Community board wants food vendors at 40th Street gone

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72 Responses to Community board wants food vendors at 40th Street gone

  1. Sharon

    The Community Board should spend its time figuring out ways to catch all the graffiti tagger delinquents in the neighborhood who do real property damage and make everything look awful, instead of bothering some man who works hard to sell coffee and feed his family. I walk pat that cart every day and it doesn't get in the way of anything, especially the lame art installation.

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  2. Woody Woodpecker

    F Joe Conley and the F'n Community Board leave these guys alone they are hardworking guys unlike some the Lazy F's who complain about the them. The coffee cart guy is a pleasant guy who greets everyone with a smile every morning unlike some of business owners around here.

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  3. Marc

    That pisses me off. Leave these guys alone. They work 100x harder than everyone else. They are not hurting anybody.

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  4. M

    It's been said before but obviously it needs to be said again, there are much bigger issues that need to be taken care of rather than a good truck who offers a nice service in the mornings before heading to the city. What's the big problem? You state "cleanliness",but a person has the right to decide for themselves to eat what and where they feel suits them.

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  5. Tawn Shornton

    Maybe Joe Conley should get lost and find a real job.

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  6. Bob

    This is so lame. NYC is full of street carts and vendors why remove them from Sunnyside? If you've ever grabbed a coffee or pastry from Sheref you know he's the nicest guy in the world. Why take away this man's livelihood?

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  7. 40th St

    NO ONE likes the "art installation" under the 40th St stop. I NEVER see anyone playing or exercising on the sculpture. But I see people buying coffee and breakfast all the time from this vendor, who sounds like a very nice person. I don't see why he and his business should be targeted-- this seems very unfair.

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  8. Beenherefor25years

    Hey Sharon:

    I agree with you about the graffiti. But why don't you do something about it. There is a meeting Tuesday night with the police captain from our precinct. Stop looking to others to do things. Complain to the proper authorities rather than here. Useless.

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  9. Celtic Bark

    As usual, parasite politicians who don't know the meaning of work, trying to screw the people who do know the meaning of work and who bust their asses every day trying to eke out a living.

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  10. Beenherefor25years

    How about the coffee shop across the street from the station? He pays rent. Is having a cart there fair to him? I would assume that he has to pay rent and has a family also. But maybe not.

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  11. Pete

    Agreed with previous commenters. Leave the small businessman alone and focus on the thugs who are breaking into homes and cars, harassing women, and attacking gays.

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  12. Woody Woodpecker

    Joe Conley is an XXX for the Business Comm. He is doing there bidding no one cares about these guys doing business there just the Businesses who mostly serve crappier food at higher prices.

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  13. Headstoned

    Let's have a 3rd world bazaar under the 7.

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  14. Getting old

    Lets just keep destroying the flavor of the neighborhood.... I've lived in this neighborhood for the past 7 years, I have no problem with the street vendors, so long as they clean up their messes and don't cause real problems.

    Let them stay.

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  15. Sunnysider

    If we did want to help out and not let the community boot the street vendor, who can we talk to and how can we help? I'll totally stick up for him!

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  16. Jay

    Wait a minute they call those ugly pipes at the 40th street stop, art? Looks like garbage.

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  17. Call them

    Community Board 2
    43-22 50th Street
    Woodside, New York 11377
    (718) 533-8773
    (718) 533-8777 FAX
    qn02@cb.nyc.gov

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  18. Sunnysideposthatesme14

    I'd like a better food truck. Halal food trucks are terrible. Can't we get those nice trendy hipster food trucks Manhattan gets all the time? I would love a ginger cilantro tofu apple stick.

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  19. Anonymous

    I don't understand.... Why do sunnysiders want mobile food carts in the neighborhood??? Why can you buy a bagel and coffee from the bagel shop? Its totally UNFAIR that store on Queens blvd pays 8500 a month in rent, and this guy gets a prime spot for FREE. Why feel bad for him, why not feel bad for the businesses that pay all that rent? Think about it...

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  20. doge

    So this guy gets to set up shop for free, while the next guy has to fork over $9000 a month for rent, and we're supposed to feel bad for him?

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  21. Anonymous

    The first step in cleaning up this neighborhood and dealing with the trash in the area is getting rid of all the food carts, not just the halal ones.

    Just because he slings bagels and coffee instead of lamb and rice doesn't make this cart any unsightly and dirty.

    I'm all in favor of cleaning up this area and getting some nicer shops yup cone in to replace all these 99 cent stores, ugh.

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  22. Dark O'Knight

    @Torn Shawnton You said it, Quiet Man. Corruption is the biggest business in Sunnyside. Has been since I started paying attention to the goings on among the political/business types. They make Superman's motto a sham. They fight for Lies, Injustice and the Self-Serving way.

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  23. ca$h munnee

    i like to grab a falafel and do some inclined reverse power squats on the excercice equipment. sunnysides got it all man

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  24. liz

    Sunnyside community board should be looking for ways to making the neighborhood more secure , I recently purchased a car and although I have private garage at home I have to drive to sunnyside every day and leave it there , a part of my bumper was robbed Friday , we all have heard of robbery and burglary increasing desperately ..... those are the issues that should be adressed.

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  25. liz

    Doge, rent is not 9000 in sunnyside just yet, unless you just opened the shop..... Also food carts pay more in permits than regular restaurants , oh and by the way the cheaper used vending car is around 13K

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  26. Craic Dealer

    KEEP THE FOOD TRUCKS YOU FASCIST ASSHOLES!

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  27. Dorothy Morehead

    Not only do the street vendors not pay rent, they pay no taxes. Or carting fees for their garbage. Or utility bills.

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  28. Tequilla Mockingbird

    @ Sunnysideposthatesme14

    I agree, a variety of food trucks would be such an improvement for Sunnyside.
    (I know you were being facetious but I am not)

    They can be found in a lot of other neighborhoods, why not here?
    Morris Grilled Cheese, Kimchi Tacos, Rickshaw, Redhook Lobster, Crif Dogs, Wafels & Dinges, CoolHaus ice creams to name a few.

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  29. Beenherefor25years

    What is a halal bagel?

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  30. Doge

    If he's allowed to set up shop there, why can't I, or anyone else?

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  31. Dorothy Morehead

    Halal means prepared according to Islamic law. Almost the same as kosher but with supervision by an imam instead of a rabbi.

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  32. tired of the smell

    why not do something about the homeless person camped out under the trestle at 48th street for the past TWO MONTHS

    I've called 311 multiple times and filed a, to no avail. 'Course, it took them how long to find a deceased person in a car not 100 feet away, so who knows how long it could take to relocate the squatter...

