You are reading

Sunnyside Mural, Which Pays Tribute To Murdered Teen, to Be Restored

Current Mural with artist “AB” and Johnny “Lest” Rios (courtesy of @johnnylest777 instagram)

March 18, 2019 By Meghan Sackman

A faded mural on 48th Avenue that pays tribute to a Sunnyside resident who was murdered in 1988 will be freshened up next month.

The mural, painted on the side of Guanches Deli Grocery at 46-01 48th Avenue, honors Jose Miguel “Cilo” Perez, a Sunnyside resident who was shot and killed while riding his bicycle on a Bronx street when he was 18 years old.

Perez, who worked at a store located on 46th Street at the time, was an adored member of the community and a mentor to neighborhood kids, according to John “Johnny Lest” Rios, who worked with the original artist 31 years ago and maintains the mural.

The mural is located on the corner of 46th Street and 48th Avenue, a place where Perez, Rios and other local teens would hang out. Rios said that a big group of kids, “like the little rascals,” would gather there.

Rios said that Perez was a popular Sunnyside teen who was liked by everyone in the community.

“There was something special about him,” Rios said of Perez who lived in the same Cosmopolitan Houses Apartment Complex on 49th Street with him. “He was always willing to help. He was everyone’s big brother in the neighborhood.”

The mural was painted the day of Perez’s funeral by longtime resident “Frank from 64th Street,” and Rios has been taking care of it since.

The teens were able to get the permission of the landlord at the time to paint the mural.

But the mural was defaced about five years ago when the wall was tagged.

Rios, who now lives in Jackson Heights, noticed the vandalism while visiting his father in Sunnyside. He believes that the graffiti was the work of a few MS-13 gang members who were looking to mark their territory.

Rios, who painted over the graffiti as a quick fix, recently saw that his temporary change was fading. He is now planning to brighten and upgrade the mural with the help of a friend, an artist who goes by the street name “AB,” which means “always blessed.”

The pair plan to start work in a few weeks, weather permitting, and they have the permission of the landlord. They are using their own funds to buy paint and other items needed.

The revamp will not only help preserve the memory of Perez, Rios said, but will also preserve the often forgotten “street history” of Sunnyside.

“A lot of people don’t know the street history of Sunnyside,” Rios said. “This mural is a big representation of Sunnyside, its history of the streets, and most importantly, Jose Miguel.”

email the author: [email protected]

40 Comments

Sonia

God made us all we are all one one day all these haters and rascist people will see that God loves all…stop judging one another…. disgusting

3
22
Reply
Happy Ending

We should take the mural down and make one of god. Perfect solution, problem solved and everyone is happy. HAPPY ENDING.

Reply
Cooper Alex Cariello

I see a few references asking for a mural to honor the hardworking Latino community of Sunnyside. When I grew up here in the 60’s and 70’s it was primarily equally as hardworking Irish and Polish families. Sunnyside has a long, long history and asking to honor one ethnic group is unfair. There is still a large Irish community which has started growing again as well as other countries represented now in Sunnyside and Woodside. Maybe something honoring specific local heroes of all nationalities or celebrating the diversity of the area would better represent what the neighborhood is now. I am a resident for over 60 years now and welcome all the changes and would prefer a mural with more inclusivity.

9
5
Reply
Mystery Solved

I never comment on these things. I will this one time. I have read all the comments before mines off course. I have copied and paste a part of this article. “The mural was painted the day of Perez’s funeral by longtime resident “Frank from 64th Street,” and Rios has been taking care of it since”. I guess the person who commented on the artist was right. Frank from 64th street. This frank person who off course, from reading all the comments about 46/64 street gang. Well let me guess Frank was part of the gang also. OMG OMG OMG I have solved the long time mystery. DOWN now take it DOWN

2
5
Reply
RESTORED

This mural to be restored are you kidding me is this a bad joke. This mural needs to come out. I hope they restore it with white paint all over.

12
8
Reply
Parents

As a sunnyside parent. I do agree with 99% of these comments. The mural must be taken down as soon as possible. You can only imagine what all the sunnyside parents need to explain to all there children. This is a mural about a person who used to be a drug dealer and got killed by a gang. I mean what do you think all these children must think. Yes, its cool lets become a drug dealer and someone will make a mural of me.

12
5
Reply
positivityonly

TAKE THAT MURAL DOWN AND REPLACE IT WITH SOMETHING POSITIVE, LIKE A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY WHO ACTUALLY DOES GOOD AND CONTRIBUTES TO SOCIETY!! stop glorifying drug dealers, this is not a ghetto!

11
7
Reply
intellectual individual

Sunnyside is for smart intellectual individuals. Hipsters, gays, artist, fashionistas, doctors, lawyers, business owners. Sunnyside is not the “hood” anymore it is a neighborhood. The price for rents will tell you everything. The mural does not represent the new and up coming sunnyside. I agree the mural needs to come down. Let’s replace it with something modern. Want to do history i got the perfect solution. how about a mural with war heroes. The man and women who fought for the liberty of all to be equal. A mural of a drug related killing needs to be taken down.

20
9
Reply
Geri Alex

How about a mural honoring war heroes from Woodside and Sunnyside starting with Tommy Noonan who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam.

4
17
Reply
John

Mural DOWN, DOWN, DOWN. It is so taste less. It is so ugly. The “artist” did this person have any education or any knowledge of art. For heaven sakes a two year old could have done a better job. Next time the sunnyside community decides to have any sort of “artist” do something so terribly horrible I think there should be a vote with the community members. This has been there for so many years it is time to take it D O W N.

