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Saturday’s Skillman Avenue Street Fair Has Been Canceled

Joe Conley, Chair of Community Board 2 (Photo: QueensPost)

April 15, 2013 By Christian Murray

The street fair that was scheduled to take place on Skillman Avenue this Saturday has been canceled after the sponsor of the event decided to call it off.

The fair, which was to be hosted by the Sunnyside Kiwanis Club, was canceled this morning after the Kiwanis Club notified officials that it had decided to call off the event in light of the community’s opposition to it.

“We decided that we didn’t want to antagonize anyone,” said Gerald Lederman, the treasurer of the club. “People were speaking out against it so vociferously.”

Lederman, however, said that the club has lost a major source of funding since a significant portion of the street fair’s profits go to the Kiwanis. He said that the non-profit group uses those funds to help underprivileged children and many Sunnyside/Woodside organizations.

However, Joe Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said he is looking for a venue where the group could hold a fundraiser, so it can replace the lost revenue. “I’m sure the community would get behind them,” he said.

The community board has heard a litany of complaints about the Skillman Avenue street fair from business owners and residents over the past two years—with most citing noise, smells, parking problems and litter.

Many residents had thought the event had been canceled months ago– after Community Board 2 announced that it would notify the city that the permit should be denied.

However, Conley said that the board initially advised the festival organizer—Clearview Festival Productions—to find an alternative location for the fair—rather than Skillman Avenue.

Conley said that Clearview did not get back to the community board after repeated requests. Therefore, the recommendation that the permit be denied was only sent to the city about a month ago.

Conley said the community board’s delay in submitting its recommendation (as it waited to hear back from Clearview) made its recommendation more susceptible to being overturned upon appeal. Therefore, when the appeal was made by the Kiwanis, it was overturned and the event was allowed to proceed.

The public outcry that led to the Kiwanis’ decision to cancel the event may well have financial ramifications for three other Sunnyside non-profits—namely the Sunnyside Woodside Lions Club, the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce and the Sunnyside Community Services Center

The Kiwianis and these three non-profits collectively sponsor four festivals/street fairs per year—with two held on Skillman Avenue and two on Greenpoint Avenue.

The four non-profits take the collective profits and then split them up evenly. With the cancellation of the two fairs on Skillman, all four non-profits are likely to have this revenue source slashed.

However, Conley said he is looking for a remedy– so the non-profits don’t lose these funds.

He said that he hopes that an alternative venue can be found for the other Skillman Avenue festival (August 31)—and that Sunnyside will come together and hold a fundraiser in lieu of the cancellation of Saturday’s event.

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Phyllis

Julie and Lew were the leaders of Roosevelt Court Association for many years. Just FYI..

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Phyllis

I am done with posting here. Just FYI, the graffiti removal was started and kept going for many years by Julie Story and Lew Story, a wonderful couple that started it all. My husband and I participated in removal for several years. You are wrong on all fronts. If you live on our Court then please come to meetings and make your voice heard. You are entitled to your opinion.

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Phyllis

Honestly, here we go with vitriol again. I can’t believe how angry people are.

Here’s the facts, listen or not. The Roosevelt Court Association was planning a yard sale on our blocks. Members vote for the board of that organization (I am not on the board but an active volunteer). The board decided to support another yard sale (we have had two successful ones) on May 18. The sidewalk sale was something we knew nothing about. Our board president reached out to the other court associations to see if they wanted to make it a community wide event. We are going ahead with that as are other courts. All are welcome. We ask for a voluntary contribution of 20% of one’s proceeds for the court association’s activities like garden planting, tree trimming and so on.

My comments about the fair are my own and I am entitled to them. You are entitled to yours. I was not being sarcastic (that is not my style), I was just saying this is a democracy and if you feel strongly FOR having street fairs in our neighborhood you can make your voice known. Really, Jill, I’ve lived in Sunnyside for 38 years and wish you wouldn’t be so nasty.

