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Local Agencies to Sunnyside Gardens Park Benefit From City Budget

Judy Zangwill Executive Director Sunnyside Community Services Sunnyside

Sunnyside Community Services executive director Judy Zangwill holding a rally to preserve after-school funding earlier this year[/caption]

June 29, 2013 By Christian Murray

Sunnyside, NY: Many popular Sunnyside and Woodside programs will continue to receive city funding–following the 2014 budget deal that was passed by the council last week.

The Sunnyside/Woodside graffiti cleanup program will continue. The streets surrounding Roosevelt Avenue in Woodside will continue to be kept clean through the funding of the Doe Fund. Meanwhile, the St. Pats for All parade–that takes place on Skillman Avenue– will see city funding yet again.

However, for some of this neighborhood’s biggest agencies, the budget was a relief, as library funding was restored and after-school programs continue to be funded.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who was able to secure city funds for many of these agencies and groups, said that “they will strengthen and improve our neighborhoods.”

Sunnyside Community Services fared particularly well in the 2014 budget, with the afterschool programs it administers (PS 150 and PS 199) fully restored. Furthermore, the funds it receives for senior services and case management support services were increased.  The amount of the increase was not known at the time of publication.

However, the real boon for Sunnyside Community Services was the $2.6 million in funding it received for the renovation and expansion of its center. The agency is expanding into the property behind it. At one point, sources said, there was discussion that the center might have to relocate out of the neighborhood.

Van Bramer has allocated $500,000 for the renovation of Hart Playground in Woodside, which is located at 69th Street and 37th Avenue.  The details of that renovation have yet to be determined. However, Hart Playground has been a source of neighborhood controversy in recent years, with residents complaining about day laborers who congregate there.

Other big ticket allocations include $300,000 for traffic and pedestrian safety improvements for the area surrounding PS 199; $300,000 to renovate the Woodside Houses inner recreation area; and $150,000 for new lighting and electrical infrastructure for the Woodside Library.

Meanwhile, Friends of Sunnyside Gardens Park, the fundraising arm of the membership-based park, received $25,000 through Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Those funds were for items such as “installing playground equipment and other recreational equipment.”  Since 2010, Friends of Sunnyside Gardens Park has received $142,600 in city funds, most of it through Quinn. Park membership is not always open to all those who can afford the modest fees, such as with a YMCA or other non-profit. Members have to live in a geographical location to join.

Other budgetary items of note:

  • Woodside on the Move to receive $40,000
  • 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 to receive $5,000 (a Sunnyside/Woodside residents advocacy group)
  • Sunnyside Drum Corp $3,500
  • Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce: $65,000 ($40,000 for the Sunnyside/Woodside graffiti cleanup program)
  • Sunnyside Bid: $5,000 for flower plantings
  • Thalia Spanish Theater: $7,500
  • Northern Woodside Coalition, a civic organization that runs neighborhood watches and youth programs, $3,500
  • Variety Boys & Girls Club of Sunnyside/Woodside $5,000
  • Sunnyside Gardens Preservation Alliance: $3,500
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78 Comments

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Quyen

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DavidB

When I finally become a member, I will also volunteer to help out. I enjoy “hard work” and do not mind getting my hands dirty. After all, talk is cheap, I will pitch in and help out! This is exciting.

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DavidB

So I can become a member? With the same freedom I can try to buy a ticket to a Broadway show? Even though I live on the south side of Queens Blvd, near 50th Avenue? That’s great- then this situation is truly analogous to trying to score tickets to a hot show- anyone can go, it’s just a question of waiting one’s turn until tickets are available. Fair- available to all taxpayers.

It’s okay for them to receive discretionary funds from our politicians if membership is open to ALL members of the public- I certainly understand that they are at capacity and that is the only reason I cannot enjoy the benefits of public tax dollars. I will certainly call them tomorrow and see about getting my name on the waiting list.

Thanks, Really, for clearing this all up. My impression was that membership was only available to certain residents of the community, not to all of them. I wish you had spoken up sooner. That was the main basis of the discussion- that it was a private club, membership available only for residents who live on certain blocks in the neighborhood. We were complaining because it seemed unethical to use tax dollars in that way. Can you imagine if our politicians were gifting private clubs with taxes collected from the public?

