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El Shater to Close End of April

April 7, 2011 Staff Report

El Shater, which has been serving Middle Eastern food in Sunnyside for 17 years, will be leaving the neighborhood.

The store, located at the corner of 43rd street/and 43rd Ave, is expected to move to Astoria. The business owner and landlord could not come to an agreement on a new lease.

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Anonymous

This store provided affordale Middle Eastern products. You can get fresh pita, fresh halal meat such beef, lamb or chicken. The store employees are so friendly, and accomdating. It gave Sunnyside, and Woodside community added diversity. The store was clean and well kept. I wish them the best in Astoria, but I hope they come back here.
NYC is nothing but a greedy real estate market, where rent and property are absurdly inflated. Walk around Sunnyside or Woodside how many Lebanese or Arab food markets can you find.
I guess this was the only one.

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neighbor

any where el shater gamily will be i know that all the people will follow there food and there services

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Sandy

Hey guys, I am one of the daughter’s owners!! You know…..Hassan!! Probably, you are familiar!! Thank You for all those nice comments!! I am 11 years old and I am very sad to hear about my daddy losing this store!! I agree that the store is very unimproved, but this store has been here for 17 YEARS!! Cut the guys a break!! They work their butts off everyday and the stupid landlords dont notice it!! If I had a penny for every time this has happened in front of my EYES, I would be filthy RICH!! It is a very sad moment for me!! I cried so hard and I FAINTED for 10 minutes!! And NOW, I am moving out of state because of the loss of my daddy’s store!! SOMETHING MUST BE DONE AND FAST!!!!

THANK YOU!!!!

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JS

Damn! Where the heck is our Sunnyside BID/Sunnyside Shines? Nothing but vacancies all over. Yeah, the logo is colorful, the snowflakes look cool lit up in winter but the heart of the community is being ripped out. This is like giving a dying man a fancy cut and blowdry. Please all you people in charge do something really meaningful, stop focusing on the cute little improvements that look nice in the Woodside Herald and get business moving in this town.

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raquel

Does anybody actually go to the Starbucks on Queens Boulevard? What a waste of space that is!

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sunnyside_south

last anonymous, your argument might hold water if the store had simply gone out of business. by all accounts it is thriving but wasn’t able to reach a reasonable agreement with the landlord. Quite frankly there are many worse looking buildings. this is simply a case of a landlord holding out for a big pocket corporate client that is going to add nothing to the character of the area.

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Anonymous

El Shater needs to accept some of the responsibility for keeping their store in such a run down looking state. It makes much better food than you might guess from the way the storefront and shelves look. I hope they do well in Astoria.

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Anonymous

1. Please remember that NYC is dominated by the needs of real estate interests. The laws work in their favor. Property taxes for commercial landlords are structured so that they have an incentive to keep stores empty rather than rent below what they want.

2. Please remember that commercial landlords simply have no interest in the needs of residents. They care only about money for themselves.

3. Yes, landlords on Queens Blvd are waiting to sell out to big developers to take advantage of the new zoning. Many of the long term old tenants will be gone. Is this a surprise to anyone?

4. Sunnyside has not one but TWO business organizations that supposedly work with both commercial property owners and business owners to foster a better climate for small businesses. It’s time to admit their strategies have failed.

5. Do not expect elected officials to address this problem. At best, they are doing too many things; at worst they really don’t care as long as they keep their own jobs.

6. Citizens need to take matters into their own hands. If you really are interested to change the situation, you need to a) get organized b) take action.

In this case, and similar situations, the question is what is the right action to take?

Here’s some ideas…

– Commercial rent control so that businesses have stable rents so they can stay in place and not shut down.

– Steep fines for landlords with empty storefronts for over one year would give incentives to landlords to drop their prices and get leases signed. Empty stores are a death sentence for a neighborhood.

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easter_bunny_stew

Clearly there are too many independent small businesses giving the neighborhood its own unique character.

What Sunnyside desperately needs and is crying out for is more Starbucks, Chase Banks, Subways and Dunkin’ Donuts.

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sunnysider

Hi Pal and Susan..if Pal is right what a horrible concept it would be to emply out our town of stores and buildings for a rezoning to let a developer come in here and rape our town. We need to do something about this. We have rights . Our town needs to be protected so our town can survive and people in our town can have business to buy oiur services and products from. What an injustice if Pal is rights.We need to find out if he is right

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Susan

I think PAL is on to something; there’s got to be a reason why it behooves a landlord to let property sit vacant for months or even years at at a time.

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PAL

Does anyone else here think that these store closings are a direct result of Mayor Bloomberg’s rezoning of the neighborhood?

