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Op-Ed Sunday: It’s Time to Stop Complaining, Get Involved

Tree planting event held by BID in October

April 27, 2014 By R. Blostin (Opinion)

I have lived in Sunnyside since the late 1980’s and feel that I am as qualified as anyone around here to comment on the recent changes that have taken place here.  Although it is at times very entertaining to read the vitriolic rants of the readers of the Sunnyside Post I can sympathize with their frustration.

Sunnyside is a microcosm of the rest of New York City. The problems that we are facing are the same as many neighborhoods around the city.  The piece of the pie left for the poor and middle class seems to be shrinking every day.  Our expenses go up but our wages remain stagnant. The frustration from these changes brought about the election of Mayor de Blasio last November.

Many residents reminisce about the old Sunnyside.   They claim it has lost its small town feeling.  Commercial and residential rents have gone through the roof, mom and pop store are being replaced by franchise stores and of course the invasion of the dreaded hipsters.  The “hipster” is probably the most reviled character in 21st century New York City.  Nowadays, you’d rather be called a communist than a hipster – at least in Sunnyside!

I do not agree that the changes in the last few years that we have seen in Sunnyside have all been bad.  Yes, the seemingly out of control commercial and residential rents are devastating to many of us. As mentioned earlier I moved to Sunnyside in the late 1980’s and was fortunate enough to scrape up enough money to buy a co-op when they were not selling for much.

Luckily, I do not have to deal with the skyrocketing rents. Currently, co-op prices in Sunnyside are still a bargain compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn and will probably remain so for the foreseeable future.  Full disclosure – I want to see my co-op appreciate in price!

Except for the recent rash of store closings, the last few years have seen many nice new stores and restaurants move to our neighborhood. Personally, I would like to see a mix of franchise stores and so-called mom and pop stores here. I do not want to see a chain drug store or bank on every corner.  For that matter, I do not want to see anymore 99 cent stores or nail salons either!  Enough! Do your nails yourself. A healthy neighborhood needs large franchise stores as anchors.  When was the last time that you saw a McDonalds go out of business?

Finally, to my point for writing this story.  About 10 years ago I wanted to get involved and do some good in Sunnyside but I was stymied by one of our civic organizations who will remain nameless.  Every idea that I suggested was knocked down.  I was told why I couldn’t do something rather than why I could.  I quickly gave up and didn’t make any attempts at community volunteering here until last October when I participated in a planting along Greenpoint Avenue sponsored by the BID.

The turnout was tremendous. I saw that there were people who were interested in making a difference in the community.  Maybe if I got involved I could help solve some of the problems in the neighborhood.  And maybe I could get more people involved.  The more people involved the more that can be done.  I am using my group name as my byline because it is about my group and what we can get done as a group not about individual achievements.

So far things have not been easy. My efforts have been met with resistance. I have tried to get garbage cleaned up from the area on 43rd Avenue between 43rd and 46th street. I am working to have a mural painted next to the liquor store on 43rd street.  I have a cleanup and education event scheduled for May 10 and a tree planting set up for October 4.

I’ve also filled out an application to get on the community board but have so far been thwarted by their mysterious selection process.  I know it won’t be easy but I will not stop trying.

The moral of the story is that if someone like me who has never organized anything before can stand up and try and do something positive for the neighborhood that I live in so can anyone.  We need to stop the complaining and the attacks on each other and get involved and try and do something positive.

I am looking to have an inclusive group that represents Sunnyside. Come out on Saturday May 10th at 10AM on 43d Street and 43d Avenue and lets clean up Sunnyside!  We can’t solve all the problems but lets start somewhere.  And maybe we can even bring back the bagel guy under the 7 line.

These are the opinions of R Blostin and not the Sunnysidepost.

Blostin can be reached at [email protected] His group’s website is at

If you are interested in writing an opinion piece for Sunday’s Op-Ed section, please e-mail [email protected]


email the author: [email protected]


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Looking forward to meeting up with neighbors and working to make the neighborhood a better place for all! Peace Sunnysiders and see you Saturday.

