Community board wants food vendors at 40th Street gone

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

  1. Sharon

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

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  2. Woody Woodpecker

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

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  3. Marc

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

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  4. M

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

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  5. Tawn Shornton

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

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  6. Bob

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

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  7. 40th St

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

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  8. Beenherefor25years

    Hey Sharon:

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

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  9. Celtic Bark

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

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  10. Beenherefor25years

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

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  11. Pete

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

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  12. Woody Woodpecker

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

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  13. Headstoned

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

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  14. Getting old

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

    Let them stay.

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  15. Sunnysider

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

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  16. Jay

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

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  17. Call them

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

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  18. Sunnysideposthatesme14

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

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  19. Anonymous

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

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  20. doge

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

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  21. Anonymous

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

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

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

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  22. Dark O'Knight

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

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  23. ca$h munnee

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

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  24. liz

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

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  25. liz

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

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  26. Craic Dealer

    KEEP THE FOOD TRUCKS YOU FASCIST ASSHOLES!

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  27. Dorothy Morehead

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

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  28. Tequilla Mockingbird

    @ Sunnysideposthatesme14

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

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

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  29. Beenherefor25years

    What is a halal bagel?

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  30. Doge

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

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  31. Dorothy Morehead

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

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  32. tired of the smell

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

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

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  33. South

    @Dorothy Morehead

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

    ---

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

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  34. jimmytwotimes

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

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

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

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  35. Doge

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

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  36. Sunnysider

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

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  37. Messer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  38. Seriously

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

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  39. Dorothy Morehead

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

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  40. J Thokai

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

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

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  41. Messer

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

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  42. South

    @Doge

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

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

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

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

    @Sunnysider

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

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  43. More Champagne for Lulu

    What vision does the Community Board have for our neighborhood?

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

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

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

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

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  44. SuperWittySmitty

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

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  45. Alex

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

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  46. JaneGrissom

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

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  47. yawn

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

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  48. Beenherefor25years

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

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  49. Sunnyside Resident for 15 Years

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

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

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

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

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  50. pathetic sheep

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

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

    PS

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  51. thecoventry

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

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

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

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

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  52. Fly on the Wall

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

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  53. Windblown

    @Messer Your argument is the best here.

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

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

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

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  54. BigC

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

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  55. Lucky Lu

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

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

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  56. doge

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

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  57. doge

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

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  58. me

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

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  59. Messer

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

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

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

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

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  60. JaneGrissom

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

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  61. JaneGrissom

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

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  62. Anonymous

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

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

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  63. David I

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

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

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  64. Sue

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

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  65. Greg W.

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

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  66. whuh

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

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  67. lifelong sunnysider

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

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

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  68. Anonymous

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

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

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  69. Anna

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

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

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

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

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  70. 43rd & 43rd

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

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  71. ResidentOp

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

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  72. A.Bundy

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

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Dec. 16, By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Greenmarket, which had been operating from May through December, has been approved to open all year round.

The coordinator of the program received word about 10 days ago–after putting in a request earlier this year to open every Saturday for the entire year.

Greenmarket representatives started a petition drive in August calling for a year-round market. More than 1,000 residents signed it. The community board then sent a letter of support.

The market operates every Saturday from 8 am through 3pm and is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

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

The market, which opened in June 2007, has proved to be a success. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling vegetables, meat, fish and bread.

Most of the vendors will continue to operate during the ice-cold winter months—with only the wine and fish vendors unlikely to participate.

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

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Center Cinemas likely to close Jan. 4, as owner rejects six-month lease extension

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 15, By Christian Murray

The owner of Sunnyside Center Cinemas has rejected the six-month lease extension that he was offered by the building owner last week —saying the extension is just too short.

Rudy Prashad, the owner of the Center Cinemas, said it was not worth hiring new staff or unpacking his equipment for six extra months. His last day remains January 4.

“My bags are packed and are pretty much sitting at the front door,” he said.

Prashad said that he mulled over the offer over the weekend but decided it didn’t make sense. “I’ve been making preparations, dealing with staff and it just doesn’t work for me to go back for that short of time.”

Prashad said that he had been trying to reach the owner for the past year to work out where he stood with his lease. He said that if he had been offered the extension three months ago then it would have worked out.

However, at this point, he would be only be willing to stay if he was offered at least 12 months.

Prashad said that movie theaters like his tend to make their money in summer and scrape by in winter. A six month lease would end just before the summer peak seasib kicks in.

Several residents are hoping that the property owner John Ciafone will offer Prashad a longer lease.

Many want to know if Ciafone is able to build the apartments above the theater without completely demolishing it.

A rally is scheduled to take place between 12:30 and 1:30 pm in front of the theater this Sunday and is being organized by local residents Ty Sullivan and Jon Storck.

“We hope it might help open up a discussion between the landlord and the theater owner,” Sullivan said, who believes the rally will be worthwhile.

