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Officials May Still Save Sunnyside Performing Arts Studio

Photo: QueensPost

Sept. 9, 2012 By Christian Murray

Time is running out on Yasko Takeno-Williams’ dream of opening the Sunnyside Performing Arts Studio on 43rd Ave.

Last month, Takeno-Williams entered into a lease to establish the school at 43-20 43rd Avenue, which would offer yoga, theater, ballet and dance classes primarily for children. However, those plans were brought to an abrupt halt when she was notified by the NYC Department of Planning that zoning regulations prohibited her from opening her arts studio at that location.

The location she selected is designated by city zoning as a “C1-3 lot”, which permits retail and office use only– such as the former “Discount Store.”  Dance studios are only permitted to operate in “C2” zones.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer wrote a letter on behalf of Takeno-Williams to city planning officials urging that they help. “I ask that the NYC Department of Planning… explore all necessary avenues in order to provide cultural uses at this location including a dance studio,” the letter dated Aug. 23 read.

Takeno-Williams said that a Queens representative of the NYC Department of Planning is assisting her in discussions with the head of planning. She expects to hear the final word this week.

Her problems emerged after someone complained to city officials that her arts studio, which was scheduled to open mid September, would be contrary to zoning regulations. She was oblivious to the issue at the time.

Takeno-Williams said that the zoning codes block dance studios from operating in much of Sunnyside and that she would have a difficult time finding a similar location in the area (see map).

The whole situation has left Takeno-Williams in a pickle. She will need to get out of the lease if there isn’t a positive resolution—while her landlord is insisting she find a way to stay.

Takeno-Williams said that a Queens representative of the NYC Department of Planning is assisting her in discussions with head of city planning. She expects to hear the final word this week.

In the interim, Takeno-Williams, who operates Sunnyside Ballet, will continue to run it out of the Sunnyside Arts Cooperative, a small space near the 40th Street subway stop at 45-08 40th Street.

Adopted Zoning Map by on Scribd

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John K. Wilson

As I told “sartke” once, I will testify, on your behalf, in a Court of Law if you ever decide to sue, for educational mal-practice, whatever institution of higher learning you attended (assuming you went to college). I promise.


Taxcuts do not create deficits in the vacuum of a macro eco 111 class or a neocon’s mind. No I am not assuming that spending is constant. I am assuming that people are irrational and unpredictable, ergo the reason why trickle down does not work. DO you assume that millionaires will take more risk in starting a business thus increasing the tax base through higher employment ? Why would they do that when they can mitigate their risks through other avenues? Why because interest rates are low? Keep in mind that the current tax codes will eventually have to be addressed.
No. I don’t think you are stupid. Just think u are drinking too much conservative coolaid.

