Community board wants food vendors at 40th Street gone

In danger

Community Board 2 wants food vendors at 40th Street gone

March 22, By Christian Murray

Sheref Abdelshafy, who has operated his food cart under the 40th Street No. 7 train station for 10 years, is a worried man.  He is in danger of being removed.

Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley wants that area cleared of food vendors, just like what occurred under the 46th Street station in December.  Conley has said that many people have concerns about the cleanliness of the food carts and support the board’s “zero tolerance policy” of all street vendors.

But Abelshafy said it’s unfair that the board wants him gone.

“I’ve been here 10 years selling bagels and coffee and I have never had any problems with anyone,” Abdelshafty said. “I don’t have anything else [another occupation].”

Conley spoke to a representative of the Department of Transportation at a community board meeting on Tuesday, telling him that the neighborhood needs help in getting rid of the vendors. He complained that the vendors were in the middle of the 40th Street art installation.

“We have sent a letter with pictures to the DOT that asks them to work with the police department, so they can get the food carts out of there,” Conley said during the meeting. That letter was sent on March 5.

Abdelshafy, who starts work at about 4 am and leaves at 11 am, said the police have not spoken to him yet.  He said he wasn’t sure whether the owner of the Halal cart who arrives each day at 11am had been spoken to either.

Adbelshafy was visibility shaken when he heard that the letter had been sent.

“I have kids, I have bills,” he said. “My rent is $1,500 a month. I will be out on the street.”

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Sheref Abdelshafy serving a customer

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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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Latest News

Sunnyside resident jumps in front of LIRR train at Woodside station, critically injured

Woodside subway

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

A 39-year-old Sunnyside man was struck and seriously injured this morning when he jumped in front of an eastbound Long Island Rail Road train at the Woodside Station, according to the MTA.

The man, whose identify has not been disclosed, jumped from the station platform into the path of a Ronkonkoma-bound train at approximately 10:30 AM, according to the transit agency.

The man was removed from under the train with severe head and leg injuries and was unconscious when he was rushed by ambulance to Queens Hospital Center in Elmhurst, the police said.

The LIRR was forced to suspend eastbound service from Penn Station, except for the Port Washington Branch, for about an hour.

 

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‘The Good Wife’ to film in Sunnyside Tuesday

GoodwifeSept. 29, By Christian Murray

Several Sunnyside streets will be taken over Tuesday to make way for “The Good Wife.”

The CBS show, which has received widespread acclaim, will be shooting on Skillman Avenue (between 48th and 49th Streets), as well as on 48th Street (btw. 43rd and Barnett Avenues) and 49th Street (between Skillman and Barnett). Vehicles parked on these streets Tuesday are likely to be towed.

The show focuses on the fictional character Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies), whose husband Peter Florrick (Chris Noth), a former State Attorney, has been jailed following a notorious political corruption and sex scandal.

The series was partly inspired by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal, as well as by other prominent political sex scandals, particularly those of John Edwards and Bill Clinton.

The show, which premiered in 2009, has won five Emmys.

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

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Town hall meetings scheduled this week, with advice provided on snagging an affordable unit on LIC waterfront

completion-465x348

Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside and Woodside residents will get their chance to learn how to apply for an affordable rental unit on the Long Island City waterfront this week.

The application period to snag an apartment in the Hunters Point South complex is expected to begin shortly and Community Board 2 leaders—along with the development company– will be holding two meetings this week telling residents how to apply,

The applicants will be aiming to get one of the 925 affordable apartments that are expected to be completed early next year.

The first meeting is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 29, at the Sunnyside Community Services Center at 7pm. A second meeting will be held at the Big Six Towers on Wednesday, Oct. 1 at 7 pm.

Community Board 2 residents—who currently live in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City—will be given priority over outside applicants on 50% of the units.

The income requirements are broad and tailored more toward middle income earners. For example, units have been set aside for individuals/families who make very little to those who make up to $190,000, based on numbers released last year by the Bloomberg administration.

For details on the meetings, see below:

HPS Town Halls Flyer 091714-1

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Sunnyside Restaurant Week kicks off October 20, more than 30 restaurants participating
Blu Orchid on Queens Blvd

Recently-opened Blu Orchid part of Sunnyside Restaurant Week

Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week is scheduled to take place next month and 32 restaurants have already signed up to participate.

The event, organized by Sunnyside Shines, aims to showcase Sunnyside as a destination for high-quality cuisine. Its goal is tempt residents to try new places and draw foodies from other parts of New York City.