Sullivan said the loss of the theater would hurt low-income families the most– since many would be unable to afford going to the big multiplex cinemas in Astoria or elsewhere.

The rally, Sullivan said, also aims to show that Sunnyside is a community and that people care.

“This is a neighborhood that is made up of independently-owned and family-owned businesses,” he said. “It’s family-friendly and affordable and we don’t want to lose that. We want to tell buildings owners that is who we are and that’s how we would like to remain.”

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said he supports those involved in the rally—such as Sullivan and Storck.

“I want them to know I am behind them and I will be amplifying their voices as their council member,” he said

Van Bramer encourages John Ciafone to come back to the negotiating table to see what can be done.

“I will be reaching out to John Ciafone and his family again,” he said.

save

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Two residents turning Sunnyside into a hub for comedy, with big show planned for Tuesday
Lindsay Goldwert

Lindsay Goldwert

Dec. 14, By Michael Florio

Two Sunnyside comedians are turning the neighborhood into a go-to place for comedy.

Comedians Lindsay Goldwert and Colin Samuel, who have formed Sunnyside Comedy, have already produced two local shows and are about to put on their biggest event yet.

The two will be hosting “The X-mas Comedy Show” at Murphy’s, located at 48-20 Skillman Avenue, this Tuesday (Dec. 16) and are bringing nine comedians to the venue. Tickets will be  $10 and will be sold at the door. The show starts at 8:30 pm.

“We have put a lot of work into the Christmas show and are excited about the comedians who we have performing,” Goldwert said. (see line up below)

The two teamed up and began hosting comedy shows together this fall, after meeting at an open mic night in Manhattan over the summer.

“We both live in Sunnyside and Colin told me he was trying to put together comedy shows in the neighborhood,” Goldwert said. “It is a lot of work for one person and when he asked me to join, I did.”

Samuel hosted one show over the summer prior to teaming up with Goldwert. However, their first show as a duo, took place in October at The Dog and Duck on Skillman Ave.

The two have hosted two shows since– another at The Dog and Duck and one at Marlene Tavern.

Goldwert said that each venue provides attendees with a different experience. The Dog and Duck is a more casual venue, where people can enjoy a drink and the show, while Marlene Tavern has the classic comedy club feel to it.

Goldwert has been doing standup for a year, while Samuel has been in the business for some time.

They decided to host shows in Sunnyside to help promote local businesses, while also fill a void in the community.

“We love living here and wanted to bring comedy to the community,” she said. “There is a growth of comedy in LIC and Astoria and we wanted to add to that by bringing comedy shows to Sunnyside.”

“We like the idea of bringing something new to the neighborhood,” she added.

The pair aims to promote local businesses by having them sponsor shows. Each show will feature giveaways, with prizes provided by local bars and businesses.

Goldwert said Sunnyside Comedy plans to host three shows a month, with each show being free unless otherwise noted. Two shows a month will be at The Dog and Duck with one at Marlene Tavern.

For more information on Sunnyside Comedy, go to Twitter at @ComedySunnyside or Facebook: https://facebook.com/puttinonthebliss

Photo source: ‘It’s in Queens’

The event was originally planned to take place at Marlene’s Tavern but has been changed to Murphy’s at 48-20 Skillman Avenue.

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy's Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

NOTE: the event is taking place at Murphy’s Lobster Grill at 48-20 Skillman Avenue

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Sunnysiders plan rally and start petition drive to save Center Cinemas– as landlord offers six-month extension

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x6002

Dec. 11, By Christian Murray

A petition has formed and a rally is being planned as local residents try to save Sunnyside Center Cinemas from the wrecking ball.

An online petition started Wednesday that has already garnered more than 240 signatures. Meanwhile, Ty Sullivan and Jon Stork, two local activists, are already planning to hold a rally outside the theater that is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 21 (details to come).

The petition—called “Save the Sunnyside Theater”– is addressed to the property owner/developer John Ciafone. It reads, in part, “Save the movie theater from demolition and have a new lease extended.”

Meanwhile, Sullivan is reaching out to the media and various community groups as he plans the rally. He is designing posters, fliers and launching a social-media campaign to generate community interest.

This activism comes at a time when Ciafone has just offered the owner of the theater Rudy Prashad a six month extension to his lease. After the six months, he would operate on a month-to month basis.

Prashad, however, seeks a longer lease claiming that he has organized movers and contractors to remove all the seats from the theater as required. Furthermore he has already told his staff about the upcoming closure.

“I don’t want to be in the same position in six months time where I am now,” Prashad said. “Then I’m operating on a month-to-month basis when I can be kicked out any time.”

“I need a 5 year lease–although I would take something in between,” Prashad said. However, he has not dismissed Ciafone’s offer at this point.

