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700-Seat Middle School on Barnett Avenue Gets Public Siting Subcommittee Approval

Site of the former Sunnyside Community Garage, where a new middle school has been proposed (Queens Post)

Nov. 21, 2017   By Nathaly Pesantez

Plans for a new middle school in Sunnyside are inching closer to reality as the City Council’s subcommittee on Landmarks and Public Siting unanimously approved the site selection for a nearly-700 seat public school right by Sunnyside’s historic district.

The school, proposed for 38-04 48th St., flush along 48th Street and Barnett Avenue, would seat approximately 697 students at the site of the Sunnyside Community Garage, a two-story structure built around 1927. The building, within a lot area of 25,000 square-feet, has been vacant for the past four years after hosting a string of businesses, including a billiards hall.

The building at 38-04 48th St. today, where a school has been proposed. (Queens Post)

The school’s design is still under progress, Michael Mirisola, director of external affairs for the School Construction Authority, said before five members of the subcommittee at a hearing on Nov. 20. But the final design would see a school building of about four to five stories for students in grades 6 to 8.

Standard school features, like a lunchroom, a kitchen, a “gymnatorium”, and rooms for science, music, and art, will be worked into the forthcoming school’s design. Mirisola, along with Kathy Murphy, director of real estate services for the SCA, said they are also working hard to include a ground level playground at the site.

Preservation concerns were raised by Mirisola and Murphy at the hearing, prompted by their discussions with Community Board 2 residents last year who asked about implementing some of the Sunnyside Community Garage’s original features, which included a tower, brick work, and extensive decorations, into the new school. “We will try and work to bring some of those details back in the proposed school,” Mirisola said.

Sunnyside Community Garage in its prime.

The existing building bears little to no resemblance to the original garage, and is plagued with structural issues which call for the site to be torn down completely to make the new school, Mirisola said. “We provided all that information to the state historic office when we were working with them to try to see if we can re-use the site,” Murphy said. “We weren’t able to.”

Mirisola added that the SCA will be working in conjunction with Community Board 2, Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer, and a specially-designed community group through every step of the way.

The proposed public school, on a site which the SCA would have to acquire, as it is currently on the privately owned, will now have to face the full Land Use Committee and a vote by the city council.

News of the SCA scoping the site for an intermediate school first came about in the fall of 2016. Since then, the SCA held several meetings with the community, which resulted in CB2 overwhelmingly voting for the school to come to the historic district in the winter of 2016.

The school, which still needs to receive its required approvals from the city and undergo a bidding and final design process, could open in 2021 if everything is on schedule, Mirisola said last year.

96 Comments

Mac

Mary start writing fictional novels or crime stories because that’s just nuts. There are cameras everywhere now. What a nut




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Anonymous

We need a local parking lot more than ever now. People will pay loads for it, so much they may be able to add a level or two. And Phipps should build a second level on their lot the waiting list back there is months long. It used to be just for Phipps residents, but it is full of commercial vehicles paying in the vicinity of $400 a month. They have a gold mine and it doesn’t require massive tax cuts from the city to operate it. Despite their claims to the contrary, they have been in the parking lot business for about 70 years, they just never operated it to its greatest efficiency.




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Mary L

If it’s such a massively profitable idea, then find an investor and make it happen.

Wonder why there’s not parking garages in the city? Because they’re not profitable enough.




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Mary L

Besides, Parking Garages promote crime. People plot crimes and meet in them. A guy was murdered in one, and a car was stolen from one. No parking garages.




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Mary L

WOW….There are some low performing imbeciles posting to this site. Admin needs to assign one posting ID to each e-mail signing up to post. This jerk who came out on the losing end of a discussion has now hijacked my posting ID. This is an issue that can easily be resolved. This hijacking undermines the integrity of the comments posted to this blog.




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Mary L

admin should call cyber police — web sites are dangerous. we shouldn’t have web sites because a crime was commited on one. I’ve already called Gateway computer and their looking into this idiotic imposter. The integrity of this comment section has hit an all time low. Sad.




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Me

Those who complain “no place to park”… Parking during day time makes no sense to me, if you have a car, it should be there to go to work, etc, if you keep your car on street week long and complain about lack of parking, well maybe you are part of the parking problem in the neighborhood.




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Oppressed Masses

I hope the new school will have a spot to commemorate great moments in north Sunnyside history like the radish war which took place in the Sunnyside Community Garden directly across 48th Street.




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Mary L

Don’t forget the good students who stole the car idling outside the garage on 47th street last year.




