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 Restaurant Week kicks off Monday
Salt & Fat

Salt & Fat

Oct. 19, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside’s second annual restaurant week kicks off Monday and 33 restaurants have 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.

Furthermore, there will also be artwork on display at five participating restaurant—with three of those pieces coming from Sunnyside artists.

On Monday, there will be a reception held at 7pm at Salt and Fat (41-16 Queens Boulevard) to mark restaurant week. The reception will include a guided tour of the five art installations as well as a movie screening at Dazies.

The art is being curated by No Longer Empty, a Manhattan-based contemporary art organization. The work will be on display at Bucharest Restaurant, Los Verdes, PJ Horgan’s, Salt & Fat and Venturo.

However, for many, the main attraction won’t be the art—it will be the food.

Each restaurant will serve a three course dinner menu for $25—from lunchtime Monday through Friday Oct. 24.

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 33 restaurants on its website. Most have put together a special menu just for Sunnyside Restaurant Week.

All this for $25.

Takesushi: All this for $25.

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Parking costs might rise in Sunnyside/Woodside, as DOT has preliminary plans to introduce ‘Park Smart’

meters

Oct. 17, By Christian Murray

Representatives from the Department of Transportation attended a Community Board 2 meeting last week and introduced a preliminary plan to introduce “Park Smart”– a program that aims to free up parking spaces–in Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

The program attempts to reduce the time it takes for motorists to find parking in business districts– by changing meter rates, extending park hours and modifying commercial parking zones.

The program was first introduced in Queens in 2013, with the implementation of a pilot program in Jackson Heights.

The program typically focuses on changing the meter rates to encourage short-term parking through “progressive” rates.

For instance on certain streets in Jackson Heights, it now costs 50 cents to park for 30 minutes, $1:50 for an hour, $2:50 for 90 minutes and $4 for 2 hours.

However, in some cases, the parking period has been extended on certain streets. For instance, one hour limits have been increased to two.

Park Smart typically aims to change the commercial parking and delivery zones. “Early Morning Delivery Zones” are often established to provide loading space before the meters turn on at 10 a.m., and “Paid Commercial Parking Zones” reserve daytime metered spaces for commercial uses.

The Department of Transportation will not introduce the system unless business owners opt into the program. The DOT representatives told the Community Board 2 that it will reach out to Sunnyside Shines Business Improvement District, the Long Island City Partnership and Woodside on the Move to get their feedback. Those groups are likely to conduct a survey of local businesses to get their feedback.

Park Smart is not a program that typically goes into effect overnight as the DOT typically evaluates each street to determine whether the parking times and rates need to be modified.

Furthermore it is typically implemented as a pilot program before becoming permanent.

The programs were made permanent in Park Slope and Greenwich Village, after they were deemed effective, according to the DOT.

However, the pilot program on Madison Avenue and East 86th Street was brought to a halt after it was viewed as being ineffective, according to published reports.

For more information on Park Smart click here

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Sunnyside building winds up on ‘Worst Landlord Watch List’
 43-15 46th Street

43-15 46th Street

Oct. 16, By Christian Murray

New York’s annual “Worst Landlord Watch List” was released last week and it included a poorly-run building in Sunnyside and one in Woodside.

The list, released by Public Advocate Letitia James, reported that the third worst building in Queens—in terms of violations—is located at 43-15 46th Street.

The building, which is a 6-story 88-unit complex, has 271 outstanding violations, according to the report. While the building is a coop, it has several renters—although the exact number is not known.

The original landlord, who took the building coop about 25 years ago, rents several units, according to published reports.

The violations, which have been filed with HPD, deal with water leaks, missing smoke detectors, loose bathroom tiles, mold and defective faucets.

The managing agent of the building is Aras Properties, which is located in Cedarhurst. The head officer is Kevin Kane, who could not be reached for comment.

Meanwhile, the landlord who runs a Woodside building has the fifth worst record in Queens, with 223 violations.