Prashad said that he has been surprised by the community’s desire to keep the theater going. “It shows people have a passion for the community and that they are looking out for their children and their neighbor’s children.”

Ciafone said that he decided to offer Prashad an extension since he still has a lot of work to do before he can start construction. Asked if he could do better than offer Prashad a 6 month extension—he said “that’s the best I can do.”

Ciafone plans on building a 5-7 story building with about 60-70 apartments—with about 20 percent of those units being “affordable”. The building will also have ground floor retail and a community center on the second floor.

The building requires new foundations since it was not constructed with 5-7 stories in mind. Therefore, Ciafone said, the theater has to be demolished. Furthermore, there will be a need for underground parking.

“When I finished we could invite him [Prashad] back,” he said.

Ciafone was nonchalant about the “Save the theater” petition. “I could get a petition going with just as many signatures from people wanting affordable housing,” he said.

“The likely closure of the theater is a reflection of changing times,” said Community Board 2 Chair Pat O’Brien. “You want to see small businesses prevail and they are the backbone of the economy but if they don’t have lease then there is not much you can do.”

O’Brien said it is a shame what’s happening since the cinema is one of the last vestiges of old-fashion entertainment in the area. He said there used to be several theaters in the neighborhood at one time and also the Sunnyside Gardens Arena.

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Fire rips through four Woodside stores
(google maps)

(google maps)

Dec. 11, By Michael Florio

A massive two-alarm fire erupted inside a Woodside store yesterday morning, requiring more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, according to an FDNY spokeswoman.

The fire erupted at Don’s Professional Services, located at 38-05 69th Street, near Roosevelt Ave, just before 11 am on Wednesday morning. It then spread to three neighboring stores through a shared attic, according to the FDNY.

The fire was brought under control just before 11:45 am.

There were no reported injuries and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

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Lonely Planet names Queens as the best place to visit in US next year
Long Island City waterfront

Long Island City waterfront

Dec. 10, Staff report

The borough of Queens was selected as the best tourism destination in the United States for 2015 by Lonely Planet, a leading news outlet that covers the travel industry.

Queens drew praise for its eating and drinking scene (including the four microbreweries that opened over the last 18 months), amazing diversity, high-quality hotels, exciting events, and unique, enchanting neighborhoods, such as art-filled Long Island City and surfboard-friendly Rockaway.

“Nowhere is the image of New York as the global melting pot truer than Queens. Browse New York’s biggest Chinatown in Flushing, shop for brilliantly colored saris in Jackson Heights, and inhale the heady aromas of coffee and hookahs in Astoria,” reads Lonely Planet’s editorial in its Best in the US list for 2015.

“The incomparable array of world cuisines makes Queens a destination for food lovers from all parts of New York City. For your art fix, ogle the new upgrades to the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, look for the new Emerging Artists Festival (conceptionevents.com) in Long Island City, and stroll Astoria’s new 24-block arts district (kaufmanartsdistrict.org). If you prefer sand and surf to paint and canvas, head to Rockaway.”

Warm-Up_photo1“Don’t miss the prime eating and drinking scene that has popped up around the boardwalk — this is no cruddy carnival food: think succulent fish tacos, wood-fired pizzas, and wine bars.”

Western South Dakota came in second on Lonely Planet’s list. The other members of the top 10 were, in order, New Orleans (LA), the Colorado River, North Conway (NH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenville (SC), Oakland (CA), Duluth (MN), and the Mount Shasta Region (CA).

“I have always argued that we have the best hotels, restaurants, cultural organizations, parks, sporting events, and residents in the world and that our prices are very competitive for tourists,” said Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation, after the announcement.

“It’s simply wonderful that Lonely Planet agrees, and our hospitality industry is waiting with open arms for all visitors. Come, you’ll like it.”

The annual top 10 destinations list is determined by Lonely Planet’s authors and editorial team to help travelers add to their wish lists for the coming year. Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has the biggest market share for guidebook sales in the world, having published more than 130 million guidebooks in its history. The media company also operates an award-winning website and a suite of mobile and digital travel products.

For the write up on Queens, please click here.


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Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms

PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke

Dec. 9, By Christian Murray

Call it a preemptive strike.

A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards.

A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week.

The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures.

Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.”

Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use.

But the petitioners say not so fast.

“Sunnyside and Long Island City’s infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads.

“The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don ‘t know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards – bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.”

Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.”

Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: “We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse.”

Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF

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Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month

Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600

Dec. 7, By Christian Murray

Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater’s owner said Sunday.

Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building.

Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease.

“They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.”

“It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.”

Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years– $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said.

There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5.

Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.”

Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012.

Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s.

He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time.

Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens.

There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups.

pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves.

With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space.

The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights.

Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community.

When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants.

PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said.

The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business.

Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages– not Broadway Stages the entity.