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  33. South

    @Dorothy Morehead

    I see your point about rent and carting fees, but I think a cart that doesn't use any utilities need not pay any utility fees. I don't see a water or electrical line connected to this cart - but perhaps there are others that do? As far as taxes, I also don't think it's possible for any of us to know if each cart owner pays the appropriate amount of taxes that apply to his/her small business. Is there a way to see if each owner is paying up?

    ---

    Anyway, I agree with @Tequilla Mockingbird, I would like to see a more varied array of streetfood options here in Sunnyside. Or even just more restaurants that are doing great things like Salt & Fat, Dog and Duck, and Venturo. Unfortunately for us, though, I think the general population of Sunnyside would prefer more fast food/pizza options than food trucks.

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  34. jimmytwotimes

    "why not do something about the homeless person camped out under the trestle at 48th street for the past TWO MONTHS"

    2 months? he's been there for like a year...

    and boy i sure love having to take the train to 4 extra stops to 74th st to pick up my chicken and rice and then take the train back to 46th st to come home after working all night and coming home to closed restaurants (can only eat Alpha Donuts so often...)

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  35. Doge

    @south Forget taxes and utility. How about the fact that he pays no rent, while legitimate stores are paying thousands a month? Do you think that's fair?

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  36. Sunnysider

    Sorry @ south the 3 resteraunts u just mentioned above do not cater to the regular middle class person! Just saying

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  37. Messer

    I have heard a variety of arguments against the food trucks in Sunnyside - from garbage, to interfering with "art", to causing scenes and making crowds. The only one that holds a bit of truth from those that speak it is that the trucks take business "unfairly" from brick and mortar stores.

    This argument is embarrassing, not only for the speaker, but for those brick and mortar stores and Sunnyside in general. If a cart that sells a mystery grilled meat over neon rice is interfering with your business, your store has other issues. The prices may be to high, the service too slow, the food not good enough, or perhaps it doesn't reflect the needs of the community around it. Whatever the reason, the fault lies with the store, not the cart. While the cart may not pay rent, they pay storage costs and other costs brick and mortar's don't have. They are also transient, not being able to advertise, hold sales, or bring people to them. A store can bring people in from outside the area (if they are good enough). The 40th St. cart has never brought a group from the village in to eat halal, whereas Salt and Fat can draw that crowd. Both a cart and brick and mortar have benefits and disadvantages, and it is up to the business owner to find their niche - Not up to the politicians to legislate away the competition.

    Business, as a whole, and especially in the US, is about locating a need in a market and filling it better than the competition. A brick and mortar that is saved from closing by political restrictions against competing businesses hurts the community. We end up with worse businesses, so secure in their positions that they don't need to hustle.

    Can't make rent because a cart took your business? Have a sale. Advertise. Change the menu. Make it faster. Make it different. Make it better. Or connect with the community so the community in turn wants to support your business.

    No one has been tricked into eating from a food cart. Sometimes it's a craving, sometimes it's just a very fast, filling cheap meal. Often it's a need that isn't filled by the surrounding restaurants at present. Removing the food cart won't automatically turn people towards a brick and mortar instead. More often, it will just make them a bit less satisfied with their community, given that that what they previously could do, they can't anymore.

    Additionally, and slightly off the specific point, I'm growing increasingly concerned that the Community Board is less and less reflective of the community. Currently, the poll in this post (albeit very un-scientific) shows a 2:1 favor for keeping the carts. How is it that the community board then was able to speak so clearly on Our behalf to tell the city We didn't want carts anymore. Was there a notice and comment period? Were meetings held to inquire? Was there even a notice that this would be discussed? On the CB2 page, the last posted agenda was from 2010, which makes it a bit difficult for Our board to properly engage with its community. I'm interested to know how and why these members are appointed (note: they aren't elected, and there are no term limits). What community do they represent? I applied to join the board nearly 2 years ago, met with JvB to discuss joining, but have yet been able to join the other supposed members of my community.

    I'd like to hear any actually valid reasons why the food carts need to leave Sunnyside (as opposed to the rest of NYC, where stores and carts can survive just fine). I'd also be open to having a more fulsome discussion on the direction the community board is taking our neighborhood.

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  38. Seriously

    And nothing is done to rid the streets of the mad crapper? Priorities, folks.

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  39. Dorothy Morehead

    @ South The food vendors use gas generators or propane which are illegal in certain areas, including under the elevated train.

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  40. J Thokai

    I'm all for it, it is filthy and he has to go.

    He's been there for 10 years? what a lie.

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  41. Messer

    @ Dorothy Morehead - If it is true that (i) some vendors use gas/propane generators, and (ii) such usage is prohibited, it would seem that the appropriate action to take would be to issue a citation against such usage, and encourage the permissible type of power usage. It doesn't follow that if Some vendors use illegal propane generators, All vendors must be removed.

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  42. South

    @Doge

    I see your point. In my mind - he can't pay rent - because he doesn't have a real property. His 4' x 10' plot is hardly a real-estate dream. In a way it is admirable that this man is working hard on his small business.

    It may seem unfair, but that is often the nature of business, particularly in NYC. To, he is providing healthy competition between businesses. Maybe Alpha Donuts, for example, will be further encouraged to (for example) create a more appealing window display, or clean up their signage.

    I read an interesting article here: "http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704758904576188523780657688" Which talks about the amount of money these vendors often pay for their cart rental and permits. It deals mostly with Bronx and Manhattan with a clear price disparity between the two. We can assume that Queens & Bronx are more similar.

    Obviously we still can't be sure what Sheref pays without asking him point blank, but it seems likely he's paying something.

    @Sunnysider

    Fair. Perhaps in the future there will be a happy medium between interesting dining options, and accessible price-points.

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  43. More Champagne for Lulu

    What vision does the Community Board have for our neighborhood?

    Although it has tremendous potential, Sunnyside feels stagnant and dated compared to neighboring LIC or Astoria.

    Street vendors are found everywhere in the city and if they comply with required permits and safety regulations, I fail to see the reasoning behind removing them from Sunnyside.

    Are they trying to make Sunnyside even more lifeless and drab?

    And don't get me started on the "art installation" ...
    Nothing can justify how those metal rods on rubber mats add anything to our neighborhood.

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  44. SuperWittySmitty

    I'd prefer no carts, myself. But hasn't this already been discussed here numerous times?

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  45. Alex

    It would be one thing if the Art was actually good. But you're gonna mess a guy's life up for a corny jungle gym?

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  46. JaneGrissom

    Leave the food carts alone! They exist in Manhattan - I get my coffee from them - they can exist here also!

