Sunnyside Post

Sunnyside NY news

Police search for man wanted for questioning following Woodside murder

Wanted for questioning

Wanted for questioning

July 17, Staff Report

The police are searching for a Hispanic man for questioning following the murder of a 56-year-old man that took place in Woodside in June.

The police are seeking the public’s assistance in ascertaining the whereabouts of the man, described as around 30 years old and about 5’6″ to 5’7″ in height.

Roberto Martires, 56, was killed after being struck in the face in front of 69-04 Roosevelt Avenue at 12:10 am on June 21. He died on June 24 at Elmhurst Hospital from the injuries he sustained from the assault.

The man wanted for questioning was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, blue jeans and dark colored baseball cap.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS or to text their tips to 274637(CRIMES) then enter TIP577.


Resident pays tribute to Sunnyside with video

By Dan Toth

By Dan Toth

July 17, By Michael Florio

Sunnyside resident Dan Toth put together the following video that pays tribute to the neighborhood, which he describes as “safe, diverse, close to the city, and always sunny,” although he admits that it gets cloudy from time-to-time.
Toth’s aim with the video is to show what he describes as the “quaint beauty and quiet, local feel of Sunnyside.”
Toth walked around Sunnyside to get all of the shots for the video.

Further information on Toth can be found by clicking on the following link.

 


Sunnyside Shines’ summer series to feature jazz and arts & crafts

Sunnyside Ballet Studio

Sunnyside Ballet Studio

July 15, By Michael Florio

The fifth annual street festival hosted by Sunnyside Shines kicks off later this month.

The festival, called Sunnyside Summer Strolls, will take place on 46th Street between Greenpoint Ave and Queens Blvd, and will feature the Children’s Arts & Crafts fair on July 26th and the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz concert on August 2nd.

Sunnyside Shines has teamed up with Re-Create QNS, a new coalition seeking art space in Western Queens, and several local businesses to host the children’s art fair. There will be 14 tables set up with activities consisting of face painting, water marbling, ballet, Irish step, modern dance, and performances by local musicians.

“Some of the tables will be staffed by local businesses,” said Rachel Thieme, executive director of Sunnyside Shines. For example, 4Squared Flavors, a frozen yogurt store located on Greenpoint Avenue, will have a table where children can design their own yogurt spoons.

In addition to the arts & crafts, a pop-up library (supported by the Sunnyside branch library) will take place at the new Bliss Plaza, located under the elevated 7 train at 46th Street. This will be the first programmed event at the soon-to-open Bliss Plaza.

The jazz festival is a memorial to Bix Beiderbecke, a 1920s jazz musician who lived on 46th Street. There will be four bands and lindy hop (a 1920s dance style) lessons. The street will be transformed into a dance floor, and Sunnyside Shines will hold a 1920s costume contest.

All events are free of charge.

Last year, Thieme estimated that more than 500 families attended the craft fair and more than 1,000 people were at the jazz concert, a big increase over previous years.

“We are really hoping to build off of that momentum,” she said.

Event Dates:

1) Saturday, July 26: Children’s Arts and Crafts Fair, 1pm-6pm

2) Saturday, August 2: Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Concert, 2pm-7pm

  • The Sunnyside Wolverines, featuring Linda Ipanema
  • The Sunnyside Social Club
  • The Pendulum Swings
  • The Sunnyside Drum Corps
  • The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers

(for more information, click here)

Summer Streets

Summer Strolls and the Sunnyside Wolverines


Resident who lives next to Lou Lodati Park says its too loud at night, wants city to put up gates

Lou Lodati Park after renovation in 2013

Lou Lodati Park after renovation in 2013

noiseJuly 13, By Christian Murray

One resident who lives next to Lou Lodati Park says he can’t sleep at night due to the excessive noise caused by park goers well past 11pm.

Demosthenes Chrysan, a resident of 42nd Street, says he hears dogs barking from the dog run, kids skateboarding, people playing basketball and teenagers drinking.

So last Friday, Chrysantook to the streets and put up about 20 posters around neighboring streets telling residents who have similar issues to call the 108 Police Precinct, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office and 311 to complain.

The park is supposed to be closed at night but he said the Parks Department is doing nothing to stop anyone from gaining entry. He said there are no gates and yet there are three entrances into the park—one via Skillman Avenue and two smaller entrances on 43rd Street—which people are using day and night.