The building, located at 39-30 59th Street, is a 6-story 78 unit complex.

The violations include complaint about roaches, defective plastered surfaces, broken stoves, mold and missing smoke detectors.

The owner of the building is Harry Silverstein. Silverstein could not be reached for comment.

Click here for the Worst Landlord List

Click here to look up the violations in any building

 43-15 46th Street.

43-15 46th Street.

 

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Application period for Hunters Point South has begun

Hunters Point South building

Oct. 15, By Christian Murray

The application period for the apartments at the Hunters Point South Development in Long Island City went live today.

The application forms can be filled out on line at New York Housing Connect, which requires applicants to provide details such as their income and apartment sought.

Those interested have until December 15 to submit an application.

There are 925 apartments up for grabs, with 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall into the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

For those who qualify for the “low income” bracket, the rents would range in price from $494 per month for a studio to as high as $959 for a three bedroom.

However, the limits are significantly higher for the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

The rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1,965-2,509 for a one bedroom, $2,366-$3,300 for a 2 bedroom and $2,729-$4,346 for a three bedroom.

Preference will be given to applicants who live within the Community Board 2 district, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City.

affordablerents

affordablehousingmoderate income

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Village Voice declares Salt & Fat Sunnyside’s best restaurant

saltfat-350x263

Oct 15, Staff Report

The Village Voice has just named Salt & Fat as the best restaurant in Sunnyside.

The write up starts as follows:

“Salt & Fat looks like it could be in Brooklyn — reclaimed wood for the storefront sign, artfully arranged small plates that feature New American decadence — but owner Daniel Yi is a local boy. Born in Seoul and raised in Sunnyside, Yi has crafted a nation-hopping menu that reflects the area’s diversity. A meal begins with a complimentary starter — popcorn cooked in bacon fat, as American as can be — and finishes with little bottles of Yakult, a tangy-sweet Japanese yogurt drink.”

For the rest of the Village Voice Article, please click here.

 

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Dumplings & Noodle eatery to open on 46th Street

Noodles

By Christian Murray

A dumplings and noodles eatery will be opening on 46th Street next door to Pio Pio Riko.

The restaurant, which will be located at 45-24 46th Street, is expected to open in late December, according to its owner, who was reluctant to provide too many details at this point.

The eatery will consist of about 30 seats and there will not be table service. The owner described it as “fast casual.”

The menu will consist of soup, baos (steamed buns filled with pork/beef/vegetables), and a wide selection of noodles and dumplings (both steamed and fried). The food will include a mix of Chinese and other Asian flavors. There are also plans to get a liquor license.

The owner has another restaurant—offering the same style of food—in Park Slope.

The business owner was attracted to Sunnyside due to its diverse population.  “I like the mixed neighborhood and there are few [restaurants] like this in the area.”

The restaurant is moving into a portion of the space that was once occupied by Grand 99 Cent Store, which left about 2 years ago. The other portion of the site was leased to  Signature Paint & Home Center, which opened this summer.

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

Grand 99 Cent Store (2012)

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Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot

JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality.

Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time.

Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee.

Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website).

Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said.

“Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.”

“The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.”

Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions.

“When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.”

His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.”

He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy.

“Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?”

He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer.

Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success.

He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes.”Lower taxes equal more jobs,” he said.

Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed.

“Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.

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Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets

Hennessy
Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community.

Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues.

While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program.

“I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.”

On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway.

Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti.

Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there.

The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm.

On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention.

Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing.

In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.

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Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run

Van BramerFATAL

Oct. 12, By Christian Murray

Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible.

The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene.

The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified.

“To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.”

“We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said.

A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident.

The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision.

“You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it’s a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don’t you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said.

Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000–on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state.

Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said.

Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians.

Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement.

The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.