Concerned Hipster

For the record, I would like to be known as a communist hipster. Healthcare for all!!


When in Sunnyside do as the Sunnysiders do??!!!

Conform, or else??!!

The old guard had this funny idea that newcomers should join THEM and be happy to be told what to do. This is the 21st century. Cooperation and diversity. Consensus and inclusion. These are the “new” ideas. The old guard’s way of enforced conformity through force, domination, bullying and emotional blackmail are going the way of the dinosaur. Civic-mindedness for selfish gain is a transparent ruse. What needs doing needs to be done. How nice that this person is willing to give of themselves to take the needed steps.


blah blah blah, what a bunch of crybabies, whiners and losers.

Shut yer yaps, roll up your sleeves and do your part to clean up Sunnyside.

If not, stop bitching about how ‘bad’ sunnyside is, or move in with sunnysidehatesme and you can grow old and crotchety togther.



You are a bitter man. It seems to be that it was just an op-ed with some mild views. A guy trying to get people to volunteer and you’ve twisted into something more serious. Lighten up. That’s the problem in this neighborhood. Calm down. The apocalypse is not coming to Sunnyside. I was in LIC over the weekend and it is such an ugly neighborhood. Sunnysidr is so much nicer.

Dawn O'Day

Contempt for the Old Guard is no way to make friends. It is a shame people move somewhere and feel the need to remake what others have worked long and hard to build during a time without a lot of support.

Get to know each other first, seek to cooperate on a common vision. It has been very painful for people who have loved the place long before anyone knew about it. Please show some common courtesy and respect.

When in Sunnyside, do as Sunnysiders do. Or you become the ugly one.


Before we go to the next article I want to thank everyone for their support.
Cheryl – I was just being sarcastic about the hipsters. I always wanted to be one but was not cool enough. Hipsta Thugg – I am from an older generation but people still call me immature! I hope you 2 will come out on May 10.

Hoof Hearted

I agree with the gist of the article but I’d like to get involved AND complain when I think it appropriate.

Squeaky wheel gets the oil, as they say.

hipsta thugg

I like trees just as much as the next guy, trust me. I admit my original comment was too harsh. Blaming hipsters is ridiculous. I moved here just as Dinkens left office, there was a high heeled hooker in front of the neighborhood supermarket on 43rd ave, where Rite Aid is now. I remember drug deals outside my window on 43rd and 43rd. This is the good old days Mr Blostin???

You want to paint a spray can mural in the wall of that liqour store? I dont want my town looking like the Dinken days or earlier. You know what Mr Blostin, not everyone likes these murals. I resent some guy posting his thoughts on his “ideal” neighborhood – when they clash with other peoples ideals I expect people to rant as the original op-ed stated.

This isn’t complaining, its people with an opposing viewpoint making their voice heard.

I like progress and I like seeing young people move in and make this place alive again with restaurants and cafes – and yes Starbucks. Call em hipsters and hate em Mr Blostin but they’re moving this place ahead.


Dear R Blostin,

A few thoughts on your post:

Please understand that the BID was neither the funders nor the originators of the project that so inspired you last year.

Entrenched neighborhood cronies will always seek to block any activity that does not revolve around them. They are entrenched. They are cronies. It’s what they do. Don’t expect cooperation from them and you won’t be disappointed.

Hipsters are the latest wave of people priced out of other neighborhoods. They are just looking for a place to live like the rest of us. They might be wonderful allies in your new project.

If you want to righteously change the power structure you will encounter resistance. If you start and run your new group with the intention of being of service to the community, as it is, with all its imperfections and buffoons, then you will make progress.

All neighborhoods need people like you to step up to the need of the times. Just do what you can, from where you can, and see what happens. You never know from where help and assistance will come.

Good luck!


You mean hipsta. That’s more hip than hipster. Have to add the fake Brooklyn accent to your name.