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Really

DavidB

First, I am not a current member of the Park.

The park does not exclude anyone! The park is at its legal capacity! There is a waiting list. Once a spot opens, the next person in line becomes a member. Not that different from a sold out theater shows. Anyone can buy a ticket but you need to wait until a performance has a seat which becomes available.

Let us face it this is only an issue because for the first time in the park history it has reached its capacity and has a waiting list and not everyone can join at the moment

Please call the politicians who gave the park the money and complain to them. Maybe you can convince them to give the money to your school next year.

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86Mets

The senator McCarthy of Sunnyside is demanding names again, watch out.

Ever notice he never asks for the real names of people whose comments he agrees with? Heaven forbid, you criticize Van Bramer and he goes ballistic.

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DavidB

Hey Mike- I don’t think full names are necessary in order to have this conversation, certainly not as relevant as disclosing whether or not you are a member of this private club. There is a legitimate disagreement here over whether or not tax dollars are being used appropriately- that is the only issue, not who is asking these questions. Too many people are not convinced.

Can you give me some other examples of private clubs with exclusive memberships that received public funding, close to $100,000 over the past few years? Maybe no laws were broken, but perhaps we all reconsider these laws and make adjustments so the residents of Sunnyside do not feel as if their tax dollars are being used improperly.

I do not live in the part of town that is eligible to get me into this club; however, I do volunteer my time elsewhere. If the members of this club cannot make ends meet, with volunteers and public assistance, I suggest they raise their membership fees. My school had two bake sales last year; some of that discretionary funding would have helped these students.

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Mike Novak

DavidB, in the matter of “full disclosure” why don’t you use your full name?

Sunnyside Park has always had warts and bumps, but is IS a 3.5 acre property that is run by volunteers. There is a lot of hard, physical work that needs to be done to maintain and upgrade the place. Over the years, its harder and harder for them to get volunteers who are willing to get their hands dirty.

Everyday costs rise, water, sewer, insurance, paper goods for the toilets…etc.

They have to look everywhere for funds, as they should.

Its no longer the age of June Ward and the Beaver having bake sales.

No laws have been broken, and as others have said, your individual tax contribution to the $25,000 given to them by the city comes to less than a cent per person.

One thing I learned when I was a member and on the board…
TRASH TALK IS CHEAP AND IN ABUNDANCE.

You want to make a difference? You know it all? You can do a better job?Volunteer your time. Show them how you can raise $25,000 for them.

Remember, your contribution was less than one cent. 😉

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SuperWittySmitty

Old Old and Gramps often go together too. You’re forgiven.

I have lived in Sunnyside for 17 years and in Woodside for 3 years. Most of the change I’ve seen is for the better.

The issue here is public taxes being given by politicians to a private organization from which the majority of us are excluded. Other residents have commented that they feel this is not fair and I agree. You seem to feel that since we are not “old old” Sunnysiders and that we are invaders harrumphing arrogantly because we are expressing our feelings about this issue. Too bad- I hope people will continue to express themselves and make sure this sort of nonsense goes away and Sunnyside continues to improve. If you feel that those questions were arrogant, that’s your prerogative- I thought they were points that well made. Other people seemed aggravated that questions were being asked- they prefer the issue remains closed. That concerns me.

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OLD OLD TIMER

@ SWS
-Questions are fine. Arrogance is not.

-Your sense of things and mine may be different without either of us being wrong.

-Change for the better is always welcome. Change for the worse is not. You don’t seem to identify with me, calling me Gramps, so I will presume you are not old. Correct me if I am wrong. But if I am right, I have been through and adapted to years, perhaps decades more of change than you have. So forgive my lack of patience with your patronizing tone. The words “callow” and “youth” are paired for good reason.

