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Hundreds turn out in quest for Hunters Point affordable housing, as residents learn about rental prices and income limits

Affordable housing 004

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

More than 400-people attended an affordable housing meeting in Sunnyside last night to see whether they would be eligible for a piece of the Hunters Point South dream.

The goal for most was to find out how whether they qualified for one of the 925 affordable units on offer—which comes with building amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor terrace, internet café and meeting rooms.

The complex, which contains two buildings, will be comprised of studios, 1 brms, 2 brms and 3 bedroom units.

The application period is expected to begin October 15 and there will be 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall under the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

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

However, many attendees wanted to find out about the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

affordablerentsThe rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1965-2509 for a one bedroom, $2366-$3300 for a 2 bedroom and $2729-$4346 for a three bedroom.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” said Frank Monterisis, the senior vice president of Related Companies. He said that the waterfront complex is a luxury building that comes with all the modern fixtures and amenities.

However, some residents said after the meeting that they thought the “moderate income” apartments were too expensive and complained that they made too much money to qualify for the “low income” units.

One man said during the meeting that he was paying less rent now than what the affordable [moderate income] units would be.

However, while some people grumbled, the rents are still significantly less than what is available on the open market. In a recent report released by Modern Spaces (an advertiser with the Sunnysidepost), the average studio apartment in a luxury Long Island City building is currently renting for more than $2,500, while one bedrooms are going for about $3,200.

The Hunters Point South apartments, unlike the other luxury Hunters Point buildings, will be “permanently” affordable. Therefore, the rent renewals are determined by a New York City formula– based on the Rent Guidelines Board.

Furthermore, once a lease is signed, tenants are not subject to any income restrictions from that point on.

However, the key is getting an apartment in the first place—and tens of thousands of people are expected to apply.

Attendees were told that they would have 60 days to submit their application after the application period begins. Monterisi said that there would be a vigorous marketing campaign once the 60-day period opens. Residents can also register at HuntersPointSouthLiving.com to be notified of the date.

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

The application can be submitted online at New York Housing Connect (nyc.gov/housingconnect). Applicants will be required to create a personal profile that provides details as to their income, assets and the number of people who are likely to live in a given unit.

There is no actual limit on assets when applying for a “moderate” apartment. The main focus is on the applicant’s earnings and whether those assets will affect that figure.

Successful applicants will be notified during the first quarter of 2015, with the goal for it to be fully leased by spring 2015.

affordablehousingmoderate income

 

 

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Hundreds turn out in quest for Hunters Point affordable housing, as residents learn about rental prices and income limits

Affordable housing 004

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

More than 400-people attended an affordable housing meeting in Sunnyside last night to see whether they would be eligible for a piece of the Hunters Point South dream.

The goal for most was to find out how whether they qualified for one of the 925 affordable units on offer—which comes with building amenities such as a fitness center, outdoor terrace, internet café and meeting rooms.

The complex, which contains two buildings, will be comprised of studios, 1 brms, 2 brms and 3 bedroom units.

The application period is expected to begin October 15 and there will be 186 apartments available to those applicants who fall under the “low income” bracket. To qualify as low income, an applicant seeking a studio cannot make more than $30,000—while a family seeking a 3 bedroom unit must earn less than $50,000 per year.

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

However, many attendees wanted to find out about the 738 “moderate income” apartments on offer. The maximum income permitted to be eligible for a studio is a little over $130,000, while the maximum household income for a 3 bedroom unit is about $225,000.

affordablerentsThe rents for “moderate income” earners will range from $1,561-$1997 for a studio, $1965-2509 for a one bedroom, $2366-$3300 for a 2 bedroom and $2729-$4346 for a three bedroom.

“This is the best apartment deal in New York City,” said Frank Monterisis, the senior vice president of Related Companies. He said that the waterfront complex is a luxury building that comes with all the modern fixtures and amenities.

However, some residents said after the meeting that they thought the “moderate income” apartments were too expensive and complained that they made too much money to qualify for the “low income” units.

One man said during the meeting that he was paying less rent now than what the affordable [moderate income] units would be.

