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Slow Start to Flag Festival but Strong Ending Expected

Photo: QueensPost

Nov. 6, 2012 By Bill Parry

Several restaurant and bar owners behind The Skillman Project’s inaugural Festival of Flags are blaming Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath for a slow opening weekend.

The storm delayed the participating businesses from lining Skillman Ave with flags, since the flags were late to be delivered—which dampened the mood. Furthermore, many people were concerned about the victims of the storm and were hesitant to be out having fun.

Nevertheless, many people did stop in to some of the restaurants out of curiosity over the first weekend; however, the crowds were smaller than hoped.

“Many people stayed local because of the transit problems, [however] their priorities were with family in Breezy Point and elsewhere,” said Jean Clancy, the owner of Claret Wine Bar.

Initially, “the storm put a real kibosh on things,” said Mike Murphy, the owner of Murphy’s Bar. “We weren’t able to do some of the things we wanted to do because of the weather.  Even getting supplies became a problem, because our cars were low on gas.”

However, in the past day or two, people have begun to notice the change on Skillman Avenue.

Murphy’s Bar is celebrating Jamaica, with reggae music and Blue Point Rastafari Beer on tap all week. The bar now has the Jamaican flag outside and, Murphy said, “People are asking ‘what it’s all about?’”

Ana Kitich, the owner of Cafe Marlene believes that the flags are now doing what she hoped. “We’ve had some people stop in and ask about the Yugoslavian flag hanging outside.”

Flynn’s Garden Inn adopted Poland for the event, and owner Paul Flynn has been surprised by the reaction, “I had no idea there were so many Polish people in the neighborhood. We had a very busy couple of days. The food was gone immediately, and I’m on the third bottle of Luksusowa (Polish vodka) already.”

The Festival of Flags continues through next weekend, and Claret’s Jean Clancy believes a better week lies ahead. “We have Spanish food and wine all week, and Flamenco dancing on Saturday and Sunday. We’re expecting big things next weekend.”

Padraig Connelly of The Dog and Duck said, “The hurricane definitely hurt us, but it didn’t dampen our spirits about The Skillman Project.”

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Patricia Dorfman

recommend! great idea!

we just went to quaint (italy) and had shrimp with tangy pesto on linguini, tiramisu, olive oil orange cake with ice cream, and italian wine while listening to italian popular music and opera. it was a lot of fun and the food was fabulous. we will try to get to a few other spots!

Oppressed Masses

What does a butterfly garden have to do with dogs? I think dispensers of plastic hand gloves used (hopefully) to pick up the hot steaming presents left by the beloved doggies is a more appropriate and practical way to commemorate the dearly departed members of SUDS. Sections of the newly constructed wall you mention should be named for each of the Founding Fidos, perhaps with silhouettes of fire hydrants, allowing their surviving brethren to give these heroes the traditional lift of the hind leg salute.


The trees you are concerned about in the park will be blocked from the dogs by fencing/walls. You see most dogs don’t climb fences. But, I am sure your beloved public urinating athletes will find a way to ‘mark’ the trees in their special way. Maybe you can lead them in this endeavor?

What we are thinking about doing, to honor the SUDS dogs that have passed, waiting for the run to be built, is naming a tree, or, possibly, planting a butterfly garden in the area in their honor. I see Monarch Butterflies from time to time, plant a little milkweed and they will come.

Ease up on OM, he hasn’t been the same since he saw Ol’ Yeller.


Local Hamburgler


OM’s apathy is a defense mechanism formed after watching Marley & Me.

Sunnyside Native

Oppressed Masses – Grow up! It’s enough with the dog bashing already. It is really old at this point. Inquiring minds want to know: Do you NOT like dogs? Are you afraid of dogs? Have you been bitten by a dog? What bug is up your ass about dogs? Your insane posts about dogs are old and ridiculous…

Oppressed Masses

Thank you for your concern, RD, I’m truly touched. Here’s an idea for you to gnaw on: As part of the ceremonies for the opening of the Van Bramer Dog Park, a parade of canines each wearing a sash signifying breed, country of origin, or as a SUDS dignitary. The dogs will be released into the grove of newly planted trees and given the opportunity to mark a tree as its own, by urinating or defecating on its particular tree. Said tree will thereafter be known by its special status, for example as the Poodle tree, the Rottweiler tree, or the SUDS tree. Of course, the founding members of SUDS (Fido, Pooch, Lassie, et al) will lead the parade into the grove.

No need to thank me,


Rick Duro

Oh, I have certainly missed you, OM!! Glad to know you survived the storm, I was VERY worried. SUDS rescue dogs were on call ready to help you.

There are no plans for a Dog Flag Fest, BUT, we are planning a Dog Sash Fest. Each pure breed dog would wear a sash that represented its specific breed, or country of origin. For Mutts, like my dog, they are going to wear a SUDS sash.

We were hoping you could serve as a judge.

Contact me @




In an area like Queens, foreign flags can be seen just about every where you look. They’re not exactly a novelty. Good luck to the business owners just the same.

Does anyone know if any Union Jacks were to to be seen?


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