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Anonymous

What about our kids park on skillman……they have a beautiful dog park and clean recreational park for the community ” and our children play area is in SH.T” it’s dirty, the water sits on the cover holes as soon as the sprinkler are turned on the toilets are a disgrace and I could go on and on.. But at least the dogs are happy. Before anyone replies I am a dog lover..
Maybe it’s time to become a member of “Sunnyside Garden” where the members act like they live in 740 Park Ave, with a view to the ocean.. It’s hilarious, not for me to judge !!
Happy 4th July Sunnyside

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SuperWittySmitty

Okay, Gramps, thanks for giving us the facts. Not sure who is to blame for the fact that the world changes- people come and go and neighborhoods that try to resist change will find it’s impossible.

Ho long do you have to live here to be allowed to ask questions about Sunnyside? I “invaded” this neighborhood back in the mid-90s and I’m glad to see this conversation is being held.

I see some valid points have been raised about politicians and discretionary finding- don’t really sense any “mighty outrage” just yet. I can’t imagine that this topic is going away; storm clouds are gathering, though.

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OLD OLD TIMER

@David B

For the past 30 years membership was so low leadership was combing highways and byways as far away as Maspeth, just to have enough to keep the place open. The parkee had to beg people to run for office. The park never, ever took public money, politicians and politicking were constitutionally forbidden and those rules were strictly enforced.

Since we have suffered the invasion of people like you–who have very little idea what they are really talking and instead of asking intelligent questions start harrumphing in an arrogant manner–the new and ignorant members voted to allow one “connected” person to fund his ideas, some of which were good some of which weren’t. And the park was suddenly a campaign stop in a mayoral election and the park president kissing up to “the only Mayor who ever cared enough to come by,” (the utter fool.) But the membership was so dazzled to be in the presence of a “rainmaker” with big poltical ties they couldn’t see past the baloney, and had no idea they were ushering in a reign of conflict with people like you, who feel mighty outrage about being left out.

So you have some facts. Go complain where the complain should be made then come back and tell us how it went.

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DavidB

Really, we’re having a discussion, as neighbors do, about stuff in the neighborhood. It’s a legitimate conversation about how our tax dollars are being used, and we’re doing it in the comments section of an online newspaper. Welcome to the 21st century- this is how things are done sometimes.

Regardless of how you feel (are you a member of the park? I think “full disclosure” matters at this point, don’t you?) it seems improper to some of us and we’re looking for clarification. This is a VERY unique situation- there are only 2 private parks in the whole city and one of them is accepting public money. Anyone can go to the Thalia Spanish Theater- admission is not exclusive to certain members who live in one section of town only. If you have a better example, let’s hear it. Otherwise, you’re right, your comment is ridiculous since it’s not applicable to this discussion.

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Anonymous

@ really

The fact of the matter is the SG crowd is the same vocal group that rallies against any type of development (with the exception of this “community garden” stupidity) under the pretense of developers being in bed with politicians and palm greasing. Then turn around and accept public funds for this private park?

WTF do you think this was? 150k handed over without a single word or discussion from anyone? Just cut the hypocrisy, its the same palm greasing for votes and special interests. Are you guys seriously this stupid?

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Really

You people really have no idea how things work!

In stead of blaming the park, blame the politicians who gave the money! If you don’t want your tax money to go to a private club or organization write a letter or vote out the people who gave them the money!

DavidB, 86mets and the rest of the misguided if Quinn or JVB gave you $25,000 you know you would take even though I am sure you will reply you would never. You should be directing your anger or concerns to the government officials giving out the money not the people accepting it.

I am going to protest the Thalia Spanish Theater and should give their money back. It should be free because they got government money. How ridiculous is that comment that’s how you people sound.

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DavidB

Hey Blue, My impression is that this story is still alive. How boring can it be? You’re still reading after 60 comments. Saw Jimmy leaving D&D last night after dinner- my impression was that he was walking down 45th, towards the park. Is he a member of this club? I think some people said he doesn’t live in the historic district and is, therefore, inelligible. If he is a member, I guess that would look odd- I’m going to guess that membership roles are confidential. For a story that’s been re-hashed so many times, I think there are still important details that still aren’t clear.

But really, Blue, if you are bored…hey, are YOU a member?

