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Members of Queens Anti-Gentrification Project speak out against development at Community Board 2 meeting Thursday

EDC

April 7, By Hannah Wulkan

Tensions about gentrification in Western Queens ran high at the Community Board 2 meeting last night.

Several members of the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project shared concerns that impending large developments in the area including the Brooklyn Queens Connector, the Sunnyside Yards development and the Long Island City core rezoning would change the character of the neighborhood and drive the middle class out of the area.

“We understand that these developments would forever change the landscape of Queens,” said QAGP organizer Michael Forest. “They are harmful to the city, they only profit developers and we understand that they’ll hurt not only the city but the environment also.”

The group shared their concerns with the Community Board in anticipation of their protest against gentrification on April 20. The group expects over 100 people to march from Bliss Plaza to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office at 6 p.m. to demand that he fully oppose all three developments.

“We’re seeing the borough change, rents are skyrocketing, I’m personally worried about my neighbors and friends being priced out and being priced out myself,” said another QAGP member Dan Raymond, adding that the developments are “out of character with the neighborhood.”

“Our main concern, which we especially want to stress, is not just out of character buildings but out of character rent prices and the introduction of out of character products, such as expensive food, the disappearance of vital services and products that basically keep us all alive here,” He added. “The people who make up the massive base of the neighborhood are under threat of being priced out.”

Several other speakers raised concerns about local politicians accepting donations from developers in the area, specifically citing Van Bramer and Senator Michael Gianaris.

In addition to organizing the protest, the group began a petition that has garnered 88 signatures in the last month requesting that Van Bramer oppose the developments and support a citywide rent freeze, an end to upzoning, and full funding for NYCHA.

“Long ago, I publicly announced my support for a rent freeze in the City of New York. And I have always unequivocally opposed the privatization of NYCHA. The residents of NYCHA I represent know that,” Van Bramer responded in a statement last month.

“The BQX, development of Sunnyside Yards and the proposed rezoning of Long Island City are all ideas being pushed by Mayor de Blasio and his administration. I have publicly expressed great concern and skepticism about all of the Mayor’s proposals. And I have publicly opposed previous plans of the Mayor when it was wrong for our neighborhood. I fight every day for the people I represent, and I’ll never support anything that hurts our community. My neighbors and constituents know that,” Van Bramer added.

email the author: news@queenspost.com

50 Comments

Curlicue58

i love Sunnyside. i came here 10 yrs ago and bought an apartment. I fell in love with the neighborhood, the diversity of the people and the prewar apartment buildings ,so much history. I didn’t come here to change the neighborhood I came to be a part of it. The people are so friendly,its like living in a small town. The other day I was sitting on a bench on 46th street and met a lovely woman from Puerto Rico living here 45 yrs we talked about her children, my mom. After she left a woman sat down she was from Peru,maybe in her 70’s and I’m in my late 50’s, we talked about meeting men.This is why I love it here. They know me at NY Eats,the owner at Mangal Kabob will ask me why he hasn’t seen me in a while,I know my neighbors, their children and unfortunately someone in our building died the other day, and we knew her and her name. I didn’t know anyone here before I came. U few seem to b in the minority,ive been welcomed with open arms from this community.Maybe u should look to your landlords who are the greedy ones. Brooklyn 20 yrs ago was a wasteland, now unaffordable ,Astoria was originally mainly Greek and people moved there because NY and Bklyn were unaffordable . Now Astoria became expensive and people are moving to Sunnyside and Woodside. Am I happy that the 7 train is more crowded? No I’m not, I just wish they would fix the line, that money spent on an extension without fixing the problems. Thats something to be upset about! The fare went up and the 7 is worse than it ever was, thats something to be upset about.A bike rider last night got hit by a car on 43rd Ave thats something to be upset about! People being gassed in Syria killing children, thats something to be upset about!




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george kelly

To Mr.or MRS.Bliss.. So well spoken… I give you KUDOS.. Welcome to SUNNYSIDE..Really..A breath of sanity..God Bless




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Anonymous

What you don’t understand is that you find this place appealing because a conjunction of real estate and government people decided they could change the neighborhood by selling it. No one had heard of Sunnyside unless they knew someone here. No one left somewhere else around NY because they thought this was a better place. We could have used some sprucing up, we begged the city for help that never came, but the place was stable. We are not annoyed at any individual, we are annoyed at the tsunami of individuals. I’ve had more than one person come up and say they love the history of the place, but then edge out the people who are who are the living history. The neighborhood has been given a huge shot of growth hormone and it has upset everything. Nothing is normal and healthy anymore, it is supercharged by greed.