Please Note:

Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site

 

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New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O’Brien (seated)

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray

The Chairman of Community Board 2 Joe Conley received a standing ovation at last night’s community board meeting after officially announcing that he was stepping down.

Conley said that after serving two decades as chairman that it was time to move on.

“It’s been a great honor to be the voice of the board,” he said. “I have had a good run…and made life-long friends with the people in this room,” he added, as he began to choke up.

Conley had notified board members two days prior to the meeting that he was resigning.

The timing of the announcement came as a great surprise to many and was the cause of much debate, since last night was the date for the board’s annual elections.

Several members said that they were caught off guard by Conley’s sudden announcement and wanted to delay the elections a month in order for all the board members to evaluate whether they wanted to run.

Lisa Deller, the secretary of the board, however, presented a slate of candidates to take the executive board positions. All but one was on the executive board last year.

The slate was Patrick O’Brien, chair; Stephen Cooper, first vice chairman; Denise Keehan-Smith, secretary; Lisa Deller, second vice chair; and Diane Ballek, treasurer.

Conley said that board members were notified in October that they could put their names on the ballet to run–but no one had expressed interest. Furthermore, he said, people were free to nominate themselves for those spots last night.

“We have looked for nominations and this is a very open process,” Conley said.

However, some members said that the departure of Conley completely changed the course of the election. Others were perplexed why Conley only gave the board two days notice prior to the election.

Sheila Lewandowski said that board members should be given time to decide whether they want to put them themselves on the slate. She, like many, advocated for postponing the vote.

“We have had 2 days and many [board members] are not here to consider this. I think it would be responsible to be thoughtful and wait…this is big.”

O’Brien said he was willing to put off the election a month if it made the board more comfortable. “I don’t want to walk into a situation …where there is a division among people,” he said.

There were, however, several strong advocates who wanted the vote to take place last night. “If you want to run put you name forward now,” said one board member.

The board put it to a vote to determine whether the election should be held last night. The majority won by an unofficial count of 19 for and 15 against.

The election was then held and a slim majority voted in the slate. O’Brien was announced the new chair.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said this morning that he looks forward to working with O’Brien. “He is a good person with strong experience. I worked with him when I was on the board.”

However, he said, he didn’t see the harm in waiting another month for people to think about the vote.

“I m not sure it would have changed the result but the process is important,” he said. “How you come to decision– especially if people are divided –is as important as the decision itself.”

“Normally you would have a unanimous vote for these positions,” Van Bramer said. However, I think the “people who voted no were voting against the process.”

 

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Local opposition mounts against building on Sunnyside Yards, petition forms
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 9, By Christian Murray Call it a preemptive strike. A group of residents have put forward a petition voicing their opposition to the development of the Sunnyside Yards. A 12-person committee—which includes the President of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce—started the petition last week. The petition, which is both online and on paper, expresses their concern that plans are in motion to deck the yards. The petition, which is addressed to elected officials, has already generated about 100 signatures. Their petition comes in the wake of former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff’s New York Times op-ed calling for the construction of a 3.1 million square foot convention city to be built over the yards, accompanied by nearly 14,000 resident units—of which 7,000 of them would be ‘affordable.” Furthermore, in October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said that it might turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. But the petitioners say not so fast. “Sunnyside and Long Island City's infrastructure cannot stand what we have now,” the petition reads. “The subways are overcrowded and our school district is one of the most overcrowded in New York City. There are already 5,000-10,000 units coming to LIC/Sunnyside as it is – and residents don 't know how the area will be able to absorb these incoming residents. Therefore, the idea of building over the yards - bringing more residents and commercial tenants – will be an extreme burden on all of us.” Furthermore, the petition reads: Our “biggest concern of all is that we residents seem be shut out of the process and an inner circle is making all these decisions.” Patricia Dorfman, one of the committee members and the author of the petition, said: "We are residents and taxpayers. This radical change in land use where we live should not happen behind closed doors and affordable housing should not be used as a Trojan Horse." Link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/124/232/303/please-do-not-build-over-the-sunnyside-yards/?cid=FB_TAF
Sunnyside’s movie theater to close next month
Sunnyside-Center-Cinemas-005-800x600 Dec. 7, By Christian Murray Sunnyside Center Cinemas will be closing its doors on January 4 after screening movies in the neighborhood for decades, the theater's owner said Sunday. Theater owner, Rudy Prashad, said he was informed last week that John Ciafone, whose wife owns Broadway Stages, was not renewing his lease. His lease ends December 31 but he has been given to Jan. 10 to clear out of the building. Prashad said that he had been going back and forth with the property manager for months as he wondered what was happening to his lease. “They strung me along,” Prashad said, “But I guess it’s their building and they are free to do what they want.” “It is a very sad day,” Prashad said. “I was hoping that the cinema would stay and one day be landmarked.” Prashad said that he also felt sorry for some of the families in the neighborhood who will have to pay double to go to the movies elsewhere. “We haven’t changed our prices for years-- $5.00 for children and seniors, while $7.50 for adults,” he said. There is also the ‘kid combo,’ he said, which consists of a popcorn, soda, candy and a movie for $10. Before 5 pm each day, adults only pay $5. Prashad said that he had no ill will toward Ciafone and Broadway Stages. “I was disappointed with Dime Bank [the previous owner],” he said. “I was negotiating a 20-year lease with them and then they suddenly sold it.” Dime sold the property to Ciafone for $6.65 million in December 2012. Prashad had owned the theater for nine years and believes there has been a theater at that location since the 1940s. He said that he had been paying between $13,000 and $14,000 in rent per month and was always on time. Prashad said the theater is one of the last independent theaters left in Queens. There is an independent theater in Kew Gardens, which happens to be owned by Prashad.  He thinks that theater might be the only independent theater left in Queens playing American movies. There are one or two others, he said, but they cater to ethnic groups. pj1Prashad said that he would like to thank the residents of Sunnyside for their patronage over the years and plans on showing a free movie before he leaves. With Center Cinemas gone, Ciafone is now trying to lease the air rights to a developer to build residential apartments above the ground-floor retail space. The owner plans to keep the retail space while leasing 52,000 square feet of air rights to a developer. The developer would have to pay a ground lease of $750,000 per year for those rights. Ciafone plans to keep PJ Horgan’s as an on-going tenant, said Evan Daniel, a broker for Modern Spaces, which has the real estate listing. Daniel said that PJ Horgan’s is the only business with an existing lease and is well regarded by the community. When Ciafone purchased the building, PJ Horgan’s, Dime Bank, dentist Dr. Arthur Kubikian, and Center Cinemas were all tenants. PJ Horgan’s, which rents 1,300 square feet of space, has a lease through June 2018. “They are a good tenant that pay market rent,” Daniel said. The ground-floor retail space is likely to be completely refurbished, Daniel said. However, nothing will change that will impact PJ Horgan’s business. Correction: The property is owned by John Ciafone whose wife owns Broadway Stages-- not Broadway Stages the entity. Please Note: Center Cinemas and Modern Spaces advertise with this site  
New CB2 chairman elected after vigorous debate, as Conley steps aside
Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Joe Conley and Pat O'Brien (seated)