17
21
Reply
OLd in the neighborhood

What are we in Harlem. I know the only reason some of these old 64/46 Street loosers still live in Sunnyside/Woodside is because they kept the apartment were there grandparents and parents lived and the rent is under a thousand dollars. We all know if they had to pay the real rent for a one bedroom 2 thousand dollars or a 2 bedroom for 2500 dollars per month they would not be in Sunnyside anymore. I agree we should all go to our neighborhood representatives and demand for this mural to go down. It is embarrassing and shameful.

20
11
Reply
Mural DOWN now

I agree with a lot of these
Comments. The mural need to come out right away. Where is our representative Jimmy Van Burren. I am one of the Dominicans who came to Sunnyside in the early 80’s and my parents worked very hard to put me and my sister through college. I remember how my parents were so embarrassed from these 64th and 46th Street gang specially because unfortunately they were all Dominicans. I remember them very well. It is very interesting to really know what these losers are doing now.

23
6
Reply
IMIGRANT HISPANIC

I agree Sunnyside is NOT this type of neighborhood anymore. There was so much positive history before cilo got killed by a gang. I also agree there are sooooooooo many Hispanics that came to this area in the late 70’s early to middle 80’s.where is the mural for all these immigrant kids who went to collage and became doctors, lawyers, investment bankers, teachers, city advocates, so many Hispanics in Sunnyside who were involved in the research for HIV and cancer. Were is the mural for all the Hispanic parents who worked 3 jobs to put there immigrant kids through university. It’s embarrassing to come back to the neighborhood I grew up in and I have to explain to my kids how the ONLY mural in Sunnyside is about a person who was a drug dealer and got killed. Wake up and read a book and get educated. Our culture is not about this anymore. We have worked very hard to get educated and give our Hispanic children a better life. TAKE the mural out and replace it with a library with computers so our future children can get educated. We’re are these 64 And 46th Street losers now. I can tell you one thing I DON’T think they got an education and god only knows what they are doing.

31
9
Reply
N/a

How are you going to take down a mural and put a library with computers ? Smh 🤦🏻‍♂️

8
3
Reply
Bruno

@Gracliemx3- You’re the one who sounds like you’re from somewhere else with well structured sentences like ” You probably a hipster that just moved radius where the Cosmo houses is at “. Unfortunately you’re probably one of my neighbors, Oh, by the way I grew up here and am well over fifty.

19
7
Reply
Dominicano

I remember this 64th Street and 46th Street crew. They did so much harm to the community. They all got away with doing all these horrible things to everyone. I know this because none did time. It’s such a shame specially to the Dominican community. That’s the reason all there parents brought them to New York to be gang members. I do agree that mural should be taken down ASAP. It is a disgrace to all the Dominicans that came to New York to work hard and live a better life.

25
4
Reply
JayC

He was my uncle’s best friend He Was A Really Cool Guy.. I was a kid when they first put up that mural.. One Love CILO RIP… And One Love 46 Always Home…

8
17
Reply
Sunnyside

Does not represent the neighborhood at all, this is not some ghetto. You want a mural, get something like that Sunnyside mural on 47th ave & 40th st.

22
5
Reply
Sunnyside recident

I think you should take that mural out and replace it with something positive. I remember him also. He was a very nice kid but the facts are the facts and he was a drug dealer who in fact was killed by a gang. I know his family and friends very well and the pain and suffering they went through was horrible. I mean REALLY out of all the positive things you may put there. You really think we need to remember this horrible situation. Do we need to remember how the kids from 64th street and 46th street hand this stupid gang and so many got killed and hurt. No one talks about how they got away with so much stupidity

35
10
Reply
Mrs. Garrett

Mets Houses had many problems years ago because of rampant drug dealing. Finally arrests were made after Giuliani became mayor. I hope we are not going back to the bad old days. There were lots of burglaries also.

21
55
Reply
Claudia from 48th street

Jose miguel was an INCREDIBLE person. We will NEVER forget u tamba

12
37
Reply
Georgia Luzia

I grew up in this area and remember him. Please don’t make up stories to sugarcoat who people really were. This was gang related and yes, he was a sweet kid but his death was a drug related murder. He was a drug dealer in a gang.

45
13
Reply
Gabbi46

Still doesn’t change the fact that he was one of ours and he will always be in our hearts and memories RIP CILO!

18
45
Reply
Makes no sense

Are you kidding? He was a drug dealer, but at least he was our drug dealer? That’s f***ked up. Where does that kind of logic come from. I can only imagine what you are like. Too much drugs, I guess

25
6
Reply
Dear Boss

If he was one of yours then that makes you a gang member or a drug dealer. Or both.

Doofus.

Reply
Elephant

The only reason you have an apartment to live in is because your neighbors pay your rent. Think about that, homie. Without us, we’ll meet you outside that mural allright, in your cardboard box condo.

18
2
Reply
Graciiemx3

@stop Where is the proof of that? Mind your business. Dont talk about my neighbors like that. You probably a hipster that just moved radius where the Cosmo houses is at, or a coward hiding behind a phone talking shit.

10
38
Reply
Stop

I used to live there…. I used to be outside with them. I don’t know what your talking about you must be home or inside all day to not know. Everybody knows come on

4
9
Reply
Anonymous

He wasn’t riding a bike he was doing a drug deal and they cut his fingers off!
Stop glorifying the truth!

18
Reply

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News