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More Headlines

Cathy Nolan’s opponent for Assembly a long shot
JohnKwilsonThis November’s election for Assembly District 37 is practically a formality. Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D), who has been in office representing a large portion of Western Queens since 1984, faces a contender who has run against her twice before and was thumped each time. Nolan has name recognition, the benefit of incumbency, strong party backing and has raised more than $130,000 in campaign funds since 2010 (Friends of Catherine Nolan and Nolan for Assembly). She has moved up the ranks over the years, where she has chaired the Banking as well as Labor committees. She is currently the chair of the Education Committee. Meanwhile, her challenger John K. Wilson, a Sunnyside barman/actor, has raised $10,000 in campaign funds (Committee to elect John K Wilson) since 2010 and has virtually no name recognition. His best effort against Nolan came in 2010 when he generated 16% of the vote, after he ran a confrontational—and at times—negative campaign (see website). Wilson said he is running in order to introduce term limits and bring an end to the Queens Democratic machine. “There is too much power in too few hands,” he said. “Six years in office should be the limit,” Wilson said. “I want to put an end to career politicians.” “The longer someone is in power the less work they do for the people,” he said. “They take the job for granted and focus on moving up within the party.” Wilson, who ran as a Republican in his past two campaigns, is running for office as a Libertarian this year. He switched parties, he said, so people would listen to his positions. “When I ran as a Republican [in 2010 and 2012], people would shut the door in my face and not even listen to my ideas,” he said. “People associate you as Dick Cheney, which is not the case. This time, some people might tell me they are Cathy [Nolan] supporters but at least they will listen to me.” His platform is based around free market economics. He said businesses are over regulated, over taxed and subject to too much bureaucracy. “New York State is very unfriendly to business and that is why many are leaving to go to other states.” He cited the battle in Long Island City over the use of back yard space as an example of unnecessary bureaucracy. “Local restaurants hire people, want to do what is right by the community and are losing revenue,” he said. “These owners don’t want to be bad neighbors,” he said. “It is not in their interest to have loud noise at night. Why not a compromise?” He said that he opposes the concept of affordable housing, which he views as a “buzzword” to make it appear as though elected officials are “helping the little people.” He said the term “affordable” has never been defined and believes that market forces are the answer. Wilson, who supports gay marriage and is pro-choice, said that he wants the number of charter schools to be expanded. He said charter schools benefit poor and minority students and many parents want to send their children to these schools since they provide the best chance these children have for success. He also said that the state needs to cut spending and focus more on reducing taxes."Lower taxes equal more jobs," he said. Most of all, Wilson said that voters need a choice come Election Day (Nov. 4) and said it is disappointing that many legislators are running unopposed. “Without a choice we enter into Soviet style government,” he said.
Police Precinct 108 takes to the streets
Hennessy Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct, aims to forge closer ties with the community. Earlier this month, he started a new initiative called “Community Friday,” where he and a group of officers (many off duty) go to a neighborhood to clean graffiti, pick up garbage and address quality-of-life issues. While the 108 Precinct has been doing cleanups periodically, Hennessy decided recently to turn it into a formal program. “I thought I would start this program because it is important that we do things with the community…to show we care,” Hennessy said. “It is the best part of policing.” On Friday Oct. 3, Hennessy’s team tackled their first job by 43rd Street/Laurel Hill Boulevard—next to the Long Island Expressway. Hennessy had been told at a meeting hosted by the United 40s Civic Association, a group of about 60 Woodside/Sunnyside residents, that there was a homeless problem by the expressway and that the area was filthy and covered with graffiti. Hennessy, accompanied by a group of about 15 officers (some auxiliary officers), went to the neighborhood and brought with him a worker from the Department of Homeless Services to help out the homeless. However, on that afternoon, the homeless were not there. The police, dressed in white overalls, picked up garbage on the sidewalk and grass, and painted over graffiti. The event took place between the 4 pm and 6pm. On Oct. 10, Hennessy and his crew went to Maspeth to clean up the graffiti down by 70th Street and 48th Avenue and to tackle the persistent problem of abandoned vehicles that the community has brought to his attention. Since he took command in May 2013, Hennessy has been an active participant in community events. He has organized basketball games between cops and high school students. In summer, he organized volleyball games at Hunters Point South Park down by LIC Landing. In terms of the new program, Hennessy is hopeful that his crew will get to work with the community throughout the entire Sunnyside/Woodside and Long Island City area. He said he welcomes people’s feedback as to locations where his crew should go.
Rally to find driver responsible for Woodside Hit-and-Run
Van BramerFATAL Oct. 12, By Christian Murray Less than 48 hours after a hit-and-run incident on Queens Blvd, community leaders held a rally calling on the public for tips to find out who was responsible. The rally was held at the intersection of 60th Street and Queens Blvd at the scene where an unidentified Hispanic man in his 30s was struck by a dark-colored Ford SUV around 1:30 a.m. Thursday while crossing the intersection. The driver fled the scene. The victim was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition and—as of Friday afternoon—had yet to be identified. “To leave someone lying in the street and offer no assistance is an outrage,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “Someone out there has a guilty conscience and should turn themselves in.” “We are calling on anyone who has information on this case to call the authorities,” he said. A large road sign had been placed on the side of Queens Blvd calling on motorists to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS if they had any information on the incident. The rally, however, was also held to remind people that they must stop after a collision. “You have to stop no matter how serious, whether it's a fender bender or someone is lying in the street injured, you must stop. That is the law. And if you don't you will be brought to justice,” Van Bramer said. Van Bramer said that the recently passed Hit-and-Run Victims Act, which he sponsored, will go into effect December 29. With that law, a perpetrator of a hit and run can be fined up to $10,000--on top of any criminal charges imposed by the state. Van Bramer said the new law is about increasing the public’s awareness that this will not be tolerated. “We want to change the culture. When people see the full weight of the law is coming down they might think twice,” he said. Should the incident prove fatal, it would be the first traffic-related death this year in the 108 Police precinct, which covers Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City. This time last year, there had been 8 deaths, including five pedestrians. Van Bramer said that the Vision Zero campaign has been a large factor in keeping traffic deaths down, which has included the redesign of dangerous streets to greater enforcement. The 108 Precinct has issued 30% more speeding tickets this year compared to the same period in 2013. The police also doubled the number of drunk drivers arrests, with 112 people arrested so far this year compared to 52 for the same period in 2013.
Brooklyn man arrested in connection to Woodside murder
queenspalace Oct. 10, By Michael Florio A Brooklyn man was arrested Thursday for allegedly killing a man outside a Woodside party hall in July. Jorge Navarro, 20, was arrested in connection to the July 26th death of Eduardo Rojas, who was killed after being struck in the head. The incident occurred outside of Queens Palace, located at 37-27 57th Street, when a fight broke out. In the melee gun shots were also fired. The 108 precinct responded to a 911 call just after 1 am and discovered a 25-year-old man with a gunshot wound to his left leg and back, as well Rojas, who was dead. Navarro is facing charges of murder, manslaughter and gang assault. He has not been charged for the shooting.
Another hit-and-run in Woodside leaves man in critical condition