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Luna

A little boy was hit and killed in a car accident a few years back crossing the street on his way to school with his sister just a few blocks from Sports Authority, and so many people were outraged at how unsafe Northern Blvd is, putting speed bumps in and everything. Plus an guy who was waiting for the bus was killed when a vehicle crashed into the bus stop.

Yet now so many people are saying the Sports Authority building, a building in close range of two deadly accidents, one of which included a child crossing to go to school, is better and safer then 38-04 48th St which barely has any cars going down it at any time of day except for 48th street but even that has very few card. Plus 38-04 48th St’s speed limit is far lower then Northern Blvd because its not a major road.

We need a new school. All the ones around Sunnyside is crowded, I.S 125 had to build over their playground to make room for more and more students. Build the new school at 38-04 48th St and make it for Sunnyside residents children only to avoid over crowding from children outside the area.




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Anonymous

No one wants anyone to be killed in a traffic accident. You are incorrect about any road around that building having “barely . . . any cars” traveling on it. It is busy all the time with traffic moving between Queens and Northern Blvds. There are only a few ways to cross under those tracks and 48th St. is one of them. Because of “traffic calming” measures taken everywhere around here much of the traffic that used to stay on QB and Northern now snakes through the neighborhoods. I’ve seen cars backed up all the way from 39th Avenue to Skillman on little old 51st St. at rush hour. I had to wait through ten lights once for a break in traffic large enough for me to back into a parking spot. The city is causing the bad traffic by squeezing more people into a small area. Don’t blame people for trying to keep a semblance of livability in what was until recently a quiet, little known, never hyped friendly little neighborhood. You would do the same thing if it were happening to your beloved home.




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Luna

It did, a school was built right by my house and there is no extra traffic or kids running a muck in the area. I’ve been around the school near by place during dismissal and the teachers and parents do their job to keep the kids in line and not run around and the teachers also make sure dismissal goes smoothly to where parents get their kids and leave unless they need to speak with them. Kids are each brought to their buses and they leave.

Even on day one there was no massive traffic jam up either street the school is in the middle of.

I’ve been around the area this new school is going to be built on various times of the day throughout the week as I travel around the area a lot. The only cars I see going driving along that road are people who live in Sunnyside Towers because they always pull into that buildings parking garage. I once had to wait around that area for a friend of mine for an hour and a half due to them having something come up at home that made them late. This was around rush hour, I only saw one car go through that road with 48th being more busy.

If people are so concerned with traffic issues and kids running around then the residents need to make it clear that its a problem to the teachers and other staff as well as parents to make it stop. Because that’s what the teachers and parents of the kids at the school around my house do, the second a kid starts running around like a maniac they stop them immediately and the parents hold their hand to keep them from doing it anymore.




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Anonymous

So I take it that new school by your house is not a middle school, correct? You are comparing apples to hand grenades. Visit 125 in the afternoon.




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Anonymous

I was thinking more about traffic on 48th St. being quite busy I drive along Barnett in the morning on my way to work and have had to wait through several lights going westbound onto 48th before I could drive across. Then there were trucks pulling in or out of the businesses back there that kept the two way traffic backed up for another few minutes. Not that I doubt your experience, but patterns are different at different times of day. It used to be that on alternate side days you could always park on Barnett, although you wouldn’t want to leave your car for long, or under the train trestle or at the very worst on 38th Avenue just beyond the trestle. Those spots are usually full now. Where will all the teachers and administrators park if not on the streets immediately adjacent to the school? With 158 spaces on Skillman and 43rd disappearing, (which I think is so outrageous it leaves me breathless) more of those private cars will come down toward us. In the past six months I have been looking all over for a private garage or at east a spot in the lot on Barnett to rent because I anticipate getting migraines every day in the parking battle every evening. The prices have gone by hundreds of dollars in the past five years. I’m nearing the end of my career, anticipating living on a fixed income soon, taking on an additional monthly expense like parking will force me to cut back elsewhere. I’m sorry, but rapid growth is not good for everyone no matter what the PR people tell you.




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Tootsietooters

I’d like to see some evidence of a new school “ruining” a neighborhood. When a bunch of people, likely without kids complain about a new school it’s the sign of a decaying community. For those so concerned with traffic and parking, NYC is possibly the worst place for you to reside.




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Anonymous

I’d like to see evidence of a new school benefitting anyone but parents with young kids. NYC has plenty of schools, many within walking distance of the rare and desperately needed parking garage. Your comment about traffic and parking reveals your ignorance of what living here has always been. The public transit network is geared toward Manhattan. People in Queens often work in Manhattan but do much more on Long Island. That is how the existing transportation and road systems were designed. We are at the beginning of changes in many of these things, but people who have been here for decades, who’s lives are settled into a good working pattern are suffering crippling disruptions because the changes are coming too fast to adequately adjust to.
If you are brand new here they may seem great but please open your mind and try to understand people who have a different set of needs. It makes for a better community if we all try to understand each other rather than call each other names and come to quick conclusions about what other people should do.




