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Skillman Ave. Block Likely to be Permitted to Have Outdoor Cafes

Jan. 23, 2013 Staff Report

The New York City Planning Department is expected to make a slight modification to its zoning maps that would permit restaurant owners between 46th and 47th on Skillman Ave. to establish large sidewalk cafes.

Presently, those businesses are only able to establish small sidewalk cafes. With small sidewalk cafes business are only able put out a single row of tables and chairs, which can be no more than 4 ½ feet from the front of the restaurant.

Under the change, these restaurants would be permitted to have a large dedicated space with tables, chairs, railings/fences/planters, and perhaps an awning.

“When Sunnyside was rezoned it should’ve been included, so we’re trying to correct that now,” said Joe Conley, chairman if Community Board 2.

Shekh Noman, the owner of Saffron Garden, which is located on the Skillman Avenue block subject to the change, was enthusiastic about the proposal. “I’m very interested. I’ve already talked with [Joe] Conley, [Jimmy] Van Bramer and my lawyer and we’re planning for it. It’ll be good for business.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com

44 Comments

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New to Sunnyside

Like I said, The Anti-Hipster is truly not representative of Sunnyside. He/she is only spreading hate and negativity. I got a dog because I love dogs and grew up with dogs. My prior role at my company in L.A. had me travelling too much to own a dog and devote enough time to it. I did not get a dog because it makes me feel socially accepted. I feel sorry for you. That you need to live in your pathetic little world where you ‘despise’ anybody who you don’t know. Way to go being a nice person and welcoming me to the neighborhood. I have enjoyed sitting at Claret at their outdoor tables a few times in the nice weather with my girlfriend and my dog. Feel free to pop over and say Hi! Bosco can give you his paw and I can give you the finger! 🙂

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Paulo

I suspect that AntiHipster and Sycamore are actually the same person; Let’s call this type of troll Sychipster. Sychipsters can be identified by calling all people younger than themselves ‘hipsters’. Also, they tend to classify all people not ‘hipsters’ or elderly to middle aged white people as ‘foreigners’. This helps them understand this changing world a little.
They shout and spit what they call ‘facts’ when it’s really just a weakly supported opinion covering up a conspiracy theory, or in some cases, blind hate.
I shall continue the list of Sychipster’s traits later, but I have to go to work to support my real estate empire and dog kennel.

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Newcomer

Wow, so much angst about outdoor seating! (Or can it be called angst if people aren’t hipsters?)

I’ve only been here about six months and, yes, I moved into a rent stabilized apartment. I’m planning to stay put- I hate moving and I’m really enjoying Sunnyside. Luckily the anger that people blast on this site isn’t usually expressed in person. I moved here because a friend who worked in Woodside recommended it as affordable, diverse, down-to-earth, and not gentrifying. Turns out the last part was wrong.

My only reason to jump into this conversation is to say that many of the new, young folks have moved here for similar reasons that the long-time residents like it. Not all of the young folks plan to move on quickly- some will stay, have children and raise them in the community. Give us a chance. If landlords try to push out long-time tenants or fail to make repairs, organize a tenants organization and get the newbies involved, too. Rents are rising everywhere in the city, Sunnyside is no exception. Luckily, with the new thresh-hold for exiting rent stabilization at $2500, most Sunnyside units will stay in regulation for quite a while longer.

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TheAntiHipster

pretentious hipster nobody likes you, people make fun of you as you walk by, why? because your life is shallow and you look to define that life with whats hot at the moment.

you people walk around with your dogs not because you are dog lovers but because it makes you socially accepted. Its how you network, i’m sure if I delve deeper there’s some code word that will lead me to some underground hipster orgy filled with women who don’t shave and men who don’t shower. because you are all a disgusting nomadic people.

In the end its your attitude. the “I’m better than the people who have lived here before me because I pay more” that makes us despise you . What exactly do you think you contribute to? The merchants around sunnyside did just fine, they only raised their prices recently, do you see more jobs in Sunnyside? Do you see better school activity? Nope, Turkish Grill thanks you for paying their 10 dollar lunch special that’s about it.

