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Sunnyside Group Unites Against EZ Pawn

Photo: Office of Jimmy Van Bramer

Aug. 3, 2010 By Christian Murray

Three Sunnyside elected officials received a petition today asking them to block the opening of a pawn shop at the corner of 46th Street and Queens Blvd.

The petition calls on Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan and Congressman Joseph Crowley to help “close” or “move the location” of a proposed EZ Pawn Corp. store that is schedule to open next month.

“We are distressed about the opening of an EZ Pawn Corp. branch at the most visible, prominent corner of the area, across the street from the Sunnyside Arch and at 46th/Bliss station,” the petition read, adding that it sends a “message of financial decline, counter to every effort community groups and individuals work hard to achieve every day.”

The petition was signed by about 60 residents and business owners, including Ira Greenberg, the president of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, to well-known business owners and residents (see petition letter below). The group, spearheaded by Patricia Dorfman, continues to collect signatures.

In response to the petition, Van Bramer said that he too didn’t want EZ Pawn to be located there.

“I would certainly prefer an old fashioned deli,” he said, adding that he lives on the same street just two blocks over. However, “I don’t have the power to say no pawn shops.”

Van Bramer said he would try to get the owner of EZ Pawn, the landlord and the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce together to see if some sort of a solution could be worked out.

Van Bramer said that he was working with the Small Business Administration, Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Finance to track down the landlord and to see if E Z Pawn has been subject to past violations.

Assembly Cathy Nolan, although aware of the petition, did not get back in time for comment. Congressman Crowley’s office said that he would be reviewing the matter.

David Kaminsky, the owner of Spanish Harlem-based EZ Pawn, which has seven branch offices throughout the city, said in an interview today that he has no plans to “move the location” of the store. In fact, “I’m trying to get it up as fast as I can,” he said.

“Why should I have to move? This is a great location – right by the train,” Kaminsky said. Furthermore, “this branch would be good for the area. We will bring business to the area. I see the bar next door is for sale and there are many vacant stores in the area.”

Kaminsky was aware that some Sunnyside residents opposed the establishment of the branch. However, he said, he had not heard from any elected officials.

EZ Pawn Corp is legally able to operate its store in Sunnyside and it does meet zoning requirements, according to Joe Conley, the chairman of community board 2. However, Conley did say, if it does open “It will be under the microscope,” adding, “if anything smells or looks illegal this community will be all over it.

Petition Letter by on Scribd

email the author: [email protected]


Click for Comments 

I am from Texas and whenever I see a pawn shop I already know the neighborhood is below standards. seriously though pawn shops don’t care if they ruin a good neighborhood and will not listen to reasoning just like bars who the heck wants a bar in their area common please.


Any item that is sold to a pawnshop is required by LaW to be presented with a city or state ID. Also Pawnshops in New York city work hand in hand with the NYPD. This is known to the thiefs. In other words a pawnshop is the very last place a thief will come to.

Also pawnshops in the past has helped me out alot when I got laid off do to the economy.


might this help promote theft in the neighborhood? If someone tries to pawn a stolen watch, TV or bike how does the shop make sure the merchandise isn’t stolen?


Thanks to Sunnyside Post for the great coverage of this issue.

I applaud the organizers of the petition for being so proactive. Even if nothing comes of it, it’s good to know we have such involved community members who care about taking this neighborhood in a non-pawn-shop direction.

Otherwise, I’ll just second everything Kathy wrote.


Having a big red garish E-Z PAWN SHOP sign greet residents and visitors exiting the 46 St. station is pretty appauling. If I were looking to rent or buy in the neighborhood, I might just get back on the train.

Aethetics, aside. E-Z Pawn Shop, placed in such a prominent location, will be sure to attract people from other areas who need a quick buck. It’s no secret that drug users are good customers of these businesses. Where there’s drug users, drug sellers follow.

You could say that Pawn shops are houses of pain. Down on their luck people loose their possessions. It’s bad karma — for them and the neighborhood.


I agree w. anonymous. While this isn’t the type of business anyone would choose to have open in that location, it is also difficult to determine that one type of business can’t open there. It is allowed under the zoning, and residents didnt complain when the pawn shop opened on the south side of QB between 43rd and 44th a couple months back. I guess my question is, where does the line end, and who gets to determine which businesses are acceptable and which are not?


There is already another pawn shop in the neighborhood. What is the rationale to shut down one and not the other?

45th and Skillman

If you want a deli to survive on that corner, then get a crowbar and pry out the food truck that’s taken permanent residence under the 7 train station. If I were a potential deli owner, why would I pay rent when the guy across the street can camp out there for free?

Volker Detering

Perhaps the families in our neighborhood should learn that buying gold, jewelry, and expensive electronics when you can’t afford them is a bad idea. The pawn shops live from those who buy jewels at one point, pawn it 3 months later to pay rent, and then lose the item because they can’t get enough cash in time to redeem it. It’s a cultural issue. Stop wasting your money.


Perhaps if enough democrats get booted out of office next election, the financial decline may stop and be reversed and the demand for pawn shops will drop. Then again, if more politicians understood the concept of supply and demand and elementary economics, we wouldn’t be in this mess.


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