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Blue

@DavidB

Why all this hashing and rehashing of an issue that has been on the public record since 2010? The SP is trying to make a name for itself by uncovering financial misconduct in our elected officials. Well, guess what? It has been out for several years and no conflagration resulted. You want to do this stupid dance again, go right ahead. But your indignance is as stale as the news.

Either get more information or stop boring us.

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86Mets

A private park should not get a nickel in public funding. If the private owners can’t make ends meet on their own, sell the thing.

If it’s members only, then members only should have to pay for it.

Get your elitist, lilly-white hands out of our pockets.

This is corruption, pure and simple.

Maybe there needs to be a protest outside the park by all the people whose tax dollars are welcome there but they are not.

I wonder what the ethnic and racial make-up of the park’s membership list is like. My guess is it’s overwhelmingly white.

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DavidB

I’m reading article from Aug ’11 and this private park has received $47,600 in 2012, $25,000 in 2011, and $20,000 in 2010 all facilitated by Quinn AND Van Bramer. The only other private park, Grammercy Park, received none. Since 2019, Sunnyside Gardens Park has received $142,000 of our taxes.

They’re calling this the “Tweeding” of Queens. Are all of the residents of Sunnyside aware of this, or has there been an effort to keep this use of public fiunds quiet. I am glad to have learned of this through the Sunnyside Post, and through the encouraging words of my new friend Old Sunnysider, I am going to continue talking about this with everyone I meet- it’s becoming such an interesting story.

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Old School Sunnysider

DavidB….Your use of the word “banned” is slightly amusing, although it bounds on the pathetic.
If the park is at its legal capacity, then get on the waiting list, like everyone else who failed to join when they had the chance.

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Native NYer

Jimmy has overwhelming support amongst his Sunnyside Gardens neighbors. The support has nothing to do with giving money to the park. He’s done so many things for his district, too many too list. BTW, the money is from Christine Quinn, not JVB.

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JulieJ.

Money for this park is a bribe from Jimmy Van B who lives nearby. And I resent it.

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7TrainDelays

@Old School Sunnysider

How do you know for a fact that David B has no problem with Bloomberg’s giving millions away to his buddies? Are you a mind reader? The topic of this post was money distributed here in Sunnyside. Perhaps David B just has the ability to focus on the subject at hand unlike yourself.

You stated the the park provides a safe haven for local kids and free of dog poop and broken glass but forgot to mention that’s only a safe haven for kids whose parents are members.

Regardless of the relative amount given and how much that represents per taxpayer, there is something called principle.

I’m sure there are other examples of private organizations in other neighborhoods whose local politicians bring home the pork to bribe voters as well. Add them all up and it’s significant. That’s money better left in people’s paychecks to spend as THEY see fit.

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DavidB

Hi Old SS- I’m not really upset, I’m just surprised that public money from our tax dollars is being funneled into a private and exclusive concern, from which I am banned. I understand schools, churches, and even the theater, as they are available for all of us to use. If all 8 million of us knew this (assuming it’s an isolated case) I wonder how many would as relaxed as you are.

Is it okay if I stand outside the park and look in? Beyond the gates, where there is broken glass and dog crap? Pretend that I’m part of a community for which I am required to contribute? I’ll come by on Thursday with a cooler.

It’s not the money but the principle. Is that hard to understand? I’m glad we can have this dialogue.

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Old School Sunnysider

I remember being on the board of Sunnyside Park about ten years ago, before the “Yuppification” of Sunnyside, when we were begging for people to join.

Now that the neighborhood has become trendy and overflowing with new families with multiple children, there is a waiting list to join, and the whining and wailing commences. There is a limit to how many members the park can have, deal with it.

As for those like David B, get a grip. NOTHING in the tax laws say that monies collected in any neighborhood are exclusively theirs. The fact that you will not get upset over the Mayor giving away tens of millions of tax dollars to his well-connected fellow millionaires, but get your knickers in twist over $25,000 being given to a park which provides a safe haven, free from dog poop and broken glass to the children of the neighborhood speaks volumes about you.

And if you did the math, you would see that in a city of eight million, everyone’s contribution to that $25,000 was 0.00315 cents.