ambulance Oct. 9, By Michael Florio Another pedestrian has fallen victim to a hit-and-run in Woodside. A 20-to-30 year old male was struck in the early hours today while crossing the intersection at Queens Blvd and 60th Street. A dark colored SUV was traveling westbound along Queens Blvd when it struck the victim at about 1:30 am, according to an NYPD spokesperson. The vehicle did not stop and continued westbound toward the Queensboro Bridge. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim to be unconscious. He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital in critical condition. The investigation is ongoing.
Sunnyside Gardens planned community turns 90
SGbefore Oct. 9, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Gardens, the planned community designed by Clarence Stein and Henry Wright, is celebrating its 90th anniversary this month. To mark the occasion, the Greater Astoria Historical Society will be presenting “Sunnyside Gardens at 90,” which will feature a series of photographs of the gardens over the decades as well a presentation by local historian Jeffrey Kroessler and architect Laura Heim. The presentation, which will take place tonight at 7pm at 35-20 Broadway in Astoria, will discuss the origins and significance of the community, including its importance in urban planning, design, and history, and the contentious campaign to gain designation as a historic district. (Click for details) Sunnyside Gardens was initially constructed between 1924 and 1928, and consisted of a series of twelve “courts”. The designated area went on to include the Phipps Garden Apartment buildings, which were constructed in the early 1930s. To celebrate the anniversary, the Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance will be holding an event marking the occasion on Saturday, Oct. 25, with the unveiling of three historic district signs followed by a reception. The event will kick off at 1 pm at Skillman Avenue and 46th Street. (Click for details) According to the Preservation Alliance's website, the City Housing Corporation organized a “grand opening” for the first group of houses that were developed in Oct 1924. Advocates for affordable housing and New York City officials joined in to applaud the start of a new kind of neighborhood at the time. The very first Sunnyside Gardens owners moved in at the beginning of September 1924, according to the website, with the first house sold located at 41-49 47th (Carolin) Street. House prices ranged from $8500 to $13,500. SGNow sgplay    
Van Bramer differs with Community Board Chair over the development of Sunnyside Yards
Sunnyside_Yard_East_jehOct. 8, By Christian Murray Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said today that he is firmly opposed to building over the Sunnyside Yards. Van Bramer made the statement in response to Community Board 2 Chairman Joe Conley’s call last Thursday for a study to determine whether it would be feasible to build over a section of the yards, which consists of acres of land covered by railroad tracks. Conley said at the monthly Community Board 2 meeting that the Sunnyside Yards could be used to build more affordable housing. “We should look at it with the possibility of creating a community…with affordable housing, market rate housing and retail,” Conley said. Conley called on the board to give him permission to send a letter to the Queens Borough President’s office requesting a study of the area. The board complied. The letter, however, alarmed several people who fear over development—with some claiming that the infrastructure is overstretched as it is. Van Bramer said the community is not calling for the development of the Sunnyside Yards. He said people are more concerned about school overcrowding, transportation issues and other problems that actually stem from development. “My office is in the business of receiving hundreds of letters and speaking to people about important issues all the time,” Van Bramer said. “Not one person has come to me and said ‘you should deck over the Sunnyside Yards and build housing.” Several Community Board 2 members said after last Thursday’s meeting that they were caught by surprise by Conley’s request. “I’m opposed to the concept of decking [building] over the Sunnyside Yards,” Van Bramer said. “The idea gets floated whenever there is an economic boom…but I think it would be bad for the surrounding community.” Van Bramer, as councilman, has a big role to play in terms of land use decisions such as these. All significant zoning changes go through the city council and it is typically the elected official in a given district that makes the call. Van Bramer was unsure how the idea surfaced in the first place.
Van Bramer