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The Chairman of Community Board 2 Joe Conley received a standing ovation at last night’s community board meeting after officially announcing that he was stepping down. Conley said that after serving two decades as chairman that it was time to move on. “It’s been a great honor to be the voice of the board,” he said. “I have had a good run…and made life-long friends with the people in this room,” he added, as he began to choke up. Conley had notified board members two days prior to the meeting that he was resigning. The timing of the announcement came as a great surprise to many and was the cause of much debate, since last night was the date for the board’s annual elections. Several members said that they were caught off guard by Conley’s sudden announcement and wanted to delay the elections a month in order for all the board members to evaluate whether they wanted to run. Lisa Deller, the secretary of the board, however, presented a slate of candidates to take the executive board positions. All but one was on the executive board last year. The slate was Patrick O’Brien, chair; Stephen Cooper, first vice chairman; Denise Keehan-Smith, secretary; Lisa Deller, second vice chair; and Diane Ballek, treasurer. Conley said that board members were notified in October that they could put their names on the ballet to run--but no one had expressed interest. Furthermore, he said, people were free to nominate themselves for those spots last night. “We have looked for nominations and this is a very open process,” Conley said. However, some members said that the departure of Conley completely changed the course of the election. Others were perplexed why Conley only gave the board two days notice prior to the election. Sheila Lewandowski said that board members should be given time to decide whether they want to put them themselves on the slate. She, like many, advocated for postponing the vote. “We have had 2 days and many [board members] are not here to consider this. I think it would be responsible to be thoughtful and wait…this is big.” O’Brien said he was willing to put off the election a month if it made the board more comfortable. “I don’t want to walk into a situation …where there is a division among people,” he said. There were, however, several strong advocates who wanted the vote to take place last night. “If you want to run put you name forward now,” said one board member. The board put it to a vote to determine whether the election should be held last night. The majority won by an unofficial count of 19 for and 15 against. The election was then held and a slim majority voted in the slate. O'Brien was announced the new chair. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said this morning that he looks forward to working with O’Brien. “He is a good person with strong experience. I worked with him when I was on the board.” However, he said, he didn’t see the harm in waiting another month for people to think about the vote. “I m not sure it would have changed the result but the process is important,” he said. “How you come to decision-- especially if people are divided –is as important as the decision itself.” “Normally you would have a unanimous vote for these positions,” Van Bramer said. However, I think the “people who voted no were voting against the process.”  
Police arrest second man wanted for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 5, By Christian Murray The second suspect wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Terrel Balanding, a 27-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 3 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The arrest comes just one day after Thomas Fullwood, 29, was arrested for the same crime. Balanding and Fullwood approached William Eichhorn, 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. The men punched him in the face and then stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground.
Joe Conley, Community Board 2 Chair, is stepping down
Joe Conley (third from left)