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Pretentious Hipster

Blah blah blah, same inane talking points from “OG” Sunnysiders. Woe is me. With all these “hipsters” moving in I wont be able to maintain my god given right to another $200/month apt while not investing anything into the growth of the area. I do retain my right to bitch about young couples and singles moving in though.

@ antihipster – parents who don’t even want to help kids with HW? Why have kids?! Teachers are supposed to hang around until 7pm to help them with HW? Jesus christ… slam the young parents with fancy strollers who take interest in their kids though, they’re obviously the problem.

And just to set the record straight dog owners are some of the most outgoing people in the neighborhood. Even in the subset of dog owners the miserable ones seem to be the old folk who tend not to pick up after their dogs. Happy to see a sliver of the new park with a run.

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TheAntiHipster

Gdog, and this is why we hate you, you’re pretentious D-bags who think you are contributing but in reality you hipsters are a bunch of leeches. Raising prices then leaving when you’re bored. disgusting

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Sycamore

@gdog We who have lived here our entire lives–some financially successful, some successful in less pecuniary ways–have made this neighborhood the one you want to invest in. Watch out, your naked greed is showing.

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TheAntiHipster

New To Sunnyside, while your emotional story indeed brought a tear to my eye the problem that many of us “old timers” are seeing with Sunnyside becoming a hot spot is in fact HIPSTERS.

Why is Sunnyside such a great place all of a sudden? is it our schools? Is it our parks? No…it’s all the spots to eat and drink bringing in a class of people we “old timers” don’t care for. The hipsters that have been moving into sunnyside have done NOTHING to make the neighborhood better. The only thing I see is more dog shit on the streets and restaurants raising their food prices.

I mean just look at the post diner, that place used to sell dinners at 10 bucks, now its 15-17 bucks a dinner. Meanwhile, we lose Supermarkets that we need like Foodtown ( and even Pathmark even though it’s not sunnyside).

the ONLY thing Hipsters have done for Sunnyside is help raise the rent stabilized apartments to market value thanks to their nomadic living practices. I always laugh when I see some young couple move in to an apartment and everything they own fits inside a Sedan . So while New To Sunnyside might be a sincere story , the fact of the matter is that many of us “old timers” have reason to hate every thing thats changing about our Sunnyside and the people who are desperately trying to shift Sunnyside into the next Park Slope.

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Gdog

@anti hipster and @sycamore-
If you like the neighborhood so much and want to support it why don’t you buy a place here instead of renting. Then you would be happy prices are going up because your place would be worth more. As far as I’m concerned you don’t get a vote on this neighborhood. The young professionals moving in (myself included) are the ones spending money here and making investments, not you.

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Sycamore

@ Paulo IF you won’t engage in a discussion of the facts, there is no need to continue, is there? If you want the award for most long-winded insulter, I cede it to you. Congratulations.

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Paulo

TheAntiHipster is, of course, not worth responding to. There is quite a disproportionate amount of trolls on this site. I’m honestly surprised that they can use a computer.
Sycamore, Friends and I from other parts of Queens came to Sunnyside to pub crawl when I was 18. Coming to Sunnyside to have a drink or two is nothing new; as ‘hipster’ youths, we must have been unaware that your area was off limits to outsiders. Maybe I should think twice if I want to go to a restaurant in Jackson Heights; I wouldn’t want to intrude on their turf. I live close to Skillman; it’s just silly to say there is a noise problem from the outdoor seating. You are making something out of nothing, but ultimately it’s you and your blood pressure that will be effected by your intolerance and loose judgements.
Your ‘rational’ response above to Patina was the reason I wrote on this sad site at all. People like you and AntiHipster need to be pushed back, or soon we’ll be governed (or ungoverned) by the tea-party.