I am sure you can step outside, look down for a few minutes and recoup your share of the money, with interest, with the first penny you find. 😉

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Blue

@7 Good luck. Let me know how that goes. I have some chores I’d rather other people take care of myself.

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7TrainDelays

My back yard needs some landscaping and I don’t feel like coughing up the cash to have it done. Maybe JVB and candidate Quinn can throw a few tax dollars my way.

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43&43

Mary C: Are you saying that any outside senior may join for $45 a year?

There are only two fully public events outsiders know of at the park, in September and October. The rest of the time, the park charges to rent partial space, or sells food at outside events to fundraise. Nonetheless, free or rented, those events are a nice thing for the park to do for non members, and create good will in the area.

The items complained about here would not be news, come under no scrutiny, and would not anger and upset us year after year, if the park would stop applying for, receiving, and taking public money.

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Mary Caulfield

The park provides a safe place for neighborhood children to play. It has a picnic area you can make arrangements to rent. I hosts more than a few big events a year that are open to the public. There are public concerts, movies, plays with regularity in the summertime. It hosts events in the spring and fall to which local artists can come to show their work.

It maintains about 3.5 acres of greenery. For years and years it invited local people to garden on its edges, now those edges have been landscaped. There is a Green Thumb garden on Barnett Avenue maintained by volunteers who are not necessarily park members.

It has three clay tennis courts anyone can play on for a nominal hourly fee. Membership to the tennis courts is about $500.00 a year and the courts are usually open fro May to November. See if you can find a rate like that anywhere else in NYC for a quiet, well-maintained club.

Membership for seniors is about $45.00 a year, its the best rate going for them to come down, bring a comfortable chair and spend the day in the shade. They need to bring down the membership rate for single people, in my opinion.

That is what I know the park offers to people who are not members.

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Expenses

Most non-profits on the list are barely squeaking by; the money helps and nearly all of them have programs for kids, either free or at a discounted rate; programs they couldn’t offer without the public money and programs that enrich and enhance the lives of children/adults.

I’m not sure what the park provides to the community members that don’t/can’t belong to it. I guess they have some occasional community events the riff-raff are allowed to attend. It’s almost like it’s a country club.

There are many atrocities in NYC regarding use/spending of public money. If some of us are concerned about this money to the park, you can surely bet we care about the privatization/outsourcing/corporatization of the city’s government agencies/services.

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Lovely

@Native No, it is not just me. I know of four individuals who said they were discouraged from joining the park because they were single. I also know adults who were told to contain themselves to the picnic benches because the field was “for children.” Perhaps I just know different people. You must have gotten in on a good day. Good for you. Enjoy your membership.

“Classist?” Perhaps I should have explained myself further. Excuse my lack of specificity. The homeowners whom I have heard speak about issues affecting the entire community often see the problem in light of their “investment” here. As if people who don’t own real estate have nothing invested. It was just such a thought that made the framers of the Constitution fight over whether only landowners should have a right to vote. It seems to be an idea that occurs to people with real estate. Our nation proved that differentialtion false a grand scale. No matter your bank roll, we all get one vote. We call that weath-centric line of thinking “elitist” now. Correct me if I am wrong.

“Angry” Yes, when it comes to arrogant, ill-informed people misusing power.

As to who the park was built for, if you have information on the thoughts of the builders of Sunnyside Gardens I wold be happy to refer to the source you cite. Everything available to the public I have read said the park was for residents of Sunnyside Gardens. Plans always included apartment buildings. Just a guess, but perhaps it was cheaper to build the houses first, as they are so small, than the apartment buildings so they waited for income from the row houses before building the rest. Just a thought. It would be interesting to know.

Also, the information I found said the builders realized after a few blocks were built that they wanted a place all the residents could gather, so instead of finishing off the block between 48th and 50th with homes and interior courtyards they built the park. It was on the edge of the neighborhood near the railroad tracks so would contain the playground noise, keeping the courtyards quiet.

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43&43

Many of you rail against injustice on other issues but your sacred cow is your private park. You have a blind spot.