However, while some people grumbled, the rents are still significantly less than what is available on the open market. In a recent report released by Modern Spaces (an advertiser with the Sunnysidepost), the average studio apartment in a luxury Long Island City building is currently renting for more than $2,500, while one bedrooms are going for about $3,200.

The Hunters Point South apartments, unlike the other luxury Hunters Point buildings, will be “permanently” affordable. Therefore, the rent renewals are determined by a New York City formula– based on the Rent Guidelines Board.

Furthermore, once a lease is signed, tenants are not subject to any income restrictions from that point on.

However, the key is getting an apartment in the first place—and tens of thousands of people are expected to apply.

Attendees were told that they would have 60 days to submit their application after the application period begins. Monterisi said that there would be a vigorous marketing campaign once the 60-day period opens. Residents can also register at HuntersPointSouthLiving.com to be notified of the date.

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

The application can be submitted online at New York Housing Connect (nyc.gov/housingconnect). Applicants will be required to create a personal profile that provides details as to their income, assets and the number of people who are likely to live in a given unit.

There is no actual limit on assets when applying for a “moderate” apartment. The main focus is on the applicant’s earnings and whether those assets will affect that figure.

Successful applicants will be notified during the first quarter of 2015, with the goal for it to be fully leased by spring 2015.

affordablehousingmoderate income

 

 

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

Woodside subway

Sept. 30, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

 

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‘The Good Wife’ to film in Sunnyside Tuesday

GoodwifeSept. 29, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

Film crew getting ready for shoot on Skillman Avenue

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

completion-465x348

Sept. 28, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

For details on the meetings, see below:

HPS Town Halls Flyer 091714-1

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

Recently-opened Blu Orchid part of Sunnyside Restaurant Week

Sept. 25, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Takesushi

Takesushi

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

Venturo sunnyside

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside Farmers Market1

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

All three drivers have yet to be caught.

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

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

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

Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers.

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

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Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena

arenaSept. 23, By Christian Murray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunnyside Gardens Arena

Sunnyside Garden Arena

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Sunnyside farmers market will be open all-year round, if organizers get community support
Sunnyside Farmers Market1 Sept. 24, By Christian Murray The Sunnyside Greenmarket might be open all-year round if the organizers get enough support from the community. The market, which is located on Skillman Avenue between 42nd and 43rd Streets, is currently open on Saturdays from May through December. However, Jessenia Cagle, the coordinator of the market, said that the farmers are willing to come to Sunnyside all-year round. She said that she has been circulating a petition calling for market to remain open every Saturday--including during the cold winter months. So far she has 800 signatures. The petition has recently gone online and can be found by clicking on this link:  http://conta.cc/1nxfS6H “I think the neighborhood is ready for it,” Cagle said. “There are a lot of people in the area who like fresh, local food—and they don’t want to have to go too far to get it especially in winter.” The market, which opened in June 2007, has been a success, Cagle said. Presently there are 16 farmers/vendors out each weekend selling items such as bread, vegetables, meat and fish. This year the market opened a month earlier than in previous years and plenty of residents came out and bought items, Cagle said. “We were very busy, it was great,” she said. The move to open year round would not be unprecedented in Queens. Cagle said the market in Jackson Heights, which was once seasonal, now operates all year round. Cagle said that not all of the vegetable providers will be able to come out in winter due to the seasonal nature of their produce. However, she expects about 10 vendors will participate during the cold winter months. “I think if we get enough support, there is a strong possibility that we will be open this winter,” she said.
Van Bramer’s hit-and-run bill is passed by the city council
Van Bramer, xxx , Melissa Mark Viverto (Source:  Bill Alatriste)