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Sycamore

@Paulo I did make a mistake in my last post. If you are as old as you say you are, you are not intelligent. Your conclusions are way off. I hate no one, nor do I deny anyone the right to live here, raise their children, have dogs, be of other backgrounds, ethnicities, etc. If you read what I wrote, and not what you think I wrote, you will see I pin it on powers outside this neighborhood. You know what? before this neighborhood was cool enough to have its own news site, no one every argued about new people moving in because new people moved in all the time and old people moved out and some stayed. It is the commercial drive behind it that is new. Please, be peaceful and see what is happening to everybody, not just you. And, just to return to the springboard for this argument, outdoor cafes mostly draw people from other neighborhoods who want to sit in a nice place and enjoy themselves. There is nothing wrong with that except it never used to happen here. This is no longer a quiet place for people who live here, it is striving to become a “destination.” A kid I knew who grew up in Jackson Heights, which has had a much more robust shopping and commercial distric than Sunnyside for all of my life, tells me he and his friends now come here to “pub crawl.” Good for partyers and bar owners, not great for sleeping people and others. P.S. You didn’t take on any of my factual challenges, you just called me names. That is not a rational argument it is mudslinging.

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New to Sunnyside

Wow – the Anti-Hipster really knows how to make a guy feel at home. I moved here to Sunnyside from L.A. for a new job at my company. A co-worker used to live here and he said it’s a great neighborhood, so this is where I bought my condo and planted roots. I am not a hipster, nor did I own a dog (at the time); however I like dogs and owned them growing up. This has been a great neighborhood to reside in and the people are nice and have been welcoming. I have to say that the nicest people by FAR in the neighborhood have been the dog owners. Dog people by nature are usually nice, outgoing people. I am saddened to see comments above, made toward hipsters and referring to them as f**king dogs. That’s what it said before on the site and it looks like somebody edited your words. Is that how you welcome newcomers to Sunnyside? After 2 years of living here, I adopted a dog from a rescue group. I am often with my girlfriend & my dog in Bayside, so I do not really know the group who did all the ground work to get it opened. I read about it in one of the local papers and now that I have a dog, I am grateful that I will soon have a dog run to utilize. That money from what I read is going to renovate a large part of the park – NOT just the dog run. As a condo owner, I am glad that any of my tax money may have gone to financially supporting it. Thank you to Paulo and people like him for making all us newcomers feel welcomed. The Anti-Hipster is truly not representative of Sunnyside. I will pay it forward to all future newcomers and make them feel welcome here too. Sunnyside is still a great place to live!

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TheAntiHipster

Paulo if you can’t see how all these changes have been bad for sunnyside then you are an ignorant fool. you say you have kids ?

Then why was millions spent on a dog park instead of something more for kids? why is no money going into funding bigger after school programs so kids can catch up or just give a break to parents who have to get home by 7pm and don’t have time to help their kids with homework. or even WANT to help with homework since the only time they get to spend with them during the week is that short amount of time and they dont’ wish to spend it doing something TEACHERS should be doing.

All I see is young couples moving in. Couples with XXXXing dogs. They don’t say hello, they mingle within themselves. Sunnyside officially SUCKS and this is the truth, enjoy your 1500 a month 1 bedroom suckers.

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Paulo

Sycamore, maybe you can’t imagine that someone born and bred in Queens could be tolerant, realistic and compassionate. You have been the contemptuous native, but you don’t speak for us all. I too, was born here, in Queens, almost 50 years ago, and have come to understand that Queens is not Kansas. It is an international, colorful and fluid place, unlike any other in the world. I, and many colleagues of mine, born here, live here in Sunnyside Gardens, on teacher’s salaries, still. You are here; you have yet not been swept away. We hear the voices of you and other angry ghost on this sad site daily. I angers me to think that good people new to the area, whom you don’t even know, have to read your unfriendly disorganized rants.
I have children growing up here; I am insulted an embarrassed that there is such confused hypocritical hate floating around their neighborhood.
You have no deep focus on this issue; you sound shallow and opportunistic.

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TheAntiHipster

Try to find a lunch around Sunnyside that’s less that 10 bucks these days. Manhattan lunch prices. Used to be you could find a good lunch around Sunnyside for 7 bucks or so.

Hipsters raised all the prices in Sunnyside. BECAUSE hipsters come and go apartments that were rent stabilized are now high. In the building I live in I have seen one apartment have 4 tenants in 2 years. If these nomadic hipsters would just stop and THINK about what they wanted to do in life and not just adapt the latest trend then Sunnyside would still be a neighborhood for families

And if you think it IS a neighborhood for families then you obviously don’t have a family.