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Anonymous

Easy solution for you: move to Long Island. You cannot adjust to having an urban life …. why do you live in New York City?




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Mary L

Toots-Just stand on the corner of QB and 46th street when IS 125 let’s out. Just last year 3 students nearly murdered another student, it made the papers. Oh, and I’m a parent who also attended the school.




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Mary L

Toots- Your quoted question “I’d like to see some evidence of a new school “ruining” a neighborhood.” Attempted murder and auto thefts are a great examples of a “neighborhood getting ruined”. My original opposition to this school was its location but now you’ve enlightened me, the associated crime is now my main objection. Thanks for your assistance in my awakening.




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Life long Sunnysidet

Tooters- You’re the one with the flawed logic. Mary and Bruno are correct. The student who was the victim of that brutal assault will never be the same. The auto theft incident is at least comical in the sense these three idiots were caught on video looking confused and panicked. Please note all perps in these two felonies have been apprehended and actually turned in by other students who named them in comment section of this blog. The stories concerning these two high profile crimes can be found right here in the Sunnyside Post. Look them up. You obviously didn’t go to school around here you sound terribly naive.




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Bruno

-Mary, You’re absolutely correct. Those 2 felonies related to IS 125 that made the papers were just months apart and in the same school year. How many other crimes are coming out that school that aren’t hitting the press?




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Michael

It’s people with kids who feel entitled to ruin a whole neighborhood for the sake of your kids!




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patret

There are a myriad of problems with this proposed placement of the new intermediate school. Sunnyside Gardens already has a dearth of available parking spaces. Will the staff of this new school have on site parking? If the current building is too unstable and needs to be torn down and replaced, why doesn’t the SCA look into the large empty lot , just north of the LIRR trestle. It seems large enough to accommodate both the school and staff parking. I also do not look forward to large groups of teenagers walking or running through a quiet neighborhood during the extended, multi-timed end of day dismissals.




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Tony Smith

Why cant they not build the school and have PS 11 and PS 150 go to 8th grade. There is a large new extension at PS 11 and the enrollment is going down. There is room there and at PS 150 with so many rooms there being used as extra rooms. There enrollment is down too. Use the top floors as a Junior High School. They already go to 6th grade and let the kids stay there.




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Tony Smith

I agree, there is plenty of room at IS 125 now with that large new wing the tax payers just paid for! No reason for this school or the one across from the bowling alley in Jackson Heights.




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Marie J

The Sports Authority Lot is the best place for the school! Room for a nice yard and the train station and bus right there. The kids come from the same side of Northern Blvd, so people would not cross the Blvd.




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Anonymous

I’ve suggested that idea several times. There are no residences directly adjacent to that spot. There is plenty of parking. There is room for a school yard. No need to squish a gym and an auditorium together.




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Anonymous

they have a school like this in Astoria no need for another one — let kids ride the buses instead of being driven to school every day —




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Anonymous

I am honestly so disappointed with some of the comments here. Sunnysiders are usually very welcoming and positive, especially for a project that will have a tremendous positive impact on hundreds of kids in the neighborhood every year. Children in Sunnyside have the right to go to school in their neighborhood. To claim otherwise is very self-centered.




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Anonymous

While you may have some points, your conclusions are absurd. People all over the world travel a bit to school. This is an unusual, planned community. People who live here have a right to defend the aspects of life here that make this neighborhood worth living in. So, please, don’t call anyone names or label them in negative ways. If you don’t see how the city is methodically destroying the quality of life in many previously low-density, low-traffic areas so they can collect more tax dollars, that is your perspective. Other people see it and fight for what they value, which is our right.




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Anonymous

Buses drive kids to school and take up a great deal of room at certain points in the day. Administrators and teachers routinely drive to school. This neighborhood already has a big traffic and parking problem. Access in and out of the neighborhood is severely limited because it backs up against the LIRR. One of the busiest shopping centers in the region is just on the other side of the tracks. Think about it.




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Anonymous

What the hell are US Censors? If you mean the US Census Bureau they do indeed count all residents legal or otherwise. Getting illegal aliens to participate in the census is another matter.




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Anonymous

This location is really not suitable. People are not going to be happy with the terrible traffic and the roaming teens. There will also be trash everywhere. Forget about parking. There will be so many negative effects. They should build it on the other side of the tracks.