The event begins on Oct. 20 and concludes on Friday, Oct. 24.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25 with many offering additional lunch specials.

The participating restaurants span the globe. There will be Japanese, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Romanian, Mexican, Peruvian, French, Colombian, Filipino, Paraguayan, Tibetan, Thai, and Seasonal American food on offer.

Restaurants from Skillman Avenue through 47th Avenue have signed up this year. Last November, when Sunnyside Restaurant Week was launched, 17 restaurants took part.

“Last year’s event was a big success for neighborhood restaurants,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director, of Sunnyside Shines. “I am proud that we have doubled the number.”

Participating restaurants will also include newcomers to the Sunnyside scene—such as Tibetan Dumpling Café and Blu Orchid. Venturo and Salt & Fat, which were recently recognized as Michelin “Bib Gourmands,” will be participating again this year.

Sunnyside Shines has listed the 32 restaurants on its website. The list also includes those restaurants that have put a special menu together for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

Restaurant week will also feature contemporary art, which will be placed at five participating restaurants. The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a contemporary art organization, and will include work from three Sunnyside artists.

The artwork will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

“We are really looking forward to Sunnyside Restaurant Week this year,” Thieme said. However, she said: “there’s a huge problem – figuring out how to eat in all these amazing restaurants in just one week!”

Takesushi

Takesushi

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Venturo, Salt & Fat win coveted ‘Bib Gourmand’ award

Venturo sunnyside

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Michelin Guide has just released its 2015 “Bib Gourmand” picks and Salt & Fat and Venturo were among the picks for the best value for money.

These two restaurants were the only Sunnyside restaurants to receive the highly-coveted prize. Restaurants are evaluated for excellence on a budget (defined as two courses and wine or dessert for $40 a head).

The Bib Gourmand restaurant winners are widely considered the best and most affordable restaurants in New York.

The popular Thai restaurant Ayada, located at 77-08 Woodside Avenue, also received the award.

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Sunnyside farmers market will be open all-year round, if organizers get community support

Sunnyside Farmers Market1

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket might be open all-year round if the organizers get enough support from the community.

The market, which is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, is currently open on Saturdays from May through December.

However, Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, said that the farmers are willing to come to Sunnyside all-year round. She said that she has been circulating a petition calling for market to remain open every Saturday–including during the cold winter months. So far she has 800 signatures.

The petition has recently gone online and can be found by clicking on this link:  http://conta.cc/1nxfS6H

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

The market, which opened in June 2007, has been a success, Cagle said. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling items such as bread, vegetables, meat and fish.

This year the market opened a month earlier than in previous years and plenty of residents came out and bought items, Cagle said. “We were very busy, it was great,” she said.

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

Cagle said that not all of the vegetable providers will be able to come out in winter due to the seasonal nature of their produce. However, she expects about 10 vendors will participate during the cold winter months.

“I think if we get enough support, there is a strong possibility that we will be open this winter,” she said.

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Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, xxx , Melissa Mark Viverto (Source:  Bill Alatriste)

Van Bramer, Martha Puruncajas , Melissa Mark Viverito (Source: Bill Alatriste)

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000.

The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year.

“I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.”

Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Kumar Ragunath, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

“They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.”

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

“It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Martha Puruncajas, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies.

Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death.

Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees.

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.

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Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

arenaSept. 23, By Christian Murray

City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out.

The Sunnyside Garden Arena, a 2,000-seat venue that was once located where Wendy’s now stands at 44-11 Queens Blvd, hosted boxing events from 1945 to 1977 during the golden years of NYC boxing. Many famous fighters from that era got their start at the arena, and it was a stepping stone to the brighter lights of Madison Square Garden.

Members of the Ring 8 Boxing Association, a group for retired boxers, unveiled the new street sign along with Dave Diamante, the official announcer at the Barclays Center, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer.

Two years ago, many of the same boxing enthusiasts came out when a memorial was placed on the front lawn of Wendy’s that also marked the location.

John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away from the arena, said when the memorial was unveiled:“This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ].”

The arena was where Gerry Cooney launched his professional career, Edebolhs said. Cooney would go on to fight Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title. Cooney lost.

Luke Adams, a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said when the monument was unveiled that the arena was not just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”

Sunnyside Gardens Arena

Sunnyside Garden Arena

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Irish Music Festival to hit Boulevard on Saturday, wounded veterans to benefit
Irish Music Festival

Irish Music Festival

Sept. 22, By Michael Florio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Music Lineup - Boulevard Bars-1

 

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