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  47. yawn

    Leave the food carts alone. Community board and most of the people complaining about them in Sunnyside are comprised of people 45years old and up. They want sunnyside to stay the same how it has been 20 years ago. That is a selfish and unrealistic. You want Sunnyside to grow and become a nicer neighborhood but don't want the necessary things that come with urbanization and growth. I.e younger people (hipsters), nice restaurants, food carts, etc. Bruce lee said be like water and take the shape of whatever it is in. A stubborn rock not wanting to budge will only erode over the years and eventually get washed away. I am going to listen to Bruce lee over you old folks.

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  48. Beenherefor25years

    I've seen some ludicrous comments written to this paper but that last one tops them all. Food carts make a good neighborhood. People over 45 are the only ones complaining and want to keep the neighborhood from changing. Yikes!

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  49. Sunnyside Resident for 15 Years

    Joe Conley needs to be ousted. The "art" installation is filthy and needs to be taken down. It interferes with commuter traffic. The fellow with the vendor cart is kind, hard working and, yes, pays for his license. Contrary to what Ms. Morehead says, he is legal and pays his bills.

    I strongly suggest that Sunnyside a) changes its name to a more attractive and uptodate one and b) strongly engage in attracting food trucks like one sees in Manhattan and Boston and c) leave struggling business people alone.

    I would much rather eat from an interesting cart or truck than a fast food place.

    Please contact Crowley and the other cronies at 718 533-8773 to complain about his egregious act. Thank you.

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  50. pathetic sheep

    All food carts should be paying some kind of rent, in the same way that Eva Douchewitz of the Success Academy Charter Schools should be paying rent for using city property to make mega profits.

    Leave the guy there, but even the playing field, as it is not fair that a regular store has to pay rent/mortgage and he doesn't.

    PS

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  51. thecoventry

    **********Although it has tremendous potential, Sunnyside feels stagnant and dated compared to neighboring LIC or Astoria.

    Street vendors are found everywhere in the city and if they comply with required permits and safety regulations, I fail to see the reasoning behind removing them from Sunnyside.**********

    exactly, this sad bougie mentality that is indeed a bunch of an old stick in the mud people who want Sunnyside to be stuck in what it was 30 years ago...

    it just seems crazy that Sunnyside should be the only neighborhood in NYC with no food carts, esp since there is such a large population of working class people here who need them...

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  52. Fly on the Wall

    @ Yawn Bruce Lee died very young, thus he had no real wisdom, only soundbites that sound great to the young. Should you live long enough, your callow words will come back to haunt you.

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  53. Windblown

    @Messer Your argument is the best here.

    The community board has ben led by Joe Conley for as long as anyone can remember. It is his full-time job, so either he is independently wealthy or someone is paying him for a no-show job so he can smooth the way for the real estate interests. Take a guess which one is true. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Since food-cart vendors can't cough up the dough he needs to keep his expensive suits cleaned and pressed, he's waging a war against them.

    No matter how many people read this blog and vote, he'll get rid of them. He's a small time pol playing hardball with poor people. Makes him feel like a great big guy.

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  54. BigC

    If you think food carts are dirty, then don't go to them! Otherwise, let the rest of us who choose to frequent them use them in peace!!

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  55. Lucky Lu

    I have lived in Sunnyside for almost 10 years and the 40th Street station is my stop on the 7. This guy only showed up out of nowhere a few years ago. So, no, he has not been there for 10 years.

    I am shocked that he is not required to pay rent when he sits all day in the same spot, right on public property. There should be fees related to his use of the public commons for commercial gain. Otherwise, it's just not fair. And I'm not talking about "permits" either. The area where this cart is was dirty before he arrived and it's only gotten worse. If we are going to have food carts, then the owners need to be participating in the maintenance of the area where they are making money.

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  56. doge

    Lucky, you're the voice of reason. I couldn't agree with you more...

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  57. doge

    Why can't anyone else open up food carts there? Does he own that space? Either let everyone set up shop there, or no one. Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

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  58. me

    1st of all he has not been at 40th Street Station for 10 years - its more like 2 years he just rolled in 1 day - what bothers me is you have the Sunnyside Post directly across the street paying RENT, gas & electric for their coffee shop. Also is Pete's Grill and Oasis all selling coffee in the morning so why should he be getting the space for free? I KNOW he pays for a vdors license but move it away from established sites selling the same stuff. I know in the afternoon he sells his falafel etc but enough!
    Also not the cleanest of sites

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  59. Messer

    @me - Food vendors are allowed in NYC - its the law. There's nothing in the law that would require a vendor to sell differnt goods from the stores nearby. Can you even imagine the practical implications of requiring a business not to compete with nearby ones? If Pete's and Oasis sells coffee, aren't they competing? Should be stop Oasis from selling as they take business from Pete's, as Pete's was there first?

    Regardless of when this vendor arrived, he runs a Sunnyside business as well. Everyone seems to forget that a business isn't just a brick and mortar store.

    Part of the advantages he gets from not paying rent (although he does pay rent to store his cart at night, and fees to use a commercial kitchen, and vendor license fees, and transportation costs), he loses from the transient nature of the cart. Its hard to build a loyal following from people who see him a "that cart under the 40th stop". The Post can grow their business by making a better business that draws customers. Maybe a loyalty card program (4 cups and the 5th is free), maybe ads, maybe a street window to make it faster. Also, there will always be people like you that find the cart to dirty, and would prefer to get their food somewhere else.

    Quite simply, it is not the job of the politicians to legislate away competition. The vendor parks there to make good use of the train traffic. That's his advantage in business. Other businesses need to find theirs.

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  60. JaneGrissom

    I love the coffee carts in Manhattan! Conley is a tool of the real estate developers. Time for him to go.

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  61. JaneGrissom

    I noticed the dopey sexist comment that Pathetic Sheep made about Eva Moskowitz. BTW Mr. Pathetic: you are a ...!

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  62. Anonymous

    Please get rid of the food trucks on 46th street and Greenpoibt Avenue in front of an apartment building. They stay there until 4/5am attracting drunk people from the horrible bar down the street. People fight, scream, make commotions and nothing is done about it.

    Both trucks used to park in different spots near stores NOT residential buildings. PLEASE DO SOMETHING. 311 doesn't help, precinct doesn't help, politicisns don't help.

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  63. David I

    The vast majority of our residents have no problem with the food carts. To use the excuse that it's in the middle of that "art" installation is a freaking insult. Here's a man working his butt off providing a service a lot of people use every day, and some community council interested in gentrifying our neighborhood has a problem with it? Let me tell you about that "art installation", it is the sorriest excuse for art I have ever seen. They look like bike racks or exercise equipment.