“They spent more than a million dollars on the renovation of the park [last year] and they forgot to put up gates which they could close at night,” he said. “It would have cost them nothing.”

Chrysan said that he has called Van Bramer’s office and they have been able to do little. He said that when he calls about noise the 108 precinct never shows. Meanwhile, 311 just keeps a record of his calls and that’s about it.

He said that he doesn’t want to deny children and adults from participating in various activities but he said that he is entitled to his sleep.

“The parks department needs to enforce the rule that the park is supposed to be closed at night,” he said.


The Brogue gets a facelift, renamed “The Globe”

The Globe Tavern

The Globe Tavern (new name goes up next week)

July 11, By Christian Murray

The Brogue, a well-known Irish pub located at 49-10 Skillman Avenue, has undergone a makeover as the owners plan to position the establishment as more of a mainstream bar.

The bar, starting today, will be called The Globe Tavern as the owners—who bought the pub earlier this year—aim to freshen up the feel of the establishment.

The bar, which was acquired by Rena Hershberger and Joe Gillespie in February, has been closed this week so workers could refinish the floors, put in new lighting, paint the entire establishment and bring in new furniture—including a pool table.

The pub reopens today, July 11, at 5 pm. The new name will not adorn the premises until next week.

“We decided to change the name and spruce it all up a bit…since the Brogue was a little dated and we are not so much of an Irish bar anymore,” Hershberger said, a long-time Brogue employee before taking over the establishment with Gillespie.

Hershberger and Gillespie, a Sunnyside resident and former PJ Horgan’s bar owner, had been discussing a new name for some time. However, Hershberger said she liked “The Globe,” since she is a fan of Shakespeare (The Globe Theatre was where Shakespeare’s company operated) and it is also pays homage to the multicultural neighborhoods of Sunnyside and Woodside.

The establishment will continue to have a dart board, jukebox and, of course, pool table.


Sunnyside/Woodside to get park upgrades, cleanup crews and a revamped Spanish Theater

Thalia Theatre Sunnyside

July 10, By Christian Murray

Two Woodside parks and Thalia Spanish Theatre are about to receive plenty of city funds–following the 2015 budget that was passed by the city council late last month.

Windmuller Park is going to receive a $500,000 upgrade that will cover the cost of constructing a new skateboard area, as well as fixing up the bandshell that has been damaged by skateboarders performing their stunts there.

Councilman Van Bramer, who allocated the funding, said it has yet to be determined where in the park the skateboard area will be—but views the $500,000 expenditure as a “twofer” since it will benefit skateboarders as well as help preserve the condition of the bandshell.

The Councilman has also allocated $2 million for the complete renovation of Big Bush Park, which is located behind the Big Six Towers in Woodside. He was unable to elaborate on the details of the upgrade, since the Parks Department has yet to put a design together.

These expenditures follow past allocations he has made toward parks in the neighborhood. Lou Lodati Park underwent a $1.4 million overhaul that was completed last June, while Thomas P. Noonan Playground is currently undergoing a $2.2 million upgrade.

As part of the budget, the city council has allocated an additional $5 million to hire 80 additional Park Enforcement Patrol officers across New York City, whose role will be to ensure that the public abides by park rules.

At the bandshell

Adrian Bordoni, at the Windmuller Park Bandshell

Van Bramer said that he would make sure this district got its fair share of PEP officers—and said that he would want PEP officers at Windmuller and Doughboy Park among other Sunnyside/Woodside park spaces.

Local residents have often complained that Windmuller Park is a hotspot for rowdy teenagers, and have often called on the 108 Police Precinct to have a much greater presence there.

Meanwhile, Sunnyside Gardens Park, for the first time in years, did not receive any city funds, with the departure of former Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Over the course of the past eight years, Quinn allocated in excess of $130,000 of taxpayer funds to the private park.

This budget season, Van Bramer was able to secure $4.5 million in funding for the renovation and expansion of Thalia Spanish Theatre, which is located at 41-17 Greenpoint Avenue.

Van Bramer said the funding has a number of benefits.

“It is tight quarters in the theater and it has never been refurbished,” Van Bramer said. Furthermore, “the theater is an important anchor for Greenpoint Avenue,” referring to the benefits the upgrade will bring to the commercial area.

Van Bramer said Thalia is the only [bilingual] Hispanic theater in Queens and it is important that it gets a makeover. The funds will be used to help the theater double its capacity from 75 to 150, and is likely to result in the construction of an additional story.