This has happened everywhere that a rezoning has taken place. Greedy landlords will not renew leases in anticipation of a rush of new, wealthier residents.

Storefronts on Queens Boulevard, which is the main target of the up-zoning, are allowed to languish as owners of one and two story buildings are waiting for the day when they can sell to a developer. They want to deliver their buildings tenant-free. Think 8th Avenue in midtown on a smaller scale. All the interesting, home grown businesses were pushed out.

As I write this, I am eating a most delicious tomato eggplant salad from El Shater. Sad, sad, sad loss for the area.

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sunnysider

It seems that this store is rather unique. it carries more specialty items than a regular store of its kind. Most of the comments from its custoers have a educational sense of food knowdlede from the middle east with special foods and coffee. Hard to find especilly in our town whcih has such a diverse residence. we all need to see if we can keep this store alive. we owe it to the owners and its customers.

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marilyn

Yes, Sunnysider is right. The departure of El Shater will be a serious loss to the neighborhood. They provide high quality foods and coffees not easily availalble anywhere else nearby.

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Anonymous

Yes, Sunnysider is right. The departure of El Shater will be a serious loss to the neighborhood. They provide high quality foods and coffees not easily availalble anywhere else nearby.

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Irving Douglas Estella

Oh no! Where will I get my favorite kibbi and pita bread? And no one has olives like El Shater. I shudder to think about what might replace it.

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sunnysider

I know I am always complenting this web site. But without these stories and news we would never know what is going on in our town. I know it takes alot of work to get all these stories and news. But we need to be very grateful to this web site. Otherswise we would be in the dark. No one in our town gives us the up todate news. It is not always good news but at least we know what is happening here. It is like 1010 news . You are truly fantastic says one viewer and that is me.

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sunnysider

Hi Mike it just sent an e-mail to brammer thanks for that e-mail address
I am hopping for a town meeting. This is getting very scary. We need to publish a story in the hearld for sunnyside to know what is gong on here and wake up the people of our town. We need to shop our town suport oiur town…Who wants to orgazize a rally on a saturday aft or on a sunday. do we need a permit for it?

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Mike

Well, Raquel and Sunnysider…. and others… just send an email to [email protected] (our friendly and helpful councilman) and request a community meeting about the shuttering of so many businesses.

It is truly a major loss for Sunnyside to see El Shater move to Astoria. I would imagine there is nothing that can be done for them at this point, but perhaps, as a community, we can help stem any further hemorrhaging of local businesses (or further influx of pawn shops) by banding together with the aid of our councilman and other community leaders.

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in sunnyside

NO!!! this si terrible! how sad! 17 years!!
I am a very sad Lebanese Sunnysider today!

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Anonymous

OH NO! this is very sad!! 17 years!
What a LOSS!!
I am a very sad Lebanese Sunnysider today!

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sunnysider

We need a town hall meeting with our counclman. This is getting very scary. Every week another business is out of business. We need the owners to stop being so greedy or lets be creative with our ownes to keep our business alive here. We are going to get a horrible reputation for having a business no one is going to want to own a business here.

We need a meeting and fast to organize a rally to suport our business here. it is very sad for a business of 17 years go leave us and go to astoria becase the owner will not work with a tenant. He worked with him all these years what happened all of a sudden.

We NEED HELP!!!!!

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Bliss & Skillman

With so many storefronts shuttered already, one has to wonder WTF the landlords are thinking.

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Lucky Lu

Nooooooo! I love El Shater. The food is delicious and the Lebanese family running the place are so nice. This is such a shame. I’ve loved coming here in the 5 years I’ve lived in Sunnyside. Where will Sunnysiders ever find such wonderful Lebanese treats?

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Mike Novak

GREED. Plain and simple. No instead of a neighborhood tradition, we will get some McBox store with no soul, no real value and no flavor for our beloved community.

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Amy M.

This is such a shame! This is type of place that makes Sunnyside an interesting place to live. The owners are sweet and caring, and the food is amazing. I truly wish the community could find a way to keep El Shater in Sunnyside.

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Sunny Blue

Maybe the next business will clean the pigeon crap that decorates the storefront.

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Amy

Oh no! Where will I get lamajun and dried eggplant skins and other good eats now? Really sad loss for the neighborhood.

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allow_me_to_retort

Before they go be sure to go in and get the Zataar bread, it’s yummy. Also a great place to get Lebanese tahini.

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Jodi

I love El Shater! The staff there are so friendly and I love the fresh food. This is a sad loss for Sunnyside. They will all be missed.

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Samuello

First the supermarket, now el shater.
Is the supermarket even back? It sounds like the landlord is trying to offload the property to a developer or may have gotten a good deal, or will just screw themselves.
Anyway, I hope it wont become another pawn shop..

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