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

Sept. 24, By Christian Murray The city council passed legislation yesterday that would fine drivers who flee the scene of an accident up to $10,000. The Council voted 49-0 in favor of the legislation that was introduced by Jimmy Van Bramer following three hit-and-run deaths that have occurred in Western Queens in the past year. “I am proud to have sponsored Intro 371, the ‘Justice for Hit and Run Victims Act,’” Van Bramer said in a statement. “I was moved to introduce this bill in response to the death of three people who were killed in my district by drivers who fled the scene.” Last September, Luis Bravo, 19, was killed crossing Broadway in Woodside. Meanwhile, Karen Pheras, 20, was struck and killed around the same time crossing Queens Plaza North. Then in March, Kumar Ragunath, 64, was killed crossing Northern Boulevard in Long Island City. “They all lost their lives because of the unconscionable actions of reckless drivers who showed no concern for the lives of these three people,” Van Bramer said. “We will never know if one or all of them could have been saved had the drivers done the right thing: stopped their car and called 911.” All three drivers have yet to be caught. “It’s something you never get over,” said Bravo’s mother, Martha Puruncajas, at a recent council hearing.”The pain is unbearable, the pain stays,” she said, adding that she hopes stiffer penalties would prevent future tragedies. Under the bill, those who leave the scene of an incident without taking action would be subject to pay a civil penalty of up to $500 if property damage stems from the incident; $1,000 to $2,000 if a person is injured; and $2,000 to $10,000 if there is serious injury or death. Currently there are no “civil” penalties in New York City if someone flees. Criminal penalties are determined by the state lawmakers. Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign the bill into law. The law would take effect ninety days after he signs it.
Sunnyside Street co-named after famous sporting arena
arenaSept. 23, By Christian Murray City officials and boxing enthusiasts turned out Saturday for the co-naming of 45th Street to pay tribute to the now-demolished Sunnyside Garden Arena where fighters and wrestlers used to duke it out. The Sunnyside Garden Arena, a 2,000-seat venue that was once located where Wendy’s now stands at 44-11 Queens Blvd, hosted boxing events from 1945 to 1977 during the golden years of NYC boxing. Many famous fighters from that era got their start at the arena, and it was a stepping stone to the brighter lights of Madison Square Garden. Members of the Ring 8 Boxing Association, a group for retired boxers, unveiled the new street sign along with Dave Diamante, the official announcer at the Barclays Center, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. Two years ago, many of the same boxing enthusiasts came out when a memorial was placed on the front lawn of Wendy’s that also marked the location. John Edebohls, who was raised just a couple of blocks away from the arena, said when the memorial was unveiled:“This place launched many careers: Emile Griffith [middleweight world champ] and Jose Torres [light heavyweight world champ].” The arena was where Gerry Cooney launched his professional career, Edebolhs said. Cooney would go on to fight Larry Holmes in 1982 for the heavyweight title. Cooney lost. Luke Adams, a member of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, said when the monument was unveiled that the arena was not just for boxing. “They had proms there, they made a movie there (Mr. Universe), and in 1960 John F. Kennedy had one of the first rallies of his Presidential campaign there.”
Sunnyside Gardens Arena