The whole front will be redone that will include a new lobby and new facade.

Meanwhile, the graffiti cleanup program (including the anti-graffiti hotline) that covers the main streets and avenues in Sunnyside (and a portion of Woodside) will continue—stemming from grants to Sunnyside Shines and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce.

Furthermore, many Woodside streets will continue to be kept clean through the funding of The Doe Fund, a non-profit group that hires former felons and homeless people to clean the streets, in an effort to help them rebuild their lives.

The Doe Fund will continue to hire workers to maintain the streets along Roosevelt Avenue (from 51st Street to 61st Street), 61st Street (from Roosevelt to 39th Avenue) and Woodside Avenue (from 58th Street to 60th Street), including plazas and the surrounding areas. This will be the third year that Van Bramer has brought the program to Woodside.

Meanwhile, the St. Pats for All parade–that draws thousands of people to Skillman Avenue in March– will receive city funding yet again.

Other budget items of note in Sunnyside/Woodside:

  • More than $200,000 has been allocated toward security upgrades (primarily for the installation of internal/external cameras) at the Sunnyside and Woodside branch libraries
  • Woodside on the Move will be receiving $40,000 for its concert series in Windmuller Park, its tenant/housing project and adult literacy programming.
  • St Pats for All to receive $8,500 in funding ($3,500 from Van Bramer and $5,000 through Councilman Daniel Dromm)
  • United 40s Civic Association (a Sunnyside/Woodside residents advocacy group) to receive $5,000
  • Sunnyside Community Services to receive, among other items, $40,000 for youth services
  • Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce to receive $60,000 for the Sunnyside/Woodside graffiti cleanup program as well as for special events and for its website/publicity
  • Sunnyside Shines: $5,000 for the purchase of new trash receptacles on Queens Blvd/Greenpoint Avenue and $27,500 to support graffiti removal work in the 26th Council District
  • Thalia Spanish Theater programming: $8,500
  • Northern Woodside Coalition, a civic organization that runs youth programs and various events, $3,500
  • Variety Boys & Girls Club of Sunnyside/Woodside $5,000


Thai restaurant to open on Queens Blvd

Nodus and Sunnyside NY and Sunnyside QueensJuly 9, By Christian Murray

A Thai restaurant is scheduled to open at 45-04 Queens Blvd in the same location where Nodus operated.

The restaurant, to be called Blue Orchard, will open in about three weeks, according to the owner.

Nodus, which was also a Thai restaurant, operated at the location for about two years before closing in October 2013.

 


New Post Coffee Shop– after being in business for 50 years– closes for good

New Post

July 8, By Christian Murray

A long-serving Sunnyside eatery has gone out of business.

New Post Coffee Shop, which has been located on the corner of 40th Street and Queens Blvd for more than 50 years, closed yesterday. Several workers were outside the store carting away food items and pots & pans.

The space is most likely going to be taken over by a fast-food franchise, according to a well-placed source. “It’s a franchise everyone will be happy with,” the source said.

New Post Coffee Shop has had many problems with the health department in recent times. In the past two years, the eatery has been closed twice after racking up a lengthy list of violations.

The coffee shop gained a great deal of attention about 10 years ago, when a man was shot and killed inside the eatery in front of several customers (see article). The victim had been in a dispute with a man about a block away from the shop and ran inside to seek refuge.


Five Below, a discount store targeting teenagers, opens on 48th Street

5 Below

July 7, Staff Report

It’s a cut above a 99 cent store.

Five Below, a retail store that targets the teen and pre-teen market, opened late last month at 34-41 48th Street. It takes over the space that was previously occupied by Closeout Paradise.

The store, which sells merchandise for between $1.00 and $5.00, features items such as sporting goods, fashion accessories, school supplies and iPhone accessories.

The new store is part of a chain, which consists of more than 300 stores nationwide.


Precinct steps up traffic enforcement, targets drunk-drivers and speedsters

Location of Tenzing Drudak on Thomson Avenue was killed

Location where 16-year-old (Tenzin Drudak) was killed on Thomson Avenue

July 3, By Christian Murray

The 108 Police Precinct has stepped up traffic enforcement this year, with the number of DWI arrests and tickets written for speeding up significantly from 2013.

Captain Brian Hennessy, Commanding officer of the 108 Precinct, said that the precinct had made 86 DWI arrests for the year through June 29, up from 31 for the same period a year ago.