    Talk about looking for problems where there aren't any...

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  64. Sue

    @Messer, thanks for your comments, I agree with them. The segmentation of business is a good thing for a community- food carts serve different needs than brick and mortar businesses. Leave the carts alone. Sometimes you need a quick coffee, sometimes you want a mass produced donut. The times when you want something with higher quality, you go to a different business. There are regulations that food vendors must meet to avoid citations, (they're sort of ridiculous, but they exist,) if the vendors meet them, then leave them alone. Don't use the regulations as merely a mode of harassment to serve other people's business interests.

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  65. Greg W.

    Who actually wants these vendors give l gone besides Mr. Conley? This sounds suspicious, and I question his motives...

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  66. whuh

    What about that excellent Greek fellow serving up shishkebobs?
    Looks clean. Yummy.

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  67. lifelong sunnysider

    @Sue@Messer...Absolutely right. Food carts have been part of NYC as far back as 1692! They, for the most part, offer inexpensive on-the-go food for folks. How is this particular cart bothering anyone?? Its placement under the el is logical; it does not block traffic nor does it impede passage from one side of the block to the other. They are legal and unless they are a public health threat (i.e., unsanitary conditions), should be allowed to remain. And the complaints about not paying rent/electricity, etc., they do pay fees as Messer pointed out. It's a different business model than that of a brick and mortar store, but nonetheless entails the same hard work and effort to turn a profit, especially by selling $1.00 bagels and coffee.

    Instead of an "off with their heads" mentality, perhaps Mr. Conley should advocate stricter regulations of the carts under the 7 train, including uniform size, signage and rules for when they can operate. The parks department does that in central park and they are able to charge extra fees to the vendors, especially to those with premium spots (@ the Central Park Zoo). Street carts are a part of life in the city and shouldn't be forced out of our little corner of it.

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  68. Anonymous

    Fact: this guy has been there for 10 years. Also fact, his coffee is drinkable and the convenience he offers to commuters is great and why you see these carts all over the city. I don't understand why his business is less legitimate simply because it's mobile.

    Also, Pete's and Oasis coffee is more like watered down brown liquid with little resemblance to coffee. I'm sick of the hipsterfication of the neighborhood. Please if you have to have artisanal coffee every day and don't like working class people and working class businesses stay out of this neighborhood.

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  69. Anna

    Hmm I think the argument that food trucks are taking business away from brick and mortar stores is a little off base. Manhattan and Brooklyn have tons of food trucks, and they also have many thriving restaurants. Competition is just a truth of capitalism. If the guy across the street is concerned about losing business due to this truck, perhaps he should do something else to lure customers: local advertising, redo your window displays, offer a bagel special in the morning or just make better bagels, perhaps? Competition is something every entrepreneur/business person has to deal with.

    In a world where people are struggling pay check to pay check just to pay their bills, it seems wrong that this guy should be shut down because of an "art installation." It's stated that cleanliness is a concern, but has anyone ever reported getting sick after eating from this food truck?

    If Sunnyside is concerned with the appearance and reputation of the neighborhood, perhaps they should pick up the insane amount of trash on the sidewalks or force some of the other local businesses to fix the holes/rips in their signs. Let's not even talk about the fact that the 52nd street station (I know, it's Woodside) is covered in bird crap, and that the nearby park was taken over by rats until a mayoral candidate went on TV exposing it.

    Just hoping my favorite taco truck isn't next on the ax list – it's the only decent place open late at night!

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  70. 43rd & 43rd

    This is shameful. I've never seen anyone touch the "art installations" -- which everyone knew were going to be useless. But every day hundreds of people buy from these vendors. They're clean, friendly, and convenient. Joe Conley clearly does not speak for the people of Sunnyside, who overwhelmingly prefer the vendors. I would ask where Joe Conley is receiving his motivation -- since it isn't the will of the people, could there be something going on between Conley and local store owners?

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  71. ResidentOp

    A woman on my block sells baked goods in front of her house every summer. Why aren't tehy stopping her?

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  72. A.Bundy

    they dont bother me, and their food smells good! why would i interfere with their right to make a living? its not like they have a competitor in the area.

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Nov. 24, By Christian Murray

A Jackson Height’s man who drove into five people while they were sitting in a bus shelter on Northern Boulevard (by 48th Street) in February was sentenced last week to two years in prison on charges related to leaving the scene of the accident, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office.

Luis Andrade, 32, was sentenced to two years after taking a plea deal in October when he admitted his guilt to assault in the first degree. However, in taking the plea other charges such as “leaving the scene of an incident without reporting serious physical injury” were dropped.

Andrade, who was an unlicensed driver according to the criminal complaint, struck five people—including an 8-year-old girl—at around 7:30 pm on Saturday, February 1. He destroyed the bus shelter and left the 8-year-old girl with a fractured skull and a woman with a broken femur and tibia. The others were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.

Andrade then fled the scene and ditched his white 2003 Mazda outside 37-59 61st Street. The police found the vehicle with a shattered windshield and partially torn-off bumper..

Andrade was also sentenced to a year and a half of post-release supervision, according to the district attorney’s office.

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Sunnyside Shines to launch holiday gift guide, plans event for Small Business Saturday

BIDfrontcover

Nov. 23, By Christian Murray

Expect a holiday gift guide – promoting Sunnyside’s small businesses – to arrive in the mail any day now.

Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, with the help of LaGuardia Community College students, has produced a 10-page brochure that showcases what 22 local stores have to offer as well as the importance of shopping locally. The promotion also ties into Small Business Saturday, a day when shoppers are expected to buy from smaller stores following the big-box binge on black Friday.

The BID has printed 30,000 guides and will be mailing 18,000 of them to the zip code 11104 and certain sections of Woodside. The remaining guides will be distributed this Saturday when a special event is held at Bliss Plaza (underneath the 46th train station) to kickoff Small Business Saturday and the holiday season.

The event, which will take place on Nov. 29 between 12:00 pm and 1 pm, will feature free giveaways and live music from the Sunnyside Social Club, a local jazz group.

“I am delighted that the BID has produced a holiday gift guide,” said Czarinna Andres, owner of Bing’s Hallmark. “Every bit of publicity helps local businesses.”

Andres is offering a coupon in the guide that offers shoppers a discount. Stores such as Avalon Florist and Red Wing Shoes are also providing discounts.

Maria Torres-Springer, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services, was in Sunnyside last week and spoke about the importance of residents shopping locally during the holiday season.

Springer said that 20-30 percent of sales for small businesses take place during this period. She said that it is important to have promotions like these to help them compete with the large online retailers and bigger stores. She added that the marketing campaigns conducted by the 70 BIDs across the city are helping smaller businesses– including in this neighborhood.