Joe Conley (third from left) at groundbreaking

Dec. 4, Christian Murray Joe Conley, the long-serving Community Board 2 chair, is stepping down. Multiple sources said that Conley, who has been chair for over 25 years, will be making the announcement tonight when Community Board 2 has its full monthly meeting. Conley’s departure from the community board will result in the biggest shake up the board has seen in nearly 30 years. For the past decade, the same leadership structure has been in place: Conley as chairman; Steve Cooper, first vice chairman; Patrick O'Brien, second vice chairman; Lisa Deller, secretary, and Diane Ballek, treasurer Tonight the board will be holding an election for all of these positions and at the very least there will be a new chairperson. At this point, the field is wide open, according to sources. Board members were only alerted to Conley’s departure yesterday. “It will be an interesting transition,” said Lisa Deller, who is the head of the land use committee. “Joe has contributed a lot. He has given his heart and soul to the board, and whether people are for or against what he has done…it should not be forgotten that he has gone above and beyond.” Joe-Conley-250x2501Conley could not be reached for comment. Conley, who has always been the recipient of great praise from his fellow board colleagues, was instrumental in turning the prostitute-ridden Long Island City into the thriving neighborhood it is today. He was also was the chair during the Sunnyside-Woodside rezoning. The chairperson has significant control of the board. He/she decides which members sit on what committees and who chairs them. The chair is also the one who runs the monthly meetings and is the public face of the board. While the community board is deemed advisory, it does have significant influence-- particularly on land use, liquor license and transportation issues. The new chair will take the helm at a time when there are many ongoing issues. There is the ongoing debate about backyard seating in Long Island City, the construction of affordable housing, continued development and the possible construction over the Sunnyside Yards.
Put on your santa suit, Sunnyside Boulevard Bars to host Santathon Bar Crawl
2012 Sanathon

2012 Santathon

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray Hundreds of Santas are going to be lining the streets of Sunnyside this Saturday as they participate in the neighborhood’s third annual Santathon/pub-crawl. Eleven bars along—or near—Queens Blvd are putting on the festive event, where attendees will go from bar-to-bar and will be able to buy $4 beers. Participants will be required to pay $10 for a wristband and wear a Santa costume (or at least a Santa hat) to get the $4 beers. The $10 wrist bands can be bought at any of the bars—from now until the time of event. The proceeds will be donated to children’s charities to buy toys for needy kids this holiday season. The bars are also accepting toys and monetary donations from now until Christmas. The pub crawl will begin at 3:00 pm and go until late.  Participants are able to begin their journey at any of the bars but must then follow the order of Santa’s route (see map). The participating bars are: Arriba Arriba, Bar 43, Maggie Mae's, Bliss Street Station, The Courtyard Ale House, McGuinness's Saloon, Molly Blooms, Sidetracks, Jack's Fire Dept., The Gaslight and PJ Horgan's. Last year’s Santathon raised more than $10,000 in monetary and new toy donations. “We really want this to be a big event, ” said Nick Murphy, the co-owner of Bar 43 & Grill. “We are all coming together to put on a great community event that will help raise money for charity.” The eleven bars are part of what’s known as Sunnyside Boulevard Bars, a group that was formed in 2012 and has held several events, such as the St. Patrick’s Day Music Festival. The organization has raised more than $25,000 for charity since its inception. The beneficiaries have included Sunnyside/Woodside Boys & Girls Club and the 51st Street Fire Station (Engine 325/Ladder 163). Details Saturday, Dec. 6 Time: 3 pm
Map

Map

Police arrest man for beating and robbing 81-year-old Sunnysider, cops closing in on second suspect
Willliam Eichhorn

Willliam Eichhorn

Dec. 3, By Christian Murray One of the two men wanted for punching and robbing an 81-year-old Sunnyside resident on Oct. 26 at a Chase ATM has been arrested. Thomas Fullwood, a 29-year-old from the Bronx, was arrested Dec. 2 and was charged with two counts of robbery. The police are still searching for the other suspect. Fullwood and his accomplice approached William Eichhorn. 81, while he was withdrawing funds from the ATM machine at the Chase Bank branch at 46-10 Queens Boulevard. One of the men punched him in the face and then they both stole $100 in cash and his debit card while he was on the ground. According to sources, Fullwood has provided information to the police identifying the second individual involved in the attack.
The police are still searching for this suspect