John K. Wilson

You are simply not credible.
I don’t blame “most of my Neighborhood’s problems on Government.” I blame the apathy of the majority of the people who live here. Very few of our neighbors bother to vote at all; and, those who do don’t consider the consequences of the votes they do cast. They just choose a Party the way they choose a sports team. Big Government and its problems are a result.
“Attention-seeking vendettas against people (I) don’t like personally”?
I like JVB just fine: he’s charming, smart and immensely likable. I very much admire his work ethic. I’d hang with him anytime. But, he is in love with ever-expanding Government (Tax & Spend!); and, his legendary “seeking” out the camera’s “attention” reveals his big ambition. I am suspicious of politicians with ambition. I believe many, if not most, people are.
My opponent, Catherine Nolan, is also someone most of our neighbors adore. She’s feisty, funny, loved by her employees, is procedurally adept, and is a Mom. What’s not to like? But, another Big Spender of Other People’s Money, she has spent her career in Albany serving her two true constituencies: the leadership of the UFT…and Sheldon Silver. The people of Queens pay the highest taxes in the nation; but, even though she has served in the Assembly for 28 years, and, outranks, in seniority, all but 3 people in that body of 150…she hasn’t ever exerted any leadership to speak out for lowering those taxes. Worse, she has done nothing to aid the 53,000 minority and low-income children who are on a waiting list to get into a Charter School. These kids are on those waiting lists because their parents understand that Charters, which are public schools that consistently score greater academic success—for less public money, are the best chance those youngsters have for a better future. Why does she do nothing? Because Charter Schools embarrass the United Federation of Teachers. The UFT funds Cathy’s campaign. She actually allows the UFT’s lawyers to dictate policy to her. Isn’t she supposed to be our representative?
You wanna talk about “crooks”? Well, you could call Cathy’s actions immoral; but, not illegal. But, the “Old Boy” whose “Club” she serves, Shelly Silver, is finally under investigation for trying to make Vito Lopez’s “sex abuse problems” disappear by spreading around some public funds on the sly. (BTW, Shelly has granted Nolan two Committee positions worth, I believe, $10,000.00 a year to her, each, in extra salary; seems to be a trend as to how to win Cathy’s loyalty.)
Shelly Silver, Vito Lopez, Eric Schniederman, Tom DiNapoli, and John Liu, Democrats all; all in the highest levels of New York State and City Government; and all under investigation for serious crimes against you, me, and our neighbors. It doesn’t look good for any of them either; but, somehow, I…little ole me…I am the personification of public dastardliness? Really?
Why? Because I dissent? Because I try to advance an alternative view in the face of One Party Rule? Seriously? You don’t like democracy?
You have not answered how you could possibly know how I “expend most of my efforts.” Cat got your tongue? Or, fingers, as the case may be? I will share with you that I will continue to avoid directly updating you as to my “efforts” to advance my agenda; you will have to continue to use either your supernatural and/or extra-legal techniques to learn of my activities.
And, how can you describe my campaign as “failed” when it isn’t over yet? I’m running a marathon, not a sprint. How do you know what the goals were, or, are for my campaigns? Some goals were to offer an alternative…despite the difficulty; to challenge business-as-usual politicians who have too much power; to not let people simply walk in to another term un-opposed.
I haven’t failed, your reasoning has.
But, do me a favor: keep posting your nonsense; you are serving me well with it.
BTW, are you “sartke” with a new name?

John K. Wilson

Over-spending creates deficits; Tax-cuts do not. You are assuming that spending is a constant. It needn’t be. That you don’t understand this is just how it is, I guess.
I disagree about my ability to organize non-Democrats. You’b be surprised. It is a slow process; but, it is being done. As long as I believe I’m doing what I can for the right reasons, it really doesn’t matter what you think of my “brand”. But, thank you for sharing.
But, O’shea, you are assuming that winning is the only goal. In the history of NY, since 1624, incumbents have only been defeated by challengers a bit less than 2% of the time. Nolan is entrenched, has enormous financial resources, and has an electorate that is more than 8 to 1 Democratic. I’m not stupid, whatever you may think. So, to use a WWII analogy, I may never get to Berlin; but, I will land on Normandy Beach. Because I landed on Normandy Beach, someone who believes in Liberty, perhaps even me, will get to Berlin someday.
Also, I believe in pressing on all fronts; pressure I exert in my district may result in a breakthrough somewhere else. Running for office myself is not what I really want to do; but, somebody had to do it; and, no one else would. Think of it this way: I’m not the Infantry; I’m the Artillery. I’m preparing the ground. There are others.


Dear John k Wilson
You cannot beat nolan. You have damaged any “brand” you had. Like any other republican, you have a serious problem with telling or even acknowledging the truth even when the facts are presented. Really ? “Taxcuts do not create deficits”.
Then there is the marketing to the wrong demographic. Republican/ libertarian wanna be…. that wins the nabe ? No.
You came off as very ultra angry during your challenge and debate against nolan. A refrigerator could have beat you in that race. Even after the fact, there are still remnants of that anger. Voters do not vote for angry men. Maybe in kalispell or blacksburg. Not in sunnyside, woodside or Astoria.
Now, nolan has a very poor record on many issues when compared to some of her colleagues in the assembly. You have not emphasized that. I rarely hear you mention it.