Sunnyside Garden Arena

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

Irish Music Festival

Sept. 22, By Michael Florio Eleven bars and restaurants—known as Sunnyside's Boulevard Bars--are teaming up to host an Irish music festival this Saturday. The eleven establishments, which are located on or near Queens Blvd, are hosting the 2nd annual Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day music festival. The event will kick off at 6 pm, Sept. 27, with live music and drink specials at every participating bar. The drink specials are for party goers who purchase a $10 wristband. The specials, which are available at all 11 establishments, include $3 ciders, $4 well drinks and $5 craft beers. Each bar/restaurant may also offer its own additional specials. There will be live music, dancing, bagpipers and DJs. There will also be authentic Irish meals, such as Bar 43’s Irish festival menu, which will consist of Irish beef stew, Irish style fish and chips and an all day Irish breakfast. Proceeds from the event will be donated to wounded veterans who are currently being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Participating bars include, The Courtyard Ale House, Bar 43, McGuinness's Saloon, PJ Horgan's, Molly Blooms, Jack's Fire Dept., Bliss Street Station, Arriba Arriba, The Gaslight, Sidetracks, and Maggie Mae's. The event will be the Boulevard of Bars’ sixth major event in the past two years. So far, it has raised more than $25,000 for charities and local organizations. Music Lineup - Boulevard Bars-1  
Sunnyside resident documents the rise and fall of Comic Book Heaven
Comic Book Heaven from E.J. McLeavey-Fisher on Vimeo. Sept. 22, By Christian Murray A well-known comic store called Comic Book Heaven closed last year after being in operation for about thirty years. Joseph Liesner, 80, the owner of the comic store (which was located at 48-14 Skillman Avenue), said last year that he decided to shut down the business since there was little interest in comic books anymore. “The store’s not making any money and, besides, I’m as old as Methuselah,” Liesner said last year, with a wide grin. Sunnyside resident E.J. McLeavey-Fisher released this video documentary on Liesner and his store. Liesner claimed last June that the digital age is what has killed his business. “The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.” Comic Book Heaven moved to Skillman Avenue three decades ago, after doing a brisk business at a flea market at the corner of Queens Blvd and Jackson Avenue.
No. 7 train to be closed from Times Square to 74th Street this weekend
No. 7 train and Sunnyside QueensSept. 19, By Michael Florio Getting around New York City is going to be a lot tougher for many residents of Sunnyside and Woodside this weekend. No. 7 train service between Times Square-42nd Street and 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave will be suspended from 2 am Saturday through 4:30 am Monday, according to the MTA. In lieu of the closures, the MTA will be providing two free shuttle services this weekend. One will run from Vernon Blvd/Jackson Ave to Queensboro Plaza, stopping at Hunters Point Ave, 45th Road/Court House Square, and Queens Plaza. The other will run between Queensboro Plaza and 74th Street/Broadway, stopping at 33rd Street, 40th Street, 46th Street, 52nd Street, 61st Street/Woodside, and 69th Street. The service disruptions are due to ongoing construction taking place along the 7 line and are expected to continue until 2017.  
New trees, tree guards and plantings coming to Sunnyside’s commercial district
treeguard Sept. 18, By Christian Murray Sunnyside's commercial district is on its way to looking a whole lot greener. Sunnyside Shines is about to plant an additional 27 trees throughout the business improvement district to ensure that every street is covered. Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, said that the district currently has 126 trees and after the planting there will be 153, which will line Queens Boulevard (38th to 50th Street), Greenpoint Avenue (42nd to Queens Boulevard) and nearby streets. The 27 new trees are expected to be planted this fall, care of a grant the BID was able to secure from the Queens Borough President's office  in June. These trees will also be fit with tree guards, as part of the BID’s quest to ensure that all 153 trees in the district eventually have guards. “Street trees provide so many benefits to the district,” Thieme said. “They create a buffer between traffic and pedestrians, provide cleaner air and help create a more attractive neighborhood.” Currently, 27 of the 126 trees have tree guards—following the recent installation of 19 tree guards on the north side of Queens Boulevard between 40th and 45th Street, which was in part funded by Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office. The first eight guards were installed in January—when White Castle and Pickman Realty covered the cost to put them in on the south side of Queens Boulevard (between 43rd and 44th Streets) and on 46th Street (between Queens Boulevard and Greenpoint Avenue). “The tree guards are a big improvement to the Sunnyside streetscape,” Thieme said. “They protect the tree roots and plants, which will keep the district looking greener. “ The standard cost of a tree guard is about $1,000, after it is measured and custom-made for a given location. Some cost more if the tree bed has to be expanded. Thieme said that BID plans add another 15 guards early next year—although it is still working out its budget. In addition to the trees and guards, the BID plans to add plantings to all the tree beds throughout the district. The BID has started planting a type of Liriope, which is an ever-green with a purple summer bloom, to some of tree beds. Some businesses have taken it upon themselves to add plantings to tree beds. For instance AAA hardware, located at 43-24 Queens Boulevard, and Takesushi, at 43-46 42nd Street, have flowers outside their establishments already in bloom.
AAA Hardware

