and then the robber fled. There were no reported injuries. The suspect is a white male, 6'2" tall weighing 200 pounds, according to police. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS.
Police: Man exposed himself to worker at 61st Street station
expose Jan. 16, Staff Report A man exposed himself to a 22-year-old woman who was working at a store inside a Woodside subway station, police said. The employee was working in the mezzanine area of the 61st Street and Woodside Avenue station at about 1 p.m. on Jan. 3 when the suspect entered the business. He then exposed himself to the woman, police said. The suspect fled when a customer entered the store. Police have released video footage of the suspect. They describe him as black, 25 to 30 years old and 6 feet tall with a thin build. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS (8477).  
Updated Sunnyside map released, to be distributed to hotels, real estate offices and businesses
Sunnyside shines map Jan. 16, By Christian Murray Sunnyside’s 2015 neighborhood map has been updated and is about to be released. The Sunnyside map, produced by the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and LaGuardia Community College, features a full-color illustrated map of the neighborhood and an updated business directory. Fifteen thousand maps have been printed and will be distributed at hotels in western Queens, local real estate offices and businesses, and community events in an effort to draw newcomers and orient new residents to the neighborhood.  The map is updated each year with a new business directory, including businesses that are either members of the Sunnyside Shines BID or the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce. The Sunnyside map was originally designed in 2013, and was the product of a design competition among students from LaGuardia Community College. The original and updated map features the winning artwork from former LaGuardia student Carmen Zhu. Students in the art and humanities department were tasked with creating artwork for a map that highlighted neighborhood landmarks and amenities. The map artwork was combined with a business directory and advertisements from local Sunnyside businesses, which funded the design and printing costs. “The Sunnyside map is a great piece to promote the neighborhood,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of the Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District. “I was glad to see how well it was received last year.” Linda Santini-Tripodis, owner of local business Merit Group Realty, said that she provides a copy of the map to all new residents looking to move into the neighborhood. “They love the map because it puts all of Sunnyside’s vendors at your fingertips!” Santini-Tripodis said.

Sunnyside Map 2014 010615 Crops by sunnysidepost

Sunnyside Directory 2014 010715 Crops by sunnysidepost

Pols. introduce community board term limits bill, aim to bring on new members as neighborhoods change
QNCB1 Jan. 14, By Christian Murray and Michael Florio The Chairman of Astoria’s Community Board 1 Vinicio Donato has held the top job since 1979. Meanwhile, all the leading figures on the Community Board 1 have been there since the 1980s—including those in charge of zoning and overseeing liquor licenses. The first vice chair George Stamatiades was appointed in 1982; second vice chair Norma Nieves-Blas was put on the board in 1987; the head of the Zoning & Variance Committee John Carusone joined in 1988; and the head of the public safety committee Antonio Meloni has been a member since 1988. This scenario of long-serving board members holding key posts is very common throughout the city-- and some legislators are looking to change that. Councilman Daniel Dromm (Jackson Heights) introduced legislation in December that would limit the amount of time a board member could serve to six two-year terms (12 years). The legislation would only apply to board members appointed after April 1, 2016. Existing board members would not be affected by the bill and would be able to stay as long as they desire—as long as their attendance records are in order. “I applaud those board members who have served for 30 or 40 years but I think we need to start thinking about changing things up a bit,” Dromm said. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who represents Sunnyside/Woodside/LIC as well as a section of Astoria, is one of seven other legislators who has co-sponsored the bill. Councilman Costa Constantinides is not a co-sponsor and declined to comment on the legislation for this article. Dromm said that New York has undergone a great deal of change in the past 30 years and that should be reflected in terms of who sits on the community board. He said that when people sit on boards for three and four decades it creates a “huge power structure” that doesn’t always benefit a changing community. The same people stay in charge, he said, since the new members don’t want to challenge the long-serving chair person or executive board members. "While new members do get appointed to the [50 person] boards each year, they rarely get into powerful positions or on the executive board,” Dromm said. “These [chair] people wield a lot of power,” Dromm told the Sunnyside Post last year, since they decide who heads the committees and who is on them (see bylaws below). “They have a significant amount of power over the direction of the community.” Van Bramer, a former Community Board 2 member, said that the “changing of the guard is healthy and it represents good-government and democracy.” He said that council members are term limited and so too is the president of the United States. Therefore he believes that they should apply to community board members too. Van Bramer said that he supports the bill since it isn’t aimed at removing existing board members or punishing them. “We all value their volunteerism and what they have done.” However, Van Bramer said that more people should have an opportunity to serve on the board.
Daniel Dromm

Daniel Dromm

He noted that there are about 30 people looking to get on Community Board 2 yet only a few spots open up each year. Community Board members are appointed by the borough president, with half the nominees coming from the council member from a given district. Each board member has a two year term and then has to be reappointed by the borough president. The members are almost universally reappointed unless they have poor attendance records. The amount of work a member does on the board is not measured, nor is their attendance at committee meetings. Therefore, a member could go to most of the monthly meetings, say or doing little and still be reappointed. However, those opposed to Dromm’s bill argue that the long-serving members have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge that helps the board tackle complex topics. “I am opposed to term limits because there is value in experience and the history of many issues that come before the board,” said Community Board 1 Chair Vinicio Donato in a statement. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who served on Community Board 7, told the Gotham Gazette in December that developers often present boards with complicated land-use proposals and that it often takes experienced board members to grasp it all. Furthermore, Brewer said that seasoned board members are better able to negotiate with developers when it comes to affordable housing and other public amenities. "Without that kind of expertise, the developers will have a field day," Brewer told the Gazette. She does not support of the bill. Meanwhile, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz also opposes Dromm’s bill and does not believe in the concept of term limits for board members, according to her spokesman. Lisa Deller, who is the land use committee head at Community Board 2, told the SunnysidePost last year that it took her a long time to get up to speed with how the city planning process works as well as other city issues. She said that unless someone is a land-use attorney, it takes years to work out all the nuances. “I think [term limits] would diminish the power of the community board,” Deller said. She said it would increase participation but members would be term limited once they developed a level of expertise.” However, Dromm said that the community board managers have the institutional knowledge and contacts-- and that the board members should be able to confer with them. Furthermore, the senior members can help mentor the new members. Patrick O’Brien, who was recently voted in as the chairman of Community Board 2, said “like anything there are always two sides to every equation.” “Turnover and involvement of new people is always a good thing, whether it is due to term limits or other reasons, but the loss of quality people who have developed relationships over the years with agencies…would be missed.” He said that 12 years is "too long" for those board members who do little. However, “someone who has done a great deal and continues to do so in a really great way, well then 12 years is a hard limit—despite people thinking it is a good thing.” “In some scenarios term limits are a good. In others it would be a real loss to the community and the community board,” O’Brien said. .