John K. Wilson

Tell me, Initialed One, who are my “cronies”? ‘Cuz I forget. But, while you’re explaining that, please don’t unveil the structure of my Evil Plan; or, reveal the whereabouts of my Lair where I go to rest and feed on Newborns between Hostile Takeovers. I hate being disturbed.


Which would differentiate you from Candidate Wilson, to whom my original post referred. Your being middle-class and still voting Republican when this party pervasively and aggressively fights against your interests is unfortunately self-sabotaging and masochistic, but that will remain only your problem as long as these crooks don’t get elected to office.


JKH, I am a middle class and I am a Republican and I think there are too many zoning rules and that they are onerous. I have no “cronies” – I like personal freedom.



Far from it. I just call bull#$%^ on Republicans like Mr. Wilson who blame government and unions for all problems while offering no constructive solutions beyond lowering their own taxes, conducting attention-seeking vendettas against politicians they don’t like personally, and privatizing as much as possible in a transparent attempt to enrich their cronies and the wealthiest while screwing the middle class and the poor.


Oppressed Masses

no the yuppies I speak of are white and almost always have facial hair and love to wear footwear that exposes feet.

the people who run the 99 cent store are Indian, they are the neighbors that cook what smells like exposed feet.

Oppressed Masses

Ruben, are the people who run the 99cent store on the Blvd and 42nd Street the same yuppie folk who won’t say hello to you in the morning? Maybe there’s a connection?


Ich- didn’t you see Swan Lake?? These girls can end up making out with Mila Kunis and jumping out of a window.

we have to think about the children!!!!!

on a serious note, I totally agree, why is there a zoning on dance zones for children? its idiotic. you know what else is idiotic? The 99cents store on 42nd Queens Blvd asking for your bags to shop in that mess they call a store. Like I am going to steal garbage. ridiculous


But if you are a rich, politically connected property developer and you want to put up some hideous high rise condo or office building where they’re not allowed, you just grease a few palms and get the zoning laws changed to suit you.

I can’t believe in a neighborhood that is struggling to attract businesses and fill up empty and unsightly store fronts, somebody simply wanting to teach children ballet and add some high culture to their lives is treated like someone trying to open up a strip club or tittie bar.


how is it legal for there to be an electric bike store which litters the sidewalks doing automotive repair on queens boulevard, but illegal for a community dance center to move into a derelict, struggling strip of retail?

meanwhile, that uglyassed fruit cart is back at 46th street (illegally) and there’s a black car business being run illegally out of squatted parking spots on the south side of queens boulevard in front of Sidetracks.

they are so selective about zoning enforcement.

Oppressed Masses

Thanks for including the Zoning Map and annotations, it explains everything. If memory serves correctly, didn’t Councilmember Van Bramer push for the adoption of the zoning plan that now prevents the operation of the dance studio?


Why is there a zoning law against dance studios in the first place? What’s so bad about kids taking ballet lessons that it needs to be kept out of the neighborhood?

Bars, clubs, dollar stores, pawn shops, taco trucks: GOOD

Little girls learning to dance Swan Lake: BAD

Craic Dealer

@JHK: Governments are only good when they maintain free markets neither aiding or hindering pursuits. Once they start catering to one section (of people, lobbyist or companies) free markets are at risk. So to say that all of government is bad or good is wrong. Governments are there to maintain un-infringing Liberties. And if they don’t its your right, via Natural Law, to abolish them and install new reps.


I heard a story once about a man who persisted in ineptly attempting to blame most aspects of government for all of the problems in his neighborhood after running how own failed, cynical political campaign and being reduced to expending most of his “efforts” posting comments to a neighborhood blog. I can indeed imagine why he would do that; it’s symptomatic of his political party’s misguided approach to most issues. Perhaps one day he’ll wise up.


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