“Sunnysiders understand the importance of shopping locally, but we wanted to make it even easier by publishing the gift guide and promoting local businesses on Small Business Saturday,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines.

Details:

Event: Small Business Saturday kickoff

Date: Nov. 29

Time: 12 pm – 1pm

Czarrina Andres

Czarrinna Andres

Wespaw Pets

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46th Street–by Sunnyside Arch– likely to be named after Luke Adams
Luke Adams (middle)

Luke Adams (middle)

Nov. 21, By Christian Murray

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and Community Board 2 have started the process to name a street after Luke Adams, the long-time Sunnysider who passed away about two weeks ago.

Van Bramer said shortly after Adams’ death several people approached him and wanted a street named after him. Adams, who lived in Sunnyside for nearly 40 years, was known throughout the community for his work with the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club and SunnysideArtists.

“It was no surprise that everyone wanted a street named after him,” Van Bramer said.

“Luke was so involved in the neighborhood—and on a consistent basis—for the better part of 30 years,” Van Bramer said.

The community board is still deciding what street should be named after him. It has narrowed it down to two streets: 46th Street (between Queens Blvd and Greenpoint Avenue) and 43rd Street/47th Avenue where he lived.

The street would be named “Luke Adams Way,” an apt named for someone who was known as having strong opinions.

“I think there is more support for 46th Street,” Van Bramer said, who has to get the city council to sign off on it. However, “I am going to defer that decision to the community and those people closest to him.”

Patricia Dorfman, who was a very close friend of Adams, said that she was initially an advocate for 43rd Street but now views 46th Street by the arch to be more appropriate.

“His business was located on 46th street,” Dorfman said. She said that he was very involved in maintaining the arch in its early years and his name should be more prominently placed.

Van Bramer said if a decision is made quickly he would be able to get it through the city council shortly. If that is the case, we could have an unveiling in spring.”

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New commanding officer appointed to 108 precinct
Captain John Trav

Captain John Travaglia

Nov. 20, By Christian Murray

A new commanding officer has been appointed to the 108 Police Precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

Captain John Travaglia, who has spent most of his career in Queens, will be taking over the command following the departure of Capt. Brian Hennessy.

This will be Travaglia’s first time as a commanding officer. He was most recently the executive officer at the 114th Precinct in Astoria. Prior to that, he was an executive officer at the 104th Precinct that covers Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood.

Travaglia takes the top job at a time when Sunnyside has been experiencing an uptick in burglaries and other property-related crime.  However, Astoria too has seen a jump in burglaries recently.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that he has scheduled a meeting with Travaglia and has heard good things about him. “We look forward to meeting him as we all work to keep the neighborhood safe.”

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Fire broke out on 51st Street last night, no serious injuries

fire51st Street

Nov. 20, By Michael Florio

A fire broke out in a Sunnyside apartment building last night.

The blaze took place on the fifth floor at 41-36 51st Street. The FDNY received a call just before 7 pm and the fire was brought under control by 7:30 pm, according to the FDNY.

The fire was contained to one apartment and one person, believed to be the tenant, was taken to a local hospital with serious, but non-life threatening injuries. The victim was believed to have been unconscious when he was removed from his apartment.

A neighboring tenant, who didn’t want to be named, showed up during the fire. She said the fire was first noticed by a passerby, who saw flames shooting out the window.

“This was traumatizing for everyone,” the neighboring tenant said. “Everyone here was freaked out.”

The apartment that caught fire is completely destroyed. The apartment above may have been damaged as well, and the apartment below suffered severe water damage.

The apartment that caught fire was rented by a younger man, according to a neighboring tenant, who moved into the building earlier this year. He was known for having parties.

“We [the occupants] were worried something like this would happen,” the neighbor said.

The FDNY is still investigating what caused the fire.

fire51st Street1

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Police release PHOTO of one of the suspects wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old
Suspect

Suspect

Nov. 19, By Christian Murray

The police have released another photo of one of the two men suspected of beating and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnysider at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Blvd last month.

The two men allegedly approached the victim inside the Chase bank ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday, October 26, before punching him in the face and removing $100 and his debit card from his pocket. The victim was William Eichhorn, who has lived in the Phipps Houses for the past 50 years.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477)

For previous coverage, click here

Previous photo of suspect

Previous photo of a suspect

 

Previous photo

Previous photo of a suspect

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UPDATE: 4 Squared Flavors to be closed for winter, to reopen March 1

Flavor

Nov. 18, By Christian Murray

The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors has closed for winter and will reopen March 1, according to co-owner Khalil Nayl,

Nayl said that landlord is supportive of the store and is by providing discounted rent during the winter months.

Nayl’s announcement came less than an hour after he was asked why the store had been closed all month.

“We are exploring our options,” Nayl said at about 3:30 pm, when asked whether the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store had closed for good. “I will get back to you when we have made a final decision.”

Nayl had been asked the question several times during the month and provided the same response.

The store has had a tough go of it from the get-go. It was supposed to open in October 2013 but the owners had issues with the contractor and it opened in March.

Nevertheless, Nayl is hoping to get the support of Sunnysiders when he reopens. He still plans to open other 4 Squared Flavors in other locations.

The Sunnyside store is spacious—with a lounge area that has couches. There is also a special area where iPads are provided, so people can surf the web while they eat their yogurt.

Meanwhile, in other news, Mediterraneo, the popular pizzeria located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, closed at the end of last month. The owner closed for personal reasons, according to sources.

In other news, Safra Bistro, a Turkish restaurant located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street, is up for sale. The restaurant, which opened a year ago, is on the market for $139,000. The owner is seeking a quick sale.

Med

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Two rescue dogs and one cat find homes at Sunnyside adoption event
James Abram with Hercules

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday.

The three animals were adopted by Sunnyside residents who attended an adoption event outside of Wespaw Pets—located at 44-05 Queens Blvd– on Sunday.

The Sean Casey Animal Rescue group in conjunction with the North Shore Animal League parked a large truck filled with dogs and cats that are currently in shelters outside the pet store.

The dogs were of all ages—puppies to seniors—with one particularly disfigured due to a cruel past owner. The dogs varied in breeds– with pit bulls, pit bull terrier mixes, poodles and even a pomeranian. The cats ranged in age too.

The first animal to be adopted was Hercules, a young pit bull, by James Abram. While the dogs had been vaccinated and checked over prior to the event, a volunteer veterinarian was on hand to help the new owners—and current dog owners—with questions.

“People continue to ask about adoption events,” said a Wespaw Pets representative. “While we have had them before this is the biggest one we have had so far.”

