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Sunnyside Chamber Re-Elects President, Discusses Bill That Aims to Protect Mom & Pop Stores

Rebecca Barker, Rigo Cardoso

Rebecca Barker (chamber VP), Rigo Cardoso (president)

April 27, 2015 By Christian Murray

The Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce re-elected Rigo Cardoso as its president last Wednesday.

Cardoso, the owner of Sunnyside-based Pronto Car Service, took charge of the chamber about a year ago when he won a hard-fought election against Swain Weiner.

Since Cardoso has been in charge the chamber, the organization has turned a corner, according to director Patricia Dorfman.

Dorfman said that membership is up 25%; the organization has overcome debt issues to be solvent again; and it has generated $15,000 for local promotion.

Furthermore, Dorfman said the chamber has been able to draw quality speakers to its monthly lunch meetings, such as Community Board 2 chairman Pat O’Brien–who discussed zoning; the Commanding Officer of the 108 Precinct Capt. John Travaglia who discussed crime prevention; and Mitch Waxman, a local historian and expert on the Newtown Creek and the Sunnyside Yards.

Chamber members elected 27 board members Wednesday, consisting of 18 directors, six vice presidents, a secretary, treasurer and Cardoso as president.

The board is evaluating whether it should sign on to #savenyc, a group that is focused on passing city legislation that would help small businesses negotiate– through arbitration if needed– with landlords come lease renewal time. The bill at the very least, advocates say, would require landlords to provide business owners with significant notice if they are required to leave.

“We have already lost Dr. Kubikian (dentist), Center Cinemas and more neighborhood treasures,” said Dorfman. “We can’t stop rezoning which has made our buildings a hot ticket but we can try to help the stores which make our quality of life.”

 

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26 Comments

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kay w

Seth…perhaps you have been here longer. i’ve been here 25 years, and my husband has been here all of his life (and his family since the 1930s). And yes, the old time small town feeling of sunnyside is disappearing, but in all fairness, i still recognize my neighbors. and one way to preserve at least some of that small town charm is to stand behind our independently owned businesses and make sure they have at least a fighting chance to survive. we’re all part of this community — old timers, lifers, newcomers, hipsters, immigrants, etc. — let’s try to preserve some of that charm that attracted us to sunnyside in the first place! enjoy the gorgeous weather today!

Reply
Seth

@ Kay. .good chance I have been living here a lot longer than you..and yes I don’t recognize most of my neighbors nor do I speak the same languages as them…You see once upon a time Sunnyside did have that small town in America feeling but that is long gone..

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kay w

Seth….you clearly haven’t been here that long if you think these companies just “sprouted up”. They’ve been around for the last 30 years (at least). Double parking, honking, etc. is a nuisance, but it’s more than just these “gypsy” cabs doing it.

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Seth

.As the demo graphics of the neighborhood changed there have been some cultural changes as well….While I can tolerate these changes I can not support the numerous gypsy cab companies that have sprouted up in the neighborhood. .We have subways and buses here…These gypsy cabs belong in neighborhoods with limited public transportation access like south Queens. ..The cabs are a nuisance and don’t belong parked on our streets…Mr. Cardoso can take his crusade to Hollis, Cambria Heights and the surrounding area!!!

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kay w

@moishe @Seth call it what you’d like, but Pronto is still an independent business. And your question of where other “legitimate business owners of substance”are, well, that is exactly who, it would seem, our chamber of commerce is attempting to protect. Small, independent businesses need community support and I’m glad to see it being brought to the forefront.

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MOISHE

I agree with seth as far as the classless distribution of cards and flyers by this so called “cab’ service. what ever happened to the legitimate business owners of substance….such as the supermarket proprietor or the local funeral director…my how we are sliding down the ladder of political correctness…

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kay w

@Seth Pronto is not a gypsy cab company. It’s a legitimate business with a dispatch office on 49th Street between Skillman and 43rd Avenue. And Pottersville was made into a glitzy soul-less town by a greedy banker who owned most of the town; not a small business owner like Rigo Cardoso. @Anonymous Visitor…rent stabilization doesn’t equal free loading. Stabilization is an important part of New York City. It protects the tenant against unfair rent hikes and illegal evictions. It allowed many people to put down roots in a community and actually helped to create many neighborhoods where families — young and old — want to live. Without it, we’d be living in a very transitory community where you wouldn’t recognize your neighbors from one day to the next. Commercial rents are out of control and we need to find a way to attract and keep independent mom and pop stores. I applaud the Chamber for making it a priority.

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Seth

Amazing how the neighborhood has changed..The owner of a gypsy cab company running the chamber of commerce!!!..This kind of reminds me of a Jimmy Stewart nightmare..Bedford Falls becomes Pottersville…This guy is responsible for countless business cards littered all over the neighborhood and horn blowing double parked cars on a daily basis…curious how many of his drivers are operating with suspended licenses…or paying their ” fair share of taxes”…What a joke!!

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Anonymous Visitor

So now we want to get the City involved in negotiating leases for private businesses?? They messed up the residential end of things with rent stabilization. Created a society of free-loaders! Do we now want to stabilize commercial leases’?? If you are smart enough to run a successful small business, you ARE smart enough to negotiate your own lease renewal or hire a lawyer to do so for you. The city only messes things up when they get involved. Let free market prevail. That is the american way!!!

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Kitty's Back

You are missing the point. This is not a free market. The very wealthy real estate lobby paid off a lot of politicians to put through zoning changes that have made them much, much richer. That gives them the power to do all they have done to destroy what exists and build something for people who have more money. Simple, yes, but corrupt. If you want corruption to rule the day, then do nothing. If you want to give everyone an even break, help pass the bill.

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Anonymous visitor

Kitty….stop demonizing landlords. Not all are wealthy. Some of us are small landlords that took a chance and denied ourselves to save and purchase a property and held it over time to see some appreciation and finally turn a profit. Sunnyside always had high density zoning! The rezoning downzond some sections and upzones others like on queens blvd where it makes sense. Some landlords are finally cashing in and selling there properties and making a profit. New buildings are being built. That is how things work.
This is a free market. You too can own something if you want to rake a risk! I guess it’s easier to sit back and do nothing

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Toll Troll

Doesn’t Pronto illegally squat the parking spaces on Queens Blvd and 46th – by Sidetracks? I see them drivers holding spots, double parking, and monopolizing them until they get a call for a job.

Is this the guy who’s running the Chamber?

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OldenDays

i see all kinds of cabs there, i assumed that it was an actual taxi stand. not sure though.

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Sunnyside Up

I would like the Chamber to suppport #save NY. It seems like the SBS of NYC just listens to the REBNY people, which is very corrupt. So, when it comes to helping small business the chamber is a better advocate. Someone really needs to expose the NYC Small Business Services for doing nothing to help small business.

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Klunker

Why can’t we stop rezoning? I totally agree, put some rules on these landlords, their REIT investment scams

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Anonymous Visitor

It has been rezoned already! You are a little late!!

Why should be put more rules on landlords?? In a free market system if they don’t provide a good product you would just move, right?? In a stabilized environment you can’t move because your rent is so low you can’t go anywhere else. So you stay and complain constantly while someone else supports you!

Supply and Demand for a quality product should be the only RULE that needs to be enforced.

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Kitty's Back

By that logic we should build ovens for all the imperfect people who are not up to market rate. Why should society have to put up with people who walk slowly on the sidewalk? Why should we go to the aid of people in trouble? Why should we save someone who is drowning. Self-reliance! Self-support! Everyone for themselves, that is the law of the jungle and the sooner we rid ourselves of those who are not up to snuff the better off everyone will be.

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