Van Bramer

Conley said that the Sunnyside Yards—which go through Long Island City and Sunnyside--are owned by government agencies. Therefore, this provides the community with an opportunity to negotiate with developers as to the number of affordable units that could be built. “Jackson Avenue and 21st Street would be our jumping off point,” Conley said, adding that the study would then look toward Thomson Avenue and Queens Plaza. Van Bramer said that he too is in favor of affordable housing. However, he said, “Density is appropriate in some places and not others. I, for one, believe Sunnyside and Astoria are great low-density neighborhoods that should remain so.” Conley told the Daily News Tuesday that the Sunnyside Yards also divide the neighborhoods and indicated that the housing would draw them closer. “Right now you have this scar that runs down the community,” he told the News. Van Bramer disagreed with this view. “I wouldn’t characterize these neighborhoods as having a scar running through them…and I don’t believe the neighborhoods are unreachable.”    
Police seek help in locating serial bank robber, suspect allegedly hit Chase bank in Sunnyside in July
Oct. 8, By Christian Murray suspect Call him the 21st Century version of Willie Sutton or John Dillinger. The police are searching for a man who has robbed eight Queens banks—and attempted to rob two others—in the past 2 1/2 years. The banks have been scattered throughout the borough—covering Jackson Heights, Middle Village, Long Island City, Astoria, Flushing, East Elmhurst and Sunnyside. In total, the suspect has taken in about $50,000. One of the robberies occurred at the Chase Bank branch at 47-11 Queens Blvd, where the suspect approached a teller and passed her a note—before fleeing with $5,900 in cash. That incident occurred on July 25, 2014 (see story). The suspect’s modus operandi has been to enter a bank, pass a note and—on four occasions—display a firmarm. He also tends to hold a mobile phone up against his ear. No injuries have resulted from his spree. The suspect (see photo) is believed to be between 30 and 35 years old, approximately 6-feet-tall and weighing about 200 pounds. Police said he was last seen wearing a New York Yankees baseball hat and a button-down short sleeve shirt. He also had a light beard connected to a goatee, tinted eye glasses and a black wrist watch on his left wrist. The first incident occurred on July 17, 2012, when he allegedly entered into an Amalgamated Bank at 78-01 37th Avenue in Jackson Heights and took off with $1,450.suspect1 The latest robbery occurred Saturday, when the suspected entered Chase Bank at 69-55 Grand Avenue, passed a note and left with $5,170. Anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to call Crime stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).
Oktoberfest comes to Skillman Avenue this Saturday
claret1Oct. 7, By Christian Murray It’s time to get out the lederhosen and the Bavarian hats. The Skillman Project, a group of bars and restaurants located on Skillman Avenue, is hosting its 3rd annual Oktoberfest this Saturday. There are eight bars/restaurants participating in the event—and attendees will be offered $3 beers until late. The event will start at 3pm and go until close. Several of the bars/restaurants will be serving German-themed food—with items such as Bratwurst and pretzels on offer. The Skillman Project has also hired a brass band that will be playing polka music at all the participating venues. The band will start at 6:30 at Claret Wine Bar and will then perform at the other bars/restaurants. “Oktoberfest is typically the most popular event that the Skillman Project puts on each year,” said Justin Costello, the manager at Claret. “It tends to bring in the largest crowd.” The Skillman Project also puts on an annual Mardi Gras and a summer event. To partake in Saturday’s Oktoberfest, attendees are required to register at Claret (46-02 Skillman) between 3 pm and 5 pm, and buy a $5 wristband. The wristband is needed in order to get the $3 beers at all eight restaurants/bars. The $5 proceeds will be donated to the local food pantry. Participating bars are: Dog and the Duck, Claret Wine Bar, Flynn’s Garden Inn, Quaint Bistro, Murphy’s Lobster Grill, The Globe, Aubergine Cafe and The Copper Kettle. Skillman_OktoberFest2014_Final  
Famous singer/songwriter a frequent performer at Sunnyside venue