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Sycamore

@Paulo You underestimate me. Of coure rents are going up all around the city. Our mayor and others in his government have created a city for the wealthy, both those who live here and those with enough to visit here and spend money. Many of the old neighborhoods below 96th Street have been turned into enclaves for the wealthy, which raises the tax base. I’ve read in more than one place that much of that real estate recently created is for foreign money seeking safety from overseas markets. Manhattan real estate, I’ve read, is considered a AAA investment. Okay, prices go up and the city’s balance sheets look better. Fine. At the same time Bloomberg’s friends on Wall Street cut the legs out from under the entire world with their toxic investments, tax income from Wall Street dries up, the pressure is really on. Build more condos–a recent story says more rich people who can’t afford Manhattan don’t have enough luxury living in LIC, they might expand it into Astoria. This is all a way to keep the city going. Got it. But it comes at the cost of people who have lived here forever. I don’t know where you come from–or if you were born here–but I defy you to give me and example of people who are happy when they can no longer afford to live where they were born. Give it a try. Maybe I can learn something from them. It is not sour grapes, or a nasty temperament. It is a the legitimate point of view of people who see themselves being swept away from everything they know so other people can take over. We who have lived here for our entire lives don’t deserve your snide comments or your contempt for our existence. Let the scales drop from your eyes and see how these things effect everyone, not just yourself or your friends. And your statement that I or anyone else is doing this because it is “hip,”tempts me to insult your intelligence, but you are obviously intelligent so you must be young. You will one day grow red with shame if you remember how you emphatically stated silly things to people who were speaking from a deep focus on the issue, one that kept all the details in view.

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Get a Life

Love the high level of discussion! However, a couple of people have made good points about the noise level and how expensive things have become.

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Paulo

It doesn’t seem like actual hipsters are moving into the neighborhood, it looks like it’s young people, with jobs and some money, and maybe kids. Sycamore doesn’t like that because she thinks that it is making the neighborhood more expensive. Sycamore and others who incorrectly go on about hipsters should consider that rents are up all around the city, not just Sunnyside. Sunnyside is as nice or nicer that any other neighborhood in Queens. I has resisted most ugly development, so far. Outdoor cafes, as they are zoned, are certainly not a big deal, unless you hate people and would rather not see them around, those young people I mean.
Also, It’s not a ‘hipster’ phenomenon to adopt trends, it’s a human one; other ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ trends are posting on blogs and bashing ‘hipsters’.

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Sycamore

This is a perfect example of the devolution of conversation. No exchange of information and ideas, just an exchange of self-reflexive idiocies. This site is a great big collection of nothing.

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Susan

Sorry, I live alone and look down on the streets from my dusty window at the happy people and have only the intelligence to hate. As I grow old, I hate more and think less. I don’t even know what a hipster is. Honestly, pity me.

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Sycamore

OF course you know what a hipster is, someone who adopts trends purported to be “cool” or “hip.” After years and years of just existing as a quiet neighborhood for the people who lived here, Sunnyside has cachet. This is a complete fabrication by an intersection of government, business and real estate interests and has successfully pulled more money out of everyone’s pockets by “upgrading” the neighborhood and using media to draw attention to it.

This phenomenon is not new but it works on young people who don’t know when they are being sold a bill of goods. Sunnyside may have better stores and a wider selection of coffees but it is still on the Number 7 line, sandwiched between the Grand Central, BQE and LIE and LIRR, daily blanketed by exhaust fumes from planes landing at La Guardia, by particulate matter wafting from electrical plants on the river, and by the dried up swamp soil we are built on. It has the worst rated air in Queens. But, you hardly ever see that in the blogs, magazines and local papers filling their news hole with barely disguised marketing info from the business and real estate interests here. They wouldn’t make any money from advertisers if they did. No one asks the people who have lived here all their lives. Well, you will find it out on your own. Experience is the best teacher! Good luck.

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Time's Up

“Hipsters rejoice!!!! — let the pretentious few that can’t afford Manhattan & Brooklyn feel the ambience of being wanna be Manhattanites or Brooklynites…”

I’m sorry you hate yourself so much that you feel it necessary to assail a make-believe group of people with nonsensical comments.