The next dog to find a home was Daffodil, an older dog who was adopted by a young couple.

Later in the day, a mother with her young daughter adopted a cat called Robin. Several of the cats were brought to the event by LIC Ferals & Friends.

Some of the other pets might still be adopted, according to a Wespaw representative, since a few couples are thinking it over.

Sam, the owner of Wespaw Pets, was encouraged by the day. “Sometimes you can have events like these and no dogs or cats get adopted,” he said.

adoption1

 

Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

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Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray

The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations–to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day.

The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm– and attendees came in waves.

The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church.

“At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists.

Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming.

This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week.

Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams.

Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments.

Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.

Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

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More Headlines

UPDATE: 4 Squared Flavors to be closed for winter, to reopen March 1
Flavor Nov. 18, By Christian Murray The frozen yogurt store 4 Squared Flavors has closed for winter and will reopen March 1, according to co-owner Khalil Nayl, Nayl said that landlord is supportive of the store and is by providing discounted rent during the winter months. Nayl's announcement came less than an hour after he was asked why the store had been closed all month. “We are exploring our options,” Nayl said at about 3:30 pm, when asked whether the 45-12 Greenpoint Avenue store had closed for good. "I will get back to you when we have made a final decision.” Nayl had been asked the question several times during the month and provided the same response. The store has had a tough go of it from the get-go. It was supposed to open in October 2013 but the owners had issues with the contractor and it opened in March. Nevertheless, Nayl is hoping to get the support of Sunnysiders when he reopens. He still plans to open other 4 Squared Flavors in other locations. The Sunnyside store is spacious—with a lounge area that has couches. There is also a special area where iPads are provided, so people can surf the web while they eat their yogurt. Meanwhile, in other news, Mediterraneo, the popular pizzeria located at 46-21 Queens Blvd, closed at the end of last month. The owner closed for personal reasons, according to sources. In other news, Safra Bistro, a Turkish restaurant located on the corner of 43rd Avenue and 43rd Street, is up for sale. The restaurant, which opened a year ago, is on the market for $139,000. The owner is seeking a quick sale. Med
Two rescue dogs and one cat find homes at Sunnyside adoption event
James Abram with Hercules

James Abram with Hercules

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray Hercules, Daffodil and Robin all found homes Sunday. The three animals were adopted by Sunnyside residents who attended an adoption event outside of Wespaw Pets—located at 44-05 Queens Blvd-- on Sunday. The Sean Casey Animal Rescue group in conjunction with the North Shore Animal League parked a large truck filled with dogs and cats that are currently in shelters outside the pet store. The dogs were of all ages—puppies to seniors—with one particularly disfigured due to a cruel past owner. The dogs varied in breeds-- with pit bulls, pit bull terrier mixes, poodles and even a pomeranian. The cats ranged in age too. The first animal to be adopted was Hercules, a young pit bull, by James Abram. While the dogs had been vaccinated and checked over prior to the event, a volunteer veterinarian was on hand to help the new owners—and current dog owners—with questions. “People continue to ask about adoption events,” said a Wespaw Pets representative. “While we have had them before this is the biggest one we have had so far.” The next dog to find a home was Daffodil, an older dog who was adopted by a young couple. Later in the day, a mother with her young daughter adopted a cat called Robin. Several of the cats were brought to the event by LIC Ferals & Friends. Some of the other pets might still be adopted, according to a Wespaw representative, since a few couples are thinking it over. Sam, the owner of Wespaw Pets, was encouraged by the day. “Sometimes you can have events like these and no dogs or cats get adopted,” he said. adoption1  
Couple adopts Dafodil

Couple adopts Daffodil

Robin the cat

Robin the cat

Strong turnout for Sunnyside Artists’ craft show
Alexio Gessa (Peter Wing)

Alexio Gessa (Photo: Peter Wing)

Nov. 17, By Christian Murray The third annual Crafts & Arts Show took place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 35 crafters offering items—from jewelry to illustrations--to hundreds of attendees who showed up over the course of the day. The event was held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center—from 10 am through 5 pm-- and attendees came in waves. The numbers swelled whenever a church service ended at Queen of Angels Church. “At 1 pm (when a church service ended) it was so crowded that some people decided to come back later,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists. Gomez said he was happy with the overall turnout—which was similar to previous years. He said the cold weather didn’t dissuade people from coming. This year’s main organizer Patricia Dorfman, the founder of Sunnyside Artists, was not in attendance due to an illness in her family. Meanwhile, Luke Adams, who had also helped put together the event in the past, passed away last week. Gomez said that Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer attended the event at about 2 pm and there was a moment of silence in honor of Adams. Michael Gurrado, who made several items carved from wood, was a particularly popular over the course of the day. So, too, was Kris Czerniachowich who sold handmade Christmas ornaments. Meanwhile, Alexio Gessa, a comic-book artist & illustrator, also fared well—with Van Bramer buying a poster from him.
Jimmy Van Bramer (source: Peter Wing)

Jimmy Van Bramer (Photo:Peter Wing)

Source Peter Wing

(Photo: Peter Wing)

DOT likely to reduce speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph by year end
Van BramerFATAL By Christian Murray The Department of Transportation plans to reduce the speed limit on Queens Blvd to 25 mph, down from 30 mph, by the end of the year. The DOT tweeted that Commissioner Polly “Trottenberg anticipates reducing the speed limit to 25 mph by he end of the year.” Queens Boulevard was not included as part of the 25 mph city wide speed limit that went into effect Nov. 7 since it was deemed a big street designed to accommodate faster speeds. “Queens Boulevard has been known as the Boulevard of Death for far too long, and our work towards Vision Zero would not be complete without addressing this street that has too often proven fatal,” said State Sen. Mike Gianaris in a statement. “ I am glad DOT plans to make Queens Boulevard safer and I hope that with time this major street will come to be known for its pedestrian plazas and great restaurants, rather than traffic fatalities."
Man follows Sunnyside woman home, robs her at knifepoint
Suspect