JD @ teapot 6-22-2013Oct. 6, By Kim Brown Jim Dawson has sold out shows at the Bitter End, been signed by RCA Records and written a song recorded by Sesame Street’s Elmo. This Thursday he’s playing at The Globe Tavern’s Open Mic night on Skillman Avenue. “It really ups the quality of the night,” said host and guitarist Trevor Bowen. “He’s a pro, it’s the most wonderful feeling of support.” Dawson, who has been compared to James Taylor and Harry Chapin, was also touted as the next Bob Dylan after “Songman” was released in 1971. He is still a regular at venues like the Cutting Room. Newer fans know him because Elmo sang his “Simple Song” and older fans remember when he played Constitution Hall in Washington with The Birds. But when he comes to The Globe about once a month he’s just Jim, competing against baseball games and loud conversations like any other musician. There is no cover charge and he buys his own beer. “One of the reasons I love it is Trevor says ‘Here’s Jim’,” said Dawson, who lives in Manhattan and is Bowen’s vocal coach. “It doesn’t matter if I sold 200,000 records or zero. We’re all the same. We all got into this in the first place because it’s fun.” Dawson came to New York City in the late 1960s, after a stint in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Because he was signed by a record company pretty quickly, playing the open mic circuit was not something he had done very often. Despite distractions the last time he played The Globe--like an overturned tray of garlic knots and Derek Jeter’s last home at bat on TV—-he somehow managed to quiet a pretty raucous room. “When I’m doing it and I’m getting it right those are the most alive situations. I feel like I’m 18 or 19 years old again,” he said. Dawson, who lives on the Upper West Side, has released 15 CDs and albums. He is also known for writing the opening theme for a popular German soap opera. Money from that song allowed him to set up a home recording studio. The 1999 CD of his own live sessions in his apartment, “Therapy in Session: The Studio Concerts,” gained attention as an innovative way for musicians to release their work independently. Dawson’s website still attracts about 2,000 visitors a month from all over the world. Maybe he is able to arrest a noisy bar so well because he has been playing for nearly 50 years. Or maybe it’s because he tends to write Americana songs with lyrics that seem to have sprung from our own hopes and worries or that the gift to connect with the audience is just that, a gift. Whatever the reason, the audience quiets and connects with Dawson when he is behind the mic. “I want people to hear the words and I want them to hear what I have to say,” Dawson said. “But it is a bar for crissake.” Yet The Globe’s open mic is not all about Dawson, or even all about music. Poets, magicians, comedians and actors are welcome as well. “Pretty much anyone can show up, grab a beer and sign up,” said co-owner Rena Hershberger, who sings and performs at open mic night herself. “Everyone gets their 10 minutes.” Yet Bowen admits his ultimate goal is beyond that. He’d like the bar and the neighborhood to become a destination for original, quality music and he already sees that happening. “There have been really surprising musicians who have come and blown the socks off people,” he said. Ben Hope, who played the lead in the Broadway musical Once, and renowned Jazz guitarist Tosh Sheridan are both Globe regulars. Dawson is only adding to that momentum. “If people think ‘this guy Jim is going to show up’ and that will bring in two more people,” Dawson said, “that’s what I think is important. I’m just trying to be one of the guys on the team.” Open Mic Night at The Globe Tavern, located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, will be held this Thursday and every other week.
Police swarm Sunnyside with plain clothes cops prior to arresting armed robber
Amazon-pharmacy-800x600 Oct. 5, By Christian Murray The police sent in more than a dozen plain clothes cops into the Sunnyside commercial district following two armed robberies at local drug stores early last month. The strategy led to an arrest of a Sunnyside man when the third Sunnyside pharmacy was targeted. The first robbery took place at Greenpoint Pharmacy, located at 40-26 Greenpoint Avenue, on Sept 2, when a masked man displayed a gun, and demanded Vicodin, before fleeing with Oxycodone. The second incident occurred on Sept 5 at Family Pharmacy, 45-60 43rd Street, when the masked perpetrator showed a gun and took off with prescription drugs. “We sent in about a dozen plain clothes [officers] to the area,” said Captain Brian Hennessy, the commanding officer at the 108 precinct, after the second incident. The officers were there to monitor the pharmacies in the neighborhood. “With two [robberies] taking place so close to each other, we knew there was a good chance he would hit the area again,” Hennessy said. Therefore, when a perpetrator went into Amazon Pharmacy, located at 43-10 Queens Blvd, on Sept 11 with a knife and demanded prescription drugs the police were in the area. The police received a 911 call with a description of the suspect and several officers were in the neighborhood to search for him. The perpetrator, Patrick McNamara, ran across Queens Boulevard and was arrested by Police Officer John Miszuk, a plain-clothes officer, who tracked him down just two blocks from the drug store. McNamara, 37, a Sunnyside resident was then identified by a witness. The police, however, have not been able to make an arrest on the first two robberies since the suspect was wearing a mask and was hard to identify. However, Hennessy noted, that there have been no drug store robberies since. McNamara was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. Greenpoint Pharmacy-475x355 FamilyPharmacy

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