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Jill

Phyllis, I just noticed you sarcastically encouraged us all to speak up if we wanted people selling their stuff on our own blocks. Seems you’ve already done that for us. You are part of organizing a sale on MY STREET on May 18th. Funny,I don’t remember any if us wanting a new sidewalk sale here. How much of your profits are going to organizations that exist to help with community renewal???? You want us to but your old crap but not anothers new merch. Why can’t you just donate and save us all the bore?

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Jill

PS, The Kiwanis Club is a NP that could’ve really used this money,however little it may seem to you, to clean graffiti off your homes and stores,help children that you won’t even look at,and many other wonderful things they’ve done for our community for many years,alot of which my family and I have participated in. People like you would rather hold your private sales with the money going directly to your own inflated pockets,but you’ll be the FIRST TO COMPLAIN if litter,graffiti, or some “unfortunate minority person” looks at your newly planted Zinnias too long. Well I LIVE on 39th ave and don’t want YOUR sale on my block. So what’s the difference from you opposing the traditional street fair? Oh yea,this one will make YOU money as opposed to the actual community that’s forced to put up with you. I think I need to start a petition to make sure there is no noise,excess amount of people,or the nasty smell of money and tasteless old perfume,on my nice, quiet street. I’m positive more than seventy five people will agree. Far as the complaint re the poor Ice Cream Man? Clearly just The Grinch posting on the wrong forum. 😉

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Jill

As a born and raised Sunnysider, I remember these street fairs well, as do my family members who have lived here longer than anyone on this thread has been alive.They’ve always been fun mostly as a community gathering event, but very importantly,have been a tradition. Something which has been lacking for years now due to the influx of Richie rich types who are new,and have no sense of real community,just elitism. Never in my life have I heard of people actually banding together to eradicate a positive and happy community tradition. It’s a SIMPLE STREET FAIR!!! If all you cranky whiners and uppity yuppity types put all that fun crushing energy into being better neighbors think of the great things you could actually accomplish instead of all the simple pleasures you could extinguish for our community. Seems like a bunch of poorly used energy if you ask us lifers.

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Phyllis

Annie
I am not sure how to answer–we would welcome you on our street/court, as I have said, but you may live closer to one of the other courts. I hope Dorothy will read this message (and she is posting on this thread) and respond. I know that we in Roosevelt Court have discussed this and it seems like our leadership is in favor of having neighborhood renters participate. It would be great to have as much participation as possible, in my opinion.

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Annie D

I am not a homeowner, but rent nearby within the historic district. I emailed Dorothy twice with no reply, so I did not know if we could participate or if there was a fee. I agree I would prefer to donate to Kiwanis.

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Dorothy Morehead

It was a coincidence that the stories on the sidewalk sale and the street event appeared so close together. They are not connected. Pat Dorfman and I started working on the sidewalk sale in March. She did the artwork and we finalized the wording for the flyer two days before Clearview distributed the registration form for their event. The sidewalk sale is intended to be a low-key community-wide event for everyone. Anyone can sell on their own property or with permission of the property-owner if they are a tenant. All are welcome.

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sm

Why not split it – 15% to Roosevelt Court and 5% to the Kiwanis?

It seems the same group that are getting this sidewalk sale profit (homeowners selling their wares) are the ones who vocalized the opposition to street fairs that took away theirs?

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Phyllis

I am working with another person on the sidewalk sale for our court, Roosevelt, so I’m not sure why you are not getting responses. Dorothy Morehead is working with other people on the community-wide sale. My suggestion is this–on the 18th, put your table out in front of your house. If your court is not active, then put up a few balloons. We’ll be on 47 and 48 Streets and also on 39 Avenue, so people will be looking for tables all over. I’m happy you want to participate and please do so! It’s good for our community to have participation from all corners. We have people in some of the apartment buildings wanting to have tables on our court and we are happy to accommodate all. In our case, we are asking for a voluntary contribution of 20% of participant’s table proceeds to go to the preservation and maintenance of Roosevelt Court.

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123sunny

Its too bad. Two days a year just didn’t seem like all that big an inconvenience. I don’t know how far 2K could go in NYC for any nonprofit, but I’m sure it was a sum appreciated and needed by the Kiwanis.

In any event, I plan to contribute to Kiwanis what I would have otherwise spent at the local stores on Skillman. Hopefully, their good works will be able to be continued.