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Mac

Anonymous- I am the 3rd generation of my family to live in Sunnyside and have lived here for 55 years and without hesitation say your post is inaccurate and flat out incorrect in more than one place. The houses on my block were never in need of sprucing up. The people who lived on the block ( mostly Irish immigrants and Manhattan transplants) took great pride in there homes, yards and gardens. What do you mean nobody ever left “somewhere else around NY because they thought this was a better place? Please” Are you for real? That’s the very reason my grand parents moved here as did half my neighbors. As for nobody ever hearing of Sunnyside that statement is just absurd,,Just about everyone in NYC and the surrounding area knew of the Sunnyside Gardens arena. You sound like you live in the world of alternate facts and history on the other side of the boulevard.




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Neziah Bliss

I am also under 40, raising a family, white, a “professional” (of some sort), and have only lived here for 3 years. But what I think is funny is that most people on this page assume that us young white people want to CHANGE the neighborhood. Anonymous & Another Concerned Citizen seem much like me in the sense that we knew what Sunnyside was (I looked with my family for years to see openings in sunnyside because we loved it here and disliked LIC and Brooklyn). We eat reguarly at Mangal Kebab, Brothers Cafe, Sidetracks, La Hoguera Paisa, Romanian Garden, Alpha Donuts – the places that make Sunnyside actually Sunnyside. I know who Lou Lodati was. I know who corporal Noonan was. I constantly look at the historical pictures Luke Adams collected. I look at the recently released census data and know who lived on my entire block in 1940 because I like this neighborhood and feel connected to it, my kids will go to public school here, and I plan on dying here. Some of us are new, but we know what makes this neighborhood special and we want to maintain what we can of it. We don’t want to turn it into LIC or Williamsburg. I know I am likely displacing someone and I want to help- but we are not some hipster robot army. We are, if you look at the history, a lot like the people who first really moved here in the 1920s. The problem, I know- is that we were displacing cow fields in the 20s. We’re now displacing people. But please don’t assumed we want to change the place we have come to live.




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Zinsu

Beautifully said, Neziah. My story is similar though I’m a bit older. It’s so strange to feel unwelcome simply because I didn’t grow up here.




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108th Precinct

Is that a threat? You’re coming for me? Do I get a present? I’d really like a shiny new phone, you have one? Howabout a date? I prefer dining in manhattan as sunnyside doesn’t have good restaurants. Bring some candies or chocolates. And maybe your street address, just so I know how to get to your place.




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Johnny

Coming for you- you sound like a typical right to work “for less” Republican conservative. You drink the punch and buy the lies. The liberals are the ones who know how to make the money not Republican conservatives. Just ask Hollywood and silicon valley.The richest states by personal per capita income: Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, California, New Hampshire, Virginia,Hawaii, Minnesota. The poorest Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, West Virginia and Idaho. Notice all the poor republican states are Republican strongholds. Republican conservative policies keep people poor. Facts are facts.




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Woodside Mom

My concern with the Sunnyside Yards project is not about gentrification – if you’re worried about that you should be gratified at the number of permanently affordable apartments proposed for the development. My concern is with infrastructure – it does seem, however, that the proposals include schools, open space, parking etc. – however, the mass transit into Manhattan isn’t discussed much.




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Anonymous

Jimmy Van Bramer
@JimmyVanBramer
8m
Kicking off one of my favorite events, our 8th Annual Spring Open House – Honoring #WomenWhoLead! Welcome to our Sunnyside District Office!




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A concerned citizen

Anonymous- my great grandfather was born here you idiotic transplant. The neighborhood is in transition, which is what happens, but people like you with your smug attitude are what most current residents complain about. Why don’t you pack your young professional lilly white family and go somewhere else or come down to earth and act like the white middle class you claim to be. You say your white middle class, then You come here with the attitude that your above everyone that’s been here forever. Go somewhere else if you dont like it big mouth




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Another Concerned Citizen

There is no smugness there. You just think he’s smug because he was polite and direct. And right. You just don’t want to hear what he’s saying, and don’t want ANYbody new in your neighborhood. Guess what. American Indians were here first. It’s and your great grandfather that should go back to where you came from if you’re so concerned with who was here first. I suggest you let the more rational part of your brain lead you instead of fearful emotions.