Suspect

A 40-year old woman was followed into her Sunnyside apartment building last month before a man pulled out a knife and demanded her cell phone. The perpetrator followed the woman into the lobby of her 42nd Street apartment building (near Skillman Ave.) just before midnight on Saturday Oct.25. He then pulled out a knife and demanded her phone. The victim complied. The man then fled. The police released a photo and video footage of the suspect today. The suspect is described as a male black, approximately 30 years of age, who had dreadlocks containing yellow beads on the night of the attack. He was also wearing a long black trench coat. Anyone with information in regards to this incident is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477). 
With 18 restaurants expected, ‘Taste of Woodside’ to take place Nov. 20
Taste-of-Woodside-475x3561 Nov. 13, By Michael Florio Get ready to sample the diverse food of Woodside. Woodside on the Move, a local non-profit, will be putting on its third annual “Taste of Woodside” on Nov. 20, with the goal of showcasing about 18 restaurants. The goal of the event is to provide attendees with the ability to sample each restaurant’s food so they are able to get an appreciation of the quality of Woodside’s cuisine. This year’s event will be taking place at the St. Sebastian’s School auditorium, located at 39-76 58th Street. The event will cost $25. “The restaurants will provide samples of the type of food they offer,” said Adriana Beltran with Woodside on the Move. The list of participating restaurants will be released shortly. This year’s event is expected to attract about 100 attendees, Beltran said. Last year, 80 people attended.   Beltran said a new feature this year will be a photo exhibit called The Woodsider. The exhibit will be hung around the auditorium and will feature Woodside businesses. Details: Date: Nov. 20 Time: 6 pm-9pm Location: St. Sebastian's School auditorium Admission price: $25
Sunnyside Artists to hold craft fair at Queen of Angels Church Sunday
craftsfair2013 Nov. 12, By Michael Florio The third annual Crafts & Arts Show takes place in Sunnyside on Sunday, with 34 crafters offering items as varied as leather goods, handmade jewelry and pottery. The event, which is being held at the Queen of Angels Church parish center, opens at 10 am. Food will be sold throughout the day that includes meatball sliders, vodka penne and various desserts. “We hope everyone will stop by and perhaps buy their holiday gifts at good prices which supports our local artists,” said Manny Gomez, the president of Sunnyside Artists whose group organizes the annual event. Several participants from last year’s craft fair are back—including photographer Don Soules and Emily Dunne, an artist who does witty photo assemblages. There will also be some new faces this year that include Michael Gurrado, who works with wood, and Kris Czerniachowich who makes handmade Christmas ornaments. “Batman” is expected to appear in costume, accompanying comic strip artwork. Luke Adams, VP of Sunnyside Artists, will be absent for the first time. He passed away on Monday. There will be a moment of silence in his honor. DETAILS: Date/Time: Sunday, Nov. 16 (10 am- 5 pm) Location: Queen of Angels Church parish center (corner of 44th Street and Skillman Ave.) Admission is free
Luke Adams, long-time Sunnysider, died last night
Source: Pat Dorfman

Source: Pat Dorfman

lukesp-259x425Nov. 11, By Christian Murray Luke Adams, a long-serving volunteer and former Sunnyside business owner, passed away from cardiac arrest last night at 8 pm. He was 76. 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, which is named after him. “Luke Adams is a local treasure,” said Pat Dorfman, at a fundraiser in honor of him earlier this year. “He is the best promoter in Queens and loyal to a fault,” she said at the time. Adams had lived in Sunnyside for more than 40 years. He owned a travel agency on 43rd Street for many years. He also had a vast collection of photographs that showcased Sunnyside and its history. "We are all saddened by the news that Luke Adams has passed away, said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer in a statement. "Luke loved Sunnyside like no other person could." State Sen. Mike Gianaris echoed these sentiments. "Luke Adams was a Sunnyside icon who dedicated his life to making his neighborhood a better place, and he will be deeply missed," he said in a statement. There will be a wake at Lynch Funeral Home on Thursday and a funeral mass at St Raphaels on Friday at 11am. (click for details)
Sushi pioneer brings top-quality fish to neighborhood
Robin Kawada