ByLaws CB1 by sunnysidepost

Public art goes up in Sunnyside, on vacant Greenpoint Ave. billboard
Keep Calm Sunnyside

Greenpoint Avenue

Jan. 13, By Christian Murray A piece of public art went up today on a large billboard on Greenpoint Avenue—between 45th and 46th Streets. The artwork has been installed by “14X48,” a non-profit organization that takes vacant billboards and then brightens them up through public art. The Greenpoint Avenue billboard is now covered with a collage of 80-plus posters that all start with the slogan “Keep Calm.” Each poster has a separate message, such as: “Keep Calm and Kiss Me,” or “Keep Calm and play basketball.” The slogan originated in Britain during WWII, with “Keep Calm and Carry On.” While the British did not use it, the slogan has since been used for marketing purposes. The artist, Margeaux Walter of Brooklyn, said that that she chose the slogan since it addressed the “overlap between individuality and commerce as well as the various guises of advertising and propaganda.” The artwork will be up for at least four weeks. The artist also invites people to tweet messages using the hashtag #keepcalm14x48. These tweets will be made into postcards and distributed along Greenpoint Avenue and at Ave. Coffee House. For more information, please click here.  
OT to reopen this week, with focus on Mediterranean food and sports
otlounge-250x250 Jan. 12, By Christian Murray This Sunnyside bar/restaurant got off to a tough start. Over Time, located at 39-31 Queens Blvd, opened in August and promised that it would offer live music, DJs and dancing. The owner, however, quickly received word from officials that these activities were not sanctioned in accordance to its liquor license and it was forced to close. Today, nearly five months later, the establishment is about to open and will operate as a Mediterranean restaurant and a sports bar. "We used the time to focus on our restaurant and our menu," said Sean Verderber, the assistant manager, who claimed the time was not wasted. The venue is expected to open this Thursday, with its hours from 11 am to 1 am seven days per week. The bar is going to be offering a range of exotic drinks—such as strawberry mojitos, water melon martinis and cucumber gin. Beer will be sold by the bottle. The menu will include a wide range of Greek items from Souvlaki to lamb Shish Kabob. It will include fried calamari to a number of seafood dishes—as well as steak, lamb chops, burgers to Greek-rice pudding. “The food is upscale but at a reasonable price,” Verderber said. “Many people will be impressed.” Verderber said that there will be a comment box inside the restaurant allowing diners to make suggestions or provide their opinion. The establishment will also be making sure that sports fans are well served. There will be a bar menu that includes wings and mozzarella sticks. “We will be showing all the games – whether it be football, hockey or soccer,” he said. “I want this to be a place where everyone feels comfortable.”
OT Inside

OT Inside

Car flips over after crash at 43rd Street/43rd Avenue Friday night
accident1 Jan. 10, Staff Report Two cars collided at the corner of 43rd Street and 43rd Avenue Friday night, with one vehicle flipping over, according to witnesses. The incident reportedly took place about 11:45 pm. The NYPD and FDNY's press office had no information on the incident. It is not known the extent of any injuries. accident
Another Queens Blvd property hits the market
43-19 Queens Blvd

43-19 Queens Blvd

Jan. 10, By Christian Murray Another slice of Queens Blvd real estate has just hit the market. The owner of 43-19 Queens Blvd has just listed the property for $4.5 million. The building is currently occupied by Subway, Lucky’s Salon and Realty Depot. There are also four 2-bedroom apartments and 2 parking spaces in the rear of the lot. The 3-story structure—built in the 1930s-- is currently utilizing 5,865 square feet of building space. Zoning permits a building of up to 9,200 square feet (4 x the lot size). To view the Sunnyside listing, click here:
Google map of site

Google map of corner lot

Seven story building to go up on Queens Blvd., next to Boston Market
developmentQB Jan. 7, By Christian Murray Another big building is coming to Sunnyside/Woodside. A 7-story building is likely to go up on 50th Street and Queens Blvd—next to Boston Market, according to Department of Building records. The owner of the property, Ronald Ji, has filed plans with the Building Department to erect a seven story 31 unit building. The property had been occupied by N.E.M. Electronics. The development represents further change to that stretch of Queens Blvd. A 7-story 29-unit buildings is being developed at 51-27 Queens Blvd, where the VFM Post 2813 was located until January 2014. Furthermore, in February 2014, a 66-unit building located at 52-05 Queens Boulevard was completed. Apartments at that building-- called Icon 52-- start at $1,500 per month. The units range in size from 403 square feet to 806 square feet.
Icon 52

Icon 52

New development site, former location of VFW Post

New development site, former location of VFW Post

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