Without the street fairs (that harmed business,) obviously me not spending my approx. $650 a year at stores on that street will not have any harmful effect for them – they can easily recoup that small amount on the now “non-street fair days.”

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Annie D

I’ve sent multiple emails inquiring about participating in this sidewalk yard sale, but no response. Maybe you all check this more?

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Phyllis

Thanks for the positive feedback. For starters, this year there will be a Gardens-wide yard and sidewalk sale on May 18. We are hoping to get a large number of participants and promote some recycling of our stuff. If that goes well, perhaps next year we could expand to include merchants and restaurants and other not for profit groups, including the Kiwanis and those other groups mentioned.

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Phyllis

Why does everything have to be filled with vitriol. A lot of people disagree and that is only human.. A lot of people really hate these street fairs all over the city and not just in sunnySide. We are entitled to feel that way and we have let our voices be heard, and loud. Those that want the fair on their own block, speak up. Otherwise, contact the council member in your district and the community board and tell them you disagree.

Once upon a time skillman had a real neighborhood fair.. All the participants were local groups and businesses and no special vendors that make their living only doing fairs. Let’s go back to those and maybe everyone will enjoy and have a good time. And local groups could benefit according to their own production.

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7trayne

Residents “who want the peaceful enjoyment of their properties which they have worked hard to buy and maintain.”

Many people can’t buy or own property in the area, and furthermore, the Skillman business’s patrons (as well as frequenters to the street fair) are often people from nearby areas who also aren’t of this particular demographic implied. Skillman belongs to all who frequent it, not just those who own its expensive nearby residential properties.

That’s somewhat besides the point… Just trying to help out, because there appears to be a lack of internet savvy here that is likely causing you undue stress.

In other news, where can I get a funnel cake on Saturday?

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Dorothy Morehead

7trayne, in my last post I included residents twice. Of course, they are entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of their homes every bit as much as property owners.

I didn’t poopoo $2,000. OK, calling it “whopping” was a bit sarcastic. It is a significant amount of money, especially for a small non-profit. It’s also a significant amount for a small business. I’m sure that many of the small businesses which are the backbone of the community–and which contribute regularly to numerous non-profits with donations of gift certificates for goods and services–would have lost that much and more had the event been held.

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The truth

The true story is the Skillman snobs don’t want Hispanics walking along their leafy streets, theses are the same people who are getting the park on Skillman reconfigured to eliminate scoccer games!

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Oppressed Masses

Looks like there will be many disappointed Sunnysiders as part of the fallout from the back and forth on this event. To help ease the community pain, I am willing to sell off packages from my unopened collection of tube socks, packed six to a package (I always check). I also have available gently used individual pairs of tube socks for those who don’t want to buy six pairs. Look for me on Saturday afternoon in the outdoor seating area of Claret where I will be enjoying a glass of wine with my dog.

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7trayne

I think insisting on always mentioning ‘owners’ and poopooing 2 grand as an insignificant sum of money is not helping you win the elitist argument. IMHO.

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Sunnysideposthatesme

nobody likes these fairs, now if Sunnyside actually cared of something other than raising its property values to hipsters they would be trying to do something else for the community. Plan your own events Sunnyside, kids around this neighborhood have NOTHING to do because you only care about your pub crawls and donation based events.

That being said, I see Sunnyside being a hotspot for only a few more years. I already see a ton of hipsters moving out. My building alone has a bunch of empty apartments that aren’t being rented out.

Sunnyside will go back to being an affordable place for families to live while those nomadic hipsters will find another place to consume like a pack of sandal wearing locusts

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Dorothy Morehead

I was informed that Kiwanis expected to make a whopping $2,000 from the street event. I do intend to make a contribution to Kiwanis, as do other Skillman Avenue residents, homeowners and business owners, more than seventy of whom signed petitions opposing the event. If gobacktoparkslope wishes to target me, so be it. Unlike him/her, I choose to put my name on my posts. Always have, always will. I just wish he/she will get it that the vast majority of the people who opposed the event are long-time residents who are not snobs or nimbies–they are regular people who want the peaceful enjoyment of their properties which they have worked hard to buy and maintain.