For a fee we can get into the Thalia. For a fee, we can’t get into the park. Our tax dollars should not go to your park. If you think 25k is such a small amount, return it. Perhaps we should all get together and go over to our public-financed park for as many minutes a week our 25k, and the previous 142,600, buys us. The rest of the time, our kids when not playing in traffic can look longingly through the fences at yours.

You gardens people have permission to buy memberships to your private park. That is your right and it is built in legally. I personally do not have a problem with that. You are lucky.

The bottom line is the park has already gotten enough public money. Whatever this is really about, votes, or whatever is at stake, it is time to stop.

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Native NYer

DavidB: I use none of the other entities listed that are receiving funds. My child goes to a school that does not have free after care. Do I begrudge those in PS150 who have free after care? Of course not, good for them. I don’t use any services from Sunnyside Community Services but good for them that they are getting some funds. Many tax dollars go to private, quasi-private or admittance fee required groups.

Lovely: “I join others who find the homeowners to be unspeakably self-centered elitists.” – Wow, that’s a broad brush you use to paint a diverse group. So every single homeowner is a self-centered elitist? Very classists of you.

Lovely: “The bunch in the park recently were so righteously unschooled they actually urged people without children to leave, which put their tiny body of knowledge in a spotlight on center stage. Pitiful.” You seem to be implying that park members with kids are urging childless couples to leave? I’ve been a park member for over 10 years. I was a member when I was single, newly married and now a parent. I was never “asked to leave” when I was single. From what you’ve written, you seem like a very angry person, perhaps it is just you?

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Really

Lovely

To Clarify the park was set up for the Sunnyside Gardens residents, Home owners and their tenants. The Majority of the coop and rental buildings were built after the establishment of the park. Check out land markings to help you figure out witch ones, but you should already know if your a life long resident. Do some research before you complain. I am not a park member and have no problem with them.

Once again if you don’t want the park to get a dime complain to the politician who gave it to them.

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JulieJ.

St. Pat’s for all is receiving funds: will the churches and organizations who don’t like this parade also be funded? Just asking, as it is tax payer dollars!

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JulieJ.

Sunnyside Park should not receive a dime of public funds as it restricts its membership. Never could stand that park. Follow the money is right. As for Mayor Bloomberg, for whom I hold zero affection, he can do with his money as he wishes – and you guys should have voted him out of office four years ago but you did not!

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Lovely

It was set up for all residents of Sunnyside Gardens, not just homeowners. The Gardens encompass rental, co-op and condo apartment buildings in addition to the houses. Phipps alone has more than 400 apartments, how many houses are in the Gardens? Anyone know?

Although a life-long resident of Sunnyside Gardens, I do not own anything here. Reluctantly, I join others who find the homeowners to be unspeakably self-centered elitists. This community was built for everyone, not just young families with kids who live in houses.

The bunch in the park recently were so righteously unschooled they actually urged people without children to leave, which put their tiny body of knowledge in a spotlight on center stage. Pitiful.

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DavidB

I don’t want to move, I already live in Sunnyside and pay my share of taxes. If they’re using my tax dollars, why isn’t it accessible to me? If it’s not accessible to the public because it’s a private, members-only concern, how come the public’s money is being used? Pardon my ignorance but this doesn’t seem fair.

Something tells me that this conversation is NOT going away anytime soon. Sounds like a shady deal. These rules need to be re-examined.

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Really

First what organization would turn down free money whether it be private or public? Get real people blame your politicians for giving the money not the organization.

Stop hating the park because you cannot become members at the moment. The park was set-up for Sunnyside Garden homeowners, the Phipps and there tenants’. If you want to be a member move to a gardens home if not wait on the list and stop crying. The park and it rules were here well before you and it will be here well after you.

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Native NYer

DavidB: yeah, you can see it. Move to an in zone house or apartment and you can join next year. Done.

SM: Your arguments are on point. Well said.

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Workweek

*SM Good point. That money benefits everyone by making better people of the children around us.

Mr. Novak is right. Bloomberg is the one who is fleecing the working people to benefit his friends.

The Sunnyside Post has its own agenda.