@hipsta thugg

You must be so stupid. You are a “freakin moronic” yourself! “This person is clearly from an older generation and has no idea how people act in this type of anonymous web forum.”, really?! It doesn’t matter that he’s a long-timer. Have some respect for these people. If you don’t like it, then move out! No one has time to hear you putting people down for trying to do good things for this neighborhood!

Kahnfew Shuss

Until we have a forum in which people from every strata of the neighborhood can get to know each other in non-competitive ways, there will be friction, some of it very painful.

People who worked here when there was no attention, no photographers or websites, no newspapers seeking interviews have been RUDELY swept aside by people with a vision they cribbed from realtor’s brochures and pr baloney put out by people who want to increase their property value. It’s just damned insulting and no one has admitted that truth.

Sunnyside, like everywhere, has always incorporated newcomers with welcoming smiles. But this recent tidal wave is about as welcome as any invasion in the history of mankind. Just admit it and make amends to the people you have displaced.

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

If the author does get a mural painted at 43rd by the liquor store, I hope he picks a really good artist, maybe one of the outstanding ones from 5 Pointz and not some tagger leaving his ballon letters and kindergarden doodlings on the wall.


This letter is unclear in its direction and has an undercurrent of negative energy.

-Sympathizing with the notorious do-nothing rants and blaming the invisible boogey-man the ‘hipster’
-Looking for the perfect ratio of large retail / mom and pop stores which will allow the value of your co-op to increase
-Wanting to get involved in community causes yet playing political mud-slinging which causes an ‘us vs. them’ mentality.

“We need to stop the complaining and the attacks on each other and get involved and try and do something positive.”

I urge you to keep trying. Seriously. All communities need progress and adaptation. Its citizens need to be the model of this consciousness.


Good one Celtic Bark. But ordinary people can bring change. Hipsta Thugg does have a right to his opinion but referring to the op-ed writer as being from an older generation is divisive. Everyone can contribute.

Celtic Bark

Bureaucrats are control freaks. They don’t like ordinary citizens doing things on their own and showing the world what can be achieved without their official approval. They exist for their own benefit, not necessarily for the greater good. That’s not just in Sunnyside, it’s the nature of the bureaucratic mentality the world over.


Hipsta thugg: I think that you are “freakin moronic.” Besides the fact that your reply makes no sense. This guy is trying to do something positive and you’re ripping into him. Older generation? I don’t care if he is a hundred, he’s trying to do something positive!


Mr./Ms. Blostin,
Thanks for your thoughtful essay. I too have set out, somewhat in Don Quixote fashion, to undertake community projects with neighbors to make Sunnyside a little better place to live. Unfortunately, there is a lot of institutional resistance to someone new and perhaps unknown organizing a project that is not entirely within the realm/controlled by said institution, starting with our City Council and Assembly representatives, and thus it is very difficult to sustain the effort. But don’t give up the dream — the times, they are a changin’.

hipsta thugg

the editorial is freakin moronic. you take comments from an anonymous DISCUSSION BOARD on a small website and announce to the world how we’re all fighting. This person is clearly from an older generation and has no idea how people act in this type of anonymous web forum. I don’t see people on the streets carrying signs in protest, 99.9% who have probably never heard of SSP.

Besides, people have opinions and people are entitled to have them be heard.


“I’ve also filled out an application to get on the community board but have so far been thwarted by their mysterious selection process.”

Van Bramer and Katz choose who is on the board. Are you friends with them and subscribe to their viewpoints? Have you done anything for the democrats lately?

If not, you are in for a very long wait. Isn’t community representation great.


Only thing I don’t like about this piece is the “remain nameless” part. The inroad to change is busting up the deeply entrenched cronyism that goes hand in hand with most of these so called community groups and civic associations.
If they don’t let you in, tear down the damn door.
My 2 cents.


You know what they say about the person who stands in the middle of the road? He gets hit from both directions.

This isn’t about any local organization, but about residents coming together and making a difference in their neighborhood themselves. I’ll be rolling up my sleeves and pitching in on the 10th – see you there.


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