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Anonymous

Yes, please do forget about parking. People whining about parking all the time obviously need to reconsider their choice of neighborhood Why do you live in NYC and think you have any right to parking? If you think you need to own a car, move to the suburbs. You can’t live within walking distance of a subway and expect your private vehicle to be accommodated.




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Michael

People that have lived here for years have always had no problem with the parking situation until last 5 years. When commuters from Long Island park in our neighborhood to avoid the toll for the midtown tunnel, when hospital workers from the Upper East Side use our neighborhood to park their cars and commute into the city for work, etc, something has to be done! Now you want to add a 700+ seat school to the mix and tell me that it will not create an even bigger parking problem!!! Go to ANY school and stand outside and watch all the cars, delivery trucks, etc lined up down the block EVERY hour of the school day!! This location is simply NOT RIGHT !!!




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Oil Beef Hooked

In the last 8 years, I have literally never seen anyone park their car, then walk to the train station. Where do you get this idea?




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Joanne

Oil- You obviously don’t get out much. People from other neighborhoods parking in the area has been going on since the beginning of time. Just come over to 46th & 47th streets off QB in the early morning. Better yet in the afternoon when the construction guys get in their parked cars and clean out the garbage from their cars and lay it on the street and pull out.




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urbo

As someone who went to school in queens and brooklyn I can say with confidence that none of my teachers ever drove to school, and that I only took public transportation or walked.

do you want to know the crazy thing about the handful of teachers that might decide to drive to school? They miraculously disappear at 3:00 every day, before you get home from work.

also are you really serious when you say “the other side of the tracks”? What do you think the tracks separate or protect you from?




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David

urbo- To answer your question “the other side of the tracks”? What do you think the tracks separate or protect you from?” Idling delivery trucks, double parked cars, loitering groups of people, just to name a few things. As someone who went to PS150, JHS125 and graduated WC Bryant High School, I can say with confidence that all my teachers drove to school.




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Blue T-Shirt Geek

I heard the school is going to specialize in music and be named “The Oran Juice Jones Middle School for The Performing Arts ,JHS 13”. Maybe someday they will do a movie about it similar to the hollywood production called Fame!




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KeepMoving

This is going to be another way to make Sunnyside unlivable. On top of the congested/barely running 7 train, the buildings that are being build that will drive in huge amount of people and the already congested streets and parking spots will transform the area. Sunnyside was once a really nice, suburban neighborhood, calm and tranquil. In a year or two, this area will become worse than Astoria.
My parking spot already went up from 200$ to 275$ the past year. I might as well move to Manhattan. At least that would justify the high price.




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Barnett Avenue Street Bum

Wish they would keep the racket down. They’ve been keeping me and Bruno the DBD awake with the construction noise. We are going to insulate our Frigidaire box house with some noise reduction material.




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Anonymous

Nobody stopped caring. I wish the Sunnyside Post told the truth about the building. It was integral to the design of Sunnyside Gardens and saying it bears little resemblance to the original structure is a flat out lie. Community leaders were in cahoots with real estate interests during the rezoning process, which took place without much publicity, and purposefully and wrongfully left this building and the buildings on the north side of Barnett Avenue out of the landmarked zone. Shoehorning in a middle school is a disgusting disfigurement of this quiet place. Lots of decisions are made behind closed doors in rooms far from the people of this community. Fie on the locals who foolishly played into their hands.




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Historic shmorick

Sorry Charlie but the area north of Barnett is for Skells…..or numbskulls like Bruno the DBD.




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Oil, Beef, Hooked.

The original looks like a prison.

Glad to have another school in the community. Learning is the key to successes.




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Lifelong Woodsider

Excellent news! Finally a middle school for our neighborhood north of Queens Blvd! I’ve been touring middle schools for weeks now.. too bad my 10 year old won’t benefit from this..but her little brother will!




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Marie J

There is plenty of room at IS 125 with a brand new multimillion dollar new wing and PS 199 now keeping its 5th grade classes at their building. No reason for this school other than PS 11 and PS 150 parents do not like IS 125. Waste of money!




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Anonymous

Self-important parents, who see no reason why the rest of the world should commit hari-kari in order to benefit their children, are unendurable. This generation of parents has no respect for anyone else. It is a shame.




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The Tree of Liberty

Geez another school being built…another example of the outcome of illegals living among us,,, having to pay for their schooling, food and medical. I dont see a bunch of new public schools being built on the upper east side…illegals cant afford the rent like me.
I am not a republican or a democrat they are both to blame….