Robin Kawada

Nov. 9, By Kim Brown Reiner Although Takesushi opened in Sunnyside a little more than two years ago, food experts claim its owner established the first sushi restaurant in New York City nearly three decades ago. Woodside resident, chef and owner Robin Kawada--who at one time owned Takesushi restaurants in Manhattan, Washington D.C., Toronto and on Long Island-- is quick to back up that claim. “I have been in the restaurant business for 40 years,” said Kawada, 66. “Takesushi was the first sushi restaurant in Manhattan in 1975.” Food expert and author of “The Secret Life of Sushi,” Trevor Corson, brought up that idea at a food panel in 2010. At the time it caused quite a stir, others claimed the distinction belonged to Hatsuhana or Nippon. Whatever the truth, Takesushi, which means bamboo, was one of the first sushi restaurants in New York City. The current iteration opened in Sunnyside “accidentally” according to Kawada. When the lease on his Woodmere, Long Island restaurant was up, Kawada looked for a place in Manhattan but couldn’t find the proper venue. At the time, Transylvania, at 43-46 42nd Street, had closed its doors so Kawada thought, “Why not Queens?” He soon found out what Queens was like. Business was slow, his restaurant has yet to be reviewed by a major publication and he has had to lower prices by 20%. Omakase, for example, a large variety of chef selected specialty sushi, like sea urchin, scallop and eel, costs $58 as opposed to $100 for a comparable dish in Manhattan. Most dishes are far less expensive. But for Kawada, everything is secondary to the quality of fish, even profit. “I’m open not to make money, but at least not to use up my savings,” he said. Reverence for fish is something he learned growing up in Japan. “In Japan each fish has a shrine,” he said. “Each fisherman prays for their fish. They live with that fish. They don’t want to waste it.” takesushifrontWhen he first moved to the United States in 1968, he worked in import/export and as a restaurant cashier, eventually running his own distribution business at the Fulton Fish Market until 9-11. For more than a decade afterwards, he had a business processing sea urchin in Maspeth and shipping it to Japan. The success of his first distribution venture allowed him to open the original Takesushi and import not only high-quality fish, but a well-established chef from Japan. Working alongside the chef, Kawada received his own training. “There is no school for fish. You cut it, you touch it, you taste it,” he said. Back then, as now, his fish was praised for its excellent quality, but also simplicity. “Each fish has a special taste. So many restaurants put something on the fish, like mayonnaise. It may taste good in your mouth, but it’s not good for this fish.” More than forty-five years after starting to work at the Fulton Fish Market, Kawada stills goes to the New Fulton Fish Market in the Bronx every day to buy and clean fresh fish, not farmed fish, for Takesushi. He also works at the restaurant seven days a week, and has not taken a day off in 500 days, he said. In addition, he owns a 15-seat restaurant in Japan. Decades in the restaurant and fish distribution business have made Kawada more comfortable rattling off details about seasonal fish and his restaurant than his own four children, at least with this reporter. Tuna is best at this time of year. In the summer, after a fish lays eggs, she is not as tasty. The November menu includes blowfish tempura, monkfish liver, and Miyazaki beef, delicacies rarely eaten outside of Japan. His passion for quality food has frustrated him with people who care more about low prices and appearances. “Anytime fish looks nice people think it’s good,” he said. And the desire for cheap prices has led to misunderstandings about the art of sushi. “Some people think they don’t like sea urchin because they have never had good sea urchin,” he said. Occasionally, customers will sit at the sushi bar and spend $300, but it’s rare. Moreover, Kawada is unimpressed with competitors who don’t take the same pride he does in buying, cleaning and storing quality fish. “Maybe they all wear gloves because they don’t know how to prepare fish,” he said. The single-minded drive to serve quality fish has earned him a name among foodies on websites like Urbanspoon and Chowhound, as well as loyal customers throughout Queens. A woman at the sushi bar on Tuesday night said she was a regular for a decade in Manhattan and has been at the new Takesushi every week since it opened in 2012. Another regular said it was important to mention Kawada’s fine character, in addition to his fine fish. But quality fish above all else may be what’s keeping Kawada from mainstream success. He does not care about the decorations in his restaurant--a fish net, some scarecrows, and witches in the window--or even the dishware. “I don’t spend money on decorations because that means less for fish. I use cheap plates. I don’t use extra flowers,” he said. “I’m 66. Maybe the service is no good, but the fish is OK.” The service is just fine. The Michelin Guide may have skipped over Takesushi, however, because it doesn’t offer fine dining service. While that omission is fine by Kawada, the lack of media interest is more confounding. “I know I make the best quality food, I know it,” he said. “But no one comes to review it.” Reviews usually mean more customers, which means more money to buy better quality fish, which is all that matters in the end. “I try to use the best fish to make the best quality sushi,” he said. “That is all.” sushi6
Please note: Takesushi is an advertiser with the SunnysidePost
Capt Brian Hennessy, commanding officer of the 108 police precinct, transferred to another precinct
Captain-Brian-Hennessy1 Nov. 6, By Christian Murray The commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct—which covers Sunnyside, Woodside & Long Island City—has been transferred to head up a larger more crime-ridden Queens precinct. Captain Brian Hennessy, who has spent just 18 months as the commanding officer of the 108, started today as the commanding officer of the 115th Precinct, which covers Jackson Heights, East Elmhurst and the north section of Corona. That precinct is larger and has more problems--such as gang activity, prostitution and drugs. The move represents a promotion, since gaining experience in a tougher precinct is often viewed as the way captains climb up the NYPD ladder. While the 108 has had some high-profile crimes recently—such as the robbery of an 81-year old at a Chase ATM and a wave of burglaries in Sunnyside—the precinct is still viewed as a low-crime area. The crime rate—based on the number of reports—is flat so far this year, compared to the same period in 2013. The number of murders and reported rapes are down—although the number of burglaries are up about 7 percent. Hennessy said he enjoyed his time at the 108 Precinct. “I love this community and its leaders,” Hennessy said. “There are so many people who care and want to get involved,” he said. “It was an honor to be there.” The NYPD has yet to appoint a new commanding officer. In the interim, Capt. Richard Hellman, the executive officer of the 108th Precinct, is in command. However, Hennessy’s short stint did disappoint many—since most commanding officers stay at a precinct for two-to-three years. “I am very upset that he is leaving us so soon,” said Diane Ballek, the president of the 108 Community Council. “He is the best captain we have had in a long time,” Ballek said. “If you needed to reach him he was always there,” she said. “He would talk to people [with quality-of-life issues] for an hour some times.” His predecessor Capt. Donald Powers was viewed by many as less responsive and not so much of a people-person, several people said. “I am disappointed [that Capt. Hennessy has been transferred] since I believe he was doing a good job,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “I appreciated working with him and thought he was responsive and a straight shooter who cared about our neighborhood.” Van Bramer said he would be asking NYPD officials whether Hennessy’s short stint represents a new policy or whether what happened was an anomaly. Van Bramer also said he wants a new commanding officer to be named soon. “We cannot have a prolonged absence of leadership,” he said.

Crime Numbers 2014

Quality of Chase Bank’s video footage following robbery of 81-year old called into question by relatives and Van Bramer
Poster of Suspects in robbery

Poster of Suspects in robbery

Nov. 4, By Christian Murray This morning Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer and his staff were handing out posters at the 46th Street station in Sunnyside calling on the public for information concerning the robbery of an 81-year-old man at the Chase Bank ATM at 46-10 Queens Blvd. The photos of the two suspects released by the police were grainy and some residents who reviewed the posters could barely make out their faces. “You really don’t see anything; maybe I can see this guy,” said one woman, who is a former member of the Sunnyside/Woodside Lions Club. Kate Flanagan, whose grandfather William Eichhorn was the victim, said: “I am so upset and horrified by the quality of the images.” “This is an enormous bank—with billions of dollars--and that is the quality of their cameras,” Flanagan said. “We have blurry images of these cowards… now they may get away with it and attack someone else. It’s disgusting.” d26vanbramer1The attack occurred inside the ATM area at about 9:30 am on Sunday Oct. 26. The suspects punched Eichhorn in the face and fled with $100 and his debit card. The footage released by the police—who obtained it from Chase-- just shows photos of the suspects’ backs. There are no photos of the suspects as they came in or out of the bank, which led to questions whether the bank has exterior cameras at all.  Meanwhile, there are just two cameras inside the ATM area. Van Bramer, who told attendees at a press conference this morning how Sunnyside and Woodside are close-knit safe neighborhoods, said afterward that he is looking into legislation that would require banks to regularly review the quality of their cameras to make sure that they are transmitting top-notch images. “I would like to see clearer images and I would expect a bank of this size to regularly monitor the quality of their footage,” Van Bramer said. “We don’t know when their cameras were installed--it could have been 10 years ago for all we know.” Van Bramer said that people are particularly at risk when they are taking out money from the ATM. “When someone follows you in [to the ATM area] with the intent to cause harm, you are extremely vulnerable,” he said. However, at the same time, “there is also this presumption of safety in a bank that there are cameras.” Van Bramer said that his office got funding for the NYPD to put a security camera outside Duane Reade on the corner of Queens Blvd and 48th Street. He said that the footage from that camera is first rate. Therefore, he believes that there must be better technology available to banks. The branch manager at the Chase branch would not comment as to the age of the cameras surrounding the ATMs and how often they are checked. A spokeswoman for JP Morgan Chase’s Consumer Banking division was not immediately available for comment.
Katie, Mary Ann,William

Kate Flanagan (Eichhorn's granddaughter), Mary Ann Gasparro (daughter),William Eichhorn (victim)

Prior coverage: http://sunnysidepost.com/2014/10/27/81-year-old-sunnysider-beaten-and-robbed-at-chase-bank/

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