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SM

We should take away all money to all organizations that are not 100% government run and 100% free thus equally open to all – and not just SGP.

Why should Thalia get 7,500 — it charges $$ for its tickets so not everyone can attend performances- it benefits those who can pay the ticket price….did all other local theater groups get equal amounts as Thalia, or was there a preference?

My point is that the money to SGP is de minimus, we give much more to many other things and that taxpayer money is not used to its full potential, but there are no complaints about that so long as we get the money for organizations here (e.g. Sunnyside Community services).

What SGP contributes TO the neighborhood is much more than the 25K it may have (legally) gotten….not all organizations that receive money can say the same. Thus, I have no problem with it receiving some of my taxpayer money.

There is enough to go around. I am happy Thalia got money, I am happy SGP got money, and I’m happy the afterschool programs got money. Each of these things contribute positively to our neighborhood.

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DavidB

Mike, appreciate your suggestion to look elsewhere but right now we are talking about Sunnyside. This gem in our neighborhood that is receiving some of my tax dollars- can I see it? It sounds really nice! Oh, I can’t? 🙁

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Mike Novak

The Sunnyside Gardens Park’s actual, legal, name is Sunnyside Park.

Its amazing to me that you all get in a tizzy over $25,000 for a gem in the neighborhood.

How many of you realize that Bloomberg is giving away TENS OF MILLIONS OF YOUR DOLLARS TO HIS RICH FRIENDS?

JUST SO THEY CAN BUILD A CONDO TOWER AND GET RICHER???

http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/towering-insult-article-1.1379590

WHERE IS YOUR OUTRAGE OVER TENS OF MILLIONS OF YOUR DOLLARS GOING TO THE RICH???

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FTM

Follow the money. Get the facts and in there you will find the answer. But when politics is involved the answer is always the same: buying votes.

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WTF

Van Bramer gave them lots of money too. Give his office a call and ask him to explain whether it is kosher.

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NuMom

I wish the SGP would get rid of the public money. Why gamble with a good thing for such a pittance.

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Expenses

SM: SCS is audited and this information is public. You may quibble with it but it’s there. The programs they offer are available to anybody and they meet the needs of a wide range of residents – various ages, etc.

You may argue that organizations/non-profits receiving taxpayer dollars don’t always use the money as effectively as they should. But the park is a private organization – there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

We may disagree on this issue. For some reason, you don’t find this grant of public monies to a private group to be problematic. You’d rather look at public organizations who receive public money and look for waste.

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7TrainDelays

I always made a point of trying to shop here in the neighborhood to support local businesses but now that I see the sunnyside chamber of commerce is getting my tax money, screw you, I’ll shop elsewhere. Take your Hoppin’ Thursdays and stick it.

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7TrainDelays

If a private park is going to accept taxpayer money, then any taxpayer should be able to use the facility. If they want to keep the park private, that’s fine. Just pay for it yourselves.

This is BS. Those who passed this budget should be voted out of office asap.

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SunnysidePostHatesMe14

Meanwhile, Latino kids are kicking cans for fun in the streets on the other side of Sunnyside.

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Hoove Hearted

Why is the chamber of commerce getting public money? If private, local businesses can’t even afford to fund their own association, maybe they shouldn’t be in business.

In a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen, this is nothing but politicians buying votes with your money.

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Workweek

Members are not invited to attend board meetings. They can go to general meetings, but they are no more curious about the niceties of the finances as someone who joins the YMCA. They just pay their dues and enjoy.

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Marilyn

Private park= no public funding. Also wasn’t there an article on one of these sites recently that said that the funding arm was being dismantled? How are we hurting the people on the ground who have “nothing to do with it”? Each park member has the opportunity to attend board meetings where these types of things are discussed.

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Workweek

There is no crime here. The attorney general has nothing to do with it. Quinn wants to be mayor. She gives her “member item” money out to people she believes can deliver votes. Look at the not-for-profit, not the park itself.

Sunnysidepost, get the story.

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Where is the District attorney?

Shouldn’t the district attorneys office be looking into the park’s funding?
They have subpoena power and can get to the bottom of this.
Unfortunately the district attorney is a Democrat…the same as Quinn so nothing will happen.
So much for open government.