He said that speedsters too have been targeted—particularly around Queens Boulevard, Thomson Avenue, Van Dam Street and Skillman Avenue.

This year, the precinct had issued 259 tickets for speeding through June 29, up from 229 for the same period a year ago.

“Enforcement has definitely stepped up,” Hennessy said. He said that the precinct has focused heavily on areas where speeding has led to fatalities.

The Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City region has been plagued by traffic-related deaths in recent years, with 12 occurring (7 pedestrians) within the confines of the 108 Police Precinct last year alone, Hennessy said.

For instance, one woman died in December after losing control getting off the Queensboro Bridge (on the LIC side), while a 16-year-old boy was killed by a vehicle while he was walking on the sidewalk along Thomson Avenue.

So far this year, the number of traffic-related fatalities is zero.

The number of pedestrians struck and hurt by motorists has also dropped. Through June 29, there had been 71 incidents, compared to 86 for the same period a year ago, Hennessy said.

Furthermore, the precinct had issued 229 tickets to drivers who had failed to yield to pedestrians through June 29. That number had increased from 191 for the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, bicyclists too have been targeted. This year the precinct had issued 76 tickets to cyclists through June 29 for anything from running red lights to disobeying traffic signs. The precinct had issued 35 tickets by this time last year.

Hennessy said that Vision Zero is playing a part in keeping traffic deaths down. He said it has increased people’s awareness of traffic safety issues.

Furthermore, with Vision Zero, traffic-related deaths have become a much higher priority.

“Years ago crime was the main focus [for most police precincts],” Hennessy said. “Today a life lost in a car accident is treated as just as important as one lost in a murder.”


Sunnyside/Woodside’s burglary rate continues to decline

Police in Sunnyside Queens July 2, By Christian Murray

The number of residential burglaries in Sunnyside and Woodside has come right down as thieves are now targeting commercial establishments and apartment buildings more toward Jackson Heights, according to Captain Brian Hennessy, commanding officer of the 108 Police Precinct.

The majority of burglaries—or attempted burglaries– in Sunnyside and Woodside have involved retail businesses in the past month. The number of residential burglaries in Sunnyside—which spiked toward the end of last year– has plummeted.

Two stores on Woodside Avenue (btw. 57th and 58th Streets) were broken into on two separate occasions, with one incident occurring on June 22 and the other on June 29, Hennessy said. The perpetrators in both incidents broke through glass to get into the stores and then stole cash. The incidents both happened at night.

There was one attempted break in at Key Food on Skillman Avenue, where a man tried to cut a hole in the roof to gain access without success.

Meanwhile, a food vendor on 46th Street and Greenpoint Avenue was the victim of a “deception burglary” on June 19, Hennessy said. The perpetrator pretended to be a health inspector and started riffling through the victim’s items, before taking off with his cash.

However, in terms of residential burglaries there were few.

There was one incident on June 27 when a burglar got into an apartment via a fire escape on 43rd Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets before stealing items.

There was one “domestic burglary” in Sunnyside—where a man broke into his ex-girlfriend’s apartment and stole some of her belongs.

The only other incident was on 44 Street, between 47th and 48th Avenues—where a perpetrator broke in through the front door during the day on June 12.

Throughout the precinct—which also covers Long Island City and the edges of Jackson Heights and Maspeth, there were 26 burglaries for the past 28 days ending June 29, compared to 29 for the same time period a year earlier.

In other items, Hennessy said that the case involving Roberto Martires, who died as a result of being punched in the face on June 21 on Roosevelt Avenue, is still ongoing, although he said the police had leads. The incident was the first murder in the precinct this year.

Hennessy also debunked a published report that said that were street walkers/prostitutes working on Greenpoint Avenue between 43rd and 46th Streets.

“I have never seen a streetwalker on Greenpoint Avenue,” Hennessy said. Furthermore, he said, the only complaint about streetwalkers on Greenpoint Avenue he has heard of was made at a community precinct meeting earlier this year, which was picked up by a reporter.

He said that while the precinct monitors the Greenpoint Avenue area, “We haven’t had any undercover officers working there,” he said. “It’s not a trouble spot.”

The police tends to focus on Roosevelt Avenue by 69th Street when it comes to streetwalkers. In fact, six johns and one prostitute were arrested there last Thursday, Hennessy said.


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