The police are still searching for this suspect

Demolition permits filed as section of Greenpoint Ave. to be bulldozed
closing1 Dec. 2, By Christian Murray Demolition permits have been filed with the Building Dept. to demolish three Greenpoint Avenue stores and the accompanying upstairs dwelling units. The permits, which were filed and approved Nov. 18, provide the developer with the go-ahead to knock down the buildings that were occupied by King Boulevard, SSS Video and Azteca Restaurant. The filings do not state what the developer has in mind for the site. This strip of real estate (47-16 to 47-24 Greenpoint Ave.) was sold by Greisman Property in October to AB Capstone Development, a development company, for  $4.35 million. Mike Perez, who owned King Boulevard for 31 years, closed down his store at the end of October. closing
Doctoroff, who calls for developing Sunnyside Yards, doesn’t understand Western Queens, Van Bramer and residents say
PRR-Sunnyside-Yard_viewW-1955_ArtHuneke Dec. 2, By Christian Murray The drum beat to develop the Sunnyside Yards continues with the latest call to build on it coming from the former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff. Doctoroff, in a New York Times op-ed piece that ran Sunday, said that the city needs to build a 3.1 million square foot convention center and that Sunnyside Yards would be the ideal place for it. The center could also be accompanied, he wrote, by nearly 14,000 residential units of which 50 percent would be affordable. The op-ed stated that Long Island City is a great location for this development since it is “one of the most convenient, transit-friendly areas in the city, served by eight subway lines.” The idea is that the new convention center would replace the Javits Center, which he deemed too small. However, residents and local officials argue that the concept just doesn’t make sense and that the neighborhood’s infrastructure in terms of schools, parks and subways are already stretched. Many are unsure how the neighborhood will absorb all the new residents coming to the area, with 5,000-10,000 units coming online in the next few years. “I found some of [Doctoroff’s op-ed] patronizing,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer who opposes decking over the yards. “It revealed to me somewhat of a Manhattan elitist view of Queens.” Van Bramer said that Doctoroff might find the neighborhood transit friendly when he looks at the area on a map. However, he said, people who live here know that the No. 7 train is not reliable and there are a lot of delays. During morning rush hour, people often struggle to get on at the Jackson Ave/Vernon Blvd. Station, he said. At the October Community Board 2 meeting, when the idea of studying the yards was raised, several board members wanted to know how the area will cope with all the Court Square/Queens Plaza development coming online—let alone the yards. Meanwhile, a petition has just been formed, calling on the city not to allow the site to be developed. Van Bramer viewed Doctoroff’s push for avoidable housing to be disingenuous—arguing that this an argument used to buttress his case to “plop a mega convention in our neighborhood.” “I am incredibly supportive of affordable housing,” Van Bramer said, but using affordable housing as a tool is “offensive.”
Councilman Van Bramer

Councilman Van Bramer

Furthermore, Doctoroff in his op-ed, said that the Yards represented a “nasty scar through the heart of Queens.” Van Bramer took exception to this viewpoint. “I have lived in these neighborhoods my entire life and it is not a scar. It’s a patronizing to say we have this awful thing and that they have to come here and make it better.”- However, Doctoroff is not alone in suggesting the Yards should be developed. In October, the chairman of Amtrak, Anthony Coscia, said that the company was considering developing sections of the Yards. The company said it could turn to investors as early as spring and that it had been in talks with the mayor’s office over its use. Representatives for the mayor said at the time that the site could be used to advance the mayor's affordable housing goals. Meanwhile, the Daily News reported that the Department of City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said at a meeting Monday that the he and the Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen are studying the site. However, nothing is planned at this point, Van Bramer said. However,” I think we need to remain vigilant because it is in the minds of some wealthy and powerful people,” he said. “We need to watch out and be careful.” “What we really need are more schools, green space and better transportation—not a convention center,” Van Bramer said.
Sunnyside’s 104-year old remains active and engaged in neighborhood
Ethel Plimack (Photo: James Brown Reiner)

Ethel Plimack (Photo: James Brown Reiner)