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gobacktoparkslope

This is truly sickening. It’s a shame what this neighborhood is becoming. I feel embarrassed to live here.

Hey Morehead, you should be writing a big fat check to the charity organizations that are losing out because of this. You make me ill.

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J.J.

At some point, I would like to see a follow-up story on what services these nonprofits will not be able to provide because the revenue from this event has been lost. Approximately how much money are we talking about? And what is the exact plan for a fundraiser to fill this gap? I hope the people who so were so vehemently against the fair will step up to the plate and donate!

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Mace

What a joke. The street fairs are always packed with people. And more importantly, they’re packed with a truer representation of the neighborhood demographic. I’ve lived here all 35 years of my life and I’m finally moving next month. It saddens me to know that I’m leaving just as a small group who have a warped ideal of what they want the neighborhood to be are calling the shots. Arrogant, self serving loud mouths.

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lalala

Could Sunnyside be trend-setting? These street fairs exist all over the city. I’ve found out good information at these events. I am saddened that the Kiwanis Club caved. I don’t know that there was ‘public outcry’ or ‘vociferous’ speaking out going on. Did they poll the residents? No, they listened to elitist few who think throwing unwanted crap out on your front stoop is more desirable than a carnival like atmosphere. It wasn’t perfect but I’m ashamed about this.

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Elizabeth the Thwarter

The Manhattan elite are bringing cheap tube socks with them? I should think expensive fedoras would be more likely.

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sunnyside_native

Bringbback the old fairs to Skillman, so much more interesting, live music, some tables to sit and eat our local restaurant’s food. Fellowshipping with our neighbors, so much fun for adults, and kids, too, even though there were no expensive kiddie rides. Tell Clearview to take a hike. We have enough junk stores & 99 Cent stores!

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Former 45th Streeter

Get over it whiners. Now that the Manhattan” elite” have moved in and gentrified Sunnyside, expect more of this crap

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JackBee

These fairs are a ripoff. Years ago on Greenpoint Ave. I bought 2 packs of socks that had 6 in a pack. The peddler took 2 packs from beneath the wagon and put them in a bag. When I got home each pack was missing 2 pairs. They are just like carny workers, hit and run
low lifes.

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SuperWittySmitty

Please leave Greenpoint & 48th Avenue alone. These “fairs” are a joke and are generally unwelcome. Don’t these vendors realize this.

Only thing worse is that damn ice cream truck tooling around my neighborhood playing some electronic version of a nursery rhyme and disturbing the peace. Just shows a total lack of respect to those who live here. It’s hard to fathom why this behavior is tolerated.

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Royale with Cheese

@Webley

48th ave would be a good alternative. In fact, a pick-up truck the other day crashed and took out the lamp post with the Winged Fist Way street sign that was implemented to much fanfare about a year ago. Thankfully nobody was hurt.

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Webley

Royale with Cheese, 43rd avenue? But then where will the trucks and cabs and black cars who are trying to avoid blvd traffic speed and run lights and terrorize people?

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Webley

Who/Where is this community board, there is 1 and 2 ? How does one get in touch with this board, or join? Looks like a lot of decisions are being made by a group of people who assume control of the “community”.

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Royale with Cheese

Just put the bloody thing on 43rd avenue or Greenpoint.

Skillman is doing fine without this nonsense but the other thoroughfares could use a boost.

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Joe

Wow! Good job you bunch of whiners! That’s good money down the drain because there would be too much noise and no parking. That’s what a typical day on Skillman is! I would have to suspect the whiners were having a case of NIMBY and didn’t want those “other” people around.

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Mobo

Way to go, Sunnyside! God forbid that merchants and residents on Skillman are inconvenienced for one whole day! There are so many other communities that have street fair, but I guess they’re immune to the traffic, smells, etc… Real community spirit!!

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Sue

I’m disappointed to hear about this- I was looking forward to the street fair and planning to bring some out-of-town visitors. Even if it didn’t sell the highest quality food/goods, the event makes things festive and is a good way to see community members out enjoying spring.

I know it can be hard to find the best activities- what one person loves, another person hates.

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