AAA Hardware

Sunnyside resident sentenced to 2-to-6 years for possessing child porn
gavelSept. 16, By Christian Murray A Sunnyside man who was found guilty of possessing thousands of child porn files on his home computer was sentenced yesterday to between two to six years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said that Ernest Hernandez, 29, had plead guilty to the charge of “promoting a sexual performance of a child,” after police uncovered nearly 3,000 images and more than 600 videos of children of various ages engaged in sex acts on his computer. “The videos and images on the defendant’s computer and portable hard drives were vile and extremely disturbing,” Brown said in a statement. “Let this be a warning to others, if they use the Internet for their own sexual gratification and engage in activity that involves children, they will be punished.” This was Hernandez’ first offense, Brown said. However, the defendant told the court that he had been looking at child pornography since he was 17.
Police arrest Sunnysider who robbed Amazon Pharmacy Thursday
Amazon-pharmacy Sept. 15, By Christian Murray The police have arrested a man who entered Amazon Pharmacy on Thursday with a knife and demanded prescription drugs. Patrick McNamara, a 37-year-old Sunnyside resident, allegedly entered the 43-10 Queens Boulevard establishment at about 5:30 pm Thursday, displayed a knife and demanded drugs. The pharmacist complied with his wishes before McNamara fled. The police were able to track McNamara down and he was arrested on a variety of charges, such as robbery, criminal possession of a weapon and possession of a controlled substance. No one was hurt in the incident.
Sunnyside’s business groups have neighborhood all ‘mapped’ out
maps_fanned Sept. 12, By Christian Murray Sunnyside shoppers will no longer have to ask for directions—as there will be several maps out there telling them how to find local businesses. The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce announced Wednesday that it is producing a comprehensive map that will pinpoint the location of every business in the neighborhood. The Chamber anticipates the map will be ready by June 2015 and plans to make it available online—and mobile friendly. The announcement came at the chamber’s monthly meeting at Ariyoshi Japanese restaurant Wednesday--just weeks before Sunnyside Shines BID unveils its map that will also list many of the same businesses. Rachel Thieme, the executive director of the BID, was caught by surprise when she heard for the first time—at the meeting-- that the chamber was going it alone and doing its own map. She thought that the chamber and the BID were partnering up on the map that is about to be unveiled—where 15,000 copies will be printed and distributed to hotels, real estate offices and other venues. “This is news to me that the chamber is not partnering with us on the map,” Thieme said at the meeting, adding that she had spoken to Rigo Cardoso, the chamber president, who supported the project. “We need a resolution on this ASAP.” Thieme said that both organizations logos were going to be on the map—just like last year’s--which was a joint project. However, Luke Adams, marketing director at the Chamber of Commerce, said at the meeting that the chamber was not happy about the way the BID is soliciting ads that are being incorporated as part of the map. The one-time ads, which range from $200 to $800, are deemed too expensive, and he didn’t think it was fair that small businesses—many of whom are chamber members-- were being asked to pay such prices. Furthermore, he said, the chamber was not aware of the ad rates until some of its members received solicitations. However, Thieme said that those businesses that are part of the chamber are listed on the map for free—like last year’s version. She said that the ads were just optional and would help cover the cost of printing and distributing the maps. Nevertheless, the chamber believes that it can create a better map, one that will be digital and include every business in the neighborhood. The chamber has applied for a state grant to go ahead and produce its own. Sunnyside Chamber of CommerceThe chamber’s decision sparked some controversy at the meeting. Czarinna Andres, who is on the board of both the BID and the chamber, said that she had no idea that the chamber was coming out with its own map. She said that as a chamber board member she should have been made aware of the decision beforehand. “I should know when these decisions are being made-- that is why I am on the board,” Andres said. “That is how organizations are run,” she said, adding that some members who are not on the board are making too many decisions. Meanwhile, Michael Fonte who is a board member for both organizations, said he too was not aware of the decision to go ahead with the map. He said that there were “too many decisions being made behind the scenes.” However, Pat Dorfman, a member of the chamber who is actively involved in the creation of the new map, said “we want to support the BID, which is a fine organization.” “We are not opposed to working with them,” Dorfman said, referring to the landlord-funded organization. However, “the chamber is all about small businesses.”
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