Dec. 1, By Kim Brown At 104, Sunnyside’s oldest resident said she doesn’t know the secret to living so long, but spending decades on Bliss Street certainly played a part. “Being in familiar territory day in and day out is very helpful,” said Ethel Plimack’s son, Henry Plimack. “When she sits on the porch everyone comes to say hello. This is what makes her day.” The day after her 104th birthday she sat on the first floor of her home with her son, knitting and watching NY 1 News. Paintings by her daughter, the artist Sylvia Plimack Mangold, hang on the walls. As usual, Ethel Plimack was impeccably dressed in an outfit that included a necklace, silk scarf, red eyeglasses and lipstick the same bright shade. For the past two years she has had a full-time aide, whose assistance has allowed her to remain at home. Before that, she preferred to cook and clean for herself. The connection to the community has kept her grounded. “I love the tree-lined streets. People are nice and you know your neighbors. You give when you can,” she said. Being active certainly has kept her going, as well. Plimack worked as an administrative assistant until she was 94, taking the subway to Marymount Manhattan College every day. She also swam at Equinox until she was 100. Plimack is part of a longevity study at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine that revealed good genes, a wide social network and active lifestyle helped her to age so long and so well. “We can only marvel at her extraordinary memory and continuing good health,” her daughter, Janet Sherman, wrote in an email. “She is certainly a remarkable woman.” Although her husband, an optical supply wholesaler, died 40 years ago, it didn’t stop Plimack from doing things she loved. In fact, his death may have given her the freedom to take up folk dancing, which she did until she was 100. “Men don’t like to dance,” she said. The troupe she performed with, founded by Michael and Mary Ann Herman, was one of the most well known in the United States. Plimack helped spread the art of folk dance around the world by participating in tours to China, Turkey, France, Bulgaria, and many other countries. Now, her hearing and sight are not so good and her love of dance is confined to watching “Dancing with the Stars” on TV. But she has found other ways to spend her time. She knits constantly for charity sales, as well as an organization that donates caps to premature infants. She watches the news. “It’s terrible,” she said about current events. “I try to contribute towards stopping whatever is happening.” She signs petitions when canvassers come to her door. “I hope there are classes for younger people,” she added. “To know how to live in the world and what to correct.” Her three children, all over 70, grandchildren and great grandchildren also keep her going. “When we were kids she encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. To do what felt right,” said Henry Plimack, a retired audio engineer and current adviser to the French presidency with Interallied Confederation of Reserve Officers. Ethel Plimack’s daughter, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, is a well-known artist, whose work has been exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, and numerous other venues. Not long ago her mother attended an art opening and there was a special chair reserved for her. “Moments like that give her months of chatting with her friends,” her son, Henry Plimack said. James Mangold, Ethel Plimack’s grandson is a Hollywood director, screenwriter and producer, known for movies like The Wolverine, Walk the Line and Cop Land. Another grandchild is a musician in Vienna. “What inspires her is the success of her family,” Henry Plimack said. “It’s a good, strong family. They all call and write to her and she feasts on that.” Ethel Plimack grew up in the Bronx, where she attended Evander Childs High School. After attending Hebrew Tech in Manhattan, she became a bookkeeper and administrative assistant, working for a dress company in Queens, the New York City Department of Education, Bryant High School and P.S. 150. Plimack has lived in Sunnyside since 1941, when most everyone kept open doors. Although she doesn’t have a Facebook account, she does have her own iPad, which she uses to Skype with family. Until last year, colleagues at Marymount Manhattan College held an annual birthday party for her in the city. This year, they sent letters and messages by email. For the past two years, Sunnyside neighbors have held a flash mob on her birthday, singing to her outside the front door. This year approximately 120 people came at noon, although Plimack was standing by the entrance waiting 10 minutes early. “It was a lot of people and friends from the neighborhood. They all want to show the area is good,” she said. “It was wonderful when they all came.” When asked to reveal the secret for living a long and healthy life, she was modest. “I don’t know what the secret is. All I know is, I’m alive 104 years. That’s a long time.”
Vintage subway rides to leave Queens Plaza every Sunday
vintage-475x323 Dec. 1, By Michael Florio Residents will be able to catch a nostalgia train from Queens Plaza every Sunday this December. The trains are comprised of old subway cars that ran between the 1930s and early 1970s. This year the nostalgia trains will run along the Sixth Avenue M-line on Sundays (November 30th, December 7th, 14, 21, 28) between 10 am and 5 pm. Western Queens residents can catch the train at Queens Plaza. “Holiday shoppers, tourists and those who just remember a bygone era will have the opportunity to experience a ride on a subway train from yesteryear, “said MTA New York City President Carmen Bianco in a statement. Each car will be equipped with ceiling fans, padded seats and incandescent light bulbs. The MTA released information on each of the Nostalgia train cars: Car No. 100 --- Manufactured by American Car and Foundry, this 1932 R1-type car was the first car in the initial order of 300 cars placed in service for the opening of the IND subway. Car No. 484 --- Part of a 500-car order of R4 cars manufactured by American Car & Foundry. In 1946, this car received a retrofit of bulls-eye lighting and a public address system. Car No. 1575 – Originally manufactured as an R7, this car was involved in a wreck in 1946. Sent to the American Car & Foundry factory, the car, which is equipped with fluorescent lighting and smooth sides, was rebuilt as the prototype of the next generation R10 subway car. In addition to the subways, the MTA will be running a nostalgia bus. The crosstown route will run Monday through Friday from December 1st to the 19th. According to the MTA everything on the vintage bus will be original, except the fare. Many of the buses are pre-1959. “These buses are a living, breathing part of the city's history and each has a unique story to tell about the era in which it operated," says Darryl Irick, Senior VP of NYC Transit Department of Buses and President of MTA Bus and a former Bus Operator himself.

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