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Mike

Tree of Liberty- You’re assessment of why new schools are being built is way off and shows your lack of knowledge of the history of the area. When I was growing up in the Sunnyside in the 60’s a huge percentage if not majority of families in the area sent their children to private schools like St. Theresa, Queen of Angels for elementary and Jr. High and Malloy St.Agnes, Holy Cross etc etc for high school.,This trend started to slow in the 90’s that’s why a number of private schools in the area closed. School construction and funding is based on US Censors statistics, illegal aliens are not picked up by the US Censors just US citizens. Please get informed and stop hysterically spreading misinformation, this behavior is harming our country.




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Anonymous

A gymnatorium is a room that acts as both a gym and an auditorium, which is becoming commonplace in NYC public schools.




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Michael Kilpatrick

Would it be possible that Steve Madden would be interested in moving their operations to this location and the old school building that currently occupied by Steve Madden could be used for a school again? Just a thought! As a community, we need to come up with a better solution.




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Me

Do you think anyone will consider a better solution. City will do whatever it decided to do, and that’s it. I wonder how they came up with this solution, was the site a gift to DOE or city by someone? It’s really an odd choice, but it’s a school and not a bar or another nail salon or pawn shop or hotel, so at least it’s something good. So many people complain about the school, with no proof or research. Were there other schools that suddenly caused traffic delays? Who uses that barlett ave anyway? It’s a hell hole two-way death trap, that street should be blocked during school hours for school buses only, case closed.




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Mike

This is a terrible mistake. 700 teenagers, dozens of school employees, parents vendors making deliveries with trucks. This strip of the neighborhood was not zoned for this for a reason. Zoning laws are in place for a reason. Ignoring the zoning laws and the hand out of zoning variances has created the over crowded subways, buses and streets in the borough. This is going to destroy the quality of life in the gardens. Please mark my words.




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Lifelong Woodsider

Middle School = 6,7,8 th grades.. ages 11,12, 13..
Seriously, relax!
Quality of life? How about the quality of life of the children on this neighborhood that don’t have middle school? Do you know where the middle school in Woodside is? There isn’t one.. and the only one in Sunnyside is on the other side of Queens Boulevard.
I’ve loved here for 41 years..there was not a middle school then either and I had to go to Astoria..
I think it’s about time OUR neighborhood has a school for OUR kids!




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Travis Pickle

That sounds nice, but the snobs in the gardens don’t send their kids to the schools around here anyway. They go to private or charters mostly. Most of the parents like to brag about living in a diverse area but the truth is they avoid diversity as much as possible.




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Mike

Life Long Woodsider – I have lived on 46th Street off Queens Blvd. for close to 60 years and know the problems a middle school can bring with 125 right up the street. When school lets out there are fights, acts of vandalism and other issues associated with unsupervised children. These problems were also the center of discussion in the 1960’s when my my sister and I were students at the school so they’re nothing new. The area where the school is located is the secluded back end of the gardens with a strip of lots that rest up against th LI Railroad tracks that are zoned for light industry since the developers knew it would be impossible for people to reside in comfort and peace on such lots. The zone was never meant for a school. We will hear the complaints kids vandalizing homes fighting in back yards and trespassing onto the rail road tracks. The school needs to be in a safer commercial district plain and simple.




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Mary L

Life long Woodsider -6th grade – student enters at 11 but exits at 12, 7th grade student enters at 12 exits at 13. 8th grade student enters at 13 and exits at 14. Are you trying to mislead and play down the number of “teenagers”?




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Anonymous

Just because you pay a million dollars doesn’t mean my kid can’t have a middle school in his/her neighborhood..
My family had a been in this neighborhood for 57 years and this was an issue when my mother was going to middle schools too!
A neighborhood deserves a middle school.. children deserve a school they can walk to..




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Michael Kilpatrick

This is simply a very bad idea!! This location is not right for a 700 seat school. Is there anybody with any common sense really listening or paying attention?? The surrounding streets can not accommodate this kind of traffic. On top of that, I’m sure they will take over all of the parking “for school purposes only”!!’




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Anonymous

If you expect public streets to accommodate parking for your private vehicle, move to the suburbs. It is ridiculous to own a car in Western Queens. Why do people like this still live in NYC?




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John z

Yes but now that people learned they are losing parking on skillman perhaps they should reconsider (I was a fan of the school before btw..)




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Anonymous

this is the biggest mistake I have ever seen — do you realize the traffic that is going to be over there – kids running around buses all over – a diaster for sure and we all have to pay for another school NOT RIGHT




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A.Bundy

agreed, but the area is very industrial and desolate. it is also across the street from the LIRR train tracks and that nasty sbridge, which is very grimy. Maybe if the closed columbian bar at the corner re-opened as a bodega or something…




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