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Anonymous

New people have moved into this neighborhood for forever. But they didn’t come because real estate agents lured them. This whole thing is engineered by rich folks and they are having us fight each other rather than fight them. You are wrong about the people here. And you refuse to understand that this is happening everywhere. It is a national crisis. Stop demonizing the people who live here. Try to understand them. We understand you.




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Hillary C. For ny mayor

It’s nobody’s fault. Proximity did the area in. In 30 years from now, itll be like Manhattan with all skyscrapers it’ll look like a gorilla movie




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Adorable Deplorable

… also, if you’re wondering, I identify with ‘deplorable’ because I’m xenophobic and only care about myself 🙂




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SunnysideSayGoodnight

Sunnyside is gone. The earlier we accept it the happier we will be. The suburban and neiborhoody feel we all once loved is almost gone. I don’t know who s fault it is but there is no turning back. Many people I know in the neiborhood have already made their move to more suburban neiborhoods like Forrest hills and Rego Park. Ohhh well it was too good to last.




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george kelly

A concerned citizen is correct..ANONYMOUS and so called people like this MORON are the problem…Gentrification is going to happen and none of us can stop it…The word Gentrication is not being used correctly.. HAMBURGER HARDWARE QUEENS BRIDGE AREA….IS NEW MEGA DEVOLPMENTS.. SUNNYSIDE HAS VERY LITTLE SO CALLED NEW MEGA DEVELOPMENTS
..So I and my close true SUNNYSIDE from birth cronies…WELCOME new people and Some New Projects…everyone has a right to assimilate to SUNNYSIDE…QUEENSBORO PLAZA WAS A SWAMP WITH CRACK..PROSTITUTES AND KILLINGS..




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Anonymous

Being raped by real estate entities isn’t progress. It is a crying shame but it is not progress. Don’t fool yourself into thinking what you are doing it all right. It isn’t any more than it was okay for europeans to wipe out native populations.




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Anonymous

Hahaha. They think their pot fueled movement will keep the bad hombres out and make sunnyside great again. Trump can’t help you as much as you hoped.




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im organic man myself, we can live together in peace my friend

introduction of “out of character products such as expensive food”

This is probably the single most stupid comment Ive ever heard of for this anti – gentrification movenent, this guys serious??

Last time I checked our supermarkets still have beans, lentils, pasta, potatoes, vegetables and fruits. Pretty low cost, you can cook an amazing lentil or pasta dish for a couple bucks.

Whats wrong with having the option if some people want a jar $12 Justins Hazelnut spread? Instead of cheap palm oil filled Nutella for $4 that will eventually kill you

If youre talking about restaurants Western Queens has an abundance of great food. Theres something for everyone here and every budget. Stop complaining. You cant expect a neightborhood 5-10min from Manhattan will remain cheap for everyone




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Me

I don’t get it, do you want the place to remain and look like a dump it is for another century? Maybe they should just turn it into a big park, make it the prospect park of the long island city with parking? Because the parking in Long Island city near water is impossible, there isn’t even an affordable parking lot. They build a park for people to enjoy, there is no parking, same thing happened in Brooklyn waterfront.




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A concerned citizen

Anonymous , you are whats wrong with the area. Go back to where you came from. Smug and annoying are your basic qualities.




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Anonymous

A concerned citizen. Unless your Native American, go back to where your family came from.




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Bam Vrammer

Jimmy… until you start a protest for preserving the neighborhood like you protest against Trump, your days as a politician are numbered.




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Bam Vrammer

… I’m an experts on politics. I watch alex jones on youtube. You’ll pay for what you are doing to the frogs!




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Anonymous

I’m a gentrifier. I’m a white young professional who moved to this neighborhood because of its affordability, proximity to the city, diversity and charm. I’m just a middle class guy trying to build a home for my family in this incredibly large and expensive megalopolis. I feel for those whose way of life is negatively affected by my presence, but I do have the right to live here. You may slow progress, but you won’t stop it. This is New York City.




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Sunnyside Loves Me Long Time

A multitude of vacant lots, shutter buildings and empty storefronts is not gentrification. Gentrification will come in ten years when they actually start construction. Until them we have to live in a subpar neighborhood. Just because you moved here doesn’t mean it wasn’t a thriving neighborhood before you got here.




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Anonymous

here we come
middle-class white young male trying to preserve his privilege and shitting on all the other people




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Bruno

Anonymous -I’ve been here 59 years and can honestly say your white male post is entirely incorrect and racist. Some other “group” was known for trashing the neighborhood.