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Mayor McCheese

I think JVB lives in LIC, far from the zoning of SGP. No way is he allowed in there. /s

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Workweek

My concern is with the park, which has been here for generations and should be here for many more, as long as the people currently in charge don’t screw it up by playing games with the finances.

As I said, leave the park out of it. If city money is going somewhere it doesn’t belong, don’t hurt the people on the ground who have nothing to do with it. Follow the money trail back to ask questions at the beginning of it, not the end.

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Hoove Hearted

@Workweek

Everything the SSP says in the a matter of public record and factually correct. What’s to investigate? Sorry if your candidate doesn’t look good, that’s just too bad.

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SM

How much money did the Sunnyside Community Organization/Center receive total? Looking at their numbers, they operate over $1 million a year just on the afterschool program alone. And other programs for seniors and others were expanded. How much $$$ did they receive in total?

We know it received 2.6 million alone for an expanded lease/area – I would easily guess it got another 1 million for these other programs – at a minimum we’re talking 3 or 4 million dollars.

But has any audit been done on how efficient or effective its programs are? What salaries people receive, etc.? How well is that taxpayer 3-4 million being spent? Because I would be willing to bet that it wastes at least 25K (if not more) through its operation- —- are we taxpayers going to raise arms about that misspenditure? Where *that* 25K could have been better spent? No, we’re going to be happy we got the money at all.

And the Hart playground got 500K to make itself better….$500,000!!

25K in comparison to these numbers is peanuts. For a park that sits in a historically zoned area with citizens who are so involved and care about the community/community activism and where it further enriches kids lives.

I don’t have a problem with that.

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Workweek

Putting the park’s name in the headline is a cheap, cheap shot. Do you think the general membership knows how this happens? Are you trying to undermine this wonderful gift to the neighborhood because you don’t like these donations? Well plenty of members don’t like it either but if you, who plays in the big league of financial journalism, don’t think you can get a straight answer from the horses’ mouth how do you think people without your background and skill can do it?

Leave the park out of it, go to the heart of the problem and ask the hard questions. That is what journalists do.

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Expenses

SM,

You wrote: I don’t live in SGP zoning, but I don’t mind that they received some funding. It didn’t come at the expense of the after-school programs and it too serves an important function for its area.

I wonder how Quinn could have used $25,000 to benefit all kids in the area, not just those who belong to a private park. A private park that charges admission fees and has a fund-raising arm that should be working to obtain private funding for this kind of expenditures. It came at the expense of programs for all kids and perhaps, even adults, seniors, homeless, etc.. Infuriating.

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Workweek

@Christian If you think there is something fishy going on between Quinn and the SCP, why don’t you just investigate it rather than twisting this story upside down and inside out in order to draw attention to the money.

Do some hard work and get the facts rather than just stirring this pot every once in a while. You want to go after Quinn? Do it. Go interview the board of the SGP (which isn’t its legal name unless they changed it without announcing it to members) and find out how this money comes to them. Go interview the Friends of Sunnyside Park. The park never took a cent from anyone until that organization got involved. Investigate it.

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SM

I’m glad to see Thalia theater received funds. Its such a hidden gem and cute local theater (with great performances).

I don’t live in SGP zoning, but I don’t mind that they received some funding. It didn’t come at the expense of the after-school programs and it too serves an important function for its area.

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Anonymous

$25,000 of public monies to a private, members-only park? Oh, wait, I’m sorry, to the ‘fund-raising arm’ of a private park?

The money will be used for playground equipment – which can only be used by kids whose parents paid membership (or apparently got some fee waiver?) and live within a certain radius.

Another reason not to vote for Quinn.

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JOR

On the same night the City Council acted on the budget, the Council voted on two legislative items collectively known as the Community Safety Act. You may have heard Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speak about these proposed laws. Over the last several days I have made email requests and requests on Facebook to our Council representative seeking to learn how he and other Council members voted on both items and for information on where a list of yeas and nays by Councilperson is reported, but so far no response. Perhaps the Sunnyside Post can let the community know where this information is reported.

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