People are so afraid and insecure. Hipster this, hipster that…blah blah blah.

Perhaps there is merit to the argument that more businesses should not be allowed to have sidewalk-seating permits. Perhaps there is none. But when delusional people scream “hipster” (whatever the fuck that means) and add silly, completely unsupported psychoanalysis to their comments, every one is worse off. You have contributed nothing but bitterness.

Is life that boring that we have to invent ways to divide ourselves?

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Sycamore

@Patina Itsn’t it frustrating that your neighbors don’t give a hoot about your life? Doesn’t it burn they word “betrayed” across your heart? The seem to believe a person who caters to careless, drunk people has a right to do so at the cost of your peace of mind because “he/she has to make a living” and it “brings vitality to our neighborhood.” What!? I’ll bet you quietly go about the business of making your living all day for a week and come home to your refuge to rest, don’t you? And you pay dearly for a place to rest, don’t you? Yet a “businessman” has a right to degrade that and gets loud obnoxious support from people who live out of earshot of his manner of earning his bread? They turn you–and me who lives across the street from Donatos on 39th Avenue–into just so much wallpaper decorating their drunken revelry. Well, I have a few words for them and the politicians who support them because it is “good for the neighborhood,” but I don’t actually like to even think those words never mind use them. @Krissi I can’t think of a word to describe how base you are.

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SunnysideUP

Sunnyside is way more expensive that many brooklyn areas so people who choose sunnyside over brooklyn, they do it because they love the area! Sunnyside has a lot of potential and is one of the greenest and safest areas to live. Humans beings are meant to be social. If you dont like to socialize, stay home and let us enjoy our wine on the outdoors looking at the stars. Thank you.

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Susan

Hipsters rejoice!!!! — let the pretentious few that can’t afford Manhattan & Brooklyn feel the ambience of being wanna be Manhattanites or Brooklynites…maybe we can stop traffic so you can enjoy peace & quiet while you sip your beverages?

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Guttersnipe

@patina, I believe your only speaking for your hapless self. Because of these establishments the neighborhood has taken on a new vitality and excitment. Let there be more outdoor seating. Let all outdoor cafe patrons raise their glasses high in a toast that your cacophony of bulls#*t ends here!

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patina

it’s true that claret already has enough outdoor seating,and the noise that eminates from dog and duck in the nice weather is often deafening.those of us who live in the nabe can’t even keep our windows open due to their cacophony,and i’ve been tempted to make an issue out of it on yelp. Does anybody know what became of the plans to open a nail salon where the romanian garden was.My apartment has a window that looks out on a large skylight in their backroom,and there doesn’t seem to be anything going on.i’m hopeful that their plans fell through,as that space could be much better utilized.

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86Mets

How much more terrace space can places like Claret take up before they are a problem for pedestrian traffic?

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Marilyn

A sidewalk cafe is not going to help Saffron Garden’s bottom line if their food doesn’t improve. But, Good Luck!~

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Local Hamburgler

@JuliaJ, nothing is stopping you! I love your passion and think you can really make a difference! Be the community inspiration we all need! Chop chop, get to it!

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JuliaJ.

I have a better idea: how about finding tenants for the empty stores on Skillman, and yes, there are empty stores. Also, how about building up and advertising the stores that are between 51st and 52nd Street?

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Sunnyside Native

Great idea! We love sitting with our friends at Claret or Bar 43 with our dogs on a beautiful Spring, Summer or Fall day/night. I believe it will bring more business to those establishments! I hope the Mom’s with their large $1,500 Bugaboo Donkey strollers can fit past the cafes with the new extended sidewalk. Good Luck to those establishments if this passes!

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Oppressed Masses

It is difficult to understand which establishments will be affected by the proposed change. It seems from the map that only Saffron Gardens will benefit and not Claret or the Dog and Duck. It would be helpful if a clarification with a statement of which current establishments will benefit is provided. In any event, it seems that allowing a restaurant to extend seating to approximately nine feet from the building line onto the Skillman Ave sidewalk will substantially impact pedestrians.

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