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D-Ray

Whoever you are: I am one of the organizers of the Queens Anti-Gentrification Project. Nowhere in our platform, or any of our literature, or any of our public statements have we ever said that people are being negatively affected by your presence as an individual, or equated an individual human being with the racism of City Planning. We are fighting against real estate developers and their political lackeys, not you and your family. If you feel for the people who are negatively affected by displacement, please de-center yourself from the conversation, which is not about you, and voice your support of people’s right to remain in this neighborhood.




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Jake

It seems that this neighborhood got much more expensive as huge numbers of Asians and Latinos moved in. If anything they drove up prices for the blue collar whites who lived here since the neighborhood was created




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Joe at Berkley

Jake – Because other factors were in play during this migration. This area was always a little pricier then Woodside,Corona and Ridgewood when I was growing up in 1970’s and 80’s.




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Anonymous

D-Ray if you want to preserve property, buy it. It’s not yours and you aren’t entitled to anything.




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Joe at Berkley

D-Ray Why don’t you address the city’s other attempt at affordable housing, NYCHA, instead of just blocking the construction of market and luxury apartments. First off does NYCHA look like it reflects the diversity of NY’s diverse population? We live in a place with a progressive tax system wouldn’t it be logical to allow the development of these market and luxury units to help fund the “affordable” housing system? As an owner of multiple rental properties in the area I can tell you from first hand knowledge, the people in the section 8 program are “disproportionately” late, delinquent or flat out irresponsible, that is why I stopped taking tenants from the program. Most of the good people who grew up here with me were priced out of the area what makes this generation so entitled?




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Anonymous

You feel sorry that you are killing us all but assert your right to do so because it is progress in NYC. Did I get that right?




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Sunnyside Sam

@anonymous gentrifier : I get a kick on how everybody is bashing you, yet don’t understand nor recognize the problem. You are simply a manifestation of it, and aren’t necessarily responsible. People want to live in a free and open society based on capitalism, yet only insofar as it doesn’t change their immediate surroundings. And for some it’s not even that. They can live in an isolated bubble, and still complain about how someone or something across the county is “ruining” their nation. Half the people that voted for trump have no interaction whatsoever with minorities or immigrants, yet have been told they are taking jobs and oppressing whites. Cherry picking reports and data to suit their cause.

This country is based on expansion. It was built that way, and now everyone wants to stop it because they are afraid of change. This is what defines conservative thinking, and it upsets liberals because gentrification takes homes away from the less fortunate. Both extremes are not desirable, but because we live in a free market society, gentrification is just a facet of progress. Unregulated free markets and tilting the scale to those with wealth and power using the excuse of “capitalism” is the problem. Under this system, gentrification and the abuse of the poor will continue because the only way for it to work is to impose an artificial chaste system based on financials. That is : there must be poor people for the rich to exist and visa versa.

Either way, good for you. You took advantage, like everybody the fuck else, to provide a future for yourself and your family. Don’t let these narrow minded provincial comments bother you. If those people that don’t like the neighborhood to evolve, like all natural things, then let them move.




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Another one

I am in the same position—a (not as young as I used to be) professional who bought a place in Sunnyside because it seemed a better place for my wife and I to raise kids than a 1 bedroom apartment in a coolish part of Brooklyn. I get that the increased popularity of Sunnyside, helped along by various blogs, media and, yes, real estate agents, can have effects on the neighborhood that drive up real estate prices, and may change the neighborhood in other ways. What I don’t see is what folks expect us to do differently, and why. We work and live in NYC, we see a house we can afford to raise a family and a place we’d like to live and do that, and what, we’re not supposed to buy and move in the hopes that our decision will stop a demographic trend? We keep our property clean and orderly, we support local restaurants, dry cleaners, grocers, hardware stores, you name it, we’ll be involved with the school when that time comes around. But this is NYC, and what happens. Prices rise in one place and supply and demand channels people towards others.




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Anonymous

You are just the manifestation of corruption at a much higher level of government and real estate collusion. If you feel justified displacing poorer people, good for you. Don’t let their screams of pain and anguish bother you. Just enjoy yourself.




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Another one

That reads to me like gibberish. Again, what is it that you think I did wrong, or should do differently? Someone put her house of for sale, she wanted to cash out and have some retirement funds. A bunch of people wanted to buy her house, so the price was higher than it was a few years back. I happened to be the one to end up buying it. Where does corruption enter into it? Who am I colluding with?




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Sunnyside Loves Me Long Time

You’re living a pipe dream if you think Jimmy Van Bramer is going to speak out against the developers that filled his political war chest with donations.




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